Respectability Politics Won’t Cut It Now. Did They Ever?

No, this post is not about those sassy BLM women interrupting Bernie Sanders at a few different events.  Nor is it about those ‘disrespectful’ activists in the peace, climate change, gentrification, and other movements who interrupt the PTB’s business as usual in order to make citizens’ arrests, create human blockades, hoping to create more awareness of issues by making enough noise that the mainstream media might cover their activities.  Code Pink trying to ‘arrest’ Dick Cheney for war crimes at a recent Senate Armed Services hearing, for instance.

Instead, it concerns a wider theme at play in the Black Lives Matter movement, as even certain notable blacks have been chiding the current protestors, unable to relate to Tef Poe’s credo that ‘this ain’t your daddy’s and mama’s civil rights movement’.

Toward the end of August, Shannon M. Houston, writing at Salon.com, was spurred to write in response to a ‘devastating WaPo essay by veteran civil rights activist Barbara Reynolds — the very piece of literature many whites and blacks who lean on deadly respectability politics were hoping for’.  Her rebuttal is titled: Respectability will not save us: Black Lives Matter is right to reject the “dignity and decorum” mandate handed down to us from slavery’; it’s a fine piece of work, and covers a lot of historical bases to make her case.  Now I didn’t read all of the comments under her essay, but most commenters were utterly appalled by it, and one might be correct in guessing that most of them were white liberals.  Houston featured this bit of Reynold’s piece (my bolds throughout):

“The baby boomers who drove the success of the civil rights movement want to get behind Black Lives Matter, but the group’s confrontational and divisive tactics make it difficult. In the 1960s, activists confronted white mobs and police with dignity and decorum, sometimes dressing in church clothes and kneeling in prayer during protests to make a clear distinction between who was evil and who was good.

But at protests today, it is difficult to distinguish legitimate activists from the mob actors who burn and loot. The demonstrations are peppered with hate speech, profanity, and guys with sagging pants that show their underwear. Even if the BLM activists aren’t the ones participating in the boorish language and dress, neither are they condemning it.

The 1960s movement also had an innate respectability because our leaders often were heads of the black church, as well. Unfortunately, church and spirituality are not high priorities for Black Lives Matter, and the ethics of love, forgiveness and reconciliation that empowered black leaders such as King and Nelson Mandela in their successful quests to win over their oppressors are missing from this movement.”

Hmmmmm.

Houston reminds Ms. Reynolds of the body of evidence that shows that the binary of respectable v. boorish thug Negro, etc. was created not by their black ancestors, but by the very people who enslaved blacks.

“Those enslaved were told an encouraging, deadly lie that there were ways to evade the hatred and the violence of whites. One of the ways to do so was to become a house slave. One of the paths to becoming a house slave was to be of mixed race and therefore the likely product of rape. This was the true beginning of respectability politics, when blacks were shown that a certain type of black person can receive better treatment by whites than another. House slaves were considered by whites to be less dangerous and less animalistic than field slaves. They were clothed better, fed better and sometimes even educated. They had better lives than the average field slave. But they were all, always and still, enslaved.”  

She brings a bit different angle to the Twitter Kerfuffles over whether t’is better to ‘heal the community’ (where protests are happening with blessed regularity) or staying riled up, act, and perhaps even #ShutItDown, as in highways, malls, and keeping the pressure on via direct actions and protests as well as educating the public and one another, Saying their Names, and so on, even by black ministers.

She quotes Reynolds quoting the black man political elitist Andrew Young, who’d been an aid to Dr. King™, for gawdssake:

White supremacy is a sickness … You don’t get angry with sick people; you work to heal the system.”

Apparently Reynolds believes that only kindness, pacifism, and dressing well will cause white oppressors to empathize with them, and heal their “white supremacist sickness”.

Houston handily dismisses Reynolds’ notion given, for instance, Martin Luther King’s eminent respectability, and how he was (ahem) treated nonetheless.

She includes this link to an opinion piece by Hari Ziyad entitled: ‘Empathy won’t save us’, and it’s easy to take his greater meaning, although I think he misses the degree to which empathy actually has played a part in creating allies of other complexions in the movement.

But the next issue is one that’s seriously bothered me since the assassinations of the nine respectable church-going Christians in Charleston; this is Houston answering Reynolds’ blithe contention:

“Reynolds goes on to cite as examples of the respectability and Christ-like behavior to which we young proponents of Black Lives Matter should aspire the families of the Charleston nine, who told the world they’d forgiven Dylann Roof before the bodies of their beloved were even in the ground. But Reynolds neglects to consider the fact that those dead victims were living, breathing images of respectability—praying in a Church and welcoming in a strange white man—when they were slaughtered. Their respectability did not save them.”

The result of that forgiveness was the reason that no churches were burned to the ground, no riots or looting followed, according to Reynolds, which of course was bullshit, as five area churches were set o fire.  But Houston writes about what she’d actually meant:

“It’s clear that Reynolds meant no buildings were burned by black protestors, which might suggest that the families were able to speak to those rightfully angry blacks, but not those responsible for the churches that went down in flames.

Those churches were burned for many reasons. One reason is that respectability politics cannot save us.”

There is much more, but allow me to get back to the public acts of forgiveness by the families of the slaughtered victims.  Now as Ms Houston noted, these statements of ‘forgiveness’ came before the nine had even been buried, meaning to me, that the families had never had time to grieve properly yet, to wrestle with the ongoing virtual lynchings and oppression of blacks, to process it over time, and then maybe one day to privately forgive white supremacists in order to save one’s own soul from perpetual bitterness.  Similar thoughts are contained in this online ‘conversation’ between Mallory and Carvell about white people so often needing to hear that message of forgiveness, as if those words act to absolve the nation’s systemic racism, and act as mental erasers for them.  They also note that forgiveness doesn’t mean a free pass.  And echoing Houston trying to educate Ms Reynolds, both of whom are black:

Carvell: Again, I don’t know what white people actually think. But it seems like there is not nearly enough urgency about getting this racist shit under control and it doesn’t seem like the “endlessly forgiving Negro” story is helping that at all. This is why I cringe when I hear white people sharing stories of black folks who were royally fucked over six ways till Sunday saying “I forgive you,” like “isn’t this beautiful.”

America has a long history of raping, robbing, enslaving and killing people and then urging those same people to find and express forgiveness and peace. So when I hear “pray for peace” from a white person in the hours after Charleston, it lands very, very wrong.”

Traci Patton penned ‘Black America should stop forgiving white racists; Quick absolution does not lead to justice’ .

After chanting out the forgiveness statements of comfort and redemption by family members at Roof’s bond hearing (why did the Judge allow that, anyway?), she writes that the parade of forgiveness is disconcerting, especially in contrast to so many governmental officials’ white-washing statements. Now Patton understands that black churches have always taught the principle of forgiveness, and agrees that in part it can lessen the power of the receiver over one, reduce anger and bitterness, reminding them that they themselves haven’t been destroyed in their victimization.  But she speaks also of another principle at play:

Historically, black churches have nurtured the politics of forgiveness so that black people can anticipate divine justice and liberation in the next life. This sentiment shaped non-violent protest during the civil rights movement. A belief that displays of morality rooted in forgiveness would force white America to leave behind its racist assumptions. But Christian or non-Christian, black people are not allowed to express unbridled grief or rage, even under the most horrific circumstances.”

Well, yes, so many Negro spirituals were exactly that, weren’t they?  Justice in heaven, and in the Lord’s arms, the Land of Milk and Honey, and so on.  How does one survive slavery at all, knowing that one’s only value to the system is the amount of work one can do to profit their Masters (or the amount one can fetch at sale), and not imagine a better afterlife?  And remember: most were rather forced into becoming Christians in the New World.  But I digress.  Patton adds:

“Many people mistake black forgiveness for absolution of America’s racial sins,” says Chad Williams, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of African and Afro-American Studies at Brandeis University. “I think the expectation that blacks are always willing to forgive makes it harder to engage in radical transformative social justice work.”

Our constant forgiveness perpetuates the cycle of attacks and abuse, a form of “survivorship” that is numbing our cognitive and emotional clarity. It’s really a distorted response to living under the constant terror and trauma of being black in America. Repeatedly forgiving the people who keep murdering us is a desperate preemptive move to try to prevent more white harm to black persons, and it doesn’t necessarily translate to acceptance. [snip]

If we really believe that black lives matter, we won’t devalue our reality and cheapen our forgiveness by giving it away so quickly and easily. Black people should learn to embrace our full range of human emotions, vocalize our rage, demand to be heard, and expect accountability. White America needs to earn our forgiveness, as we practice legitimate self-preservation.

Black lives will never be safe — or truly matter — and we won’t break the centuries long cycle of racial violence if we keep making white racial salvation our responsibility.”

If you’re interested in delving further into the history of respectability politics, and how it does or doesn’t differ from ‘speaking about issues of character and ethics in the present’, philosopher & essayist Misha Cherry offered some salient thinking in 2014.  She highlights Harvard Professor Evelyn Higginbotham in her book Righteous Discontent, who traces the belief back to early 20th century black female church social activists, and notes some of the unintended consequences, oh my goodness.  She brings Aristotle and Plato into thee mix, plus W.E.B. Dubois, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Don Lemon, Bill Cosby, and others.

Toward the end of her longish essay:

Moving Forward

“Respectability politics may talk about character and morality, but it does it an injustice. A talk about character doesn’t necessarily translate into a politics of respectability. We can aspire to moral excellence and challenge others to do so as well without singling out certain groups, by holding everyone accountable, by valuing goodness for goodness sake, and by knowing the limits of only morality to change the world.”

Tef Poe has a few…er…not terribly respectable things to say about politicians and police in St. Louis and Missouri.  (Clicking through the video to its youtube page allows you to read more of his rage and grief.)  “Ferguson is Barack Obama’s Katrina.”

87 responses to “Respectability Politics Won’t Cut It Now. Did They Ever?

