Noam Chomsky on Ferguson: “This is a very racist society”

It’s been a several years since it happened last, but someone just used the n-word in a comment on this site. I don’t know that the context really matters, but it was said in relation to the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri. As I’m not in the practice of editing or removing comments, I’m going to keep it up, but I thought that I’d take the opportunity to respond by sharing this video of Noam Chomsky, who appeared a few days ago on something called GRITtv to talk, among other things, about how pervasive racism is in America. Here’s the relevant part of the transcript, courtesy of Salon.

“…This is a very racist society; it’s pretty shocking. What has happened with regard to African-Americans in the last 30 years actually is very similar to what Blackmon describes happening in the late 19th century.

The constitutional amendments after the Civil War that were supposed to free African-American slaves — it did something for about 10 years, then there was a North-South compact that granted the former slave-owning states the right to do whatever they wanted. And what they did was criminalize black life, in all kinds of ways, and that created a kind of slave force… It threw mostly black males into jail, where they became a perfect labor force, much better than slaves.

If you’re a slave owner, you have to pay for — you have to keep your ‘capital’ alive. But if the state does it for you, that’s terrific. No strikes, no disobedience, the perfect labor force. A lot of the American Industrial Revolution in the late 19th, early 20th century was based on that. It pretty much lasted until the Second World War, when there was a need for free labor.

After that, African-Americans had about two decades in which they had a shot at entering society. A black worker could get a job in an auto plant, the unions were still functioning, and he could buy a small house and send his kid to college. But by the 1970s and 1980s it’s going back to the criminalization of black life.

It’s called the drug war, and it’s a racist war. Ronald Reagan was an extreme racist — though he denied it — and the whole drug war is designed, from policing, to eventual release from prison, to make it impossible for black men and, increasingly, more and more women and hispanics to be part of society.

In fact, if you look at American history, the first slaves came over in 1619, and that’s half a millennium. There have only been three or four decades in which African-Americans have had a limited degree of freedom — not entirely, but at least some.

They have been re-criminalized and turned into a slave labor force — that’s prison labor. This is American history. To break out of that is no small trick…”

[note: As I recall, the last time the n-word was used on this website by a reader was in early 2007, in the wake of Laura Dickinson’s murder at EMU.]

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47 Comments

  1. D'Real
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    “One Drop of #Negro makes you a Negro in these parts.” (Boat Shot 1936) #StillRelevant

  2. D'Real
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    Darn, autocorrect. (Boat Show 1936)

  3. D'Real
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    Sleep is definitely in order. (Third time’s the charm, tho’.) The quote, “One Drop of Negro makes you a Negro in these parts.” is from the 1936 film (inspired by the 1927 musical), Show Boat. And, off to sleep I go!

  4. anonymous
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    #blacklivesmatter v. #criminalizeblacklife

    The epic battle for the soul of America.

  5. Bob Krzewinski
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    More on the racism of Reagan from earlier this year…
    http://www.salon.com/2014/01/11/the_racism_at_the_heart_of_the_reagan_presidency/

  6. Meta
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    As long as we’re talking about race, I thought that I’d share this from Detroit.

    Nobody wants to inject race into the marvelous story of downtown’s rebound, driven largely by young creatives who grew up in the suburbs and are now fiercely Detroiters. I don’t either. It’s a downer, and the last thing I want to be involved in is another conversation about race. Druther have a stick for my eye.

    But with racial tension simmering across the country, Detroit must heed obvious warning signs.

    It’s a clear red flag when you can sit in a hot new downtown restaurant and nine out of 10 tables are filled with white diners, a proportion almost exactly opposite of the city’s racial make-up.

    It’s a warning signal when you go to holiday events for major Detroit cultural institutions and charities, and you can count the number of African-American revelers on both hands.

    It should stop us in our tracks — as it did me the other day — when a group of 50 young professionals being groomed for future leadership shows up to hear advice from a senior executive, and there’s only one black member among them.

    Pay attention to the stories about the cool kids who are leading the Detroit revival by starting businesses, social groups and nonprofits. Overwhelmingly, the subjects are white.

