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with mention of at least two books I want to read.

Re-Whiting History Just In Time For MLK Day

From the comments of that article: A Time to Break Silence: By Rev. Martin Luther King

ETA: Switch the circumstances to today and its bloody eerie and disappointed just how current this speech is.

ETA: funny how that quote about the arc of the universe bending towards justice is so thoroughly divorced from its context in the cultural zeitgist.
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In a post about the White (Wo)Man’s Burden: Madonna, Malawi, & Celebrity Activism [Original Cut] they link me to the retort to Rudyard Kipling pestilential poem
The White Man’s Burden

Take up the White Man’s burden–
Send forth the best ye breed–
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild–
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

Take up the White Man’s burden–
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another’s profit,
And work another’s gain.

Take up the White Man’s burden–
The savage wars of peace–
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.

Scholars have long debated if White Man’s Burden is a love letter to imperialism or a satirical take-down – Kipling was an avid imperialist but was also a satirist, and his intentions with the piece aren’t fully understood. However, the poem and the term have been propelled to the heights of infamy due to the application of the core concept around the globe.
Personally, I prefer Henry Labouchère’s acid-tongued retort, The Brown Man’s Burden:

Pile on the brown man’s burden
To gratify your greed;
Go, clear away the “niggers”
Who progress would impede;
Be very stern, for truly
‘Tis useless to be mild
With new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half devil and half child.

Pile on the brown man’s burden;
And, if ye rouse his hate,
Meet his old-fashioned reasons
With Maxims up to date.
With shells and dumdum bullets
A hundred times made plain
The brown man’s loss must ever
Imply the white man’s gain.

Pile on the brown man’s burden,
compel him to be free;
Let all your manifestoes
Reek with philanthropy.
And if with heathen folly
He dares your will dispute,
Then, in the name of freedom,
Don’t hesitate to shoot.

Pile on the brown man's burden,
And if his cry be sore,
That surely need not irk you--
Ye've driven slaves before.
Seize on his ports and pastures,
The fields his people tread;
Go make from them your living,
And mark them with his dead.

Pile on the brown man's burden,
And through the world proclaim
That ye are Freedom's agent--
There's no more paying game!
And, should your own past history
Straight in your teeth be thrown,
Retort that independence
Is good for whites alone.

Fascinating how both of these poems were written in 1899, but still resonate to this day. (By the way, these are excerpts – the full poems are available by following the links.)The rest of teh article is damn good too
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which is bloody HILARIOUS, considering the typical state of affairs, and to make matters worse:

via: [livejournal.com profile] racebending

Black belt jonesing: American martial arts culture's roots in the black community

Rumble in the Bronx
The fact is, African Americans were the first community to embrace martial arts in the U.S., and without that community's active support, Asian fighting disciplines would never have gained the foothold they now have in the American consciousness, as both a practice and a pop-culture influence.

"The story of martial arts in black communities is part of a much bigger narrative of African American interest in Asian culture," says Amy Obugo Ongiri, assistant professor of English at the University of Florida and author of the forthcoming book "Spectacular Blackness." "People want to read African Americans and Asians as being in conflict rather than engaged in creative exchange. But black interest in Asian culture has a long history, and what you see is that by the '60s and '70s, a bunch of factors led to the consolidation of that interest."
The return of soldiers from Korea and Vietnam; the growth of Asia as an export power; white flight from the inner cities, and the rise of black nationalism -- all of these phenomena set the stage for the unique cultural intersection that was the rise of martial arts cinema.
"As white people abandoned the cities, all these downtown theaters became spaces for people of color," says Ongiri. "Theater owners started screening stuff that was less marketable, mostly cheap imports -- and that meant martial arts movies."
And for generations of urban black youth who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, grindhouse theaters screening kung fu double features had an irresistible gravitational pull.

"We'd go and watch films all day," remembers Warrington Hudlin, best known as the producer behind films such as "House Party" and "Boomerang" and the children's television series "Bebe's Kids." "The whole time we'd be going, 'Oh man, how'd they do that?' Because it happened so fast, you'd have to screen a film three or four times to get the technique. So we'd be like, 'Okay, man, you watch his feet, I'll watch his hands, and we'll compare notes in the lobby.' Me and my friends, we used to live in those theaters."


