Maybe you caught this NY Times article Sat on the CBC Institute’s continuing plans for a Democratic presidential debate co-sponsored with Fox News. Or maybe you were like me and enjoying the long weekend.

So here it is. Like I said from the beginning, none of this makes sense. Unless somebody is gettin’ paid. From the article (emphasis mine):

The caucus is bent on salvaging what remains of the debate, and of a relationship that has produced other benefits. Not only has Fox given over precious air time for the debate, but an examination shows that its parent company, News Corporation, has also taken other steps to reach out to the group’s constituency, including making campaign donations to the caucus and its members and creating internship programs at predominantly black colleges.

Fox News’ agenda and messaging is consistently hostile to African-Americans. The network has specialized in race-baiting. But as long as certain CBC members continue to get campaign contributions, it’s all good, right? $1000 here, an internship perhaps for a loyal supporter’s or sorority sister’s son or daughter…it all finally adds up to the personal gain CBC members achieve through this relationship with Fox and nothing whatsoever to do with what’s fair and balanced for the image of African-Americans in the news media.

Despite a fierce debate within the 43-member caucus over whether to sever ties with Fox News, those representing the caucus in its dealings with Fox have thus far held firm. The network itself has apparently urged the caucus to do just that. There was, for example, a meeting for caucus press secretaries attended by representatives of News Corporation and Fox News, where talk turned to how to publicly present the merits of the debate. (Also working in Fox’s favor is that the debate is to be held in Detroit, the home city of Representative Carolyn Cheeks Kirkpatrick, the caucus chairwoman.)

Ugh. CBC — stop selling out and cowering to corporate might. Since when did you do their PR for them? Fox is finally being held accountable for their actions. Bottom line: They will make a better corporate partner to the CBC in the long run, if they clean up their programming. Best to distance yourselves as gracefully as possible so that process can take place sooner. Best to stop giving them P.C. cover to remain politically incorrect.

At least one proud progressive member has been able to resist the dollar siren’s call:

While 26 members of the caucus signed the letter, it is also notable who did not, including Representative Maxine Waters of California, a prominent and powerful member of the group.

Asked about the debate in a brief telephone interview, Ms. Waters said only, “I’m opposed to it.”

The entire Obama candidacy is about what I call a Racial Rorschach Test. The first phase were those idiotic articles about whether Obama was ‘ Black enough’ for Black folks, which was insane, and off the point. Once that dog didn’t hunt, we finally got around to whom the ‘Black enough’ test was really about, and that was White folk. While they’re still mulling around this question and deciding whether to deal with it or not, we’ve got a new angle to this test.

Michelle Obama.

Is America ready for a Black First Lady?

My first post was on the newly proposed Immigration Reform bill and the possible detriment to the Black community. Next, I questioned the threat to our national security and how the Immigration Bill didn’t come close to settling those issues.

But, there are other reasons for opposing this bill.

The previous post spoke about how those on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale would get the shaft.

Yet, they are not the only ones who should be afraid of the impact of this bill. If you have a white collar job, you should be as afraid as your brethren in the blue-collar fields.

In The Immigration Bill & Its Threat to White Collar Workers, I hope I raise questions as to why this bill is a threat to American workers – period.

The CBC has done a lot of great things.

-> The proposed debate with Fox News is not one of them.

The CBC has some real heroes and legends as members.

-> It’s time for those heroes to show us what real leadership and accountability means.

Check out Leutisha Stills’ DailyKos diary for an update.


It’s too bad that we don’t have the leadership of Dr. King in these troubled times. George Bush claims that Iraq is nothing like Vietnam:

“The enemy in Vietnam had neither the intent nor the capability to strike our homeland,” he said. “The enemy in Iraq does.”

Um, right. And it was really important to stop the spread of Communism through Asia. Since it could eventually spread here. Or something like that.

We don’t have to wonder what Martin would say because if you listen to one of his speeches addressing the war in Vietnam, you’d swear he was talking about Iraq. If you’re in disagreement with Martin Luther King, chances are good you are on the wrong side of the issue. Take a listen. Nod to African-American Political Pundit on Blacks and Iraq.

Here are a few excerpts I like. I mean, seriously, you could just do a search and replace!

