HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Blue_Tires » Journal
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU
Page: « Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 ... 40 Next »


Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: VA
Home country: USA
Current location: VA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 37,413

Journal Archives

Harlem mourns death of Elombe Brath, lifelong warrior in battle for pan-African empowerment

Harlem is bidding farewell to an indefatigable freedom fighter and pan-African activist who waged a decades-long battle for black empowerment at home and around the world.

Elombe Brath died Monday night at Amsterdam Nursing Home in Harlem. He was 77.

Brath, the Brooklyn-born pioneer who grew up in Harlem and Hunts Point, founded the Patrice Lumumba Coalition in 1975.

The Harlem-based group spread word of the ongoing struggle against oppression in Africa and mobilized local support in the fight against apartheid.

In 1977, the group organized a much-publicized boycott of “Ipi Tombi,” a South African musical that was being produced on Broadway, for allegedly exploiting African artists and culture and presenting a false portrayal of life under apartheid.


The errors of Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald

Edward Snowden is a child of the internet and at the same time an old American type—the solitary individual whose religion is conscience, and who follows his own regardless of where it takes him. The type goes back to the English Protestant dissenters who settled the New World in the 17th century. Its most eloquent exemplar was Henry David Thoreau, who wrote in “Civil Disobedience” (1849): “It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right.” Thoreau withdrew to a cabin on Walden Pond, and he refused to pay taxes in protest against the Mexican War and slavery. Snowden lives in the hyperconnected isolation of the internet, and in June 2013 he committed what might have been the largest breach of state secrecy in American history, exposing the extent of internet and phone surveillance by the US National Security Agency (NSA).

In the famous hotel-room interview in Hong Kong that revealed his identity on video, Snowden said: “If living unfreely but comfortably is something you’re willing to accept—and I think many of us are, it’s the human nature—you can get up every day, you can go to work, you can collect your large pay cheque for relatively little work, against the public interest, and go to sleep at night after watching your shows.” It sounds like the quiet desperation Thoreau attributed to most of his fellow men. But if, like Snowden, you can’t rest until you’ve tested the courage of your conviction by taking radical action, then “you realise that you might be willing to accept any risk and it doesn’t matter what the outcome is.” As things turned out this proved not to be quite true—instead of returning to the US to face trial and the possibility of a long jail term, Snowden fled to Russia and sought asylum. But what matters more is that this is the kind of person he wanted and imagined himself to be.

Not caring about the outcome is what Max Weber, in “Politics as a Vocation,” called “the ethic of ultimate ends,” in contrast with “the ethic of responsibility.” There are many reasons to criticise this ethic and the uncompromising Thoreauvians who wear it as a badge of honour, but one has to admit that the issue of mass surveillance in America would not have come to public attention without a type like Snowden. A troubled but basically loyal official who passed his concerns along internal channels would have been turned aside, as others before Snowden were. The dire consequences for disclosing top secrets would have deterred anyone who hadn’t arrived at the Manichean either/or that drove Snowden to plan his massive document leak methodically over many months. The scale of it—nearly two million documents, by some accounts—is a measure of the purity of his conviction. No particle of nuance could be allowed to adulterate it. He has been accused of grandiosity, but nothing short of that would have done the job.

Politically, Snowden’s views fall into a related American tradition, going back to Thomas Jefferson and the even more radical founders, though in a distinctly contemporary form. Snowden is a libertarian whose distrust of institutions and hostility to any intrusion on personal autonomy place him beyond the sphere in American politics where left and right are relevant categories. A temperament as much as a philosophy, libertarianism is often on the verge of rejecting politics itself, with its dissatisfying but necessary trade-offs; it tends toward absolutist positions, which grow best in the mental equivalent of a hermetic laboratory environment. Libertarianism has become practically the default position of young people who work in technology, especially the most precocious among them. It also reflects, though not completely, the political outlook of Glenn Greenwald, the former Guardian columnist whom Snowden chose to receive the files, and who has just published his account of the story, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the US Surveillance State.


