The magical mystery tour.
Roll up, roll up for the mystery tour.
Roll up, roll up for the mystery tour.
Roll up (and) that’s an invitation, roll up for the mystery tour.
Roll up to make a reservation, roll up for the mystery tour.
The magical mystery tour is coming to take you away,
Coming to take you away.
The magical mystery tour is dying to take you away,
Dying to take you away, take you today.
As I sit on my perch above the 49th Parallel, and look down upon the U.S. Democratic Presidential primary campaign, I am amazed but not surprised at how well Barack Obama is doing. I predict that he will beat Hillary Clinton for the nomination. I read a quote by a political commentator recently who stated that “experience does not beat excitement…” True enough.
Now there may be some truth to the ideas that Barack Obama is more or less a (liberal) media creation. That he is an establishment candidate just like Hillary Clinton (well more so than John Edwards). That the Democratic Party establishment, embodied in the Super Delegates and union leaders, are now abandoning Hillary and flocking to support him primarily because he is seen as more “electable” in a contest against McCain. That he is garnering most of the Black votes because of the colour of his skin… plus which Black person will want to admit that they were on the wrong side of history, especially if he wins the big one (especially Black politicians like Rep. John Lewis from Georgia, who today switched his support from Clinton to Obama). That the various constituents of white men, white women, Latinos, young people, the old, the poor etc., have jumped on the Obama “magical mystery tour” bandwagon, because they have been dazzled more by his oratory skills and inspired by his message of hope and change, than by any substantial policy platforms.
However it is true… an undeniable fact… that when it comes to political campaigns, the one with the better organization and planning will in most cases win the contest. There is no mystery why Obama will beat Clinton. He has had a superior strategy and a more efficient campaign organization than Clinton. “The Obama Strategy” was to make the race a marathon while Hillary and her campaign team felt in their arrogance, that it would be all over by Super Tuesday on February 5th… it would therefore be a sprint that they had already won! Obama and his strategists knew that if they could at least be close with Clinton in the number of delegates they had after Super Tuesday, then he could march to victory because it was unlikely that the Clinton camp had contingency plans to effectively carry on the fight. So after February 5th, the Obama campaign already had the people and resources in place on the ground and plans to continue their fundraising efforts to win the States with primaries after Super Tuesday. Therefore, there is nothing magical about the result: 11 straight loses for Clinton… more like azzzzz kickings!
Clinton claims that Obama doesn’t have the experience to lead. That he doesn’t have the political capital and resume that she has. This may be true and it is preferable to have a leader of a nation with experience, political capital and a proven resume. But at this stage of the political process, this contest is like an interview for a job. It is no mystery that those who are better prepared and organized due to superior planning, will “interview well” and more often than not get the job.
I hear a lot of complaints, but few solutions offered for the problems of black folks. We in the AfroSphere have perfected the stenographic act of documenting the atrocities and petty slights of white racist culture. But, as they say in recovery: “when you focus on the problem, the problem gets bigger, when you focus on the solution, the solution gets bigger.”
Why does it seem that some of us get off on constantly re-traumatizing ourselves? At some point, we have to make a stand. At some point, we – and we can be me, a circle of friends, a neighborhood, a city – have to make a decision. One decision that has revolutionary implications for black folks is our diet, or as it should be named, “the poison that we stuff into ourselves that we erroneously call food.”
What is the difference between a cow being led to slaughter and us: they don’t have TV in the stockyards. They can see the bars, the barbed wire that fences them in. You can’t. You can’t because your prison bars are internal, bred into you by sophisticated means. Black folks commit Hari Kari every day with chicken wings.
The massive health problems that our community suffers can be massively reversed without a single march, protest or demonstration, simply by taking the pig, pork, swine, beef, fish, candy bar off of our fork or plate, take it out of our mouths. We all know the physical implications of the way that we eat, but there are also mental, emotional, spiritual implications.
What does it do to the spirit of a human being to eat the flesh of an animal? What does it mean that we don’t know what the system of production does to these animals – and what does it mean that we don’t care? How can the spiritual man or woman co-sign the brutality, the savagery inflicted on animals and then complain about the petty bullshit that they suffer? Can one exist without the other? I don’t think so.
Oh, I know, its easy to dismiss animals as things, we are “higher mammals,” etc. That might be true; the problem is, claiming to be higher while actually behaving worse than that which we classify as lower is an American tradition. The white man said he was superior, while raping and ravaging whole populations of Native Americans and blacks, ravaging and raping the land for good measure. And the animals.
