Winter Break

penguinHello everyone- Hope you all are well & had a happy holiday! I am on my winter break from school & so I haven’t been active on this blog in a while. I appreciate all the comments & will respond to each one when I return. Thanks to everyone who has helped my blog grow and become a place where people can have meaningful discussions!

Take care & see you in the new year!!

-kd-

(hey to help get me jump started in the new year, maybe leave a reply about a topic you would like me to write about?)

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The “Angry Black Racist”

377px-bossniggerposter I’ve always tried to avoid doing it- getting into an internet fight. Fighting on the internet is about as productive as going onto facebook when you have homework to do. It just doesn’t work. But when I came across an article about the new web browser designed specifically African Americans in mind, I couldn’t help making a comment. To be fair, I usually don’t go on the KKK’s website to discuss Barack Obama’s merits, but this news article was on a seemingly innocuous technology blog.

Sure a reader had referred to the African American developers of the browser as “ignorant clowns” incapable of designing their own browser, but I was sure all the other readers were reasonable folk. If I only shed some historical perspective on the purpose of the browser, surely other readers would understand.

Boy was I ever wrong. Somehow, in the course of explaining why African American’s might want their own web browser (even though I myself wasn’t completely sold on the idea), I was called: “a loser”, “a white hating racist”, and  “an angry black man”- and that’s just what I saw before the moderator deleted “racist jokes and comments”.

I figured I would check back this evening, and found new developments: I was informed that one of the readers “didn’t want any blacks on their premises”, and a link to a racist website was provided, complete with a video entitled “Who likes a N*gger?”

I’m not naive about the state of race relations in our country, but because I don’t ordinarily seek out racist enclaves, I found the response to my remarks surprising. If nothing else, what was said on that website was a fresh reminder that, contrary to the November 5th headlines, we do not live in a “post-racial” society.

-kd-

The link to the website is: http://techblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2008/12/mozillas-blackbird-web-browser.html

The comments (as of November 13th) are reproduced below:

Comments

I think the concept is silly, but this is *not* “Mozilla’s Blackbird” nor is it developed, distributed or promoted by Mozilla. It is developed and run by 40A, which is a group of three African American entrepreneurs. When something is “powered by Mozilla” that simply means that it uses Mozilla’s open-source materials to build upon.


FROM VICTOR: Jacob, I looked through the “about” section a little more, and I think you are correct. So I’ve made some edits to the headline and the post itself. I still think this is really weird, though.


Victor, I agree, it’s very weird. Honestly, can you imagine “Whitebird: The browser for whites. Connect, Empower, Entertain”? Somehow I don’t think it’d go over the same way.

Their resources would have been better spent building a web portal of some sort that aggregates and such. Seems strange to focus the tool (browser) so narrowly.


let me know when they come up with the corned beef and Guinness browser for this ol Irish lad


But just try to develop a “Whitebird”…

Runs off of the Mozilla engine, these racist clowns aren’t smart enough to develop their own browser.


I will make the comment here, made elsewhere on the web that a few of you have completely missed:

White bird already exists. White Entertainment Television exists. They are simply known as the the default, the standard in America.

Our society was founded on genocide (Native Americans) & racism (slavery). The last vestiges of this oppressive system were only lifted in the current generation of adults.

To think that society is now a “color blind”, where everything is equal and dandy is naive and ignorant.

It is almost humorous that some people would joke about the improbability of “white focused” entities as if they do not already exist.

Turn on your television. Flip through some channels, and tell me that the racial representation is indicative of the racial composition of our nation.

Much of what you consider “normal” and “color neutral” is tainted by the fact that white privilege is alive and well, whether the white beneficiaries desire and seek out that privilege or not. To declare otherwise is to belie a certain naivete about the world.

What is the threat to you, why is this idea silly? What is so incomprehensible about a culture wishing to have a tool that acknowledges it?

It is hard to imagine, but suppose this were true:
You are white & the majority/dominant culture is black. Everything about the culture is black. Every TV channel is filled with blacks. Whites appear in token ads, token commercials. White history is largely ignored by public education. TV newscasters are overwhelmingly white, etc..this is the world that blacks in America live in, and yet you would have the audacity to call attempts to highlight their own culture “silly”.

