Jesse Williams’ BET Awards 2016 Speech: Watch | Billboard

 

“Just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real. Thank you.”

Watch the full speech below:

 

“Let’s get a couple of things straight. The burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander — that’s not our job so let’s stop with all that. If you have a critique for our resistance then you’d better have an established record, a critique of our oppression.“If you have no interest in equal rights for black people then do not make suggestions to those who do: sit down.“We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries, and we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil — black gold! — ghettoizing and demeaning our creations and stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit.“Just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real. Thank you.”

  • Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams accepts the Humanitarian Award onstage during the 2016 BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater on June 26, 2016 in Los Angeles.
KEVIN WINTER/BET/GETTY IMAGES FOR BET

It’s safe to say that 34-year-old Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams stole the BET Awards on Sunday night with a wildly inspirational, confrontational speech that is bound to become a cornerstone of the Black Lives Matter movement. Later in the show, Samuel L. Jackson said he hadn’t heard a speech like it since the 1960s.

Williams has appeared in multiple films, but he was honored with BET’s Humanitarian Award for his activism. In October 2014, he joined protests in Ferguson, Missouri to protest the shooting of Michael Brown. He was also an actor and executive producer of Stay Woke, a documentary about the movement that premiered in May. He has written extensively on Black Lives Matter and met with President Obama earlier this year to discuss his humanitarian work.

Watch All the Prince Tributes at the 2016 BET Awards

BET CEO Debra Lee presented his award “for his continued efforts and steadfast commitment to furthering social change.”

He began by thanking BET and all involved in the video that preceded his appearance, his wife and his parents “for teaching me to focus on comprehension over career, they made sure I learned what the schools are afraid to teach us.

“This award is not for me,” he continued. “This is for the real organizers all over the country, the activist, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do. It’s kinda basic mathematics: the more we learn about who we are and how we got here the more we will mobilize.

“This award is also for the black women in particular who have spent their lives nurturing everyone before themselves — we can and will do better for you.

Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar Open the 2016 BET Awards

“Now, what we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to de-escalate, disarm and not kill white people every day. So what’s going to happen is we’re going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours. [Standing ovation.]

“I got more, y’all. Yesterday would have been young Tamir Rice’s 14th birthday so I don’t want to hear any more about how far we’ve come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on a 12-year-old playing alone in a park in broad daylight, killing him on television, and then going home to make a sandwich.

“Tell Rekia Boyd how it’s so much better to live in 2012 than 1612 or 1712. Tell that to Eric Garner, Sandra Bland.

“The thing is though, all of us here are getting money, that alone isn’t going to stop this. Dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right back to put someone’s brand on our body — when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies, and now we pray to get paid for brands on our bodies?

BET Awards Week: See All the Photos

“There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the front lines of. There is no job we haven’t done, there is no tax they haven’t levied against us, and we have paid all of them.

“But freedom is always conditional here. ‘You’re free!’ they keeping telling us. ‘But she would be alive if she hadn’t acted so… free.’ Now, freedom is always coming in the hereafter, but the hereafter is a hustle: We want it now.

“Let’s get a couple of things straight. The burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander — that’s not our job so let’s stop with all that. If you have a critique for our resistance then you’d better have an established record, a critique of our oppression.

“If you have no interest in equal rights for black people then do not make suggestions to those who do: sit down.

“We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries, and we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil — black gold! — ghettoizing and demeaning our creations and stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit.

“Just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real. Thank you.”

Watch the full speech  from the link below:

Source: Jesse Williams’ BET Awards 2016 Speech: Watch | Billboard

Political Prisoner Rev. Edward Pinkney Fears for His Life | Black Agenda Report

Political Prisoner Rev. Edward Pinkney Fears for His Life

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The Black political class is constantly congratulating itself on ancient voting rights victories in the South, yet Rev. Edward Pinkney is serving his second stretch in prison for fighting against Black disenfranchisement in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Pinkney was convicted twice by all-white juries on the flimsiest evidence, and now believes his life is in danger behind bars.