  1. There is more wisdom apparent in your use of the simple characterization of others’ COMPLEXION (it truly is that surficial) as barrier to empathy in our common humanity; than the ‘balance’ of the opinions expressed in the links above.
    And it still provides for the accurate vitiation of ‘respectability’ in the observation of the house slaves’ enduring captivity, literally epitomized by that of the one presently occupying the Bush White House.

    • thank you, bruce. when someone once mentioned on the boards (perhaps it was ohio barbarian) how modern a *social construct* of race is i did do a bit of reading on the subject. (gads, i wish i could remember the anthropological evidence i’d read…) but yes, we seem to be all related to the san bushmen in southern africa, don’t we, as various groups traveled routes around the globe that changed skin pigmentations. humanity doesn’t depend on complexion, as you say so well.

      but by now, of course, the point seems to be that the dominant societies write the Rulez on ‘race’.

      the one group of stellar allies (beyond all the otherly-complected folks we see in BLM-related marches and direct actions, is #Asians4blacklives. their manifesto is so sublime it brings tears to my eyes.
      https://a4bl.wordpress.com/who-we-are/

      yes, and as tef poe rapped in ‘war cry’, “Ferguson is Barack Obama’s Katrina”.

  2. So, exactly how do BLM types propose to move forward when even their unmannerliness and their withholding of forgiveness is seen to also leave them in the same place where they started, if not worse off? (Note that this comes from a guy who believes in the power and virtue of revenge when the system fails to deliver justice.)

    Please also note that I want to refine what I said about BLM previously by adding this: I believe guerrilla tactics of all types may be our best path to justice, so it’s not that I reject the specific BLM disruptiveness, it’s rather that I think it’s a mistake to have them be out front as leaders of the whole black movement for justice. When the overall population sees them out front, it leads to divisiveness among the groups who should be allies.

    • hallo, realitychecker.

      first, i can’t speak for them, and i don’t believe they can even speak for one another. it’s a leaderful movement, save for some that media have anointed, and i can’t say that i like that, myself. much like occupy, the movement is diffuse, with folks of affinity doing their own planning of actions.

      but with your question, i can’t help but think you either didn’t read my diary or…something, because you seem to have gotten what these black women have amply demonstrated backward: respectability politics had blowback in the early 20th century, and several of them believe strongly that trained to the point of reflexivity of ‘black forgiveness of their killers and oppressors’ was designed by slave owners, thus perpetuating the lie that decorum mattered. and especially mattered as a way to dis-enslave themselves then, and now from the continued debt slavery peonage, killings by police with almost total impunity, urban gentrification and homelessness, charter schools replacing black inner city schools, and the whole package.

      but please note that none of these opinion essays were written by BLM activists on the ground. i’m just unsure where else to go given that you seem to have missed the entire meaning of this diary. any way i can help your understanding further?

      what these women are saying directly is that ‘respectability’ and even high moral character didn’t even save MLK, nor the good people at the AME church; and i’d add that white supremacy is still alive and well in this nation, and around the world. added on edit: that’s why many call this movement ‘civil rights 2.0.

      by the by, did you ever get a chance to read the ten years after katrina diary? the evidence that it’s gone just like our rulers wanted seems incontrovertible.

      • Wendy, m’dear, why do you keep wondering whether I’ve read your diaries lol? Of course I have, but I don’t waste time halleluja-ing what I agree with, I only point out things I think need further examination. Reality-checking, and all that; it has its place in fine tuning a discussion.

        We have gone back and forth over the years about my militancy compared to your mystical love power. I now say I support all confrontational tactics, and don’t believe shame can ever move the oppressor class. Maybe once it could (MAYBE!!!!), but no longer, if ever–i.e., Gandhi and MLK both recognized and benefited from the existence of more militant threateners operating concurrently with their non-violent movements. (Comrade X, below, has this just right, IMO.)
        I just don’t support tactics that serve to divide us “regular people” against each other, and I think that is the inevitable result of .BLM being perceived as taking the leadership role for the whole black justice movement. As juliania notes below, such tactics even made her feel left out. Strength in numbers means not dividing your numbers against themselves, IMO.

        Effectiveness uber alles. ;-)

        • i asked if you’d read it in this case because you’d asked: “So, exactly how do BLM types propose to move forward when even their unmannerliness and their withholding of forgiveness is seen to also leave them in the same place where they started, if not worse off?”

          i did blow by ‘blm types’, please note, but i don’t begin to accept the the rest, but from what i can divine, you do agree with mz reynolds, then, yes? i don’t begin to accept that ‘they are in the same place where ‘they’ started’, either, but that’s a far longer subject, not to mention that this movement for black justice is indeed a marathon, not a sprint, and the effects can’t be judged this early on.

          p.s. o edit: this makes no sense to me: “We have gone back and forth over the years about my militancy compared to your mystical love power. I now say I support all confrontational tactics, and don’t believe shame can ever move the oppressor class. Maybe once it could (MAYBE!!!!), but no longer, if ever–i.e., Gandhi and MLK both recognized and benefited from the existence of more militant threateners operating concurrently with their non-violent movements.”

          is the over-arching movemet NOT engaged in confrontational tactics in your mind? no, they’re not shooting back, but you find that more worthy, but also tout the axiom that ‘they’ should be “mannerly and forgiving”? i sense a disconnect here somehow, RC. ;-)

          no, ‘withholding forgiveness’ is not even any part of the theses presented, given that most know that forgiveness is a very private and personal matter. rather, the issue was that blacks have long been offering ‘public statements of forgiveness’, which i seem to have failed to convey to you and juliania.

          i’m once again baffled that you still maintain that someone else, or some other entity should be ‘leading the black justice movement’. i guess i’d ask both you and juliania who you’d imagine that might be. harry belafonte and friends? and i still don’t see that anyone is ‘leaving us out’, to say the truth. i’ve seen plenty of ‘white’ faces in the twitter pics of various marches and civil actions.

          i dunno at what point you bailed on the ‘late summer police’ thread, but i did go find the link and a paragraph i’d included in the which sarah jaffe on the post in which she’d interviewed historian Robin D. G. Kelley began work in the 1980s on what would become his classic work of radical history, ‘Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression’.

          they discussed violence and nonviolence during the time of the communist labor organizers in AL who were intent on creating a socialist model during that period of ‘social emergency’ for blacks and other workers.

          “Nonviolence as a political strategy was pretty common among progressive forces in the postwar period, for good reason. However, if you take the history of black freedom struggles, self-defense has been the first principle. It had to be—during Reconstruction something like 58,000 black people were killed. Akinyele Omowale Umoja has this great book called We Will Shoot Back where he proves that in every county in Mississippi where you had organized armed self-defense they had less violence, fewer killings.”

          http://www.thenation.com/article/what-a-band-of-20th-century-alabama-communists-can-teach-black-lives-matter-and-the-offspring-of-occupy/
          comments. it was

          • Well, I’m finding it a bit ironic, and therefore am tweaking you a bit, that your one love philosophy is now moving to embracing the most unlove part of the black resistance–the irony is that you are now in fact moving more in the direction of my perennial militancy, and not seeing that I want more militancy yet, whilst you are reading me as being anti-BLM for their aggressiveness.

            I don’t believe in automatic forgiveness, nor in respectability politics when dealing with such blood-thirsty oppressors as we are dealing with.

            There’s no disconnect, m’dear–I would even support violent guerrilla type asymmetrical warfare tactics, as I believe that is the ONLY thing that could ever turn things around.

            My only quibble with the BLM types (“folks” if you prefer lol) is that they seem to find themselves being portrayed as the new black leadership, and to the extent that they project a “me first” attitude that I know alienates many regular non-black folks, i THINK THEY ARE DIVIDING AND CONQUERING IN THEIR OWN WAY ON BEHALF OF THE MASTERS OF US ALL (CAPS UNINTENTIONAL lol). A bad strategy overall, IMO. But sure, let everyone act up in an individual way, I enjoy seeing that, and let’s abandon respectability, it will never work anyway, but also what will never work is just turning away from respectablity and withholding forgiveness, and thinking even for a moment that the masters will then be shamed into changing. With the shithole we have allowed ourselves to fall into, only effective spontaneous guerrilla violence will create enough of an impression on the PTB to ever get any real change. Fear and force is all they understand. (That’s my belief, and I’m sticking to it.)

            • ack; i find it simply crazy that you believe that *i believe* that book excerpt is either estimable or pragmatic. i.do.not. i would never kill another human except as a total reflex, and then it would have to be with my bare hands, and that only as a response to someone i love, or feel is weak, is having their life/lives threatened, you great Idjit!

              yes, i’ve used ‘one love’ plenty in mocking myownself for not displaying it, but at its core i believe, is the admonition that when we do feel our common humanity as one heart beating together, we will rise up against (in the vernacular of reggae: babylon, or the Imperium) and win our freedom.

              yes, i still believe that the subtext to any social movement politics is a total revolution of consciousness and values, and that when some preponderance of us have epiphanies of shared common humanity, the noosphere (jung’s ‘collective consciousness’) will .affect the very air we breathe…and spread. call it ‘the spark’ that may lit the fires of freedom and justice around the globe. yep, i had hoped Occupy was on the way to doing that, but the movement was crushed, save for all those still working behind the scenes in common purpose to create a better world.

              you seem totally unable to understand the idea of ‘black forgiveness’, but what many of these essayists are bringing to light is that it was historically a way for christian church women to feel morally superior, this shame the white supremacists. and they wanted to show, in effect, how that dictate actually worked to keep blacks from expressing themselves *a individuals*, because they began to accept that they *should* see themselves through the gaze of the white world. for instance, another opinion:

              ““The goal of respectability politics may be noble, but the execution is flawed, damaging, and ineffective. By indulging in respectability politics, we acquiesce to the racially biased idea that the actions of individual black people are representative of the whole. We add to the pre-existing burdens of racism and sexism. And we fail to solve our problem, because we move the responsibility for eradicating race and gender biases from the powerful institutions and systems that perpetrate them to those oppressed by them. It is easier to try to control the oppressed than challenge the oppressor, but it is rarely a humane or useful approach.” — Tamara Winfrey Harris, Bitch Magazine

              i still don’t begin to grasp why you believe they are ‘me-first’, when all the BLM movement is trying to do is say: ‘stop killing us! stop Negro-farming us! stop incarcerating us to a grievous degree!’, etc. i don’t feel a bit threatened by them; why do you? were you younger, would you not consider joining them in solidarity? is there some reason that i don’t particularly feel as white as you and juliania do? it’s only a skin-deep thing, after all. there are plenty of allies in the movement, but the one rule is always: ‘let us lead’. and how wonderful that over the past two years, women are often featured at the front of marches. about damned time that men of all colors learn about the strength and vision of women.

              one credo i’ve always held as true is that third world women would get us out of this oppressive hell. idle no more, although a bit quiet right now, tickled me witless, plus: the drums *were* the heartbeat, of course. and what groups in this benighted nation are more third world than first americans and blacks?

