Archive for the ‘Black Power’ Category

Liberating Theology From Its Ivory Tower – Sojourners

In my young career as a black minister and aspiring theologian, I have struggled with one question: Is contemporary theology only for the intellectual one-percenters?

Much of the theology studied and produced today is inaccessible, not only to collective members of the church, but to less-educated unchurched people. Can I hand a copy of James Cones Black Theology and Black Power to a homeless black man marginalized by an oppressive society on the street and expect him to comprehend Cones vigorous academic writing? Can I invite a high school dropout to a lecture by the incomparable Dr. Willie James Jennings and expect them to participate in a vigorous discussion afterward?

The answer to both questions, sadly, is no.

The reality is, much of theology is trapped within an archaic, elitist structure. Most written work is imprisoned within the confines of proper academic writing, which holds scholarly work to a lofty standard for it to be deemed as worthy of reaching the masses. But who are the masses? Who is this scholarship intended to reach? Littered with intellectual jargon, potentially life-giving theological reflection is reduced to being impactful only to those who can comprehend and internalize its true meaning. The reality is, many people within the United States and beyond are not familiar or comfortable with the rigidity of the academic writing style. What of that high-school dropout who missed out on their SAT vocabulary coursework? Or what of the naturalized American citizen whose grasp of the English language is still in its infancy?

So how can people who do not reside within academia gain access to the treasure trove of knowledge that is Christian theology?

Capitulating to oppressive standards of academic excellence does more harm than good. Even those who have infiltrated the academy in hopes to transform it can find themselves burdened under the weight of conforming to the standard. And our collective allegiance to a system that has marginalized most of its participants at one time or another makes us complicit.

For the brilliant theologians who teach and research at seminaries or divinity schools, part of their work is training the next generation of future pastors for church leadership. Catholic and many Protestant church leaders have received a thorough theological education (though not all). They possess master’s and doctoral degrees that solidify their ability to grasp the tenets of theology. But for those theologians interested in changing the world for the better, they must offer work that is easily understood by the masses, especially the marginalized population they are seeking to assist.

For this reason, according to John Koessler, chair of Pastoral Studies at Moody Bible Institute, many pastors are moving away from theological content, instead focusing mainly on practical application. All-inclusive theology would be able to have a direct impact on all people, not only those with the intellectual precision to mentally joust with complicated texts. I dream that the young gang leader on the South Side of Chicago can pick up a transformative piece by one of our great scholars and be transformed with the same conviction as the lecture audience. Or that the residents of Flint, Mich., crippled by environmental injustice can understand and execute the suggestions of a top environmental theologian. I dream that those suffering under the burden of nihilism can find hope in some of the brilliant words of a caring scholar without giving up simply because they dont have a thesaurus next to them to help with the big words.

The pivotal discussions on race, gender equality, environmental justice, and ethics occurring within theological spaces are conversations that all should have the ability to partake. If those within the academy allow some of their work to resist the oppressive parameters of academic writing, people can be more educated than previously believed.

Imagine that kind of impact.

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July 7, 2017   Posted in: Black Power  Comments Closed

False Black Power? – FrontPage Magazine


FrontPage Magazine
False Black Power?
FrontPage Magazine
Barack Obama's ascension to the White House was the culmination of the black struggle to attain the pinnacle of political power. But decades of that obsessive focus on black political advancement has not yielded the results that civil rights leaders

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False Black Power? – FrontPage Magazine

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‘Machine’ Maro Itoje can match All Black power – Irish Examiner

For years the All Blacks have reigned supreme thanks to their never say die mental strength and the supreme stamina to back it past the 80th minute. Yet the man who keeps the Lions in the peak of physical fitness believes the tourists can match those attributes as their series goes down to the wire at Eden Park on Saturday.

The Lions head of strength and conditioning Paul Stridgeon is confident Warren Gatlands players can time their run to the final game of an extremely long campaign to perfection with a bench every bit as strong as New Zealand can regularly deploy and which is usually enough to overpower national Test sides.

While blending players from four nations at short notice and asking them to compete with the fluency of a side that has trained and played together for many years has its pitfalls in terms of fluency and gameplan, from a physical performance point of view the combined strength of the Lions gives Stridgeon an embarrassment of riches, not least the chance to work with a forward whose athleticism marks him out as a machine.

Second row Maro Itoje has been hailed from all quarters as a player with the brightest of futures, let alone the impact he could have on this Saturdays third and final Test in Auckland. Supporters in Wellington during the Lions second Test victory gave the 22-year-old Saracens and England stars name the White Stripes Seven Nation Army treatment, coaches are marvelling at his potential and team-mates praise his effectiveness around the park.

As for Stridgeon, the Englishman said of Itoje yesterday: Hes a machine for us, hes been brilliant. Works hard, big, physical, very diligent, put a lot of extra work in there.

We felt he could have played another 10 to 15 minutes. Hes a very powerful, explosive natural athlete. here are clearly areas of his game for Itoje to improve, not least his tendency to concede penalties. Not that supporters will care but some of Itojes media interactions on this tour have been on the snippy side but for those who work alongside him, the Londoner has everything it takes to be a success on the field.

His biggest quality is humility and how humble he is and how he is continually striving to get better, scrum coach Graham Rowntree. He was calling the lineout (in the second Test).

He is still a young man. The deciding Test and he is in there calling the lineout on top of everything else he is doing in the game. You cant deny his game impact, his physicality. I thought he brought all that (in Wellington). I like his composure. And he is continually striving to get better, asking everyone, How can I get better? He will go a long way. Hooker Jamie George, like his Saracens and England pack-mate a Lions Test debutant on this New Zealand tour gave Itoje a high grade when asked to award a mark out of 10 for his impact as a starter at Westpac Stadium last Saturday.

Nine or 10, George said. He was exceptional. He took himself to a place Ive never seen before. Right on the edge. He is always very physical.

The way he ran the lineout it was the toughest conditions Ive ever thrown into, in terms of the wind and the rain it was very difficult and we lost a couple early. But he showed real maturity and led that pack around. It was brilliant to witness and be a part of. For those wondering if Itoje and the Lions have enough left in the tank to go toe to toe one last time with an All Blacks side just hitting its stride at the start of their season, Stridgeon is no doubt the players in his charge are capable of matching their foes in Auckland this weekend and will be all the better for stepping off the treadmill over the last two days with some downtime away from it all in the ski and adventure resort of Queenstown.

Because they play tough Test matches all the time youre going to get better at decision-making at the end of games, playing under fatigue, getting back into games, and also when they play other countries, because of their strength in depth, when they unload their bench on 50 or 60 minutes their bench is generally stronger than another team.

I think thats where we can possibly match them because well have a strong bench as well and that with this team and group of players I would say we can match them over that last 20.

We know that theyve been on this season 11 months, some of the players. So we always had this week planned. We think we can negate the effects of all the travel and the intensity of the games and the hard season theyve had back home by having this week (in Queenstown Sunday to Wednesday) as weve had it.

Weve planned it this way all along and weve no concerns individually.

Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

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The Black Power Politics of Malcolm X – Patheos (blog)

Throughout his life, Malcolm Xs political and theological views constantly evolved. However, several core elements never changed. One was his recognition of white supremacy as a global political system that had to be vehemently opposed. Malcolm explained, The economy, the politics, the civil life of America is controlled by the white man. Political scientist Charles Millsadvances this analysis; the United States is often falsely conceived of as a raceless liberal democracy instead of what it actually is: a white supremacist state.

