Blacks Endorse Too Fast — Hillary v Bernie

Some of you black people really need to stop acting stupid when it comes to politics. If you were teenagers, I would understand, but many of you are beyond your late twenties, and still you are acting like dunces, going to war with your social media friends in debates over Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. This is politics! These politicians are going to drink wine and eat cheesecake when the election is over. But here you are, demonizing each other and fighting like pigs over who is the best choice to deliver black people from American terrorisms.

Among Bernie’s supporters, it seems settled that the Clintons are users (and they really are!) But question: what has Bernie promised to do to save black lives? Don’t tell me about his voting record! I care about what he will do in the future—and whether his promises are possible.

Has Bernie Sanders presented any SPECIFIC plans about HOW he will end police terrorisms against black bodies? Has he put forward any SPECIFIC plans about HOW he will galvanize congressional support to end the profiteering practices of the private prison industries? Has Bernie put forward any SPECIFIC plans about HOW he will guarantee that schools with children of color have access to the same quality of instruction and technologies as schools in white districts?

Breaking up the big banks is fine! But, Bernie, do you have any idea how you are going to break up the police culture so that black families won’t have to bury a son and daughter every day due to police terrorism?

So many of you are campaigning and battling for Bernie and you have NO IDEA about how Bernie is going to deliver. In fact, Bernie hasn’t even promised to deliver anything. Bernie is merely saying what is wrong with America and what idealistically needs to be done. He is filled with ideas, but lacks vision about how to implement his ideas!

Really, concerning civil rights issues, Bernie is saying what every 7-year-old kid is already talking about on the playground. That police needs to stop killing black people. That whites need to stop discriminating against black people! That black schools need good classrooms like those of white kids. (Did I miss a few things?) Bernie’s only difference from the 7-year-olds is that he sounds more like an ideologue—just like high schoolers excited to discover a new piece of knowledge—and there they are, always debating the value of feminism, capitalism, Marxism, and so forth.

What worries me is that too many of us are so used to picking from bad choices that we are incapable of just waiting—raising questions, negotiating, and demanding while we wait. All we are doing is rushing to endorse either Bernie or Hillary—selling our value before we know what we will receive. And in the process, we insult and end old friendships over battles concerning Hillary’s and Bernie’s goals.

Tell me, what will Bernie or Hillary do to address police terrorism on black lives? And what steps will they take to guarantee passage of such strategies and potential bills in a currently divisive political atmosphere? Notice that during ALL presidential debates, neither Bernie nor Hillary articulated a plan to address America’s terrorisms on black bodies. In fact, when it came to national security issues and the economy, they provided clear historical details of problem areas and sites; they diagnosed the urgencies of those issues; and they followed up with proposals and options to remedy the problem-consequences.

Also consider how these sections of the debates were long. But when it came to equal treatment for people of color, these sections of the debates were usually short and rushed–in the same way that black lives are taken down speedily by police guns, ineffective public defenders, a prison industry, and lack of opportunities in an inequitable economic environment. And the answers were idealistic—far from putting forward specifics.

Clearly, the black vote has been purchased with political chicanery—articulations of idealism that cannot be challenged during their presidencies, because they didn’t provide any specific steps that will be implemented to remedy the terrorism crises taking away the breath of people of color. And none of these candidates informed the moderators to spend more time discussing racism in America because they really are not passionate about black lives.

Why does the black community forget so easily? Why do we sell our voices, our writings, our passions, or decisions, our social media activities, and endorsements so quickly? Have we forgotten that Bernie had no tolerance for protests concerning black lives? Do we forget his counteracting resentment and anger towards protestors of the black lives matter movement (even though I opposed the protestors’ aggressive strategy at the time)? Have we forgotten that his answer to the protesters was that he supports black rights all his life but that police terrorism is not a problem that can be fixed in reasonable time? In other words, Bernie was telling the protestors to get the fuck out of his way and stop demanding the impossible!

But Bernie has changed since. Now Bernie wants us to believe that ensuring America understands that black lives matter is indeed a possibility. For it was clear then that Bernie had no passion to recognize or save black lives. So when did Bernie become so new and different—so suddenly passionate about our lives—after sitting so many years in the Congress and doing nothing except for voting on a few civil rights bills and claiming that such a voting record gives him credibility?

