Friday, December 4, 2009

Taser Advisory to Cops: 'Our Guns May Cause Heart Attack'

Electronic Village reports today,
Taser International, the maker of taser guns is advising police officers to avoid shooting suspects in the chest with the 50,000-volt weapon, saying that it could pose an extremely low risk of an "adverse cardiac event."

The advisory, issued in an Oct. 12 training bulletin, marks the first time that Taser has suggested any risk of ill effects on the heart from the use of its 50,000-volt taser guns.

Critics, including civil-rights lawyers and human-rights advocates, called the training bulletin an admission by Taser that its guns could cause cardiac arrest.
It seems as though the cracks in the wall of electrocution ignorance are beginning to appear, and perhaps the waters of change are seeping through. As African American Political Pundit has said,
Many police departments are using tasers to torture even nonviolent people who are often those who are incoherent, hallucinating, wheelchair bound, suicidal, unarmed, deaf, handcuffed, blind, pregnant, students, or just didnt move fast enough for an officers liking. Taser torture in America is continuously growing not only in volume, but in the level of how liberally, unwarrantedly, and excessively tasering is being used across the U.S and many other countries. In America, some police departments are even now torturing 10 year old children.
The following blogs are calling for a moratorium on the pre-trial, extra-judicial electrocution of members of the public, at least until it can be demonstrated that these electrocutions are not potentially lethal, are not being used to torture subjects in custody, and are not being used disproportionately and gratuitously on Black people as a form of modern-day lynching.

The Francis L. Holland Blog
The Police Brutality (and Atrocity) Blog
Electrocuted While Black
Democratic Afrosphere

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Day of Blogging Against Police Pre-Trial, Extra-Judicial Taser Electrocutions, 12/4/2009


( December 2, 2009 --
On December 4, 2009, bloggers from across America are joining together for "A Day of Blogging for Justice - Blogging To Stop Taser Torture and the Pre-Trial, Extra-Judicial Electrocution of Americans by police".

Several dozen bloggers from diverse communities nationally and internationally are participating thus far.

See the linked list of participating bloggers here:

The use of tasering on even nonviolent persons who are often those who are incoherent, hallucinating, wheelchair bound, suicidal, unarmed, deaf, handcuffed, blind, pregnant, students, foreign non-English speakers, or just didnt move fast enough for an officers liking; is continuously growing not only in volume, but in the level of how liberally, unwarrantedly, and excessively tasering is being used across the country. We are now torturing 10 year old children.

Both Black and White, poor and middle-class, & others have been subject to such abuse, and sentenced to death on the street. Yet, we cannot let go unnoticed that Black and the disadvantaged are even most subject to electrocute first, ask questions later.

The blogs Excited-Delirium, Electronic Village, Truth Not Tasers, Tasered While Black, Pams House Blend, Electrocuted While Black, and other bloggers have been tracking the issue of taser torture in America for some time now.

African American political Pundit, one of the organizers of the event has called it a campaign against "on the spot pre-trial electrocution" of members of the American public. He went on to say, even 10 year old little girls are not safe from taser torture.

Francis L. Holland, Esq., a blogger at the blog Electrocuted While black says,

The Francis L. Holland Blog is calling for a moratorium on the pre-trial, extra-judicial electrocution of members of the public, at least until it can be demonstrated that these electrocutions are not potentially lethal, are not being used to torture subjects in custody, and are not being used disproportionately and gratuitously on Black people as a form of modern-day lynching.
Tasers, tasered, tasing by police, police, Police Brutality, stop taser torture, taser electrocution


For more information:,

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Color of Change Calls for Pressure on Anti-Obama Murdoch and Fox News

Dear friends,

Last week, when asked about Glenn Beck calling President Obama "racist," Rupert Murdoch, chairman of Fox News Channel's parent company (News Corp) said "if you actually assess what he was talking about, |Beck| was right."[1]

On Tuesday, after his endorsement of Beck's race-baiting started to draw attention, Murdoch claimed, through a spokesperson, that he didn't mean he agrees with Beck.[2] It's ridiculous -- what else could he have possibly meant?

Murdoch calls the shots at Fox News, and he's just made it clear that Fox's problem with race starts in his office. Now that he's been caught, he's trying to play dumb -- he doesn't want to be held accountable for Beck's rhetoric, but he won't denounce or stop it either.

It won't work, if we stand up. Join me in telling Murdoch he has a choice -- he can stand by the fact that he agrees with Glenn Beck; or he can tell us why he doesn't and what he's going to do about it. If enough of us call him out, we can create a powerful conversation about Fox's race-baiting that will help us hold them accountable at the highest level.

Please join me in signing the petition to Murdoch, and ask your friends and family to do the same:

While Beck is the worst offender on the Fox News Channel, the network has a long, deep history of engaging in inflammatory racial rhetoric: attacking Black leaders, Black culture, and Black institutions.[3,4,5] And a number of Murdoch's recent business decisions suggest that he is consciously building a media empire -- at Fox News and elsewhere -- that attracts viewers by appealing to racial fear and paranoia.

A month ago, Murdoch put Don Imus (fired from MSNBC for his infamous "nappy headed hos" comment)[6] back on television on the Fox Business Network. And a few weeks ago, Murdoch personally fired Marc Lamont Hill -- one of Fox News' few black commentators -- in response to a racially charged smear campaign led by a News Corp shareholder, who said Hill has "reputation of defending cop killers and racists."[7]

Holding Murdoch, Beck and Fox News accountable

When Murdoch publicly endorsed some of Glenn Beck's most inflammatory comments, it seemed he was making it very clear that he approves of Fox's race-baiting. Now, apparently after realizing how damaging it would be for him to publicly support the rhetoric that cost Glenn Beck 80 advertisers, he's trying to backpedal. But Murdoch is not willing to distance himself from Beck either. He knows that he could face a backlash from Fox's viewers if he appears critical of the racially charged programming that attracts many of them to the network in the first place.

So Murdoch wants to have it both ways -- he wants to build a network that makes money by pandering to racial fear and paranoia, but he doesn't want Fox to be seen as cable's home for race-baiting.

We can't let him get away with it. Murdoch made a mistake by speaking too openly about what he and his media organizations stand for. He rarely makes mistakes like this, and we need to seize the opportunity to expose Fox's problem with race.

It starts by demanding that Murdoch explain what he meant, and be clear about whether or not race-baiting is part of the program at Fox. He may or may not respond, but if enough of us speak out, we can create a conversation that makes it clear who is ultimately responsible for Fox's race-baiting. It's just one step in starting to bring some accountability to the leadership of Fox News and News Corp -- but it's an important one.

Join me in calling out Rupert Murdoch, and ask your friends and family to do the same. It just takes a minute:

Thank you.