Malcolm X, in his autobiography,explains that this political arrangement had Blackpeople confined to ghettos, living for mere survival, and unable to aspire to higher ambitions in life. Within these ghettos, Blacks were subjected to unbearable living conditions. He lamented that many of his childhood friends had the potential to be great mathematicians or scientists but were instead victims of the white mans world because they were born Black.

Malcolm X recognized how whites dominated People of Color politically, socially, economically, militarily and judicially. Consequently, there was no American dream, only an American nightmare. A nightmare that resulted in Black people trapped in a never-ending sequence of poverty, inferior education and living conditions, leading to an early death or prison.

The Power of Islamic Theology in Americas Ghettos: Resisting White Supremacy

Malcolm X characterized Black people as politically dead footballs thrown in a game played between conservatives and liberals. White liberals mastered the science of being an ally; i.e., posing as the friend of Black people and promising token gestures to win their allegiance whereas White conservatives were overt in their disdain of Black people.

In the tradition of Black liberation theology, Malcolm X interpreted scripture and utilizedthe eschatological elements of theology, those dealing with divine judgment, to combat white supremacy. Malcolm X taught that,It is only a matter of time before White America too will be utterly destroyed by her own sins, and all traces of her former glory will be removed from this planet forever. In fact, his emphasis on piety among Black people was profoundly political: by ceasing immoral activities such asdrug usagethat were introduced during slavery and systematically inculcated by white slave masters, Blacks would come closer to God, and God would aid Black people in their struggle against white supremacy.

For Malcolm X, the struggle for Black liberation depended on God and not on white liberal do-gooders. Specifically, he believed that Islam would enable Black people who had been robbed of a knowledge of self to avoid the destructive lifestyles that white supremacy normalized in Black communities to keep Blacks in the prison or early death cycle, drug usage, fornication, adultery, profanity usage, drunkenness, stealing, cheating, and gambling.

Islams ability to raise Blacks from the mud to avoid the prison or death trap of an anti-Black society was disdained by the white dominant class. In his speech,Gods Judgment of White America, Malcolm X noted:

Why is the American white man so set against the twenty-two million Negroes learning about the religion of Islam? Islam is the religion that elevates the morals of the people who want to do right.

Malcolm X recognized that anti-Islamic sentiments were a manifestation of white supremacy. Even when he parted ways from the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X maintained an Islamic commitment to empowering the Black community. He established the Muslim Mosque Incorporated, which was dedicated to promoting Islam as the cure to social problems in the Black community.

Malcolm X: The Negro Preacher to the Negro Imam

Malcolm X developed a very sophisticated critique ofThe Negro Preacher who worked to pacify Black people against the struggle to end white supremacy. Such a preacher treated the Bible as a dead letter scripture which occurs when the rich stories and prophecies found within holy books are treated only as history and the power oftheology is not being actualized upon to initiate a contemporary critique of anti-Blackness. In protest to dead letter scripture, Malcolm X criticized how Christian pastors would teach about Pharaoh in Egypt, but would not teach about modern-day Pharaohs and what civilization represented modern-day Egypt. The Negro Preachers, aligned with liberal democratic institutions, would never be sufficient to solve the race problem. According to Malcolm, since these Negro Preachers were educated in seminary schools operated by white slave masters or his descendants, they could only teach a doctrine of white supremacy. In contemporary times, Malcolm Xs analysis of the Negro preacher can be applied to the Negro Imam.

Unlike Malcolm X, the Negro Imam is silent on white supremacy as a global political system. Instead of being in urban centers answering theological questions of Black folks, the Negro Imam works in Muslim communities where he is subjected to continued racism. The Negro Imam soon understands that no matter how much Quran, Hadith, Sirah or Fiqh he knows, Muslim immigrants will still see him as a nigg. Nonetheless, the Negro Imam is content with merely working within Muslim immigrant-built institutions instead of actively working to create independent Black Muslim institutions for Black power politics.

If the Negro Imam does in fact work in a masjid in the Black community, the masjid mainly consists of only prayer rug activity with minimal commitment to uplifting the Black community. In fact, the Quranic Studies program of the Negro Imams masjid merely seeks to examine the roots of various Arabic words yet has no Quranic based agenda being actively developed and carried out to transform the Black community in the image of the Quran.

The Negro Imam is proud of his Islamic education that is a product of either Muslim immigrant-built seminary schools or overseas Islamic institutions. He can wax poetically about Al Ghazalis cosmological argument, Ibn Tammiyas argument against the Greek logicians, and other complex aspects of theology. But he fails to take the classical scholarship of Islam and make it relevant to the Black struggle today. He also fails to produce Islamic content for oppressed Black communitieswhich is the unfinished theological project of Malcolm X. Instead, the Negro Imam gives dead sermons that are irrelevant to the struggle of Black people.

The Negro Imam is not in the hood promoting the Sunnah and Islamic doctrines as thecure to social ills in the Black community in the tradition of Malcolm. In fact, the apathy of the Negro Imam to evoke theology that counters anti-Blackness and establish Black Muslim institutions that empower marginalized Black communities in America is the reason Islam is no longer at the center of the Black struggle in America as it once was during the days of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X.

In a discussion withImam Amin Nathari, he told me, the Negro Imam is, a mindset even more so than it is any one individual. But of course there are some who embody this mindset and display these traits more than others!

Black Muslims for Black Power Politics!

Today,what the media considers to be the mainstream Muslim community in America is primarily South Asian- and Arab-controlled Muslim institutions. These organizations, who set the narrative for whatis portrayedas Islam in America, often align themselves with liberal Democrats in contradiction to the Black power politics of Malcolm X and continuously marginalize strong Black Muslim voices.

These institutions oppose Islamophobia by focusing on how patriotic American Muslims are when Malcolm X in his famous Bullet or the Ballot speech stated, No, Im not an American. Im one of the 22 million Black people who are the victims of Americanism. Theseinstitutions oppose the travel ban by reverting to the narrative that Muslim Immigrants deserve the American dream;an American dream that was sustained by Black suffering.They see no contradiction between honoring Muhammad Ali and Muslim Americans who fought in imperial wars and subsequently became co-opted by the Democratic Party.

These Immigrant Muslim organizations have public relation efforts largely designed to assuage white American fears about Islam. The Negro Imam affiliated with suchorganization will spend an entire career being a good moderate Muslim acquiescing to the white supremacist notion of collective guilt after the latest incident puts Muslims in a bad spotlight. This comes at the expense of having ministries actively addressing the spiritual needs of black folks in neighborhoods hardest hit by white supremacy and who throughinternal colonialismhave been ostracized from mainstream America. The strict separation of religion from the lived material realities of Black people is the trick of secularism. Both the Negro imam and Muslim immigrant institutions ultimately get subsumed by a theology that presents no credible threat to white supremacy.

As Black Muslims turn to Malcolm X for theological and political insights, not just as a social prop, they will seek to establish actual Black Muslim institutions firmly dedicated to ending global white supremacy. Black Muslims will look to the spiritual wisdom of our ancestors Uthman Dan Fodio, Nana Asmau, Askia Muhammad and others to organize for Black power to actually dictate what the narrative for Islam in America means: freedom, justice and equality for the Black man and woman. To do this, Black Muslims should use the legacy of Malcolm X to engage the world.

(Editorial Note:This article was originally posted on Sapelo Square)

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Oklahoma barbershop cuts Confederate flag in man’s hair – Fox News

A predominantly black barbershop in Oklahoma City fulfilled a customers request by cutting the Confederate flag in a white mans hair — sparking a heated debate on social media.

