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KENNETH

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Everything posted by KENNETH

  1. So glad to see something substantive being done about racism and policing. There's no sense or reason for Breonna Taylor to be dead. This didn't have to happen. If DOJ can put the officers away like Chauvin it might make up just a little bit for Congress's failure to pass the George Floyd Police Reform Act.
  2. Blacks own more businesses today than ever check out the stats. We are better educated than ever. Some of the differences are: 1. All black people no longer live together in segregated neighborhoods, so class divisions are clearer 2. We always had crime and drugs in the larger urban areas and things were getting worse in the 1960s thru the 1970s 3. We never achieved real integration because racism just became more subtle despite some real progress made 4. Black people were hurt by the change from an industrial to service economy that ruined urban areas we mainly lived in 5. Our economy is more unequal for all working people than ever and for the poorest blacks who never got ahead things are worse 6. Racial and economic inequality that marginalize all black people and the poorest most of all will undermine love, dignity, self-esteem, marriage, family, and all kinds of achievement. We also have to stop laboring under the myth that American is made up of self-sufficient groups of people living completely apart who can thrive that way. Most of us work every day for someone else who gets rich off our labor. The elite capitalist class is mainly straight white male and cisgendered. But there are elite class members who don't belong in this configuration. Some are black men and women. That's capitalism. It can be good or awful, so we have to be engaged in politics and activist struggle. Cultural pride, creativity, community building, being a good individual, or strong families aren't a substitute for engagement to shape the politics and counter the powers that be. So much of Black Nationalism and Afrocentrism are escapist not militant or revolutionary modes of struggle for black liberation.
  3. I gave up on the idea of black people having our own country in North America a long time ago. And it makes no sense to live in the US and self-segregate either. We can build our community and be ourselves if we fight to make a less racist more economically just America. Despite our continuing problems look how far we've come since the 1960s. More work needs to be done, but I won't discount the progress made. America is as much ours as anyone else, so I don't think in terms of " their civilization."
  4. It's hard to say I blame you because white men support Trump and oppose all kinds of policies that might benefit them just because blacks would also be helped. As for LGBTQ people many of them are black. Furthermore, white racism cuts across class, income, and education. I want a country that really works for us all, and we have to work together within the political system to get it. To the extent we can prevail good things like individual freedom and genuine pluralism are possible. These two things would greatly benefit black people, our culture, and community.
  5. I'm referring to black people, working class people, women. and LGBTQ people. Anyone who works every day and isn't monied, straight, white, and male. In so many words the majority of Americans. Yet I wanted to center on black people and move outward because it's important to deal with race as much as the other issues. I think we often talk about individuals or individualism outside any societal context. This becomes meaningless when discussing politics or issues. In some ways it becomes evasive. There are always individuals in any society or group who may be doing well even if those around them are not. Think about it like this. Slavery was no less problematic or unjust simply because some slaves were treated well, or some blacks were free. Legal and DeFacto segregation were the same way. There were black businesses, civic institutions, and decent areas in black neighborhoods. But the situation was bad. It had to be challenged. I would make two final points: 1. No individual can continue to thrive in an unjust social or collective setting. 2. If every black person is to be free as an individual then we must work collectively to challenge racial and economic inequality.
