There are many layers to affirmative action, alluvial deposits left by The Great Crime: slavery. In our exceptionally well circulated May 15 Cover Story, "The Jayson Blair - New York Times Affair: Affirmative action blamed for white folks' mistakes," we wrote:

Yes, there is something inherently wrong with affirmative action as practiced in the United States and at The New York Times: white people still make all the decisions. The perpetrators of the historical crime, the people whose delusional worldviews created the societal distortions that plague Black America in the first place - the same people that make the New York Times an unfit interpreter of reality - remain the arbiters of societal standards, values, and hiring. They decide what is "Fit to Print," and who is fit to engage in the process. Let them live with their choice of Jayson Blair - that's white folks' business.

When we first encountered the NYT-Blair affair, we recoiled; it had that musty smell of an old Ebony magazine, sitting there demanding that we take up a collective defense of the white folk's erstwhile choice for the next Black journalistic "role model" gone awry - a choice we had nothing to do with, made by people whom we do not respect.

Beneath the sediment lays an essential truth: White people cannot be trusted to create the antidote for their own poison. When white people construct affirmative action policies to suit their own purposes, affirmative action failures must be viewed as white failures. Black people as a group have nothing to do with this state of affairs.

But of course, we must live with the consequences of the decisions of the New York Times' and other, essentially hostile institutions. Somehow, we must navigate the swamp created when the heirs of men who made Blacks beasts of burden attempt to further burden the offspring of the slave, hitching Black fortunes to white folks' never ending follies and blaming us for the inevitable results.

In the Blair case, we see that the Gray Lady's brand of affirmative action elevates the type of Black person who suits the fancy of executive editor Howell Raines, the white "liberal" from Alabama, and the paper's founding Sulzburger family. This supremely subjective environment may be a fertile field for many white candidates, but it produces strange Black fruit, indeed.

Situated at the pinnacle of pretense, the New York Times styles itself both arbiter and exemplar of excellence. If we buy into that lie, it follows that Black excellence must also be judged by Timesian standards. Those who swallow the potion consign themselves to perpetual hollowness. Too many African Americans in the corporate world revel in a role similar to that of General Custer's Black Foot Indian scouts, all the while proclaiming themselves proud warriors ("role models") for the race.

With this in mind, found no reason last week to point out that the managing editor of the Times, Gerald Boyd, is Black. Boyd "manages" to allow all manner of racist skullduggery to occur on his watch. (It's all his watch, we are led to believe, at least when the Times is anxious to demonstrate that it has changed its racist ways.) Boyd allowed Times political pet Adam Nagourney to get away with a lily-white analysis of the South Carolina Democratic candidates debate. Nagourney, a Timesman in very good standing, pretended that the entire "third tier" of presidential hopefuls (Sharpton, Moseley-Braun and Kucinich) was absent. is forced to conclude that, for Black purposes, Gerald Boyd is absent.

supports affirmative action. However, do not invest the process with magical properties. Especially in the corporate world, the beneficiaries are - as often as not - men and women whose most concentrated talents lie in currying white favor. Fawning careerists have value to themselves and their direct dependents, but they are useless to the group as a whole. In the end, they cannot even save themselves, much less the Jayson Blairs.

Dignity is derived from a well-grounded sense of self. Leadership flowers in struggle.

Ella Baccouche has dignity in abundance. And she's smart, too.

I love your argument concerning white folks' notion of institutional "standards." You put that particular tenet in perspective, enabling us to see those monocultural reference points for what they really are, racist. Safire's remark about the "rigorous editing" at the NY Times was just a little deceptive. Come on! Does he expect us to believe that the one-sided worldview, whitewashed, sanitized, censored reports coming from their embedded, often delusional, journalists posted throughout the world have actually gone through some kind of rigorous editing process? Pleeease! Does he deny that the NY Times consistently undermines democracy by eliminating unwanted voices from their reports?

Take the example you cited of Rev. Al Sharpton's absence from Nagourney's report. Mr. Safire, the NY Times cannot compare itself to independent and democratic news sources in the world. One thing is for sure. You can always depend on the Times op-ed articles to cheerlead for US hegemony. And that slogan, "All the News that's Fit to Print", is just another way of saying, "All the News that Fits Our Agenda and Our Paradigm", regardless of its truth value.