              • Ya know, Wendy, I’ve always loved about you that your beliefs are sincerely held, it’s wonderful that there are some people in the world like that. As I am like that, when permitted to be. But I just don’t think it’s appropriate for me to value the lives of oppressors much more highly than they value mine, and most folks are as unenlightened as I am, so I think if change ever comes, it will be because the numbers prevail, and get their way thru violence or the threat thereof.

                Not getting bogged down with black respectability, or any other idea that might be intellectually interesting but, IMHO, not relevant to discuss cuz never going to make things very different one way or the other. The real issues run much deeper, and it feels like being tunnel-visioned into political correctness to me to type long comments about the esoterica of that political correctness. We got here by the oppressors playing down and dirty, and we won’t get out of it without being down and dirty in the cause of removing the control of those oppressors. That’s the belief I am sticking to.

                Still love ya to death, though. ;-)

                • sigh; we’re still talking past one another. a revolution of higher consciousness isn’t about valuing the lives of our oppressors: it’s about defeating them, as i said above. but then, we may disagree that it’s part of the US Empire’s capitalistic economy and belief that is at the core of all of this, and has been since the two original sins of this nation: native american genocide, slavery, and ooof: a third: the christian belief in ‘manifest destiny’, and the rights they claimed it earned them as ‘exceptionally clever, moral, whatever.

                  but stop and think what ‘rise like lions after slumber; we are many, they are few’ can mean. it may mean that you are correct, and armed rebellion is the only answer, but then: Robespierre and other post-revolution ‘purgers’ leap to mind. or it may mean, as recently in guatemala, that the citizens of good heart and justice got in the streets in massive numbers for weeks and week, and caused their own corrupt dictator to resign, and go to prison. time will tell how that plays out, for sure, but it can happen.

                  lol. you don’t have to type long comments about esoterica, cuz i did (crap key typos included). but please understand, my beliefs are just that, and some days i even question them when i’m glum; but i’m not sayin’ i have any sort of second sight, or that the future will prove me right. okay?

                  glad ya still love me anyway. :-P

  3. related, although i can’t find the original source for the stats on the tweet, but oh, yes, billy bratton was in LA, too, and an ‘advisor’ to the oakland PD.

    The Politics of the NYPD’s War on the Homeless’

    and there’s a large #HandsOfftheHomeless rally in harlem today.

  4. Well, I guess I’m a little confused myself, wendye, but I haven’t done the research that you have done into all the voices you present in this post, so I’ll just say it wasn’t ‘respectability’ that enforced the behavior of those early civil rightists but rather their faith encompassing what is upstanding for any human being regardless of color – to be virtuous in one’s own personal behavior no matter what the cost. It’s that which produces heroes, leaders among men, and it isn’t an easy task. Indeed it does make one a target, and many of us including myself are not as brave in this as we should be – but in no way is such leadership a shallow thing.

    Actual forgiveness, not just the pretend for the cameras kind, is a very hard matter in the face of brutality that laughs in the face of such attempts. The latter is an evil thing. I’m not sure where to go from that, but I loved Martin Luther King when he was inclusive but felt left out when the righteous indignation of other black leaders threw me in with all members of the ‘white’ race.

    There is something in my faith called ‘discretion’. It’s the way of seeing through the immediate situation into truths that aren’t just blanket statements about morality or justice. A lot of monks in the past were confounded by their own overweening sense of morality in a particular situation being trumped by an elder’s discretion. One’s own unworthiness seems to be a good place to start.

    What does it take to be a fine human being, regardless of race or how one is treated? It’s really hard to do, no matter how others treat us, and harder maybe the more privileged we discover ourselves to be. I would not change places with Barack Obama. I would not change places with Donald Trump. I would not change places with Bill Gates. Not for all the tea in China (and I love tea.)

    I do agree that the politics of the civil rights era don’t match today’s problems, and there has to be a new style of leadership for all our critical issues. Those were heroes then however, those who died as well as those who simply marched. They knew the dangers, and they faced them. And maybe, just maybe, when the time is right we’ll have such heroes again, whatever the color of their skin.

    • lol; now i’m confused by your comment, and some of your contentions therein. i might have asked RC as i’ll ask you as some illumination: do you agree with miz reynolds in the first italicized wine font? if so, then of course you’ll be confused by my attempts to signal boost these essays in opposition to her beliefs.

      i seem to have made their cases poorly, in any event. but one of the key ideas presented is pushing back against the notion that blacks need(ed) to see themselves through a white gaze in order to offset the prevalence of ‘darwinian theory’ as misha noted at the last link, and if they could ‘just dress well, sit erect, display their moral virtues that way…oh, and NO swearing…then whites would see them as equal and empathize with them. the material she uses from Higginbotham’s book indicated that those self-same ‘respectability’ poses were later used against poor blacks, just like cosby, o’reilly, et.al. do today.

      how many of these kids in these very poor inner cities with the most police brutality could even want to own church clothes, much less afford them. and yes, their vernacular is often full of ‘fucks’ and whatnot (as is my own). ;-)
      but many likely have very strong moral compasses, from what i’ve seen on the Twit machine, and in essays.

      but swearing and crap clothes do not speak to character, imo, or negate having an exquisite moral compass. nor can i agree that the movement needs leaders, much less infallible ones. plenty leaders in the 60s civil rights movement had feet of heavy clay, as noted even in wikipedia’s ‘march on washington’ entry, not even martin.. but that did not lessen their humanity at all, and their dedication to securing civil rights as human beings and freeing the chains that kept them oppressed, imo.

      i dunno; you might want to read misha’s piece in case she can demonstrate the blowback that came from their ‘respectability’. and i tried to show a couple examples of ‘black ministerial justice; it is precisely their faith that leads them to the movement, and ooof, do some rail against the black preachers who defend the police. good on them! ;-)

      (a couple of my keys hardly type, forgive typos, please.)

      • Here’s what I agree with Ms. Reynolds on (and I admire her bravery in making her points, though I don’t particularly agree with her choice of heroes in either Oprah or Andrew Young, as inspired as they may have been in their youth by the civil rights movement as it was then) – she is seeing the danger in a clear misapprehension of what that movement as it galvanized the nation was all about. It wasn’t about house negroes – that is so offensive. It was about intelligent human beings who happened to be black. Or white. Or whatever.

        She’s concerned that there’s a real ignorance in the distorted education of the young about the generation that came before them – a generation that was, I would insist with her, successful in its mission to make the point that we are all equal as regards skin color, and must be so in the eyes of the law. Here’s what she said on that point in her essay:

        ” . . The BLM also gives special “attention to the needs of black queers, the black transgendered, the black undocumented, black incarcerated and others who are hardly a speck on today’s political agenda.”

        In this way, BLM has improved on the previous generation. The new movement has embraced black women as leaders and was, in fact, founded by three black women. King’s model, by contrast, was sexist to the core, imitating the tone of the country at that time. Civil rights heroines such as Fannie Lou Hamer, Ella Baker and even Rosa Parks — whose refusal to move to the back of the bus in Montgomery launched the 1960s movement — were not allowed to speak or march with the male leaders at the 1963 March on Washington. . .”

        Now that is Ms. Reynolds bridging the generational gap, in my way of thinking. She’s admitting the faults of her generation, seeing truths in the positive aspects of BLM going forward. I didn’t see any acknowledgement of that in Ms. Houston’s speech. Instead she suggests, strongly suggests, that dignity and decorum caused the movement to fail, using the example of the church martyrs – that they, presumably, had a ‘house negro’ approach to confrontation bred into them by slavery.

        Well, please excuse my language here, but that’s bullshit. You don’t have to be a religious person to know that you gain respect from others by being respectful and inclusive. If you shut them out it may mollify some of the pain you feel but it isn’t going to help your cause. I think that might have been what realitychecker was pointing towards as well.

        I’ll just remind us as I close that the first civil rights movement had church martyrs too. They were children. Dressed in their Sunday best. You want to call them house negroes? Be my guest, but take care how you do that. I always thought that those who forgave the murderers of their children were better persons than I might ever be myself in that situation. I never ever thought of them as house negroes. Perish that thought!