  6. Whether it's race, class, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity our society is troubled to the least. It doesn't matter which party controls Congress or the Presidency either. Getting any significant political reform to benefit working people or ensure a more free and equal society for all seems impossible. So, what's wrong? What keeps us from moving forward? Consider the narrative of a center-right political consensus. Secondly, the role of so called moderate centrists especially in the Democratic Party; and lastly the role of wealthy people and big corporations. Politicians in both parties more or less uphold the idea of less government, lower taxes on upper incomes, corporations, economic growth over fairness. All this helps the rich and big business. It's why we don't have paid leave, a higher minimum wage, reduced greenhouse gases, or affordable healthcare for all. The media features pundits, commentary, and analysis which claims the public is against major reforms to ensure economic and social justice. They claim America is a center right country of conservatives and moderates. The media conveys the notion so called left liberal "elites" are pushing an agenda that ordinary people won't accept. Also, popular culture in all forms vilifies those fighting for positive social change. They are portrayed as aloof, weird, pushy, overly sensitive, flighty, and foolish. They aren't ordinary people raising legitimate concerns. They are extremists who cause trouble. They disturb the peace, threaten free speech, thought, and keep us needlessly divided with their " causes." Meanwhile it's politics as usual. The political right becomes more extreme especially in states where they dominate the government. On television they use Fox News and Am talk radio to cater to their base and pick up just enough moderates or undecided people to build a power base. At the national level moderates mainly, Democrats spend most of their time criticizing liberals and leftists especially those within the Democratic Party trying to advance a reformist political agenda. They claim it's things like Single Payer health insurance, the Green New Deal, or stopping racist policing are not politically feasible or desirable. What's worse is these moderates will go along with the Republican Right in Congress to reform. They have done it on police reform, voting rights, and Build Back Better. The original legislation included paid leave, free community college, and more investment to reduce carbon emissions. Don't forget Moderate Democratic Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. Wealthy people and corporations fit into all this using lobbyists, political action committees, and campaign contributions to influence political leaders. They don't want a more equal economy that benefits workers because it means wealthy investors, owners, and executives would have less wealth and income. They depend on a less democratic country and a less responsive government to safeguard their power and ultimately wealth. To the extent almost all of them are straight, white, men discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity is rampant in business and social circles among these monied elites. However, some of them don't care who you are. Some rich people and corporate executives are fine with token progress towards social equality. But they don't want major change alongside economic justice. We must forge a politics that is grassroots and electoral to change America for the better. It must be built on the idea that capitalism should benefit working people along with wealthy owners and investors. Furthermore, no one should be excluded because of their race, gender, national origin, or sexual orientation. If you think race is the only thing that matters, remember black people are male, female, gay, straight, transgender, and queer. Furthermore, most of us work for a living too. We must strive together to arrive together. BTW that last line is not my own...lol!
  7. Hey thanks to everybody for your feedback and encouragement. It means a lot. On the lighter side of this topic. I would like to see a black romantic comedy about a left leaning black man and a conservative rightwing black woman who manage to stop fighting with each other long enough to fall in love. Maybe a movie for streaming on Tubi or Vudu. It might be a good vehicle for Taye Diggs and Nicole Parker. It might be lighthearted way to explore romance, intimacy, politics, and serious issues from a black male-female perspective. Just thinking out loud.
  8. Black people are not monolithic. There are political differences among us like anyone else. Moreover Conservative Black Republicans have become more visible and vocal since the Reagan Era in the 1980s. But I wonder if differences extend to dating and marriage among black people. Can two black people with very different political views have a relationship, and even be in love? I know from reading this is rare among white people who tend to date, marry, and socialize with those holding similar political views. What about us ?
  9. You're wrong on that point. The political right is pushing us towards authoritarianism. And with Trump and his followers Fascism comes next.
  10. Abortion is not a Constitutional right that's the ruling handed down by the Supreme Court in a 5 to 4 decision today. Does it matter to black woman who bear the dual burdens of racism and sexism ? Perhaps black people are more tradititraditionalist and concerned with taking care of their children in a confusing, conflicted, and unstable world. Does this matter to us ? Or is this the white man's fight ? I have my own views, but I'm interested in others' thoughts.
  11. This is Rightwing Antisemitism plain and simple. But people on the Right complain about the Left and wokeness. Nonsense. Black people are not pawns lacking agency. We have fought racism and economic exploitation long before there was an American Left or reformist Liberalism. What is Conservatism doing for us ? Nothing. Black Conservatives are helping themselves not us in any collective sense. I won't be " drinking any of that. Kool Aid."
  12. It's refreshing to see us talk about solutions that should make up a political agenda. Too often we leave that to whites. I would add a few things. I'm no expert these are just opinions. 1. Fully fund and expand the power of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to address widespread employment discrimination. 2. Pressure the Senate to pass the George Floyd Police Reform Act which among other things removes qualified immunity for police officers in civil suits. 3. Do the same with voting rights legislation like the John Lewis Voter Rights Act and the For the People Act that would stop voter suppression. When it comes to community development let's empower local governments and community groups by tying the amount of Federal funding for transportation, infrastructure, and block development grants to plans and progress towards poverty reduction, creation of living wage jobs, and reducing racial disparities. The cities, states, and towns, that have plans and meet goals are favored with funding. Furthermore, let's create and fully fund Federal/ Local partnerships to find and implement solutions to racial and economic inequality that fit unique circumstances. Lastly, fund community-based groups and programs with a track record of results. ` All these things will require a more effective and better coordinated black politics that combines propaganda, lobbying, voting, grassroots organizing, street protests, research, internal discussion, and debate. This will be long-term process with many of us never seeing the results. But that has always been the nature of our struggle. Will white people support any of this? No. Many of them will oppose us. But others will join us. More importantly we must continue to fight disrupting the normalcy and tranquility of this society until the powers that be meet our demands.
