There would be No Barack Obama if this Woman hadn’t Set it Off-Remembering Shirley Chisholm

My homegirl, journalist and scholar Erinn Ransom hit me up and astutely reminded me that today marks an important footnote in history-Sadly it’s been forgotten by many. Its not in the small confines of Black History month and nowadays we’re at the height of football season..But it should be noted that today was the day that Shirley Chisholm declared her run for presidency back in 1972. As Erinn noted this was the jump-off of a path Barack Obama would eventually follow…

For me, the one thing I always liked about Shirley Chisholm was and will always be one to admire and emulate.. She made it clear she was Un-brought and Un-bossed.. That’s how we should all live our lives.. I know I definitely try to.. If Ms Chisholm was still around and running the country today I highly doubted if there would’ve been any Wall Street bailouts and bonuses on tax payers dollars with so many people in need.

Here’s some background info on her

Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm was an American politician, educator and author. She was a Congresswoman, representing New York’s 12th District for seven terms from 1969 to 1983. In 1968, she became the first African-American woman elected to Congress. On January 23, 1972, she became the first major party African-American candidate for President of the United States. She received 152 first-ballot votes at the 1972 Democratic National Convention

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Tina Bell Wright: Wake Up Everybody! Seize, don’t cede OUR Power…

Tina Bell Wright: Wake Up Everybody! Seize, don’t cede OUR Power…

by Guest Blogger Professor Tina Bell White

Other than posting messages to support Haiti, I have been pretty silent the last few days on politics, but i have been reading a lot of posts..and i gotta say a couple things…lol.

From the despicable comments of Pat Roberston and Rush Limbaugh and their obvious disregard for [black] humanity, to Fox’s scant coverage of the Haiti earthquake to instead promote Sarah Palin and hate on President Obama, to “progressives” questioning motives of the U.S. government & NGOs, and already complaining about the corporate takeover of Haiti, to maligning the character of Haitian born Wyclef Jean and his efforts (while he himself digs out bodies from collapsed buildings), a few things are seriously bothering me about the politicalization of this issue when thousands of people are still under rocks.

…And the only way to really explain my concern is the lack of focus we (progressives and human rights advocates) seem to possess…this lack of focus I believe is because many let ideology blind them from certain realities…and when ideology alone determines our focus, we can easily be manipulated by those that are in the business of distraction and yanking chains.

We become conspiracy theorists although when we take a look at reality, our problem has less to do with any conspiracy and much more to do with our preoccupation with conspiracy over reality; debate over action.

I know I have said this a number of times but really believe to be true…this is the root of our miseducation. Masses were taught powerlessness. And hence, when we are easily distracted or yanked by the latest political hoopla, we prove our powerlessness by falling for the hype…Chuck D said it best: “don’t believe the hype”

The enemy of justice and sustainability for humanity is the concentration of power, and the only antidote to that concentration is for THE PEOPLE to seize power and stop ceding it (to conspiracies, corporations, govt’, big banks etc.) Folks that know and read Marx understand that the alienation of workers is what keep capitalism viable…when workers understand there is NO BUSINESS NO CAPITAL NO CONSUMER without THE PEOPLE and THEIR POWER, you will no longer see that exploitation.

Here is an example of the correct strategy we should be following:
Campaign = Move your Money
Link = http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-maher/stop-the-abuse-its-time-t_b_422068.html

EXCERPT:

It’s a pretty simple idea: If enough people who have money in one of the Big Six banks — that is, JP Morgan/Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs — move it into a local community bank or credit union, then collectively we, the people, will have taken a big step toward fixing our broken financial system.

It’s easy, and painless, and will send a powerful message to Wall Street and to our leaders in Washington.

Face it: Real change is not going to come from Congress. It’s not going to come from the White House. And it’s certainly not going to come from the lobbyists Wall Street hires to make sure their special interests keep beating out the public interest.