Political Prisoner Rev. Edward Pinkney Fears for His Life

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

“He fears the government is out to do him harm.”

Rev. Edward Pinkney, the imprisoned community activist from the mostly Black town of Benton Harbor, Michigan, believes his life is in danger. Pinkney is serving a sentence of two and a half to ten years following his conviction by an all-white jury on the flimsiest of charges of tampering with an election recall petition. He told Kenneth Rhoades, a supporter on the outside, that he’s not afraid of the inmates, but fears the government is out to do him harm – and that they might get away with it because, in his words, “they cover everything up” at Marquette Branch Prison, located on the thinly populated and very, very white Upper Peninsula of Michigan, almost 500 miles from Benton Harbor.

Pinkney, who is 67 years old, has witnessed numerous assaults on inmates by prison guards, and has spent long stretches in isolation. For six months he was deprived of phone and visitation privileges because the authorities believed he was behind a mass inmate food protest – another bogus charge, since inmates at prisons on the Upper Peninsula have been protesting the food since before Pinkney arrived.

This is the second time that Pinkney has been railroaded to prison for trying to bring change to deeply impoverished Benton Harbor through the vote. Back in 2007, after two trials, an all-white jury from the surrounding county convicted him of tampering with a ballot petition. He was sentenced to house arrest, but was then thrown in prison for a year when he quoted Bible verses to the judge – something of a first in American legal history. Ultimately, the conviction was overturned on appeal.

Crushing Voting Rights Activism with SWAT and Prison

Rev. Pinkney’s lawyers believe his current conviction on similar bogus charges will ultimately also be reversed – but that could take years, and anything can happen to a political activist in the American prison gulag.

Mary Neal, who calls Rev. Pinkney her “online minister,” believes the people of Flint, Michigan, would have responded to the poisoning of their water sooner if Pinkney hadn’t been incarcerated at the time. The Reverend has had more experience than most other activists in dealing with state appointed emergency financial managers like the one that switched the water supply in Flint. Benton Harbor was put under state dictatorship in 2010. Governor Rick Snyder then quickly expanded the emergency financial manager regime to all of the state’s heavily Black cities, effectively disenfranchising more than half of Michigan’s Black citizens. But, Rev. Pinkney and his Black Autonomy Network Community Organization, or BANCO, pressed on, refusing to accept the loss of their local voting rights, either to the State of Michigan, or at the hands of the giant Whirlpool Corporation, which has ruled Benton Harbor like a plantationfor generations. Finally, they sent a SWAT team to arrest Rev. Pinkney at his home in April, 2014, and now he sits in cell in the American equivalent of Siberia, a 67 year old soldier in the African liberation struggle.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Source: Political Prisoner Rev. Edward Pinkney Fears for His Life | Black Agenda Report

Keep Muhammed Ali’s Legacy Away from Beyonce and Kanye West | Black Agenda Report

Keep Muhammed Ali’s Legacy Away from Beyonce and Kanye West

by Danny Haiphong

Airheaded commentators compare Beyonce’s media products and Kanye West’s off-hand quips to Muhammad Ali’s heroic political struggle and genuine sacrifice in the Sixties. That’s nonsense. “Beyonce can dress up in Black Panther dress and subsequently fail to use her platform to educate others about the Black Panther Party precisely because she is selling a product, not building a movement. The same goes for Kanye West and all corporate artists.”

Keep Muhammed Ali’s Legacy Away from Beyonce and Kanye West

by Danny Haiphong

“The article reduces the state repression of Ali received as a mere byproduct of his ‘political stance’ and proceeds to compare the treatment Ali received to the criticisms of Beyonce and Kanye West.”