I ain’t no cheap bitch! A few votes are not enough to buy me. I need to see the history of Bernie’s passion on issues that respect and save lives like mine! (If that does not exist, I need to hear him present a comprehensive proposal that will address my need–at least one–that ensures my body and breath will be safe from police terrorism.) Furthermore, in the last debate, Bernie’s response about why the black community is more hyped-up over Clinton shows that he doesn’t consider black lives as American lives.

“When the African American community becomes familiar with my congressional record and with our agenda, and with our views on the economy, and criminal justice,” Sanders explained, “just as the general population has become more supportive, so will the African American community, so will the Latino community. We have the momentum, we’re on a path to a victory.” I take it that Bernie Sanders doesn’t consider the African American of Latino community as part of the general population. Blacks and Latinos are alien in America. That is really Bernie’s deepest view. They don’t belong here!

Bernie’s response tells us who he is. Why shouldn’t we believe him? Instead, even with this knowledge, many black persons think that Bernie is the new Moses who will lead them across the Red Sea. Indeed, like all politicians, both Clinton and Bernie are playing games with the black community. In fact, that is what politicians do. So where the fuck are our bats and soccer balls, and our tennis rackets and basketballs? Why shouldn’t we play and try to win this game too—get the best outcomes for our lives? Instead of playing, why are we speeding to endorse, and even taking up amour to cut down those who oppose Bernie or Hillary? Our weakness is so clear that even Donald Trump now is catching on to the old game of the Democratic Party. Trump has been reminding us that he is going to get most of the black votes.

Posted in Politics Education, Race Matters

Celebrating Blackness

Lately I have been feeling really proud about how black people have been standing in their truths while using new technologies of social media to resist the violent knowledges, fashions, bodies, and “opportunities” of dominant cultures. In the past, I never understood why someone would say, “I am black and proud” in the same way I wouldn’t say “I am a man and proud” or “I am a human and proud.” Now, however, I do understand.

My travels abroad have raised my consciousness about my blackness, leaving me empowered and powerful. This, for instance, happens in moments when I see a black person in a “non-black” foreign country or inside an airport and they look at me. The look is one that another black person can understand. It’s an unspoken communication that says, “I know you are black and I love seeing you in this space.” The communication is a type of global blackness that has survived strategies that terrorized black culture and people.

Surviving this terrorism as it labored, blackness wept, endured, and cultivated a distinguished survival component that defines and unites the black diaspora: LOVE–global love for other black people who know how to survive. When this love connects in foreign spaces, blackness waves at each other, smiles, or says Hi. Sometimes they just quickly gaze, but the love touches both passersby.

For instance, today, two men stopped me in the street of Santo Domingo and said, “I am Haitian. Are you from America?” They shook my hands while I answered, “Yes.” They smiled. Immediately, we began chatting like old pals. Global love gave us permission to be familiar without abusing the familiarity. The men gave me their account about the current racial tensions in the Dominican Republic. What seemed clear from their account was that Haitians are a persecuted race in the Dominican Republic, always under scrutiny based on the quality of their attire and how they speak.

And two weeks ago in Mexico City while I was on a tour of the pyramids, I saw a dark skin Mexican boy at one of the pyramids. His mother came over to me and asked if I could take a picture with her son. It made my day. The boy then took my hand, examined my tattoos, and shyly laughed. Simple things like these two encounters have been creating the memories that will keep me alive.

Yes, some persons correctly say that race—blackness—is a social construct. I agree. But I must add that this construction is now an existing architecture—a reality: psychological, cultural, economical, political, and physical reality. Given the diversities of this reality, blackness matters in multiple ways to me.

Blackness is being in love with an untamable, radical, passion. It is a deep joy, knowing that I am a part of a genealogy that has given me certain linguistics, body languages, dead and living bodies, and psychologies that transcend geographies. Importantly, blackness is a tradition that affirms itself through global, Diasporic, love.

Indeed, there is no perfect story in this reality of blackness. Yet, I feel the need in this moment just to celebrate blackness, black identity, black bodies, black movements, black activisms, black solidarities, and black affirmation. My celebration provides no room for critics, doubters, and logicians. Room only exists for people who feel the language I am trying to acknowledge. (You cannot feel if you don’t have the gift of feeling.) It is a living language because it carries the weight of joy in identity, history, and community–and it speaks from the emotional, psychological, and delivered zones of consciousness.