We’ve got to do it ourselves. And moving your money is a great way to start.
This is not a conservative idea or a liberal idea. It’s not left or right. It’s populism at it’s best —

This is what I want to see us all do…Seize our power…don’t cede it.

But often, instead of having faith in ourselves and our ability to prevent exploitation [stopping corporate exploitation of Haiti for example], we are often outsiders looking in and see the takeover as inevitable…we not only empower corporate fascists when we check ourselves out of the equation, we actually do their bidding for them, by teaching generations the LIE that it is THEM that controls things, and we all are just pawns…there is no deeper miseducation we can teach.

So, I say all this to say: if corporations with government complicity exploit us and this situation in Haiti, it is OUR fault not theirs…they do what they do to maintain their power…if we keep letting them maintain our powerlessness too, they win twice over.

Along with posts to support Haiti, I have been remembering Mr. Teddy Pendergrass and the gift of music he gave us…so to end this note, here is a message from Teddy Pendergrass to us all…

The World won’t get no better
if we just let it be
the world won’t get no better
we gotta change it
just you and me…

RIP Brother

Tribute to Haiti

Wake UP Everybody 2008 remix
“Wake Up Everybody” feat. Mary J Blige, Wyclef, Babyface, Brandy, Missy etc

Wake up everybody no more sleepin in bed
No more backward thinkin time for thinkin ahead
The world has changed so very much
From what it used to be so
there is so much hatred war an’ poverty
Wake up all the teachers time to teach a new way
Maybe then they’ll listen to whatcha have to say
Cause they’re the ones who’s coming up and the world is in their hands
when you teach the children teach em the very best you can.

Chorus
The world won’t get no better if we just let it be
The world won’t get no better we gotta change it yeah, just you and me.

Wake up all the doctors make the ol’ people well
They’re the ones who suffer an’ who catch all the hell
But they don’t have so very long before the Judgement Day
So won’tcha make them happy before they pass away.
Wake up all the builders time to build a new land
I know we can do it if we all lend a hand
The only thing we have to do is put it in our mind
Surely things will work out they do it every time.

Repeat Chorus

It’s not enough, but it’s progress. Progress is possible. Don’t give up on voting. Don’t give up on advocacy. Don’t give up on activism. There are too many needs to be met, too much work to be done. Like Dr. King said, “We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.”
– President Barack Obama 1/17/2010

“Make a career of humanity – and you will make a greater person of
yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live
in.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Official Motto of Haiti: L’Union Fait La Force. Union Makes Strength.

Haitian Proverb: Sa ou fe, se li ou we. What you do is what you see.
..we reap what we sow.

WAKE UP EVERYBODY.

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Harry Reid, Michael Steele, Negro Dialect & Political Grandstanding on the Backs of Blacks

Harry Reid, Michael Steele, Negro Dialect & Political Grandstanding

by Davey D

By now everyone has heard about the racial firestorm that has brewed because of some remarks attributed to Senate majority leader Harry Reid in a new book called Game Change. They were made in a private conversation during the 2008 campaign where Reid noted that then Senator Obama might be successful because he was light-skin and didn’t speak with a ‘Negro Dialect’. Obama in typical fashion avoided the mess that can come when discussing race by quickly accepting Reid’s apology, downplaying the remarks and announcing ‘the book is closed’ on the subject.

Of course Obama’s Republican counterparts seeing that Reid is in a tight re-election race have been trying their best to blow this issue up. The party of Ronald Reagan who supported South African Apartheid, the party of John McCain who said ‘No to a Martin Luther King holiday are suddenly getting all Jesse Jackson-like and riding hard for all those who have been on the receiving end of racial insults and oppression.. Thank you Republican Party-I guess…Not! LOL

Reid’s remarks have been the lead story on every news channel with news directors feverishly pouring through their rolodexes, seeking to get a Black pundit, seemingly any Black pundit to come to a studio where they would normally never see the light of day except during Black history month. Here they’re asked to wax poetic about Reid’s remarks. Some of these outlets have gone so far as to have two or three Black folks on at the same time thus violating the unwritten ‘one-Black-on-set-at-a-time’ rule.