Recommended Reading for you:
-When Affirmative Action Was White
-White Washing Race: The Myth of a Color Blind Society.

Perhaps most telling will be your reaction to this post. Do you dismiss it as the ramblings of a minority bent on making race an issue when it is not? Do you enjoy the ability to read the comment and then for the rest of the day, never think about how your race is devalued by dominant culture?

Or do you sit, and think for a while about the world, and educate yourself before denigrating something you aren’t sufficiently versed in?


Kevin, you’re a white-hating racist. Go away.


Kevin,

You’re right. When I turn on my TV, the racial representation is definitely not indicative of the racial composition of our nation.

Instead, blacks are far OVERrepresented, especially in positions of high achievement. The top surgeons, computer experts, pilots, etc. are black. For the last 15 years, every judge on TV and in movies has been represented as black. Every cast includes at least one black person; every legal team, medical team, business department has at least one black person on it. Characters in books who were white are changed to black for the film adaptation. Blacks take the role of “numinous negro” and acts as fonts of general-purpose wisdom, with their words and actions cast in the light of an almost spiritual transcendence (think Morgan Freeman in just about every role.) This certainly doesn’t comport with the reality of our society, where blacks are markedly absent from such positions.

Meanwhile, blacks are not portrayed in the one segment of our society in which they ARE overrepresented in proportion to their numbers: violent criminals. If a violent criminal appears on a television show, you can be certain he’ll be white. Crime shows with episodes based on real-life incidents (“ripped from the headlines”) change the race of the real-life killer from black to white.

So, sorry, no, I don’t see the black race being devalued by the dominant culture. On the contrary, I see it being undeservedly exalted.

As for the market for a Whitebird, I personally have no need for one, but whites, who were 90% of the US population in 1960, are now, thanks to immigration laws enacted by–you guessed it–whites, only 67% and falling. If different racial groups have different interests, there is now a significant segment of our society which presumably doesn’t share the same interest as whites. So what would be wrong with a browser that catered to white interests?


I agree with Jacob.

Additionally, I noticed Kevin stated:

“The last vestiges of this oppressive system were only lifted in the current generation of adults.”

What will his excuse be in another generation if blacks and whites do not achieve parity? How will Kevin find a way to blame whites?
and this statement from Kevin:

“White bird already exists. White Entertainment Television exists. They are simply known as the the default, the standard in America.”

Nonsense. “White Entertainment Television” and “White Bird” are required to act against their own people and include (in fact emphasize) non-whites. Under the current ruling system, using the tool of affirmative action, whites (especially white Christian men) are required to be discriminated against in order to foster equal result.

There is no way possible to analyze the current political order throughout the and conclude that the goal is anything other than the destruction of White Civilization.


How much you wanna bet that no conservative black websites or writers will be allowed to be part of their “service”?


To all reading, I am a white American, born and raised in the South. I live my life standing up for this country beside men and women of all races, creeds, religions and genders. I have been called racist by the people who do not know me. I want everyone to know this. This African American web browser completely undoes decades of hard work by men both black and white. It took two assassinations on the books, and countless murders for all men to treated equally. Now this blacks only web browser comes along and reverses the deeds of so many American heroes. I’m a white American,but does it really matter the color of my skin? I’m still an AMERICAN!!


“This African American web browser completely undoes decades of hard work by men both black and white. It took two assassinations on the books, and countless murders for all men to treated equally. Now this blacks only web browser comes along and reverses the deeds of so many American heroes.”

Web. Browser.


Blackbird is a super computer for gamer’s made by Hewlett Packard that not available in Europa only can buy in shop United States of America.
Blackbird browser hide your IP address with secret technology Stealth that made US defence.


Kevin is obviously an angry black ma. Jacob is an angry white man. OK, somebody needs a hug. I’m a white man, married to a jamaican woman. My family calls her daughter, her family calls me “a good candidate for the KKK, because I’m proud of my heritage” and other equally polite terms.(note the sarcastic attempt). I have no problems with blackbird. Why not? If it promotes decency in society, I say great. If they turn it into a hate browser, then I’ll have a problem with it.

