America’s shadow war in Africa

The U.S. has deployed at least 1,500 troops to the Sahel and sub-Saharan regions, with little public debate and what experts call an unclear strategy.


Soldiers carrying remains are pictured. | AP Photo

America’s little-known war on terrorists in Africa is becoming more perilous as the U.S. deploys growing numbers of troops to the continent’s most lawless regions, including the part of Niger where four special operations soldiers died in an ambush last week.

The escalation is occurring with little public debate — and, some military experts say, too little attention from top decision-makers in Washington. The U.S. military presence in the Sahel and sub-Saharan regions has grown to at least 1,500 troops, roughly triple the official number of American troops in Syria, according to Pentagon and White House figures.

As with Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, the dispatch of hundreds of additional U.S. troops to countries like Niger, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Uganda and South Sudan is another instance where President Donald Trump’s “America First” rhetoric hasn’t kept his administration from being drawn deeper into far-flung war zones. And the U.S. lacks a comprehensive strategy for pursuing its mission in Africa, military and intelligence experts told POLITICO.

“I don’t think there is any congressional oversight in this,” said Michael Shurkin, a former CIA analyst specializing in Africa who is now a researcher at the Rand Corp., a Pentagon-funded think tank.

He also pointed to vacancies in top policymaking posts in the State and Defense departments, saying they’ve left military operations such as Africa Command and its special operations component “pretty much doing their own thing.”

“It is not that there is a good policy or bad policy,” Shurkin said. “There is just no policy. It is inertia.”

Last week’s deadly attack has thrust into the limelight a series of dangerous military deployments that normally receive scant attention compared with the far larger military missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A central focus of the mission is the vast desert nation of Niger, nearly twice the size of Texas, which has been a magnet for jihadists of many stripes, including those recruited locally and so-called foreign fighters drawn from North Africa, the Middle East and beyond.

In June, the official number of U.S. troops supporting Niger’s military as it fights the militant groups was 645, up from 575 in December 2016. But now it’s at least 800, according to the Pentagon.

Many of the troops are Green Berets, Navy SEALs and Marine Raiders, but officials said the reinforcements have mostly been Air Force personnel who are there to manage a surge in surveillance flights by unmanned drones and manned spy planes.

That’s a significant jump from the 100 troops that then-President Barack Obama deployed to Niger in 2013, notes a new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, the research arm of Congress. “This trend has coincided with sizable increases in U.S. security assistance for African countries over the past decade, of which Niger has been a major beneficiary.”

Plans are also underway to accommodate more forces, including $50 million that the Air Force requested to construct an air strip in the northern city of Agadez, considered one of the most volatile areas of the country.

The U.S. military presence has also been expanding elsewhere in the region.

As of June, another 300 U.S. troops were operating in neighboring Cameroon, up from 285 in December, according to the White House notifications to Congress required under the War Powers Act.

A Pentagon spokeswoman, Maj. Audricia Harris, confirmed the increase in American troops in Niger but did not respond to inquiries about more up-to-date U.S. troop levels elsewhere in the region.

U.S. intelligence has warned in recent months about the growing Islamic militant threat in the region that stretches from Mali in the northwest to South Sudan and Uganda in East Africa — and a number of countries in between.

“In North and West Africa, al-Qa’ida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) escalated its attacks on Westerners in 2016 with two high-profile attacks in Burkina Faso and Cote d’lvoire,” Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, reported to Congress in May. “It merged with allies in 2017 to form a new group intended to promote unity among Mali-based jihadists, extend the jihad beyond the Sahara and Sahel region, increase military action, and speed up recruitment of fighters.”

Current and former military officials say the distinction between advising and combat is blurring as U.S. troops expand their footprint and increase the patrols they conduct in terrorist sanctuaries alongside local allies.

“You’re damn right they’re in harm’s way,” said a former military officer with direct knowledge of the Africa operations who was not authorized to speak publicly, “because we are accompanying the indigenous forces and those forces are fighting an active, thinking enemy there.”

The level of danger to U.S. troops had been on display even before the deadly ambush in Niger last week.

Rep. Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations Subcommittee, said after the attack that “this was the first attack on U.S. forces on the ground in Niger.”

