Sunday, July 20, 2008

I Read the News Today...Oh, Boy...

I'm working on several posts just now and something weird is going on with YouTube today for some reason. So while you're waiting, I'm gonna give you some links to keep you busy.

1) To start with, you might want to find out what Mike Whitney says really happened to free Ingrid Betancourt from the rebels in Colombia. It involves the payment of $20 million for one thing, but that's not even half of the back story. I wonder what we'd do without new media sources like Counterpunch, Truthout, Znet and the many others that have risen to keep us from being buried in bullshit. If you're not supporting one or more of these to the extent you're capable, then we'll have you to thank when we're completely left to the mercy of Big Brother's NewSpeak.

2) The Field Negro, as usual, has some pithy words on another current news flap: re-visiting the use of the word "nigger" (aka "the n-word"*) by Jesse Jackson, for one, but also creating a tizzy on "The View" when the discussion turned to why African-Americans can use the word, but White folks can't.

(Criminy. I'm not sure anybody that needs an explanation deserves one.)

3) Anyway, a friend and fellow sociologist (and freedom-fighter) tipped me this morning to a piece Hans Bennett did for The Dissident Voice (another of those important and worthy to be supported alternative news sources) containing an interview of Claude Marks, a Black activist who, among others, was arrested and tortured in the 1970's for -- basically -- being a Black activist. Marks has spent decades now making films and directing an archive of materials documenting and describing the use of law enforcement, the criminal justice system, and torture against people of color. Of particular interest to me is the way the system is now going back to thirty-year-old cases, re-arresting people, and taking them back into court using "confessions" already established as having been acquired by the use of physical torture. Does the public have no limits to what it will accept?

4) And lest you think torture and other horrible acts of violence are only visited on those who "deserve" it, Macon D. at Stuff White People Do presents Andrea Gibson's poem about White history. If it doesn't make you sad, then you need to go to the time-out corner until it does.
* I am letting Ta-Nehisi Coates give me permission to use the word "nigger" when referring to the word. This has been bothering me for years. I maintain that White people must NEVER use the word to refer to someone of African descent -- either directly or indirectly -- even to each other in private and I do my part to make sure they don't. I believe, in spite of the word's history, that it is NOT my business to try to instruct people of color on whether or not (or how) they use it. But when I'm trying to ram home a point in an anti-racist speech or lecture and have to use "the n-word" as a phrase, I feel like I've just reverted to baby talk. I don't even talk baby talk to babies. Thank you, Ta-Nehisi. You freed me a little bit more and God knows, I can always use more Consciousness-raising.

NOTE: The graphic featured above is on postcards available from the Syracuse Cultural Workers Collective.

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