2006-03-15

7 year-old Banned for Practicing Academic Freedom

A 7-year-old prodigy unleashed a firestorm when she recited a poem she wrote comparing Christopher Columbus and Charles Darwin to "pirates" and "vampires" who robbed blacks of their identities and human rights.

Autum, who is home-schooled in Mount Vernon and speaks several languages, prefaced her performance at the high school with a Black Panthers' pledge asking black youngsters to not harm one another.

It did not sit well with parents.

In a telephone interview with The Post, [music teacher Melvin] Bolden said Autum has been "unofficially" banned from performing in a district school again and that school officials would review transcripts of future speakers.

"It's unfortunate, because some teachers said they wanted this little girl to explain the things she said to their students, but some parents don't want her on school grounds," Bolden said.

"[The poem] might have been a little too aggressive for what the middle-school kids are ready to handle," Bolden added.

A 7 year-old's poem was too aggressive for middle-schoolers? Sounds like her parents are doing a great job...

44 comments:

Paul Hue said...

I saw a big report about this. I believe her parents are teacher her hate... plus lots of reading and various languages. She got into the same trouble that any white kid would have gotten into for doing the same thing that she did, which was (turning the table):

"Stand up, white kids! Just the white kids! We are going to take an oath, just for us, to not hurt each other! Shaka Zulu was a vampire! The kings of ancient Egypt were mass murderers who stole land from neigboring kingdoms, and executed or enslaved their prisoners! The pirates of Algeria, Libya, and Morocco used to raid, kidnap, and enslave the white folks of southern Spain, France, and Italy! This led to the formation of the US Marine Corps who took their first actions on the shores of Tripoli! The world would be better without black people! Look at all the problems around us! Black people are still butchering other black people just like they did back in ancient Egypt and Zululand! Nothing has changed! The same with the original Indians of the Americas! They formed brutal empires premised on conquest and slaughter! Thank god the Azteks no longer rule! White students, stand up and take a pledge with me! Just the white kids! All non-white kids, please remain seated. And silent."

Nadir, this is just about exactly what she said, but with the so-called races changed. Would you have the school accept such a screed? Perhaps I would, though I would ensure that other perspectives got a hearing. However, the school officials that acted against her merely did the same thing that they would have done to a white kid that issued the above declarations.

I have hopes that this child will grow up to become a reformed leftist. Tommy says (or at least implies) that typical leftists (though, oddly, I didn't!) know all about the cruel behavior that typifies all civilizations of all colors. Do you think that this child knows about the cruel histories of conquest, slaughter, enslavement, rape, theft, and cultural imposition, bannishment, and banditry that charactorized the black African civilizations? Or do you reckon that she believes as I did for most of my life, that such behaviors originated with a special super white "race" that dominates all international affairs, and to whose mechanations all abhorrent conduct from non-whites ultimately traces?

I think that her parents are doing a horrible job in this regard.

Paul Hue said...

"White Nationalism Put U in Bondage"? What nonsense! None of the people in attendance have ever been in bondage, and the originators of black slavery are black people in Africa. In fact, black people on the earth today still live as slaves, but all the slave owners are now black. Does this child know that Europeans ended black slavery before black Africa did?

"White nationalism Put U in Bondage" my foot. What a wonderful message for her to believe and spread: that she and her black classmates should identify with black slaves from days gone by, and that they should identify their white classmates with the oppressors of these slaves.

Paul Hue said...

"She's a serious little person." And a seriously indoctrinated and divisive little person, and one who thinks she knows much, much more than the actually does.

Paul Hue said...

I wonder if this little girl knows what happens to little girls in Sudan and other places where them men impose clitorial amputations... among other horrors.

sixstringslinger said...

Autum's father condemned white district officials as "racist crackers." Autum defended her poem by explaining to the Westchester Journal News that white people are "devils and they should be gone. We should be away from them and still be in Africa."

Be my guest sweetie. Africa's waiting for you. Since it's so miserable here, get packing.

Brainwashed indeed.

Paul Hue said...

She's been reading too many Howard Zinn bedtime stories. Why doesn't her daddy make good on her desire to move to Africa? I don't understand why not. And why is it that all those Africans keep moving here? And no blacks ever move away?

sixstringslinger said...

7-year-old prodigy, or not, this isn't academic freedom, it's hate-mongering. And coming from a 7-year-old makes it that much more distasteful.

Thank you for alienating whitey even more Nadir. Why do I even fucking bother? Why should I?

sixstringslinger said...

