UPDATE: The NAACP says they have actions planned in over 70 cities at Fox affiliates Thursday, February 26

Hmm…Looks like someone’s been peepin’ JJP and following our coverage. That’s cool. We’re down with holding Murdoch to his promises and his feets to the hot fires of justice. I like that they are calling for a meeting with Murdoch and calling him to task on the larger issues of diversity and News Corp’s history of attacking African-Americans to score political points. This is a good statement (my emphasis in bold):


We welcome Rupert Murdoch’s statement that the New York Post will endeavor to be more sensitive to the communities it serves, but unfortunately his apology fails to answer how the Post will do so. Mr. Murdoch could resolve this unfortunate situation in 15 minutes by meeting to develop substantive measures to ensure that this type of incendiary incident does not happen again.

Mr. Murdoch’s apology comes only after almost a week of tens of thousands of expressions of outrage and disgust from people across the country. The offenders are still on staff and there are no measures being taken to increase diversity in its newsroom. The apology from Mr. Murdoch is sadly too little, too late and we call on Mr. Murdoch to take the steps needed to assure that the New York Post can practice more responsible journalism and truly be sensitive to its community, in the future.

The New York Post and Fox News have a history of racially insensitive reporting. With the support of the editor in chief, the cartoonist Sean Delonas has published numerous vile cartoons tinged with racism.   Fox News was widely criticized during the elections for calling Michelle Obama “Obama’s baby mama” and terming the affectionate and common fist bump between then-candidate Obama and his wife, a “terrorist fist jab” at a time when death threats against the candidate were at an all time high for any presidential candidate.

The New York Post stands alone from most daily newspapers in refusing to report its diversity numbers to the American Society of Newspaper Editors. One has to wonder how many Hispanic or African American reporters and editors are working at the New York Post? Clearly, with more diversity in its newsrooms, it’s likely the paper would have been able to understand the deeply offensive nature of the cartoon. Our guess is that the numbers are abysmally low for a newspaper serving a city with a population as diverse as New York.

It is hard not to interpret the cartoon, which was juxtaposed to a photo of President Obama, as an encouraging sign to those who would assassinate our 44th president because of the color of his skin.  The depiction of two police officers shooting down the primate is deeply troubling to communities who struggle daily with suspicious police killings. The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) has also condemned the cartoon calling it “despicable, insensitive and easily interpreted as racist.” Good police officers all around the country should be dismayed by this slur on their character. African Americans have historically been compared to primates as a way to dehumanize the entire group.  We were called monkeys while we were being brutally lynched and denied equal civil and human rights.  In fact,  a 2008 study published by the American Psychological Association found that an association between primates and African Americans still exists among many white Americans.

We hope that Mr. Murdoch will make good on his apology and agree to make the needed changes in the newsroom and its policies.

Mary McLeod Bethune


Mary Jane McLeod Bethune (July 10, 1875–May 18, 1955) was an American educator and civil rights leader best known for starting a school for black students in Daytona Beach, Florida that eventually became Bethune-Cookman University and for being an adviser to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Born in South Carolina to parents who had been slaves, she took an early interest in her own education. With the help of benefactors, Bethune attended college hoping to become a missionary in Africa. When that did not materialize, she started a school for black girls in Daytona Beach. From six students it grew and merged with an institute for black boys and eventually became the Bethune-Cookman School. Its quality far surpassed the standards of education for black students, and rivaled those of white schools. Bethune worked tirelessly to ensure funding for the school, and used it as a showcase for tourists and donors, to exhibit what educated black people could do. She was president of the college from 1923 to 1942 and 1946 to 1947, one of the few women in the world who served as a college president at that time.

Bethune was also active in women’s clubs, and her leadership in them allowed her to become nationally prominent. She worked for the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932, and became a member of Roosevelt’s Black Cabinet, sharing the concerns of black people with the Roosevelt administration while spreading Roosevelt’s message to blacks, who had been traditionally Republican voters. Upon her death, columnist Louis E. Martin said, “She gave out faith and hope as if they were pills and she some sort of doctor.” Her home in Daytona Beach is a National Historic Landmark, her house in Washington, D.C. in Logan Circle is preserved by the National Park Service as a National Historic Site.

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OK, I added that last part about the begging for mercy. But you and I know that if we had not risen up against hatred in such a strong visible way, i.e. taking to the streets, raising our voices, sending in tens of thousands of emails, and talking about boycotts — shoot, you KNOW we wouldn’t be seeing the man himself come down from the mountain to say this:

As the Chairman of the New York Post, I am ultimately responsible for what is printed in its pages. The buck stops with me.

