At the Very Least, Your Days of Eating Pacific Ocean Fish Are Over

At the Very Least, Your Days of Eating Pacific Ocean Fish Are Over

 

Radiation

Opinion by Gary Stamper

The heart-breaking news from Fukushima just keeps getting worse…a LOT worse…it is, quite simply, an out-of-control flow of death and destruction. TEPCO is finally admitting that radiation has been leaking to the Pacific Ocean all along. and it’s NOT over….

I find myself moving between the emotions of sorrow and anger.

It now appears that anywhere from 300 to possibly over 450 tons of contaminated water that contains radioactive iodone, cesium, and strontium-89 and 90, is flooding into the Pacific Ocean from the Fukushima Daichi site everyday. To give you an idea of how bad that actually is, Japanese experts estimate Fukushima’s fallout at 20-30 times as high as as the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings in 1945

There’s a lot you’re not being told. Oh, the information is out there, but you have to dig pretty deep to find it, and you won’t find it on the corporate-owned evening news.

  • An MSNBC article in April of 2012 reported that seals and polar bears were found to have “external maladies” that consisted of fur loss and open sores, obvious signs of radiation burns from the Fukushima meltdown, despite the conclusions of the article.
  • Fukushima radiation appears to be causing an epidemic of dead and starving Sea Lions in California and the FDA has refused to test for radiation
  • Since the summer of 2011, U.S. scientists have observed several dozen living and dead Pacific Ocean marine mammals with a strangely similar condition of skin sores and hair loss. These animals may be suffering from ‘beta burns,’ which are caused by significant external exposure to ‘beta emitters’ such as radiostrontiums, which were released in copious quantities to the Pacific Ocean at Fukushima Daiichi in 2011
  • .Almost a third more US West Coast newborns may face thyroid problems after Fukushima nuclear disaster
  • Contaminated water from Fukushima reactors could double radioactivity levels of US coastal waters in 5 years — “We were surprised at how quickly the tracer spread”

Radiation

IS THE PACIFIC OCEAN FOOD CHAIN DOOMED? – May 2013 – Incredibly worrisome levels of cesium, including short-lived radioactive cesium-134, have been found near Hawaii in the LOWEST part of the marine food chain: plankton. Levels up the food chain, i.e. fish, whales, seals, due to bioaccumulation, MUST be magnitudes higher in contamination now or soon – stop eating Pacific wild seafood now – Researchers find high cesium in some Pacific plankton

SEAFOOD LOVERS ACROSS THE WORLD – The ‘levels’ of radiation in the seafood you are eating now and in the future certainly contain Fukushima radiation but will be considered ‘safe’ by government scientists. Let’s boil it down quickly: Scientists say the only safe level of radiation is zero. YET, governments set ‘limits’ for radiation in food well above zero. These limits actually increase every decade or so. If you love nuclear power and nuclear weapons complexes, then you should accept these limits as well as the fact that a fraction of our cancer epidemic is blamed on nuclear emissions. If you don’t want people (or yourself) to die of cancer to preserve nuclear power and nuclear weapons, then you should heed the scientific consensus conclusion that the safe level of radiation is zero becquerels of anything. Unless you are a nuclear nut, please protect your own health and regulate your genetic stability for the sake of your children, grandchildren, etc…by NOT EATING SEAFOOD OR CONSUMING ANYTHING MADE IN THE SEA. Learn more about food safety.

