Only an incumbent who wanted to lose would fail to take responsibility for his supporters ripping up his opponent’s signs and beating up on one of his opponent’s supporters. That type of thuggish behavior is inspired from the top down.

Donna Edwards is waging a strong campaign against Rep. Albert Wynn in a critical Congressional district that happens to be home to a large base of affluent, well-educated black people. She’s a great progressive candidate who is pushing Wynn on votes that have hurt blacks in the long run such as his support for the Iraq War — a vote he now concedes was a mistake.

Yet this altercation makes both candidates look bad and re-inforces the appearance of blacks — no matter how affluent, powerful and well-educated — as at best, thugs and at worst, animals. Wynn’s campaign in particular walks away with a black eye (so to speak). Bullying behavior is not a way to win. Which may be just as well for those who would like to see a candidate like Edwards enter Congress representing Maryland’s 4th District.

Meet New York Times Bestseller Tavis Smiley — the most popular African-American leader today that you, non-Black person, have probably never heard of. Smiley just re-launched his website based on his book/phenomenon The Covenant with Black America. It’s pretty cutting-edge — there are toolkits, signups, even a blog. Tavis Smiley is a man to watch.

What Is the Covenant with Black America?

It is a national plan of action to address the primary concerns of African Americans today. As we move toward the national elections of 2006 and 2008, Black Americans are entitled to have questions answered and visions shared of where our leaders want to take this country and a blueprint for how we get there.

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To call a woman a “chickenhead” in the Black community is to call her a woman of loose virtue and looser affiliations. Joe Lieberman is a fair weather friend and perhaps worse, a serious chickenhead when it comes to kissing up to and then repudiating Black leaders. He’s an opportunist. He’ll take what he can get in terms of rounding up African-American voters and use whomever necessary to survive and stay in the Senate.

In contrast, Ned Lamont is a man who has voluntarily taught some probably bad-ass, sassy kids in Bridgeport. He didn’t have to do that. But he wanted to give something to some kids in what is today one of the least glamourous jobs besides garbage collecting: teaching.

Which person do you think is worth your vote? Read this Salon article to learn more about Lieberman’s ever-changing relationships with Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan and Al Sharpton.

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Maybe you, non-Black person, are really wondering — “Gosh, what do Black people think about this whole George Allen macaca business?” There seems to be a lot of discussion and investigation into what he really meant and did he really apologize? Should he apologize? Was he sincere? Was it enough and does it even matter? But Black people don’t seem to be very vocal about this. Why you may ask?

Black people are pretty much done discussing the whole Affaire Allen. Why? Because to us, it’s obvious that he is racist. He is a racist man. He was racist before and he is racist now. He clearly signaled his feelings about Black people before by wearing Confederate flags and nooses on ficus trees, etc.

And now to keep up with modern times, he’s moved on to the “new niggers” which would be anyone who looks like they might be one of them A-rab terrorists. Which for some apparently is anyone brown who might possibly have South Asian or Middle Eastern ancestry though Latinos and Blacks with the right features might get swept up in the confusion/hysteria.

Welcome to America indeed. Enjoy the racial profiling. It’s free!

The bottom line, folks? Black people (and probably a lot of other shades too) have stopped talking about it and have started to decide to vote for someone other than Allen.

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One of Sen. Allen’s new excuses of use of the word “macaca” is some sort of combined mohawk meets caca (a synonym for shit) explanation. Is anyone really buying this? Why isn’t this man on his knees begging for forgiveness. Virginia is increasingly diverse. Even if this floats there, he has now built up what will be a tough-to-shake rep as a hard-bitten, only semi-apolegetic racist outside of VA.

John McCain continues to lose my respect. How could a man with an adopted daughter from Bangladesh, knowing that Allen would readily refer to her as a monkey behind his back, want to be seen near this man, let alone campaign for him. Does he believe what Allen believes? Or is he so desperate for party approval and support to run for president that he will align himself with this man despite knowing that he is a smug, smirking racist who calls people different from him “shithead” or “monkey” depending on which story you believe? McCain — find a spine. Haven’t we evolved past this as a nation YET?

CNN reports on the “explosion” of diversity in America. My, my, that sounds so violent! The phenomenon of white non-Hispanic Americans becoming the new minority in state after state is picking up steam. Anyone who’s a minority now knows that white people usually become highly self-conscious (as is natural for anyone — minorities just get used to it) when they are in the minority. Think this trend might cause some shifts in the balance of electoral politics in the U.S.? And possibly a wee bit of increasing tension?

