Saturday, May 28, 2011

What is the Future of Black Journalism and Blacks in Journalism in the Electronic Media Internet Age?

African American Political Pundit is concerned about the effect that large corporate-owned Black sections of white newspapers (like The Root) and also Black-owned big-box blogs could have on
(a)  Black readership migrating to white-owned outlets and leaving Black independent blogs behind, and

(b)  Blacks leaving the white-news news rooms that they fought so hard to get into and migrating to Black blogs where they can finally write in their own voices about issues of unique interest to Black people.
He asks,

Are Corporate Black Blogs Destroying Black Employment In Mainstream Media?

Earlier this month I wondered out loud about Corporate black blogs like The Root (WAPO) and The Grio (NBC) Working To Control Black political and social opinion. 
Ok, Now I'm wondering: Are Corporate Black Blogs Destroying Black Employment In Mainstream Media?  Danielle Wright over at is making me wonder out loud based on the article "Black Reporters are Leaving Mainstream Media for Black News Outlets."
The article cited, "Black Reporters are Leaving . . .", says
Between 2001 and 2011, the number of African-Americans in the newsrooms of mainstream newspapers dropped 34 percent, according to a 2010 survey by the American Society of News Editors. In 2010, 4.68 percent of US mainstream print-newsroom-jobs were held by African-Americans, a drop from 5.5 percent in 2006.
( . . . )
Kathy Times, president of the National Association of Black Journalists, calls the drop in minorities at major outlets “devastating.” During a visit to the Houston Chronicle, which caters to a city proper that is almost 63 percent African-American, she saw zero Blacks among the sixteen editors in a news meeting she attended.

Though the increase in Black news outlets is great, let’s hope that it’s not at the cost of sharing diverse issues with the general public through a mainstream platform.
While I think this is horrible for Black America and Black journalists, I don't think it's entirely due to Black journalists' preferences.  Some white newspapers have shut down and others have drastically reduced their staffs in recent years, and Blacks are typically "last-hired and first-fired."  That, alone, explains some of the dramatic loss of Blacks at white-news papers.

I suspect that, knowing that they could lose their jobs at any moment anyway, as the corporate media amalgamates and downsizes, Blacks might even feel more professionally and financially secure at Black media outlets.  In any case, Black reporters, writers and journalists background and identity as Black people is more likely to be a key asset at a Black blog.  I am never surprised that Blacks are lacking in any field of US corporate or public sector endeavor.  Aggrieved, yes.  Surprised, no.

On the one hand, it seems like Blacks are just as likely to be lawyers and doctors as they are to write for white-news papers.  This is a fact that has angered me since childhood, particularly when I read white-skinned reporters' reviews of Black movies and these reports were almost always negative.  I remember reading in a white paper that "The Color Purple" was 'preachy, too long and not very funny.'

"Preachy" means that white journalists are challenged to look at their role as whites and they hadn't expected or wanted to have that experience at the theatre.  "Long" means it focuses too much and too profoundly on Black characters' lives; and "not funny" means there were jokes that only Black people would understand and find ironic and funny.  Even if white journalists understand the joke they are angry rather than amused, because the joke is at their whiteist expense.

So, it makes perfect sense to me that Black journalists who aren't forced out of the white-news media by downsizing are choosing to move to Black-focused outlets where they don't feel like the only Black person at a Klan meeting. They can write pieces to people like themselves, based on their sense of what is interesting to Blacks and what Blacks need to know. That's never been the forte or purpose of white-news outlets, so it's encouraging to me that new Internet ventures have created an opportunity for Blacks to write to and about Blacks.

I sense African American Pundits concern about where all of this will leave Black America and Black journalists, but we have to remember where we came from.  In the 1980's Blacks were rare in newsrooms and being progressively down-sized out of their professions, with no ready alternatives.  The acknowledgment  that Blacks are a big audience with significant buying power and we want content written and for us, at the big white-news papers and by entrepreneurial Black outlets, has only helped Black America, in my opinion.

Each day I get an e-mail of the Black-related stories from the Washington Post, which are now collected together at a separate entity called, "The Root," but with the backing of the Washington Post.  I honestly could never have imagined in 1970 that that could happen using white capital at a white-news paper.

And now with the entrepreneurial talents of Blacks creating organs for Black thought and community, I've never felt better as a Black consumer of Black news and opinion.  Where this will go is anyone's bet, but for the moment I see Blacks earning salaries or equity in the media and I see Black audiences better served.