Last week, we made a mistake. We ran a cartoon that offended many people. Today I want to personally apologize to any reader who felt offended, and even insulted.

Over the past couple of days, I have spoken to a number of people and I now better understand the hurt this cartoon has caused. At the same time, I have had conversations with Post editors about the situation and I can assure you – without a doubt – that the only intent of that cartoon was to mock a badly written piece of legislation. It was not meant to be racist, but unfortunately, it was interpreted by many as such.

We all hold the readers of the New York Post in high regard and I promise you that we will seek to be more attuned to the sensitivities of our community.

If I had time, I’d deconstruct this apology line by line, but let’s just say that crotchedy old ultra-conservative Rupert appears to have gotten our message and maybe some calls from pissed off black people he actually knows. Good for them. This is a much more appropriate apology than their first back-handed and defiant attempt. I don’t expect them to admit to their threatening and dehumanizing racism: people rarely do so. I do expect them to apologize for it and do better — so I appreciate the last sentence greatly. Though the subtext is clear — black people: please stop the protests, calls, emails. We hear you.

VICTORY! Nice work, y’all. Murdoch is one of the most powerful men in global business so this is actually a big deal. This is how we need to have Obama’s back. Especially when it comes to Murdoch and his News Corp misinformation machines like the New York Post and Fox News. Just in case you were thinking that we were thinking about softening up on News Corp, let’s take a look back how “Fox Attacks Black America” from Election 2008. So Rupert, FYI, being more attuned to the sensitivities of the community would mean less hate-spewing a la the Chimp Cartoon and this:

Hey y’all: did you catch Jack Turner/@baratunde earlier today on CNN.com/live? I’ll also be on www.CNN.com/live around 1:15pm ET/4:15 PT. Tonight is President Obama’s first State of the Union address (!!!) He’s expected to cover the economy and how his initiatives on housing, education, healthcare and energy will impact a better economic future for Americans. I’m looking forward to it even though the truf is: the State of the Union is a bit grim right now. During his appearance, Baratunde gave Obama a B+ so far as president and made comments along these lines:

If the financial and ecological cost of President Obama’s travels helps deliver a more rational foreign policy, improved environmental standards and an economic recovery, it’s well worth the cost. The problem isn’t that the president is wasting money flying. It’s that the economic and environmental seams of this country and of the planet are being torn asunder.

Word. I’d be a bit more generous and give a brother an A-. It’s been a bumpy road with some key appointments such as Commerce Secretary and the housing rollout, but I think a brother is doing the best he can given the tough hand he’s been dealt.

This afternoon on CNN.com/live, we’ll have four bloggers, talking about anything and everything having to do with politics ahead of Obama’s speech before the joint session of Congress this evening. (That’s some for real black history in action, right?)

The other folks taking part (besides you, of course) will be:

Matt Lewis – AOL’s Political Beast

Erick Erickson – RedState.com

Gina Cooper – NetrootsNation

We’re gonna do the whole thing by webcam. If skype’s good enough for Oprah, I reckon it’s good enough for the rest of us. Help me out — if you’ve got points you think I should raise about the economic crisis and Obama’s solutions (including the stimulus), let me know in the comments. I’m also planning to blog in reaction to the speech tonight so stay tuned.

Cenk has posted his video response to my video response to our MSNBC appearance about the dumbass NY Post cartoon

You can also follow and participate in the conversation on The Young Turks and Huffington Post.

Tuesday Open Thread

24 Feb 2009

The President and Michaelle Jean, Canada’s Governor General.

Good Morning.

As you make it through your day, don’t forget JJP.

Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.

And always, have a peaceful day.

I recently read an article about the demise of Hip Hop journalism and how it was taken over by sensationalism and gossip. Coming from a a Hip Hop background I saw the points and remembered how I was first inspired to get into politics by Hip Hop.  I gloated about how I do real journalism to my Hip Hop journalism comrades. Still several of them pointed out that what I do was not to different from them. They were quick to point out that my top stories were Chris Brown and Rihanna, Dwayne Wade and STD’s and the J-Hud tragedy.

This got me thinking about the lack of positive black news or lack there of. I posted an interview I did with Professor Charles Ogletree, who is an excellent example of a positive black man who has done a lot during his career to advance the cause of black people, from clerking with Thurgood Marshall, to helping draft the South African constitution to helping mold the minds of Michelle and Barack Obama at Harvard Law. I posted the interview on both NewsOne and Jack and Jill and got an underwhelming amount of views and feedback. The only place that linked to it had it filed in a section, Postive Black News.