Remember all the outrage over this:

http://abcnews.go.com/Primetime/story?id=1231684&page=1

Would someone like to explain why what this 7-year-old spewed is any more acceptable?

Paul Hue said...

If I ran a school, I suppose I might permit this sort of a presentation outside of class, and stage some other speakers. However, I suspect that this sort of social-political debate is harmful for children, and I would not propose it. I want these kids getting along with each other, reading lots of literature and history, discussing those issues in civil manners that don't divide the students, parents, and teachers against each other along the lines of historical violence, and solving lots of math problems.

I would not permit the speakers at my school to order race-based instructions, such as issuing invitations to stand only to students of particular "races", and withholding the invitation from others based on race.

Does this child lecturer know that some of her ancestors are white? Does she know that some of her white ancestors suffered and overcame subjugations and horrors far worse than she or her parents will ever know? Does she know that some of her black ancestors committed such acts as well?

Does she know about economics? What is her view on Kwanza? What is her understanding of its origin? Does she know what became of the ex-slaves who founded the nations of Liberia and Haitti?

Paul Hue said...

I don't think this child was too "aggressive". Rather, too ignorant, devisive, and illogical. She knows several languages, but her rhetoric reads like pasted-together hard-core leftist cliches and catch phrases. She never should have been put into the position of lecturing the world about a bunch of ugly, shocking, and controversial concepts. I think her parents should be ashamed. I've been reading up on this child. She has been getting enormous praise for a few years, performing this show before dozens of cheering audiences. What a shame. But she may yet become a reformed leftist, once she gets around to reading extensively and thinking critically about the topics of her sure-headed lectures.

Paul Hue said...

The kind of talk that the girl gave is much like the talk that the KKKers and slavers used to give to justify their horrors; Hitler and Stalin used these sorts of speaches as well: all our problems trace back to that other group, the horrors perpetrated by them in the past and today are the only horrors we will discuss! We must do special things to distinguish ourselves from them (we stand, they must sit; they must wear yellow stars; they cannot look us in our eyes or call us by our first names). Every horror that Tom and Nadir acknowledge and condemn was perpetrated by somebody who had some justification for it. Shaka Zulu sure had a justification for slaughtering the people of the father who rejected him. As Pol Pot said, "Everything I did, I did for my country."

Nadir said...

You guys are tripping. Christopher Columbus was a catalyst for the enslavement of those children's ancestors. That's just history. Why are you upset about it? Because it makes you look bad? You never owned any slaves just like none of those kids has ever been in physical bondage.

"No chains around my feet, but am I free." - Bob Marley, "Concrete Jungle"

Banning this child from speaking at schools is stupid. It's just banning ideas. Why not have her explain what she was saying?

Isn't it possible that a 7 year-old is merely repeating what she has been taught by her parents? Wouldn't debating her or asking her to explain herself expose something like that? And if she could explain herself she would either expose herself as a racist or she would have a reasoned and logical line of thought that isn't racist at all. Silencing her eliminates the chance and will only confuse the other students who may not have understood where she was coming from.

Why are you guys so afraid of these ideas? Africans have been hearing for years how we are inferior and are criminals and are lazy and stupid. It used to be a part of the curriculum, and in some ways, it still is. Sure it's "politically incorrect" to say these things nowadays, but that hasn't stopped Paul from making allusions to such things before.

And the fact that blacks enslaved people doesn't change history. You can't keep using other people's crimes to justify European crimes. Two wrongs don't make a right.

You guys are all set to defend Denmark over some cartoons, but you won't defend this child when she reads a poem? What happened to your righteous indignation?

And yes, Slinger, I went to Lynard Skynard High School in East Tennessee. I know what it's like for people to proudly display their Confederate flags (like they still do in Westland). But you can't force people not to be racist, can you?

Nadir said...

And how can you guys spew so much venom over a 7 year-old child? Shouldn't you be telling the parents to go back to Africa, Six?

Hypocrisy is still the greatest luxury, isn't it?

Paul Hue said...

Nadir: We do not oppose that chld's lecture because anything that she says makes us look bad. We already know that we have never enslaved anybody. Thus our opposition derives from considerations other than our own image.

Paul Hue said...

===Nadir ===
Africans have been hearing for years how we are inferior and are criminals and are lazy and stupid.
========

1. You are not an African. And some of your ancestors are honkies.

2. Who has said that Africans (or black americans) are inferior, criminal, lazy, and/or stupid? Answer: Strawmen created by hysterical speakers.