Other Resources:

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ft. Worth, TX March Against Electric Execution Guns is Model for Nationwide Protests

Eddie G. Griffin (BASG) in Fort Worth, Texas tells me that the Saturday, November 7, 2009 protest against the electrocution of Michael Jacobs Jr. received excellent media coverage that serves as a model for protests nationwide:
33 NEWS,0,5385639.story


I contend, as does Eddie, "that Michael Jacobs, Jr. was fried on the inside out in ONE MINUTE."
"We Charge Genocide" was a document presented to the United Nations in 1951 by William L. Patterson of the Civil Rights Congress, arguing that the U.S. federal government, by its failure to act against lynching in the United States, was guilty of genocide under Article II of the UN Genocide Convention.

Pre-trial, extra-judicial electrocution and execution is quite simply lynching by another mechanical means, but now it is under color of law rather than under cover of Klu Klux Klan suits. The result is the same. Black people who have not been convicted or even tried for any crime are dying and frying daily across the United States, while many others pretend that this is normal. Instead, Klansmen have traded their white suits and hats for blue suits and bronze badges.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fort Worth residents marched calling for police to stop using Tasers

What We Think About Taser Abuse

By African American Political Pundit at Tasered While Black.

As reported by
Traci Shurley at The more than 50 people marched through downtown Fort Worth on Saturday calling for police to stop using Tasers and punish an officer involved in the April death of a mentally ill man. The protest was organized by supporters of the family of Michael Jacobs, 24, who died after a Fort Worth police officer shot him twice with a Taser to subdue him. Jacobs’ death was ruled a homicide by the Tarrant County medical examiner and will be reviewed by a grand jury.

"I’m really grateful to this big old crowd for speaking on behalf of my son," said Charlotte Jacobs, Michael’s mother.The protesters walked from the Fort Worth municipal building to the Tarrant County Courthouse carrying U.S. flags and signs, some of which read "Lazy Cops Taser" and "Tasers trample the Constitution."
The death occurred after police responded to a call from Jacobs’ parents that he was being disruptive. Police said the officer used the Taser after Jacobs became combative.

In his report, Medical Examiner Nizam Peerwani found that Officer Stephanie A. Phillips shocked Jacobs twice with a Taser — once for 49 seconds and once for five seconds. According to the report, the officer told a detective that the first jolt was longer because "she unknowingly kept the Taser trigger engaged." She remains on active duty.

Jacobs’ family has filed a wrongful-death suit. Last month, an attorney for the family said witnesses have disputed claims that he fought with police. On Oct. 16, Police Chief Jeff Halstead announced that his department had finished its investigation of Jacobs’ death and provided copies of the report to the FBI and Justice Department. He said officers would get more training in how to deal with mentally ill people and in the use of force. The Rev. Kyev Tatum, president of the Tarrant County chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and organizer of Saturday’s march, said that Tasers inflict cruel and unusual punishment on the community and that their use must stop. More HERE

US House Passes National Health Care Bill

I admit that I haven't read the 1029-page bill, but (or perhaps therefore) I'm very happy with the vote in the US House last night in favor of this national health care bill. It's "national" in the sense that it effects the entire nation and endeavors to provide for health "insurance" for the vast majority of people, through a variety of mechanism and mandates:
  • Creating a public insurance option to compete with the private vultures;
  • Perhaps best of all, increasing taxes by a little more than five percent on those individuals earning more than $500,000 annually or $1,000,000 annually for a family as the mechanism for paying for this plan;
  • Prohibiting insurance companies from excluding persons based on pre-existing conditions;
  • Prohibiting the sudden rescission of insurance, just as the insured is incurring medical expenses;
  • Slowly closing the "donut hole" in which the elderly on Medicare lack coverage for prescription medication;
  • Creating a new Secretary of Insurance (or something of the sort) to approve or reject proposed insurance plans and fees offered by the existing insurance companies, with the authority to govern insurance companies in multiple other ways;
  • Requiring employers to contribute to health care for their employees or pay a significant fine;
  • Requiring individuals to seek to participate one way or another, or pay a fine of up to $250,000 and spend five years in jail, which effectively gives this new system the same obligatory nature of paying the IRS and Social Security withholding, with virtually everyone participating;
  • Subsidies for those unable to pay for insurance, which effectively forces the Government to make insurance for the poor financially feasible or put them (us) all in jail;
  • Any new law that provides for imprisonment has to be viewed from a uniquely Black point of view and we have to wonder whether it wasn't created to increase the number of Black people in jail. For example, will police demand to see our insurance cards and then arrest us and hold us over for trial if we have failed to enroll, as might easily happen with poor, indigent, substance abusing and homeless people? Will all Black people follow the mandate, or will some fail to do so and end up as insurance prisoners?
Of course there are at least two things in the bill that are outrageous, one of which is absolutely outrageous:
  • The approved an amendment that prevents anyone whose subsidized from using the subsidy for to pay for plans that provide for abortions, and prohibits plans that provide abortion from participating in the health care marketplace, which has the effect of banning all abortions except the ones that women pay for themselves, effectively banning a type of coverage that some women already have through their employers;
  • The bill forbids undocumented immigrants from participating receiving subsidies to participate in any of the plans that will be offered, and may even (I'm not sure) forbid them from participating even with their own money. This is something we need to be sure about, since undocumented immigrants can be disease vectors just as easily as our own children can be.

    Undocumented immigrant children, the US Supreme Court has decided, have a constitutional right to receive a free public education, which puts children who have no access to medical care (e.g. vaccinations) next to those who do. The obvious solution is to recognize the obvious fact that everyone must be vaccinated and provide for this vaccination for everyone, regardless of their immigration status.

  • At the same time, the right to go to school seems somewhat empty if you lack the right to receive medical care that will make school attendance possible. As a matter of fact, hospital emergency rooms will inevitably continue to treat undocumented immigrants, but only when the care they need has progressed to the point of being an emergency whose treatment is many times more costly than it would have been had they gone to a doctor earlier.
This recognition of the Government's obligation to provide a mechanism for everyone in the country (except the undocumented) to receive medical care is a massive step forward for the United States of America. Although some of the details will inevitably turn out to be flawed and need to be revisited, the commitment brings the US into the community of civilized nations that recognize that health care is not an individual challenge but rather a national responsibility.

The US Senate still has to pass a bill and then that bill and the House bill have to go to conference committee, where anything can happen. And unfortunately many of the provisions of the bill that people most need now will not take effect until after the 2010 elections, when it will be too late for the benefits of the bill to help Democrats running for re-election to the US Congress.

I do understand however, that the ban on pre-existing conditions clauses will take effect sometime next year.

Fortunately, the Democratic Congress realized that there was no way whatsoever that they would get more than one Republican vote on this bill, so they pushed through a bill that had fewer compromises than if the Republicans had cooperated.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Man Tased While His Kent, OH Home Burns

Police use taser on Kent resident.
Abstract: Police used a Taser gun to restrain a resident outside of his home on Crain Avenue as it burned at about 4:30 a.m. Sunday.

The resident, Mike Bartlett, said he was returning from downtown for his cell phone when he noticed his sister's room on fire. He ran in to make sure she was not there and continued to find his friends in the basement and alert them of the fire....

