30 October 2011

Elizabeth And Hazel Story Humanizes Little Rock Nine Icon

Elizabeth And Hazel Story Humanizes Little Rock Nine Icon | Resurgence | Big Think


“Two, four, six, eight, we don’t want to integrate!” The black and white picture from the fifties of a teenaged white girl yelling racial epithets at a young black coed who marches through an angry white mob to desegregate a Deep South high school in 1957 is world famous.

"I walked South on Park Street toward 14th Street until I got in front of the school. I walked across the street and started to go up on the sidewalk. About 12 members of the National Guard stood in front of the school along the sidewalk on the West side of Park Street. As I stepped from the street to go toward the sidewalk the National Guardsmen stood in front of me and would not let me pass them.

They held their rifles in front of them but did not point them at me. I tried once to walk around them and as I did they moved to the side in front of me and would not let me pass. They did not say anything to me and I did not say anything. I then walked back across Park Street to the East side and walked South again to the corner of 16th and Park Streets where I sat down on a bench.

I want to say there were white people all along the East side of Park Street as I walked along, and they moved along with me as I walked. Some of them followed me closely also.”

Statement by Elizabeth Eckford to FBI Special Agents Gilbert Strickland and Robert Hickam September 4, 1957

Not much was known about Elizabeth Eckford, a member of the Little Rock Nine, as the pioneering African American students who integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas came to be known. Even less was known about Hazel Bryan, the young white girl who personified to the rest of the world all that was wrong with the South. Elizabeth And Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock by David Margolick attempts to fill in the blanks and tell us what has happened to these two women through the years.


13 September 2011

The Help Elbows Accepted Historical Narrative Of The South Aside

Today's topic at my blog "Resurgence" on BigThink.com:

The Help Elbows Accepted Historical Narrative Of The South Aside

For some strange reason, I ended up watching the new movie The Help yesterday, less than twenty four hours after viewing Driving Miss Daisy for the first time. The most enduring conclusion I could draw from the whole experience? General Sherman should have burned every god damned thing in the entire Confederacy down to the ground during the Civil War.

In my mind, Viola Davis had already earned the Oscar for best actress for her portrayal of maid Aibileen Clark as soon as I saw the look in her eyes, a soul numbed stare that America had invested over three hundred years of intense and unceasingly relentless physical and psychological terror to produce. The combination of outstanding cinematography and astonishingly precise dialogue in both films had me, a middle aged African American man who has lived in the South his whole life, short of breath and anxious, even though I knew it was all make believe. The brown skinned actors on the screen who so artfully brought these two scripts to life were not just actors, but people who looked and acted just like members of my own extended family. They are my great uncles and aunts, they are my grandparents, they are stand-ins for the stars of my family’s own sagas from this same era. Much of this family lore ends benignly, just like these two movies did, which has always led me to wonder about the unspoken stories with much, much worse endings.

28 April 2011

President Obama Chumps Donald Trump and the Birthers

Today's topic at my blog "Resurgence" on BigThink.com:

President Obama Chumps Donald Trump and the Birthers

Donald Trump has been running around the countryside, playing the CEO of Village Idiot, Inc. to the hilt these last few weeks, and our lazy, unprincipled national media corps has hung right with him, broadcasting every inane, bombastic utterance that explodes from his mouth. I figured President Obama was going to release his birth certificate at some point, although, for my money, I would have waited a little longer, just to keep Karl Rove from sleeping at night as this cancerous obsession with the legitimacy of our President’s citizenship ate away at any chances the GOP had to regain the White House.


