For the last month or so, I have been trying to wrap my mind around how Antoine Dodson’s instant celebrity fame helps his sister, Kelly Dodson. Yes, I know Antoine’s internet fame allowed him to move his family from a less safe neighborhood context to a safer residential area. But, the reasons why a man could easily climb through Kelly’s window without the fear of being accosted intending to rape her and the reasons for Antoine individual solution—“We will find you . . .”—have yet to be answered or addressed. However, what has transpired is that the Bed Intruder Song has gone viral to point that both Verizon (yes, the phone company) and Tea Party Candidate, Christine O’Donnell, have used the song to show the need for net neutrality (i.e. digital stratification and no FCC regulation of price) and how Chris Coons is a Democratic Bed Intruder so, “Hide your wills, hide your lights . . . ‘Cause he’s taxing everything out here.” Honestly, as a black woman/advocate/feminist, I find Christine O’Donnell’s comparison of rape and taxing as what my grandmother would call, “dumb as bricks talking out the side of your neck” talk.
Obama tries to recapture his youth vote
Christopher Nelson, The Grio, October 15, 2010
It may be 2010 but President Obama is trying to do what both his predecessors, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, tried to do before him, which is get young voters to “Rock the Vote”. The phrase often used during the early 1990s described the initiative which found singers, rappers, actors and other entertainers trying to bridge the gap between popular culture and politics, and such efforts may have been reinvigorated with Thursday’s youth town hall.
During the televised event hosted by BET, CMT, and MTV, the president took questions before an audience of 250 young people from diverse backgrounds. There were also an untold number of young people watching on television, via live stream over the Internet, or keeping up with the discussion on Twitter. The president’s hope in reaching out is that young voters will show up on Election Day, and choose between the candidates, hopefully casting a vote for the embattled Democrats.
Given the hardships faced by young African-Americans including near 50 percent teen unemployment, many political observers are unsure if young black voters will be willing to help Democrats hold onto control of Congress.
A new Pew Research poll says that 27 percent of young voters who identify as a Democrat have given a significant amount of thought to this year’s midterm election, down 20 points from the last midterm election four years ago. (Read the full article)
The black hipster: a sneaker pimp wearing nothing other than Levi skinnies below the waist and a vintage Public Enemy snap back above the forehead, selects weapons of change from an arsenal of flannels and graphic tees. In the local boutique shelves, such as Leaders 1354 in Chicago, lie images of Huey P. Newton, Rosa Parks, Malcolm Little (Malcom X) and Martin Luther King Jr. on pieces on cotton. The people that rock these shirts continue to enunciate our message to the world, the world that only wants us to conform within the ideals of whiteness quietly. Although our struggle survives through style, it sounds like gibberish if it stays cotton-deep.
Civil Rights Complaints Against Schools Spike to Record High
Julianne Hing, Colorlines, October 14, 2010
The Department of Education’s complaint box is filling up. The AP reported Tuesday that the DOE’s Office of Civil Rights is receiving a record number of complaints—7,000 this fiscal year—from people who say that students’ civil rights have been violated.
The complaints mark an 11 percent increase from the previous year, the largest jump in at least a decade.
What are folks complaining about? Harsh discipline and zero-tolerance policies that are meted out in unequal measures for black, Latino and white students. Kids with special needs who aren’t getting the right services. English language-learners who either languish in segregated classes for too long, or aren’t getting the help they need.
The DOE is currently conducting 54 compliance reviews of school districts and higher education institutions. The investigations are intended to figure out whether school districts have policies in place to protect students, and whether those policies are being implemented and enforced. This May, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that he was reviving the DOE’s Office of Civil Rights to begin investigating violations in schools. He said at the time that the investigations wold focus on the higher rates of discipline of students of color, and racial disparities in college-prep courses in certain high school. (Read the full article)
A few weeks ago when news broke about Bishop Eddie Long’s sexual exploitation of his church’s younger male patrons, one of my favorite news sites, Bossip, suggested the number would go as high as 30. I’ll admit the main blogger is a bit homophobic but for the most part, I tend to trust their sources. Anyway, what I found most interesting about the Eddie Long debacle, beyond the black church, beyond his hair piece, is that the hoards of cheering churchgoers inevitably made it that much more difficult for those other possible 26 victims to come out. In the end, it was clear who the more than 25,000 parishioners were more likely to believe.
It is fair to say that little good will come out of the Bishop Long scandal. It is possible he may still remain at the pulpit, that he will still preach to thousands about God, and that he will continue in his denial to perpetuate dangerous stereotypes about homosexuals. In many ways, he will inevitably become the victim of the gay regime and all those pushing for equality. Those who have been victimized will be seen as willing, as gold diggers, and as treacherous gay men trying to bring down the black church. Unfortunately, it will not be about male rape, as the revelation of male rape is almost always overshadowed by other circumstances. Either you were raped in prison which suggests you did something wrong in the first place or you were raped trying to join a gang, which shows you were doing wrong already. Either way, the issue of rape gets overshadowed.
