Entries Tagged 'Crime' ↓

The School of Hard Knocks.

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“A Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home, and it should be used for that protection which the law refuses to give. When the white man who is always the aggressor knows he runs as great risk of biting the dust every time his Afro-American victim does, he will have greater respect for Afro-American life.”

paula-giddings-headshotToday’s broadcast continues my discussion with scholar Paula Giddings, right, author of When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America. This time, we’re talking about about her latest book, Ida: A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching. (Part 1 aired on January 1st. That’s Ida B. Wells-Barnett, above, in a 1930 photo, taken the year before she died at 68. For a picture of her when she was not yet 30, follow this link to our January 1 post.)

Giddings and I resume our conversation, speaking on, among other subjects, Wells-Barnett’s success in politically organizing Chicago; an effort, the author holds, whose branches, leaves, and fruit reach to the White House today.

Then, our conversation took a turn, and during the second part of today’s broadcast—the last 20 minutes—we spoke about the life of the Black scholar, especially the female Black scholar.

It was frank and insightful, and it naturally rose out of the issues we were addressing the moment before. So, it was the best kind of digression one can have with a guest.

Paula J. Giddings is the Elizabeth A. Woodson 1922 Professor in Afro-American Studies at Smith College, and the guest today on my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, this afternoon, Friday, January 22, at 2 pm ET.

You’ll hear it by tuning in at 2 pm. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, check out our live stream on the web. If you miss the live show, dig into our archives for up to 90 days after broadcast.

My Hero.

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“A Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home, and it should be used for that protection which the law refuses to give. When the white man who is always the aggressor knows he runs as great risk of biting the dust every time his Afro-American victim does, he will have greater respect for Afro-American life.”

If Ida Bell Wells (1862-1931), above, had never written another word in her entire life, she would have been the object of my supreme ancestral regard merely for those sixty, above. Composed when she was about thirty years of age, the text, from her 1892 pamphlet, Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases, still simmers over a hundred years later with the nostril-burning scent of bitter defiance.

Keep in mind, however, that Wells was not describing some kind of abstract notion of a second amendment embrace, but penning her ideas when there was a literal price on her head. The definitive leader of her era in a wildly underpowered crusade against the lynching of Black people, Wells and her jagged prose sent entitled racists into spasms. Documenting their morbid outrages as a journalist, she inevitably had to leave for the North, merely to keep from becoming another prized lynching victim herself.

I read her words for the first time in the mid ’80s, in college, in a book titled When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America, by Paula J. Giddings. At the time, South Africa was raging. Black New Yorker’s were being killed, seemingly with wanton disregard, by New York City police while an indifferent mayor, Ed Koch, wagged his finger at us.

I was looking for a functional political position that made humanitarian sense, but that had some teeth in it. Needless to say, Wells not only fit the bill, but lit my brain up, and sent me back to the stacks. There, I learned that Black radicalism was not new or recent, but a legacy response to racism.

paula-giddings-headshotNeedless to say, Wells changed my life, but not as much as she did Giddings’, right. Indeed, the Elizabeth A. Woodson 1922 Professor in Afro-American Studies at Smith College says that, even with the abundance of astounding characters in her book, Ida kept speaking to her, from the mists of history, beckoning for a volume of her own.

As my mother always said, listen to your elders. Giddings’ follow-up to When and WhereIda: A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching—is a masterful, 800-plus page tome that, no doubt, will be the definitive record of Wells’ life and work for decades.

Paula J. Giddings is my hero, too, and the guest today on my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, this afternoon, Friday, January 1, at 2 pm ET. Indeed, our conversation was so rich and bountiful it wouldn’t fit into one broadcast. Look out for the second part, soon, on a future date.

For now, you can hear Part I by tuning in at 2 pm. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, check out our live stream on the web. If you miss the live show, dig into our archives for up to 90 days after broadcast.

Biggest Losers: A Year In Mug Shots.

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Here’s a clue: Everybody on this list of 2009′s thirty most memeorable mug shots probably has a sole New Year’s resolution: To stay out of jail in 2010.

Everyone except, maybe, Nicole “I’m-Takin’-All-Of-You-Wit’-Me” Marty, 24, above, who sat in the clink after hitting a utility pole with her car.

She, and Lexington, KY’s Henry Earl, 60, below. As of December 2009, Earl has been arrested 1,011 times for alcohol-related offenses. (That’s a YouTube retrospective of his police photos, below.)

If you see either one of ‘em, run!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

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[via buzzfeed.com]

Crash Text Dummies.

