Tag Archives: Barack Obama

NYC Baker Makes "Drunken Negro Face" Cookies; Threatens Obama

The owner of the Lafayette French Pastery in NYC’s Greenwich Village (located at 26 Greenwich Ave New York, NY 10011-8319 Phone: (212) 242-7580) thought is making a new cookie: Drunken Negro Faces. In the following news story by local news channel Fox 5, several people reported actually being told that the cookies were called “Drunken Nigger Faces.” To top it off, he told people they were in honor of our new President, who he said would “he’s following the same path of Lincoln, he will get his.” presumably wishing for his assassination.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8l_UD2N6R4s]

Here’s what a recent tourist wrote on the website Chow.com who stopped by this bakery:

“You should know this bakery is absolutely horrible. We stopped in while on vacation to see my aunt, and she had been there a few times before. When we came in on Tuesday, they were selling “Ni**er Heads,” poorly made chocolate treats.

Know that this bakery symbolizes hate and ignorance. Do not go here. The owner was quoted as saying “he’s going the way of Lincoln…” and denying he was talking about assassination.

Do not give any money to this business, do what you can to bring them down; it is a new era, it is 2009?! I can’t believe these people still exist.

… and I saw a mouse scurrying behind the display case… probably should have put that first…”

So I guess the mouse was a bigger deal to this tourist than the cookie. What’s also wierd to me about this news report on the video is the weird grins on the faces of the two white women they talk to who reported hearing this. I mean I guess I am glad they found it offensive, but could they just be less glad about it?

Black LGBT Folk To Protest Rick Warren's MLK Day Sermon at King's Church

The layers of the following story are a mess. But let’s jump in:

One year ago this weekend, then-Senator Barack Obama delivered a speech at Ebenezer Baptist Church where he very directly challenged the Black church and by extension the Black Community on its treatment of Black LGBT folks. He said:

For most of this country’s history, we in the African-American community have been at the receiving end of man’s inhumanity to man. And all of us understand intimately the insidious role that race still sometimes plays – on the job, in the schools, in our health care system, and in our criminal justice system. And yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that none of our hands are entirely clean. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King’s vision of a beloved community. We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them.

The leadership at Ebeneezer Baptist Church, the church that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King , Jr. was pastor, and which played a huge role in the Civil Rights Movement, paid that speech no mind, and President Barack Obama doesn’t seemed to have meant much by it, either. Why? Not only does Obama choose Rev. Rick Warren (Prop 8 supporter, evolution denier and anti-choice zealot) to give the invocation at his inauguration, but Ebenezer Baptist Church has chosen this white evangelical pastor to give the sermon at the MLK Day service!

Coretta Scott King and daughter Yolanda King (both deceased) were both allies to the LGBT community, and would have flat out disapproved of this choice, and so likely would have Martin. It’s hard not to think Sharpton’s speech one week before MLK Day in Atlanta wasn’t also given as an indirect scolding of Ebenezer choosing Rick Warren. But luckily, the Atlanta Black LGBT Coalition, being led by two friends/comrades of mine, Paris Hatcher & Craig Washington, are leading a protest of Ebenezer this weekend to express their outrage on this choice. Southern Voice (my favorite of all LGBT newspapers) writes:

“Warren not only compares women having an abortion to Nazis, and pro-choice supporters to holocaust deniers, but he also opposed the right of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and queer folk to marriage, as well as [admittance] to his church,” said Craig Washington, a founding member of the Atlanta Black LGBT Coalition, which is organizing the protest…These views, these words, are acts of oppression. They are incompatible with the dream of the beloved community Martin Luther King envisioned, and the spirit with which Coretta Scott King founded the King Center.”

Warren “preaches a message that is dated, harmful and dangerous about our bodies, our sexualities and our communities,” said Paris Hatcher, a lesbian activist with reproductive rights group Spark!, another protest organizer.“As members of King’s beloved community, we say that all communities are sacred,” Hatcher said. “And at times like these, Atlanta needs to hear a message of love and liberation that affirms everyone, not a narrow opinion that reinforces the dialogue of oppression and shame.”

The protest is scheduled for Monday, January 19th at 9am, at the corner of Jackson & Auburn Streets, across from Ebenezer.

The reality is that we’re going to have to continue to bring it to the rest of the Black community like this from here on in.

What it Looks Like Now: The Obama Presidency

Yesterday I appeared on GRIT.TV with Laura Flanders talking about controversy surrpinding Obama’s choosing Rick Warren as the person giving the Invocation for the Inauguration. I said on the show, that to me, the choice represented 3 things:

  1. Obama has officially bgean his 2012 run, and this choices was to bring Christian conservatives to his side.
  2. To finally neutralize the rumors that he’s a Muslim, and who better to reassure White American than Rick Warren?
  3. That perhaps he actually is more of a Clintonian Democrat than Progressives would like to believe.

