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We are a racial minority in a country where racism is a fact of life, a country that was

founded on economic and imperialist racism. Taking this into account and adding it to

the fact that our issues are regularly put on a back burner, I believe that it is not

out of order to send out a call for the formation of an African-American

interest group, or maybe a political unit

 

 

Books by Walter Mosley

 

What Next: A Memoir Toward World Peace  / Life Out of Context / Devil in A Blue Dress / Fear of the Dark  (audiobook )

 

Little Scarlet (An Easy Rawlins Novel)  / Cinamon Kiss (audiobook) / This Year You Write Your Novel  /  Fortunate Son

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A New Black Power

By Walter Mosley

 

Most black Americans have been Democrats for at least the fifty-three years that I've been alive. What have the Democrats done for us in all that time? We have the lowest average income of any large racial group in the nation. We're incarcerated at an alarmingly high rate. We are still segregated and profiled, and have a very low representation at the top echelons of the Democratic Party. We are the stalwarts, the bulwark, the Old Faithful of the Democrats, and yet they have not made our issues a high priority in a very long time.

Why should we be second-class members in the most important political activities of our lives? Why shouldn't the party we belong to think that our problems are the most important in this land?

I'm not saying that we should become Republicans. The Republicans don't care about us either. But at least they don't pretend to be on our side. And you have to admit that, of late, the Bush Administration has put black faces into high-profile jobs that carry clout on the international playing field. I don't have to like Colin Powell or Condoleezza Rice to appreciate that once a black person has been put into a position of power, the second time around is much, much easier.

We are a racial minority in a country where racism is a fact of life, a country that was founded on economic and imperialist racism. Taking this into account and adding it to the fact that our issues are regularly put on a back burner, I believe that it is not out of order to send out a call for the formation of an African-American interest group, or maybe a political unit, that would bring our issues, and others, to the forefront of American political discourse.

If we had our own political voting bloc that paid attention to issues that reflect our needs in domestic and international affairs, things would change for us. The first thing is that many more of us would be likely to vote. Imagine the interest young people would have if they felt we were organizing based on our own interests: They could work for a candidate who represented their issues; they could run for office themselves.

And even though the party would be based on the racial identity that has been shoved down our throats since the first days we came here in chains, we wouldn't work only for ourselves. We'd argue about medical care and Social Security and the good jobs that are disappearing from this nation like fleas off a dead dog's back.

America's corporations, CEOs and portfolio managers don't have to worry about the euro and the devaluation of the dollar. They belong to an international club. It doesn't matter where the most recent SUV is being produced; what matters is that my stockholders and I own a piece of the company that makes and sells those cars.

It takes many companies working in unison to make secure the wealth of American capitalism. Two of the major-interest corporations that facilitate the needs of our wealthiest citizens are the Republican and Democratic (so-called) political parties. They exonerate their actions with numbers of votes, but the wheels they run on are greased by money, and lots of it.

If we took the vote into our own hands, we wouldn't have to ask the Democrats for their support—we could demand it. George W. Bush, or whoever takes his place, will send for our representatives to come to his home to discuss his plans. This is because they have not yet figured out how to dispose of the vote in the American political system.

Imagine it. We could actually democratize America by taking power away from the two-party system and handing it over to the people. Other special parties would arise splintering off from the centrist attendants of the rich once we show them the way.

What I'm talking about here is the beginning of an American Evolution, a movement that will create a series of political interest groups that will transform our two-party system into a kind of virtual parliament. We could construct smaller political groups based on specific interests. There could be Black Party Congress members from Watts, Harlem, the Motor City and a dozen other inner-city bastions. All we have to do is have a fair representation in the House of Representatives to have an extraordinary impact on the wheels of government.

Farmers, women, the aged, angry young white men and, for that matter, true Republicans might create their own small parties/interest groups. These groups would not only have direct representation in the House of Representatives but would also begin to make deals with those people running for senator and President, police chief and mayor.