KEYPOINTS ABOUT FISH CONTAMINATION

  • Bluefin tuna will grow in radioactivity over years with each migration back to West Pacific; older caught fish will be hotter
  • Media is neglecting March (2012) lab study find that North Pacific albacore ‘tuna fish’ has same Fukushima cesium contaminant
  • All Pacific migratory fish are probably Fukushima contaminated – why isn’t this all over Twitter?
  • Alaska Halibut also found with same Fuku-cesium contaminant – but did not migrate to Japan’s waters. How did cesium-134 get into Alaska halibut?
  • Bluefin tuna in 2012 study aren’t all equally radioactive; sample #8 contained 50% higher cesium concentrations than the average of the 15 samples
  • Bluefin scientists did a most non-stellar job. They cherrypicked isotopes for dose comparison.
  • FDA is telling media and consumers it is ‘testing fish.’ It is testing imports and not testing U.S.-caught wild seafood (billions of pounds caught annually in U.S.) More
  • Cesium-134 is marker for strontium-90 – causes bone cancer and immune-disorders; babies are ‘sponges’ for calcium and strontium
  • Levels in bluefin tuna are similar to record food concentrations in 1960s
  • ECRR (Busby) predicts ’61,600,000 deaths from cancer’ (and 3.5 million baby deaths) ‘from the nuclear project since 1945,’ mostly the 1960s.
  • Bulk of 1960s exposure was internal, largely from ingested FOOD made radioactive from hydrogen bomb test fallout.
  • FDA saying levels are safe is a lie. FDA says its intervention levels will kill people. Downplays risk as ‘small’ compared to our ~40-50% cancer rate. But much of that rate is prolonged fallout effects from 1960s.
  • Baseline levels of manmade-radionuclides in Pacific seafood pre-Fukushima caused some genetic defects and cancers in world population
  • FDA uses faulty dose calculations that lowball rate of cancer carnage by several magnitudes. Genetic harm from cesium’s gamma rays ignored in dose models
  • Alvarez asks would a 1950′s NPR ‘trivialize’ ‘impacts of open-air hydrogen bomb testing?’ You bet. Our government and media is herding us into rail-cars destined for another radioactive holocaust.

Hawaii Is Hot

Hawaii is Hot with Radiation

 

The Veil Between Obama and Black America – Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Veil Between Obama and Black America

    By: Ta-Nehisi Coates
    |  August 30, 2013

    President Barack Obama (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

    In a hard-hitting piece at The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates looks at President Obama’s relationship with the black community in terms of his remarks on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. He compares Obama’s speech to “The Conservation of Races” by W.E.B. Du Bois, a speech that Du Bois is said to have come to look back on with embarrassment.

    Much like Du Bois more than a century ago, Obama positioned himself as an airer of laundry, and speaker of bold, necessary truths:

    And then, if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that during the course of 50 years, there were times when some of us claiming to push for change lost our way. The anguish of assassinations set off self-defeating riots. Legitimate grievances against police brutality tipped into excuse-making for criminal behavior. Racial politics could cut both ways, as the transformative message of unity and brotherhood was drowned out by the language of recrimination. And what had once been a call for equality of opportunity, the chance for all Americans to work hard and get ahead was too often framed as a mere desire for government support — as if we had no agency in our own liberation, as if poverty was an excuse for not raising your child, and the bigotry of others was reason to give up on yourself.

    It goes without saying that the president is using a tank to bravely plow through an army of strawmen. George Will could not have done better. I have met a lot of trifling human beings who happened to be black, and from them, I have heard a lot of trifling excuses for not parenting. I have never met one who cited racism as an excuse for not parenting or for giving on oneself. I doubt that Barack Obama has either …

    Indeed, if we are — as the president asks us to be — honest with ourselves, we will see that we have elected a president who claims to oppose racial profiling one minute, and then flirts with inaugurating the country’s greatest racial profiler the next. If we are honest with ourselves we will see that we have a president who can condemn the riots as “self-defeating,” but can’t see his way clear to enforce the fair housing law that came out of them. If we are honest with ourselves we will see a president who believes in particular black morality, but eschews particular black policy.

    It is heartbreaking to see this. But it is also clarifying.

    Read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ entire piece at The Atlantic.

    TA-NEHISI COATES is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful StruggleMORE

    Obama Offered “The Tranquilizing Drug of Gradualism” – Dr. Wilmer Leon

     In His March on Washington Speech, Obama Offered “The Tranquilizing Drug of Gradualism”

    Dr. Wilmer Leon

     By Dr. Wilmer J. Leon, III

    weopwepospwp

    “We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy.” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. August 28, 1963

    During the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom there was a lot of discussion about the “then” vs. “now”.  Has the “Dream” been realized?  Are we in a post-racial America? How did the 50th anniversary March compare to the first?