My co-panelists disagreed, and I wish I’d have been better prepared for such opposition. I agree that some of his policy platform looks at this point to the left of Bill Clinton, but many of the people he’s appointed to carry out policy are either to the Right of, or very directly from the Clinton Administration. I also added that Obama’s use of the Clintonian political tactic of triangulation  is very much a part of his political strategy as a “uniter.” Wikipedia defines triangulation as:

Triangulation is the name given to the act of a political candidate presenting his or her ideology as being “above” and “between” the “left” and “right” sides (or “wings”) of a traditional (e.g. UK or US) democratic “political spectrum”. It involves adopting for oneself some of the ideas of one’s political opponent (or apparent opponent). The logic behind it is that it both takes credit for the opponent’s ideas, and insulates the triangulator from attacks on that particular issue.

Obama has clearly used this strategy in his statment about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict (“When bombs are raining down on your citizens[ISRAEL, THAT IS], then there is an urge to try and put an end to that.”) But beyond triangulation in speech and Cabinet choices, there is just general political calculation that is going on.

Case in point: After many re-iterations of the “I believe a marriage should be between a man and a woman” talking point, The Windy City Times just published a questionnaire from Obama in 1996 where he clearly states “I favor legalising same-sex marriages.”

Now I am not turning this into a “gotcha” blog post because I am interested in pusing Obama to try to pass same-sex marriage legislation–in the absense of something more expansive to self-define my family–I’ll take the civil union, thank you very much. But it is an example that our soon to be sworn in President is not capable of the same political re-positioning of past Democratic Presidents.  I think it’s time to put the party favors down and change the lenses in the rose-tinted glasses .  If we’re planning to have anything to really celebrate materially 4-8 years from now, we’ve got to take the kid gloves off.

Note: The New Issue of Black Commentator has apublished part 1 of a new 3-part  piece dealing with the significance of this moment, as it relates to the politics of the last 40 years withthe author, Dr. Horace Campbell refers to as the counter-revolutionary period.

The Clintons Take Drama to Shakespearean Levels

How much like the Macbeths are the Clintons? Though they switch roles between Lady M and McB himself, the two seem to be hell-bent on remaining in power and will bring down the Democratic Party in the process if they must.

Note to the Left: Listen, I am not really a Democrat any more than I am a Republican, but this is a moment in history where I think we need to be strategic. If John McCain wins you’d just better pack and move–he’s about as centrist as he is psychologically stable. So for all of Obama’s flaws, I don’t feel like I can afford a McCain presidency. There’s not enough Pepto-Bismol in all the world to stomach the disaster that is going to be. But i digress.

Just when I thought it was all over, signs seem to point to the fact that the Clintons may still be hoping to sabotage the Obama candicacy in hopes of a Hilary Clinton ticket in 2012.

In a “non-shock of the week” turn of events, The Atlantic Monthly’s September feature story proves that the Clinton Campaign worked really hard to drape themselves in the fabric of American flag-style patriotism, and paint Obama as foreign other who couldn’t be trusted (this scoop, combined with me picking up the last two brilliant issues at airports this summer means the mag has won itself a new subscriber in Kenyon Farrow!). Non-shock as it is, The Atlantic has published all the emails/memos on their site proving it (theatlantic.com/clinton), and the story is an interesting timeling of the inner workings of her campaign. Joshua Green writes:

Two things struck me right away. The first was that, outward appearances notwithstanding, the campaign prepared a clear strategy and did considerable planning. It sweated the large themes (Clinton’s late-in-the-game emergence as a blue-collar champion had been the idea all along) and the small details (campaign staffers in Portland, Oregon, kept tabs on Monica Lewinsky, who lived there, to avoid any surprise encounters). The second was the thought: Wow, it was even worse than I’d imagined! The anger and toxic obsessions overwhelmed even the most reserved Beltway wise men. Surprisingly, Clinton herself, when pressed, was her own shrewdest strategist, a role that had never been her strong suit in the White House. But her advisers couldn’t execute strategy; they routinely attacked and undermined each other, and Clinton never forced a resolution. Major decisions would be put off for weeks until suddenly she would erupt, driving her staff to panic and misfire.

But we thought since she lost, she’d concede to get a cushy job in the new administration (though not the VP slot) and leave well enough alone. Maureen Dowd, who undoubetdly despises the Hillary Clinton, wrote in her  column yesterday that Hillary and Bill are still planning to use their platforms as major speakers at the Democratic National Convention to set Hillary up as the nominee in 2012, and damage Obama’s chances against McCain now.