By Sarah Steimer, KentNewsNet.Com

Police used a Taser gun to restrain a resident outside of his home on Crain Avenue as it burned at about 4:30 a.m. Sunday.

The resident, Mike Bartlett, said he was returning from downtown for his cell phone when he noticed his sister's room on fire. He ran in to make sure she was not there and continued to find his friends in the basement and alert them of the fire. He said his cousin's girlfriend was sleeping upstairs so he went back in the house to retrieve her.

"As I was running downstairs, I could hear the window glass popping because of the heat," Bartlett said.

When he went got outside, Bartlett said police officers were at the end of the driveway. He said he approached them for help, but they dismissed him. As he walked toward one of his friends, he said the officers tackled and restrained him with the Taser gun, giving them no reason for their force.

According to the Kent City Police levels of resistance report, Bartlett used psychological and physical active resistance to avoid arrest. The report stated he was both combative and intoxicated. No one from the Police Department was available for comment.

Bartlett said he was not offered medical attention by the officers. Instead, he was taken directly to the police station. Bartlett went to the hospital following his court appearance Sunday. He said he was treated for first- and second-degree burns.

Bartlett's trial is set for December. The Red Cross helped the displaced family of four, which does not include any Kent State students. The cause of the fire is still being investigated.

Contact public affairs reporter Sarah Steimer at

One reader who commented on the above story said,

Farmer WIlson

posted 11/04/09 @ 6:00 AM EST

Originally posted by

WOW ,,, just wow

I mean come the f*** on!!! How many of these events have to happen till people learn?? It's bloody obvious something needs to be done and it needs to be done FAST! These moron cops seem to be nothing short of 'Gunslinging Sherifs' which are causing nothing but havoc and have this idea that they rule the world. Bushe's term in the office is over we don't want a f***ing Police State, thank you.

Moreover, tasers should be permanently removed from use across all states, it's obviously being misused by the police not to apprehend uncooperative persons but more precisely to torture them for what ever reason even if they maybe innocent *points to this story*.

But what's the bloody point this story will just be another of many more to come ...

Dec. 7 March Against Police Summary Electrocution ("Taser") Targets City of Fort Worth, Texas

FROM: Eddie G. Griffin 817-721-7439

March Against Tasers Targets City

FORT WORTH, Texas – On Saturday, November 7, people will march from downtown City Hall to the uptown County Courthouse, starting at noon, to highlight the increasing number of deaths related to tasing. The march dubbed as a March for Dignity is part of a growing movement around the country and the world to end the use of tasers deployed by law enforcement.

The Fort Worth demonstration is aimed to make a statement to city leaders and law enforcement.

The controversy arises at the same time the number of taser related fatalities approaches 500. At the same time, however, Taser International, the maker of the electronic control device (ECD), continually insists the weapon is non-lethal.

In Fort Worth, when Carolyn Daniels (#138) was died on the floor in the county jail after being tasered on June 24, 2005, hardly anyone paid notice. They said she had crack cocaine in her system. Had she not, we were led to believe, she would have survived the shocking.

But Michael Jacobs Jr. (#424) had no such foreign substance in his system when he was tasered and died on April 18, 2009.

As an emissary who stood over the coffin of the 24-year old young man, I delivered a Resolution to the family on behalf of the international community, and a network of supporters. From Amnesty International to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, and bloggers around the world, we raised our voices against this form of torture and death.

I shed a tear for Michael. I shed a tear for Carolyn. I shed a tear for Deacon Fredrick William (#56) whose video electrocution was shown all over the internet, shocked repeatedly in the neck until dead. The remaining 22 minutes of the video was devoted to trying to bring him back to life, and the egg-look on the face of the officers.

But I shed more tears for the living and the unborn. When Valreca Redden was tasered by Trotwood police, she was pregnant. No one can imagine the trauma to the unborn fetus as his mother was being electrocuted with 50,000 volts of electricity. She was guilty of nothing except being distraught. The baby was completely innocent.

We are just now realizing some the lingering after-effects of tasing. Some who have been tasered in the past are now beginning to show signs of involuntary neuromuscular convulsions, what we otherwise would call the “twitches”.

Imagine, if you will, the last minute of Michael Junior’s life, for that is just about how long it took Officer Stephanie Phillips to summarily electrocute him and terminate his life.

For one minute, hold your breath, and close your eyes, and imagine sticking your finger into a light socket. Hold it there for one minute, while 240 volts of electricity race through your body. Are you still holding your breath?

That is what happened to Michael Jacobs Jr. But instead of 240 volts, it is 50,000 volts, blazing inside his body, for one whole minute. At the first jolt, the muscles contract and hold, and hold, and hold, until there is a release. If there is no release, the organ muscles shut down and organs began to pop.

Michael could not breathe, even if he wanted to. The lung muscles shut down. The heart muscle shut down. The bile burst, and the organs fried like chicken, for one eternity of a minute. Thus, what the coroner saw was ruled a homicide.

Consider the Poem by Willie Jolley:

I have only just a minute, only sixty seconds in it
Forced upon me, can't refuse it
Didn't seek it, didn't choose it,
But it's up to me to use it
I must suffer if I abuse it.
Just a tiny little minute
But Eternity is in it.

In memory of Michael Jacobs Jr.

By Eddie G. Griffin (BASG)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Mantel of Peace upon President’s Shoulders

By Eddie G. Griffin (BASG)

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Today has been declared the day to
Blog Blast for Peace. For us, it is a day to meditate the meaning of Peace within the context of a complex world at war.

President Barack Obama is between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, he contemplates sending more troops into Afghanistan . On the other, the world community has placed the mantel of peace upon his shoulders by awarding him the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

It is an agonizing dilemma, a paradox in a box, a damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don’t situation.

I remember the face of President Lyndon B. Johnson as he agonized over the war in Vietnam . It is a hard situation to be in, because there were forces on both sides: some for war and some for peace, the same as we have today.

The problem has always been our nationalistic pride versus the cost of war, not the mention the damn-it-hell at all cost dogmatic attitude. We have been groomed and conditioned to think that just because we are Americans, we are always right and we must always win. We are intolerant of our enemies. We will not even listen to what they have to say. We have no respect for their being.

If they have a grievance against us, we will not hear it, because we are Americans, and we are always right. Whatever grievance they have against us is unrighteous and false.

We have no respect for the world community. We hate the United Nations that we created, because most of the member nations do not agree with us, like the puppet governments of the past. We no longer dominate the world. We no longer control global thinking.

But our hearts are hardened like Pharaoh. We declared a war, when there was no war, only rogues who committed a horrendous act of terrorism on September 11, 2001. But our anger and thirst for hasty revenge led us into the quagmire that we are now in.

Before a leader goes off to war, he should first sit down and count up the cost. So says the bible, a copy of which should be at the right hand of any president.