Paul Hue said...

=====Nadir==
And the fact that blacks enslaved people doesn't change history. You can't keep using other people's crimes to justify European crimes. Two wrongs don't make a right.
===========

Another straw man bravely slain! Nobody is using these facts to justify honkey crimes. But this child, and you, only present one set of crimes, creating the impression that one group of people is morally superior to another, and that one group has special, unique grevences and harships that explain current misconduct.

Paul Hue said...

Nadir: Perhaps no human is more obervant and affected by displays of confederate flags than me. I see one in Westland about every ten days. And I'm sure that 90% of the people displaying them don't even know that the flag historically represents white supremeacy. These people think that they are expressing pride in the south, which is of course ignorant, but does not at all neccessarily indicate that the displayers of these flags are racist.

sixstringslinger said...

"Africans have been hearing for years how we are inferior and are criminals and are lazy and stupid."

And I've been hearing for years what a bad, evil, nasty person I am for basically being a white, middle class, American male and I'm tired of it. My wife and I try real hard to be good people and to treat everyone with respect and most of our white friends do the same. But you read things like what this girl wrote and said and what her father's attitude's are, then it's like, what's the point? Why do I bother?

What does this sort of rhetoric acheive. Do you want equality, or don't you? Do you want harmony, or don't you? Acceptance? Respect? Get the point?

I don't know what to do anymore. Racism still exists, yes. But there's also a cottage industry out there called racism that depends on racism never going away. Because if it does, there's a whole lot of people, on both sides, who no longer have a reason for existing.

I'm sick and tired of feeling like I'm supposed feel guilty for being white.

How's that?

sixstringslinger said...

Any how exactly am I being hypocritical? If this girl, or her father think things are so bad here in this country for black folks and that Africa is really where they belong, well, be my guest. Nobody's stoppin' ya.

I don't see how that's being hypocritical. I would offer that advice to ANYONE who thought life elsewhere would be better than here.

sixstringslinger said...

Yeah, and Paul's right. You're not African any more than I'm French Canadian, or German, or English, or Irish.

We're Americans. Sorry to break it to ya.

Nadir said...

Sorry to break it to both of you. My skin pigmentation brands me as African just as yours brands you as Caucasian. Your dominant genes come from the Caucasus mountains and mine from the Nile Valley. That's a science called genetics (though Europeans invented the concept of "race").

Though none of us chose our ancestors, my forefathers and foremothers whose dominant African genes account for the increased amount of melanin in my skin, were not brought to America by choice. And yes, Slinger. I would love to go back to Africa. If I can accomplish that at some point in my life, I will be very happy.

I'm sure no one has told you that you are a bad person because you are white. You simply have to deal with your ancestoral legacy of murder just like the rest of us have our own baggage.

White people get so upset when the rest of us bring up European imperialism and slavery, but your ancestors (and some of mine) perpetrated those acts. You have no problem believing that the rest of us are losers somehow because our people were conqueored. And most whites are acculturated to believe they are genetically superior. Paul certainly believes he is culturally superior.

Nadir said...

Africans in America (even those who don't claim to be African) are a unique people. It was illegal for our ancestors to speak their languages or to practice their religions or to even learn to read and write English.

Our families were sold away from each other. Slinger, could you imagine what would happen to your children if, at their current tender ages, they were taken from you and sold to some other family? Or if you and your wife were sold away from them?

You can hope that they find happiness, but you'll never know. And they will never know about you or where your parents came from.

Immigrant groups through the 20th century struggled with the notion of assimilation, and most learned that it was detrimental to the emotional well being of their children. Many of those children now seek to gain a greater understanding of their native lands. Witness my Mexican-American friend who didn't learn Spanish until she was an adult, but is now very involved in Latino community groups and cultural organizations.

Africans in America have a unique culture that is informed by Alkebu-Lan, by our native American heritage, by the systems of slavery and Jim Crow, by our interactions with Europeans. Most of us have no legacy of capital or assets and few extended family ties to bolster us in times of trouble.

Our enslaved ancestors were freed and thrown out into the world without a pot to piss in, and were told to fend for themselves in a hostile environment. We fight not only racism, but motherfuckers like you guys who deny that racism exists.

Autum's parents are teaching her to be proud of herself and proud of her culture. They are teaching her that her cultural heritage is in Africa, and the reasons that others are disconnected from that heritage. They are teaching her to know her enemy: "white nationalism", not white people, by the way.

Nadir said...

