Friday, September 30, 2016


"You're at a cafeteria, you've got your lunch ... and then you just don't know where to sit. You don't want to sit alone, but you also don't know who would be friendly and let you sit with them. Sixteen-year-old Natalie Hampton has been there. She's an 11th-grader from Sherman Oaks, Calif., and the creator of a new app called "Sit With Us."

[Why not just walk up] and say, "Hey, can I sit with you?" So why have an app? Why not the low-tech version, which is just ask to sit down?
Because the way it was at my old school, I tried many times to reach out to someone, but I was rejected many times. And you feel like you're labeling yourself as an outcast when you ask to join a table with someone you don't know. This way, it's very private. It's through the phone. No one else has to know. And you know that you're not going to be rejected once you get to the table.

Girl Inventors Rock
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Thursday, September 29, 2016


Some think a white man wouldn't have been arrested as fast as Betty Shelby was for the murder of Terence Crutcher. I don't think I care if she was or wasn't. But it's probably true that she was thrown head first under the bus by her white male colleagues.
  1. White men threw white women under the bus when they gave black men the vote first. 
  2. White men throw white women under the bus whenever a man rapes a woman that's not a wife. 
  3. White men throw white women under the bus if a black person is making them money hand over fist (Bill Cosby, Ball Players -- until they retire, then all bets are off
  4. I won't go look up the details. But I'm almost sure that one of the first people fired after the federal probe in Ferguson was some low level woman within Darren Wilson's police department or the associate court.  

  5. Conclusion: Male supremacy is as real as white supremacy.

From Clutch Magazine Online
If there’s one thing all of these incidents have shown us it’s that officers protect their own, and considering “Law enforcement is one of the least gender diverse of any public-sector profession, with male officers accounting for more than 88 percent of the nation’s municipal police forces,” it can be assumed "their own” is men.  And in a field where 73% of officers are white, one can also assume “their own” is white men.
Hence the feeling Shelby has been hung out to dry while the old boys in blue club continues with plans to conduct business as usual — or rather murder as usual.
Further, “Data show that female cops discharge their firearms at rates far below their male counterparts, face significantly fewer civilian complaints and are less likely than men to resort to unnecessary physical force when arresting someone,” Aljazeera pointed out. Officer Shelby’s behavior clearly contradicts these findings; however I can’t help but speculate that, if convicted, her criminal punishment won’t send the message that it should to the police force. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if sexist rhetoric was implored to explain away her possible conviction instead of officers finally understanding that you cannot continue to kill black men and women and get away with it...

Female cops aren’t the problem; white male cops aren’t even the problem; racist, poorly trained cops who fear those they’ve been tasked to protect are the problem.
I don't agree with a crucial point here. White male cops being such a huge presence in police forces nationwide is the problem.

The safety in numbers feeling that whiteness gives white people in this country is always the problem. And the funny thing is this: White people feeling like their safety is dwindling because their relatives numbers are dwindling --as they are now "only" 2/3rds of the country-- is making them even more dangerous to people of color, and especially dangerous to black people who shame them by simply continuing to exist beyond the years of slavery.
White people pretend to forget slavery and divorce its effect from the present. But they know.  Shame in the short term makes people sorrowful. But long term shame? It makes people evil.
There's a story in the bible about one of King Solomon's sons that sexually desires his sister. He's after her, after her, after her. Finally he traps her and rapes her. After he gets what he wants, he hates her
Do you know why Solomon's son hates the woman he raped? He hates her because he sees her every day and he's ashamed. Most people want to get out from under feeling ashamed after a while. And the only way they can get that done is to blame the victim.  

This is why you cannot divorce white supremacy, white entitlement, male supremacy, and fear of losing social power that lives inside each white male cop from the white racism in a uniform that seeks to execute black people. 
All white male cops may not have enough racism in them to qualify as "a racist" And I won't ever believe in anybody's purity as far as having bias in favor of me-and-mine, regardless of skin color. But all that white bonding combined with white entitlement holds 73% of this country's male cops together. And it is within that white, male, police force crucible that us-cowards versus them-n*ggers is created.

