“The fact that America has progressed to the point that a Black family can occupy the White House has not eradicated the myriad maladies of race and class that continue to constrain the aspirations of millions of Black people in this nation,” says veteran political organizer Ron Daniels. “The idea of a Black Agenda is not only relevant, it is imperative if Africans in America, as a group, are to enter the ‘promised land’ that Martin Luther King envisioned from his view from the mountaintop in Memphis.” Dr. Daniels praises the National Urban League’s recent State of Black America report on racial disparities for “implicitly making the case for the ongoing need for a Black Agenda.”
The United States could make great progress towards racial equality if the federal government simply enforced the laws that are already on the books. Environmental racism, health inequities, mass minority incarceration – “All of these disparities exist with government support or permission.” Under George Bush, “our government largely pursued a ‘hear no evil, see no evil’ approach to structural racism and injustice.” President Obama has an opportunity to “reverse some of these terrible trends by enforcing laws” such as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, “which authorizes federal agencies to prevent discrimination by recipients of federal funding.” Properly applied, Title VI could “ensure that government is no longer part of the disease but rather part of the cure.”
U.S. corporate media pretend to explore issues of race in America, but seldom go beyond matters of general perception, anecdotes, images, and questions about the availability of cab rides. ABC television prefers to package their racial reports as “encouraging stories,” writes Hollar. “But it's only possible to tell such encouraging stories by limiting your focus to one kind of racism--the overt kind that plays out through individually held prejudices.” Hard facts of institutional racism, such as wealth and incarceration disparities, most often escape ABC’s attention. Which is a slick and soothing way to sweep structural problems under the rug.
The educator/journalist observed that some of the boys in her classroom were “bursting with perspective” on “the widespread use of the words ‘bitch’ and ‘ho’ to describe young women of color on campus.” Not so with the girls, who were largely silent on the subject. When pressed, some of the girls “claim the words are justifiably used to describe ‘bad girls’ who are promiscuous and unruly, not realizing that black women have always been deemed “bad” in the eyes of the dominant culture, as less than feminine, as bodies for pornographic exploitation.” There is a crying need to “change the self-hating mindset of many young black women,” made worse by “a generation of Bush-besotted militarism and corporate reign over media [that] has turned sexualized violence against women into a billion dollar industry.”
Haiti’s gift to humanity was to become “the first nation anywhere to enshrine the rights of man, woman and child, the fundamental universal rights of human beings, in their constitution.” Much of the rest of its history has been a litany of rape and assaulted national tortures at the hands of France, the United States and the corrupt and depraved elite installed by the foreigners. Despite this history, “an eminent gaggle of politicians and private sector experts” claim that “the poorest country in the Western hemisphere got that way… by native mismanagement and the incompetence of the black Haitian population and its leaders.” To believe that, is to “believe that women who are raped are at least partially responsible for their own misfortunes.”
Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir had no choice but to expel the western "aid" organizations that had merged with the American propaganda machine aimed at regime change in Khartoum. Obama operatives like UN Ambassador Susan Rice have for years been "eager to blockade Sudan's ports" and to launch "selective" bombing raids against Sudan. When imperial doctrine claims the right to intervene whenever disasters overtake sovereign countries - and proceeds to create and exacerbate those disasters - then no government is safe against regime change. President Obama "appears to be fine-tuning a ‘humanitarian' interventionist doctrine that is applicable to any point on the planet."
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley A nation that has violated “every norm of civilized behavior and international law” since its founding in 1948 is held virtually blameless by the U.S. corporate media – Israel sycophants of the lowest order. “Now members of the Israeli Defense Force themselves are coming forward to admit that they committed war crimes” – but the U.S. press is censoring their confessions! Even when Israeli soldiers openly testify to committing “murder” in Gaza, as reported by the Israeli press, the U.S. corporate media “keeps the people of this country ignorant” of the crimes against humanity bankrolled by American taxpayers.
Oh, how the once-revolutionaries have fallen! Thus, former Weatherman William Ayers and his back-in-the-day comrade and spouse Bernardine Dohrn sing the praises of the Wall Street champion, Barack Obama. “It is painful to watch them perform these ministrations for a political hack who won’t even stand up to the butchers who drove the Clinton political machine or the Carter political machine decades before him.” As Lenin remarked back in his own time, “In the end run, anarchists were turning out to be no more than ‘liberals with bombs.’” We need to return to Amilcar Cabral’s admonition to “tell no lies, claim no easy victories.”
Glen Ford interviews Chicago's James Thindwa on the impact of economic crises on ordinary families, and on the ramifications of the Employee Free Choice Act, soon to be introduced in Congress, with the increasingly lukewarm support of the Obama Administration and its allies.
Click the flash player to listen to this Black Agenda Radio Interivew. No transcript is available. 12 minutes.
Thindwa was also profiled this week on Bill Moyers Journal. Read the transcript or watch the video here.
The data on the actual State of Black America roll in like clockwork, a graphic display of the fact that there has never been such a thing as a “post-racial society” in the United States. Barack Obama rose to the presidency claiming that Blacks had already come “90 percent of the way” toward racial equality, yet the National Urban League’s annual report on the State of Black America shows Blacks at only 71.1 percent of equality of with whites – “and slipping.” The League urges Obama to make sure Blacks are included in his “green revolution” of jobs, but that is unlikely, since Obama “does not support race-based solutions, even when race is the root of the problem.”
