Dr.King, Misrepresented Quotes, & the Celebration of Death

“I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” –Martin Luther King Jr.

Perhaps you’ve seen the above quote. If not, perhaps you’re familiar with the second half of it. I know I was. Like many of us who understand the complicated sequence of racial oppression within the historical narrative of the United States, you have been graced by the powerful messages evoked by the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  However, the above quote is not the words of MLK. Well, not all of them. The latter half of the quote (starting with ‘Returning’) actually finds its roots within Dr. King’s book, Strength to Love. The first half, though eloquent, was written by a woman named Jessica Dovey, who made her statement in a Facebook status to chastise those who were celebrating the death of Osama Bin Laden. She then followed her statement with the latter quote from Dr. King, and the quote quickly became a new sensation, quickly being posted on Twitter and on numerous individuals Facebook pages.

Rappers react to Osama Bin Laden's death

Rappers react to Osama Bin Laden’s death
Allhiphop.com | May 1, 2011

A variety of rappers reacted to the breaking news that al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden has been killed.

United States President Barack Obama hosted a press conference from the White House tonight (May 1st), revealing that Osama Bin Laden had been killed today in a compound in Abbottābad, Pakistan during a firefight.

“Tonight I can report to the American people and the world the United States has conducted an operation that has killed Osama Bin Laden,” President Barack Obama said. “Today, at my direction, the U.S. launched a targeted operation against that compound. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed.”

The news quickly became a trending topic on Twitter, where a number of rappers commented on the bombshell news, which comes almost 10 years after the September 11th, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.

“Osama dead!?!” Lupe Fiasco tweeted. “Afghan operation done now!?? Now kill wack schools and US imperialism.” (Read more)

 

Swag like Obama

As I watched Barack Obama walk away from the podium Sunday night with his Presidential swagger full in tact, I became full with emotion. Don’t get me wrong I wasn’t one of the jingoistic people dancing around in red, white, and blue playing “America, f*** yeah”. I left that to some of my classmates. I on the other hand, in a tempered fashion, smiled from ear  to ear for about 5 minutes while I silently reflected on what had just transpired. Let me be clear (in my Obama voice), I have not and will not celebrate the death of any human being. No matter how reprehensible a person’s act were, I can’t morally condone or take pride in their assassination.

Article 23b of the Hague Regulations, adopted by the U.S. and other nations in 1907, prohibits “assassination, proscription, or outlawry of an enemy, or putting a price upon an enemy’s head, as well as offering a reward for an enemy ‘dead or alive’.” In 1976, President Gerald Ford signed an executive order banning assassination.

 

After I read all of my friend’s ridiculous tweets and Facebook statuses and turned off the television, I realized that this watershed moment will forever define Obama’s presidency. After all the character, moral, and intellectual battering he has taken from his detractors it was refreshing to see him basking in the glow of accomplishment. Just days after having his academic credentials and citizenship called into question, President Obama went to bed having the last laugh. He was able to laugh at the folks who said that he was soft on national security, at the people who said he was nothing more than an affirmative action baby who took a seat away from a “qualified” White student at Columbia and Harvard, and at people who said that he was an out of touch ivory tower elite.

Trailer: "Soul Food Junkies"

by Byron Hurt (film info)

Filmmaker Byron Hurt explores the health advantages and disadvantages of Soul Food, a quintessential American cuisine. Soul food will also be used as the lens to investigate the dark side of the food industry and the growing food justice movement that has been born in its wake.

April 25, 2011 – May 1, 2011

High school play seizes power from the N-word
Jesse Washington, The Seattle Times, April 30, 2011

Health group targets youth violence
Staff Writer, The Moultrie Observer, April 30, 2011

A six-legged plan for youth
Staff Writer, Nelson Mail, April 30, 2011

Why Britain needs more black headteachers
David Bromfield, Guardian, April 30, 2011

A national youth development agenda critical
Vince Musewe, Money Web

How Can you Talk about the State of Black America without Addressing Black Economic and Business Development?!
James H. Lowry, Huffington Post, April 30, 2011

HBCU Students Take a Stand Against Sexual Violence
Hortense M. Barber, BET News, April 29, 2011