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17 March 2011

Collective Bargaining Helped Level Playing Field For Black Workers

I got this email from the guys at Color of Change a couple days ago - couldn't have said what they'vee written here better myself:

There was once a time in this country when Black folks would work 12-hour days for less money than their White co-workers who worked only eight. The key to leveling the playing field for Black workers was collective bargaining — and now Republicans around the country are attacking this basic right.
The right of workers to negotiate as a group for better wages, benefits and working conditions has been important for everyone, but it's been especially meaningful for Black Americans. Before we could collectively bargain, we had little control over our working conditions and no protection from racial discrimination in the workplace.
That's why it's critical that we stand with the workers in Wisconsin, Ohio, New Jersey, and everywhere else collective bargaining is coming under attack. Please join us in sending a message of support to all those fighting this battle on the front lines. It takes only a moment:
In Memphis in 1968, Black sanitation workers worked in dangerous, inhumane conditions under abusive White supervisors for little pay. After two workers were crushed to death by a malfunctioning city garbage truck, the city's Black sanitation workers sought to unionize. They demanded better wages, safer working conditions, and the right to collectively bargain for these things. They took to the streets of Memphis bearing signs that read, "I am a man." During the strike, police attacked and jailed Black workers for peaceful protest. Months later, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who said that "all labor has dignity," joined these workers on the front lines. He was assassinated while leading the effort to win collective bargaining rights for these workers.1
Collective bargaining has helped Black workers vulnerable to workplace discrimination win needed on-the-job protections. “Black workers have an interest in unions as all workers do, because they give them power in the labor market to improve working conditions, and allow them due process and fairness on the job,” says labor scholar Stephen Pitts. “Any sort of institution that allows due process procedures and reduces arbitrary behavior in decision making is positive for black folks.”2
More than just protection from discrimination, collective bargaining has won Black workers fairness in pay and advancement, access to health insurance and retirement savings, and basic worker safety protections.3 This is especially true for Black public-sector workers. Twenty-five percent of all Black college graduates work in the public sector, and government work is second only to health and education services in concentration of Black workers.4 As scholar Michael Honey points out, "The one toe-hold many black and minority workers (and especially women among them) still have in the economy is in unionized public employment.5
Now, Republicans in state legislatures around the country are attacking public employees' collective bargaining rights. The battle began in Wisconsin, when Republican Governor Scott Walker offered a bill that would strip public employees of their collective bargaining rights. In response, thousands of regular people filled the state capitol in protest — with many camping out there for days or even weeks. To stop the bill and force Republicans to negotiate, 14 Democratic state senators left Wisconsin, (preventing Republicans from voting on the bill). Despite the overwhelming public opposition to the bill, Republicans were eventually able to pass the law using procedural tricks late last week.6 But the protesters in Wisconsin drew the world's attention to this fight, and exposed the attack on collective bargaining rights as hugely unpopular and politically motivated. And right now they're working to hold Republicans accountable in powerful ways.
Wisconsin is one of many states where collective bargaining is under attack. Republicans in Ohio just passed a law similar to Wisconsin's, and states from Indiana to New jersey are prepared to follow suit.
Republicans say that their effort to roll back collective bargaining rights is necessary to curb spending in times of economic hardship, but that just doesn't square with the facts. In no state are public employees' salaries or pension benefits a major cause of their current financial problems.7 The Republican efforts are part of a strategy to attack public employees' unions, which overwhelmingly give money to Democratic interests. Without the strength of the unions, many expect that President Obama and other Democrats will have a tougher time raising funds for the 2012 election.8
DePaul University law professor Terry Smith says that, "Dismantling bargaining rights will disproportionately affect African Americans."9 This right has played a vitally important role in Black Americans' move into the middle class. For Republicans, the economic well-being of Black folks (and all workers) is only collateral damage in a political battle. It's shameful.
That's why it's important that we stand with the brave workers around the country fighting to preserve the right to collectively bargain in their states. They're on the front lines, and your message of support will help them keep going even as circumstances get tougher. Please join us in telling these workers that you stand with them, and then ask your friends and family to do the same.
Thanks and Peace,
-- James, Gabriel, William, Dani, Matt, Natasha and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
   March 15th, 2011
Help support our work. ColorOfChange.org is powered by YOU — your energy and dollars. We take no money from lobbyists or large corporations that don’t share our values, and our tiny staff ensures your contributions go a long way. You can contribute here:
1. “How Unions Helped Bring Economic Justice to Black Workers," AlterNet, 2-25-2011
2. See Reference 1
3. "Gutting Unions Hurts the Black Middle Class,” The Root, 3-11-2011
4. “Black Workers Central to National Union Battle,” ColorLines, 3-1-2011
5. “It’s 1968 All Over Again and King’s Fight for Unions Is Still Essential,”
6. “Wisconsin Union Law to Take Effect on March 26,” Wall Street Journal, 3-14-2011
7.“Unions aren’t to blame for Wisconsin’s budget,” The Washington Post, 2-18-2011
8. “WI Senate GOP Leader Admits On-Air That His Goal Is To Defund Labor Unions, Hurt Obama’s Reelection Chances,” Think Progress, 3-9-2011