    I’m not disparaging the newcomers. Detroit was an opportunity sitting there for the taking, and they seized it. And what they’re doing is miraculous. We can talk all day about why more African-Americans didn’t do the same thing. It doesn’t matter. We have to understand that we’re buying trouble if we don’t encourage more black participation.

    This isn’t about handouts or set-asides or affirmative action. Nor is it about gentrification, an absolutely ridiculous concern in a city that needs so much rebuilding. I don’t even believe it’s about racism.

    Rather, it’s about downtown employers making sure they’re truly cognizant of the diversity of their workforces, and stretching a bit more to recruit and train native Detroiters, who will then help fill the lofts and nightspots.

    It’s about encouraging black entrepreneurs to come to or stay in the city, and recognizing there are cultural and opportunity gaps that have to be closed to create a vibrant base of small business started by people drawn from the city’s neighborhoods.

    And it’s about the African-Americans who’ve already made it showing up in Detroit, putting their money and time into the city’s civic, cultural and charitable organizations. Drawing affluent blacks back from the suburbs is also a key step.

    Read more:
    http://www.detroitnews.com/story/opinion/columnists/nolan-finley/2014/12/14/black-people/20322377/

  7. EOS
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    It’s no secret that Noam Chomsky wants to destroy our society. The real racists in this incident were the multiple “eyewitnesses” who attempted to have an honest policeman who was just doing his job charged with a crime. When confronted with the evidence and the very real possibiility of being charged with lying under oath, their stories changed considerably. How sad.

  8. Demetrius
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    @ EOS

    On the contrary, some of us might argue that Chomsky is trying to save our society from destroying itself.

  9. John Galt
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    I agree with EOS. The problem here isn’t the cops who are blowing unarmed Americans away in the street, but the professor who is advocating for a society in which black people have a chance to have middle class lives. Can’t you all see how insidious that is? It’s a cancer on the very fabric of our society.

  10. EOS
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Yet, others argue that Chomsky is a CIA operative whose role is to distract the left and keep them busy with meaningless activities while the elite impose their new world order.

  11. anonymous
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Why does it not surprise me that you’d think that, EOS?

  12. Ypsiosaurus Rex
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    EOS = POS

  13. Ypsiosaurus Rex
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    Mark: You also mistakenly refer to Noam as Noah in your first paragraph.

  14. Kjc
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Wilson “honestly” thought he was dealing with a “demon” for example. Anyone who considers him a reliable narrator of anything but his fear is missing the larger issues. As per usual.

  15. EOS
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    Wilson said Brown’s facial expression was demonic. He did not call him a demon. Brown had punched him repeatedly in the head, struggled to grab his gun, gotten shot in the arm, ran away and then turned and was coming back towards the officer. Wilson was admittedly fearful which justified the shooting. And Wilson’s narrative was corroborated by several black witnesses. The bigger picture is that Brown did everything he could to provoke the shooting.

  16. Frosted Flakes
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    KJC,

    You interpret Wilson’s description of the way Brown looked (as Brown was allegedly trying to gain control of Wilson’s gun) to mean that Wilson thought Brown was LITERALLY possessed by a supernatural evil spirit? Is that the angle you are taking to try to show that Wilson’s fear for his life was not REASONABLE?

    It’s not like everyone who disagrees with you is saying “I beleive the officer” without reviewing facts and evaluating the witnesses stories (apart from Wilson’s story!). What is this connection between believing one story over another and not seeing the larger picture? Is believing Dorian Johnson’s story a sign that someone sees the bigger issues? What a bunch of nonsense.

  17. General Demetrious
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    Believing that racism is the main problem for Black America is like believing the Earth is the center of the solar system. You can make a pretty good argument for it, until you start studying the details, then it falls apart.

    For instance, African Americans have a much higher proportion of single mothers than any other racial group in Michigan. The economic difficulties that this presents cannot, and should not be ignored, as it impacts nearly every other category that you can name, education, morality, self image, socialization, everything.

  18. EOS
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    General Demetrious,

    Exactly. More than 70% of African American children are being raised in single parent families. The path to economic success is to graduate, don’t have kids out of wedlock, and to have a stable, long term marriage. This applies to all races.

