This piece is part of Day of Blogging for Community Organizing Justice: “I Am a Community Organizer”.
Republicans don’t like Community Organizers. Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin ridiculed them specifically in their speeches last Wednesday at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, MN. This modern crop of Republicans has demonstrated how much they hate grassroots organizing in many ways with their hatred or unionization, their damnation of dissenters inside and outside of the government, and their willingness to ignore the rights, thoughts, and actions of the people of foreign nations that they decide to invade destroy occupy “help”.
While these positions on their own are outrageous and not in line with the ideals of the America that Republicans claim to love so much, it is consistent with another thread of modern-day Republican rhetoric and practice: racism.
For every generation leading up to [and including] the current one, the only foray for Black people to better their lives collectively has been through community organizing. When I say community organizing, I don’t just mean the highly visible ones like Malcolm & Martin, I mean the invisible ones that most of us will never hear or speak of that sacrifice their time, treasure, and talents so that people’s day-to-day lives are better and that their voices are heard. This is the path that nearly all Black politicians have taken to attain the capital needed to even run for office, let alone win. For one to minimize the work of organizers is to minimize the thoughts, actions, and efforts of all minorities and underrepresented groups who wish to uplift themselves individually and as a whole.
What’s up fam,
Today, The SuperSpade is teaming up with Black bloggers across the country for “A Day of Blogging for Justice – Against – Extra – Judicial Electrocution – Tasers.” This project is being headed up by African American Political Pundit and Francis Holland, who have created Electrocuted While Black for “tracking and reporting on pre-trial, extra-judicial death penalty, because it’s 21st century lynching, by another name.”
More from the website, “We are blogging today against police and other security entities across America, Canada and around the world involved in Extra-Judicial Electrocution by Tasers. African American political Pundit has called it a campaign against “on the spot pre-trial electrocution” of members of the public (many who are of African descent).”
The sick thing about the use of tasers is that it is often portrayed as a less severe form of punishment because proponents say, “Well, at least I am not using a gun.” This belies the fact that you can die from being tasered such as how “17-year-old Darryl Wayne Turner died: He had cardiac arrest after a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer shot him with a Taser gun.
And I know that it is very strategic for blogs to insert pictures or use videos to help illustrate their points. However, the downside of this strategy is that things are not “real” unless someone can supply visual evidence. So when I think about tasers, I automatically revert to one of my favorite books, “The Invisible Man.” In the opening scene, our nameless protagonist gives a speech in front of the city’s leading White men accepting a scholarship and after the speech, he is pressured to fight with other Black boys in a ring blindfolded. After being pummeled, the White men put a couple coins and dollars on a rug and force the boys to fight over the money. Little to the boy’s knowledge, there is an electric current running through the rug and in excruciating detail, the protagonist describes the pain of being electrocuted.
Again, being tasered is a small but significant part of being Black in America. Our stories must be told by us because according to an African Proverb, “Until the Lions have Their Historians, Tales of the Hunted will Always Glorify the Hunter.”
For more on this topic, visit the site, Electrocuted While Black.
Stay up fam,
600,000+ signed petitions were delivered to Fox HQ by Color of Change and Nas. The rapper also spoke to the crowd about why they were there and what they wished to accomplish.
Art & Activism
Artists are important to movements.Their creativity gives movements vibrancy. Their notoriety gives movements visibility. Their passion makes movements inspiring.
Here’s a video of the event:
Nas was also on The Colbert Report talking about this action:
Why this is important
The myth of the post-racial society is becoming more and more pervasive. The problem is that it is itself based on a conservative, racist mode of thinking about race in America that equates progress with individuals. Using this as a measuring stick, makes it possible for the Fox News’ of the world to attack individuals and Black folks collectively.
If instead we saw that progress can only be meaningfully defined as collective improvement, we would focus on solving the root causes that lead to individuals making the choices that look stereotypical. Who knows, maybe CNN will go at it like that? I doubt it.
One Love. One II.
The one and only Brandon Q. White is holding down The SuperSpade at the Netroots Nation conference in Austin, TX this weekend. The conference is an annual meeting of the minds of progressive activists who’s primary work is being done via the Internet.
Most importantly, Brandon will be leading a panel discussion today designed by the two of us called Black Blogging Beyond Obama. The goals of the panel are to discuss what the importance and position of Black online activism is and should be when we broaden our scope beyond election-focused efforts. Here’s a summary:
Black bloggers voice will be paid close attention given Obama’s candidacy and while the increased attention and addition of new voices are welcome; our collective voice is just as pertinent for issues unrelated to Obama’s campaign. As such, what steps should we be taking now to make sure that this message is not lost on each other and the larger blogosphere/media infrastructure?
I know B will knock it out of the park today and this weekend, raising the level of thought in Black political discourse to ever-increasing heights.
UPDATE: Video of the panel is availabe here.
One Love. One II.
Let me preface this post by saying that I’m not a lawyer, nor have I ever tried to be one. The following is a lay person’s interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, so any/all lawyers are more than welcome to jump in and add to/correct this interpretation.
On the plane back from the National Conference for Media Reform, I had a discussion with a labor attorney who also attended the conference and was from Seattle. Among other things, he told me the following:
The Constitution only grants one right: the right to bear arms [the 2nd amendment]. Everything else described in the document is essentially a limit on the government, not the granting of a particular right.
I thought that was really fascinating if it was true. If that is the case, then we really need take a hard look at how we talk about our “rights,” and about how we defend, ensure, and advocate for those “rights.” By telling me this, he almost made me want to quit my job and apply to law school as soon as I deplaned. Read More…
I want to give you all a heads up on a new site that I’ll be writing for called Social Media for Social Change.
I came across the site’s founder, Michelle Riggen-Ransom, while reading about her debate with a technology on whether true altruism actually existed. I emailed her after reading about that discussion, and let her know that I was interested in working with her to create a meaningful dialogue within the tech community on Social Media for Social Change. I’m looking forward to making that happen.
You can read my intro post on the site here. I’ll let you know when I post up there and provide links, but I encourage people to check Michelle’s site out and add it to their reading list.
One Love. One II.
What’s up fam,
I wanted to hit a variety of topics today.
1) First off, why is there not more coverage of the relief efforts of people impacted by the earthquakes in China and Myanmar? In case you hadn’t read, nearly 70,000 people died in this earthquake and millions more are now homeless. To help put it in context, imagine instantly losing 7 people in your life without being able to say goodbye and multiply that grief by 100,000. I guess coverage of the earthquake is worth far less than what the DNC RBC planned to do with the Michigan and Florida delegates. Read More…