31 October 2010

Having Andrew Breitbart On ABC Is Like Having A Child Molester In A Daycare

The Brown Man had a field day on Twitter yesterday with this Andrew Breitbart & ABC News thing:


With Andrew Breitbart on the payroll, I guess Disney now sells everything from cotton candy fantasy to race-based hate.

Andrew Morse of ABC, I know you don't want to hire too many minorities, but is Breitbart THE ONLY white man with a blog who can do this?

ABC's execs are so in love with Andrew "Blame-A-Black-Today" Breitbart they will let him send smoke signals from an undisclosed location.

I mean, what 500K a year ABC exec had the bright idea to say okay to Andrew "A Framed Negro Is A Good Negro" Breitbart?

ABC's hiring of Andrew Breitbart to comment of the election is like hiring Bernie Madoff to "do a little bookkeeping"

So long as ABC cuts Andrew Breitbart a check George Stephanopoulos can go fuck a duck - there is no open season on black women in MY America.

Andrew Morse @ABC, here's a thought - just got to Technorati, click on "Political Blogs", and pick one of the top 100 to replace Breitbart.

Andrew Breitbart shows over and over that his sole purpose in life is to fight for the right to distort the truth.

But yapping is just yapping unless you take some kind action. From my pals over at Color Of Change:

Below is the message we'll send to David Westin, President of ABC News; Anne Sweeney, President Disney/ABC Television Group; and Robert Iger, President/CEO of the Walt Disney Company. You can add your own personal comments in the box to the left.

Dear Mr. Westin, Ms. Sweeney, and Mr. Iger,

I find it appalling that ABC News would give Andrew Breitbart a platform on election night, given his history as a serial race-baiter who has shown no regard for the truth. Only months ago Mr. Breitbart was publicly disgraced for smearing Shirley Sherrod of the USDA, using selectively edited video and lies that he repeatedly uttered. After Breitbart was exposed, he refused to apologize, even as multiple news outlets had to themselves issue retractions and apologies.

I would expect ABC News and The Walt Disney Company to have some basic standard of integrity for those to whom it extends its media platform. Your present decision indicates otherwise and comes across as a slap in the face to Shirley Sherrod, to Black Americans, and to decent people of every background who believe in the basic value of truth-telling.

Andrew Breitbart has repeatedly shown he has no regard for the truth. By inviting him to participate in your Election Day programming, you are inviting your credibility to be called into question, while providing undeserved legitimacy to Andrew Breitbart.

I respectfully request that you rescind your offer inviting Andrew Breitbart to participate in your Election Day programming.


[Your Name Here]

Reading my blog is great, but you need to sign up with Color Of Change, or send this letter to their email addresses or Twitter accounts, or call their front desk on Monday like your life depends on it.


Do you get it, ABC? No Breitbart on ANYTHING, even if he's giving it away for free - not even if he shows up with an NAACP membership card.