Click the flash player to listen to, or the mic at left to download a broadcast quality MP3 of this BA Radio commentary.
The Obama administration has allowed the investment bankster class to not only "virtually dictate the terms of their own rescue, but shape policy for the attempted recovery of the overall economy." A former Wall Streeter is in charge of the federal auto industry task force that is bludgeoning Detroit's workers and management, while the Obama administration provides "open-ended, luxurious life support" to "its walking-dead, parasitical friends on Wall Street." Banks are scheduled to undergo a government "stress test" later this month, but it doesn't promise to be very stressful, since hardly anyone "expects the feds to flunk any of the big banks, or even to share the results of the stress test with the public."
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford Click the flash player below to listen to, or the mic at left to download a broadcast quality MP3 of this BA Radio commentary.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown "squirmed" as Brazilian President Luiz Inacio da Silva - "Lula" - blamed the global economic crisis on the "irrational behavior of some people that are white, blue-eyed" and "have demonstrated they know nothing about economics." And the non-white world cheered. Da Silva called for creation of a new, "London Consensus" at the G20 summit meeting - "an unmistakable slap at what was once called the ‘Washington Consensus' - an American euphemism for the days when Washington could impose its economic dictates on all of Latin America and much of Africa and Asia."
The New York Times routinely reinvents history, even as it claims to be the first draft. On the subject of Black press interaction with the White House, the Times acts like a novice discovering history for the first time. The “Gray Lady” made a great deal about President Obama’s inclusion of lots of friendly Black media in his prime-time press conference – and in the process erased the real record of Black interaction and frustration with the executive branch of government. Veteran Black journalist Askia Muhammad sets the record straight, as he lived and remembers it.
The collapsing corporate media model of journalism does not augur well for the alternative, Left press, which no longer does much nitty-gritty work of investigation and slogging-it-out muckracking. In days gone by, “hundreds of radical magazines, newspapers and radio stations did the hard work of covering stories that the corporate media wouldn’t take on.” But not much, anymore. Left media need to re-evaluate their function, and rebuild a base of solid reporting with a mission. “It’s not enough for media to be focused on grassroots struggles; we also need communication, collaboration, and empathy for those directly affected.”
Today’s economic inequality is the direct result of Europe’s 500-year-long subjugation of the rest of the planet’s inhabitants. Even when corrective measures are undertaken, such as in the New Deal response to the Great Depression, widening economic disparity is often reinforced by the same “blue-eyed” elite that created the crisis. The identical forces that have plunged the world into financial meltdown are responsible for the fact that, in the U.S., “Blacks and Latinos have less than 15 cents for every dollar of wealth held by the median white family.”
New York’s so-called Rockefeller Drug Laws condemned hundreds of thousands of individuals and whole communities to a living hell for a generation-and-a-half, under a mandatory imprisonment regime. Now, as the draconian laws are in the process of being repealed, a crusading activist – and one-time Rockefeller Law victim – savors the victory. “Tony Papa sometimes thought this day would never come. Now that it has, he's still not quite sure how to handle it.” We’re confidant the brother will do just fine. He’s already handled the worst that the American Gulag can conjure.
Corporate exploitation of Jamaica’s bauxite, an essential component of aluminum, has ravaged a tropical paradise. In addition to mangling the landscape and silting the once-pristine rivers, bauxite mining has degraded the social order. “Bauxite owned 19% – one in every five acres – of Jamaica's farmland, some of the best, removing it from economic production and driving the communities that lived on it into exile into the ghettoes of Kingston, Brixton and Brooklyn.” The ecology of the land is also the ecology of the society. Reparations are due.
by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
When it comes to health care, Barack Obama is a hater, and a dishonest one at that. An honest and ethical hater tells you where she or he stands, and throws down the appropriate facts. President Obama doesn't do this. He has claimed for years to be a proponent of single payer health care, the only practical and workable health care solution, but since his election to the senate in 2004 he has become accustomed to saying he would favor single payer "if we were starting from a clean slate" but of course we are not. Insurance companies are powerful interests, he seems to say, and for some reason, we have to let them keep the thrid of every health care dollar they currently take.
President Obama knows there is no blank slate and there never was. That's not even honest hating. It's hypocrisy. And it's not leadership, it's caving to the parasitical private insurers.
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
This weekend's pitifully small peace demonstration in the nation's capitol reveals a near-totally demobilized U.S. Left mired in such timidity and delusion, activists fear to mention Barack Obama's name when denouncing the wars he so aggressively prosecutes. "The new president, who makes no secret of his intention to continue the previous administration's war of terror, escaped serious scrutiny and the condemnation he deserves." Forgetting that power concedes nothing without a demand, the Left shrinks from making real demands of the actual president in power.
To hear this Black Agenda Radio commentary, click the flash player above. to download an MP3 copy for broadcast or personal use, click here.
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
"The U.S. plans to double the Afghan army and police, to 400,000 men, through the sheer magnetic pull of money. But, as the old song goes, money can't buy you love." At root, the Obama/ Petraeus plan for Afghanistan is bribery on a massive scale, a "surge" of billions of dollars to convert the desperately unemployed into U.S.-allied fighters. The plan only looks halfway intelligent in comparison to the early Rumsfeld Iraq plan, which was based on the assumption that the US would be greeted as Afghanistan's "liberators."