FYI — Jack and Jill Politics is going to move to another, better blogging platform in a few weeks. We’ll have a slicker look-and-feel and possibly better bells and whistles. Don’t be scared. Progress is good. Much thanks to Jack for his leadership on the move to that deluxe apartment in the sky.

Peace. Jill

American Muslims cross racial and ethnic lines — from Asian-American to Arab-American to African-American and so on. Support for Bush and Republicans in general is eroding now for some of the same reasons Latinos have turned away from Bush: Iraq and immigration.

Muslims also feel Bush has failed to protect them from the post-9/11 backlash:

CAIR research director Mohamed Nimer said the survey showed American Muslims were most concerned about civil liberties — an issue that has dominated the community since the September 11 attacks carried out by Muslim extremists — and education.

Foreign policy issues followed closely behind, it showed.

“There is a tremendous opposition to the Bush administration policies,” Nimer said, citing the 55 percent of respondents who felt the war on terror has become a war on Islam.

Eighty-eight percent believed the Iraq war was not worthwhile for the United States and 90 percent were against using military means to spread democracy around the world.

The survey also showed about 43 percent of those questioned felt they had been discriminated against or been the subject of racial profiling. (Source: Washington Post)

According to WaPo: “Estimates of the number of Muslim Americans vary between 3 million and 7 million. Eighty-nine percent of those surveyed said they vote regularly”. That’s a lot of people. If you believe the wiki on the subject, there are about 6 million Jews in America today by contrast. The day could come soon when Muslims represent a similarly powerful voter constituency.

This is a huge opportunity for Democrats and progressives. Hope they don’t blow it as badly as Bush and his ilk. You can read the study here.

What can Brown do for you, Mr. or Ms. Candidate? They can vote for you. Or as the Republicans are now learning — not vote for you. No one has really talked much about it but part of the reason Democrats are looking to do well in the mid-term election is that Latinos are swinging left. (Hat tip: DemFromCT via DailyKos)

President Bush, strategist Karl Rove and other top Republicans have wooed Latino and black leaders, many of them evangelical clergy who lead large congregations, in hopes of peeling away the traditional Democratic base. But now some of the leaders who helped Bush win in 2004 are revisiting their loyalty to the Republican Party and, in some cases, abandoning it.

The Latino backlash has grown so intense that one prominent, typically pro-Republican organization, the Latino Coalition, has endorsed Democrats in competitive races this year in Tennessee, Nebraska and New Jersey. The coalition is chaired by Hector Barreto, the former administrator of the Small Business Administration under Bush; its president is a former strategist for the Republican National Committee. (Source: LA Times)

In 2004, Latinos were the “It” demographic. Everybody wanted their vote. Does anyone remember the awkwardness of both Bush and Kerry speaking Spanish at rallies? In 2006, it’s all about the Black vote. Look, the black and brown were paying attention during the Katrina TV coverage. The Republicans left the black and brown to die around this time last year. All of the promises and church clapping and tamale eating by white politicians, it all looks really fake now. The Republicans have flip-flopped on immigration so many times swerving from violations of human rights to amnesty to fence building and back again.

Futhermore, Blacks and Latinos serve disproportionately in the military. Many of us know people who have been sent to Iraq and Afghanistan. Black and Latino voters and their leaders are angry about what’s happening over there — and what’s happening over here. And they’re not likely to be fooled by Bush’s pretending to be open to options other than “stay the course” whether it’s on Iraq, healthcare, education, energy prices or any other Bush issue.

Steve Gilliard says:

More importantly, talking to churches is a pointless strategy, because the ministers don’t control the Congregation. They can take the money, but the church ladies are the center of gravity in the church. And blacks seperate religion and economics rather sharply. Just because someone goes to TD Jakes megachurch on Sunday doesn’t mean she’s not a Houston teacher and union member on Monday. So lining up the ministers would fail badly.

And outside attempts to reach black voters range from the insulting to the outright racist.

