Showing posts sorted by relevance for query jim crow. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query jim crow. Sort by date Show all posts

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

the new jim crow

Democracy Now | A new book by legal scholar and civil rights advocate Michelle Alexander argues that although Jim Crow laws have been eliminated, the racial caste system it set up was not eradicated. It’s simply been redesigned, and now racial control functions through the criminal justice system.

JUAN GONZALEZ: President Obama’s election a year and a half ago continues to be lauded for ushering in a new era of colorblindness. The very fact of his presidency is regarded by some as the final nail in the coffin of Jim Crow. Yet, today there are more African Americans under correctional control, whether in prison or jail, on probation or on parole, than there were enslaved in 1850. And more African American men are disenfranchised now because of felon disenfranchisement laws than in 1870.

A new book by legal scholar and civil rights advocate Michelle Alexander argues that although Jim Crow laws have been eliminated, the racial caste system it set up was not eradicated. It’s simply been redesigned, and now racial control functions through the criminal justice system.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined now from Columbus, Ohio by Michelle Alexander, author of the new book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Her latest article exploring how the war on drugs gave birth to what she calls a permanent American undercaste is available at She’s a former director of the Racial Justice
Project at the ACLU of Northern California. She now holds a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University.

Michelle Alexander, welcome to Democracy Now! Nearly half of America’s young black men are behind bars or have been labeled felons for life? That’s an astounding figure. Also, what does it mean in terms of their rights for the rest of their lives?

MICHELLE ALEXANDER: Yes, thanks largely to the war on drugs, a war that has been waged almost exclusively in poor communities of color, even though studies have consistently shown that people of color are no more likely to use or sell illegal drugs than whites. The war on drugs waged in these ghetto communities has managed to brand as felons millions of people of color for relatively minor, nonviolent drug offenses. And once branded a felon, they’re ushered into a permanent second-class status, not unlike the one we supposedly left behind. Those labeled felons may be denied the right to vote, are automatically excluded from juries, and my be legally discriminated against in employment, housing, access to education, public benefits, much like their grandparents or great grandparents may have been discriminated against during the Jim Crow era.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, you mention that the—in the war on drugs, four out of five people arrested have actually been arrested for use of drugs, not for—or possession or use of drugs, not for the sale of drugs. Could you talk about how the—both political parties joined in this increasing incarceration around drug use?

MICHELLE ALEXANDER: That’s right. The war on drugs, contrary to popular belief, was not declared in response to rising drug crime. Actually, the war on drugs, the current drug war, was declared in 1982 by President Ronald Reagan at a time when drug crime was actually on the decline. A few years later, crack cocaine hit the streets in poor communities of color across America, and the Reagan administration hired staff to publicize crack babies, crack mothers, crack dealers in inner-city communities, in an effort to build public support and more funding, and ensure more funding, for the new war that had been declared. But the drug war had relatively little to do with drug crime, even from the outset.

The drug war was launched in response to racial politics, not drug crime. The drug war was part of the Republican Party’s grand strategy, often referred to as the Southern strategy, an effort to appear—appeal to poor and working-class white voters who were threatened by, felt vulnerable, threatened by the gains of the civil rights movement, particularly desegregation, busing and affirmative action. And the Republican Party found that it could get Democrats—white, you know, working-class poor Democrats—to defect from the Democratic New Deal coalition and join the Republican Party through racially coded political appeals on issues of crime and welfare.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Bro.Feed Not Scurred, Politically Correct, or Intellectually Consti(err...., nevermind.)

whatever you think of cultural non-judgementalism in the abstract, what it has meant in reality is that the pathologies of lower-class black culture have been played out on other black folks and on non-black neighbors.
THROW OUT DAMNED "NON-JUDGMENTALISM"!!!!!! (Subjective Opinions)


GIVE The "Black Racial Services Machine" and the "Post-Racial Progressive Fundamentalist Alliance" - both of whom have FUSED The "Americanized Negro's "Black Agenda" with PROGRESSIVE POLITICAL (Only) Expression THESE MANDATES!!!!

1) INCREASE the Black graduation rate to the point at which the new market of TECHNICALLY EDUCATED BLACKS can be a DISRUPTIVE MARKET FORCE in the key areas within the Black Community Marketplace (Health Care, Business Management, etc)


3) GROW THE LOCAL BLACK ECONOMY BY 50% IN 5 YEARS, where its ability to CREATE JOBS, maintain LOCAL TAX BASE, service the retail and service needs of the people in a 4 mile radius

4) REDUCE THE NUMBER OF 'OUT OF RESIDENCE BLACK FATHERS' DOWN TO 20% - as the Black Community acknowledges the critical importance of having a BLACK MAN AND WOMAN working collaboratively to care for their children.   RECHRISTINE "The Black Church" from its claim to having been created in response to WHITE SUPREMACY (what Rev Raphael Warnock of Ebenezer Church in Atlanta said) OVER TO the CENTERPIECE OF THE BLACK COMMUNITY SOCIAL SERVICES STRUCTURE

CNu - IF the AMERICANIZED NEGRO'S "Struggle Motion" is not REMOVED FROM STRAIGHT UP POLITICAL OPPORTUNISM these CORRUPT NEGROES on MSNBC will be allowed to retain their platform and MOLEST THE AMERICANIZED NEGRO'S AGENDA - for ONLY the benefit of PROGRESSIVISM - the condition of the Negro BE DAMNED. 
In the absence of Jim Crow, America has organically resegregated itself with a vengeance - with managerial and professional class blacks spatially and socially distancing themselves from lower-class black cultural pathology.
WHO SAYS that the MOST ACTIVE VOICES representing the Americanized Negro's interests BELIEVES THAT "JIM CROW IS DEAD TODAY"?

Do YOU believe that Michelle Alexander believes that the presence of AG Eric Holder, his boss Barack Obama and a DISTRICT ATTORNEY and SHERIFF (jailer) and POLICE CHIEF who was appointed by a MAYOR - ALL OF WHOM BLACK VOTED FOR means that THE NEW JIM CROW IS DEAD?

The one thing that I learn from:
* Reading "The Final Call"
* Listening to "Black Progressive Radical Radio"
* Watching Videos ...................IS..............


The final irony is - that Ras Baraka - son of  Amari Baraka is poised to become Mayor Of Newark.
Amari Baraka told of the day that the last White mayor of Newark pulled him out of jail and brought him to the mayors OFFICE where he was BEATEN-UP ON THE FLOOR.

The REVOLUTIONARY /RADICALS have ultimately become POLITICAL CANDIDATES (see Cheway Lumumba).

And now the biggest threat facing Ras Baraka is that HIS CAMPAIGN BUS WAS BURNED by an operative from his BLACK DEMOCRATIC opponent. 