I really love black people because I know they love me too.

 

Posted in Race Matters

A Small Place — My View

A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid–If only we could have more works like this: bold, not politically correct, honest, and unedited in many ways. I haven’t read her other works yet, but I bet that she no longer writes in this bold way. She would be opened to too many attacks from members of the intellegencia who are looking for writers to adhere to a certain writing template. That wouldn’t do well for her career as a writer.

And by the way, I think it is a grave misreading of the book to just say Kincaid is angry. Sure, she is angry, but her anger is controlled, and that is what drives the substance, scope, and content of the text. Additionally, there is a lot of humor in the anger. So if one is to say it is an angry text, one should be opened to hearing it is also a humorous text.

While I enjoy this work (and it is my second reading—my first was in undergraduate), I would caution persons who solely celebrate it as a radical production, since there are many aspects within the text in which Kincaid glorifies the very imperialism she condemns. To take a case in point, look no further than her mockery of Antiguans who fail to speak the standard variety of English (an imperializing variety of colonial England, I might say). So writing, Kincaid dares to use this standard variety of English to represent Antiguan history yet frowns upon the popular registers and variety of their English tongue.

To be noted is that Kincaid’s condescending tone towards Antiguans emerges from her own access to privilege—her exposure, education, and security within the United States. At points, she positions herself as the only educated person, gazing upon an island of dunces. It also seems as if she forgets she is Antiguan. Yes, she sounds like a tourist too? And how funny, because she is critical of the tourist industry!

What could have created Kincaid’s alienation from her country and the people whom she writes about as if they are her research objects? It certainly is her distance as an emigrant, but one can also blame it on her inadvertent alliance with the fashions of imperialism. (I make no mistake in saying “alliance.”)

I should remind you that my ability to critique Kincaid’s own imperialist fashions is due to knowledges produced after Kincaid published the book in 1988. That is to say, let’s cut Kincaid some slack! Furthermore, I prefer a bold work that risks vulnerability to criticism than a dull, pretentious ass-kissing piece of writing. Thus, I think Kincaid’s book borders brilliance.

Which means that, before condemning Kincaid, it’s useful to acknowledge that she takes a risk by writing a politically incorrect narrative about the political, architectural, and psychological Antigua. She talks about the history of the architecture and the government’s failure to attend to dilapidated ruins. She identifies corrupt political leaders, profiteering governmental strategies, and violence that have been strangling Antiguans. She notes that, though small, Antigua houses the extensive legacies of colonialism, and it is a popular resort for tourists who fail to understand that their tourist status should be psychologically deconstructed. For why do they only want to be around Antiguans whenever they are looking for a retreat from the boredom and ruins of their lives? IN other words, who is a tourist? Kincaid forces us to begin thinking, a economic savior, a warm visitor, or an scornful exploiter? Kincaid’s analysis of these visitors and other aspects of Antiguan culture is captured by the title of the text, which accounts for a web of histories of the colonial and imperialist worlds that Antiguans and those interested in Antigua cannot escape.

Posted in Reviews

Donald Trump Will Win the Next Election – Why?

Like Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump is performing. The problem is that too many of us have failed to realize that all the presidential contenders are performing. We show more resentment towards the one who most honestly reveals his truth in his performance. What Donald Trump is saying about immigrants and his lack of empathy for Black lives and other people of color reflect the way millions of Americans feel. Most Americans however keep quiet out of fear of being labeled racist.

We must also observe that Trump is running the election in the same way he ran Celebrity Apprentice. Trump produced the rules of the Apprentice. He was the judge. His contestants were successful based upon how much drama and battle they brought into the boardroom. The similarity of the Apprentice’s boardroom and Trump’s presidential campaign is that American states are now the boardroom. Americans are the judges, hungry for drama and battle in their living rooms and on their smart phones. Trump is the contestant who will give them exactly what he does best.