Yes, I agree that Blair is an authentic Timesman. In his eagerness to assimilate into the white corporate world, he, like his white counterparts, has forgotten his journalistic oath by lying to the public and by not checking and rechecking the veracity of his sources. But, on top of that, he apparently didn't heed the cardinal rule that obligates the house Negro to do as the Master says, not as the Master does.

I have one comment about the Malcolm X speech. Malcolm is so contemporary and right on point. However, his request about the US government giving us land and wealth is unlikely to happen because Blacks are a crucial part of the system. The system cannot tolerate non-white independence. (Haiti, Cuba) They need the black masses to exploit. (i.e., poverty, survival and miseducation of black children; overwhelming joblessness and incarceration of African Americans) Blacks must remain in the "belly of the Beast" because exploitation and racism mean huge profits. And for these profits to materialize, the white political operatives in Washington have again (see Malcolm's BIG SIX) selected and successfully recruited the likes of Colin Powel, Condoleezza Rice, [Washington, DC] Mayor Anthony Williams, Justice Clarence Thomas among others who have demonstrated again and again that they have no scruples about selling us field Negroes down the river.

Ben Tripp is a cartoonist, essayist and playwrite. Here's his review of the drama at the Times:

As ever, your analysis of events from the black perspective is greatly illuminating, which just goes to show that the dark lantern is making a comeback (canned laughter here). I am particularly struck by your take on the Jayson Blair fiasco at the New York Times. Here is how this bwana saw the grotesque attack/apology set forth by the editors:
  • First, I was astonished that The Times would apologize for something it could more easily hush up.
  • Second, it seemed incredible to me that an establishment paper would let a cub reporter run rampant in this fashion, as alleged. I assumed (being naive and idealistic) that the editors routinely checked the facts in their pieces and only allowed the officially sanctioned errors to get through.
  • Third, I saw the large photo of the accused and was very surprised that they ran such a big picture of him. Like he was a fugitive, or something.
  • Fourth, it occurred to me that same Jayson must have been completely out of the editorial loop, and I wondered why. Didn't they ever have staff meetings? Annual reviews? Didn't he have a relationship with anybody at the paper?
  • Finally, reflecting on the overlong article itself, which was redolent of garment-rending and mea culpas, I began to wonder how much of the alleged misbehavior arose from sheer opportunity: if The Times ignored me like they ignored him, God only knows what I might get up to. Mischief abhors a vacuum. He might be guilty of the sins detailed in the article, but why the hell not? It was working for him.

But I never quite connected the story with his race. Seen in that context, the anomalies begin to make sense. Your analysis of the situation reveals what this congenital whitey couldn't see for himself.

  • The huge apology becomes clear. Jayson Blair was an affirmative action hood ornament, not a reporter. One can imagine the editors fielding complaints about his work: "we can't censure him, he's ... well, we just can't." So when it came time to pillory the man, they did so at incredible length and with excruciating detail - just to make damn sure it's understood that they had to dismiss him, it wasn't just racism or anything. A "black eye," indeed.
  • Suddenly the large picture of the accused makes sense, too. Like that infamous Newsweek cover of OJ Simpson. "Is he guilty? Just look at him!" The term 'uppity negro' need never be spoken.
  • And of course the editors couldn't have identified his merits (or lack thereof) independent of his race, because in truth there is no such independence. Naturally the editors didn't check his work - they probably didn't even read it. I'm sure they feel he just reverted to type. At least Bob Herbert is civilized.

But the clincher is in the comparison you make to Adam Nagourney's on-message, official-version account of the Democratic debate. What a stupendous oversight at the very least not to mention the dark horse candidates, so to speak. One suspects however that this was not an oversight but a deliberate omission. And in context of the standards belatedly applied to Jayson Blair, such an omission ought be grounds for dismissal, particularly if The Times gives a damn about racial parity or editorial purity.

Nagourney is presumably a white man, and I'll bet he lunches with the editors on occasion. They read his work and check his sources and they like what they see. He's not out of the loop. But then, neither is Jayson Blair.

Guilty or not, he's in a different loop, attached to the end of a stout rope.

