Home country: USA
Current location: VA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 35,873
Home country: USA
Current location: VA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 35,873
Amiri Baraka, former N.J. poet laureate and prolific author, dead at 79
NEWARK — Amiri Baraka, the longtime activist and former poet laureate of New Jersey died today, officials confirmed. He was 79 years old.
Baraka was placed in intensive care at Beth Israel Medical Center last month for an unknown reason, but a spokesman for his son's mayoral campaign said his condition was improving late in December.
Newark Mayor Luis Quintana said Baraka will be sorely missed.
"I went to visit him at the hospital about two weeks ago," Quintana said by phone. "He was more than poet he was a leader in his own right. He's going to be missed and our condolences go out to his family today."
Quintana recalled Baraka's role in the 1970 Black and Puerto Rican convention, a landmark political meeting that resulted in the election of Ken Gibson, Newark's first black mayor.
"We're going to remember him always for his contributions to Newark, New Jersey and America," Quintana said. "In this time of pain, the citizens of Newark and I are with him."
Baraka had long struggled with diabetes, but it was not immediately clear what the cause of death was.
A Newark native and resident formerly known as Leroi Jones, Amiri Baraka has published dozens of poems, essays and works of non-fiction. In 1963 Amiri Baraka wrote "Blues People," an in-depth history of music from the time of slavery throughout the various incarnations of blues and jazz, with integrated social commentary. The book's 50th anniversary was recently celebrated during an event at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
Posted by Blue_Tires | Thu Jan 9, 2014, 04:48 PM (7 replies)
There's this sportswriter (and I use that term loosely) named Ken Gurnick who covers the Dodgers and votes for the Baseball Hall of Fame...I need one of you all to find him and punch him in the face as hard as you possibly can...I mean really turn his lights out; with a few chiclets on the floor...
Thanks in advance...
Posted by Blue_Tires | Wed Jan 8, 2014, 03:34 PM (14 replies)
I have a dream that insecure dads will spend less time hating on good dads and more time on getting their own shit together. I’d say 95% of the dads who follow me are actively involved in their kids’ lives and view parenting as a 50/50 endeavor with their wives/girlfriends. They send me “Thank You” emails, they’ll say it’s refreshing to see a guy (me) who embraces fatherhood as much as they do, and they’ll refer other good dads to my blog because they know I’ll celebrate them. Words cannot express how much I appreciate those men because they will play a huge role in making fatherhood “cool” again (granted, I always thought fatherhood was cool, but that’s another story).
On the flip side, there’s a small pocket of men out there that can’t stand me. Here’s a sampling of some of the private messages and comments I received from them after I posted this picture:
- “He probably rented those kids. They don’t even look like him.”
As I’ve said in previous blog posts, I’m not immune to hate mail—and some messages are racist in nature and some aren’t. It comes with the territory of doing what I do and I completely understand that. However, do you know what’s funny? Oftentimes when a dude posts a public hateful comment on my FB page or Twitter feed, it’s followed up by his wife or girlfriend emailing me privately to apologize for his behavior. These women will tell me that their men are angry that I’m making them “look bad” because they aren’t holding up their end of the bargain when it comes to parenting. Here’s the thing: I don’t make anyone look bad. These guys are doing a fine job on their own according to the women in their lives.
Memo to the small pocket of male haters I have: Why don’t you put big boy shorts on and get in on the revolution of good fathers? It’s not a good look to tear down dads for doing the work your wives wished you were man enough to do on your own. If you don’t believe me, just ask your spouses. They’ll tell you.
But don’t worry. I’ll still be here whenever you’re ready to step your game up and join #TeamGrownAssMan.
Posted by Blue_Tires | Tue Jan 7, 2014, 11:32 AM (4 replies)
Noam Chomsky recently took part in a video conference with Foundation Degree students about the legacy of the American Civil Rights movement, where he described the war on drugs as a “race war” against poor minorities.
When a student asked how “important Martin Luther King was to the movement,” Chomsky replied by saying “that’s almost like asking how important Nelson Mandela was to the anti-apartheid movement.” He then returned to a point he had made earlier, that the assassination of Black Panther Fred Hampton was the most significant of the period.
“Hampton was a very effective organizer…the most energetic and effective leader,” and he was killed by the FBI and operatives for the United States government, which Chomsky claimed created a necessarily adversarial relationship between “liberation movements” and the government.
Of course, he continued, that’s not the story the government wants citizens to believe, so they were “blanked out.”
“There are things,” Chomsky said, “the white liberal establishment just doesn’t want to be part of history.”
