electronic wonders of the Internet allow us to declare with
finality that Khalil Bendib's January 30 cartoon "The Devil's
Handmaiden" is his most popular work to date on .
Bendib's depiction of Condeleezza Rice's climb up the ladder
of success, only to reject the mechanisms of minority upward
mobility once they had served her personal purposes, touched
many of our readers where they live. Bruce Jackson wrote from
his workstation at the Buffalo
Report, his excellent political web site.
prizes concise language. Maddi Bee, on the other hand, likes
to have some fun on the way to the point.
I wonder who/what is steering my hand as I fool around on
this machine called "computer." Lucky for me, my
fingers happened to land on the Black Commentator site. So
the (you gotta-be-kidding) State of the Union address by the
Great Satan, before my eyes there appeared Little Miss Satan
Sitting on her Tuffet, looking Nasty! The cartoon depiction
of Dr. Con-Dough-Leeza Evil is oh-so-on-the-mark. She's marked.
I had to turn off my TV. Seeing the Great One and Little Miss,
not to mention the preponderance of pompous white Repubs and
Republocrats at the same time is too much for my soul. Thanks.
there is Frank Sykes, who likes to imagine himself director
of casting for George Bush's Black Review.
it so rightfully said and done. Indeed, Condoleezza is the
Devil's Handmaiden, but better yet she is GW's Pom Pom girl,
a cheerleader always on the sidelines cheering him on whether
he is right or wrong. And Armstrong Williams is the water
boy, giving him the juice to continue to oppress the Black
and poor people.
would like to see some diversity in our cartoonist's Rogues
Gallery, starting with offenders from his own ethnic neighborhood.
was great. But if it is at all possible, could you do similar
theme based cartoons on Elaine Chao, our favorite Asian American
strikebreaker. Solely responsible for helping bust unions
for the Bush dis administration. See the San Francisco
longshoremen's' strike and the Homeland Security Law that
prohibits strikes and her boss' invocation of the Taft Hartley
Act. And one of my fellow Korean Americans, Wendy Lee Graham
- she of the Enron tragedy, who sat on its Board of Directors,
while she made millions and trickle down theory fame that
put the country in the red during the '80's.
pride, and shame
23 commentary on the GOP's attempt to pose appointees such
as Rice and Secretary of State Colin Powell as an alternative
Black "leadership" generated an overflow of mail.
Many of the most thoughtful letters arrived late, including
this one from Ella Baccouche.
to commend the writer of the Rice article. It was right on
point. I would like to add that since we no longer push critical
viewing, reading, and thinking skills in the schools, what
with the little funding there is teachers barely have time
to teach the basics, it is very easy for the machinations
of the propaganda machine to "bamboozle" the public
mind. Even the literate and educated have a hard time teasing
out the truth, especially if they are not well grounded in
historical knowledge. Moreover, any dissenting views that
may appear are quickly marginalized by the media.
I think the rule of "collective victory" strongly
applied in this case as witnessed by the cheering ovation
of the audience. It gave some Blacks the illusion that they
had really overcome. I bet Bush and those he represents were
very happy, indeed. It meant that they still have us in their
pockets and that we will continue to behave in ways that are
detrimental to our own self-determination. Thanks to this
commentary, I now have a better understanding of the evil
character of the hidden agenda of the government's "Appointive
Black Strategy," a strategy that with the support of
the propaganda machine has obviously been very successful
in pushing the "business" agenda.
Ms. Rice's competence is rarely called into question
by the corporate media - and certainly not by those who hold
her up as a "credit to the race." Claire Perricelli,
of Napa, California, is not impressed.
your critique of Rice. Her supposed brilliance, her hard line
pro-war positions on policy and her willingness to be part
of the worst government this country has had in my lifetime
of 57 years drive me nuts. How come so few ever mention that
it was on her shift as NSA that 9-11 occurred, and that no
heads have rolled as a result of the biggest breach of security
in our history?
finds historical references for Rice's role in Bush's White
is a perfect example of what the William Lynch speech represents,
in my estimation!
(some scholars claim, apocryphal) Willie
Lynch introduced his slave-control pamphlet to fellow plantation
owners in a speech on the banks of the James River, Virginia,
outlined a number of differences among the slaves: and I take
these differences and make them bigger. I use fear, distrust,
and envy for control purposes. These methods have worked on
my modest plantation in the West Indies and it will work throughout
Take this simple little list of differences, and think about
them. On top of my list is "Age", but it is there
only because it starts with an "A": the second is
"Color" or shade, there is intelligence, size, sex,
size of plantations, status on plantation, attitude of owners,
whether the slave live in the valley, on hill, East, West,
North, South, have fine hair, coarse hair, or is tall or short.
you have a list of differences, I shall give you an outline
of action - but before that I shall assure you that distrust
is stronger than trust and envy is stronger than adulation,
respect, or admiration.
slave after receiving this indoctrination shall carry on and
will become self re-fueling and self generating for hundreds
of years, maybe even thousands.
forget you must pitch the old Black male vs. the young Black
male, and the young Black male against the old Black male.