Carol D. Tart is distracted by neither the Times' crocodile tears nor the yelps of Hard Right hyenas. Somewhere in the middle of the tale, there's the question of power.

Who cares what the anti-affirmative action pundits have to say about Jayson Blair? Who cares what a black Republican, like Armstrong Williams, has to say? And who the heck cares about black people who have truly missed the mark on this subject. On the surface, it seems that Blair has become the poster boy who has signaled the end of Civil Rights Movement and We Shall Overcome addictions and the experimental results of affirmative action. But, looking deeper, Blair put a spin on the world that will wreak havoc for years to come. And, he created, supposedly, most of his stories from his home. Genius. WOW!

It is obvious Blair did something that most journalists, in particular blacks, have been unable to do: He wagged the dog. If you don't know what I mean, rent the video and then take a class in Thinkology. The information he reported, whether plagiarized, embellished, or made up, if you read the New York Times, it was legitimized. Furthermore, since the New York Times is the most respected newspaper in the world, what other media forums incorporated his articles in their reporting of the news? Just like Richard Nixon, Jayson Blair is a bad mamma-jamma! (This has nothing to do with political ideology, but everything to do with the love of power.)

A matter of supremacy

Black failure is permanent, indelible. White failure is just another excuse for a sequel, writes Margaret Kimberley.

When all is said and done, the controversy over Jayson Blair is all about white supremacy. At this late date in history many white people believe that black people do not belong in certain places, such as the NY Times newsroom. If we fail when we step out of our "place" our faults are magnified and we are punished forever.

Do you remember the case of Mike Barnicle? He is the former Boston Globe reporter who was accused of plagiarism and lying for years before he was finally fired. The question of race should have been asked of him. Did being white and in the old boys network help him? By the way, he is still working as a syndicated columnist and as a commentator on MSNBC. What are the odds of Blair being employed in journalism again? Hopefully he will have the same second chance that Barnicle had. I must add that I am not holding my breath.

Black folks have been relegated to the shadows for so long that we sometimes forget we are not the only people made invisible by the New York Times and its ilk. Rhoda Shapiro, of Encinitas, California, writes:

I was astonished this Sunday to find four and some full pages to Jayson Blair's 'betrayal' of the NYT. Your response made the Times racism crystal clear. And yes, all the news that's fit to print is the way they see fit to frame it. Adam Nagourney's articles are only the tip of the iceberg. They make people disappear all the time, simply by either not covering stories fully or framing them from their own point of view.

Note how they cover the Zionist occupation of Palestine. They would never use that phrase, since they are so tied up in the Zionist project themselves. No story on Palestine and Palestinians is ever covered from the point of view of the occupied. Mostly they ignore the daily murders, home demolitions and now the 'transfer' of Arab peoples out of 'their' land. Never are Zionists brought to task about how many times they have thumbed their nose at the law of world bodies, beginning from Israel's imposition on the Arab world, through the refusal to allow refugees to return to their homes, to collective punishment, ethnic cleansing and the deliberate murder of young children. Never mind even considering the legitimacy of another European settler state ....

To me the Blair episode revealed the cynicism and ruthlessness of capitalist white men. This has happened before at NYT and I'm sure it happens all the time at every establishment media outlet. After all they could have fired him as soon as his methods of work became apparent. It happens every day. But they waited. Made an example of Blair. They sat on this story until they figured out how to make it seem like it didn't have anything to do with racism. And framed the story so that he takes the hit for the real betrayals by the NYT of its readers.

Thank you for your always lucid analysis.

With millions out of work, it is difficult to justify all of the concern over one 27-year-old, university-educated, single man who has not sacrificed a thing - to our knowledge - in the service of others. We are, therefore, glad to hear from a brown brother in a blue collar, Joseph Osorio.

Your article re: Jayson Blair was excellent, and had some replies I can use. I was an affirmative action hire by the phone company years ago. Fortunately for me, I have been able to hang on though laid off twice. Funny thing how the groups I was in that got laid off were all brown but probably just a coincidence, right? Good news too about Sharpton likely to place high in South Carolina. I'll vote for him if given a chance.