Sadly, the Eddie Long drama hasn’t deepened the conversation about male on male sexual crime. Dave Chappelle does this skit about male rape and he makes it clear that it isn’t fashionable to admit to rape. Unfortunately, he is kind of right, you got to just “brush it off.”
Sophocles once said that without labor, nothing prospers. This is true of all industries, but especially important to remember in professional sports. While the players are the face and backbone of organizations, and the owners and management function as the brains, we must not forget that it is the fans who serve the heart of teams. So many aspects of a professional franchises success depend on fan support and when leagues are unable to reach labor agreements, it is the heart of organizations that suffer the most.
Teams owe it to the fans to keep the hostility to a minimum when negotiating new collective bargaining agreements. Strikes and lockouts are economic disasters waiting to happen for both labor and management and it all depends on loss of fan support.
Lauded Harlem Schools Have Their Own Problems
Sharon Otterman, New York Times | October 12, 2010
President Obama created a grant program to copy his block-by-block approach to ending poverty. The British government praised his charter schools as a model. And a new documentary opening across the country revolves around him: Geoffrey Canada, the magnetic Harlem Children’s Zone leader with strong ideas about how American education should be fixed.
Last week, Mr. Canada was in Birmingham, England, addressing Prime Minister David Cameron and members of his Conservative Party about improving schools.
But back home and out of the spotlight, Mr. Canada and his charter schools have struggled with the same difficulties faced by other urban schools, even as they outspend them. After a rocky start several years ago typical of many new schools, Mr. Canada’s two charter schools, featured as unqualified successes in “Waiting for ‘Superman,’ ” the new documentary, again hit choppy waters this summer, when New York State made its exams harder to pass.
A drop-off occurred, in spite of private donations that keep class sizes small, allow for an extended school day and an 11-month school year, and offer students incentives for good performance like trips to the Galápagos Islands or Disney World. (Read the full article)
Love always triumphs bias, love always triumphs discrimination, and love always triumphs homophobia…or at least I would like to think so. In the past 6 weeks alone there have been nine students to commit suicide due to bullying and harassment because they were LGBTQ. This not only makes me sad, but it makes me angry. I spent this past weekend with my family, and I once again felt the reality of how it feels to be a part of a group that is naturally hated in society. So many negative and inaccurate comments about the LGBTQ community that are based on either ignorance or just plain biblical misunderstanding. Whatever the problem is, these nine people recently took their own life because of this issue. Does it get better? It does, but only if we continue to push for change and progress in our society.
Anti-gay black preachers supporting lesbian mayoral candidate in Oakland, Calif.
Staff Writer, Chicago News, October 10, 2010
NAACP holds event to address youth violence in St. Louis
Staff Writer, KMOV News, October 10, 2010
Black youth in need of mentors
Earlena Boswell, The Fam-U, October 10, 2010
Students Learn Power of the Press
Nancy Chapman, The Daily Stamford, October 9, 2010
NAACP addresses “resegregation” of N.C. schools
Jennifer Moxley, Carolina News, October 8, 2010
Young voter organizations in the United States
Sylvia Cochran, Yahoo News, October 8, 2010
Hitting the streets to end youth violence
Sharia Davis, FOX Toledo News reporter, October 8, 2010
HBCUs failing in financial aid accountability
Jabari Payne, The Fam-U, October 7, 2010
The National Black Law Students Association Hosts its 43rd Annual Convention March 9-13, 2011
Staff Writer, Free Press Release, October 7, 2010
Ignoring Race in Education Reform Will Do More Harm Than Good
Staff writer, The Atlanta Post, October 6, 2010
More MontCo students taking alternative route to diplomas
Lisa Gartner, Washington Examiner, October 6, 2010
Event spotlights HIV/AIDS and Black gay, bisexual youth
Mason Harrison, Windy City Times, October 6, 2010
Boston officials participate in national forum on youth violence prevention
Donovan Slack, Boston Globe, October 5, 2010
Young Blacks Unlikely To Rally Behind Democrats
Cathy J. Cohen, Black News, October 5, 2010
Political student groups debate midterm politics
Nick Cusack, Indiana Daily Study, October 5, 2010
Poor black students need parental support
Staff Writer, New Jersey Times, October 4, 2010
More City Students Affected by Foreclosures
Beth Fertig, WNYC, October 4, 2010
Rally targets violence as Chicago’s crime rate drops
Francine Knowles, Chicago Sun-Times, October 4, 2010
Youth Across North America Are Fighting For Their Future Climate
Subhankar Banerjee, Huffington Post, October 4, 2010
More non-black students attending historically black colleges
Samieh Shalash, Daily Press, October 4, 2010
As I wiped the residue from the corner of my eyes one morning I felt different. Somewhere in the depths of my soul I felt an inexplicable tingling sensation that was incessantly thumping. I drank a glass of water and peered out my window overlooking Lake Michigan. As I watched the unforgiving Chicago wind make ripples in a vast sea of blue I saw an over exaggerated reflection stare back at me. The grandeur image piercingly staring me in the eyes shared some phenotypical similarities with me. As I gazed longer at this ghastly apparition I began to see small images of women. The women were a motley crew; they were different ages and different backgrounds. I became frightened and began to frantically throw water on my face to ensure that I was not dreaming. Yet, even in my quest to get rid of these images I couldn’t help but hear these gossamers cry for help. Frightened and unsure of what was going on, I rushed from the mirror back to window to look out at Lake Michigan only to find that the water was some faint red color. Soon I began to realize that these women were trying to tell me something. For some reason their message was unintelligible to me. Feeling slightly delusional, I chose to return to my slumber to sleep off this strange episode that had occurred. I thought by closing my eyes I could escape the subliminal messages that were bombarding me for attention.
