Tag: Malcolm X

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Ferguson: Do the Right Thing Redux

source This has been a busy weekend — dividing time somewhat schizophrenically between participating in one or the other of the many actions sparked by the decision in Ferguson not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown — while at the same time planning an annual Thanksgiving meal.  Being a “conscious” political and multi-racial “family”, on past Thanksgivings we often commemorated the day by attending a local American Indian event.  As the years past, we reverted to a somewhat more traditional community potluck dinner with friends with turfu, organic dishes, etc. Still later, as biological families divided into nuclear subdivisions with children, somewhat smaller gatherings were held where we would prepare the traditional feast with a nod to  and solemn commemoration of the genocidal history behind the holiday and watch a socially conscious movie.

http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=acquisto-viagra-generico-in-farmacia This year, someone suggested that we Watch finasteride drug bank Do the Right Thing. (In full disclosure, we did not end up watching real levitra sample pack Do the Right Thing because one young black guest who happens to be gay felt that he had been bullied by his peers in the neighborhood as he was growing up and it would be a painful reminder (he still lives in central Harlem about a block from the National Action Headquarters) and another young black woman felt that she needed a break from the intensity of the explosion of feelings and responses that the Ferguson decision brought on. Life is often more full of contradictions and ambiguities than our political struggle for justice would suggest.

find cialis super active from online drugstore Still, the reminder of the controversial movie, first released to great criticism as to whether it was promoting violence or showing how destroying property was better than killing human beings, reminds us how a cultural representation can help people understand the emotions behind our struggle in a way that facts and figures can’t.

http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=omprare-viagra-generico-25-mg-consegna-rapida-a-Bologna First released in 1989, http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=prezzo-vardenafil-2017 Do the Right Thing, one of Spike Lee’s earliest movies,  tells the story of the racial tensions in the black community in a Brooklyn neighborhood which culminates in tragedy when a young black man is killed by police. The young man’s death results in a night of rebellion in which the people in the community burn down local businesses including the local pizzeria.

http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=treatment-with-500-mg-of-prednisone The movie was released long after the racial tensions and the riots of the 1960s which it was meant to portray, and before the Rodney King beating in 1991 resulted in the rebellion in Los Angeles. Long before 41 bullets felled Amadu Diallo, the African immigrant shot at his front door by police in the Bronx, or the brutal torture of Abner Louima who was beaten and sodomized with a broomstick by police after he was arrested outside a Brooklyn nightclub. (Sidenote: Neither of these later incidents resulted in riots, but in organized nonviolent civil disobedience and, eventually in sort of very limited conviction of some of the perpetrators. It is interesting to note, however, the Louima case only came to light after a nurse reported the incident when he was brought to the hospital. She was the only one of 28 people who had witnessed parts of the incident the night he was arrested. The other 27 people threatened her for speaking out.)

In see url Do the Right Thing, Lee sets out the many cultural signifiers of the community’s racial tensions that lead to the violence of both police brutality and the violence of enraged communities of color — in other words, the  very American history of the culture of oppression in the black community:

Mookie, played by Spike Lee, is the young man who, as the pizza delivery man, is viewed by a frustrated Tina, his girlfriend and mother of his child, as unambitious and unable or unwilling to live up to the model of the father and family man that is portrayed on TV, reflecting the tensions between the sexes in a community held down by racism.

Sal, the pizzeria’s Italian American owner, has been in the neighborhood for 25 years. His older son is openly racist while his younger son is friendly with Mookie. Sal sees himself as part of the neighborhood, but when asked by Smiley, a mentally disturbed young man who is always carrying around pictures of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr., and “Bugging Out” (described by his name)to put up pictures of Malcolm and Martin on his “Wall of Fame”, along with the Italian Americans such as Sinatra, he refuses because, as he says, he owns the restaurant.