I do not discount my African ancestors who owned slaves and sold their own people into slavery. I do not discount my Irish, German, Cherokee or Blackfoot ancestors either. They are all a part of me. I identify myself as African because I have chosen that cultural identity. That is my choice just as you choose to call yourselves "conservative Americans".

Because of your heritage, you could call yourselves Irish or French-Canadian. This is your identity, and no one, especially some dude who contributes to the same blog, has a right to tell you who you are. I would NEVER tell you that you have to be something else. I don't have the right just like you motherfuckers don't have the right to FORCE me to be what YOU want me to be.

I reject your American culture of murder, rape and colonialism. I will not be a part of it.

I will embrace my own culture of dreadlocks, jazz, collard greens, and social justice. I will do my best to help others and not knock them down.

I am proud of who I am, and of my ancestors (ALL OF THEM). Your efforts to assimilate me into your culture only serve to piss me off. And this is the attitude that you create because you won't just leave me alone and let me do what I need to do to improve life for my family in whatever way I think is right.

YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO TELL ME WHO I AM. YOU ARE NOT MY SUPERIOR.

"I don't want nobody to give me nothing. Just open up the door, and I'll get it myself." - James Brown

Nadir said...

You guys are being hypocritical because you took her words to be some condemnation of you. She talked about Columbus and Darwin with whom you share only skin pigmentation.

Yet you strongly advocate and deify Danish publishers who print provocative and insensitive cartoons that insult someone else. You believe they have a right to publish something that is offensive to others, but this child has no right to talk about history. True history. Not some satire of history, but the truth. You just don't like the truths that she is telling. They offend you because you feel guilty about your ancestors' role in the enslavement of most of the planet. And you suggest that she should be banned and that her parents should take her back to Africa.


That, my friends, is hypocrisy.

What if I were to suggest that the Danes or that you should go back to the caves? Would that be racist?

sixstringslinger said...

I'll leave you alone Nadir, no problem. Don't let me stop you from being whatever the fuck you want to be, even a miserable wretch. Knock yourself out man.

And please don't put words in my fucking mouth. When have I EVER said that racism doesn't exist?

I give up.

Nadir said...

"Perhaps no human is more obervant and affected by displays of confederate flags than me. I see one in Westland about every ten days. And I'm sure that 90% of the people displaying them don't even know that the flag historically represents white supremeacy. These people think that they are expressing pride in the south, which is of course ignorant, but does not at all neccessarily indicate that the displayers of these flags are racist."

At the height of the KKK, Michigan had the highest level of Klan membership outside the south. Westland is the headquarters of the American Nazi Party. Michigan is also the home of untold white supremacist groups. I guarantee you those people who are displaying the confederate flag know exactly what it means.

Displaying the confederate flag does not necessarily make them racist, but it does show sympathy with a racist culture. Of course, my cousin in Knoxville, TN always threatened to ride through the black neighborhood there with a confederate flag in the back of his pickup as a joke. He decided against it when a friend told him he would shoot the truck if he saw it on his street with that banner flying.

I got my mom's tv fixed at a store where the repairman had friends who wore confederate t-shirts. The guy fixed the tv, and did a good job, and I didn't have a problem paying him, but that doesn't mean I'm going to go hang out with him.

Nadir said...

"Don't let me stop you from being whatever the fuck you want to be, even a miserable wretch. Knock yourself out man."

I'm not the least bit miserable, thank you very much. I appreciate you for leaving me alone to succeed or fail without your interference. That's all I ask.

sixstringslinger said...

Hey, no problem. Don't let me stop ya.

And as a middle-aged, middle-class, white dude, let me extend my sincerest apologies that Michigan was once the KKK capitol of the North. I wish there was something I could do about that, but there is not.

But if it makes you feel any better, I'll accept full responsibility.

Paul Hue said...

I won't devote much time to defending the confederate flag wavers. At best I claim that they are ignorant of its original meaning. Of course any white supremicist would love both the confederate and nazi flags, provided that such an idiot understood the original meanings of those symbols. Many of the people who hate the confederate flag are also ignorant of the facts surrounding it, and could not factually justify their hatred; lucky for them a factual and logical examination does indeed lead sane and moral people to hate this symbol.

None the less, I am convinced that most people who wave the thing believe the myth which I will breifly summarize as: the US civil war was not fought over slavery, but rather over economic matters, and the federal government bullied "the south" unjustifiably. People who subscribe to this myth do not even understand the shocking implications of the term "the south", which technically meant a region in which about half of its population were slaves suppressed by the other half. Subscribers to this myth imagine a "south" consisting of "people" (they don't even realize that they're thinking only of that half of this population that was white) who were pushed around by wealthier people in "the north."

