ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

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No matter that Black household wealth is no more than one-sixth that of the median

white household—and that it would take centuries to catch up at the current pace,

that is, the pace before the latest crisis. A section of so-called Black

leadership hailed the new suburban settlements as . . . soaring Black mobility.

 

 

Mortgage Crisis Lesson

Ostentatious Display Ain't Black Power

 

By  Glen Ford

 

 

There is no doubt that the U.S. housing mortgage crisis is rooted in much deeper contradictions of present-day capitalism, a system dominated by speculative money-movers who create nothing, but have harnessed the powers of the state to keep churning out profits. The entire, global edifice would collapse were it not for the coercive power of the United States military to subjugate whole regions of the planet—to rig the game. Domestically, the money-changers are insulated by the state from the consequences of their wanton thievery. The captains of capital will be bailed out, rescued from bankruptcy—to the extent possible—to steal again.

There is another bankruptcy that has been dramatically revealed by the sub-prime mortgage catastrophe: the bankruptcy of a Black politics that is based on the trappings and illusions of steady African American upward mobility, despite the objective facts of massive racial wealth disparity. This central defect in an ancient current in African American thinking holds that the appearance of prosperity trumps reality; that Black folks will surely climb up the social and economic ladder if only they look the part, even if their actual economic status is a façade.

Predatory lenders of the store-front kind have always profited from an exaggerated "display" imperative among African Americans. With wholesale deregulation of the finance industry, especially during Bill Clinton's presidency, the big boys jumped into the loan shark game with all four feet, steering Blacks into high-interest mortgages at a rate far-disproportionate to the home-buying public. Whole neighborhoods, many of them outwardly prosperous—with the appearance of being solidly middle and upper middle class—spread through the formerly white suburbs, creating the illusion of some sea-change in Black economic fortunes. Black suburbia was heralded as proof that the legacies of slavery and Jim Crow could be overcome without inconvenience to white privilege.

No matter that Black household wealth is no more than one-sixth that of the median white household—and that it would take centuries to catch up at the current pace, that is, the pace before the latest crisis. A section of so-called Black leadership hailed the new suburban settlements as prima facie evidence of soaring Black mobility. As gentrification pushed growing numbers of Black households out of cities and into ghettoizing suburbs, that too was viewed as, somehow, a sign of "progress." We as a people were moving on up - and out. But we now know that a great chunk of this mobility was not vertical, but a horizontal journey into the shifting sands of sub-prime lending. Consider this: Prince George's County, a Washington DC suburb, is the most affluent majority-Black county in the nation. It now registers the highest home-foreclosure rate of any county in the state of Maryland.

The trappings of wealth—purchased with a signature—do not represent Black progress, much less power. Those Black politicians that have encouraged so many of our people to buy into a culture of ostentatious display, rather than the hard work of political struggle, have done their most committed followers the gravest disservice.

Black Liberation will not be financed on credit.

Glen Ford Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com

Source: BlackAgendaReport

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Life on Mars

By Tracy K. Smith

Tracy K. Smith, author of Life on Mars has been selected as the winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. In its review of the book, Publishers Weekly noted the collection's "lyric brilliance" and "political impulses [that] never falter." A New York Times review stated, "Smith is quick to suggest that the important thing is not to discover whether or not we're alone in the universe; it's to accept—or at least endure—the universe's mystery. . . . Religion, science, art: we turn to them for answers, but the questions persist, especially in times of grief. Smith's pairing of the philosophically minded poems in the book’s first section with the long elegy for her father in the second is brilliant." Life on Mars follows Smith's 2007 collection, Duende, which won the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, the only award for poetry in the United States given to support a poet's second book, and the first Essence Literary Award for poetry, which recognizes the literary achievements of African Americans. The Body’s Question (2003) was her first published collection.

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The Gardens of Democracy: A New American Story

of Citizenship, the Economy, and the Role of Government

By Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer

American democracy is informed by the 18th century’s most cutting edge thinking on society, economics, and government. We’ve learned some things in the intervening 230 years about self interest, social behaviors, and how the world works. Now, authors Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer argue that some fundamental assumptions about citizenship, society, economics, and government need updating. For many years the dominant metaphor for understanding markets and government has been the machine. Liu and Hanauer view democracy not as a machine, but as a garden. A successful garden functions according to the inexorable tendencies of nature, but it also requires goals, regular tending, and an understanding of connected ecosystems. The latest ideas from science, social science, and economics—the cutting-edge ideas of today—generate these simple but revolutionary ideas: (The economy is not an efficient machine. It’s an effective garden that need tending. Freedom is responsibility. Government should be about the big what and the little how. True self interest is mutual interest.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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posted 14 November 2007 

 

 

 

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