Finally after a long and pleasant respite, I woke up feeling refreshed and confident that my visions were merely a dream. So I got dressed and began to start my day. Yet, something still seemed different. I looked in my closet and all my red shirts seemed to be faded so much that they looked pink. What was going on? The amalgamtion of red and white began to consume my pupils. Scared and confused, I tried to make sense of what was going on, but still couldn’t wrap my head around it.
October 11, 2010
IGNITE 2010: From the Blogs to the Blocks took place during BET Hip-Hop Awards weekend at the W Hotel in downtown Atlanta. It was a first of its kind gathering of the leading minds in entertainment, new media and social organizing.
So Nas is pissed.
Earlier this week, a private email sent by Nas to executives at Def Jam, Nas’ current label home, leaked onto the internet. And it is a doozy. Nas slams the label suits for holding up the release of his highly anticipated Lost Tapes Vol. 2 collection, railing against a major label system that serves the interests of label execs at the expense of artists and fans.
The first full paragraph goes a little something like this:
“I won’t even tap dance around in an email, I will get right into it. People connect to the Artist @ the end of the day, they don’t connect with the executives. Honestly, nobody even cares what label puts out a great record, they care about who recorded it. Yet time and time again its the executives who always stand in the way of a creative artist’s dream and aspirations. You don’t help draw the truth from my deepest and most inner soul, you don’t even do a great job @ selling it. The #1 problem with DEF JAM is pretty simple and obvious, the executives think they are the stars. You aren’t…. not even close. As a matter of fact, you wish you were, but it didn’t work out so you took a desk job. To the consumer, I COME FIRST. Stop trying to deprive them! I have a fan base that dies for my music and a RAP label that doesn’t understand RAP. Pretty fucked up situation”
Damn. Straight ether.
Nas’ sentiments are passionate, honest, and dead-on. But this is not a new phenomenon. Not even close. You think an email is intense? How ‘bout changing your name to an unpronounceable symbol and purposefully sabotaging your own career?
So, I am writing a blog this morning about why black youth should submit videos for the Black Youth Project’s video contest, Democracy Remixed.
- The first reason is that I know black youth got lots of things to say. My morning bus rides to school are never quiet because black youth are always talking “loudly” about some issue—“Girl, did you hear about what happened to so and so when he was walking home . . .” So, why not take that conversation and make a video blog about it?
- The second reason is that $500 dollars can buy lots of school books . . . but, it can also buy lots of clothes from GAP so that you can be fashionable as you think about how you’re going to change the world one day.
NBC Washington | October 7, 2010
Last week it was revealed, at least to the masses, that the United States conducted STD trials on Guatemalan citizens over a two year period in the 1940s. Unfortunately, our black President had to issue the apology. The discovery was made by Susan Reverby, an historian studying the infamous Tuskegee Experiment conducted on black Americans. According to the Financial Times, she came across this information while doing research to “debunk the myth Tuskegee itself exposed subjects to infection rather than in fact depriving them of treatment.” Written that way, it almost seems as though she is suggesting the government’s role wasn’t that bad because they didn’t actually infect scores of black folk. They just watched. Which of course, makes this Guatemalan thing that bad. It’s the real fuckin’ deal!
But really, there is no need to compete on this topic because Tuskegee and Guatemala are drops in the bucket when it comes to testing on vulnerable populations. However, I will say what often makes some of the medical mistreatment of blacks so egregious is that we have been such important catalysts to medical discovery. So while Tuskegee was happening, whether blacks were infected intentionally or got syphilis on their own accord, there was a cure available. The withholding of treatment was not some random clerical error.