Since the Times makes such a spectacle of self-love, we should be reminded of the newspaper's and the rest of the corporate media's orgy of embeddedness with the U.S. military. Leroy Wilson, Jr. won't let us forget that episode - one that will sooner or later be repeated.

Do those who profess to be appalled by the Jayson Blair scandal express the same sense of betrayal about reporters who were embedded in Iraq? Do they honestly believe that the embedded reporters filed absolutely true, complete and accurate reports about the military who were responsible for protecting their lives? Somebody out there knows the answer to this question. What is it?

We assume Mr. Jones meant that as a rhetorical question.

Many immigrants to the United States now fear to ask public questions of any kind. This writer asked that we refer to him only as "Eyes Opened" - signifying the way he sees the world.

Jayson Blair's actions were fraudulent. However the circumstances that made his actions possible are typical of the African-American experience in corporate America. If the purpose of employment is to achieve, it is only possible by distinguishing ones performance within the purpose of the organization. As pointed out in your article, it is unfortunate that prevailing perceptions place a disproportionately immense burden on African Americans to prove that they actually do bring assets that are of value to the organization.

Astoundingly, it is often those assets that are of most value to the organization that are the most difficult to establish by the African American individual.

Robert E. Reynolds, Orange Park, Florida says there's a piece missing from this puzzle.

I understand your point of view in the article and pretty much agree with the general theme.

But - no one has heard Jayson Blair's side of the story. The extent of the effort by the Times to thoroughly discredit Blair, 4 full pages in the print edition, 10 pages on the Internet, is certainly all out of proportion. Further, they set up a special web address to receive new complaints about Blair.

Does this make any sense to you? Does it smell right to you?

Could it be that the NY Times is running a diversion campaign to deflect criticism of other reporters? Questions have been raised about Judith Miller and her reports from the Middle East. She has been tied to Daniel Pipes and others with what some of us consider extremist views. The Drudge Report hints that there are two others under investigation.

It should never be forgotten that the NY Times, along with the Washington Post and the LA Times, led the attacks on Gary Webb and the San Jose Mercury for the CIA and Drugs series. They made allegations against Webb and the Mercury that were untrue. It destroyed Webb's career.

I'd like to hear Blair's side of the story. Even if what the Times claims is true that doesn't mean that there isn't more to this story. Perhaps he became a threat for reasons unknown.

The one thing that is clear is that the attacks on him are disproportionate to the alleged crime. Maybe they are just overreacting, maybe not.

Cocaine traffic buster Gary Webb is no longer a corporate journalist, but he doesn't labor in obscurity, either. His "Dark Alliance" site has hosted 26,000 visitors in search of the truth about the CIA and the crack cocaine explosion in inner city America.

Ric Dodson sees intellectual corruption at the Times as symptomatic of a deeper rot.

I would like to offer my thanks and support to your very lucid depiction of reality as it exists at the NY Times and, unfortunately, many of the institutions in this nation.

Your article was refreshing, insightful, factual and timely in this nation, which continues to lose its way and disintegrate.

Your article succinctly juxtaposed the inequitable standards of many US institutions and the follies of such institutionalized policies being administered by some of the most incompetent and biased individuals on the entire planet.

At a time when most US residents (citizens and others) are petrified of the regressive regime in Washington D.C. and its collusive minions, it is comforting to know that there are some of us who have the courage to illustrate critical thinking in an intellectual but comprehensible manner, such as your article.

Unless the residents of this nation recapture our government, regrettably, this nation is doomed.

If I may add, we need not fear the so-called terrorist from abroad - our home-grown "decepticons" are doing a yeoman's job at destroying what existed of this nations fabric, one thread at a time.

Thank you for the insightful discourse.

"Prismatic" stuff!

Jesse Elam reports that the monochrome corporate media culture also reigns in his city, Vancouver, Washington.

Your piece was sizzling and prismatic: it split out dimensions of racism in institutions to which most white folks, including myself, would never have opened their eyes. I'm sorry it all happened, but I couldn't wish for a fallman more deserving than that doddering bluestocking of a paper.