In contrast I did a story, Top 5 Fox News Uncle Toms, which totally took off geting dozens of links and thousands of views. Why is when I attack wack black people it gets tons of love on the internet but when I showcase positive black people, it gets none? I was reading the piece tha dNa did on Ben Jealous. I thought it was a dope piece but it seemed to get the same amount of response as my Ogletree piece. Are people going to wait until these guys to die so they can be a part of black history to comment on them or take an interest?

I also did a story on a black couple who hold the record for the world’s longest marriage. Amazingly I could not find the piece online and had to jack it off someone’s facebook note which they transribed from a newspaper. If this were a white couple, it would be all over Good Morning America, USA Today and tons of other media outlets.

Lat month I read about Myronn Rolle, a Florida State football playerthe first major college athlete to win the Rhode Scholarship since Bill Bradley. If Myron Rolle were to have been arrested for weed, drunk driving, or assault, he would’ve gotten way more press and recognition than for postponing a career in the NFL to attend one of the most prestigious Universities in the world. I don’t want to seem racially cynical but again if Rolle were white, he’d be lifted to pre-bong Michael Phelps status and held as an excellent example for children everywhere. Still I bet you way more African Americans are probably more aware of Dwayne Wade and his STD problem than of a black athlete recieving one of the most prestigious academic awards in the world.

Barack Obama was a great example of positive black news and continues to be so. Still there are hundreds of Obamas who are working as activists, community organizers, lawyers who go unrecognized while any rapper or athlete who gets in trouble with the law gets a media maelstorm.

Jack and Jill is a truly dope website that showcases involved intelligent African American posters and readers and is a good example of positive involved black people who arre concerned with what’s going on in this country. I realize that it is not a black thing to highlight negativity over postitivity as it has been how the American media has been run for many years. Still I find a lot of what I, as well as other black journalist,s do is to highlight racism inflicted on blacksmy the media, government or police, covering the negativity in the black community while disregarding the positive black people who are the real history makers. As black history month comes to an end, I think we must all be reminded to honor the black history makers while they are making history not after they’re long gone.


President Barack Hussein Obama will be giving his first State of the Union Message.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009, 9 pm EST, we will hear the following:

“MADAM Speaker, The President of the United States.”


I admit. It’s going to be a goosebump moment for me.
MADAM Speaker isn’t old to me yet.

Four Little Girls
Denise McNair, Carole Roberson, Addie Mae Collins, and Cynthia Wesley


The 16th Street Baptist Church bombing was a racially motivated terrorist attack on September 15, 1963, by members of a Ku Klux Klan group in Birmingham, Alabama in the United States. The bombing of the African-American church resulted in the deaths of four girls. Although city leaders had reached a settlement in May with demonstrators and started to integrate public places, not everyone agreed with ending segregation. Other acts of violence followed the settlement. The bombing increased support for people working for civil rights. It marked a turning point in the U.S. civil-rights movement of the mid-twentieth century and contributed to support for passage of civil rights legislation in 1964.

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The Other Black President

23 Feb 2009

So I’ve been teasing this for a while during my rather sporadic appearances on JJP for the past few months, but I told ya’ll I was working on something I thought you guys might enjoy when it was finished.  And it’s finished!

I’ve spent the past few months working on a profile of the NAACP’s new president, Benjamin Jealous, that I think is pretty relevant to the discussions we’ve been having on JJP for the past few months. Obviously we’re in a new political moment, so it’s been interesting to see how the nation’s oldest civil rights organization has decided to handle it. The crux of the piece I suppose, is the debate over how to confront the issues facing black folks in the modern era, whether the limits of advocacy have been reached and we need to focus on services, or whether there’s still a need for social justice organizations like the NAACP:

For Jealous, mass incarceration is the civil-rights challenge of this generation. Addressing it, he says, requires more than just changing draconian drug laws; it also requires confronting poverty and a failing public-education system. Young black folks, particularly the urban poor who most need an organization like the NAACP to look out for them, are facing problems of violence, drugs, AIDS, and unequal education.

Most civil-rights activists, and even their critics, agree with Jealous that this is the biggest civil-rights challenge of the modern era — they just disagree on how to meet it. John McWhorter of the conservative Manhattan Institute says that a dysfunctional black culture, not racism, is the issue, and it can only be addressed internally. “The proper thing for a civil-rights organization to do today is to go into services,” McWhorter says.

