Tag Archives: writers

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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Reverse Racism?: White Comics on joking about Obama

MAUREEN DOWD did a wonderful piece recently for the NY Times about the challenge some white comedians and comic writers are facing when coming up with jokes and jabs about Barack Obama.  I was wondering just what monologue writers were going to do myself.  With so many of the people behind the pens being white and the public being well aware of that, it’s no surprise that there is increased sensitivity.  Who want’s to be labeled a racist?  Who hasn’t learned from the infamous New Yorker cover that satire is in the eye of the beholder?

I have a suggestion.  Hire some black writers.  That will do away with the double standard.  Black people have been trashing each other through comedy routines for decades…but we do it in love.  I mean, we have limits too, of course.  However, we know what a fine line there is between meaningless mockery and comedy.

My favorite quotes from the article:

– “It seems like a President Obama would be harder to make fun of than these guys,” I said.

“Are you kidding me?” Stewart scoffed.

Then he and Colbert both said at the same time: “His dad was a goat-herder!”

– Many of the late-night comics and their writers — nearly all white — now admit to The New York Times’s Bill Carter that because of race and because there is nothing “buffoonish” about Obama — and because many in their audiences are intoxicated by him and resistant to seeing him skewered — he has not been flayed by the sort of ridicule that diminished Dukakis, Gore and Kerry.

“There’s a weird reverse racism going on,” Jimmy Kimmel said.

– On Tuesday, Andy Borowitz satirized on that subject. He said that Obama, sympathetic to comics’ attempts to find jokes to make about him, had put out a list of official ones, including this:

“A traveling salesman knocks on the door of a farmhouse, and much to his surprise, Barack Obama answers the door. The salesman says, ‘I was expecting the farmer’s daughter.’ Barack Obama replies, ‘She’s not here. The farm was foreclosed on because of subprime loans that are making a mockery of the American dream.’ ”

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Black Bloggers throw down in this year’s election

I love this article. Shout out to the “Afrospere”. Spear…Spear Chuckers maybe??? Has anyone one else thought of that conotation. Black Bloggers, did we come up with that term?  Did it come from the Afrospear Think Tank?  Sigh, anyway…

On African American Blogs, Sharp Words for Candidates

By Jose Antonio Vargas – Washington Post
These are busy — and impassioned — times in the Afrosphere.

Five days before polls open in South Carolina, where half of the Democratic primary voters are expected to be black, blogs such as African American Political Pundit, Jack and Jill Politics, The Field Negro, and Black Prof, to name just a few, are, like many South Carolina African Americans, sharply questioning Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign strategy against Barack Obama — especially in the wake of last night’s debate slugfest in South Carolina — as well as John Edwards’s claims of electability.

After last night’s debate, in which Obama and Clinton traded their most aggressive and personal barbs to date, Christopher Bracey of BlackProf wrote: “Looks like Barack won this round in convincing fashion, with Edwards and Clinton tied for runner up. Funny how the press wants to concede S.C. to Barack now. I don’t think this was the case a week ago.”

Added the blogger who calls himself L.N. Rock, a Silver Spring-based IT professional and founder of the African American Political Pundit blog: “Let us not forget John Edwards, and his under the radar seemingly racial and sexist comment….when he said, ‘The ONLY thing I would say — and I think it has nothing to do with race and gender. Let me be really clear about that. It’s amazing now that being the white male…is different…is being able to go everywhere in America and campaign and to compete — and…I think I can go everywhere and compete head-to-head with John McCain.” Continue reading

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