White-cowardly-us mentally turns to white racism as justification for shooting black people for little or no reason. That doesn't have anything to do with training unless you're talking about diversity training.
And I thought we were over diversity training. I thought that was a done deal by now. I thought we all understood that diversity training is limited in its ability to  solve the human desire that a lot of  humans have to be superior to another. And it is that desire to be superior,that desire to have power-over, which leads to the irresistible desire to let somebody know you are superior by humiliating them or flat out killing them when they refuse to bow down.

Diversity training assumes lack of familiarity or misunderstanding.  That's wrong for the most part. What should be assumed instead is that white people, especially low education, lower middle class and poor white people are seeking to stand on somebody else so as to feel superior and that includes the lowly white male people with guns called policemen. 

People that feel like nothing because they don't have a lot of money in a capitalist society are always going to be looking for somebody to stand on. That was true 200 years ago. It's true now. And cops in their early years don't make much money.

Back in the day, the slave master's minion, the overseer, and the slave masters paddy rollers too were both motivated by the same violent white supremacy desires that you find in a large percentage of 73% of cops today.
And I do actually think that a violent white supremacy lives in the vast majority of white cops, white prosecutors, and white judges. Know why? 

Just like slavery couldn't work
without 90% or more participation from all whites,
including poor whites
(or else slaves could easily have run away),
the white cop murderers can't murder
without 90% of white cops deciding to not-see what really happened 

when they were less than a foot away from their brother murderer in blue.  
Then white judges and white prosecutors come along
and decide to not-see an obvious murder too

And the white people in North Carolina 
have gone so far as to pass a law to make sure 
the police don't have to give up police dashcam and police bodycam video 
of the suspected murder of a black person
without a subpeona 
-- videos paid for with tax dollars.
Believe me. ONLY WHITE LIVES MATTER can't work without massive white support, just like slavery didn't. 
And for anybody still unsure about just how deep the white racism goes in police departments across this country, please be reminded that the largest police unions in this country recently decided to support Donald Trump, the most prominent face of racism today.
The Fraternal Order of Police, which bills itself as the largest police union in the world, endorsed Donald J. Trump (R) for president Friday, saying that Trump “understands and supports our priorities, and our members believe he will make America safe again.”

Trump responded to a 12-page questionnaire from the FOP and then met with its leaders last month in Trump Tower, the union’s executive director, Jim Pasco, said Friday. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton did not respond to the questionnaire until weeks after the early August deadline had passed, Pasco said, which did not give the FOP time to distribute her answers to state lodges across the state, and the union did not meet with her.

The FOP did not endorse a presidential candidate in 2012, and has not endorsed a Democratic candidate since Bill Clinton in 1996, Pasco said. [But they went out of their way to support Trump. Message received]

The thing that bugs me about this white woman cop going to jail so fast when white men cops don't is similar to what bugs the author. 
Yeah, I think this woman would have been protected if she was one of the boys. She's being thrown to the wolves because she's a panicky female (despite women cops firing their weapons a lot less). And her panicky female stereotype is going to get the blame instead of her whiteness.

The white-sounding-man in the helicopter labeled Terence Crutcher as big, black, scary monster guy stereotype almost instantly.  That is, the white sounding man in the helicopter brought his white racism to the scene of the crime (or hovered above it) And the female officer, Betty Shelby, brought her white racism with her to the scene of the crime too. Only she was on the ground, closer to big black scary monster guy and was able to shoot the big black demon she saw in front of her --just like Darren Wilson did.

I say chances are better than 50/50 a white jury is going to see the same thing the white-sounding male officer in the helicopter did, the Darren Wilson did, and then find themselves sympathetic. 
Only White Lives Matter is going to be the song they're singing...again. 


Michelle Obama offered a pointed critique of Donald Trump’s temperament on Wednesday, arguing that “a president can’t just pop off” when he or she is upset.

Speaking at a rally in Philadelphia for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, the first lady challenged Trump’s claim from Monday’s debate that he has a “much better temperament” than Clinton. While Obama didn’t mention Trump by name, the target of her condemnation was clear.

And the choir shouted, "Amen!"

Wednesday, September 28, 2016




Apparently Iyanla Vanzant has been seen giving black men a platform to talk about why they don't date black women.

Ms. Foster of "For Harriet"  steps onto the stage to talk about rejecting the denigration of black women from the jump so we can stop being put in the position of "taking responsibility" as if the criticism is legit. 

