Source: MLK Sit In
A worthy read is “Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond” by Marc Lamont Hill, Morehouse University professor and new addition to the morning radio show the “Breakfast Club.”
In an interview for AOL BUILD, Hill said it. Within the few minutes allowed, he said what many of the socially conscious are thinking when sidelined from the Black Lives Matter agenda with the discussion of Black on Black crime and Black disobedience. Hill states that “People who even if they don’t get killed by state violence through the form of bullets, they’re still committed to … slow death row – the death of poverty… ”
I read at least five newspapers per day. Electronic media allows not only the authors response to a situation, but included are the public responses as well. From the death of Trayvon Martin in February 2012 to the more recent deaths of Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile, journalist and public commentators spoke within the confines of police and victim, prejudice and privilege, law and order. The policy driven isolation and destruction of Black economy creating targets of Black men and women never came into focus during these discussions – until now.
Before we continue our discussions of policy and practice, read “Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond.”
View a snippet of Marc Lamont Hills AOL interview here at NewBlackMan (in Exile):
Dr. Ivory A. Toldson declares himself the “myth buster” when it comes to researching the implications of racial biases on the education system serving Black students. He supports this claim by debunking well-worn biases and treading new ground that few within that system approach for solutions.
Black students are the most challenged population in America’s education system. They are examined through a kaleidoscope of negative stereotypes accumulated over 400 years and are fortunate to have a champion like Ivory Toldson, former Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Howard University Professor changing the tides.
In his new position as President and CEO of the Quality Education for Minorities network, Toldson will have the opportunity to expand his research, providing educators across the nation with resources to strengthen minority education goals.
As a newly free agent, Toldson stretches his wings serving as the keynote speaker for the National Education Association Conference on Minorities and Women’s Conference on Racial Justice and Education, Closing Plenary. Toldson understands present research processes and practices are made toxic by societal and personal biases, but he offered jewels enabling educators and administrators to reached beyond these borders with his “10 myth busters” for your edification below. He says,
“…these are what I call the 10 biggest lies that I hear about young, black males. And the reason why it is important to understand that they are lies is because these are often used as the excuse for why certain people in our field aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do for our children.
Number 1 — There are more Black men in prison than in college.
- In fact, right now there are more than 600,000 more black men in college than in prison.
Number 2 — 50% of Black boys dropout.
- Most people believe that because of their interpretation of some very popular reports, including the Shot Foundation‘s report with a looked at graduation rates and not dropout rates. You have to understand the difference between graduation rates and dropout rates in order to interpret that report responsibly, but the true dropout rate among black males as characterized by the National Center For Educational Statistics is right around 12%. Now, that is nothing to clap about, but when we look at a room full of Black males and we think that one of them are going to drop out, that is not the type of perspective or mentality we want our teachers to go into the classroom with.
Number 3 — Black boys can’t read.
- Now, most people are identified as non-readers because of our standardized tests. There are all kinds of reasons why a student who may be able to read functionally won’t do well on a standardized test, and if we don’t understand those reasons and just use these blanket indicators from the NAEP exam to say what percent are not proficient, and then interpret proficiency as their lack of an ability to do the things we need them to do in the school, then we are not going to exercise the best practices when we work with the students.
Number 4 — Black youth of today are more violent than any generation in history.
- When in fact, crime among Black youth escalated in the 80’s, reached its peak by the mid-1990’s, has been going down since the late-1990’s, and this is generation of youth is the least violent of any generation of youth since before the 1960’s.
Number 5 — One in three Black boys will serve time in prison.
- In fact, most of the reports that have claimed this have never looked at Blackmales as they exist right now. They use projections. The article that most people cite or the study that most people cite is by someone named Thomas P. Bonczar that did something called the “Double-Decrement Life Table” that looked at the year someone was born and then projected their odds of going to prison. He did this report over 10 years ago, and the only group of cohorts that had a one in three chance were those who were born a year before he wrote the report.
- So, in other words, he was looking at 2-year-olds and saying they would have a one in three chance of going to prison based on what he thought would be an escalation in the crime rate, not a de-escalation, which is what we actually got.
Number 6 — Black boys are at a natural disadvantage because most are from single-parent households.
- I have written two articles in this regard, but the summary of those articles is it doesn’t matter the composition of your household. It matters who your parents are. It matters the value they place on education, their engagement with the school, the socialization of their child to the academic environment,and it has nothing to do with who is in their bed.
Number 7 — Black students purposely underachieve because they associate being smart with acting white.
- Now, there is a lot I can say about that, but I have written an article on it. You can see the evidence. That is not true. And in fact, among Black girls, most of the strongest surveys show that Black girls actually have the highest regard for education than any other group of students out there. And in fact, there is a lesser known function that has been constantly found in the literature, and that is called the “Attitude Achievement Paradox.” That is the fact that in most survey research Black students actually show a higher attitude about the abstract notion of education, but their achievement is not measuring up to that.
Number 8, Black males are avoiding the teaching profession.
