electronic wonders of the Internet allow us to declare with
finality that Khalil Bendib's January 30 cartoon "The
Devil's Handmaiden" is his most popular work to date
Bendib's depiction of Condeleezza Rice's climb up the ladder
of success, only to reject the mechanisms of minority upward
mobility once they had served her personal purposes, touched
many of our readers where they live. Bruce Jackson wrote from
his workstation at the Buffalo
Report, his excellent political web site.
Jackson prizes concise language. Maddi Bee, on the other hand,
likes to have some fun on the way to the point.
I wonder who/what is steering my hand as I fool around on
this machine called "computer." Lucky for me,
my fingers happened to land on the Black Commentator site.
So I subscribed.
the (you gotta-be-kidding) State of the Union address by
the Great Satan, before my eyes there appeared Little Miss
Satan Sitting on her Tuffet, looking Nasty! The cartoon
depiction of Dr. Con-Dough-Leeza Evil is oh-so-on-the-mark.
She's marked. I had to turn off my TV. Seeing the Great
One and Little Miss, not to mention the preponderance of
pompous white Repubs and Republocrats at the same time is
too much for my soul. Thanks.
then there is Frank Sykes, who likes to imagine himself director
of casting for George Bush's Black Review.
got it so rightfully said and done. Indeed, Condoleezza
is the Devil's Handmaiden, but better yet she is GW's Pom
Pom girl, a cheerleader always on the sidelines cheering
him on whether he is right or wrong. And Armstrong Williams
is the water boy, giving him the juice to continue to oppress
the Black and poor people.
Moon would like to see some diversity in our cartoonist's
Rogues Gallery, starting with offenders from his own ethnic
cartoon was great. But if it is at all possible, could you
do similar theme based cartoons on Elaine Chao, our favorite
Asian American strikebreaker. Solely responsible for helping
bust unions for the Bush dis administration. See
the San Francisco longshoremen's' strike and the Homeland
Security Law that prohibits strikes and her boss' invocation
of the Taft Hartley Act. And one of my fellow Korean Americans,
Wendy Lee Graham - she of the Enron tragedy, who sat on
its Board of Directors, while she made millions and trickle
down theory fame that put the country in the red during
pride, and shame
23 commentary on the GOP's attempt to pose appointees
such as Rice and Secretary of State Colin Powell as an alternative
Black "leadership" generated an overflow of mail.
Many of the most thoughtful letters arrived late, including
this one from Ella Baccouche.
want to commend the writer of the Rice article. It was right
on point. I would like to add that since we no longer push
critical viewing, reading, and thinking skills in the schools,
what with the little funding there is teachers barely have
time to teach the basics, it is very easy for the machinations
of the propaganda machine to "bamboozle" the public
mind. Even the literate and educated have a hard time teasing
out the truth, especially if they are not well grounded
in historical knowledge. Moreover, any dissenting views
that may appear are quickly marginalized by the media.
I think the rule of "collective victory"
strongly applied in this case as witnessed by the cheering
ovation of the audience. It gave some Blacks the illusion
that they had really overcome. I bet Bush and those he represents
were very happy, indeed. It meant that they still have us
in their pockets and that we will continue to behave in
ways that are detrimental to our own self-determination.
Thanks to this commentary, I now have a better understanding
of the evil character of the hidden agenda of the government's
"Appointive Black Strategy," a strategy that with
the support of the propaganda machine has obviously been
very successful in pushing the "business" agenda.
Ms. Rice's competence is rarely called into question
by the corporate media - and certainly not by those who hold
her up as a "credit to the race." Claire Perricelli,
of Napa, California, is not impressed.
appreciated your critique of Rice. Her supposed brilliance,
her hard line pro-war positions on policy and her willingness
to be part of the worst government this country has had
in my lifetime of 57 years drive me nuts. How come so few
ever mention that it was on her shift as NSA that 9-11 occurred,
and that no heads have rolled as a result of the biggest
breach of security in our history?
