Distractions, Progress & the 2010 Census

Today I heard an advertisement on a Chicago radio station. It started off with a heavy bass rhythm in the background, and continued into a full beat that sounded oddly familiar—like it was the new Lil Wayne track of the week. (It seem like he comes out with a new song every other day.) But this was not another “Young Money” -Drake or Nikki Minaj- single that frequents radio stations in Chicago. The track that I heard was a rap song encouraging people (particularly a black demographic) to fill out their 2010 Census forms. I believe our country has made a lot of progress since the 2000 Census (when I was only ten years old and in 4th grade) but this is not a moment in history where the movers and shakers need to fall into the trap of complacency. Tomorrow (April 1st) is the official “National Census Day” and we need to encourage every man, women, in child in the inner city to fill out the census forms and take it seriously.


The Negro Problem, 2010 Census, and Bad Dreams

“They approach me in a half-hesitant sort of way, eye me curiously or compassionately, and then, instead of saying directly, How does it feel to be a problem? they say, I know an excellent colored man in my town; or, I fought at Mechanicsville; or, Do not these Southern outrages make your blood boil? At these I smile, or am interested, or reduce the boiling to a simmer, as the occasion may require. To the real question, How does it feel to be a problem? I answer seldom a word”- W.E.B. Dubois

Last night I had trouble sleeping. Lately I have been suffering from extreme night terrors. However, last night’s episode was far worse than any of the previous ones I have suffered from. I usually wake up in a cold sweat after having a vision of falling into an abyss of nothingness.  That imaginary abyss is minor compared to the frightening horrors that I battled with all last night. Brace yourself…Last night I dreamt that someone called me a NEGRO in 2010. Well it didn’t start it out just like that. In fact, there was quite a lot that built up to this. Since there is no way for you to experience what I did, allow me to paint a picture.

Setting: Anywhere in the United States of America at anytime on any day

Characters: Joe America & Me

March 22, 2010 – March 28, 2010

A wiser view of flash mobs
Karen Heller, Philadelphia Inquirer, March 28, 2010

Education, careers give hope over violence
Post Tribune Staff Writer, Gary Post Tribune March 28, 2010

Violence is never justified
Randy Simmonds, Vail Daily, March 28, 2010

House Passes $600 Million In Funding For Summer Youth Jobs Programs
Seattle Medium Staff Writer, The Seattle Medium,  March 26, 2010

Yet another reason for school reform
Wisconsin State Journal, March 25, 20103

Student court rule favors student
Erica Whelan, The Daily Eastern News, March 25, 2010

Racial Tension at South Carolina: Should Student Athletes Be Involved?
Alex Roberts, Bleacher Reporter, March 25, 2010

Racism report cites students in blackface
Dalson Chen, The Windsor Star, March 24, 2010

What Black Writers Should Be Taught in Schools?
Katherine Schulten, The New York Times, March 24, 2010

Education Leaders Call for Improving Public Schools
Bruno Tedeschi, My Central Jersey, March 23, 2010

Hip-hop expressions analyzed, defended
Marjorie Riformo, Accent Advocate, March 23, 2010

Youth Demand Teen Age Relief Program (TARP) Bailout
PR Newswire Staff Writer, Press Release NewsWire, March 23, 2010

House approves huge changes to student loan program
Daniel de Vise, Washington Post, March 22, 2010

Public rally for youth violence
Kirsty Noffke, Tweed Daily News, March 22, 2010

Action urged against campus racism
Louise Brown, The Star, March 22, 2010

A Southern Gul, Southern Genius Feeding Her Own Meter

Though I am ostensibly a U.S. Citizen (some days it feels tenuous as hell), I also have a Crunchy Nation green card, which means my Twitter feed was full of earth mother goddesses, headwraps, and the like drooling over Erykah Badu’s new video for “Window Seat,” the lead single from her album, New Amerykah Part 2: Return of the Ankh.  They think it’s genius; they are probably right.  Erykah Badu makes the best music videos ever.


"Anyone But Me" Web Series

Written by Susan Miller and Tina Cesa Ward | Season 2, Ep. 5

Anyone But Me is a critically acclaimed web series about New York city teens coming of age in the 21st century. The series follows the ethnically diverse cast as they explore for their own identity and search for acceptance. Realistically portraying the issues and daily struggles of Generation Z, Anyone But Me depicts the concerns of real-life teens such as sexuality, racial identity and the family dynamics present in today’s society. Using fresh plot lines, thoughtful dialogue and an authentic cast, the show aims to speak to issues that are ignored in mainstream television.  (Catch the rest of the series here.)

Black Women Living in Poverty and Tiredness, can the US Census help?

In 1964 at the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party Convention, Fannie Lou Hamer said, “All my life I’ve been sick and tired . . . Now, I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Even though these words were distinctively about Southern racism, I find myself unconsciously gravitating to these words to talk about the US census and black female poverty. I know this is Women’s Her-story month and for the last three weeks I’ve paid tribute to black women healers, black Sisterfriends, and sex workers, but today I want to change the tone and talk about black female poverty, being tired & overworked, and the US census.

So, every ten years we say, Be Counted . . . Take the Census in the hope that sheer raw numbers will change the many problems brown and black communities face. We believe that if only the federal government know we are here—the Negro people . . . yes that’s what they call us—that perhaps they will allot more resources to our often improvised and over populated communities. We believe that numbers will change some things. We believe numbers will make the crooked places straight as the old folks say. We believe because sometimes all we have is our belief. And let’s be clear, numbers can change some things. Just, pick any major social movement within the last 50 years to see the impact of numbers. However, when it comes to ending the poverty and overworked realities of black women, numbers (i.e. The Census) alone are not enough.