I will take mercy on my dear readers and myself by expounding no further on this issue, which has consumed such a large portion of my life, both as researching and in attempting to convince black and white people to know and care about the facts, and to come together and choose to put away both public- and private-owned celebrations of the confederacy, to regard the Union troops as liberators of all people within the entire region, and to erect tributes to those troops and others (black and white) who labored to both end slavery and racial descrimination (both of which were novel concepts on the earth at that time).

Nadir, with Westland qualifying for all that you describe in terms of the KKK and Nazis, the experiances of you, your wife, my duaghter(s!), and various other black friends of ours provides an amazing tribute to how race-blind our society has become. Dare I say that black people in Westland, USA face far less racism than do blacks in Sudan and Nigeria!

Paul Hue said...

=========Nadir============
I reject your American culture of murder, rape and colonialism. I will not be a part of it.
==========================

Well, since you believe that you have a choice to be an "African" (though I don't believe that you do), and you have excercized this choice, does that make you a part of the African "culture of murder, rape and colonialism"?

Paul Hue said...

On Nadir's ability to "choose" a "culture": Let's consider the definition of culture: "The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought."

Thus "American culture" would be: "The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of AMERICAN work and thought." I do not think that Nadir can "choose" not to have these products socially transmitted to him. As my African-American Studies professor (and father of my prom date) John Warfield told our class: "Culture is what you experiance. Period." I will never forget this statement of his. It had a very profound impact on me, as at the time I was very embarrassed by my black cultural products, especially my vocal patterns, which had been "socially transmitted" to me.

Nadir and I can make special efforts to adopt some cultural products from anywhere in the world, to unnaturally transmit these products to ourselves. One thing that such efforts cannot do: replicate the effects of having these products naturally transmit to a person who via no personal choice has grown up in particular "culture."

In my case, far from ever trying to "talk black," I never even knew that I "talked black" until my dad told me that I did, which I did not believe until I heard myself on a tape recorder (I was absolutely embarrased; it occured on a field trip to a radio station with my nearly all-black 6th grade class).

In any case, Nadir and I are both Americans, both culturally and according to our citizenshp. We have no choice over this. Living in the US, where with both grew up, and choosing to study and adopt cultural aspects of Finland, China, Nigeria or Syria cannot possibly "make" us Finnish, Chinese, Nigerian, or Syrian, regardless of the racial catagorization assigned to us by ourselves or others. I do believe, though, that if we move to one of those places we can certainly become Finnish, Chinese, Nigerian, or Syrian, and that our racial catagorization (defined by others or ourselves) cannot prevent this. I certainly believe that people from those countries who move here do become authentically American, and do so without forsaking their original culture.

I remember the great film, "Breaking Away," about a white teenager in Indiana who adopts Nadir's "choice" of becoming Italian. You can imagine the hillarity that ensues, and that this kid learns to be himself, to accept his own culture and to stop trying to adopt one from accross the ocean.

Paul Hue said...

Six: I think you are getting too personal with Nadir. It does well to remember that outside of this blog Nadir is an actual human being. I agree that his views are racist, yet he absolutely is not. You probably don't have much experiance with people like that Ashante girl and her parents. Away from the debate, these people tend to be real human beings who don't act on their heated vitriole.

I will never forget when I was the only white person at the nation's largest black college, Florida A&M. I was on the school's largest stage, competing in -- of all things -- a black male beauty contest. Yes, you read that correctly. During the question period most of the contestants made all the crowd-pleasing anti-honkey statements that are so offensive to both of us; heck, I even made one (with all sincerity; I was not a reformed leftist at the time). One of my rivals (and good friends) got a question about inter-racial dating, which was a very loaded question with me on the stage, with at the time a widespread reputation for, well, interracial dating. He made the usual hateful, seperatist comment, for which the audience wildly cheered.

Then... the audience voted for me the winner, and that guy said to me: "Let's go fuck some bitches, P-love". And we did.

I will also relay to you the time as an undergad at the University of Texes, in an auditorium meeting staged by the Black Student Alliance, regarding to some percieved act of racism on campus. The meeting included perhaps 200 "BSA members" (effectively, all black students on a white campus belong to such an outfit) and maybe 300 crackers there to discuss the issue, with BSA leaders running the meeting and making all the usual seperatist ugly comments. Then the BSA president announced the end of the meeting, and procliamed that a BSA members-only meeting would henceforth begin, "so please all non-BSA members leave." I rose to leave, but my girlfriend (a negress!) pulled me down and said, "They don't mean you. They just want all the white people to leave." And they all did (except for me), and a new meeting commenced, unaffected by my pressence, with even uglier rhetoric than before.