"We were the early adopters of martial arts in this country," says Hudlin. "That's why it was so irritating to me that a movie like 'The Forbidden Kingdom' was made, in which Jet Li and Jackie Chan teach their skills to a white kid from Boston."

Cue heads exploding all over the place.

of course, Africans had their own martial arts, as [livejournal.com profile] yeloson recced me this Fighting for Honor: The History of African Martial Arts in the Atlantic World

this looks interesting too The Hidden History of Capoeira: A Collision of Cultures in the Brazilian Battle Dance
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Fascinating Virtual Archive of Black LGBTs on Chicago's South Side

Death of Sailor May be a Gay Hate Crime

Chicago Tribune Goes "Beyond Boystown" and Looks at Black LGBTs on the South Side

via:[livejournal.com profile] sanguinity
Homophobia in Jamaica: Thoughts Intersecting Current Politics, Dancehall, Colonialism, Religion, Slavery & Jamaican Patriarchy.

now limbo-ing for the earth team

Race, Superstition, and Marriage Equality

Another Historic Meeting, Another Melanin Free Transgender Contingent

Metting Sylvia Riveria

Lessons from KRXQ-FM: Hate Speech Shouldn’t Go Unchallenged

via: Transadvocate:
Lives of the Transgendered Women of India

This video is of Glady, a transgendered woman in India, who is currently enrolled at University of Madras. Glady has been going to graduate school for Mass Communications while working part time. Many transgendered women in India are pushed to the margins of society where they are not able to do any work other than begging or prostitution. Many are subject to violence and inhumane oppression. With no family support and a very hidden life, she struggles to be the first transgendered woman graduate from the University. I have been helping Glady garner financial support to make it through graduate school, and together we have raised over half of her school finances! We only have $300 to go! Please help Glady in this final amount to one day become a journalist and ultimately a dignified human being.

more interesting videos at the link


Apr. 30th, 2009 07:27 pm
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Alvin Baltrop

At the age of 26, Alvin Baltrop began photographing what was going on at Manhattan's West Side piers. The area, full of abandoned warehouses and dilapidated industrial piers, became a temporary home for queer teenage runaways and a cruising spot for gay men. It was a place that was under the radar. People went there to do drugs, muggings were common and so, unfortunately, were rape, murder and suicide. Baltrop's camera captured gay public sex, the public art of muralist Tava, various unknown graffiti artists, as well as pieces by David Wojnarowicz, who also visited the piers. Baltrop documented homelessness, death and the stark decay of run-down warehouses with depth and grace.

Of course, not everyone saw it that way. The mainstream art world, even the gay portion of it, couldn't see the value in Baltrop's work. Hostile reactions to his pictures were common. One curator he showed his portfolio to likened Baltrop to a sewer rat because of the content of his photos. Most art gallery owners and academic art critics could only see dirty homeless fags fucking in an abandoned warehouse, and stopped there.

According to his close friend and assistant, Randal Wilcox, gay art galleries were the most unreceptive to the late photographer's work.

"Al Baltrop endured constant racism from gay curators, gallery owners and other members of the 'gay community' until his death,” said Wilcox. “Many of these people doubted that Baltrop shot his own photographs; some implied or directly told him that he stole the work of a white photographer. Other people who were willing to accept the photographs treated Al as though he was an idiot savant. Other people stole photographs from him."[you all remember that Hollywood article we were discussing?]

It didn't take long for Baltrop to get the picture. He subsequently withdrew from the art world and focused more of his energy on photography. As a result of his experiences, his work received very little attention during his lifetime. He had a few small shows in New York, one at the Glines, a gay non-profit, and another exhibit at the East Village gay bar where he sometimes worked as a bouncer.

After his death, his work received a bit more attention. Since 2004, his work has been show internationally. In February 20008, ARTFORUM published an article on Baltrop including several reprints of his photographs. Most recently, the Whitney agreed to purchase one of his photographs for their permanent collection.MORE
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2009 Goldman Prize for South & Central America: Wanze Eduards & S. Hugo Jabini from Pikin Slee Village and Paramaribo, Suriname:

Wanze Eduards and S. Hugo Jabini, members of a Maroon community originally established by freed African slaves in the 1700s, successfully organized their communities against logging on their traditional lands, ultimately leading to a landmark ruling for indigenous and tribal peoples throughout the Americas to control resource exploitation in their territories.