Demontre Heard, a barber at the Fade N Up shop, said at first he was confused by the request from the customer, who wishes to remain anonymous, KWTV reported.

He called on the phone knowing that it was a diverse shop, but mostly black barbers here, Heard told the news station. So I felt like he really didnt have a problem with coming here even though he seemed kind of scared when he first came in.

OKLAHOMA ARMY VETERAN LEAVES $2.25 MILLION ESTATE TO HABITAT FOR HUMANITY, 24 HOMES TO BE BUILT

The flag has come under increased scrutiny after the June 2015 massacre at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. The gunman, Dylann Roof, killed nine parishioners. After Roof was arrested, a website that was registered under his name showed him posing with the flag.

The customer explained that he wanted the flags design as a way to pay homage to Yelawolf, his favorite rapper. The logo for the artists record label, Slumerica, is a row of stars with four lightning bolts at the corners, but the customer explained to Heard that the Confederate Flag would be a fine substitute to the logos more elaborate design.

A man asked a barbershop in Oklahoma City, Okla. this weekend to cut a Confederate flag in his hair. (Reuters)

It was just going to be too much, so he asked if I could do the Confederate flag in his head, and in the back of my head Im like, what kind of stuff are you on?

Corey Scissorhands Sutter, the owner of the barbershop, said the cut was one of the most unusual requests the shop has received. Other customers have asked for Black Power, according to Sutter.

OKLAHOMA 18-YEAR-OLD ARRESTED, ACCUSED OF PROSTITUTING TWO JUVENILES

After the cut, he decided to take a picture of the hairdo and post it on his Facebook page. The hairstyle went viral and many social media users either condemned or supported the decision.

The thing that’s really bothering me is, no matter how it may look to someone and them getting upset about it, this is what we do for a living, Sutter told KFOR. We provide a service for this person, and that’s what we’re supposed to do. Yeah, we could have denied it. Yes, we could have acted a fool and talked bad to him, tried to fight him or anything like that. But, he came in, he came in respectful. He wanted it.

Heard said at the end of the day, the customer paid and was pleased with his haircut. You have the right to your opinion, Heard said. At the end of the day your opinion doesnt pay my bills, and I have kids to take care of.

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Prison Letter Reveals 2Pac Dumped Madonna Because She Was White – Complex

There are few celebrity couples that seem like odder fits than 2Pac and Madonna were when they were together. On the surface, they existed within very different spaces as artists, with ‘Pac speaking on issues of police brutality and black power while Madonna was cranking out pop hits.

And as it turns out, there was a bigger elephant in the room than the type of music they made. In a newly-publicized letter 2Pac wrote from prison, he explains a motivating factor behind his breakup with Madonnarace. Though segments of the letter shared by TMZhave been blurred out, there are long sections we can read, including this bit on calling it off.

“For you to be seen with a black man wouldn’t in any way jeopardize your career, if anything it would make you seem that much more open and exciting,” he wrote. “But for me at least in my previous perception, I felt due to my ‘image’ I would be letting down half of the people who made me what I thought I was. I never meant to hurt you.”

Though he doesn’t say it outright, the implication from the letter is clear. If you listen to 2Pac’s early work, especially his debut album2Pacalypse Now, a lot of the issues he’s speaking to specific to the black experience in America. “Why did you lie to me? I couldn’t find a trace of equality,” he rapped on the song “Trapped,” and the message of black America’s tilted playing field was intertwined through his work until his untimely death. In his eyesor at least in the eyes of a certain segment of his fan basecontinuing a relationship with a white pop star like Madonna was no bueno.

This is also a lot different than, say, Kodak Black’s recent assertion on his racial dating preferences. 2Pac’smotivations don’t appear driven by his own perception of beauty, but rather societal pressures put on him by the people supporting his music.

Later in the letter, 2Pac also admits that things Madonna said publicly cut him deep. One interview she conducted in particular struck a chord, and it looks like it caused friction between them.

“An interview where you said, ‘I’m off to rehabilitate all the rappers & basketball players’ or something to that effect, those words cut me deep seeing how I had never known you to be with any rappers besides myself,” he said. “It was at this moment out of hurt & a natural instinct to strike back and defend my heart & ego that I said a lot of things.”

In the end, it seems like they were able to leave things on good terms, and 2Pac even closed the letter by asking Madonna to visit him in prison so he could talk about this with her in person. Though he felt they needed to end things for various reasons, it doesn’t sound like there was any ill will between them.

The letter, which will be up for auction for $100K starting on July 19, can be viewed here.

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Exploring the Public School/Private School Divide in ‘Pipeline’ – New York Times

Photo Karen Pittman in Pipeline, written by Dominique Morisseau. Credit Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Dominique Morisseau has one of the most penetrating voices to emerge from the last decade of American theater, combining poetic vernacular with a probing social conscience that brings to mind Arthur Miller and August Wilson. In her Detroit Cycle of plays, particularly Skeleton Crew, she used solidly classic forms to investigate moral ambiguity, and her Sunset Baby explored the conflicted legacy of the Black Power movement of the 1960s and 70s.

Now Ms. Morisseau is measuring a different sort of generational divide with Pipeline, now in previews and opening Monday, July 10, in a Lincoln Center Theater production, which portrays a city public-school teacher who sends her own son to a private academy, with explosive results. The director is Lileana Blain-Cruz, who has collaborated memorably with the boundary-pushing playwrights Lucas Hnath and Suzan-Lori Parks. (Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, lct.org.)

A version of this article appears in print on July 2, 2017, on Page AR2 of the New York edition with the headline: The Class Divide, And Its Lessons.

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June 28, 2017   Posted in: Black Power  Comments Closed

Conservative black journalist counters narrative pushed by campus race baiters – The College Fix

After conservative black journalist Jason Riley spoke at a historically black college in Pennsylvania on police shootings, crime rates and the need to take personal responsibility, the question-and-answer period launched with a query from a student in the crowd.

Riley, a respected columnist at The Wall Street Journal and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, gives on average more than a dozen speeches on college campuses each year during which Q&As have been known to get testy, but on this particular occasion that wasnt the case.

He thanks me for coming and asks, How do I get a job at The Wall Street Journal, Riley said.

Rileys talk calling for personal responsibility to an audience filled with black students, black professors and black administrators barely raised an eyebrow.

Everything I had said was commonsensical to them, he said. The only pushback I got was from white faculty members at the reception afterwards.

Rileys point is the narrative that all black people in America are enraged and feel victimized over white privilege, institutional racism and police shootings and blame those issues entirely for the plight of the black community is inaccurate.

He said its a concept pushed largely by the mainstream media and those who stand to profit.

Lets face it, the grievance industry is a very lucrative one, Riley said, citing groups such as the NAACP and Black Lives Matter and individuals like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.

There is money to be made playing the race card, Riley said in a recent interview with The College Fix. Ive argued that the Civil Rights movement has become a Civil Rights industry.

Rileys new book, False Black Power, expands on that idea by pointing out that black Americans in the first half of the 20th centuryduring the darkest decades of Jim Crow, when racial discrimination was widespread, legal and often ruthlessly enforcednevertheless managed to climb out of poverty and gain access to white-collar professions at unprecedented rates that have never since been replicated, even after the passage of landmark civil rights legislation in the 1960s and the implementation of affirmative action programs in the 1970s.

But electing black politicians in recent decades hasnt helped the black community fix its current woes.