Then there's my female roommate and a girlfriend at FAMU who were active members of the Nation of Islam. Each playfully called me "blue-eyed devil."

So don't get too upset by all of Nadir's jive talk. I guarantee you that some of his best friends are honkeys, and there really is no actual negative consquences of his wretched and ugly comments. These comments that you and I regard as racist are all false, and no real human can act on them wihtout being utterly wicked to the core. The black folks in this country who talk this jive are nearly never practical analogs to Bull Conners or Robert E. Lee. They are just talking a bunch of ugly jive that deep down their actions not only disprove, but belie their true beliefs, which are the opposite of what they articulate. You don't think Nadir and Tom actually love this country, and appreciate the efforts of Thomas Jefferson and Abe Lincoln, whom they claim to dispise and blame for the world's problems?

I think that intellectually people like Nadir and Tom are in that phase of development where they hate their parents, even as they complain about what's in the refridgerator and hit the old bastard up for some gas money even as they mock his dress, breath, hairstyle, stinginess, and failure to "understand".

If somebody kidnapped Nadir and dropped him off in Nigeria, how long do you think it would take for him to find his way back to the US (and first its embassy!), whose leaders he so assuredly hates? I guarantee you he would get himself into that US embassy, and would not lecture its employees about the great injustices of the US! He would save those lectures for when he made it safely back to the umbrage of those detestable leaders! "Dad, you miserable bastard, I just got arrested for fighting in a bar. Can you come get me out?"

sixstringslinger said...

If I was too personal, how was I to avoid being so? Why should I HAVE to avoid being so?

It's okay for him to lump me in with some KKK, or Neo-Nazi nutjobs, but not for me to call him on it? That's bullsh*t.

I'd like to think I could be Nadir's friend, but I feel like he'd always be looking right through me to see if I was some sort of opressive, racist, bigoted cracker.

I'm sorry Nadir. I'm sorry if I got too personal, but I'm just tired. I'm tired of trying to be a good, upstanding, non-racist white dude, only to get shit on again and again and be told that as a white dude I'm the source of all of your race's problems.

I don't know what else to say.

Nadir said...

Fuck you, Paul, and the white horse you rode in on.

Culture is what you experience. I can choose to cultivate my environment and my experiences and my lifestyle in a certain way, so I can create a personal culture. I can't control all aspects of my experience, but I can do my best to put myself on a particular path and follow certain principles. This is what I have done.

Paul can pretend that he didn't learn about secondary meanings of words in elementary school, so he can ignore that culture also means:

"# The patterns, traits, and products considered as the expression of a particular period, class, community, or population: Edwardian culture; Japanese culture; the culture of poverty.
# These patterns, traits, and products considered with respect to a particular category, such as a field, subject, or mode of expression: religious culture in the Middle Ages; musical culture; oral culture.
# The predominating attitudes and behavior that characterize the functioning of a group or organization." Or an individual within a group or organization...

I do carry an American passport. I was born in the US. I don't deny that, and I don't have a problem with it. I had no choice in the matter.

I do have a choice about the work I do and the people I associate with. I have chosen to work for the betterment of my family, the United States, the world and yes, the population of people known as Africans. This is who I am.

I don't give a rat's ass what you two think about that or whether you think I am racist or intelligent or a good guitar player. If my self-worth was dependent on the opinion of a couple of right-wing (Excuse this term - I say it with love) "crackers", then I wouldn't have had the experiences I have.

But I don't have to justify my beliefs or my life to you. Just as Paul doesn't have to flash his "official black dude" card to me.

I respect people for who they are, regardless of their color, and regardless of their politics. I respect their beliefs and I respect what they hold sacred.

You guys have already stressed numerous times that you do not respect the beliefs of others. This is who you are (or this is what you have shown). You believe that people can only be what you perceive them to be because that is the only reality you accept. Paul can't even appreciate an Oscar winning movie if it expresses a different reality than his. That's cool. We can still be friends on and off line.

I know that Paul believes pride in my race makes me racist. It doesn't, but I don't care that he thinks that. This is his own ignorance that he has to deal with, and if it changes how he interacts with me, which it has, that's his problem. The fact that he has no pride in his own heritage is his problem as well.