You must use the dark skin slaves vs. the light skin slaves
and the light skin slaves vs. the dark skin slaves. You must
use the female vs. the male, and the male vs. the female....
both sides of the Condoleezza argument can play the Willie Lynch
card. Deonna Moore appears to think that critics of Rice - and
of Right-leaning Black Democrats - are the real architects of
to stop tearing one another down. Just because Ms. Rice is
a black woman advisor to a Republican President, and Rep.
Ford refuses to stay in the same mind frame that has set and
left the Democratic Party in the mess that we are in, does
not make them bad individuals. I applaud their efforts and
works. They have my unequivocal support, and they are making
it better for me when I decide to run for a political office.
gets himself all worked up over "Condi" and "Armstrong."
that your article on Condoleezza Rice was simply atrocious.
I think by condemning Condi and Armstrong you do African Americans
a disservice. People who achieve and break barriers based
on their own merits are what our community needs. The opposite
of which is trifling, ignorant sheep to the slaughter. Republicans
are trying to reach out to us, based on achievements and credentials.
Democrats are taking us for granted at every turn. The only
way to make effective change is if we infiltrate all parties
and push consensus to meet the needs of our communities. As
we all know African Americans are not homogenous, so why should
we flock to one side of the debate (like fools). We should
value the true diversity of our own brothers and sisters to
make sure we are covered on all sides of whatever the debate
is. African Americans should be achievement-oriented, and
not be ashamed of their accomplishments and we shouldn't hate,
either. It reminds me of the school kid who pick at the smart
ones saying that they are "talkin' white" because
they speak English correctly.
Keepin' it Real is Relevant!
both Mr. Saleem (anti-Rice) and Mr. Hardy (the Condiphile) urge
us to "Keep it Real!" That's also 's
last several generations, there has existed a broad Black political
"consensus" around a range of issues reflected in
"black leadership's civil rights agenda in regard to housing,
jobs, education, criminal justice, and an overall pro-active
federal role in ending racism's impact in these areas through
affirmative action and related policies." (See Dr. Martin
Kilson's report to the National Urban League, "State
of Black American Politics," August 8.)
Agenda finds varying levels of expression within the national
Democratic Party, but is anathema to the national Republican
Party. This is the simple and straightforward reason that African
Americans vote nine to one Democratic in national elections.
Even "sheep" are not foolish enough to vote for wolves.
Americans remain in remarkable, consistent agreement on political
issues, a shared commonality of views that holds strongly across
lines of income, gender and age," wrote
in our November 21 analysis of the Joint
Center for Political and Economic Studies survey of Black opinion.
"There is no 'split' among African Americans on core political
of the GOP's Black Appointive Strategy is to destroy the Black
consensus, in part by tapping into deep, historical African
American yearnings to see Black faces in high places - no matter
how hollow the titles or hostile the policies of the placeholders.
Mr. Hardy decries is the sound of the Black body politic rejecting
the GOP's handpicked Black "leadership," a self-serving
pack of hirelings and hustlers. It is a painful process. Most
African Americans hunger for brilliance, integrity and, above
all, loyalty among high Black office holders.
George Bush serves up a full course of old style racism - and
a side order of Condoleezza Rice.
postings went up at progressive addresses all over the Internet,
last issue. In our lead commentary, "The
Mother of All War Shows," we stated that oil "is
not the real prize of war" against Iraq. "The prize
is nothing less than world domination: all the riches above
and below the earth and seas."
on Iraq will be an apocalyptic expression of American will
- designed to "shock and awe" the planet.
the whole point. The War Party wants the world to know that
there is no escape from the raging superpower. Very soon,
the U.S. military will stage a show more shocking and awful
than can be imagined, for the benefit of a global audience.
As Ullman envisions, it will be "rather like the nuclear
weapons at Hiroshima." The intent is to break the will
of the species. Iraq is merely a convenient stage, Saddam
Hussein an extremely unfortunate prop.
a member of the Green Party, believes we are on the mark.
finally happened - I have read the first intelligent analysis
of Bush's war plans. Kudos for having the brains and guts
to print the truth!!
has a wide readership. If all of your commentaries are as
well written and brilliant as the first two I've read then
you get my vote for the best news analysis anywhere in America
or the world for that matter.