The persistence in racial inequality, even in the age of Obama, should tell us about using political power and politics to advance racial ethnic groups, Riley told The Fix. There are limits to this path and the Obama presidency is the last proof, and perhaps the best proof, that the problems blacks face today are not due to a lack of political clout.

Thats an idea one might hear if they hang out in black barbershops and churches, but its never uttered inside a college classroom, where Ta-Nehisi Coates Between the World and Me, which discusses white American racism, is one of the most assigned books for freshmen.

When you go talk to everyday blacks about the problems facing everyday blacks, you realize the critical race theories, and the Ta-Nehisi Coates and the Al Sharptons, dont really reflect the viewpoints of everyday blacks, that there is disconnect between them and the people they claim to speak for.

Yet the narrative taught to students nationwide, riling them up over white privilege, institutional racism and police shootings, has sometimes created such angst that they aggressively disrupt and even shut down campus talks designed to present facts and data to support the notion that Blue Lives Matter and that cops are not the main problem facing the black community.

Riley said in his experience speaking at college campuses what I have found is sort of the more elite, the more privileged, the more nonsensical the students and their reactions.

And these kids are not being taught to debate, he said, they are being taught to silence their critics and administrators are indulging this.

But at school after school you get this small clutch of conservative students who come up to you afterward and almost whisper to you, Thank you, thank you for coming, and we are sorry we didnt say much, Riley said. The idea that conservatives or just people who think differently about some of these issues are cowed into silence on campus these days is distributing.

Riley acknowledged its going to be a challenge getting more and different points of view on campus, but added theres a silver lining.

I dont know how many people who live in the real world are buying a lot of these academic arguments, he said. I know they get echoed in the elite media by liberal commentators but I think on some level those commentators are really only speaking to the academic elite its obvious that in the real world you cant talk about black incarceration rates without talking about black crime rates.

This whole idea that blacks are locked up at higher rates strictly due to a racist criminal justice system and not due to any behavior on the part of the young black men being locked up I dont know if that goes very far with your average person, but it is a challenge. You want to get at the kids on campus and give them an alternative point of view, and its becoming increasingly difficult.

But there may be an opening to convince young black minds that the real problems lie elsewhere, he added.

On college campuses, these kids today are obviously a much younger generation that doesnt have the historical baggage of older generations when it comes to the history of blacks in this country, he said. This is a generation that came of age with a black president, with black mayors and governors and senators and all kinds of black political clout.

And yet what has all that political clout gotten the black community? In False Black Power, Riley points out it hasnt gotten them much.

Meanwhile, he writes, social scientists [a.k.a. professors] cowed by political correctness are still downplaying or denying the strong connection between black poverty and black family structure.

The current focus on white racism and political solutions to racial gaps continues to miss the mark, Riley writes. Our national discussions spend ample time on the impact of slavery but precious little on the black social and economic trends that followed the growth of the modern welfare state.

In the postslavery era, the differences in black progress before and after the Great Society interventions are glaring. When intact families were commonplace, the rise in black education, incomes, and occupations was significant and steady. As black family disorganization intensified and wealth-transfer programs grew in size and scope, that progress slowed in some cases and stalled in others, Riley writes.

Liberals have attempted to compensate for black cultural retrogression since the 1960s with increased black political power. In 2008, America elected her first black president, and eight years later, one undeniable lesson was that political clout is no substitute for self development.

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Inside Muhammad Ali’s FBI files – For The Win

It took an all-white jury of six men and six women just 21 minutes of deliberating to return a guilty verdict against Muhammad Ali in 1967.

On this date in 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously reversed the heavyweight champions convictionfor violating the United States Selective Service laws by refusing induction for military service during the Vietnam War.Stripped of his title and still referred to as Cassius Clay in legal proceedings, Ali faced five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, the maximum for the felony.

After declaring himself a conscientious objector to war on religious grounds as a member of the Nation of Islam in 1966, the attention Ali received from the federal government intensified. During his trial and appeals while out on the $5,000 bond he posted, he remained shunned from the boxing world and a target of government surveillance.

While assisting with research for Jonathan Eigs newest book, Ali: A Life, I was fortunate enough to sift through Alis recently released FBI files dated 1967-1969 although some documents go as far forward as 1974 which specifically relate to the draft. Buried among the hundreds of procedural documents and mundane internal memos are some historical gems rarely seen or seldom mentioned when discussing the greatest boxer of all time.

Dated February 28, 1966, Ali detailed on a four-page form the reasons that qualified him to be a conscientious objector, as well as the names and locations of mosques known to [him], the names of people who could vouch for his sincerity and his beliefs about violence in general. Multiple times, he denied the name Cassius Clay and called it his Slave Name, signing his RIGHT NAME as Muhammad Ali where it was required.

With two options from which to choose for identifying himself as exempt from war, Ali selected the second, more detailed option, which stated he was conscientiously opposed to participation in war in any form as well as participation in noncombatant training and service in the Armed Forces. His beliefs kept him from partaking in war when not ordered by Allah.

5. Under what circumstances, if any, do you believe in the use of force? Only in sports and self defense

These particular FBI files included hundreds of letters sent to Presidents Johnson and Nixon and their respective Justice Departments some praising Ali and asking for action in his favor but most castigating him for evading the draft when the young men in their lives stepped forward to serve.

Some were respectful, while others let their racist feelings fly. The milder letters called him a slacker and sarcastically a super-patriot.

But one stood out among the others. Signed as Concerned Black Students from Madison, Wisconsin with individual names at the bottom, the July 1967 letter asked the Justice Department to drop the charges against Ali and to investigate discrimination by the Selective Service System, among other demands.

As a department noted for its racist complaisance through inaction, you have shown remarkable vigor in the prosecution of this particular case. Are we to conclude from our observations that the Justice Department is Johnny-on-the-spot only when the American power structure is threatened, but not when the lives of Black people are in mortal danger?

Attached to a March 1970 letter to the federal government demanding to know why Ali was not imprisoned is an Associated Press photo of him on skis in Vermont. Although its just the cutout, according to the Burlington Free Press, the photo is from 1970.

Among several newspaper clips that appear to track media coverage of Alis actions in the late 60s is a 1967 Muhammad Speaks article about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. praising the fighters draft refusal.

Every young man in this country who believes that this war is abominable and unjust should file as a conscientious objector, the Nobel Peace Prize winner said.

Praising the stand of Muhammad Ali, he went on, He is giving up even fame. He is giving up millions of dollars in order to stand up for what his conscience tells him is right.

While exiled from the world of boxing, Ali spoke at universities and religious events across the country. But he also starred in a short-lived musical in 1969 called Buck White. Noted in newspaper clips in his file, the play was met with mixed reviews.

According to one article, Clay Is Still a Champ In 1st Broadway Bout:

Clay doesnt appear until the show is half overbut when he does he takes charge in amazing fashion. Although he portrays a black power leader, he doesnt shout, rant or threaten. He is a big man, of course, but he rules with uncannily quiet power. He speaks most clearly and he sings surprisingly well, particularly in a black narrative titled We Came in Chains.

But the New Jersey paper The Daily Home News headlined the review Buck White Packs Lil Punch:

In the second half of the evening Clay sings in a thin and unsteady voice

At the end of the play he gets to talk to the audience in at last a real and honest way. He is no longer trying to act (in fact he seems to have just about had it with the Afro-wig and beard) and he seems a decent human being preaching a philosophy he earnestly believes in.