But two military officers — one current and one former — with direct knowledge of the operations in Niger told POLITICO that troops had previously been injured by an improvised explosive device or mine, though it remains unclear whether Americans were deliberately targeted in that incident.

The ill-fated patrol last week was an Expeditionary Forces mission, in a part of the country where troops are trying to hunt down and disrupt convoys of smugglers who travel through Niger’s open brush land from Mali and Chad to Libya carrying arms and terrorist funds. It is one of several areas in the broader Lake Chad Basin where advisers accompany the Expeditionary Forces and other local units.

While the Americans “stay back from actual raid,” the former military officer related, sometimes advisers have been under fire.

“We would go to the last covered and concealed spot” when going along with partner forces on a combat mission and then stay back from the actual raid, the former military source said. “But of course there’s no concealment out there” in an arid landscape with little vegetation to hide behind.

But as the military effort ramps up, so have concerns that the Trump administration lacks a comprehensive strategy for the region. Such a strategy would also emphasize more non-military tools such as economic aid and cooperation with allies to strengthen democratic institutions in some of the world’s poorest nations.

“There is a tendency to militarize things by deferring to the military,” Shurkin said, adding that the military effort “should be part of a larger strategy that will include other types of assistance.”

“You will end up with this piecemeal approach — focused on military stuff but in a very narrow way,” he added, noting that the U.S. military is only training a few elite units in these nations.

A senior State Department official on Wednesday told Congress that the administration is seeking to do more to assist countries hardest hit by the scourge of terrorist groups.

Donald Yamamoto, an acting assistant secretary of state, told a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee that the the administration’s $5.2 billion foreign aid budget next year will give priority to Mali, Nigeria and other African nations where Islamic terrorist groups have gained strength.

He called promoting these fragile states “a critical priority for the United States in Africa.”

But Congress received a warning last week that the larger U.S. military presence, along with that of other allies like the French, may already be angering local populations prone to the jihadist message.

“The growing foreign military footprint in the country appears to have fed a local backlash against both the government and Western countries,” the Congressional Research Service report said.

“One risk is that it is ineffectual and we are wasting money,” Shurkin said of the African counterterrorism mission. “We can also make things worse. Mucking around you bound to inflame things, exacerbate problems. We have no idea who these people are, which could be very, very dangerous.”

Army Lt. Gen. Kenneth Tovo, who oversees all Army special operations forces, pledged in an address Wednesday to the Association of the United States Army in Washington to get to the bottom of what happened to the troops killed in Niger last week.

“I think we owe that to the American people, we owe that to the mothers, fathers, and wives of the fallen, to look critically from every echelon to see if we can do our job better,” Tovo said. “I think it highlights the fact that really every mission around the world that we’re undertaking has got elements of risk.”

Both military sources with knowledge of the Niger operations questioned just how much the missions are accomplishing.

“I would be hesitant to say we and the Nigeriens are having significant effects in that part of Niger up near Mali,” said the former officer.

“We’re having an effect,” he added. “Is it going to win the war? No, because the war will never end.

“Time for an Awakening” with Bro. Elliott, guest Attorney Malik Zulu Shabazz

“Time for an Awakening” for Sunday 10/15/2017 at 7:00 PM guest was Attorney, Organizer, Founder of Black Lawyers for Justice, Malik Zulu Shabazz. In this time of mass gentrification, police terror, and racist onslaughts by white terror organizations against the Black community and individuals, we are in a “State of Black Emergency”. It’s time for effective operational unity among Black Organizations for the welfare of our community, we talked about this and other topics with our guest, Attorney Shabazz.

It’s been 50 years since Britain left. Why are so many African judges still wearing wigs?

Zimbabwean judges wear long red robes and horsehair wigs, a throwback to an era of British co­lo­ni­al­ism, in Harare in January. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP)
September 17 at 10:18 PM

The British gave up their last colonies in Africa half a century ago. But they left their wigs behind.

Not just any wigs. They are the long, white, horsehair locks worn by high court judges (and King George III). They are so old-fashioned and so uncomfortable, that even British barristers have stopped wearing them.