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

where there's smoke, there's new jim crow...,

WaPo | AS A CANDIDATE last fall, Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell earned praise and reinforced his carefully nurtured image as a moderate by pledging to streamline the cumbersome process by which nonviolent former felons may regain their voting rights after completing their sentences. He insisted then, as he did as a lawmaker a decade ago, that ex-offenders who want their voting rights restored should not have to wait six months to a year for their applications to be reviewed, especially since they are not eligible to apply until three years after fulfilling their sentence.

We take the governor at his word. But his initial attempts to expedite the process have come with a fat asterisk that casts doubt on any claim to fairness and decency, let alone moderation: Mr. McDonnell is also requiring ex-offenders -- who have already paid their debt to society -- to pass what looks like a character test before they can cast a vote.

In 48 other states and the District of Columbia, voting rights for most felons are restored automatically once their sentence is fulfilled. Only Virginia and Kentucky insist that some sanctions last indefinitely -- until the state, in its infinite wisdom, grants what the U.S. Constitution regards as the inalienable right to vote. In the Old Dominion, the result is that huge numbers of people are disenfranchised. Although the powers that be in Richmond regard former felons with such contempt that they don't even bother counting them, voting rights advocates estimate that some 300,000 ex-cons in Virginia remain barred from voting. African Americans account for just a fifth of Virginia's 7.8 million citizens but are thought to constitute about half of those ineligible to vote. This is Jim Crow by another name.

Video Michelle Alexander The New Jim Crow

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Donald Glover's Succinct Annihilation Of Rhyming, Posing, America....,

NewYorker |  The video, which was released online as Glover performed the track on live television, turned the single into a pessimistic statement on American entertainment—both the making and consumption of it. As such, the artist inculpates himself. In the video, Glover is shirtless and his teeth gleam. He plays a kind of deleterious tramp, all instinct, skitting around an airy parking hangar. Dance is its own language; the choreographer for the video, Sherrie Silver, has taught Glover to contort his body in a manner that induces memories of the grotesque theatre of jigging and cake-walking. Sometimes the movements and how they activate his muscles make him look sexy, at other times crazed. His manic elation erupts into violence at a speed that matches something of the media consumer’s daily experience. Glover strikes a pose, and then, in time for the rhythm drop, shoots a black man in the head from behind.

A moment ago, the victim had been strumming a guitar. Glover carefully places the gun on a lush pillow held out for him by an eager school-aged black child. The awful syncopation of murder and music recalls Arthur Jafa’s seven-minute video “Love Is the Message, the Message Is Death,” from 2016, in which footage of a police officer shooting Walter Scott in the back corresponds to a climax in Kanye West’s “Ultra Light Beam.” This is what it’s like, Glover’s video seems to say, to be black in America—at any given time, vulnerable to joy or to destruction. When his character is not dancing, he is killing. The camera amiably follows Glover and a new set of companions, a troupe of uniformed schoolchildren doing the gwara gwara, and then a slew of viral dances. The reprieve ends abruptly when, in another room, Glover is passed another gun, a rifle this time, and murders the members of a black choir. The ten actors fall down in a gruesome heap, reminding us of the night we got word that a young white man had killed a gathering of black worshippers at a church in Charleston. And then Glover is dancing again—this time, with cars burning and police chaos beyond him. The song ends with an eerie melody from Young Thug, who is almost-singing, “You just a big dawg, yeah / I kennelled him in the back yard, yeah.” At the video’s end, Glover is running for his life, the police gaining on him. I’ve been watching it on a loop.

BostonGlobe |  Diving down into the pop-culture id, Glover plays games with the politics of racial personae, the ways they can be appropriated and reappropriated by a racist culture, and the traps into which a trapped people can fall. He casts himself as the swaggering bad boy here, conjuring a centuries-long history of black male image, self-image, used image. 

The body movements and facial contortions reach back to the mother country, through Jim Crow and Juba and America’s sorry legacy of minstrelsy, through Alvin Ailey and “Thriller” and modern street dance — the dance is many-sided, many-streamed, lethal; it’s beautiful and grotesque. The machine-gunning of a gospel choir and Gambino’s crotch-grabbing, his lyrics sardonically boasting “Grandma told me, Get your money, black man” all taunt rap culture’s obsession with machismo, material success, and the glorification of gun violence — memes that are then taken up, reified, and reiterated both by black audiences and by a panicked, powerful white mainstream anxious to define and diminish.

Taken as a whole, “This Is America” functions as a double-edged machete, slicing into a divided culture’s twinned illusions and acknowledging the cartoon as a further form of bondage. Jim Crow mutates into Bad Mutha, burns the culture down, dances across its ashes, and still he ends up running for his life down a dark alley, pursued by an out-of-focus white mob. For a black audience (I’m assuming) it’s a familiar story, and Glover only connects the dots in fresh, unholy ways. For white viewers, those who have the comfort of rarely, if ever, being uncomfortable in their skins in public, this is history written with a different kind of lightning.

The response to this dead-serious work of satire has been exactly what it should be, confused and conversational, struggling toward clarity. In the words of one Twitter onlooker, “Donald Glover is doing what Kanye [West] thinks he’s doing.” (Arguments ensued.) Justin Simien, the writer-director whose wonderful Netflix show “Dear White People” parses the conundrums of black college life with wry empathy, weighed in with an epic interpretive “love letter” to “This Is America.” A white reader would learn a great deal by simply going online and reading the multiplicity of black responses to this video.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Sorry Feed - Neoliberal Negroes in Choppa Suits Are Harmful Parasites

ineteconomics |  LP: How does the neoliberal turn manifest in black megachurches like those led by popular ministers like T.D. James and Creflo Dollar?
LS: Even when Martin Luther King, Jr. was alive and running the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, there were different tendencies within black churches. Some, while not necessarily supporting the Jim Crow regime, definitely kind of acquiesced to it and were not interested in having their churchgoers be involved in anti-racist politics. At the same time, you had people using the church to connect to a really radical critique of capitalism and white supremacy. 

In the 70s and into the 80s, this radical-to-left tendency is becoming less and less important in black churches. What you see instead is the growth of churches that use the Bible as a kind of self-help guide and promote the prosperity gospel, which holds that if you follow the Bible, you will become not only spiritually but materially wealthy. The flip side is that if you don’t follow the Bible, you’ll become poor. So somebody like Creflo Dollar [founder of the World Changers Church International based in College Park, Georgia] argues that you’re poor because you don’t have the right mindset. That’s naturalizing poverty. 

Related is the growth of black megachurches with as many as 10,000 or even 20,000 members. They have their own community development corporations. Some of them actually look like corporations in their design and require a significant outlay of capital in order to operate. So even if they are not proposing the whole prosperity gospel, they have to propose some aspect of it in order to exist. 