A recent article in Medium took to task those who mourned the death of Muhammad Ali.
“Conservative America,” according to the author, tells figures like Beyonce and Kanye West to be quiet while it celebrates the life of the late world boxing champion and activist. Self-proclaimed “hipsters” and “culture critics,” however, often take the luxury of ignoring concrete analysis for the allure of identity political liberalism. What the author makes no mention of are the concrete differences between Muhammad Ali and celebrities of the Kanye West variety.  To analyze these differences would force the author to examine the motion of history and political struggle beyond the liberal lens.

Identity political liberalism can be defined in the piece as such. Since Muhammad Ali is celebrated for his opposition to war and racism, one would be hypocritical to criticize Kanye West and Beyonce for their particular forms of opposition. The author clarifies this position, stating:

“Kanye West had the courage to call out The President of United States for ignoring the people of New Orleans. Beyonce had the courage to embrace a movement that has been criticized by the police and mainstream America. If you can’t stomach their political statements there is no way you can say you are a fan of Ali because no ‘entertainer’ of color has been more in your face about condemning America’s racist political crimes than Muhammad Ali.”

This argument commits a logical fallacy of significant consequence. The author equates Beyonce and West’s achievements on the political stage to Ali’s actions in the 1960s. This conclusion derives from a purely subjective position. While it is true that Kanye West and Beyonce have made political statements in the past, no analysis of the particular character of these statements is given. Such an examination reveals exactly what propels cultural figures into political action and what contradictions ultimately limit the usefulness of their political action.

“The author equates Beyonce and West’s achievements on the political stage to Ali’s actions in the 1960s.”

In the 1960s, a revolutionary upsurge emerged from the heroic Black freedom movement and the connections it made to the anti-imperialist struggle around the world. The brutality and exploitation inherent in white supremacy and segregation influenced organizational formations, like the Nation of Islam (NOI), to call for more radical alternatives to the non-violent resistance that characterized the Civil Rights Movement. Ali was influenced by the teachings of Malcolm X, who at that time was being trained to lead the NOI. The US war in Vietnam was nearly a decade old by the time Cassius Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali. Malcolm X and the NOI took a firm stance against the war in Vietnam. Eventually Malcolm X would take opposition to war a step further by arguing that Black Americans had more in common with the people of Vietnam than the US government.

It was the development of international solidarity in the Black liberation movement that compelled Muhammad Ali to make his famous declaration against the Vietnam War and travel to Cuba and Palestine. Revolutionaries such as Paul Robeson, Shirley Graham Du Bois, and WEB Du Bois in the first half of the 20th century paved a path for insurgent Black revolutionaries in the second to position the struggle for emancipation in the US alongside the global fight for self-determination and socialism. It was argued by organizations such as the Black Panther Party that Black liberation could not be achieved without a socialist arrangement of society on a worldwide scale. Muhammad Ali’s political life must be placed in this context. The article reduces the state repression of Ali received as a mere byproduct of his “political stance” and proceeds to compare the treatment Ali received to the criticisms of Beyonce and Kanye West. Yet what isn’t said in the article is how state repression of an entire movement helped produce the corporate artists that the author compares to Ali.

“Corporate subsidiaries such as Warner Music Group control the music and careers of signed artists and enforce the ideological regime of imperialism through the sale of their processed music.”

The US counterinsurgency war against the Black liberation movement was geared toward the complete and utter destruction of revolutionary possibilities in the US. This war included the creation of an entire intelligence program to undermine, at times with deadly results, theefforts of Black revolutionaries. It also included reforms in the fabric of US society. Starting in the late 1970s, the ruling class opened seats in local, state, and federal political office to a select few Black Americans. Increased access to political office for the Black elite, and helped isolate radical and revolutionary forces calling for social transformation. It is here that the Black misleadership class emerged. The creeping crisis of imperialism made the influence of this class all the more necessary as mass incarceration, surveillance, and unemployment would come to characterize Black life in the US from the 1980s onward.