But the stage never really rocks, never really involves, not even when an obviously planted white racist asks properly inflammatory questions. This turns out to be the show at its silliest when the racist, too, bursts into song.

More:

Inside Muhammad Ali’s FBI files – For The Win

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Liberating Theology From Its Ivory Tower – Sojourners

In my young career as a black minister and aspiring theologian, I have struggled with one question: Is contemporary theology only for the intellectual one-percenters? Much of the theology studied and produced today is inaccessible, not only to collective members of the church, but to less-educated unchurched people. Can I hand a copy of James Cones Black Theology and Black Power to a homeless black man marginalized by an oppressive society on the street and expect him to comprehend Cones vigorous academic writing? Can I invite a high school dropout to a lecture by the incomparable Dr. Willie James Jennings and expect them to participate in a vigorous discussion afterward? The answer to both questions, sadly, is no. The reality is, much of theology is trapped within an archaic, elitist structure. Most written work is imprisoned within the confines of proper academic writing, which holds scholarly work to a lofty standard for it to be deemed as worthy of reaching the masses. But who are the masses? Who is this scholarship intended to reach? Littered with intellectual jargon, potentially life-giving theological reflection is reduced to being impactful only to those who can comprehend and internalize its true meaning. The reality is, many people within the United States and beyond are not familiar or comfortable with the rigidity of the academic writing style. What of that high-school dropout who missed out on their SAT vocabulary coursework? Or what of the naturalized American citizen whose grasp of the English language is still in its infancy? So how can people who do not reside within academia gain access to the treasure trove of knowledge that is Christian theology? Capitulating to oppressive standards of academic excellence does more harm than good. Even those who have infiltrated the academy in hopes to transform it can find themselves burdened under the weight of conforming to the standard. And our collective allegiance to a system that has marginalized most of its participants at one time or another makes us complicit. For the brilliant theologians who teach and research at seminaries or divinity schools, part of their work is training the next generation of future pastors for church leadership. Catholic and many Protestant church leaders have received a thorough theological education (though not all). They possess master’s and doctoral degrees that solidify their ability to grasp the tenets of theology. But for those theologians interested in changing the world for the better, they must offer work that is easily understood by the masses, especially the marginalized population they are seeking to assist. For this reason, according to John Koessler, chair of Pastoral Studies at Moody Bible Institute, many pastors are moving away from theological content, instead focusing mainly on practical application. All-inclusive theology would be able to have a direct impact on all people, not only those with the intellectual precision to mentally joust with complicated texts. I dream that the young gang leader on the South Side of Chicago can pick up a transformative piece by one of our great scholars and be transformed with the same conviction as the lecture audience. Or that the residents of Flint, Mich., crippled by environmental injustice can understand and execute the suggestions of a top environmental theologian. I dream that those suffering under the burden of nihilism can find hope in some of the brilliant words of a caring scholar without giving up simply because they dont have a thesaurus next to them to help with the big words. The pivotal discussions on race, gender equality, environmental justice, and ethics occurring within theological spaces are conversations that all should have the ability to partake. If those within the academy allow some of their work to resist the oppressive parameters of academic writing, people can be more educated than previously believed. Imagine that kind of impact.

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False Black Power? – FrontPage Magazine

FrontPage Magazine False Black Power ? FrontPage Magazine Barack Obama's ascension to the White House was the culmination of the black struggle to attain the pinnacle of political power . But decades of that obsessive focus on black political advancement has not yielded the results that civil rights leaders …

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‘Machine’ Maro Itoje can match All Black power – Irish Examiner

For years the All Blacks have reigned supreme thanks to their never say die mental strength and the supreme stamina to back it past the 80th minute. Yet the man who keeps the Lions in the peak of physical fitness believes the tourists can match those attributes as their series goes down to the wire at Eden Park on Saturday. The Lions head of strength and conditioning Paul Stridgeon is confident Warren Gatlands players can time their run to the final game of an extremely long campaign to perfection with a bench every bit as strong as New Zealand can regularly deploy and which is usually enough to overpower national Test sides. While blending players from four nations at short notice and asking them to compete with the fluency of a side that has trained and played together for many years has its pitfalls in terms of fluency and gameplan, from a physical performance point of view the combined strength of the Lions gives Stridgeon an embarrassment of riches, not least the chance to work with a forward whose athleticism marks him out as a machine. Second row Maro Itoje has been hailed from all quarters as a player with the brightest of futures, let alone the impact he could have on this Saturdays third and final Test in Auckland. Supporters in Wellington during the Lions second Test victory gave the 22-year-old Saracens and England stars name the White Stripes Seven Nation Army treatment, coaches are marvelling at his potential and team-mates praise his effectiveness around the park. As for Stridgeon, the Englishman said of Itoje yesterday: Hes a machine for us, hes been brilliant. Works hard, big, physical, very diligent, put a lot of extra work in there. We felt he could have played another 10 to 15 minutes. Hes a very powerful, explosive natural athlete. here are clearly areas of his game for Itoje to improve, not least his tendency to concede penalties. Not that supporters will care but some of Itojes media interactions on this tour have been on the snippy side but for those who work alongside him, the Londoner has everything it takes to be a success on the field. His biggest quality is humility and how humble he is and how he is continually striving to get better, scrum coach Graham Rowntree. He was calling the lineout (in the second Test). He is still a young man. The deciding Test and he is in there calling the lineout on top of everything else he is doing in the game. You cant deny his game impact, his physicality. I thought he brought all that (in Wellington). I like his composure. And he is continually striving to get better, asking everyone, How can I get better? He will go a long way. Hooker Jamie George, like his Saracens and England pack-mate a Lions Test debutant on this New Zealand tour gave Itoje a high grade when asked to award a mark out of 10 for his impact as a starter at Westpac Stadium last Saturday. Nine or 10, George said. He was exceptional. He took himself to a place Ive never seen before. Right on the edge. He is always very physical. The way he ran the lineout it was the toughest conditions Ive ever thrown into, in terms of the wind and the rain it was very difficult and we lost a couple early. But he showed real maturity and led that pack around. It was brilliant to witness and be a part of. For those wondering if Itoje and the Lions have enough left in the tank to go toe to toe one last time with an All Blacks side just hitting its stride at the start of their season, Stridgeon is no doubt the players in his charge are capable of matching their foes in Auckland this weekend and will be all the better for stepping off the treadmill over the last two days with some downtime away from it all in the ski and adventure resort of Queenstown. Because they play tough Test matches all the time youre going to get better at decision-making at the end of games, playing under fatigue, getting back into games, and also when they play other countries, because of their strength in depth, when they unload their bench on 50 or 60 minutes their bench is generally stronger than another team. I think thats where we can possibly match them because well have a strong bench as well and that with this team and group of players I would say we can match them over that last 20. We know that theyve been on this season 11 months, some of the players. So we always had this week planned. We think we can negate the effects of all the travel and the intensity of the games and the hard season theyve had back home by having this week (in Queenstown Sunday to Wednesday) as weve had it. Weve planned it this way all along and weve no concerns individually. Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

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The Black Power Politics of Malcolm X – Patheos (blog)