Official Goldman Biography

Logging vs. tradition
Suriname, located within the larger Amazon Basin, has opened up its immense tropical forests to extractive industries, all of which operate without local consent or oversight. It is the only country in the Americas that does not recognize indigenous or tribal peoples’ rights to own and control their traditional territories. Indigenous and tribal peoples who live in Suriname’s tropical forests comprise approximately 20 percent of Suriname’s population of 450,000.

The tribal peoples are Maroons, the descendants of African slaves who won their freedom and established autonomous communities in the rainforest between the late 17th and mid-19th centuries. The Saramaka are a specific group of Maroons that live in 9,000 square-kilometers of rainforest. In 1963, they lost almost 50 percent of their traditional territory to a hydroelectric dam built to power an Alcoa bauxite factory. Many Saramaka were displaced and remain in resettlement camps to this day. Others established new villages on the Upper Suriname River. In the late 1990s, the Surinamese government allowed logging companies to set up speculation projects and camps in the region, against Saramaka wishes. Further, extensive flooding caused by faulty creek bridging rendered a large area useless for traditional agricultural and other activities, thus depriving the Saramaka of an additional 10 percent of their territory.MORE

2 Suriname Men win Global Environmental Prize

The Goldman Foundation said Eduards and Jabini helped changed the law so that prior and informed consent of indigenous groups will be required for major development projects throughout the Americas.

"They saved not only their communities' 9,000 square kilometers (nearly 3,500 square miles) of forest, but strengthened the possibility of saving countless more," the San Francisco-based group said in a statement.

Suriname's government, which had previously granted concessions to Chinese logging companies without notifying the indigenous tribes, announced in January 2008 that it would abide by the judgment of the Costa Rica-based court.

Officials with President Ronald Venetiaan's New Front coalition did not return calls Monday.

Jabini, who is studying law at the University of Suriname, said there has been no illegal clearcutting by Chinese companies since 2003 in the Saramaca's territory in the sparsely populated country. He said he hopes to protect his people's rights in the future, and is heartened by the number of young Saramacans who "now have a strong belief in the legal battle."

"The law has not changed yet in Suriname, so the government can always give a new (logging) concession. We have to pay close attention," he said. "We live with the forest, in the forest. We must protect it."

The Rise of Peoples' Rights in the Americas: The Saramaka People Decision of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (You need to sign in to see this article.)
The Saramaka People v. Suriname decision of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights recognized the right of a non-indigenous minority group to the natural resources within its lands. Three factors make the decision significant: First, it affirms that certain tribal groups are more akin to indigenous communities than they are to other ethnic, linguistic or religious minorities in terms of the rights they possess. Second, the holding adopts an evolving principle of international law and makes it a binding norm in the Americas, enunciating a test to guide future interpretations of Article 21 of the American Convention. Finally, the Court's incorporation of peoples' rights into its analysis renders the decision a topical contribution to current debates on the meaning and scope of these rights.

The Judgement Novemeber 2007:The Indigenous Peoples Right to Property in International Law: Samarka People v. Surinam, Inter_American Court of Human rights (PDF) 16 pages

Twelve Saramaka Clans (Lös) - Case of the Saramaka People v. Suriname: Documentation in date order (most recent first)
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Spirt of Resistance in Somalia from unapologetic mexican by way of [livejournal.com profile] a_girl5000

part One

Somalian born rapper Knaan gives the real story about Somalia's infamous pirates (this is the specific bit)

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EDIT: Diary of an Anxious Black Woman pointed her out.

I am a little sick and tired of Western feminist behaving as if they are they only feminists in the world and that indigenous people fighting for their own human rights do not exist.

Rebecca Lolosoli

Umoja, the village where men are forbidden

From 1970 to 2003, 1600 Samburu women were raped by British soldiers in the North of Kenya. Having dishonoured the community, they have been kicked out by their husbands. They gathered and created Umoja, the village where men are forbidden. This particularity created many problems to her founder, Rebecca Lolosoli.