  13. There are more black owned businesses than ever, and even while most of them are small with few employees some are large billion dollar firms like Wide World Technology with over 5000 employees. Despite racism and economic deprivation black enterprises has always been part of our community life. For many black people building up black business is the key to individual success and collective liberation. At the same time systemic racism and wealth income inequality make life difficult for working class blacks. Black Capitalism good and bad has implications for black freedom because it can provide individual and collective opportunities not offered by the mainstream (white) society. But there are no guarantees because black capitalists are trying to profit which can conflict with the best interests of black workers and consumers or communities. Seeing a successful black business especially one of us getting rich is gratifying. Owning something and being your own boss means a lot to black people in this racist society that does so much to exploit and subordinate us to whites. Spending money with each other is essential, and most of us believe more successful black businesses will make us more free and prosperous without depending on whites. Sometimes it's comforting to think about the time before integration when all blacks lived in the same neighborhoods and had black commercial corridors with our own retail and service establishments. It was a source of pride and a degree of self reliance in an unjust and unequal world. Make no mistake about it Black Capitalism can be a good thing making money, building wealth, creating opportunities for yourself and others. Most of us want that like anybody else in America. No system works better than capitalism to create rapid economic growth and prosperity too. Blacks want a chance to be a part of that as owners and investors not just workers. If Black Capitalism can lower poverty, high unemployment, increase home ownership, narrow the wealth gap, and make our neighborhoods better places to live let's do it by increasing the number and size of black firms. At the same time we can't be overly idealistic because the black capitalist like the white one is about turning a profit. Black business people do what it takes to make money even if the rest of us as workers, consumers, or residents in a neighborhood don't like it. In fact the interests of black business and black people can be in conflict. This is especially true if the business is large and the owner or investors are wealthy. There's nothing keeping a black business owner from opposing a $ 15 per hour Minimum Wage or being required to provide employees with health insurance. All of this despite the fact that many blacks are low wage workers and the uninsured. A black business owner may also be strongly against organized labor despite the fact a lot of black workers belong to unions, and unionized workers make more than those who don't belong to one. Furthermore no amount of black pride or sense of giving back comes before the profit motive. I can remember when Robert Johnson sold Black Entertainment Television to Viacom in 2001. I bemoaned the end of " our own " cable channel. I pondered and complained about the loss of control over black media images BET afforded us. Furthermore I blasted wealthy blacks in sports and entertainment for not pooling their resources to buy the channel. Over time I had to realize that Robert Johnson made the best decision for himself and the survival and success of BET. That's business. That's capitalism. Sometimes it's good. Other times it's really bad even if it's black. Black Capitalism cannot not be separated from the larger economy. The Black Economic Nationalist idea that blacks can live in America and prosper spending all or most of our money with other blacks is a fallacy. There are not enough black owned firms or types to meet all or most of our needs. Moreover most black businesses are small service firms in an economy dominated by large corporations owned by shareholders. These larger businesses especially retail and service chains along with online firms make impossible for any local independent business to survive. This is the case for both white and black business. The economy is also based on technology and finance connected to global markets. What happens on Main Street or the hood depends on things in Silicon Valley and Wall Street who are impacted by things in Europe and Asia. A recession or decline in the stock market hurts all Americans. But black people get the worst of it. Ultimately there cannot be any self contained ethnic or racial economy at a local level. Black people have the wrong impression of Asians, Arabs, Jews, and Hispanics. Most of these people are not self employed, hiring members of their own group, and spending most of their money on each other. Like black people they are employed by companies especially big corporations controlled by white elites. Black people have to deal with a changing economy which means getting into to growth industries. This requires us to get all kinds of customers not just blacks. It means building relationships with Corporate America and seeking international opportunities. Politics and the struggle for freedom has to benefit all black people. We don't want black business or black workers to be hindered by systemic racism. However there are differences and conflicts even among black people. Some will say this obvious. However, thinking Black Capitalism will solve economic inequality we lose sight of the fact blacks out to make money and enrich themselves can hurt the working class black majority the same as white racists. Things like living wage jobs, affordable healthcare, decent housing, quality education, and criminal justice reform matter as much as public policies and self help initiatives to grow black business. And we shouldn't be surprised when self interest on the part of black entrepreneurs especially the wealthy puts them in opposition to worker struggles for economic fairness. The hard truth is we live and work in a grossly unequal economy where monied owners, investors, and top management get almost all the benefits of workers labor. Meanwhile people regardless of race struggle to make ends meet. Both race and class are serious problems. Whether we blacks want to recognize it or not some of those elites benefitting from this negative, predator, capitalism are rich blacks.