Over the last three and a half decades, the world capitalist system has undergone a process of decay that has necessitated the monopolization of all sectors of US society. An increasingly disposable and criminalized Black labor force coincided with the consolidation of the corporate media. The consolidation of the corporate media included the monopolization of the music industry that created Kanye West and Beyonce. Today, six corporations own 90 percent of the media and the same is true about the record industry as a sub-sector. Corporate subsidiaries such as Warner Music Group control the music and careers of signed artists and enforce the ideological regime of imperialism through the sale of their processed music.

“Using Ali to defend Beyonce or Kanye West gives undue attention to those who don’t deserve it.”

This is why, despite all the praise she has received, Beyonce’s music is void of political content, and why she invests millions in sweatshop production. Corporate control over the music industry also explains why Kanye West has become such a twisted and maligned figure in public eye. Ultimately, Black labor is only useful when it degrades, dehumanizes, or sanitizes Black struggle and Black people. Beyonce can dress up in Black Panther dress and subsequently fail to use her platform to educate others about the Black Panther Party precisely because she is selling a product, not building a movement. The same goes for Kanye West and all corporate artists.

Mohammed Ali’s legacy must be kept away from the corporate gaze of the media. The ruling class has desperately sought to suppress the ideas of anti-imperialism and Black liberation ever since the movement that brought Ali’s politics to life was brutally repressed isolated. If these politics are going to be revived and applied in the 21st century, it certainly won’t be any of the corporate music industry’s “artists” that lead the way forward. Using Ali to defend Beyonce or Kanye West is not only fruitless, but also potentially dangerous. It gives undue attention to those who don’t deserve it. Instead of hiding behind “conservative America” in liberal fashion as identity political liberalism often does, the focus for a true movement for social transformation must be on uniting revolutionary ideology and practice among the exploited and oppressed. Only the grave diggers of the world capitalist system can force the celebrities of today to either help build a new world or be swept away with the old.

Danny Haiphong is an Asian activist and political analyst in the Boston area. He can be reached at wakeupriseup1990@gmail.com

Source: Keep Muhammed Ali’s Legacy Away from Beyonce and Kanye West | Black Agenda Report

Gorilla v. Gator: Empathy For White Parents, Blame For Black | YourTango

grief loss

A gorilla attacks a black boy. An alligator attacks a white one. Who’s investigated?

On May 28th, a 3-year-old told his mother he was going to crawl into the gorilla exhibit at the CInncinnati Zoo. She was “momentarily distracted by other children,” claimed a witness, according to CNN, and her son did just that.

He exploited a weakness in the enclosure’s fencing and crawled inside. Then the nightmare began.

For 10 whole minutes, the boy was dragged and pummeled by endangered gorilla, Harambe. Finally, zoo officials made the difficult decision to kill the animal because tranquilizer darts would have taken too long to take effect, and they feared for the boy’s life.

Their quick action saved his life.

The boy’s mother was investigated for, presumably, child endangerment. However, local prosecutor Joseph Deters said that, “By all accounts, this mother did not act in any way where she presented this child to some harm … She had three other kids with her and turned her back … And if anyone doesn’t believe a 3-year-old can scamper off very quickly, they’ve never had kids.”

These remarks are in response to a public that has called for her arrest, questioned herparenting skills, decried the number of children she had with her (four), and mostly screamed about the death of an endangered gorilla. The mother is black.

On Tuesday night, 2-year old Lane Graves was wading in less than a foot of water at Disney’s Seven Seas Lagoon, with “No Swimming” signs prominently posted. The parents were not in the water with the child when he was snatched by a 4- to 7-foot alligator.

His father, Matt, suffered minor scrapes as he tried to pry the animal’s mouth open; his mother also tried to save the boy, who was dragged off. His body was found Wednesday 10 to 15 yards from where he was taken, in six feet of murky water.

The public has not called for the parents’ arrest. While some have decried their parenting, the hysteria heaped upon the black mother hasn’t burdened them. Most people have called for prayers. This despite the “No Swimming” signs, the perfect storm for an alligator attack (a dark night in May or June in shallow water).

