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Sunday
Dec142014

Video: Al Sharpton's Minions Wrasslin' Microphone from Ferguson Activists

Scene from Al Sharpton's Justice4All rally.

More below the break.

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Sunday
Nov232014

Sexism in the Ferguson Protest "Movement" - Surprise!

I posted this over on the WAOD Facebook Fan Page and thought this was blog-worthy.

Matt Pearce of the The LA Times wrote a story about Black women"finding their voice" in the Ferguson protest "movement." Apparently, sexism is strong in the Ferguson protest "movement." Surprise! Everything old is new again. Black women are being shouted down and excluded at meetings- meanwhile many of the protests are comprised of a majority of women.


"When she tried to answer students’ questions about the protests that followed the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, the men with her interrupted and answered instead. When she tried to tell her story, the men told theirs instead.

It was about three weeks after Ferguson erupted in unrest last summer and Elzie, another female activist, and six men from the fledgling protest movement were speaking to a room full of Washington University students in St. Louis. Except only the men were talking." Los Angeles Times

This isn't anything new. Black women were all up under and through the Civil Rights movement. They face the same water hoses, dogs and billy clubs. Fannie Lou Hamer was beaten by police just like men, but oh when it came time to take the stage at the March on Washington, the men refused except to let us sing a song and one speech from Josephine Baker.

Black women need to accept the fact that "showing up" will not be acknowledged by traditional Black institutions or their digital age social media driven spinoffs.

So if you want to "show up," fine, just don't expect Black male leaders to want to cede ground to you.

The one highlight of piece was that two of the women complaining went on to get appointed by the governor to the Ferguson Commission - something many of the Black male protesters couldn't and wouldn't do. So in other words, they claimed a completely different kind of power - that is likely to last longer than the kind that dwindles when mainstream media stops being interested.

Black women need to build their own power bases. If they choose to use them to advocate for more than Black women, fine. But this episode has once again proven that traditional Black orgs and their offspring haven't improved their record on sexism and misogyny.

For background on the March on Washington's sexism, read about Black women being excluded from both the March on Wasington and the 50th Anniversary last year.

And yes, I'm putting the word "movement" in quotes - the Civil Rights Movement was at least 50 years old by the time the March on Washington rolled around. 4 months of mentions on Twitter and cable television does not a "movement" make. 

Wednesday
Oct292014

TALES OF A FREE BLACK WOMAN: Toni Morrison Can House Her Papers Where SHE Wants To

Highly entitled Black people are complaining about Toni Morrison leaving her papers to Princeton University. They feel entitled to tell this woman what she can do with HER work. Work they didn't create. Work many people supported. Yes, Toni Morrison graduated from Howard, but she has a lengthy professional relationship with Princeton.  We could debate which school is fit to house her papers, but that's irrelevant.

The fact that you feel entitled to try to regulate the choices that this woman can make with her life's work is indicative of a much larger problem - We feel entitled to Black women's bodies, minds, images, blood, sweat tears, time, talent and treasure--- JUST BECAUSE! If you want something from Black women, you should have to EARN IT! Make an argument for it.

We don't know if any HBCUs offered to take her papers. We don't know what Princeton offered her. We don't know what resources Princeton is going to bring to bear.  Did Howard want the papers? Did Howard present an offer? Other than graduating from Howard, what is her current connection?

The King Papers are at Stanford by the way. Langton Hughes' papers are at Yale.  I guess we should thank Marc Lamont Hill for letting ONE Black women participate in the conversation with FOUR Black men talking about Toni Morrison.

And can we stop it with the "open letters"?

While I made life long and treasured friends in undergrad and grad school, I don't feel any deep connection to the institutions I attended. I have far more of a connection to the local colleges and universities where I take continuing education classes. Just because she went to an HBCU doesn't mean she had an amazing experience that trumps her connections to Princeton.

 

Sunday
Oct052014

Don't #FixMyLife: Did Oprah Need to Put Jay Williams and His 34 Kids by 17 Women on OWN to Teach us Forgiveness? 

So apparently some of y’all are questioning Iyanla Vanzant’s “motives.” Shame on you belov-eds! 