  14. Too often we talk about personal possessions and private property with only rich people in mind. We put the economic wellbeing and political priorities of these elites of everyone else who works for a living. At the same time for most ordinary working people especially blacks it is a struggle to make ends meet. Inadequate wages, higher costs for everything, and the constant threat of climate change put homes, savings, family farms, small businesses, and communities in jeopardy. We need a broader view of private property and economic liberty that takes the interests of workers into consideration not just monied elites.
  15. The left is not hurting black people and the political right is not helping us. Most black people are moderate or reform minded in their politics they don't go for socialism or anything radical. The problem is conservatives wrongly conflate moderate and liberal black Democratic politicians with leftists. This is only a tactic to scare and discourage people whether it's blacks or working class whites from supporting any kind of forward thinking political reform that might lead to a fair economy that benefits us all with equal rights and opportunities for all. Make no mistake about it the agenda of the political right whether it's white people or blacks is to insure a stable, orderly, society built on tradition that is skeptical and generally opposed to change. A society like that especially in the US has never been or can it be conducive to the economic, social, and political wellbeing of black people. We don't benefit from unregulated capitalism, a government that is unresponsive to social problems, or using the state to impose so called traditional values. All these things are advocated by the political right. Does any of this mean that black people should be passive or uncritical supporters of the left or moderate to liberal Democrats ? Absolutely not. We must think, organize, and challenge anything or anyone who does not offer a plan or platform that advances our struggle against systemic racism which also encompasses economic inequality.
  16. Urban One founded by Cathy Hughes owns Interactive One and other online formats is this what you mean by ownership ?
  17. I don't want to deny or downplay the importance of the film industry or Hollywood in particular. However people who make movies especially blacks exist in a different technological and distribution landscape than even twenty years ago. There are all kinds of black films made outside the Hollywood system. Moreover the ability to stream movies even on platforms like YouTube is making the traditional studio system and movie theatres almost obsolete. There may not be as much fame or fortune doing things outside Hollywood, however there is a degree of freedom unlike anything black filmmakers have experienced before. Moreover don't forget Tyler Perry who has his own studio in Atlanta. I think Stefan has it absolutely right.
  18. Thans for saying this Troy. Black people cannot afford to downplay COVID19 or be anti-vaccine. We will die in huge numbers especially those of us with hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. We need to put the Tuskegee Experiment perspective. We can't let that turn us against doctors, healthcare, or government.
  19. Thanks to You Tube and C SPAN I have been able to hear Professor Dyson speak on numerous occasions. I have read articles by him as well. I'm not sure what's going on with him. I think he was more articulate and insightful in the past than he sounds lately.
  20. It is sad that so many young people are giving up. I'm not sure what if anything can be done to reach them.
  21. It seems like the politics of Black Conservatism is no politics at all other than shutting down black politics and protest aimed at change to secure freedom. I think brothers and sisters on the political right would be more comfortable if black people only focused on personal morality and self-help projects. They don't want any talk or action against racism. Furthermore, they would oppose any reform or basic challenge to capitalism. Conservatives whether black or white oppose liberals and socialists alike. This enables systemic racism and economic inequality because the wealthiest 1% presides over a predator capitalist economy that hurts all working people not just blacks.
  22. I think individualism and collective being exists. Whether we talk about nations, citizenship, or ethnicity with its uniqueness the individual matters in relation to others. There are things that make us part of any number and kind of groups. Yet there is a personality that makes each of us distinct. It sets us apart. Part of the challenge is to think in ethnic or cultural rather than racial terms that connotate physical categories.
  23. Richard if I keep getting feedback like yours' I might stick with this blog. I think parties and labels have their place in a democratic polity. At the same time notions of liberal or conservative must be reinterpreted in terms of race and the black experience. White people right, left, and center must be challenged when it comes to the struggle for black freedom. As far as the political right it's not just white people. Black conservatives who deny systemic racism pose a challenge too.