LP: It seems burdensome that in addition to paying taxes, churchgoers end up funding social services through tithing.
LS: States and local governments are now outsourcing some of their social service provisions to churches. This is problematic for several reasons. One is because of the important distinction between church and state. It’s all too likely that a church would use the resources to proselytize instead of provide services. Also, churches provide a function of spiritual guidance – they aren’t bureaucracies. People who work in churches don’t know how to deal with poverty or public housing provisions.
We wouldn’t expect a charity to fund NASA: the scale of the challenge is something that no private entity could actually fulfill. Well, it’s the same with social service provision. When people pay their tithe, the resources might really go to social services instead of lining somebody’s pocket, but those services are nowhere near what’s needed to deal with inequality. In a way, it demobilizes people when you connect this to the rhetoric that suggests that people are poor because of their own choices, it makes it more difficult for people to organize not just for more social services, but to get at structural dynamics. 

LP: What does it take to challenge the neoliberal turn? What have we learned about what’s effective and what’s not?
LS: Martin Luther King, Jr. talked about a wrong-headed approach that posits that the reason we have gains is because of leaders like him who spoke to power and as a result were able to galvanize hundreds of thousands of folks in the South and the North to overturn the Jim Crow regime.
If you really look at the history, what you find instead is really deep organizing. What that charismatic leadership cannot do is build deep, enduring institutions to build the political capacity of regular folks. These institutions tend to have at least some modicum of democratic accountability. With the charismatic leadership model, there’s the idea that everything the leader says is correct. There are very few ways to hold them accountable or even create debate about strategies or tactics. But in a robust model of organizing, people can actually create conditions to lead themselves and engage in making decisions, whether we’re talking about labor issues, racial inequality, or #MeToo and gender inequality. 

Monday, April 09, 2018

Now We Know EXACTLY How Blacks Were Left Out Of Federal Middle Class Creation...,

NYTimes |  Critics of the Fair Housing Act have glibly attempted to dismiss attempts to end segregation as “social engineering” — as if rigid racial segregation in housing were a natural phenomenon. In fact, the residential segregation that is pervasive in the United States today was partly created by explicit federal policies that date back at least to World War I. It is now widely acknowledged that the federal insistence on segregated housing introduced Jim Crow separation in areas of the country outside the South where it had previously been unknown. It stands to reason that dismantling a system created by a set of government policies will require an equally explicit set of federal policies.

The scholar Richard Rothstein exposed the roots of this shameful process in his recent book “The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America.” He reported that the government’s first effort to build housing for defense workers near military installations and factories during World War I was founded on the premise that African-American families would be excluded “even from projects in northern and western industrial centers where they worked in significant numbers.”

The same toxic pattern prevailed under Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, when the government created the first public housing projects for nondefense workers, building separate projects for black people, segregating buildings by race or excluding African-Americans entirely. Particularly telling is the fact that racially integrated communities were razed to make way for Jim Crow housing.

The federal insistence on rigid racial separation found its most pernicious expression in the Federal Housing Administration, created in 1934 to promote homeownership by insuring mortgages. As the sociologists Douglas Massey and Nancy Denton document in “American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass,” the government typically denied mortgages to African-Americans, shutting out even affluent black people from the suburban homeownership boom that remade the residential landscape during the middle decades of the 20th century.

Government at all levels embraced racial covenants that forbade even well-to-do African-Americans from purchasing homes outside of black communities. Cut off from homeownership — the principal avenue of wealth creation — African-Americans lost the opportunity to build the intergenerational wealth that white suburban families took for granted. The vast wealth gap that exists today between whites and African-Americans has its roots in this era.

The argument for what became the Fair Housing Act emerged forcefully in the 1968 Kerner Commission report, which blamed segregation in large measure for the riots that ravaged the country in the 60s and called for national fair housing legislation. The housing law might well have died in committee had the country not erupted in fresh violence after the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968. It was signed into law a week later.

The housing act put the federal government on record as supporting open housing and prohibiting the pervasive discrimination that had locked most African-Americans out of decent accommodations and homeownership. But the version that passed in 1968 had been declawed — stripped of enforcement provisions that would have given HUD strong authority to root out discrimination. Nearly a quarter-century would pass before Congress strengthened the law. So during that time, African-Americans were left subject to the harsh discrimination the original act was supposed to preclude.

This progressive sounding law — which requires entities that receive federal money to “affirmatively further” fair housing goals — was consistently undermined by officials of both parties who had little appetite for confronting entrenched segregation.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Predations From Within The American Negroe Socio-Economic Class Structure

Counterpunch |  Eric Holder, the nation’s first black Attorney General made his mark as Washington’s first black chief prosecutor by advancing mass pretext policing (mass frisks, stops, and arrests on minor or made-up and discretionary police grounds) in Black neighborhoods. The nation’s first black president Barack Obama severely constricted his very tepid and belated steps toward criminal justice reform by ruling out any concern for those arrested and sentenced for technically violent offenses. That’s a big problem since more than half the nation’s 1 million Black prisoners are behind bars on technically violent charges.

Locking Up Our Own is a compelling and indispensable volume for those who want to get the whole story on the rise of the “the New Jim Crow” – a story that must include serious attention to class and other fractures within Black America. But it is not without problems. Oddly enough given Forman’s desire to provide a somewhat sympathetic explanation for the Black “leadership” class’s participation in the “new Jim Crow,” he fails to note how persistent harsh racial residential segregation – what sociologists Doug Massey and Nancy Denton have rightly called “American Apartheid” – has fed Black support for aggressive policing and harsh sentencing. The Black middle and professional class lives in much greater immediate proximity than its white counterpart to the deeply impoverished and crime-prone Black “underclass”

Forman might have reflected more ambitiously and radically on the question of what happened to the struggle for Black equality and social justice more broadly in the long capitalist neoliberal era, marked at home and abroad by the triumph of the right over the left hand of the state. Many on the Black Left will find Forman too mild and forgiving in his discussion of the role played by Black bourgeois elites in the rise of racially disparate mass incarceration. They will do so with good reason.

A good counter-text here is Elaine Brown’s 2002 volume The Condemnation of Little B. In this forgotten classic and Black radical text, Brown – a former chairman of the Black Panther Party – tried to understand how the entire city of Atlanta, including its prominent Black citizens, came to unjustly condemn a poor 13-year-old Black boy, Michael Lewis, for the 1997 murder of a white man visiting a well-known drug haven in that city’s Black ghetto. Brown showed how Lewis’s conviction was “effectively predestined, attributable to the comfortable ‘New Age racism’ of white liberals and middle-class blacks who have abandoned the cause of civil rights and equal opportunity.”

Saturday, July 26, 2014

the runner-up religions of america

protojournalist |  Glance at the map above, Second Largest Religious Tradition in Each State 2010, and you will see that Buddhism (orange), Judaism (pink) and Islam (blue) are the runner-up religions across the country.

No surprises there. But can you believe that Hindu (dark orange) is the No. 2 tradition in Arizona and Delaware, and that Baha'i (green) ranks second in South Carolina?