- Again, I have written an article about all of these. You will get the link soon. When you look at young, Black males who are college-educated, teaching is actually the number one profession. So you ask, why is it less than 2%? That is because we are only 5.5% of the population. Of that 5.5%, only 17% have at least a bachelor’s degree, and among those who go on to get their degrees in education — and this is a little-known fact, but it is in the report that I have written — Black males are more likely than any other race group to be promoted out of the classroom into administration.
Number 9 — Black men are underrepresented at institutions of higher education.
- The nation has 12.7 million Black men who are 18 years and older, and we make up about 5.5% of the adult population, and 5% of those who are in college. Where we are underrepresented is the most competitive colleges. So, those colleges with selective admissions criteria have an underrepresentation of Black students. And those that have open admissions criteria, like community colleges, have an overrepresentation of Black students. And that is largely because a lot of the factors these students talked about earlier, especially a young lady who says she was advised to go to a community college when she clearly had the academic credentials to go to Michigan State.
Finally, Black men are a dying breed.
Now, one of the things we have to understand is that when we are in a nation that only refers — only uses the terms breeds, endangered, and species for black men and animals, then that is a problem. But in fact, black men have an increasing representation in the population. Our numbers are growing. White males, their numbers are decreasing. Now that doesn’t mean either one is in danger. But when all we are doing is using these types of terms to deal with humans, then we are dehumanizing them. “
Click on the Link Below for the performances in the entirety.
On the week that would have marked the late leader’s 87th birthday, social justice groups Blackout for Human Rights and The Campaign for Black Male Achievement celebrated Dr. King’s legacy and more with MLK Now at the legendary Riverside Church in Harlem, New York. Monday night’s event highlighted historic speeches by civil rights heroes like MLK, Malcolm X, Fred Hampton, Sojourner Truth, and Shirley Chisholm, recited by Lin Miranda-Manuel, Andre Holland, Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer, and civil rights icon Harry Belafonte.
While catching up on Season 2 of the “Being Mary Jane” television series, I came upon a scene in Episode 9 where Gabrielle Union as Mary Jane Paul hosts a discussion on the Black woman’s image. Is she ugly?
The guest are real life activist and scholars, singer-songwriter, actress, musician, and record producer India Arie; Mark Anthony Neal a Professor of African & African American Studies and the founding director of the Center for Arts, Digital Culture and Entrepreneurship (CADCE) at Duke University; and Michaela Angela Davis, image activist, feminist, and CNN contributor. Professor Neal hosts many Black scholars on his weekly webcast, “Left of Black,” so this was right up his alley.
The question is: Black women. Do you feel Beautiful? “WE have to say we are magic,” says Davis. Watch and Learn!!!
Final Thoughts for 2015, Part III: This is part three because I know that tomorrow, there will be more uncluttered ruminations.
Happy Kwanzaa, Everyone
UJIMA -collective work and responsibility.
In 1985, Whitney Houston sang,
“I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be.”
I woke up this morning hearing these lyrics, first penned by Linda Creed in 1977 in The Greatest Love of All. But it was Houston’s 1985 voice and image that added the emphasis of Black and mother; love and hearth. I smiled because my children are out there in the world making the most of what this world has to offer them. And then as I settled in with coffee and a mouse, there were other visions.
The first article was of 2,000 youths rioting in a mall and throughout the surrounding neighborhoods of St. Matthews in Louisville, Kentucky where responding officers were busy “keeping people safe” and had no time for arrests. The teens were described as unruly. One interview with a police officer described the scene as a fight and the barrage of calls to authorities a misunderstanding. He claimed from the outskirts of the crowd, it sounded worse than the incident actually was. Had it not been for various other reports of the youths spilling out into the streets, neighboring brawls and civil unrest from other news stations, his statement would have charmed the public into the “kids being bad” narrative.
The second article, a Chicago, Illinois family dispute between a father and son ending in the 19-year-old son, Quintonio LeGrier and a 55-year-old neighbor Bettie Jones shot dead by responding law enforcement, closed the nation’s conversation. Everyone is now safe.
The eeriest of this was the “Top Stories” ticker tape streaming across the screen’s bottom while the reporter described the Chicago scene. Floods, terror threats, fires, and of course the 1000-2000 “unruly-youths.” Media matters. I rolled back to the late 20th century argument against indicating the race of offenders when they are non-White and media bias in reporting. We fought for equal reporting, but we as Blacks were not there as yet within our communities. We worried more about respectability politics than respect for our lives.
Black abolitionist and writers sought to humanize the African and African civilization to the rest of the world before and after Reconstruction. But humanity loves and hates, it is pristine and messy, it is clear and polluted, and it is raw. We cannot dismiss this in our fight for recognition in all that is human. To dismiss any part of our human selves is to create an inhuman and inhumane approach to each other. No other body denies or denigrates its broken limbs as we do. They sting and burn and seek attention. The kind of attention easily utilized by the Other as they deny, yet understand that it is a part of their whole. This is our worry. This is our politics.
We understand that “All Lives Matter,” yet until a child was torn from us in public, with no regard from the perpetrator or authorities, did some realize that Blacks lives were never a part of that “All.” So we proclaimed, “Black Lives Matter.” The world rumbled on all sides. A burning CVS said, “They are not worthy as yet. The media showed the photo of a burning CVS more than the body of our young lying on the streets as an omen; — more than it popularized the burning of Black Wall Street.