I'm passing this article on to as many as I can far and wide.
writes from Pompano Beach, Florida.
article. I can only hope that the last paragraph comes true.
I have been waiting for this country to wake up for the past
2 years and I am constantly disappointed. We are under the
spell of the most mean spirited, gun-toting, bible thumping,
racist, corporate owned, administration in the history of
this country. We also have the dumbest electorate in the world.
talk to Republicans it's like talking to a wall. Harry Truman
said: "Selfish men have always tried to skim the cream
from this nations natural resources. Their instrument in this
effort has always been the Republican party"
Thanks for your website. It's great.
arranged his response to our commentary in verse format.
not about oil or Iraq. You are right.
It is meant to be a lesson to the world.
What you say cannot be fathomed by most people I know.
I for one will not be cowed.
Thank you for your bravery.
God help us all.
the set is ready," we wrote, "George Bush will flip
the switch and the sky will flash and glow over Iraq, a warning
to the world."
a letter in anticipation of the impending event.
God, Thank God someone wrote this article. I was cringing
in "shock and awe" after The Grand Idiot's State
of the Union address. Not because of what he said, but because
of the response of the American Public which all networks
reported as rising 10 points in favor of war.
believe how much this regime is getting away with. I look
at my country with distaste and horror and wonder. Where is
the soul of America, rising up in outrage and disgust at these
Dickinson expressed his shock and awe by sending us the image
of a collage he created.
draftees in the dustbin of history
of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told the assembled Pentagon press
corps that conscript soldiers of years past added "no value,
no advantage, really..." to the armed forces, hardly a
corporate media eyebrow was raised. It fell to veterans groups
to protest the chief civilian war hawk's disrespect to 17,725
fallen American conscripts of the Vietnam War.
In our January
30 commentary, "Rumsfeld:
Dead Soldiers Count for Nothing," we hypothesized:
U.S. were a healthy parliamentary democracy, Donald Rumsfeld's
remarks of January 7 would have brought down George Bush's
government, necessitating new elections. Instead, the man
with the demonic grin continues as the drum major for new
foreign wars, even as he belittles a previous war's dead.
remains in place, we believe, because after 30 years of a volunteer
military, broad sections of the American people have no personal
connection to the men and women of the U.S. armed forces. A
public that lacks empathy for yesterday's dead draftees (and
volunteers - what's the difference?) cannot truly be emotionally
bonded to this generation's soldiers, either. The suburbs and
professions are gripped by a war fever of the couch and video
loves his perfect weapon, the volunteer military," we concluded.
"They may die in the nation's imperial enterprise but,
among the people whose opinions count, they will not be personally
Hamod is editor of Today's
Alternative News. His opinion counts with us.
on the conscripts, so many of whom died in Viet Nam, was excellent;
you need to keep forwarding it to Peter Jennings at ABC, some
investigative reporters at CNN, PBS (especially Bill Moyers
and the NOW show) and even dumb Dan of CBS and Broken Jaw
the good work.
warned that "the evidence is rolling in, and it is unmistakable:
the Bush people are assembling purely political lists of individuals
and groups to be targeted during some future crisis, real or
manufactured." (See "Bush's
Domestic Enemies List: Preparing for "National Emergency.")
Americans will bear the brunt of the Permanent National Emergency
which must accompany Permanent War. Although white anti-war
activists seem to be the focus of the emerging national internal
security apparatus at the moment
who haul white lawyers and Catholic nuns off of airplanes
will kill a Black activist in his bed the very same night.
This is what passes for equivalence in a racist society.
folks are being put on some serious lists. Under the perverse
duality of America, that means the canaries are already dying.
the following letter from Maria Luisa Etchart, who has lived
in a society in which dissenters "disappear." She
was responding to last week's commentary on Iraq.
gave me a clearer picture of the horrid events we are all
fearing and it makes sense, every word of it. I am Argentine,
living at present in Costa Rica and believe everything you
say because in a smaller scale we experienced the destruction
of our economy, the disintegration of our society and the
sinking of our hopes in a very short time. Are we, Argentines
to blame? Perhaps yes, to some extent because we weren't able
to detect the deadly trap we were walking into and the few
of us who did were disregarded by the vast majority and considered
is, no doubt, a group of evil-doers behind the scene but we
will never know who they really are until it's too late. The
visible faces, hateful as they may be, are merely tools to
divert our hatred, something like Orwell's description of
the dreadful face everybody hated for two minutes every day
as a way to release the steam gathered by the system they
were forced to live in.
it's a bit difficult for me to write in English, since Spanish
is my native tongue, I truly appreciate reading all the material
you publish because it's courageous and well written. I feel
inclined, however, to believe that a different kind of humanity
is possible and I do my best every day to make my actions
as harmless as possible, both to other people and to nature,
our common heritage, and that is probably the reason why I
have always felt the pains and injustices suffered by your
people as if they were my own. It was a pleasant surprise
to find your page one day on the Internet because I wouldn't
have had the chance of hearing your precious voices otherwise.
