“If They Take You In The Morning, They Will Be Coming For Us That Night”

Jordan Davis is Dead. But not murdered?

I wish I had something more to say about the fact that Michael Dunn was not convicted for killing a black boy. Except I said it after George Zimmerman was not convicted of killing a black boy. Except the parents of black boys already know this. Except the parents of black boys have long said this, and they have been answered with mockery.

Jordan Davis had a mother and a father. It did not save him. Trayvon Martin had a mother and a father. They could not save him. My son has a father and mother. We cannot protect him from our country, which is our aegis and our assailant. We cannot protect our children because racism in America is not merely a belief system but a heritage, and the inability of black parents to protect their children is an ancient tradition.

Ta-Neshi Coates/”On the Killing of Jordan Davis by Michael Dunn”

James Baldwin (photo credit ReciteThis.com)

One might have hoped that, by this hour, the very sight of chains on black flesh, or the very sight of chains, would be so intolerable a sight for the American people, and so unbearable a memory, that they would themselves spontaneously rise up and strike off the manacles. But, no, they appear to glory in their chains; now, more than ever, they appear to measure their safety in chains and corpses.

The American triumph—in which the American tragedy has always been implicit—was to make black people despise themselves. When I was little I despised myself, I did not know any better. And this meant, albeit unconsciously, or against my will, or in great pain, that I also despised my father. And my mother. And my brothers. And my sisters. Black people were killing each other every Saturday night out on Lenox Avenue, when I was growing up; and no one explained to them, or to me, that it was intended that they should; that they were penned where they were, like animals, in order that they should consider themselves no better than animals. Everything supported this sense of reality, nothing denied it: and so one was ready, when it came time to go to work, to be treated as a slave. So one was ready, when human terrors came, to bow before a white God and beg Jesus for salvation—this same white God who was unable to raise a finger to do so little as to help you pay your rent, unable to be awakened in time to help you save your child!

Angela Davis

Angela Davis

We know that we, the blacks, and not only we, the blacks, have been, and are, the victims of a system whose only fuel is greed, whose only god is profit. We know that the fruits of this system have been ignorance, despair, and death, and we know that the system is doomed because the world can no longer afford it—if, indeed, it ever could have. And we know that, for the perpetuation of this system, we have all been mercilessly brutalized, and have been told nothing but lies, lies about ourselves and our kinsmen and our past, and about love, life, and death, so that both soul and body have been bound in hell.

Some of us, white and black, know how great a price has already been paid to bring into existence a new consciousness, a new people, an unprecedented nation. If we know, and do nothing, we are worse than the murderers hired in our name.

If we know, then we must fight for your life as though it were our own—which it is—and render impassable with our bodies the corridor to the gas chamber. For, if they take you in the morning, they will be coming for us that night.

An Open Letter to My Sister, Miss Angela Davis by James Baldwin/November 19, 1970

This innocent country set you down in a ghetto in which, in fact, it intended that you should perish. Let me spell out precisely what I mean by that for the heart of the matter is here and the crux of my dispute with my country. You were born where you were born and faced the future that you faced because you were black and for no other reason. The limits to your ambition were thus expected to be settled. You were born into a society which spelled out with brutal clarity and in as many ways as possible that you were a worthless human being. You were not expected to aspire to excellence. You were expected to make peace with mediocrity. Wherever you have turned, James, in your short time on this earth, you have been told where you could go and what you could do and how you could do it, where you could live and whom you could marry.

Please try to be clear, dear James, through the storm which rages about your youthful head today, about the reality which lies behind the words “acceptance” and “integration.” There is no reason for you to try to become like white men and there is no basis whatever for their impertinent assumption that they must accept you. The really terrible thing, old buddy, is that you must accept them, and I mean that very seriously. You must accept them and accept them with love, for these innocent people have no other hope. They are in effect still trapped in a history which they do not understand and until they understand it, they cannot be released from it. They have had to believe for many years, and for innumerable reasons, that black men are inferior to white men.