Let us also not forget that there are issues involving Black people that can never be adequately addressed in the white-news corporate media, and perhaps not even in Black online outlets with a profit motive.  Each day brings more Black bloggers who refuse to accept advertisements at their blogs, so that they can write the whole truth unencumbered by white money and white sensibilities or the fear of losing advertisers and access to capital.

This last category of bloggers--the independent self-financed bloggers with day-jobs--are serving the purpose that the Black Panther Paper once served in the Black community: telling us the raw news as it is, and making us doubt our role in America while redoubling our efforts to keep one step ahead of white America's (in)justice system.  Until whites change their attitudes radically toward Blacks, there will always be a place for independent Black bloggers because the police will never stop profiling, targeting, harassing, arresting, prosecuting and imprisoning Blacks at rates "inexplicably" higher that those of whites.

These are the bloggers who are developing and engaging in action plans to confront white-news, white-politics, and white-justice.  Whatever the range of white print on the Web, we should expect that and more of Black Internet communication, which means that we will all have a role as time progresses.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Are White Women with Naturally Straight Hair as Attractive as Black Women With Natural Braids and Rasta Locks?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

My Wife, Teresa Francisco Holland, 
Does Not Straighten, Iron or Otherwise Mutilate Her African Hair, 
Letting Her Dreads Swing Naturally.

Cross-posted at the Francis L. Holland Blog.

We need to study our own culture, including traditional African hairstyles throughout the Diaspora, and prefer our own hair culture to that of whites. This is about esteeming ourselves, but it also has some very practical advantages.

Failing at Whiteness

I told my Afro-Brazilian wife about the hairstyle/culture/self-esteem concerns expressed by Bronze Trinity and in the video: that although whites constantly wave their hair about like horses wave their manes, natural Black hair does not wave about in the wind like white hair can. An afro stays put. In response to this, my wife tossed her head to and fro and her beautiful long dreadlocks flew in the wind around her, just like white hair does, but better for us, because my wife's hair is not the product of harmful chemicals, hot irons or money spent at white-people stores, making white people wealthy and us poorer.
Braids are ideal hair styling options for all-year round action like swimming, camping, or sports. Opting to braid your hair is a perfect choice when transitioning from chemically straightened tresses to au natural tresses. They give your hair a rest from styling aids like chemicals and hot irons while protecting your natural tresses. Bivi.Net
There are so many stunningly beautiful ways for us to wear our hair in Braids. Long, flowing, beautifully organized and maintained braids and dreadlocks, on the other hand, are an ancient African cultural art form that highlights our beauty, history and culture all at once, without making an new industry for "the man". One Black man said, "If God had wanted us to have straight hair, we would have been born that way. I accept me as I am."

When we braid our hair, all of the money generated stays within the Black community because whites don't care to learn to braid and because no fancy chemicals, machines or treatments are needed for beautiful braids. Just as African women braided their hair before the invention of electricity, during the time of the construction of the Pyramids we can do so today, with great beauty and tremendous longevity.

A Black person with straightened hair is like Cinderella, who is out of her element and waiting for her horse and carriage to turn into a pumpkin at midnight. If our hair has been straightened and then gets wet, there is no fairy prince who is going to save us from the embarrassment that comes when the forces of nature denounce us as cheap immitations of traditional whiteness. Unless our hair is Braided, it returns to its natural curls when wet, like nature telling us to "just be ourselves" and refusing to play along with our attempts at white identity appropriation.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Although they complement our straightened hair to our faces, whites secretly laugh at us for spending so much of our time and money trying to look like them.
When I was single, I couldn't let a woman with Braids walk by without at least learning her name and complimenting her hairstyle. Braids are THAT compelling.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket . . . Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket . . . Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket . . . Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket . . . Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Girl, those Braids are sexy!

I once went out with a woman who had long, beautiful braids when I met her. I found her irresistable and I told her so, because she had the uniquely beautiful curves of an African woman and long flowing braids that reminded me of our culture and our ancestors.