In the specific case of the Times, the newsroom could recognize (as none of our commercial news outlets have) that having an all- or mostly-white staff of reporters will inevitably slant the news, but that would mean giving up the front that objectivity ensures the race of the reporter doesn't matter. (The Times would recognize that in order to chop away bias, paradoxically, they'd need to admit to themselves that they aren't objective.) Beyond the Times, in other businesses and institutions, the internal incentive may not be there. Few businesses, arguably, have a product that manifests the race of its manufacturer. Would they require legal compulsion or shame, the same less-than-moral mechanisms employed during active integration, to change?

If the news is to be distributed justly, it can't be news by and for whites only, and that seems to me the ineluctable outcome of a pale newsroom. This approach sidesteps equitable hiring for its own sake and talks about the "good reasons" for hiring people of certain races. Ultimately those good reasons also have to do with justice, but justice across the whole society, getting whites' minds off the individual hire. Thus they can stop sputtering about how this is a meritocracy and that one has to "deserve" to be hired. Maybe then the sanctimonious white reaction can be avoided - the lines that whites got their positions by their cultivated merits, not by native traits; or that it's unfair for whites to have to give up their spots for disadvantaged races so they can become "advantaged."

As the article well points out, the NYT puffs up in its security that it sets the standards, that blacks don't meet them, and that blacks don't deserve desks there. And it has a flawed character in Jayson Blair as a fait accompli. But given the lapses or outright whitewashings in the Times that the article also noses out, the NYT's standards aren't in shape. The lesson for the Times should be that, among other things, it vitally needs non-whites on-board.

The good judgment of persons we don't know brought us in contact with W.S. Tkweme, who wrote that he also passed the Blair commentary along to people he respects.

Someone sent this to me last week, and I found it to be one of the best pieces of commentary I have read in a long time. You all are to be congratulated heartily. Please keep it up and best wishes.

Dr. Donald Blais, ThD scared us for a second when we opened his letter. Dr. Blais (Penobscot-Metis) is a lecturer in Aboriginal spirituality and Christian colonial history, Department of Religion, University of Toronto.


This little Canadian 'savage' couldn't have said it better than you did. Only that I'm 'jealous' that you did it rather than I, that is, giving the Times a well-deserved kick to the backside. Now, if you could just kick again, a little up higher, you might in the process give the Times the hit upside the head that they need. (Hehehe.) But, that would mean that you would have to put your foot part way up the Times' ass. Well, so be it!

Any ways. Enjoy your site; check it out occasionally. Caught this on Counterpunch, though.

Going to print up the article for my reader in Aboriginal Studies for the Fall, because its one of the most succinct articles written on how white privilege works, of which I've seen of late. I think my Native students will get the point quickly. Got to get back to preparing for tomorrow's lectures on decolonizing Christianity.

It turns out that "Ahneen!" means "Greetings" in Penobscot. "Hehehe" is untranslatable. editors Jeffrey St. Clair and Alexander Cockburn published our piece on Blair two days before we did - a good thing, allowing us to catch the flavor of their worldwide audience. Peter Kaslik is Hungarian Human Rights Monitor in Cambridge, Ontario.

Congratulations, and thanks for your superb article. The following excerpt from your piece may serve very well as the quote of the decades, past, and future:

"The starting point of American racism is the assumption that white people and their institutions represent the proper, normative standards against which all other people and institutions are judged".

It should be posted all over the land. Keep up the great work!

Kevin Stiers, of Hamburg, Germany, appears to have learned his English from - the English.

Hear hear!

I never really thought about it, but affirmative action in the wrong hands is of course doomed to have all the flaws you would otherwise expect from such an ultra-responsible, "truth-loving" organization as the NYT.

Thanks for your cogent and informative expose.

Note the British-style sarcasm employed by Mr. Stiers. We at appreciate all cultural manifestations of contempt for the newspaper that claims to have copyrighted objectivity, but dispenses paeans to Power, instead. Or, to paraphrase Napoleon's humiliation of Talleyrand, "The New York Times is shit - in a silk stocking."

With that, we have completed our segue to a letter from Philippe Dambournet, of Paris.

I agree with the root points of your article. One really effective comparison you could use is with William Safire, whose own lies, distortions, and inaccuracies are having a huge impact. He gets a free pass, even though he's been exposed by Barry Lando in Le Monde and on Even the man who vetted him for the Nixon White House calls him names. But not the New York Times - whose Bob Herbert is a wonderful columnist, by the way.