Many of them indeed know better, but as you will discover, people find it very difficult to act on what they know. To act is to be committed and to be committed is to be in danger. In this case the danger in the minds and hearts of most white Americans is the loss of their identity. Try to imagine how you would feel if you woke up one morning to find the sun shivering and all the stars aflame. You would be frightened because it is out of the order of nature. Any upheaval in the universe is terrifying because it so profoundly attacks one’s sense of one’s own reality. Well, the black man has functioned in the white man’s world as a fixed star, as an immovable pillar, and as he moves out of his place, heaven and earth are shaken to their foundations.

A Letter to My Nephew by James Baldwin/ December 1962

James Baldwin. Right then. Still right now.

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The Sick Skin Game of Orville L. Douglas

Orville Douglas thinks they’d be cuter if they were White.

There was a lot of buzz this week (and most of it negative) over a column in the Washington Post by Richard Cohen that snarked negatively over the interracial family of the newly elected mayor of New York, Bill DiBlasio.

But along came one by The Guardian’s Orville Lloyd Douglas that was far worse.

A lot of black men don’t want to acknowledge the feelings of disgust we have for ourselves. It is considered emasculating to even admit the existence of such thoughts. I think my own self-hated manifests from the exterior, from the outside world. It is born out of the despair and the unhappiness I see within a lot of young black men.

I can honestly say I hate being a black male. Although black people like to wax poetic about loving their label I hate “being black”. I just don’t fit into a neat category of the stereotypical views people have of black men. In popular culture black men are recognized in three areas: sports, crime, and entertainment. I hate rap music, I hate most sports, and I like listening to rock music such as PJ Harvey, Morrissey, and Tracy Chapman. I have nothing in common with the archetypes about the black male.

Honestly, who would want to be black? Who would want people to be terrified of you and not want to sit next to you on public transportation?

Who would want to have this dark skin, broad nose, large thick lips, and wake up in the morning being despised by the rest of the world?

Many people have their dark times when they utterly loathe the image staring back at them in the mirror, but to hate your own skin is more than doubt, that’s sick.   Mr. Douglas doesn’t need to be a newspaper columnist. He needs to be the patient of an excellent psychiatrist.

Orville Douglas: A man trapped in a prison he can never escape.

It’s one thing to be distressed and disheartened by the bad behavior of Blacks.  Even now, I still get a slight twinge when there is a violent, senseless crime and there’s a Black male associated with it, but I don’t wear the guilt of a criminal on my shoulders.   I’d be walking around stooped over all the time.

In terms of stereotyping it has been observed that Whites commit crime, but Blacks are criminals.   This is not an accident.   The promotion of fear is big business and it serves that industry well to keep the actions of a violent minority within a minority pushed to the forefront of our consciousness.

Orville Lloyd Douglas has bought into the hype.

Douglas is not a handsome man.  He is a large, bald, overweight man who wears glasses.  His nose is broad.  His lips are thick.   Orville is not a romantic fantasy.

Orville hates his appearance.  He shouldn’t.  There are things he can do to improve it.  He can work out, eat better, watch his diet and lose weight though you’d think a man who spends so much time running away from his Blackness would be in better shape.

If he can afford it, he can opt for lap-band surgery.   He can wear a wig or get hair plugs.   Regarding his distinctly Negroid features, he can go the plastic surgery route and get fixed up with a nice pert little nose and have his lips redone.

If Orville wants to be a handsome man there are options available for him to pursue to enhance his looks.   What isn’t available for him is a total replacement for the skin he hates so much.   Orville was born Black, he looks Black and he’s going to die Black, no matter how much he wishes to be blonde, blue-eyed, pretty and White.  No matter what Orville does he is not going to see Brad Pitt staring back in the mirror.

Orville should check out Malcolm X when he said, “Who taught you to hate the color of your skin? Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair? Who taught you to hate the shape of your nose and the shape of your lips? Who taught you to hate yourself from the top of your head to the soles of your feet? Who taught you to hate your own kind? Who taught you to hate the race that you belong to so much so that you don’t want to be around each other? You know. Before you come asking Mr. [Elijah] Muhammad does he teach hate, you should ask yourself who taught you to hate being what God made you.”

Malcolm’s kind of Black pride would scare the hell out of a coward like Douglas.

I find it interesting that Orville is cool with the stereotyping and social stigmas that come with being a homosexual. Apparently, gay really is the new black.