But, then she straightened her hair. She became afraid to come with me to the beach or get near ocean-spray, because the forces of nature would make her chemically-treated hair would revert to its natural curls. She no longer wanted to learn to swim or take long walks on rainy days. We broke up, because she was no longer the woman I had met.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Book Review: Sylvia Harris' Autobiography of Bipolar Disorser and Salvation at the Horse Tracks

The new book, "Long Shot: My Bipolar Life and the Horses Who Saved Me," is a must-read for those like me who struggle with bipolar illness, as well as for professionals caregivers and family members who want to understand Bipolar patients and have a sincere desire to help. As someone who has seen this process from the inside, I can and do vouch for the anguish it causes in the patient, family and career.

The author, Sylvia Harris, describes exactly what it was like to be somewhat manic, floridly manic, psychotically manic and depressed. She recalls a time when she cycled through these stages with no idea of what has happening to her, clueless as to the exit from the perpetual emotional roller coaster.

Through her painfully honest autobiography, she gives readers an inside view of her manic-depressive problem and how she overcame its worst aspects by striving for meaning and healthy excitement. Desiring to become a horse trainer and eventually a jockey, she demonstrates that we need not achieve all that we want in order to benefit from the pursuit of our dreams.

Without specifically saying so, she demonstrates the similarities between Bipolar illness, alcoholism and drug addiction, in which many sufferers, their families, circle of friends and employers must often acknowledge the illness and their personal powerlessness over it, before they can find relief and redemption.

Harris courageously describes learning to realize when an attack of mania was beginning and what--for her--triggered those attacks.

Not all readers (including myself) will identify with Harris' love for horses and the essential role they came to have in Harris' rehabilitation. But, everyone perceives that having a personally meaningful goal toward which we strive helps us to find meaning in life when our lives would otherwise seem to us to be meaningless.

Essentially, Bipolars often have a necessity for a goal and aspiration larger than life, lest we be overcome by depression and the conviction that our lives are meaningless.

As in any worthwhile autobiography, Sylvia Harris brings the reader along on the trail to overcoming the worst her difficulties, while acknowledging that some "wreckage of the past" is inevitable but not utterly insoluble.

I personally do not read prefaces or introductions to autobiographies, because of their tendency to remove the mystery and discovery process from the narrative itself. Sylvia Harris's "Long Shot: My Bipolar Life and the Horses Who Saved Me" ends realistically, in a manner with which we may all be able to identify.

If you enjoy the thrill of discovering what happens at the end of Sylvia Harris' autobiography, then don't read the introduction and preface at the beginning.

Read the whole autobiography and learn what happens just as Sylvia Harris did: one day and one experience at a time.

You can't be of help to a Bipolar person or patient unless you understand their world from their perspective, as well as from your own (probably) vastly different perspective on the patient and the illness. This is maddeningly frustrating, but true nonetheless.

This book provides a heartfelt, and searingly honest account of life for those like me who struggle with bipolar illness, as well as for professionals, caregivers and family members who want to understand
Bipolar patients and who have a sincere desire to help.

Monday, May 16, 2011

"Race" and Blood Types, Superstition and Science

Would you rather have a blood transfusion from someone who shares your skin color or from someone who shares your blood type?  It is my belief that transfusing blood from one person to another based on skin color would be a extraordinarily dangerous practice.  The American Red Cross, which maintains blood banks, says:

Although all blood is made of the same basic elements, not all blood is alike. In fact, there are eight different common blood types, which are determined by the presence or absence of certain antigens – substances that can trigger an immune response if they are foreign to the body. Since some antigens can trigger a patient's immune system to attack the transfused blood, safe blood transfusions depend on careful blood typing and cross-matching.

The blood table below, broken out by "race," shows that blood types do not obey superstitious sociological and cultural notions of "race".  The following chart from the American Red Cross shows that if all Caucasians received O+ blood transfusions on the logic that O+ is most common among Caucasians, then sixty-three percent of white people would receive the WRONG blood type during transfusions.

Most white people would have a higher chance of receiving the proper blood type from an Hispanic person (53%O+) than they would from another white person, since the most common blood type among whites is (O+ 37%) and is also most common among Hispanics (O+53%) of Hispanics have that blood type. 

If a white person with type O+ blood needs a battle-field transfusion and medics don't know the blood types of another white person available and an Hispanic person available, the best bet (53% O+) would be to give the white person a transfusion from a Hispanic person--NOT another white person.

All white people have a lesser chance of having O+ blood than do Hispanics (O+53).