It's past the time when we black Americans can complain about how we are treated without ourselves trying to take the reins of power. A Black Voting Bloc would be a bold move. Some might say a radical move—too radical. But a country that incarcerates people of color at an eight-to-one ratio to whites played the race card way before Johnnie Cochran. If we could come together and see a way to put balance back in the American political landscape, then we should do it.

Why?

Because if we do not lead we will be led. And if those who have learned to despise, distrust and diminish us are the leaders, then our path will lead even farther away from our homes. We will wake up like strangers in our own beds. We, and our children, will be walking in uncomfortable shoes to poor jobs. We will be jeered on every corner, and every mirror we come across will distort our image.

Just so that it doesn't seem that I'm giving short shrift to this argument, let me try to explain why this kind of "political party" will be different from its interest-corporation counterparts. First, this kind of group will be a political unit more than a party. This unit should be patterned after interest groups that form around specific necessities of our particular community. As I've mentioned before, I would like to see many of these units evolve, but for the moment let me address the Black Voting Bloc.

What we need for this group is a short list of demands that define our political aspirations at any given point. These demands might change over time, but at any given moment we should have no more than eight expectations of the candidates or legislation we vote for. I am not positioning myself as the leader or even as a central designer of this group, but let me put forward a list of possible demands that our unit might embrace:

(1) A commitment to revamping the legal system and the penal system to make sure that citizens of color are getting proper treatment and that all inmates are given the utmost chance to rehabilitate and re-establish themselves in society. (This rehabilitation will include suffrage for all ex-convicts who have served their sentences.

(2) An expectation that there be equal distribution of all public wealth and services among the citizens, no matter their income, race or history.

(3) A demand that a true accounting for the impact of slavery be compiled by all government bodies in authority over records that give this information.

(4) A universal healthcare system.

(5) A retirement system that will assure older Americans the ability to spend their later years in relative comfort and security.

(6) A commitment to assemble a general history of our nation in both its glory and its shame.

(7)

(8)

I left 7 and 8 blank because I think you should fill these out. This is, after all, a communal effort meant to bring our intelligences together. And if you don't feel that you're an affiliate of the Black Voting Bloc, write your own demands and see what kind of group you might attract. I believe that any group concerned with the rights of Americans will have at least half of these demands in common.

One last comment on the idealistic part of this notion:

All black people don't have to join right off. If we can put together just 10 percent of the voting black population, we will be wielding a great deal of power. Others will join us if our political strategy works. In time we might tip the scales against the rich and the ultra-rich. If we do that we might very well make this a better world. 

I know many of you will say that we don't have the time to allow the United States to evolve politically. Like many Americans, you believe that our nation faces urgent problems that must be solved by the next election; and the elections after that. My answer is, That is just what they want you to think. Our so-called political parties want you to believe that only they can save you when, really, they have no intention of doing so.

The Democrats, the Republicans—they're in business for themselves in this vast religion of capitalism. They will never solve Americans' problems, not fully. We have to strive against the system, change it, make it reflect our inexpert visions of right and good. As long as you vote Democratic, as long as you vote Republican, you will be assuring that true democracy has no chance to exist. As long as we believe in the fearmongers' light show, the world will suffer under our misguided convictions.

There's no question that a Black Voting Bloc would be a fine context for us and for people of the black diaspora around the world. It would be a forum that would express perceptions from the underbelly of the American experience. That experience, I believe, would find resonance on an international scale and help to bring our maverick nation into concert with certain other countries that would like to get along with us.

But how do we get our people to feel strongly about political unity? What in our experience will bring us together? Should we turn to a charismatic leader to guide us safely through the minefield of fanaticism? I've been told so many times that the problem in this world is that so-and-so died too young. A couple of years ago I heard another public figure say that it was because Robert Kennedy died that American liberalism lost its way. What might Martin Luther King Jr. or Malcolm X have achieved if assassins' bullets had not cut them down in their prime?

