Never before in modern history have we had a president-elect so ill-informed, ill-tempered, irrational and ill-equipped to deal with the major issues that face this country. The counterintuitive election of Donald Trump has left a lot of political pundits from both parties throwing up their hands, saying, “All we can do is hope for the best.” But as Mark Wahlberg’s character in Deepwater Horizon warns the British Petroleum executives ignoring the oil platform’s numerous problems right before it bursts into flames: “Hope is not a strategy.” And based on the political appointments and nominations Trump has recently made, people of color have little reason to be hopeful. That’s why it’s especially important over the next four years that black celebrities step up and take stances to give voice to those in the black community who will not be heard by the incoming administration. Given that the country is in the throes of a civil rights backlash that threatens to undo the progress we’ve fought so hard to attain, we have to be fearless and relentless in speaking up at every opportunity.
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By Elliot Booker — 4 years ago
Here is a man of great intelligence and wit. A man with a beautiful smile and an equally intelligent and beautiful wife with two lovely children. He is studied with great gifts of oratory and persuasion that placed him in the most visible seat of power that the world has known, President of the United States of America. As the first person of color to win the presidency, he has endured a delicate dance of protecting the dominant institutions of the American empire while attempting to give continued hope that the arc of American life will bend toward justice, if we believe in them and trust that the outcomes are good even if they are not perfect.
This is a laborious job in most circumstances. The attempt to direct a country of 300 million people of various backgrounds that the narrative of American exceptionalism, unquestioned moral good, and the possibility of economic advance is open to all, but to do so when you have inherited a great recession and a bungled invasion seems to tilt the balance into the impossible. However, this was a challenge he willingly sought because of his belief that he could navigate us through with his abundant abilities.
Obama entered with a sense of post-racial hysteria fanned by both the corporate press and his own electoral team and administration. His task in the area of racial politics was to make us all believe we shared a common destiny from a history forged through different experiences but still with common values and goals. His technique was to avoid saying anything about black people. He could openly support policies for the other segments of the population, but for us he let his swag speak for him. This was policy enough; with of course the added boot-strap language the black community always gets. He seemed to believe for a time that his mere presence was a fulfilment of racial togetherness as oppose to being the right person at the right time to fill a position.
When racial issues began arising first on the campaign trail with his former pastor Rev. Wright and then after his election with the arrest of historian Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Obama began refining what has become his signature style of racial discourse. He attempted to explain the grievances that blacks and whites have with each other, including assessing the competing interest of being Black and being a police officer who controls black bodies. He used a balanced grievance approach. He attempted to guide us through our troubles by informing us what each group has been experiencing. In this way we could understand where the other side was coming from. He believed that his is extraordinary gifts of speech would serve us all in the impossible task he took on of explaining away history as opposed to examining it.
His most heroic attempts have been wistful sonnets about the American political will to address and overcome strife. He treats us all to post-modernist arguments that there is no right and there is no wrong, just perspectives. The juxtaposition Obama gives us is of two aggrieved groups who must find a middle way. The sweet sounds make us pause in our tracks, until anyone with even a cursory knowledge of American history notices that we are not two sides who are missing each other for lack of a mediator to help us understand. Mr. Obama is a wonderful painter of images, except the canvas is made of crushed bones and grinded flesh.
Mr. Obama did not create the world he inherited, as he has pointed out, but he does embrace its fabric and texture. He will not lift the veil to serve a larger purpose, but hopes only to use his charisma to keep the lid on and hopes that things begin to settle down. There is no deconstructing of the American identity, instead we must suspend truth for the continued unity of the empire.
Black people are asked to pretend that the police and the larger white male population is somehow an aggrieved group worthy of comparison to the Black experience in America. Obama attempts to sell us such feeble arguments that compares the historical loss of millions of lives, culture, language, and land to that of a slightly diminished white-male historical dominance. The enslavement, rape, lynching and mass incarceration of a people later herded into ghettoes, with no collective control over institutions that govern them is compared to lower middle class white-male economic stagnation. The current taking of Black lives with a “shoot first” mentality, that encourages purposeful and mistaken shootings by the police, will never be punished by judicial institutions because there is always a justification. He had a wallet or a candy bar that looked like a gun. She was assertive, he moved to fast, he moved to slow. Her eyes darted, he looked like he was dangerous, sometimes these things happen. The collective control of black bodies by state institutions through prison, schools, healthcare, workfare, child services and policing is somehow comparable to the angst of diminished white male demographics on the scales.
Obama who has not attended the funeral of any black person killed by the police, as that would send the wrong message to such militarized institutions will continue to make sure the agencies that have control over black bodies are given due respect, that proper remorse is paid. The structures of white supremacy and racism will always have an excuse that needs to be considered when black bodies fall, but no excuse will ever be allowed for the shooter of anyone who is wearing blue. Even though the recent shootings against the police were committed, not by activists and or community people but, by people trained by the US government. The same government that claims to deplore violence at home will take no responsibility for blow-back when it trains, teach and desensitize 18-year-olds to kill anyone they decide is an enemy to the US in foreign lands.