African American
O +
O -
A +
A -
B +
B -
AB +
AB -

Dr. Dennis O'Neil Behavioral Sciences Department, Palomar College, San Marcos, California writes:

. . . patterns of ABO, Rh, and Diego blood type distributions are not similar to those for skin color or other so-called "racial" traits.  The implication is that the specific causes responsible for the distribution of human blood types have been different than those for other traits that have been commonly employed to categorize people into "races."  Since it would be possible to divide up humanity into radically different groupings using blood typing instead of other genetically inherited traits such as skin color, we have more conclusive evidence that the commonly used typological model for understanding human variation is scientifically unsound.

As a matter of science, Dr. Dennis O'Neil concludes that the belief in "race" has less basis in science than other more medically useful groupings.  He concludes that:

The more we study the precise details of human variation, the more we understand how complex are the patterns.  They cannot be easily summarized or understood.  Yet, this hard-earned scientific knowledge is generally ignored in most countries because of more demanding social and political concerns.  As a result, discrimination based on presumed "racial" groups still continues.  It is important to keep in mind that this "racial" classification often has more to do with cultural and historical distinctions than it does with biology.  In a very real sense, "race" is a distinction that is created by culture not biology.

"Obama Working to Rebuild [Rusty and Dry-Rotted] Grassroots Army (AP)"

Every time I read a headline like ,"Obama working to rebuild grassroots army (AP)," I feel angry at President Obama.  Why did Obama let the grassroots army go fallow in the first place?  Maybe it was because he was going to capitulate on the public option and didn't want his supporters to vocally tell the media that Obama had lost his mind?

President Obama is an intelligent man, and so I can't understand why he hasn't run the "permanent campaign" of Bill Clinton instead of winning the race and then effectively, passively, telling all of his supporters that the war was over and they could go home?

This idiotic strategy was Obama's "Mission Accomplished".  He should have known that people supported him because he gave them something to do to make the country better, and those same people were waiting for marching orders that would keep them busy until the next presidential election.  NOTHING had been accomplished with the election of President Obama, except his election.  All of the work lay ahead of the Obama forces, yet Obama ignored his student cadres, his union supporters, and even his war room to beat back Republican attacks on Democratic priorities.  There is a strong argument to be made that Obama lost the Congress in 2010 because he ignored his ground troops in 2008 after the Election, and in 2009 and 2010.

There is a significant difference between working on your supporters' priorities and getting your supporters working and active to push their priorities through Congress.  When Obama went silent for months on national health care in 2009, he failed to provide the leadership that his own supporters needed in order to push a common agenda.

The radios went silent, the requests for help (even financial help) disappeared, and Obama seems to have believed he had to turn his attention (and his political machine's attention) toward making the sausage in Washington that nobody wanted to eat.

OK, that's not fair.  Obama has done a lot of important things in office, so would someone kindly remind me what they were?  That's the first part of getting Obama's most ardent supporters to vote themselves in 2012, never mind organizing them to get their friends, families and communities to vote.  Like the aftermath to the bombing of the Twin Towers, Obama's comportment since he was elected has been a missed opportunity to bring his forces to the fore, to fight together for a common agenda.

"Obama working to rebuild grassroots army (AP)" is a polite way of saying, "Obama built a grass roots army for 2008, forgot about it and neglected it for two years, and only now realizes that the same army that he ignored for two years will be now be necessary for his re-election in 2012.  There's something weird going on in Obama-land.

Why didn't Obama call out this army to fight for national health care?  Why didn't Obama call out this army to avoid losing the US House in 2010?  Why didn't Obama call out this army to insist on immediately building wind power and solar energy resources when the Democrats had the US Congress, so that Republicans would have to tear them down to get rid of them?

Why did brilliant Obama act so arrogant and self-sufficient for two years when arrogance and self-sufficiency and autocracy were do bloody dumb? It's not too late for Obama to win in 2012, but it's too late to prevent two years of a Republican House and it's too late to prevent the demise of the public option.

Look at the bright side:  "Obama (is) working to rebuild [Rusty and Dry-Rotted] grassroots army (AP)".  If he hadn't left his car in a ditch for the last two years, then he wouldn't need to rebuild it in or to get it running again.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Electrocution Victim's Family Routed in California Taser Death Case

Hat Tip to Eddie G. Griffin (BASG).

