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So on the black family Obama is perfectly consistent with virtually all of African-American

*political* history, though he and his predecessors, by their own admission, are at odds

with much of African-American *social* history.



Straying from official orthodoxy

A ChickenBones editorial by Rudolph Lewis


Rudy, It was only a matter of time before blacks would turn on Obama with a vengeance ( Like Stalin, any stray from official orthodoxy must be condemned. By the way, Reed is an important African American scholar. As ever, Herbert

My assumption is that those who voted for Obama during the primaries, especially black women, will vote for Obama regardless of what he does or says between now and November. Most will vote for him without reservations without criticism of his platform or positions, domestic or foreign. Why do we have such black obsequiousness? Maybe it is a black gender need, one that should be respected as worthwhile and important.

For there has been much black female suffering, and as implied by Obama's Father's Day Speech, much more than black male suffering. This need can be characterized mostly as an emotional absence, a great chasm that seemingly is being filled by the personal excellence and achievement of a singular black individual, Barack Obama.

This pattern of uncritical political behavior is not new. For the last couple of decades with elected black mayors, elected black city councils, and elected black congresspersons, we have seen the urban and rural conditions worsen. This election of thousands upon thousands of black elected officials, nevertheless, has been seen as the symbolical overcoming of the black American tragedy of Jim Crow. And indeed it is. The possible election of a black president, it is hoped, will be the capstone to this two decade black political process.

I have participated from working for the election of local and national black officials, like Parren Mitchell as congressman in the 1970s, to lately casting a vote for Obama in the Virginia primary. These political acts were based on hope rather than the certainty that such campaigns would make a substantial economic and political difference. The great disappointment in the election of these black officials is not so much that we were not taken to the Promise Land but that these black officials became beyond criticism, and wealthy. So much so that the black electorate in at least two black majority cities chose white candidates in order to establish some critical balance and accountability.

Now we have a "new breed" black political candidate, the Honorable Barack Obama, supported in the primaries broadly by black males and females. As soon as he wins the primaries over Hillary Clinton he rushes to the Israeli lobby and gives away Jerusalem to the Israeli government. Then he seeks out a black middle-class church of 20,000 and charges that black women are more heroic than black men. Ironically, this novel young black candidate of a charming romantic stripe has claimed that he's on the scene to end divisiveness. Obviously, dividing the black community along gender lines doesn't count.

Well, black women do have their righteous grievances of black male inadequacies and they have had them for several centuries. And most black preachers have sustained them in their complaints and indictments. Black men largely have not fulfilled the black bourgeois model a la Bill Cosby or a la Barack Obama. They have not struggled hard enough, these gelded fellows claim. They have given into their appetites and their attitudes, rather than struggled and loved sufficiently to overcome poverty and criminality. They have settled for B's and C's when they could have had A's.

Does such conservative castigations have the purported desired effect of eliminating such grading deficits? These whip lashes of criticism from the pundit-minded mouth pieces of the wealthy and the sublime have occurred since Jesse Jackson applied his in the late 1970s, though Jackson directed his venomous attack at black parents all together. And white liberals tossed millions of dollars his way, until he uttered the hymie remark and some Black Judas tossed him to the wolves. A couple of weekends ago I visited the black working middle class communities of Baltimore. In most of them I saw the blue flashing lights of police cameras. These blue lights are symbolical of poverty and race repression. What significance do Obama's castigations have on the heroic black female prostitutes lining the streets looking for a ten-dollar john or the lack-of-heroic black young men selling crack to feed babies they cannot afford?

