Sunday, December 9, 2007


Well, the holidays are here -- again -- and once again, I’m shaking my head at the massive scale madness that seems to engulf so many of us each year.

And it leads me to wonder: what are you REALLY “celebrating”?

Now, some folks say that they are “celebrating” this religious holiday or that one.

But I can’t figure out how spending money that you don’t have; going into debt that takes 6 - 9 months to pay off (just in time to spend again for another holiday); and focusing on secular symbols (not that there’s anything wrong with that if that is how you flow), food, and presents has anything at all to do with religion –- unless the Higher Power being celebrated is The Great God of the Coin (and in this economic climate you’d do better to genuflect to the Euro, but that is another story. . .).

And now poor Kwanzaa is on the run from the powerful, all-encompassing, greedy hand of American consumerism. Used to be that amerikkka did not even recognize Kwanzaa as a holiday. But with Kwanzaa growing worldwide as a season of importance for Afrikan descendants, I guess amerikkka decided that as long as there was a buck to be made –- or two, or three, or a couple hundred –- it would be more profitable to absorb it in the great maw of amerikkkan consumerism than to continue its ineffective strategy of marginalizing it.

After all, amerikkka has never been adverse to making big bucks of off Afrikan descendants -- in fact, the history of this country is ripe with example after example of that –- but the sad part is that now we seem to eagerly welcome our own exploitation by throwing our money into the mouth of the consumer machine that is amerikkka, especially around the holidays.

In 2006, Afrikan descendants spent 50%* more during the holiday season than they had in the previous year: more than whites (35%)* and more than Latinos (37%)*. 39%* of that consumer spending went to “mass merchants.” You can imagine that not many of those –- if any -- were Black owned stores or even stores in our Black communities.

In 2006, it is estimated that Kwanzaa generated as much as $500 million in consumer spending.

And with the dollars of Afrikan descendants staying in our communities for all of six hours (just enough time to deposit your check in the bank), you can imagine how much –- or more accurately, how little! -- of that money benefitted Afrikan descendent business owners and other Black entrepreneurs.

Sadder still is that we willingly disinvest in our communities, ourselves, our families, by investing –- through our spending choices –- with “mass merchants” even as we are reverently and sincerely mouthing the Ngozo Saba (The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa).

So much for Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), and Ujamaa (Collective Economics)!

Maybe this holiday season, we can give ourselves and our loved ones the gift that keeps on giving: consciously and truly celebrating -– with our hearts and our pocketbooks and wallets -- what we say we believe with Nia (Purpose), Kuumbaa (Creativity), and Imani (Faith).

Habari Gani?

That’s what’s up.

Moving Forward,


*From the 2006 National Shopping Behavior Study, The Gordman Group

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


See, this is what happens when folk –- Black folk –- get too comfortable.

Citing Jena –- which I did in a prior "Blogging Amerikkka" –- was only scratching the surface. To date, more than 30 –- THIRTY! –- reported incidents of noose hangings occurred throughout the country, with more sightings in view.

(Care to guess how many unreported "noose sightings" there have been around the country? Hmmmm. . .)

And if you're surprised, you haven't been paying attention to this country's history.

But what is it about NOW, about THIS TIME IN HISTORY, that makes folk so very comfortable wearing their Confederate shirts. . .hanging nooses. . .locking up Afrikan descendant children for incidents that are dismissed as "pranks" or "acting out" when white children are involved?

What is it about NOW that has bolstered the comfort level of a new generation of racial domestic terrorists intent on reeking havoc on those of Afrikan descent?

What is it about NOW that has emboldened "the white authority" to very bluntly declare open season on Black America with barely a ripple of sustained public outcry?

Many of us are comfortable in our gilded cages, with good jobs, houses, savings, and all the trappings of "success" in amerikkka.

But no matter what the trappings, no matter where you are on the "success" ladder, here is the "real deal" that we as A People must ponder as racial terrorism continues its surge in amerikkka. Let's learn the lessons from Jena. And the rise in noose hangings, if nothing else, remind us of the following (from "Underneath the Sacred White Tree" by Adar Ayira**):

In America there are towns

with plenty of Sacred White Trees

and a seat is reserved there

for everyone except

the ones who look like me

Branches ready for decoration with

21st Century Strange Fruit beckoning to me

with tightly knit knots of the deadly noose

While the town of Jena still claims

it doesn't know what the history of the noose means

they still knew enough to tie a noose of up high and very tightly

Underneath their Sacred White Tree

They know enough to continue to deny seats

to those who look like me

to arrest those who look like me

who just want to be free to sit in any spot, even up

Underneath their Sacred White Tree

Bob Marley spoke of One Love

but I wish you would tell me when will we love ourselves

what will it take, before we love ourselves enough

to stop assimilating into hate

Before we begin to love ourselves enough to become

the masters of our own fate or will we continue

holding out hope for change until change comes too late

Moving Forward,


**"Underneath the Sacred White Tree" can be heard on
Adar Ayira's poetry CD, "Baby, We Need to Talk" dropping soon!

Thursday, September 6, 2007


Don’t let the surface emphasis on equality and multi-culturalism fool you.

What is happening in Jena, Louisiana gets to the very heart of amerikkka and its legal pathology of racism-white supremacy.

Six teens charged with attempted murder and conspiracy, prosecuted for a school yard fight with a white teenager who had joined in “racially motivated” (we need to call it what it is: white supremacist) gang attacks on them and their friends.

Charged with attempted murder and conspiracy even though the white teen was well enough to party that evening.

But even though those were the charges that the prosecutor -– representing the case of the STATE against those teens –- was able to make stick in a white supremacist landscape, let’s make no mistake about it:

The REAL “crime” with which those teens are being tried and convicted (as their conviction is not in doubt, even with the massive protest across the country) –- and which remains unspoken in public conversation but is understood by white men congregating in bars lamenting the fallen South as they nurse their beers and by white women dressed in their Sunday bests and by the white teenagers whom they raised -– is their AUDACITY.

That’s right, their audacity:

• to advocate for the rights of teenagers of Afrikan descent to sit under what had been known as “the white tree”
• to question the injustice of three nooses found hanging from the tree after their request became known and an Afrikan descendant student actually sat under the tree
• to defend themselves from beatings from white supremacist teenagers who wanted to send a message that racism-white supremacy is still the de facto law of the land in Jena, Louisiana

And, of course, they were right. Because those teens have been charged (one has been convicted of battery and faces up to 15 years in prison; the others are still awaiting trial) and have been convicted -– in the minds of most white folk residing in Jena Louisiana and many white folk across the country -– of the crime of continuing to fight injustice even after the same District Attorney who is prosecuting them showed up at their school and boldly declared that he would “ruin your lives with the stroke of a pen!”

And so he has. . .with the full support and encouragement of the state of Louisiana.

The sad thing is, we’ve seen this all before. We’ve been living it since the forced sojourn of Our Ancestors in this country.

Afrikan descendant political prisoners are nothing new; the history of this country is riddled with them, many unaccounted for and many whose sacrifices have been forgotten.

The two constants from the inception of this country to its present remain:

1) amerikkka still feels free to prosecute those of Afrikan descent for resisting racism-white supremacy with impunity and
2) we -– the Afrikan descendant community -– still remain too weak as a political force to stop them or to hold them fully accountable for doing so

Many in this country –- usually white, although there are plenty of Afrikan descendants sprinkled into that mix –- would have you believe that “racism is a thing of the past.” And for those who have the privilege to turn a blind eye to the racism-white supremacy that surrounds us, maybe it is.