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Hate to invoke Diff’rent Strokes but I don’t understand what Cobb, normally coherent, is trying to say. Cobb calls Allen’s macaca misfire both “uncouth” and “straight talk”. What kind of Uncle Tom apology is that? I guess he hankers for the days when racists could feel more open, straightforward and relaxed with their bigotry. Maybe he’s been reading too much of the near-daily self-hating racism over at Michelle Malkin’s blog.

IMHO, racist is as racist does. Sen. George Allen’s history of Confederate flag appreciation speaks for itself. As does the noose that hung in his office. Strange fruit, anyone?

Even the White House is backing away from George Allen — and wisely. Is he still a contender for Senate? Probably. Few remember how vigorously white Virginians fought to preserve segregation in the last century. A lot of those people are still alive and think the same way as Allen even if they no longer feel as free to express themselves. Has he lost a lot of votes in diverse Northern Virginia? Probably. Can he run for President? With the slim election margins we’ve been seeing in recent presidential elections and increasing importance of Latino and Black voters who will see right through Allen’s smirk…I don’t think so.

I’m glad this is crossing over from the blogs into the MSM so Virginians and others can see and decide for themselves. Walk towards the light, Cobb.

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In Washington D.C.’s conservative-leaning newspaper, there’s an article on the front page about Dikembe Mutombo who is opening a huge new hospital in his native Congo. This shows a lot of leadership, more than frankly we tend to see from U.S.-born ball players. Mutombo was a pre-med major at Georgetown when he was recruited to play basketball, presumbly because he was tall at 7’2″. I wonder if we’ll be seeing more newspaper articles like this in conservative organs in the wake of the increasing profile of “40 Million Dollar Slaves.” I’m not surprised it made the news — just surprised it’s on the home page. See look, white owners and agents are not oppressing black players! See?

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Jeffrey Feldman has done some great research on the George Allen/S.R. Siddarth scandal and the use of the word “macaque” to explain “macaca”. I appreciate this because as a monkey, I tend to be too lazy and stupid to do this type of research myself.

Wonkette also tries so hard to help the Allen campaign find a better explanation than Siddarth’s non-mohawk haircut for Allen’s use of the word — Hakuna Matata, anyone? I love that Allen hasn’t seen fit to apologize yet to Siddarth, one of his constituents…

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Check out this video. Is popular hip hop (as opposed to some of the smarter, more political artists right now like Kanye West, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, the Roots, Angie Stone, etc) the new minstrel show with both whites and blacks simultaneously ridiculing and exploiting what some people think is “black culture”?

Hmmm?

The maker of this short video uses old school hip hop quotes and a few old stalwarts from back in the day. My personal favorite photo is the guy with the chicken costume. Finger-lickin’ good, y’all!

Hat tip: Playahata.com

A lot of people are writing about this Washington Post story and I think there’s a good conversation in the comments here. I am willing to bet that Sen. George Allen never thought that anyone would understand his own inside joke. He probably didn’t even think his apparently all white audience would get his “Macaca” reference. I love that he talks straight into the camera right at Siddarth, an American citizen born and raised in Virginia. I think the “Macaca” = “Macaque” assessment especially given Allen’s Francophone heritage from his mother is probably spot on. Having been called many different variations of higher primate as a kid, I’ve seen his type before. Guys like him have learned to be smooth and politically correct, saying all the approved phrases like “diversity” and “equal opportunity” while really secretly thinking: “Why is this raghead allowed to follow me around with a camera? Isn’t this what homeland security is supposed to take care of???”

I think it’s less the “Macaca” jab than the “Welcome to America” language — that he repeats for effect just before he segues into a discussion about “the war on terrorism”. The all-white crowd presumably was supposed to get chills because an uninvited young man whom many of them might think look like the terrorists we’re “fighting over there so we don’t have to fight them over here” is present with a camera.

Allen misfired. That’s what happens when you pander to your audience. You never know who else might hear you out there among those crazy bloggers. So far it looks like most right wing bloggers are steering clear of the story — but strangely so are many African-American bloggers on the left and the right — despite the implications for all minority VA residents and anyone impacted by Allen’s votes in the Senate on issues important to minorities in the U.S.