It was good to Black scholars like Marc Lamont Hill weighin in on Harry Reid's remarks, but it would be good to see him and others weighin in on Sunday morning talk shows

To me I was more offended seeing a Professor Tricia Rose, Professor Marc Lamont Hill, BET’s Jeff Johnson and the dozen of other Black faces invited to discuss an old white man using the word ‘Negro’ versus seeing them invited on a regular basis to discuss a variety of other topics that have arguably more impact. I would’ve like to have seen some of those Black voices on the Sunday morning talk shows earlier this year dragging Harry Reid’s ass through the coals around the Healthcare debate when single payer and later public option got snatched off the table. To me the insult was seeing Black intelligence limited to just this topic whereas I might see a dimwit like Ann Coulter invited to weigh in on everything from the War in Afghanistan to what Chris Brown did to Rihanna.

I suppose I shouldn’t blame Harry Reid for that lack of Black visibility on these news outlets, but I will. As the Senate majority leader, I want him pushing for legislation that de-consolidates media and makes it more accessible to the wide array of voices and perspectives in the community. I want him to be leading the charge to undue the damage he helped create when he voted Yes for the infamous 1996 Telecommunications Bill.

Reframe the Debate and Hold Reid Accountable

In any case, while this Harry Reid saga runs its course, I think its important that folks push the envelop a bit and reframe the debate away from the narratives seemingly designed to fit the agendas of media outlets, disingenuous politicians or media darlings trying to blow up their names. I wish people who went on these shows were more aggressive in dismissing the Harry Reid vs Trent Lott angle which has resulted in wasteful discussions about who was more offensive and whether or not double standards are at play. That discussion is a trap.

Comparing Harry Reid to Trent Lott is a trap. It only serves the purpose of media outlets looking for conflict and GOP folks trying to stay in the news cycle

The thing we needed to be focused on was the rationale behind Harry Reid‘s remarks and his political relationship to an African-American community that votes to the tune of 96% for the Democrat political party that he leads in the Senate. Our discussion needed to be centered on us evaluating whether or not one of the most powerful lawmakers in the country was setting policy that met the needs and wants of our community.

What caught most people’s attention about Reid’s remarks was him using the phrase Negro Dialect. It was used in a private conversation and it raised eyebrows because as far as most of us know Senator Reid has never publicly called Obama a ‘Negro’ Senator or President. We haven’t heard him call his African American colleagues in Congress, Negroes.. So where did this phrase ‘Negro dialect’ come from? Why did he use such an out of date word? Was his use of the word just a bad habit or was it reflective of old-time thinking filled with whatever baggage and stereotypes that many whites had stuck in their heads back in the 50s and 60s when the use of that word was pervasive?

Sadly too many pundits were falling over themselves making ding dong excuses for Reid. Some were saying he’s elderly and thats how old folks talk. Others were jumping through hoops talking how we have the United Negro College Fund, the NAACP-National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and how the word is used in the 2010 Census therefore it was ok for Reid to go there.

All thats fine and dandy, but last I checked Senator Reid is not a historic 66 year old or 100 year Civil Rights old institution. Last time I interviewed NCAAP head Julian Bond, he didn’t call me Negro and neither had Ben Jealous. I’ve hosted events sponsored by UNCF and no one walked up to me and handed me a script that would would’ve had me addressing our people as ‘Negro’. If these folks stay up to date so can Senate majority leader Harry Reid.

When I first heard of Reid’s remarks the first thing that came to mind was ‘How often does he interact with Black folks on the Capitol Hill’? Cause I’m sure by now someone would’ve checked him. He would’ve had to run into a Maxine Waters, Keith Ellison or someone else who was outspoken who would’ve said; ‘Look Senator, I know your 71 years old, but its 2010 and if my 90 year grandmother from the backwoods of Mississsippi ain’t using the word ‘Negro’ therefore you too Senator Reid can stop using it ‘.

