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The SuperSpade is Everywhere – on the Kindle, the iPhone, and everywhere else

The SuperSpade is everywhere.

The SuperSpade is everywhere.

Just a quick note today about ways Brandon and I are making The SuperSpade available to you in as many ways as possible:

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: James Baldwin talks Race, Religion, and Activism

James Baldwin

James Baldwin

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. 

On “liberalism”

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

NCMR Panel: Where we'll take it

Free Press has put up the audio of my panel from the National Conference for Media Reform. It’s 1 hour and 15 minutes long.


One Love. One II.

Garlin’s interview on the Color of Change – Michael Baisden situation

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:

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.

Podcast on the Importance of a Public Internet

Last week I recorded my first podcast for the Northwest Progressive Institute, a Washington-based think tank for which I serve as Senior Policy Analyst for Technology.

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.

Read More…

The SuperSpade’s Air America Radio Interview with The Young Turks

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 ObamaSharpton 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.

For those that missed it, you can listen the interview here. A big Thank You from The SuperSpade to Ben & Cenk of The Young Turks and and Air America Radio.

One Love. One II.

Barack Obama
Black Issues

The SuperSpade with The Young Turks on Air America Radio

I will be a guest on The Young Turks on Air America Radio on Friday, 16 Mar 2007, at 7 AM Eastern. Here are the ways you can listen:

This will be a conversation concerning Al Sharpton questioning Barack Obama, as well as Fox New’s attacks on Black people.

As always, I will try and get audio from the interview up here on the site as soon as I can. Listen and Enjoy!

One Love. One II.


The SuperSpade Black History Month Presentation

This past Tuesday, 28 February 2007, I had the honor of being the keynote speaker at Seattle’s Central Youth & Family Services Black History Month Program.

Here is a link to my short address (WAV Format, 9 min 6 seconds, 8.33 MB). I talked about the importance of finding mentors and connecting with people that have experiences in areas that you care about and are interested in.

The entire program was a lot of fun, and there was food, trivia, and good times all around. I got to stay and connect with many of the people in CYFS’s programs and talk with staff members too.

One Love. One II.

Black History Month

The SuperSpade on ‘Integrating with Alternative Media’

I have recently joined a group called the Northwest Progressive Institute (NPI). Yesterday, I participated in a panel discussion called “Integrating with Alternative Media,” and these are a few things I talked about:

– The importance of media & communication to revolution
– Reaching out to more people by using multimedia (audio, video)
– Reaching more people by partnering with alternative media (Public TV, Low Power FM Radio, etc.)

There’s more in there as well, including why it is important to connect and work with ethnic media, the largest for of alternative media.

Integrating with Alternative Media (Windows Media Audio, 16 min 50 sec, 7.79 MB)

One Love. One II.


The SuperSpade Interview on Radio Nation with Dr. Laura Flanders


Here is the audio (1 min 51 sec, wav file) from my brief interview on Radio Nation with Dr. Laura Flanders this past Saturday night while I was in Memphis, TN at the Free Press National Conference on Media Reform. I used this time to describe what the mission and vision of The SuperSpade is to a broad audience.

This gathering was one of the most inspiring and energizing assemblies that I have ever attended. I will reflect more on the conference, who I met, and what I learned a bit later. The SuperSpade was very well received.

I am back in Seattle for all of one day before I go to Detroit for a few days this week.

Happy MLK Day everyone. Use this as a day of learning and not of laziness.

One Love. One II.

Radio Interview