Indigenous Women’s Pushback

Indigenous Peoples have fought for centuries against genocide, displacement, colonization, and forced assimilation. This violence has left Indigenous communities among the poorest and most marginalized in the world, alienated from state politics, and disenfranchised by national governments. In the Americas, Indigenous Peoples have a life expectancy 10-20 years less than the general population. In Central America, Indigenous Peoples have less access to education and health services, are more likely to die from preventable diseases, suffer higher infant-mortality rates, and experience higher levels of poverty than non-Indigenous Peoples.

The same general pattern holds internationally, and because of gender discrimination, the pattern is most entrenched for Indigenous women. Today, the human rights -- and very survival of -- Indigenous Peoples are increasingly threatened, as states and corporations battle for control of the Earth's dwindling supply of natural resources, many of which are located on Indigenous territories.

One key concern of Indigenous women is gender-based violence. For Indigenous women, violence doesn't only stem from gender discrimination and women's subordination within their families and communities. It also arises from attitudes and policies that violate collective Indigenous rights. As Dr. Myrna Cunningham, an internationally recognized Indigenous leader, says, "For Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous women, exercising our rights -- both as Indigenous Peoples and as women -- depends on securing legal recognition of our collective ancestral territories, which are the basis of our identities, our cultures, our economies, and our traditions." MORE

No Men Allowed! The Satya Interview with Rebecca Lolosoli

PDF:UN Documents: Mairin Iwanka Raya:Indigenous Women Stand Against Violence

One notices that some of the articles on the women, for example Ms. Emily Wax's for the Washington Post, carefully leave out the fact that the women were raped by British soldiers, thereby giving the impression that it was their own men who had pulled that off. The omission was also noted on her profile on the World Water Council website, again against the background of happily enumerating teh many and varied ways in which her fellow male tribe members had contributed to her oppression. funny that.
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This isn't mine ladies and gents, its From Diary of an Anxious Black Woman

My Super Post: Black Feminist Legacies

Historical Figures:

Anna Julia Cooper (1858-1964): black feminist intellectual who was the first African American woman to earn her PhD at the Sorbonne in Paris. Her dissertation explored the political impetus for the Haitian Revolution, which precedes the important intellectual work of CLR James' The Black Jacobins (see a recent biography that came out last year: Vivian May's Anna Julia Cooper: Visionary Black Feminist) . She was also equal to (and definitely influenced) more famous intellectuals such as W.E.B. DuBois. Her 1892 manifesto, A Voice from the South, should be included in every feminist canon offered in Women's Studies (lo and behold, it is not included, hence leading ill-informed and miseducated bloggers of today to make ignorant statements that women of color don't criticize sexism in their own communities!). An important quote from A Voice from the South: "When and where I enter, the Negro race enters with me."MORE
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via:[livejournal.com profile] skywardprodigal

Passing as White: Anita Hemmings 1897

When Anita Florence Hemmings applied to Vassar in 1893, there was nothing in her records to indicate that she would be any different from the 103 other girls who were entering the class of 1897. But by August 1897, the world as well as the college had discovered her secret: Anita Hemmings was Vassar’s first black graduate — more than 40 years before the college opened its doors to African Americans.MORE


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full article archived

via:[livejournal.com profile] spiralsheep who has some more links available.

Link here

Paris liberation made 'whites only'
By Mike Thomson
Presenter, Document, BBC Radio 4
French troops march through Paris, 18 June 1945, pic credit: Eric Deroo
Many of the "French" division which led the liberation of Paris were Spanish

Papers unearthed by the BBC reveal that British and American commanders ensured that the liberation of Paris on 25 August 1944 was seen as a "whites only" victory.
Many who fought Nazi Germany during World War II did so to defeat the vicious racism that left millions of Jews dead.
Yet the BBC's Document programme has seen evidence that black colonial soldiers - who made up around two-thirds of Free French forces - were deliberately removed from the unit that led the Allied advance into the French capital.
By the time France fell in June 1940, 17,000 of its black, mainly West African colonial troops, known as the Tirailleurs Senegalais, lay dead.
Many of them were simply shot where they stood soon after surrendering to German troops who often regarded them as sub-human savages.
Their chance for revenge came in August 1944 as Allied troops prepared to retake Paris. But despite their overwhelming numbers, they were not to get it.

