Do you think of your momma or grandma as an “inarticulate black welfare mother with 19 children?” If not you might be surprised to learn that certain–largely white–gays are paying big bucks to have one of their own dress up in drag and black-face as Shirley Q. Liquor, to be the MAMMY they never had but always wanted. What you are about to see is real and apparently this guy makes 75K—to—90k a year off of racism, classism and sexism—masked as satire—of an alleged childhood beloved black nanny.
Feeling inspired but not getting hired
Eli Saslow, Washington Post | May 27, 2011
IN MEMPHIS — His week had begun with a graduation ceremony, a standing ovation and a walk across the stage to meet the president of the United States. Kenneth Roberson was a top-ranked student at the high school President Obama had selected as the country’s most “inspiring,” and the president had extended his hand and asked Roberson what he planned to do next. The 18-year-old thought back to his mother’s advice about making first impressions: Stand tall. Make eye contact. Smile. Be confident.
“Sir, I’m going to get a job and go to college,” Roberson told the president.
Now it was Friday afternoon, four days later, and Roberson idled with a group of fellow graduates in the empty parking lot of Booker T. Washington High, a public school surrounded by the housing projects of South Memphis. The president was gone. The commemorative banner had been packed away into storage. A school security guard had locked the main entrance. All that was left were the littered remains of green-and-white confetti on the asphalt and a shared uncertainty about what to do next.
“I need a damn job, man,” said Chris Dean, 18. “Any of y’all got something?”
“Nah,” said one.
“Nah,” said another.
“I’m still trying to get hooked up at McDonald’s,” said a third.
The group turned to Roberson, who had always been the first of his friends to get everything. He had graduated in the top five in the class and won a partial scholarship to college. He hoped to earn at least $2,000 over the summer to pay for school and buy a car that would get him there. But now, in the parking lot, he was another teenager shaking his head. (Read more)
Last week I lost a hero. The man who helped me fall in love with power of the spoken word passed away leaving behind timeless pieces of greatness that will continue to empower the most marginalized and disaffected. Gil Scott-Heron used his pen and voice to challenge racism and classism. His mere existence made it abundantly clear that art and activism were not mutually exclusive, but rather when combined had the power to influence society. His work pushed literary and political boundaries. He kept government officials in check with his acerbic pen. He motivated people to stand up for progressive reform when they felt disillusioned. He provided unadulterated social commentary on the daily struggles of urban life before hip-hop became a staple of American pop culture.
As we celebrate/barbecue this Memorial Day, let’s not forget that many of the soldiers that have died fighting America’s wars, are the same poor disenfranchised people that this society always overlooks and demonizes, so mega corporations can make billions of dollars privatizing the conquered country’s resources and helping said country “rebuild”.
The soldiers that do make it home are often rejected, discriminated against, preyed on by predatory lenders, and in the case of decorated marine Jose Guerena, who served two tours in Iraq, shot dead in his own home by Tuscan police in front of his wife and child.
Why would a trained soldier knowingly point a gun at police and not fire? Wouldn’t he know they would return fire killing him like he had been trained to do? If he was going to fire at police wouldn’t he take the safety off of his gun?
What the news story didn’t say was that the SWAT team refused to allow paramedics to treat Jose Guerena, letting him to bleed to death, at the scene, in front of his wife and child. Also decorated marine Jose Guerena had no criminal record and the gun had to protect his family was legal.
This interview contains the 911 call from Jose’s distraught wife and powerful testimony from the Guerena’s family lawyer about the Tuscan’s police attempt to cover up their heinous act
Change Comes Slow in Juvenile Justice
Cynthia Gordy, The Root | May 27, 2011
In 1974 the U.S. Congress mandated the creation of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Made up of representatives from 12 federal agencies (including the departments of Education, Housing and Development, and Health and Human Services), the council’s purpose is to synchronize government efforts around improving juvenile detainment facilities and delinquency prevention, making sure that each agency charts the same objectives and goals. This week the council, chaired by Attorney General Eric Holder, convened for its quarterly meeting in Washington, D.C.
“It was a very successful meeting,” Melodee Hanes, acting deputy administrator for policy in the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, told The Root. “We provide the attorney general with the best information possible to address relevant issues … It’s the job of OJJDP to then take those action steps and, on a state level, help states implement the nuts and bolts of what helps generate change.”
At the request of Holder, the council presented research and case studies on several priority issues, including the link between school discipline and delinquency, re-entry and college access. Another priority is reducing the vast racial disparities in the juvenile-justice system: African-American minors make up about 15 percent of the general child population but account for nearly 70 percent of children in juvenile detention. (Read more)
Lil Wayne dropped ‘How To Love,” the third single from Tha Carter IV yesterday, and I absolutely hated it.
Then I realized that I love it. Listen to it here.
Clips from the upcoming documentary exploring the deep-seated biases and attitudes about skin color—particularly dark skinned women, outside of and within the Black American culture.
Directed by Bill Duke and D. Channsin Berry
Produced by Bill Duke for Duke Media
and D. Channsin Berry for Urban Winter Entertainment
Co-Produced by Bradinn French
Edited by Bradinn French
Last night my younger brother asked me for help with a project that he was about 2 weeks behind in work. Of course it was due the next day so I automatically adopt an attitude: have no mercy for what doesn’t get finished, but give all that you have. Last night was not a burden; actually quite the opposite, I accepted it as an honor since it was the one of the few times he called on me. As siblings grow older the texture of their relationship achieves maturity. We become aware of institutionalization—imprisonment, surveillance, conversion into a cubicle critter, etc.—and try to keep our family from falling off the cliff. While we commit to assisting our siblings, their incompletion of something always inspires guilt within us. Should it be there though?