But for the rest of us who live in a country STILL addicted to the pathology of racism-white supremacy and not looking to join a 12-step program anytime soon, I say to you:

Anyone of Afrikan descent who believes and teaches their children that this country is interested in ridding itself of it’s “original sin” -- racism-white supremacy -- and affording its Afrikan descendant population the same rights, liberties, and “equal protection” that its white citizenry enjoy is not only seriously delusional, but genocidal.

The biggest lie upon which this country was built and on which those who would deny that racism-white supremacy is the mother’s milk of this nation is this:

We hold these truths to be self-evident,
that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator
with certain unalienable Rights,
that among these are Life, Liberty
and the pursuit of Happiness.

(From the Declaration of Independence)

Tell that to the Jena Six.


Moving Forward,


Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Michael Vick Case in Black and White

Now, anybody who knows me knows that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE animals!! Have NEVER lived without one, stop to give friendly dogs a pat and cuddle, ooh and coo at cute kitties. . .the whole deal!

So I was appalled when I first read about Michael Vick –- whose skills I totally respect! -– and his alleged connection to animal abuse in the form of dog fighting.

But between the first allegation and his "guilty of financing dog fights" plea, an interesting -- and oh, so predictable -- thing happened. . .

As with most things in amerikkka, the case quickly became "racialized", seemingly providing yet another avenue for many in the "general public" to spew their ire on and tut-tut over privileged sports figures of Afrikan descendant and -- by some comments –- on an entire Afrikan descendant community.

The racial difference in support was so stark that even the news media were commenting on how Vick supporters were more often than not of Afrikan descent and those in active protest calling for his head –- even before a plea or a trial –- were white.

Now, how long is it going to take for all of us to finally catch a clue??!! Because amerikkka's endless racial obsession -- which has flamboyantly and jubilantly "come out" from under the collective white sheet during the last eight years –- takes us down the same road every time:


AFRICAN DESCENDANTS: S/He may or may not be guilty, we don't know yet, but once again you are going after another Brotha / Sista and we will not abandon him / her to a white mob, no matter what s / he has done. We will not condone a public lynching, not anymore, not ever again. . .we know your history and that your "justice" still has a "For Whites Only" sign at the courthouse door.

Sound familiar?

And the outcome for white amerikkka is a reinforced comfort level with their stereotypes of an Afrikan descendant community of lawlessness, which in turn feeds their comfort level about the unjust laws that give a negative "affirmative action" to Black men and women, herding millions of them into one of the fasted growing industries in amerikkka -- the prison industry -- while giving whites a free pass for similar offenses (case in point: the railroading of the Jena Six).

And the outcome for Afrikan descendants?

White amerikkka's insistence on hysterically crying "guilty" before plea or trial guarantees that Afrikan descendants will correctly rally around the newest symbol of white supremacist aggression because. . .face it, we all know that in any given circumstance, any of us –- including Oprah, who was called a nigger during her road trip across amerikkka –- could be the next victim and symbol of that aggression.

It also guarantees that the Afrikan descendant community will not address the issue at hand –- his guilt and/or innocence, and rehabilitation –- because once again, we are fighting for our collective lives in a country that has never had a problem lynching us (physically and symbolically) and for the life of one specific individual caught in the white supremacist machine.

Because we are well acquainted with the "Just Us" brand of "justice" in amerikkka.

And because we know that the outcry from white amerikkka about Michael Vick is not JUST about allegations of animal abuse, as reprehensible as that is. . .

If white amerikkka is serious about "justice" –- real justice –- maybe it would want to expend some of that passion and anger that it is expending on Michael Vick on working for justice for "the Jena Six" –- those Black teenagers who are being railroaded by the state machinery for the audacity of wanting to sit under "the white tree" and for daring to retaliate against white students who were enforcing their own special white supremacist terror campaign against them.

If white amerikkka is serious about "justice" –- real justice –- maybe it would want to expend some of that passion and anger that it is expending on Michael Vick on working for justice and laws that would change the life dynamics and increase opportunities for success for those drowning in the abuse of neglect born of racism-white supremacy.

If white amerikkka –- and PETA supporters in particular –- are serious about "justice" –- real justice -– maybe it would want to expend some of that passion and anger that it is expending on Michael Vick on forcing PETA to apologize for its marketing campaign that compared people of Afrikan descent to animals.

There has not been the level of outrage about any of the above that there is about Michael Vick.

Maybe that is because amerikkka –- who insists on "justice" when those of Afrikan descent are involved even as it gives free passes to the Paris Hiltons (who famously was caught on camera talking about "niggers"), Lindsay Lohans (how many times has she been caught for underage drinking, drugging, and the like?), the "American Taliban" (who was caught in a "terrorist" camp with a gun in hand and still received sympathetic treatment from the press) and the like –- still likes its Negroes better when they are in chains.

Moving Forward,


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Play Me A Love Song: The Legacy of Racism-White Supremacy On Black Relationships. . .

Nowhere is the legacy of white supremacy seen more -- and with more of an impact -- than in romantic relationships among Afrikan descendants.

The battle lines are openly drawn -- sometimes consciously, sometimes not -- in every encounter as we play our historically assigned roles in the death march of the functional Black family.

Both Afrikan descendant men AND women feel unheard, disrespected, and unloved and gentleness with each other seems a thing of the past, long relegated to the reject bins like love songs, love poems, and sweet caresses for their own sake -- the kind that don’t necessarily lead to sex (remember those? No? I’m not surprised. . .).

Instead, we leave our own traditions behind -- the traditions of familial yearning and loyalty that even generations of enslavement and Jim Crow could not fully break -- and we rush to claim as our own the pathology of paternalism, sexism, and disrespect of family and family structure.

We embrace the philosophical manifestations of “anything goes”; "superheads"; “baby daddies” littering the urban landscape with their children while thinking that it is enough to take care of them “when I’m able”, as if children don’t need to eat every day; Black women who let them while claiming that they are “strong Black women who do not need a man”, and the like.

We have watched the seeds of our own claim to this pathology grow with every successive generation unthinkingly, uncritically, dispassionately, while ignoring the destructive outcome of such “thinking” in the dead eyes of our children and its impact on our relationships, families, and communities. . .

Now, I do know that there are relationships out there that do work.

But I also know that many times those relationships are not celebrated as anything other than anachronisms, even in our own communities.

Now our concepts of “loyalty”, “commitment”, and “fidelity” are saved not for our families and relationships, but for our “peeps” who have stepped into those places in our lives once reserved for lovers, life partners, and family.

WHAT HAPPENED???!!! What happened between the ending of Jim Crow and now?

And more importantly: how do we get back to who we were?

Destroy the Black family and you destroy the Black world.

And in whose interest, ultimately, is that?

Moving forward,


Saturday, July 14, 2007


On Monday, July 9, 2007 the NAACP held a mock funeral in Detroit to “bury” the infamous “N word” –- nigger.

I have just two words in response: Nigga, PLEASE!!

First of all, did you see who attended that “funeral”?

Yup, mostly people of Afrikan descent.

Now, considering that this word was created by, came into popular use by, was “normalized” by generations of white people in this country, and was given its unique power as a racial epithet and tool by white people, this “funeral” would have been more meaningful had it been conducted and solemnized by white people for white people.

After all, during its generations of use by white people –- and make no mistake, this term was one of the ones that Afrikan descendants heard as they were being lynched, raped, and subjected to all kinds of “domestic terrorism” for which we have yet to receive justice or reparations –- every time the term was used, it served to lift them up and tear us down.

