Cornel West v. Barack Obama

Cornel West v. Barack Obama

Melissa Harris-Perry, The Nation | May 17, 2011

Professor Cornel West is President Obama’s silenced, disregarded, disrespected moral conscience, according to Chris Hedges’s recent Truthdig column, “The Obama Deception: Why Cornel West went Ballistic.” In a self-aggrandizing, victimology sermon deceptively wrapped in the discourse of prophetic witness, Professor West offers thin criticism of President Obama and stunning insight into the delicate ego of the self-appointed black leadership class that has been largely supplanted in recent years.

West begins with a bit of historical revision. West suggests that the President discarded him without provocation after he offered the Obama for America campaign his loyal service and prayers. But anyone with a casual knowledge of this rift knows it began during the Democratic primary not after the election. It began, not with a puffed up President, but when Cornel West’s “dear brother” Tavis Smiley threw a public tantrum because Senator Obama refused to attend Smiley’s annual State of Black America. Smiley repeatedly suggested that his forum was the necessary black vetting space for the Democratic nominees. He needed to ask Obama and Clinton tough questions so that black America could get the answers it needed. But black America was doing a fine job making up its own mind in the primaries and didn’t need Smiley’s blessing to determine their own electoral preferences. Indeed, when Smiley got a chance to hold candidate Clinton “accountable” he spent more time fawning over her than probing about her symbolic or substantive policy stances that impacted black communities. Fiercely loyal to his friend, Professor West chose sides and began to undermine candidate Obama is small and large ways. Candidate Obama ceased calling West back because he was in the middle of a fierce campaign and West’s loyalties were, at best, divided. I suspect candidate Obama did not trust his “dear brother” to keep the campaign secrets and strategies. I also suspect he was not inaccurate in his hesitancy.  (Read more)

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Don Lemon, Coming Out and the Lingering Nature of Transphobia

Last October a Rutgers University first year student named Tyler Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge to commit suicide. Tyler was not the first (nor the last) student to commit such a horrid act due to homophobia. The problem in this situation was not just one person who was bullying Tyler, but the real issue is nestled into a culture of homophobia that still lingers in high school and college hallways.

Two days ago Don Lemon, CNN Broadcaster came out of the closet. In his new book “Transparency” Don writes about what it was like growing up as a black gay man. In an interview with Joy Behar he explains how he was even struggling with the choice to include this subject in his new book. What solidified his decision was Tyler Clementi’s suicide.

May 9, 2011 – May 15, 2011

Some students dive into politics
Prega Govender, Times Live, May 15, 2011

Forum inspires black youth
Don Lajoie, The Windsor Star, May 14, 2011

Black youth have less trouble if mentored
Staff Writer, UPI, May 14, 2011

Spelman hosts historic summit on black LGBT students
Anare V. Holmes, GA Voice, May 13, 2011

Racial quotas at UCT
James Myburgh, Politics Web, May 12, 2011

Rutgers’ Black and Latino Students Hold 19th Annual Rites of Passage Ceremony
Staff Writer, Media Relations, May 11, 2011

Smart is the new black bling
David Squires, Daily Press, May 11, 2011

By inviting Common to the White House, Barack and Michelle Obama miss a golden opportunity
Thomas Chatterton Williams, NY Daily News, May 11, 2011

Edelman Promotes Youth
Michelle M. Hu, The Harvard Crimson, May 11, 2011

Hip-hop poet Marc Bamuthi Joseph has words with Atlanta
Andrew Alexander, Creative Loafing, May 11, 2011

NAACP wants to meet with mayor, police chief to discuss police beating of arts student
The Associated Press, The Republic, May 11, 2011

The Failure of American Schools
Joel Klein, The Atlantic, May 10, 2011

Despite law on racial disparities, black teens are overly tried as adults
Kenneth J. Cooper, St.Louis Beacon, May 10, 2011

Is It Racist to Have Black Graduations at Traditional Colleges?
B. Hutson, The Atlanta Post, May 10, 2011

What Are Black Parents To Do To Get A Good Quality Education For Their Children?
Hardy L. Brown, Black Voice News, May 10, 2011

Scenes From the New York Education Wars
Joel Klein, Wall Street Journal, May 10, 2011

Provide financial support to historically black colleges and universities
Barbara Lee, The Hill News, May 9, 2011

Encouragement Boosts Minority Student Success
Daisy Grewal, Miller-McCune News, May 9, 2011

Civil Rights? That Is Ancient Stuff

Just when I thought the field of Republican Presidential candidates was overcrowded with foolishness, Dr. Ron Paul finagled his way in to prove that the GOP has no limit on animus towards marginalized communities. Before I go any further, let me make myself clear: I am not married to any particular political party. I don’t believe monogamy should exist in politics, that’s why I’m single.  Nevertheless, I couldn’t let a week go by without airing my frustration about Paul’s recent statement that he would have voted against the Civil Rights Act. I wasn’t too suprised to hear this coming from Paul. He’s like the Dennis Rodman of the Republican Party, very colorful and many times politically incorrect, but an all-star nonetheless.  His strong brand of libertarianism has made him a fierce opponent of  the War On Drugs and capital punishment (two positions that I agree with). However, his peculiar stance on race and gender relations makes me uneasy.