Throughout his life, Malcolm Xs political and theological views constantly evolved. However, several core elements never changed. One was his recognition of white supremacy as a global political system that had to be vehemently opposed. Malcolm explained, The economy, the politics, the civil life of America is controlled by the white man. Political scientist Charles Millsadvances this analysis; the United States is often falsely conceived of as a raceless liberal democracy instead of what it actually is: a white supremacist state. Malcolm X, in his autobiography,explains that this political arrangement had Blackpeople confined to ghettos, living for mere survival, and unable to aspire to higher ambitions in life. Within these ghettos, Blacks were subjected to unbearable living conditions. He lamented that many of his childhood friends had the potential to be great mathematicians or scientists but were instead victims of the white mans world because they were born Black. Malcolm X recognized how whites dominated People of Color politically, socially, economically, militarily and judicially. Consequently, there was no American dream, only an American nightmare. A nightmare that resulted in Black people trapped in a never-ending sequence of poverty, inferior education and living conditions, leading to an early death or prison. The Power of Islamic Theology in Americas Ghettos: Resisting White Supremacy Malcolm X characterized Black people as politically dead footballs thrown in a game played between conservatives and liberals. White liberals mastered the science of being an ally; i.e., posing as the friend of Black people and promising token gestures to win their allegiance whereas White conservatives were overt in their disdain of Black people. In the tradition of Black liberation theology, Malcolm X interpreted scripture and utilizedthe eschatological elements of theology, those dealing with divine judgment, to combat white supremacy. Malcolm X taught that,It is only a matter of time before White America too will be utterly destroyed by her own sins, and all traces of her former glory will be removed from this planet forever. In fact, his emphasis on piety among Black people was profoundly political: by ceasing immoral activities such asdrug usagethat were introduced during slavery and systematically inculcated by white slave masters, Blacks would come closer to God, and God would aid Black people in their struggle against white supremacy. For Malcolm X, the struggle for Black liberation depended on God and not on white liberal do-gooders. Specifically, he believed that Islam would enable Black people who had been robbed of a knowledge of self to avoid the destructive lifestyles that white supremacy normalized in Black communities to keep Blacks in the prison or early death cycle, drug usage, fornication, adultery, profanity usage, drunkenness, stealing, cheating, and gambling. Islams ability to raise Blacks from the mud to avoid the prison or death trap of an anti-Black society was disdained by the white dominant class. In his speech,Gods Judgment of White America, Malcolm X noted: Why is the American white man so set against the twenty-two million Negroes learning about the religion of Islam? Islam is the religion that elevates the morals of the people who want to do right. Malcolm X recognized that anti-Islamic sentiments were a manifestation of white supremacy. Even when he parted ways from the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X maintained an Islamic commitment to empowering the Black community. He established the Muslim Mosque Incorporated, which was dedicated to promoting Islam as the cure to social problems in the Black community. Malcolm X: The Negro Preacher to the Negro Imam Malcolm X developed a very sophisticated critique ofThe Negro Preacher who worked to pacify Black people against the struggle to end white supremacy. Such a preacher treated the Bible as a dead letter scripture which occurs when the rich stories and prophecies found within holy books are treated only as history and the power oftheology is not being actualized upon to initiate a contemporary critique of anti-Blackness. In protest to dead letter scripture, Malcolm X criticized how Christian pastors would teach about Pharaoh in Egypt, but would not teach about modern-day Pharaohs and what civilization represented modern-day Egypt. The Negro Preachers, aligned with liberal democratic institutions, would never be sufficient to solve the race problem. According to Malcolm, since these Negro Preachers were educated in seminary schools operated by white slave masters or his descendants, they could only teach a doctrine of white supremacy. In contemporary times, Malcolm Xs analysis of the Negro preacher can be applied to the Negro Imam. Unlike Malcolm X, the Negro Imam is silent on white supremacy as a global political system. Instead of being in urban centers answering theological questions of Black folks, the Negro Imam works in Muslim communities where he is subjected to continued racism. The Negro Imam soon understands that no matter how much Quran, Hadith, Sirah or Fiqh he knows, Muslim immigrants will still see him as a nigg. Nonetheless, the Negro Imam is content with merely working within Muslim immigrant-built institutions instead of actively working to create independent Black Muslim institutions for Black power politics. If the Negro Imam does in fact work in a masjid in the Black community, the masjid mainly consists of only prayer rug activity with minimal commitment to uplifting the Black community. In fact, the Quranic Studies program of the Negro Imams masjid merely seeks to examine the roots of various Arabic words yet has no Quranic based agenda being actively developed and carried out to transform the Black community in the image of the Quran. The Negro Imam is proud of his Islamic education that is a product of either Muslim immigrant-built seminary schools or overseas Islamic institutions. He can wax poetically about Al Ghazalis cosmological argument, Ibn Tammiyas argument against the Greek logicians, and other complex aspects of theology. But he fails to take the classical scholarship of Islam and make it relevant to the Black struggle today. He also fails to produce Islamic content for oppressed Black communitieswhich is the unfinished theological project of Malcolm X. Instead, the Negro Imam gives dead sermons that are irrelevant to the struggle of Black people. The Negro Imam is not in the hood promoting the Sunnah and Islamic doctrines as thecure to social ills in the Black community in the tradition of Malcolm. In fact, the apathy of the Negro Imam to evoke theology that counters anti-Blackness and establish Black Muslim institutions that empower marginalized Black communities in America is the reason Islam is no longer at the center of the Black struggle in America as it once was during the days of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X. In a discussion withImam Amin Nathari, he told me, the Negro Imam is, a mindset even more so than it is any one individual. But of course there are some who embody this mindset and display these traits more than others! Black Muslims for Black Power Politics! Today,what the media considers to be the mainstream Muslim community in America is primarily South Asian- and Arab-controlled Muslim institutions. These organizations, who set the narrative for whatis portrayedas Islam in America, often align themselves with liberal Democrats in contradiction to the Black power politics of Malcolm X and continuously marginalize strong Black Muslim voices. These institutions oppose Islamophobia by focusing on how patriotic American Muslims are when Malcolm X in his famous Bullet or the Ballot speech stated, No, Im not an American. Im one of the 22 million Black people who are the victims of Americanism. Theseinstitutions oppose the travel ban by reverting to the narrative that Muslim Immigrants deserve the American dream;an American dream that was sustained by Black suffering.They see no contradiction between honoring Muhammad Ali and Muslim Americans who fought in imperial wars and subsequently became co-opted by the Democratic Party. These Immigrant Muslim organizations have public relation efforts largely designed to assuage white American fears about Islam. The Negro Imam affiliated with suchorganization will spend an entire career being a good moderate Muslim acquiescing to the white supremacist notion of collective guilt after the latest incident puts Muslims in a bad spotlight. This comes at the expense of having ministries actively addressing the spiritual needs of black folks in neighborhoods hardest hit by white supremacy and who throughinternal colonialismhave been ostracized from mainstream America. The strict separation of religion from the lived material realities of Black people is the trick of secularism. Both the Negro imam and Muslim immigrant institutions ultimately get subsumed by a theology that presents no credible threat to white supremacy. As Black Muslims turn to Malcolm X for theological and political insights, not just as a social prop, they will seek to establish actual Black Muslim institutions firmly dedicated to ending global white supremacy. Black Muslims will look to the spiritual wisdom of our ancestors Uthman Dan Fodio, Nana Asmau, Askia Muhammad and others to organize for Black power to actually dictate what the narrative for Islam in America means: freedom, justice and equality for the Black man and woman. To do this, Black Muslims should use the legacy of Malcolm X to engage the world. (Editorial Note:This article was originally posted on Sapelo Square)

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Oklahoma barbershop cuts Confederate flag in man’s hair – Fox News

