Oh the Insolence: Barack and Michelle!

Okay,

I don’t know how I got into this, but I seem to do this a lot. I often leave innocent comments, thinking I’m just a passer-by whose comments will go unnoticed without really realizing how inciting my comments are. And turns out, this time, they most definitely were. Here we were talking about Barack Obama, Michelle and her senior thesis at Princeton about racism at Princeton, and Barack’s “cultural garb” and how his African and family pride coupled with his wife’s racially divisive thesis cannot possibly be good for a possible future American president and first lady (so the other person argued)…when all of the sudden I’m asked to to prove that a White supremacist organization is racist because they are not seemingly using their social privilege to oppress others, since I’m supposing, they don’t use racial epithets, or explicitly (on the website) instruct their members to kill any non-Aryans, so as to preserve their racially superior kind.

Aside from the fact that when I looked on the website it does promote violence against non-Aryans by instructing members to do,

whatever is necessary to achieve this White space and keep it white, (emphasis mine)

How about we examine the real issue here. There is nothing inherently wrong with being proud of one’s culture and background. Let’s face it, few “groups” are free from violent acts in their pasts. Nobody is perfect. And Barack’s African clothing are in no way shape or form divisive. His mind, heart, and soul are in America. His primary interests (just like Michelle I presume) are for America. So he dressed in traditional clothing, SO WHAT?

The problem comes in when one group starts inciting hate, and violence against another group, based on imaginary or perceived superiority of arbitrary adapted or inherent factors within that group such as…oh let’s say…blue eyes. Such that, “we will exterminate any non-blue eyed person” and “it helps a lot since most people believe blue eyes are superior anyway.” <—That’s social privilege.

Anyway, let’s get back to Barack and Michelle, and their insolence at somehow being proud of their backgrounds, and recognizing the social context in which they exist. Are they wrong? Should Barack disown his muslim brother and apologize for dressing in traditional African clothing when he went to Africa or apologize for having African family period? Should Michelle apologize for talking about racism at Princeton, even though mind you, they graciously let her, a Black person, attend a predominantly white university? Shouldn’t she be grateful instead of hate mongering?

Hahaha, so you know I’m joking. But really, what would make Barack and Michelle more acceptable to the “Whites” (not all whites by the way) who are threatened by the fact that he wore traditional clothing (because I haven’t heard anyone else complain about it), so that THEY feel comfortable enough to “allow” him to be president and her, first lady?

Would he be more acceptable if he took annual trips to Germany and the Netherlands for vacation, attended the opera, and Michelle had done her senior thesis on the superiority of ballet among all other dance forms? Maybe…but wouldn’t their skin be still kind of ummm…BROWN? That’s the real issue there isn’t it? But let’s not point out the obvious but try by any means to find the slightest “issue” to discredit them with. The nerve of them!

I say, way to be proud of your roots Barack and Michelle. I ain’t mad at ya.

Life in a Refugee Camp: The African Dream?

I know I’m late on this, as it’s been circulating around for a while. From Project Mania, photographer Peter Menzel and writer Faith D’Aluisio wrote a book after “inviting [themselves] to dinner with 30 different families…taking note of every vegetable peeled, every beverage poured, every package opened” for their book, Hungry Planet: What the World Eats as stated on the NPR website. The purpose of this project was “to see how globalization, migration and rising affluence are affecting the diets of communities around the globe.” (Emphasis mine)

Yet for their representation of families around the globe (at least the pictures being made public from the book) middle class families were chosen from Europe and America, Asia, Central and South America, Mid-East, and for sub-Saharan Africa they chose to shadow a family living in a refugee camp in Chad.

africans in a refugee camp

Seriously? Yeah, that’s real affluent there people. An African family hasn’t made it until they’ve lived in a refugee camp. Because that’s the ultimate aspirations for most African families after all, aren’t they always dying and or starving? At least in a refugee camp, they have water!

These insidious cries and outreach campaigns to “help save Africa” and similar portrayals of Africans such as the one in this book are getting out of control. What year are we in? Even though this book probably isn’t trying to elicit help to save Africa, I’m still guessing that the pictures chosen to represent the sub-Saharan Africans are meant to invoke pity, and perhaps inspire emotionally detached and complacent consumer oriented societies into providing aid. Unless…they really do believe that it’s the African dream to receive food from a refugee camp. Or they want the world to continue to believe that Africa is really one huge refugee camp as previously thought. Anyway, I’m just guessing here, so either of those guesses could be wrong. I mean how do you explain the stark difference between this African family, and the rest of the families featured in the photo project?

