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On "Dangerous black kids"

Commentary by Black Kos Editor Denise Oliver Velez

There are people who still don't "get it" about why black and brown folks, and our allies don't think Michael Dunn getting convicted of attempted assault on a car, but not for murdering Jordan Davis was "justice". There are people telling us we should be satisfied with Angela Corey, the prosecutor, and the jury, who did manage to convict Dunn for attempted murder of the teenaged passengers of the car who are alive.  

Well...we are angry. We are not satisfied. The twitterstorm that erupted after the verdict is still raging at #DangerousBlackKids  

Know your meme reported:

Within 24 hours of @thewayoftheid’s tweet, the hashtag #DangerousBlackKids was used on Twitter more than 16,000 times. On February 16th, several websites reported on the hashtag campaign and compiled some of the most popular examples, including The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, and Complex. Also on February 16th, @TheObamaDiary, a Twitter account about Obamacare, tweeted the hashtag with childhood photos of President Obama and the First Lady.
 photo 999c28af-2b9a-4bd2-8b62-2802e00b59ac_zps0373aa22.png

The pics posted to twitter tell the story.

I really don't have much more to say today.  

When armed white guys can kill our kids and get away with murder, and are given a
license to kill by Stand Your Ground laws, the only thing I can say, with certainty, is that we need to redouble, triple and quadruple our efforts to vote the people out of office who have enacted those racist laws and laws which were enacted to take away our right to vote.

And I'm really not interested in hearing from one more person who purports to be from "the real left" whose message is "don't vote".

Telling our folks not to vote when we've died to get the chance to do so is tantamount to being an accessory to our continuing oppression and deaths.

What I really want to say to these @!%^#*'s is unprintable.

Use your imagination.


                  News by dopper0189, Black Kos Managing Editor

A student-led social media effort to generate conversation about what it'€™s like to be a black student at University of Michigan has morphed into an organizing effort to win concrete changes on campus. ColorLines: When a Hashtag Sparks More Than Dialogue.
Students from the university's Black Student Union kicked off a social media conversation centered around the hashtag #BBUM "Being Black at Michigan" €”last fall.It triggered an outpouring from students and alumni which got the hashtag trending on Twitter.

The original goal was to have a public conversation about what it's like to be black in an increasingly stratified, and racially segregated higher education ecosystem. But it didn'€™t end there. Spurred on by the outpouring of dialogue the hashtag triggered, the BSU began using the hashtag as an organizing tool, then returned to the university in the new year with seven demands to improve the campus climate.

On Tuesday, as a direct result of the hashtag-driven campaign, the university'€™s student government passed a resolution to support the seven demands put forth by the BSU, and student activism efforts to increase student-of-color enrollment at the university, including the creation of a scholarship for undocumented students, the Michigan Daily reported. Administrators have agreed to set aside $300,000 to renovate the campus multicultural center, according to Rick Fitzgerald, the associate director of public affairs for the university.

Movement on some student demands has been easier than others, though. The BSU also called for an increase in black enrollment rates at the University of Michigan to 10 percent of the student body, which the university is legally barred from carrying out. The Supreme Court ruled in 1978 that using racial quotas in higher education admission violates the Equal Protection Clause.

œIt'™s a continuing conversation,€ said Fitzgerald. œMy understanding is that upon a deeper understanding of what student concerns were, they are continuing to have discussions about what the university may or can and cannot do. Still, Fitzgerald says, €œMy understanding is groups continue to believe the discussions are productive and worth continuing.

Ta-Nehisi Coates expresses the frustration we all feel. The Atlantic: On the Killing of Jordan Davis by Michael Dunn.
I wish I had something more to say about the fact that Michael Dunn was not convicted for killing a black boy. Except I said it after George Zimmerman was not convicted of killing a black boy. Except the parents of black boys already know this. Except the parents of black boys have long said this, and they have been answered with mockery.

Jordan Davis had a mother and a father. It did not save him. Trayvon Martin had a mother and a father. They could not save him. My son has a father and mother. We cannot protect him from our country, which is our aegis and our assailant. We cannot protect our children because racism in America is not merely a belief system but a heritage, and the inability of black parents to protect their children is an ancient tradition.


Spare us the invocations of "black on black crime."  I will not respect the lie. I would rather be thought insane. The most mendacious phrase in the American language is "black on black crime," which is uttered as though the same hands that drew red lines around the ghettoes of Chicago are not the same hands that drew red lines around the life of Jordan Davis,  as though black people authored North Lawndale and policy does not exist. That which mandates the murder of our Hadiya Pendletons necessarily mandates the murder of Jordan Davis. I will not respect any difference. I will not respect the lie. I would rather be thought crazy.