I’ve noticed Black folks, or “You People” can be the most ignorant people in the world. I went to my wife’s parents house with a black buddy of mine once. I was not let in the door, but my Sister in law said he was welcome. Black folks will always be welcome in our house, is what she said. Blame Whitey all you want Kevin, but the generations of the past that hurt the black folks, are dust. Why not let the hatred over something that happened 300 years ago, turn to dust too. Nowadays, Reverse racism is acceptable, it seems, it’s even in fashion. Just check out BET.


Who cares what you people posting in this forum against the new browser has to say? You are all unimportant.


In response to the loser Kevin, this Kevin has a different opinion. He says that you turn on your TV and it is proof that whites do have their own stations and such, but the difference is that blacks are allowed on those stations, it is now our fault if they can’t make shows good enough to be put on them. If blacks want an equal world then they have to accept white only things as they want us to accept black only. Why can’t I get into a black college, because I’m white. Why can’t blacks get into a white college, because white colleges don’t exist, every college in America accepts all races except black colleges. Where is the equality in that. I don’t care if you have a all black browser, college, tv station, anything you want, just let us have ours if we please to.


i thought racist comments were going to be deleted?


FROM VICTOR: I just went through the comments and did some culling. C’mon, y’all. Feel free to debate the merits of this browser and racial attitudes in media and society all you want, but let’s hold off the insults and racial jokes.


Good morning all. To your many claims that I am an angry black man:

1- My father is black and my mother is white. What race does that make me in your opinion?

2- Since when is stating the truth about reality being angry? I strongly suspect here that most of your claims and assertions are based on gut feelings and ideology. Try using fact. Tell me the name of one peer-reviewed journal, scholarly publication, or reputable book that will refute the claims that I made that blacks are generally devalued in this society. The numbers are out there- white median income $50,000. black median income- $32,000. more black men in jail than in college….
We can look at figures like this and come to 1 of 2 conclusions:
1- You can revert to racist notions of old that conclude that blacks are an inherently inferior race, or
2- You can recognize structural inequality that leads to disparate outcomes in society.

Call me racist, call me angry, but you can’t dispute history and the facts. I understand you don’t like me pointing this out. Few people in the dominant class in any society want to recognize the inherent advantages they reap in society because of history and discrimination, whether its whites in America, or the highest cast in India.

3- To the assertion that I hate whites. I find that entirely humorous. I actually grew up in Connecticut, and as a result most of my peers and friends are white. Oh yea, and my MOTHER, whom I happen to think is pretty cool.
4- The other Kevin. Excellent work on calling me a loser and providing substantiated claims to back it up. You convinced me. Why can’t you get into a black college? Your ignorance belies you once again. Whites are allowed into what are more correctly described as “historically black” colleges. Do your research before you make unsubstantiated claims. As far as your remarks that there are no “white colleges”, just as there are no “black colleges”, but rather “historically black”, there are no “white colleges”, but “historically white”.

5- If most of you plan to be around in the next 25-50 years, I hope you can learn to come to grips with factual history, and gain a greater appreciation for racial diversity, because you will be a minority by then. The combined Latino/Black population will have surpassed the white population by then, which will make for some interesting social reform.

6- Please learn to distinguish my observations about historical reality, and the modern day implications, from attacks directly specifically at you. I suppose if I had met you in a real life before this forum, we would have gotten along. I am a social work student, and I pretty much like everyone I meet. And contrary to your perceptions, I don’t go around hating on white people. Like I said before, I know that dominant society doesn’t like to be called out. But that’s the reality and I can’t apologize for that. I think none of us who are men, would have to gall to suggest that our gender gives us an inherent advantage in society over women. In the same white, to deny that whiteness does not grant inherent advantage is really a denial of reality. Maybe I didn’t ask to be born male, or maybe I don’t abuse or exploit my male status for personal gain, but all the same its there. The same is true for being white.

In the spirit of healthy debate, and understanding, I bid you good afternoon.


typographical corrections:

would have the gall to suggest that our gender *doesn’t* give us an inherent advantage…

In the same *way* to deny that whiteness…


for blacks only huh?…kinda reminds me of that very racist line of clothing, FUBU. That’s ok with me, i don’t want any blacks entering my business premises. so lets call it even


Armchair Activism

chapter_upennWe are born. We live. We love. We hurt. We reflect. We die. Perhaps there is a God in the sky who will shake our hands if we were nice, and perhaps if we were naughty he will kick us a burning curb. The best I can figure in the interim is to help bring peace and justice to those that I can. But how to go about this?