But, in the current situation, we did not sit down and count up the cost. Some in the previous administration believed that we could dispatch with al-Qaeda and the Taliban, along with Saddam Hussein, in a matter of months. All we needed was a convenient believable excuse to start, and what could be more terrifying after 9/11 than to declare that the enemy had WMDs (weapons of mass destruction).

Off to war we go. Mistakes were made, we all admit. We were not as right or righteous as we originally thought in our collective nationalistic hearts. President Barack Obama inherited these messy wars. They are now his to conquer, or his to resign his forces. It is an impossible situation to be in. It will be impossible to please everyone.

No, this is not a decision to be made by consensus. The country is divided almost 50-50. This is a decision for the President and the President alone.

Those who will criticize him for not sending more troops are the very ones who will criticize him if he does. This is strictly partisans, after the vintage of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and FOX commentators, along with politicians who capitalize on this type of partisan divide.

That there is division is a fact of life in American. Some of us are sick of war and still have the bitter taste of the WMD fiasco in our craw. It is impossible to start an unrighteous war and win it in the name of God. There is something else at work here.

To date, I have allowed some of my children to pursue military careers without uttering a word of dissent, knowing that they would be sent to Afghanistan and Iraq . To serve one’s country is the highest honor a soldier can achieve. And, there is no more noble sacrifice than a man lay down his life for his friends, family, and nation.

But I question the nobility of the war itself. I feel as though the American people are left in the blind, as to what this war is all about. For those who believe that radical Muslims hate democracy are brainwashed. Everybody loves freedom. But the Taliban wants freedom on their term, in their own country, under their own sovereignty, whether America likes it or not. These are tribal people with tribal government. A central government means nothing to them, but a loss of autonomy.
This is an unconditional line in the sand.

It is rather late in the game to go back and sit down and count up the cost of these wars. We have already paid a heavy toll in the initial investment. But the cost of war must coincide with what we mean by the concept of “War”.

War, to me, is one thing. War, to the Taliban, is another. I cannot superimpose my meaning of war upon my foe, for he fights a “holy war” in his mind, a Jihad, something Americans cannot even phantom.

Only an insurgent understands the meaning of Jihad. It means fighting down to the last man, woman, and child. It is a generational fight, bred into the minds of the children of our enemy from birth.

Have we lost a page from history? The Crusade lasted 505 years. Did we factor this into the cost of our wars? Are we prepared even for a 100-year war? Only arrogant eyes are too short to see.

Now the Mantel of Peace is upon the shoulders of President Barack Obama. People of the world believe that he has opened up a new chapter in global relations. He is a thoughtful man and well spoken. He is considerate of his neighbors. Instead of talking at neighbors and talking down to our allies, he confers with them in earnest, and listens to and respects their views. He has extended an olive branch to our foes.

Though many hate him for this conciliatory attitude, insofar as he is not brash and abrasive as his predecessors, he nevertheless is wise enough to ponder rather than be pressured.

I am reminded of a prophet who was forewarned of God not to be troubled by the hard faces of his foes, whether they hated him, whether they were angry at him, or whether they were simply hard hearted against his word. The word is this:

Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. (Psalm 34:14)

The President should listen to his enemies and weigh their words, in the light of day. If, for no cause, they fight us, and if it is war, down to the last man, woman, and child, then so be. And, God help us all.

Annihilation for the sake of peace is a valid option.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Electrocution Deaths Increasing as Taser Use Becomes Widespread

I have copied the article below virtually verbatim from Pandagon, except I oppose the use of the term "race" unknown and have replaced it with "[skin color, natl. origin]" It has been proved as a matter of scientific fact that "race" does not exist, and so I'm not going to perpetuate the use of this divisive and confusing concept when other clearer and scientifically valid concepts are available, such as "skin color" "skin color group" and "national origin."

CrimePersonal Security

I point you over to Electronic Village, where Villager is keeping track of some sobering stats—the number of deaths due to the misuse or abuse of the Taser. We're up to 36 deaths this year, with 39% of the pre-trial, extra-judicial electrocutions and executions were perpetrated against black men, who represent only 6% of the population in the U.S.

  1. Jan 9, 2009: Derrick Jones, 17, Black, Martinsville, Virginia
  2. Jan 11, 2009: Rodolfo Lepe, 31, Hispanic, Bakersfield, California
  3. Jan 22, 2009: Roger Redden, 52, Caucasian, Soddy Daisy, Tennessee
  4. Feb 2, 2009: Garrett Jones, 45, Caucasian, Stockton, California
  5. Feb 11, 2009: Richard Lua, 28, Hispanic, San Jose, California
  6. Feb 13, 2009: Rudolph Byrd, Age ?, [skin color, natl. origin] Unknown, Quincy, Florida
  7. Feb 13, 2009: Michael Jones, 43, Black, Iberia, Louisiana
  8. Feb 14, 2009: Chenard Kierre Winfield, 32, Black, Los Angeles, California
  9. Feb 28, 2009: Robert Lee Welch, 40, Caucasian, Conroe, Texas
  10. Mar 22, 2009: Brett Elder, 15, Caucasian, Bay City, Michigan
  11. Mar 26, 2009: Marcus D. Moore, 40, Black, Freeport, Illinois
  12. Apr 1, 2009: John J. Meier Jr., 48, Caucasian, Tamarac, Florida
  13. Apr 6, 2009: Ricardo Varela, 41, Hispanic, Fresno, California
  14. Apr 10, 2009: Robert Mitchell, 16, Black, Detroit, Michigan
  15. Apr 16, 2009: Gary A. Decker, 50, Black, Tuscon, Arizona
  16. Apr 18, 2009: Michael Jacobs Jr., 24, Black, Fort Worth, Texas
  17. Apr 30, 2009: Kevin LaDay, 35, Black, Lumberton, Texas
  18. May 4, 2009: Gilbert Tafoya, 53, Caucasian, Holbrook, Arizona
  19. May 17, 2009: Jamaal Valentine, 27, Black, La Marque, Texas
  20. May 23, 2009: Gregory Rold, 37, Black, Salem, Oregon
  21. Jun 9, 2009: Brian Cardall, 32, Caucasian, Hurricane, Utah
  22. Jun 13, 2009: Dwight Madison, 48, Black, Bel Air, Maryland
  23. Jun 20, 2009 Derrek Kairney, 36, Race: Unknown, South Windsor, Connecticut
  24. Jun 30, 2009, Shawn Iinuma, 37, Race: Unknown, Fontana, California
  25. Jul 2, 2009, Rory McKenzie, 25, Black, Bakersfield, California
  26. Jul 20, 2009, Charles Anthony Torrence, 35, Caucasian, Simi Valley, California
  27. Jul 30, 2009, Johnathan Michael Nelson, 27, Caucasian, Riverside County, California
  28. Aug 9, 2009, Terrace Clifton Smith, 52, [skin color, natl. origin] Unknown, Moreno Valley, California
  29. Aug 12, 2009, Ernest Ridlehuber, 53, Race: Unknown, Greenville, South Carolina
  30. Aug 14, 2009, Hakim Jackson, 31, Black, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  31. Aug 18, 2009, Ronald Eugene Cobbs, 38, Black, Greensboro, North Carolina
  32. Aug 20, 2009, Francisco Sesate, 36, Hispanic, Mesa, Arizona
  33. Aug 22, 2009, T.J. Nance, 37, Race: [skin color, natl. origin], Arizona City, Arizona
  34. Aug 26, 2009, Unidentified Man, Age: TBD, Race: [skin color, natl. origin], Los Angeles, California
  35. Sep 3, 2009, Shane Ledbetter, Age: 38, Caucasian, Aurora, Colorado
  36. Sep 21, 2009, Richard Battistata, Age: 44, Race: [skin color, natl. origin], Laredo, Texas