Another aspect of American history that was “blanked out” was “the criminalizing of black life.” He noted that abolition robbed the industrial class of cheap labor, and needed a way to replace it. “Slaves were capital, but if you could imprisoned labor, states could utilize them — you get a disciplined, extremely cheap labor force that you don’t have to pay for.”
“Part of the whole industrial revival was based on the reinstitution of slave labor. That went on until the start of the Second World War,” he continued, “after which black men and women were able to work their way into the labor force, the war industries.”
Posted by Blue_Tires | Tue Jan 7, 2014, 11:18 AM (0 replies)
A member of the New York Film Critics Circle put a damper on the group's 69th annual awards ceremony when he heckled a winner from the audience. From the back of the Edison Hotel Ballroom in Gotham, Armond White, the controversial film critic for CityArts, yelled at Steve McQueen, the NYFCC's best director winner for 12 Years a Slave, "You’re an embarrassing doorman and garbage man. F— you. Kiss my ass," according to a Variety reporter seated near him.
The outburst from White, who has behaved similarly at past NYFCC ceremonies and has derided McQueen's film since October, could not be heard from the front of the room and did not interrupt the proceedings. McQueen had just taken the stage following a passionate introduction from the legendary Harry Belafonte that left the director in tears and stole the show up to that point.
White is a lowlife, attention-whoring contrarian-for-the-sake-of-being-contrarian sociopathic piece of shit....
Posted by Blue_Tires | Tue Jan 7, 2014, 11:16 AM (2 replies)
NBC's Saturday Night Live has added an African-American woman castmember: Sasheer Zamata.
The Upright Citizens Brigade alum has boarded the Lorne Michaels-produced late-night sketch series and will make her debut Jan. 18, when Drake hosts.
The casting comes after showcases featuring black female comedians were held in New York and Los Angeles after the long-running sketch series faced widespread criticism that the new cast of SNL lacked minority faces and specifically the inclusion of an African-American woman.
STORY: 'SNL' to Add African-American Woman to Cast by January
The auditions were the first in the history of SNL to focus exclusively on minority women and were a proactive response on the part of producers to rectify season 39's diversity problem. SNL skewered itself in a sketch in which host Kerry Washington was run ragged playing everyone from first lady Michelle Obama to Oprah Winfrey to Beyonce.
Zamata is a University of Virginia alum and becomes the first black female SNL castmember in five years -- since the departure of Maya Rudolph. The comedian was one of two finalists -- Amber Ruffin was the other -- in contention for the new castmember spot.
She's a UVA grad so I love her already...
Posted by Blue_Tires | Tue Jan 7, 2014, 11:09 AM (7 replies)
The University of Texas, the last all-white football team to win a national championship, introduced Charlie Strong as its first African-American head football coach Monday morning.
If you understand the politically conservative nature of this state, it's a huge decision made even bigger because now Texas and Texas A&M each have an African-American football head coach.
One day, we hope, that won't be such a big deal. For now, it is.
That will upset some of you. Too bad.
Race remains a part of virtually every meaningful discussion we have in this country, as it should. There's nothing wrong with that. Constructive dialogue is liberating because it promotes growth and understanding.
You could make the argument, as a friend did the other day, that the hires of Strong and Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin are signs we're progressing as a country, perhaps on par with that of the election of President Obama.
The point has validity, if you think about it.
Some voters cast a ballot for Barack Obama solely because they wanted to see an African-American in the White House, and they would've voted for him regardless of political platform.
Others simply wanted to see someone who looked like them hold our country's most important position. Throw in some moderate conservatives and liberals frustrated with our country's direction who wanted to give Democrats an opportunity to stimulate change ... and you have your first African-American president.
After eight years of Obama, will anyone be shocked if those same moderates provide Republicans with an opportunity to change our country's direction?
Posted by Blue_Tires | Tue Jan 7, 2014, 11:08 AM (0 replies)
A new study reveals that racism may impact aging at the cellular level. Researchers found signs of accelerated aging in African American men, ages reporting high levels of racial discrimination and who had internalized anti-Black attitudes. Findings from the study, which is the first to link racism-related factors and biological aging, are published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Racial disparities in health are well-documented, with African Americans having shorter life expectancy, and a greater likelihood of suffering from aging-related illnesses at younger ages compared to Whites. Accelerated aging at the biological level may be one mechanism linking racism and disease risk.
“We examined a biomarker of systemic aging, known as leukocyte telomere length,” explained Dr. David H. Chae, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Maryland School of Public Health and the study’s lead investigator. Shorter telomere length is associated with increased risk of premature death and chronic disease such as diabetes, dementia, stroke and heart disease. “We found that the African American men who experienced greater racial discrimination and who displayed a stronger bias against their own racial group had the shortest telomeres of those studied.”