The map — created by the and published recently in — "looks very odd to me," says Hillary Kaell. She is a professor at in Montreal who specializes in North American Christianity. "These numbers, although they look impressive when laid out in the map, represent a very tiny fraction of the population in any of the states listed."

True that. Christianity is the Number One religious tradition across the board. A showed that 77 percent of Americans identify as Christians. But a deeper look into the stories behind the map's data reveal a bit more about a nation in flux.

Faith And Race In South Carolina
Louis E. Venters, an assistant professor of history at and author of the forthcoming book Most Great Reconstruction: The Baha'i Faith and Interracial Community in Jim Crow South Carolina, makes an observation similar to Hillary's. "To put the map in context," he says, "let's acknowledge at the outset that it doesn't take very much to be the second-largest religion in South Carolina. It is a solidly Christian, and particularly Protestant, state, and all the minority religions combined comprise only a tiny fraction of the population."

But, Louis says, "whatever the size of the Baha'i faith in South Carolina — relative to other minority religions — I think its history is quite compelling and worthy of attention in itself."

From as far back as 1910, Louis says, "the Baha'is were virtually unique in Jim Crow South Carolina in attempting to create an interracial religious community — for which they suffered harassment and violence."

By the 1960s, he says, there were local Baha'i organizations in many towns in north Georgia and South Carolina. The tradition spread. "The Louis G. Gregory Baha'i Institute in Georgetown County, founded in 1972 and named for the black Charleston native who first brought the religion to South Carolina," says Louis, "became a cultural and educational hub for the South Carolina movement. And Radio Baha'i WLGI — broadcasting from the same site beginning in 1985 — has brought its teachings and ethos to a large section of the state."

 The story of Louis Gregory and his wife, Louisa, is chronicled by PBS in . In 2003, the Baha'i community designated Louis Gregory's childhood home as a museum.

Louis Venters says, "The Baha'i community today is relatively well-known in South Carolina for its long record of interracialism, strong attention to community service and the education of children and youth of all backgrounds, and contributions to interfaith dialogue."

He adds: "Although the map may have come as a surprise to those who aren't familiar with this history, to me — and I think to most Baha'is in South Carolina — it makes pretty good sense. And if it brings to light one of the South's oldest and most successful experiments in interracial community-building, so much the better."

Saturday, January 25, 2014

what property matters in the promethean era of nano, genomic, macroquantum science and technology?

nonsite |  This line of argument has been most popularly condensed recently in Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, which analogizes contemporary mass incarceration to the segregationist regime. But even she, after much huffing and puffing and asserting the relation gesturally throughout the book, ultimately acknowledges that the analogy fails.37 And it would have to fail because the segregationist regime was the artifact of a particular historical and political moment in a particular social order. Moreover, the rhetorical force of the analogy with Jim Crow or slavery derives from the fact that those regimes are associated symbolically with strong negative sanctions in the general culture because they have been vanquished. In that sense all versions of the lament that “it’s as if nothing has changed” give themselves the lie. They are effective only to the extent that things have changed significantly.

The tendency to craft political critique by demanding that we fix our gaze in the rearview mirror appeals to an intellectual laziness. Marking superficial similarities with familiar images of oppression is less mentally taxing than attempting to parse the multifarious, often contradictory dynamics and relations that shape racial inequality in particular and politics in general in the current moment. Assertions that phenomena like the Jena, Louisiana, incident, the killings of James Craig Anderson and Trayvon Martin, and racial disparities in incarceration demonstrate persistence of old-school, white supremacist racism and charges that the sensibilities of Thomas Dixon and Margaret Mitchell continue to shape most Americans’ understandings of slavery do important, obfuscatory ideological work. They lay claim to a moral urgency that, as Mahmood Mamdani argues concerning the rhetorical use of charges of genocide, enables disparaging efforts either to differentiate discrete inequalities or  to generate historically specific causal accounts of them as irresponsible dodges that abet injustice by temporizing in its face.38 But more is at work here as well.

Insistence on the transhistorical primacy of racism as a source of inequality is a class politics. It’s the politics of a stratum of the professional-managerial class whose material location and interests, and thus whose ideological commitments, are bound up with parsing, interpreting and administering inequality defined in terms of disparities among ascriptively defined populations reified as groups or even cultures. In fact, much of the intellectual life of this stratum is devoted to “shoehorning into the rubric of racism all manner of inequalities that may appear statistically as racial disparities.”39 And that project shares capitalism’s ideological tendency to obscure race’s foundations, as well as the foundations of all such ascriptive hierarchies, in historically specific political economy. This felicitous convergence may help explain why proponents of “cultural politics” are so inclined to treat the products and production processes of the mass entertainment industry as a terrain for political struggle and debate. They don’t see the industry’s imperatives as fundamentally incompatible with the notions of a just society they seek to advance. In fact, they share its fetishization of heroes and penchant for inspirational stories of individual Overcoming. This sort of “politics of representation” is no more than an image-management discourse within neoliberalism. That strains of an ersatz left imagine it to be something more marks the extent of our defeat. And then, of course, there’s that Upton Sinclair point.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

strange fruit: biology interpreted in the service of dominant social interests...,

kenanmalik | How did society become racialized? This is the most complex of the questions Malik tackles.

For most of human history, the concept of race simply did not exist, at least in the way we think of race today. Malik turns to Ivan Hannaford and his exhaustive study Race: The History of an Idea in the West to demonstrate this historical contrast. While the Greeks classified peoples of the world by skin color, they rejected a racial worldview in favor of a political and civic one, Hannaford asserts. For the Greeks, the key social distinction was between citizens and 'barbarians'. Even in the Middle Ages, Hannaford emphasizes, the main issue with regard to strangers was, 'Do they possess a rule of law', 'Do they act like us?' What defined a person was his or her relationship to law and to faith, not biology or history.

Hannaford’s conclusion is not cited by Malik, but is worth noting. He emphasizes that racial and political thought are two opposed approaches to social organization. He goes further to characterize political thinking as 'inherently and logically resistant to the idea of race as we understand it.' He states that race is 'inimical to Western civilization in the strict sense of the word', and that ethnicity is an idea introduced in modern times that gained importance only in proportion to the decline in political thought (emphasis in the original). Both writers concur that the word 'race' may have been in use for a long time, but its modern meaning has not. As man’s social organization has evolved, the imputed content of 'race' has taken on very different significance, a point often not understood.

Like Hannaford, Malik provides a survey of the development of racial categorization, tracing the role of various schools of thought from romanticism to positivism and postmodernism, as well as a whole range of thinkers from the German philosopher Johann Gottfried von Herder through the founder of cultural anthropology, Franz Boas.