Jealous, however, argues that the NAACP needs to stick to its roots — advocating for better public policy. Providing services isn’t the NAACP’s role, he argues. “Some people would like to see us be an alternative government infrastructure for black people,” Jealous says. “I understand where that comes from; the reality is that’s what we’ve been fighting against for 100 years. What we’ve been fighting for is for the government that we already have to respond to the needs of all people. Our focus is on the needs of black America; that’s what we do best; that’s where we’re known best. But our goal is a fully functioning democracy.”

Read the whole thing!

Monday Open Thread

23 Feb 2009

The President of the United States and First Lady Michelle Obama at their first formal White House dinner for the Nation’s Governors.

Good Morning.

We begin a new week here at JJP.

Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.

And always, have a peaceful day.

JJP’s Oscar Post

22 Feb 2009

Today is Oscar Night.

There are two Black Actresses nominated this year:

Viola Davis for Doubt

Taraji P. Henson for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

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Benjamin E. Mays


Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays (August 1, 1895 – March 28, 1984) was an American minister, educator, scholar, social activist and the president of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. He was also a significant mentor to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and was among the most articulate and outspoken critics of segregation before the rise of the modern civil rights movement in the United States.

While working on his doctorate, Mays and Joseph Nicholson published a study entitled The Negro’s Church, the first sociological study of African-American religion and clerical practices. Four years later in 1938, he published The Negro’s God as Reflected in His Literature.

In 1926, he was appointed executive secretary of the Tampa, Florida Urban League. After two years at this post he became National Student Secretary of the YMCA.

Mays accepted the position of Dean of the School of Religion at Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1934. At present, Mays Hall of Howard University is the home of the Howard University School of Divinity. During his six years there Mays traveled to India, where, at the urging of Howard Thurman, a fellow professor at Howard, he spoke at some length with Mahatma Gandhi.

In 1940, Mays became the president of Morehouse College. His most famous student there was Martin Luther King Jr. The two developed a close relationship that continued until King’s death in 1968; As his lifelong mentor, Mays delivered the eulogy for King.

Mays emphasized two themes throughout his life: the dignity of all human beings and the gap between American democratic ideals and American social practices. Those became key elements of the message of King and the American civil rights movement. Mays explored these themes at length in his book Seeking to Be a Christian in Race Relations, published in 1957.

After his retirement in 1967 from Morehouse, Mays was elected president of the Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education, where he supervised the peaceful desegregation of Atlanta’s public schools.

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After our appearance on MSBNC Friday talking about the dumbass cartoon (that’s how I officially refer to it BTW), Cenk and I decided to continue the conversation. Six and a half minutes isn’t enough to address the points we both were trying to make. This is an experiment in dialogue with YouTube as the primary medium.

I’ve responded to the MSNBC video with my own expanded comments on the point I think Cenk was trying to make, namely that calling the cartoon “racist” (and perhaps not just the cartoon but other such actions and incidents) can make white people very defensive and prevent the kind of conversation we need to be having in this country. I don’t completely disagree, but my priorities are different. Check out my video response and some supporting links below. Cenk should have his response up early in the week.

Here’s what I put up as “homework” in the “more info” section of the YouTube video page.

  • The MSNBC segment that launched this discussion:http://bit.ly/nqvCp
  • Here’s Cenk’s Huffington Post article that expands on the point he was making on MSNBC:http://bit.ly/7weOL
  • Here’s Baratunde’s Jack & Jill Politics post on his main point: http://bit.ly/nQ6kR
  • More on Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff’s psychological work on dehumanization and its connection to police brutality: http://bit.ly/11TarC
  • Interesting article by Rinku Sen on the difference between individual intentions and structural racism:http://bit.ly/wIZyl

In the video above, you’ll see a YouTube link to the original 1600 Pennsylvania Ave segment. Once Cenk posts his response, my video will link to his, and his will link back to mine. Over time, you’ll get a sort of threaded video commentary between us. We’ll be posting these videos to TheYoungTurks.com, Huffington Post and Jack & Jill Politics for starters.

It’s a conversation we need to have and an innovative way to have it! Happy sunday.

Sunday Open Thread

22 Feb 2009

Mary Mary – Shackles

Good Morning.

Enjoy the weekend with family and friends, but don’t forget JJP.

Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.

And always, have a peaceful day.

Who We Are

Cheryl Contee aka "Jill Tubman", Baratunde Thurston aka "Jack Turner", rikyrah, Leutisha Stills aka "The Christian Progressive Liberal", B-Serious, Casey Gane-McCalla, Jonathan Pitts-Wiley aka "Marcus Toussaint," Fredric Mitchell

Special Contributors: James Rucker, Rinku Sen, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Adam Luna, Kamala Harris

Technical Contributor: Brandon Sheats


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