So Many Black People Locked Up it has Warped our Sense of RealityApril 23, 2016 0 45Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter Prisoners from Sacramento County await processing after arriving at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Deuel Vocational Institution (DVI) in Tracy, Calif. (Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press)For as long as the government has kept track, the economic statistics have shown a troubling racial gap. Black people are twice as likely as white people to be out of work and looking for a job. This fact was as true in 1954 as it is today.The most recent report puts the white unemployment rate at around 4.5 percent. The black unemployment rate? About 8.8 percent.But the economic picture for black Americans is far worse than those statistics indicate. The unemployment rate only measures people who are both living at home and actively looking for a job.The hitch: A lot of black men aren’t living at home and can’t look for jobs — because they’re behind bars. READ MORE
“The #HotSauceMatters Interview”
“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid” — Audre Lorde
My consciousness is not arranged in such a way that I view any good person’s life as inherently more valuable than any other good person’s life. We all have value. We are all inherently valuable. The unjust arrangement of this world is premised on the notion that some humans are more human than others and therefore inherently more valuable. As I observe the posts, statuses, remembrances, reflections, tributes and energy devoted to ensuring Prince’s safe passage to the next realm. I am reminded that while no one life has more inherent value than another, a single life can be profoundly meaningful in its impact and influence. That is to say, one life can be so robust with meaning that it elevates the inherent value not of themselves but of humanity.
We are society very accustomed to biting on the style of an icon and leaving all the substance on the bone. Prince the man, the artist, the visionary, the philanthropist, the quiet activist are inextricably powerful in their meaningfulness because they all emanated from genius anchored in primordial excellence, a sense purpose and passion, ancient wisdom and an understanding that surpassed the colonization of knowing, all fused with a fierce sense of self determination, which like Harriet Tubman, was informed with a get free or die trying spiritness. You can’t get free, if you are too afraid to even acknowledge you are in bondage. Prince was/is clear.
Behind the iconic purple rain was an Oya like tornadic force powered by a prodigious work ethic, mastery of craft, a sense of excellence and a will to be good rather than to simply look good — that he was able to do both is part of his virtuosity too. In an age in which we aspire to be seen without having done anything worth looking at, in which one aspires to be stylistically robust but substantively bereft, in an era where we seem to have forgotten that subtly, allusion and refinement are demonstrations of genius in control of itself, its will and intent, fully aware of its prodigious fertility, conscious of what it is trying to birth. Prince stands as a reminder, a road map, a flashlight on a darkened path that being true to oneself, pursuing your purpose, your destiny may not make you famous, may not make you rich but it damn sure make you profoundly powerful.
What Prince possessed was not the manic individualism that is so characteristic of the ethos of American society but rather an ancient African ethos which speaks to a kind of expressive individualism rooted in a sociology of personhood, that asks us to improvise — speak our own special truth — within a shared cultural mosaic in such a way as to transcend and transform — improve — it without changing its fundamental essence. In many ways, Prince’s life was jazz personified, which is to say Black life set to a funky syncopated rhythm.
Few artist in my lifetime — ok, none — simultaneously embodied the times and presaged them the way Prince did. From the gender flexibility to the provocative dress to the saturation of sex to the empowering of sexuality as an element of spirituality to the narcissism to defining oneself on ones terms to understanding the sign of the times to the necessity of owning ones labor and ones worth. Prince stood firmly within a Black (African) tradition of artist as activist and philanthropist, in this regard Prince was/is closer to Harry Belafonte than Jimi Hendrix.
Nature abhors a vacuum and so too does print and television media, there is air and space to fill, so there will lots of hot air filling space from a media, fascinated by Black life but inured to the point of indifference about Black suffering, mostly about Prince’s art and it/his impact and likely be very little about the man — the Black man — the activist and the philanthropist. This is unfortunate because here there is much to be gleaned from Prince’s life, his work as well as his approach to life, to love, to liberation, and much to teach us about how to convert a life that was inherently valuable just because into a life that was so meaningful that it imbued humanity with additional value.
