Sunday, March 30, 2014

Black Achievement Series: Avery Coffey

Here is some great news. I am proud of this young brother, Avery Coffey. Fox 5 reports that:
This is the college acceptance season -- frequently a nervous time for high school seniors. But D.C.'s Avery Coffey can relax. He applied to five Ivy League universities and all five accepted him.

Coffey attends Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, a D.C. public school with strict rules. None of the 439 students at Banneker is allowed to bring a cell phone into the building. They are also not allowed to go to their lockers during the school day. (That has spawned the peculiar tradition of piling up textbooks at the base of lockers, so kids can switch books between classes without violating the locker rule.)

The strict rules at Banneker have fostered a rather serious academic environment. Principal Anita Berger says year after year after year, 100 percent of Banneker graduates are accepted into post-secondary institutions.

Among these brainy and motivated public school students is 17-year-old Coffey who, like a lot of kids, enjoys sports. What does he play?

"Baseball, basketball, tennis, soccer," Coffey told us.

He also enjoys academics, and he has a 4.3 high school report card average, adjusted for the demanding International Baccalaureate courses he takes. Coffey scored very high on standardized tests also. He calls himself a "determined" student.

Coffey applied to five Ivy League universities, and, amazingly, has been accepted at all of them: Harvard, Princeton, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, and Brown.

And four of the five universities have already offered very generous financial aid packages. (Harvard is still formulating its offer.)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Did the Punk Police Kill Another Brother?!!?!

RT reports that:
A Louisiana community is asking questions nearly a month after police said that a young man fatally shot himself in the back in the back of a patrol car. As the state police continue their investigation, though, the man's family is anxious for an answer.

Victor White III, 22, was apprehended by police in Iberia Parish on the night of Sunday March 2 because of their suspicion that he was involved in a fight nearby. Trooper Stephen Hammons told the Baton Rouge Advocate that deputies who searched White claimed to find illegal drugs on his person, at which point they handcuffed him and drove to the police station for processing.

Exactly what happened next is unclear. Harmons told local media outlets that White was uncooperative when it came time to enter the police car, was able to produce a weapon with his hands cuffed behind his back, and fired a single shot into his own back. The young man was then taken by ambulance to a local hospital and pronounced dead.

“We’re investigating how he got the gun,” Harmons said earlier this month. “It’s too early in our investigation to comment further.”

Sheriff Louis Ackal called on state police to launch an investigation into the matter, meaning the authorities are not permitted to comment publicly until the investigation is completed.

Victor White Sr. told Vice’s Wilbert Cooper that, when he drove the two hours from his home to New Iberia, it was difficult to find an officer who would explain what had happened that Sunday night. He said the authorities initially refused to let him see Victor’s body and, when he refused to leave without an answer, they had conditions.

“They told me I couldn’t see his lower body. I could only see his face,” the elder White told Vice. “It wasn’t until I got back and looked on the state police’s Facebook page that I found out what had happened to my son.”

Here we go again. Another brother dies in police custody under suspicious circumstances. Trooper Hammons' account is completely implausible. The police thoroughly searched Mr. White before they put him in the car. It is highly unlikely that they would fail to uncover a gun during that search.  Hammons' story is improbable. I doubt that Mr. White magically conjured up a gun and decided to shoot himself in the back.

Obviously, there is a real probability that the police killed that brother and tried to cover their tracks by fabricating this incredible, fantastical explanation. Too often, police plant guns and drugs on black people in order to justify police brutality and humiliating harassment. I hope that civil rights organizations remain vigilant and continue to demand a full and thorough investigation. The struggle continues.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

President Obama is "A Trained Ape"?!?!

"It has been said that the negro is the link between monkey and man, meaning of course the white man." Frantz Fanon

The Root reports that:
Belgian newspaper De Morgen has formally apologized after a harsh backlash over an image the paper published Saturday depicting President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama as apes, Al Jazeera reports.

The Flemish newspaper published the ape photo and another of President Obama with language describing him as a marijuana seller in a satire section, "The Obama Herald," jokingly stating that Russian President Vladimir Putin had submitted the photos. The joke did not go over very well, however, especially considering that the president was to be in Belgium on Tuesday as part of his European trip.

The apology, Al Jazeera notes, came in the form of an article, "Is De Morgen Racist?" In it, the paper acknowledged that the joke was "tasteless" and said that "we wrongly assumed that racism is no longer accepted, and that in this way it could be the subject of a joke."

Apparently, a former U.S. government official does not object to the first African American president being compared to an ape. Politico reports:
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is blasting the Obama administration’s handling of Afghanistan, saying a “trained ape” could have done a better job in diplomatic relations with the country.

“We have status of forces agreements probably with 100, 125 countries in the world,” Rumsfeld said Monday night on “On the Record with Greta van Susteren” on Fox News. “This administration, the White House and the State Department, have failed to get a status of forces agreement. A trained ape could get a status of forces agreement. It does not take a genius.”

By the way, Rumsfeld should be the last person to question anyone's competence. Check out this video from the Young Turks.

For centuries, in order to justify the oppression of African people, the white man has depicted the black people as subhuman ape like creatures. The De Morgen photos and Donald Rumsfeld's outrageous statements are modern day manifestations of that despicable and racist tradition.