As America become 50 percent minority, the GOP is doomed as a whites only party, something Mehlman got and Rove didn’t take as seriously as he needed to.

What did they do instead? Between Katrina, and Kanye West delivered the death blow to Bush’s hopes of black support, and the immigration rallies, where Latino teenagers first formative political experience was opposing the GOP, they have ensured that another generation will not listen to their pleas.

The Republicans were able to gain some inroads because the Democrats took key elements of their base for granted. Now that the Republicans have shown their true colors, it’s up to the Democrats now to welcome back the Black and the Brown. Not with a shrug but with open arms. Try asking — what can I do for Brown for a change rather than what can Brown do for me?

Watching the Deval Patrick v. Kerry “You Know You Want to Rape Me” Healey race in Massachusetts got me thinking about Boston. Many black friends have told me that that city is among the most racist in America. Having a bit of a thing for alternative weeklies, I decided to check out Boston’s publication, The Weekly Dig, and see how they covered our people.

Expecting zero coverage. imagine my surprise…

… when I came across a glowing review of the movie American Blackout published the same day Jill mentioned it:

I just involuntarily got up on my desk and shouted, in a voice about 500 percent more churchworthy than mine, “What would happen to American politics if every black vote simply got counted?” Damn—it sounded like Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA). Using the swiftboating of McKinney as a backdrop, Blackout documents the ways in which black voters got shut out of the polls in the last two national elections, with a depth and resonance rarely achieved by the media coverage at the time.

But wait. There’s more! I also found this long-ish story on the efforts of Ed Bullins to continue the overtly political theatre of the Black Arts Movement by starting a theatre company in the Roxbury neighborhood:

Bringing hot-button art to the public has never been easy. And if that art’s got a political message, well, then you’re really screwed. Odds are damned high that someone in power is going to have a serious problem with it.

Ed Bullins is all too familiar with this phenomenon. The acclaimed playwright has been having a whole lot of trouble getting his new theatre company, Roxbury Crossroads Theatre, off the ground. Now in its second year, the company is only just mounting its first full production, A Black Arts Drama Showcase

So much for blanket stereotypes about cities. Perhaps this will inspire a regular “virtual tour of local media coverage by and about blacks and politics.” If you have any leads, do pass them on to your man Jack Turner.

Oh and bigup to Afro-Netizen and blackprof for their coverage of Brown University’s report on reparations. I was planning my own post on the subject, but they did such a solid job, I’ll just pass on the link love. Once I’ve had a chance to read the full report, I may offer my own take on the report and implications for a broader, nationwide discussion of reparations beyond, “I’m rich beyotch!”

From the Washington Post:

George H.W. Bush:
“I would hate to think . . . what my son’s life would be like” if their Republican Party lost its majorities.

George “Dubya Dumbass” Bush:
“He shouldn’t be speculating like this, because — he should have called me ahead of time and I’d tell him they’re not going to [win].”

Jill to Dubya:
“Be afraid. Be very afraid…of accountability under the hands of good, smart, brave men like John Conyers and Charlie Rangel. Your daddy’s afraid of ‘these wild Democrats in charge of these [congressional] committees’. And you should be too.”

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You know, I personally don’t think Jim Webb is racist. Is he perhaps a little awkward in his communications with black voters? Maybe, but he’s getting better. Doug Wilder, the first black governor of Virginia, thinks Webb needs to do more to get his endorsement. Wilder’s endorsement is critical in any contemporary VA race and Webb needs it badly given this tight contest.

From the Washington Times:

Mr. Wilder said that he has spoken with both nominees — and with Mr. Webb as recently as Thursday.
“I told him that I think a lot of people are looking to see which of the candidates has a concise clear message that distinguishes one from the other,” he said. “It’s not a matter of voting against somebody but reasons that people would want to vote for Jim Webb.”
Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, a Democrat, knows the power of a Wilder blessing: He was endorsed by the mayor Nov. 2, less than a week before last year’s election.
“It helped a lot,” Mr. Kaine told The Times. “At that point, we felt like we had momentum and it was a confirmation of momentum, which created more momentum.”