Unfortunately, it seems that the estate of Robert Heston, and his family, have been routed so far in the electrocution device suit they first filed and was first heard in San Jose District Court and then appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Perhaps the family and their lawyers will petition for en banc (full court) review of the three-judge panel opinion, although their is no inherent right to en banc review and it is mostly granted in cases considered to be of great importance.

With so many District Court appointments to be made and affirmed by the US Senate still, this case was heard by a three judge panel, composed RYMER and N.R. SMITH, Circuit Judges, and "The Honorable Ronald B. Leighton, United States District Judge for the Western District of Washington, sitting by designation."

Bloomberg reported in June 2008 that:

A San Jose, California, jury yesterday said Taser had failed to warn police in Salinas, California, that prolonged exposure to electric shock from the device could cause a risk of cardiac arrest. The jury awarded $1 million in compensatory damages and $5.2 million in punitive damages to the estate of Robert Heston, 40, and his parents. The jury cleared the police officers of any liability.

However, the District Court judge immediately threw out the punitive damages, while affirming the jury's compensatory damages finding.

Now, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit  has affirmed the lower court's denial of punitive damages AND thrown out the compensatory damages as well. 

In overturning the compensatory damages, the Ninth Circuit said:

4. However, the district court abused its discretion when it affirmed the jury’s compensatory damages award to the estate. While the estate presented evidence suggesting that Heston was treated by emergency medical technicians, transported to the hospital, and received continuing medical treatment, it presented no evidence at trial showing compensable “loss or damage that the decedentsustained or incurred before death, . . . not includ[ing] any damages for pain, suffering, or disfigurement.’” County of L.A. v. Superior Court, 981 P.2d 68, 70 (Cal. 1999) (quoting Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 377.34; emphasis altered). Thus, although the trial judge had discretion to “weigh the evidence” when it considered TASER’s motion for a new trial, it abused that discretion by denying the motion where there was simply no evidence to weigh in support of the jury award. See Air-Sea Forwarders, Inc. v. Air Asia Co., 880 F.2d 176, 190 (9th Cir. 1989). We accordingly reverse and vacate the compensatory damages award.

In affirming the denial of punitive damages, the Court of Appeals found that:

Under California law, punitive damages may be awarded when a plaintiff proves by clear and convincing evidence that a defendant acted with “such a
conscious and deliberate disregard of the interests of others that his conduct may
be called willful or wanton.” Taylor v. Superior Court, 598 P.2d 854, 856
(Cal. 1979) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted); see Cal. Civ. Code
§ 3294(a). Here, TASER made efforts, albeit insufficiently, to warn its customers
about the risks posed by prolonged TASER deployment. While this may amount to negligence, it does not rise to the level “willful or wanton” conduct. Tomaselli v. Transamerica Ins. Co., 31 Cal. Rptr. 2d 433, 444 n.14 (Ct. App. 1994) (such conduct must be “inconsistent with the hypothesis that [it] . . . was the result of . . . mere negligence or other such noniniquitous human failing.”). Moreover, although the jury found that a “reasonable manufacturer” would have known that prolonged TASER deployment may cause cardiac arrest, it answered “No” to the question asking whether TASER actually “knew” of that risk. We accordingly affirm the district court’s order vacating the punitive damages award to the estate.

The only victory for the plaintiff's lawyers and the public is that the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected a requested by Taser International that the plaintiffs pay Taser's legal fees. 

The Ninth Circuit Appeals judges said,

"Each party will bear its own costs." 

because there was sufficient merit to the case that plaintiffs should not be penalized for having brought the case in the first place.

Had the plaintiffs been ordered to pay legal fees it would have dissuaded families across the country from filing  complaints against Taser International. 

Overall, this is a particularly bad case result for Taser petitioners, even though the presiding judges said,

This disposition is not appropriate for publication and is not precedent except as provided by 9th Cir. R. 36-3.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Black Agenda Report Reveals Obama and Imperialism

What has changed, other than the face?
"The killing of Bin Laden, if that's what it was, and the celebrations around it only ratify and affirm the lies that war, torture and empire are good and necessary, especially when carried out by Democrats."  --  Black Agenda Report's "Osama, Obama and Bush: Apt Comparisons, Missed Opportunities", with illustration by Leon Kuhn.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Obama Was Prescient on Bin Laden, but In a Way that is Mostly Irrelevant to American Blacks

First posted at the Francis L. Holland Blog.