A predominantly black barbershop in Oklahoma City fulfilled a customers request by cutting the Confederate flag in a white mans hair — sparking a heated debate on social media. Demontre Heard, a barber at the Fade N Up shop, said at first he was confused by the request from the customer, who wishes to remain anonymous, KWTV reported. He called on the phone knowing that it was a diverse shop, but mostly black barbers here, Heard told the news station. So I felt like he really didnt have a problem with coming here even though he seemed kind of scared when he first came in. OKLAHOMA ARMY VETERAN LEAVES $2.25 MILLION ESTATE TO HABITAT FOR HUMANITY, 24 HOMES TO BE BUILT The flag has come under increased scrutiny after the June 2015 massacre at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. The gunman, Dylann Roof, killed nine parishioners. After Roof was arrested, a website that was registered under his name showed him posing with the flag. The customer explained that he wanted the flags design as a way to pay homage to Yelawolf, his favorite rapper. The logo for the artists record label, Slumerica, is a row of stars with four lightning bolts at the corners, but the customer explained to Heard that the Confederate Flag would be a fine substitute to the logos more elaborate design. A man asked a barbershop in Oklahoma City, Okla. this weekend to cut a Confederate flag in his hair. (Reuters) It was just going to be too much, so he asked if I could do the Confederate flag in his head, and in the back of my head Im like, what kind of stuff are you on? Corey Scissorhands Sutter, the owner of the barbershop, said the cut was one of the most unusual requests the shop has received. Other customers have asked for Black Power, according to Sutter. OKLAHOMA 18-YEAR-OLD ARRESTED, ACCUSED OF PROSTITUTING TWO JUVENILES After the cut, he decided to take a picture of the hairdo and post it on his Facebook page. The hairstyle went viral and many social media users either condemned or supported the decision. The thing that’s really bothering me is, no matter how it may look to someone and them getting upset about it, this is what we do for a living, Sutter told KFOR. We provide a service for this person, and that’s what we’re supposed to do. Yeah, we could have denied it. Yes, we could have acted a fool and talked bad to him, tried to fight him or anything like that. But, he came in, he came in respectful. He wanted it. Heard said at the end of the day, the customer paid and was pleased with his haircut. You have the right to your opinion, Heard said. At the end of the day your opinion doesnt pay my bills, and I have kids to take care of.

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Prison Letter Reveals 2Pac Dumped Madonna Because She Was White – Complex

There are few celebrity couples that seem like odder fits than 2Pac and Madonna were when they were together. On the surface, they existed within very different spaces as artists, with ‘Pac speaking on issues of police brutality and black power while Madonna was cranking out pop hits. And as it turns out, there was a bigger elephant in the room than the type of music they made. In a newly-publicized letter 2Pac wrote from prison, he explains a motivating factor behind his breakup with Madonnarace. Though segments of the letter shared by TMZhave been blurred out, there are long sections we can read, including this bit on calling it off. “For you to be seen with a black man wouldn’t in any way jeopardize your career, if anything it would make you seem that much more open and exciting,” he wrote. “But for me at least in my previous perception, I felt due to my ‘image’ I would be letting down half of the people who made me what I thought I was. I never meant to hurt you.” Though he doesn’t say it outright, the implication from the letter is clear. If you listen to 2Pac’s early work, especially his debut album2Pacalypse Now, a lot of the issues he’s speaking to specific to the black experience in America. “Why did you lie to me? I couldn’t find a trace of equality,” he rapped on the song “Trapped,” and the message of black America’s tilted playing field was intertwined through his work until his untimely death. In his eyesor at least in the eyes of a certain segment of his fan basecontinuing a relationship with a white pop star like Madonna was no bueno. This is also a lot different than, say, Kodak Black’s recent assertion on his racial dating preferences. 2Pac’smotivations don’t appear driven by his own perception of beauty, but rather societal pressures put on him by the people supporting his music. Later in the letter, 2Pac also admits that things Madonna said publicly cut him deep. One interview she conducted in particular struck a chord, and it looks like it caused friction between them. “An interview where you said, ‘I’m off to rehabilitate all the rappers & basketball players’ or something to that effect, those words cut me deep seeing how I had never known you to be with any rappers besides myself,” he said. “It was at this moment out of hurt & a natural instinct to strike back and defend my heart & ego that I said a lot of things.” In the end, it seems like they were able to leave things on good terms, and 2Pac even closed the letter by asking Madonna to visit him in prison so he could talk about this with her in person. Though he felt they needed to end things for various reasons, it doesn’t sound like there was any ill will between them. The letter, which will be up for auction for $100K starting on July 19, can be viewed here.

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Exploring the Public School/Private School Divide in ‘Pipeline’ – New York Times

Photo Karen Pittman in Pipeline, written by Dominique Morisseau. Credit Sara Krulwich/The New York Times Dominique Morisseau has one of the most penetrating voices to emerge from the last decade of American theater, combining poetic vernacular with a probing social conscience that brings to mind Arthur Miller and August Wilson. In her Detroit Cycle of plays, particularly Skeleton Crew, she used solidly classic forms to investigate moral ambiguity, and her Sunset Baby explored the conflicted legacy of the Black Power movement of the 1960s and 70s. Now Ms. Morisseau is measuring a different sort of generational divide with Pipeline, now in previews and opening Monday, July 10, in a Lincoln Center Theater production, which portrays a city public-school teacher who sends her own son to a private academy, with explosive results. The director is Lileana Blain-Cruz, who has collaborated memorably with the boundary-pushing playwrights Lucas Hnath and Suzan-Lori Parks. (Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, lct.org.) A version of this article appears in print on July 2, 2017, on Page AR2 of the New York edition with the headline: The Class Divide, And Its Lessons.

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Conservative black journalist counters narrative pushed by campus race baiters – The College Fix