Webb needs black votes. Facing South asks why Webb isn’t doing better and comes up with a few answers, including his popularity with African-Americans.

Then there’s the issue of race. Given Allen’s “macaca moment” and other episodes, this should be Webb’s ace in the hole. But as recently as 2000, Webb was bashing affirmative action (a position he’s since retreated from) and in 1990, he addressed Confederate descendants at the National Confederate Memorial, asserting that Southern soldiers believed they were fighting for “sovereignty rather than slavery.” It has added up to a problem…

I think Wilder wants to come out for Webb given his statement like:

Wilder told the Free Press that “he would keep searching for [Virginia State] Sen. Lambert’s justification for backing Sen. Allen, who has voted for the policies of Republican President George W. Bush 97 percent of the time.” Wilder added that he was “mystified” and “wanted to know the reason.” (Source: Not Larry Sabato

Webb hasn’t given him the opening Wilder’s looking for apparently.

There are a lot of reasons to vote for someone other than George “Noose” Allen. I think there are reasons to vote for Webb though. He’s a good candidate and would make a solid Democratic senator. He just needs to demonstrate his understanding of black folks and our issues. Let’s hope more people agree with me come election day. Including Doug Wilder.

I just read Gregory Kane’s article over at entitled “What Was the Greatest Black Conservative Organization Ever? The Black Panthers“. Forget about the racist, fraudulent, front group Black America’s PAC (BAMPAC). Oh no, when black Americans create their own conservative organization, it has a home-grown unique flavor. Like the difference between sauteed spinach and collard greens with hot sauce and bacon. Oh and it won’t be underground or subtle. Like the Panthers, Clarence Thomas, Condi Rice or Ward Connerly, for example, they’ll make themselves known and get attention. From the article:

But on many of their core principles, the Panthers were the forerunners of today’s black conservatives. Four examples prove my point.

1. The Panthers absolutely believed in the Second Amendment. Today’s black liberal Democrats scurry for the hills whenever anybody mentions gun rights. In 1966, Newton and Seale had the gall to tell Oakland and the world that both the spirit and letter of the words “a well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” applied to black folks.

I think this article is a bit tongue-in-cheek. After all, we used to get the Black Panther Party newsletter at home when I was a little kid. Other periodicals included the Crisis, Ebony, and um, Harper’s Bazaar.

Right. Anyway, I actually read it as a little kid. I don’t remember much. I liked the cartoons.

Cross-posted at

Yo, I heard it’s said the revolution won’t be televised
But in the land of milk and honey
There’s a date you gotta sell it by
Otherwise it just expires and spoils….

The revolution’s here
No one can lead you off your path
You’ll try to change the world
So please excuse me while I laugh

– lyrics from Talib Kweli‘s The Beautiful Struggle

Welcome to another look into the cross-section of race and politics in America. Things are getting down to the wire; the clock is running out on what we hope will be D-Day — Democrats’ Day — on Nov. 7. Republicans are desperate and trying a new flava of fear — instead of terrorism, it’s fear of the brown, fear of the Other. Trouble is, this time, it’s failing. People have stopped buying the Rethuglicans’ bull and between Iraq, child sex predators, indictments and other assorted crimes and misdememors. If you can, drop a little cash — say $25 — on Matt Stoller and Chris Bowers to help them bring us the news from the field. Think of it as taking one of them out to lunch or dinner. Join the beautiful struggle and let’s keep working towards a November revolution. Please excuse me while I laugh. — Jill

Lead Story: Tan Nguyen Gets His 15 Minutes of Fame

In the CA 47 race for Congress, Republican candidate tries to erode incumbent Rep. Loretta Sanchez’s base by sending out a flyer to 14,000 Latino residents in her district that read in poorly written Spanish:

You are advised that if your residence in this country is illegal or you are an immigrant, voting in a federal election is a crime that could result in jail time, and you will be deported for voting without having a right to do so.