Declaring one's self Joshua and bible thumping Matthew 7: 24-25 and receiving standing ovations from those wearing heavenly blue robes in super-rich churches will not end the ravages of black lives in urban centers. Victim-blaming speeches or pathology centers will not be sufficient to stem the present tide toward another black social disaster. Dealing with inflation (of prices, food and energy), unemployment, low wages, and high incarceration rates will do much more than a ton of well-phrased speeches and thunderous ovations. But Obama has only symbolical power, however newly it glitters

Barack Obama’s Father’s Day betrayal has got me down. During the primaries, I went through great anguish wishing the best for Brother Obama, staying up watching the returns on CNN. I gave him my all and now we have come to his Willie Horton moment, his Sister Souljah denunciation, his playing up to the white male racist vote. I am amused by my own trials for Obama. In that Obama has smutted the name of black men, what can any black man now expect of him but more of the same? I free myself of his opportunistic political clutches. I declare myself independent of a pack of thieves. I rise above the hypocrisy. Let each vote her conscious.

posted 19 June 2008 

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Sexual Morality: Black Male Abandonment


Barack Obama's Father's Day Speech (video): Note the prepared speech is not the same as the spoken speechRudy

Rudy, I tried to avoid commenting on this, but couldn't . . .

Folks better get use to hearing realities that they don't wanna have to look square in the face . . . and such was the case w/Obama's Father's Day speech, which surely re-surfaced a bunch of raw emotions in our African American males especially. 

Regarding our Black males, facts are facts . . . placing the blame for those facts gets a bit more complicated . . . but of course most all of us know the sources, and know how they render our Black males often with low self-esteems not to speak of many non-existent opportunities. and we can go round and round collecting the evidence of those realities . . . of how the media/political realms have hammered and have affected especially this generation of Black males.  But excusing the behaviors of our Black males due to politics and the media is another issue . . . it's called "enabling," which I believe only serves to exasperate their realities, and I believe we've done this way too much.

As much as many of us become upset with our histories, our Black men of yesteryears usually always made sure/arranged to have their children taken care of by somebody,  if not by themselves . . . by grandparents, aunts, neighbors . . .but somebody whom they felt would keep them in line and teach them character & morals.  And usually their reasons for making these arrangements were not considered lofty but were often due to their needs to provide for their families by working in other States/cities.  It was a driven passion that all our Black children were provided for and preferably where there was a strong father figure . . .even if that had to be within the church.

Our choice today is in whether we will move forward as a race . . . stay stuck in the mud, cover our eyes/ears and possibly face an increasing possibility of societal genocide.  We must deal with realities and not blames.  or we won't be able to move beyond.  I do believe, after having raised three struggling . . . but very successful AA males with my spouse (often with much difficulty due to outside influences) and having worked with a multitude of at-risk males for years that they will appreciate Obama as a strong Black father/male figure standing up and giving advice, with clarity and direction (roadmaps if you may) to assist them in maneuvering through this maze of life without giving them excuses for screwing up.  And, I do hope that some folks out there especially Black males who have bruised egos,  will put those bruised egos up on a shelf,  AND be men enough to step aside and not mess this up for the next generation of African American males who may be privileged to have something that they were not fortunate enough to have and most importantly . . . discontinue their enabling excuses.—Bev

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Obama, the black family, and racial uplift
The belief that the patriarchal, nuclear family is the only proper living arrangement and the only healthy means of raising children was not invented by Africans or American slaves. Scholars have shown that before contact with white missionaries, very few if any black people on either side of the Atlantic believed the patriarchal, nuclear family to be natural or godly. To be sure, some lived in patriarchal, nuclear families, but that is different than the belief in the natural virtue of the institution.

 The family ethic that Obama promotes was invented by Europeans and most vigorously promoted by white Americans in the 19th century. Since Frederick Douglass, who condemned "that lazy, mean and cowardly spirit, that robs us of all manly self-reliance" and the "degraded and repulsive" sexual behavior of slaves, African-American political leaders have preached the family ethic as the foundation of "racial uplift."

Booker T. Washington is most often associated with racial uplift, but "progressive" civil rights leaders such as Du Bois and King and black nationalists such as Malcolm X preached it just as militantly. King told black audiences "we must walk the street[s] every day, and let people know that as we walk the street[s], we aren't thinking about sex every time we turn around." In his last book he called the black family "fragile, deprived and often psychopathic" and urged the creation of welfare programs "to help the frustrated Negro male find his true masculinity by placing him on his own two economic feet."