    The answer to the first question is an emphatic “NO”. As I have written and lectured on a number of occasions, to refer to Dr. King’s message as a dream misses the point of the speech. Over the years Dr. King’s revolutionary message has been hijacked, compromised and relegated to being that of just a dreamer, not the lucid and radical ideas of a man seeking solutions to how a people can overcome oppression and racism. To cast King in the light of a dreamer allows people to be convinced that substantive change resulting from clear vision and direct action is not necessary.

    Are we in a post-racial America? No, and that’s a ridiculous question.  I havewritten to this point as well. America cannot be close to being post racial when a candidate for president has to run a deracialized campaign in order to make the masses comfortable with the obvious aesthetic. This is not a post-racial America when the unemployment rate in the African American community is more than double the national average and the wealth accumulation of the average European American family is 20 times that of the average African American family.

    How did the 50th anniversary March compare to the first? Comparisons are natural due to the fact that the two marches were convened to address many of the same issues. The fact that 50 years later, speakers still addressed issues such as unemployment, jobs, civil liberties, education, health care, support for social programs and protection against police brutality made for easy yet unfortunate comparisons. It is understandable that people will try to make qualitative and quantitative assessments between similar events.

    While there might be some obvious and natural similarities between the two marches they are also quite different. Their political contexts are very different.

    Leading up to the 1963 March, civil rights organizations such as CORE, SNCC, SCLC and the NAACP were engaged in non-v*****t direct action.  There was a three pronged strategy to bring pressure upon the executive branch and other branches of government to recognize and protect the civil rights of Negros of the day.  This pressure was being applied in the streets (sit-ins, boycotts, and marches), the courts (Brown v. Board of Education, etc.) and the legislature (civil rights laws, voting, and public accommodations). It was the struggle of a people to be included into the social, economic and legal mainstream of America.

    Due to the constant pressure that the Civil Rights Movement brought to bear upon the government which culminated with the 63’ March, President Kennedy reluctantly came to support what would become the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Torn between the moral reality of the Movement and practical Southern electoral politics, Kennedy in June of 63’gave a nationally televised address where he stated, “A great change is at hand, and our task, our obligation, is to make that revolution, that change, peaceful and constructive for all.” He then asked Congress to enact a civil rights bill that would remove race from consideration “in American life or law.”

    After Kennedy’s assassination, President Johnson would support and sign the 1964 Civil Rights Act, along with the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and the Fair Housing Act. In seizing the initiative, Johnson stated, “…rarely in any time does an issue lay bare the secret heart of America itself. The issue of equal rights for American Negroes is such an issue. And should we defeat every enemy, should we double our wealth and conquer the stars, and still be unequal to this issue, then we will have failed as a people and as a nation… Wednesday I will send to Congress a law designed to eliminate illegal barriers to the right to vote.”

    It is important to understand what both Kennedy and Johnson said and did to bring about substantive change in American society. Today, due to complacency and the fallacy that those who dare criticize the president should turn in their “Black Card”, there has been virtually no pressure on the current administration to work with the Congressional Black Caucus to propose and fight for targeted legislation that addresses the interests of the African American community.

    As a result of orchestrated efforts by of some in the extremist wing of the Republican Party and the complacency of the Black electorate after the election of President Obama, many of the civil rights gained from the movement and culminating in the 1963 March (affirmative action, voting rights, and protections against police brutality) have been eviscerated.  The focus of the struggle has shifted away from inclusion into mainstream America to futile efforts to hang onto the gains that were hard fought and won in the 1960’s.

    The 2013 March on Washington was a wonderful commemoration and tribute to the past, but it failed to articulate a legislative agenda and plan to pressure the Obama administration and Congress to address disparities in mass incarceration, home foreclosure, unemployment or education.

    In 1963 President Kennedy stayed in the White House, choosing to watch the March on television. He was afraid that the March would turn into a riot. In 2013 President Obama was the keynote speaker. Many see this as progress.

    During his speech President Obama applauded the struggles and successes of the past and with soaring rhetoric talked about the promise of tomorrow. He did not propose any substantive legislative initiatives to address the suffering of today and ask those in attendance to go back to their homes and hamlets and work with him to defeat legislative gridlock.

    He offered the “tranquilizing drug of gradualism”.