So while I understand the temptation to assert my personhood at the expense of animals, how can I? And how do I know that God/Goddess/The Great Spirit don’t have plans for animals that I can’t understand, see or comprehend? By destroying animal life, how do I know that I’m not sinning my black ass off?
But the good news: The Revolution can begin this second for all of us black folks.
STOP EATING MEAT, FISH, FOWL, CANDY or any other synthetic foods.
EAT FRUITS, VEGETABLES, WHOLE GRAINS, LEGUMES. EAT ORGANIC. SETTLE FOR NOTHING LESS!
Live longer, think more clearly, weigh less, be happier. You can do more righteous harm to the concentration camp that is America by not participating in his slaughter of animals and his slaughter of YOU in the process. Niggas in Baghdad and Beantown get treated no different than Elsie the cow. We are nothing but product, profit, FEED for the machine.
If you stop feeding the machine, stop feeding yourself to the machine, the machine will D-I-E!
If all the black folks in this country resolved to never touch another chicken wing again, by that simple act, the walls of this oppressive, imperialist country would come tumbling down. This country can’t survive without you swallowing lies and chicken thighs.
Once you get clean – and that’s what getting off of these food drugs means – once you have your brains back, you can begin proposing solutions that can solve, rather than documenting the latest predictable white outrage. The white man ain’t gonna change if you don’t change and the most fundamental, simplest change black folks can and need to make is what they put into their bodies.
Another missing white woman is the featured story on the FOX News Network. The network spent a good twenty minutes giving a bunch of details about the disappearance of Jessie Marie Davis, a pregnant single mother with a two year old son, who was having an affair with a married man. FOX pulled out all the stops for this latest distraction. FOX broadcasted the sheriff’s press conference where he spilled all of the details. Missing mother with one son, asking everyone for their help, call this number if you know anything, blond hair (although she was a brunette in the picture they showed), seventy volunteers participating in the search, and etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. I guess this was the only woman to come up missing in America for the past few days.
I hope they find Ms. Davis. But I have to wonder what factors went into FOX selecting this woman for national attention out of the throngs of women who turn up missing every year. It would be no surprise to discover that top priority of all the factors in the decision making process is skin color. I can’t recall a missing person case featuring an African American that garnered national attention like the Laci Peterson case, her husband Scott Peterson was eventually charged and convicted of her murder and now waits on California’s death row. Ms. Peterson is now the poster child of the white woman getting the seriously disproportionate attention of the media phenomenon.
There’s the story of Kelsey Smith, the white, eighteen year old Overland Park, Kansas girl who was abducted on June 2nd and whose strangled body was found in Grandview, Missouri on June 6th. Her parents were the featured guest on Larry King Live. There’s the life and death of Anna Nicole Smith, I’m surprised her story hasn’t been released as a major motion picture featuring some top rated movie star. People clamor over themselves trying to get as much information as they can about white female celebrities. In fact, the story of Stepha Henry, the twenty two year old, black woman and college graduate who went missing May 29th in Miami, Florida, was put preempted on MSNBC so they could report on the where about of Paris Hilton. People would be more interested in Ms. Hilton’s missing Chihuahua than with the welfare of Ms. Henry.
All a white woman has to do is shed some tears and cry for help and the public stands ready to call the local National Guard. The case of Jennifer Wilbanks, the runaway bride who decided she didn’t want to get married but didn’t have the balls to tell her fiancé so she decided to make a run for the border, called the fiancé, and told some cockamamie story about how some Hispanic man kidnapped her. Ms. Wilbanks had two hundred fifty volunteers combing the woods while she faked her abduction. Even crazy assed Susan Smith got national sympathy, tearfully claiming that a black man kidnapped her children and stole her car which prompted a national manhunt, when all the while she had murdered her boys and knew exactly where to find their drowned bodies.
When Jessica Lynch turned up missing in Iraq with the rest of her group global attention focused on her story. When she was rescued along with five other soldiers from her company she was hailed as some kind of hero for getting caught. But what about Shoshana Johnson, the black woman who was also part of Ms. Lynch’s group and later rescued? Ms. Johnson was the first black female prisoner of war in American history. She was shot in both of her ankles and walked with great difficulty in Ms. Lynch’s shadow. But it appears that outside of her family no one gave a rat’s ass about her story. What the hell does a black woman have to do to get somebody to care?