Now unless someone is covering for him, we haven’t heard that such conversation took place. Hence that makes me think, that Senator Reid knows all about speaking multiple dialects? I guess during the day when he’s in in the Senate chambers, he has a distinguished ‘US Senator-dialect’ by night when he’s kicking it in private he loosens up a bit and becomes more Archie Bunkerish with his language?

So again, just to make sure…since Senator Reid used Archie Bunker type language then our primary concern should be examining his voting record to make sure the Senator’s not pushing Archie Bunker type policies. His slip up gave us an extra excuse to hold him politically accountable.

We need to see if Harry Reid's outdated words are reflected in outdated policies

For example, earlier this year Senator Reid voted to prohibit funding for ACORN, an organization that played a key role in helping get President Obama elected. Was Reid’s vote a calculated political decision or did he come across one too many folks from that organization who he felt spoke with a ‘Negro dialect’ thus getting him to draw some far gone conclusions that ‘Negroes can’t be trusted to do things right’ so hence no funding?

2 or 3 years ago Reid voted to make English the official language for the country. What was going on in his head? Was there no room for Negro dialects? Did he want people to speak only ‘good ole American English’ thus inspiring to cast a vote to make sure?

Just like his political enemies we need to be looking at his voting record and making sure his private conversations of insensitive language was used is not matched by his votes and the agenda he sets for the Senate. You can peep his voting record here: http://www.votesmart.org/voting_category.php?can_id=53320&category=13

Dealing with Republican Hypocrisy

Moving beyond Reid, one needs to look closely at the how the Republicans are handling this. I found it funny to see RNC chair Michael Steele express his supposed outrage for Reid’s remarks when he himself was chin checked by disgruntled members of his own party who felt like he was tarnishing the Republican brand by going on televison talk shows trying to be hip by using Hip Hop jargon which isn’t too far removed from what some might call Negro/Black dialect.

RNC Chair Michael Steele is gonna have a Jesse Jackson moment, he needs to tell Rush Limbaugh to stop playing the Barack the Magic Negro song

Steele said he was trying to make the party more attractive and more Hip Hop like. That whole thing got shut down with the quickness. If you recall, Steele got a verbal ass whupping from radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh who was annoyed and later outraged by Steele’s behavior. It all reached a boiling point when Steele went on the now defunct DL Hugley show which aired on CNN. Sitting between Hughley and Public Enemy frontman Chuck D, Steele got jammed up about why he would hang with a political party that had leaders like Rush Limbaugh who at the time was underfire for saying he ‘wanted President Obama to fail’. Those remarks were coming at the heels of Limbaugh enraging African Americans by repeatdly playing a song during Obama’s campaign called Barack the Magic Negro.

Steele tried to laugh it off, talk a little hip hop slang and assure critics that Limbaugh was ‘just an entertainer’. When Limbaugh heard Steele tried to play him, he went off and smashed on Steele in the tirade of tirades. Limbaugh took to the airwaves and publicly reminded Steele he had 20-30 million listeners and that if he doesn’t start showing some loyalty to the party he might discover that conservative will not wanna talk to him when he came calling. Limbaugh told Steele that he needed to stop going on TV and start raising money for the RNC. It was a brutal tongue lashing, that resulted in Steele apologizing to Limbaugh and being a lap dog ever since..

We won’t even mention that Steele didn’t have the guts to tell Rush to retire when he was playing the Barack the Magic Negro song. He didn’t even tell him to stop. In fact not too many of the outspoken GOP members stepped up and expressed outrage for racial insensitivity expressed by someone who claimed to be advocating for them.

Just to show you how meeley mouth Steele and his people are let’s see the lack of reaction in April 2009, one month after he got the verbal beatdown by Rush Limbaugh. In the great state of Texas, during a televised session on voter protection fellow GOP party member state rep Betty Brown said Asian-Americans need to come up with more accessible names.

She said;“Rather than everyone here having to learn Chinese — I understand it’s a rather difficult language — do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here?”