Nguyen quickly adopted the Hastert Defence: blame a staffer. He’s been asked to withdraw by Orange County CA Republican party officials. But there’s more to this story than meets the eye. Nguyen had been running on an anti-immigration platform and drew support from organized, “border security” racists on the fringe of the Republican party exemplified by Pat Buchanan. DailyKos Diarist Duke1676 has the best analysis on this I’ve read so far.

Meanwhile over at, they’re encouraging local Asian Americans to do the right thing:

…the fact that [Nguyen's] campaign was involved eliminates him from any serious consideration by anyone with any commitment to democracy in America. Orange County readers, vote for Nguyen’s opponent, Democrat Loretta Sanchez. BTW, Jim Webb’s campaign has had its ups and downs with VA black folk(mostly up right now post-Barack Obama visit), but hanging out at, I learned Webb’s got strong cred in VA’s Vietnamese-American community. Also, Tammy Duckworth, Asian-American Iraq war veteran, got a big boost in her run for IL 6 with an endorsement from the Chicago Tribune.

In other news:

You may not realize it but there are a couple of holidays happening right now. Happy Diwali if you celebrate it and congratulations on the White House party emcee’d by Karen Hughes and attendedby over 150 guests, including many prominent members of the Indian-American community. President Bush was a no-show as was VA Sen. George “Macaca” Allen. (Source: Sepia Mutiny)

It’s also Ramadan and warm greetings to you if you are observing the holiday. For the majority of Muslims, Ramadan is a family- and community-oriented holiday with fasting, feasting, charity and prayers. Yet it’s possible that religious extremists are using the holy season to fan the flames of violence in Iraq.

Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV expressed concern Thursday over the failure of the military’s new Baghdad strategy to curb mounting levels of violence in the city: “In Baghdad alone, we’ve seen a 22% increase in attacks during the first three weeks of Ramadan, as compared to the three weeks preceding Ramadan.” (Source: TruthDig)

Eid ul-Fitr, a joyous holiday which marks the end of Ramadan, is coming up next week. Unfortunately, it’s possible that there’s more bloodshed ahead. Nevertheless, it’s important to keep in mind what Ramadan is really about for most people — the same as holidays everywhere: food, family, worship and celebration.

For an excellent article that outlines what’s really happening in Iraq and the tough choices ahead, I recommend this BBC article Bush’s Iraq Options Limited:

There are at least four wars going on Iraq – the war by jihadists against US troops, the war by nationalists against US troops, the war by Sunni jihadists against Shias and the war by Shia militias against Sunnis.

Any action [Bush] takes to alleviate one area could impact on another.

There’s more: I was in a Coach store the other day (ok, it was actually just an outlet) and I was helped by a young woman from Iraq behind the counter. When I asked if she still had family back there, she told me: “They live in Jordan now. Everyone’s left Baghdad. The city is empty.” Except for those fighting the war, apparently. It’s just one woman’s story but what else don’t we know about what’s happening over there? Republicans are in search of an exit strategy. According to African-American Opinion, a good plan already exists on the Democratic side from the folks at American Progress called Strategic Redeployment.

Sen. Barack Obama launched his “Audacity of Hope” book tour this week with a Time Magazine cover and a visit to Oprah. Widely watched, Oprah’s endorsement has been a big topic of discussion in the black community. My Big Mama wants to know if Oprah is planning to help bankroll Obama’s campaign should he decide to run for president. When I asked her whom she would vote for if she had to choose between Edwards, Clinton and Obama, she said she wouldn’t choose according to color but according to what they’ve done. I think that’s an opinion shared by many Americans. Still, an Obama bid opens up a few questions. Check out the Jack and Jill Politics take on Obama and the black community from Jack Turner.