But in former British colonies — Kenya, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Malawi and others — they live on, worn by judges and lawyers. Now, a new generation of African jurists is asking: Why are the continent’s most prominent legal minds still wearing the trappings of the colonizers?

It’s not just a question of aesthetics. The wigs and robes are perhaps the most glaring symbol of colonial inheritance at a time when that history is being dredged up in all sorts of ways. This year, Tanzanian President John Magufuli described a proposed free-trade agreement with Europe as a “form of colonialism.” In Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe still refers to the British as “thieving colonialists.”

In June, the premier of the Western Cape province of South Africa was suspended from her party after writing on Twitter that modern health care was a colonial contribution.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has sparred with Britain for decades and denounces the West for what he calls a neo-colonial attitude, but he has a soft spot for a traditional etiquette and a dress code in the courts that even Britain has partly dropped. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP)

The relics of colonialism are scattered across the continent. There are the queen’s namesakes: Victoria Falls north of Zimbabwe; Lake Victoria, bordering three countries in eastern Africa; Victoria Island in Nigeria. There is the left-lane driving, the cricket, the way public education is organised (not organized).

Most cities and streets have received new names since European rule ended. In 2013, Mugabe officially rebaptized Victoria Falls “Mosi Oa Tunya,” or “the smoke that thunders” in the Kololo language.

Yet the wig survives, along with other relics of the colonial courtroom: red robes, white bows, references to judges as “my lord” and “my lady.”

In nearly every former British colony, op-eds have been written and speeches made about why the wig ought to be removed. In Uganda, the New Vision newspaper conducted an investigation into the cost of the wigs, reporting that each one cost $6,500. In Ghana, a prominent lawyer, Augustine Niber, argued that removing wigs would reduce the “intimidation and fear that often characterize our courtrooms.”

One of the editors of the Nigerian Lawyer blog wrote that wigs weren’t made for the sweltering Lagos heat, where lawyers wilted under their garb. “The culture that invented wig and gown is different from our own and the weather is different,” Unini Chioma wrote.

Increasingly, though, opponents of the colonial outfit aren’t just arguing against inconvenience but against a tradition that African judiciaries appear to be embracing. Britain’s “colonial courts,” which preceded independence, were sometimes brutal. In response to Kenya’s Mau Mau rebellion in the 1950s, for example, the wigged white judges sentenced more than 1,000 people to death for conspiring against colonial rule.

“The colonial system used law as [an] instrument of repression, and we’re still maintaining this tradition without questioning it,” said Arnold Tsunga, director of the Africa program at the International Commission of Jurists. “It’s a disgrace to the modern courts of Africa.”

Counsel Olukoya Ogungbeje speaks outside a courtroom after a suspected kidnap kingpin was arraigned at the Lagos State High Court on Aug. 30. (Pius Utomi Ekpei /AFP/Getty Images)

In Kenya, former chief justice Willy Mutunga appealed to remove the wigs from the courtroom, arguing that they were a foreign imposition, not a Kenyan tradition. He swapped the traditional British red robes for ­“Kenyanized” green and yellow ones. He called the wigs “dreadful.”

But that outlook wasn’t shared by many Kenyan judges and lawyers, who saw the wigs and robes as their own uniforms, items that elevate a courtroom, despite — or because of — their colonial links.

“It was met with consternation from within the bench and the bar,” said Isaac Okero, president of the Law Society of Kenya.

Okero is a defender of the wig and the robe, and argues that they represent more than a British tradition, but something that distinguishes the country’s judges.

“I don’t feel at all that it has any negative connotation of colonialism. It has risen beyond that. It is a tradition of the Kenyan bar,” he said.

This year, Kenya’s new chief justice, David Maraga, has indicated that he wants to revert to the colonial traditions. During his swearing-in ceremony, he wore a long white wig and the British-style red robe. Many Kenyans were perplexed.

“It was his rather peculiar outfit that would send a resounding message to Kenyans,” said a broadcaster on KTN, one of the country’s most popular news channels. “It’s back to the old days.”

In Zimbabwe, still ruled by vehement anti-colonialist Mugabe, the wigs are perhaps most mystifying. Why would a man who stripped white farmers of their land, who railed against the name of Victoria Falls, allow an archaic judicial tradition to remain in place?