That’s where I get hung up. My colleagues and I are dolling out $40,000+/yr to learn how to be good social workers. Living in Philadelphia amidst rampant urban decay, poverty, homelessness and blatant inequality casts a certain amount of irony over our high minded discussions safely contained within the walls of an ivy-lined campus.

It’s something we all struggle with. How do we balance the benefit of a great education, lifelong connections, enlightening dialogue, and a chance to experience first hand the inequality pervading the city, with the reality that perhaps we could bring good to the world without Penn’s seal of approval, without singlehandedly keeping student loan companies in business?

We all undoubtedly do social good through the very fact that we contribute our time and efforts to various social organizations throughout the region, but there is a call we feel to do something more. It is hard to sit through classes and have tough discussions about racism, about sexism, poverty, welfare, healthcare, homelessness, elder abuse, child welfare, food insecurity, and the myriad of other issues that we do, and then go home at night to our warm beds.

And so some of us talk. We talk to each other about these feelings and our passion to do more. Some of us volunteer our time above and beyond our field placement requirements. Some of us insert random acts of kindness into our daily routines, and more likely all of us do some combination of all of these things.

One of the things I do is write. I feel compelled to share my ideas about the world, my passion for social justice. I feel hopeful that someone will stumble across my Action of the Day Page and say “hey, I don’t support executing people without evidence” and place a phone call, or “hey, torture isn’t cool” and sign a petition. I hope that someone will stumble across my Media section, and give second though to immigration laws, or will decide to engage in the political process. I hope that someone will read my “Policies for People” article and discuss these ideas with others.

But for all of these hopes and posts, I run the risk of becoming an Armchair Activist. When I go to a photo exhibit in Philadelphia about hunger in our city, and then walk home and heat up a bowl of soup, I run the risk of becoming an Activist in Theory. When I go to a Housing Conference, talk to people about homelessness, and go to sleep in the Hilton Hotel, I run the risk of mistaking words for action.

Perhaps I am being harsh on myself, and my fellow social workers, but the question is very real, and very relevant- Are we bringing good to the world, or are we Armchair Activists?

Asking this question is so important for all of us who believe in social change, in equality and justice, because it is so very easy to become jaded, to become burnt out, to have our exuberance stamped out by reality. And more importantly, we, I, must answer the question: What am I going to do today to make a difference?

-kd-

I especially welcome comments from Sp2 students here. Also, please feel free to join the Sp2 Committee for Action

An Abortion Joke

abortionrex_228x300I have a joke for you:

A distraught women walks into an abortion clinic. Due to (insert her reason here), she had finally decided to go through with the procedure.

The Doctor, about to preform the procedure says to her: “You know, you’re about to kill a baby right?”

The women, visibly upset looks at the doctor. She can’t believe the words coming out of his mouth.

Unperturbed, he continues “I’ll do this if you want, but you should know that you are probably going to commit suicide afterwords?”

Horrified, the women runs out of the clinic, in search of a more compassionate doctor.

Funny huh?

Actually, in retrospect, that joke wasn’t really that funny. In fact, its kind of insensitive. I’m not sure what possessed me to write it. Maybe it was the article I read in Newsweek today, detailing a STATE SANCTIONED SCRIPT doctors in South Dakota must read to women before performing an abortion.

That’s right. The government has mandated that medical professionals must read a pre-determined script to all females seeking an abortion.  Among other things, the doctor is required to warn the woman that she is about to:

terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique living human being with whom she has an existing relationship…the procedure brings statistically significant risks, including increased risk of suicidal ideation or suicide

To say the least, this script is dubious in fact and heavily value laden. No amount of interpretation on my end can do justice to the critique of this egregious and audacious policy that is necessary.

I’m dumbfounded and at a loss for words.