I had hoped that people in the US and elsewhere would quickly forget about Bin Laden and refocus on 15% unemployment among Black American adults, but it doesn't seem like that refocusing is going to happen. President Obama and the "intelligence" agencies now have an endless supply of Osama Bin Laden mementos and goodies with which to regale the media and the public, and the story will be dragged out like the equally inconsequential death of Princess Diana.

A comment by TheEvilOne prompts me to address the Bin Laden case again, only with respect to its political lessons and implications in the United States.  

What strikes me is that, if indeed Bin Laden was killed, Obama had a pretty good idea of what country he was in.  Readers may remember that when Senators Clinton and Obama were running for Democratic nomination, Obama successfully avoided being called "anti-war" by promising to attack targets in PAKISTAN to 'get the terrorists," with or without Pakistan's permission.  Hillary Clinton said Obama's plan was immature and illegal, but Obama stuck to his drones and won the nomination.

Today, if anything that the CIA operatives are telling us on the news is true, Osama Bin Laden was, in fact, in PAKISTAN. Had it been known during the Democratic nomination primaries that Bin Laden was in Pakistan and Pakistan was refusing to cooperate with Bin Laden's capture, then both Clinton and Obama would have been compelled to talk tough about going into Pakistan.  Obama promised to do it and kept his promise, while Clinton promised NOT to do it and lost the nomination to Obama.

How was Obama so fortunate as to promise to effectively invade the very country where Bin Laden was hiding? It makes Obama seem pretty smart in retrospect, but in an irrelevant sort of way, from the perspective of Black Americans and their homes in foreclosure, or already living out of their cars.

Of course, Obama has been invading foreign oil-producing countries at the average rate of one per year (Pakistan and then Libya), so we can expect him to invade six more oil-producing countries by the end of his second term. None of it will help Black people in the United States one bit.

Black people are far more afraid of their local police and the all-white juries than they are of anyone in the Middle East or Africa, and with good reason:  "TheEvilOne" pointed to the following article, entitled, "The Failed Drug War Has Created a Human Rights Nightmare," with strikingly similar facts and metaphors, like the fact that Obama-Land is not the "Promised Land," which is still out of reach, in large measure because white America targeted Black America for imprisonment and the loss of many of the rights of citizenship:
We declared a war known as the War on Drugs. The war has driven the quintupling of our prison population in a few short decades. The vast majority of the startling increase in incarceration in America is traceable to the arrest and imprisonment of poor people of color for non-violent, drug-related offenses. Families have been torn apart, young lives shattered, as parents grieve the loss of loved ones to the system, often hiding their grief under a cloak of shame. Politicians claim that the enemy in this war in is a thing -- "drugs" -- not a group of people, but the facts prove otherwise.

African Americans have been admitted to prison on drug charges at a rate up to 57 times higher than whites. In some states, 80 to 90 percent of all drug offenders sent to prison have been African American. The rate of Latino imprisonment has been staggering as well. Although the majority of illegal drug users and dealers are white, three-fourths of all people imprisoned for drug offenses have been black and Latino.
In my opinion, one million Blacks in US jails and prisons is a far more important statistic than 3,000 killed at Ground Zero. "Ground Zero" for Black people is the state prisons in the fifty states, and the felony convictions:
Millions of people in the United States, primarily poor people of color, are denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement: the right to vote, the right to serve on juries, and the right to be free from discrimination in employment, housing, access to education, and public benefits. They have been branded "criminals" and "felons" and now find themselves relegated to a permanent, second-class status for the rest of their lives.
We feel as if we are under siege, because we are under siege.  Every Black kid knows it and every Black parent and adult has fought it, but we are a minority--marginalized, repressed and imprisoned.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Afrosphere Bloggers Compel White-News Media to Focus on Black Thought and Action

whitosphere,afrosphere,African American Pundit,The Root,Griot,Washington Post,Henry Louis Gates,Francis L. Holland,Co-Intel-Pro,CIA,Infiltration,Black,African American,white-news,competition,coopt,Barack Obama

When Black bloggers of the afrosphere got together in January to March of 2007 and formed the AfroSpear, a black self-determination membership group, it was never our desire to compel white-news media outlets to increase their coverage of Blacks' news.  In fact, we got together precisely because we assumed there was nothing we could do about the white-news media's willful ignorance of Blacks' news and important events.