Hillary feels no guilt about encouraging her supporters to mess up Obama’s big moment, thus undermining his odds of beating John McCain and improving her odds of being the nominee in 2012.

She’s obviously relishing Hillaryworld’s plans to have multiple rallies in Denver, to take out TV and print ads and to hold up signs in the hall that read “Denounce Nobama’s Coronation.”

In a video of a closed California fund-raiser on July 31 that surfaced on YouTube, Hillary was clearly receptive to having her name put in nomination and a roll-call vote.

She said she thought it would be good for party unity if her gals felt “that their voices are heard.” But that’s disingenuous. Hillary was the one who raised the roll-call idea at the end of May with Democrats, who were urging her to face the math. She said she wanted it for Chelsea, oblivious to how such a vote would dim Obama’s star turn. Ever since she stepped aside in June, she’s been telling people privately that there might have to be “a catharsis” at the convention, signaling she wants a Clinton crescendo.

Bill continues to howl at the moon — and any reporters in the vicinity — about Obama; he’s starting to make King Lear look like Ryan Seacrest.

LOL!!! Further proving Dowd’s point, Bill Clinton had the fucking nerve to tell ABC News last week that Congressman James Clyburn (D-SC) had purposefully made him look like a racist and ruin Clinton’s Negro Pass in the Black Community–a fact which Clyburn categorically denies.

Clinton told ABC News last week that Clyburn “used to be” an old friend of his, but he “was not Hillary’s supporter. Never. Not ever. Not for a day.”

When told that Clyburn had said Clinton damaged his own credibility with the black community, Clinton responded, “That may be by the time he got through working on it, that was probably true.”

Though Clyburn usually operates with the utmost restraint, I think he should tell Bill:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40Gi28pNruA&feature=related]

New Yorker Obama Cover: Satire or Racist Sensationalism?

By now you’ve heard about the infamous cover of this week’s New Yorker magazine, which is a (presumably) satirical take on all the internet rumors circulated by The Right about Obama–he’s secretly a Muslim, his wife (Michelle Obama) is a cracker-hating Black Revolutionary, burning the flag, and that they are somehow in cohoots Al Qaida–all while doing the infamous fist-bump (called a “terrorist fist-jab” by a Fox News reporter). But wait? Weren’t these same people thinking that Obama was the spitting image of his CHRISTIAN former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright? But I digress.

Their has been a backlash against the New Yorker for publishing the photo, with Obama’s campaign spokesperson, Bill Burton saying “The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Senator Obama’s right-wing critics have tried to create. But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree.”

McCain’s team even said “We completely agree with the Obama campaign, it’s tasteless and offensive.”

The magazine said in a statement today that it “combines a number of fantastical images about the Obamas and shows them for the obvious distortions they are.”

But does this cover really provide a satire, or help to actually rehash fears of Black rebellion (in a post 9-11 anti-Islam context)? In my opinion, there are several issues here.

  1. The New Yorker has a long investigative article on Obama in this issue of the magazine, but it doesn’t deal with the issues the cover of the magazine is tackling.
  2. I subscribe to the New Yorker, and what’s weird about this cover is that the covers very rarely have anything to do with the content of the magazine.
  3. If you don’t know The New Yorker, seeing the photo on its own, does leave one to question whether it is satire or slander.

I think that all the talk about this cover in the press, whether you think it’s is satire (which by definition, according to my Dictionary application employs “the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues,”) or slander, the truth is it does expose and hold up all of the racist stereotypes, and that hyperscrutiny, can perhaps neutralize them. There will obviously be people who want to believe all this, and so they will continue to because, well, they think there’s something wrong with being a revolutionary (the drawing of Michelle for me hearkens to Angela Davis), something wrong with Islam in general, and something suspicious and potentially violent about Blackness in general. And though he is Black, he is not a Muslim, and hardly a revolutionary.

What’s interesting to me is that this cover, done by a liberal magazine, seems to have given Conservatives an opportunity to feign taking the high road, as if they have not been directly responsible for floating these narratives about Obama specifically, and Black people (and Muslims) as a whole for many, many years! Now they can pretend to be outrage by an image they they had every hand in creating.

This Week in Black Masculinity: Barack Obama, R. Kelly, and Usher

Black men were in the news this week–and only one of them involved a criminal trial. But all of them in some way or another deal with problematic around Black men/masculinties and black male sexuality.