Black Teens Are Fired When the Minimum Wage Rises

Black Teens Are Fired When the Minimum Wage Rises

Frank McCoy, BET | May 12, 2011

It is no surprise that Black teens, 16- to 19-years old, are disproportionately unemployed. At the Great Recession’s bottom, African-American teens had an unemployment rate of nearly 50 percent while the rate for all teens was 27.1 percent. In the weak post-Recession, many teens compete for jobs against down-sized adults with college degrees.

And economists William Even from Miami University and David Macpherson from Trinity University report that when a state, or the federal government, increases the minimum wage, Black teens are more likely to be laid off. The duo analyzed 600,000 data points, which the Employment Policies Institute says included “a robust sample of minority young adults unprecedented in previous studies on the minimum wage.”

The report focused on 16-to 24-year-old males without a high school diploma and found that for each 10 percent increase in the federal or state minimum wage employment for young Black males decreased 6.5 percent. By contrast, after the same wage boost, employment for white and Hispanic males fell respectively just 2.5 percent and 1.2 percent.  (Read more)


One Year Ago: Detroit Police Murdered 7-Year-Old Aiyana Jones

Last year on this very day, the Detroit Police Department’s Special Response Team, while filming the reality TV show “First 48“, targeted the wrong house for a raid. Witnesses said the Police were warned that the house contained women and children before they threw a flash grenade through the widow, striking a sleeping Aiyana Jones, setting her on fire. Then Officer Joseph Weekly fired a shot into the home striking Aiyana Jones and killing her.

Instead of admitting any wrongdoing and trying to make amends, the Detroit Police concocted a false story that Officer Joseph Weekly burst through the door of the home and that Aiyana’s grandmother, seeing a member of the SWAT team in full armor with a machine gun, tried to wrestle the gun away from the Officer, causing the gun to go off and hit little Aiyana as she was still apparently sleep after all of the noises of grenades, glass breaking, and doors being kicked down.

Mistaken Identity

So last week, the black blogosphere was ablaze about Fox News’ objection to rapper, Common’s appearance at the White House for an evening of poetry.  (I blame spoken word’s roach-like ability to last so long on something incredibly jacked up I must have done in a former life.)  Calling the “controversial” rapper “vile,” the right wing’s media arm made the hip-hop heads, et. al. go ballistic.  They tweeted and blogged about the lunacy of such charges, in the process proving that Fox News is more out of touch than an AT&T cell subscriber not standing next to a tower.  Although Common performed anyway, and most of the Negro section of the internet has seemed to move on, I’m taking up the issue now, not because I can’t believe the folks at the White House thought it was a good idea to invite Common to recite anything, but because I can’t really be all that mad at Fox News.  After all, aren’t people often inaccurately describing Common?  I’d like to take this blip on the pop culture radar to reiterate the fact that if one can glean any significance from Common’s appearance at the White House, it’s that he’s exactly who some of his longest and most strident fans seem to forget he is: that is, a “conscious” rapper who finds the revolution–and its purveyors– suitable for nothing but sampling and/or cameos.  Though ostensibly harmless and hardly who Fox thinks he is, Common has been confusing folks for the bulk of his career.  How mad can we be with Fox News for this latest flub?

Lauryn Hill Plays Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Lauryn Hill shows up in the darnedest places these days.

Out of absolutely nowhere, Ms. Hill appeared on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, and performed not once but twice with her current touring band. Decked out in a flowing and (very) colorful outfit, Lauryn performed two exquisite covers Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved” and “Chances Are.” You can view those performances here and here.

The Stank Eye Woman Syndrome and how Black Male Privilege is to Blame: Are Black Men Really Ignorant of how they “Compartmentalize” their “Female Friends”?

So, in the traditional way in which black people begin their stories, “What had happened was . . .”

I attended this event where one of my best male friends was hosting. Upon arriving my best male friend comes and says, pejoratively and with great amusement, “Your friend is over there,” hinting to a black woman who every time I see her she gives me what I can the “stank eye.” And, if you are a heterosexual black woman you are quite familiar with either giving the “stank eye” or receiving the “stank eye.” Long story short, my best friend decides to play what I call, “The Great Black Male Conciliator.” He decides to prompt the “stank eye” woman to reconcile with me. I should state at this point in the story, I am somewhat hazy on why every time I see this woman she gives me the “stank eye.” Anyways, she comes over and tries to be nice to me and, of course, it comes across as completely disingenuous.

So, after leaving the event, it came to me why this woman continues to give me the “stank eye.” And, it has everything to do with my best friend. The “stank eye” woman romantically likes my best friend and perceives me as competition. Because she only gives me the “stank eye” when I am with him. So, I call him up and tell him this. And, of course, he denies it and says in the way black men say, “We are just friends. We worked together to get Barack Obama elected. We spent a lot of time together doing that, but we are just friends. I know for a fact she does not like me in that way.” And, all I could say was, “Bullshit, you are completely impervious [let me use a smaller word, ignorant] of the privilege patriarchy gives you as a heterosexual man.”

Which brings us to the current discussion, “Are black men ignorant to how they engage their many female friends?”