  19. Posted December 14, 2014 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    The path to economic success is not to get married and have children at all.

    What a risky drain all of that is. Marriage and kids are just a pathway into debt and misery.

  20. Posted December 14, 2014 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    I don’t like Chomsky at all, but he is right.

    America is a deeply racist society. However, in my experience, all societies are racist, so in this respect, America is no different.

    However, whatever America is, Europe is far worse.

  21. Posted December 15, 2014 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    The comparison of the US to Europe was not meant to excuse American racism. However, I do find the massive national pushback against institutionalized racism and faulty policy in the US to be incredibly encouraging

    I don’t think we could expect such an intense response in other countries, certainly not in Europe.

    While some of the protests and statements have been flawed (certainly), I don’t think this should take anything away from the overall message.

  22. Jcp2
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Peter is correct. The modern economy is built upon the base of cheap power. Before oil and coal were exploited, people were. The difference between the U.S. and Europe is that the European great powers divested themselves of their cheap labor by decolonization. America has tried integration. Although we haven’t been doing such a great job, at least we are trying. I think that speaks to the heart of American exceptionalism.

    http://m.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/12/empire-of-cotton/383660/

  23. D'Real
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    “This single story of Africa ultimately comes, I think, from Western literature. Now, here is a quote from the writing of a London merchant called John Locke, who sailed to west Africa in 1561 and kept a fascinating account of his voyage. After referring to the black Africans as “beasts who have no houses,” he writes, “They are also people without heads, having their mouth and eyes in their breasts.”

    http://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story/

    “All of these stories make me who I am. But to insist on only these negative stories is to flatten my experience and to overlook the many other stories that formed me. The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.”

    The tradition continues.

  24. D'Real
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    U.S. CHILDREN IN SINGLE-MOTHER FAMILIES BY MARK MATHER, PH.D. (2010)

    “Overall, white children account for the largest share of children living in single-mother families (38 percent), followed by African Americans (31 percent) and Latinos (25 percent). However, among low-income children in single-mother families, 34 percent are African American, 31 percent are white, and 28 percent are Latino (see Figure 2, page 3).

    This mosaic of single-mother families with different racial, ethnic, and national backgrounds—some parents divorced or separated, others never married or cohabiting—creates a challenge for policymakers, who need to recognize the different paths to single motherhood and the unique needs of children in different types of families.”

    http://www.prb.org/pdf10/single-motherfamilies.pdf

    “Stories [and blog posts] have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories [and blog posts] can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories [and blog posts] can break the dignity of a people, but stories [and blog posts] can also repair that broken dignity.”

  25. D'Real
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    National Poverty Center (Poverty in the United States Frequently Asked Questions):

    How many children live in poverty? “Children represent a disproportionate share of the poor in the United States; they are 24 percent of the total population, but 36 percent of the poor population. In 2010, 16.4 million children, or 22.0 percent, were poor. The poverty rate for children also varies substantially by race and Hispanic origin, as shown in the table below[4].”

    http://npc.umich.edu/poverty/

    Children Under 18 Living in Poverty, 2010 (Category Number (in thousands) Percent)
    All children under 18: 16, 401 (22.0%), White only, non-Hispanic: 5,002 (12.4%), Black 4,817 (38.2%), Hispanic 6,110 (35.0%), and Asian 547 (13.6%). As you already know, I’m sure.

  26. D'Real
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    “At Jamestown, Virginia, approximately 20 captive Africans are sold into slavery in the British North American colonies.” Before the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade, the world’s economy benefited from the Black Sea Slave trade! We never talk about the Underground Black Sea Railroad, was ever there such a thing? #NeverForget

    For more information about ‘Slavery and the Making of America’ visit http://www.pbs.org/wnet/slavery/timeline/1619.html or your local library.

    Alan W Fisher’s ‘Muscovy and the Black Sea Slave Trade ‘(1972) is available online here http://med-slavery.uni-trier.de/minev/MedSlavery/Members/stello/bibliobits/articlereference.2007-07-27.3233996517.