A nuanced, even and very well thought-out critique of the whole sideshow...

EDIT: Mona Holland is of course the first commenter...Does she even have a job? Or is she paid to attack any critique of Greenwald (even balanced, light critiques) no matter how random or obscure the source?

Meet the Black Officer Who Went Undercover as a KKK Member

Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction.

Retired police Sgt. Ron Stallworth's story—about how he, a black undercover Colorado cop, infiltrated one of the nation's most notorious hate groups in 1978—is one such truth. Stallworth, 61, recently released the book Black Klansman, detailing his amazing story during his early years of service.

"I was sitting in my office reading the newspaper," Stallworth, who now lives in Utah, told The Root. "I was going through the classified section, and on this particular day there was an ad that said 'Ku Klux Klan.' "

It listed a post office box to send inquiries, and so he wrote a letter, identifying himself as a white man and peppering the note with racial slurs. The undercover officer, who was still in his 20s at the time, did make one crucial mistake, however: He signed the letter with his real name. He wasn't too worried, though, since he figured the whole setup was probably a joke.

It wasn't until he got a phone call a week later from the local KKK organizer about starting a Colorado Springs chapter that he realized how serious the ad was.

Stallworth told the man that his sister was dating a "n--ger," and how mad it made him. The organizer liked his story and figured that Stallworth was exactly what the new chapter needed. He asked to meet—which was obviously a problem. But the quick-thinking officer gave a description of one of his close friends, who worked in the narcotics division, and organized a meeting for the following week.

Stallworth's friend Chuck would play "the white Ron Stallworth."

"The funny thing is that Chuck's voice totally distinctive mine," Stallworth said. He was only questioned about the different voices once—and he successfully blamed the flub on a sinus infection.

There was only one other time when Stallworth's cover was almost blown: after his supervisor assigned him to be then-Grand Wizard David Duke's bodyguard.

" was planning a publicity blitz in Colorado Springs. He was coming into town to do interviews and try to drum up interest," Stallworth said. "I got assigned to be his bodyguard because there were death threats against him."

At the time, Stallworth was having fairly regular phone conversations with at least three Klansmen, including David Duke. "I was apprehensive that they would recognize my voice," the retired officer said.

Stallworth remembered how seemingly amiable Duke was. He was likable enough and intelligent, a great orator, and never used slurs about black people or wore his robe. The Grand Wizard even shook Stallworth's hand and thanked him.


Danville native Wendell Scott to become first African-American in NASCAR's Hall of Fame

Danville native Wendell Scott will become the first African-American inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

NASCAR announced its inductees for the Class of 2015 on Wednesday. The Class of 2015 also includes Bill Elliott, Joe Weatherly, Rex White, and Fred Lorenzen. Scott was the first African-American to win a NASCAR premiere series race.

Elliott received 87 percent of the vote, and was followed by Scott at 58 percent.

Also, Martinsville Speedway founder H. Clay Earles is one of five recipients of NASCAR's inaugural Landmark Award.

Here is the news release from NASCAR:

NASCAR announced today the inductees who will comprise the 2015 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The five-person group – the sixth in NASCAR Hall of Fame history – consists of Bill Elliott, Fred Lorenzen, Wendell Scott, Joe Weatherly and Rex White. In addition, NASCAR announced that Anne B. France won the inaugural Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. Next year’s Induction Day is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 30, 2015, broadcast on NBC Sports Network from Charlotte, N.C.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel met today in a closed session in Charlotte to vote on both the induction class of 2015 and the Landmark Award. NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France made the announcements this afternoon in the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s “Great Hall.”