And even today, whether that term is used by white citizens or those of Afrikan descent, it serves to do the same.

And –- because we are here to deconstruct everyday manifestations of racism-white supremacy in popular culture -– how “convenient” that just as white people had to go under white hoods to comfortably use the term, the entertainment industry –- long dominated by white men with decision making authority –- chose to promote, uplift, and foist upon the public that one aspect of popular amerikkkan culture which was publicly forbidden them: a gluttony of usage of that word (in songs, rap and hip hop lyrics, movies, etc.).

With most hip-hop and rap music being consumed by young white men, yet another generation is inculcated in the popular amerikkkan sport of “nigger name calling.” Only this time, they can do it without prohibition, in the form of popular music coming out of the unconscious Black mouthpieces of white suits consciously making musical choices in line with the racial history –- including minstrel entertainment history –- of this country.

People like Quentin Tarantino have long been thought of as “cool” and “edgy” as they make careers of generously sprinkling the word “nigger” throughout their movies like butter over popcorn, and the movie-going audience -- both the Black brainwashed and the white beneficiaries of amerikkka’s racial oppression –- gorge on it like starving men and women at a free all-you-can-eat buffet. . .taking their assigned roles on the 21st Century neo-plantation. Smiling “niggas” and their “racially benign friends”, ready for three. . .two. . .one. . .ACTION!!

And so here we are.

With those of Afrikan descent “burying” a derogatory term that they appropriated from white amerikkka, claiming 100% responsibility for its use as if they had invented, popularized, and given the word its power.

And “colorblind” white amerikkka letting them, disassociating itself from that word and action as if it bears no responsibility at all for it, willing to let Black America do the work and carry their burdens for them. . .just like on the plantation.

A more authentic “burying” of the term would have happened had it been white amerikkka admitting to, expressing contrition, and asking repentance for the creation and multi-generational use of the term as its preferred “weapon of mass destruction” that it so long ago unleashed on both Afrikan and Afrikan descendants.

Of course, that did not happen on July 9th. Nor will it.

But when and if it does, I’ll make sure to be at the “funeral” in the front pew.

Until then however -– and trust me on this! -- we’ll see that this “buried” term is just like a vampire: it will keep coming back no matter how many times Black America symbolically kills and “buries” it.

As long as institutional white amerikkka supports its use in popular media; as long as white beneficiaries of the term continue their passionate love affair with it; and as long as unconscious, brainwashed, cynical, and materialistic Afrikan descendants are willing to act as Black minstrels in the white supremacist traveling show, this term will continue to remain in general use, with its popularity unabated.

Final thought: no matter what the skin color of the mouth releasing that poison, this truth remains the same -- when the term is used, white amerikkka is uplifted, according to generations of tradition and power accorded the term, and Afrikan descendants are diminished and belittled by it.

White amerikkka invented and continues to benefit from this term. Let them take responsibility for it, drive a stake in its vampire heart, and bury it.

And to those of Afrikan descent still using the term:

“‘Nigger’ is a racial curse known around the world
and although we say its good, its not
no matter what you’ve heard

On the one hand we say that we
belong to Kings and Queens

Then we call each other ‘nigger’ like
we can change what ‘nigger’ means

See, I can call you ‘nigger’ or I can call you King
I can call you ‘nigger’ or I can call you Queen

‘Nigger’ is not a word that elevates
so we must collectively eliminate that word
that word, that ugly, ugly word.”

From “That Word” by Adar Ayira © 12.06

Moving Forward,


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Mugging of Juneteenth: An "Extreme Makeover"

June 19, 1865: Juneteenth “Old School.”

On this same day in 1865, Union soldiers marched into Galveston TX and informed Diasporic Africans (in this context, specifically American Africans) that two and a half years earlier, the Emancipation Proclamation had “freed” those enslaved in other parts of the South.

Of course, there was general rejoicing, all observed under the watchful eyes of both the Union Army and Confederate Southerners.

And the day that became known as “Juneteenth” -- sometimes in vogue and sometimes not -- continued to be carefully acknowledged as both a Day of Celebration and a Day of Mourning by many Diasporic Africans who connected to the day as a true cultural “Fourth of July”, while still continuing, in many cases, to give faux “celebration” to a holiday that -- for Diasporic Africans -– has been more aptly termed the hypocritical “Fourth of You-Lie.”

Since 1865, Juneteenth 19th has been a day in which Diasporic Africans can embrace the history and struggles of Our People in this country. Traditionally ignored by other racial and ethnic groups, Juneteenth has been one of the few days kept sacred by and for those whose Ancestors were birthed through the watery canal of the Middle Passages and raised through enslavement, sharecropping, Black Codes, Jim Crow. Who continue to exist within the current societal structure of “Color Blind Racism/White Supremacy” (i.e. “I’ll pretend not to see your color if you pretend that there is no racism/white supremacy in play.”)

All under the watchful societal eye of “mainstream” amerikkka, who, up to this point, has been content to sit on the sidelines of the day, as long as not too many Negroes gathered together in one place and as long as their “celebrations” were “transparent.”

You know. . .like in the “good ol’ days.”

June 19, 2007: Juneteenth “Extreme Makeover Edition”!

Content to sit on the sidelines no more in a day in which they have absolutely no legitimate presence, “mainstream” amerikkka has now claimed Juneteenth as a day of its own, albeit one in need of an “extreme makeover”.

And “makeover” it is receiving.

“Mainstream” amerikkka is treating Juneteenth like a pair of size 10 feet being stuffed into a pair of size 8 shoes, uncomfortably forcing its morphing into a “multicultural” celebration which obliterates its very meaning.

Content to sit on the sidelines no more in a day in which they have absolutely no legitimate presence, white amerikkka has muscled its way in, proclaimed the heartbeat focus of Juneteenth “divisive” and demanded that its message be made “accessible” to all -- including and especially those who benefit from the very same racial privileges that their racially privileged ancestral fathers and mothers fought so hard to protect.

Now ponder this:

Why is it that it is alright for St. Patrick’s Day to be a celebration of Irish heritage without an extreme makeover of message –- without Diasporic Africans or other racial or ethnic groups morphing the message of the day to promote “inclusion”?

Why can Greek Festivals be celebrated without an extreme makeover of message to accommodate those who do not share that heritage?

Why is this country not threatened by the celebration and “divisive” message of Cinco de Mayo? The celebration of and “exclusionary” and “divisive” message of the Chinese New Year?

Why is it that EVERY TIME Diasporic Africans have mass gatherings to celebrate something –- ANYTHING! –- important to our specific community, heritage, and journey, “mainstream” amerikkka is not content to sit on the sidelines but has to attempt to stuff its size 10 feet into our size 6 shoes?

Observe Juneteenth “celebrations” today. Watch and see if and how the heartbeat focus of the day -– and the message –- has been all but superficially stripped down to make it more “acceptable” and “accessible” to all other ethnic and racial groups.

Juneteenth has been mugged; mugged and morphed, its soul left for dead inside its pretty, superficial “extreme makeover”, prime time ready for its white amerikkka debut.

And now we’re the community sitting on the sidelines, afraid to “snitch” and tell, as the new, “color-blind” socially acceptable Juneteenth parade rolls on right in front of our very eyes.

Juneteenth, 1865. Juneteenth, 2007.

Behold the difference.

Moving Forward (or maybe not. . .),


Friday, May 18, 2007

When Death Comes, What Will Your Legacy Be?