  24. Thanks so much Richard for your response. You make a good point that goes to the heart of the contradiction in American history. The genocide of indigenous people and enslavement of blacks were conscious collectively racist acts by people who built a legal and constitutional framework around individualism. In a sense racism is systemic even collective yet it enables white people to view themselves and function as individuals. They then deny the systemic problem and black experience.
  25. Maybe it's not fair or accurate to say conservatism and its adherents are racist. Racism certainly cuts across political boundaries and includes white liberals too. However conservatism is problematic because it denies systemic racism, it benefits from backlash politics, and it envisions an orderly and decent society that tolerates racism. While there is nothing racist in philosophical conservatism, it's easy to understand why conservatives are called racist because of what they do. Conservatives deny systemic racism thinking it ended with the Civil Rights Movement. That was only a start. Overt racism and legal segregation are no longer a problem, but subtle racism is real. It's how systemic racism works. This racism that still holds black people back economically, socially, and politically. Things like stop and frisk are not isolated incidents. It's official policy for how black neighborhoods are policed. Black people with the same credit and income as whites still pay higher interest rates on a home mortgage. These things happen all the time because it's how society works. Conservatives blame blacks for racial inequality. They cite culture and behaviors like crime, violence, fatherlessness, the decline of marriage, lack of academic engagement, and government programs that discourage work. There was a time when these things were less problematic among blacks, and we were not fully free or equal then either. Racism and an unfair economy put black people in abnormal conditions. It's wrong to expect them to live healthy, normal, decent lives under those circumstances. Conservatives know better to suggest otherwise, but their politics depends on not blaming society. Conservatives benefit from backlash politics appealing to white resentments and fears of racial equality. For some whites any progress by blacks is a threat. Conservatives knew this in the sixties, so they appealed to racism for political gain. They spread racist stereotypes about lazy black welfare recipients living off hard working whites' tax dollars and black criminals who threatened white lives and property. They did this despite the fact more whites get welfare than blacks, and blacks are more likely to commit crimes against other blacks than whites. Over the years this racial politics has become increasingly populist. The narrative goes like this - wealthy liberal elites in the media, entertainment, academia, technology, and government wrongly vilify working class whites as racists. The elite advances blacks at the expense of whites struggling to maintain their way of life and economic wellbeing. In this telling - busing destroyed white neighborhoods and schools in the name of forced integration. Affirmative Action took jobs and college admissions away from qualified whites in favor of unqualified blacks. Today these liberals preside over a global economy driven by technology, finance, free trade, and immigration that is destroying white jobs, communities, and culture. Meanwhile whites can't say or do anything without being labeled racist. At the same time blacks want reparations and to defund the police which liberals will gladly do. To these whites Donald Trump was a hero who fought back. He was their president. Trump was the man fighting the oppressive deep state and globalism that undermined ordinary decent white working Americans. It doesn't matter that Trump and other rich people along with corporate interests rigged the economy to lower their taxes, pay workers less, destroy unions. They play the stock market taking risks they can't afford and get government bailouts when markets collapse. These same people give money to politicians in both parties who cut safety nets and regulations that benefit the people. Conservatives appeal to racism and white victimology while doing things that undermine whites economically and socially. Meanwhile blacks bear the burdens of racial discrimination and economic inequality. Conservatives opposed civil rights laws in the 1960s believing they were government overreach that threatened personal liberty and property rights. All the while they claimed to be against racism and believe all individuals should be equal before the law. What this did in effect was to prioritize the liberty and wellbeing of whites over blacks. It didn't matter to conservatives that legal segregation in the south and de facto racism in other parts of the country harmed blacks or deprived them of the equal right to liberty. This situation would not work itself out. Conservatives is clear about what should be preserved, but it's never sure about what needs to change. They have too much invested in the past and too much to lose in the present by changing their views. The stable, orderly, moral, society conservatives believe is essential to human wellbeing is problematic. It allows injustice against blacks and depends on the goodwill of whites to voluntarily treat blacks better as individuals. But the government shouldn't do anything because that would be unfair to whites. At the same time conservatives urge blacks to fix themselves morally and culturally. They say stop blaming white society or relying on liberal government to solve their problems. In this way conservatives let themselves and America off the hook. Conservatism is too important politically to go unchallenged when it comes to race.
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