Saleem finds historical references for Rice's role in Bush's
White House operation.
Rice is a perfect example of what the William Lynch speech
represents, in my estimation!
keep it real.
historical (some scholars claim, apocryphal) Willie
Lynch introduced his slave-control pamphlet to fellow
plantation owners in a speech on the banks of the James River,
have outlined a number of differences among the slaves:
and I take these differences and make them bigger. I use
fear, distrust, and envy for control purposes. These methods
have worked on my modest plantation in the West Indies and
it will work throughout the South.
Take this simple little list of differences,
and think about them. On top of my list is "Age",
but it is there only because it starts with an "A":
the second is "Color" or shade, there is intelligence,
size, sex, size of plantations, status on plantation, attitude
of owners, whether the slave live in the valley, on hill,
East, West, North, South, have fine hair, coarse hair, or
is tall or short.
that you have a list of differences, I shall give you an
outline of action - but before that I shall assure you that
distrust is stronger than trust and envy is stronger than
adulation, respect, or admiration.
Black slave after receiving this indoctrination shall carry
on and will become self re-fueling and self generating for
hundreds of years, maybe even thousands.
forget you must pitch the old Black male vs. the young Black
male, and the young Black male against the old Black male.
You must use the dark skin slaves vs. the light skin slaves
and the light skin slaves vs. the dark skin slaves. You
must use the female vs. the male, and the male vs. the female....
course, both sides of the Condoleezza argument can play the
Willie Lynch card. Deonna Moore appears to think that critics
of Rice - and of Right-leaning Black Democrats - are the real
architects of disunity.
need to stop tearing one another down. Just because Ms.
Rice is a black woman advisor to a Republican President,
and Rep. Ford refuses to stay in the same mind frame that
has set and left the Democratic Party in the mess that we
are in, does not make them bad individuals. I applaud their
efforts and works. They have my unequivocal support, and
they are making it better for me when I decide to run for
a political office.
Hardy gets himself all worked up over "Condi" and
think that your article on Condoleezza Rice was simply atrocious.
I think by condemning Condi and Armstrong you do African
Americans a disservice. People who achieve and break barriers
based on their own merits are what our community needs.
The opposite of which is trifling, ignorant sheep to the
slaughter. Republicans are trying to reach out to us, based
on achievements and credentials. Democrats are taking us
for granted at every turn. The only way to make effective
change is if we infiltrate all parties and push consensus
to meet the needs of our communities. As we all know African
Americans are not homogenous, so why should we flock to
one side of the debate (like fools). We should value the
true diversity of our own brothers and sisters to make sure
we are covered on all sides of whatever the debate is. African
Americans should be achievement-oriented, and not be ashamed
of their accomplishments and we shouldn't hate, either.
It reminds me of the school kid who pick at the smart ones
saying that they are "talkin' white" because they
speak English correctly.
Up!!! Keepin' it Real is Relevant!
that both Mr. Saleem (anti-Rice) and Mr. Hardy (the Condiphile)
urge us to "Keep it Real!" That's also 's
the last several generations, there has existed a broad Black
political "consensus" around a range of issues reflected
in "black leadership's civil rights agenda in regard
to housing, jobs, education, criminal justice, and an overall
pro-active federal role in ending racism's impact in these
areas through affirmative action and related policies."
(See Dr. Martin Kilson's report to the National Urban League,
"State of Black
American Politics," August 8.)
Black Agenda finds varying levels of expression within the
national Democratic Party, but is anathema to the national
Republican Party. This is the simple and straightforward reason
that African Americans vote nine to one Democratic in national
elections. Even "sheep" are not foolish enough to
vote for wolves.