They argue the parents had no way of knowing about the alligators (Disney, unlike some other resorts, did not have signs posted) and that their parenting wasn’t lacking or neglectful.

“Accidents happen,” says a popular status going around Facebook.

Matt and Melissa Graves are white people from Elkton, Nebraska. The public reaction to these animal attacks again show the racial fissures in American society.

The black mother, who watched a gorilla pummel her child for 10 full minutes, actually had her parenting investigated by the Hamilton County prosecutors.

There has been no talk of charging the white parents, who were watching a movie at the time and keeping their daughter in a playpen 20 yards from the shore.

Why do we question the black mother’s parenting? Her momentary glance away must be justified over and over. Why do we cry for the white parents? Most people gloss over Graves allowing their toddler to wade in a “No Swimming” area while they stood outside the water, at an unspecified distance.

This shows, in stark detail, the way America views black and white parenting. Black mothers have too many children; they’re seen by the bulk of society as neglectful and incompetent. A child is attacked by an animal; we castigate the black mother for her neglect and we mourn for the heroic white parents.

The black mother has suffered a savaging on the internet and television.

If people remember that the black boy lived, it’s only because the gorilla didn’t: an endangered gorilla people have said was worth more than the life of a black child. Society wants to carpet-bomb the Florida alligators for hurting a white boy.

The Graves family should thank God they had the privilege to be born white. Through no virtue of their own, they’ll be spared the investigations and castigations suffered by their black counterpart. They won’t suffer as much in the court of public opinion; the bulk of the public is mourning Lane, not blaming them for his death.

As it should be: Lane’s death, like the unspecified boy’s injury, was a tragic accident no one saw coming. And as it should be for the black mother, who’s now cleared of all unspecified charges.

I’ll say it, because few others have: Bless her and her baby.

Hopefully he’s free from lasting damage.

A white mother can break injunctions and still get sympathy. God forbid a black mother turn her back.

Source: Gorilla v. Gator: Empathy For White Parents, Blame For Black | YourTango

Lest We forget: The first anniversary of…

Lest We forget: Today marks the first anniversary of The Charleston Church Massacre, June 17, 2015…During a prayer service, nine people were killed by a gunman, including the senior pastor, state senator Clementa C. Pinckney; a tenth victim survived. The morning after the attack, police arrested a suspect, later identified as 21-year-old Dylann Roof, in Shelby, North Carolina. Roof later confessed that he committed the shooting in hopes of igniting a race war.The United States Department of Justice investigated whether the shooting was a hate crime or an act of domestic terrorism, eventually indicting Roof on 33 federal hate crime charges.

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is one of the United States’ oldest black churches and has long been a site for community organization around civil rights. Roof is to be indicted on federal hate crime charges, and has been charged with nine counts of murder by the State of South Carolina. If convicted, he could face a sentence of death or thirty years to life in prison. A website apparently published by Roof included a manifesto detailing his beliefs on race, as well as several photographs showing him posing with emblems associated with white supremacy. Roof’s photos of the Confederate battle flag triggered debate on its modern display.

Background

The 200-year-old church has played an important role in the history of South Carolina, including the slavery era, the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, and the Black Lives Matter movement in the 2010s. The church was founded in 1816 and it is the oldest African Methodist Episcopal Church in the South, often referred to as “Mother Emanuel”.

It is the oldest historically Black congregation south of Baltimore. When one of the church’s co-founders, Denmark Vesey, was suspected of planning a slave rebellion in Charleston in 1822, 35 people, including Vesey, were hanged and the church was burned down. Charleston citizens accepted the claim that a slave rebellion was to begin at the stroke of midnight on June 16, 1822, and to erupt the following day; the shooting in 2015 occurred on the 193rd anniversary of the thwarted uprising. The rebuilt church was formally shuttered with other all-black congregations by the city in 1834, meeting in secret until 1865 when it was formally reorganized, acquired the name Emanuel (“God with us”), and rebuilt upon a design by Denmark Vesey’s son. That structure was badly damaged in the 1886 Charleston earthquake.