Now, let me make it clear in the beginning, that I see this war as an unjust, evil, and futile war. I preach to you today on the war in Vietnam because my conscience leaves me with no other choice. The time has come for America to hear the truth about this tragic war. In international conflicts, the truth is hard to come by because most nations are deceived about themselves. Rationalizations and the incessant search for scapegoats are the psychological cataracts that blind us to our sins. But the day has passed for superficial patriotism. He who lives with untruth lives in spiritual slavery. Freedom is still the bonus we receive for knowing the truth. “Ye shall know the truth,” says Jesus, “and the truth shall set you free.” Now, I’ve chosen to preach about the war in Vietnam because I agree with Dante, that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality. There comes a time when silence becomes betrayal.

and

Polls reveal that almost fifteen million Americans explicitly oppose the war in Vietnam. Additional millions cannot bring themselves around to support it. And even those millions who do support the war [are] half-hearted, confused, and doubt-ridden. This reveals that millions have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism, to the high grounds of firm dissent, based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Now, of course, one of the difficulties in speaking out today grows the fact that there are those who are seeking to equate dissent with disloyalty. It’s a dark day in our nation when high-level authorities will seek to use every method to silence dissent. But something is happening, and people are not going to be silenced. The truth must be told, and I say that those who are seeking to make it appear that anyone who opposes the war in Vietnam is a fool or a traitor or an enemy of our soldiers is a person that has taken a stand against the best in our tradition.

More than half of the Congressional Black Caucus signed a letter on behalf of the CBC Institute pressuring Obama, Edwards and Clinton to participate in their minstrel show, ahem, Democratic debate co-sponsored with Fox. The idea is to put the screws especially on Brother Barack since he’s a CBC member. The others will surely follow.

ColorOfChange.org sent us a letter leaked from a CBC member who thinks this is all crazy. Props to TheSuperSpade and Afro-Netizen who have already written about this. A few of the signatures really surprise me such as Keith Ellison, John Lewis and John Conyers. People who know better. Not to mention Rep. Diane Watson who spoke sense to the Hill and other CBC members just a few weeks ago:

Rep. Diane Watson (D-Calif.), said: “Fox News brings the right-wing side of the news, and there’s no sense in participating in that kind of game-playing.

“We’re very serious about taking the administration in November and I wouldn’t trust getting an accurate and true portrayal of our views on the issues if Fox News is coordinating it,” she said in reference to Democratic hopes of taking back the White House in 2008.

Not sure why she changed her mind, but she shouldn’t be so sure that everyone else will cave so easily. It’s all just pride, arrogance, denial that the CBC got beat. By their own constituents and allies. Their craven and unnecessary kowtowing to a major donor (Fox and News Corp) is just sad.

The CBC’s insistence that there’s no internal debate is sort of precious given that we all know differently.

And let’s not forget that this debate is not sanctioned by the DNC. The CBC claims that somehow the candidates won’t be speaking to the African-American audience. Fox News is on cable. And their audience is shrinking. How many black people do you know who are big fans of Fox? There is a debate already scheduled that really is directed by and for black audiences. It’s Tavis Smiley’s upcoming debate at Howard University. Smiley’s been working with Tom Joyner and BlackAmericaWeb to ask actual black people what they’d like to ask the candidates during the upcoming PBS-hosted debates. A lucky winner will get to attend with a guest and pose the question directly. Oh and that debate is sanctioned by the DNC. And wasn’t there just a Democratic debate in South Carolina at an HBCU co-hosted with MSNBC? Looks like there’s no shortage of debates aimed at the African-American audience.

The CBC is embarrasing. Isn’t there something else that they should focus this much energy on? Like the Iraq War? Or Katrina relief? Hmmm…nah. Let’s all waste a bunch of time over nothin’. Oh and CBC — don’t think I didn’t notice your little comment on rikyrah’s immigration post. Cute. If you really want to get on our good side, you’ll drop this Fox nonsense and stop supporting the people attacking Black America.

Let’s roll tape again, shall we? Over 300,000 views and counting.

What’s interesting is that you don’t see a lot of discussion about the Iraq War among black bloggers. That’s because we all agree on it and solutions seem obvious. If other bloggers are like me, I am just so sick of talking about it. The difference among black folks is that we were largely against the war before it started and have quietly been protesting it ever since.

Most African-Americans can point to someone they know personally who has been impacted in some way — negatively — by this war. Could be a neighbor, relative, classmate, co-worker, relative of a relative. You nah mean. Me — I’ve had 2 cousins go over to Iraq. And my cousin’s half-sister’s husband. This colors our view of those who believe in a wait-and-see or worse yet, a “surge” approach.

Discussions in the black community tend to focus on Osama bin Laden — isn’t he still at large? — and on the Money — it sure seems like a lot of money is being spent over there in Iraq. How is it that none of that money was seen fit to spend on helping the victims of Katrina or re-building New Orleans? Or on better healthcare, education, poverty, our cities, the environment for folks living right here in the United States?