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Look, I know you’re saying to yourself, shoot, give me 40 mil or some such and I’ll do exactly as I’m told! There’s even a famous movie on this theme — what compromises, moral or otherwise, would you make for a million dollars — Indecent Proposal.

Yet William C. Rhoden questions whether black athletes are paying too high a price and whether or not there is a cost to society when the voices of choices of black athletes are controlled by a largely white power structure.

I haven’t read the book yet, but I’ve been following the reviews on radio, in the blogs (like here and here) and in the papers. I sense that this is the kind of book that probes a sensitive and controversial place in American society — a conversation we may be hearing more about. After all, sport figures are heroes to so many of every color, age and income and leading sports figures have increasingly come in a certain shade of brown that’s hard not to notice.

Athletes appear to lead privileged, envied lives. They are imitated and worshiped. To become a pro athlete is the dream of many young men and to a lesser extent women.

Thus the title of “Forty Million Dollar Slaves” sounds extreme and hyperbolic at first blush. Anyone who has read any given slave narrative and its description of constant back-breaking labor, inadequate clothing and shelter, the injustice of unfair laws and no choices and just generally being hungry all the time has to say to Rhoden — brother, please. Yet doesn’t it seem strange that almost no African-American pro athletes took strong, significant public positions after Katrina? Where are the athletes who have raised questions about the Iraq War?


The case of Katrina seems particularly bizarre given that this was an enormous humanitarian disaster that continues to have political implications. Few African-Americans watching the coverage were unaffected emotionally, even viscerally. So many black people knew someone personally who was affected in some way –either directly or indirectly supporting family members. In my case, a co-worker raised money and collected goods to send to a cousin who had taken in 40 of her kin who had been displaced.

Yet, not a peep from some of our most visible potential leaders, at least some of whom had to have been impacted???

One blogger suggests that it is because so many young black man are raised by single mothers and thus think like women. I don’t understand his point exactly — the civil rights movement was always highly dependent on women working hard in the background and sometimes getting the acknowledgement out front like Rosa Parks or Dorothy. It’s an assertion that is insulting to both black men and black women.

I tend to agree with Rhoden and point to the experience of John Carlos and Tommie Smith who raised their black-gloved fists during the playing of the U.S. national anthem on accepting gold and silver medals at the 1968 Olympics. Their gesture was in protest to the institutionalized discrimination faced by fellow African-Americans. It is little known that their white Australian counterpart Peter Norman helped to plan and even joined them in protest on the stand. Carlos and Smith were punished by the IOC while Norman was not. Smith and Carlos received death threats. Norman did not. Fear of this backlash, of discipline from sports officials, losing lucrative endorsements and fan popularity has to be part of the reluctance. While Carlos and Smith are seen as heroes today, many remember that they struggled in the first few years post-1968 against negative public opinion for their actions.

I’m looking forward to reading Forty Million Dollar Slaves so that I can better understand what appears otherwise as cowardice and apathy among stars…Let me know what you think if you read it.

African-American Democrats voting in the recent CT-Sen race responded positively to Ned Lamont’s anti-war messaging. He came into the home stretch of the campaign boasting a strong lead with white voters and, seeking to shore up his “street cred” with black Connecticut residents, received campaign support from stalwarts such as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Maxine Waters.

The question: did the support of these particular black leaders result in a late narrowing of the substantial lead Lamont attained as the race drew to a close? Did some whites turn away from Lamont as those faces became linked strongly to his campaign and message?

I would hazard a guess that the most controversial of those figures and the one that most likely repulsed CT whites would be Al Sharpton. From his presidential campaign finance troubles to the LoanMax predatory/discriminatory lending controversy to the Tawana Brawley scandal, Sharpton is a divisive figure. The impact is similar to that of Marion Barry in Washington DC. Al Sharpton is very popular among African-Americans in New York and the Northest generally because he is consistent in banging on the halls of power and demanding accountability. In a time characterized by relatively passive black leadership, this is appreciate. Yet whites tend to despise and distrust him. The same dynamic exists further south whereby a significant percentage of African-Americans continue to support Marion Barry, the former crack smoking, former mayor because he gave the appearance of a strong leader willing to talk back to the Establishment.

It’s a double-edged sword, courting the African-American vote. Frequently the black vote has become a swing vote, finally lending blacks increased political power. In order to create a broader support base, Lamont may wish to re-consider how, when and where Al Sharpton campaigns for him.


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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

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