Pretty white women like Natalie Holloway can go on vacations in the Bahamas or on Carnival cruises to exotic locations, act like a tramp all night long, get drunk in a debauchery of blatant sexual innuendoes, wander off, turn up missing, and gain the sympathy of the world. The family of these girls may curse their bad luck, but the woman willfully participated in the creation of the circumstances that led to their situation. If a black woman was caught in the same scenario media pundits would dismiss her problems as the result of her own irresponsible behavior. Indeed, if past experience with black women gaining national attention is any indication then it’s probably a sure bet that white talk show commentators wouldn’t hesitate to claim that the nappy, headed whore only got what she deserved. But we will cry a river for the poor white woman who made that appearance in the latest copy of Girls Gone Wild.
It would be easy to blame the media for such obvious white women favoritism. But the real problem is our culture that places such emphasis on looks, youth, sex, race, money, and other features and factors people use to compensate for the shortcomings of their character. Media is only a hapless pawn serving to feed the insatiable hunger of its master the character weak, wealth exchanging, public so tremendously concentrated in the white community. Until we have a more even distribution of wealth among all racial communities and/or a realignment of people’s priorities away from the secular and more towards a true all encompassing community oriented spirit, be prepared to hear more stories in the news from the undiscovered Susan Smiths and Natalie Holloways that are destined to become pawn in society’s perpetual endeavor to make pretty white women the focus of our attention.
Friday, February 22, 2008; Page D01
During the course of our endless presidential campaigns, lots of silly things are said by the candidates and the press. But few are more ridiculous than the idea that Barack Obama is just an empty suit.
We’re talking here about a former president of the Harvard Law Review. Have you ever met the people who get into Harvard Law School? You might not choose them as friends or lovers or godparents to your children, but — trust me on this — there aren’t many lightweights there. And Obama was chosen by all the other overachievers as top dog. Compared with the current leader of the free world, this guy is Albert Einstein.
Given his youth and relatively short time in government, it’s fair to ask if Obama has the wisdom and experience to be president. But it’s quite another to suggest that he has no vision, no program, no specifics. Read the Washington Post article.
Don’t ask: “Why does God allow this to happen?”
Pray: “God… give me the wisdom and strength to do what I must to stop this from happening?”
“I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.” – Abraham Lincoln in his first debate with Stephen Douglas in the campaign for the United States Senate at Ottawa, Illinois on August 21st of 1858.
“I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races. I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people. And I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will ever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. … And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.” – Abraham Lincoln in his fourth debate with Stephen Douglas in the campaign for the United States Senate on September 18th of 1858.
“I have never had the least apprehension that I or my friends would marry negroes if there was no law to keep them from it, but as Judge Douglas and his friends seem to be in great apprehension that they might, if there were no law to keep them from it, I give him the most solemn pledge that I will to the very last stand by the law of this State, which forbids the marrying of white people with negroes.” – Abraham Lincoln in the fourth debate with Stephen Douglas.
“It is the eternal struggle between these two principles — right and wrong — throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time; and will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity, and the other the divine right of kings. It is the same principle in whatever shape it develops itself. It is the same spirit that says, ‘You toil and work and earn bread, and I’ll eat it.’ No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle.” – Abraham Lincoln in his seventh debate with Stephen Douglas at Alton, Illinois on October 15th, 1858.
“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it.” – Abraham Lincoln in a letter to Henry L Pierce on April 6th, 1859.
“Understanding the spirit of our institutions to aim at the elevation of men, I am opposed to whatever tends to degrade them.” – Abraham Lincoln in a letter to Dr. Theodore Canisius on May 17th, 1859.
“Negro equality! Fudge! How long, in the government of a god, great enough to make and maintain this universe, shall there continue to be knaves to vend, and fools to gulp, so low a piece of demagogue-ism as this?” – Abraham Lincoln in notes for speeches in September of 1859.
“We know, Southern men declare that their slaves are better off than hired laborers amongst us. How little they know, whereof they speak! There is no permanent class of hired laborers amongst us…Free labor has the inspiration of hope; pure slavery has no hope.” – Abraham Lincoln in a manuscript of a speech on free labor in September of 1859.
“An inspection of the Constitution will show that the right of property in a slave is not ‘distinctly and expressly affirmed’ in it.” – Abraham Lincoln at Cooper Union on February 27th, 1860.