So, Yolanda King -- the great Martin Luther King Jr.’s eldest daughter –- passed away at the age of 51. Just dropped dead, like that (fingers snapping).

Just confirms that, although we may believe that we have all the time in the world, we don’t.

We never know when our own transition will come.

And when it does come, what will your legacy be?

If you’re like me, it can be so easy to fall into the habit of putting things off until tomorrow. . .and tomorrow. . .and tomorrow.

We tell ourselves that we’ll begin a new fitness plan then. Will take the first steps of reconciling with loved ones then. Will begin to work for our community, Our People, to “give back” then.

But what if we took a lesson from Yoki King’s life, and began to work where we are?

Now, this Sista was heavily into the arts –- actor, producer, motivational speaker, a myriad of other things –- and her interests could have easily lent her to say “no time for giving back to My People! I have to write, I have to act, and I want to appeal to everyone! I can’t talk about issues of racism and racial oppression because that might diminish my commercial appeal.”

But she didn’t. She lived a justice philosophy by incorporating it into her art. Now, I’m not saying that she was a one-note wonder, always talking about Justice and nothing else; no! On the contrary, I’m saying that she was a well-rounded person who “talked the talk and walked the walk” in her own way, in accordance with her own gifts and talents.

And that leads us to yet another lesson we can take from Yoki King’s life: that of following the beat of your own drummer in working for racial justice - - for Justice -- even as you work in community for the same.

Now, many folk in Justice Movements will tell you that you must think their way, believe their way, do things exactly their way, in order to be on the “right” path!

If you have an independent thought with which they don’t agree, they will question your “Blackness”, rebuke you as a “self-hating Negro” or “Uncle Tom” or “Aunt Jemima”, and otherwise try to make you feel that you are somehow less committed to the Movement or less of an Afrikan in amerikkka than they are if you are not their philosophical or methodological clone.

Too many times we fall into the trap of which Malcolm X (El-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz) spoke: "Our people have made the mistake of confusing the methods with the objectives. As long as we agree on objectives, we should never fall out with each other just because we believe in different methods or tactics or strategy.”

Sooooooo. . .What I am respectfully submitting for your consideration is the notion that we could all take these lessons from Yolanda King’s life:

1) that we can and must find a way to speak out about racial injustice –- to speak FOR justice, whatever the form and need!! –- in our day-to-day lives; to “preach” about justice; and to live in accordance with a recognized justice philosophy that counteracts the on-going institutional campaign of racial oppression. No matter what our 9 to 5’s. No matter what our talent(s). No matter what our interests and time constraints.

2) that each of us “do you” with integrity. That we realize in order to act as “agents of change” for racial justice –- in order to successfully incorporate action into our day-to-day lives –- we must do so in a way that is individually viable, and

3) that we must allow others the independence –- of thought, of tactic, of use of our individual gifts in the cause of eliminating racial oppression -- to work in different ways without penalty or marginalization from each other and our community.

We must not be discouraged or allow ourselves to be invalidated by the disparagement of others because the work we are doing on the issue follows a different path or because we do not have 100% philosophical agreement with another Brotha or Sista in the justice movement.

We must realize that there is room for disagreement and growth about methods, strategies -- even philosophies -- as long as we share the same justice goal of dismantling amerikkkan white supremacist philosophy and replacing it with a justice philosophy.

We must stop beating up on each other and act like the Brothas and Sistas we claim to be.

We must hold each other accountable and accept our individual responsibility of accountability to our families, our communities, Our People. . .ourselves.

Living a justice philosophy –- not just talking about it or agreeing that it is a good idea –- means incorporating some action FOR justice in our day-to-day lives, each day, each month, each year.

Living a justice philosophy means that when death comes to us, part of our legacy will be that we lived with integrity. . .and gave back to Our People. It means that we become one of the many broad shoulders offered upon which the next generation can choose to stand.

A beautiful Legacy, don’t ya think?

Until next time ponder this. . .

Freedom in amerikkka

Living in the free glory of
“We Shall Overcome”
giving thanks for gloried marches

Dismissing the work left undone
accepting amerikkka’s watered down version
of “I Have A Dream”

You know that in amerikkka
“freedom” ain’t all that it seems
you know that “freedom” ain’t all that it seems…

As you’re being told that the work is finished
while you’re rattling your chains having freely traded in
the physical for those chains around your brain

As you buy into the consumerism of
“the American dream”

You know “freedom” in amerikkka
ain’t all that it seems when you’re

Still being called a “radical” when you
dare to complain; but it’s too late when
you jumped at that bargain price to freely
slip back into your chains

Four generations was all it took
to bargain our hard won freedom
away and although

A dream deferred is a dream denied
maybe our children won’t mind the free delay

While you buy into the consumerism of
“the American dream”

You know that in amerikkka “freedom”
has never been all that it seemed

But maybe that’s why it’s really good that
as a people we so love to barter because
what was paid for by Our People in blood we now
freely sell for the highest dollar, and maybe

We’ll barter our way out of chains before our
Judgment Day, but then we’d probably just turn
around and once again give our freedom freely away

By buying into the consumerism of
“the American dream”

We now pay premium price for the chains
once forced upon Our Ancestors for free and

This “freedom” in amerikkka
ain’t all that it seems, you know
this freedom ain’t all that it seems

For Us, this “freedom” in amerikkka
ain’t never been all that it seemed and for Us
this “freedom” in amerikkka ain’t
even that free

Adar Ayira.0207 ©

Moving Forward,


Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Fear of Black Anger. . .

A funny thing happened on the way to this blog entry.

In fact, two.

In two separate incidents –- one involving my poetry and one involving this blog -– yours truly has been questioned about her (supposed) “anger.”

“You are one angry woman” one person commented after reading entries.

Yet another person commented “Why do you always talk about racial oppression in your poems? People want to be entertained, not beat over the head with that stuff.”

Well, hmmm. . .

No one questions the validity of the anger of an innocent victim whose life has been high-jacked by a crime of violence or a random circumstance (such as having a fatal illness, losing a child, loss of loved ones or material possessions because of a natural disaster, etc.).

Yet just about everyone questions the validity of African American “anger” over generations of victimization.

In our society, anger is invalidated as a negative, unproductive emotion, and Black anger is too often seen as being not only “rebellious” but as inciting insurrection.

Black anger is always connected –- by mainstream society -– to the threat and perception of violence and destruction, divorced from any historical context. The extent to which Black anger is referenced in news reports and the public feeds this perception. It disassociates reactions to injustice and hopelessness and views them from a white, ahistoric lens that perpetuates the stereotypes of randomly lawless Black men and women (although there are some of those. . .as well as lawless white, Latino, Asian American and other men and women, too. But that is another topic. . .).

This same lens ignores and/or supports the refusal of individual cities and overall society in acknowledging or demanding justice for those negatively affected by the same unjust systems that benefit and support white privilege.

Black anger in the face of injustice needs to be validated as being a “just” response, as appropriate –- if not more so -- than immediate forgiveness and understanding of continuing injustice.

We need to assume –- as we did after 9/11, after the Columbine attack, after this newest incident at Virginia Tech, after any incident in which greater society is injured -- that anger in the face of injustice is a positive response for a people who, through that anger, work through grief, fight for justice, and find their way through to forgiveness once justice has been satisfied and reparations made.

Validating Black anger as a “normal” response in the face of historic and sustained injustice – just as we validate the emotion of anger in any other instance of personal or institutional injustice -- can help fuel possibilities, hope, and achievement in the African American community.