But let's call a thing a thing - I have never seen someone who claims to be a life coach so obsessed with what other people are saying about her. Iyanla, Beloved, you can count me among those questioning your motives.

Remember when Oprah launched the Oprah Winfrey Network with the promise that the network was going to be inspiring us all to live our best lives? It actually happened. Well after an initial launch of goodness and light, Oprah embraced the high-quality storytelling of Tyler Perry and buried the hatchet with Iyanla Vanzant and embraced a Black audience... for now. That’s not an unheard of strategy, FOX did it, the CW, formerly UPN did it. 

My Twitter timeline has exploded each week Jay Williams with 34 children by 17 or so different women has been on Iyanla’s Fix my Life. Realizing the rating boondoggle that this dysfunctional family presented, Iyanla has now stretched the melodrama surrounding this narcissistic misogynist and his brood to a five week series and don’t be surprised if Oprah gives Jay and his family their own spin off. 

In all the blog posts I have seen about Jay and dysfunctional situation ( because if they were functional, Iyanla wouldn’t be there) I have yet to see anyone question why Oprah Winfrey choose to give over her platform to broadcast this dysfunction.

To hear Iyanla tell it, Jay Williams and his dysfunction are a gift to all of US:

I now understand that the Jay Williams story is all about self-value, self-respect and self-worth gone awry because of the lack of effective and meaningful conversations and much-needed instruction at every level of society.  There are moments in time when we find ourselves in the midst of a sacred experience, a time of change, an opportunity for healing that can leave us breathless or totally confused. Iyanla Vanzant 

When non-Black people have several dozen children, they get uplifting family dramas on television like the Duggars. We get Juaamne, 34 who has six children by four women, Terrance who has four children by two different women, Nathaniel, 28 children by 17 different women. All were featured on the Jay Williams mini-series on OWN.


Did we really need so see this level of dysfunction in order to learn forgiveness?

Can Iyanla really fix this level of dysfunction within dysfunction on top of dysfunction?

Is it possible to talk about a highly dysfunctional Black man without Black women taking the blame?

 

No, no, and no.


The truth is that Jay Williams has 34 children by 17 women because he hates women. It really isn’t more complicated than that. Because only a man who hated women would impregnate three or more of them AT THE SAME TIME and then walk away from them and leave them to fend for themselves. 

 

Iyanla is going to drag this misogynist and his narcissim out for as long as possible:

 

 

  • If this story is actually what I believe it to be, a wake-up call from the universe, men will stop making excuses, women will stop being angry, and people will start talking and healing the things that really matter: relationships, families and our collective investment in the future of this world. People may not agree about why I do what I do the way I do it. They may continue to question my motives, intentions and the size of my paycheck. That will not make this story or the issues it has placed on the table of public conversation go away. One man, one story, has opened the floodgates of healing, growth and a new reality. We simply must do better. Iyanla Vanzant

 

Yeah, I can learn something from a man who abandoned 34 children and gave family planning less thought than what he was going to eat for breakfast, but I’d love to hear more from Black folks who are doing just fine. I can learn from them too. Oprah and Iyanla should just admit they gave over to ratchetness for ratings. 

 

For those of you wondering where the functional Black families are hanging out, I would suggest HGTV and the Food Network ( except the Neelys - turns out their PDAs during cooking were all lies!).You know what would be really awesome? A totally intact, highly functioning Black family on a road trip. Or a cooking competition between some highly functional Black families. We aren’t like Big Foot, Santa or the Tooth Fairy. We’re all over my Facebook timeline. 

So belov-eds let’s call a thing a thing - Everyone involved in this Jay Williams/ Iyanla Vanzant vortex of foolishness need intensive counseling - mental health, family planning, financial literacy and probably a half a dozen other specialties. 

 

It’s not “judging” all involved to say that a television show is the LAST place any of these people belong. 

Monday
Sep292014

We Have to Be More than "Entertained" By Suffering: Why We're Raising Money for Africare

I'm raising money for Africare, one of many organizations fighting Ebola in West Africa. I signed up with Africare to be an Africare Champion. I set a modest goal of $1000 and as of the writing of this post, we're $415 away from our goal thanks to contributions from members of our Facebook community. You can donate directly to Africare on our Africare Champions campaign page.