Still it’s critical to talk about it because Democratic candidates looking for black votes will need to speak to us on those terms to be heard. And it also impacts the current national security. Quietly, the military has been dependent for generations on regular enlistment by young black soldiers. Why do you think that the educational and career opportunities are always touted. That’s been the lure for young men and women eager to join (or stay in) the middle class.

If the military is 25% black and there’s been a 50% drop in the rate of black enlistment, that sounds like a mounting readiness crisis for the U.S. military. BlackMilitaryWorld.com recently polled its audience on this subject:

Recently there has been a significant amount of media attention given to the decline in recruitment levels of blacks in the various branches of the military. Military officials as well as the national press are seeking reasons for the drop in enlistment levels.

Black Military World.com founder, CDR (Ret.) Gregory Black has been queried about this decline by several national news sources including National Public Radio (NPR), the Boston Globe, and XM Radio.

“There is no doubt that the war in Iraq has played a role, says Black. However, there are other factors that must be considered such as an improved economy with more career and educational options for qualified blacks, and a growing culture of young people who are not connected to the traditional values that many who join the military possess.”

A poll on the Blackmilitaryworld.com website asked visitors if the Iraq War has swayed young blacks away from military careers. Of 113 responders, 73% feel that the war has had a significant role in the nearly 50% drop in black recruitment, with another 17% indicating that the war has had an effect but to a lesser extent. The remaining 10% did not see a clear connection.

There’s a recent column over at the Boston Globe by Derrick Z. Jackson that breaks this down:

The drop in African-American enrollment in the military may be as powerful a collective political statement about Iraq as when Muhammad Ali refused to be drafted during the Vietnam War. Before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, major polls showed that African-American support for the invasion was as low as 19 percent, according to the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, while white support ran between 58 percent and 73 percent in major polls.

Even today African-Americans by far lead the way in calling the war a mistake. According to Gallup, 85 percent of African Americans say it was a mistake, compared to 53 percent of white Americans. According to Pew, a plurality of white Americans, 49 percent, still say it was the right decision to invade Iraq, compared to 21 percent of African-Americans.

and

This war, launched under false pretenses, now has so little merit that the enrollment of African-Americans in the military may be at its lowest point since the creation of the all-volunteer military in 1973. In 2000, 23.5 percent of Army recruits were African-American. By 2005, the percentage dropped to 13.9 percent. National Public Radio this week quoted a Pentagon statistic that said that African-American propensity to join the military had dropped to 9 percent.

Candidates looking for the black vote, take note.

Nod to Cobb: Every once in awhile, I like to swing by the more conservative black bloggers and see what they are talking about. Cobb cites WorldNetDaily, a conservative news site. I read the WND article and offer you this quote from the top:

A speech released May 5 by Osama bin Laden’s deputy confirms earlier fears that African-Americans are the No. 1 recruiting target for the next generation of attacks. Al-Qaida has been trying to lower its Arab profile to reduce the odds that its terror cells will be subjected to security scrutiny.

“Federal and local law enforcement authorities should be aware that al-Qaida terrorists may not appear Arab,” warns a recent Homeland Security intelligence report obtained by WND. “Non-Arab al-Qaida operatives could find it easier to avoid unwanted scrutiny since they may not fit typical profiles.”

At first, it struck me as some Republican racial profiling/politics of fear mess designed to discredit the overwhelming lack of support among African-Americans for the Iraq War. Al-Qaeda sends chills down my spine and they actually do still scare me more than the Bush Administration. And WorldNetDaily. I was about to berate Cobb for being so gullible. But then I decided to dig a little deeper. Was there any truth behind this?

We tend to get only summaries of Al-Qaeda’s lengthy messages. This last one released by Al Qaeda’s second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri was over an hour long. The BBC used to provide full transcripts of Zawahri’s chilling rants like this one where he berates the Queen. These are hard to come by these days.

So in poking around, I found this quote at the very end/second page of a Reuters article entitled “Qaeda’s Zawahri says Iraq bill shows U.S. defeat”:

Zawahri also called on African-American soldiers to refuse to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying America had only changed the “appearance of the shackles and chains” of their slave forefathers.

Zawahri repeatedly praised Black Muslim leader Malcolm X on the video which included footage of the American militant’s speeches, interspersed with documentary scenes of police action against blacks in the 1960s and poor blacks in urban ghettos.