I’m just so tired of the constant parochial representation of Africans in the media where they are almost always starving, dying, or killing each other/escaping those trying to kill them. What is so difficult for western media that disables them from being able to perceive the diversity that exists all over Africa? Why must Africans be constantly stereotyped and marginalized to the helpless dying victims (sometimes the barbaric murderers)? This may be hard to believe, but not ALL Africans are dying, starving, or killing each other. And NEWS FLASH: Africans don’t hold a monopoly on starving/dying people. And yeah, IT’S RACIST!

Since the aim of the book is not to show disparities in income and diet, but to show a relationship between diet and AFFLUENCE, migration and globalization, they could have at least chosen families from the same socio-economic class. Obviously there are going to be disparities, but it’s much fairer than what they came up with, which will have already ignorant people on African matters thinking that Sub-Saharan Africa REALLY is one huge refugee camp. NOT.

Also, if they wanted to show poor people, why did they have to use the sub-Saharan Africans as the example? Narrow minded I tell ya. Try using a poor non-Black family, possibly European or North American as the example. We all know how Black people around the globe have a tendency to underachieve and how much they have a predilection for being the under class right? Get outta here!

Below are select pictures of other families featured in the book, and how much they spend on groceries in a week. By the way, the Sudanese family spends $1.23 on groceries per week.

Also, honorable mention goes to Ecuador for unfair representation and victimization from racist Western media.

For more pictures check out the Time Magazine photo essay of this project.

UPDATE: Part 2 of the essay project featuring another African family which is apparently not in a refugee camp, but still can’t afford a kitchen and a table like the rest of the families featured. Yeah, way to diversify people.<sarcasm>

Germany: The Melander family of Bargteheide = Food expenditure for one week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07

wtwe - germany

United States: The Revis family of North Carolina = Food expenditure for one week $341.98

wtwe - usa

Italy: The Manzo family of Sicily = Food expenditure for one week: 214.36 Euros or $260.11

wtwe - cicily

Mexico: The Casales family of Cuernavaca = Food expenditure for one week: 1,862.78 Mexican Pesos or $189.09

wtwe - mexico

Poland: The Sobczynscy family of Konstancin-Jeziorna = Food expenditure for one week: 582.48 Zlotys or $151.27

wtwe - poland

Egypt: The Ahmed family of Cairo = Food expenditure for one week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53

wtwe - egypt

Ecuador: The Ayme family of Tingo = Food expenditure for one week: $31.55

wtwe - ecuador

Bhutan: The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village = Food expenditure for one week: 224.93 ngultrum or $5.03

wtwe - bhutan

The More the Merrier: New Choice for Candidates in ’08 Elections

So, former congresswoman Cynthia Mckinney is running for president in 2008 representing the Green Party. She talked to Essence magazine in an interview regarding her run for presidency, and her issues of concern. Some of the things she talks about are issues such as why she’s running with the Green Party, reparations and reconstruction for Hurricane Katrina victims and survivors, gentrification which is a MAJOR problem in many urban areas around the country and of course President Bush.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

Essence.com: Why should people consider taking a harder look at the Green Party?

Cynthia McKinney: As I travel, talking to Americans across the country, I’ve learned that there is life outside of the two-party paradigm. We have a generation of folks who watched in horror as young people protested the Vietnam War outside of the Democratic National Convention and saw how they were subsequently treated. That was a tipping point for a lot of people. Today, some feel that their votes won’t be counted because of election integrity. There are people who want to see an end to the war, and that hasn’t happened, despite the Democratic majority in Congress. So you have all these different people who have reached the same conclusion that the two-party paradigm doesn’t serve their interests anymore. But let’s not withdraw from it; let’s change it.

Essence.com: You’ve been a Democrat all your life. Why switch to Green now?

C.M.: You know, I never really got the chance to know the members of the Green Party across the country before. Now, I’m getting to know the most wonderful, idealistic, patriotic people who have made me feel at home. It’s just wonderful to be with people who have thought through the process and how we can work to make it better.

Essence.com: How many votes do you need to be considered?

C.M.: The Green Party needs 5 percent of the votes in the 2008 election to be institutionalized as a third force in American politics.

Essence.com: Why should we consider voting for you?

C.M.: If people feel deep within their hearts that there is still something structurally wrong with the limited choices we have in our two-party system, then I want people to say let me be a part of the 5 percent that changes the structure of our country. Right now, public policy is made in a room where the door is locked. The people are outside; only two representatives [Democrats and Republicans] are in that room hammering out policy. Somebody gave the corporate lobbyists a key so they can come and go as they please. The Green Party will open the door for people who care about impeachment, the war, civil liberties, and economic justice. We will pull up a chair and be a part of the conversation. You’ll get different results and people won’t feel as if they were marginalized out of the process.

Asked why and where she got the courage to try to impeach President Bush, she responded with the following:

C.M.: You can’t be afraid to search for truth, find the truth and then fight injustice. The great people of the world like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., like Rosa Parks, like Patrice Lumumba, stood up for their country and the value of the people. But in doing so, you have to be prepared to fight the injustice that comes along with the knowledge that you gain.