Now here's an anecdote: I read Herbert for quite a while assuming he was white. Then I saw his picture. I had to adjust. Not because I thought he was therefore less talented or interesting, but because I had to recompute where he came from. The messenger is part of the message, it's a package. We are all decrypting what comes out in one variation or another of that mode. On the other hand, if you are one of those who can only trust, respect, or love those who most closely resemble them physically, you are engaging in a variation of incest.

There is no question that Bob Herbert is an excellent journalist and an honorable man. For two years he refused to allow the Times' readership to forget the atrocity against the Black population of Tulia, Texas. Herbert elevates the Times - not the other way around.

We saved the last Blair-NYT comment for Ernest Allen, Jr. a professor at the W. E. B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Professor Allen's note is shorter than our buildup to it. However, we are aware that Allen was busy marking papers when arrived in his mailbox, just like so many of our readers in academe. Nevertheless, Prof. Allen took time to offer a critique:

Excellent! Right on the money!!

Thank, sir.

Slow motion overthrow in Haiti

2004 marks the 200th anniversary of the establishment of Haiti as the world's first Black republic. The Bush men would like to be there for the occasion - in place of the popularly elected government. All signs indicate that Washington has set lose the dogs of the former military regime, who operate with near-impunity from their sanctuaries in the neighboring Dominican Republic.

As reported in last week's issue, it has become clear that the "U.S. plots 'regime change' in Haiti":

Supporters of Jean-Bertrand Aristide's government are convinced that the U.S. has decided to do a "regime change" in Haiti before the world's first Black Republic celebrates its 200th anniversary, in 2004. Frustrated that a three-year, American-led aid embargo against Haiti has failed to topple the popularly elected Aristide, the Bush men are escalating their proxy terror campaign against Lavalas party activists and the island nation's fragile infrastructure, all the while threatening to further strangle the economy.

We also noted the rightwing campaign to pressure MCI to fire actor Danny Glover as its advertising spokesperson. Glover is board chairman of TransAfrica Forum, which vigorously opposes U.S. policies in Haiti.

We got this letter from a reader named Nadege.

Thank you so much for your timely and honest article on Haiti and Danny Glover. The Haitian people need all the help we can get. We must stand for justice.

"Chickens Come Home To Roost"

May 19th was the birthday of Malcolm X - El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, who would have been 78 years old. We marked the occasion by publishing his December 4, 1963 speech commonly known as "The Chickens Come Home To Roost," edited by former assistant minister Benjamin Karim. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad silenced his top spokesman shortly after the speech. Thus, it was Malcolm's last major address as a member of the Nation of Islam. Here's an excerpt:

"If we are a part of America, then part of what she is worth belongs to us. We will take our share and depart, then this white country can have peace. What is her net worth? Give us our share in gold and silver and let us depart and go back to our homeland in peace.

We want no integration with this wicked race that enslaved us. We want complete separation from this race of devils. But we should not be expected to leave America and go back to our homeland empty-handed. After four hundred years of slave labor, we have some back pay coming, a bill owed to us that must be collected.

If the government of White America truly repents of its sins against our people, and atones by giving us our true share, only then can America save herself!"

R. W. Stamper, Sr. appreciated seeing Malcolm's words in print:

The day of the fulfillment of Malcolm's preaching of the Messenger's words calling for a separate territory of rich and fertile land, a generation of maintenance until viability and the separation of the races, in short, reparations, is being accelerated by the reparations movement. Reparation means separation.

After the Civil War Black people were conscripted into American citizenship without our consent. No plebiscite, national referendum or inquiry of any kind was taken among us. Those of us who choose to depart from the oppressor realize that no peace or justice is possible living among the European, that he is and shall remain a thief, a liar and a murderer. Thus, reparation necessarily means separation.

The most important aspect of the reparations movement is (1) the instillation in us of the consciousness of the debt America owes us, (2) the hopelessness of peaceful integration with the European, and above all (3) the development of a sufficient number of Black minds, a critical mass, who realize that separation is the only solution, who can will that reality into existence; in other words, a nommo type of reality creation.