On Sunday, Barack Obama spent Father’s Day in Chicago delivering a speech about the need for Black men to be more engaged in the lives of their children. He said:

It’s up to us – as fathers and parents – to instill this ethic of excellence in our children. It’s up to us to say to our daughters, don’t ever let images on TV tell you what you are worth, because I expect you to dream without limit and reach for those goals. It’s up to us to tell our sons, those songs on the radio may glorify violence, but in my house we live glory to achievement, self respect, and hard work. It’s up to us to set these high expectations. And that means meeting those expectations ourselves. That means setting examples of excellence in our own lives.

The second thing we need to do as fathers is pass along the value of empathy to our children. Not sympathy, but empathy – the ability to stand in somebody else’s shoes; to look at the world through their eyes. Sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up in “us,” that we forget about our obligations to one another. There’s a culture in our society that says remembering these obligations is somehow soft – that we can’t show weakness, and so therefore we can’t show kindness.

But our young boys and girls see that. They see when you are ignoring or mistreating your wife. They see when you are inconsiderate at home; or when you are distant; or when you are thinking only of yourself. And so it’s no surprise when we see that behavior in our schools or on our streets. That’s why we pass on the values of empathy and kindness to our children by living them. We need to show our kids that you’re not strong by putting other people down – you’re strong by lifting them up. That’s our responsibility as fathers.

Though his speech generally falls within the context of more “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps,’ there are a couple things about this speech that I like.

  1. He doesn’t once talk about “unwed” mothers, or children “born out of wedlock.” I hate that logic. Its as if being born outside of a marriage or for women to be unmarried with children is the downfall of civilization. I like that he instead talks about the need for parents to be involved in their children’s lives, and does not confine that to the context of marriage and marriage alone.
  2. He acknowledges the hard work that single mothers are doing without blaming or pathologizing their condition. He’s instead saying, “they didn’t bring them into this world alone, step the fuck up.” Some people won’t like that. But I think that we have to address the ability of many men to abdicate any responsilbility for their children as a form of patriarchy, and not solely about racism deployed against black men that won’t allow them to be “providers” (i.e. proper patriarchs).

Read his policy vision regarding fatherhood and families further down in the above link.

Now that you’ve been potentially inspired, let’s talk about some bad news in Black masculinity: R. Kelly was acquitted on all counts on the statutory rape charges from the infamous video that dated back several years. But there’s some pushback: ATL-based underground funkstar Joi Gilliam posted on her Facebook page this message: “Joi Gilliam is disgusted with the r. kelly “not guilty” verdict and ready for proper vigilante justice to happen when the courts fail us.” LOL!!!

Also, a new statement/petition is circulating the internet called Black Men Against the Exploitation of Black Women, written in light of the R. Kelly verdict:

“We have proudly seen the community take to the streets in defense of Black men who have been the victims of police violence or racist attacks, but that righteous outrage only highlights the silence surrounding this verdict.

We believe that our judgment has been clouded by celebrity-worship; we believe that we are a community in crisis and that our addiction to sexism has reached such an extreme that many of us cannot even recognize child molestation when we see it.


We recognize the absolute necessity for Black men to speak in a single, unified voice and state something that should be absolutely obvious: that the women of our community are full human beings, that we cannot and will not tolerate the poisonous hatred of women that has already damaged our families, relationships and culture.

We believe that our daughters are precious and they deserve our protection. We believe that Black men must take responsibility for our contributions to this terrible state of affairs and make an effort to change our lives and our communities.”

Lastly, Usher told Vibe Magazine said that lesbianism is running rampant in the Black communities because of a lack of available Black men. “It can never be bad to have a foundation as a man—a black man—in a time when women are dying for men,” he says. “Women have started to become lovers of each other as a result of not having enough men. Are you not studying the stories? Wake up! Black love is a good thing.”

That is so much of a hot mess I don’t even know where to begin. Just sing for us Usher. And take off your shirt. This man who has become lovers of other men is so disappointed with the foolish things that men say I almost have no use for you to talk.

What's So Different About Oregon & Kentucky???

The nano-second after the polls closed in Kentucky, CNN announced Clinton to be the winner of the primary there–and she won the primary with a 30 point lead. Over the last week, the press has been obsessed with Clinton being stronger against white working-class voters, as opposed to Obama, who is popular among Black (and Black people are simply Black, no nuances about class/gender divides necessary. The little discussion of other racial groups and voting as all but disappeared.) and White upper-class liberals.

But I decided to look up the Census data on both states to see if this is really true. And I am not sure that this definition explains Clintons wins in the Appalachian states (OH, PA, KY, WV, IN, TN).

