Number 9- August 8, 2002
A Hero in Need of Money
Hilliard Rebuked on Ivy League Warning
About Randall Kennedy!
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knew it was coming:
racist and anti-Semitic views are repugnant to me."
the moment we arranged for an interview with Black Alabama Congressman
Earl Hilliard, who was defeated in a June Democratic primary by a candidate
loudly and generously backed by the pro-Israel lobby, we anticipated
letters like the one, above. Actually, The Black Commentator said nothing
at all in our July 25 issue
that could possibly merit such a characterization. The piece was a Q
& A! When we decide to offer a studied analysis of the dramatic
rightward shift among U.S. groups backing the current Israeli regime
- and our suggestions on what the African American and progressive response
should be - all of our readers will know about it.
we received only one such e-Mail from the delusional side of the tracks;
those who go around blotting out reality with manufactured facts seen
and heard only by themselves. This is wonderful evidence of the thoughtful
nature of our readers, some of whom went straight to the more interesting
- even disturbing - aspects of Rep. Hilliard's remarks. Hilliard did
not fare well among the writers. T.L. High said:
article regarding Congressman Hilliard. However, the Congressman fails
to realize that his district was still 62% African-American, and not
62% Caucasian. Obviously, he needs to realize that in the end his
constituents still had to vote and they chose not to vote for him.
There's no use in hating on African-Americans who have attended an
Ivy League school. He needs to realize that he didn't take care of
business with the voters in his district. His opponent just fed off
that voter apathy against Mr. Hilliard. The fact of the matter is
that if African-American leaders espouse to win statewide elections,
U.S. Senate races, or eventually President they must be able to appeal
to a multitude of voters and interests. Old Guard leaders need to
change with the times or they will be caught with their pants down
as Hilliard was.
pointedly noted that voters "in the areas of Birmingham where what
we call the New Blacks live, those that work for corporate Alabama,"
his Harvard-educated opponent Arthur Davis "won just like he did
in the white areas."
five-term congressman repeatedly expressed distrust for Blacks educated
in mostly white institutions, especially the Ivy League - a view that
did not sit well with Leonard Wallace.
felt that Representative Hilliard did a disservice to himself and
people of color by raising the Ivy League bug-a-boo, as if people
education are incapable of representing minority and poor people.
saying that an Ivy Leaguer could not represent the people of Rep.
Traficant's district better than that convicted crook has for the
years? Rep. Hilliard lost and needs to justify his defeat on something
than the fact that he failed to represent the people in his district
their needs ahead of his own. His loss from Congress will go unnoticed
since he had become an insignificant player on that stage.
Chapman reacted similarly and, for good measure, threw Cory Booker into
the equation. Booker was the 33 year-old first-term Newark city councilman
- of Yale Law, Oxford, and Stanford - who parlayed Hard Right millions
to challenge four-term incumbent Sharpe James. Booker lost, but he has
understand your concern for the Far Right in using young, educated
African Americans (i.e. Cory Booker) to push their agenda. I do find
it dangerous as well when you have soon-to-be former congressman Hilliard
stating his distrust of Black Ivy Leaguers. I am a graduate of Harvard
University with a Pan African political and economic world view. I
believe the problem is deeper than the far right. The other part to
the problem is how the current African American leadership has been
sending the message to younger African Americans that if you want
"it," you are going to have to take "it." Instead
of grooming the young African Americans and providing roles and functions
that utilize their extraordinary talents, the older generations act
as if they are scared someone will take away their source for money
and wealth. Who will take over the Rainbow Coalition, if something
were to happen to Jesse Jackson Jr.? My guess is one of his children
or it would just fold, because there is no dynamic leadership at the
top, besides Jesse
Chapman acknowledged that Booker "is playing it real close by aligning
with the Far Right," but added: "I believe many young African
Americans feel they may have to make some 'unholy' alliances in order
to achieve their goals and advance the African American community."
professor Dr. Martin Kilson's analysis of the Newark election, part
of his contribution to the National Urban League's State of Black America
2002 report, is reproduced in its entirety in this
issue of .)
Beal, political columnist for the San Francisco Bayview newspaper and
national secretary of the Black Radical Congress, has written extensively
on the Hilliard-Davis contest in Alabama, as well as the upcoming challenge
to Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, in Georgia. Beal's July
25 Guest Commentary was widely applauded by our readers, among them,
G.E. Williams, Sr.
would like to thank you for bringing the Cynthia McKinney story to
the masses. She has heart and courage. I know what she is going through.
