Category Archives: Rants and Raves: Social Issues.

“I Too Am America”: Post-Racial Reality by Upendo

So I’ve named this post after Langston Hughes poem “I Too, Sing America” for many reasons, the most significant reason being that America still has yet to formally/properly recognize its “darker brother”. I mean yes our President is Black and yes he has paid homage to our ancestors, but after today I pose the question “Why isn’t there a Slavery Remembrance Day?” After a brief conversation with one of my young sisters at Seton Hall University about today’s 36th Annual Interfaith Holocaust Remembrance Service I wonder have we become complacent? As a child who has been “ghettoized” in the inner-city life I see little if any progress for our people. The system still has the same oppressive capitalist agenda that enslaved our ancestors over 400 years ago and yet we all, (Black, White, Latino, Asian, etc,) are caste in it. We are still slaves selling our labor for as little as 25 dollars an hour as a server or 7.25 at McDonalds. Don’t get me wrong get your money, (we all have to survive), but what do we own? What capital have we built other than human capital?  What about the condition of the Motherland? We are worth much more than that and have the resources to do much more. Instead, we are feed into the illusion of the celebrity life and media of all facets to pacify this burning rage to  to escape this Matrix. .

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I had the honor, (along with a fellow brother and sister),  of introducing 16 Holocaust survivors, veterans, and liberators who each lit a candle in remembrance of all those murdered during the Holocaust. Over 15 million people. Each person had a story to tell from there experience as a survivor, not a victim. It dawned on me after the ceremony that we too should have a remembrance service as children of survivors,(if not survivors ourselves), veterans, and liberators. We are constantly victimized by Eurocentric history where stories of rebels like Martin Delany, Nat Turner, and the Haiti Slave rebellion have been lost. Have we too soon forgotten those lives stolen and those that have died during the Middle Passage? Or even brothers and sisters like Harriet Tubman, Fanny Lou Hamer, Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X?

I’m still singing our song of redemption and dreaming for the day that Africa will write her own history of dignity. As Nas said our diaspora IS the final chapter; it is time we WAKE UP from the American Dream. It was never meant for everybody. Do we as a people even still have a dream or have so forgotten that “[We] are the Hope and Dream of the Slave”? (Maya Angelou) Our ancestors are probably turning in their graves; it is no wonder that the world has literally been shooken up with natural disasters. The ancestors are calling, but are we listening or is Soulja Boy too loud? We may be living in a time that is more tolerant of the so called “other” but prejudice and discrimination are still very much a reality. But, people don’t seem to respect or have concern for the history of slavery and racism. They seem to have become topics “That are not up for discussion” just as much as rape or repressed as if it never happened. Holocaust, Genocide, Slavery of any kind against any people is wrong. I empathize with all who have gone through any of these experiences and I honor every survivor of any wrongdoing because all who have survived are Strong Beautiful and Inspiring beings.

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I found Hope today for our people in a Polish woman named Luna who encouraged me to be Brave and to step out on Faith. Lord knows I have been struggling with so many fears and anxieties about the future and what it has to hold for the children. But, she believed in me today more than I believed myself to simply be who I am and to speak as I am. I didn’t have to say a word, she knew by looking at me the burden that is weighing heavy on my back. The burden to set our people free and to continue to push forward. She opened her heart and shared her story of Hope and said  to me “You have to believe you will be free no matter how hard it gets, that is key.” So right now I believe and I believe that we should remember who we are and stop hiding behind what the media sells us. We are much more than Beyonce, Jay-Z, Obama, Al Sharpton. We each are creators, musicians, fighters, and lovers rich with culture, knowledge, and wisdom. Each of us holds the POWER to redeem and emancipate ourselves. SO LET’S DO IT! Educate yourself become well versed in politics know the name of the game and observe so you can play to win and winner takes all. Someone grab a Black girl and tell her that she is Beautiful ask her to sing her song of Joy and Strength. Tell a young Black boy that he is a Warrior, a Protector, and a Lion fierce with ambition and pride for his people.

Today was a liberating experience to see people come together to host such an uplifting event of remembrance that gave Hope back to the community. We are all brothers and sisters, all one flesh and blood and we all can live in harmony together if we recognize, embrace, and accept every piece of who we are. My Beautiful Black people remember who we are as a people because if we don’t no one else will fight for us. No one is going to stand up and demand respect and dignity for every person of African decent expect ourselves. As one of three African American students in the entire auditorium and it baffled me to so few. We have to acknowledge slavery and the Native American genocide as a moment in history like the Holocaust and stop sweeping it under the rug.

We still live in genocidal conditions today and are being eradicated, yet ,we continue to buy Jordans and follow the system like Black Zombies. I’m not saying that we should all dwell on Slavery, what I am saying is that it is time we stand up and say “I Too, Sing America” because I Too Am America. We are a part of American history and it is troubling to see how programs such as Black Studies are somehow becoming extinct as if the fight for A Black Identity never existed at all. Or maybe it’s just not in style to be Afrocentric anymore. But whatever the case, if we do not demand our own dignity and pride in our heritage, is else going to? Has our ancestral past become so obsolete that we are willing to assimilate and condemn our souls to the Shadow hell of Eurocentricty? I mean hello, everything in the Political Arena has become a strategic move on the Chess board and Our Queen, (Africa), is in trouble. Yet, it seems the concept of Black politics has been whitewashed just as much as Beyonce, (no offense Bey I feel you but I dont hear you). We so solemnly question the motives of celebrities and the media and what it is being programed into our minds for us to believe. Newsflash: THE REVOLUTION IS NOT TELEVISED.

