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):
Free State of Jones is one of the most overlooked films featured this summer. Matthew McConaughey as Newton Knight, an AWOL Confederate soldier and Mahershala Ali as Moses, an escaped enslaved African lead the tensions in this Civil War period piece. I viewed this film once for the overall story line and a second time for the details. Sorry, no spoilers here.
Historians and film producers often lean towards either the burdens of old slave narratives or the glorious Civil Rights Era when depicting the African quest for true freedom in America. Besides John Singleton and Gregory Poirier‘s Rosewood, few mainstream films have touched in detail on the post-Civil War/Reconstruction Black Lives timeline as Director/Writer Gary Ross and Writer Leonard Hartman in the Free State of Jones.
The film juxtapositions the strong presence of self-determined ‘free’ Black lives amidst slavery and segregation against the sub-civil war between wealthy Confederates and poor families, black and white.
The films weakest transitions are forward flashes to a future trial determining the racial identity of Davis Knight, Newton Knight’s second son. The outcome would determine the legality of Davis’s marriage to a White woman according to post-war segregation laws.
Other considerations are the relationship shifts as Blacks are legally free in 1865. Jones County, Mississippi grapples with Military Reconstruction in response to the South’s attempt to re-enslave Blacks through indentured servitude, Blacks gaining voting rights through the 15th Amendment and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan.
The Free State of Jones is a worthy film for any historian or film buff to have in their quiver. Below is an excerpt from author Richard Grant’s Smithsonian Institute article regarding the film’s historical value and present day Jones County’s varying sentiments toward Newton Knight and the film.
“ [Professor Wyatt Moulds] described Jones County as the most conservative place in Mississippi, but he noted that race relations were improving and that you could see it clearly in the changing attitudes toward Newt Knight. ‘It’s generational,’ he said. ‘A lot of older people see Newt as a traitor and a reprobate, and they don’t understand why anyone would want to make a movie about him. If you point out that Newt distributed food to starving people, and was known as the Robin Hood of the Piney Woods, they’ll tell you he married a black, like that trumps everything. And they won’t use the word ‘black.’”
[Moulds’s] current crop of students, on the other hand, are “fired up” about Newt and the movie. ‘Blacks and whites date each other in high school now, and they don’t think it’s a big deal,’ said Moulds. ‘That’s a huge change. Some of the young guys are really identifying with Newt now, as a symbol of Jones County pride. It doesn’t hurt that he was such a badass.’ “
“In the Lost Cause mythology, the South was united, and secession had nothing to do with slavery,” said Moulds. “What happened in Jones County puts the lie to that, so the Lost Causers have to paint Newt as a common outlaw, and above all else, deny all traces of Unionism. With the movie coming out, they’re at it harder than ever.”
One writer, Miriam Axel-Lute, clearly gets what even some in the African American community do not. Domestic Violence perpetrators always – always give you parameters that will prevent them from abusing you, which change over time and situation.
Axel-Lute and the Albany, New York community are stunned by the latest Albany Police Department and area attorney’s presentation given before teenagers this week. I could only imagine how some concerned parents accepted the frank admittance by both entities that we are going to run your life into the ground, given the opportunity.
Lute’s article,Albany Cops Sound Like Abusive Spouses in Teen Workshop states:
“There’s this pattern that happens with abusive spouses. They often explain to their victims how to behave so they won’t get beaten up again. All the victim needs to do is give them proper respect, not burn their dinner, remember to leave out their slippers at the right place, never buy the wrong brand of toothpaste, never make them feel like they are being laughed at, never give them attitude or make them mad. And then, supposedly, they’ll be safe.”
One female teenager, quoted in the Time Union journalist Paul Grondahl‘s article, “Albany teens hear raw talk about police stops” asks, “Are all cops hot heads? … They all seem so aggressive in the videos.”
According to Grondahl’s article (complete with video segments), the aggression and confusing commentary championed by attorneys and law enforcement, one of which was whether to comply or ask for an attorney, only frustrated the young audience further. We must understand that confusion is how the domestic abuser wins every time — until he kills you. Axel-Lute may have hit on something politicians, pundits, and communities side step in their attempts to stop our national “domestic violence.”
Read both articles by Axel-Lute and Grondahl following the links below:
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. “
The most talked about experience Post-BET Awards 2016 is Jesse Williams acceptance speech for the Humanitarian Award. Black America will never forget this one.
The BET Awards Sunday featured tributes to Prince and Muhammad Ali, and a performance by Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar. But this year, the actor Jesse Williams commanded the spotlight with an impassioned speech calling for an end to police killings, racial inequality and cultural appropriation.
Please click here to view Jesse Williams’s speech in its entirety: JW BET Awards 2016
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.
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”
DeRay McKesson, like most of our young protesters, has had to have a thick skin during the past year. He has been the subject of many attacks surely aimed at the #BlackLivesMatter movement and is now referred to by some journalist and agencies as a “professional protester.” Now, Yale University is giving this new civil rights activist and chronicler a platform to show that he is more than any of the disparaging symbols forced on our conscience.
Those that have not supported McKesson, nor championed his energy during the many protests against Black genocide held around the country, may have to rethink all of what they have heard and seen. What lies behind the mask?
If not for Twitter and Instagram, Missouri officials would have convinced you, one year ago, that we simply did not exist. Or that we were the aggressors, rather than the victims. That we, and not they, were the violent ones.
But social media was our weapon against erasure. It is how many of us first became aware of the protests and how we learned where to go, or what to do when teargassed, or who to trust. We were able to both counter the narrative being spun by officials while connecting with each other in unprecedented ways. Many of us became friends digitally, first. And then we, the protestors, met in person.
Social media allowed us to become our own storytellers. With it, we seized the power of our truth.
Bryant Gumbel to Charlie Rose:
“It’s like, NO! Stop! Stop! This has nothing to do with the victims. This has everything to do with the culture of demeaning a person of color. And… and there is no justification for society where my son has a far greater chance of being stopped, held, killed than your son.”
Bryant Gumbel‘s statements in this video isolated the main point of the #BlackLivesMatter movement away from the detracting “blame the victim” or the personal claims of those in communities with a lesser chance of experiencing institutional brutalities en masse.
Social Media has been ravaged with videos, memes, and postings decrying #BlackLivesMatter with Black on Black crime scenarios. We would expect this backlash from the ignorant and racist poor counterculture. Sadly, however, some Black individuals, too ignorant of the separation in discourse, have also hijacked the same rhetoric, not realizing its self-deprecating and dangerous implications.
Whites killing Whites, Hispanics killing Hispanics, Blacks killing Blacks, Europeans killing Europeans, and Africans killing Africans need their own hashtags. They are not to be commingled into a conversation which is politically, visually, and academically set apart to be addressed. In other words, if you are so concerned about the amount of violence in your ethnicity, race, class, or gender, study it, write about it, encapsulate it to the point that when those outside of that intra-conversation attempt to open their mouths, their breaths are as starved as their brains for lack of oxygen.
Published on Aug 6, 2015