The current building dates from 1891.The church’s senior pastor, the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, had held rallies after the shooting of Walter Scott by a white police officer on April 4, 2015, in nearby North Charleston, and as a state senator, he pushed for legislation requiring police to wear body cameras. Several observers noted a similarity between the massacre at Emanuel AME and the 1963 bombing of a politically active African-American church in Birmingham, Alabama, where the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) killed four black girls and injured fourteen others, an attack that galvanized the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.

A number of scholars, journalists, activists and politicians have emphasized the need to understand the attack in the broader context of racism in the United States, rather than seeing it as an isolated event of racially motivated violence. In 1996, Congress passed the Church Arson Prevention Act, making it a federal crime to damage religious property because of its “racial or ethnic character”, in response to a spate of 154 suspicious church burnings since 1991. More recent arson attacks against Black churches included a black church in Massachusetts that was burned down the day after President Barack Obama was inaugurated in 2009.Shooting MassacreAt around 9:05 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, June 17, 2015, the Charleston Police Department began receiving calls of a shooting at Emanuel AME Church. A man described as white, with sandy-blond hair, around 21 years old and 5 feet 9 inches in height, wearing a gray sweatshirt and jeans, opened fire with a Glock 41 .45-caliber handgun on a group of people inside the church at a Bible study attended by Pinckney. The shooter then fled the scene. He had been carrying eight magazines holding hollow-point bullets. This was the largest mass shooting at an American place of worship, alongside a 1991 attack at a Buddhist temple in Waddell, Arizona.

During the hour preceding the attack, 13 people including the shooter participated in the Bible study. According to the accounts of people who talked to survivors, the shooter asked for Pinckney and sat down next to him, initially listening to others during the study. He started to disagree when they began discussing Scripture. Eventually, after waiting for the other participants to begin praying,he stood up and pulled a gun from a fanny pack, aiming it at 87-year-old Susie Jackson. Jackson’s nephew, 26-year-old Tywanza Sanders, tried to talk him down and asked him why he was attacking churchgoers. The shooter re

Source: (89) Ray Winbush – Lest We forget: Today marks the first anniversary of…

Is It Time For Federal Anti-Gentrification Zones In NYC?: Gothamist

Some of these concepts are familiar. An early-1990s federal preservation program called the Low-Income Housing Preservation and Resident Homeownership Act (LIHPRHA) provided federal funding to nonprofit organizations and tenant groups to purchase their buildings, before Congress defunded it in 1998. In Washington DC, building owners are required to give their tenants the right of first refusal.

But while advocates, academics and attorneys were pleasantly surprised to see a pitch for anti-gentrification policy at the federal level, several worried that the cost of the GMZ program would be staggering—especially for a federal government so historically stingy when it comes to affordable housing.

“With LIHPRHA they had to layer all kinds of subsidies to make it actually affordable,” John Krinsky, a professor of political science at City College, told us. “It was more feasible in situations where there wasn’t yet rampant gentrification, because those properties aren’t as valuable yet.”

Even East New York, still less gentrified than neighboring Crown Heights, recently saw its property values triple. “Think about a tenant coop that is competing for a property with, like, Blackstone Group,” Krinsky speculated.

“It’s hard to see how the Republican Congress is going to pass any of these,” added Legal Aid Society housing attorney Judith Goldiner. “Truthfully, it’s just so hard to get them to do anything.” She suggested that if the federal government were willing to make a huge investment in affordable housing, the money might be better spent on fully funding Section 8, coupled with stronger rent laws at the state level and the right to an attorney in housing court.