Some analysts say that the policy reveals something about Mugabe, the closet Anglophile, a fan of Dickens who once said cricket “civilizes people and creates good gentlemen.”

But Tsunga says that the rationale is more insidious.

“We are seeing post-independence African states trying to maintain these symbols of power and authority in the belief that it will help entrench themselves,” he said.

The curly horsehair wigs have been used in court since the 1600s, during the reign of Charles II, when they became a symbol of the British judicial system. Some historians say they were initially popularized by France’s King Louis XIV, who was trying to conceal his balding head.

By the 18th century, they were meant to distinguish judges and lawyers — and other members of the upper crust. Enter the word “bigwig” into the lexicon.

Other countries in the British Commonwealth, such as Australia and Canada, also inherited the wigs and robes but have moved toward removing them from courtrooms. An Australian chief justice last year demanded that barristers remove their wigs before addressing her.

“The abolition of wigs is all part of the progression towards a modern way,” said the chief justice, Marilyn Warren.

This year in Britain, the House of Commons lifted the requirement that clerks, who are experts in parliamentary law, wear wigs. John Bercow, the speaker, said the change would promote a “marginally less stuffy and forbidding image of this chamber.”

But aside from the wigs, African courts have adapted to a post-colonial context. New constitutions have been written. A new generation of judges has emerged. Even though some judiciaries have bent to political pressure, new legal systems are rooted in British common law but shaped by the traditions and cultures of their own countries.

In Kenya this month, the Supreme Court annulled the recent presidential election, a bold display of judicial independence that infuriated the sitting president.

In the Nairobi courtroom where the ruling was delivered, several lawyers wore their powdered wigs. Behind the bench, a row of men and women in red robes presided.

Maraga sat down before speaking, the sleeves of his black robe hanging over the bench.

“The greatness of a nation lies in its fidelity to its constitution,” he said, “and a strict adherence to the rule of law.”



Time for an Awakening with Bro. Elliott, guest Dr. Jared Ball

“Time For An Awakening” special guest for Sunday 08/27/2017 at 7:00 PM (EST) was Author, Lecturer, Professor of Media and Africana Studies at Morgan State University, Dr. Jared A. Ball. With reports that say Black America has more than $1 trillion in annual spending power, what does this say about the nature of capitalism or is this media propaganda?  Dr. ball joined us to discuss what he asserts is” The Myth of Black Buying Power”.

If you truly knew what the N-word meant to our ancestors, you’d NEVER use it. It was used and still can be used to make us hate ourselves




A few years ago, I read slave narratives to explore the lives of black agricultural workers after the end of the Civil War. The narratives came from the Federal Writers Project of the Works Progress Administration, a program that employed researchers from 1936 to 1938 to interview former enslaved people, producing more than 2,300 narratives that, thankfully, reside online and are fully searchable.

Those whom the law defined as property recounted various unique human experiences — their daily horrors and monotonies, how they freed themselves or learned of their emancipation, the surge of exhilaration upon securing freedom, and how they endured life on the edges of a white supremacist society in the decades thereafter.

As I pored over the narratives, I was struck less by their experiences, as heartrending as they were, than by how their experiences sculpted their self-perceptions. The best explanation of what I gleaned, what social scientists called internalized oppression, describes the psychological trauma that ensues when a person from a stigmatized group believes those negative stigmas.

White folk indoctrinated them into accepting their supposed inferiority. These narratives illustrate the success of this campaign of mental terrorism, and no word conveyed the depth of this internalized oppression more than “nigger.” Now, whenever I hear the epithet, a visual and emotional representation of the heinous process by which a people — my people — were induced to think they were less than trespasses into my thoughts. After years of habitual use of “nigger,” I banished it from my speech to honor the humanity that many never saw in themselves.

The internalized oppression revealed itself in various ways. Sometimes the former enslaved people clearly, perhaps subconsciously, considered themselves subhuman, just like how their former owners regarded them. Jim Allen, for example, dubbed himself his master’s “pet nigger boy” and a “stray” and thought himself privileged because he could sleep on the floor beside his master’s bed. That he likened himself to a fortunate mangy mutt or frisky feline crushed me. The word laid bare a worldview that held black folk as a lower order of being, as when Irene Robertson claimed her former master Mr. Sanders was mean, in part, because “he beat his wife like he beat a nigger woman.”

