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True Colors: Scott Brown Needs to Own Up To His Black Ancestry

29 Sep

by Mwalim DaPhunkeeProfessor

In the first debate between Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown, Mr Brown skirts such the issues as education, social security, and health insurance to zone in on what really matters: questions about Elizabeth Warren’s ethnicity and claims to native ancestry. To me, and many other native people, Scott Brown demonstrated his stupidity with the comment, regarding Warren’s claims of native ancestry, “…you can look at her and see that she’s not…” Aside from it being a remarkably ignorant thing to say in this day and age, In American where many, ethnicities have mixed and mingled and few people look like their legally assigned racial group (btw, USA is one of three nations that have legal definitions of what race a person can claim to be); let’s look at the pragmatic fact that Scott Brown is running for re-election in a region that has two federally recognized tribe of the Wampanoag nation where many of the members DO NOT “look” like the stereotype of Indians.

To add more insult to injury, subsequent to Brown’s seemingly racist comment, you have members of Brown’s staff doing war yells and tomahawk chops; offering the weak explanation that this is not meant to insult all native people, just Elizabeth Warren. Great, Brown and his staff use racism to make fun of Warren. This reminds me of a time in college when a dorm-mate tried to explain that his use of the N-word was not directed at the Black students sitting near him in the cafeteria, but a single student who had upset him. It’s a good thing that Warren never claimed to have an Asian great- grandmother. They probably slanted their eyes and spoken in pigeon English; telling Asian voters that this was not to insult them. If she had said her great- grandmother was Jewish, they would be running around dressed like Orthodox Jews.

I understand that Brown has been calling the leadership of the local native communities to make sure that his campaigns racist attacks on Warren are not meant to insult them. I understand Brown called Cedric Cromwell, Chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe (who hung up the first time because he thought it was a prank call) to issue a weak apology/ explanation and was apparently fishing for an endorsement. WHAT??? Proof positive that this man is an idiot!!! Curiously, dogs, horses and Indians are required to have pedigree papers in order to prove that they are really what they claim to be, and like many native people or descendants of Native people and Dr Warren lacks hers. Dr Warren should have claimed that her great grandmother was a Freeman Cherokee, her ethnic background would never have come up for question.

Let us revisit Mr Brown’s ill-advised comments on how Dr Warren is not native based on her looks. If we are going to go by looks, When is Scott Brown seriously needs to own up to his obvious African American ancestry. The dead give away: Look at that nose and compare it to Michael Jackson after his first round of surgery, not to mention those eyes. I bet if you look behind his ears, you’d see that brownish mark that most Caucasoid – Africana mixed kids like him have. Not only does he share a last name with the Godfather of soul, but let’s face it: The Brown clan in New England has family lines in both the African American and Native American communities of New England. I mean, if we are going by what people look like, Mr. Brown’s high- yellow butt isn’t fooling anybody. Historically as well as in the present, many Black people have a relative or two who took advantage of their white looks and passed for white, taking full advantage of white privilege, just like Scott Brown and his family have. But you can’t fool us all, can you Scott? With your Black ass…  Why are you going to call out Elizabeth Warren for reaping some remarkably minor benefits for claiming her ancestry (from oral tradition) when you’ve been fooling people (including your in-laws) for years to get ahead… I say a genealogist needs to dig into his background and find all of those Black folks in the wood-pile of his family tree. Of course, as the uproarious anger of the descendants of Absalom Pierce and Carol Channing’s revelation (and subsequent disappearance from the spot light) reveals, this is a secret that I’m sure Mr Brown and his family would never want to get out. Remember, Mr Brown, according to the American legal definition of race, one drop makes you whole and that one-drop can create an endless line of ‘legally’ Black people.