Black women gotta recognize start recognizing that misgynoir and gaslighting cocktail when it's being served and also recognize when a black man is trying to justify his own internalized racism. And it's better if we can do all this recognizing instantly. We've got lives to live, places to go, and people who are actually worthwhile to see. 

Give A Listen. It's Short

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


The 13th Amendment to the Constitution declared that "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." Formally abolishing slavery in the United States, the 13th Amendment was passed by the Congress on January 31, 1865, and ratified by the states on December 6, 1865.

* based 
on profit and loss

A Related Headline 

Department of Justice 

to stop use 

of private prisons

The prison industrial complex has been one of the great success stories of the last few decades—if “success” can stretch to mean more than tripling the number of Americans locked up. As conservatives privatized prisons in the name of “efficiency” and cost savings, it’s turned into a huge source of profit for those who operate facilities.
The American prison system is massive. So massive that its estimated turnover of $74 billion eclipses the GDP of 133 nations. 
It’s made some areas so dependent on the kickbacks from prisons that locking up fewer people is a threat to the economy. A threat great enough to actually encourage locking people up for minor offenses.

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Monday, September 26, 2016


A FEW RANDOM THOUGHTS ON THE DEBATE. (I didn't take notes. So forgive me if I missed things)

Gwen Ifill on PBS asked why people keep asking if Hillary is likable. She wondered if people ask men that question.  Someone answered that Trump is obviously not likable. So there's no real comparison to be made. But I think Ifill may have a point.

I wonder the same thing. But Hillary is a stiff. But she was less stiff than usual. And she may be suffering in comparison to her husband, the charisma king.  But with me? Brains go a long way. And she's leagues ahead of Trump in the brains department. She tagged him pretty hard on a few issues.

1) TAX RETURNS 1: She talked about what he's possibly hiding by not showing his tax returns like every other presidential candidate. And pretty much let us know he's lying when he says its due to the IRS audit. She said the IRS told her it's not problem for him to show his taxes.

2) TAX RETURNS 2:  She accused him of not paying into this country he believes in when her refuses to pay any federal taxes. (He hasn't in years past. He didn't claim he paid any last  year)

3) She accused him of cheating people who work for him by not paying them as agreed. He didn't even deny this very strongly. He said something like 'Maybe I didn't like the work.' (It's happened too often. He's a liar and a cheat when it's financially beneficial

4) She talked about his being sued by the Justice Department twice for refusing to sell or rent real estate to African Americans in the past.

5) She got him to talk about making NATO pay the U.S. instead having treaties.Then she followed up by reminding the audience that G.O.P. security officials wrote an open letter saying Trump would compromise national security

6) She got Trump to trip all over himself when he was asked about his Birther accusations. 

7) She got Trump to express his hate for President Obama. (Lester Holt pretty much set the tone when he opened the debate with how the economy is doing well. Trump was forced to imply that the American economy is doing well, but he said it's in a bubble that will pop when interest rates go up.

8) Trump talked about his business sense over and over. Hillary - 'You declared bankruptcy 6 times.' His basic answer was 'Those were business decisions. I took advantage of laws that were there" (which he may have been applying to NOT paying any federal taxes --OR-- NOT paying people who work for him. Dishwashers to architects have complained about him not paying them what they were owed according to Hillary)

9) Trump fell apart when asked about race in general. He still hates immigrants. But he didn't mention the wall...Or I missed it. He basically communicated that black neighborhoods are hell, and expressed sympathy for 'those poor people.' Then he used the "law and order" dog whistle a bunch of times. Babbling b.s. that made no sense followed.

10) Trump made a gaslight-y comment about Clinton not "looking" a certain way. He tried to change what he said to being about her "temperament" then her "stamina"  He was calling her an incapable little woman. Transparent a glass, this moron. Holt wasn't having it. Clinton wasn't either. She tagged him a little on women's issues. She mentioned his lecher-like behavior at beauty pageants. But I wish she'd had more time to hit him a few more times here -- hit him hard.

  Clinton vs Trump Regarding Black Lives Mattering

The disproportionate shooting of black men by police was mentioned. That's how the conversation turned though "Black Lives Matter" was not mentioned specifically. 