However, Malik takes strong issue with Hannaford, and many postmodernists, when they blame both the Enlightenment in general and its adherents among more modern scientists such as Carl Linnaeus and Charles Darwin for creating and perpetuating racism through taxonomy. Malik does not dispute the rise of such trends as 'scientific racism', as developed by Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, but he emphasizes that the Enlightenment’s attitude toward human difference was permeated by the revolutionary ideas of social equality and the perfectibility of man. The predominant view of that revolutionary period was that human variation, physical or cultural, represented differences not in kind but in degree.

Darwin and the majority of the scientists of his age embodied this spirit. In fact, the fundamental philosophical orientation of racial theory - which assumes the fixity of characteristics- ran entirely counter to natural selection, as Malik notes. For the misnamed 'social Darwinists', struggle eliminated the impure specimens of the race to perpetuate the ideal type. Darwin, on the other hand, dismissed the idea of an ideal type of a species as nonsense.

However, when the Enlightenment’s ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity were not realized following the French Revolution, when social inequality continued and worsened despite the developments of science, the tendency developed to explain poverty and other social ills in racial terms, as though they were somehow natural.

As for the common theory that racism, at least in the New World, evolved directly from slavery, Malik notes, 'As a biological theory, 19th century racial thought was shaped less by the attempts of a reactionary slave-owning class to justify privileges than by the growing pessimism among liberals about the possibilities of equality and social progress.' C. Vann Woodward argues similarly in his groundbreaking book The Strange Career of Jim Crow in which he points to the loss of support for Radical Reconstruction by Northern liberals as a decisive factor in the rise of Jim Crow segregation.

Malik also states that in Victorian England 'race' was considered a description of social distinctions rather than a skin color. With social degradation developing alongside intensified exploitation in British industry, the existence of classes began to be interpreted as hereditary.

Malik concludes that race did not cause inequality, but that the persistence and growth of inequality provided the basis for the growth of racial thinking. This profound point, well worth emphasizing, is at the center of his prior volume, The Meaning of Race. This truth needs to be firmly grounded in historical analysis, and both Malik’s and Hannaford’s summaries tend to give heavy weight to the views of a long series of intellectuals without fully connecting this history of ideas with the social relations and the class struggle. At times, this line of argument conflates the naïve fears of those at the bottom of society with deliberate state policy decisions at the top.

In The Meaning of Race, Malik says that the preoccupation with race at the turn of the 20th century reflected the concern for social stability, the fear of working class unrest, the growth of national rivalries and the emergence of imperialism. Unfortunately, he does not return to this point in Strange Fruit.

While there are many complex intellectual strands that influence the rise of ideas, at bottom they reflect the movement of social forces. At critical historical junctures, certain ideas are “selected,” or found to express the interests of social forces, particularly those of the dominant class. 'The ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class', said Karl Marx in the Communist Manifesto.

As a book emphasizing the implications of racial thought for science, Strange Fruit lays less emphasis on this relationship between rise of ideologies and class forces than Malik’s prior work. Nevertheless, the growth of racism historically did not reflect the state of biology. It was the reverse - biology was often interpreted in the service of prevailing social interests, a point he himself refers to.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

dangerous white stereotypes?

Video - To Kill a Mockingbird

NYTimes | Not all blacks are unmoved by “The Help.” Indeed, among my friends, relatives and colleagues a wide range of views have been shared, including comments that some of us might want to establish a support group for strong black women who liked “The Help.”

It is unfair to the filmmakers and cast to expect a work of fiction to adhere to the standards of authenticity we would want for a documentary. But we also recognize that precious few works of art tackle the Civil Rights era, and what people coming of age in the 21st century learn about this era often stems from fictive rather than nonfictive sources.

Forty-eight years after Martin Luther King Jr. was accompanied by tens of thousands of black domestic workers to the National Mall in Washington to demand economic justice, it is not all that difficult to render black fictional characters with appealing attributes and praiseworthy talents. What is more difficult to accomplish is a verisimilar rendering of the white characters.

This movie deploys the standard formula. With one possible exception, the white women are remarkably unlikable, and not just because of their racism. Like the housewives portrayed in reality television shows, the housewives of Jackson treat each other, their parents and their husbands with total callousness. In short, they are bad people, therefore they are racists.

There’s a problem, though, with that message. To suggest that bad people were racist implies that good people were not.

Jim Crow segregation survived long into the 20th century because it was kept alive by white Southerners with value systems and personalities we would applaud. It’s the fallacy of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a movie that never fails to move me but that advances a troubling falsehood: the notion that well-educated Christian whites were somehow victimized by white trash and forced to live within a social system that exploited and denigrated its black citizens, and that the privileged white upper class was somehow held hostage to these struggling individuals.

But that wasn’t the case. The White Citizens Councils, the thinking man’s Ku Klux Klan, were made up of white middle-class people, people whose company you would enjoy. An analogue can be seen in the way popular culture treats Germans up to and during World War II. Good people were never anti-Semites; only detestable people participated in Hitler’s cause.

Cultures function and persist by consensus. In Jackson and other bastions of the Jim Crow South, the pervasive notion, among poor whites and rich, that blacks were unworthy of full citizenship was as unquestioned as the sanctity of church on Sunday. “The Help” tells a compelling and gripping story, but it fails to tell that one.

I have dim recollections of watching Dr. King in 1963, with the black maid who raised me — my mother. If my father wasn’t in the room, he was working to make sure there would be opportunities in my future. I have benefited enormously from their hard work and from the shift that American culture has undergone as the scaffolding of discrimination was dismantled.

My parents, and the countless other black Americans who not only endured but thrived within the limited occupational sphere granted them, would have been proud of what has been accomplished since 1963, but they would not have wanted us to whitewash that earlier world.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

the ten most segregated cities in america...,

Salon | Decades after the end of Jim Crow, and three years after the election of America's first black president, the United States remains a profoundly segregated country.

That reality has been reinforced by the release of Census Bureau data last week that shows black and white Americans still tend to live in their own neighborhoods, often far apart from each other. Segregation itself, the decennial census report indicates, is only decreasing slowly, although the dividing lines are shifting as middle-income blacks, Latinos and Asians move to once all-white suburbs -- whereupon whites often move away, turning older suburbs into new, if less distressed, ghettos.

We may think of segregation as a matter of ancient Southern history: lunch counter sit-ins, bus boycotts and Ku Klux Klan terrorism. But as the census numbers remind us, Northern cities have long had higher rates of segregation than in the South, where strict Jim Crow laws kept blacks closer to whites, but separate from them. Where you live has a big impact on the education you receive, the safety on your streets, and the social networks you can leverage.

The following is a list of the nation's most segregated metropolitan areas of over 500,000 people. The rankings are based on a dissimilarity index, a measure used by social scientists to gauge residential segregation. It reflects the number of people from one race -- in this case black or white -- who would have to move for races to be evenly distributed across a certain area. A score of 1 indicates perfect integration while 100 signals complete segregation. The rankings were compiled by John Paul DeWitt of and the University of Michigan's Social Science Data Analysis Network.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

the bigot-whisperers of the right

Video - George Wallace 1968 presidential campaign ad.

