Just a quick note today about ways Brandon and I are making The SuperSpade available to you in as many ways as possible:
- If you’re a Twitter user, make sure you follow Garlin (@garlin), Brandon (@bqw) and The SuperSpade (@superspade).
- If you own a Kindle, you can subscribe to The SuperSpade on your Kindle for $1.99/month. (My personal blog is there too).
- If you read from your cell phone, type http://www.thesuperspade.com into your phone’s web browser. It will work on any phone with Internet access. If you’re using an iPhone, you’ll see a special, optimized version of the site. It’ll look something like this.
- If you use an RSS reader like Google Reader, make sure you add our RSS feed to your list.
- And as always, you can put http://www.thesuperspade.com into any web browser and get to the main site.
Last but not least, we’ll soon be rolling out an email newsletter where subscribers will receive great insider benefits like:
- Tips on how you can be an effective activist and get involved at the local and national level
- Additional in-depth analysis on issues and events
- Connections to other online activists and bloggers working on issues impacting people of color
- A chance to have your voice heard on The SuperSpade
- Much more…
There will be another announcement when the email newsletter is up and running.
Stay tuned and stay connected.
One Love. One II.
Photo Credit: lennbob on Flickr
Take This Hammer is a 1963 documentary film that shows author/activist James Baldwin’s fact-finding mission to San Francisco that same year. His purpose was to answer the question: is the Negro in San Francisco, CA any better off than the Negro in Birmingham, AL? He concluded that:
There is no moral distance between the facts of life in San Francisco and the facts of life in Birmingham.
Baldwin presents an extraordinary social critique of America North & South, white liberalism, and the angst of Black teenagers. What’s exceptional are some of the specific barometers he uses to judge young Black people’s view on their future.
Will there ever be a Black President?
There is one exchange where he asks a group of young men if there will ever be a Negro President in this country. They flatly tell him “No, never.” Baldwin retorts with solidly nuanced optimism: “Yes, there will be a Negro President, but this country will be different from the one that exists now.”
Obviously, we have a Black President now. That begs the question: was Baldwin right? Is this a different country than it was in 1963? Yes in many ways, and no in many others.
The failure of Christianity
Near the end of the film, Baldwin opines on the almost comical hypocrisy of American [white] Christianity. Baldwin asserts that:
…these churches are absolutely meaningless and almost blasphemous…more social club than spiritual institution…the Christian church in this country has never, as far as i know, been Christian.
Baldwin is himself a Christian, but he sees and hears the spiritual frustrations of Black youth. One young man told him that the best way for Black people to organize [for revolution] was by “coming together as Muslims.” What does that mean? That spirituality & religion as forces of identification, pride, and community were as important then as they are today. It also speaks to the fluidity of religion, to people’s desire to find a spiritual persuasion that speaks to their needs. Baldwin’s critique on American Christianity shows that many young, militant Black folks rejected a faith they saw as hypocritical and weak. Today’s Christianity is still fighting this battle.
Baldwin shares an intellectual pedigree with Steve Biko with his disdain of “liberals” (in this context, they both mean White liberals). In the film, Baldwin has a lot to say about this:
Everywhere I’ve been in this country, white people think race relations are excellent.
Liberals are looking for an alleviation, a protection of their own consciousness.
Liberals can’t be fake and be heroic too.
White people think of themselves as missionaries…but we don’t want you to do it for the Negro, we want you to do it for you.
His critique is not of liberalism, but of dishonest, half-hearted activism. Activism and organizing are based upon trust, and Baldwin did not trust white liberal activists in many cases.
This tension still exists in some circles today. Most interestingly, it creates a chasm between those arguing over whether the shortest path to equality and freedom in this country is through racial reconciliation or class-based economic struggle. Baldwin, Biko, myself, and others saw this as a false choice, but it creates a very real debate for many activists and thinkers.
Where do we go from here?
Baldwin in the film is neither overly optimistic nor terribly pessimistic. He does offer some thoughts that give insight into his thoughts on the future:
Buildings without foundations will inevitably come down.
I can be fooled, but my kids won’t be…either we will correct what’s wrong, it will be corrected for us.
This is something that’s been hitting close to home with me in recent years. The aspirations and assumptions of one generation are often realized, debunked, and adjusted by the next. Baldwin speaks specifically about ideas such as the “fakeness” of the American dream (i.e. having a garage) and what is actually meant when politicians & developers say “redevelopment” (to Baldwin, that means “remove the Negro”).
As my generation of activists, thinkers, leaders, and citizens chart our course through this dynamic social landscape, we can learn a lot from those that came before us. However, learn means neither repeat nor ignore. Instead, it means absorbing the knowledge and experiences, examining the current context for similarities and differences, applying what we’ve absorbed where appropriate, and innovating where necessary.
One Love. One II.
Photo credit: Ben Wheeler on Flickr
Yesterday evening I was interviewd by George Cooper from Let’s Talk Honestly as part of his LTH Special Report: Why black bloggers are mad at Michael Baisden.
My piece begins at the 14.18 mark and lasts for approximately 8 minutes, through 22.32, but I encourage you to listen to the voices and perspectives of the other Black bloggers featured. They are:
- Dwight Hunter, exodusmentality
- Yobachi Boswell, blackperspective.net
- Gina McCauley, whataboutourdaughters.blogspot.com
We’ve stated our position here, and this interview was a chance to communicate it on another platform. The issue to me is about embracing the next generation of activism and respecting the results that online activism has produced. The SuperSpade, Color of Change, and members of the blacknetaction coalition are committed to making a difference today, tomorrow, and beyond in a transparent, accountable, and measurable way.
One Love. One II.
The title is “Reframing Net Neutrality,” and it talks about why an accessible and public and non-discriminatory Internet is important to preserve. You can listen to the audio here.
One Love. One II.
Thank you everyone that listened live to my interview (11 min 12 sec, 10.2 MB, mp3 file) this morning.
I had the opportunity to share my thoughts on the Obama–Sharpton squabble, Obama’s dealings with “traditional” Black political leadership, and briefly the Congressional Black Caucus Institute considering partnering with Fox News to air their upcoming Presidential debates.
- Satellite Radio: XM Channel 167
- Your Local Air America Radio Affiliate
- Live streaming at Air America’s website
- The Young Turks Website
As always, I will try and get audio from the interview up here on the site as soon as I can. Listen and Enjoy!