Republican Lt. Gov. Kerry Healy continues her fear-based racist campaign for Massachusetts Governor against Democrat Deval Patrick with a new ad associating him with rape. Because we all know that all black men secretly long to rape white women, even gubernatorial candidates. In fact, Patrick’s bid to become governor is a secret plot to make it easier for him personally to rape white women with impunity. Luckily thinking people think Scarlet O’Healy is crazy, racist and also just plain wrong wrong on the facts.

Harold Ford Jr. inexplicably endorsed non-Democratic candidate Joe Lieberman in CT. Why Harold, why? Surely you are not that desperate to pander to the right-leaners in TN? Aren’t Democrats supposed to support other Democrats? It’s a little unclear which side Lieberman is on these days. Also, there happens to be a really great Democrat who, like you, would like to be elected as a Democratic senator. His name is Ned Lamont/

Finally, Michael Steele’s endorsements from psychotic convicted rapist Mike Tyson and convicted murderer Don King baffled and insulted African-Americans. We’d like to know why some people might think we’d be impressed by the political opinions of criminals anymore than the average white person might be interested if Charlie Sheen or Robert Downey Jr. endorsed say Hilary Clinton or George Allen. We’re not impressed and frankly, it shows the desperation of Steele’s Senate campaign in MD to pull black voters away from Democrat Ben Cardin. Oliver Willis breaks it down for you in his post Michael Steele Spits In The Face of Black America. Other people spitting in the face of Black America include:

* the guy who’s planning to create a MySpace-like social networking site called “CrackSpace” (hat tip: Racialious via Crunk and Disorderly) for African-Americans. This is neither appreciated nor necessary because we’re already using a social networking site called MySpace.

* Black America’s PAC (BAMPAC) who is currently running pro-Republican, pro-life ads in 10 states aimed at African-American voters. Here’s the text from one ad:

“If you make a little mistake with one of your ‘hos,’ you’ll want to dispose of that problem tout suite, no questions asked,” one of the men says.

“That’s too cold. I don’t snuff my own seed,” the other replies.

“Maybe you do have a reason to vote Republican,” the first man says.

Republican pro-life groups have been trying to use abortion as a wedge issue in the black community. I’m here to tell you though, blaxploitation-style messaging that identifies black voters as pimps and hos is unlikely to achieve any inroads outside perhaps of the very small pimp/whore community. And is likely to make everyone else really angry. No black person would ever be so stupid as to create a repugnant ad like this. So who’s really behind these ads?

Blacks are crucial to multiple mid-term races both as candidates and as voters. You can catch a solid Joint Center update on African-American candidates, both Republican and Democratic, here.

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(Source: Metroblogging Orange County)

Tan Nguyen running for the CA 47 congressional seat has been excoriated by all for his desperate attempt to discourage immigrants from voting. This flyer in poorly written Spanish and sent to 14,000 Hispanic residents should look familiar. Excerpt:

You are advised that if your residence in this country is illegal or you are an immigrant, voting in a federal election is a crime that could result in jail time, and you will be deported for voting without having a right to do so.

Tactics like these have been used against African-Americans since the first election after the Emancipation. The idea is to spook low-information voters away from the polls. It’s one of the oldest tricks in the books with lots of variations especially involving taxes, voting fees, unpaid utility bills, parking tickets, etc. Whatever they think is scary to potential voters.

The Republican party in CA took a strong stand (when it got caught) and Republicans claim to cry foul. Mainstream voters don’t cotton to out-and-out naked racism anymore. It’s unfortunate when a member of a minority group targets another minority group. Now that America is rapidly becoming more diverse, we can expect to see more of this I am afraid. The New York Times has a good editorial “It’s Voter-Fooling Time” on the Republican race-baiting that that is proving to be a useful tool. It’s subtle — focused on targeting within communities using proxies to carry divisive messaging. It’s sly — with one hand washing the other hand clean (how dare they suggest we’re racist? OR hey, it’s black people telling other black people to vote Republican — how can that be racist?) It makes RedState mad cuz it’s true.