CommonDreams | I was born, at slightly past the midpoint of the Twentieth Century, in the Deep South city of Birmingham, Alabama -- “The Heart of Dixie.” My earliest memories are of a time of societal upheaval and cultural trauma. At the time, as the world witnessed and history chronicles, Birmingham could be an ugly, mean place.

My father, employed at the time as a freelance photojournalist, would arrive home from work, his clothes redolent of tear gas, his adrenal system locked in overdrive, his mind reeling, trying to make sense of the brutality he witnessed, perpetrated by both city officials and ordinary citizens, transpiring on the streets of the city.

The print and media images transmitted from Birmingham shocked and baffled the nation as well. But there was a hidden calculus underpinning the architecture of institutionalized hatred of the Jim Crow South. The viciousness of Birmingham’s white underclass served the purpose of the ruling order. The city was controlled, in de facto colonial manner, by coal and steel barons whose seat of power was located up the Appalachian mountain chain in Pittsburgh, PA. The locals dubbed them the Big Mules. They resided in the lofty air up on Red Mountain; most everyone else dwelled down in the industrial smog.

These social and economic inequities, perpetuated by exploitative labor practices, roiled Birmingham’s white men with resentment. If they asked for higher wages, they were told: “I can hire any n*gg*r off the street for half of what I pay you.” In the colonial model, all the big dollars flowed back to Pennsylvania, and economic rivalry and state-codified delusions of racial entitlement, vis-à-vis Jim Crow Laws, was used to ensure the working class white majority rage at the ruling elite remained displaced -- their animus fixed on those with even less power and economic security than themselves. This was the poisoned cultural milieu, wherein George Wallace’s “segregation today . . . segregation tomorrow . . . segregation forever” demagogic dirt kicking caused the embedded rage of the white working class to pour forth like fire ants from a trampled bed.

In a similar manner, manufactured controversies such as the gay marriage and gays in the military dust-ups of the present time have little to do with gays or marriage or the military. These issues are served as red meat to arouse the passions -- and loosen the purse strings -- of the fear-driven, status quo-enabling, confused souls residing at the center of the black spleen of the Republican ideological base.

Although, as a rule, the right’s lies and displacements are most effective when liberals offer working people only bromides, platitudes, and lectures on propriety and good taste. Obama and the Democrats, time and time again, present demagogues with an opening the size of the cracks in Glenn Beck’s gray matter. Hence, the bigot-whisperers of the right are provided with a void that they can seed with false narratives; wherein, they are given free rein to cloud the air and clog the airwaves with palaver about fifth columnist threats from terrorist-toady mosque builders and gays in uniform undermining moral in the ranks by belting out show tunes in foxholes and impromptu shower stall instruction on the art of hand to hand sodomy.

Cultures are organic in nature. Combine the elements of the scorched earth policies of neoliberal capitalism, its austerity cuts and downsizing, plus the hybrid seeds of the consumer age -- and what alien foliage will rise from the degraded soil -- fields of right-wing AstroTurf. Add: industrial strength fertilizer. And see how our garden grows, with: Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin -- the mutant seed sprouted Chia Pets of corporate oligarchy.

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Nah Jim, Black America Didn't "Opt Out" - White America Violently Rejected Integrating Black Children

I was fetching around for a way in which to try and integrate today's dismissals of both BLM and the black political mainstream, with tomorrow's refresher course on American racism and living memory history. Tomorrow is REALLY important.  That said, I suspect that even here, short attention span theater predominates - such that a simple succinct six minute turn that Irami Osei Frimpong offered - will have been lost even on my audience.

For sure what has been lost is the fundamental, core living memory experience of racism that shaped my life, largely i'm guessing, because it had little to no impact on any of your lives. What I'm referring to is public school desegregation attempted in the 70's and flatly and legally and politically rejected by white Americans of all socioeconomic and political persuasions. 

Kunstler entirely misses this in his haste to blame black folks for their exclusion and alienation from the American mainstream. See, I and a number of my peers, my immediate personal cohort, were among the lucky and durable ones who integrated public and private schools during the 70's, survived, got tough, and thrived, all the while learning everything there is to know about white America. 

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, don't get me wrong. I'm not crying about anything, I'm not playing a victim card, and I sincerely believe and exemplify the ethos "that which does not kill you". But the simple fact of the matter is, that when white Americans refused to accept integration of public schools and shifted themselves in very dramatic macro-scale fashion in response to the prospective horror of little Cindy Lou sitting next to young Tyrone in the 3rd grade, well..., that kind of set the mold for much of what has followed over the next 50 years.

kunstler |  That business was the full participation of Black citizens in American life. The main grievance now is that Black Americans are still denied full participation due to “systemic racism.” That’s a dodge. What actually happened is that Black America opted out and lost itself in a quandary of its own making with the assistance of their white dis-enablers, the well intentioned “progressives.” 

Let me take you back to the mid-20th century. America had just fought and won a war against manifest evil. The nation styled itself as Leader of the Free World. That role could not be squared with the rules of Jim Crow apartheid, so something had to change. The civil rights campaign to undo racial segregation under law naturally began in the courts in cases such as Brown v. Board of Education (1954). So-called public accommodations — hotels, theaters, restaurants, buses, bathrooms, water fountains, etc. — remained segregated. By the early 1960s, the clamor to end all that took to the streets under the emerging moral leadership of Martin Luther King and his credo of non-violent civil disobedience.

Many acts of non-violent street protest were met by police using fire-hoses, vicious dogs, and batons to terrorize the marchers. This only shamed and horrified the rest of the nation watching on TV and actually quickened the formation of a political consensus to end American apartheid. That culminated in the passage of three major federal laws: the Public Accommodations Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

Meanwhile, something else was going on among Black Americans: not everybody believed in Dr. King’s non-violence, and not everybody was so sure about full participation in American life. Altogether, Black America remained ambivalent and anxious about all that. That full participation implied a challenge to compete on common ground. What if it didn’t work out? An alternate view emerged, personified first by Malcolm X, who called MLK an “Uncle Tom,” and then by the younger generation, Stokely Carmichael, the Black Panthers and others retailing various brands of Black Power, Black Nationalism, and Black Separatism. It amounted, for some, in declining that invitation to participate fully in American life. “No thanks. We’ll go our own way.” That sentiment has prevailed ever since.

So, the outcome to all that federal legislation of the 1960s turned out not to be the clear-cut victory (like World War Two) that liberals and progressives so breathlessly expected. The civil rights acts had some startling adverse consequences, too. They swept away much of the parallel service and professional economy that Blacks had constructed to get around all the old exclusions of everyday life. With that went a lot of the Black middle-class, the business owners especially. In its place, the liberal-and-progressive government provided “public assistance” — a self-reinforcing poverty generator that got ever worse, especially in big cities where de-industrialization started destroying the working-class job base beginning in the 1970s.  Fist tap Big Don.