The printing of Malcolm's words is a significant contribution to this necessary aspect of the struggle. The divinities and the ancestors await our mass awakening, poised to intervene, empower and aid us in our righteous struggle.

Black Children in Poverty

Since George Bush snatched the keys to the White House, the number of Black children in extreme poverty has risen 50 percent, as if a trap door had opened beneath the feet of a condemned generation. In our May 8 Cover Story, "Bush's Harvest of Shame," we wrote that "the Bush men celebrate every step that is taken in the forced march to a society of vast inequalities, spreading squalor, and premature death."

Such people cannot be moved by appeals to conscience - they have none.

There can be no common, human dialogue with a class that is, essentially, misanthropic. One million Black children are on a conveyer belt to death, George Bush's Harvest of Shame. Yet Bush is not ashamed, but proud of the fruits of his exertions, and believes that his God approves of his work.

This is an enemy who plays for keeps - a happy, smirking child killer.

JoAnn Wypijewski agrees:

The Harvest of Shame piece is just fantastic! One of the best polemics against Bush I've ever read. Onward and upward. You do terrific work.

Superpower in a bubble

The world watches as U.S. dreams of hegemony dissolve at a quickening pace. The juxtaposition of awesome military power and near-autistic behavior can lead an observer to wonder what he has missed - there must be an intelligent method somewhere beneath the madness, a hidden text.

There is none. The Bush men operate on a complete set of delusions, nurtured on the North American continent through hundreds of years of predation and privilege. As we wrote in our April 24 commentary, "Conspiracy Theories II":

Armed and extremely dangerous from the day they set foot on North American shores for the express purpose of claiming title to everything within range of their imaginations, white Americans "learned" that they were admired by the survivors among the people they preyed upon and enslaved. They gained this knowledge from each other, the only people whose opinions counted. Their overwhelming arsenals brooked no objection to the self-evident fact of their innate superiority and ... goodness. Who would disagree?

In this closed, continental conversation a worldview was refined that has grown so fundamental to white American methods of thought, so perfect in its affirmation of self-serving assumptions, so automatically corrective of unwanted information, that the social organism is all but impermeable to disagreeable facts. Outside of the centuries-old American cocoon, much of reality simply does not compute.

Mandy Pegram is relieved, having previously thought she had failed to comprehend the masterful part of the Pirate's Master Plan.

Wow, finally something makes sense! What well written, well thought out analysis. Not only have you covered what many of us white Americans have baffled at (why this president is popular) but also covered what we also have wondered, the true why of it all; the response of the world? And the reasons for it all looking so planned! Thank you so much for this article, it is opening my own eyes in ways I did not know they were shut.

In response to the American offensive-against-all, virtually every sector of every nation seeks ways to withdraw from the madman. Since George Bush's "With Us or Against Us" and "Axis of Evil" speeches, these global currents of revulsion have joined the structural undertow sucking the U.S. dollar downward.

The Iraq war was largely designed to insulate the dollar against the threat of euro-denominated oil. But the world economy is bigger than petroleum. The slide will continue, as dealmakers everywhere quietly redline the United States at every opportunity - a characteristic of global resistance to the men who are proclaiming a New American Century. As we said on April 24:

The Pirates believe they hold the trump card: half the world's military under one, super-tech command. It is a blunt instrument, with a narrow range of uses. The real bomb ticks under America's porch, and will devastate the dollar in a spasm of millions of individual and institutional decisions to run in the other direction.

Maureen H. Williams, Sylmar, California, has been taking notes.

Just prior to the "war" in Iraqi, one of your wonderful emails included a detailed article on the impact of the oil market on the USA dollar and the Euro. Since reading that article, I now pay closer attention to the business news regarding OPEC, or the Euro dollar. On 5/8/03 Reuters released an article, "Euro Lords it Over Dollar", written by Javier David.

Thank you for giving your readers a "heads up".

Anti-public education chief

The Bush men are like the Sioux "contraire" brave in the movie, "Little Big Man" - everything they say means the opposite. As one of countless examples, Bush chose as Secretary of Education a Black man who detests public education. We wrote about Rod Paige's duplicities April 24, under the heading, "U.S. Education chief favors church schools."