A photo of Elizabeth Warren’s relatives, the smiths. Notice How “Indian” they look.
Marriage certificate for Warren’s grandparents, illustrating that her grandmother was from “Indian Territory”
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Poetry: ABOVE IT ALL

16 Jan

by D.R.A.M.A. (Devine Righteousness and Mind Ascension)

 

I wear my heart on my sleeve as I grieve
Can I retrieve my Love, Divine Above?
Reflecting, dissecting the pain that Ive gained
I sigh and refrain from the plain
My eyes ain’t blue and my name, it isn’t Jane
Yet still I rise to avoid heart stain
Pure, as ever – clear
Although hate and fear knock by at my door near
I remain grand, standing tall like the Cherokee Chief or Malcolm X with his beliefs

Brutally simplistic and opportunistic with their ways
Testing and pressing without calling names
Distort the blame for fame without shame
Confuse the learn to tame
Attempted mind blow, although and even so
I vent Heaven sent and continue on to flow
Illuminati no, let my people go so we can grow
I crave the Brave, if cannot find
I’m inclined to request
Divine Buddha Bless slows the enter of the stress
I ask the triple k to confess
Reveal faces red once concealed
Once before, you had us on all fours
But never no more
We rise above for sure to endure

Brother man, I say look
Says my hand shook
Problem not to guess so don’t stress
You go on like the flow of the brook
No matter what they took, I’m here for you so take a look
I am caress for your thoughts, strong, without lack
Even after attack , we still rise above the crack, high
Pushing along the track, built up off our back
Choo, choo, blows the whistle like that
The Brother strong wants to bust
Wound up like fists or not to trust
Can I unwind? Release the taught?
Free the mind of our kind, like web, up caught?
Says she: “Killing cried”
Says he: “Survival died”
Store bought thought, not
Swinging hits from fits, soon to explode
Look at what you’ve wrought and drop your load
Hostile overtures from those once pure
Anger carries danger, homicide assured to blur
Our youth clever, will they forever endure?
I am sure
For even as we ride oppressive tides
The beautiful ones
They cannot hide

COPYRIGHT 2012, Sylvia M Jackson

Poetry: “SURRENDER”

16 Jan

by D.R.A.M.A. (Devine Righteousness and Mind Ascension)

Love is a mind trip, always on the edge, asking will I slip
Into maniacal manifestation, is this a revelation?
I hold still the pose with somber hesitation
Emotional contention, tears stroll, loves taken hold
Alive, melodic, never no control
Lips locked, boldly shakes the rock, thirst quenched after shock
Passions overload, God breaks the mold
Methodical parameters, they hold me in a trance
My stance is solid yet I’m able still to cheat a splendid glance
I view perfection; my Love is strong but needs protection
Love is a mind trip, I’m contemplating, estimating
Will I softly slip into a soulful trance?
Full bloom says the bud of our romance
The Love dance shatters diabolical dimensions
Although fear is standing near

My key turns the lock to unblock apprehension
I ask the quest, can I maintain his attention?
Skin sweet sable, lashes long and thick, am I able, unstable
Passionate rhythms explode the grand load,
Souls blossom in full, the Love’s in control
Fingernails gold, taking hold of the bold
Not to mold but caress, we are blessed
I hit pause for speculation, increasing heart beats my erotic stimulation
Quixotic adoration, fingers walk, lips talk, I drink him up, intoxication
Driven mad with desire, we retire with a smile
Sweet thoughts of splendor, vision now clear
I cry out to my love, I surrender!

COPYRIGHT 2012, Sylvia M. Jackson

KUUMBA- Creativity – Thinking Outside The Box

31 Dec

HABARIGANI?

On the sixth day of Kwanzaa we reflect upon Creativity and make the world a more beautiful place then we found it. However, creativity is more than aesthetics and arts, it’s about using our critical thinking skills to bring about positive change and to sustain ourselves and our families. It’s about finding creative solutions to the issues we encounter at times.

NIA – Purpose – The Reason We Exist

30 Dec

HABARIGANI?

