When my mother wanted to hide me she put me in a book.
Sat me at the table and on the pages she made me look.
She taught me to read.
She was my first teacher.
We were so poor.
We were so rich.
That man came.
She let him in.
He put pillows over my face.
My breaths became short.
They still are.
I am ashamed.
I learn to hide.
Hide to survive.
No one can know.
Rejection is unacceptable for a human.
I am a human.
I will not excuse my pain for your convenience.
You don’t know my story.
You don’t want to.
But you have to if you are to ever love me.
How did I make it this far?
I was afraid.
I was hopeful.
Filled with hope.
When my mother comes she will find me where she left me…
…sitting at the table reading.
Never ask permission to be human.
Love those who have loved you.
Protect those who have no guard.
Keep hope and hope will keep you.
…God has ears and the universe hears.
Walk into your local Whole Foods and you’ll likely be greeted by this canary-yellow [color scheme to draw the eyes] book. Take a moment to read the cover slowly. Note the use of the terms “liberating,” “heroic spirit,” and “conscious” in the title. Make sure you don’t miss that they want you to know it was published by the Harvard Business Review Press. Certainly this breaks no new ground when it comes to trafficking in oxymoronic literature designed to put a gentler face on evil. The sinister, though clever, use of propaganda is a crucial tool of the capitalist elite class. It’s designed to not only manage our consent but indeed to appropriate our endorsement. Consciousness and capitalism have never been aligned; however, given the global economic conditions suffered by both those long oppressed and those who have heretofore lived in reasonable comfort and convenience Whole Foods, as their primary food provider, is obliged to make them feel better about purchasing overpriced products lest the masses unite. If a beverage company wants to send a drink to market which has healthy and naturally occurring ingredients at $10 per, then they need a merchant willing to sell it at $10 per. But this requires a campaign of sorts, because no one in their right mind would even think of purchasing a beverage at such an absurd price. Since the capitalist have destroyed the planet, thereby making it difficult to procure heathy foods, they have had to devise a new plan: they bring you the food at an inflated cost and justify it by telling you that it was hard for them to acquire these special ingredients — but don’t worry, just read this book and it will suggest a *reasonable* solution to this seemingly irreconcilable dilemma. And the status quo continues: the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, only now they’ve made you feel a little better about it.
This year Brown University is opening the Center for the Study of Slavery & Justice. The Student Advisory Committee has been presenting a series of Community Teach-Ins. I was very honored to speak on a panel at one of them with Prof. Seth Rockman and the distinguished Prof. Anthony Bogues, who is also the Center’s founding Director.
(I come to the mic at 22:10)
Chavez we love you and we will continue this struggle! Thank you for teaching and leading us in right revolutionary paths!
Watch out for Uncle Tom, Uncle Ruckus, house negro, rap artists because, as Malcolm X said, “When the master’s house catches on fire, they’ll work harder to put the fire out than the master will.” Lil Wayne is the white-controlled record industry’s “Snowball.” They use Black rap artists who are willing to play the coon to keep youth of color politically dormant, because if we woke up and realized what they are doing to us (and poor whites), we’d intensify the Revolution.
Soon Black History Month (Feb) will be here, and if the past is truly prologue, we should expect the typical, mediocre and depoliticized historical trivia that gets passed off as “Black History.” However, I intend to combat this with historical commentary, that occasions a more relevant way in which to engage Africana history, philosophy, and political thought both on the Continent and throughout Diaspora.
With the release of Django Unchained we see one of the few moments in U.S. cinematographic history where southern plantation slavery is thrust upon the big screen as a context for the material and social violence that is so traditionally American. If the American south is the conventional home of all-things white supremacy, then certainly the American north — particularly Rhode Island — must have been its principal financier.
by Marco McWilliams
… the minstrel shows, like the rest of black culture — its spirituals, its blues, its jazz — were incorporated in a form that kept its relative exclusion intact. Black culture, black music in particular, became an original source of raw material to be exploited as the entertainment industry burgeoned. Once again blacks function as the plantation subproletariat hidden in the raw material.
The Source magazine has honored Georgia-born rapper, 2 Chainz, with its Man of the Year award. His music and videos routinely minstrelize black women as cognitively inanimate masculine accessories which exist only to sexually gratify men. This stereotypical coding of the black feminine body has its ideological roots in American plantation slavery.
And this is hardly new or unique. The Source and 2 Chainz are small cogs within a large wheel. Wealthy, white, male industry lords have intentionally fabricated caricatures of politically irrelevant black rappers for almost a generation. And since they also control the print medium which valorized 2 Chainz via a Man of the Year award, they are able to disform, and thereby disrupt the range of possible black radical political thought by immuring the remarkable creativity of black cultural expression within a narrow paradigm of irresponsibleness and coonery.
Just as the white supremacist subjugative properties of an eighteenth-century slave plantation were both physical and metaphysical, and demarcated the normative modes of an anti-black discourse (indeed, a discourse which the Republican party put on grand display in the last two presidential elections), so The Source and 2 Chainz function as vassals treating black cultural expression as a fiefdom and the black feminine body as flesh.
From this we clearly see that neither the master, nor his methods have changed.
And since there can exist no neutrality on a slave plantation, we must, if necessary, invent ways to confront these value coding stereotypes by counter-defining ourselves.
I wish to solicit your ideas. Please post them in the comment thread. From that list we will begin the work of movement organizing.
The release of Eugene Jarecki’s personalized prison documentary, The House I Live In, comes at a particular moment in which the American carceral state has occasioned Reagan’s modern instantiation of a so-called War on Drugs to systematically socially and physically decimate for the purposes of economic exploitation an entire generation of African Americans. And as is the temperament of capitalism, poor whites increasingly find themselves positioned inside the expanding crosshairs of America’s immense penal complex.
Jarecki uses creator of The Wire, David Simon, to chronicle the lives of an assortment of individuals and their families assailed by this country’s drug war. One of the film’s pronounced characters is Jarecki’s own nanny, who, in a moment of deep candor, actually admits on camera that her decision to leave her own family to raise Jarecki and his brothers was a remarkable mistake. Additionally, he incorporates interviews and footage with legal officials, policy activist, legal scholars, researchers, and academics. Included in the film was an important gesture toward the nation’s history of targeting non-white subjects for its drug war.