Next year’s class was determined by votes cast by the Voting Panel, which for the first time included the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion – in this case, Jimmie Johnson. The panel also included representatives from NASCAR, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, track owners from major facilities and historic short tracks, media members, manufacturer representatives, retired competitors (drivers, owners, crew chiefs), recognized industry leaders and a nationwide fan vote conducted through NASCAR.com – which counted for the 54th and final vote. In all, 54 votes were cast, with two additional Voting Panel members recused from voting as potential nominees for induction (Jerry Cook and Robert Yates). The accounting firm of Ernst & Young presided over the tabulation of the votes.

Voting for next year’s class was as follows: Bill Elliott (87%), Wendell Scott (58%), Joe Weatherly (53%), Rex White (43%) and Fred Lorenzen (30%).

The next top vote-getters were Jerry Cook, Robert Yates and Benny Parsons.
Results for the NASCAR.com Fan Vote, in order of votes received, were Wendell Scott, Bill Elliott, Benny Parsons, Rex White and Terry Labonte.

The five inductees came from a group of 20 nominees that included, in addition to the five inductees chosen:Buddy Baker, Red Byron, Richard Childress, Jerry Cook, Ray Fox, Rick Hendrick, Bobby Isaac, Terry Labonte, Raymond Parks, Benny Parsons, Larry Phillips, O. Bruton Smith, Mike Stefanik, Curtis Turner and Robert Yates.

As was announced last December during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week, potential Landmark Award recipients could include competitors or those working in the sport as a member of a racing organization, track facility, race team, sponsor, media partner or being a general ambassador for the sport through a professional or non-professional role.

The five nominees for the inaugural Landmark Award were France, H. Clay Earles, Parks, Ralph Seagraves and Ken Squier.


Malcolm X Always Spoke Truth to Power, No Matter the Cost

The anniversary this week of Malcolm X’s 89th birthday offers us the context to reflect on the life of the man whose activism continues to reverberate around the world.

After a youth scarred by trauma, the man born Malcolm Little turned his seven years in prison into a world-class political and religious education. In the Charlestown, Norfolk and Concord penitentiaries of Massachusetts, he joined the Nation of Islam and became a follower of its leader, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad—who personally corresponded with Malcolm—and came out of prison on Aug. 7, 1952, a new man.

Malcolm abandoned his “slave” name in favor of “X” and began a bruising political and spiritual quest that would make him the most authentic working-class leader that black America has ever produced.

Between 1952 and 1965, he organized Muslim mosques and secular political groups in the United States and around the world. He emulated the street speakers he encountered as a young man in Harlem, and his trademark speeches distilled the black-liberation movement to its essence.

As a young activist in the 1950s, Malcolm helped transform the NOI, turning a small religious sect into one of the most important black organizations of the 20th century. Outside Baptist churches and Harlem storefronts and speaking atop stepladders, Malcolm went “fishing” for new recruits. He told working-class blacks that they were a proud people whose history had been distorted and defamed by white supremacy. Malcolm chided black folks for sleepwalking through one of history’s most important epochs: the global revolution being waged by indigenous groups in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

As black America’s unofficial prime minister, Malcolm grew in notoriety as a speaker, political leader and radical activist. Mainstream journalists depicted him as Martin Luther King Jr.’s sinister counterpart, but this portrait ignored the fact that both men were black revolutionaries.

Malcolm criticized the Southern civil rights movement’s strategy of nonviolence as ineffective—even foolish—buoying his standing with militant students. When Fidel Castro came to the United States in 1960, it was Malcolm, not King, with whom the Cuban revolutionary conferred. By the next year, Malcolm’s revolutionary status had been solidified as he delivered jaw-dropping speeches around the country, debated civil rights activist Bayard Rustin at Howard University and offered emotional support for activists protesting the murder of Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba.


African beats are back, under new management

A new sound is bringing sunny positivity to the charts thanks to the input of African and African-heritage artists. Pop-dance hits with links to Nigeria and Ghana have been enjoying both high placings and longevity – a sign that something significant is taking place.