The image for which Prince became best known for is a stylized Ankh. The ankh is symbol that derives from KMT (the ancient African Nile Valley civilization best known as Egypt). The symbol represents that creative synthesis of complementary parts in fertile harmony; it represented the life giving power of masculine and feminine energy invested in creating eternal possibility, in generating life eternally. The eminent African psychologist Wade Nobles has noted that much of what is useful in African (American) culture is either overlooked or misunderstood due to our inability to understand the role and function of symbolism in African (American) culture. Even when he wasn’t using his name Prince was always speaking truth to power.
The prescient African novelist Ayi Kwei Armah rightly notes in his memoir, The Eloquence of the Scribes that: “ …Connections is a constant motif in all autonomous African culture, it comes from an ethos that says death cannot be the end; that beyond death remain connection, between those here and now, those who were once here but are now elsewhere, and those who, though not yet here, are destined to come some day….Bodies may connect visibly in the here and now; souls are connectors across the present with past and future time.”
Put another way, energy is neither created nor destroyed it merely changes forms. A profoundly meaningful Black man, a comrade in the struggle for a just, egalitarian and verdant world has departed: Next Woman, Next Man up. As Ella Baker, the Civil Rights activist said: “The struggle is eternal. The tribe increases. Somebody else carries on.” They always do — Will it be you?
Maa Kheru Prince, you did your work on the earthly realm; we look forward what your genius in collaboration with the other ancestors will provide us in the ancestral realm and in ours.
We are gathered here today
2 get through this thing called life…
Live. Love. Create Fully,
Source: Sign of the Times — Medium
Is the clock ticking for Rush Limbaugh’s infamous radio show? The man who has done more than anyone besides possibly Roger Ailes in defining the modern day conservative movement is facing a serious contract situation this year. His contract with iHeartRadio (formerly Clear Channel) is about to be up, and frankly, there are good reasons for the behemoth radio corporation to drop him: His ratings are down, his audience is aging, he’s lost advertisers and frankly, there’s a lot of competitors that are equally good at spewing right-wing bile at a much cheaper price tag.
Eight years ago, Limbaugh was flying high. Not only were the Democratic prospects of winning the presidency looking good after eight years of George W. Bush, but neither of the viable candidates for the nomination was a white man. Bad for the Republicans, but in theory, good for Limbaugh, whose show is all about conservative outrage. This is a man who rose to prominence in the ’90s by having daily multi-hour rants about the supposed evils of then-president Bill Clinton. The prospect of another Democrat in office to hate on, especially one who isn’t a white man, must have had him salivating.
Perhaps this is why iHeartRadio, Eric Boehlert of Media Matters reminds us, offered Limbaugh a staggering $400 million contract in the summer of ’08, complete with a $100 million signing bonus.But the past years have not actually been that great for either Limbaugh or iHeartRadio.
“The talker is facing ratings hurdles, aging demographics, and an advertising community that increasingly views him as toxic,” Boehlert writes, “thanks in part to his days-long sexist meltdown over Sandra Fluke in 2012.”
In addition, iHeartRadio’s own finances are in serious trouble, “teetering on bankruptcy,” according to Boehlert. Limbaugh is probably facing a major pay cut, or, worse, being cancelled altogether.
Limbaugh’s troubles mirror the larger problems of the Republican party. The Republicans have spent the past few decades fetishizing the idea of the “real” conservative, driving the party to the right and making it a competition to see who can be the most conservative right wing ideologue of them all. Now that hyper-conservative voting base has decided the Republican party itself is not pure or conservative enough. The result is a flocking to Donald Trump, who can portray himself as a Tea Party-remisicient outsider, a man who isn’t afraid to say or do the other things that the supposed quislings in the party are too afraid to say or do.
Similarly, Limbaugh might be a victim of his own success. When he started getting really popular in the ’90s, right-wing talk radio wasn’t the monster it is now. There was no Fox News. The internet was brand new and there wasn’t a bunch of right wing blogs and message boards. There wasn’t even a Drudge Report.
But Limbaugh’s popularity helped usher in this explosion of right wing media. His high ratings led to radio stations starting up hundreds of imitators, all vying to be the most outrageous with their political incorrectness. His aesthetics and obsessions helped shape the right wing internet as we know it. It’s hard to imagine a world with Fox News, Breitbart, and the Free Republic if Limbaugh hadn’t shown and helped create the enormous appetite for right wing paranoia and bombast.