The oppressed understand however that Presidents and media institutions that speak of shared grief, that give us community forums seeking mutual understanding, that highlight hand-pick leaders with only staged arrest records, are no more than holders of the flame for continued outside control Black communities and people. New Sharpton’s for a new era.
The post-war, post-recession post-racial presidential warrior will not be able to deliver on ending inherited U.S. wars, on diverting resources to improve economic conditions in black (or white) communities or on improving the racial climate. That should not be taken as a failure but a mismanaged attempt to keep the status-quo functioning while selling us on lovely words of hope and change. Obama’s presidency was never supposed to be the end of war or economic inequity or racial conflict but a better managed system after the previous disaster of Bush.
The job was too big however because the lie of equal grievance was too big. The purposeful misguiding of people on the historical and current purpose of white supremacy being a malfunction of American history as oppose to the root of American history was way too big to manage. In the twilight of his presidency I am sure he can see the threads coming apart, leaving a talented man of great gifts, that could have been used in service to his community and the larger world as little more than a care-taker of a crumbling empire that a few beer summits and sentimental sweet words could not overcome.Post Views: 790
By Elliot Booker — 4 years ago
Left to Right: Malik Shabazz, Amy Jenkins, and Roussan Etienne. Jr. presenting arguments before the Board of Elections
Washington, DC — DC’s Mayor Bowser, Council Member Anita Bonds, and DC’s Attorney General Racine, have not shown support for the proposed Recovery Act for Living Descendants of American Slaves, which does not depend on government funding, and seeks compensation from former entities that used slave labor or participated in slavery.
DC’s Attorney General, went further last week and filed an opposition to have the proposed DC Recovery Act to be on the ballot for voters to determine if it should become law.
At the Board of Election Hearing last week, African American leaders, John Cheeks and Jerry Owens of the United States Citizens Recovery Initiative Alliance (USCRIA.Com) Attorney Malik Z. Shabazz, Amy Jenkins, and others, in a capacity filled room, spoke in support of the proposed law, also supported by Congressman John Conyers though he did not attend; in attempts to have the Board’s approval for the proposed law to be placed on the ballot.
Malik Shabazz Esq of Black Lawyers for Justice stated, “We hope that all barriers are soon crossed so to clear a path for his [ for Mr. Cheeks] referendum to be placed on the ballot for 2018.”
Amy Jenkins, “The DC Recovery Act attempts to make whole living descendants of African American slaves, and for this we will fight for recovery under the DC Recovery Act.” She pointed out that the Constitution was created by white men who favored land owners and themselves and did not allow Africans to vote.
Jerry Owens: “The DC Recovery Act is indeed the rising tide that will lift all ships,”
After hearing supporters, the Board Chairman determined a decision was not to be made at this Hearing because of concerns by board members and the Attorney General, the Act may be unlawful. The Board gave Mr. Cheeks and his counsel time to submit a brief defending the legality of the proposed law to be placed on the ballot.
DC Mayor and DC Council Members are also out of step with Mr. Cheeks efforts in the courts to improve contracting opportunities for African Americans, by ending a 20-year virtual monopoly of District road construction contacts by alleged racketeering Fort Myer’s construction companies controlled by the Rodrigues-Shrensky families.
Cheeks’ attempts, in Court, to open bidding on road construction contracts to fair and open competition which would need procurement reform, that would allow African Americans opportunities to obtain District construction contracts has not had the support of the Mayor, and Council Member Anita Bonds, despite the fact Mr. Cheeks publicly stated a sizeable amount of Court settlement proceeds would be used to assist African Americans and others in the District of Columbia.
Both of these African American elected officials appear to have ties and loyalty to Fort Myer even though Fort Myer was to pay $900,000 for discrimination “which resulted in lower wages for African Americans and harassment of minorities” according to the Department of Labor.
Mayor Bowser recently demonstrated her loyalty to Fort Myer, when she allegedly had two government employees fired who refused to give contracts to Fort Myer, according to Court documents filed by the employees. City Council Member, Mary Cheh initiated and is continuing investigative hearings behind closed doors concerning the Mayor’s involvement
Further exacerbating African American unemployment in the city, the Mayor has not enforced legislation requiring Fort Myer‘s companies to hire required amounts of Washington, DC employees, which would likely be African Americans. Only a small fraction of Fort Myer’s labor is from DC, most are from Maryland and Virginia.
Both Mayor Bowser and Anita Bonds are on public record of receiving sizeable campaign donations from Fort Myer. Anita Bonds is also a former executive of Fort Myer.
It appears African American elected officials are at odds with African American leaders and may have differing objectives, in pursuing social progress for African Americans.
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By Elliot Booker — 2 years ago
“Time for an Awakening” for Sunday 05/27/2018 at 7:00 PM (EST) 6:00 PM (CST) was Open Forum conversation with the listeners on this weeks hot topics, among them was the Congressional Black Caucus support of HR 5638 the “Protect and Serve Act of 2018. How can their support of police and a “Blue Lives Matter” bill, represent the wishes of their constituents, the Black community?
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