After conservative black journalist Jason Riley spoke at a historically black college in Pennsylvania on police shootings, crime rates and the need to take personal responsibility, the question-and-answer period launched with a query from a student in the crowd. Riley, a respected columnist at The Wall Street Journal and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, gives on average more than a dozen speeches on college campuses each year during which Q&As have been known to get testy, but on this particular occasion that wasnt the case. He thanks me for coming and asks, How do I get a job at The Wall Street Journal, Riley said. Rileys talk calling for personal responsibility to an audience filled with black students, black professors and black administrators barely raised an eyebrow. Everything I had said was commonsensical to them, he said. The only pushback I got was from white faculty members at the reception afterwards. Rileys point is the narrative that all black people in America are enraged and feel victimized over white privilege, institutional racism and police shootings and blame those issues entirely for the plight of the black community is inaccurate. He said its a concept pushed largely by the mainstream media and those who stand to profit. Lets face it, the grievance industry is a very lucrative one, Riley said, citing groups such as the NAACP and Black Lives Matter and individuals like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. There is money to be made playing the race card, Riley said in a recent interview with The College Fix. Ive argued that the Civil Rights movement has become a Civil Rights industry. Rileys new book, False Black Power, expands on that idea by pointing out that black Americans in the first half of the 20th centuryduring the darkest decades of Jim Crow, when racial discrimination was widespread, legal and often ruthlessly enforcednevertheless managed to climb out of poverty and gain access to white-collar professions at unprecedented rates that have never since been replicated, even after the passage of landmark civil rights legislation in the 1960s and the implementation of affirmative action programs in the 1970s. But electing black politicians in recent decades hasnt helped the black community fix its current woes. The persistence in racial inequality, even in the age of Obama, should tell us about using political power and politics to advance racial ethnic groups, Riley told The Fix. There are limits to this path and the Obama presidency is the last proof, and perhaps the best proof, that the problems blacks face today are not due to a lack of political clout. Thats an idea one might hear if they hang out in black barbershops and churches, but its never uttered inside a college classroom, where Ta-Nehisi Coates Between the World and Me, which discusses white American racism, is one of the most assigned books for freshmen. When you go talk to everyday blacks about the problems facing everyday blacks, you realize the critical race theories, and the Ta-Nehisi Coates and the Al Sharptons, dont really reflect the viewpoints of everyday blacks, that there is disconnect between them and the people they claim to speak for. Yet the narrative taught to students nationwide, riling them up over white privilege, institutional racism and police shootings, has sometimes created such angst that they aggressively disrupt and even shut down campus talks designed to present facts and data to support the notion that Blue Lives Matter and that cops are not the main problem facing the black community. Riley said in his experience speaking at college campuses what I have found is sort of the more elite, the more privileged, the more nonsensical the students and their reactions. And these kids are not being taught to debate, he said, they are being taught to silence their critics and administrators are indulging this. But at school after school you get this small clutch of conservative students who come up to you afterward and almost whisper to you, Thank you, thank you for coming, and we are sorry we didnt say much, Riley said. The idea that conservatives or just people who think differently about some of these issues are cowed into silence on campus these days is distributing. Riley acknowledged its going to be a challenge getting more and different points of view on campus, but added theres a silver lining. I dont know how many people who live in the real world are buying a lot of these academic arguments, he said. I know they get echoed in the elite media by liberal commentators but I think on some level those commentators are really only speaking to the academic elite its obvious that in the real world you cant talk about black incarceration rates without talking about black crime rates. This whole idea that blacks are locked up at higher rates strictly due to a racist criminal justice system and not due to any behavior on the part of the young black men being locked up I dont know if that goes very far with your average person, but it is a challenge. You want to get at the kids on campus and give them an alternative point of view, and its becoming increasingly difficult. But there may be an opening to convince young black minds that the real problems lie elsewhere, he added. On college campuses, these kids today are obviously a much younger generation that doesnt have the historical baggage of older generations when it comes to the history of blacks in this country, he said. This is a generation that came of age with a black president, with black mayors and governors and senators and all kinds of black political clout. And yet what has all that political clout gotten the black community? In False Black Power, Riley points out it hasnt gotten them much. Meanwhile, he writes, social scientists [a.k.a. professors] cowed by political correctness are still downplaying or denying the strong connection between black poverty and black family structure. The current focus on white racism and political solutions to racial gaps continues to miss the mark, Riley writes. Our national discussions spend ample time on the impact of slavery but precious little on the black social and economic trends that followed the growth of the modern welfare state. In the postslavery era, the differences in black progress before and after the Great Society interventions are glaring. When intact families were commonplace, the rise in black education, incomes, and occupations was significant and steady. As black family disorganization intensified and wealth-transfer programs grew in size and scope, that progress slowed in some cases and stalled in others, Riley writes. Liberals have attempted to compensate for black cultural retrogression since the 1960s with increased black political power. In 2008, America elected her first black president, and eight years later, one undeniable lesson was that political clout is no substitute for self development. Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter About the Author Fix Editor

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Inside Muhammad Ali’s FBI files – For The Win

It took an all-white jury of six men and six women just 21 minutes of deliberating to return a guilty verdict against Muhammad Ali in 1967. On this date in 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously reversed the heavyweight champions convictionfor violating the United States Selective Service laws by refusing induction for military service during the Vietnam War.Stripped of his title and still referred to as Cassius Clay in legal proceedings, Ali faced five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, the maximum for the felony. After declaring himself a conscientious objector to war on religious grounds as a member of the Nation of Islam in 1966, the attention Ali received from the federal government intensified. During his trial and appeals while out on the $5,000 bond he posted, he remained shunned from the boxing world and a target of government surveillance. While assisting with research for Jonathan Eigs newest book, Ali: A Life, I was fortunate enough to sift through Alis recently released FBI files dated 1967-1969 although some documents go as far forward as 1974 which specifically relate to the draft. Buried among the hundreds of procedural documents and mundane internal memos are some historical gems rarely seen or seldom mentioned when discussing the greatest boxer of all time. Dated February 28, 1966, Ali detailed on a four-page form the reasons that qualified him to be a conscientious objector, as well as the names and locations of mosques known to [him], the names of people who could vouch for his sincerity and his beliefs about violence in general. Multiple times, he denied the name Cassius Clay and called it his Slave Name, signing his RIGHT NAME as Muhammad Ali where it was required. With two options from which to choose for identifying himself as exempt from war, Ali selected the second, more detailed option, which stated he was conscientiously opposed to participation in war in any form as well as participation in noncombatant training and service in the Armed Forces. His beliefs kept him from partaking in war when not ordered by Allah. 5. Under what circumstances, if any, do you believe in the use of force? Only in sports and self defense These particular FBI files included hundreds of letters sent to Presidents Johnson and Nixon and their respective Justice Departments some praising Ali and asking for action in his favor but most castigating him for evading the draft when the young men in their lives stepped forward to serve. Some were respectful, while others let their racist feelings fly. The milder letters called him a slacker and sarcastically a super-patriot. But one stood out among the others. Signed as Concerned Black Students from Madison, Wisconsin with individual names at the bottom, the July 1967 letter asked the Justice Department to drop the charges against Ali and to investigate discrimination by the Selective Service System, among other demands. As a department noted for its racist complaisance through inaction, you have shown remarkable vigor in the prosecution of this particular case. Are we to conclude from our observations that the Justice Department is Johnny-on-the-spot only when the American power structure is threatened, but not when the lives of Black people are in mortal danger? Attached to a March 1970 letter to the federal government demanding to know why Ali was not imprisoned is an Associated Press photo of him on skis in Vermont. Although its just the cutout, according to the Burlington Free Press, the photo is from 1970. Among several newspaper clips that appear to track media coverage of Alis actions in the late 60s is a 1967 Muhammad Speaks article about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. praising the fighters draft refusal. Every young man in this country who believes that this war is abominable and unjust should file as a conscientious objector, the Nobel Peace Prize winner said. Praising the stand of Muhammad Ali, he went on, He is giving up even fame. He is giving up millions of dollars in order to stand up for what his conscience tells him is right. While exiled from the world of boxing, Ali spoke at universities and religious events across the country. But he also starred in a short-lived musical in 1969 called Buck White. Noted in newspaper clips in his file, the play was met with mixed reviews. According to one article, Clay Is Still a Champ In 1st Broadway Bout: Clay doesnt appear until the show is half overbut when he does he takes charge in amazing fashion. Although he portrays a black power leader, he doesnt shout, rant or threaten. He is a big man, of course, but he rules with uncannily quiet power. He speaks most clearly and he sings surprisingly well, particularly in a black narrative titled We Came in Chains. But the New Jersey paper The Daily Home News headlined the review Buck White Packs Lil Punch: In the second half of the evening Clay sings in a thin and unsteady voice At the end of the play he gets to talk to the audience in at last a real and honest way. He is no longer trying to act (in fact he seems to have just about had it with the Afro-wig and beard) and he seems a decent human being preaching a philosophy he earnestly believes in. But the stage never really rocks, never really involves, not even when an obviously planted white racist asks properly inflammatory questions. This turns out to be the show at its silliest when the racist, too, bursts into song.

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June 28, 2017   Posted in: Black Power  Comments Closed


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