If more of our black leaders stood for what is right like she does,
we as a people would be better off. "Zig Zag Zell's" [Georgia
Senator Zell Miller, who endorses McKinney's opponent] true colors
are coming out. He and some others in the party desire "good
colored" representatives like J.C Watts. We need to do whatever
it takes to show the "good 'ol boys" that we will not stand
idle while they attack Ms. McKinney. She is a real hero and an example
for us all. I don't always agree with Ms. McKinney, but I will always
support her in all that she does. Black women like Ms. McKinney, have
been carrying us black men for far too long, without any help. We
need to rise up and do more than our part to help her now! If the
black men in the political arena had half as much backbone as she
does, we would not be struggling as we do.
Francis Beal, apprised of Mr. Williams' letter, offered that Rep. McKinney's
father, a crusading minister-activist, provided plenty of male role-modeling.
Which brings us to our very concerned reader, Douglas S. Thomsen, who
writes under the heading, What is wrong?
so embarrassed being white. What is wrong with this country? It seems
we are going backwards. The powerful whites in power want it all.
Today I sent money to Ms. McKinney for her fight. I don't have much
but let me know how I can help. I'm a Vietnam Vet that lost faith
in this country years ago.
Thomsen is certainly right about the money. A recent poll shows McKinney
trailing African American opponent Denise Majette, 39 to 41 percent.
Majette, heavily financed by pro-Israel groups, plans to spend $500,000
in the weeks before the August 20 primary. According to the Arab News
service, "at least three-quarters of the $234,299 that McKinney
has raised from individuals this year is from donors with Muslim or
Arab-American surnames, many who live outside her district." For
those who would like to help McKinney's campaign:
by Choice, Oblivious to Chains
publish the following letter without comment, but with great pleasure.
a member of the Senate of Virginia and the Legislative Black Caucus,
please know that I am truly inspired and very much enjoy reading The
the second year in a row (2001 and 2002) I am a candidate for Congress
for the 4th Congressional District in Virginia and have been burdened
with several black republicans who were in the 80s and early 90s members
of the Democratic Party of Virginia. And, one of these men, unfortunately,
served as Executive Secretary of the Virginia State Conference of
the NAACP. As a former President of my local branch (Portsmouth Branch
NAACP), I am very hurt, saddened and disappointed by his betrayal.
Neither of these men were ever successful as democratic candidates
for public office and one of them tried several times before switching
to the Republican Party.
attending an NAACP forum on Race Relations in Chesapeake last night,
I served as a member of the panel while this black man, former head
of the NAACP took notes for the white man (Republican, Randy Forbes)
who defeated me by only 4% points last year.
I feel better! Just needed to give vent to the frustration and
disappointment in these black men who, in my opinion fail to see how
enslaved they have chosen to become.
a million times to The Black Commentator for renewing my hope. I have
been an elected official since 1984 when I was elected to Portsmouth
City Council where I served until I took my oath of office in the
Virginia in 1992. From time to time, I have become discouraged, but
continued to fight. Now, when I am in despair, I know The Black Commentator
L. Louise Lucas
State Senator, 18th Senatorial District
Candidate, 4th Congressional District
thank you, Senator Lucas. Another reader, Ruth Simpson, also
gives us more credit than we deserve - which we nonetheless welcome.
you for your stand-up ways. You have my gratitude for your
attitude. You folks, the Congressional Black Caucus, the NAACP, et
al, represent our nation's best (perhaps only) hope for ridding our
citizens of the "R" Word scourge -- this is a reduction
of "Republican" similar to the "L" Word that reduced
Liberals to a single letter. The "R"s and their Far Reich
toady to corporate America with massive tax breaks and corporate welfare,
to the disadvantage of the people and then lie about it, they destroy
the environment, push us into immoral and unwanted war and use that
as an excuse to take away our hard earned civil liberties -- it's
for our "own safety," they tell us. They've alienated our
allies around the world with arrogant, unilateral decisions.
are unconscionable people led by a spoiled millionaire who failed
every business pursuit, was pulled out of the tank by Bush Daddy and
Texas billionaire buddies. And now His Emptiness wants to instruct
us on how welfare for the poor should be conducted.
have soiled hands and hearts, and are not above any unethical political
ploy. Thank you for riding herd!
John R. Hofer seems to still hear the words of Dr. Martin Luther King,
Jr., who spoke of the civil rights movement's mission to "redeem
the soul of America." Dr. Hofer writes, from Salem, Oregon:
is not only African-Americans who should worry about their civil rights
and about "stealth" candidates. Each citizen of this country
should worry about his and her civil rights in an era of growing fascism,
racism, militarism and a lawless urge amongst our leaders toward a
new round of ruthless globalism.
African-American intellectuals, politicians, business leaders, and
community activists currently stand in a historically unique position
to provide the necessary moral leadership to the entire country and
all other ethnic and economic groups to articulate the political issues
which currently threaten the basic supports of our democratic ways
The African-American community seems to have the only still-breathing
national organizations capable of expressing the moral alarm which
must be sounded at the beginning of what appears to be a new McCarthyite
Era which threatens to give birth to a whole new species of political
furies spawned from a new fascist political soul emerging from an
extreme rightwing, corporate-financed elite intent on turning our
entire nation into a police state populated by citizens who are nothing
more than tax-mules to support further wars of American imperialistic
One year ago, I would have looked at my letter and judged it extreme
in its description of the current political tendencies of this nation.