Telomeres are repetitive sequences of DNA capping the ends of chromosomes, which shorten progressively over time – at a rate of approximately 50-100 base pairs annually. Telomere length is variable, shortening more rapidly under conditions of high psychosocial and physiological stress. “Telomere length may be a better indicator of biological age, which can give us insight into variations in the cumulative ‘wear and tear’ of the organism net of chronological age,” said Chae. Among African American men with stronger anti-Black attitudes, investigators found that average telomere length was 140 base pairs shorter in those reporting high vs. low levels of racial discrimination; this difference may equate to 1.4 to 2.8 years chronologically.
Participants in the study were 92 African American men between 30-50 years of age. Investigators asked them about their experiences of discrimination in different domains, including work and housing, as well as in getting service at stores or restaurants, from the police, and in other public settings. They also measured racial bias using the Black-White Implicit Association Test. This test gauges unconscious attitudes and beliefs about race groups that people may be unaware of or unwilling to report.
Read more at http://scienceblog.com/69332/racism-may-accelerate-aging-in-african-american-men/#YZQk6B8JVBDqtkx3.99
Posted by Blue_Tires | Tue Jan 7, 2014, 11:07 AM (0 replies)
On this day in 1773, a slave, only known by the name of Felix, petitioned the General Court of Massachusetts for the freedom of slaves being bound in the "Town of Boston" and other provinces in Massachusetts.
Felix did not outline any specific conditions for the court to consider when manumitting the entire slave population of Massachusetts, saying in his petition that to do so "would be impudent, if not presumptuous" of the petitioner and those he was petitioning on behalf of. His reasoned that to try to dictate to court how it should bring slavery in Massachusetts to an end would abridge the "Wisdom, Justice, and Goodness" of the Massachusetts legislature.
History bears out the fact that Felix's petition was unsuccessful, since slavery was not abolished in Massachusetts until ten years later when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court judged slavery to be illegal based on language in the state's constitution of 1780.
Also on this day in African-American history...
1820 - The American Colonization Society launches its first ship that took 86 freed blacks back to Africa, helping them settle in what is now modern-day Liberia.
1867 - In order to provide money for construction, endowments, scholarships, teachers and industrial education to newly-freed blacks, the Peabody Fund was established.
1966 - The first Black Roman Catholic Bishop in the U.S., Harold Robert Perry, was consecrated in Africa.
2004 - Amadou Diallo's family won a $3 million, wrongful death settlement from the city of New York. Diallo was unarmed when police fatally wounded him after mistaking his wallet for a gun.
These are but five black facts out of many. Purchase the eBook, "This day in African-American History, January" to have access to over 530 facts covering the entire month of January.”
Free copies of "This Day in African-American History, January" are being given away to the first 200 people who enter to win it on the Independent Author Index. Enter to win here.
Posted by Blue_Tires | Tue Jan 7, 2014, 11:06 AM (0 replies)
What costs white folks a slap on the wrist, or a mildly disapproving look, costs black people our dignity
On Sunday, Mitt Romney graciously accepted Melissa Harris-Perry’s apology for making his African-American grandson, Kieran, the butt of jokes during a segment on the last episode of her show in December. To the extent that MHP violated a long-standing rule of political journalism, namely that children are off-limits, I understand why she felt compelled to make an apology. And she offered a genuine and sincere model of how it should be done, a lesson that far more people on the right need to learn.
Still, in my view, MHP took the high road in a situation where she became an unfair target, left at the mercy of the right’s utter dishonesty on questions of race. The GOP is notoriously averse at the policy level to the social and political condition of African-Americans, and this has been demonstrated in everything from attempts to disenfranchise black voters to the wholesale turn to obstructionism as a primary governing strategy. No, Mitt Romney’s black grandson is not responsible for his grandfather’s dubious political views. But he will most certainly be raised in a family where at least one of his uncles once quipped about punching the president in the face. In other words, he will grow to be a black man not only in a politically conservative family with “interesting” views on race, but also in a family that believes in a religion that openly discriminated against Blacks until the 1970s.
Since race still matters, these observations matter, too. And though it is not polite to express this kind of ambivalence about transracial adoption, you can best believe that a whole lot of black folks saw the picture and shook their heads. For good or ill, we care about the lives and livelihoods of little black boys. And we wonder what kind of man Kieran will grow up to be. We know that the lie we are being asked to believe is that the Romneys, despite their politics and religious affiliations, have transcended race so much that Kieran’s blackness is just an accident of birth.
Melissa and, by proxy, all of us who looked twice at the photo are being called into question because we refuse to follow the script of colorblindness and racial transcendence. We insist on asking what it means to be a black kid in a white family.
Posted by Blue_Tires | Tue Jan 7, 2014, 11:05 AM (6 replies)