In the above video, Stanley Harlen was pulled over for allegedly speeding; he stopped in front of his house. As his mother came out in her robe, she watched as officers wrestled with him. One officer fired the Taser three times for 31 seconds. For 14 minutes he received no medical attention; when paramedics arrived it was too late. He was dead. The Moberly city manager’s response is hardly reassuring. Andy Morris: Harlen’s death is ”unanticipated and unintentional. Police officers must often make split-second decisions in tense, rapidly-evolving situations.”

Ken Burton, the Police Chief of nearby Columbia, MO’s PD also has officers who use Tasers but he strictly limits their use—no fleeing subjects are allowed to be tased, and when deployed, only for 5 seconds at at time.

This CBS report showed a graph of statistics, compiled by Taser International itself, and the growth in the use of these “non-lethal” devices has skyrocketed from 500 law enforcement agencies in 2000 to 14,201 in 2009. And there are no mandatory standards or training for Taser usage. Taser International has actually put out a disingenuous statement that defies reality, considering the rising body count.

The electrical output of a taser device is incapable of causing death.

Sure, the voltage alone in one blast itself may not kill, but what about the medical condition of the tasing victim? What about shocking someone for 31 seconds? What about repeated blasts to an elderly or disabled individual? This is a situation out of control.

Black Man with his Hands on a Squad Car Tasered on his Neck by Minneapolis Police

Minneapolis Police Dept.

Hat Tip to AAPP at Tasered While Black.

The Minneapolis Police Department is again defending itself against accusations that an officer went too far during an arrest.

Video given to WCCO-TV late Monday night shows a man with his hands on a squad car when an officer uses a Taser on his neck.

Attorney Albert Goins is suing the City of Minneapolis on behalf of his client, Rolando Ruiz. They're asking for $75,000 and that the officer involved be reprimanded.

The video given to WCCO starts only seconds before the Taser is used on Ruiz, not what led up to the incident. But in that time, no struggle can be seen before the officer used his Taser on Ruiz. What is seen is Ruiz with his hands on the hood of the officer's car.

The dash camera of the squad car was rolling when the officer approached Ruiz with Taser in hand. see Video HERE

Another reason why I urge you to join the “Stop Taser Torture, blogging for Justice Day – 12.4.09″

Our goal is to unite the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day – Taser Torture in America, Canada and throughout the world.

Join us on December 4th. “Stop Taser Torture, blogging for Justice.” as we raise awareness and trigger a global discussion.

Contact us at: to register your blog.

Don’t forget to support the petition to the United States Congress calling for public hearings on the systemic human rights violations occurring with Federal funding for the use of Tasers® against American citizens. The United Nation’s Committee against Torture has declared that Taser use can constitute a form of torture, while USA: Amnesty International has an on-going concern about the use of tasers on American citizens. More HERE

Have a question? Need additional information? Want to participate? Register via email:

The video given to WCCO starts only seconds before the Taser is used on Ruiz, not what led up to the incident. But in that time, no struggle can be seen before the officer used his Taser on Ruiz. What is seen is Ruiz with his hands on the hood of the officer's car.

The dash camera of the squad car was rolling when the officer approached Ruiz with Taser in hand. see Video HERE.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Is "Race" More Important than "Skin Color"?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Blogger Francis L. Holland Blog said...(at The Desultory Life of a Public Citizen blog),

The biggest "struggle with race" is the struggle for Americans to acknowledge that "race" does not exist and it never did. The concept is just a mental redlining of our minds, the way whites' banks redlined "do not loan" neighborhoods wherever Blacks were predominant. The biological concept of "race" is a tool to keep the "races" segregated, and to naturally assure that Blacks received the short end of the segregation stick.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research, Human Genome Program:

"DNA studies do not indicate that separate classifiable subspecies (races) exist within modern humans. While different genes for physical traits such as skin and hair color can be identified between individuals, no consistent patterns of genes across the human genome exist to distinguish one race from another. There also is no genetic basis for divisions of human ethnicity. People who have lived in the same geographic region for many generations may have some alleles in common, but no allele will be found in all members of one population and in no members of any other."

In other words, the Human Genome Project has proven that, as a matter of scientific fact, that which we call "race" does not exist as a matter of biology, and so all references to "race" are references to a fallacy.

Blacks and whites use the term and fallacious concept "race" ubiquitously in our publications. Does this mean that the concept benefits the oppressed as much as it benefits the oppressor? Does ANY social construct benefit the oppressed as much as it benefits the oppressor?

I think we have to decide who has benefitted and continues to benefit more front Americans' belief in the existence of "race" - whites or Blacks. Once we have come to a new level of consciousness that the concept of "race" was not invented by whites to help Blacks achieve liberation theologies, then we can make a conscious decision about whether we want to perpetuate believe in something that has been, as a matter of science, wholly disproven.

Look at it this way: Is there any reason why a scientific hypothesis whose existence has been disproven by modern science should still structure our debates about skin color and skin-color-related politics, culture and sociology?

If you begin to use the terms "skin color" and "skin color groups", you begin to see that the word "race" is superfluous at best and represents a fundamental miseducation of the populous - Black and white - in reality.

The Francis L. Holland Blog

November 2, 2009 3:02 PM

Blogger Francis L. Holland Blog said...

When whites invented the concept of "race" they hoped it would perpetuate slavery and they knew this concept would tie our minds in intellectual knots for centuries to come.

So far, they have succeeded. Just Google the word "race" (even while excluding usages that could refer to bike races and ball bearings) and you discover that the term "race" has been used 448 million times in the United States in the last year alone. That's a lot of usage for a scientific concept that has no basis in science.

If, instead, you search for the phrase "skin color", you'll discover that it has only been used 4 million times in the United States in the last year. The concept of "race" is used more than one hundred times more often to describe "skin color" than the simple visible fact of skin color is.

What this means is that we are more willing to believe in a hypothesis about the relationship between skin color and DNA ("race") for which there is "no evidence" than we are willing to believe in and study the sociological, cultural, economic and political importance of "skin color", which is something that we can see with our own eyes!