Orville can hate being Black all he wants, but that won’t change the reality Black is what he is and always will be.  There isn’t enough Clorox in the world to bleach away his Blackness.

The first surge of anger I felt for this wretched fellow has mellowed a pity I’m certain Douglas would want no part of it.   No matter.   Michael Jackson claimed a skin disease caused his slow fade to paleness but even his wealth and resources couldn’t make the King of Pop a White man.

Orville will fare no better.   He is trapped in a prison of flesh with no lock, no key, and no escape from the Black flesh he so despises.  That’s a far worse hell than any I could ever cast him into.

The Completely Useless Advice of Totally Arrogant Men

don lemon

There are so many secondary issues that have raised their ugly head in the wake of the George Zimmerman trial and one of them is how conservatives feel empowered to use this time to start berating Blacks about crime (I have retired the phrase “Black-on-Black crime” from my lexicon) with Bill O’Reilly leading the charge.

Last week CNN’s Don Lemon decided he wanted to get in on the fun and not only endorsed O’Reilly taking the Black community to task, Lemon said he wasn’t going far enough.    Lemon went on a seven-minute tirade ripping into sagging pants, out of wedlock  pregnancies,

The babies being born outside of marriage is an issue. The drop-out rate of Black kids who don’t finish school is an issue. The mass incarceration of Black folks in prisons for this phony War on Drugs is an issue.  The negative aspects of rap music and hip-hop culture is an issue.  The trash that litters Lemon’s neighborhood is his problem, not a national crisis.

Oh, that’s right, Dandy Don didn’t mention that. My bad Guess that’s NOT an issue for him. Or Calvin Candie a.k.a. Bill O’ Reilly.

Thank goodness we have a Jay Smooth to cut through the crap.

The LAST thing Black people want or need to address their issues is the unwanted and unneeded from White conservatives who have a history of making racist remarks like O’Reilly (you could look it up. I did). The NEXT-to-last thing Black people want or need to address their issues are “Me Too, Boss” Negroes like Don Lemon blessing them out.

“Pull up your pants?” I don’t like brothers sagging’ either, but that’s a matter of aesthetics and a dumb fashion statement. It’s not as serious as the Republicans gutting every and any program for social uplift. “Pick up your trash?” I live in a mixed race, but predominantly White neighborhood too, and I can attest to the fact that White people throw their trash on the ground too. But I pick it up and throw it away. I don’t go on television to bitch about it like some anchormen using the airwaves for their petty grievances.

Charing Ball, at Madame Noire debunked Lemon’s “sagging pants came from prison” riff as an urban myth.

While it is (possibly, but not confirmed) true that the belt-less pants sagging had its roots in prison culture, the prison “style” has less to do with a prison homosexual mating call and more to do with unavailability of belts and shoe strings due to fears of rampant suicides. Likewise, the mass introduction of the prison jumpsuit might have eliminated the sagging problem. However, those in prison, who do sag now, do so for the same reason that the average kid on the street does so: out of comfort and because of a pop culture trend, which was ironically influenced by the plight of the belt-less prison inmate.

This saggy pants-prison homo meme has even been debunked by urban legend investigation site, Snopes.com, which attributes the spread of it, as well as other variations, on how easily it plays on folks’ already existing personal bias towards the fashion trend as well as folks’ own fear of homosexuals, or being perceived as homosexuals. And as most observers of popular culture would note, the loose and droopy fit of male trousers has always had a place in black male fashion. Before there was belt-less saggy pants, there were baggy-crotch harem pants, popularized by rapper and free-movement dancer MC Hammer. And way before that, there was the Zoot suit, which has its roots in the young black jazz culture of the 1940s. While sagging, loose, and droopy pants were always seen as counter-culture, men today profess comfort and trend as likely motivators for the style rather than some sort of moniker of their sexuality (unless you count the peacocking in your trendy best).

“I’m a rich White guy, so you’d better listen up.”

Charing was right to call out Lemon on his dog-piling on Black folks. If he wants to co-sign O’Reilly that’s his problem. Another problem for him is he just gave another reason to not watch CNN, the Conservative News Network.