I do not accept Paul's notion that a patriarchal government is somehow "my parent". Those motherfuckers are no better than me, and they have no authority over me except what they can force by the barrel of a gun or threat of imprisionment. That certainly doesn't make Bush "my daddy".

I blame motherfuckers who don't have respect for the diversity of life and diversity of thought for the world's problems. Those are the motherfuckers who can't appreciate the fact that a 7 year-old girl understands the notion of racial nationalism better than they do. They also can't stand it that she is proud of who she is and wants to help people who are like her feel that same pride.

This is because they believe they are somehow better than she is, and that if a child points out the faults of their ancestors, it brings her on par with them. This challenges their notion of superiority both as a race and as adults.

I think it would be different if she told the school that white people were created by an evil scientist named Yacub. But what she said was the truth. How can anyone find fault with that?

Nadir said...

Six: I don't hold you responsible for the large population of white supremacists in Michigan unless you are one. It's not your fault that others are ignorant just like it is not your fault that Columbus initiated the current age of European imperialism. You are a beneficiary of that age, but it is not your fault.

It is your fault if you allow and encourage further oppression and hatred when you know better. I do hold you responsible for the war in Iraq and the current price of gas because you voted for Bush.

So as reparations, please send me a PayPal payment of $30 so I can fill up my tank.

sixstringslinger said...

"It's not your fault that others are ignorant just like it is not your fault that Columbus initiated the current age of European imperialism. You are a beneficiary of that age, but it is not your fault."


Like it or not Nadir, you too are a beneficiary of it. It must be painfully difficult for you to accept that fact. And it is a fact. It's the truth.

sixstringslinger said...

The European imperialism for which you have so much disdain is what allows you to live the life you do. You call us hypocrites. I can't think of anything more hypocritical than ejoying all the fruits and comforts of an American, westernized, capitalistic lifestyle, only to spit on it and criticize it to no end. It's classic leftistism.

You loathe your own lifestyle and the culture and surroundings that make that lifestyle possible.

Nadir said...

I certainly would have no problem leading this lifestyle in a communal African community that was not interferred with by European slavers.

But I understand your point, and I do understand the privileges I enjoy because I was born in the US. I reconcile this by trying to live a life free of the repression of others.

And that's a difficult thing to do. It means not shopping at Wal-Mart, not wearing Nikes, and trying my best not to harm others.

Our lives are built on the backs of the oppressed. We can simply do our best not to support that oppression.

So anyway, I recognize that hypocrisy, and I try to do what I can to avoid it. I certainly don't encourage it by supporting the oppressors though.

Paul Hue said...

Six: Emails and blogs cause people to state and read things very bluntly. Some of the things that Nadir has written on this issue here have hurt me very deeply. I understand how you feel to be totally non-racist, but to be confidently labled one merely for caring enough to take the time to express yourself. So all I can do is offer you the benefit of my many experiances to insist that, as illogical as it seems, people who make the comments that Nadir does rarely exhibit in-person behavior that matches their schockingly ugly outbursts. Nadir in particular is 100% willing and eager to have -- and does have -- genuine friends in his life who are honkeys; I dare say that within our metro area there can't be more than a handful of people that Nadir is ultimately as close to or as affectionate with as me.

Racist beliefs are all false at their core. Even the awful cracker racists of jim crow could not even help contradicting themselves all the time. The racist views that Nadir has are roughly 40 years old, and reached their peak probably in 1990s, in my view; I see them inevitably whithering away with subsequent generations, especially as the "out-marry" rates continue to climb. I think that Nadir and his wife will find it pretty hard to get their kids to adopt their views; I would it'll be more likely that their kids marry crackers than express the views that have offended you here.

I have many black friends with kids. Off hand I can think of only one who would permit his kids to hear the racially divisive vitriol that the Ashante prodigy spewed. Nadir and my mutual friends Andrew and Monifa have two children, ages 3 and 6. They do not even discuss race around their children, and have a rule against using racial idenfification, which I respect. They don't even want their kids to think to catagorize people into black and white, and they teach their kids to identify equally with Thomas Jefferson, Nat Turner, and that Asian golfer girl. I of course take the opposite road to the same goal: I use racial terms so constantly and so rediculously as to render them meaningless. But around Andrew and Monifa's kids I don't use any racial terms. From their parents these kids will never hear anything about white people being responsible for black people in Detroit killing each other; they will just learn that killing is wrong and only negative people do it. They will never hear that "black people need to work together"; instead they will learn that "people need to work together." They will never here "white people enslaved us"; instead they will hear "many people around the world used to enslave each other, in some places this still occurs. It is wrong."