The fifth day of Kwanzaa is about Purpose: Understanding your role in the community towards the growth and continuation of the community; and understanding your importance to the community. It is human nature for people to need to feel useful and to have a reason to be. One of the central elements to a people developing self- esteem is having a sense of purpose. It is important to instill our youth with a sense of purpose and the proper values of living as a part of the collective or we allow for the negative side of finding purpose to permeate, e.g., street- gangs are largely due to a need for young people to feel a sense of purpose.

UJAMMA- Cooperative Economics – The Black Dollar

29 Dec

HABARIGANI?
The fourth Day of Kwanzaa is about cooperative economics. The pooling of resources as well as the decision to invest in businesses within a community as share holders and/or customers. Let us say that there were ten people who wanted to own businesses; stores, shops and offices. Alone, none of these folks have the resources to actualize their dreams. However, if they pool their resources as investments into the most viable business idea, eventually they would have the resources to support each business’ start-up costs. As members of the community, if we make the decision to spend our money at these businesses and support them, we are keeping our money within the community. Both of these are examples of UJAMMA.

Kujichagulia – Self Determination – Define & Declare Your Community & Culture

27 Dec

HABARIGANI?

The second day of Kwanzaa is about Self Determination; a collectives ability to define themselves as a community and a culture. Older examples in the US, although not Afrocentric, can be seen with the existences of such neighborhoods as “Little Italy” in the Bronx and Lower Manhattan sections of New York City and “Chinatown” which can be found in almost every major city. Places were people of an ethos not only lived together, but maintained their own businesses, languages, cultural traditions, leadership, etc. The rejection of “assimilation” into the so-called mainstream and the embracing of “acculturation” where we as a people borrow aspects of other cultures that work within the frameworks of our lives. Within the Black community, such groups as The United Nation of Islam and the Twelve Tribes are religion- based examples of Kujichagulia within the Black community. The lasting impact and effects of the Black Arts Movement, from the 1960’s to the present is an aesthetic based examples of the principle.

One of the unfortunate aspects of Black people in America is our inability to accept diversity within our own community. We tend to draw and maintain deep lines based on place of origin (e.g., Caribbean, American born, African, etc.), religion (Christian, Muslim, Rastafarian, etc.) and a myriad of other differences that we use as a basis to divide ourselves. Being able to embrace these differences, qualities and contributions; and recognize them for the depth and beauty within our larger community is part of what Kujichagulia is about.

Enjoy the Day!!!

Mwalim DaPhunkeeProfessor

UMOJA – Come Together – Create (or Maintain) Council

26 Dec

HABARIGANI?

It’s the first day of Kwanzaa. A holiday celebration founded by Dr. Mulana Kerenga in the 1960’s, combing a variety of harvest celebration from the African continent, with the particular Week that follows Christmas celebrating that people do. Interestingly, focused around the Nguzo Sabba (7 Principles), which are curiously the basic elements of any organized/ civilized body of people. Structured in the form of any ritualized holiday observance, where each day is set to reflect on the principle and examples of the principle in action. Kwanzaa is clearly not a religious holiday, but one that is motivated by sociopolitical and economic foundations; neatly packaged within a language that is fundamentally a trade language.

The first day of Kwanzaa, December 26th, is UMOJA, which is Kiswahili for “Unity” which carries a much deeper meaning then the cliche of simply coming together in Kente cloth robes, but it is a time to come together and create or maintain council. Define your community and clan/ family structure. What is your organizational structure and purpose? Who plays what role in the function of your collective? What are the standards and ethics of the group? In the end what will you have hoped to have built or continued? This is the true meaning of Unity beyond the symbol: the lasting effects of the unity.