A DailyKos diary from Duke1676 has some background that you might not find in the news such as:

This should come as no surprise given the people Nguyen has chosen to associate with.

His senior adviser, former Orange County Republican Party Chair, Tom Fuentes, has a long history of anti-immigrant advocacy and orchestrating dirty tricks designed to suppress the Latino vote. In addition to being a moving force behind California’s failed proposition 187 (along with Barbara Coe), in 1988 he caused a major controversy when he ordered the stationing of Republican poll guards to stand outside polling places in Latino neighborhoods during a local Assembly race.

The Republican party can run from their racist tactics. But they can’t hide. Nguyen ran on an anti-immigration platform. His campaign was built on a foundation of racism so it shouldn’t be surprising that things got more vicious and crossed the line. It’s starting to stick to Republicans like white on rice. The race-baiting might have worked in the 2004 elections and even the primaries but they’re running out of cover fast.

I hope this gives a boost to incumbent Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA).

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Dear Madonna,

I too am a poor young person of African descent with only one living parent remaining. She’s tossed me out of the house to fend for myself citing the fact that I am “grown”. I am Needy. And Negro. I know you are willing to flout the laws of a small African country that prohibits foreign adoption of orphans. (Unless the adopting family is extremely rich and famous.) You are a true humanitarian who would not give a child’s father the $1000 USD or whatever you spent on your last handbag that it might take for him to raise his own child.

No you stepped in and flew that baby to the better life you can provide raising little David through a series of nannies. All I ask now is that you please, for the love of God, swoop in and rescue me too from my poverty. My TiVO is hardly working these days. I could use a trip to Mustique really badly too. Please Madonna. Do the right thing. Adopt me now. My mother would happily accept any salt or trinkets for me that you have as long as she can re-sell them on eBay.

Sincerely yours (hopefully soon),
Jill Tubman

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Why do white people think that all black people are criminals and identify with criminals? First earlier this week, we had the sorry spectacle of Mike Tyson (convicted rapist) and Don King (convicted murderer) endorsing Michael Steele (MD-Sen; convicted only of being black and supporting George Bush).

Frankly this repulses most thinking black folk
. It’s like if Ted Bundy, Charlie Sheen and Robert Downing Jr. decided to back Hilary Clinton for President. Would that inspire confidence in her as a candidate or repulse you? Would it make her more attractive a candidate or give off a whiff of desperation? My grandmother says “Yeah, those two are on the crooked side. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few hands got greased to get them involved.” My Big Mama didn’t go to college, but she’s pretty smart.

So that wasn’t humiliating enough. Then I hear about ads targeted at African-Americans using pimp/whore imagery. The ads are run by a so-called African-American organization called Black America’s PAC (BAMPAC). According to the New York Sun, they are running ads to encourage blacks to vote Republican (or at least – not Democratic) in 10 battleground states, including Ohio, New Mexico, and Nevada. Ads like this:

“If you make a little mistake with one of your ‘hos,’ you’ll want to dispose of that problem tout suite, no questions asked,” one of the men says.

“That’s too cold. I don’t snuff my own seed,” the other replies.

“Maybe you do have a reason to vote Republican,” the first man says.

Who’s really behind this, since no black person would be crazy enough to create a pro-life ad like this? Here’s another one:

“Black babies are terminated at triple the rate of white babies,” a female announcer in one of the ads says, as rain, thunder, and a crying infant are heard in the background. “The Democratic Party supports these abortion laws that are decimating our people, but the individual’s right to life is protected in the Republican platform. Democrats say they want our vote.Why don’t they want our lives?”

The article says it all, but AmericaBlog, Max Blumenthal and Jesus’ General say even more. From the NY Sun:

Mr. [J. Patrick "Ultra-Conservative Crackpot Billionaire"] Rooney, who is white, is funding ads using black voices who claim to speak on behalf of the black community.”You don’t have a lot of black billionaires who would want to fund something like this,” [conservative, African-American talk show host who voiced some of the ads and cheese-eatin' Uncle Tom: Herman Cain] said.