    For Ypsilanti’s sake please stop romanticizing African American history as if white people are the only sophisticated homo sapiens in the universe. If you disagree with Noam Chomsky, and need other sources read: “The Souls of Black Folk,” by W. E. B. Du Bois, or “The Negro in the Making of America,” by Benjamin Quarles, or “The Negro Revolution,” by Robert Goldston. And, the next time you stop at a traffic light, handle a door knob, step into an elevator, or step up to a gold tee, remember that Africans in America have made significant contributions for the world over, outside the realm of sports, hip-hop, and being gangsta.

    (http://www.blackinventions101.com/inventionslist.html.)

  27. Frosted Flakes
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    D’Real,

    Are your statistics on single parent households intended to refute EOS’s statistic that 70 percent of black children are raised by a single parent? I can’t confirm whether or not EOS’s statistic is correct but as I understand it the percentage of black children being raised by single parents is much mucch higher than the percentage of white children being raised by single parents. EOS’s statistic (right or wrong) is not giving a percentage of the OVERALL population as your statistics are doing. Big difference.

  28. Posted December 15, 2014 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    I live in Kenya. Racism is alive and well here and comes in multiple forms. To assume that exclusion based on genetics is restricted to Europe and its colonies is to ignore the human preponderance to exclude, abuse and exploit people they don’t share direct kinship with.

    But jcp is right. I think we have much to be proud of in the United States. Certainly, there aren’t many people coming out against racism/tribalism here and Europe’s history is full of bloodshed in the name of tribe.

    Even though I find some of the discourse around Ferguson problematic, it makes me proud that there are people who feel so strongly about injustice.

  29. Anonymous
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    I value D’Real’s input on this site immensely. I don’t have a solution to offer, but it would be great if we had more black voices here. How do we encourage more people of color to join in the conversation here?

  30. aNonymous
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    “How do we encourage more people of color to join in the conversation here?”

    Make it a blog that is not mainly for bourgeois white people.

    Then, encourage your racist trolls to go desist, no matter how good they are for clicks (see also, Mlive.com).

  31. EOS
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    http://www.actrochester.org/children-youth/family-support/single-parent-families/single-parent-families-by-race-ethnicity

  32. John Galt
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    I agree with aNonymous. Black people don’t like to read things about new computer stores in town, our local underground railroad history, or the defunding of public schools. Write about things they care about.

  33. Anonymous
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Please educate us, aNonymous. What to black people like to read about? I have my pencil and paper ready to take notes.

  34. Frosted Flakes
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    It is Mark’s blog.

    The comment section is for everyone.

    Mark, as far as I know has only discouraged one person from posting by making the commentors text in the comment section too small to read. Interestingly, I interpreted his effective ban of that person based not on the content of the message, but rather because the commentor was not participating in the CONVERSATION–instead using the comment section as a platform for his own personal agenda.

  35. General Demetrious
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    LMAO! Black people at my education/income level read the same stuff I do!

    Holmes Elementary is a zeroth percentile school. Ranked with the worst of all. Why? Kids do not attend. That is stunning. Can you imagine what it must be like to be in 6th grade and reading like a first grader? They aren’t going to be logging on here any time soon. They are going to wind up on another path entirely.

  36. XXX
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    How is interviewing Ypsi’s police chief about Ferguson a “white bourgeois” thing? Just because there aren’t Puffer Red’s ads doesn’t mean that the discussions here are exclusively of interest to white people. Furthermore saying so demeans people of color. Do you not think they’re capable of understanding these issues?

  37. Frosted Flakes
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Mark does way more than I could expect from anybody. There is a finite amount of time and we are all operating from unique finite perspectives. If you have the time and energy then start a blog and drop a link so we can check it out!

  38. Oliva
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    I was doing some work on a journalist’s 1960s diaries–he had close connections to the U.S. Supreme Court chief justice, LBJ, many diplomats working at that time. Re. the Watts riots, members of government and white Americans were wise enough back then to know that it was a racist and inflammatory comment by the LA police chief to call protestors “thugs”–and yet we keep hearing that coded word, and others, today. There are so many more examples of things that were horrendous then and take place now as if we don’t have a recent history and could be so far along in rectifying the heinous racism, and other forms of bigotry, on which U.S. history and dominant culture lie/rely.