This phenomenon has acquired a name – Afrobeats – to differentiate the fusion of polished house/R&B production, Jamaican dancehall and African rhythms from the classic big-band Afrobeat purveyed by the likes of Fela Kuti. It is a multifarious scene that encompasses both first-generation British talents and African producers with their increasing ambitions to reach into global markets.

It has been bubbling up for a couple of years, though this month sees releases from two key players – Nigerian star D’Banj’s “Bother You”, the follow-up to his breakthrough UK hit “Oliver Twist”, while “Dangerous Love” features reggae star Sean Paul, though fans will be excited that it is the latest single from a Londoner of Ghanaian descent, Richard Abiona, aka Fuse ODG.

Abiona’s three releases to date have all been sizeable hits – his party-starting debut “Azonto” spread the eponymous Ghanaian dance worldwide via word of mouth and a viral video, then came Top 10 entry “Antenna”, aided by a remix cameo from Wyclef Jean. Finally, “Million Pound Girl (Badder Than Bad)” peaked at No 5 in January of this year, so there are high expectations surrounding his propulsive follow-up. The ease with which a former Fugees star and now Paul have collaborated with Abiona suggest parallels with western sounds, though you do pick up recognisable Afrobeat rhythms.

Much of this is down to Abiona’s varied upbringing. Born in the UK, he went to primary school in Ghana when his parents returned there, but came back aged 11. During this period, he struggled at first to fit in, imbibing high-life groups from his mum and dad’s heritage at home, while hearing So Solid Crew on the radio and getting into US hip-hop. “ constantly hearing being played in the house by my parents,” he explains. “I grew up on hip-hop so that’s had a huge impact on me and still does today. But also just being in the UK and listening to the radio and music here like garage, grime and synth-driven dance music.”


A Tyson (not named Mike) who more young black males should know

I was watching the noted astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson review the history of electromagnetic power on the fascinating TV series “Cosmos” the other night and got to thinking ... about AAU basketball.

Now, bear with me, please. There is a connection. Sort of.

I wondered how many black kids are aware that Tyson was once one of them: young and black.

If you’re not familiar, Tyson is a very smart man.

He’s the guy who pointed out the scientific implausibilities in the Sandra Bullock-George Clooney hit space opera “Gravity.”

His background is as impressive as it is eclectic.

He was a high school wrestler — in fact, captain of the team while growing up in New York.

In college at Harvard, he was a member of the crew and wrestling teams — and an award-winning dancer (his specialties were ballet, jazz, Afro-Caribbean, and Latin Ballroom.

He is the winner of NASA’s highest civilian honor, the Distinguished Public Service Medal, and has even appeared as himself in the pages of a Superman comic book.

When he is not hosting network TV series, he serves as director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York.

I could go on.


Candomble and Umbanda Declared Not Religions by Brazilian Judge!

According to a decision by a Brazilian judge on April 28, 2014 Candomble and Umbanda are not to be legally considered religions in Brazil anymore. We have entered the 21st century but prejudice and oppression are as alive as they ever were.

Candomble and Umbanda are Afro-Brazilian religions that have been practiced for centuries. In my book Voodoo and Afro-Caribbean Paganism I mention that one of the earliest records of related practices date to 1618 when “an informant named Sebastian Beretto reported to the Jesuit priests an African-derived funeral practice of slaughtering animals and using the blood as a sacrifice to ensure passage to heaven.” The religions can be said to have similarities with other Afro-Diasporan religions like Santeria (Lucumi,) there is honoring of the Orixa, sacred drumming, dances, calls and prayers.

This entire legal mess started when a local group tried to have some Youtube videos removed which they considered offensive to their spiritual practices. The videos in question show the power of Christianity over the Afro-Brazilian religion, you can see one here:

The end result was the declaration by Judge Rosa Eugenio de Araujo , reported by O Globo news, “African-Brazilian practices do not constitute religion….they do not contain the necessary traits of a religion namely a basic text ( Koran, Bible, etc.), lack of a hierarchical structure and the absence of a God to be worshiped.” Why does this judge get to decide what is “necessary” for a religion?