Cobb’s strange and inarticulate reaction to WND’s story included:

I mean sure, we have campus radicals and we have Harry Belafonte, but.. I mean we have Harry Belafonte. Besides having absolutely radiant teeth, Harry didn’t even fight in movies. Blacks in America aren’t interested in fighting. Those that are… well, they’re in the Marine Corps. Sorry Ayman, I thought you knew.

Actually, I beg to disagree, Cobb. African-Americans have fought for America’s freedom and for justice here and abroad since before the nation was founded. Ahem: Crispus Attucks, anyone? The Amistad? Not to mention the heroic service of African-Americans during the Civil War and every American war since then even as we never stopped fought for freedom and equality in our homeland. African-Americans are fighters. There are a lot of ways to fight and by reading this blog — that makes you a fighter for freedom, too.

We just ain’t interested in fighting for Al-Qaeda. We’ve worked too hard to receive credit for our contribution in building this great nation. Too many of our ancestors suffered and died to guarantee their descendants the right of full participation in America’s political system, society and economy. Ain’t about to tear all that down with a bunch of cowardly psychos attacking innocent civilians from their cave dwellings. Yeah, Al-Qaeda, I’m talking to you.

We are among the most patriotic people in America and that includes black Muslims. From the Wikipedia entry on African-American:

Collectively, African Americans are more involved in the American political process than other minority groups in the US, indicated by the highest level of voter registration and participation in elections among these groups in 2004. [4]

There is no chance that Al-Qaeda will find recruits among us. Still, al-Qaeda’s propoganda bears watching if only because racist Republicans will use it as a way to poison our positive trajectory. Republicans will throw this in our face and try to drive a wedge between us and other progressives. They may even fling some mud at Barack Obama, whose father was Muslim. We will need to remain vigilant and push back on hate messaging designed to incite fear and to diminish our strength. Just because we were against the Iraq war before it started and are even more against it now doesn’t mean we are for al-Qaeda. Far from it.

I believe that this Immigration Bill is bad for the country because of the lack of national security provisions with regards to our open border, and to the lack of security of our ports. Cross-posted on Mirror on America, I explain about a recurring national security nightmare of mine.

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Hello. I am rikyrah, and I’m a new contributor to Jack & Jill. I would like to thank Jack and Jill Political Blogspot for the invitation.

I am cross posting this from the Mirror On America blog. Proposed Immigration Bill & The Black Community. I think that this Immigration Bill is a huge negative for the Black community, and that our voice has not been heard in this debate.

I want to again thank Jack & Jill Political Blogspot for the chance to give voice to my thoughts.

This am I was surprised to see that the highest rated morning news and talk show Today ran a story around 7:30am about Rush Limbaugh and the “Barack the Magic Negro” controversy. The meme of “Barack the Magic Negro” all by itself that illustrates the new media landscape where a blog post that I wrote Jan 17 can end up possibly inspiring a newspaper column on Mar 19 (that also appeared online) that crossed back over to a different set of blogs and then to conservative talk radio (see the video/hear the song). Back to the left-leaning blogs and then into TV news.

Or something like that.

Watch the Today show segment here. I think they did a good job of describing the story’s arc, ending the segment with the question: “Legitimate political satire…or something darker?”

The conservative site Newsbusters is peeved that this is a two month old story and they are right about Today being a bit slow on the ball. I’m glad that more people are hearing about Rush’s racism and that NBC courageously asked about the lack of outcry from Rush’s audience. They also ask if this is just what his audience expects from him. Rush refused to give a statement on the Today show but does feel the sting. Racist Rush has an elaborate and growing defense on his website that is now distancing himself from the Paul Shanklin video.

In fact, in this piece, this guy refers to “the video that Paul Shanklin and I put together” of Barack, the Magic Negro — and I just want to warn you at NBC like we had to warn these people at Channel 13 in Sacramento. If you purport to say that any video with this parody song has anything to do with me, you are in for some trouble, because we don’t do videos here at the EIB Network. It’s a radio show.

Cuz there’s such a huge difference apparently?

Oh and also Clarence Page, a black guy, likes it so it must be OK:

there’s a Chicago Tribune column also that we have linked, the Clarence Page piece where he says (paraphrased), “Limbaugh’s parody is funny. It’s good. It’s true. I don’t particularly like it, but this is not an Imus situation.”

The Today show segment mostly left out the blog activity though Michael Okwu did interview David Ehrenstein who wrote the Barack the Magic Negro story for the L.A. Times and a rep from Media Matters who compared Limbaugh’s so-called parody to old-time minstrel shows (which is right on target — their coverage has been great).