For more info on the whole interview, check it out at Essence.

I am very excited for her, and for the idea of having choices out of the normal two party paradigm that we’re so used to in the United States. While I’m still a supporter for Obama, it’s good to know that I have another option of someone I can vote for, just in case I change my mind, or if somehow Billary beats Obama. But she’s not simply a secondary choice for me. While I like them both, he has a chance to win, and I can be part of that. However, it’s still too early to decide where my vote will go. Time will tell.

Annoying reporters and the people they try to outsmart

Well, maybe he was maybe he wasn’t trying to outsmart Derrick Ashong (D.N.A.) who was caught off guard at an Obama v Hillary debate in Hollywood. I know I’m not the only one who thought the reporter was trying to trip him up though. Regardless he managed to remain calm, cool and collected. Awesome!

Here is a video response that he posted some time afterwards:

Oh yeah, and he’s part of Soulfege musical goodness!!!

On Genocide Negationists!

Ok, I hope to address this issue much better(articulate I mean) and more in depth, but for now, I just want to make a quick clarification. If anyone dares to bring the issue of Hutus and Tutsis dying during the “Rwandan Genocide” at the hands of the RPF (Tutsi rebels), and actually holds the RPF responsible for THEIR part of the criminal acts in the whole thing, then those people are genocide deniers, or negationists.

It’s actually a pretty backwards label if you think about it. Especially when you consider the fact that the RPF are the ones who continually deny genocide against the Hutus and the Congolese starting in 1990. So what the lives of those people don’t matter?

It’s one thing if it’s coming from “well doers” who actually don’t know the whole story. But for it to come from these “well knowing” criminals? Hell naw.

Aren’t all people created equal? Aren’t human lives supposed to be valued equally? How many more Hutus, and Congolese must die, before it’s considered a genocide against them? Who are the real negationists here?

Weapons of Mass Destruction, Acts of Genocide (Bush and Kagame)

Ok, wtf? Is it just me? Or is there something seriously wrong with George Bush taking a vacation trip to Rwanda and praising its president for model behavior AFTER he was just indicted for war crimes and acts of genocide along with 40 members of his military personnel and other high ranking officials? Seriously what’s up with that? It’s not the first time this stuff has come up either, wasn’t Kagame indicted by French Judge Bruguiere just in 2006?

I’m supposing Bush doesn’t much care about the United States’ international reputation, but can he not do ANYTHING right before he leaves office?

I guess the answer lies in a simple anology on how Bush thinks about or doesn’t think about these things:

Weapons of mass destruction are to Iraq (even if there are none found there!)

as

Kagame and members of his staff are innocent of war crimes (even if they’ve been indicted by two independent nations!)

Bush and Kagame = Birds of a feather?

And I guess it looks good for the USA, for now at least…until the people find out what actually happened. Forget about Bush, I wonder what’s going to happen to Billary’s run for presidency!

Just for FUN!!

So…I should probably let this go, but what the hell? I respectfully accept not to post my comments to that blog, as I had refrained from doing after realizing the discussion wasn’t going anywhere. But it appeared to me THEY wanted to continue, so I obliged.

Truthfully speaking, I actually don’t and haven’t read that blog, so I don’t know anything about its content other than the single post I responded to.

And besides that, since I only have “3 sad posts,” I would like to upgrade to “3 sad posts and 1 happy one.” I think that will legitimize my comment posting, no?

I am actually amused by the whole thing, and specifically by the intellectually challenged she-male “diva” who displayed her superior stupidity by not actually providing material to counter points I was making, but to ASSume and hypothesize things about my background. On one hand I think she was trying to discredit what I was saying perhaps by pointing out why my position on the matter would be illegitimate based on my background, OR she was just posting to be noticed. I don’t know.

Either way, I gathered from what she posted that she is an individual who struggles to process and understand complex ideas and thoughts, which is why she resolved to picking on my French spelling out of frustration from trying to think. I laughed out loud both times she posted, and I’m secretly hoping she’s a comedian who was actually making funnies instead of being serious.

Now on to “M” as referred to by “diva”. I really can’t understand why s/he didn’t think laughing in Spanish was funny. I thought it was hilarious. And so do these people right here.

The only thing offensive about what s/he said was the fact that Spain wasn’t included in the list of people dismissed by him/her. Why was Spain exempt? Spain is the whole reason we got in this discussion to begin with! Come on, give me Spain, make us seven!

All in all, it didn’t have to “go there” and get to this point. I just find it intellectually lazy to post things not expect to be challenged, and when pressed to THINK about what you’re posting, you resort to name calling and deflection especially when you allow unmoderated commentary.

Thanks for playing guys, it was fun. Wish we could continue. 🙂