But now it seems there might be market glut. As Mark Morford of SFGate writes:
But the fact remains: Limbaugh’s superpower days are largely over. The younger generation of hardcore conservative trolls – and they are legion, just ask Trump – they’re finding new outlets, new ways to express their bile, often online (hi, Reddit). After all, who needs old-timer, old-man talk radio when you have the Internet? Who needs Rush when every undereducated right-wing white male can pretend he’s Rush, in chat rooms, Twitter, Facebook and commenting forums?
Of course, as I like to remind my fellow car-free New Yorkers, there will always be a market for radio as long as people are still driving cars, or, more importantly, sitting in traffic. This is why Limbaugh was such a powerhouse in the first place, because he harnessed an outlet that many people, in the TV-obsessed 90s, didn’t even really remember was still an influential medium.
ThyBlackMan.com) Slave to the job. Told what you will earn, what to wear, when to eat, when to arrive, when to leave and what to do. Slave to the church, not to God. Told what to think, what to believe, how to worship, what God said and what you should do to advance man’s plans and agendas. Slave to the government, counting on them to take care of you, rescue you and do what is right to help you. Have we learned nothing from the water in Flint and the broken levies in New Orleans? Slaves wait on others to do for them the very things they should be doing for themselves.
This article is written to liberate your mind, to build your independence and to reaffirm how capable you are – even though you may not know it. It is easier to let people think and make decisions for you – but not better. It is easier to receive free stuff from government entitlement programs until you wake up and realize there is a catch and nothing in life is free. The catch is the surrender of your independence and that is a heavy price to pay because you may never get it back.
We should be creating independent thinkers, not reproducing slaves. Back in the days of official slavery, when people talked like this, one of two things happened. Either they were shunned and exposed to the master by the very slaves they were trying to help. Or those with a mindset that rejected mental and physical slavery were looked to as leaders. But all the while they should have been looked to as examples that waking up, rising up and stepping up to be free was very possible.
Today African American slaves think the same way they thought back then. Waiting o someone to define our worth, help us, save us and rescue us. You don’t think so? Look at the videos of people crying tears of joy when Obama became President. I heard so many people make statements like “he is one of us” or “now somebody will finally help us”. But guess what, though President Obama did accomplish many things, he was not the help that African Americans thought he would be. Do you know why? Because he was never supposed to be. The power to change your life has always been in your hands, not in the hands of any President, pastor, activist leader or corporation. You just have to wake up and realize that is true.
If you have never seen the movie The Last Dragon, you should watch it. Bruce Leroy is seeking answers and looking for the master of his destiny. In a fight against another martial artist feared by many, Bruce Leroy is being beaten badly by Shonuff. Just before Bruce Leroy is drowned, Shonuff asks him “who is the master“. Bruce Leroy finally wakes up and says “I Am“. The leader he has sought was always within and realization of that as a fact elevates him to the level he needed to reach. So I ask you, when you look in the mirror, who and what do you see? You don’t have to change anyone’s life but yours and then watch everything else change around and for you. But if you wait on others to do it for you, your purpose and potential will never be fulfilled.
In order to rise to the next level, you must do it mentally before you can ever make it manifest externally. The Monks of Tibet know this. The Apache Indians knew this. The top tribes of Nigeria like thee Igbo know this. The Pharaohs and Kings of Egypt knew this. Those who rule over you and others know this. Creflo Dollar knows this. Donald Trump knows this. Hillary Clinton knows this. I know this. But what do you know?
It’s time to stop allowing yourself to be a slave. it’s time to stop thinking and acting like one. It’s time to put away mediocrity and reset both your goals and your expectations of yourself. It’s time to change your life instead of waiting on someone else to “change your world” Ironically President Obama said we all would have to participate, but most of you only heard “Obama will save us” because that is what you wanted or needed to hear. But now it’s time to wake up.
Maybe it’s comfortable being a slave, but it’s not beneficial. I would even go out on a limb and say most African Americans are democrats because they expect and count on the Democrat party to take care of them. Others are Democrats because they inherited the political party of their slave masters, particularly in the south. Who doesn’t like free stuff? But again, there is a catch. So I can tell them where to stick their “free” stuff and the catches that come with it.