Working to understand Black anger –- instead of just dismissing it -- can also help white people, if they open their hearts and minds to really listen past the stereotypical fears that have been drummed into them since birth and understand the depths of generations of hurt and pain that the system of Amerikkkan Apartheid and white supremacist philosophy and structure (and those who practice and/or tacitly support even the most “benign” forms of it) have caused African Americans and other People of Color to endure.

If it is true that “the truth shall set you free”, then it is also true that anger can help heal.

In my opinion, the question should never be “Why are you still angry in the face of continuing oppression?”

To me, the question should be:

• If you get angry about standing in a long line at the store. . .
• If you get angry about being cut off in traffic. . .
• If you get angry when your team loses a game. . .
• If you get angry about any of the little things in daily life that we
allow to irritate and aggravate us. . .

Then how can you NOT be angry in the face of continuing oppression –- whether you are one of the oppressed or a part of the group benefiting from the oppression -- if you believe in the concept of justice?

The “angry” people I know care about righting the wrong of injustice. The “angry” people I know are all using that emotion in ways that motivate and effect change!! The “angry” people I know are not giving up or “going along to get along”; they are working in their communities and helping people that “mainstream” society gave up on long ago.

They are having a sane response in the face of enormous injustice.

Their –- our -– “anger” helps us know that we still feel; that we are not jaded by “the way things are”; that we have not given up on the fight to change things for the better for “the least of us”; that we still have a pulse.

And if you are not “angry” in the face of massive injustice, you might want to check yours (smile).

Let’s chew on that one until next time.

Moving Forward,


Saturday, April 14, 2007

THIS IS HOW WE DO IT: The Don Imus Case -- Just Blame Black Folk. . .

WOW, if I didn’t think I was ill before – for weeks!!! – the Don Imus flap is enough to surely send me back to my bed!

Okay, things that happened correctly: bottom line – the guy was fired.

What Don Imus said was not a “slip of the tongue.” This is the man who called respected journalist Gwen Ifill –- an African American woman –- a “cleaning lady.”

He is the man who has made so many racist, sexist, homophobic comments through the years that his listeners – and indeed, the country – have viewed them as “normal.”

And were it not for bloggers (God Bless ‘Em!) picking up on it, Don Imus might still have a job.

Actually, scratch that.

If it were not for corporate executives seeing a loss of green (money), Don Imus would still have a job.

Make no mistake, it was not the public “outrage” or letters or calls or e-mails from civil rights activists and individuals across the country that did in Don Imus.

Nor was it that CBS or MSNBC all of a sudden grew a backbone and a conscience.

What really did in Don Imus was the loss of revenue in corporate advertising to his program.

Major long-term sponsors pulled out, packed up their suitcases of money and took it to another playing field. Don Imus became a corporate liability and therefore had to go.

In Amerikkka, “justice” is colored green.

So now, not even 24 hours after he has been fired, a curious – and oh so predictable – public re-writing is now taking place, and it goes like this:

“Don Imus wouldn’t have EVEN KNOWN to call those Black women ‘nappy headed hos’ IF IT WERE NOT FOR THE BLACK HIP-HOP COMMUNITY!!!”

Now, people PLEASE!!! AS IF a WHITE MAN in Amerikkkan society has EVER needed permission – AT ANY POINT IN AMERIKKKA’S BROKEN, RACIST HISTORY – OR NEEDED AN AFRICAN AMERICAN MAN TO GIVE HIM THE WORDS – to denigrate Black women!!!

But the media is simultaneously creating and eating up this “new reality” with a silver spoon.

Talk shows, bloggers, and media are asking the question “why is a radio jock held responsible for calling a group of [B]lack women a slang term for prostitutes. . .when scores of rappers have gone multi-platinum using the same word and uglier ones in reference to [B]lack women everywhere?(The Washington Post, Remark renews old hip-hop debate, Friday, 04.13.07)” while ignoring the following:

There is a cultural context of white supremacy that cannot be ignored and that gives different “weight” and power to words spoken depending on whether the speaker is African American or white and to whom the slur is intended. For example: an African American person calling me a “nappy headed ho” – while reprehensible – does not carry the same racial baggage and racial significance of a white person calling me that. In white Amerikkka, the term “nappy headed” has been used for 400 years by white people denigrating African Americans. Black people picked up the term as a pejorative FROM WHITE PEOPLE, not the other way around. Now consider this: if a Black person calls me a “nappy headed ho,” while wrong, their use of it denigrates me AND them. When a white person calls an African American a “nappy headed ho,” it denigrates all African Americans (especially in a white society where the wearing of “natural” hair is STILL an issue in 2007!!!!) and uplifts the notion of white hair texture being “normal” and desirable.

The white music producers and corporate representatives that control the music industry are ultimately responsible for what is produced for public consumption and they are choosing to push down our collective throats music that is denigrating to the Black community. Remember MayMay Ali? Of course you don’t. She is a rapper whose career was truncated by white music producers who told her that her music was “too positive” and not “hardcore” and “street” enough for them, and she is just but one of many examples.

Rap and hip-hop today have increasingly become a 21st Century minstrel show orchestrated by white music producers and corporate heads who want the green for the amusement and consumption of disaffected white (who are the majority of buyers/listeners) and African American youth who uncritically inculcate these toxic images of Black America and act toward our community accordingly.

For both groups, it means acting in a debasing manner toward Black women and mothers.

It means looking at Black culture through a very narrow lens which dismisses our most treasured accomplishments as “acting white” (as if Africans and descendants of Africans in Amerikkka have not always valued, fought, died for, and achieved education and acted out of our inherent intelligence against the most crippling of odds).

It means promoting a view of “manhood” more in line with 17th and 18th century overseers who were broken under the daily indoctrination of the individualistic, “me first” “protecting the interests of white Amerikkka” philosophical thought and actions rather than the collective, “let’s rise as a people” interest that has been a staple of the African American community in Amerikkka.

And again: both groups may listen to the music. Both groups may act out of the messages of the music. BUT ONLY ONE GROUP will be lifted up by either group’s acting out of the negative messages of some rap and hip hop music AND THAT GROUP IS WHITE AMERIKKKA.

Final point: Do I think that misogynistic, homophobic, racist messages in any form are alright?

Emphatically no.

Do I think that the African American community has done enough to “censor” those messages in our own communities and to protect our youth from those messages?

Emphatically no.

BUT I find it so telling that the Amerikkka that is crying about “censorship” of Don Imus is now calling for “censorship” of rap and hip hop music. . .

I find it curiously telling that in their rush to assign blame to the rap and hip hop communities they are ignoring that white music producers control that music scene and the production and distribution of those negative messages. . .

I find it awfully telling that Amerikkka is now trying to blame Don Imus’ racism on the rap and hip hop community – as if this country has not been steeped in racism/white supremacy from its inception and as if now this is a new phenomenon created by the community most victimized by it. . .

And I find it laughable – - and an indication of the racist thought that is so alive and well in Amerikkka – - that when a “white privilege” is taken away, white Amerikkka becomes so panicked that now they are acting as if Don Imus – and their collective selves – are the “victims” because somehow the “normal” climate has “changed” and they cannot now get away with the hate speech that they made a staple of the Amerikkkan palate.

Moving Forward,


Sunday, March 25, 2007

So You're Talking Revolution. . .

So guess what I’ve spent my week doing?