“Nigger” also signaled antipathy toward fellow black folk. After the end of slavery, Mattie Mooreman went north to Wisconsin with a white family for whom she worked. Members of the family wanted her to go to the circus to watch a black boy’s performance. She told her interviewer, “Guess they thought it would be a treat to me to see another niggah. I told ’em, ‘Law, don’t you think I see lots, lots more than I wants, every day when I is at home?’ ” But read how she talks about the family’s baby, whom she constantly watched over, fearing, irrationally, someone would kidnap him: “No matter what time they come home they’d find me there. ‘Why don’t you go in your bedroom and lie down?’ they’d ask me. ‘No,’ I’d tell ’em, ‘somebody might come in, and they would have to get that baby over my dead body.” Her eyes fixated on the white baby, but she saw too many niggers.

A barrage of dispiriting uses of the word bloodied me as I combed through the narratives. “The Ku Klux kept the niggers scared.” “The Ku Klux did a whole lot to keep the niggers away from the polls. …” Slaves owned by “nice” masters are repeatedly called “free niggers.” “Niggers ain’t got no sense. Put ’em in authority and they gits so uppity.” “I’se just a poor old nigger waitin’ for Jesus to come and take me to heaven.” Slave traders are called “nigger traders.” Defiant enslaved people required the service of a “niggerbreaker.” “Nigger dogs” aided the recapture of those who escaped.

Perhaps more depressing, ironically, was that circumstances sometimes led them to opt against calling a black person a nigger. William Porter stated that “some of the Tennessee niggers was called free niggers. There was a colored man in Pulaski, Tennessee, who owned slaves.” A black man who kept others in bondage — he’s a “colored man,” yet those who were owned were “niggers.” I instantly thought of a moment from the O.J.: Made in America documentary when a white woman who saw black people talking to Simpson uttered, “Look at those niggers sitting with O.J.” Simpson delights in hearing this because she “knew I wasn’t black. She saw me as O.J.” Porter’s outlook matched that of both the racist white woman and the unspeakably racially deranged O.J.

Since reading those narratives, I’ve noticed this mindset when perusing the remarks of freed people in other contexts. For example, before the trial of Rufus Martin, a black man who stood accused of the 1903 murder of Charles Swackhammer, a woman whom the Fort Worth Star-Telegram referred to as an “old negress who occupied a front seat in the court room” bellowed:

It’s the white people that is to blame. They know that they got to make niggahs work or they ain’t no good and they know as long as they ‘low niggah men to loaf aroun’ low down saloons they ain’t goin’ to work. This man come from a good niggah fam’ly — one of the best I knows of, but the p’lice ‘lowed him to loaf aroun’ without workin’, and to drink and gamble, till he just got to be no good and thought he didn’t have to work. The p’lice ought to raid them low down niggah saloons every day and every night till they make every blessed one of the niggah toughs go to work or else send ’em all to the county road. Them saloons is what makes bad niggahs and the white folks is to blame for it, ’cause they let ’em run.

That Martin sported a reddish mustache, light hair and skin so bright he could pass for white almost certainly colored her perception that Martin came from a “good niggah fam’ly.”

Black folk rescued the word from the smoldering debris of a virulently racist land, reclaimed it and renovated the slur into a celebration of black comradery — defenders of contemporary usage of “nigger” repeat this. When this tale collides with reality, however, it shatters as a misreading of history — the current use of the word is owed less to white folk calling black folk “nigger” and more to black folk who thought they were niggers and said so. Black people have hurled the infamous word for nearly as long as white folk have. It exists within black speech now because it existed within black speech then. The uncomfortable truth must be confronted: Absent the internalized oppression of those who called white men and women their masters, “nigger” would probably not be a part of black folk’s lexicon. We black folk are reclaiming it not from bigoted white folk but from our ancestors, who, sadly, deemed their blackness a badge of inferiority.