Now I believe it only skims the surface.
Keep up the Good Fight.
publication, directed as it is to "influencers" in Black and
progressive politics, reaches an older demographic than that coveted
by pop media. It has, therefore, been revelatory to discover that younger
people, such as 23 year-old Justin Avery, make up a substantial portion
of our readership.
strongly align my views with a lot of the facts and findings you all
have illustrated in your article, primarily the latest Voucher commentary.
I thought it really highlighted the necessity of activity and the
sheer nakedness of our communities' disinterest in the whole issue.
It simply doesn't make sense; the amount of disinterest we (as in
Black people) show in matters that involve our very well being and
future, past and present. These issues of excessive penalties and
false imprisonment, criminology, self-respect and self-worth are all
relative to the issue of Vouchers. I plan to become a junior high
teacher and with hope and love for my people, I plan on incorporating
everything I read, of course with much skepticism, and know about
in my own experience with life, into the classroom.
thanks for being an honest literary source of the Black perspective.
It's very much needed.
Ron B registered a complaint with us, in tones both measured and thoughtful.
We'd like to share his letter:
am a Black conservative, independent. While I appreciate the details
that you provide in your articles I can't help but notice some of
the clear exceptions that you fail to point out as you attempt to
villianize "Black Conservatives" directly or by association.
example in your "unions going south"
article, the state of Georgia has not had a Republican governor since
the early 1900's. The legislature has also had a Democratic majority
since Jim Crow. Yet Georgia is also a "right to work state".
This confounds your view that the Republican Party is responsible
for "anti-union" legislation.
Cory Booker piece makes it seem that
Black people who disagree with the liberal mainstream of Black political
thought are spineless and mental lightweights, not possible that they
can weigh both sides of an issue and through their own mental facilities
choose a course that is different than what the traditional liberal
"so called" civil rights leadership has bequeathed that
all Black people follow.
with many other web based news outlets that put forth a "Black"
perspective I acknowledge that you have a specific agenda and my little
message is not going to change that course. I will, however continue
to review your articles and challenge you to produce a more balanced
set of articles that showcase the good and bad points of both sides
of a particular issue. We need to move beyond the simple politics
of good vs evil.
some things are evil, and are understood as such by all persons
worth talking to; things like wanton massacres of children, chattel
slavery, institutional torture, etc. Other "evils," such as
The Bell Curve, the Bradley Foundation executive who paid for the book,
and the Black "conservatives" who line up to take more Bradley
money, require documentation and analysis before the label is applied
- which we try to do.
the two parties in the South, we trust that you do not interpret our
characterization of the GOP as the "White Man's Party," as
a blanket endorsement of the Democrats of the region.
are pleased that you challenge us, and happy that you are engaged in
the conversation. We at The Black Commentator respect the honest opinions
of serious thinkers, however they label themselves.
we do not respect those who disparage the sensibilities and worth
of Black people as a group. There are lines that cannot be crossed.
It appears that N-word book author Randall Kennedy stepped over that
line, in the estimation of Ardra L. Coleman, who writes:
piece. I am a 2L law student at the University of Alabama School of
law, and this address was e-Mailed to me by a 1L student at Vanderbilt
School of Law. I agree with your guest commentator [Dr. Martin Kilson],
and if Mr. Kennedy wants to see the devastating effects of use of
the N-word come on down to Bama! In my law school class of 184 there
were only 11 Blacks! Why does he think that is....
writer took a different approach to Randall Kennedy and his N-Word book.
Gregory Wilson raises issues that we, too, have wrestled with.
know this is going to be ignored because of the emotional content
but here goes. Why do we, a people who have outstanding accomplishments
as our legacy as African Americans, continue to give excessive time
and press to people like Randall Kennedy? We have met his kind before,
we even work with them on the job in all their bizarre forms (light
skin/dark skin complexes/phobias, Negro Racial Realists, etc). We
know they will come out of the woodwork with a new approach again
and again. Acknowledge and comment on Kennedy but do not dwell on
him and his supporters; we know where we live and how most whites
view us. Our approach is and should be to live a high quality life.
Our African American thinkers and public intellectuals, from the barbershop
to the university, such as Dr. Kilson, should not feel a need to occupy
large amounts of time with the Randall Kennedys. Let us have confidence
in our Afro-centric cultural devices to filter out such backward thinking
so that we can concentrate on OUR important economic and social issues.
Kennedy will be allowed to respond to BC's critique of his work in our
next issue, August 22. Mr. Wilson will not need a filter to understand