        • i appreciate your spelling it out, juliania, but ms hutton did indeed include that in her essay (at the salon link i’d provided, and said that there was much more).
          :
          “There is one part of the op-ed where Reynolds admits that BLM has many positive attributes that the Civil Right Movement did not have. She’s willing to admit that “BLM has improved on the previous generation” by rejecting the traditional straight male hierarchical leadership, by demanding that women be seen and heard as integral to the movement and that LBTQ rights be a part of the intersectional narrative. She has no problem admitting that King’s movement was “sexist to the core, imitating the tone of the country at that time,” as if that didn’t signify a greater problem. It’s true that respectability politics is not entirely about the imitation of white, hetero-normative, Christian behavior—what the Church women activists were doing in the 1800s was more complex than that. But the fact that a black movement adopted misogynistic approaches (just as enslaved blacks did the same, in imitating the white nuclear families that owned them) is not a mere aside—it’s one of the very reasons BLM must be so, very different from the generations of activism that came before.”
          you may be unfamiliar with the concepts of field negro and house negro, but it is not a new construct, as ms hutton shows, and as misha cherry noted.

          but i find it disturbing that you are inferring that i’d ever call the children bombed at the church in birmingham ‘house negroes’. that’s offensive to me; and no, i would never call you one, either. we just have different understandings of this issue. hyperbole does not suit the discussion, and these essayists were not trying to do that in any fashion; i’m quite sure of that.

          on edit: in fact, for a decade or so i’ followed ‘the field negro’…until he became a fan of obama, then i faded from checking in. i had thought he was chauncey de vega, but it appears that either i was wrong, or chauncey blogged at the field negro for a time. but please; ad hominems don’t become any of us.

          • Thanks, wendye – I read too hastily and I’m glad Ms. Houston noted the point of commonality. We are all products of our times, and especially of the times in which we rise to our true potential as did those leaders in that time. It’s sad when after we have become more enlightened, the benefit of that enlightenment is to denigrate those that came before. I did speak strongly, but I felt it very unfair, and my ‘you’ wasn’t aimed at you specifically, of course not! You have lived ‘all lives matter’ in every striving post you do.

            No, my point is, and maybe it’s good to refer to one I just saw at commondreams.org, a message from Vandana Shiva about dharma, the righteous way as so many Indian faiths understand it. What it involves is respect for all living things, to measure all we do against that – is it of benefit to life, which is sacred. This informed Gandhi, whose practise of nonviolence informed Martin Luther King also. And then too, I just read this at the blog of an ailing Orthodox priest, Father Ted – it is so beautiful in essence that I just want to share it:

            “We like it when the ‘churching’ of life is discussed, but few people understand what it means. Indeed, must we attend all the church services in order to ‘church’ our life? Or hang an icon in every room and burn an icon-lamp in front of it? No, the ‘churching of life’ is the realization of the whole world as one great church, adorned with icons – persons who should be venerated, honored, and loved, because these icons are true images of God that have the holiness of the Living God within them.” (Michael Plekon in St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly:Vol. 49, Nov. 3, 2005, p 313)

            You gave me a link to a beautiful Greek church in the eastern US – and what is quite extraordinary about the decoration of that church is that the only other Greek church I have been in had very few icons and lots of white walls, so I think this is something they have really taken on from the Russians, expanding the iconostasis into every nook and cranny (and hardly any gold I was delighted to see.) Thank you, dear wendye, and thank you for this important discussion.

  5. The attempt to shame, or to call shame upon, crackers was more suited to the era of apparent American ascendancy. Now, it’s more likely that forgiveness will reap rewards in heaven than here below.

    The kwistian slave morality is well ingrained. It allows the oppressed a celebration of their moral superiority. It short circuits any latent cycle of violence. But does it now evoke repentance?

    This kwistian frame of individual moral progress demonstrates ignorance (probably feigned) of systemic perpetuation of violence and oppression. The oppressed are encouraged to this ignorance. In America’s decadence, this saintly moral progress would be untimely.

    Would it be useful as one among coordinated campaigns? No, it must be shorn of its association with false expectations and projection of servility.

    • if (and it’s always a big *if*) i understand you, what i’m seeing in this civil rights 2.0 is exactly revolutionary pushback against the ‘reward in heaven’, instead: “civil and social justice now!” i will say that the movement isn’t monolithic, nor is the black christian ministry, but i love the firecrackers like rev sekou, even while i’m not a believer. and i love that there’s a loose coalition in similar spirit calling out the ‘simmer down, heal the community’ ministers. healing before justice; nope.

      as to your final paragraph, it echoes shannon houston’s claims that mz reynolds op-ed, and andy young’s rubbish, were effectively keeping blacks in the old chains. he got his, what the hell, over. looking at n’awleans ten years later should be the gold standard of the truth that ‘only certain blacks matter’.

      that so many black lgbt are so dedicated to justice is not incidental to the first movement, which many now see was dominated by heterosexual males, either.

  6. also, the change of venue hearing for the cops accused in the freddie gray murder case is today; arrests have already begun outside the barricades in front of the court house.

    and baltimore did reach a settlement with his family for $6.4 million.

  7. Hmm. Not incidental that identity politicians are the successors to patriarchs? Am I off base to see the passing of the torch over the hetero-line as spectacle?

    The Germans funded Lenin to revolutionize Russia. Who’s funding these sexed “liberators”?

    • once again, i may not understand what you’re saying, but the fact that so many lgbt folks, especially black and perhaps brown and asian, is likely that they are some of the most unseen victims of white and police/vigilante oppression, brutality, and murder, and are quite motivated to liberate themselves.

      your funding question needs explanation for me, as in who are ‘sexed liberators’, for a start?

      but given that RC and i seem to see your contentions so differently, may i ask if by ‘calling shame upon the oppressors’ was about the black christians feeling that offering them forgiveness caused them to feel morally superior, and that held back true social justice (or more justice)? odd that your comment seems to be a bit of a mine field. ;-) no, no, a better metaphor would be the parable of the blindfolded folks who were permitted to touch one part of an elephant, then describe what the whole was. ooof.

      • Of course, the forgiving black kwistians are sanctified and morally (almost) irreproachable. And they have every right to decline election by a murderer to avenge a rotten society. But that kwistian resort to righteousness is a slavish pattern.

        Did they “hold back true social justice”? Hmmm. Did slavish acquiescence hold back social justice?

        Have I stepped on a mine?

        Re your lgbt sexed “liberators”, you seem to trace causation from the failure of heterosexual male leaders to the lgbt leadership of BLM. The gay rights movement is exemplary but you must ask why assasination was necessary to suppress the liberation movements of the 60’s. Why is lgbt leadership preferred? Are the most oppressed the most qualified? Wouldn’t that make you suspicious?

        • yes, as mz hutton said, it was akin to being house slaves.

          of course i see the intersectional (what an odious term, i dunno another) black/trans/queers as being far more oppressed than white lgbt. as i said, they are exquisitely motivated to try to break their chains…and stay alive. no, i’m not one bit suspicious, but you seem to be. why?

          • The most oppressed are the most motivated?

            This has an echo of neoliberalism, as if people are only motivated by self-interest. Thus the most oppressed are the most motivated.

            A hierarchy of motivation, the inversion of the hierarchy of oppression, is a poor (maybe rigged) basis for transformation.

  8. just in, and whatever this means, but some of the jokes under similar tweets are a bit…on the cynical side. ;-)

  9. Great writing on a matter of supreme importance to our “Pending and Bigger Than Ever” Future. Thus, Demographics is driving the Far Right further into political gutter and as evidenced by Spencer at the National Policy Center.

    In the meantime, we, the Native Americans and Chicanos are standing by the Matters Movement, otherwise, the history of slavery would move in the direction of America’s history of genocide, and consequently, the ‘defacing’ of the Matters Movement would occur. Therefore, my having to “listen” to the well-camouflaged conservative Democrats, positing their political nonsense, don’t have any ‘skin’ in this game other than “protecting” their seminal white privilege.

    Unfortunately, white “extremism” is slowly morphing into a movement for white Nationalism, and which as long been expected by those of us residing here in the Sonoran Desert. Therefore, our obvious question has been: “What’s taken so long?”

    • hallo, jaango. just fyi, there actually is a #NativesLivesMatter hashtag thingie, here’s my most recent report. if ya save it, ya can always click on the hashtag, and find newly tweeted news (however Twitter works, i still dunno).

      are there any other kinds of Dems by now? i srsly question that, but we don’t need to engage over ‘the bern’, lol.

      ish, though, i couldn’t think of the term in some of the headlines of new bills afoot about ending birthright citizenship. OMG, they’re calling them ‘anchor babies’.

      a friend/ally just sent me a piece on ‘Polite White Supremacy’, which is very good, and the author seems to have promised to get into the subject by way of linguistics, also highly useful as an educational tool. at least the R racist politicians are up front about it all, rather than…the other. cold comfort, but in a way, easier to deconstruct.

    • Maybe Joe Smith had the right strategy – find the sacred declaration of White Man’s privilege and birthright. Fucking Utah.

  10. respectability didn’t save james blake from police brutality.

    and this is so hideous it’s almost unbelievable, except: police.

    “Police in Virginia have released video footage showing a confrontation between officers and a mentally ill inmate they were trying to restrain and who later died after being tasered four times with 50,000 volt shocks.

    The release of the disturbing footage showing the February confrontation between officers from Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office and Natasha McKenna came after it was announced no criminal charges would be brought against the officers involved.

    ““You promised me you wouldn’t kill me. I didn’t do anything.”

  11. Hope you read my post above, wendye. I keep thinking of the weather underground and Pattie Hearst when I wonder why protests don’t go as far as the civil rights era did go. The BLM folk seem to want to rewrite history. Leave that to the neocons. We really have better things to do. That’s all the gentle lady my age was trying to say. But I guess I’m just a house negro too, whatever that means.

    • of course i read it; but are you calling ‘stockholm syndrome’ on the (larger) blm movement? and if so, why? and calling them neocons? i am completely bumfuzzled by your rhetoric by now, i must admit. gentle? not so much with your ‘call me a house negro’, as well.

      i will say that the sole black man at the café laughs about house negroes (he calls them ‘neo-blacks; retro might be more appropriate) and obama’s apparent ‘paper bag test’ appointments, though.

      on edit: when you rise in the morning, might i suggest you look to the northwest and see Venus as the morning star below the crescent moon. spectacular, and it might put human endeavors and arguments in perspective.