That moron Trump walked on stage not knowing or not caring that stop and frisk was declared unconstitutional. He tried to say it was a good thing. Clinton told him murder rates continued to go down after stop and frisk was declared unconstitutional. Clinton tried to set him straight as did Lester Holt, the moderator from NBC, but Trump didn't care about facts -- as usual.

I wish the guns and the NRA had been brought up separate from what's happening in black neighborhoods. Stating that guns kill more black men than anything else in this particular section of the debate got way too close to black-on-black crime for my taste, way too close.

However, Clinton went further than other white candidate has gone on race by

(a) calling Trump a "racist" three times and
(b) saying she would try to work on implicit bias in police departments.

However she was too careful and very middle of the road for my taste as far as saying "training" is going to help police officers not shoot unarmed black people (in so many words). Yeah, everybody suffers from implicit bias. But  implicit bias is supposed to be a mostly unconscious thing. You might be able to explain the initial shooting of an unarmed black person by a white officer using "implicit bias" (as it leads to straight racism in my opinion.)  And she did talk directly about the reality of institutionalized racism. 
But you can't explain the white officers that lie to cover up for their cop murderer partners and the white prosecutor and the white judge that all lie to keep the white cop murderer out of jail. Half to most of what the white accessories are doing are CONSCIOUS decision making. These race based and/or racist decisions are made to keep a member of the white tribe out of jail. You can't train that away. You can't "awareness" that away. The only way to deal with most of these white racist cops shooting black people is to do a better weed out job, prevent racists from getting hired in the first place and also putting those who get caught in jail for long sentences.
Again, the solution to the white cops shooting black people who are no threat to them and men that claim to not understand consent is the same. Put offenders in jail quickly and for a long time and potential future murderer cops and rapists who claim to be "confused" will get un-confused really quick.    
Both candidates are white. Hillary did better on race than I expected. Like I said, the placement of the gun control talk was bad, very. And I didn't like seeing her trying to soft peddle the crap cops have been doing (which wouldn't be necessary if she called out white prosecutors and white judges too)

But she's better than Trump by miles and miles. Trump might wind up making our allies want to bomb us.

Hillary needs to master creating one liners on the fly.  She was flexible and she did move when Trump desperately changed the subject. But, for example, when he started bragging about some building he was constructing early and under budget --as evidence he can run the country like a business, she should have cut him off saying-- "It's under budget? How many middle class Americans you refusing to pay this time?"  

Outcome: Trump lied a lot. Duh


Feeling Rebloggy

When Devanne was announced as the editor of The NOMA Magazine, I was eager to join the team of volunteers to support her in having her visions for the publication come to life. Devanne's design thinking is out of the box.


She is a Hip Hop Architect. If you see her, ask her about her presentation with Perkins & Will, where she represents the stages of her career with Tupac tracks. Earlier this year, I called on Devanne to help me facilitate The Universal Hip Hop Museum Design Cypher in The Bronx, where we joined hip hop pioneers, community members, high school students and others to create the programming and conceptual vision of The Universal Hip Hop Museum.


Saturday, September 24, 2016


I've read more than once that black men have a comparatively high suicide rate. 

While many in our community believe that suicide is a "white person's issue,” more and more research is finding that suicide rates among African-Americans are on the rise, especially among young Black men. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third cause of death among African-American males between ages 15 and 24, behind homicide and accidents. Also, suicide death rates among Black men are five times that of Black women.

I've read a few articles that claim black male suicides are down over the last few years. However, I feel like a lot of things that aren't counted as black male suicide, really are suicide.

One of the most obvious examples suicides-not-counted-as-such being suicide by cop.

Another example of something that could be counted as suicide half the time is when one man challenge's another man's toughness, seeking to fight or pull a gun on someone anytime, anywhere (seeking a killer of any race, mostly like ones own?)  

Frankly, other than Alton Sterling who was carrying a gun because somebody in the same line of work got held up recently, I have wondered from time to time if some of the black men shot for simply having a gun bought the gun strictly because it made them feel more masculine.

Not that I'm victim blaming, but I don't believe in having guns around on a day-to-day basis  --at least, that's what I think when I'm calm and not thinking every black person should carry one on their hip (Every cop murder of a black person makes me rethink my position.) But the bottom line for me is knowing that white boys can get away with a lot of stupid toxic masculinity crap that black boys can't. And the carrying a gun to make ones penis feel bigger  is #1 on the list of things white boys can get away with the black boys can't due to white racism.  