“Wrong as we think slavery is, we can yet afford to let it alone where it is, because that much is due to the necessity arising from its actual presence in the nation; but can we, while our votes will prevent it, allow it to spread into the national territories, and to overrun us here in these free states? If our sense of duty forbids this, then let us stand by our duty, fearlessly and effectively. Let us be diverted by none of those sophistical contrivances wherewith we are so industriously plied and belabored — contrivances such as groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong, vain as the search for a man who should be neither a living man nor a dead man — such as a policy of ‘don’t care’ on a question about which all true men do care — such as union appeals beseeching true union men to yield to disunion-ists, reversing the divine rule, and calling, not the sinners, but the righteous to repentance — such as invocations to Washington, imploring men to unsay what Washington said, and undo what Washington did.” – Abraham Lincoln at Cooper Union on February 27th, 1860.
“I hope a flock of pigeons fly into the Lincoln Memorial and dump a hail of Washington cherry laden bird droppings on the effigy of this product of nineteenth century racism.” – brotherpeacemaker on February 18th, 2008.
Abraham Lincoln was one of the greatest epitomes of racism and one of the greatest products of propaganda in America. He was a racist. I understand white people fondness for this president. But the black community celebrates this man’s life with fondness ignorant of his support for the status quo of black subjugation. Black parents dress their children up to play this man for school plays. We have bought the lies hook, line, and sinker. This was no friend of the black community. Abraham Lincoln was no abolitionist. Black people really need to do more to know our history instead of having it spoon fed to us by the dominant community.
It would be nice if black people would learn more of the truth and become more aware of our history and change the behavior accordingly. But too many people have become too enamored with the idea of acceptance from the dominant community to change their ways now. The thinking here may run along the lines of the dominant community loves President Lincoln therefore as a black person who wants to be more racially generic, I must love President Lincoln. Or maybe it’s just an attitude that it happened so long ago it doesn’t mean anything any more.
But the opposite is true. It means a lot when black people take their history and their heritage seriously. When we know our relationship in the past we will learn about our relationship now and we should understand what steps we need to take in the future. When black children see black parents taking their black history more seriously maybe the black children wil take their black identity more seriously. Unfortunately black history is not our priority. As long as black people allow the dominant community to control who learns what we will never change anything about our relationship with the white community.
Happy President’s Day!
I recently watched 2 classic movie’s… one that I had never seen before, A Gentleman’s Agreement and one of my all time favourites, Do The Right Thing. Both deal with the subject of racism, but in certainly different ways. They were both ground breaking and hard hitting films which deals with issues surrounding the practice and effects of discrimination and prejudice, and what is striking is that they were made 42 years apart.
A Gentleman’s Agreement was made in 1947 and directed by Elia Kazan. It’s the story of a writer at a “progressive” New York based magazine who decides to pass himself off as Jewish, so as to do an article on anti-Semitism in America. He experiences not only the blatant effects of racism, such as being denied jobs and access to public accommodations, as well as his son being verbally attacked, but he comes to discovers the more subtle forms of racism such as the telling of jokes and the discomfort of his presence in certain social circles. The film also explores the issues of self-hate behaviours and attitudes to how supposedly “good” people can and do contribute to the perpetuation of racism in small ways in their everyday lives.
The title of the film is to signify the “gentleman’s agreement”, which his fiancée informs him is “understood” among home owners in her upscale neighbourhood, that they won’t sell to Jews. I must say I was surprised that such a film was made in 1947, which tackled such complex issues in such a real way. It went on to win numerous awards including 3 Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actress.
I consider Do The Right Thing a masterpiece. From the opening dance sequence to Public Enemy’s protest anthem “Fight the Power” by Rosie Perez during the opening credits… to the trash can through the window… to the last scene where Mookie get’s paid by Sal, this film takes one on an emotional and intellectual roller coaster. The multitude of characters with distinct personalities and motivations, “colours” the dynamics of this film in such a way I have never seen repeated.
I hadn’t watched this film in years but I am still blown away by the way Spike Lee delves into the issues of blatant and subtle effects of racism; the valuing of white property over the lives of the Black community in general and the life of a Black man in particular; economic self reliance; self-hate and self-respect; personal and community responsibility; the reasoning and consequence of protest; family loyalties and cross cultural allegiances; the significance of the polar messages of Malcolm and Martin which permeate through the film; etc…. I could go on and on. This is the type of movie where you can get something different (and more) out of it, every time you watch it. Released in 1989, it also won a number of awards but garnered only 2 Oscar nominations for Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor.
Both films are very different in their approach and style in how they deal with a similar topic with complex issues. Both are worth seeing or seeing again.