In the words of Spike Lee, we have been bamboozled. All of us. "Race" is the most ubiquitous scientific concept that has no basis in science.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"The Low Cost of Being Racist (sic)"

In an article entitled "The Low Cost of Being Racist", by Karnythia at the blog, "The Angry Black Woman: Race, Politics, Gender, Sexuality, Anger" blog points to a case in Taos, New Mexico as an example of "racism". A white man bought a hotel in this mostly Latino town and then told Latino workers that their names had to be anglicized, and could no longer be pronounced as would be appropriate in their native language, and as they had been called all their lives, at work and at home.

According to Yahoo News,

The tough-talking former Marine immediately laid down some new rules. Among them, he forbade the Hispanic workers at the run-down, Southwestern adobe-style hotel from speaking Spanish in his presence (he thought they'd be talking about him), and ordered some to Anglicize their names.

No more Martin (Mahr-TEEN). It was plain-old Martin. No more Marcos. Now it would be Mark.

Whitten's management style had worked for him as he's turned around other distressed hotels he bought in recent years across the country.

The 63-year-old Texan, however, wasn't prepared for what followed. Yahoo News.

Although I understand Karnythia's concern with "racism", there is a fundamental futility in calling people and their behavior "racist":

New Mexico's anti-discrimination law does not use the word "racist" and does not forbid being a "racist". Instead, the anti-discrimination statute forbids acts and practices based on race . . . color . . . national origin . . . ancestry . . .

28-1-7. Unlawful discriminatory practice.

It is an unlawful discriminatory practice for: A. an employer, unless based on a bona fide occupational qualification or other statutory prohibition, to refuse to hire, to discharge, to promote or demote or to discriminate in matters of compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment against any person otherwise qualified because of race, age, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, physical or mental handicap or serious medical condition, or, if the employer has fifty or more employees, spousal affiliation; provided, however, that 29 U.S.C. Section 631(c)(1) and (2) shall apply to discrimination based on age; or, if the employer has fifteen or more employees, to discriminate against an employee based upon the employee's sexual orientation or gender identity;

Since the employee's names are virtually inseparable from their "national origin" and "ancestry," to oblige Hispanics to anglicize and stop using their given names seems a like discrimination to me. And I believe I have read some caselaw to that effect although I don't remember the citations.

So, is Whitten "racist"? What difference does it make, if our laws do not provide for treatment or punishment for being racist? Like diagnosing someone with "bipolar disorder" and "schizophrenia", "racist" is a diagnosis that cannot be proved based on one act of illegal color-aroused discrimination. As with alcoholism, you need a case history, access to medical records, discussion with family . . . No one should be psychiatrically diagnosed, e.g. an "alcoholic" on the basis on one night of drinking.

Does that mean they should not be punished for their behavior? Absolutely not! If drivers drives drunk, then they can should be penalized not because they are alcoholics, a determination which is more in the realm of medicine that law, and which determination would require expert testimony and weeks of testimony. No, they should be punished not for what they are, but for what they did. The should be punished because they drove drunk, which is a determination that does not require expert testimony.

Laws typically prohibit what people do, not what they are. Even laws that declare someone to be a sex offender based the sex-offender characterization on on individual convictions, based on proven sex offenses. Statutes specify exactly what behavior leads to a determination that a convict is a sex offender.

Is anyone aware of a law under which three acts of discrimination qualify the offender as a "racist"? That doesn't exist, and I don't think it will anytime soon, if only because "racist" is a psyhchiatric determination rather than a legal one.

There is a fundamentally distinction between proving what someone is and what someone has done. A law professor once told me to be careful not to exaggerate my own "burden of proof." Don't say, for example, "The prosecution will prove that Mr. Rapist is the most hideous rapist in the state." Don't say that to the jury because even if the jury find that Mr. Rapist has commited one act of rape, that same jury might use the burden of proof that you suggested - "most hideous rapist" - and find that there is reasonable doubt on the question of "most hideous". That would be a shame since "most hideous" is not a criteria necessary for a rape conviction.

Back to Larry Whitten, the hotel owner. If we propose to prove that Whitten should be punished by the Government because he is a "racist," then we will fail because:

(a) Being a "racist" is not against the law, and

(b) Even if being a "racist" were against the law, you would need expert testimony from psychiatrists, psychologists, sociologists and even linguists to prove that Whitten is a racist. Aren't discrimination cases hard enough already without assuming this immensely higher burden of proof?

When we assume that we have to prove that someone "is a racist" in order for anything to be done about their behavior, we effectively increase our own burden of proof from:
(a) proving what they have done, to

(b) proving what they are in their essence.
Many of us cannot describe ourselves cogently, much less convince an all-white judge or jury that one or three or five actions of discrimination. That's a determination that a legislature would have to make by legislating the number and kind of acts which, once proven, make a person a "racist."

Here's an analogy: to convict someone of shoplifting, do you have to prove that they have a long-established tendency to steal from stores, or is it enough to show that they stole from one store one time? Should we change the law to increase the burden of proof, requiring the state to prove that the defendant is a shoplifter. If so, how many instances of shoplifting must the prosecutor compile, and what additional psychiatric information would be required before the state can arrest someone for being a thief?

Must a prosecutor prove that the person who raped a woman is a rapist, or only that he raped someone on one occasion? Is it unfair to punish someone for "just one rape"? Shouldn't we wait unti the have committed a series of rapes, and until there is a consensus among the talk show hosts, before we put them in jail, having determined that all of their rapes together prove that they are a rapist? Is so, then every man can commit one or two rapes with impunity, because one or two rapes, without more, don't prove that he is a rapist.

What we're really talking about is whether someone has to be proved to be a serial rapist before they can be charged and convicted of one rape? And whether someone has to be a serial violator of anti-discrimation laws before the can be charged with discrimination. After arguing over the definition of "racist" for half a century, it should be obvious to us that it is much easier to prove what someone has done on a particular day, with witnesses present, than it is to prove what someone is.

The problem with calling people "racist" is that "racist" is a high bar to clear, and requires a strong burden of proof on the person making the accusation. It's fair to ask, how can you tell from this one circumstance that the person's manner of interacting with Latinos is consistently and chronically antagonistic based on the "race" of the victim?

The truth is, it really doesn't matter whether Larry Whitten is a "racist" or not. It seems likely to me that under New Mexico's anti-discrimination law, Whitten would be found to have engaged in unlawful discrimination in this instance, because he forbids people to use the names that inherently identify them with their color, national origin and ancestry. Just stating that rule, orally or in writing, is sufficient at least to file a claim under the anti-discrimination, because to fail to file a claim will mean acquisence to a long series of violations of the statute.

Here's an analogy: Your child takes ten dollars out of your pocketbook to buy candy. You say he is a thief and must be punished. He retorts, "I have stolen in this once instance, but that doesn't prove that I steal all the time, in the past and into the future. I am guilty of one act of theft, but that is not enough for me to deserve a spanking. You must prove that I am a thief.

