Worth Repeating …

This is worth repeating because I suspect some folks don’t believe it until they have heard the same message from other sources over and over again.  So, let me be that other source who feels this is very important to Black folks and we need to quit ignoring the writing on the wall.  Houston, there’s a problem.  There are too many sons, nephews, grandsons and fathers who are being incarcerated in astounding numbers.  The new term is mass incarceration of African American males.  Slowly, Black men are legislatively being removed the Black community.  The following excerpt from a blog that features Michelle Alexander who has an important message about mass incarceration and that’s worth repeating.

Excerpt from TomDispatch.com

Michelle Alexander is the author of the bestselling book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness  (The New Press, 2010). The former director of the Racial Justice Project of the ACLU in Northern California, she also served as a law clerk to Justice Harry Blackmun on the U.S. Supreme Court.  Currently, she holds a joint appointment with the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University.  To listen to a TomCast audio interview in which Alexander explains how she came to realize that this country was bringing Jim Crow into the Age of Obama, click here.

 Michelle_Alexander_2011_02

The New Jim Crow
How the War on Drugs Gave Birth to a Permanent American Undercaste
By Michelle Alexander

Ever since Barack Obama lifted his right hand and took his oath of office, pledging to serve the United States as its 44th president, ordinary people and their leaders around the globe have been celebrating our nation’s “triumph over race.”  Obama’s election has been touted as the final nail in the coffin of Jim Crow, the bookend placed on the history of racial caste in America.

Obama’s mere presence in the Oval Office is offered as proof that “the land of the free” has finally made good on its promise of equality.  There’s an implicit yet undeniable message embedded in his appearance on the world stage: this is what freedom looks like; this is what democracy can do for you.  If you are poor, marginalized, or relegated to an inferior caste, there is hope for you.  Trust us.  Trust our rules, laws, customs, and wars.  You, too, can get to the promised land.

Perhaps greater lies have been told in the past century, but they can be counted on one hand.  Racial caste is alive and well in America.

Most people don’t like it when I say this.  It makes them angry.  In the “era of colorblindness” there’s a nearly fanatical desire to cling to the myth that we as a nation have “moved beyond” race.  Here are a few facts that run counter to that triumphant racial narrative:

*There are more African American adults under correctional control today — in prison or jail, on probation or parole — than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.

*As of 2004, more African American men were disenfranchised (due to felon disenfranchisement laws) than in 1870, the year the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified, prohibiting laws that explicitly deny the right to vote on the basis of race.

* A black child born today is less likely to be raised by both parents than a black child born during slavery.  The recent disintegration of the African American family is due in large part to the mass imprisonment of black fathers.

*If you take into account prisoners, a large majority of African American men in some urban areas have been labeled felons for life.  (In the Chicago area, the figure is nearly 80%.) These men are part of a growing undercaste — not class, caste — permanently relegated, by law, to a second-class status.  They can be denied the right to vote, automatically excluded from juries, and legally discriminated against in employment, housing, access to education, and public benefits, much as their grandparents and great-grandparents were during the Jim Crow era.

Excuses for the Lockdown

There is, of course, a colorblind explanation for all this: crime rates.  Our prison population has exploded from about 300,000 to more than 2 million in a few short decades, it is said, because of rampant crime.  We’re told that the reason so many black and brown men find themselves behind bars and ushered into a permanent, second-class status is because they happen to be the bad guys.

The uncomfortable truth, however, is that crime rates do not explain the sudden and dramatic mass incarceration of African Americans during the past 30 years.  Crime rates have fluctuated over the last few decades — they are currently at historical lows — but imprisonment rates have consistently soared.  Quintupled, in fact.  The main driver has been the War on Drugs. Drug offenses alone accounted for about two-thirds of the increase in the federal inmate population, and more than half of the increase in the state prison population between 1985 and 2000, the period of our prison system’s most dramatic expansion.

The drug war has been brutal — complete with SWAT teams, tanks, bazookas, grenade launchers, and sweeps of entire neighborhoods — but those who live in white communities have little clue to the devastation wrought.  This war has been waged almost exclusively in poor communities of color, even though studies consistently show that people of all colors use and sell illegal drugs at remarkably similar rates.  In fact, some studies indicate that white youth are significantly more likely to engage in illegal drug dealing than black youth.  Any notion that drug use among African Americans is more severe or dangerous is belied by the data.  White youth, for example, have about three times the number of drug-related visits to the emergency room as their African American counterparts.

That is not what you would guess, though, when entering our nation’s prisons and jails, overflowing as they are with black and brown drug offenders.  In some states, African Americans comprise 80%-90% of all drug offenders sent to prison.