It amazes me how the African American slaves of today will fight to stay slaves and under someone else’s control. Slaves don’t want to think because they would rather have someone else do it for them. Slaves then murmur and complain all the way back to the barn but never break free of the chains that bind them. Are you a slave or do you know someone who is one? Why stay a slave? Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery on paper only and then slavery went completely covert, hitech, judicial, political and corporate. The music industry promotes it with behavior and lyrics that degrade our people and saggin pants confirm it.
I guess I could say a slave is not as bad as a zombie. But I would rather say DO NOT BE A SLAVE ANYMORE. If you let anyone else but you determine your destiny, you are under their power and control – and that is a form of slavery. The Catholic church has billions of slaves. The Nation of Islam has thousands of slaves who dress, speak, think and do as they say, when they say. Even the famed Christian religion (a counterfeit for the real thing) is ruled by man and T.D. Jakes, Creflo Dollar and Kenneth Copeland have millions of slaves. I find it humorous that millions of women who followed a biblical doctrine that says they are free would not know they are free until Bishop Jakes wrote a book or spoke in a conference. That is slavery. Are you offended? Well at least you are awake and that is a start.
Thanks to our local, state and federal government, the only thing you actually own is your thoughts, the liberty of your mind and your destiny. Don’t trust anyone else with these things. They are too important. Have we made progress? Yes, of course. Have we made enough progress beginning with the liberation of our minds? Not nearly enough. People often talk about “back in the days of slavery“, but I submit to you that those days were just yesterday, today and unfortunately tomorrow. Wake up!
Staff Writer; Marque-Anthony
Pull up your pants. Straighten your hair. Stop using the n-word.
Black Americans have long been told that there is a “right” way to act in order to secure racial equality and individual promotion in the United States. Often, these recommendations are made by other black Americans attempting to mute certain cultural aesthetics in order to make white Americans feel comfortable in their presence. I recently attended a lecture where a middle-aged black American man explained that he yearned for the days when black men “had grace.” He posted a picture of black men circa 1940 in Tuskegee, Alabama, standing in a cotton field wearing pressed white shirts and suspenders.
As journalist Aurin Squire explains, black respectability presumes that “systematic oppression can be overcome if we’re clean, mild, moderate, and economically successful.” Yet in a time when black men are nine times more likely to be shot and killed by the police and people still protest those who point out police brutality, policing the appearance of black Americans is, at best, beside the point.
But the issue isn’t just that respectability is irrelevant. New evidence suggests that the beliefs that inform respectability politics are bad for black Americans’ health.
According to the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, attributing success to personal characteristics instead of biased structural systems may negatively impact black Americans’ health. Nao Hagiwara and her colleagues at Virginia Commonwealth University explored whether the “just world” belief—the belief that the world is a just place where people get what they deserve—would influence the relationship between perceived discrimination and health consequences for 130 black adults.
The psychologists found that participants who both strongly believed that the world was a just place and reported experiencing high levels of discrimination were more likely than other blacks to suffer from chronic illnesses and increased blood pressure. Why? Because respectability politics tells black Americans that what is happening to them in this country is our fault. In other words, we’re to blame for the 9.5% unemployment rate among black Americans, the police who fatally shoot unarmed black men, and the teachers who expect less academic success from black students. If we just pulled our pants up a little higher and turned our music down, the systematic discrimination that informs nearly every sector of American life would disappear. If the world is just, then the injustice we experience in it is on us.
This thought is literally making people sick.
Health care and mental health practitioners should work to educate themselves on the current status of racial issues in the United States. And they should encourage their black patients to reframe how they look at their experiences. An understanding of individual accountability must be supplemented with a more contextual assessment of negative events. This reframing could alleviate the stress that’s associated with the belief that our behavior determines all of our experiences–even in a deeply racist and unjust society.
By seriously considering the social systems and racist encounters experienced by black Americans, health practitioners may help their patients better assess their experiences and select tailored methods for health improvement. Those charged with caring for black lives should be among the first acknowledge that they matter.
You can follow Veronica Womack on Twitter at @vwomackphd. This piece was originally published in New America’s digital magazine, The New America Weekly. We welcome your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.