Battling a bad cold (hence no new posts!), feeling miserable, listening to talk radio, keeping my chin up, and . . . . pondering on the nature of “armchair revolutionaries.”

MY GOODNESS, there are SO MANY “armchair revolutionaries” calling in to talk radio shows, have you noticed?

Theorizing and proselytizing from the comfort of their easy chairs, talking about what everyone else could do and should do without actually taking any action themselves.

Sound familiar, right? Because face it, most of us are “Armchair Revolutionaries,” criticizing others taking action while never getting in the game ourselves and it is time for that to stop!

“Changing the system” begins in your own home and on your own block. It begins with first changing ourselves and living the way we are supposed to be living (i.e. as in the way we tell others they should be living!). It proceeds with encouraging and enabling those around us to a better way. And those actions take root and blossom as we make the progression to really seeing –- really seeing –- what goes on around us with new eyes. Not critical ones ever ready to tear down someone else, but compassionate ones ever ready to build up.

Build up and reach out in action by helping those individuals and organizations that are on the front lines trying to make a positive difference. And you can take action in many ways:

• give a financial, direct service, or material contribution to a grassroots nonprofit organization who needs it

• answer a “call to action” and write your congressman, senator, and/or your state representative to give support to a piece of legislation that will help the community

• sponsor a child going to summer camp or an enrichment class

• mentor a child

• help clean up your community

• report drug activity on your block

• educate yourself on this country’s history and the resulting, continuing effects of institutionalized racism and oppression (hey, I’m sick, not amnesic. . .you didn’t seriously believe I’d leave that out, did you? [smile])

• take a good, hard look in the mirror. Critique yourself with as much honesty and detail as you critique others. Then heal yourself – and get assistance in healing yourself -- so that you can encourage and enable others to heal

We so often believe that we must do something really big for an action to have meaning. But it is those small actions that we commit to each day that make the most difference.

So, while you are waiting for the “big” action, the “revolution [that] won’t be televised,” start with these smaller ones. Baby steps, right?

And you can begin, “Armchair Revolutionaries,” just by getting out of that chair.

Moving Forward,


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Black Man's (and Woman's) Burden: Making White People Comfortable in Discussions on Race (Part 2)

African Americans are a big part of the “issue” (read: problem) in discussions about race.

There are definitely times when we are our own worst enemies.

Below are the three primary ways in which we collude in the “plantation dynamics” that oftentimes occur in interactions between African Americans and whites . . . especially as they relate to conversations about race.

• Being the defenders of “our” white people when other African Americans or people of color challenge them on manifesting white privilege.

African Americans (and other people of color) oftentimes jump to the ready to defend those white people they consider friends and family from other African Americans who challenge them. No matter how obvious the manifestation of white privilege –- verbal or behavioral –- they will play the role of defender, battling any other person of color who dares challenge their white friend, with all the passion and activism they never exhibit in the fight for racial justice and for the interest of their people.

Sadly, instead of the white person then having the opportunity to honestly engage and grow through the exchange, they are content “hiding” behind their friendship with the person of color who is championing them, and the focus deflects from the white offender’s comment/action to the two African Americans (or other people of color) engaging in a verbal display that does nothing to enlighten anyone or resolve the original issue and everything to validate the white person who initiated it.

And this is different from the “enslaver/enslaved” relationship how? The only difference I see is that now it is voluntary.

• Discounting history when building relationships with whites in Amerikkka.

As quiet as it is kept, there have always been relationships between African Americans and whites, even during times of enslavement, Black Codes, Jim Crow -- all the way up to James Crow Esq. “Friendships” between African Americans and whites are nothing new.

What IS new is the way African Americans have developed a collective amnesia -–the flip side of the kind that whites have developed -– about racial history. At every other time in this country’s history Africans and their descendants have understood the context in which their “friendships” developed -- i.e., that everything between Africans/African Americans and whites was within the parameters of a white supremacist structure that left them in unequal and vulnerable positions. Yet today we buy into the myth that “friendships” between African Americans and whites are “equal” because the chains resulting from the unequal power dynamic are not as obvious as they once were. (If you are unclear what I mean, just take your white buddy and try to catch a cab . . . separately. . .and see who gets picked up. Or drive two expensive cars while dressed in workout clothes . . . separately . . . and see who is stopped by police. Or flip through magazines and see whose image is held up as being the height of beauty. For example.)

During the last 40+ years, Black/white “buddy” movies have moved to the center of public consciousness, fostering the myth that “racism is no longer an issue” and that we can “all just get along.” And African Americans have assimilated into a white world view to the point they are willing to focus on the individual to the exclusion of the larger context in which we all live -– one that advantages whites and disadvantages African Americans and other people of color.

There is much talk from many white people –- and many African Americans -- about racism being individual “hate” that would dissipate if only we could “change hearts.” And while waiting another 100 – 400 years for that change might be acceptable for those who hold privilege, for those who don’t –- and for their children and children’s children and children’s children’s children -- that is a mighty long time to wait.

Again, African Americans: if your focus is on judging people by only their individual identity while ignoring their place in the larger group identity power structure and Amerikkkan context -- which many white people and some African Americans promote -- and if you believe that people should only be held accountable for their individual actions while ignoring their role in the larger Amerikkkan context -– which many white people and some African Americans promote -- then a reasonable question for each of us to ask our white friends and family is:

“If you love me as you say you do and if I am your friend as you say I am, then look at my reality and ask yourself: what are you doing to advance racial justice for me and mine so that we can have the unearned advantages that you and yours have and have always had in this country?”

And if the answer is nothing more tangible or weighty than “I read the speeches of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and I celebrate Kwanzaa and I listen to rap and hip-hop music and I have Black friends” -- or some version thereof -- then maybe you need to reevaluate the relationship and the role you have chosen to play in it.

And maybe even hold “your” white people accountable for their actions and speech instead of letting them hide behind their friendship with you. After all, accountability is a two-way street. African Americans are always being urged to be “accountable” for the problems we have in our community. I’m all for that . . . and for others understanding that many of the problems currently in our communities result from generations of institutional racial oppression and it is incumbent upon us to hold this country –- and those who continue to benefit economically, socially, educationally, etc. -- accountable, too.

And that includes our white friends and family.

Moving on, let’s talk about the following:

• Being “too heavenly bound to do any earthly good.”

The Black church was the vanguard of social activism/racial justice efforts up until the 1960s – 1970s.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen now that we hide behind our religion and use spirituality as an excuse to retreat from the fight for justice -– now that we are more materially and physically comfortable than our predecessors.

We buy into the “mainstream” concept that “forgiveness” and “racial reconciliation” are the ultimate goals that will usher in a colorblind society of true brotherhood/sisterhood and that a call for anything else –- either as significant as the justice of reparations or as innocuous as an apology for past and current racial oppression -- is “un-Christian” and “racially divisive.”

Forgiveness is great and something that we all need, but repeatedly “forgiving” in the face of the same continuing oppression without working to change it and to obtain justice is just . . . well, you supply the word.

But the one thing it does not strike me as is spiritual.

And while I assume that all of us want to be “heavenly bound,” while we are on Earth, let us do some “earthly good.” It is not just about us, but about those who come after us.

Are you satisfied with where we are on issues of race and racial oppression? If not, we’ve all got some work to do.

Stop hiding behind spirituality to give our white friends and family a free pass in conversations about racism/white supremacy and the ways in which they are manifesting that and/or their white privilege.

Stop taking on those other African Americans and people of color when they question the actions/behavior of your white friends and family. Sometimes it feels like we are more comfortable and feel freer to fight among ourselves than to fight together for a justice that would benefit us all.