  12. No, I’m not calling the BLM people neocons. Neocons rewrite history, and it seems to me at least in Ms. Houston’s article she is also rewriting history, so I say leave rewriting history to the neocons. I’m not really sure what stockholm syndrome is, I just think there is a misunderstanding of what happened in the generation before. It seems from the tenor of the post that forgiveness itself is being thought of as a slave-induced mentality – that is the point I was trying to make – not well, I do admit. (I did think Barbara’s tone was gentle, though.)

    Northwest – I will try, though the Jemez might get in the way – thanks!

    • ‘stockholm syndrone’ was alleged when hearst identified with her captors. i’d meant northeast, but that, console yourself all you wish with your previous comment, but understand that i can’t engage with you further on this subject, especially tonight..

      • Oh, no – I wasn’t imputing any other similarity other than that protest became besmirched by those incidents in the general apprehension of the public at large. It’s just the idea of generating an inclusive movement, which I thought was the subject of the original article.

        And yes to northeast, though the moon decided to wait an hour this morning I think – but Venus was beautiful at 5:30 am.

  13. The discussion of tactics is all well and good. Naughty or nice. I favor naughty. But gee whiz, guys, you’re talking at the wrong person. BLM’s problem is strategic, specifically the target of the protest. It ought to be Barack Obama in the center of this picture. He is the only one who has the power to change the culture of police brutality and murder as SOP. The difference between the protests of the Civil Rights Movement and today is that back then we were trying to influence the conscience of a nation. Today we only need to influence the conscience of one man.
    Black Lives Matter open to protesting Obama? When are they gonna do it?
    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/251565-black-lives-matter-open-to-protesting-obama#disqus_thread

    And, hell. don’t just protest him! DEMAND ACTION!!!

    http://thehill.com/sites/default/files/styles/article_full/public/article_images/sandersblm.png?itok=-ED0YaqO

    Can anyone tell me how to photoshop Barama into this picture?

    • I failed to learn photoshop, and gave my software to our daughter; sorry. but i reckon that if you hit youtube and search, you’d be able to find a zillion ‘how-to’s’.

      there have been a number of black lives matter protests at the white house, i assume you mean ‘interrupting him at public events’. while i agree that he can do a hella lot, he hasn’t cared for seven years about black or any color of poor people, but hey! he’s hell on blue ribbon commissions and their reports!

      but really, this diary wasn’t about that. it was about those blacks challenging the notion that blacks must be seen publicly as virtuous, exemplary, *publicly-forgiving* of their killers and oppressors, and how that unconscious internalization was baked in over the past century. one link discusses the fact that early in the 20th century, black female church social activists believed that acting ‘respectably’, dressing well, speaking well, la la la, would demonstrate that they really weren’t ‘inferior’ to whites (read: less evolved). one author claimed that those were the days when many successful blacks began to chide other blacks to behave better™ on order not to make the whole race look bad in white’ eyes.

      and of course, it’s still going on, although i read on opinion peace that bill cosby’s… er…fall from grace may have been the death knell to respectability politics. we wish; there still are plenty of don lemon clones out there.

      but this young generation seems to want to be free to express themselves more authentically, and although many of us pay lip service to ‘letting the young ones lead’, but maybe just the ‘respectable ones’.

      i still haven’t had time to finish this piece that site friend and ally hfcmofo sent, but it’s all about the linguistics of what the essayist at ‘theMagicalNegro.net calls ‘Polite white supremacy. it looks like it might open my eyes.

      ta-nehisi coates and others are doubtless any of this will ever change, and i do understand their thinking, and hope to hell they’re wrong.

      • God has broken into history
        The (neo)liberal, reality-making, open society-huckster, George Soros, helps God speak through queer women. Uh huh. Look across the border at those fucktard evangelicals. They’ve been seduced to believe that hey-zeus is returning to the promised land soon – and when he does, the Jews will be bowing down to him. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. Israel supports these lunatics cause they ain’t no such thing happenen, but in the here and now, the fucktards are following Israel’s lead.

        For leftish’s, Soros will condone to use Jesus portrayed as a revolutionary, talking through the oppressed in liberation, in order to shepherd the open society. It’s the flip side of shyster manipulation of kwistians.

      • “but this young generation seems to want to be free to express themselves more authentically, and although many of us pay lip service to ‘letting the young ones lead’,”

        Interesting. That’s the same thing they said in the sixties. I don’t know. I say let the smart ones lead. If they happen to be young so be it. But so far they seem rudderless and need to take the advice of their critics, particularly Hillary Clinton. Come to Pharaoh with a list of demands, or in this case, a single demand. Let my people go! … I mean, complete reformation, restructuring, retraining of police departments nationwide. That is something that both classes of blacks can get behind. The “underclass” and the respectable Negroes. ‘Cause when they are killing us and abusing us, the police make no distinction.

        And do go to Pharaoh, when you make your demands, and not someone who has no power to change the situation.

        • sometimes it’s hard to tell ‘smart’ from ‘wise’, i think.

          but in any event, recent media history claims that ‘Campaignzero‘ demands came on the heels of clinton’s comments; to that i can’t say. but it was noteworthy to me that the ferguson action demands began with: “stop killing us”, which i thought wise. while the list continues to grow, that simple demand wasn’t included. the demands are on the ‘solutions’ page, for whatever reason, and there is a feedback page that’s growing, and rather interesting.

          and yes, for now i know that you believe that obama is Pharaoh. wish his give-a-shitter weren’t so out-of-order. ;-)

          • Well, he certainly believes it. He needs to be renounced from every corner of the black community before he leaves office. Demanding action on this is a great way to start that renunciation.

          • Demanding action on this from him is a great way to start the renunciation.

            • it might be; who of sufficient influence will demand it? it seems to be true that ‘his people’ aren’t quite ‘your people’, as far as i can make out. a major difficulty has been that almost no blacks of any class have been willing to call out ‘the first black president’ (or second, according to toni morrison). will the issue gain enough traction that more will? at least the msm have taken note, and more exposés are being written.

              the ferguson commission report is out; i wonder which media might report on the most salient points. stay tuned, i guess.

            • talk about synchronicity. i was scanning this piece by paul street while on the phone (for too long) just now. quite to the point of ‘somebody-ness’, race, and class. hard to know which snippet to bring, but i hadn’t known that henry gates, jr.’s pbs series used to “blame poor Blacks for their own position at the bottom of the nation’s steep combined socioeconomic and racial pyramids”. but this is one section, and the ‘somebody is saying something’ section was about tony tennis star james blake being of the class who can make his voice heard above the fray. (yeah, de blasio and bratton both apologized to him, but said his smackdown wasn’t racial profiling, oh no.

              “The Winfreys and Obamas are presented as examples of how Blacks can succeed in the “post-racial” U.S. by “dropping the angry [race] attitude” (throwing Jeremiah Wright under the bus) and casting down their buckets to move up in the American “opportunity” system. Their success is taken as proof that racism no longer poses serious obstacles to Black advancement and equality in a “color blind” nation that no longer requires protests against white privilege. And they are happy to explicitly reinforce the message. They blame “Cousin Pookie” (Obama’s darkly humorous term of derision for poor and allegedly lazy Black women on welfare) for her own poverty and diabetes and to refrain from noting that their own success might smack of tokenism and racial divide and rule. They know why Booker T. Washington got invited to the Theodore Roosevelt White House and W.E.B. Du Bois did not.

              Another part of the explanation is that Obama, Winfrey, Booker, Powell and their ilk carry the emoluments of class privilege attained through success in professional and political (Obama and Powell) or commercial (Winfrey) endeavors. Under the hidden codes of class, that exempts them from the same degree of harsh treatment imposed on lower- and working-class Blacks, who carry the double and mutually reinforcing burdens of race and class with special weight.”

              yep, Oprah™ wasn’t too kind on the BLM movement, was she?

              • “emoluments of class privilege” Damn that’s a good word!

                Its Wednesday you know. Been perusing BAR. Ford talks about the “training” of police. Synchronicity. And Dixon talks about black misleadership in the making.

                “When Yale Divinity School bestows $40K upon #BlackLivesMatter activist, former Teach For America alum, and current CampaignZero co-founder Deray McKesson to deliver 2 days of guest lecturing on “Transformational Leadership in the #BlackLivesMatter Movement”, it means exactly what you think it means. It’s a sloppy wet kiss from corporate America, signifying that Deray is their kind of black leader, leading their kind of “transformation.””
                http://www.blackagendareport.com/yale-anoints-deray-mckesson

                (sorry about multiple posts. must learn to be patient for them to appear. if you like you can delete the duplicates)

                • it is indeed a good word, and i’d even had to look it up. ;-) (and i deleted one duplicate; thank you.) do read the rest of street’s piece if you have time.

                  yeah, i saw it when the BAR newsletter came in today or yesterday, and ooof; i’d seen rebelutionary_z tweet deray’s new gig, but i have to wonder if dixon’s right about the exorbitant pay for two days. ya think?

                  i did feature ford’s ‘black control of black neighborhoods’ some time back, and i do try to hear the ‘retraining’ issue, but i’m skeptical that most can be ‘untrained’.

                  did brother west gradjyate from yale divinity? i admit i’ve been giving deray’s twit feed a pass lately for a number of reasons, but partially his admiration for holder and obama. and yep, he seems to think bernie really heard them at the meeting today.

                  on edit: brother west went to post-graduate Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York.

                  • For retraining, put the PhDs to work. There’s got to be experts on behavior modification vis-a-vis institutions. Recruit an army of them. Build police departments …rebuild police departments from the ground up.

                  • Thumbs up on Street’s article. He nailed it about those two classes of blacks.

                    • ha! you just rested my case, darlin’. ;-) (i’ll try to watch the contrails video sometime; a friend who lived in oakland swore she’d gotten migraines when they were thick.)

                      i ran into this quote while searching for a different one to use in my newest post on a blogging help document i keep handy. hmmm; that sentence should be shot dead; dunno how to fix it… sorry.

                      “I prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly.”