There are many other signifiers — “Da Mayor,” an old alcoholic man who signifies street wisdom and compassion (but who is not respected by the younger generation in the neighborhood), the young men who hang on the corner, the Asian store owner who signifies new cultures moving into the neighborhood and the conflict that brings (but who can hold her own in a swearing match in a confrontation with her black American neighbors).

But most significant is Radio Raheem, a big young black man who supported Smiley and Buggin Out’s demand to post Malcolm and Martin’s pictures in the pizza parlor. Raheem is well  meaning, but is always getting into trouble for playing his radio too loud.

When Sal and Radio Raheem get into a fight over turning down the radio and Sal calls him a “nigger,” a fight breaks out that spills into the street and draws a crowd and Sal calls the police. When the police come, they arrest “Buggin Out” and put Raheem in a chokehold which kills him. Once the cops realize he is dead, they beat up “Buggin Out” and leave the scene, leaving Sal and his sons exposed to the crowd’s rath.  When the Mayor tries to calm the crowd down, the crowd turns on him. Mookie then picks up a trash can and throws it through the window of the pizzeria and a race riot begins. In the melee, the Mayor saves Sal and his sons.  

While this is not a very good or complete synopsis of the movie, you get the picture Radio Raheem could be Michael Brown – or Earl Gardner, another “big” black man who was selling “loosies” on the street in Staten Island who was killed shortly after Michael Brown by NYPD officers in a chokehold, which was also witnesses by several citiznes (This raised new critiques about the appointment of William Bratton as the new New York City police chief since he has a known history of going after nonviolent offenders for small street “crimes” as well as a bad track record of chokehold deaths under his command)– or Anthony Baez (my neighbor in the Bronx) who was playing football with his nephew when the ball bounced and struck a police car and the policeman (who had already been moved from neighborhood to neighborhood to hide his history of excessive force) put 17 year old Baez into the chokehold and killed him — or 17 year old Jordan Davis who was killed in a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida for playing loud music because a 47 year old software engineer who was a known racist felt that Davis’ refusal to turn the music down “threatened” him and that he was  entitled to shoot Davis and would not be held accountable by the police or courts. He was in fact convicted of murder, but 17 year old Davis is still dead.

The fact is, we all have our own memories of the cases that most specifically affected us and there are many other cases across the country and across the years– far far too many to recount here and they seem to be increasing.  Which is why it is important to raise the question that Lee asks in http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=viagra-online-shop Do the Right Thing.What must the black community do to finally overcome, once and for all, the virulent racism that is so endemic in the United.   (For an analysis of the importance of the movie and the Ferguson situation to questions of violence, issues of the “Rule of Law” or why it is important not to conflate race and class, read below the fold.)

‘Don’t Go, Don’t Kill’

In the past few weeks a series of reforms have been passed which some are saying justify President Obama’s, the Democratic Party’s, and American liberals’ extreme moderation and corporatism (or, in some cases, a mere subservience to, if not an outright embrace of, this horribly corrupt form of capitalism).

However, I would advise you to consider these words which Malcolm X uttered in another terribly corrupt and unequal world which, as the US continues its decline as an empire and omnipotent economic presence, even many liberals and radicals are starting to get nostalgic for:

You don’t stick a knife into a man’s back nine inches, pull it out six inches, and call it progress.

That is, if you ignore the context in which these mild reforms are taking place, you are ignoring the fundamental problems which need to be solved.  This is particularly apparent in the case of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  

Is Separtism Necessary Anymore?

With the slow demise of old media has also come the demise of niche media like websites which cater specifically to women’s studies and women’s interests.   Prompted by the demise of Double X, an offshoot of Slate, itself an off-shoot of the financial troubled Washington Post, one can tell  how both female-centric media and academic fields are usually the first to go in times of economic crisis, budget cutbacks, or higher education famine.  While part of me laments that such sites end up being placed first on the chopping board when revenues plummet, another part of me wonders if we are finally ready to rid ourselves of the need for specific media designed for identity group solidarity.   In another time where persecution was harsh and undeniably swift to those outside of the mainstream who dared tread into uncharted territory, I think we may be ready to draw up tentative plans for full unity.  