Americans remain in remarkable, consistent agreement on political
issues, a shared commonality of views that holds strongly
across lines of income, gender and age," wrote
in our November 21 analysis of the Joint
Center for Political and Economic Studies survey of Black
opinion. "There is no 'split' among African Americans
on core political issues."
goal of the GOP's Black Appointive Strategy is to destroy
the Black consensus, in part by tapping into deep, historical
African American yearnings to see Black faces in high places
- no matter how hollow the titles or hostile the policies
of the placeholders.
"disunity" Mr. Hardy decries is the sound of the
Black body politic rejecting the GOP's handpicked Black "leadership,"
a self-serving pack of hirelings and hustlers. It is a painful
process. Most African Americans hunger for brilliance, integrity
and, above all, loyalty among high Black office holders.
George Bush serves up a full course of old style racism -
and a side order of Condoleezza Rice.
postings went up at progressive addresses all over the Internet,
last issue. In our lead commentary, "The
Mother of All War Shows," we stated that oil "is
not the real prize of war" against Iraq. "The prize
is nothing less than world domination: all the riches above
and below the earth and seas."
strike on Iraq will be an apocalyptic expression of American
will - designed to "shock and awe" the planet.
the whole point. The War Party wants the world to know that
there is no escape from the raging superpower. Very soon,
the U.S. military will stage a show more shocking and awful
than can be imagined, for the benefit of a global audience.
As Ullman envisions, it will be "rather like the nuclear
weapons at Hiroshima." The intent is to break the will
of the species. Iraq is merely a convenient stage, Saddam
Hussein an extremely unfortunate prop.
Swaney, a member of the Green Party, believes we are on the
has finally happened - I have read the first intelligent
analysis of Bush's war plans. Kudos for having the brains
and guts to print the truth!!
only hope that
has a wide readership. If all of your commentaries are as
well written and brilliant as the first two I've read then
you get my vote for the best news analysis anywhere in America
or the world for that matter.
I'm passing this article on to as many
as I can far and wide.
Call writes from Pompano Beach, Florida.
article. I can only hope that the last paragraph comes true.
I have been waiting for this country to wake up for the
past 2 years and I am constantly disappointed. We are under
the spell of the most mean spirited, gun-toting, bible thumping,
racist, corporate owned, administration in the history of
this country. We also have the dumbest electorate in the
I talk to Republicans it's like talking to a wall. Harry
Truman said: "Selfish men have always tried to skim
the cream from this nations natural resources. Their instrument
in this effort has always been the Republican party"
for your website. It's great.
Winston arranged his response to our commentary in verse format.
is not about oil or Iraq. You are right.
It is meant to be a lesson to the world.
What you say cannot be fathomed by most people I know.
I for one will not be cowed.
Thank you for your bravery.
God help us all.
the set is ready," we wrote, "George Bush will flip
the switch and the sky will flash and glow over Iraq, a warning
to the world."
sent a letter in anticipation of the impending event.
God, Thank God someone wrote this article. I was cringing
in "shock and awe" after The Grand Idiot's State
of the Union address. Not because of what he said, but because
of the response of the American Public which all networks
reported as rising 10 points in favor of war.
can't believe how much this regime is getting away with.
I look at my country with distaste and horror and wonder.
Where is the soul of America, rising up in outrage and disgust
at these machinations?
Michael Dickinson expressed his shock and awe by sending us
the image of a collage he created.
draftees in the dustbin of history
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told the assembled Pentagon
press corps that conscript soldiers of years past added "no
value, no advantage, really..." to the armed forces,
hardly a corporate media eyebrow was raised. It fell to veterans
groups to protest the chief civilian war hawk's disrespect
to 17,725 fallen American conscripts of the Vietnam War.
our January 30 commentary, "Rumsfeld:
Dead Soldiers Count for Nothing," we hypothesized:
the U.S. were a healthy parliamentary democracy, Donald
Rumsfeld's remarks of January 7 would have brought down
George Bush's government, necessitating new elections. Instead,
the man with the demonic grin continues as the drum major
for new foreign wars, even as he belittles a previous war's
remains in place, we believe, because after 30 years of a
volunteer military, broad sections of the American people
have no personal connection to the men and women of the U.S.
armed forces. A public that lacks empathy for yesterday's
dead draftees (and volunteers - what's the difference?) cannot
truly be emotionally bonded to this generation's soldiers,
either. The suburbs and professions are gripped by a war fever
of the couch and video kind.
loves his perfect weapon, the volunteer military," we
concluded. "They may die in the nation's imperial enterprise
but, among the people whose opinions count, they will not
be personally missed."