                      ~ Michel de Montaigne

                    • I think there are some master minds of behavior modification and mind control working behind the scenes for the government. How else do you explain Barama’s continued 80-90 percent approval rating among blacks? We have been transformed, as a geopolitical ethnic group, from champions of civil rights to bellicose advocates of imperialism (Obamaism). If only the Bernaysian mind manipulators would use their powers for good.

  14. early this morning i remembered a related issue. not nearly as tear-invoking as the ‘I am a man’ signs at the memphis sanitation workers strike, but rather the ‘Black is beautiful’ campaign that seems to have started in the 60s as well. da wiki (and several black history websites agree, but in longer form):

    “The movement encouraged men and women to stop trying to eliminate African-identified traits by straightening their hair and attempting to lighten or bleach their skin.

    This movement began in an effort to counteract the prevailing idea in American culture that features typical of “Blacks” were less attractive or desirable than those of “Whites”. Research indicates that the idea of “blackness” being ugly is highly damaging to the psyche of African Americans, manifesting itself as internalized racism. This idea made its way into black communities themselves and led to practices such as paper bag parties: social events which discriminated against dark-skinned African-Americans by only admitting lighter-skinned individuals.”

    a return to ‘naturals’, as well.

    our black/azteca son was the recipient of the same. schoolteachers were enraged by his fro, as were some students who threw bleach on his hair. his first orthondontist advised pulling two upper teeth ‘so he won’t look so black’.
    his 6th grade friend’s mother (a hairdresser) gave him a buzz cut without consulting us. guess his fro bothered her, as well.

    • Did you forgive cracker-mom and did she repent?

      • fuck no; i shot her. but before that i asked her son (very politely) in front of her and nine of her customers, to ask his friends (meaning hisownself, as he knew well) to stop calling our son ‘a nigger’. i only wounded her (on purpose, swear to gawd, as a lesson, see?). my court–appointed idiot of an attorney claimed ‘justifiable attempted homicide’ as a defense in district court. the cracker jury of ‘bumfuck county, CO (h/t edward abbey) didn’t buy it, and da judge sentenced me to four years at the denver women’s correctional facility. during that time, son grew a fro. when i got out, and he went to the state finals in track in high school, i braided his hair with beads galore, which his track coach cut off. Pfui! black shit!

        ‘hairdresser’s’ son joined the marines after being abused by his father who’d called him ‘a coward’, unable to withstand the school bullies and jocks committing ‘swirlies’ upon him, which entailed jocks and their ilk, putting ‘the vunerable’s’ (including our son’s) heads in toilets, pressing flush, and loving the fun!

        hairdresser’s son was still alive, and was sent on tour as ‘the patriotic marine’ last i’d heard. and our son’s new wife convinced him to join the national guard, and now…sports a crewcut. thank the goddess that mr. wd and i have learned over the decades to love irony. or at least try to lurve it.

        but that was then, this is now. and no, we are not all products of the times we were born. some of us adapt to new realities, hard as it might be.

        • Krist! “My adoptive mom shot the hairdresser for cutting off my ‘fro,” he said, deadpan. You must sell your bio-script.

          #Justifiable attempted homocide#. Fucking cowboy country, still.

          Talkin’ bout irony, I bet more than a few faithful recognized the incognito sadist in gawd. ;}

        • I’m very sorry all of that happened. And of course it affects how you relate to this issue. My apologies for bringing back painful memories.

  15. my favorite preacher, rev sekou. he rightly notes that the movement doesn’t need ‘allies’, it needs ‘freedom fighters’. and yet some of us are only capable of ‘signal boosting’, so i’ll continue to do just that.

  16. David Graeber on the dynamics of domination and bullying. “The Bully Pulpit”. Bully-victim-witness. Witnesses typically validate the bully and trash the victim. That’s the Cliff Notes. The details are better.

    http://thebaffler.com/salvos/bullys-pulpit

    • thanks, amigo. i had read it earlier, actually, but i found i had a whale of a lot of questions about it, and still do on a third read. one obvious comment is that while actual sadists are small in number, *sociopaths* may be on the increase, but that’s a whole ‘nother issue in a way. innate or created, and so on.

      i reckon things in british public schools are a bit different than here, but along with his thesis that the most odious six words are “it doesn’t matter who started it” rings true…and here, it’s the kids of color who get expelled or suspended. and far too often the football and wresting jocks rule. sad truth is that they’re protected from two directions: many of their parents are teachers and coaches and school board members, plus Sports Rule, so ya wouldn’t want to have to bench the miscreants.

      i haven’t kept up with any of the more recent bullying literature, so that’s interesting. but i wondered that he only spoke of the element of “being entirely self-satisfied pricks, not low on self-esteem”, and not speaking of either any internal *fear* that might drive bullies. maybe he figured he’d covered it in ‘self-doubt’.

      but the biggest question as to etiology is ‘were they bullied at home’, and taught that ‘might makes right’?

      i did get a bang out of graeber’s ‘‘Dickheads; The paradox of the necktie resolved’, including the mid-1800s change of costuming for men to armor up in business suits and ‘what was now covered was where the power hides’…or something. and tie points, of course, pointing toward penises.

      • What he seems to say is that the “entirely self-satisfied pricks, not low on self-esteem” in fact are but like to reinforce that self-evaluation with an audience. The “what creates bullies” question is a very interesting one. The ones I knew growing up had parents who were big on “standing up for yourself”. But not all of the offspring of those sorts of parents were bullies. Southern kids in the 1950s had “spare the rod, spoil the child” parents whose first words of anger were “child, get me a switch”.

        What I like about Graeber’s research is that finally anthropology is focusing some attention on the default culture of the West that was so interested in colonial lands and peoples a century ago.

        On power attire, Trump in Mobile wore a button jacket with lapes, a white shirt, top button unbuttoned, and no tie. Also no hat (but that is conventional now unless it’s a feed cap). If business suits were armoring up, was this the general relaxing in camp chatting with his troops? How to read the real of faux informal dress of the PtB these days. But in a lobbying organization event (was it the NRA) prior to this rally, he was in full black business suit and flaming red tie. Oh well, some idle speculation about the phenom.

        If I remember correctly “public schools” in the UK are commercial (private in US terms) boarding schools. “Private” schools are in-the-mansion tutors.

        Cornel West was the warm-up act for Bernie today at Benedict College in Columbia SC. The only pic I saw from the event showed the students stuck behind the lectern in pursed-lip WTF expressions and Cornel West arms stretched in full flight. Need to go back and find a video of the performance to see if the audience loosened up by the time Sanders spoke. Columbia is gerrymandered between Joe “You Lie” Wilson and James Clyburn. My guess is that Benedict College is in Clyburn’s part of the gerrymander. Clyburn’s support is key to swinging a Congressional Black Caucus endorsement (yes, yes, the misleaders). My guess is that will not happen until Sanders has a substantial number of delegates committed to him. My benchmark is that Sanders is doing good if the Congressional Black Caucus does not declare before the Iowa Caucus. (Like watching a bad opera, but it affects my old stomping grounds in that substantial Sanders support would be a major shift of politics.) One reason I doubt that this election will settle much in the establishment spoils fight.

        • ‘get me the switch’ i’d argue is the equivalent of christianists’ (dobson, et.al.) ‘i didn’t hit you, the stick did’ with the addition that ‘you got me the switch’, which is the authoritarian bullshit (steeped in christian biblical dictates) that is at the core of the massive violence in this nation, and has been, since the Victorian era. yes, i subscribe to alice miller’s theories entirely. ;-)

          dunno what you mean about ‘anthropology is focusing some attention on the default culture of the West that was so interested in colonial lands and peoples a century ago’, really, unless it’s about The Cowardice Principle.

          yes, public in the UK is ‘for tuition’, and likely plenty of it. i’ve lost any sense whether or not those institutions are mainly white or not; perhaps not.

          but i did look about for ‘newer’ theories on bullies, and the etiology, as well as searching as to whether there were any Transactional Analysis theories about the subject. apparently there are, but i gave up finding them directly.

          but most things i found from 2010 or later said that home life was key, and bullies were bullied, or the equivalent. power structures are always interesting (including familial ones) and the day when the son (metaphorically or not) *beats his old man* (dunno about mums) is an essential developmental step.

          most of the psychological models schools used *started with* blaming the victim for being bullied. “stand up straight, exude confidence’, yada, yada, and i still found some of that, including: inside the victims are ‘aggressive’. well, then… but to me it’s akin to blaming rape victims as causing their own rapes because: whatever, inclding ‘you asked for it’.

          trumpette: maybe it’s the thing about polling questions? ‘who would ya rather have a beer with’? god, what an odious fuquewad; i really can’t click into headlines. ;-)

          ta, thd.

        • i’d forgotten to say that i didn’t even know the the CBC endorses candidates. hmmm; they must be wondering what the down sides of not supporting deep-blue-pantsuit-sea clinton would be, or: as you say, just need to see who the Winnah will be.

          oh, my; one can choose bernie videos between 12 and 53 minutes; too early here to play any of them.

          ooof and whoosh and egad: did he call the bern ‘a prophetic politician’? that’s a major piece of rubbish to me,
          especially as the bern represents to much that he’d excoriated about obama.

          on edit: dayum! brother west says we need ta get on the bernie revolution of higher morals and spirituality, the bernie love train!

          i’m in! i’d been lookin’ in all the wrong places!


    • “Witnesses typically validate the bully and trash the victim.”
      This I have certainly noticed. Especially with online bullies.

      • graeber addressed that, as well:

        “Not only does this drama appear at the very origins of bullying in early childhood; it is precisely the aspect that endures in adult life. I call it the “you two cut it out” fallacy. Anyone who frequents social media forums will recognize the pattern. Aggressor attacks. Target tries to rise above and do nothing. No one intervenes. Aggressor ramps up attack. Target tries to rise above and do nothing. No one intervenes. Aggressor further ramps up attack.”

        i’ve seen it happen even when some folks do intervene, and the bullies simply ramp up their attacks into increasingly brutal ad hominems. what’s your experience been, nomad?

        i’m still not entirely sure about the ‘the new research’ that claims if one or two kids tell the bullies to cut it out…they actually do. might that depend on the status or color of those kids?

        post-columbine, schools went crazy about security, and even in cortez, co, seized and tore apart the laptops of ‘goths’ sporting cowboy dusters and whatnot. essentially, they had no rights.