No doubt, Trump knows the rules of winning the game. He is therefore most poised to manipulate the judges (voters), most of who aren’t really smart voters. Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, and others don’t know how to play outside of the traditionally polite rules of American politics. That is why they will lose. Until political analysts and voters begin to realize that Trump is imagining American states in the way he imagines Celebrity Apprentice’s boardroom, Trump will continue to surge towards winning the 2016 presidential election.

Posted in Politics Education, Race Matters

Wonderful Summer 2015

I am having a wonderful summer—one of the best. It seems to be getting better every year. I met my literature-reading, foreign language, and health goals. Sometime this week, I will return home, ready to map out new goals for the rest of the year. That includes paying more attention to my eating lifestyle, growing my confidence, passing the Orals Exam (one that requires I read around 100 books), continuing with language development, and researching career/s professionalization strategies.

I list my journey because I hope to remind many of you to take note of your success; and never take for granted that you are happy. You deserve to be happy and you have made a lot of sacrifices to earn your happiness. So go ahead and speak to yourself about the things you should celebrate!

And for those of you who feel that things are not happening for you because nobody is helping you. I would encourage you to begin to accept a reality: you have to help yourself! Don’t depend upon family, lover, or friends to carry your boat! That is the world we live in, baby! You have to do for yourself.

People will rush to help you only when they believe you are going somewhere. Time is precious and nobody wants to waste time pushing a boat that is going to sink a few kilometers down the river. What is in it for them? You better believe that is the question even your own papas and mamas ask themselves quietly.

Some of you might ask—but how do I begin and I have no money?

Can you read and write? Obviously! Because you have made it this far in this piece of writing. Additionally, if you have Internet access, get on the information highway, read-read, and research-research your way into success. Every bit of knowledge is on the Internet for free these days. And people are there ready, not to help you, but to work with you. Bring something to the table and people will work with you: bring knowledge! No, I don’t believe school is for every brilliant knowledgeable person.

In a nutshell, celebrate your small successes, map out new goals, embrace a self-reliant attitude towards life, take care of your physical and emotional self, and go hard (really hard) after your dreams.

Posted in Life Talk

When Black Affirmation Becomes Stifling

I hear a lot of black people using the increasing visibility of crimes against black people as reason to demonize white people. They think their ways of thinking are enlightened, progressive, consciously black, and self-affirmative. I would encourage you to rethink this strategy. What you need is not to dog all white people; what you really need is to become successful while maintaining your integrity. To believe that the only people who will support and celebrate your goals are black people is downright stupid or naive.

Ever since I arrived in the United States many years ago, the people who have been equally supportive of my goals in the most dedicated ways include white people. My emphasis is that you would benefit from realizing that help and love can come from anyone regardless of race. So stop caging yourself in a “black box.” That will only make you resentful of white people and you will not know how to conduct yourself in diverse spaces where success opportunities reside.

Now, there are some people who will disagree with this—but all you have to do is look at their life and ask yourself—do their lives model the kind of success I find distinguished? Of course you should continue to criticize white institutionalism, but to act as though the black community is all a lovey-dovey space where all affirm each other’s identities and goals is too stupid. That sort of action will get you nowhere but into spaces of frustration.

In fact, in the same way that you fluently decode and identify white institutionalism, you should be able to decode and identify black institutionalism. Some aspects of white solidarity reflect white institutionalism and racism. In the same way, some aspects of black solidarity pattern black institutionalism and racism. To say that whiteness is institutionalized but not blackness reflects a deep seethed ignorance and hypocrisy. What you need to resist, therefore, is the institutionalization of our own identities. You should resist lifestyles and ways of thinking that only make you comfortable with understanding and surviving in racially singular spaces.

To be successful in this world—and success here includes having peace with how you think about the world and its peoples—you must accept that the worst people in your life will also include black people, not just the people of other races. Equally, some of the greatest persons are among Blacks, Whites, Latinos, Asians, and others. Critique the racialized world but resist the urge to live it.

 

Posted in Politics Education, Race Matters

Black Lives Matter, Stop Bullying Bernie Sanders

It’s one thing to protest; it’s another thing to intimidate. The recent response of a couple members of Black Lives Matter is an outright intimidatory tactic. And I wonder why this is done to Bernie Sanders and not to other political candidates like Hilary Clinton. Is this sexism…? And why hasn’t Barack Obama being targeted in the same way? Obama has been president for close to 7 years–why haven’t his events been disrupted? Is this racism…? Attack the white man when it comes to race, but leave the do-nothing black president alone? the era of open season on white men only? still the era of leave the white women for now because they are busy dealing with white feminism?

