Category Archives: activism

Kudos to Students Who Walked Out of the UC San Diego “Teach-in”

I am proud of students who took action today at UC San Diego.  I know the school had very good intentions, but a “teach-in” on racial tolerance was likely seen as a politically correct band-aid.  Talk is not what these students want.  They want action.  They want to feel that they are in an environment where racists are taken to task when they do bold things, like throwing a neo-blackface party.  A long seminar on racial tolerance is like workplace sexual harassment classes.  Everyone in the room nods and says they understand.  What would you expect them to do, defend their right to grab their secretary’s butt or tell a couple penis jokes?  Keep fighting kids.  Even if you don’t see the results you want, you will not leave that University with regrets.

LA Times: Nine days after an off-campus student party mocked Black History Month, UC San Diego went through a day of protests, tumult and self-examination Wednesday, especially concerning the small number of African American students enrolled at the beachside campus.

University administrators sponsored a teach-in on racial tolerance that attracted a standing-room-only crowd of more than 1,200 students, faculty and staff to an auditorium in the student center. But halfway through what was to be a two-hour session in response to the offensive racial stereotypes at the Feb. 15 “Compton Cookout” party, most students walked out in protest.

They then held their own noisy but peaceful rally outside the building. Administrators may have thought the teach-in “would make us quiet,” said Fnann Keflezighi, vice chairman of the Black Student Union. But she said minority students don’t believe that UC San Diego will take significant steps to make them feel more comfortable on campus and increase their numbers.

The controversial party, she and others contended, was just the spark that ignited new activism about long-simmering issues at the university. Many wore special black and white T-shirts that proclaimed: “Real Pain, Real Action, 1.3%” — a reference to the percentage of African Americans among the campus’ undergraduates, thought to be the lowest in the UC system.

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Filed under activism, african american, black, news, opinion, race, racism, student

Question: Who is this “We” people always refer to when talking about change in the Black community?

I’m looking for WE.  You know, the “WE” that Black journalists, commentators, business people, politicians, and pundits talk about when they are interviewed on television and radio.  When they say things like…

  • We need to educate our children and take back our communities.
  • We need to harness our socioeconomic power and influence corporations.
  • We need to support “X” and “Y” legislation.
  • We need to step up and be fathers, mothers, mentors, leaders, business people, etc.

Do you know who “We” is?

In my opinion, the homogeneous black WE is a figment of the imagination.  We as African-Americans are not of one economic or social strata.  We are not all college educated or high school drop outs.  We don’t all have the Cosby family dream or come from strong single mother households.  It is this reality that is overlooked when people call on the WE.

When you call out to someone who isn’t there…they don’t hear you.  Black America is not hearing the call of some of it’s best and brightest leaders because they aren’t calling US collectively.  We are not WE…we are YOU.  You are the poor sista on welfare who is looked down upon because she needs food stamps to survive.  You are the brother who was passed along by “No child left behind” so that the graduation rates would be acceptable.  You are the child who is told they can be a great as Martin Luther King, but faces a reality in their neighborhood that says they will be lucky to secure a decent paying job after high school graduation.

When we all see our brothers and sisters as ourselves we gain the perspective that compassion and understanding brings.  Advising from a place of understanding brings context, and context makes words relevant.  You must take on the challenges, differences, issues and problems and see them on a personal level.  Seek to understand, not just provide lip service.  Then we can go from You to US.  Community.  You are then able to speak to the community at large as well as segments of the community in the ways that are most effective.  From there we can move the community to action, because as we all know, actions speak louder than words.

I don’t think that many people I hear are talking about US when they say “We need to”.  I think they are really saying that “The Talented Tenth” needs to.  They may be saying “You people” need to.  I think the appeals and advice, no matter how good and well intentioned, is falling on deaf ears.  We need action plans and road maps to the future that are formulated to appeal to our diverse community.  Black History Month is a great time to consider whether it’s time for talking or time for us to build community and effect change.

Hello, Negro family, I’d love to know your thoughts on this.

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Why is this blog called “Hello, Negro”?

From time to time I get angry comments about the name of this blog.  Most of it stems from the use of “negro” in the title.  I wonder if other blogs such as Field Negro encounter the scathing hate that has at times been directed at this site from people who are uncomfortable with our usage of the term (and likely haven’t read the postings on the site).  There a LOT of blogs that have “negro” as part of the name.  Google “blog” and “negro” and you’ll see.

I writing this post, I actually googled “blog” and “nigger”.  OH my!  I can just imagine the comments those blogs must get.  Especially one named (and I’m not kidding) “Look At This Nigger“.  Wow, that sounds like something you would hear over and over at a hood barbershop during a basketball game…but I digress.  Mighty bold!  

There are 2 main reasons I chose the name “Hello, Negro”.  Well, 2 and a possible…as they say in spades.

The Possible:  It sounds like “Hello Kitty”.  Familiarity breeds contempt, huh?  However, it’s meant to be a greeting.  I.E Hello, Bob.  See…there is a comma there people.  Most people over look that.  Thus, you could say that I’m calling everyone who visits this blog a negro.  Some may love that, some may have a serious problem with that. 

Reason 1: It’s controversial.  Blogs thrive on drama (Why do you think gossip blogs are so popular?).  Drama breeds conversation.  I knew some people were going to have a problem with the name when I chose it.  If you bought into the drama, thank you for validating what I already know about sensitivity to racial issues in America.  I get that.  You don’t have to write me an 8 paragraph comment trying to enlighten me.  Really, I get that the word is hated by many black folk.  BUT,  it’s not the n-word…not even close.  Let’s not forget my “African-Americans”, there was a time in America when we were damn proud to be Negroes.  Many African American leaders, such as MARTIN LUTHER KING referred to themselves as what…Negro.  As the kids say…Haters, Get off me!!