She also questioned Espaillat’s relocation tax proposal. “Once people are displaced it’s really hard to find them,” she said. “And they’re probably going to be paying more somewhere else. That’s not the goal.”

Governmental loans, like the HUD-funded mortgages Espaillat is suggesting, tend to have expiration dates. What might happen to cooperative tenants if and when these federal subsidies run dry?

“When you have these HUD-backed loans, the object is how do you keep them from [expiring] after a certain amount of time,” Krinsky said, suggesting that Espaillat consider the Community Land Trust (CLT) model—which can protect a building from any future for-profit sale—as an additional protection. (Espaillat says he’s open to the concept.)

But even with the protections of a CLT, some advocates in Espaillat’s Harlem are skeptical of the sustainability of the proposed coops.

Maria Lizardo, director of the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation (NMIC), has supported numerous low-income coops in Harlem. “It only works when you are able to provide the tenants with a lot of assistance,” she said. “Everything from the workshops about what to expect… to doing the monthly overview of the budget and maintenance increases.”

“These ideas are great, but not without ongoing support,” added NMIC legal services head Rodrigo Sanchez. “It’s something that needs to be seen as an ongoing 10, 20, 30-year plan. Whether I think the government will commit to the dollars and cents is another question.”

Source: Is It Time For Federal Anti-Gentrification Zones In NYC?: Gothamist

Why the whiteness of the American media is everyone’s problem | Howard W French | Opinion | The Guardian

Why the whiteness of the American media is everyone’s problem

When the world is depicted from a uniquely white perspective, non-white people suffer serious consequences

Illustration by Christophe Gowans
Illustration: Christophe Gowans

In spite of what may appear to many observers to be fitful progress, the American media is still beset by a profound crisis of race: marked by both a failure to integrate black journalists into the business, and a pattern of excluding them from the coverage of certain subjects.

None of this is new – but recent events have highlighted the issue and cast new light on the performance of the press. The first of these was a long string ofkillings of unarmed black men and children that began in 2014, and the second is the ongoing US presidential campaign, in which leading Republican candidates,such as Donald Trump, have effectively normalized starkly offensive racial language.

As I recently wrote in a lengthy piece for this newspaper, this is not a trivial matter, or a subject of concern only for journalists. The enduring whiteness of the American media has real consequences – and it persists even as a number of black journalists have become prominent, and even celebrated, figures in American journalism.

One of the celebrated figures to whom I had referred, Ta-Nehisi Coates of the Atlantic, has taken exception to my discussion of the many ways – some of them subtle and even counterintuitive – in which black people continue to be marginalized in the media.

Beyond his distaste for my having cited him as an example of how such marginalization can be seen to persist, even amid celebration of his work, Coates has disagreed with a major element of my argument, which deserves further debate.

African Americans still face exclusion from the mainstream media, which has historically come in many forms. One of them, which has received insufficient attention, is the way in which black journalists have been disproportionately channelled into specific realms of coverage – often to do with race – which means they are also disproportionately excluded from other areas. Those areas in which African-Americans have been underrepresented – national politics, business, national security, foreign policy, international reporting, culture (as opposed to entertainment) – easily constitute more than half of the work of serious news organisations. This means that a very large slice of the media industry remains a kind of desert for African Americans; if not completely off-grounds, seriously forbidding.

In making this point, I do not argue that African American journalists writing about race and racism – in society or their own lives – are somehow superfluous or overabundant. In his response, Coates has turned my point on its head to suggest that in my concern for what black writers have traditionally been denied the opportunity to write about, I am valorizing the role of white gatekeepers and denigrating the work of those writers, like himself, who have done brilliant work chronicling the lives and struggles of black Americans. The suggestion that I am the kind of black journalist who is preoccupied with “what white people think of black writing” is demeaning. It would also come as a surprise to anyone who has read my work over three decades, to my colleagues and editors, and more recently, to my students.

Source: Why the whiteness of the American media is everyone’s problem | Howard W French | Opinion | The Guardian