Of course, many white men deserve it, but why is the banging stopping at their doors? Barack Obama has been one of the worst presidents in recent history when it comes to addressing civil rights for black people; yet he gets a free pass, and the intimidation is only unleashed on a white man who has a long shot at being president–a white man who has always spoken and voted in favor of black civil rights. Isn’t this just outrageous!? Intimidate the ally; stay far from the others!

Indeed, I understand the frustration about increasing bleeding black bodies, but now I am wondering whether these disrupters were paid to tarnish the movement’s reputation; how much were they paid? And do they—or should we–call this public performance activist work? Or could it be some bullies who are trying to get some media attention so they can increase their social media following?! Hello!—like y’all don’t know how it’s done dirty–actively nasty-activists filthy–these days!!!!

What is civil rights activism? is a question that we need to ponder; because more and more it seems that the marketed idea of what is activism is not moving beyond the activities of getting arrested, blocking traffic, holding placards, singing Christian songs, screaming, and praying in the streets to the media-god, and getting outrageous enough to get a space in godly news medium.

Of course all that is good, but it is time to identify and validate the many existing counter and complimentary forms of civil rights activist works? People who are doing things with their lives–accessing careers that are traditionally occupied by privilege white people–are they activists, or do they need to hold a placard and take it to the streets first?

A black woman who is studying Mandarin in order to understand Chinese culture and some day open opportunities that combine Afro and Chinese heritages–is that activism or does she need to get arrested first?

The media’s swiftness to broadcast and give media celebrity status to a very limited scope of activist work destroys the character of what is activist diversity. Too often civil rights activism is only presented as a site with bullies, loud talkers, rebellious bodies, placard holders, street marchers, and police confronters–a site that accommodates them in the name of radicalism that is often narrowly focussed: it’s radical, not because it is strategically smart; it’s radical because it breaks the rules!

Have mercy upon us, wisdom! O wisdom, where are you?! For in these spaces, activism is presented as only what is visible–absolutely ignoring the labors of the invisible. Thus, the public as a collective is never trained to imagine diverse ways to produce change and to recognize diverse activist allies and opponents. At the individual level, too, persons are starved of confidence, creativity, and education that could be used to empower themselves. –You see why I am sick and tired of the Left these days!

Posted in Politics Education, Race Matters

Dreams Can Still Occur

Apart from blood and bones, what makes most of us similar are the daily struggles we face, not just to stay alive, but to live in peace and with purpose by fulfilling dreams. Under the persistent scarring by struggles, many of us collapse by inner defeated thoughts, some rise to walk again, some are still paralyzed, others have gone too soon. And there are those who continue to wonder—should I still linger here? What’s the purpose of life, and of my life? Those who read these words and bear witness, and consequently feel a tingle of hope, know they must continue to survive with smiles because dreams can still occur.

Dreams can still occur! Dreams can still occur! Doesn’t it sound clichéd? What is so new about this statement that has been circulated in life and above the graves of millions? The answer I have is that dreams can still occur, and we must receive this thought daily: Creatively receive it in the same way we creatively produce art, talk, and business strategies.

It is the consistent production and re-production, the persistency of circulation and re-circulation, the presentation and re-presentation to ourselves of this old thought—Dreams can still occur–that will continue to give us the fuel to smile throughout our life as we tackle purposefulness and dreams.

Now we know or acknowledge that we have been the greatest artist, daily, creatively, molding our thoughts to live in peace with joyfulness. That we now know or remember, we will consciously tap into our creativity as we shape and liberate that old thought: dreams can still occur!

Posted in Life Talk

Beware of Those Friends and Colleagues Who Evaluate Your Work

When you ask someone to evaluate your artistic production (say a book) and you know they skimmed it and didn’t finish but yet they are evaluating it with universal rhetorical feedback that could apply to any text, how do you say to them that you know they didn’t spend quality time with the work and that their feedback is merely a sudden rush to complete what feel they had promised to read a while back?

I have experienced this situation with several colleagues and friends over the years, and it shocks me that they know I am a careful reader yet they read my own work and provide positive and negative universal criticism that isn’t supported with any textual evidence.