Friday, February 06, 2015

these old republicans pretending to hide their purses and clutch their pearls tickle me...,

WaPo |  President Obama has never been one to go easy on America.

As a new president, he dismissed the idea of American exceptionalism, noting that Greeks think their country is special, too. He labeled the Bush-era interrogation practices, euphemistically called “harsh” for years, as torture. America, he has suggested, has much to answer given its history in Latin America and the Middle East.

His latest challenge came Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast. At a time of global anxiety over Islamist terrorism, Obama noted pointedly that his fellow Christians, who make up a vast majority of Americans, should perhaps not be the ones who cast the first stone.

“Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history,” he told the group, speaking of the tension between the compassionate and murderous acts religion can inspire. “And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

Some Republicans were outraged. “The president’s comments this morning at the prayer breakfast are the most offensive I’ve ever heard a president make in my lifetime,” said former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore (R). “He has offended every believing Christian in the United States. This goes further to the point that Mr. Obama does not believe in America or the values we all share.”

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Polite White Supremacy - Huh?

medium |  Polite White Supremacy is the notion that whites should remain the ruling class while denying that they are the ruling class, politely. Affectionately, it’s called #PWS for short. It has been referred to as the Casual American Caste System, Delicate Apartheid, Gentle Oppression, or what I like to call it after a few drinks: Chad Crow, the super chill grandson of Jim Crow.

No but seriously, Polite White Supremacy is very real. So why is it that we must specifically say ‘Polite White Supremacy’ rather than Racism? We must say Polite White Supremacy for three reasons. First, saying #PWS puts the responsibility solely on the creators of a systemic problem. Second, this phrase addresses the subtlety and casualness with which oppression is administered. Thirdly, it eradicates the all-too-common confusion between racism and prejudice. It’s important to eradicate this confusion so it can be clear that racism is tied to a power structure and access to resources.


Racism and prejudice are NOT interchangeable. Racism is the systemic oppression of one group of people who can be categorized within certain phenotypical traits over multiple generations that has been, at one point, sanctioned by a country, the majority and/or ruling class. Racism is committed only by the ruling class and agents of the ruling class because they have the power that comes with racism. Racism, in America, is absolutely the attack dog of the white ruling class. However, sometimes it’s also a slow poison in that it causes its victims to die of exhaustion or grief. Again, racism is a kind of prejudice that comes with power. Racism is the systematic and intentional oppression of group of people from the ruling class and its agents. In America, the ruling class is white people…of all classes.
America has been playing a centuries-long game of ‘stop hitting yourself’ while holding the arms of Black America.
Prejudice, though harmful, is not necessarily systemic and can be committed by anyone. It simply requires one to pre-judge. It does not require its user to have any access to the ruling class or status of whiteness. However, you have to be part of or support the ruling class to wield the power of racism. Those who are not part of the white ruling class, yet support white supremacy of any form, are called agents of white supremacy. They are not white, but benefit in some direct way from empowering and enforcing white supremacy often times on their own people. Historically black overseers and house slaves were bestowed more rights, and ultimately more power during slavery. These were employed agents of white supremacy who oppressed their fellow blacks. This employment was a status. It was a form of racist power that white slave owners gave to black overseers as a way to also instill mistrust within the black community. Prejudice alone, has no real power without the system of control and power to support it.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Native Conquest And African Enslavement Foundational To U.S. Property Law

ssrn |  This article demonstrates that the histories of conquest and slavement are foundational to U.S. property law. Over centuries, laws and legal institutions facilitated the production of the two commodities, or forms of property, upon which the colonial economy and the United States came to depend above all others: enclosures of Native nations’ land and enslaved people. By describing the role of property law in creating markets for lands and people, this article addresses the gap between the marginal place of these histories in the contemporary property law canon and the growing scholarly and popular recognition that conquest and enslavement were primary modes of property formation in American history.

First, this article describes how the field of property law has come to omit these histories from its common understanding of what is basic to its subject by examining property law casebooks published over 130 years. For most of their history, it shows, such casebooks affirmed the racial logic of conquest and slavery and contributed to these histories’ suppression in pedagogical materials. Early treatises avowed the foundational nature of conquest, but after the first property law casebook appeared, at the time of the close of the frontier, casebooks for more than half a century emphasized English inheritance, rather than acknowledging colonization’s formative impact on the property system. In the same period, the era of Jim Crow, casebooks continued to include many cases involving the illegal, obsolete form of property in enslaved people; when they ceased to do so, they replaced them with cases on racially restrictive covenants upholding segregation. After several decades, during which the histories of conquest and slavery were wholly erased, casebooks in the 1970s began to examine these histories through a critical lens for the first time. However, the project of understanding their consequences for the property system has remained only partial and highly inconsistent.

The central part of this article focuses on the acquisition of property, which, properly understood, comprises the histories of conquest, slavery, expropriation, and property creation in America. It examines the three main theories of acquisition—discovery, labor and possession-- beginning with the United States’ adoption of the Discovery Doctrine, the international law of conquest, as the legal basis of its sovereignty and property laws. In this context, it shows that the operative principle of the doctrine was not that of first-in-time, as commonly taught, but the agreement of European nations on a global racial hierarchy. Second, it turns to the labor theory, which was selectively applied according to the hierarchy of discovery, and firmly linked ideologies about non-whites and property value. It then reframes the labor theory’s central question—property creation—as a matter of legal and institutional innovation, rather than merely agricultural labor. It examines the correlation between historical production of property value in the colonies to show how the main elements of the Angloamerican land system developed through the dispossession of nonwhites-- the rectangular survey, the comprehensive title registry, headrights and the homesteading principle, laws that racialized the condition of enslavement to create property in human beings, and easy mortgage foreclosure, which facilitated the trade of human beings and land as chattel to increase colonists’ wealth. Third, it assesses how the state organized the tremendous force required to subvert others’ possession of their lands and selves, using the examples of the strategy of conquest by settlement and the freedom quests that gave rise to the fugitive slave controversy. Its analysis highlights the state’s delegation of violence and dispossession to private actors invested in the racial hierarchy of property through the use of incentives structured by law.

This article concludes by summarizing how the laws that governed conquest and slavery established property laws, practices, and institutions that laid the groundwork for transformations to interests in land after the abolition of slavery, which I will address in a future companion article. This article aims throughout to offer a framework for integrating the study of English doctrines regulating relations between neighbors-- the traditional focus of a property law course—into an exploration of the unique fruits of the colonial experiment -- the singular American land system that underpins its real estate market and its structural reliance on racial violence to produce value.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

These Super-Accents When These Mexican Chicks Say "Names" Or "Latino" Though...,

NPR |   The chairman of the hate group The Proud Boys identifies as Afro-Cuban. One of the organizers of the pro-Trump extremist group Stop the Steal is Black and Arab. Christina Beltran is a professor of social and cultural analysis at New York University. And she uses the term multiracial whiteness to explain why some groups who are disdained by white supremacists embrace white power movements. And she joins us now to explain. Welcome to the program.