Sam Hamod is editor of Today's
Alternative News. His opinion counts with us.
piece on the conscripts, so many of whom died in Viet Nam,
was excellent; you need to keep forwarding it to Peter Jennings
at ABC, some investigative reporters at CNN, PBS (especially
Bill Moyers and the NOW show) and even dumb Dan of CBS and
Broken Jaw at NBC.
up the good work.
warned that "the evidence is rolling in, and it is unmistakable:
the Bush people are assembling purely political lists of individuals
and groups to be targeted during some future crisis, real
or manufactured." (See "Bush's
Domestic Enemies List: Preparing for "National Emergency.")
Americans will bear the brunt of the Permanent National Emergency
which must accompany Permanent War. Although white
anti-war activists seem to be the focus of the emerging national
internal security apparatus at the moment.
people who haul white lawyers and Catholic nuns off of airplanes
will kill a Black activist in his bed the very same night.
This is what passes for equivalence in a racist society.
folks are being put on some serious lists. Under the perverse
duality of America, that means the canaries are already
present the following letter from Maria Luisa Etchart, who
has lived in a society in which dissenters "disappear."
She was responding to last week's commentary on Iraq.
article gave me a clearer picture of the horrid events we
are all fearing and it makes sense, every word of it. I
am Argentine, living at present in Costa Rica and believe
everything you say because in a smaller scale we experienced
the destruction of our economy, the disintegration of our
society and the sinking of our hopes in a very short time.
Are we, Argentines to blame? Perhaps yes, to some extent
because we weren't able to detect the deadly trap we were
walking into and the few of us who did were disregarded
by the vast majority and considered as paranoids.
is, no doubt, a group of evil-doers behind the scene but
we will never know who they really are until it's too late.
The visible faces, hateful as they may be, are merely tools
to divert our hatred, something like Orwell's description
of the dreadful face everybody hated for two minutes every
day as a way to release the steam gathered by the system
they were forced to live in.
it's a bit difficult for me to write in English, since Spanish
is my native tongue, I truly appreciate reading all the
material you publish because it's courageous and well written.
I feel inclined, however, to believe that a different kind
of humanity is possible and I do my best every day to make
my actions as harmless as possible, both to other people
and to nature, our common heritage, and that is probably
the reason why I have always felt the pains and injustices
suffered by your people as if they were my own. It was a
pleasant surprise to find your page one day on the Internet
because I wouldn't have had the chance of hearing your precious
Capital "Strike" in Haiti?
newly renamed The Issues section last week featured Kevin
Pina's coverage of the ongoing crisis in Haiti, where
the island nation's "tiny elite played the Venezuela
card, declaring a national 'strike'" in opposition to
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his Lavalas party. Pina
reported that the event passed almost unnoticed in the places
where Haiti's destitute majority do their shopping.
banks, gas stations, supermarkets and specialty shops kept
their doors closed today which stood in stark contrast to
the bustling activity in the marketplaces of the poor. "Only
those who have money and can afford to stay closed are behind
this strike," stated one woman as she paused from bickering
with a customer over the price of carrots.
Concannon Jr. conveyed his appreciation of Mr. Pina's work.
enjoyed your Haiti commentary very much. As someone who
works with poor Haitians, I found it refreshingly accurate.
I would encourage you to write more about Haiti: no one
has suffered as much from institutionalized racism for three
centuries as Haitians have, and no one is suffering as much
today. Haitians pay a horrible price, initially for being
black, but worse because they insist on being free.