    It is very heartening to see Americans of all ages, cultural backgrounds, income levels, professions, etc., standing up and saying, “Enough.” And though we have to wait now because we just did this so poorly, we have to vote out the people who have very little to do with the goodness in this country but trickily hang onto their power–and though we can acknowledge a rigged system, it’s worth getting over the hapless thinking that every candidate is just like the others and therefore no good, not worth the time it takes to think again and vote. (For those Americans who love the lone cowboy story, why would you let yourself be tricked? There never was a lone American cowboy . . . Even Daniel Boone had a family and community he relied on.)

  39. Posted December 15, 2014 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    I think demanding that people of African descent speak for all African Americans is bullshit.

    “How can we get black voices on this site?” How do you know the genetic background of anonymous commenters? Perhaps there are “black voices” here, but they don’t think it’s important to preface every comment with “I am black, you know.”

    Am I to be a representative of all white people? I’d be pretty piss poor at it.

    Injustice impacts everyone. While no one should be silenced, everyone should stand together.

  40. Frosted Flakes
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Very good point, Peter!!!

  41. Frosted Flakes
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Regarding the term “thug”, I have never thought of it as applying to one race over another at all, but every generation is different I suppose… It is definitely wrong to mislabel the protesters in general but some of the rioting/ looting has certainly been illegal, opportunistic and antisocial “thugish” behavior–I don’t know how that could even be up for debate. On the other hand, it is never a good idea to try to capture the “who a person is” under a concept. There are no “thugs” but there is thugish behavior.

  42. D'Real
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t notice the comment made by EOS, actually. Read the comment made by General Demetrious this morning, before consuming coffee, and, decided to rage against the machine a little. Still haven’t read any comments made by EOS. I wouldn’t have noticed your comment, Frosted Flakes, if I didn’t see my (birth) name looming over your input. I’m “up in here” to read comments made by Peter Larson, and to glean insight from Mark Maynard.

  43. Mr. Y
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    I understand Peter’s point. One doesn’t have to be black to speak about things like the importance of civil rights. I’m afraid, however, that some could read his comments in a different way, as though he’s saying that there’s really no value in having people of color engaging on this discussion. I hope that’s not what he means. I hope he’s not saying that our conversation would not be enriched by increased diversity of all kinds.

  44. Lisa Bashert
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    Written by Malik Yakini of Detroit, on the point above about “white creatives” in Detroit. This was taken from his Facebook page, but appeared in the Michigan Citizen last month.

    Creative Class?
    There has been much said and written over the past few years about the role of the “creative class” in the revitalization of Detroit. This term has generally been used to refer to the young, mostly white, folks moving into Detroit’s downtown and “midtown’ who are designers, artists, educators, health care workers, architects and various other types of professionals. Creative Class? Really? This is what happens when white supremacy defines the narrative. We become invisible while white saviors populate the imaginations of the naïve and ignorant.

    For the past 40 years I have been part of a cultural/creative/revolutionary Black community in Detroit. It has changed and shifted and morphed. That community now includes ancestors, elders, adults and children; second and third generation legacy extenders. Members of that community are/have been saxophonists, guitarists, drummers, dancers, poets, filmmakers, vegan chefs, crotchetiers, photographers, painters, sketchers, runners, jewelers, colon therapists, mid-wives, community organizers, inventors, martial artists, gardeners, broadcasters, teachers, herbalists, scholars, incense makers, DJs, spoken word artists, journalists, Independent school builders, sweet potato pie, bean pie and cookie bakers, priests, leather crafters, hair braiders, and cannabis growers.

    It has been a community of Kujichgulia-type, under-resourced, boot-strappin’ kinda Black people. We use our creativity to make things more beautiful and beneficial. We use our creativity to challenge the domination of our craniums by Western Europe and her children. We use our creativity to challenge systems of oppression. We use our creativity to survive in an often-hostile environment.

    But we are more than survivors. We are visionaries! We are new paradigm builders! We refuse to be negated! We refuse to be discounted!