I seek not to usher the word to the gallows. I harbor no aims to kill it. I can still bump a Young Thug track or chortle at a Dave Chappelle routine. “Nigger” does not bar my enjoyment of popular culture. My soul, though, winces whenever I hear it. The decision for black people to include it in their vocabulary, nonetheless, remains personal, and I reject the criticism of black folk who continue to wield it.

I write only to summon the words of former enslaved people from beyond the grave to express that “nigger” is haunted by the ghosts of hate and the more spiritually chilling ghosts of self-hate.

Brando Simeo Starkey is an associate editor at The Undefeated and the author of In Defense of Uncle Tom: Why Blacks Must Police Racial Loyalty. He crawled through a river of books and came out brilliant on the other side.

“Proof of Consciousness” (P.O.C) the Host of REVIVE!!! 7/02/2017

Today’s REVIVE show topic is entitled:

“Independently knowing the difference.”


#Freedom #FourthOfJuly 


I need you all to be apart of the conversation!



It would be amazing to hear your perspective. So please call in we want to hear what you guys out there have to say always. Once again this show is for the people. We here at REVIVE thrive off of communication. So call us at (215)490-9832. This episode of REVIVE will be an open forum so all perspectives can be heard through great conversation.

This episode on REVIVE is entitled “Independently knowing the difference.” This discussion will focus on the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, what it truly means to be free, and the differences between independence and freedom.Join us as we discuss this different hot topic it would be amazing to hear your perspective.


Bumi Fernandez: Bumi Fernandez is the CEO of  ODUNDE, Inc. is a world-renowned cultural organization whose mission is to serve the need for cultural enrichment in the African American community. In October 2011, she created ODUNDE365 to provide year round African and African-American cultural programming in schools, community centers and public venues. Currently these programs have impacted the lives of thousands of people. She’s the owner of BUMI Productions, an event planning company. Her dedication to cultural awareness and expression has dominated her  professional life.

Brother Khabyr Hadas: Khabyr Hadas is an alumni of Cheyney University and has been a community organizer and educator for over 25 years. He is the author of several books including Black Nationalist Guideline and many more. Brother Khabyr is the former Minister of Education at the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African communities league also known as UNIA-ACL. And he is the host of The Red, Black & Green: restoring confidence and self-reliance internet radio broadcast.

Maimouna Dia: Maimouna Dia is a youth leader with the Philadelphia Community of Leaders. Maimouna is also the project manager for the apparel company “What’s Up African” which is famous for their “Hella Black Hella Proud “ Tees.

Bigga Dre: Bigga Dre has a large background of community service he is also a hip-hop artist. He is a native of Chester, PA.  Bigga Dre is well known for what he does with the youth in his community taking part in many youth mentoring programs. He is also a public speaker and community organizer. His musical style is undeniably unique and it appeals to all types of listeners — ranging from those who love raw Hip-Hop to those who only vibe with highly-conscious “God-Hop.”


It would be amazing to hear your perspective. So please call in we want to hear what you guys the listening audience out there have to say always. Once again this show is for the people. We here at REVIVE thrive off of communication. So call us at (215)490-9832  & follow on Twitter and Facebook @REVIVE_POC !



Why do we need data to tell us what black people have been saying for years?

A mural of Alton Sterling is seen as people gather during a vigil at the Triple S Food Mart after the US Justice Department announced they will not charge two police officers in the 2016 fatal shooting of Alton Sterling, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, May 2, 2017.

 Much to my chagrin, my mother loves telling the story, when I was about 4, of when my exasperated Aunt Annie Mae asked me why I talked so much. Apparently, without missing a beat, I shot right back, “Cause I got a lot to say!”
Much to my mother’s chagrin, I was a pretty precocious kid, always asking questions. Hard to believe, right? Good training, I guess.

One day I violated my mother’s direction to “stay out of grown folk’s business,” and inquired, “Why do they need a study for THAT?”

I can vividly remember one of the adults saying to me, “Son, white folk need data.”

I guess I sort of understood what he was saying to me at that tender age, but every time I see another study highlighting the drama that black folk have to navigate almost daily, I remember his words: White folk need data.

Well, in case you still didn’t know, after all the random stops and officer-involved deaths of black men, women and children caught on tape, police officers are significantly less respectful and consistently ruder toward black motorists than they are toward white drivers.