Brown went further when she told Chinese-American community organizer Ramey Ko, “Can’t you see that this is something that would make it a lot easier for you and the people who are poll workers if you could adopt a name just for identification purposes that’s easier for Americans to deal with?”

Here’s the video of that incident…

Perhaps Senator John Coryn should clean up his own backyard and ask Texas State Rep Betty Brown to resign before stepping to Harry Reid

Like I said Steele was nowhere to be seen. He wasn’t on TV calling for Brown’s retirement. And not to make this a partisan issue but facts are facts, the Democrats in the Texas House asked only for an apology. They did not ask for her to resign. To this day you don’t hear too many Republicans talk about this infamous incident. They try to downplay it. But I guess we’ll have to bring this up now that Texas senator John Cornyn went and opened his big mouth by demanding that Harry Reid resign.

This is the same Senator Coryn who resides in a state that is 30% Latino voted ‘No’ to confirm President Obama’s Supreme Court pick, Judge Sonia Satamayor. Coryn was all up in arms, being pompous and showing outrage at remarks Justice Sonia Satamayor made that he considered racially insensitive. I guess I can understand that if he was consistent. He said ‘No’ to Sotomayor, but not once did he ask representaive Betty Brown to step down… Coryn has no creditibility thus nothing more needs to be said. I guess Steele, Coryn and that whole cabal are only willing to do the Jesse Jackson thing to a point.

On a somewhat lighter note one has to wonder if Senator Reid expressed concern about the use of ‘Negro Dialect’ when Senator Hillary Clinton broke it out during her campaign. In the same vein did Michael Steele, Senator Coryn or any of their ilk ask Hillary to step down and resign for her ‘Negro speaking moments’? This of course raises the question to which the answer should be more than obvious, ‘Is what we seen expressed over this past week, righteous indignation, a genuine response to racial insensitivity or political opportunity’? As they say in the hood It’s all politics-It’s all politricks.

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Is Southern Rap Getting a Bad Rap? Speech of Arrested Development Breaks Down the Evolution & Challenges Facing Southern Hip Hop

Speech talks about the concept behind Arrested Development and how they were one of the first Southern rap groups to get a national platform which in turn helped open doors. He talks about the evolution of Southern rap and how there are many dimensions to it..The early image of Arrested development was centered around building community and taking people back home and away from the harshness of urban life. Sadly there were critics who tagged the group as being ‘alternative’ and ‘hippies’. Speech noted that in reality they were showing a major part of Black life in America.

He says one of the concerns he has is that over the years Southern Rap has become a caricature  and is narrowly focused around one or two types of images. He feels that needs to change.

DEA Recruits Lil wayne to Use up all the Drugs in Mexico

Former Employee Calls Out the Horrible Practices of Bank of America

By now many of y’all may have seen this video of a former Bank of America employee who decided to blow the whistle and alert the world about what really goes on behind closed doors at the height of this country’s recession. It’s interesting that this young woman came forth, because it was just two weeks ago I had my own horror stories as a customer of Wells Fargo.  You name it, they were doing it. It ranged from them silently changing due dates, trying to charge me extra fees to pay my bills, charging late fees  when the due date landed on a weekend and I attempted to pay the next business day to of course cutting credit lines with no warning, thus messing up my credit rating which made it next to impossible to get it restored. Oh yeah we shouldn’t forget the raised interest rates from fixed to variable..

I thought I was alone till I started speaking with people and realized folks with A-1 credit on down to regular average Janes and Joes were getting taxed by these banks, many of them who received bail outs.. Many of us have been feeling frustrated and helpless. Perhaps if people take a look at this courageous woman and start laying out their own, we will have a large list of grievances that we can we hold up as we demand change..Question of the day.. How has your bank been treating you?

Houston Rapper Chingo Bling Talks Polictics, Education and the Science behind his Custom-made Boots

We caught up w/ Houston rap star Chingo Bling who talked to us about the upcoming Texas governor’s race, education and young people and his love for custom made cowboy boots. Chingo noted that there’s alot of things that need to be cleaned up and he’s not sure that any one person can fix everything and there are so many things that are broken… However, he does feel that education for the youth should be the priority. make sure people are educated and everytjhing else will start to fall into place..