Furthermore, I think extreme forms of Toxic Masculinity can wind up being a desire to just die, not death as a side effect of performing hyper-masculinity like carrying a gun and swaggering would be. I think that men, boys really, can feel like they are failing at being a masculine man which means:  

--failing at being tough enough
--fail at being provider enough, 
--fail at being athlete enough

And rather than failing to compete and win at being masculine, some men choose to die instead. But they aren't failing at being masculine. They are failing at toxic masculinity. And there's nobody around to tell them that collapsing under the weight of that is actually a good thing.

For black men they say five men die for every black woman

I've been reading a very tiny book called "How To Slowly Kill Yourself And Others In America" by Kiese Laymon. Right now I'm at the section where four men are writing one another letters, some of which talk about how a father let them know they were failing at being men by not moving into "provider" roll fast enough, not making money fast enough. 

These men were smart enough to disconnect from their fathers. One or two of them, once they did that, once they valued themselves enough to remove themselves from the emotional abuse of the father, they were able to function better. Once they were able to function better, life didn't necessarily get easier but they found loving relationships. They found where they fit. Once they functioned better and found where they fit, at least one of the fathers adjusted himself to being worthy of relationship with his son.

I don't think that most men are this mentally and emotionally strong as the ones in this book. I think the author, Kiese Laymon is a unicorn black male feminist and his friends, from the book, lean in the same direction

I think most men go along with the toxic masculinity program. The men that are winning though? 

They are the ones that make enough money to sit firmly in the provider role. They are the ones that can control their household, reign as King,  and make everybody else be quiet (including the Queen) because they hold the purse strings of a very full purse. Until there is a divorce these the successful toxic masculine men can't afford, the white middle class men are the ones that make toxic masculinity look like it's not toxic. 

But toxic masculinity combined with poverty and racism is probably deadly.  

Keeping in mind that the black community has three times the poverty rate, a black man is a lot less likely to be able to prove his masculinity using money, control others using money, attract a lot of sexual conquests using money. Instead of just being sure they have masculinity intrinsically, a lot more black men than white have to go out and prove toxic masculinity in ways not linked to money.  And the options are limited, aren't they?  

- athleticism (0.1% might get professional ball player money? less? )- fighting to prove toughness, - guns to prove toughness, - sexual conquest to prove manhood, - controlling or beating women to prove manhood. 
Some will go to jail as a result of trying to provide alone (instead of sharing the burden with a feminist) And other men, instead of fighting, guns, domestic violence, sexual conquest, become depressed, collapse, will commit suicide in more standard ways.  

To me it seems obvious that men need to figure out that they are primarily afraid of.   They need to figure out how to let go of what other men will think of them if they fail to perform as tough, stoic, provider, who doesn't know an emotion from a hole in the ground or being something that is a member of the walking dead on the way to being literally dead.  

It seems to me that men like former football player Donald McPherson have figured out how to be mentally and emotionally independent from what the male shaped culture their fathers and grandfathers helped create. (Women simply don't have the power to shape culture in this way)

When a man is strong and he starts seeing women as equals. that's when he recognizes little girls posing as women. When a man is strong the little girls who expect just stay at home and babysit while waiting for the man to make all the hard decisions-- will no longer seem attractive.  

Men who are men are men that recognize women who are women, and will choose women partners who can decide to be stay at home moms or work for a wage. Men will choose women who can work at wage paying job and let him be the stay at home father, the primary caretaker of the kids. Men will choose women who can work at higher paying jobs so he can work at a lower paying job or non-paying job, like Community Organizer then build on that to one day become President.

Yes, I'm describing President and First Lady Obama. I don't know when he was last a community organizer. But she was making $100K more than he was in 2006.  And then she quit(?) to follow him into to Washington D.C. so he could have a chance at the presidency with his family behind him.  

Do you understand the love and trust there has to be between these two feminists?  

They are a team no matter who is making the most money. And she trusted him enough to not be making any at all for a whole 8 years yet not mistake himself as "the boss."  

 A man I respect, but now feel sorry for more than anything, told me he divorced his wife because she felt like she was the one in charge once she started making more money than him. I never met her. And it might be true. But his saying "started thinking she was the one that was supposed to be in charge" implies that he was formerly "the one in charge" 

A lot of relationships inside a normalized patriarchy function like this (the one making the most money is the boss) though a lot of people won't admit it. 