Of course, as with the irony of many progressive rituals, the ritual is lost in the quagmire of the politics behind the founder and the misinterpretation of the message behind the vision. The validity of the Nguzo Sabba is often lost on those who remember that Kerenga was the leader of a rival organization to the Black Panther Party, called US and was believed to be a funded operative of the Co-Intel-Pro of the FBI. All of this may or may not be true, but the bottom line is this: let us look at the principles of each day and consider them for their deeper meanings,beyond the symbols, and what are the true lessons.

“My enemy’s enemy is my friend; so let us be friends…” – Sun Tzu

Qualities should be found in the perfect prince that would someday unite all of the city-states in Italy.” – Niccoli Machiavelli

 

– by Mwalim DaPhunkeeProfessor

The Slow, Painful Death of Boston’s Black Middle Class – Part I

7 Dec
Marcus Garvey

by Mwalim *7)

It was in the late 1990’s that I became a part of a group called The State of Young Black Boston, an organization comprised of the up and coming young,
mainstream-bound leadership of Black Boston. There was an attitude and element with this group that seemed to differ from the older generation; but I could not put my finger on it. In time it became apparent: The cultural, political, and economic worlds of Black Boston where once much more cohesive and maintained a balance that yielded an urbane and educated community.

Monroe Trotter

Today, their social descendants are a much less well- rounded group of seemingly more opportunistic and superficial individuals; where status rules over substance. The value of a Harvard degree is greater than the value of a Harvard education and cultural events mean that it has a bar and a DJ… and if we’re trying to fancy, we might spring for a band. The presence of the new breed of elected Black officials at community-based artistic and cultural events, as well as community originated civic dialogues is blatantly absent, unless guaranteed a ‘high profile’ photo op with other who’s-who of the new Black leadership (or has the fore mentioned bar and DJ). A far cry from the days of seeing Mel King and Byron Rushing in the audience of a play or concert in Freedom House; or Gloria Fox at a concert in Franklin Park.Watching this cultural and dare I say intellectual de-evolution over the past 25 years has been both a fascinating and incredibly sad experience; just as it is to watch any tragedy unfold.

It was 1986 when I first arrived in Boston, as a freshman at Boston University. Two things that were made abundantly clear when I took a look at Boston’s social structure: 1) Boston was a segregated city. More so than New York; and 2) Boston’s Black community had an actual social and economic middle- class that was part of it’s social, political and economic leadership. The basic constructs and functional examples of Black Nationalism, Pan- Africanism/ Garveyism were apparent and served as an easy and welcoming world for a young man raised in a middle-class West Indian household.The cautions issued by Boston University during orientations, telling us to steer clear of Roxbury. Dorchester and “the murder capital of Massachusetts”

Elma Lewis

Mattapan, eventually went unheeded by a few of us who wanted access to a Black community with barbershops and pattie shops, clothing and record stores like the ones in our own communities in New York, Chicago, Philly and St. Louis.

To an 18 year-old, far from his family in New York (all be it a short bus ride to my people in Mashpee) this city and community would play an integral role in my progression into young adulthood and growth as an artist, teacher and man. Sadly, this world is rapidly disappearing and what is replacing it is gravely lacking the core foundation and leadership to sustain the quality of effort of the past.

(To Be Continued)

 

Welcome To The BLACKADEMIA Journal

24 Oct

      

In honor of the spirits and works of John Henrik Clark, Arturo Schomburg, Manning Marable, Ivan Van Sertima, James A. Spruill, Langston Hughes, Lynda Patton, David Walker, Floyd Barbour, William Welles Brown, Rudolph P. Byrd, Carter G. Woodson, Larry Neal, Alain Locke, August Wilson, Charles H. Wesley, Zora Neale Hurston, Alexander Crummell, Joseph A. Walkes, Gloria Waite, J.A. Rogers, and a host of other Black Scholars & Creative Intellectuals, comes The BLACKADEMIA Journal.

Please follow this site as some of the greatest minds of the contemporary academy continue the legacy of fine writings, both creative and scholarly works the explore, discuss the Black experience. Welcome to the land of Black Studies on-line!