Panel says changes needed to address hurdles for black students
Jason Gonzales, Star News, April 29, 2011

Black students to be recognized by Cultural Diversity Council
Carlos E. Medina, OCALA, April 29, 2011

Youth Joblessness at Nearly 20 Percent
Mikhail Zinshteyn, Campus Progress, April 29, 2011

Black student union events bring AIDS awareness to campus
Rylie Hamilton, The Review Online, April 28, 2011

Student Urges Minorities Not To Attend UPenn After Racism
Casey Gane-McCalla, News-One, April 28, 2011

The color of kindness
Andreas Butler, Daytona Times, April 28, 2011

Struggling to graduate black students
Amanda Bankston, MN Daily, April 28, 2011

Colleges still accept unprepared students
Vince McNally, The Daily Collegian, April 28, 2011

Low vitamin D linked to different obesity types between black and white youth
Kathleen Blanchard, Emax Health, April 27, 2011

NAACP to hold Youth Freedom Fund Celebration
Elizabeth Jones, Star-Tribune, April 27, 2011

Black churches teach kids about safe sex, disease prevention
Staff Writer, R&D News, April 27, 2011

CPS to expand program for black males
Jessica Brown, Cincinnati News, April 26, 2011

Loudly Against the Language of Racism
Lorraine Devon Wilke, Huffington Post, April 25, 2011

Obama the Cowboy, Bin Laden the Outlaw

The ironic thing about American politics is although at it’s roots it’s about writing legislation and passing laws most politicians don’t get elected based on how good they are at doing that. Politicians get elected most of the time because they have a compelling story or how they appeal to the emotion of the electorate. In fact President Obama who is a constitutional lawyer has been criticized for actually being too smart. But with his recent announcement of the death of Osama Bin Laden, he’s created a mythology so powerful it might sweep him right into a second term.

I say mythology because we really don’t know what happened, we weren’t there so you either have to take the government’s word or not. We really don’t even know if Osama Bin Laden was the “mastermind” behind 9/11, because it’s never been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt in a court of law. But it doesn’t really matter politically because in the minds of most Americans Bin Laden is the most wanted outlaw on the planet, and Obama was the cowboy who killed him and got justice for the USA. The most powerful and endearing image of last night was Obama walking from the podium. It was almost like he was an entirely new man.

New York Juvenile Justice Initiative: New Hope For The State's Youth Offenders?

New York Juvenile Justice Initiative: New Hope For The State’s Youth Offenders?
Alex Wagner, Huffington Post | May 2, 2011

NEW YORK — Public and private funds have flooded all manner of experimental education programs, from charter schools to Race to the Top initiatives.

But as America tries to ensure its children have a fighting chance in the 21st century, resources have been slow to come to one sector in particular: school-aged youth charged with criminal offenses.

Particularly in New York, one of three states in the country that charges children as adults by age 16 (rather than 17 or 18, as elsewhere), the issue of juvenile justice reform is particularly pressing. Roughly 400 students aged 15 and younger pass through the city’s juvenile justice programs daily, according to Timothy Lisante, the state’s deputy superintendent for alternative, adult and continuing education. He further estimates that every day, 800 16- to 21 year-olds pass through the state’s educational programs at the prison complex on Rikers Island.

According to a 2009 report commissioned by then-Gov. David Paterson’s office, an earlier study by the Department of Justice found that New York’s juvenile justice system was “failing in its mission to nurture and care for young people in state custody.”

Among the evidence, the report examined instances of excessive force by state employees, resulting in juveniles suffering concussions, broken bones and knocked-out teeth. This punitive discipline not only didn’t serve the juvenile population, but Justice Department investigators concluded it amounted to a violation of constitutional rights. If these issues were not addressed, the Justice Department could sue New York state. (Read more)

Death Certificate

I had planned to write a mini-diatribe about why I did not at all enjoy Dead Prez’ song and video “The Beauty Within” (a “response” to Bruno Mars’ “Nothing on You”) that was released late last week.  However, I’ve decided to abandon a hate-filled monologue on something asinine, and be a more mindful blogger by saying a word or two about what happened last night.  I’ll save that hate for next week.