I could tell you I know this because I’ve been black my whole life and I’ve had my share of run-ins with cops, or I could tell you I know this because my black family and friends have also been black their entire lives, and many of them have had similar experiences.

But, alas, the research has finally been completed by scientists at Stanford University to confirm what we have known for years and have a preponderance of evidence to prove.

But … white folk need data.

Well, here it is. What now?

The Stanford study, “Language from police body camera footage shows racial disparities in officer respect,” is hardly earth-shattering.

Does it really matter that utterances spoken to white fellow citizens are consistently more respectful? Does it really matter that black folk are often told to keep their hands on the steering wheel and white drivers are greeted with, “Sorry to stop you…”?

Does it really matter that this data comes from officers wearing body cameras —so, they know they’re being filmed and they still do it? Does it really matter that black folk have been sharing these stories for years? Does it really matter to all the black citizens who ended up catching a case and having a police record over an altercation with a cop that escalated from disrespectful or inhumane treatment during a routine traffic stop? Does it really matter to the ones who are no longer here to tell their side of the story?

I’m not naive, but I do look forward to the day when the data won’t be so sacrosanct, as if black truthtelling cannot be trusted. I look forward to the day when the decency, dignity and humanity of black lives will be given the same high regard as that of white lives in America. And not just by police officers, but by all fellow citizens to all fellow citizens.

What is breaking news to some, is heartbreaking news to others. Research is pivotal, but respect is paramount.

To read more Click or Copy link:


Tune in to be apart of the conversation on 3/26/17 @ 11 am-1 pm as we discuss self realization & what it really means to be a woman!  

To listen to the show live Click or Copy link below:

African-American gun club says membership surged in Trump era

More African-Americans appear to be taking an active interest in their right to bear arms since the election of President Donald Trump, gun club leaders and firearm sellers say.

A national African-American gun club has doubled its membership since Election Day, and gun sellers say they’ve noticed more black customers buying firearms.
At Stoddard’s Range and Guns in Atlanta, one thunderous clap after another reverberates through the room, mixing with laughter and the smell of gunpowder. A group of men are bonding over a hobby they love. Moments later, their weapons empty and a stream of hot shell casings on the floor around them, each man holds up his target showing clusters of bullet holes.
 They are members of the National African American Gun Association, a group that has added 9,000 members since Election Day, said Philip Smith, the group’s national president. The group launched on Feb. 28, 2015, and added 4,285 members over the same time period the year before, between Nov. 2015 and Feb. 2016.
“I’d be lying to you if I said Donald Trump hasn’t affected our numbers,” Smith said. “They have jumped off the roof.”

‘You know what, let me get a gun just in case’

In 2008, overall gun sales surged after President Obama’s election. Weapons dealers attributed the increased sales to fears that Obama and a Democratic-controlled Congress would move to restrict gun ownership. In contrast, overall sales of guns and ammo dipped immediately following Trump’s election.
NAAGA leaders say that the recent increase in their membership is driven by different concerns. One of the group’s newest chapters formed in response to the election result, launching just weeks after Nov. 9, and now counting 66 members.
A man practices his marksmanship skills at the Metro Shooting Supplies range in 2014 in a suburban St. Louis store near Ferguson, Missouri.

Dickson Amoah, the chapter’s president, said several members were alarmed byattacks on African-Americans at Trump’s campaign rallies and hateful rhetoric from Trump supporters on social media. That motivated them to organize the new chapter, he said.
Smith cited the recent rise in the number of hate groups in the United States as one factor in NAAGA’s growth. “I think the main thing that has really changed is that two years ago, fringe groups were just that: fringe groups,” he said. “But now those fringe groups are kind of like, ‘It’s cool to be racist,’ and they’ve taken that and we — our community sees that, and it scares us. You know what, let me get a gun just in case something happens, just to make sure.”