My related story over at Big Think:

ABC Hires Hate Hustler Andrew Breitbart As Election Analyst

28 October 2010

Juan Williams Takes The Buckwheat Seat At FOX

Today's topic at my blog "Resurgence" on BigThink.com:

Juan Williams Takes The Buckwheat Seat At FOX

Maybe it was a good thing that I was headed out of town the day Juan Williams got whacked by the NPR head honchos. Because it probably wouldn’t have taken more than two or three hours before I would have had to write "take your handkerchief head wearing ass somewhere and sit the hell down."

By the time I got back from the great state of Kentucky earlier this week, where people in wheelchairs and on walkers come a dime a dozen and sorely neglected teeth are de rigueur, but the populace still hates the thought of getting any help from the federal government even though government money is the only thing propping their state up these days, all I could do was watch as Magic Bishop Don Juan Williams took his pimp game to FOX News for a full-time gig.


BigThink.com is a global forum connecting people and ideas.

You can access hundreds of hours of direct, unfiltered interviews with today's leading thinkers, movers and shakers, and, best of all, respond in kind. You can respond to the interviewee, respond to a responder or throw your own question or idea into the ring.

26 August 2010

If Standing Up For Muslims Is Wrong, I Don't Want To Be Right

Somebody is going to be killed.

This somebody, named Ahmed H. Sharif, was almost killed by a man who asked "are you a Muslim?"

The ugliest thing about this whole incident, the thing that makes me understand even more why Emmett Till's mother wanted the world to see how her son had been savaged, is how little attention it is getting from the press, as if we are characters in a Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, in that famous scene I have never liked, debating whether or not there is a "dead Muslim storage" sign on the lawn instead of the phrase "dead nigger storage" that was used in the movie.

Is the entire country just looking the other way?

I rummaged through the front pages and the op-ed pages of the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Chicago Sun-Times, The L.A. Times, and found nothing, nothing at all, not a damn word on Ahmed H. Sharif and this human travesty, just thousands of words speculating on the outcome of the fall elections, as if knowing their outcome two months early really matters.

My man over at Alias Bruce put it about as good as it could be said:

72% of Americans don't think it's appropriate to build an Islamic Center and mosque
two blocks from Ground Zero, a CBS poll shows.

This is horrifying, and it naturally leads to such questions as, "Should Americans be allowed to reproduce without international supervision?"

The stabbing of a Muslim cabbie, allegedly by a white man who asked the man's religion before attacking him, underlines the atrocity. And understand me: this is not just about addle-brained white Americans. As an African American, I have heard downright wicked remarks about Muslims out of the mouths of black people, including one of my own late relatives.

alias Bruce

Michael Enright

I don't know if the perpetrator's background didn't fit into the narrative the media needs to sell, because he wasn't wearing Tea Party underwear or wasn't a member of a white supremacy group, or because that tuft of blond hair reminded many of our fair haired political pundits and social commentators of their own drunken frat boy days. Whether he had liberal leanings or associations, is a member of the Green Party, or an avowed atheist, none of which would matter, even if they were true, this is still wrong.

Killing a man who is driving a fucking taxi cab for being a Muslim, as much as it reflects the perverted reality of America's long history of racial atrocities against minority groups, is not what America and Americans need to stoop to accepting, not after the long way we have come these last fifty years.

Mr. Enright, consider THIS a checkpoint - a checkpoint for the kind of backwards assed thinking that has got your ass in handcuffs right now.

As for the media, what will it take to get their heads out of their asses and write about shit that matters? Do two Muslims have to be attacked at the same time? Three? Four?

Should the next victim be a pregnant Muslim woman?

A Muslim who is an Iraqi war veteran, who came back home alive only to die at the hands of a fellow citizen?

Or maybe I haven't hit upon the narrative that your editors have posted on their wall, the one determines how much blood and gore a story about minorities has to have to equal a story on Lindsay Lohan's latest whereabouts.

All I can say is, if standing up for Muslims, especially Muslims who are here in America, is wrong, then I don't want to be right.