Malcolm X said Negroes must "reform ourselves of the vices and evils of this society, drunkenness, dope addiction, how to work and provide a living for our family, take care of our children and our wives" and "get together among our own kind and eliminate the evils that are destroying the moral fiber of our society, like drug addiction, drunkenness, adultery that leads to an abundance of bastard children, welfare problems." My article in the current issue of American Quarterly, "The Color of Discipline: Civil Rights and Black Sexuality," deals with this topic.

So on the black family Obama is perfectly consistent with virtually all of African-American *political* history, though he and his predecessors, by their own admission, are at odds with much of African-American *social* history.

So here is a question that is rarely raised:

Since the ethic of the patriarchal, nuclear family is a white invention, is the promotion of it evidence of the internalization of white supremacy?

Thaddeus Russell

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Why would we suppose that a bi-racial man who has become the darling of centrist (not truly left progressive) whites can do otherwise and get elected? We have the responsibility to do as Reverend Wright has promised he will do. Call him out when he is president. I am neither surprised nor hurt by any of this. It was interesting to see Michelle Obama reduced to prattering about brushing her girls' hair, who takes out the garbage, recitals and where she brought her dress in silly conversation with white women and sisters on "The View" whom I would bet have much less education and accomplishments than she. All to make white people "feel better" about her.

These are racism's daily, incessant micro-cuts. They are constant. Nothing like the whip lashes our ancestor bore for us to get here and act like we have some sense. So they sang the blues. Since I'm not a brother, I can't speak for how his remarks affect the menfolk. But we are still all in this together.

If he sells Jerusalem but can keep the tanks out of B-more, maybe it's the price of the ticket. The Movement, however, is on us, not him. Read Tom Dent's Southern Journey for a reminder of how much the "little folk" mattered to whatever Dr. King and the other leaders were able to accomplish. Perspective can also be gained from the story of the Deacons for Defense and Justice and Ella J. Baker's story.
Our relationship with preachers is another story altogether. Cadillacs and alligator shoes is what I remember from my youth--only one preacher that I recall ever called us out to recover our blackness and our collective pride and power.
One would need to look carefully at the left-left (Reed et al.) for their record on giving primacy to Blackness and black folks. I'm not persuaded. It's usually "class-first". Some of everybody will be jumping on this bandwagon--as is the nature of politics. . .—Joyce

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People never cease to amaze me.   I have never been and never shall be an enthusiastic supporter of any political candidate.  Once upon a time, I was an enthusiastic opponent of Goldwater.   And in 2004, I voted solely against the Swift Boat tactics of the Republicans.   On both occasions I was a one-issue voter, i.e., on both occasions (1964 and 2004) I voted against the war in Vietnam.

Surprise!  Surprise!  This time around, the main foreign policy issues relate primarily to Israel and the Muslim world, and on these issues Hillary, Barack, and McCain are as one.  Surprise!  Surprise!

Adolph Reed, a Socialist, is okay, but somewhat contentious.  He wrote a book putatively on Du Bois, but mainly an attack on the Ivy League Axis. I did not realize Reed had moved to the Ivy League.—Wilson

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Yes, Barack, got me! I went for the okey-doke. The bait and switch. Whatever you want to call it.. I'm always throwing my heart after some pretty thing. Maybe that occurs once a month. I was rooting for the Lakers too. A sister out in Sedona, as well. They too disappointed me. And the Lakers lost by 39 points. I'm a sucker for pain, it seems. For Obama and the Lakers, it was not as if I were totally without the facts. Well, one never knows a woman. I was just hoping we could overcome our weaknesses, transcend the flesh, so to speak. But my enthusiasm was unable to overcome the rough, aggressive side of our nature. . . . I never read Reed. I knew of Stirrings in the Jug. But not the Du Bois book. I must place one of his books on my reading list —Rudy