Chingo also showed off his latest ‘trademark’ custom cowboy boots. This week he has the new ‘Air Chingo’ boots and is set to drop a new line of boots in 2010. Chingo shouts out Jesse’s Boots on College Avenue in Houston as the go to place for his latest boot fashion.

Should Houston Mayor Bill White Run for Governor?

Well by now everyone has heard the buzz about Houston Mayor Bill White possibly changing course in a move that will seriously put him in the national spotlight. We had long heard that Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison was toying around with dropping out of the highly contentious Governor’s race and remaining in what has become a highly contentious United States Senate. There she can continue to irk Texans by continuing to cast votes like; saying ‘No’ to Judge Sonia Sotomayor‘s confirmation to be the first Latino appointed to the Supreme Court and saying ‘No’ to an extension for the very popular Cash for Clunkers program.  Hutchison says she’s gonna stay until the March 2010 primaries and then decide.

At the same the states leading Democrat for Governor Tom Schieffer had announced he was dropping out which is understandable. No one seemed to know or care that he was running. His campaign was very uninspiring. This chain of events led to widespread speculation and lots of urging that Mayor White step in and go for the Governor’s seat.

White has already garnered national attention because of his role during recovery efforts around hurricane Ike and then later with his positive stances on Green Jobs and the Green Economy, which seemed to be in stark contrast to what many around the country have come to perceive about the oil rich Lone Star State. When White showed up earlier this year at the progressive Netroots Convention in Pittsburgh, he was warmly received and got a lot of encouragement when he announced he was running for Senate.

In a changing world and changing state it was high time that Texas have a strong left leaning elected official on the national stage. The bid for Senate seemed well fitted for the popular Houston mayor. But now with all the attention focused on the governorship  thanks to the mudslinging between Hutchison and current governor Rick Perry, running for governor might be the move. In both scenarios, White still has to appeal to the entire state. Texas Democrats really need a sharp bolt of energy after its lackluster offerings to the governorship. Also White will have the added advantage of not having to change any of his signage or bumper stickers which read ‘Bill White for Texas‘.

As of late White has been coy about saying if he’ll switch races. His official line is that he’s still running for Senate, but he did say he’d give it some serious thought after Scheiffer dropped out.  Friday, December 4th his when he’ll give us the final results of that ‘serious’ thought.  Many throughout the state and beyond are hoping that he’ll run for Governor. They feel he may be just what the ‘political’ doctors ordered.  Let us know what you think? Should Bill White change up and run for Governor?

Below are the 4 part video of the interview we did with Bill White a couple of months ago when he was quite firm about his bid for Senate..

Here Bill White explains why he is the man for the job of US Senate and why the state of Texas is ready for him. He talked about the role Houston played in Katrina relief efforts and why Texas is on a roll leading the way in the Green economy.

We continue our conversation w/ Houston Mayor Bill White where he explains what approach he would take on the issues of healthcare and the economy.

Here Mayor Bill White talks to us about his plans and strategy for dealing with immigration and immigration reform

Here Bill White talks about education, job training & offers advice for first time voters

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Bun B vs Mike Jones in Texas Rap Trivia Game

This is a light-hearted funny video that features Houston rappers Bun B and Mike Jones square off in XXL Magazine’s trivia contest ‘I Know Rap People’  (Texas Edition)…Here the pair try tackle questions about fellow Texas rappers including Chingo Bling, Chamillionaire & Slim Thug

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Meet Bugsy From San Antonio- Here’s the Video to Hometown

Meet Bugsy  who hails from San Antonio… His video  ‘Hometown’ is smartly done. It was directed by Bryan Ramirez.  The music produced by DJ Carnage.. You can catch Bugsy at http://www.myspace.com/kingbugsymusic

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