According to Merriam Websters Online Dictionary:
Pronunciation: \ˈthēf\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural thieves \ˈthēvz\
Etymology: Middle English theef, from Old English thēof; akin to Old High German diob thief
Date: before 12th century

: one that steals especially stealthily or secretly; also : one who commits theft or larceny

So, your child argues that he has stolen once, but that does not prove that he is "one who steals" habitually. And so he isn't a thief and cannot be punished for one mere act of theft.

And so you say to your child, "You are right." I don't have enough information to determine that you have dedicated your life to an unyielding pattern of thievery. So I agree that it would be unfair to punish you for stealing $10.00 from me. I agree to wait until you have stolen so many times that you meet the definition of "one who steals" rather than the lower burden of proof of "one who has stolen."

Now, your child has you beaten. There is no one anywhere who can specify the number of times and quantity of money stolen necessary to prove, to everyone's satisfaction, that your child is a thief. That's why the law against theft focuses on what the defendant has done, rather than on what he is as a person.

Remember: we do not need to prove that someone is a rapist; we only need to prove that they comitted ONE act of rape. Likewise, we do not have to prove that Larry Whitten is a racist and doing so would have no legal effect even if it were possible. We only need to prove that he committed one or more unlawful acts of discrimination.

It is not illegal to be a "racist", even in Brazil where there is a law that specifically forbids acts of racism. The law forbids acts, not vaguel or completely undefined existential states. This is why we need to stop calling people "racists", setting a high evidentiary bar that we can never clear. We need to show how individual acts and patterns of acts constitute violations of anti-discrimination laws. If those laws do not forbid the acts that most offend us, then we need new laws. But, we'll never get a law that punishes people for what they are rather than for what they do.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Malia O., President Obama's Daughter, Frees Her African Hair

First posted at the Francis L. Holland Blog and the American Journal of Color Arousal. [Subsequently published at Now Public, just days before it was bought by Philip Anschutz, a Denver billionaire Republican campaign contributor. (My posting priveleges at Now Public were subsequently withdrawn just two days after I published an article there pointing out that the "people-powered" NowPublic.Com had just been purchased by a man notorious for his campaign contributions to Republican politicians like senator "wide stance" Larry Craig, and John D. Ashcroft, the fiercely anti-abortion attorney general under George W.Bush.]

malia,obama,hair,Rasta Locks

Must Blacks Try to Look Like Michael Jackson to be Accepted
by Whites and by Ourselves?

The Vancouver Sun is reporting that some color-aroused extremist whitosphere blogs are up in arms that Malia Obama, the president's daughter, has appeared in public without first chemically straightening her hair to make it look more like white people's hair.

The thread was accompanied by a photo of Michelle Obama speaking to Malia that featured the caption, "To entertain her daughter, Michelle Obama loves to make monkey sounds." Vancouver Sun

I think we all have been consciously or subconsciously watching the hair of the Obama daughters as well as Michelle Obama, to see what political statements they would make, and how they would be received. Malia Obama could have disavowed an obvious part of her particular genetic code and straightened her hair as Michael Jackson did. America has never complained when Blacks straighten our hair -- only when we don't so.

It's worth noting that one of Michael Jackson's heroes, also straightened his hair, beginning in an era when it was almost as "stylish" (obligatory in a color aroused society) for Black men as for Black women.

Instead, Malia did something that very few Black women have the audacity to do: she appeared in public with unstraightened hair. That's when all hell broke loose on the extremely color-aroused whitosphere blogs, where whites were apoplectic. 'Everyone knows that straight white hair is the only acceptable way for Black girls and women to wear their hair,' so why is Malia Obama throwing gasoline into the furnace of America's color-arousal illness by wearing her hair in a natural black style? Doesn't she know that curly hair is a color-associated physical characteristic of which she must try to rid herself? We can't help it if our skin is not white, but the LEAST we can do is to try to make our hair straight, right?

On June 25, when Michael Jackson died, there she was again: colorism, that sub-category of racism and prejudice based on skin color, staring us right in the face.

By the time Jackson died, he was perhaps whiter than any white man that you know. Those who looked at the constant stream of replayed televised interviews, at the pale skin, the thin lips painted red, the straight hair, saw in his face the psychological wound that has scarred so many in the black community. Washington Post, Sunday, July 12.

We all agree that Michael Jackson was progressively more freakish as he tried ever more determinedly to make himself look like a white person. And yet we show our (often unconsious) hypocrisy when we criticize Malio Obama for NOT making her hair look like that of a white person.

Judging from the reaction reported by the Vancouver Times, you would think this was the political equivalent of giving the Black Power salute during the medals ceremony at the 1968 Olympic Games. (See photo above) And maybe it is.

We Blacks have Black people's hair and yet most of our women folk and some of our men are compelled by employers, family members and even members of our churches to do the Michael Jackson thing to our hair.

Perhaps what happened to Michael Jackson is akin to what happens with anorexia: a suggestion by mother, father or friends that we might be slightly overweight leads to a (short) lifetime of trying to rid the human body of all signs of weight.

The color-aroused illness is profound and is not found only among people whose skin is white. A Black man here in Brazil told me that when a Black woman goes for a job interview, the least she can do to make herself look presentable, acceptable and beautiful is to straighten her hair.

Even the name given to Rastafarian Locks (Dreadlocks) is said to have originated with British people who called Jamaican style hair was "dreadful".

In other words, Malia's hair triggers responses of revulsion from some Blacks as well as whites. If nothing else comes of the Obama presidency than the understanding among Blacks and whites that curly hair is just as acceptable and natural as straight hair, then we may even save the life of the next Michael/Michelle Jackson of the Malia generation - a generation apparently not equally willing to do to itself what Michael Jackson did.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Teresa Holland with beautiful wavy Locks.

My wife, who, (wears Rasta Locks), and I were wondering when the First Lady will be seen in public with a traditionally Black hairstyle, such as braids, Rasta Locks or an Afro. By looking at her children's hair, we know where her sympathies lie. And yet we also know that Michelle Obama may not want to make the equivalent of hairstyle Black power sallute at this partcular time.

Nonetheless, I am hoping to see the First Lady in Braids, perhaps after Obama wins reelection. Some people believe, and perhaps correctly, that merely leaving one's hair alone is a revolutionary statement if one has brown skin.

Meanwhile, "Free Your African Hair," as Malia has done, if you have the courage and the socio-political and cultural space to do so.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

I'm Revolted: My Oldest Step-Daughter has Straightened Her Wavy Hair

The societal pressures they feel to straighten their hair is intense.

In music videos, television news casts, and at school, my two step-daughters perceive that virtually every Black woman they know chemically or mechanically straightens her hair. So, it ought not surprise me that my sixteen year-old step daughter, graduating from high school in three months, has taken advantage of her new decision-making authority not to choose a university or search for scholarships that suit her interests, but rather to pass an electric iron through her naturally long and wavy hair.