Paige is far more at ease with white Southern Baptists. Two weeks ago, Paige told their denominational press he favors private, Christian education because, ""all things equal, I would prefer to have a child in a school that has a strong appreciation of the Christian community, where a child is taught to have a strong faith. When a child is taught that, there is a source of strength greater than themselves."

In other words, he does not like public schools.

At another religious event, the man who sits on billions of dollars of the public's money explained that, "in a religious environment the value system is set. That's not the case in a public school, where there are so many different kids with different kinds of values."

Kurt Kiebler writes to us from Kansas City.

I applaud 's criticism of Secretary of Education Rod Paige and his views that only a Christian-centered education should be taught to children. I am not against the idea of politicians supporting religious values. Dennis Kucinich is Catholic and I understand Al Sharpton is Protestant, but neither Kucinich nor Sharpton is trying to make their religious perspective the law of the land. If Paige wants to support religion, then the proper venue for this is in church, not our public schools.

These constant intrusions of rightwing Southern Baptists into the national dialogue are what happens when a quarter of the electorate determines the outcome. The GOP rules through this active minority, and must keep them energized. Thus, the Bible thumpers color the public face of what is essentially a regime of piratical, speculator, war profiteering thieves. It makes for a weird combination of absolute cynicism with a halo around it.

Obligations of the Black candidate

There are candidates who are Black, and there are Black candidates. In the current Democratic presidential primary race, Rev. Al Sharpton is the latter. Our April 24 commentary, "What the Black Presidential Candidate Must Do," sought to clarify the matter.

First and last, the Black candidate's job in 2004 is to energize the Black vote. The largest possible number of African Americans must coalesce behind one candidate in order to prove that there still remains a formidable Black bloc vote.

We also had some specific advice for Rev. Sharpton, when he is compelled to defend his stance during the Tawana Brawley affair. Amy Tillem thought we gave wise counsel:

"You are a minister who believed a young Black woman over the words of white men in rural, upstate New York. On Black terms, that's righteous, honorable, and quite enough."

Much like the Simpson jury, no?

What a breath of truly fresh air your site is. Thanks.

Appreciative remarks

In all uphill endeavors, morale is the critical factor. Our readers never fail to keep our spirits soaring.

Errolway Kirkland:

Thanks for printing the real truth so all may know. The publication is great.

F. Green:

Keep up the good work, brother. This is good stuff.

We saved "Joyce in Connecticut" for last, just because she makes us feel so good.

How do you do it? I marvel continually at your unending, passionate ability to articulate such crystal clear critiquing of the artificial truths that are constantly promulgated toward us, the "supposed to be dumb" public. Brothers and Sisters at , when I read your work, I am reminded of Brother Malcolm, who could stand before his publics, fully saturated with passion and compassion, yet espouse truths in a manner totally untouched and unblemished by his emotions.

This is the stuff great warriors are made of. Wage on, Brothers and Sisters! And may God continue to bless you in your efforts!

Keep writing.

gratefully acknowledges the following organizations for sending visitors our way during the past week:

Information Clearing House

Destee Discussion Forum




Your comments are welcome. Visit the Contact Us page for E-mail or Feedback.

Click here to return to the home page








Issue Number 43
May 22, 2003

Other commentaries in this issue:

Cover Story
Permanent War and "The Color Line" - Iraq on the 100th anniversary of the Souls of Black Folk

The Morality Csar's New Clothes

Bush cuts deeper into affirmative action... Call for a New Civil Rights Movement... Poor Clarence Thomas feels rejected

The Blair Affair: A Punishing Bias by Pamela Newkirk, Guest Commentator

Fault Blair and The Times, Not Affirmative Action by Amos Jones, Guest Commentator

Bookmark and Share


Commentaries in Issue 42 May 15, 2003:

Cover Story
The Jayson Blair - New York Times Affair: Blaming affirmative action for white folks’ mistakes

Malcolm X
05/19/1925 - 02/21/65

Neighborhood Chemical WMD

How Much Money Does a Great White Virtue Magnate Need? Class, Race, and
Legalized Gambling in the Casino Society
by Paul Street

Sex less a factor in African AIDS... U.S. plots "regime change" in Haiti... Danny Glover targeted as MCI spokesman

You can read any past issue of The Black Commentator in its entirety by going to the Past Issues page.