-kd-

Senate Seat for Sale

2462864blagojevich-corruption-probe-sffJust when I thought my post Justice Makes a Blunder, which criticized the role of money government, would perhaps loose its relevancy in a new age of politics ushured in by the Obama administration, I realize I was wrong. Very wrong.

Apparently, having boatloads of money to run a campaign and crush your opponent is old-fashioned, and too laborious. The new word on the street is, if you want in on Congress, you need only stop by Aisle 1 in the Illinois State Superstore, and the Governor will sell you President-Elect Obama’s Senate Seat.

No Joke. The 51 year old Democratic Governor of Illinois, Rod Bladgojevich was arrested earlier today for offering the Senate seat left vacant by President Elect Obama, to the highest bidder. Unhappy with the Obama team, Gov. Bladgojevich told his staff:

“[They’re] not going to give me anything except appreciation- Fuck them.”

Already under corruption charges, Bladgojevich was so brazen to even suggest if he didn’t receive a high enough bribe he would take the senate seat himself so that he would have more resources to fight the charges (Gotta love the foresight).

This shameful behavior by a United States Governor puts a tarnish on the otherwise clean veneer of Obama’s respected transition team. While they allegedly had nothing to do with the scandal, give pundits a few hours, and we’ll begin hearing people link Obama himself to the “pay to play” scheme.

As terrible as this plot to grant one of the most powerful positions in the nation- 1 of the 100 United States Senate Seats– to an individual based on their ability to put together a sweet bribery package; in my humble opinion it still doesn’t come close to the outright theft of the 2000 election.

Perhaps the worst thing of all however, is that any future aspirations I had to politics are now dashed, unless some sorely misguided individual is willing to accept my college debt as a bribe.

-kd-

Big Brother

governmentI often talk about social policies I don’t like, social issues that I think are pressing, or solutions to problems from my point of view. Often though, the ideas are kind of at an academic distance, and so I thought I would share just one way these vague, and seemingly distant policies really effect me, and probably others.

The reason I thought of this was because I just sent an email to my sister. A week or so ago my mom had sent us a video about some sort of terrorist threat in the NYC subways, and the newscaster went on to explain why it was an “easy target” etc. So we then had a couple of back and forth emails about how annoyed we get when the media provides a blueprint of sorts for people who really would carry out such heinous acts. Then I thought about how many movies I have seen with elaborate plots on how to rob a bank, blow up a city, etc, and I sent that thought to my sister.

Immediately after sending the email, I had a queasy feeling. I had just sent communication over the internet containing the text ” how to rob a bank, blow up a city”. The thought that this email was going to be picked up in some governmental office scanning emails for suspected terrorist activities crossed my mind. And this isn’t the first time that I’ve had this feeling. With domestic wiretapping, communication interception and a raft of other policies ushered in by Bush throughout his presidency and the Patriot Act, those of us who think Big Brother might be peeking over our shoulder when we communicate, are no longer paranoid- we are realistic.

I don’t want to live in a country where as a completely innocent citizen, I have to second guess my words when talking to my family. I’m not saying I had a full blow panic attack, or I started hyperventilating. But the fact that the thought crossed my mind, that I might pop up on a watch list somewhere, even if for only a second, is unsettling. Has our society really become so dangerous that it is necessary to surrender our right to privacy? The terrorist watch list maintained by the FBI has nearly 1 million names on it. Call me crazy, but I don’t think we have that many terrorists running amok.

So that’s it really. Just an observation I had. And this sort of thing only wants me to redouble efforts to protect our civil liberties and promote social justice at home and abroad.

-kd-

Government labels Nuns & Pacifists “terrorists”

…And Justice For All?

6a00d83451bae269e200e54f3eb4db8834-800wiI’m a little surprised myself that to date, I haven’t dedicated a post solely to Universal Health Care. So here we go,  reasons why I think you (and everyone you know) (and everyone you don’t) should have health care:

#1 Currently, in the United States, health care is treated as a commodity. Got money? You got health care. Got Broke? Got Divorced? Lost a Job? Graduated from College? You loose, or can’t afford health care. The fact that so many people are uninsured in America (45.7 million at the last census count), points to a serious flaw in the way our system works.