I am not a fan of R. Kelly, but I did respect him for walking out on the Huffington Post interview. We choose our heroes, not by merit, but by our own demented biases. He refused to be beaten by his challenges and that is ok too. Bill Cosby has challenges that are multiplied by his present game of Dodge Ball. With Cosby, the African American community is divided by respectability politics and nostalgia on one end and rape culture on the other. Is this so for R. Kelly? Can we enjoy his music and still guard our children as parents are wont to do? I have never had a problem enjoying Woody Allen’s genius, but I definitely would not hire him as a babysitter.
So what is our solution? When do we get real? In the 1980’s, I saw a White man outside of the Wall St. Stock Exchange dressed in an expensive suit smoking crack at a phone kiosk. No one in my periphery snarled, sloped away, or even acknowledged him. We might determine it was because he was white, or wealthy, or manicured, any of the deference we do not grant the common man. I thought of privilege; of the friends and world that grants him a stumble and help him rise again. Dr. Bernard LaFayette communicated, if I may paraphrase, that it is not the one community that supports an idea that gives it power; it is the millions worldwide that support it making the difference in the power it wields. But I have also been told that each drop of water creates an ocean.
When do we find enough credibility in our community despite our broken homes, gang violence, drug addiction, economic marginalization, illiteracy, and sagging pants? Every nation of immigrants has faced the same challenges in America. The difference is they were human when they arrived. They banded together in their ghettos, not around their achievements, but around their challenges. They climbed mountains together knowing that some may fall and others, in doing so, may add dead weight. But they held the rope, pulled each other up and never let go.
“The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all”
Hobson wants to make clear, “I’m not here to complain. I’ve been treated well by people of all races more often than not. I have succeeded in my life more than my wildest expectations. I tell the uniform story because it happened. I tell the race stats because they are real.” And furthermore, those continuing problems threaten to rob future generations of their opportunities.
“She pointed my way, her extended arm all I could see other than the diamonds glinting in her ears. This wasn’t over yet. ‘‘That’s the typical thing that women do. What did you putting me down right there do for you?’’ she asked. ‘‘Women blame women for things that have nothing to do with them. I really want to know why — as a matter of fact, I don’t. Can we move on, do you have anything else to ask?’’ she continued. ‘‘To put down a woman for something that men do, as if they’re children and I’m responsible, has nothing to do with you asking stupid questions, because you know that’s not just a stupid question. That’s a premeditated thing you just did.’’ She called me ‘‘rude’’ and ‘‘a troublemaker,’’ said ‘‘Do not speak to me like I’m stupid or beneath you in any way’’ and, at last, declared, ‘‘I don’t care to speak to you anymore.’’”
Salon published a spot on critique of The Daily Show’s new host, Trevor Noah, written by Matt Carotenuto. The article, “Trevor Noah schools racists: “The Daily Show” has an essential new mission and comic voice” should not be taken lightly by any reader. Carotenuto explains the relevance of one who is African and in a power-filled American position. Noah has the ability to have a far-reaching impact on our culture with his comedic voice.
Noah, a South African native, now holds one of the most powerful seats – American main media. He cued his audience in the video advertisement previous to his first show. Social media posted various comments to this video, but the actual symbolism seemed to be lost on the average viewer.
Trevor Noah’s first week as host of the Daily Show showed the promise of someone who will educate America, not only about Africa – but about who we are as Americans beyond the punchlines. I pictured some avid Daily Show viewer in their living room shouting, “Who does he think he is?” This was most evident in Noah’s interview with Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie.
In Daily Show style, Noah began to interview Christie about the politics of his state. Christie tried the “Be careful, I can get to you Black Boy,” inference only to be met with the “Annndd???” gaze. So Noah is the man to maintain his static professionalism and self-awareness in the face of what we in America denote as White Privilege and political might, characteristics he might pass on to the American viewer.
As a Daily Show correspondent, Noah’s brief segments on Africa were palatable only because those who were not culturally educated could yawn their way through it. As the host, Noah sits center stage formulating material for a culture starved and resistant American audience as well as the culturally aware. This tight high profile comedic balance was first achieved by Bert Williams in the early 1900’s, where Williams’ crafty monologues and scenes with his partner George Walker spoke to white and black audiences simultaneous and apart. It was said that at some shows, it was noticeable that whites would roar with laughter in some instances, while Blacks at others; each drawing their own coded messages from the verse. Noah would be smart to study this design.
In reading this article, I found a kindred spirit in Matt Carotenuto. We will both sit on the edge of our seats each night pulling threads, shaking our fist, and hopefully formulating more articles – Noah worthy.
As a teacher/scholar of African studies, I was delighted when South African Trevor Noah was announced as the replacement for Jon Stewart. Drawing from his complex mixed-race heritage and experience growing up in apartheid era South Africa, Noah is a great candidate to critique America’s single stereotypical story of Africa as a place of merely violence, disease and poverty.