THE MESSIAH IS IN YOU. WE are MOSES.

Being that I am a fourth generation out of slavery and a first generation college student I have bore witness to the struggle of a revolutionary. I am no reactionary woman that is for sure. And for my brothers as Assata Shakur once said, “A Revolutionary woman can’t have no a Reactionary man”. So I implore you to WAKE UP! STAND UP FOR YOU RIGHT! Support one another and love one another! Stop fighting each other and UNITE! Remember who we were, who we are and who we will be after today. Because Hope is alive, but I question are we?

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Peace and Respect,

UPENDO

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Taking the “why” out of the Y-Chromosome

Being a Man is not a Destination but a Journey. There is no one path, speed or direction. Allow me to be your Atlas, Walking Stick and Rest Stop.
Growing up I was fortunate enough to have many greats instructors, when it came to Manhood. I gained various perspectives on love, responsibility, work ethic, etc. But biggest lesson was that Knowledge without Application is Sustenance without growth. You can be the smartest man in the world but if you do not display this knowledge by ways of fellowship, academia or what have you, then what is it worth?
As everyone has something to gain, we also all have something to give. Share your stories, anecdotes, Pop Pop’s style guide, whatever you want! Let your blessings become blessings to others. Lets us grow together as Men and as people. THIS IS A CONVERSATION, not a lecture so if whether its a Amen or a Hell Naw! let you voice be heard!
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“One man with courage makes a majority.”
–Andrew Jackson

The GOP Flop.

For the past decade, the number of Hispanic immigrants have been increasing in the U.S, along with the debates of immigration, unjust policies, racial profiling, and other things that play into the the American’s patriotic ideology that someone wants to take their country away from them… 

Not only do statistics pick up things like the rise of the Hispanic community rising in the United States, but apparently so does the Republican Party. The talk of the Republicans raising their Hispanic voters has been quite the trend, but the Party’s actions doesn’t really add up to the charismatic broken Spanish that they use to try to talk to this community.

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So what’s the best way to do it? Get a spokesperson! The up and coming politician Marco Rubio has been bursting through the media with his memorable “grab a drink” interview and is now trying to sway the Hispanic voters to the Republican Party. Rumor has it that Rubio might be running for the upcoming presidency. Keep an eye out for this Republican… he KNOWS what he’s doing.

images-31But let’s talk about the real issues here. Immigration policies in the South like an ID system for Hispanics that should be presented at all times are, in fact, MADE by these Republican politicians who want to increase their voting numbers soooo bad. Republicans who try to look well in the media by shaking a person of Hispanic descent’s hands, but then try to make a comment calling Hispanics “wetbacks” lacks the concept of consistency. There’s no way this party can continue to possibly believe that this community would want to affiliate themselves with ignorant politicians that contradict themselves with trying to like this community, and being against things like immigration reform.

 

To the Republican Party: At least TRY to look like you like Latinos. You’re failing miserably.

Talk about a Scandal!

Its been proven in many studies that standardized testing is not as effective as people think. Especially with our African-American children and poor education systems, African AMerican american children actually end up LOOSING more than their counterparts because of this testing system. Here is an article TIME released about Testing scandals!

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One of the biggest ironies of the Atlanta public schools testing scandal — in which 35 educators have been indicted on racketeering, theft and corruption charges for artificially inflating students’ test results — is that the faked scores prevented some schools from accessing three quarters of a million dollars in federal money to support struggling learners because they no longer qualified for help. The impact on individual children was devastating. One mother quoted in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution described her fruitless search for reading support for her 9-year-old daughter, who was performing at the bottom of her reading group. The child’s phony test score showed improvement, so now, in high school, she reads only at a fifth-grade level.

Superintendent Erroll B. Davis has called for mandatory ethics training for all staff and increased security measures, such as “locked safe rooms, tighter chains of custody and clearer test protocols to prevent improprieties and tampering.” Schools with…

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America Going to War?

About a few weeks ago, AfroMadu released a post about North Korea and the nuclear weapons that they plan to send to America.

Recent news show that not only is North Korea planning to go to war with South Korea due to international conflicts, but America just sent a few jets to South Korea in order to help this conflict on South Korea’s end.

There is also suspicion on the role China will play in this battle. Because China is allies with North Korea and seeing a mini role that the U.S. is playing on South Korea’s side, the main issue is China and the U.S. fighting this battle for these smaller countries.

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Not only are people talking about possible drafts if this conflict becomes bigger, but what will happen with the relationship of the U.S. and China?