CRISTINA BELTRAN: Great. Thank you so much for having me.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So what do you mean by multiracial whiteness?

BELTRAN: So there's been a whole lot of people thinking and theorizing about white supremacy. And all of these scholars share a view that I share, that whiteness is not the same thing as white people and that whiteness is actually better understood as a political project that has emerged historically, and that is dynamic and that is always changing. And so whiteness as an ideology is rooted in America's history of white supremacy - right? - which has to do with the legacy of slavery or Indigenous dispossession or Jim Crow. And I think it's important to realize just how long in this country legal discrimination was not simply culturally acceptable but legally authorized. And so we've only been practicing a more consistent form of legal equality for a relatively short time since the 1960s. So Americans have often learned how to create their own sense of belonging through violence and through the exclusion of certain groups and populations.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So what you're saying, essentially, is that people of other races and ethnicities want to benefit from white privilege by supporting it.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: So we should note that you wrote an op-ed recently in The Washington Post about this, and it stirred up a heated debate on social media. (laughter).


GARCIA-NAVARRO: I want to read what you wrote in part. (Reading) For voters who see the very act of acknowledging one's racial identity as itself racist, the politics of multiracial whiteness reinforces their desired approach to colorblind individualism.

Can you explain what you mean?

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Savage Foreign Scum Working To ReOpen The Bronx Slave Market...,

NYTimes |   This underclass status can be traced as far back as the 1800s, historians say, and is squarely rooted in racism. Domestic work was then one of the few ways that Black women could earn money, and well into the 20th century, most of those women lived in the South. During the Jim Crow era, they were powerless and exploited. Far from the happy “mammy” found in popular culture like “Gone With the Wind,” these women were mistreated and overworked. In 1912, a publication called The Independent ran an essay by a woman identified only as a “Negro Nurse,” who described 14-hour workdays, seven days a week, for $10 a month.

“I live a treadmill life,” she wrote. “I see my own children only when they happen to see me on the streets.”

In 1935, the federal government all but codified the grim conditions of domestic work with the passage of the Social Security Act. The law was the crowning achievement of the New Deal, providing retirement benefits as well as the country’s first national unemployment compensation program — a safety net that was invaluable during the Depression. But the act excluded two categories of employment: domestic workers and agricultural laborers, jobs that were most essential to Black women and Black men, respectively.

The few Black people invited to weigh in on the bill pointed out the obvious. In February 1935, Charles Hamilton Houston, then special counsel to the N.A.A.C.P., testified before the Senate Finance Committee and said that from the viewpoint of Black people, the bill “looks like a sieve with the holes just big enough for the majority of Negroes to fall through.”

The historian Mary Poole, author of “The Segregated Origins of Social Security,” sifted through notes, diaries and transcripts created during the passage of the act and found that Black people were excluded not because white Southerners in control of Congress at the time insisted on it. The truth was more troubling, and more nuanced. Members of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration — most notably, the Treasury secretary, Henry Morgenthau Jr. — persuaded congressional leaders that the law would be far simpler to administer, and therefore far more likely to succeed, if the two occupations were left out of the bill.

In the years that followed, Black domestic workers were consistently at the mercy of white employers. In cities like New York, African-American women lined up at spots along certain streets, carrying a paper bag filled with work clothes, waiting for white housewives to offer them work, often for an hour or two, sometimes for the day. A reporter, Marvel Cooke, and an activist, Ella Baker, wrote a series of articles in 1935 for The Crisis, the journal of the N.A.A.C.P., describing life in what they called New York City’s “slave markets.”

The markets’ popularity diminished in the ’40s after Mayor Fiorello La Guardia opened hiring halls, where contracts were signed laying out terms for day labor arrangements. But in early 1950, Ms. Cooke found the markets in New York City were bustling again. In a series of first-person dispatches, she joined the “paper bag brigades” and went undercover to describe life for the Black women who stood in front of the Woolworths on 170th Street.

“That is the Bronx Slave Market,” she wrote in The Daily Compass in January 1950, “where Negro women wait, in rain or shine, in bitter cold or under broiling sun, to be hired by local housewives looking for bargains in human labor.”

That same year, domestic work was finally added to the Social Security Act, and by the 1970s it had been added to federal legislation intended to protect laborers, including the Fair Labor Standards Act. African-American women had won many of those protections by organizing, though by the 1980s, they had moved into other occupations and were largely replaced by women from South and Central America as well as the Caribbean.

Monday, July 20, 2020

No Tears For John Lewis...,

BAR |  “I was beaten bloody by police officers. But I never hated them. I said, ‘Thank you for your service.’” --Congressman John Lewis

The people who fought against Jim Crow segregation in the 1960s were quite literally risking their lives. The list of martyrs is a long one. Activists of that era are rightly respected and their courage must not be forgotten or taken for granted. But as congressman John Lewis proves, their actions at that time should not provide dispensation from critique in the 21st century. Lewis is the latest target of president-elect Donald Trump’s attacks but that shouldn’t give him a pass either.

Despite his early history, Lewis now exemplifies everything that is wrong with the Congressional Black Caucus, the Democratic Party and the black misleadership class. The caucus was once known as “the conscience of the Congress.” Those men and women were always among the most left leaning members and could be counted on to reliably fight against domestic injustice and imperialism abroad. They were unafraid of their party leadership or of presidents either.

“The CBC that is a shell of its former self.”
But all that changed when they were targeted by big money contributors like the rest of their congressional colleagues. After years of unsuccessfully attempting to make inroads among black Americans the right wing realized their error. They began to promote compliant corporatist candidates for office and to target people like Cynthia McKinney and Earl Hilliard for defeat. The result is now a CBC that is a shell of its former self.

Instead of providing inspirational leadership to their constituents CBC members are now mere lackeys for the corporate wing of the Democratic Party. They said nothing when Barack Obama made grand austerity bargains with Republicans, or used sanctions, jihadists and drone warfare to kill in Somalia and Libya, or when he refused to prosecute killer cops. Only one of them, Keith Ellison, chose to support Bernie Sanders instead of Hillary Clinton, and CBC’s lobbying arm gave her a hearty and undeserved endorsement.

Lewis stood out among all the genuflectors. Having been dubbed a “civil rights icon” his opinions are given undue weight and he uses them to uphold the corrupt establishment. Not only did the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation endorse Clinton but Lewis chose to give the hapless Sanders a very public beat down. Sanders used his own youthful movement activism as a political calling card but Lewis dismissed him. He claimed he knew nothing about Sanders but did know the Clintons who were great friends of black people. The effort to discredit Sanders was so obvious and the claims about the Clintons were so outrageous that Lewis was forced to back track and clarify his comments.