I decided to raise money after I learned that 3 out of 4 people infected with Ebola are women. I wanted to do more than just be "entertained" by other people's suffering.By that I mean, the tendency of online audiences to gravitate towards every calamity, crisis and outrage. Hit the like, share, or retweet button -Lament how awful things are and then go on with their lives, doing nothing, while the objects of their laments continue to suffer.  I don't want to do that anymore.

That's something that I hope has distinguished this blog over the past 8 years. Sure, we whine and complain with the best of them, but every once in a while this blog audience does what it can to change what it can. We won't stop an epidemic alone, but we can save at least one life by making sure that those who are brave enough to tend to the sick, have personal protective equipment.

Africare posted a message on our Facebook Fan Page about where the money will go:

Currently, all unrestricted money raised is being directed to Ebola. What does that mean? It might mean direct cash contributions to families who have lost loved ones, and thus lost income which sustained an entire family. It might mean paying for gas for our staff in Liberia to deliver personal protective gear to healthcare workers in more remote locations. It might include equiping microphones and sound systems to trucks to blast messages to communities about ebola, educating them on methods of contraction and prevention. It might include working with local organizations to trace individuals who have come in contact with disease.WAOD FB Fan Page.

Give what you can. Thanks in advance!

Some Background

On August 20th, I shared an article over on the WAOD Facebook Page called "Ebola is Mostly Killing Women and No One is Talking About it."  According to  Elizabeth Plank, 75% of those infected with Ebloa are women.

In one of the most affected countries, 3 out of 4 patients affected by Ebola have one thing in common: They're all women. As reported by Lauren Wolfe at Foreign Policy, the Liberian government announced that 75% of those infected are female.

Why are women dying? Their vulnerability to the disease isn't rooted in biological dispositions; it's purely structural. They are caring for the sick, and it's literaly killing them. Identities.Mic

Over a month later and people still aren't talking about it.Entire hospital staffs are being decimated when multiple  nurses die and some of the leading infection control experts in countries with already fragile health infrastructure are dying too.The New York Times published an article about the devestating impact Ebola is having on nurses and the young men who bury the bodies of the dead.

Not only are they at risk for Ebola, but they are watching their colleagues die around them AND on top of it all, their friends relatives and neighbors are ostracizing them... for being brave enough to treat the sick.

Outside the hospital, they continue to face stigma. Some of Ms. Sellu’s staff spoke of husbands abandoning them and neighbors shunning them. One nurse told of returning home to find her belongings in suitcases on the sidewalk, and her spouse warning her to stay away. Another nurse, seeking lodgings, lied to the landlord, telling him she was a student. NY Times

 

In doing their jobs, the burial boys have become pariahs. Many have been cast out of their communities because of fear that they will bring the virus home with them. Some families refuse to let them return. NY Times

But that's not the only reason we should care about the current ebola outbreak. Even though it is an ocean away, there are two scary scenarios that are looming A) political instability in West Africa and B) every time the virus infects a new person, there is a possibility that it mutates and what now requires skin to skin contact or contact with infected fluids could eventually mutate and be transmitted through the air.

THE Ebola epidemic in West Africa has the potential to alter history as much as any plague has ever done.  

There are two possible future chapters to this story that should keep us up at night.

The first possibility is that the Ebola virus spreads from West Africa to megacities in other regions of the developing world. .....

The second possibility is one that virologists are loath to discuss openly but are definitely considering in private: that an Ebola virus could mutate to become transmissible through the air. You can now get Ebola only through direct contact with bodily fluids. But viruses like Ebola are notoriously sloppy in replicating, meaning the virus entering one person may be genetically different from the virus entering the next. The current Ebola virus’s hyper-evolution is unprecedented; there has been more human-to-human transmission in the past four months than most likely occurred in the last 500 to 1,000 years. Each new infection represents trillions of throws of the genetic dice.NYTimes

I've been following the story since early summer on my own, but I don't recall receiving a single email about it - and I receive a ton of email.

The Ebola Leadership Gap- Politico

Thos Who Serve Ebola Victims Soldier on - NY Times