That couple, who live in Westland with me and Nadir, are very effusive in their delight with Westland and their integration into it. With great happiness I report my perception that their attitude represents the ascendent trend.

PS: I'm not even confident that Nadir will take this race-based divisive view to his grade.

sixstringslinger said...

I commend you for admitting that. And you know what, I try and do the same things such as by not shopping at the big box stores if at all possible and trying to support mom n' pop businesses when I can, things like that.

I think not all, but most people try and live their lives that way, but it's really hard. I don't like buying sneakers, or anything else for that matter, made in China by someone making a dollar a day, but it's getting increasingly difficult to do so.

sixstringslinger said...

I understand and acknowledge that the founders of this great nation did some horrible things and committed some heinous acts along the way in getting us to where are now, but to rewrite history to the point where ONLY the negative aspects of our nation's history are mentioned and taught and are remembered is just not right. Or fair. And that's the way it's gotten over the last 25-30 years. it seems that's ALL we hear about. Never the great, positive things this country has and continues to accomplish.

I still firmly believe that this is the greatest country on the face of the earth, despite the dark, regrettable chapters in our history. I just wish folks such as yourself and Tom could take a step back once in a while and see that instead of always dwelling on the negative aspects of of our history.

sixstringslinger said...

Paul:

One of the things I'm most proud of in my short time as a parent so far is that my kids are going to be raised that way as well. They're never going to hear the word n*gger used in our house, they're going to have plenty of black kids as friends, as well as many other races. Way more than I did when I was a kid. In fact, when I was a kid, I didn't have any black friends, except for some of the kids I hung out with when I visted my Uncle's place on Detroit's NW side. Other than that, none. I grew up in suburban, white-bread Farmington in the 60's. What'ya want?

It's great to watch my 4 year-old son playing at the playground with kids of every race and color without a clue that there's any difference between him and them other than they may look a little differently.

I think you're right. I think, for the most part, race is going to become less and less a factor in society. However, as I stated earlier in the post, there are those on both sides whose very reason for existing relies on racism remaining an issue and NOT going away and that's what REALLY pisses me off. When folks claim racism where it doesn't exist, or, when folks still blame this or that on someone's race. Both are equally wrong.

Am I perfect? No. Do still battle some age-old stereotypes internally? Yes. But who can honestly say they don't? That's what the movie "Crash" was all about. I thought that movie did a good job od illustrating that.

Nadir said...

I agree with much of what you guys have said here. Children should be raised to value and respect all life.

That said, I am a staunch advocate of "celebrating diversity". By accepting, understanding and respecting our differences, we will progress and learn more from each other.

If we strive to create a color-blind society, we will lose a great deal of knowledge and culture from all people of all ethnic groups. I believe this is what many immigrants learned in their efforts to assimilate into America's mythical melting pot.

When we deny our ancestors to become "American" we often lose the qualities and customs that make us unique and we lose the things that make culture so rich in the first place.

Can you imagine a place like New Orleans without the rich gumbo of African, French, Spanish and American cultures? Of course not. But understanding what each of those cultures contributed may lead you to discover the African music that was at the roots of jazz or the delectible French and Spanish cuisines that are part ot New Orleans flavor. These may open your life to new and exciting experiences that you wouldn't have encountered otherwise.

Understanding and celebrating our differences will not drive us apart as a people as long as we respect and value every human being and where they come from. This is the struggle that America faces in race relations today.

Nadir said...

On the history of America:

The reason so much comes out about the negatives in American history lately is because through greater research we are unlearning much of the propaganda that was taught as history when we were children. To truly understand history, you have to look at it from several angles, not just one.

The United States has built the most prosperous empire in world history. But without understanding and admitting that the indigenous people of this continent were driven to the brink of extinction, and that much of that fortune was built on the backs of slave labor, we lose valuable lessons.

Just think of how much more rich the civilization would be if Europeans had worked with the Indians instead of slaughtering them. There was already a successful trading system throughout most of the Ohio Valley before the white man came to North America. Why not augment that instead of destroying it?

Well, we can't change history, but by knowing the truth, we can learn from it. We can take the positive aspects and apply them. And if we know the negatives we can work to avoid those negative consequences.

Will there be other negative consequences? Probably, but those will be new challenges. We won't have to repeat the same mistakes.