    Dr. Wilmer Leon, an OUR COMMON GROUND Voice, is the Producer/ Host of the Sirisu/XM Satellite radio channel 110 call-in talk radio program “Inside the Issues with Wilmer Leon” Go to www.wilmerleon.com or email:wjl3us@yahoo.comwww.twitter.com/drwleon and Dr. Leon’s Prescription at Facebook.com

    © 2013 InfoWave Communications, LLC

    04-06 Wiler Leon

    Rape and Murder in the US Army – PFC LaVena L. Johnson

    lavena_beretU.S. Army Private LaVena Lynn Johnson, RIP

    By 

    August 4, 2008

    According to the U.S. Department of Defense, Private LaVena Lynn Johnson killed herself on July 19, 2005, eight days before her twentieth birthday. Exactly how did she end her life? She punched herself in the face hard enough to blacken her eyes, break her nose, and knock her front teeth loose. She douched with an acid solution after mutilating her genital area. She poured a combustible liquid on herself and set it afire. She then shot herself in the head. Despite this massive self-inflicted trauma, she somehow managed to drag her then fully clothed body into the tent of a KBR contractor, leaving a trail of blood along the way and set the tent ablaze in a failed attempt to cover up her crimes against herself.

    If this story sounds plausible to you, you may have missed your calling as an officer in the U.S. Army, because Army officers, speaking with a straight face, would have you believe that such a thing is not only possible, but actually happened.

    In reality, LaVena Johnson was raped, beaten, and murdered by someone on a military base in Balad, Iraq, and the Army doesn’t want you to know about it. Army officers most especially didn’t want her parents to know about it, so they concocted the suicide story, informing them that their daughter had shot herself in the head in her barracks.

    When LaVena’s body was returned to her parents, however, her father, Dr. John Johnson, immediately noticed that her nose was broken and her lip was torn. He was surprised to discover that her gloves were glued to her hands (as it turns out, to hide burns). As a former military man himself, he also recognized that the exit wound from the bullet could not possibly have come from the weapon the military claimed LaVena used to kill herself. He knew then that the Army was lying to him, that his daughter had been murdered. He made these discoveries three years ago. Today, the Army is still lying to him, and to us.

    LaVena Johnson enlisted in the U.S. Army after graduating from a Missouri high school because she believed it was right to serve her country. She loved America, was very patriotic, and she thought joining the military was the best way to express that patriotism. Although her mother had assumed that her daughter, a violinist and honor student, would go straight to college, LaVena had made other plans. After her death, her company commander described her as having been “clearly happy” during her time in the Service. She enjoyed her job, took pride in it, and cared about the U.S. Army.

    Unfortunately, the Army did not care about her. In fact, the disdain and contempt in which the Army held — and continues to hold — her seems to have no bounds. Her father stated last year in an interview given for a Missouri television station that the U.S. Army “turned on her” after her murder. I differ with Dr. Johnson on onlyone point: the U.S. Army never did give a damn about his daughter.

    After filing a FOIA request for release of a CD-ROM contained in LaVena’s file but withheld from the family for over two years, and under added pressure from a congressman, the Army finally gave the Johnsonsthe CD. On it they found horrific photographs from the autopsy thatclearly showed the extent of their daughter’s injuries. It proved that the original black and white photos of LaVena’s body originally sent to them had been doctored. Also on the disk were damning sketches of the crime scene that gave her parents further information contradicting the Army’s statements.

    In a heart-wrenching interview conducted last month with LaVena’s parents, her mother, Linda Johnson, describes the members of the military responsible for this cover-up as “lying demons.”

    One wonders whether LaVena would have enlisted in the Army if she had known that Veterans Administration statistics show that one third of the women who serve in the military are victims of sexual assault by a fellow soldier. Or if she had known about an emerging pattern of “suicides” of women soldiers who were also victims of sexual assault.

    According to the Department of Defense FY 07 Report on Sexual Assault in the Military,

    “The Army remains committed to thoroughly investigate and take appropriate action in all unrestricted reports of sexual assault,” and the Department of Defense “continues its commitment to eradicate sexual assault in the military services.”

    Military leaders have no real interest in stopping sexual assaults. If they did, LaVena Johnson’s rape and murder would be included in their statistics. But they would rather not admit that these crimes occur if theydon’t have to. So, if the victim is dead, all the better. Just report that death as a suicide.