I’m waiting for the O’Reilly Talking Points lecturing White people to stop being serial killers, stop walking into schools and slaughtering little kids and teachers,  stop bombing marathons, stop dropping atomic bombs on people of color, stop producing, consuming and getting addicted to drugs, stop producing and enjoying the sickest and vilest forms of pornography including kiddie porn and stop running around the planet trying to convert everyone to their chosen religion and God and killing them if they don’t.

I expect I’ll be waiting for some time, but if it does happen, I expect Don Lemon won’t have a thing to say about it because criticizing White people for their dysfunctional behavior never happens.

What Lemon and O’Reilly should know is nobody asked for their advice and those they are railing against are not going to take their advice.  O’Reilly doesn’t care about these teenagers and they know he’s a tin-plated phony   Lemon might be sincere, but his “me too” approach  only comes off as lecturing and judgmental., not helpful.   Lemon should know by now talking about the problems of the Black community and smugly proclaiming  a bit of personal responsibility will cure everything doesn’t work,  never reaches the target audience and changes nothing.

This time won’t be any different.

Paula Deen’s Southern-Fried Racist Fantasies

Maybe by now you’ve heard that Paula Deen, the Food Network chef whose confections include stomach-churning monstrosities such as Deep-Fried Lasagna, Chocolate Cheese Fudge (don’t forget the Velveeta!)  and  Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding  made some colorful comments during a deposition she gave for a discrimination lawsuit filed against her, her brother and others.

Deen admitted to using “nigger” and other derogatory racial slurs (“yes, of course”) and described wanting to have a “very southern style wedding” for her brother modeled after a restaurant where the “whole entire wait staff was middle-aged black men” in white jackets and black bow ties

I am absolutely shocked–SHOCKED–I tell you that a 66-year-old, White trash, trailer park, backwards-ass, country-fried peckerwood who fries everything in butter is a racist old SKANK. Who woulda thunk it?

Am I going too far?  Am I wallowing in the same sort of vulgar and nasty stereotypes  Paula Deen dreams of?   Yes, I am and what of it?

Just to be clear if my language is extreme (and admittingly it is)  you can’t be bad with that and e good with Mrs. Deen’s “bunch of little niggers” dancing around like they’re in a Shirley Temple movie phraseology.   Because if we can’t express loathing, revulsion and disgust for Deen’s Southern-fried fantasies of Black men in White shirts waiting on her hand and foot, then I’m kind of stumped on how to do so properly without turning Deen’s vile stereotypes against her.

Paula is down for the chocolate.

What gives stereotypes their sting is when they have some grain of truth to them. African-Americans do like fried chicken. White people put mayonnaise on their sandwiches. There are gay men whom adore Judy Garland and Irish husbands who get sauced and beat their wives’ asses.

Americans like to tell themselves racism is a thing of the past.   The Supreme Court stands poised to gut the 1965 Voting Rights Act because Antonin Scalia says it is a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.”   Surveys indicate Whites are more hostile to affirmative action than ever before and believe they are the ones suffering most from racial discrimination.    In comparison to the mounting tensions between Whites and Blacks, Deen’s wet dreams of subservient Blacks seem staggeringly trivial, but in another way are a troubling reminder of how much progress remains to be made between the races.

There remains Southern born bigots like Paula Deen who long for the days when you could call a Black man shining your shoes a “boy” and much worse if they forgot their place  and they had better not give a White person any sass  if they knew what was good for them.

Is calling Deen a peckerwood, White trash, a trailer resident going over-the-top deep into Stereotype Lake?  Sure it is, and I know she’s probably none of those things, but then I’m not a nigger either.

What Paula Deen thinks about Blacks is sad, pathetic and backwards as hell,  but I still feel more pity than contempt for her.   To the extent she can think at all, who  cares what this phony thinks about Blacks?  The women’s brain is full of butter, gravy and b.s. and ingesting all that fried gunk probably gave her Type 2 diabetes.

Seems like poetic justice to me.

ADDENDUM:  Oh, look!  Roland Martin, The National Association of Black Journalists choice for the 2013 Journalist of the Year took to his Twitter account to defend Deen’s divine right to say “nigger” as much as she wants.   How gallant of The Ascot.

“I like plenty of butter and gravy on my Negroes.”