200th anniversary of the Haitian Revolution approaches. Look
for Kevin Pina's byline in next week's .
language on Blacks and Hispanics
of California at San Diego Associate Professor Jorge Mariscal's
16 Guest Commentary called attention to the phenomenal
movement of Hispanic immigrants - mainly Mexicans - into the
Old Confederacy. In the states of Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia
and North Carolina, Hispanic populations multiplied three
to four times during the Nineties. With the Trent Lott affair
as backdrop, Mariscal declared, "Despite the hoary black/white
paradigm that still determines all discussions about race
in the United States, demographic changes tell us that Latinos
will have much at stake in the on-going economic and racial
realignment of American society."
Chicano educator and activist provoked an
intense reader response to his statement: "The discussion
of race in the U.S. is still firmly grounded in a narrow and
antiquated black/white reality." Dawn Uwangue offered
her own window on race in America:
fit into the American racial madness pretty much according
to the old schoolyard rhyme: If you're white, you're all
right/If you're brown, stick around/If you're yellow, you're
mellow/If you're black, get back.
non-white immigrant groups coming into this country fit
into this racial pyramid, whether they know it or not, and
whether they like it or not.
Richard Pryor famously joked, being able to yell "nigger"
is a basic qualification for US citizenship. A working knowledge
of the history of American apartheid would inform any new
American's understanding of what it means to be an American.
To go along and conform to the status quo is to support
the white supremacist hierarchy. If they wish to challenge
that hierarchy and build a better future for themselves
and their families, they have to form coalitions with African-Americans.
We know the most about challenging white supremacy in this
nation; apart from the Native Americans, we've had the most
responded within days, although we were not able to immediately
accommodate his letter and others due to last week's crush
a young Mexican American boy growing up in Los Angeles,
I was excited every time Richard Pryor appeared on TV. Something
about his fearlessness in the face of white supremacy spoke
to me, although at a level I did not understand until I
was an adult. For the same reasons during my youth, we were
attracted to Muhammed Ali who was a similar but even more
powerful figure. As Latinos in the U.S. with no role models
in the media, many of our heroes were African American.
My favorite ball player was Junior Gilliam of the Dodgers.
We weren't about to use the N-word in order to "fit
in" with the white folks - pace Pryor and Toni Morrison.
Uwangue's invokes the old saw "If you're white, you're
all right; if you're brown, stick around; If you're yellow,
you're mellow; If you're black, get back" to suggest
that Brown people in this country get a better shot than
rightly points out that the saying has more to do with issues
internal to the Black community but it is true that it is
widely used now in multi-ethnic settings. As I pointed out
to my colleague Quincy Troupe when he dropped the old rhyme
on me, you can only believe that if you don't know the history
of the Southwest. Where we grew up, the rhyme began "If
you're black, stay back; if you're brown, stay down"
and so on. In the Southwest, the words "wetback"
and "spic" had all the power of the N-word and
then some. Back in the day (as in the late 19th century),
thousands of Mexicans were lynched in Texas. Today, Mexican
workers are hunted down and beaten by white youth in California
and vigilante "ranchers" in Arizona and hundreds
of Mexicans die every year trying to cross the border in
search of a better life.
call for a reevaluation of this country's racial sickness
by focusing on the new Latino immigrants does not in any
way claim that our working-class black hermanas and hermanos
don't have it hard. Eric Bogan misunderstands my use of
"antiquated" to describe the Black/White paradigm.
"Antiquated" doesn't mean things aren't still
real bad for most black folks. It does mean that in the
last Census Latinos surpassed blacks as the largest "minority
group" in the U.S. It also means that racists like
Trent Lott have to deal with lots of Mexicans in their home
state. This is precisely the point of remembering the Brown/Black
coalitions of the Viet Nam war period. In the late 1960s
in San Francisco's Mission District, for example, when seven
Latino youth were falsely accused of killing a white cop
("Los Siete de la Raza"), it was the Panthers
who came to their aid and established a defense fund. It's
this kind of solidarity based on mutual understanding and
shared political agendas that we will need in coming years.