    LaVena Johnson was awarded a posthumous promotion to Private First Class, a bone thrown to her family, no doubt. But her spirit cries out for justice. Please call your representatives in Congress and demand action on her case. The telephone number for the U.S. Capitol switchboard is 202/224-3121. Please help her parents to obtain a proper investigation of their daughter’s death. The major media have ignored LaVena’s story, and without a vociferous public demand for action the government will continue to stonewall.

    LaVena Johnson was raped and murdered. Do not let the military sweep this under the rug.

    August 4, 2008

    Elizabeth Higgs [send her mail] is a wife and mother living in Covington, Louisiana.

    For more Information about this case

    Will Black People Be Forever Lost IN/AS Symbols ? – Dr. Tommy J. Curry, The Nationalist

    29TH AUG 2013

     THE NATIONALIST

    Will Black People Be Forever Lost IN/AS Symbols ?

    By: Dr. Tommy J. Curry

    I listened to Bill Clinton say “this march and that speech changed America, they opened minds and melted hearts,” or Obama’s speech that held that “on the battlefield of justice men and women without rank, wealth, titles, or fame would liberate us all.” I listen to these sentiments and I become confused: how is it possible that in practically every sector of Black society that we can celebrate both the life of King and the symbolization of that life drowned out by the incessant repetition of judging people not by the color of their skin but the content of their character.

    I am not puzzled by the misinterpretation of King, as much as I am by the willingness of Black people, the poor, and the marginalized to continue believing that a government which continually builds its prison and military industrial complex is interested in any notion of justice. Was this not the foundation of King’s point, that a racist imperial nation that exploited and militarily dominated the darker world could never be free, much less just? I am struck by the belief DuBois warns Blacks against in 1962 that “justice for Black America,” is held by their complacency in the oppression of themselves (economically, politically, socially) rather than actual freedom.

    The symbolic nature of Black existence in America allows Obama who advocates imperialism and a conservative ethos of Black self-sustenance next to King whose unionism and boycotts had radical Black socialist leanings, if not a worlds-system approach to understanding the necessity of white domination and imperialism. And instead of pointing out the incongruity, the contradiction of the March on Washington 50 years later, Black academics are continuing to de-radicalize King so that Obama is the continuation of his dream.  This is dangerous. It is dangerous when Black political aspirations become vacuous, and able to be filled in by any interpretation and fantasy academics, white liberals, and Black economic interest the imagination can muster. It is dangerous when Black people who are subject to the governmental repression of the police state, or disenfranchised by the Supreme Court, or unemployed under a Black president continue to believe that their interests, their hopes, the political future they aspire towards is encapsulated by the symbolic representation of a president, and celebrity policy and opinion makers that do not come from them or fundamentally care about their condition.

    Subscribe to The Nationalist and read more of Dr. Tommy J. Curry

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    9-14-13 Curry

    Oprah Winfrey’s Butlers – Lee Daniels and Tyler Perry

    Oprah Winfrey’s Butlers – Lee Daniels and Tyler Perry


    BY TANYA STEELE

    AUGUST 21, 2013

    I have a knot in my heart. It was in my throat, it moved along. Eventually, I am sure it will suffocate me if I don’t get this out. Black women, listen, we’ve got to stand up. We need to be mad as hell and not take it anymore.

    Please indulge me because I am, admittedly, angry. And, before anyone starts rolling their eyes, I am not an angry black woman (whatever the fuck that is). I put compassion and understanding at the center of all things. Having survived sexual abuse as a child. And, rape as an adult, I have a right to be angry. But, no, I have decided that compassion is essential if I am to walk amongst humans. Because human beings do some foul shit.

    The first person I encountered outside of the theater, as I went in to see ‘The Butler’, was a young black woman with a dishrag in her hand. She waited, patiently, for the men to exit the toilets so she could clean the bathroom. People like this woman and the butler have not been on black folk’s agenda for decades. So, why now? Is it simply a good story, provides a good arc and has potential for an Oscar run?