It also surprises me that people know I try to think outside the box and write outside narrative frameworks, yet they expect to speed-read my work as if my work follows a predictable template. Not seeing the template they image the work should have, their bury their feedback into universal language that points to no textual specifics. Indeed, many of the well-known writers of our time talked about encountering this very experience from loved ones and colleagues who they held in high regards.

That it has happened to me repeatedly, I think it important to share it here to encourage emerging artists like myself to stand your ground against careless evaluations of your work. Seriously, real friends should not do this to others! Too many artists have been destroyed by the feedback of colleagues and friends who they thought cared about their future.

Artists, know your work. And be opened to criticism, and encourage your evaluators to be frank, rough, and honest with you, but beware of criticism that only points out negatives but do not point to the positives! That is not a skilled and effective critic. And if critics cannot substantiate their critiques—both good and back—with textual evidence, don’t accept their feedback. Obviously, they are insulting your intelligence. Also, be very confident about your production especially if you have put very hard work into it, and others have already pointed out its strengths and value.

I know–I know–I still haven’t answered my own question: what do I say to these sorts of critics who evaluate the work without reading it? I usually say thank you to everyone who evaluates my work. I never ever challenge anyone on any points offered because nobody had signed up for an argument; they had merely volunteered to read a work. Furthermore, I, too, don’t like people fighting me when I am providing feedback to their work. So my answer is that, I don’t have an answer, I am still thinking about it.

But, friends and colleagues, do not hurt your friends by treating their work carelessly. If you can’t spend quality time with the work of an artist who you know has a reputation of producing thoughtful work, don’t spend anytime with it at all. Don’t rush the work and kill the author! Usually, such an author knows you didn’t read the work, but she won’t tell you, because she doesn’t want to hurt your feelings though you unintentionally hurt hers.

Posted in Life Talk, Reviews

Black Lives Matter NOT All Lives Matter

If any of the presidential candidates wants to be taken seriously, I need to hear them commit to instituting federal reforms that abolish the relationship between the prison system and private companies. If the more people getting arrested means that powerful private corporations make more profits, then powerful corporate lobbyists are going to remain committed to ensuring that more blacks continue to be imprisoned. They will continue to resist any presidential candidate, politician, prosecutor, or institution that goes after the prison system.

And on this issue, I am not going to say people of color, because it is black people who comprise the largest percentage of the prison population. Additionally, as Obama said recently, blacks get longer sentences than whites for the same crime. It’s wise to consider that there is a time and place to lump marginalized and racialized bodies as people of color. But the effectiveness of such a categorical lumping must be seriously evaluated before utilized and prioritized as the most inclusive and effective activist strategy.

More than any group on the American continent and across the world, darker-skinned bodies are the most racially oppressed. My experience here in Panama and recently in Brazil has made it clearer that there exists a nurtured global assault on bodies based upon hierarchical structures of pigmentation. This reason grounds my support for emerging viewpoints in the Black Lives Matter movement that resist calls to frame their slogan as “All Lives Matter.”

If any other group—Asians, Latinos, Native Americans, and Poor White people—wants to start its own anti-racist movement, I will support it. But each needs to tap into its own creativity and produce a slogan that differentiates existing specifics of its struggles while it still amplifies the reality that shared racism hurts multiple groups. That shouldn’t be so hard to creatively accomplish; should it?

Neither should it be impossible to understand that blacks deserve the right to cultivate and occupy singular activist names and spaces that speak as black people because they are marginalized as black people across continents that continue to globalize diverse modes of anti-blackness.

Certainly, I often (and still do) valorize a united, inclusive, front, especially since I know that “blackness” as a social construct is very problematic and is often hijacked by civil rights and academic careerists. In those careerist situations, the utility of “blackness” bothers me when persons really consider it as a wholesome representation of their ontological selves.

As I see it, identities are hybrid–ethnically and geographically intersectional–rather than singular. But when “blackness” is understood and utilized as a political constituency needed to shift governmental paradigms, my argument changes to positions such as here–where my main point is that racial singularity also has its usefulness in varied activists contexts such as the Black Lives Matter movement.

Posted in Politics Education, Race Matters

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