"Strike" in Haiti?
renamed The Issues section last week featured Kevin
Pina's coverage of the ongoing crisis in Haiti, where the
island nation's "tiny elite played the Venezuela card,
declaring a national 'strike'" in opposition to President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his Lavalas party. Pina reported
that the event passed almost unnoticed in the places where Haiti's
destitute majority do their shopping.
gas stations, supermarkets and specialty shops kept their
doors closed today which stood in stark contrast to the bustling
activity in the marketplaces of the poor. "Only those
who have money and can afford to stay closed are behind this
strike," stated one woman as she paused from bickering
with a customer over the price of carrots.
Jr. conveyed his appreciation of Mr. Pina's work.
your Haiti commentary very much. As someone who works with
poor Haitians, I found it refreshingly accurate. I would encourage
you to write more about Haiti: no one has suffered as much
from institutionalized racism for three centuries as Haitians
have, and no one is suffering as much today. Haitians pay
a horrible price, initially for being black, but worse because
they insist on being free.
anniversary of the Haitian Revolution approaches. Look for Kevin
Pina's byline in next week's .
language on Blacks and Hispanics
of California at San Diego Associate Professor Jorge Mariscal's
16 Guest Commentary called attention to the phenomenal movement
of Hispanic immigrants - mainly Mexicans - into the Old Confederacy.
In the states of Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia and North Carolina,
Hispanic populations multiplied three to four times during the
Nineties. With the Trent Lott affair as backdrop, Mariscal declared,
"Despite the hoary black/white paradigm that still determines
all discussions about race in the United States, demographic
changes tell us that Latinos will have much at stake in the
on-going economic and racial realignment of American society."
educator and activist provoked an
intense reader response to his statement: "The discussion
of race in the U.S. is still firmly grounded in a narrow and
antiquated black/white reality." Dawn Uwangue offered her
own window on race in America:
fit into the American racial madness pretty much according
to the old schoolyard rhyme: If you're white, you're all right/If
you're brown, stick around/If you're yellow, you're mellow/If
you're black, get back.
immigrant groups coming into this country fit into this racial
pyramid, whether they know it or not, and whether they like
it or not.
Pryor famously joked, being able to yell "nigger"
is a basic qualification for US citizenship. A working knowledge
of the history of American apartheid would inform any new
American's understanding of what it means to be an American.
To go along and conform to the status quo is to support the
white supremacist hierarchy. If they wish to challenge that
hierarchy and build a better future for themselves and their
families, they have to form coalitions with African-Americans.
We know the most about challenging white supremacy in this
nation; apart from the Native Americans, we've had the most
responded within days, although we were not able to immediately
accommodate his letter and others due to last week's crush of
As a young
Mexican American boy growing up in Los Angeles, I was excited
every time Richard Pryor appeared on TV. Something about his
fearlessness in the face of white supremacy spoke to me, although
at a level I did not understand until I was an adult. For
the same reasons during my youth, we were attracted to Muhammed
Ali who was a similar but even more powerful figure. As Latinos
in the U.S. with no role models in the media, many of our
heroes were African American. My favorite ball player was
Junior Gilliam of the Dodgers. We weren't about to use the
N-word in order to "fit in" with the white folks
- pace Pryor and Toni Morrison.
invokes the old saw "If you're white, you're all right;
if you're brown, stick around; If you're yellow, you're mellow;
If you're black, get back" to suggest that Brown people
in this country get a better shot than blacks.
rightly points out that the saying has more to do with issues
internal to the Black community but it is true that it is
widely used now in multi-ethnic settings. As I pointed out
to my colleague Quincy Troupe when he dropped the old rhyme
on me, you can only believe that if you don't know the history
of the Southwest. Where we grew up, the rhyme began "If
you're black, stay back; if you're brown, stay down"
and so on. In the Southwest, the words "wetback"
and "spic" had all the power of the N-word and then
some. Back in the day (as in the late 19th century), thousands
of Mexicans were lynched in Texas. Today, Mexican workers
are hunted down and beaten by white youth in California and
vigilante "ranchers" in Arizona and hundreds of
Mexicans die every year trying to cross the border in search
of a better life.
for a reevaluation of this country's racial sickness by focusing
on the new Latino immigrants does not in any way claim that
our working-class black hermanas and hermanos don't have it
hard. Eric Bogan misunderstands my use of "antiquated"
to describe the Black/White paradigm. "Antiquated"
doesn't mean things aren't still real bad for most black folks.