    I watched Oprah’s talk show, continuously, for many years. Struggling after film school, I watched one of her home makeover shows. On the show, a lamp was apart of the makeover. She said something along the lines of “If you can’t afford this lamp, you are not doing something right.” The lamp was $20. I couldn’t afford it. And, I was one of those black people who had done everything right. I also thought about my family, in rural North Carolina, that lived in a trailer. At 23, I went to find my father’s family. They knew nothing about me (this is a story for another day). Anyway, fearless, I wanted to know this side of my family.

    One cousin lived in a trailer. Children were everywhere. I mean, everywhere. And, the women were, what is considered, dark, overweight and opinionated.  At 4pm, all of the women and children gathered around the television. I wondered what was going on. I asked what was coming on. “Oprah”, my cousin said. She then gave me a side eye and asked, “You got any children?” I knew a ‘no’ was going to bring harsh judgment. But, I gripped the couch and, barely, uttered the word, “No.” Oprah’s show began, thank goodness. No one in that room, in full support of and offering unconditional love to Oprah, could afford that lamp.

    We cannot underestimate her influence on American culture. We cannot yet determine how her presence has impacted the landscape. Unlike my mother’s generation, I grew up hearing conversations about child molestation, abuse against women, all of the things that remained in the shadows for centuries. Oprah brought all of that to the center of the conversation. She made it visible. In this regard, she is a heroine of the highest order. To speak, in spite of the shame that sexual violation rains upon you, is serious. And, she did it before the world. And, she did it in triumph.

    I watched Oprah’s performance in ‘The Butler’ and I thought about her ‘lamp’ statement. I wondered if the character she portrayed could have afforded that lamp. Would that lamp have been a priority for her character? And, yes, probably. The film is an homage to the middle class. It honors hard work, discipline, loyalty to family, black men who put family before “running the streets”. Unfortunately, we are never inside of the Butler’s head. We don’t experience what he thinks or feels about the unique situation he is in. This is a script issue. The writer didn’t see the world through his eyes.

    I am not anti-‘The Butler’. I do not feel that ‘The Butler’ is the male version of the ‘The Help’. I do think Lee Daniels is thoughtful about his work. I do think he has an agenda. What that is, I don’t know. I think the Butler’s story is a moving one. Do I think Lee pulled it off in this film, no. I think it is Lee’s best film to date. So far, he has directed ‘Precious’ and ‘Shadow Boxer’. You can determine if this being his “best film” is significant in light of his track record.

    I am, however, anti-Precious. The film was exaggerated horror and poverty pornography. Like Sapphire, I knew the population that she worked with. I, too, worked with girls in group homes. Girls that have survived unthinkable horrors. And, let me tell you, like Oprah, they are some of the most creative, complex and extraordinary girls on the planet. I have known girls that got their heads bashed into the sidewalk by their mother and could dress up in a fierceness that would shame a Parisian runway. Trauma does not equal despair, fatigue or isolation. Depression is not the only result.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I was in consideration to write the screenplay for ‘Push’. Ultimately, Lee made his choice. And, it would have been a much different movie had I penned it. But, I went to see it with an open mind and heart, hoping the best for Lee Daniels. Because, in my eyes, black representation trumps all. It is not about me, it is about the images that, ultimately, wind up on the screen. And, to me, Precious was beyond disappointing. But, you see, it received “the stamp” from Sundance, etc. A stamp that was misplaced because white liberals wouldn’t know an “authentic” black narrative if it hit them in the face. It is easier to accept the idea that black people are depraved, grotesque and horrifying than to understand our nuance. But, Lee Daniels got what he wanted- a platform for his demons.

    Where am I going with this? Here. And, perhaps you can help me. For the life of me, I cannot understand why Ms. Winfrey supports black filmmakers whose work denigrates black women. Yes, I am referring to Tyler Perry and Lee Daniels. Help me to understand this. Madea?! Madea. Really?!

    Now, mind you, I have had to make sense of Madea for myself. Clearly, black people are underrepresented in cinema. Elderly black women, especially. Church going women as well. I get it. There is an emotional connection to the “idea” of Madea that black people may be responding to. Unfortunately, it is hyperbolic and exaggerated. Kind of like Precious, but, the opposite. I’ve watched Tyler Perry’s stage shows on youtube. Only because I needed to understand what people were watching. Okay, I get it. Where in American culture, are you going to hear someone crooning Vandross or Phil Perry? There is an emotional connection, a validation of experience in Tyler Perry’s work that folks can’t get elsewhere.