Last week I visited Philadelphia and the historic Arch Street Meeting House, a Quaker house of worship that prides itself as being the largest gathering in the world and the oldest still in use in the United States.   The main part of the building was separated into a larger worship space and a smaller one directly adjacent to it.   A faith committed resolutely to equality among all its members deliberately made accommodations to female attenders by giving them the option of using a women-only space during worship services.  There, ladies who would have otherwise felt constrained to speak from within their hearts and their convictions because of the close proximity of their husbands or out of fear of broaching social protocol could have a safe space of their own.  Within it they were allowed to verbalize that which they had every right to be express but too often kept inside themselves.   It need be noted, of course, that this arrangement no longer exists and that now the voices of women have been welcomed into larger fellowship.  I rejoice that progress has been made and hope it continues.

   

Friday Night at 8: Soul Evolution

malcolm x

Today Malcolm would be reviled even more than back in the day, even more, because he was change, the real deal.  He ought to be in the history books because his is a distinct American lesson.

‘Course we don’t teach about race in America in our schools and we sure don’t talk about it in our mainstream culture, so it’ll be a while before the rest of the country ever catches up to Malcolm.

His life embodied change.   He believed strongly in each phase of his remarkable life, his father taught him about black pride before the term ever came to be, and this in the Jim Crow south, and Malcolm just learned, he trusted each step in the way that he knew what was going on, he lived each phase of his life fully and completely the good and the bad.

Racist Reaction Accelerates Against Obama

Right-wing reactionaries thought manna had fallen from heaven along with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s denunciation of the crimes of America. That’s because Rev. Wright is Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama’s personal preacher. But while the demagogues falsely label Wright’s sermons as racist and anti-white, his remarks express truths that resonate with the experience of black Americans and cannot be forever hidden.

Anyone can go and watch excerpts from Rev. Wright’s sermons, edited for maximum incendiarism by arch-conservative, Fox Network Hyas muckamuck, Bill O’Reilly. Yet, all the editing tricks in the world cannot paint Wright’s sermons racist. But then that’s the cry raised when African-Americans say anything on the mark about the experience of racism in America, an experience that has made them sensitive to the crimes and injustices of this country perpetrated abroad, as well.

As if four hundred years of slavery, and one hundred years of Jim Crow state segregationism were not enough to prove the racist legacy of this country, African Americans are still subject to discrimination across the entire society, with inferior schools, inferior health care, wage discrepancies, housing discrimination, racist assaults, unfair drug laws and a still racially insensitive judicial system. CalexanderJ over at Daily Kos hit the mark with this quote from the comedian Chris Rock:

To All The Racists Hiding Behind Martin Luther King

Mychal Bell is a bad boy, didja know that?  He was violent.  He was a bad boy.  And because of that, no one should protest on his behalf, because if they do, they’re misguided, yes, they are misguided because it was far worse, his beating up that white boy, than it was to put some nooses on a tree.  No one was sent to the emergency room as a result of nooses on a tree.  But Mychal Bell sent a white boy to the emergency room, and he is bad.

Yep.  He was violent.  And further more, I’m no racist!  Oh no, I would be the first to say those white boys who put a noose on a tree should have been expelled!  Yes, expelled!  And those school board folks and the DA, well they should be held to account, yes they should!  But that Mychal Bell, he’s a bad boy, and you are misguided to protest on his behalf.  After all, he was violent.  What would Martin Luther King say?  He would never have marched in Jena.

And I have to say, that Mychal Bell is a lucky fellow, he’s going to have so many opportunities because of all that media attention, all that money coming his way, he’s a lucky boy and I hope he takes advantage of all these opportunities.  I wish him no ill, I just hope he realizes how lucky he is!

*****

All the sentiments above are from comments I have read both at Daily Kos and elsewhere over the Jena 6.  My response is below.