If only we had leaders now like we did back then, so many lament. It's hard for me to write these words without a hint of sarcasm. Nostalgia belongs in the retirement home. Any organization, movement or people who rely solely (or even greatly) on a charismatic leader for their strength and their motivation are in the most precarious position possible.

"Cut off the head and the body will fall," their enemies murmur. This is a way to let those enemies dissolve your context. Just put all your belief in one leader, and sooner or later you will be lost.

Some might say that I should end this section with those words. This may be true, but I think they open the door to other considerations. We do need leadership. We have to have people who will make decisions and blaze trails; people who will stand up to warmongers and moneylenders; people who might create context, illuminate the darkness with an electronic billboard; people who could organize our vote.

I could spend a lot of time and space here criticizing our current leaders. But what would be the purpose? These leaders, no matter how much they have lost their way, are not our enemies. If I follow a man or woman who is leading me astray, then I have to accept my own culpability and blindness.

"Didn't you see the millions dying in Africa while your leaders argued about the references and jokes in the movie Barbershop?" someone in a later year may ask. And how will we answer? If we don't lie we might say, "I knew what was happening, but I didn't know how to act. I felt powerless and helpless and so I did nothing."

The truth hurts. We all know that. But if we can see that we need leadership and that we don't have the leadership we need, then we might begin to question why. I believe a vacuum in our leadership has been caused by a natural conservatism in the black community that echoes the smug confidence of America in general. This conservatism harbors a deep dread of our young people.

This problem has to be approached by using a two-tiered process. First, we (the elders) have to realize how we exclude young people from taking leadership roles in our community. Why do we celebrate the blues but denigrate hip-hop? Why don't we distinguish between the major thinkers among our youth and the thugs? What are the young people telling us when they talk about bitches and ho's, motherfuckers and niggahs and bling? These are questions we shouldn't gloss over. We bear the responsibility for the lost generations of our people. Even if we see their actions as self-defeating and self-hating, we have to take responsibility for having allowed this situation to occur.

On the other hand, why do we get so upset when young men and women of African descent also want to identify with their other racial sides? Are we afraid that they're trying to abandon us? Do we want to hold them back so that they don't have a broader and more sophisticated view of their identities? Don't we know that this is their world and it is our job to support them while they gain a solid footing?

These are only the first few questions we should ask, and answer. And as we respond we should edit out all cynicism and derogatory notions from our voices and words. These young people are our only hope. We have to liberate them where we can, decriminalize them when necessary, detoxify them if possible—but most important we have to hear what they're telling us and make way for their leadership.

And to the youth I say, You have to take the reins. You have to realize that many members of the older generation have gotten what they wanted out of the Struggle. They aren't worried about the problems of America's urban youth; at least not enough to, once again, charge the ramparts and put what they have on the line. Revolutions (both violent and nonviolent) are manned by the young. Older people have retirement accounts and diseases to support, weak constitutions and a justified fear of imprisonment. We have fallen to the rear of the column. You, the urban youth of America, must lead us.

If you, the youth, do not forgive us for fumbling, our race will be very far behind in the twenty-first century. And if we lose, the world suffers because most of America is on the wrong road already. 

America has carried the notion of property and power to such an intensely negative degree that we have very little room left for humanity and art in our hearts. We work long hours, eat bad food, close our eyes to the atrocities committed in our name and spend almost everything we make on the drugs that keep us from succumbing to the emptiness of our spiritual lives. We gobble down antidepressants, sleeping pills, martinis, sitcoms and pornography in a desperate attempt to keep balance in this soulless limbo.

In a world where poetry is a contest at best and a competition at worst, where the importance of a painting is gauged by the price it can be sold for—we are to be counted among the lost. And so when I say that we need leaders and that those leaders must come from our youth, it is no idle statement. We need our young people because without their dreams to guide us we will have only cable TV and grain alcohol for succor.