Now, in addition to building the number of Black blogs more than tenfold, we have proved that Black people do read and write blogs, even though it was initially believed or disingenuously asserted by whites that Blacks didn't blog and wouldn't read blogs.  We have proved that concept to have been no more than arrogant white supremacist color-aroused nonsense.

Equally importantly, by reporting on Blacks' news and opinions and building a giant international audience we have taken Black market share from white-news outlets and thereby compelled white-news corporations to introduce corporate competition for Blacks' news eyes and keystrokes.  They now have to compete with Black bloggers or cede the power of a force that elects the president, senators and congresspeople, in addition to other lower offices nationwide.

When we decide at our blogs whom we will support, we move with a unity that changes election results, just as we do by not voting at all. (I hope President Obama's staff will hear this warning louder than Hillary heard my warning not to ridicule Senator Obama on the basis of his skin color.)

The Jena Six March proved that Blacks online, across America and internationally, can aggregate tens of thousands of Blacks to act on a particular day, for a particularly galling reason.  We proved that we had political pull to actually DO things that exceeded the pull of the whitosphere blogs that had rejected our opinions and participation.

Now, it seems, the white-news media is as likely to write about Black bloggers' opinions as they are to white about white bloggers opinions, if not more so.  (Of course my perspective may be skewed since I don't read white-news blogs.)  But, I do read white-news newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post daily.

As the African American Pundit has pointed out, the Washington Post has been compelled by Black bloggers to start The Root (with Dr. Henry Louis Gates) , and NBC has been compelled to start The Grio, to avoid losing Black market share to Black blog writers.  These two corporate blogs represent the hiring or contracting with dozens or hundreds of Black bloggers, when the white-news media was previously firing Black voices as part of an effort to cut expenses.

The Black national reporters group (whose name escapes me at the moment) was under siege, with its members losing jobs, but now Black bloggers' strength has put Black bloggers at the front of the movement to inform the public through blogs, in order to avoid losing market share of Blacks, and losing control of our political focus, they are hiring and publishing Black bloggers' for a unique opinion that has finally been recognized as essential to the American conversation.

What we have proven is that the best way to change all-white news organizations is not to complain about them, as African American Pundit is doing today, but rather to compete with them and force them to improve their game, just as Venus and Serena Williams forced white women tennis players to increase their serve velocity by as much as twenty percent.  Likewise, if the white-news organizations let up for one moment in their competition with afrosphere blog, Black voters and readers will increase their consumption of afrosphere Black self-determination blogs. 

We have guaranteed the participation of Blacks within white-news papers.  Now, we should do the same thing with white-news television news, and African American Political Pundit has started doing that through his radio program at Blog Talk Radio and the BBC on Election Day.

In summary, Black bloggers have forced the white-news outlets to cover Black issues from a Black perspective or lose Black readers completely to independent Black blogs and bloggers. Competition from corporate "black" blogs is the natural result of the success of the legitimate independent afrosphere. The Black bloggers working for the white-news media outlets will never replace the afrosphere, because their goal is to define and report or purposefully ignore Black political movements. Meanwhile, the afrosphere is the author of Black political action with Black self-determination and liberation strategies.

Working for the Washington Post with brown skin is not a Black self-determination strategy. It's a job, but not a Black self-determination political strategy.

Independent afrosphere blogs will remain relevant to the extent that we continue to define the world in terms that reflect our experience, and to the extent that we offer political strategies that the Root and the Grio cannot and will not offer, because they ultimately work for white corporate interests rather than Black self-determination motives.

The real risk is the ongoing infiltration and intentional disorientation of the afrosphere by outside-directed agents working within our afrosphere community.  Some agents have come to join our group and been sent directly by the US Government and other entities.

But the corporate bloggers pose a danger as well.  In essence, by blogging for corporate interests within the four corners of corporate permission, brown-skinned bloggers become part of the blackosphere, but NOT part of Black self-determination afrosphere bloggers.  This will become more evident as Blacks assess the contribution of President Obama to Blacks as a group, and we assess whether the President has done anything at all to help Blacks, aside from giving one Black man (Obama) face-time on the nightly news.

Agents of the Government and corporate American media must not be allowed to prevent us from achieving genuine Black consensus and unified political campaigns, defining and confronting Blacks' political, economic, cultural, educational and even spiritual challenges by, for and about the Black People. -- Francis Lloyd Holland, Esq.