The past seven days have been big for Barack Obama.

Time Magazine cover.
Today on NBC.
Larry King Live.

Given the buzz and the hype and the wild extent to which white people seem to love them some Obama, my (black) friend asked, “What does it say if he’s our first black president?”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Well the fact that he’s mixed and has immigrant origins and white people will feel their work is finished.”


And I’ll add another two “Ohs” right now.

The First Oh.
Our first black president would technically be our first half-black president. Is this a problem, an issue, interesting?

Not much to me. Most of us “native” black Americans have been diluted by hundreds of years of mixing, even if the vast majority of it was involuntary.

In addition, he looks black. Sure he’s mixed and embraces the totality of his ethnic background, but like Tiger Woods, Obama’s black. Here’s a rule: if you can’t get a cab, and Kerry Healey thinks you’re going to rape her, you’re black.

The Second Oh.
Our first black president is not really a black American. He’s African. What’s up with that?

Although it isn’t discussed often publicly, there is a great deal of tension between native black Americans and our immigrant brothers and sisters. Native black Americans still suffer from centuries of white supremacist mis-education which teaches that “Africans” are backward, dirty, cannibalistic, starving and overall inferior. We also tend to be jealous of the “model minority” status afforded the black immigrant.

Meanwhile immigrant blacks get the exported pop culture version of American blacks which paints us as lazy, drug-dealing, ho-pimpin, good for nothing consumers of bling. They tell their children not to associate with those black Americans. On top of that, many immigrant blacks don’t appreciate the civil rights struggles that native blacks went through which makes their very immigration possible.

If you want to see something revealing, check the black enrollment at top tier American universities, then dig deeper and see how many of those blacks are first or second generation immigrants from Africa or the Caribbean.

As for Obama, I doubt his foreign-blackness will mean much to the native black establishment, but it will be interesting to watch.

The Third and Final Oh.
Once we have a black president, white people will announce the official end of racism and cease any existing limited efforts at true reconciliation and social change. Basically, “we gave you the White House. Now quit your bitchin.”

Interesting, but nothing ground-breaking. White folks are always itching to break out the Mission Accomplished banner and proclaim the end of major racist activities. I’m sure the first declaration was when blacks were allowed to read edited versions of the Bible and has continued through emancipation, Reconstruction, Brown v. Board, the Voting Rights Act, and various flavors of Affirmative Action.

If white people’s declaration of the end of racism were our guide, then the first day they let a Negro clean the White House toilets would be “National Freedom Day,” marked by a day off of work, used car sales and parades featuring black face characters marching down the street with plungers.

No, the fact of President Obama will do nothing to change the facts of unjustly imprisoned JoVaun or redlined Natasha or former Ninth Ward dwelling Rayshaun. It won’t repair a commercial culture which monetizes a parody of black materialistic behavior. It won’t give Appalachia an economy or Hector a living wage.

And now, finally, have I arrived at my point.

It will be nice (yes, nice) to have a president who can speak the national language and, it’s fair to assume, doesn’t let the voice of Jesus dictate his policies. It will be nice to have a president who looks different from all previous office-holders. A President Obama would be very nice.

But he will not save us, no matter how you define “save” or “us,” because the entire social, political and economic system in this country needs work, and that’s beyond the reach of any single man.

Let’s all try to remember that.

From the 2004 Democratic Convention:
“In no other country is my story even possible.” — Barack Obama

On Oprah, aired Oct 18:

“…values transcend party.” — Barack Obama

Today Oprah officially ordered Barack Obama to run for president and the nation to vote for him. America: your marching orders have been issued. Oprah has spoken. Resistance is futile. Also: Clintons — watch out. Obama didn’t answer Oprah’s direct question whether or not he was going to run for president. Yet there followed this exchange

Oprah: “If you ever would decide to run within the next five years, would you announce it on this show?”
Obama: (nervous laughter) “I don’t think I could say no to you.” And also: “Oprah, you’re my girl.”