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The Two Obamas—God, Republicans are saps. They think that they’re running against some academic liberal who wouldn’t wear flag pins on his lapel, whose wife isn’t proud of America and who went to some liberationist church where the pastor damned his own country. They think they’re running against some naďve university-town dreamer, the second coming of Adlai Stevenson. But as recent weeks have made clear, Barack Obama is the most split-personality politician in the country today. On the one hand, there is Dr. Barack, the high-minded, Niebuhr-quoting speechifier who spent this past winter thrilling the Scarlett Johansson set and feeling the fierce urgency of now. But then on the other side, there’s Fast Eddie Obama, the promise-breaking, tough-minded Chicago pol who’d throw you under the truck for votes. This guy is the whole Chicago package: an idealistic, lakefront liberal fronting a sharp-elbowed machine operator. He’s the only politician of our lifetime who is underestimated because he’s too intelligent. He speaks so calmly and polysyllabically that people fail to appreciate the Machiavellian ambition inside. NYTimes

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Barack, Here's How to Get the White People—Talk tough to your supporters, including blacks and liberals. Your Father's Day speech on absentee black dads was a masterstroke. It not only won applause from blacks but showed skeptical whites that you understand their feelings about race even if you don't necessarily agree with them. Follow up by re-iterating your skepticism about paying reparations for slavery and your doubts about race-based affirmative action policies. This will help to demonstrate that you intend to be a president for everybody, not just blacks. By the same reasoning, stand up to your supporters from, by sticking to your support for the compromise Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which protects telephone companies that cooperated with government intelligence agencies from lawsuits. The law sucks, but you can change it if you're elected. Meanwhile, there's no reason to give Republicans an excuse for charging you with being soft on terrorists. The Root

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



#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 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


#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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Pray the Devil Back to Hell

A film directed by Gini Reticker

Pray the Devil Back to Hell is a captivating new film by director Gini Reticker. It exposes a different story angle for the largely forgotten recent events of the women of Liberia uniting to bring the end to their nation's civil war. This film is amazing in the way it captivates your attention from the earliest frames. It doesn't shy away from showing footage of the violent events that took place during the Liberian civil war. But the main story of the film is that of Leymah Gbowee and the other women uniting, despite their religious differences, to force action on the stalled peace talks in their country. Using entirely nonviolent methods, not only are the peace talks successful, but Charles Taylor, the president of Liberia, is forced into exile leading to the first election of a female head of state in Africa. The women of this film are truly an inspiration and no one can fail to be moved by the message of hope that comes through clearly in this film. These are heroes that deserve to be remembered and with Pray the Devil we are able to do that, gaining both a knowledge of the history we are ignorant of through archival footage and an understanding of the leaders of this movement through close-up interviews with the many women who lead it. The film also offers a great soundtrack & inspirational song- "Djoyigbe" by Angelique Kidjo & Blake Leyh.Amazon Reviewer

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Mighty Be Our Powers

How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War

By Leymah Gbowee

As a young woman, Leymah Gbowee was broken by the Liberian civil war, a brutal conflict that tore apart her life and claimed the lives of countless relatives and friends. Years of fighting destroyed her country—and shattered Gbowee’s girlhood hopes and dreams. As a young mother trapped in a nightmare of domestic abuse, she found the courage to turn her bitterness into action, propelled by her realization that it is women who suffer most during conflicts—and that the power of women working together can create an unstoppable force. In 2003, the passionate and charismatic Gbowee helped organize and then led the Liberian Mass Action for Peace, a coalition of Christian and Muslim women who sat in public protest, confronting Liberia’s ruthless president and rebel warlords, and even held a sex strike. With an army of women, Gbowee helped lead her nation to peace—in the process emerging as an international leader who changed history. Mighty Be Our Powers is the gripping chronicle of a journey from hopelessness to empowerment that will touch all who dream of a better world.—Beast Books  / Pray the Devil Back to Hell

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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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Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


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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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update 24 February 2012




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