    And, I believe in freedom of expression. So, here’s mine. We have to expect better. We have to do better. We have to stop making a joke out of black women. We have to stop looking at black women as the shrew. Which is what Oprah was in the butler. Oprah was in a Tennessee Williams play while everyone else was in the movie ‘The Butler’. Oprah appears to be angling so hard for an Oscar that she cut off from the rest of the cast and did her own thing. The moments where she showed serious chops were when she was in step with the cast.

    Oprah was in a film where the two lead black women were foul (although Yaya DaCosta was a beautiful representation of a black woman from that period). Lee, ultimately, maligned Yaya’s character. He built up this amazing black woman only to undercut all that he had done in one, ridiculous, moment. The two women then go on to detest one another. The black men in the film, however, take care of each other.

    Honestly, the best thing about ‘The Butler’, well, other than Forest Whitaker’s sublime performance, was the camaraderie of the black men. That was a thing of beauty. And, it was good to see a relationship between a black man and a black woman that unfolded over time. But, honestly, for most of the film, I wondered why the butler was with such a, glaringly, haunted woman. It made no sense. Oprah’s character could have been sister to the mother in Precious. Did Oprah and Mo’nique share the same acting coach? Oprah has gifts that are unique to her that were not called upon. Oprah’s charm, wit and intellect are her light. Blinded by trinkets like ‘The Oscar’, we got regurgitated Mo’nique.

    Why is Oprah supporting these “filmmakers” who have shown very little respect for black women? Is the dream of ‘the Oscar’ and the cash flow all that important? Perhaps it is. As Oprah stated, she still has dreams. One of them, it seems, is to get an Oscar. And, let me tell you, these black folks are going to get that Oscar if it kills them. Even if they have to pay for it. That’s cool, that’s the marketplace. But, in the midst of the journey, can we show some love to black women? Oprah knows our story. Oprah is aware of the particular pains that black women experience. Is it fair to burden her with “proper representation”? No, I am not asking for that. I love drama. I love haunted characters. I believe in exalted drama. It is possible to work with people who write the hell out of the black experience with sensitivity and depth. Find them! Ms. Winfrey, have a black woman write the Henrietta Lacks story because NO ONE, NO ONE, will write her life like a black woman writer. A black woman who understands what it is to be violated in the most intimate regions of our being.

    Recently, a friend sent a video interview to me. In the interview, Oprah asks Tyler Perry (of all people), “Why is it, that you think, Hollywood doesn’t see a consistent space for roles for black women?”  The real question is, why don’t you two see a consistent space for talented black women writers and filmmakers? That’s the question. Why aren’t you all employing and lifting us up?! Black women will flock to the theaters if Oprah began to create portraits of black women that sing us true. The way to make this happen is to hire black women to tell our fucking stories. And, if you don’t know where to find us ask Lee Daniels, he knows.

    As we prepare for the 50th anniversary of the ‘March on Washington’ let us all remember, ain’t nobody cared about the butler or the woman cleaning the toilets -for generations. The Black 1% has to learn to lift up all black folks -not just the ones whose stories have the potential to garner an Oscar or a bright new shiny lamp.

     

    Follow Tanya Steele on Twitter at @digtanya. Or on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SteeleInk. Or visit digtanya.com.

    Article Appears in Shadow and Act

    American Racist Magic – Son of Baldwin

    The literary, sociopolitical, sexual, pop-cultural blog. Live from Bedford-Stuyvesant

    American Racist Magic

    Dear America,

    Why was it that, in most of the reporting for the story regarding Chris Lane’s horrific murder, you first showed photos that all three murderers were black?


    Then, you showed photos of just two of the three murderers, both of whom were black?


    And then, after days of reporting, you finally showed a picture of all three murderers, one of whom was white:


    But most of your reporting is STILL focusing on the two black boys instead of the white boy who, through American Racist Magic, was the only one not charged with murder even though he drove the getaway car (while one of the black boys was a passenger in the car and didn’t pull the trigger)?

    Also, why haven’t you yet apologized to the black boy you misidentified in the first photo?

     

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