If the one making the most money is the one that's truly "in charge" and a lot of men can't feel like men unless they are  "the one in charge" then men, especially black men, are setting themselves up for failure. Because black women have always sought school and gone to work. Early in our history, a black man leaving to go to work and a black woman going to school was the best way to bring money into a single household.

Men of all colors seek the  provider role as a pathway to controlling everybody else. In my mind, it is clear that this is why men refuse to be the primary caretaker of the children, yet are somehow surprised when they don't get primary custody from the legal system (run by men) when divorce comes for them.  

Regarding men not seeking custody of children when they divorce? It's not that men love their children or are less emotional when it comes to their children-- though they may be that too. To me it seems obvious that a lot of men find themselves more distant from their children than the mother is because men have been taught to love the feeling of being in charge just a little bit more than they want to be the one doing the hands on raising of the children Again, being in charges requires being the provider bringing in the most money.  

And toxic masculinity says that the man must get the money, get the money , get the money and be the provider

  • --even if their arm is broken and they work in physical labor job like construction
  • --even if their mind is broken from racism  (can't allow wife to take over for a while)
  • --even if their ability to get a job is decreased by a bad economy
  • --etc. 

Socially speaking, men are as dominant over women as white people are dominant over black people.  So if men thought it was more masculine to raise the children, then man would be the one to stay home when a married couple decided that one of them should stay home with the children instead of vice-versa reality we find ourselves in now.

When a man lets go of toxic masculinity I'd be willing to bet that he probably decreases life's pressures by half -- married or not.  Moving to a feminist world view means that half the black population, the female half, becomes partner instead of a burden he must bear. 

And if you decrease life's pressures by half, even in the face of racism. you live longer. And you'll want to enjoy living longer, right?

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Friday, September 23, 2016


"The story of the Queen of Sheba appears in religious texts sacred to Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Described in the Bible as simply a Queen of the East, modern scholars believe she came from the Kingdom of Axum in Ethiopia, the Kingdom of Saba in Yemen, or both. Their main clue is that she brought bales of incense with her as a gift, frankincense, [which] only grows in these two areas. Both countries claim her as theirs. Given that they are separated by only 25 kilometers of water, both could be right."

A seeker of truth and wisdom, the Queen of Sheba was said to have heard that King Solomon of Israel is a wise man. So it's said she went  to Jerusalem to test his knowledge with questions and riddles. During their conversations, people say, Solomon taught her about his God "Yahweh" and she became a follower.
"This is how some Ethiopians believe Christianity came to their county. The Queen agrees to stay with King Solomon as a guest. An unmarried woman, she warns the King not to touch her. He replies that in exchange she should not take anything of his. He has tricked her, however. In the middle of her first night she is thirsty and she takes a glass of water. He confronts her and tells her that by breaking her agreement she has released him from his. They spend the night together and when she returns home from his kingdom, she is pregnant with a son, Menelik.

The Queen of Sheba raises Menelik on her own, as a single black mother.

In Ethiopian legend Menelik goes back to see his father, Solomon. When he returns home Ethiopia he has the Ark of The Covenant with him, where it to remains to this day. According to Ethiopian legend, Menelik is the first "in an unbroken line of Ethiopian kings that stretches into the 20th century.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

HEY BLACK CHILD performed by 3 year old Pe'Tehn

A number of websites, YouTube videos, and comments on YouTube discussion threads indicate that Countee Cullen is the author of the inspirational poem "Hey Black Child". Other websites, YouTube videos, and discussion thread comments attribute that poem to Maya Angelou. However, after reading several online articles and comments I believe that the real author of "Hey Black Child" is Useni Eugene Perkins.

This post showcases the poem "Hey Black Child" and provides information about its author. A YouTube video of three year old Pe’Tehn Raighn-Kem reciting that poem is also included in this post.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, inspirational, purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Useni Eugene Perkins for his cultural legacy. Thanks also to the publisher of this video and thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016


..And beauty is not a need but an ecstasy.
It is not a mouth thirsting nor an empty hand stretched forth,
But rather a heart enflamed and a soul enchanted. 
It is not the image you would see nor the song you would hear,
But rather an image you see though you close your eyes and a song you hear though you shut your ears.