This is the point at which I am typically interrupted and reminded that black men have higher rates of violent crime.  That’s why the drug war is waged in poor communities of color and not middle-class suburbs.  Drug warriors are trying to get rid of those drug kingpins and violent offenders who make ghetto communities a living hell.  It has nothing to do with race; it’s all about violent crime.

Again, not so. President Ronald Reagan officially declared the current drug war in 1982, when drug crime was declining, not rising. President Richard Nixon was the first to coin the term “a war on drugs,” but it was President Reagan who turned the rhetorical war into a literal one. From the outset, the war had relatively little to do with drug crime and much to do with racial politics. The drug war was part of a grand and highly successful Republican Party strategy of using racially coded political appeals on issues of crime and welfare to attract poor and working class white voters who were resentful of, and threatened by, desegregation, busing, and affirmative action. In the words of H.R. Haldeman, President Richard Nixon’s White House Chief of Staff: “[T]he whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this while not appearing to.”

A few years after the drug war was announced, crack cocaine hit the streets of inner-city communities.  The Reagan administration seized on this development with glee, hiring staff who were to be responsible for publicizing inner-city crack babies, crack mothers, crack whores, and drug-related violence.  The goal was to make inner-city crack abuse and violence a media sensation, bolstering public support for the drug war which, it was hoped, would lead Congress to devote millions of dollars in additional funding to it.

The plan worked like a charm.  For more than a decade, black drug dealers and users would be regulars in newspaper stories and would saturate the evening TV news.  Congress and state legislatures nationwide would devote billions of dollars to the drug war and pass harsh mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes — sentences longer than murderers receive in many countries.

Democrats began competing with Republicans to prove that they could be even tougher on the dark-skinned pariahs.  In President Bill Clinton’s boastful words, “I can be nicked a lot, but no one can say I’m soft on crime.”  The facts bear him out.  Clinton’s “tough on crime” policies resulted in the largest increase in federal and state prison inmates of any president in American history.  But Clinton was not satisfied with exploding prison populations.  He and the “New Democrats” championed legislation banning drug felons from public housing (no matter how minor the offense) and denying them basic public benefits, including food stamps, for life.  Discrimination in virtually every aspect of political, economic, and social life is now perfectly legal, if you’ve been labeled a felon.

Facing Facts

But what about all those violent criminals and drug kingpins? Isn’t the drug war waged in ghetto communities because that’s where the violent offenders can be found?  The answer is yes… in made-for-TV movies.  In real life, the answer is no.

The drug war has never been focused on rooting out drug kingpins or violent offenders.  Federal funding flows to those agencies that increase dramatically the volume of drug arrests, not the agencies most successful in bringing down the bosses.  What gets rewarded in this war is sheer numbers of drug arrests.  To make matters worse, federal drug forfeiture laws allow state and local law enforcement agencies to keep for their own use 80% of the cash, cars, and homes seized from drug suspects, thus granting law enforcement a direct monetary interest in the profitability of the drug market.

The results have been predictable: people of color rounded up en masse for relatively minor, non-violent drug offenses.  In 2005, four out of five drug arrests were for possession, only one out of five for sales.  Most people in state prison have no history of violence or even of significant selling activity.  In fact, during the 1990s — the period of the most dramatic expansion of the drug war — nearly 80% of the increase in drug arrests was for marijuana possession, a drug generally considered less harmful than alcohol or tobacco and at least as prevalent in middle-class white communities as in the inner city.

In this way, a new racial undercaste has been created in an astonishingly short period of time — a new Jim Crow system.  Millions of people of color are now saddled with criminal records and legally denied the very rights that their parents and grandparents fought for and, in some cases, died for.

Affirmative action, though, has put a happy face on this racial reality.  Seeing black people graduate from Harvard and Yale and become CEOs or corporate lawyers — not to mention president of the United States — causes us all to marvel at what a long way we’ve come.

Recent data shows, though, that much of black progress is a myth. In many respects, African Americans are doing no better than they were when Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated and uprisings swept inner cities across America. The black child poverty rate is actually higher now than it was then. Unemployment rates in black communities rival those in Third World countries. And that’s with affirmative action!

When we pull back the curtain and take a look at what our “colorblind” society creates without affirmative action, we see a familiar social, political, and economic structure: the structure of racial caste.  The entrance into this new caste system can be found at the prison gate.

This is not Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream.  This is not the promised land.  The cyclical rebirth of caste in America is a recurring racial nightmare.

RED FOXX ….. WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT RED?