'More desirable'

The leader of the Free French forces, Charles de Gaulle, made it clear that he wanted his Frenchmen to lead the liberation of Paris.
I have told Colonel de Chevene that his chances of getting what he wants will be vastly improved if he can produce a white infantry division
General Frederick Morgan
Allied High Command agreed, but only on one condition: De Gaulle's division must not contain any black soldiers.
In January 1944 Eisenhower's Chief of Staff, Major General Walter Bedell Smith, was to write in a memo stamped, "confidential": "It is more desirable that the division mentioned above consist of white personnel.
"This would indicate the Second Armoured Division, which with only one fourth native personnel, is the only French division operationally available that could be made one hundred percent white."
At the time America segregated its own troops along racial lines and did not allow black GIs to fight alongside their white comrades until the late stages of the war.
Read more... )</td></tr> </tbody></table> A document written by the British General, Frederick Morgan, to Allied Supreme Command stated: "It is unfortunate that the only French formation that is 100% white is an armoured division in Morocco.
"Every other French division is only about 40% white. I have told Colonel de Chevene that his chances of getting what he wants will be vastly improved if he can produce a white infantry division."
Finding an all-white division that was available proved to be impossible due to the enormous contribution made to the French Army by West African conscripts.
So, Allied Command insisted that all black soldiers be taken out and replaced by white ones from other units.
When it became clear that there were not enough white soldiers to fill the gaps, soldiers from parts of North Africa and the Middle East were used instead.

Pensions cut

In the end, nearly everyone was happy. De Gaulle got his wish to have a French division lead the liberation of Paris, even though the shortage of white troops meant that many of his men were actually Spanish.
We were colonised by the French. We were forced to go to war... France has not been grateful. Not at all.
Issa Cisse
Former French colonial soldier
The British and Americans got their "Whites Only" Liberation even though many of the troops involved were North African or Syrian.
For France's West African Tirailleurs Senegalais, however, there was little to celebrate.
Despite forming 65% of Free French Forces and dying in large numbers for France, they were to have no heroes' welcome in Paris.
After the liberation of the French capital many were simply stripped of their uniforms and sent home. To make matters even worse, in 1959 their pensions were frozen.
Former French colonial soldier, Issa Cisse from Senegal, who is now 87 years-old, looks back on it all with sadness and evident resentment.
"We, the Senegalese, were commanded by the white French chiefs," he said.
"We were colonised by the French. We were forced to go to war. Forced to follow the orders that said, do this, do that, and we did. France has not been grateful. Not at all."
Mike Thomson presents Radio 4's Document at 2000BST on Monday 6 April
Read more... )
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Vaccines and Medical Experiments on Children, Minorities, Woman and Inmates

Think U.S. health authorities have never conducted outrageous medical experiments on children, women, minorities, homosexuals and inmates? Think again: This timeline, originally put together by Dani Veracity (a NaturalNews reporter), has been edited and updated with recent vaccination experimentation programs in Maryland and New Jersey. Here's what's really happening in the United States when it comes to exploiting the public for medical experimentation:

(1845 - 1849)

J. Marion Sims, later hailed as the "father of gynecology," performs medical experiments on enslaved African women without anesthesia. These women would usually die of infection soon after surgery. Based on his belief that the movement of newborns' skull bones during protracted births causes trismus, he also uses a shoemaker's awl, a pointed tool shoemakers use to make holes in leather, to practice moving the skull bones of babies born to enslaved mothers (Brinker).


New York pediatrician Henry Heiman infects a 4-year-old boy whom he calls "an idiot with chronic epilepsy" with gonorrhea as part of a medical experiment ("Human Experimentation: Before the Nazi Era and After").


Dr. Arthur Wentworth turns 29 children at Boston's Children's Hospital into human guinea pigs when he performs spinal taps on them, just to test whether the procedure is harmful (Sharav).