It does mean that in the last Census Latinos surpassed blacks
as the largest "minority group" in the U.S. It also
means that racists like Trent Lott have to deal with lots
of Mexicans in their home state. This is precisely the point
of remembering the Brown/Black coalitions of the Viet Nam
war period. In the late 1960s in San Francisco's Mission District,
for example, when seven Latino youth were falsely accused
of killing a white cop ("Los Siete de la Raza"),
it was the Panthers who came to their aid and established
a defense fund. It's this kind of solidarity based on mutual
understanding and shared political agendas that we will need
in coming years.
was preparing his response to Uwangue, Adrienne D. Dixson composed
a stimulating mini-essay on the subject, for which we are grateful.
like to offer two bits of support for the critique of Mr.
Mariscal's description of "Deep South" race relations
as antiquated. First, Toni Morrison, in her book, "Playing
in the Dark," talks about the construction of whiteness
and blackness, such that white, as Malcolm X so brilliantly
pointed out nearly 40 years ago, has certain connotations
in the popular imagination.
to Morrison, the subject, the context, etc., of most of the
American aesthetic - for Morrison, it is the novel - is decidedly
White. What is good, is white. Conversely, Black has come
to mean certain things in the popular imagination, and in
the novel, black/Blacks, have a particular role. We see this
so vividly playing out not only in our popular aesthetics,
but now, in politics. Having said that, one does not necessarily
have to be black, to become Black. I would argue
that those who do not perform in ways that are acceptably
White, become Black: Bill Clinton, Tonya Harding, (post-murder
trial) OJ Simpson. Groups of people of color, are for the
most part, cast into the lot of being black, that is,
ignored, maligned, invisible, until they do, as Richard Pryor
acknowledges, learn to say "nigger". This saying
"nigger" is both literal and figurative. We see
how particular groups become "American" and are
thus, conferred the status of Whiteness.
me to my second critique. The most striking example of this
idea of White as White and Black as anything other than White,
is in the State of Florida and in particular, the City of
Miami. Cubans, most of whom are White Cubans, enjoy a level
of freedom and power, that only those who have become
White can truly understand and enjoy. Certainly there are
other political factors that have contributed to Cuban-to-American
White transmogrification; however, spend time in Miami and
the racial politics become very clear. And, Miami is in the
Race Theorists (Derrick Bell, Kimberle Crenshaw, Richard Delgado,
Charles Lawrence, et. al.), have argued that whiteness is
tangible, has currency and can be conferred. Thus, whiteness
is more than just skin color, but has a set of behaviors,
actions, beliefs, language, that can perhaps be "learned"
and at the very least, utilized to gain access and privilege
(see for example Armstrong Williams, Condoleezza Rice). Thus,
this discussion of the Black/White binary moves beyond "just"
Black folks and White folks, but certainly includes Latinos
and other groups who come and must decide on what side of
the binary they will belong. Indeed making certain that these
new immigrants understand what is at stake for becoming White
- I would submit that most immigrant groups of color are by
default black until they prove otherwise.
and agree with
that it is important that immigrant groups, particularly those
of color, understand what it means to become white and what
they "give up" when they do so. Introducing them
to "our" view is important if we are all truly committed
to abolishing racism, classism and oppression.
S.R. King speaks to "identity" issues, as reflected
in the official record.
by Jorge Mariscal notes the "antiquated black/white reality"
as a matter of long ago history distinct from the struggles
of the Latinos in the South and Southwest - especially in
the 1960s. He further cites that first-generation immigrants
"are walking into a black/white universe like virtual
aliens from another planet."
remind him that until 1970, the United States Census often
included those of Mexican, Latin American ancestry as "white".
This provided Latino admittance and acceptance into "white"
side of the "black/white culture".
only in 1970 that Latinos were routinely assigned in the Census
system to the "minority" classification where Blacks
had been since the Census began. Accordingly, it is hoped
that Mr. Mariscal is not inferring that what really is "antiquated"
in the discussion is the Black reality and that this should
be updated with the new Latino reality. This would not be
supportive of a conversation beneficial to either the Black
or Latino reality, in my opinion.
no conversation more critical to Black America. Immense ramifications
flow from swiftly changing demographics.
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