  17. graeber touched on a piece of this briefly, but the Magical Negro (yawo brown) delves into the linguistics of #polite white supremacy in some depth:

    “…you have to be part of or support the ruling class to wield the power of racism. Those who are not part of the white ruling class, yet support white supremacy of any form, are called agents of white supremacy. They are not white, but benefit in some direct way from empowering and enforcing white supremacy often times on their own people. Historically black overseers and house slaves were bestowed more rights, and ultimately more power during slavery. These were employed agents of white supremacy who oppressed their fellow blacks. This employment was a status. It was a form of racist power that white slave owners gave to black overseers as a way to also instill mistrust within the black community. Prejudice alone, has no real power without the system of control and power to support it.” [snip]

    (and of course we see that all too often as black/latino cops ‘don the uniform of the ruling class’, and can be quite brutal.)

    “The passive methods of #PWS have been ingrained in almost every facet of American society to such a point that speaking about it’s existence seems mythical. It’s not a unicorn though. In fact, bringing it up causes people of all colors to feel discomfort because Black Americans have become accustomed to appeasing the comfort levels of white fragility. As a result, certain black folks think about white reactions first before doing any action. This subservience illustrates the passive ‘slow poison’ effect of polite white supremacy that still effects many Black Americans until this day.” [snip]

    “Polite White Supremacy attempts to control the language, the narrative, and the perception. Moreover, the heavy white-washing of history to eradicate black contributions to the global human story has negatively impacted black self-worth and self-confidence. Consequently, psychological effect of believing these stereotypes is that, simply put, blacks deserve to suffer.”

    (here i think it is that ‘respectability politics’ may play a part, in that some blacks seem to believe that other blacks deserve to suffer, in that unconscious ‘internalized racism’.

    then he writes a long explanation of how controlling the narrative: ‘white revelers’ v. ‘black rioters’, mortgage redlining of blacks’ to create black v. white neighborhoods, 2-tier injustice of black v. white arrests and more. his ending:

    “Many brilliant black minds succumbed to the intense pressure of simply trying to live with dignity during periods of blatant and then later, subtle oppression. White America has been playing a centuries-long game of ‘stop hitting yourself’ while holding the arms of Black America. Polite White Supremacy has been feeding off the bodies of Black Americans while pretending Blacks cannibalize each other.”

  18. Are a group of walkers (hikers really) in not that great hiking clothes and NAACP tee shirts carrying American flags (right way up, not upside down) and walking the shoulder of US highways and small town streets “respectability politics”? I ask, because the group that left Selma AL at the 50th anniversary crossed into Virginia this week. Unlike Walkupy’s march from DC to Atlanta (and then on to Chicago) three and a half years ago, these folks have allies in these small towns and receive a police escort through town. Unlike Walkupy, they arrive announced and do not have to use first impressions as a means of securing their safe passage and logistical support. But unlike the James Meredith march 50 years ago, they also have a lower probability of being gunned down just because they now have a small margin of respectability. Granted that that can change the moment the authorities and media label them “dangerous”.

    Respectability can be a tactic if it is used carefully and not viewed as an end in itself. It can also be the seductive first step to full co-option.

    One thing to remember is that co-option is not exclusively a tactic of the powers-that-be or institutions of white supremacy although it is one of their major defensive tactics. Allies placed in establishment positions can be the resume of successful movement co-option of their position. Interpreting motives is very tricky here. Cornel West is in fact an establishment figure who sometimes operates on behalf of the movement. He seeks co-opt Bernie’s campaign for his agenda as much as Bernie seeks to co-opt his support. When that’s on the table, it’s called a coalition. It is tricky when there are hidden agendas.

    Thanks for putting up the video from Benedict College. The response is more spirited than appeared from the still photo.

    • it wouldn’t be more me to say if the walk ‘repectability politics’; i’m just taking my cues from the young uns in the movement, or perhaps the more radical of them. it of course, isn’t just about the clothes, of course, and you hadn’t given many clues about the reason for the march, or ‘the asks’.

      googling, oddly enough, found most of the coverage from the eyes of the jewish folks who joined them. one piece said it was commemorating the voting rights act, and it’s recent deterioration. but this piece had more:

      “According to the NAACP website, the goals were summarized in one phrase: “our lives, our votes, our jobs and our schools matter… it’s time for Congress to act”. More detailed explanation is that the NAACP is demanding: National standards for use of force for all law enforcement agents and the passage of the End Racial Profiling Act; Federal action to ensure every student has access to safe, high quality education, regardless of location and household income; Federal prioritization of job creation and training and the passage of Raise the Wage Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act; and that Congress restores, strengthen and advance the 1965 Voting Rights Act by passing the Voting Rights Advancement Act.”

      he adds rather enigmatically (respectability quotient? who can say?):

      “Now is when the real work begins. In the days in which hashtags like “Blacklivesmatter” have raised awareness of feelings of unease to many of us, the ones like #justice summer and #tsedeksummer seek to raise our consciousness for the need for legislative changes to help reform and restructure how our society operates in regards to issues of race. “

      as for the west-sanders coalition, and all the caveats brother list had added on the twit machine, i do wonder about his agenda. but i also wouldn’t be a bit surprised whether, if elected, and bernie made his first drone killings or bombing sorties of and over brown people, if he might not change his mind about the bern.

      and your guesses, since you’re asking the questions? ;-)

      oh, and they don’t look particularly dangerous and attack worthy, lol. especially with the Torah scroll.

  19. Sorry, i’m out of words for now, and will let others speak.

  20. What BrownBlaze said about multifaceted approach makes sense.

    The question is the tactics that work to move movements forward and not get co-opted out of relevance or existence. Or on the other hand allow the PtB the satisfaction of seeing your death on the barricades from your romantic (in the 19th century cultural sense) excesses. There is a distinct tension on either side of which critics can pounce. As long as that thread does not break, it is a healthy tension.

    Urban Shield – how Israeli police tactics entered the US after 9/11 – Big grift for suppliers of police weaponry, equipment, and “training”.

    Criminalizing mental health is the other side of the trend of closing community mental health clinics (as Rahm Emmanuel did). Jails have become community attics for people who do not respond to privatized psychs.

    If you watch the Bernie at Liberty University video, pay attention to the audience shots. For all its anti-Communist Baptist origins, it is a very thought-controlled environment, with much latent rebellion in the student body (generally erupting as unplanned pregnancies). It is policed through peer pressure like a lot of Southern society. Watch the stony cross-arms reception, the people checking other people’s reactions, the people who are applauding or cheering, and students who are just bored or chatting with each other. It is what you would expect of a compulsory convocation to hear any speaker not on their top personality list. He represented #blacklivesmatter issues, civil rights issues, and women’s issues within the world of Falwell. And got some local TV coverage in the Lynchburg-Roanoke VA media market. Better use of money than paying for ads on major media that turn around and attack you on their regular programming. Fascinating video of where American politics is at the moment. And how much effort goes into social control.

    • i’d spent bit of time trying to discover the genesis of that (ahem) discussion, esp. given that mz yates may have been invited to the Oval w/ obama, and it seems that this was it:

      @PatriciaBynes (democrat committee woman)

      “We are at the point where if you want to be a part of change, you have to sit down and talk with policy makers”

      but i did laugh at this response to her (and hellooooo, RC):

      #ArmedNAware @SankofaBrown
      “What about those of us who aren’t interested or have any faith in policy changes?”

      once again, i’d say the measure of someone engaging in ‘respectability politics’ would be if they are dismissing or belittling the radical young uns on the street or movement as ‘harming the cause’. i guess i didn’t see that in the birmingham to deecee walk, but you seem to have watched it pretty carefully for cooptation effect, yes?

      as an aside, it would be interesting to know how the Campaignzero ‘solutions’ are being utilized. any idea on that? nomad might like them nailed to the front door of the WH residence.

      arggh, i’ll pass on the bern at Falwell U videos, but yes, a good bit of free media. i do know those kids quite well: my extended family if full of them, and all are quite arrogant as to their moral superiority. cripes, one of them even taught at pastor doug ___’s northern idaho college that extols the virtues of the confederate flag’s meanings.

      pffft; i haven’t even watched the entire mental health video yet. our internet was off a lot of yesterday. and yes to the demands to rahm for a trauma center as well as mental health clinics. but sure, prisons are for-profit, and there are bed quotas to fill.

      on edit: pastor doug wilson; this is from 2004, but i did run into a ‘mike huckabe loves him’ page, as well.

      • Helloooo, Wendy. ;-)

        All rebellion tactics are good, including BLM; (“Question Authority” was obviously too subtle lol.) Only a problem when an inherently divisive “me-first” group like BLM becomes perceived by the general population as representing the whole black justice movement, or the whole anti-police oppression movement. Better IMO to have all united and saying “Stop Police Violence and Oppression.” I think a solid majority of regular folks would want to be part of that. Personally, I like “All Lives Matter,’ because, ya know, to me they actually all DO matter, and they all deserve to be treated properly, starting RIGHT NOW!!! (Not the first time I’ve made this point, I know, I know lol.)

        My view is that if we are ever to get real change,all will have to engage in acts of rebellion and resistance. If not, just get used to corporate dominance.