Obviously Brazilian worshipers are up in arms and an appeal to the decision is in the works. This is a violation of Human Rights and religious freedoms everywhere. There are many of the world’s religions that do not follow a centralized text. The Bible itself has many different versions, and several different authors. All Afro-Disporan religions are oral traditions. They were passed on in secret by slaves that had been forcibly removed from their families and their homelands. This was the only method they had to preserve their traditions. Now this Judge has the audacity to penalize them again because of their tenacious difference.


Cuomo picks Paterson to head state Democratic Party

Former Gov. David Paterson will take over as chairman of the state Democratic Party, as party leaders from across New York kick off their convention today on Long Island.

Elected lieutenant governor in 2006, Paterson was abruptly elevated to governor in 2008 when then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned amid a prostitution scandal. Paterson, who is legally blind, was the state’s first African American governor.

“I am honored to have been asked by Governor Cuomo to lead the New York State Democratic Party as we prepare for an exciting path to victory this November,” Paterson said in a statement.

The announcement was made on the first day of the state Democratic convention, which will kick off at 10 a.m. at the Hilton Long Island Huntington in Suffolk County.

Cuomo, as the top state elected official, is the de facto head of the state Democratic Party. In 2012, he chose Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and Manhattan Assemblyman Keith Wright to co-chair the party, replacing Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs, who was tapped by Paterson.

Miner and Cuomo's relationship quickly soured, however, and Miner resigned in April. Wright told Newsday this morning that he was also stepping down.

“Governor Paterson is one of New York State’s finest public servants with a lifetime of fighting for a stronger and more progressive State, and there is no one better prepared to lead the State Democratic Party," Cuomo said in a statement. "I am pleased to welcome him on board and look forward to working together with him to strengthen our State and our Party."


How African-American Success Stories Undermine Sympathy for Racial Inequalities

This article is by Clayton Critcher, an assistant professor of marketing, cognitive science, and psychology at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

In his majority opinion that struck down the Voting Rights Act, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “Our country has changed,” essentially stating that the 1965 civil rights legislation was outdated. But the recent racist rants of Donald Sterling and Cliven Bundy have had some wondering just how far we have actually come.

What these episodes may most clearly illustrate is how difficult it is to gauge the prevalence of racism in modern America. Do Sterling and Bundy reflect a widespread racism that typically resides just outside of the limelight, or does the swiftness with which the NBA and Republican Party distanced themselves from these pariahs reinforce Roberts’ claim?

University of Chicago professor Jane Risen and I, recognizing that the racial climate is difficult to assess, set out to understand what guides people’s beliefs. After all, it matters whether you see modern America as a nation plagued by racism or as one where equal opportunity is real. It affects how you make sense of why racial disparities persist (and thus what, if anything, you think can be done about them).

We found that when non-blacks were exposed to African-American success stories—tales of those who defied the odds, like Merck chief executive Kenneth Frazier, Brown University President Ruth Simmons, and even President Obama—they became less sympathetic to more average African-Americans, without even realizing it. They unknowingly reasoned, “If he can do it, so can they.”

Risen and I conducted eight experiments with both college undergraduates and non-students. We had participants complete a supposedly unrelated task before expressing their opinion about why racial disparities persist in modern America. In the first part, participants answered numerous questions like, “Which of the two men shown below do you think is famous author John Grisham?” For some participants, one or two of these questions involved especially successful African-Americans. These key questions appeared straightforward (e.g., “Which of the two men shown below is the CEO of Merck?), but their true purpose was to subtly inform participants (through the provided pictures) that a particular high-level position was occupied by an African-American. As a control, other participants were asked only about whites.

Go to Page: « Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 ... 40 Next »