Here’s some real proof that Obama ain’t nobody’s fool: you just don’t mess with Oprah.
Future First Lady and working mom Michelle Obama:

“In my view…I want the next president to be someone who understands what it means to be a father and a husband and is contributing. Because I don’t think he can represent those values for us as a nation if he can’t do it in his own house,” Michelle says. “Whoever [the president] may be.”

The thing people seem to like about Barack Obama is the same thing they liked about Bill Clinton: he’s a regular guy who just happens to also be pretty smart. He says he paid off his student loans with proceeds from Dreams From My Father — “That’s what happens when you don’t have a trust fund.” It’s hard for a regular middle class American not to relate to that. He’s got a couple of funny, charming lines such as: “I’ve got relatives who look like Bernie Mac and relatives who look like Margaret Thatcher.”

Oprah joked that she was hurt that Obama wouldn’t use her private jet when she offered it. Yet he says it’s part of his personal challenge to himself to not get too far from regular people. So he flies commercial.

On the issues:

Early on in the show, Obama took a strong stand on the war: “I think the facts were massaged and manipulated to make the case for war.” He discusses his new book The Audacity of Hope and the concept of using empathy as the focus of politics rather than focusing on power, especially when it comes to issues like education and healthcare.

To Oprah’s credit, she and Obama spend a lot of time talking about Darfur and the need for the U.N. and U.S. to take responsibility. He sounds a mite Clintonian and wingnuts notice it too.

The question some might be asking: is Obama’s triumphant book tour and the implications it engenders one of the reasons Mark Warner might have re-considered whether 2008 was the right year to run for president? Certainly Oprah’s strong, unambivalent endorsement of Obama after struggling to remain neutral in recent elections could give Obama a leg up on any candidate. If nothing else, I bet he’s about to be selling a mighty load of books shortly after Oprah’s confession that she was up late reading it.

For those that have not yet heard, WaPo reports:

Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele accused a leading Democratic congressman yesterday of racial insensitivity for saying the Republican candidate has “slavishly” followed the GOP.

Steele, an African American running for the U.S. Senate, was reacting to remarks by House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, who characterized Steele this week as having had “a career of slavishly supporting the Republican Party.”

The problem is obviously that Hoyer is white and probably cannot refer to a black person as slavish. I, however, am black and hereby transfer Hoyer’s inappropriate use of inside-the-fam lingo to me.


Next story.

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So how do you effectively squash the Black vote in today’s post-Civil Rights Act of 1964 America? Aren’t you wondering? I know I am.

Color of Change, a new non-profit run by a couple of bright young brothers named James Rucker and Van Jones, has some answers for you in the form of the new documentary American Blackout. I just got this email from them, and I’m fixin’ to try and see this flick. How about you? From the email:

American Blackout lays bare how the right to vote was systemically undermined in 2000 and 2004. It shows how the Black vote was suppressed, and it sets the stage for making sure it never happens again. The film has received standing ovations in screenings across the country and racked up numerous awards, including the Special Jury Prize at Sundance.

Over two hundred screenings have been scheduled across the country–most of them by members. To find one near you, click on the link below:

To view the trailer, set up your screening, and get the video for free, use the link below.

In screenings across the country–from the rural Midwest to urban centers–American Blackout has galvanized audiences that care about the health of this country’s democracy. Not only does it expose the problems plaguing our elections, it plants the seeds for fighting back and will inspire you to act.

‘Nuff said. You know what to do.

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Who We Are

Cheryl Contee aka "Jill Tubman", Baratunde Thurston aka "Jack Turner", rikyrah, Leutisha Stills aka "The Christian Progressive Liberal", B-Serious, Casey Gane-McCalla, Jonathan Pitts-Wiley aka "Marcus Toussaint," Fredric Mitchell

Special Contributors: James Rucker, Rinku Sen, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Adam Luna, Kamala Harris

Technical Contributor: Brandon Sheats


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