Reason 2:  This blog is dedicated to giving you small, digestible wake up calls.  This is expressed by the “hello” part of the name.  Hello…there is still racism in America.  Hello…here is a bit of news for you to consider.  Hello there!  What do you think about this or that subject.   You get what I’m saying?  Hello?  🙂

So, that is about as good as I can explain it…at midnight on a friday.  LOL.  It just amazes me how people just look on the surface sometimes and don’t consider how face value can be deceiving.  Read the blog before you judge it.  And if you don’t like it, that is Ok too.  Freedom of expression is the right of all.

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LA Obama campaign worker Kaylon Johnson beaten, he says for wearing an Obama shirt

This is ridiculous. Please pass this story around and blog about it so this man can get justice (not Just Us, ya dig)!!! We send love out to this brother and hope for his speedy recovery.

This is Kaylon Johnson.

SBC360.blogspot.com has the full story on this man’s horrific beating this Saturday at a gas station.

“And the injuries showing in this picture are the result of an assault on Kaylon by three White men early Sunday morning … all because he was wearing an Obama shirt.

Kaylon was a key coordinator in the Shreveport [LA] for Obama campaign. His tireless efforts helped Caddo Parish go BLUE. He was probably wearing one of the t-shirts he was selling when he was attacked.”

Looks like a hate crime to me. Other reports note that his attackers were incensed by the Obama bumper stickers on Kaylon’s car and the Obama t-shirt Kaylon was wearing“.

Other Links
Man badly beaten in Shreveport, LA for wearing Obama t-shirt – Daily Kos

Brutal beating may be race related

Police Investigate Possible Hate Crime

Man says he was beaten for wearing Obama shirt

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Aids in Black America: Fed Gov is not doing enough

Washington Post Full Article – In a 55-page report, the Black AIDS Institute argued that the disease should be viewed as a threat to the entire black population, and not just specific high-risk groups. Unlike in white Americans — and in the citizens of most industrialized nations — HIV in American blacks is increasingly transmitted heterosexually through “networks” where men especially have many sex partners at the same time, the report noted.

The report’s authors asserted that the black AIDS epidemic here is being overlooked as the United States is allocating unprecedented resources to fighting the disease in sub-Saharan Africa.

African Americans with HIV — at least 500,000 — are more numerous than in seven of the 15 “target countries” in the Bush administration’s global AIDS initiative, which has spent about $19 billion overseas in the past five years.  Bush is scheduled to sign a bill today that will extend the program and authorize the spending of $48 billion for the next five years. The target countries consist of 12 in Africa and three others: Guyana, Haiti and Vietnam.

The report noted that with 39 million people, “black America” would be the 35th most populous country, and the 28th richest, if it were a separate nation. Two percent of adult black Americans are infected, the government estimates, and only four countries outside Africa have a higher HIV prevalence. It would rank 16th in the world in the number of people living with HIV.

“The U.S. response to the epidemic in black America stands in sharp contrast to our response to the epidemic overseas,” said Phill Wilson, a longtime AIDS activist who is executive director of the Black AIDS Institute.

He added that his purpose in making the comparisons is not to criticize the global program but to urge that more money and attention be directed to the domestic one.

But Kevin A. Fenton, the head of HIV/AIDS prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the argument that government prevention efforts are not tailored to the black epidemic is mistaken. “CDC prevention efforts have really tried to follow the epidemic,” he said. Continue reading

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DC: Smithfield Workers, the N-Word, and North Carolina relatives

Thousands of people in the Washington, DC area have ties to North Carolina, especially African Americans.  Many of our family members migrated to the region for better work opportunities and–at times–to escape abusive working conditions.   I was suprised to see this sign in the Gallery Place metro station today.  Well, maybe not suprised…I do come from an area of the midwest where meat packing plants thrive and I’ve heard about how conditions can be.  However, the allegations are just something you would never want to hear about taking place in 2008.  Beatings???  Being called the N-word by your manager???  Dag!  Supporters of the Justice@Smithfield campaign say that horrible conditions persist at the world’s largest hog processing plant, in Tar Heel, NC.

smithfield justice

“This summer, DC area families of Smithfield workers are beginning to reach back to their loved ones in Tar Heel, with a major advertising campaign spotlighting injuries and abuses at the plant. In late June, we will unveil a series of adverstisements in select metro stations and bus routes putting a human face on worker abuses at the plant, and urging DC area consumers to consider alternatives to Smithfield products in their local supermarkets. The campaign will also include radio advertisements and voice messages from movie star Danny Glover, which will air in Prince George’s County and the District of Columbia.” – www.smithfieldjustice.com – Click here to see the other 2 ads

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Black Womanhood at Dartmouth

I’m an art lover so I thought I’d share.  I’m excited about this exhibit.  Should in the vicinity of Dartmouth before August 10, you should go see this exhibit at the Hood Museum of Art.

portrait
Maud Sulter, Scottish (1960-2008)Terpsichore, 1989

Cate McQuaid/Globe Correspondent writes:

“”Black Womanhood” aches with old wounds, probed tenderly by artists who still contend with these scars and restrictions. It has a mighty scope, embracing topics such as the spice trade, Josephine Baker, African initiation rituals, and homophobia in South Africa.

The paradigm it sets up Continue reading

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