Let’s hold white friends and family as accountable for their actions and let’s be as quick to “jump in their Kool-Aid” with as much fervor and passion as we demonstrate in criticizing and correcting each other.

Accountability is part of being spiritual and righteous. And accountability is not just “a Black thang” to be dragged out when talking about our own and tucked away like we’d be whupped if we demand it of others.

If our Ancestors did that, we’d still be in chains.

Sometimes, My Beloved People, the hearts and minds we first have to change are our own.

Moving Forward,


Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Black Man's (and Woman's) Burden: Making White People Comfortable in Discussions on Race (Part 1)

Tell me, when are we going to be able to put our burden down? Because it is HEAVY carrying white people in discussions of race.

And the "fault" for that is not all on one side; no, we all bear a little bit of that burden. However, as in most comparisons in this country using racial indicators, African Americans -– as usual –- end up carrying a disproportionate load. Below are some of the primary reasons why:

· White people in this country do not see the breadth and depth of their generational privilege, if they see it at all (and most do not).

Just as most of us take for granted on a day-to-day basis the very air we breathe to live, white people seem not to be willing or able to see the day-to-day white privilege -– the concrete benefits of access to resources and social rewards and the (group) power to shape the norms and values of society which whites receive, unconsciously or consciously, by virtue of their skin color in a racist society -- that smoothes and soothes life's rough edges for them in so many instances.

The "merit" mythology that has been an Amerikkkan justification through generations of enslavement; Black Codes; Jim Crow; and now James Crow, Esq., has been firmly entrenched in the hearts, minds, and spirits of most whites (and many African Americans, for that matter).

To deny that most basic of Amerikkkan beliefs –- that if you work hard enough and "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" you can succeed -- and the corresponding racist view that African Americans are in the "situation" they are in because they have not -– is to, apparently, have your world shaken to the core.

So oftentimes when stating the reality of white privilege, African Americans hear these "comebacks" from whites: "but what about Oprah Winfrey? And Bob Johnson? And all those Black sports millionaires? What about them? And now you have 'a Black' running for president! What more do you people want?"

Alas, "justice" seems too hard a concept to grasp when you're talking about the reality and manifestation of white privilege.

· White people in this country see themselves as "good people" who have nothing to do with oppression.

One way in which this country dismisses and denigrates its institutional –- federal, state, locally, and commercially sanctioned oppression of Africans and their descendants -- culpability regarding the Amerikkkan Apartheid under which whites as a group flourished is to associate oppression with "fringe groups" like the KKK while maintaining a willful blindness to the ways in which the dominant group's acceptance of this country's philosophical "norms" enable and promote racist philosophy and resulting institutional manifestations.

For example, most people, white or other, have never heard of the "Black Tax" (that extra amount of money African Americans pay when making major purchases such as cars, houses, etc., and which is apparent in indicators such as health, among others) the "Black Tax" still exists today and economists -- such as former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Andrew Brimmer -- estimate that "Black Tax" "soft" discrimination costs African Americans more than $10 billion yearly (through the wage gap, reduced social security and other government benefits, etc.). Other economists put losses resulting from the "Black Tax" in the trillions annually.

Thus institutional racism is allowed to flourish -– and is seen as "business as usual" and "normal" -- while the citizenry who want to remain willfully ignorant are supported and rewarded in doing so.

And while African American and white groups can both choose to be willfully ignorant, the impact of that decision is different for each of the two groups: whites continue to benefit and African Americans continue to bear the cost.

· White people do not recognize their group identity.

White people see themselves as "individuals" only and accuse African Americans and others of practicing "group identity politics" while ignoring their own and the ways in which they practice it.

For example, by promoting and advancing racism/white supremacy as individual "hate" and "ignorance" while downplaying and whitewashing the hundreds of years of institutional Amerikkkan Apartheid, individual white people in this country are allowed and encouraged to maintain the fiction that racial oppression has nothing to do with them . . . that they should be seen as individuals, not members of a dominant group whose parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and children have/will have unearned privilege by being a part of that group at the expense of African Americans and other people of color who are not accorded "honorary white" status in this society.

· White people are afraid of African American "anger" and of being "called out" regarding their role in the racial politics of oppression practiced by their racial group.

Time and time again, white people want to be kept "comfortable" in discussions of race. They want to be assured that they will not be "attacked" (read: questioned, challenged, and made uncomfortable). And any visible sign of anger from African Americans often shuts down discussions as most white people react to that anger by making it -- and their own discomfort and hurt feelings -– "the issue" as opposed to examining the root cause of the anger being expressed.

In other words, they fall back into a fear of an "angry Black man" or an "angry Black woman."

No one would question the appropriateness of a rape victim's anger; no one would question the appropriateness of the anger of someone who was a victim of a violent crime; no one would question the appropriateness of anger people may have at senseless life tragedies.

Yet the anger of African Americans is seen as whining, having a "victim mentality," making excuses, or being "stuck in the past."

The anger of African Americans is never seen as being a valid response to multigenerational grievous crimes against humanity but as a stubborn obstacle to a goal that many white people see as critical to "race relations moving forward": forgiveness.

Witness the reason why the great Nelson Mandela is lauded in the West: because he "forgave" his jailers and focused on reconciliation instead of justice. Witness the way that this country holds up one speech by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. while ignoring just about everything else he has said on racial justice, oppression, and white Amerikkka's -– including liberal white Amerikkka's -– role in perpetrating oppression and the plantation dynamic (in which whites are seen as the major "actors" and leaders and African Americans are seen as the good lieutenants or in an "assistant leader" role). Witness the way Malcolm X -– if he is mentioned at all by white Amerikkka -– is compartmentalized as the unacceptable, "pre-Mecca Malcolm" and the "post-Mecca Malcolm," who is acceptable because he is seen as being more open to engaging whites as "individuals" (having seen white Muslims for whom the practice of Islamic religion was more important than the practice of white supremacy) instead of primarily by their group identity as racial oppressors.

Forgiveness, reconciliation, and "healing" become the holy trinity for race relations in Amerikkkan society for whites as a group as they -- and some African Americans and other people of color -- practice collective amnesia regarding the critical factor that precedes the three: Justice.

Moving Forward,


Next Post: The Black Man's (and Woman's) Burden: Making White People Comfortable in Discussions on Race -- African American Collusion (Part 2)

*Thanks to my BARN/WARN network for the definition!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Makes Me Wanna Holla...The Language of White Supremacy

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Okay, here we go....

Now I know you've heard about Al Sharpton's familial ancestors being "owned" by Strom Thurmond's. And about Barack Obama's (white)mother's family "owning" "slaves."

Now tell me what is wrong with this picture...or are you so used to this language that it seems "normal" and "right"?

Well, two things are for sure: in this society, this kind of language IS both "normal" and "white (supremacist)."

But it ain't right, okay, and we must stop believing that it is.

Words matter and all "mainstream" (and you know I mean white-owned) media who use terms like "owned" and "slave" to describe the circumstance of those HUMAN BEINGS (hello!!) who were ENSLAVED are standing in symbolic solidarity of racial oppression by using the language of Amerikkkan enslavers, who spoke of "owning" "slaves" in a successful multi-generational, systemic, and institutional dehumanization campaign against Afrikans and their descendants.

And when we -- African Americans whose ancestors were enslaved -- join white Amerikkka in using this kind of language, we are colluding in our own oppression by willingly using the terms used to describe the oppression of our Ancestors.