Now just in anticipation of those who dispute the 45.7 millon (but Kevin, you know a lot of those people are ILLEGAL ALIENS!!!), I would say: 1st- a full 8 million of those uninsured are children, 2nd- People are only “illegal” in this nation because of perspective. I say they aren’t illegal. As much as we like to try, we cannot own land, we cannot own the ocean, or the air, and making artificial demarcations of territory and saying if you were born on one side of an invisible line you are “legal” and if you were born on the other, well then shit you must be “illegal”  out is purely ridiculous.  If someone lives, works, and plays in the United States, they are AMERICAN. And the fact that 45.7 million AMERICANS can’t afford health care says something about our system.

What does it mean when I say we treat health care as a commodity? It means we treat it like a good, a product, something to be bought at the store, like cereal or soda. Why is it that we do this? Why do we allow our health to be relegated to a shelf in a superstore run by the likes of Aetna or Blue Cross?

To truly put this in perspective, imagine if when someone called 911 because their house was on fire, the operator asked what kind of fire insurance they had, and what their health insurance carrier number was, and put them on hold. Then after a few minutes the operator came back on the line, asked for their credit card number to process the co-pay, and then sent out a fire truck with only 1 firefighter because that was their coverage limit.

Or how about if someone called 911 because their house was being broken into, and the operator told them that they had already used their maximum police benefit for the year, and they would have to wait until the next coverage year started…

Sounds ridiculous eh? Of course it does, because humans generally believe that if someone needs help we should help them first, and ask questions later. But the health care insurance industry has got this question twisted around, and the results are dire: an estimated 18,000 people die each in America for lack of health care coverage.

We need a universal health care system that covers everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. Otherwise, we are supporting an ideology that says people should live or die based on their pocketbook.

#2 Health Insurance today isn’t serving those who need it. Got Cancer? AIDS? Diabetes? A history of family illness? You better pray to god that you don’t, because there are hundreds of health conditions that will render you ineligible for insurance. They are called pre-existing conditions, and under United States law, health insurance companies can refuse to provide you coverage, or charge astronomical rates.  To call a service health care insurance, and then deny it to the very ones who needs is so counter intuitive, the question begs when is someone going to tell the king he has no pants on? Even if you are lucky enough to purchase health care insurance when you are healthy, if you get seriously ill, YOUR INSURER CAN DROP YOU. To many people in America are blase about the health care debate because they believe they are protected.

When I lived in Connecticut, and did community organizing for health care, you wouldn’t believe how many doors were shut in my face because someone told me “they already had health care coverage“. As a decent human being, it was hard for me not to wish them a catastrophic illness or injury so that they would understand what millions of people are going through. Those American’s who oppose Universal Health Care because “they got theirs” represent the worst kind of self-centered, “me-first” thinking that has earned the U.S. its negative reputation around the world. What someone says the issue doesn’t effect them,what  they are really saying  is “sucks to be you“.

We need a universal health care system that puts the “care” back in health. Otherwise we are supporting a social darwinism ideology that says people should live or die based on their relative luck in the disease/illness lottery.

#3 Universal Health Care is a Moral Issue. I get so frustrated and angry when I think about this issue that it is hard for me not to rant, and it is equally annoying to look up and cite all the appropriate statistics/figures/studies that I have done before. The fact that there is even a debate over whether we should have universal health care from cradle to grave disgusts me. It gets added to the long list of questions in America that as a “progressive” society we should have answered long ago.

The reality is however, no amount of statistics, no amount of figures and studies will sway those who rigidly cling to a conservative ideology that prohibits them from using reason to approach an issue. Moral arguments might be most effective, so I have composed a short list of tasks that might help people break free of their inflexible ideologies:

In your spare time, make a list of 12 of your closest family and friends. Choose 2 of them you think should loose their jobs and health care.

The next time you go to church, ask Jesus if he were a claims representative Whom He Would Deny.

Take a visit to your child’s elementary school. Pop into the classroom, and identify 5 children you think should die this year from an illness.

When you are done, I invite you to re-explain why you think everyone in America should not be guaranteed health care coverage. Really, I’d love to post an essay from you on this blog.

-kd-

Further Resources:

Federal Universal Health Care Legislation

Universal Health Care Action Network

Universal Health Care Questions

Healthcare4every1 (CT)

California One Care