Ehrenstein pointed out the roots of the term “magic negro” and explained over NBC’s airing of a clip from “Bagger Vance” (groan) that it refers to a black character who appears out of nowhere to save white characters. He stated: “I was trying to start a conversation.”

So was I when I first wrote my post. But I was trying to start that conversation mainly among black people. To see Racist Rush mis-appropriate the term with no reference at all to the original basis of the term was troubling to say the least. Limbaugh continues to invoke the Imus Defense: “Well, They said it first. Why is it off-limits for me?” Yet, just as that didn’t fly for Don Imus, it falls flat for Racist Rush because he twists the term magic negro into something different than either Ehrenstein or I actually discussed or intended. In the song Limbaugh airs on his show, a white man parodying Al Sharpton sings:

Oh, Barack the Magic Negro, lives in D.C.
The L.A. Times, they called him that
‘Cause he’s black, but not authentically.

Authenticity as a black man or woman is essential to the believability of the “magic negro” literary trope. And interestingly, Limbaugh has failed to address the Amos ‘n Andy style complete with full Ebonics imitation of Al Sharpton by a white guy to date as featured. As DiversityInc Magazine notes, the original title of Paul Shanklin’s video for Rush was entitled: “U Da Real Negro Al, Screw Obama”. Hmmm.

Racist Rush is off-base and ahem, off-color — again. Like Imus, he has a long history of racism and misogyny, but unlike the former shock jock, rarely eats his words. It’s time to rein Rush in. Media Matters has no less than 412 listings to date on Racist Rush’s Rap Sheet. Check it out for yourself.

I’ve been tracking the conversation online about black women marrying white men for example here and here and here (and black men marrying white women secondarily). The truth is that most black people have non-black members of their family tree (usually either white or Indian). It’s the height of hypocrisy and self-hatred to insist on some kind of racial purity now. How does it sound to you to hear a white person say that white women should only marry white men?

Sounds racist to me.

People should be able to love and marry whomever they wish without fear of violence, stigma or recrimination. Period. It’s Martin who longed for the day when we would be seen not for the color of our skin but for the content of our characters. If we demand that for ourselves, we must be open to assess all other Americans no matter their ethnicity by the same standard. That’s not dis-respecting black men. That’s loving all mankind. I recommend checking out the LovingDay.org website when you have a chance.

One Love. Jill

Please email me at jjpolitics at gmail.com asap. Thanks!

Racism is so old and tired. Throwing out accusation of illegal voting in South Carolina while targeting African-Americans? Ugh. (h/t Election Central/TPMCafe)

I hate to take satisfaction in a man’s death but this guy was a hard-core, straight-up, stone-cold hater. Other people have chronicled his hate but I’d like to remind y’all of some of his sayings over the years. He was an ardent segregationist:

If Chief Justice Warren and his associates had known God’s word and had desired to do the Lord’s will, I am quite confident that the 1954 decision [Brown v. Board of Education] would never have been made…. The facilities should be separate. When God has drawn a line of distinction, we should not attempt to cross that line.


And also
:

“I do question the sincerity and non-violent intentions of some civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mr. James Farmer, and others, who are known to have left-wing associations.

Yet he hated black people not just here in the United States but all over the world. After a visit to South Africa in 1985, Falwell urged the good Christian folk of America to buy up gold Krugerrands and push U.S. “reinvestment” in South Africa. He also said of Nobel-Prize winning Bishop Desmond Tutu,”I think he’s a phony, period, as far as representing the black people of South Africa.” Hmm. Quite a legacy to leave behind.

He was an equal opportunity hater though. More below:

If you’re not a born-again Christian, you’re a failure as a human being.

Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions.

I think the Moslem faith teaches hate.

I believe that global warming is a myth. And so, therefore, I have no conscience problems at all and I’m going to buy a Suburban next time.

Homosexuality is Satan’s diabolical attack upon the family that will not only have a corrupting influence upon our next generation, but it will also bring down the wrath of God upon America.
(find more here)

And, I know that I’ll hear from them for this. But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way — all of them who have tried to secularize America — I point the finger in their face and say, “You helped this happen.”
Rev Jerry Falwell, blaming civil libertarians, feminists, homosexuals, and abortion rights supporters for the terrorist attacks of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, quoted from John F Harris, “God Gave US ‘What We Deserve,’ Falwell Says,” The Washington Post (September 14, 2001)

The Jews are returning to their land of unbelief. They are spiritually blind and desperately in need of their Messiah and Savior. (About.com)


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

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