Most American corporations have shipped their labor overseas, mainly to China, causing this relationship to break. Not only would their be a problem within the governments, but corporations will be in hot water with China and the fate of their business and their money ( this might be a good thing; corporations send their jobs back to the U.S, more jobs for Americans, better economy…)

AREN’T WE IN DEBT WITH CHINA? Aren’t they liable to literally come after us? We honestly owe them our lives..

Maybe this might have stretched the current event a bit too far, but definitely be on the look-out for updates on this potentially detrimental conflict. No worries, AfroMadu will keep you posted.

March Madness!

March Madness is here and it wouldn’t be right if Afromadu didn’t talk about the exploitation of the college athlete….

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For those who don’t know, “March Madness” is an annual basketball tournament that the NCAA league puts on to reward the best team in college basketball. While this tournament is televised and guy world stops a few weeks to watch these series of games, people all around the United States place bets and create “brackets” with reams that they believe have the potential to win the title. Sounds fun right? WRONG.

Because of the publicity that this event brings in, it also allows all of these college basketball teams to make millions of dollars off of seats for people to watch the game, paraphernalia that people buy to show off their favorite team, the grand bets that fans make throughout this event, and soo much more that one can’t possibly think of (idk, just wanted to be a bit dramatic).

Did i ever mention that these basketball players make no type of profit for the games that they play and the publicity that they get?  Isn’t this a bit like slavery?

Upon realizing that i wasn’t the only crazy one and that their were people who thought about this as well, i stumbled upon two interesting cases:

Unknown-5William C. Rhoden’s, Forty Million Dollar Slave book discussed the problems of the Black athlete and compared the processes of these basketball players to the logistics of slavery. Because these athletes feel that they are going to be POTENTIAL professional players, who will potentially have professional salaries, they work super hard in college -even it means playing for no type of economic gain- in order to get enough shine to go pro.

But how much is too much shine? Would you rather become abused and mistreated by the talents that you value and fall short while people are making millions of dollars and placing numerous bets on the talents that you worked so hard on?

This question raised a big predicament to a college basketball player who realized the sameimages-23 previous questions that I posed. Edward O’Bannon, a college athlete from UCLA realized the exploitation that he was receiving from the NCAA and filed a lawsuit against them after he saw that the corporation was still using his name and using him in a special edition version of a video game by NCAA. Edward O’Bannon felt like his college career was enough for them to make money by his athleticism, and that this new video game should not feature him without his consent.

In the end, the NCAA has the power to exploit these college athletes, mainly African Americans, simply because they have the power to do so. “March Madness” and its exploitation is, indeed, mad.

Consumerism: The Strain of the Black Community.

It is obvious that the American culture holds a strong materialistic value near and dear to their hearts. By buying new cars, clothes, shoes, and other things to shoot their social status up some points, can go a long way socially. People end up spending THOUSANDS of dollars on the idea of being in the latest “fad” or showing off the physical assets that they consume through the power of money.

No one is more disadvantaged from consumerism than the Black community. Not only do Black people feel the need to follow every trend and BUY everything that is popular, but Black people use these material items to define them and hold a status of money and power to the people “less fortunate” or the ones that don’t bother conforming to the idea of “consumerism”.

“The things we buy to cover up what’s inside…….” -Kanye West

Granted, buying things that make you happy which include expensive cars, clothes, and shoes shouldn’t be a big deal when you can afford them, but while African Americans are contributing great volumes of America’s wealth, WE OWN NOTHING.

Now we are stuck with the idea of spending money on irrelevant things to keep relevant, rather than investing in on other beneficial purchases.

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To help you guys understand, let’s break it down in this perfect scenario:

Waiting in line at 5am for the new Jordans to come out, spend hundreds of dollars on them that you worked so hard for, to rock them around and have people THINK that you have money, to go to a house that you dont own, work at a company that you don’t own, and live in a world where you have no say so in.

Of course we’ve all seen and know this problem because it is pretty prominent in our community. But where did it come from and how do we solve it? (should be the question running through your head.)

images-21It is a proven fact that our community today is the result of our history. For centuries Black people have been taught that their natural attributes does not compare to the ones that their oppressors have. So in cahoots with a theory of human nature, Black people try to assimilate and mock the things that these people have and the ways that they act, in order to achieve social status. I mean, a common rule in finding success is to do what successful people do. But you cant find success in materialistic if you are not owning anything that allows you to make money by itself, rather than working hard and buying things that will have you broke before you next paycheck.

The media (like always) plays a big part in the consumerism of the Black community. Rappers, professional sports player, actors, and all of the superficial people on these networks flaunt their expensive stuff to show hip they are to trends socially and how much money that they have. Because the media is well aware of viewers wanting what these TV celebs have, they end up promoting their costly things through them, making the viewers feel obligated to buy, buy, buy and spend, spend, spend!

Can we ever end the cycle of our bad habits? When will people, our people in particular, come to the realization that material items cannot buy our happiness?

Let’s begin by taking the funds we use and investing in stocks and bonds that will benefit us in a few years. Lets begin to make money, that will make money for us. Moreover, lets begin by making wiser decisions with the pennies in our pockets.

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Alas, I am no economist but this issue doesn’t add up. It’s time to devalue the trends and value life lessons and decisions.