Harvard professor Dr. Richard Strong infects prisoners in the Philippines with cholera to study the disease; 13 of them die. He compensates survivors with cigars and cigarettes. During the Nuremberg Trials, Nazi doctors cite this study to justify their own medical experiments (Greger, Sharav).


Dr. Hideyo Noguchi of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research publishes data on injecting an inactive syphilis preparation into the skin of 146 hospital patients and normal children in an attempt to develop a skin test for syphilis. Later, in 1913, several of these children's parents sue Dr. Noguchi for allegedly infecting their children with syphilis ("Reviews and Notes: History of Medicine: Subjected to Science: Human Experimentation in America before the Second World War").


Medical experimenters "test" 15 children at the children's home St. Vincent's House in Philadelphia with tuberculin, resulting in permanent blindness in some of the children. Though the Pennsylvania House of Representatives records the incident, the researchers are not punished for the experiments ("Human Experimentation: Before the Nazi Era and After").


Dr. Joseph Goldberger, under order of the U.S. Public Health Office, produces Pellagra, a debilitating disease that affects the central nervous system, in 12 Mississippi inmates to try to find a cure for the disease. One test subject later says that he had been through "a thousand hells." In 1935, after millions die from the disease, the director of the U.S Public Health Office would finally admit that officials had known that it was caused by a niacin deficiency for some time, but did nothing about it because it mostly affected poor African-Americans. During the Nuremberg Trials, Nazi doctors used this study to try to justify their medical experiments on concentration camp inmates (Greger; Cockburn and St. Clair, eds.).


(1932-1972) The U.S. Public Health Service in Tuskegee, Ala. diagnoses 400 poor, black sharecroppers with syphilis but never tells them of their illness nor treats them; instead researchers use the men as human guinea pigs to follow the symptoms and progression of the disease. They all eventually die from syphilis and their families are never told that they could have been treated (Goliszek, University of Virginia Health System Health Sciences Library).MORE

EDIT: The last two items re: vaccination on the list are however very very suspect.
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via: promethus 6

Family Properties: Race, Real Estate, and the Exploitation of Black Urban America (Hardcover)

In "Family Properties," she explains that it was not poverty that made black Chicagoans vulnerable to the likes of Jay Goran, because in 1960 two-thirds of the city's whites and 63 percent of its black residents had comparably modest incomes. Rather, she contends, the blame belongs squarely on "the racially biased credit policies of the nation's banking industry" and particularly the pre-1965 Federal Housing Administration.

Following procedures in effect since the 1930s, appraisers rated properties using a color scheme: green for all-white areas, blue and yellow for areas with some foreigners or Jews, and red for areas with black residents. "The FHA's appraisal policies," Satter writes, "meant that blacks were excluded by definition from most mortgage loans" and that "the presence of a single black family usually led to mortgage redlining" of an entire neighborhood. Non-commercial purchasers (white as well as black) found themselves unable to obtain loans in those locations. Speculators like Goran pressed frightened white homeowners to sell, then quickly "flipped" the houses to families like the Boltons, who had no alternative method for buying a home.
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If god is the foundation for knowledge, then such knowledge has alwasy had very non-objective consequences, objectivity has always been directed against the culturally designated inferior.

-Frantz Fanon
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Ben Harper & Rentless7 - Shimmer and Shine

Who were Death?

thubmnail icon: New Old Death - "Politicians In My Eyes"

Brothers David, Bobby and Dannis Hackney started making music together in 1971, when David, the eldest, was 19 and Dannis, the youngest, was 16. Like many young African-American musicians, our primary influences were soul and funk music. This changed after seeing Iggy And The Stooges live. We started listening to more rock, stuff like Alice Cooper and Led Zeppelin. When the Who's Quadrophenia came out, David became convinced that nothing was more important than rock and roll. In 1974, we put together a demo tape with the most rocking name we could think of: DEATH.

What happened?