A more diverse clientele

Several gun store owners also said they have noticed a shift in their clientele.
Junior Joseph, the owner of a gun shop near a black community in Orlando, Florida, said for years most of his customers were white men. But since the election, he said he has been making more sales to black and Latino shoppers. Kevin Jones, a gun dealer in Ohio, said he had also seen more black customers coming in, particularly older women.
Not every gun store has seen this kind of trend. At one shop in Virginia, a clerk said they’ve seen more women shopping for guns, but hadn’t noticed an increase in African-American buyers.
Justin Clyde, the manager of Stoddard’s in Atlanta, said the perception of typical gun buyers continues to change. “Your normal response was probably gonna be, you know, 40-year-old plus white guy,” Clyde said. “It’s not the case at all. Here in Atlanta we have a large demographic of different people, and it’s a wonderful thing. Our store, we see huge groups of people that, you know, don’t fit that mold, don’t fit the normal, I guess, stereotype, and it’s a lot of fun. It makes it more fun, more dynamic, and it’s pretty cool.”

A fraught history

Rates of African-American gun ownership have typically been lower than those among whites. In 2013, 21% of black households said they had a gun, compared to 46% of non-Hispanic white households, according to the Pew Research Center. In 2014, 19% of black households reported owning a gun, compared to 41% of non-Hispanic white households.
While Smith’s group of NAAGA members was hanging out at Stoddard’s, about a dozen other African-Americans not affiliated with the group passed in and out, both men and women. A group of older patrons started talking about how buying and owning a gun wasn’t always an option for African-Americans.
When Martin Luther King Jr.’s home was firebombed in 1956, he applied for a concealed carry permit in the state of Alabama. Local police at that time had the right to determine who could and couldn’t get a license. King’s application was denied, despite the fact that his life was frequently threatened.
Being a legal gun owner while black can also be a dangerous proposition today, black gun owners say, pointing to the death of Philando Castile, a licensed gun owner who was shot by a Minnesota Police officer during a traffic stop last July. Castile’s girlfriend said he clearly told the officer he was legally carrying a gun before he was shot. The officer involved was charged with second-degree manslaughter and two felony counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm.
Black families: We worry every day

Concerns about safety

But that doesn’t deter NAAGA’s growing membership. They say the Second Amendment should be for all Americans and it’s a freedom they plan to exercise and encourage.
NAAGA says nationwide, black women make up the largest share of the group’s new members. For new gun owners like Antoniette Singh, a retired disabled woman who has bought two firearms in the last five months, it’s about safety and security. She says that as a victim of assault she believes her guns give her a fighting chance against anyone who tries to attack her. The group has helped her learn how to handle her weapons properly.
Group meetings across the country focus on teaching new gun owners each state’s gun laws, and helping first-time gun owners feel comfortable with their weapons.
Michael Cargill, the owner of a gun shop in central Texas, said a group of 100 black women had recently called asking him to set up a class on gun safety and the proper way to shoot.
He attributed the recent wave of interest in owning a firearm to a few factors. “Because of the climate in the White House … people in the African-American community and other communities are concerned about their safety,” he said. “I’m seeing people who want to learn how to shoot and then have us help shop for the right gun.”
“It’s something that I haven’t seen in years past,” he said.
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Top 10 Most Racist States in America



The research group took advantage of the tweets’ geo-codes, which is data showing where they originated from in the U.S.  The team searched Twitter for racism-revealing terms and phrases that appeared in the context of tweets mentioning “Obama,” “re-elected,” or “won.”

They then sorted the tweets according to the state they were sent from, and compared the racist tweets to the total number of geocoded tweets coming from that state during the same time period, Nov. 1 to  Nov. 7.

To normalize states across population levels, the team then used a location quotient-inspired measure or LQ score — an economic derivation used to analyze norms across geographical locations — to compare a state’s racist tweets to the national average of racist tweets.

So, per the team’s model, an LQ score of 1.0 indicates that the state’s proportion of racist tweets to non-racist tweets is the same as the overall national proportion. A score above 1.0 indicates that the proportion of racist tweets to non-racist tweets is higher than the national proportion. The results are seen in the map above.

The LQ score was added to the number of Ku Klux Klan organizations known to operate in the state, according to a list compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a watchdog organization that monitors hate groups. The states with the highest combined scores were considered the most racist states in the country. The process was not scientific nor can it be claimed that it gives the most accurate ranking of racism by state.

However, it offers some insight into where some of the most racist people in the United States reside.

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