        Hitting the road early tomorrow, going to be in New York for 2-3 weeks, so I might be scarce around here, but will have my computer with me. Taking my dying dog to have a last visit with my dying oldest friend. When are the good times coming? :-(

        Watch for Trump to punch Carly Fiorina in the face tonight. Oy,

        • wot???? you’ve made these same points before??? next you’ll stencil them on city buses, i reckon…

          srsly, i can’t repeat my numerous objections to ‘me-firstness’. i will say: just read the stats as to which groups are being killed by police, and incarcerated, expelled from schools, jailed for the inability to pay bogus fines, at rates far, far, exceeding whites, and have been for 400 – 500 years in this nation founded on genocide and slavery. twigging to our white privilege is a hard task, i admit.

          but i will tell ya a nature story. the darlin’ black bears are trying to fatten up for their long winter’s naps, yes? well, one is on our hill, and is so huge that he or she is goin’ after the fruit, and is breaking limbs up to three inches in diameter. yes, a Very.Large.Bear (or Bearette). neighbor came over yesterday to report it all; mr. wd had oral surgery this mornin’, and now he’s outside…picking everything.

          can’t afford no mo’ broken branches again this year. the plum trees are goners.

          travel safely, reality checker, and i’ll go dig up a link to mary oliver’s ‘white owl’ poem. bless your dog, and your friend, in their coming travels to the other side.

          yes; here it is.

          http://mollystrongheart.blogspot.com/2010/12/mary-oliver-white-owl-flies-into-and.html

      • Campaign Zero had a long tete-a-tete with Bernie Sanders today. Deray McKesson tweeted it.

        I like your definition for separating out who is into respectability politics as do they diss the radical young’uns. I dislike a definition that disses the more deliberate elders for tactics short of in-your-face confrontational. On the Selma-to-DC march, it seems to be a test of what is and what is not confrontational in our devolved political culture.

        My experience with Bob Jones and Liberty grads who showed up as co-workers in business situations is that their view of the student body is that those who are not seeking to be ministers, either because they got the “call” or saw the economic prospects, were seeking job skills (accounting) and the employability of coming from a school that turns out Yes graduates, or they were sent to a religious school by their parents to rehabilitate them. The other thing I learned about was the parties that occurred in spite of the very strict rules. And the mystery of the 18-inch rule that was so prevalent for dating in the old days on those campuses. That mystery is how is it that if couples are mandated to continually be at least 18 inches apart on all occasions of dating (at least on campus) that there continue to be ladies leaving school because of pregnancy. Every one of my co-workers from these schools told me this story and stated “There are multiple hypotheses. Use your imagination.” It took the work groups they told it to around 3 minutes before they started laughing. A little puzzle to lighten your day.

        • “use your imagination.” lolololololol. cannae quit imagining; thanks for the er…er…need for a brain wash. more later; perhaps; i seem to be waaaay behind.

          but yeah, cuz of nomad’s comment upthread i went and look at his twit feed. seems pretty convinced bernie really, really, heard them.

          well, at least at that school they may not hear how much Negroes loved slavery as at pastor doug’s. at least there’s that. and that so many males must be so er…abby-normally-well-endowed.

  21. the New York Times covers a bit of the recently released Ferguson Report, and links to it. is it okay to laugh that they’ve featured deray mcKesson?.

    • Did Deeray McKesson get them reciting Assata poems or was he spouting the establishment line? He’s broken through in the media enough have the 101st Rightwing Keyboard Cavalry obsessed with him. We’ll see how well he can stand with one foot there and the other foot in the Canfield Apartments and West Baltimore. It’s not an easy role to pull off without either being co-opted or losing visibility. But I see police officers and police chiefs starting to be fired for cause.

      It’s OK to laugh, given everything else that is going on.

      • well, that 101st RW keyboard cavalry (love that, by the by) has really been on shaun king, eh?

        yes, time will tell on deray, but then, being everywhere is one of the reasons i don’t get on his twit thang often any longer, plus: too many selfies. ;-)

        i’ve been reading some interesting essays about the many local movements that are trying to head toward abolishing police, or at least seriously lessening their presence in our lives. i might even post some of it later next week; i’m a bit burned out from yesterday’s.

  22. In all the goings on with Bernie’s speech at Liberty U., I forgot to pass on the relative huge local news. Durham’s police chief got canned after the second police killing, one that involved a guy “threatening suicide” with and AirSoft rifle.
    The coverage of the firing (“retired involuntarily”):
    http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/community/durham-news/article35478474.html

    The coverage of the police killing:
    https://screen.yahoo.com/supporters-durham-man-killed-police-173607427.html

    The first killing of course was that of Jesus “Chuy” Huerta, whose parents called for help with a mentally ill acting out, the police slapped a burglary warrant on him, and he supposed killed himself with a gun they didn’t find.

    Chief Jose Lopez is gone with half a year’s salary left to pay out ($70,000 or so). And the reason is that he failed to root out the institutional racism in the DPD.

    In other new, Mayor Bill Bell (AA), is running for re-election.

    • see, there it is again, as chePasa has often noted. it’s often the city managers or their equivalents, who wield some large power. mayors love police crime-busting stats, and many may stay out of the police political fray.

      i’m sure you’d seen that mayor rawlings-blake won’t run again.

      you might like stephen lendeman’s contrasting the diferences between jeremy corbyn and bernie sanders. you can easily see where it will go. ;-)

  23. @ nomad: September 17, 2015 at 6:22 pm (no more room for another nested comment)

    “I think there are some master minds of behavior modification and mind control working behind the scenes for the government. How else do you explain Barama’s continued 80-90 percent approval rating among blacks? We have been transformed, as a geopolitical ethnic group, from champions of civil rights to bellicose advocates of imperialism (Obamaism). If only the Bernaysian mind manipulators would use their powers for good.”

    well, bernays did thinking his propaganda was very good (or shall we say ‘good enough for who it was for’? ;-) as in:

    “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society” and
    “Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.”

    every speech is focus-group tested, for one thing. another reason is that blacks have seen the first black prez being attacked, so because: black pride… thiird: dems have long been the default party for blacks (and trade unions, including teachers. fourth: how many blacks know anything about him save what they see on their teevees?

    now it’s gonna be interesting to see what shifts to hillary happen now that the other first black prez joins her on the campaign trail. his popularity is just creepy, especially given what his policies did to create massive poverty in twelve directions. oh, and three strikes massive incarceration, as well.

    i suppose that it was bound to happen, but yesterday (iirc) was the fourth anniversary of occupy wall street (at zuccotti park). it seems that RT, at least, has anointed the bern as the OWS candidate, and vice versa.

  24. Strong city managers were supposed (by the 20th centrury good-government progressives) to insulate hardworking civil servants from corrupt political pressure–Chicago even then was the poster child. Lots of “progressive” cities adopted them. System changes. Ways to game the system change. (1) Use job extortion of the city manager to extort special privileges. (2) City manager plays favorites among their subordinates, which can be also aligned with special intrerests. (3) Manager can insulate subordinates absolutely from accountability short of an indictment.

    Glad to see the Mayor of Baltimore realized that her “thug” speech effed up badly with her constituency. It’s going to be an interesting campaign there. Watch what the winner’s platform is; it will be copied elsewhere.

    Of course it uses focus groups. If your opponents are using Bernays, you want to see what effect it has already had before you use Bernays. No use condemning the Obama White House for what has been done since “I Like Ike” and maybe before. If you are a minority and someone who looks like you is under attack, the bias is toward discounting the charges of that attack. White folk do it with “George W. Bush kept us safe.”

    Bubba burned his “First Black President” card in Hillary’s desperate attempt to attract white voters in South Carolina in 2008. It was a stunning unforced error for supposedly political master players. I suspect that that is one of the reasons that Sanders has been spending so much time with Jim Clyburns informal board of directors in his district. What Hillary Clinton learned in Arkansas is a particular style of interacting with black voters and black leaders. That will retain some but not all of her potential endorsements.

    That said, the advertising shitstorm that is coming with Hillary’s name on it will question character, competence, and experience in leadership but will strangely not question her hawkish stint as Secretary of State directly but the overall “soft on defense” and “anti-American Democrats” meme generally. But George W. Bush kept us safe.

    • i wasn’t condemning barack, just answering nomad’s question about “how can this be?” i just read of a new gallup poll (did not see the polling questions, thus no internals) that said the bern was polling 20% among blacks, clinton 80%. same author, someone ware, spoke of the many ways bernie did point to ‘years of police killing unarmed blacks (far more, but okay), and that the nation was founded on racism. lendeman (iirc) said the opposite, or close.

      i don’t remember the clinton errors in SC.

      dubya kept us safe, and saddam had wmd. yep. oh, yeah, and obama is a muslim socialist. i wish.

      i clipped this comment from an ian welsh thread on corbyn; i have no idea of the truth of it.

      “Jon Cloke, September 16, 2015
      There’s a little more complexity to the situation than you put here – yes, since the fall of the socialist bloc in 1989-1990 the Labour party has been converted into a patronage-based, clientelist machine dedicated to proving it’s no more than a kinder manager of laissez-faire capitalism (as if such a thing were possible).
      And yes, the bevy of chartered accountants, management consultants and lawyers that now pass for Labour MPs never envisaged Labour as anything more than a necessary, temporary step by which they could by-pass colleagues who stayed in their chosen profession to get a non-exec directorship or consultancy with a big bank or corporation more quickly. They’ve been shocked and horrified to discover socialism going on in the party and will do pretty much anything to stop it.

      But Jeremy Corbyn’s record is *not* one of a man-of-the-people determined to do the best he can to see a kinder, more progressive UK. Yes, he’s been on the picket-lines and he’s been arrested at anti-apartheid protests and all the rest over decades; but his record is of close association with the socialist internationals who are elitist, secretive, exclusionary and authoritarian, the same ones who treat the Stop The War movement like it’s their own party property.

      Corbyn’s made some of the right moves and noises so far but blood will out – plus, the real problem is not how one party is constructed and led, but the party political system itself, which is putrified. My own feeling is that genuine political change in the UK can only come from genuine grassroots movements like the Independents for Frome, rather than just swapping a right-wing elite for a left-wing one…”

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