We are also validating white Amerikkka's view of enslavement and the worth of our Ancestors when we accept their chosen language in describing as "normal" what our Ancestors had to endure in one of the largest scale and longest running crimes against humanity ever perpetrated upon a people.

Okay, I hear you saying "it was long ago. Why does it matter now?"

These words matter because to speak of "owning" other human beings is to employ a gentler euphemism that does not convey either the horror or the accuracy of the word "enslaved."

These words matter because to speak of "slaves" is to deny that those who were enslaved were human beings with lives, families, and aspirations, all of which were taken away or aborted from birth by their enslavement in this " of the free."

These words matter because the enslavement and apartheid of countless millions of Afrikans and multiple generations of their descendants remain a permanent stain on the soul of this country.

These words matter because they constantly appear in all media and we are going to be hearing them even more with Barack Obama's run for the presidency and with more individuals pursuing DNA analysis and genealogical research which will end up identifying a whole bunch of enslaver families!

And -- from a social justice perspective -- to continue to use language which in any form negates the horror of enslavement and consigns the enslaved as being no more than their enslaved status ("slave") just rubs salt in the wound and reveals that this country is still not ready to come to full and accurate terms regarding its crime against humanity.

And -- from a common sense and "respect for your family" perspective -- for African Americans to continue to use these terms shows how far we have gone in turning our backs on those upon whose shoulders we stand -- our Ancestors -- and how we have assimilated white supremacist thought to the point that we will allow any and every disrespect to their struggles and to their memories as we engage in a mad rush to be the first to fully embrace as "normal" both their oppression and our validation of the demeaning and dismissive language still used to describe their bondage.

And, again, to those of you who say "it is in the past, let it go, it doesn't matter," I'll leave you with this: if you believe that, be consistent. Stop acknowledging / celebrating Fourth of July, which commemorates "Amerikkkan Independence."

Stop acknowledging / celebrating Veteran's Day, which focuses on those who served in past and current wars.

Stop acknowledging / celebrating Thanksgiving, President's Day, Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.

Stop acknowledging 9/11 -- at six years out, that is in the past, too -- and bring our troops home.

And in addition, start reflecting on why you choose to acknowledge and validate aspects of Amerikkkan history important to and celebrated by "mainstream" society while denying, denigrating, and dismissing those aspects of Amerikkkan history in which your Ancestors were the main players...

Truth hurts sometimes, doesn't it? But believe me, it's all about the love...and about the knowledge we need to fight, grow, and thrive with hearts and minds free of chains...with strong spirits...because we must be the shoulders upon which future generations can stand.

Next entry: The Black Man's (and Woman's) Burden...Making White People Comfortable in Discussions on Race...

Until then...

Moving Forward,



Sunday, March 04, 2007

First we must agree that racism/white supremacy is the mother's milk of this country. Any thorough reading of history will support that contention.

Next we must agree on definitions...not the popular definition of racism which is now being advanced by "mainstream" media, culture, and political thought that supports the notion that racism is individual acts of "hate","ignorance" and prejudice -- which we all can have -- or even discrimination -- which is a behavior manifesting the prejudice.

No, we must wrap our minds around the accurate definition of racism: racial and cultural prejudice and discrimination, supported intentionally or unintentionally by institutional power and authority, used to the advantage of one race and the disadvantage of other races.

The critical element which differentiates racism from prejudice and discrimination is the use of institutional power and authority to support prejudices and enforce discriminatory behaviors in systemic ways with far-reaching outcomes and effects.

Now, I know that you've heard, as we all have -- mostly from defensive whites and from others of all races who are usually defending whites -- that "African Americans can be racists, too!"

In other societies where they hold far-reaching institutional power and authority that can and does impact and control the lives of other -- yes.

BUT IN AMERIKKKA where they have yet to hold institutional power and authority with far-reaching power that impacts upon the day to day lives of whites living in this country in most or all indicators of life?

Even in those instances where African Americans hold power in existing institutional structures, either in reality (i.e. they are the majority in leadership positions, bear the reins of institutional power, have an organizational culture that is racially reflective, and are not controlled by others of different races holding the funding reins) or as the "organizational face" (i.e. they are the public face of the organization but do not have institutional control of the organization), they still do not have the power or reach to affect the lives of whites either legally, socially, economically, or by any indicator with which we measure power, authority, and control.

By contrast, whites in Amerikkka have historically been and remain over-represented in all institutions -- the White House, Congress, industry, the legal system, etc. -- that have far-reaching power and authority to control the lives of all Americans.

And historically, that power has been used in this society to support white supremacist philosophy and to develop and implement laws, customs, and practices which systematicallyreflect and produce racial inequalities in Amerikkkan society.

Which brings us to institutional racism -- those established laws, customs, and practices which systematically reflect and produce racial inequalities in Amerikkkan society, whether or not the individuals maintaining these practices have racist intentions. Institutional racism is often discrimination without prejudice. Individuals can unintentionally discriminate by applying policies and practices that perpetuate past inequalities. And while their attitudes may be unbiased -- devoid of "hate' or "ignorance" -- their behavior enforces the philosophy as well as the practice of racism.

And -- as we see so many times in every day life, right? -- the advantages created for whites by these systems and structures are often invisible to them, or are considered "rights" available to everyone as opposed to "privileges" awarded to only some individuals and groups.

So, does this mean that African Americans are powerless in the face of racism/white supremacy? NO!

We have a long, vibrant, active, and varied history of resistance to racial and other oppression beginning with the Afrikans forced upon these shores. But unfortunately, this history of Afrikan and African American resistance is not one taught in schools or even often passed down through oral histories in our families.

I know you've heard of the Civil Rights Movement...right? But have you heard of the Moors?

You've heard of The Underground Railroad. But have you heard of the many acts of resistance in plantations across the South?

You've heard propoganda about the Black Panthers Party. But do you know the true story?

And do you know about the active resistance to oppression going on in different communities in your own backyard?

That is the purpose of "Blogging Amerikkka." We will be highlighting and profiling those in the arts community, the social justice community, the poetic community, in grassroots resistance movements, and others.

Whether working from the inside of institutions or on the outside of those social structures, we will be making connections to help you find your place and role -- if you want one.

Just as importantly, a focus of "Blogging Amerikkka" will be deconstructing and analyzing how racism/white supremacy rears its head and impacts upon day-to-day life...popular culture, "mainstream" media, TV, music, personal interactions, etc.

Because often times, we do not see the subtle "brainwashing" which keeps us in chains because we do not have the tools to deconstruct and analyze the racist pull the hood off the underlying racial assumptions that fuel the exchanges.

Finally, "Blogging Amerikkka" will address the issue of internalized oppression -- the acceptance and incorporation of the negative images of one's own group that are fostered by the dominant group regarding looks, culture, ability, etc. These negative messages -- when absorbed, believed, internalized, and acted upon -- often in ways detrimental to the oppressed group -- represent internalized oppression.

Because don't think I'm going to forget the "issues" that we as oppressed folk bring to the table and the ways in which we collude -- yes, collude, I said it! -- in maintaining systems of oppression because we internalize the false belief that the system is correct AND as a means of survival.

But you know what? I'm also going to talk about ways in which we can heal ourselves and free our minds, hearts, and souls. And in doing so, we can re-build our families and our communities.

So stay with me and follow the flow...

And bring the hip boots, 'cause it's going to get deep up in here...

Moving Forward,


*Thanks to my BARN/WARN network for the definitions!