Like too many teenagers, she doesn't value what makes her unique, but wishes she could be "just like everybody else." My wife and I have expressed our opinions to her since before she was an adolescent - that the pressure for Black women to straighten their hair is part of a determined effort by whites - in the media and even in job interviews - to assert that their hair, like everything else about them, is inherently better than Blacks' natural superficial physical characteristics.

(I know that many Black women are born with naturally straight hair and I am not talking about them, so let's not distract ourselves with information irrelevant to this particular discussion.)

I'm talking about the tremendous pressure Black women feel to straighten their hair - at any cost - in order, effectively, to look more like white girls. (Some Black women, like my step-daughters, are born looking more like white girls because they have DNA from white people in their family genetic heritages.) However, long and wavy hair has not been enough for them. They want their hair to be perfectly straight.

This issue is not merely one of aesthetics. Here in Brazil, women use a process called "permanent progressive" wherein formaldehyde (a known carcinogen) is placed in the hair and then washed out. If two much formaldehyde is used or it is not washed out soon enough, Black women can literally die for straight hair. I reported such a case at the American Journal of Color Arousal (AMJCA) on August 14, 2009:

The television news report in this YouTube video says that 150 children per year die in Brazil while styling their hair, with 49% dying as the result of electrical shocks. “Parents should not allow their children to use these electrical mechanisms because of the risk of electrical shocks” says one professional interviewed on the news.

One of Brasil's top media outlets reported:

Women never stop efforts to become more beautiful. For centuries, they have been squeezing into corsets to keep their waists thin. In China and Japan, women bandaged their feet to make them smaller. Now the madness has gone beyond hair removal. Many women are putting their health (and their lives) in danger to keep the hair smooth and voluminous.

The death of a 33 year-old housewife in Missouri, this week raised the controversy over the new hair straightening techniques. Maria Ení da Silva died after undergoing a escova progressiva (permanent straigtening). According to her family, she applied a mixture of cream and formaldehyde at a hairdressing salon on Saturday, March 17, and was directed not to wash her hair for three days. During this period, she complained of headaches, shortness of breath and itching. On Tuesday, March 20, she fell ill, was taken to two hospitals and died. Globo.Com

This story is particularly maddening for my wife and me. Last year, disobeying my wife’s firm and repeated decision, our youngest daughter went to a local store and bought an electrical hair straightener, because virtually all of the girls at her school electrically or chemically straighten their hair. The social pressure she feels to straighten hair is intense. When girls straighten their hair, their peers, boys, parents and community suddenly begin to say, “You look beautiful. You look so pretty with your hair straight.”

Since my wife and I are unable to convince our daughters that their hair is beautiful in its natural Black state, I have warned them not to straighten their hair in the bathroom, where the electric iron can fall on the floor and transmit 120 volts of electricity to girls' (and boys') wet feet, freeze them in their tracks and electrocute them, causing them to fall on the floor where the electricity burns their bodies in a different place every time they try to free themselves from the force of their store-bought electric chairs.

What Black girls don't realize is that white girls have this hair without endangering their lives, while for Black girls there is danger, expense and time wasted that could otherwise be spent choosing a college and getting better grades that would lead to full scholarships. While white girls prepare for professions, Black girls strain to look like white girls or like Black girls with white genetic heritage.

The most common violence promoted by music videos is not the violence on the streets. It's the violence done to Black girls' and women's hair.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Andrew M. Cuomo Trying to "Shuck and Jive" His Way to New York Governorship

Do you remember when New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo accused Senator Obama of "shucking and jiving" at his news conferences?

Now, I hear that President Obama's Administration has been suggesting or trying to lean on one of the nation's only two Black governors, Governor David A. Paterson of New York, who constitutionally received the office when Governor Spitzer resigned in a scandal, and Obama's Administration is endeavoring to convince Gov. Paterson not to run for election in 2010, purportedly because Paterson's polling numbers are low, at this point. If Paterson did get out of the race, one of the chief beneficiaries might be the same Andrew Cuomo who tried to color-arouse the electorate for Hillary Clinton back in 2008.

Gov. Paterson, meanwhile, has always made it clear that he intends to run for re-election, just as anyone else in his position would probably do.

When white people hold a political office, they run for re-election unless a state or national constitution forbids it. Regardless of how low Governor Paterson's poll numbers may be right now, (and I haven't seen them), few white governors would forsake a chance to run for re-election under the same circumstances.

Republicans, like Black Republican Party chairman Michael Steele, have criticized Mr. Obama for trying to drive Mr. Paterson out of office, and have been quick to point out that (white man) Jon Corzine in New Jersey has low poll numbers as well, but Democrats are not calling on Corzine not to run for re-election.

So, is Governor Paterson being treated differently because:
  • he's Black,
  • because he's not as wealthy as Jon Corzine,
  • because he was not elected to the seat he holds, or
  • because he rejected President Obama's attempts to get Caroline Kennedy appointed to the Senate seat that Hillary Clinton vacated when she agreed to serve as Obama' s Secretary of State?
I don't know the answer to that, but I know one of the chief beneficiaries of Patterson out would be New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, "who has been debating for months whether to take on Mr. Paterson in a primary." Once again, Cuomo believes that he should run against the Black man who has all his ducks in a row.

I don't think that any Black person ought to help Andrew Cuomo with anything, first because Cuomo accused Senator Obama of "shucking and jiving" during the presidential primaries against Hillary Clinton. (Even if Obama has "color-blindly" forgotten that, I haven't.) That alone should cause President Obama to tell Cuomo to go flagilate himself.

And Cuomo's shucking and jiving comment was part of a relentless but ultimately unsuccessful effort by the Clinton campaign to color-arouse the Democratic electorate into not nominating Barack Obama. It was a dispicable statement that ought to forever make Blacks thing twice and then thrice before doing anything for Andrew Cuomo. If Cuomo runs against (legally blind) Governor Paterson, will Cuomo tell the media that 'New York needs a white male governor who can see the state's problems,' and not a Black man blindly shucking and jiving'? Andrew Cuomo might very well say something like that based on his history.

As African American Political Pundit pointed out at the time at the Democratic Afrosphere blog,

Clinton-supporting NewYork Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said the thing that's great about NewHampshire is that you have to go out and meet people rather than "shuck and jive" through press conferences there.

"All those moves you can make with the press don't work when you're in someone's living room."

Cuomo said of New Hampshire on an Albany radio station: "It's not a TV-crazed race. Frankly, you can't buy your way into it. You can't shuck and jive at a press conference. All those
moves you can make with the press don't work when you're in someone's living room." [Newsday, 1/11/08]
Secondly, Andrew Cuomo ran against Black New York elected official H. Carl McCall's campaign for governor in the Democratic Primary, resulting in the election of neither Cuomo nor H. Carl McCall, but a different Democrat. Cuomo was the spoiler and partly responsible for New York not having its first Black Governor earlier. Cuomo has shown that he couldn't care less about that.

Andrew Cuomo is an unacceptable alternative for New York governor because Blacks cannot trust him and he shows a callous indifference to Black's political aspirations.