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I’ll give you one guess why British viewers were so outraged by this provocative anti-texting-while-driving PSA, above.

Drive safely.

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Dear Tareq and Michaele Salahi: America Is All About Freedom, So Enjoy Yours While It Lasts.

13341_183864396877_101907941877_2806770_8073486_nMichaele Salahi, right, checks for Vice-President Joe Biden’s pulse

Hundreds of comments were posted on Michaele Salahi’s Facebook page, after the socialite and her husband, Tareq, not only crashed the Obama administration’s first White House state dinner last Tuesday night, but cravenly posted photos documenting their breach.

Of all those FB responses to this outrage, here’s my absolute favorite:

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BINGO! Having Already Crashed the White House, Tareq and Michaele Salahi Bag the Night’s Biggest Trophy: A Picture With The President.

slide_3820_54102_largeOBAMA: Good evening! Hey: How d’ya like my rundown, ghetto security? Man, I’ve been to rap concerts that were harder to get into….
SALAHI: We like it more than you
presently imagine, Mr. President.

Not bad for not having been invited: In the above photo, released yesterday by the White House, Michaele Salahi, center, and her husband, Tareq, right, are seen meet-n-greeting the leader of the free world, having done nothing but show up.

Oh, bonus: Look who’s next to the president, as is appropriate, given protocol: The guest of honor, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh!

Wow. So, you mean if I, say, support Pakistan’s goal of redrawn borders in Kashmir, all I need do to get close enough to kill my opposition—the leader of the similarly nuclear-armed nation it borders—is put on a tux, go to the White House, and, like Jay-Z suggested, bring a blonde?

Well, this might offend my political connects, but somebody call Islamabad after I stick a fork in him: He’s done!

Amazing. I don’t know if we should throw these two losers in jail for red-teaming the U.S. government, or give them Nobel Peace Prizes for helping avoid World War III.

9/11/01.

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A Dumb Speech for Dumb People.

Harvard Scholar DisorderlyHow I spent my summer vacation: Dr. Henry Louis Gates’ mugshot

As the final questioner at last night’s press conference in support of Barack Obama’s health care plan, The Chicago Sun-Times‘ Lynn Sweet asked the President for his thoughts on the recent arrest of Harvard University’s Dr. Henry Louis “Skip” Gates, above. As certainly anyone at all knows by now, Dr. Gates, a few days earlier, had suffered the indignity of being arrested for the crime of being in his own home, in a case now widely being seen as one of so-called “racial profiling.”

image5181393gPresident Obama, right, gave a nice, reasonable answer, of the kind at which he is, arguably, flawless. He cracked a joke or two. He appealed to a sense of fairness that the blindingly white press pool, no doubt, possesses as fair and balanced journalists. He said he didn’t know “what role race played” in Gates’ mistreatment, but then cited “a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately,” adding, for certainty. “That’s just a fact.”

He said that “the Cambridge Police acted stupidly,” that quote being the one which, subsequently, was the most widely reproduced, and, to this writer, the one that came the closest to expressing any sort of a feeling or passion about the incident on his part.

barack-naacp1What he did not say, however, or speak to, was the irony of what I had immediately noticed, soon as word of Gates’ arrest hit the wires: The scholar’s detainment had occurred mere hours before Obama gave his address, right, at the NAACP’s 100th anniversary convention. There, in the grand ballroom of the Hilton Hotel in New york City, the nation’s first Black president had hailed the organization’s history and astounding struggle, efforts which, in his own words, had directly led to his being “here tonight as the 44th President of the United States of America.”

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One More Question, Mr. Hoop Star: When Your Assailant Pistol-Whipped You, Did He Mention “MTV Cribs”?

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Remember that rash of NBA player home invasions that was making the news two years ago? I’ve been wondering all this week: Did MTV Cribs play a role in any of the crimes at all?

Let me explain this with a biblical illustration:

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Fly the Friendly Skies of O.J.

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What really comes through in O.J. Simpson’s 1970s commercials for Hertz is how much charm and charisma he possessed, and how much the camera loved him. It’s really easy to see, even apart from his much-heralded performances on the football field, why he was a natural, and extremely popular, spokesperson for the brand.

That O.J. Simpson was ever beloved, of course, may certainly be a revelation for lots of young people, many of whom are not even old enough to remember to remember his 1994-95 murder case and trial, not to mention his TV spots or NFL triumphs. Now, of course, Simpson couldn’t even get an endorsement from a knife company, and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t necessarily believe he killed his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman in June ’94. But what do I know?