It is not the sap within the furrowed bark, nor a wing attached to a claw,
But rather a garden forever in bloom and a flock of angels for ever in flight.
People of Orphalese, beauty is life when life unveils her holy face.
But you are life and you are the veil.
Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
But you are eternity and you are the mirror. "

~Khalil Gibran~

Monday, September 19, 2016


That Bill Cosby drugged and raped women for sport for many years is not new news. Apparently, the story has floated for years...[Once] a Black male comedian Hannibal Burress ...had the courage to take Cosby to task for his conservative, anti-poor, misogynist respectability rants, people [started] listening again.  

It sucks that folks only believe women were really raped when another man says he believes them, but this demonstrates the importance of male allies. Just last week my intro women’s and gender studies students and I talked about what it means for men to participate in ending rape.

Cliff Huxtable’s progressive gender politics and the show’s overt rhetoric of anti-sexism has struck me in my adult years as decidedly progressive for the time. But it’s a sham. How can a man who is a vicious hater of women get all the rhetoric right, offering up an idealistic view of what a “good, feminist family man,” might look like? It turns out that dudes, or their carefully crafted representatives, can sound right, and seem right, and still be all the way wrong.

It turns out that you can have progressive feminist politics on the outside and still be deeply emotionally damaged and f***ed up on the inside.

And since Bill Cosby is a rapist, his avatar Cliff Huxtable is a representational terrorist, holding us hostage to a Black family that never was. But let him die. Stockholm Syndrome be damned.

I’m reminded of a couple of moments that always struck me as creepy – after Denise got married, Cliff’s character felt compelled to have a conversation with Martin about whether she had been a virgin on their wedding night. Martin assured Cliff that she was “inexperienced.” And on another episode when Vanessa got caught sneaking out...

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Sunday, September 18, 2016


In an age where most blacks have, for decades, rejected "There's only one race the human race," a phrase used by whites to negate racism and I have now personally rejected "Oh my Gawd! We're all black!"  and all variations on this phrase used by light-skinned and dark-skinned black people, both, to negate colorism,I cannot believe I never noticed that four out of the five black actresses playing the central female characters, the female studentswere all mixed race or white except one


So now, I'm wondering what else I've willfully failed to notice going around me in regards to skin color.

To this day, black people do not like to acknowledge that light-skinned black people started moving on up ala the Jeffersons first, before other blacks, once we were all out of slavery.

Hiram Revels
First Black Senator, elected in 1870
Booker T Washington
Tuskeegee University, founded 1881
And the advantages the light-skinned and recently-mixed-race people didn't end a decade, two decades or three decades after slavery. At least it didn't for black women as a woman's worth is judged by beauty and the white aesthetic is still the standard by which we as black women are judged. One hundred years later, it was not a coincidence that so many of our black female civil rights leaders were very pale, though not necessarily of the recently-mixed-race variety.

So now I'm wondering if A Different World wasn't correct. I wonder if it isn't the pale black girls that you see most often at college, even at an HBCU.

In Chimamanda Adiche's book Americanah her main character is at an a prestigious, predominantly white school in the United States.  One of the first comments this black young woman from Africa makes is about how she is practically alone in having the problem of finding somewhere to get her hair braided because the female part of the small black population attend the school are mostly Aisha's with the good straight or 3A hair.  
Once I read Adiche's book, I started wondering if I had failed to notice this in my own life? Black women who look black, those who you don't have to guess about their heritage have been erased from black television and black magazines for decades.

It's normal for me to not see myself in black media. That's pathetic. But it's true. So I wonder if I missed this during my college days, in real life, as well

During my Oh My GAWD We're All Black phase, during my willful INTRAracial colorblindness phase of my teen years at college, I wonder if I was surrounded by a bunch of Aishas With Good Hairs when in black spaces at my predominantly white Ivy League school too. 

I wonder if the reason the black guys mostly went out with light girls (which I most definitely noticed) was because that's mostly what there was to choose from.

It's entirely possible I missed the fact that there was an over abundance of light-skinned and/or recently-mixed chicks at my school. I was as thoroughly trained to not notice skin color between black people as "good" liberal white people are trained to not notice race. And I recall an incident when my home training kicked in and had to be overcome.