Source: The Nation (February 27, 2006)

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Walter Mosley on Writing

I didn’t start off writing detective novels. The first thing I wrote was Gone Fishin’, which is Easy Rawlins and Mouse, but it wasn’t a detective novel. I sent it out, and everybody said to me, "Well, it’s good writing, but who’s going to read this?" And I go, "What do you mean?" Said, "Well, you know, white people don’t read about black people. Black women don’t like black men. And black men don’t read. So who’s going to read your book?" And so, you know, I accepted it. A lot of people, their first book, don’t get published.

So I went back, and I wrote another book about Easy and Mouse, but this time it was a mystery. And everybody was like, "Wow! That’s great! A black detective!" One guy actually said, "But, you know, there already is a black detective." And I said, "Well, you know, there’s a whole bunch of white detectives." And he goes, "I don’t see what you mean by that." But that worked.

And then it worked in ways that I didn’t expect, because everybody reads mysteries, and they don’t care who the detective is. They care about the mystery itself. And then a world gets revealed throughout that. You know, that starts with Sherlock Holmes. You know, he kind of reveals the whole empire through those short stories. And so, I just said, "Wow! This is really great. This is working. I’m getting all kinds of people to read this book." And, you know, and that’s really wonderful. . . .Well, you know, I’ve always been really bad in school. I can’t study anything I’m not interested in, or that I don’t—I can’t see a direct reason for studying it. And that was always a really bad thing. I always tell people that, you know, if you—well, if you come to, like, a young black woman and she’s going to be a writer, she’ll say—you’ll say, "Who influenced her?" And she’ll say, "Well, Phillis Wheatley and Zora Neale Hurston and Alice Walker and Toni Morrison and Edwidge Danticat and Zadie Smith." She’ll say names to you that will make you put her in higher esteem. You know, you’re going to be like Toni Morrison.

The truth is, you learn how to read when you’re a kid. Who influenced you was Nancy Drew, right? If you read Beloved at the age of eight, you would either kill yourself or your mother, right? You know, I mean, you’d say, "Mom, I read this book, and I don’t buy it. You know, so one of us has to go." I mean, that’s what you would say. You have to be an adult. But when you learn how to read, you’re a child. You love literature. It’s real. You really experience it. Your imagination is the most powerful it will ever be. You’re closer to your unconscious than you will ever again be. So you read these things that are not great literature, as E.M. Forster talks about in his book about writing. But you take the things that you love, and you make them into something.

So, like I’m really influenced by the stories my father told about his childhood. I’m very influenced by comic books: Jack Kirby and Stan Lee and Marvel Comics really kind of structured my life. Later on, you know, I read Gabriel García Márquez and Albert Camus and André Malraux, and they influenced me. But the big thing was, you know, the Fantastic 4 when I was a kid.—DemocracyNow

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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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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London

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The Warmth of Other Suns

The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

By Isabel Wilkerson

Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, a sharecropper's wife, left Mississippi for Milwaukee in 1937, after her cousin was falsely accused of stealing a white man's turkeys and was almost beaten to death. In 1945, George Swanson Starling, a citrus picker, fled Florida for Harlem after learning of the grove owners' plans to give him a "necktie party" (a lynching). Robert Joseph Pershing Foster made his trek from Louisiana to California in 1953, embittered by "the absurdity that he was doing surgery for the United States Army and couldn't operate in his own home town." Anchored to these three stories is Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Wilkerson's magnificent, extensively researched study of the "great migration," the exodus of six million black Southerners out of the terror of Jim Crow to an "uncertain existence" in the North and Midwest. Wilkerson deftly incorporates sociological and historical studies into the novelistic narratives of Gladney, Starling, and Pershing settling in new lands, building anew, and often finding that they have not left racism behind. The drama, poignancy, and romance of a classic immigrant saga pervade this book, hold the reader in its grasp, and resonate long after the reading is done.

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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

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Related files: School Daze  A Depravity of Logic    A Naïve Political Treatise  A Report on a Gathering  at Red Emma's   Urban Legends  Devil in a Blue Dress and Cinnamon Kiss

What Next    A Naïve Political Treatise       A New Black Power     Responses to "A New Black Power"    Parameters of a Black Political Party