Do You Live in a Food Desert? Search Your Area
Asraa Mustufa, Colorlines | May 24, 2011
The USDA introduced a mapping tool this month that tracks food deserts across the country, and includes demographic information about those living in areas without access to healthy and affordable food.
The Food Desert Locator highlights areas that are low-income and where a substantial portion of residents (at least 500 people and/or a third of the population) have low access to a supermarket or large grocery store. To qualify as a low access community, residents in urban settings must reside more than one mile away from a supermarket or grocery story that contains all major food departments and makes at least $2 million in sales, or 10 miles away from one in rural settings.
Users can search the map by address, county, or zip code. It can be viewed with a topographic background where city locations, county and state boundaries are visible, or with a satellite background to see an aerial view of physical locations like housing developments, roads, malls, lakes, or rivers. Furthermore, one can view statistics on the people in each food desert – information like the number and percentage of low income residents, number and percentage of those with low access, amounts of children and senior citizens with low access, and the amount of low access housing units that do not have a vehicle.
The population characteristics come from 2000 Census data, and the map was developed by the Economic Research Service, the USDA’s economic research department. ERS used the definition of “food desert” devised by the Health Food Financing Initiative (HFFI), a partnership between the Treasury Department, Health and Human Services, and the USDA that emerged as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” initiative. This definition will be used in determining eligibility for HFFI funds to go towards expanding the availability of nutritious food and developing retail sites in food deserts. The Food Desert Locator was also designed to help policy makers, community planners, researchers, and developers to identify neighborhoods with low access to healthy and affordable food. (Read more)
Hi, My name is Jonathan, and I use masculine gender pronouns like “he” or “him” to express my identity.
I have far too often taken for granted how easy it is and how privileged I am to be able freely express my gender without constant repression or ridicule. I think privilege has to be one of the most complicated themes of my life. I can be marginalized one day on the basis of my race and sexuality and on that very same day I can receive benefits on the basis of being a man and my gender expression. I am both routinely and simultaneously forced to recognize my privilege while coming to terms with my lack of privilege.
We have been of no assistance.
We, us who benefit from birthrights and silver spoons.
We have been loved “assiduously”
for centuries and still today
we reap the benefits of stolen lands
that were snatched from the
weathered hands that it belonged to,
to begin with.
On Its 57th Anniversary, Three Lessons From Brown v. Board of Education
Eva Paterson, Huffington Post | May 23, 2011
At the Equal Justice Society, we are working to reclaim the full protections of the 14th Amendment and help those who experience discrimination get their day in court. We know we have a tough and long road ahead in tackling our biggest challenge, namely overturning the “intent doctrine” as established in Washington v. Davis.
Yet, as we prepare for the next step in this critical work, we are glad to have the shining example that is Brown v. Board of Education — one of the most important decisions ever handed down by the United States Supreme Court — illuminating the way forward.
The Brown case, which ended the tyranny of “separate but equal” policies in America, was the result of a decades-long, multi-pronged, and disciplined strategy. Known as the “Houston Plan,” the strategy first took shape at Howard University of Law School in the early 1930s, and combined impact litigation, innovative use of social science, and collaboration with civil rights organizations across the political spectrum. (Read more)
“Being based means [being] positive, doing what you want to do, not caring and just being yourself.”
There isn’t anyone in the music industry who is more enigmatic than Brandon McCartney aka Lil’ B. His non-traditional rapping style coupled with his strict adherence to the “based” lifestyle has inspired thousands and left many “hip-hop heads” perplexed. One of the main reasons I respect Lil’ B is because he dares to be different. He doesn’t allow the narrow confines of hip-hop to restrict his creativity or censor his thoughts, no matter how outlandish they may be. More importantly, I believe the Based God is using controversy to spread positivity.
NBC Nightly News | May 20, 2011
In Baltimore, Md., The Priceless Gown Project is making Prom dreams a reality. The project boutique gave away free dresses to over 500 young ladies who otherwise may not have been able to finance their dream gown. A unique shopping experience, the ladies are paired with a personal shopper and able to browse through over 3,000 donated dresses.
Sean Bell Community Center Opens in New York
Asraa Mustufa, Colorlines | May 23, 2011
Five years after Sean Bell was killed in a hail of police gunfire, a community center named in his honor opened Friday in the Jamaica, Queens neighborhood where he grew up.
The Sean Elijah Bell Community Center plans to offer tutoring and mentoring programs for kids, and GED and job training programs for adults starting next month. The center was funded by a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant and hopes to become an after-school haven for local youth, aiming to serve between 2,000 and 5,000 people a year.
“Someone was taken away from us and we want to try to save some other people,” Bell’s father William Bell told The New York Daily News. “There’s so many things that could be done in our neighborhood.” (Read more)
Supreme Court upholds order for California to release 46,000 inmates
James Oliphant, Los Angeles Times | May 23, 2011
Reporting from Washington — The Supreme Court, in a narrow 5-4 decision, has an upheld an injunction by a three-judge panel ordering California to release about 46,000 inmates — more than one-fourth the state prison population — over the next two years to relieve overcrowding.
The decision was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy and backed by the court’s liberal bloc. At issue was whether federal judges had the power to order the release of state prisoners as a necessary means of curing a constitutional violation.
A special panel of three judges ruled in 2009 that inmates in the state’s 33 prisons were being denied adequate medical care as required by the Constitution. Because overcrowding was the “primary cause,” they ordered the state to cap its prison population at 137% of capacity.
The court said the state’s prisons had “short of minimum constitutional requirements” and “needless suffering and death” have resulted. (Read more)