Death - Politicians In My Eyes Album out 2/17
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via[livejournal.com profile] hari_michi

The Chance to Change
Kevin Coval

today two Black girls will call the white house home
and a Black woman is first lady
and tonight will sleep next to her Black husband
in the master bedroom in the white house.
she will wake to plan the future
of all that china and crystal
when dignitaries dine in the coming years
she will descend the staircase in a gown.

today an African president is crowned in america.
he is the first and the forty-fourth
but today he is just
the first.
the number one will be
recorded for history books
though today is due to millions.
Fredrick Douglass and Shirley Chisholm
and today is so much Harold Washington
and the millions who organized and fought
to ensure the first was possible.

and today one in nine black men age
twenty to thirty four remains imprisoned
and today a Chicago mother will identify
her son's body as the moon wanes
in the night sky of the murder capital.

and today the body count escalates in Iraq
and Palestine and the war on drugs
in the same Southside streets today's
first learned from the ghost
hands of Ida B. Wells and Saul Alinsky,
where he met with folks with bodies
whose bodies are sick and tired from work
or looking and today the chance
of a Black boy graduating from a public school
that the first's secretary of education designate oversaw
and has an unconscionably low, failing grade.

and today is a celebration
and the Chicagoans who stand on the mall in DC
where slaves were once sold will think of brisk cool
as spring and the Virginians may frighten at the frost.

and today is so much Jackie Robinson
and Hank Aaron is yet to come
and the first is a promise, a finger forward
a new record, a Barak Obama in the whitened
ledger of american civics class, an implicit oath
of a number infinitely larger than one.

today is a celebration
and continuation in the hope of democracy
and as the first Black President in the United States
said in Grant Park

near a Great Lake
in the proudest and greatest
and most segregated of cities,
this is a chance to change

the open door, extended hand, rolled sleeves
the chance to fine tune and fix
dismantle and rebuild and completely reimagine
and imagine

that the ancestors and angels who tonight dance
over the eyelids of two black girls sleeping safe
in the white house,

may the ancestors and angels parade too
in the shared rooms of every child
from the Westside to the West Bank

today is a day to dream
and ready for the work
that is


Dec. 31st, 2008 11:02 am
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Latter-Day Protest? Proposition 8 and Sports

If you know [Bob]Beamon's name it's almost certainly because he won the long jump gold medal in legendary fashion at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.


But you may not know that Beamon almost never made it to Mexico City. Along with eight other teammates, Beamon had his track and field scholarship revoked from the University of Texas at El Paso, the previous year. They had refused to compete against Brigham Young University. Beamon and his teammates were protesting the racist practices of the Mormon Church, and their coach at UTEP, Wayne Vanderburge, made them pay the ultimate price.

They weren't alone. As tennis great Arthur Ashe wrote in his book, Hard Road to Glory, "In October 1969, fourteen black [football] players at the University of Wyoming publicly criticized the Mormon Church and appealed to their coach, Lloyd Eaton, to support their right not to play against Brigham Young University. . . . The Mormon religion at the time taught that blacks could not attain to the priesthood, and that they were tainted by the curse of Ham, a biblical figure. Eaton, however, summarily dropped all fourteen players from the squad."

The players, though, didn't take their expulsion lying down. They called themselves the Black 14 and sued for damages with the support of the NAACP. In an October 25th game against San Jose State, the entire San Jose team wore black armbands to support the 14.

One aftershock of this episode was in November 1969, when Stanford University President Kenneth Pitzer suspended athletic relations with BYU, announcing that Stanford would honor what he called an athlete's "Right of Conscience." The "Right of Conscience" allowed athletes to boycott an event which he or she deemed "personally repugnant." As the Associated Press wrote, "Waves of black protest roll toward BYU, assaulting Mormon belief and leaving BYU officials and students, perplexed, hurt, and maybe a little angry." [Course they were angry. How dare anyone tell them that they and their religion were bigoted little twerps. And of course, the mainstream media is SO sympathetic of the oppressors' feelings you see, and the oppressed, what THEY have feelings? Who cares?]

On June 6th, 1978, as teams were refusing road trips to Utah with greater frequency, and the IRS started to make noises about revoking the church's holy tax-free status, a new revelation came ...

Whether a cynical ploy to avoid the taxman or a coincidence touched by God, the results were the same: Black people were now human in the eyes of the Church.
An idea for the gay comm. and its allies to pursue?


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