I loved Red Foxx?  He is one of the great comedians of all  times.  I loved his dirty albums, his appearances on variety shows and in his later years as Fred Sanford in the sitcom “Sanford and Son. ”  Here is a sample of what was called his dirty jokes!

Red Foxx – Wash Your Ass

What you know about JAZZ?

WES MONTGOMERY

Wes Montgomery’s 1967 album “A Day In The Life” was number one on the Billboard jazz chart.  Wes was born John Leslie Montgomery in Indianapolis, IN on March 6, 1923. His early career included his brothers Monk and Buddy.  Wes on guitar, Monk on bass and Buddy on piano. Wes as a guitarist had a great influence on modern jazz.

Unfortunately, we lost a great jazz guitarist at the age of 45 years old.  He woke up on June 15, 1968 and told his wife he didn’t feel good and collapsed and died of a heart attack.

Paying Honor …

This comedian gave us BayBay kids.

Urban Dictionary: Bay Bay kids

Children that are usually the offspring of hood rat chicks. These children are usually unkempt and seen running around impoverished neighborhoods with little or no clothes on, although it is usually a diaper. Their hair will be either half done or not done in weeks, and the first word out of their mouths is usually a curse word. This is the beginning of the phase of becoming a thug.
Damn, did you hear those kids at that resturant cussin’ and throwin food? They some bay bay kids

Robin Harris 1953 – 1990 Baba’s kids

Funny Thursday – Black History Month

Do you remember Moms Mabley?

from Biography.com

Moms Mabley was born on March 19, 1894 in Brevard, North Carolina. She moved to Cleveland, Ohio and entered the “chitlin circuit” of African American entertainment venues. She later performed in Harlem’s Cotton Club and was the first female comedian to appear at the Apollo Theater. Mabley appeared in films, on television and recorded two dozen comedy albums. She died in 1975.

The Commission on Tulsa, OK 1921 Race Riot

I and a friend were talking about music one day and he mentions the Gap Band and some of the great music they made back in the day.  First of all, I am not a music connoisseur.  So, I’m not going to know the names of band members or the songs that won Grammys. One thing for sure, I know what I like and I like music that makes me get out of my seat and You Dropped the Bomb on Me by the Gap Band was such song.

My friend says, “… you know what they talking about don’t you.”  I admit it, I don’t know. Was the song a story of unbearable heart break?  He responded that they dropped the bomb on Tulsa.  WHAT!! 

 black buisness

I knew there was a riot in Tulsa 1921 but a bomb was dropped.  By who??  I was very curious about this incident. I was appalled at the racist acts by whites in Tulsa.  Everything points to these white folks being jealous of these Black folks that carved out wealth in Jim Crow Oklahoma.   So on May 31, 1921 mobs of whites killed, burned, and pillaged the Black community of Greenwood. Greenwood had about 10,000 Black citizens in 1921 and more than 3,000 was killed during the riot. Some of the Black citizens of Greenwood armed themselves to defend their property and self but they were out numbered.  Law enforcement was of no help.  They participated or turned the other way.  Tulsa was the first U.S. city to be bombed from the air.

A commission was formed in 1997 to study the event and give a report. The excerpt below is from an internet article Final Report of the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 compiled by Danney Goble.

The 1921 Tulsa Race Riot Commission originated in 1997 with House Joint Resolution No. 1035. The act twice since has been amended, first in 1998, and again two years later. The final rewriting passed each legislative chamber in March and be came law with Governor Frank Keating’s signature on April 6, 2000.

building on fire

Excerpts from the report:

Over eight decades, some Tulsans (mostly black Tulsans) have insisted that whites attacked Greenwood from the air, even bombed it from military airplanes. Other Tulsans (mostly white Tulsans) have denied those claims; many have never even heard them. In a sense, it is a black-or-white question, but Richard S. Warner demonstrates that it has no black-or-white answer.

He proves it absolutely false that military planes could have employed military weapons on Greenwood. He also proves it absolutely true that civilian aircraft did fly over the riot area. Some were there for police reconnaissance, some for photography, and some for other legitimate purposes.

He also thinks it reasonable to believe that others had less innocent use. It is probable that shots were fired and that incendiary devices were dropped, and these would have contributed to riot-related deaths or destruction. How much? No one will ever know: History permits no black-or-white answer.

kkk

Can you believe this shit!!  They make movies out this type of history.  The Klu Klux Klan was very powerful and large in Oklahoma.  Some of their prominent citizens were members of the Klan.  It’s believed by some this was a planned attack.  Thousands of Blacks were killed and there were rumors of mass graves where a large hole was dug and thousands of bodies were thrown in like the German Nazis did to the Jews in Germany.