Kentucky:

Whites: 90.2%

Blacks: 7.5%

High School Grads: 74.1%

College Grads: 17.1%

Median Income: $37.0K

% Living in Poverty: 16.3

Now, let’s look at Oregon:

Whites: 90.5%

Blacks: 1.9%

High School Grads: 85.1%

College Grads: 25.1%

Median Income: $42.5K

% Living in Poverty: 12.9

Now, when you compare those numbers, are they really statistically that different, enough to explain the difference between what’s happening in two states, who, by the numbers, look fairly similar compared to what the press is saying explains their differences? If you want my humble opinion, there is something happening in these Appalachian states that cannot be accounted for simply by “white working class.” Just this weekend, Obama spoke in front of 75,000 people in Oregon, and from what I could tell, most of them white. He also won the Oregon primary by about an 18 point lead.

What do you think is driving the difference?

A friend pointed me to this website called US Election Atlas, which breaks down the primary results by county. We looked at some states where we know the race/class breakdown by county, and many cases, the media narrative doesn’t seem to fit.

Give Me That Ole Time Racism: Obama "Monkey" Shirts Appear in Georgia

I shouldn’t even repeat this by posting it, but a bar in Marietta, GA (a burb of ATL) has been making this T-shirt, which has Black folks protesting in front of the bar:

Photo by TimothyJ-Flickr

And this was a burb of ATLANTA!!! The new Black (Gay) Mecca. Is there any wonder why he didn’t win West Virginia? The Washington Post wrote about the racist shit that’s been happening to people campaigning for him across the country. The sad thing is that there is no way for his campaign to even address it publicly without playing into the “this is why he can’t win” narrative.

Was Clinton Behind Jeremiah Wright's Resurface?

I knew something about this didn’t smell right. Initially, watching Reverend Jeremiah Wright on PBS was really useful and informative, and then seeing him in front of the National Press Club was, well, interesting.

I actually very much appreciated his opening (and scripted) remarks. But as the Q&A went on, I had to wonder, WHAT THE FUCK IS HE DOING? AND WHY NOW?

I know it must have been hard for Wright, or anyone, to be publicly thrashed the way he was in the media over the last month or so. I understand it must have been hard to listen to someone you helped acclimate himself to Chicago, baptized their children and preside over their wedding, to distance themselves from you in order to appeal to white voters. I also agree with Wright’s notion that the media attack on him was less about him per se, or Obama really, but was really about white America’s continued fear and anxiety that Black people really can’t stand them–and that the Black church, even after the Civil Rights Movement was long destroyed, still can be a place to radicalize Black people! And they really ain’t tryin to have no President who has anything to do with Black “radical-ism”.

In any case, Wright really seemed to be doing more than responding to his critics yesterday. He seemed to be both mocking the “press” and all its fakery of objectivity and fairness, and by extension, mocking the people who have tried to paint him into the box of the angry (and foolish) black preacher. But his mockery, in many ways, seemed to re-inscribe himself into that very box he seemed to want to move out of. He seemed to be caught up in the celebrity that the moment has given him, and less like someone who was really trying to redeem his reputation or that of his church, or the Black Church as a whole.

I am not arguing for a bourgie politics of respectability. I am not saying he should back away from his statements about the US, 9-11, HIV or anything of the sort (though in some places I wish he had more factual information and data to back up or re-frame his messaging in these issues). I am saying he has to know that the way he came off was cocky and at moments buffoonish– and really did very little to salvage his reputation of that of the Black church.

What’s interesting though, whether you believe he was trying to protect himself and the Black church, or that he was caught up in the moment or the idea of his own bravado and celebrity, he might have been a pawn in a political game, and did not see it coming.

Daily News columnist Errol Louis seems to suggest that Wright may have been set up by a Clinton supporter, who was the person who asked him to speak at this press conference. Errol writes:

Shortly before he rose to deliver his rambling, angry, sarcastic remarks at the National Press Club Monday, Wright sat next to, and chatted with, Barbara Reynolds.

A former editorial board member at USA Today, she runs something called Reynolds News Services and teaches ministry at the Howard University School of Divinity. (She is an ordained minister).

It also turns out that Reynolds – introduced Monday as a member of the National Press Club “who organized” the event – is an enthusiastic Hillary Clinton supporter.

On a blog linked to her Web site- www.reynoldsnews.com- Reynolds said in a February post: “My vote for Hillary in the Maryland primary was my way of saying thank you” to Clinton and her husband for the successes of Bill Clinton‘s presidency.

If it turns out that Wright was set up, and this was a ploy to cost Obama the nomination, I wonder how Wright will reconcile this with himself.

Or worse even, as NYTimes columnist Bob Herbert expresses, was this Wright’s way to get back at Obama?