I've told this story before: When I was in my twenties, wound up up at a book signing for Terry McMillan that was hosted by a black political/social group in San Francisco.
I made a small joke (not off color, I don't think) to a pale-ish black woman host while standing on line. When she clutched her pearls in response, I was confused for a moment. I thought my individual bad luck that it was Mrs. McSnooty and not someone else who was doing hall monitor duty while I was on line.  But when she walked off, I looked around and realized that I was the only dark-skinned black woman in a room full of black people at a black event.
I'd already been at the event for an hour before I noticed I was the only darky there. And I wouldn't have realized it at all if it hadn't been for that woman's white-racist-type reaction to my having the audacity to speak to her. I would have gone home with a vague feeling of not-belonging at a black event without knowing why.

And not to be too melodramatic, I'd say that's soul damaging. I'd do anything to make sure a black girl child I was raising did not experience this.

I'm thinking of other black places where I was extremely uncomfortable now. 

I don't think I willfully missed being the only  obviously not-recently-mixed black girl visiting a friend in the black dorm. But maybe there was an over-abundance of Aishas-The-Good Hairs there. 

One of the two black sororities on my campus must have literally used the paperbag test to admit members. I remember one light-skinned black girl named Crystal being the most open, friendly sweet girl when I met her freshman year. She still tried to be the same person once indoctrinated into her sorority, but the sororities and frats work hard to isolate their members from other black people. And she did belong to the one black sorority (of two) that was most definitely using a paperbag test to choose its members.  (The Deltas, on the other hand, were mostly dark as I recall)

It's no wonder I have a  hate-love-hate-hate with black sororities and black fraternities to this day. I've read about the nice and constructive reasons that they were formed (none of which admit to mimicking the worst of elite white people)  And I like the idea of the unity that some speak of finding there.  But since I was a child I've thought that being  10 to 13% of the total population ought to be enough of a exclusive club for anybody. And at a predominantly white school, where blacks are probably only 2%  of the population, it damn sure should be enough.  

And I'm not sure I'd have thought elitism and exclusion were better at a 98% to 100% black HBCU either if the movie School Daze is accurate in any way. 

I guess A Different World never got anywhere near the subject of black fraternities and black sororities because it was a comedy. Or maybe Whitley (Jasmine Guy's character) was supposed to personify the rich elitist sorority girl. But sans the group dynamics that didn't really work, not even in the lightest of ways. 

In the end, re-visiting A Different World through a sociological lens has made me realize the obvious. You can't ignore the values of the producer of a television or movie project because they are both reflectors and shapers of our culture. We, as black people, all know this when it comes to white people making television shows and movies about blacks. But we need to know this about black people reflecting and shaping our culture, too.

Bill Cosby's life choices taken together (prior to the rape accusations becoming acknowledged as likely true) 

- ultra pale wife, - his shaming poor black speeches that came later, - regular Playboy Mansion attendance to see mostly naked white chicks,    
- choosing so many recently-mixed race and one white actresses to represent young black women in one of his "black" television shows  

...might mean that a subtle brain-washing is taking place when you watch "A Different World" 

And did Cosby successfully slut shame Lisa Bonet for wanting to do a movie with nudity in it, to the point that she left the Cosby Show and A Different World?

Are black boys that watching "A Different World" and The Cosby Show for that matter, subtly being told that the most desirable black woman is the pale, recently-mixed one?  

  •  Did Cosby also deliberately choose ultra pale actresses to be be his older daughters in so that they would be the ones with love interests explored more in depth? Or did these selections come so naturally to him that he didn't even have to think about it?

Are black girls watching these shows being told they aren't acceptable unless they are Aisha With The Good Hair, looking something like the damn near worshiped, bleached blond Beyonce?

Beyonce is gorgeous and talented. This is true. But is A Different World a piece of the platform that Beyonce stands on right now?

Are there dark-skinned girls we'll never see on a huge forum because we have failed to notice how black people, even INTRAracialy oppressed dark-skinned people, prefer to not notice that we all prefer light people?

We, as black people, know we can't afford to have white people crushing and reforming our images any way they want to. So can we as black people -- especially black women, really afford to not pay attention when black people, whose values we despise, crush and reform our images anyway they want to?

I don't think so.