Those statements and photos are not just a personal insult directed against the President and First Lady. They are a racist insult against all African people. They are another reminder that some people will continue to view black people as subhuman no matter how much we accomplish in life. As far as they are concerned, we are just apes and niggers. We are not apes. We are not niggers. We are founders of human civilization.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The End of the White Man's World

About a week ago, I came across the following article on Right Wing Watch. The article states that:
Pat Buchanan devoted his column last week to adding his own racist spin to the issue of population decline in Europe, which he laments is turning "European Man" into "an endangered species."

Europe's population woes, Buchanan writes, mean that “European Man is an endangered species” as since World War I “all the great European empires—British, French, German, Russian, Italian—have vanished” and “are being invaded and repopulated by African, Asian and Middle Eastern peoples they once ruled.”

He’s also upset about the growing non-white population in America, warning that by 2050, “most Americans will… trace their ancestry to Asia, Africa and Latin America.” In a column last year, he wistfully called this “the demographic winter of white America.”

European Man is an endangered species. European Man is dying out. By 2050, Russia, the fourth most populous nation in 1950, will be 15th, behind Egypt, and far behind Congo and Tanzania. The only Western nation in the top 14 will be the USA. But most Americans will then trace their ancestry to Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Since 1914, all the great European empires—British, French, German, Russian, Italian—have vanished. All the great armies and navies have melted away. All are being invaded and repopulated by African, Asian and Middle Eastern peoples they once ruled. And almost all of the native-born populations of Europe are aging and dying and passing away
Pat Buchanan is not your stereotypical redneck white supremacist. He is a man of power, a man of influence.  That man was an advisor to U.S. Presidents. He was a key Republican figure, a Presidential candidate and a major news analyst.

Unfortunately, his views are not fringe views. They represent the covert, subliminal driving force behind many right wing policies in this country. Those views represent the unspoken motivation behind the hatred of Obama. They are the force behind the opposition to immigration reform and  affirmative action. Fear is their motivation. They fear the end of the white man's world.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

@RepCummings: Speak Brother Speak!

Washington Post reported that:
Darrell Issa, chairman of the House committee leading numerous investigations of the Obama administration, found a new way to silence Democratic critics who question his actions: He shut off the microphones.

The California Republican had said that Lois Lerner, a key figure in the IRS targeting of tea party groups, would testify before his House Oversight and Government Reform panel on Wednesday, but instead she refused to answer questions. After Issa forced Lerner to invoke her Fifth Amendment rights no fewer than 10 times, the committee’s top Democrat, Elijah Cummings (Md.), raised his hand to speak.

Issa looked at Cummings, ignored him, adjourned the hearing and slammed down the gavel.

“Mr. Chairman? Mr. Chairman? Mr. Chairman?” Cummings bellowed.

Issa, who was gathering his papers, turned around. “We’ve adjourned,” he said.

“Mr. Chairman, you cannot run a committee like this,” Cummings fumed. “We’re better than that as a committee. I have asked for a few minutes to ask a procedural — ”

Issa had stood up and now pressed a button in front of him that silenced Cummings’s microphone.
Once upon a time, there were no black people in Congress. Once upon a time, a black man would never raise his voice at a white man. Once upon a time, when a white man told a black man to do something, the black man would say, "Yes sir boss." Those days are gone.

Even nowadays, many black politicians are afraid to be perceived as "the angry black man" or "the angry black woman".  Many lower their voices and moderate their speech patterns, expressions and mannerisms to appease hyper-sensitive white voters. Thank God that Rep. Elijah Cummings is not that kind of black politician.

I commend the brother for continuing to speak out.   I commend the brother for standing up to that no good, witch hunting bully Rep. Darrell Issa.  Rep. Cummings, your constituents and the African Americans are proud of you sir.

Monday, March 3, 2014

12 Years A Slave Should Inspire Us and Hollywood

As reported on the Root, "the brilliant, yet brutal 12 Years A Slave made history Sunday night as the first film directed by a black man, with a predominately black cast, to win an Oscar for Best Picture." The film also won an Oscar for best adapted screenplay.

In addition, Lupita Nyong'o won an Oscar for best supporting actress for her role in the film. Congratulations Ms. Nyong'o. Congratulations to director Steve McQueen, actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, the other actors and the whole crew. Those awards were well deserved.

Clearly, slavery films are difficult to watch. Such films tap into African Americans' genetic memory and force us to briefly relive the traumatic and horrific experiences of our ancestors. However, we cannot negate our history. Like to Jews, we must never forget our holocaust.

If you have not seen 12 Years A Slave, I strongly encourage you to do so. It is a powerful, compelling, brutal, painful, depressing and yet inspiring film. It is a tale about the triumph of the human spirit over despair and hopelessness.

Hopefully, the success of 12 Years A Slave will inspire Hollywood to produce, finance and support more quality films about the African American and African experience. We need films about Nat Turner, Denmark Vesey, Gabriel Prosser and others. In addition to slave narrative films, we need more films about African life before slavery and colonialism. We need to bring more African kings and queens to the big screen. We need to do more films about black inventors, black scientists, black doctors, black civil rights attorneys, black business leaders, black doctors, and black teachers. We need films about Marcus Garvey, W.E.B. DuBois and countless other outstanding black leaders and figures.

When those kind of quality films come to the big screen, we must support them. If we can support the Madeas, we definitely should support the Solomon Northups.