    Over the years we have done what we do in places called Vaughn’s and Charisma and Crummell and Black Star Hall and The Gates and Lloyd’s Club and Hart Plaza and The Co-op and the Shule and Culture Is and Sub-Center, and Getdown and Kabazz and The Shrine and Ta-Merrian and Temple #1 and Liberty Hall and the DIA and Nataki and Nsoroma and Cobb’s Corner and Black Star Bookstore and the Shrine Bookstore and Trane’s Place and Ford Auditorium and Johanson Gallery and Timbuktu and Aknartoons and Baker’s and Bert’s and Pullum’s and Tropical Hut and the Walker-Williams Center and the Serengeti and Malcolm X Academy and Chic Afrique and Fetchu Menu and Garvey Academy, and the B.A.I.T Building and the West Indian American Hall.

    We have created musical styles and systems and produced concerts and done things with the saxophone that Adolphe Sax never intended to happen. We have played reggae in the DIA, lamban in library and the funkiest of funk on West Grand Blvd.

    We have produced paintings, prints, murals, photo narratives and street art. We have created comic books, greeting cards, posters and bookmarks. We have applied African iconic symbols to shoes, furniture and our own bodies.

    We have woven and tie-dyed and stamped fabric. We have designed and sewn ancient and African-futuristic hats, dresses, pants, coats, wraps and all manner of garments.

    We have brewed ginger drinks, stirred pots of rice and peas and created delicacies from the pulp left over after juicing carrots.

    Members of that community: have a fierce love for Black people, Africa and African culture; have a deep sense of spirituality; have a respect and love for nature; have an orientation towards natural health and wellness; value family, and community; study African American and African history, strive to practice the Nguzo Saba, are politically radical and/or revolutionary and many have traveled to Africa.

    And we call each other brother and sister and greet each other with Habari Gani and Jambo and What’s Happening? and A-Salaam-Alaikum and Peace and What Up Doe?

    Our names are Z. Bey and Sunkria and Imani and Afrika and Kwame and Diane and Baba and Kwesi and Robin and Jaleel and Jaribu and Tracy and Kareem and Sundiata and Yola and Rambeau and Freedom and Maat and Malkia and Makeda and Amen-Ra and Njia and Willie and Najma and Amir and Seitu and Mama Vicky and Prana and Summarah and Zaimah and McKinney and John and Subira and Earth and Equality and Plant Man and Jesse.

    Malcolm X, Tubman, Nkrumah, Asantewaa, Garvey, Hammer, Muhammad, Nzinga, Rap, Huey, Stokley and other freedom fighters are our political icons. We’re not turn the other check, bow down, passive type Negros. We prefer peace, but if backed into a corner we’ll come out swingin’ and blazin’ and disruptin’ shit!

    We refuse to be negated! We refuse to be discounted! We refuse to be made invisible!
    Now, tell me again about your “creative class.”

  45. Posted December 15, 2014 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Y, no that is not what I was saying at all.

    I think, though, that, aside from the problems of assuming that African-Americans are a homogeneous group, that asking for “black voices” on any site, presumes that African Americans feel comfortable representing a diverse group of people who may or may not uniformly wish to be represented by that particular individual.

    If someone who happens to be African-American steps up to talk about his or her personal experiences on his or her own volition, this could be a useful contribution as we’re all in this together.

    But calling for a “token black ” to come and speak to the black experience as an appointed representative strikes me as problematic. I’m sure that FOX News does the same thing.

    If a Kenyan blog came to me as a “white voice,” I would certainly refuse. It happens in Japan often, where I am put on the spot to speak for all of America and I have to always preface whatever I say with, “this is only my opinion, America is a very diverse place and people have a wide range of views.” On the other hand, I offer many unsolicited opinions as an individual on the States, and I have no problem with it.

  46. Ark
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    We are moving toward a colorblind society.

    Might I recommend this opinion piece by Janice Ketchum?

    “I Don’t See Race; I Only See Grayish-Brown, Vaguely Humanoid Shapes”

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/i-dont-see-race-i-only-see-grayishbrown-vaguely-hu,37667/

  47. kjc
    Posted December 19, 2014 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Here’s another good piece. Some of y’all don’t need to read it since you’re not that good.

    http://jezebel.com/i-dont-know-what-to-do-with-good-white-people-1671201391

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