Mariscal was preparing his response to Uwangue, Adrienne D.
Dixson composed a stimulating mini-essay on the subject, for
which we are grateful.
would like to offer two bits of support for the critique
of Mr. Mariscal's description of "Deep South"
race relations as antiquated. First, Toni Morrison, in her
book, "Playing in the Dark," talks about the construction
of whiteness and blackness, such that white,
as Malcolm X so brilliantly pointed out nearly 40 years
ago, has certain connotations in the popular imagination.
to Morrison, the subject, the context, etc., of most of
the American aesthetic - for Morrison, it is the novel -
is decidedly White. What is good, is white. Conversely,
Black has come to mean certain things in the popular imagination,
and in the novel, black/Blacks, have a particular role.
We see this so vividly playing out not only in our popular
aesthetics, but now, in politics. Having said that, one
does not necessarily have to be black, to become
Black. I would argue that those who do not perform in ways
that are acceptably White, become Black: Bill Clinton,
Tonya Harding, (post-murder trial) OJ Simpson. Groups of
people of color, are for the most part, cast into the lot
of being black, that is, ignored, maligned, invisible,
until they do, as Richard Pryor acknowledges, learn to say
"nigger". This saying "nigger" is both
literal and figurative. We see how particular groups become
"American" and are thus, conferred the status
brings me to my second critique. The most striking example
of this idea of White as White and Black as anything other
than White, is in the State of Florida and in particular,
the City of Miami. Cubans, most of whom are White Cubans,
enjoy a level of freedom and power, that only those who
have become White can truly understand and enjoy.
Certainly there are other political factors that have contributed
to Cuban-to-American White transmogrification; however,
spend time in Miami and the racial politics become very
clear. And, Miami is in the Deep South.
Race Theorists (Derrick Bell, Kimberle Crenshaw, Richard
Delgado, Charles Lawrence, et. al.), have argued that whiteness
is tangible, has currency and can be conferred. Thus, whiteness
is more than just skin color, but has a set of behaviors,
actions, beliefs, language, that can perhaps be "learned"
and at the very least, utilized to gain access and privilege
(see for example Armstrong Williams, Condoleezza Rice).
Thus, this discussion of the Black/White binary moves beyond
"just" Black folks and White folks, but certainly
includes Latinos and other groups who come and must decide
on what side of the binary they will belong. Indeed making
certain that these new immigrants understand what is at
stake for becoming White - I would submit that most immigrant
groups of color are by default black until they prove
believe, and agree with
that it is important that immigrant groups, particularly
those of color, understand what it means to become white
and what they "give up" when they do so. Introducing
them to "our" view is important if we are all
truly committed to abolishing racism, classism and oppression.
S.R. King speaks to "identity" issues, as reflected
in the official record.
commentary by Jorge Mariscal notes the "antiquated
black/white reality" as a matter of long ago history
distinct from the struggles of the Latinos in the South
and Southwest - especially in the 1960s. He further cites
that first-generation immigrants "are walking into
a black/white universe like virtual aliens from another
remind him that until 1970, the United States Census often
included those of Mexican, Latin American ancestry as "white".
This provided Latino admittance and acceptance into "white"
side of the "black/white culture".
was only in 1970 that Latinos were routinely assigned in
the Census system to the "minority" classification
where Blacks had been since the Census began. Accordingly,
it is hoped that Mr. Mariscal is not inferring that what
really is "antiquated" in the discussion is the
Black reality and that this should be updated with the new
Latino reality. This would not be supportive of a conversation
beneficial to either the Black or Latino reality, in my
is no conversation more critical to Black America. Immense
ramifications flow from swiftly changing demographics.