I insist that the irrelevance of black life has been drilled into this country since its infancy, and shall not be extricated through the latest innovations in Negro Finishing School. I insist that racism is our heritage, that Thomas Jefferson's genius is no more important than his plundering of the body of Sally Hemmings, that George Washington's abdication is no more significant than his wild pursuit of Oney Judge, that the G.I Bill's accolades are somehow inseparable from its racist heritage. I will not respect the lie. I insist that racism must be properly understood as an Intelligence, as a sentience, as a default setting to which, likely until the end of our days, we unerringly return.

A murdered Black child named Jordan Russell Davis (RIP)
                                 Jordan Davis

Because sometimes, everybody needs a support network. ColorLines: Michael Sam Didn'€™t Get Here on His Own.
Before Michael Sam was known to the world as an openly gay football player€” before the sports pundits debated his upcoming NFL draft stock, before his future teammates and opponents publicly fretted over their locker room showers, before he became a hero of the nation's top gay rights organizations there was the dinner party in Los Angeles.

Seven men, some gay, some not, gathered at the home of publicist Howard Bragman at the behest of NFL agents Joe Barkett and Cameron Weiss of Empire Athletes, the agency Sam had chosen to represent his professional interests. They included Cyd Zeigler and Jim Buzinski of; Dave Kopay, the former NFL running back who had come out in 1975; former NFL players Chris Kluwe and Brendon Ayanbedajo, who both emerged as vocal allies and lost their jobs because of it; another former player, Wade Davis; former Major League baseball player Billy Bean, who came out after his playing days with the San Diego Padres; and Sam, the University of Missouri star defensive end who is poised to become the league'™s first openly gay active football player in nearly four decades.

Each man was there with a very specific purpose, according to reports from Outsports and Sports Illustrated: Ziegler had been covering gay athletes since 1999 and made a mean peach cobbler. Davis could relate to Sam's experience as a gay black boy growing up in a small Southern city and knew how to appreciate a good rack of ribs. In his own way, each man had done his part to speak out against homophobia in a sport that promotes a very rigid form of masculinity. Officially, the dinner party was a “coming out party for Sam, an opportunity to acknowledge the small but powerful support network that surrounds him. Unofficially, it was a celebration of all the work that had led up to this moment where, in less than 24 hours, Sam'™s truth would be splashed across the front page of the New York Times. But first there were drinks to be had, gay bars to be visited, and karaoke to be sung at one in the morning.

Sam's support network represents the tectonic shift about to take place in America'™s manliest pastime. For years, there's been a push to find and celebrate an openly gay player in the NFL, and now that he'€™s almost there, the league, its players, coaches and fans will see the fruits of a movement that'€™s been fueled in no small part by individual men called to collective action.

   From left to right: Wade Davis, Dave Kopay, Michael Sam, Chris Kluwe, Billy Bean, Brendon Anyanbadejo. (Photo by Cyd Zeigler)

A crisis in white masculinity is killing black teenagers and, history says, the violence is likely to continue. The Root: Why Are White Men Like Michael Dunn So Angry?
Dunn, the man found guilty Saturday on three counts of attempted second-degree murder for shooting into a car full of black teenagers at a Jacksonville, Fla., gas station after an argument over loud rap music but not convicted of the murder of Jordan Davis, the 17-year-old slain in the incident ”provides some answers. Like Trayvon Martin'™s killer, George Zimmerman, Dunn's case represents the rage felt by many angry white men in America.

During his cross-examination on the stand, Dunn admitted to feeling €œdisrespected by a mouthy teenager who ignored his request to turn down the "œrap crap"€ blasting from a red SUV occupied by Jordan and his friends. In Dunn's version of events, Jordan taunted him with racial and gender slurs like "cracker"€ and "€œb--ch."€

Dunn was pushed over the edge by insults and window-rattling music, and what allegedly followed eerily mirrored the 1993 film Falling Down, in which a white-collar worker turned vigilante snaps under the pressure of white, middle-class life and strikes back against Latino gangbangers.

Dunn yelled, "You're not going to talk to me that way," according to witness testimony. He grabbed his gun from the glove compartment and fired nine rounds into the side of the teenagers€™ vehicle, killing Jordan. According to Dunn, he fled the scene and spent a sleepless night at a hotel, expecting "more gangsters"€ to retaliate against him and his fiancee.

For angry white men like Dunn, Jordan Davis "€œgangsta rap"€ music and Trayvon Martin'€™s "€œhoodie"€ symbolize a larger culture war in which putatively wholesome American culture is under siege by blackness. "Stand your ground" laws, Dunn believes, give Americans the right to defend themselves against œthe denigration of women€ and €œthe violence and lifestyle that the 'Gangsta Rap' music and the '€˜thug life'€™ € adopted by €œan entire generation of €œyoung black men.

Awaiting trial, Dunn wrote several letters to his family and friends complaining about how “jail is full of blacks and they all act like thugs. In a letter to his daughter, he offered the following solution to the problem of  black thuggery: œThis may sound a bit radical but if more people would arm themselves and kill these f--king idiots when they're threatening you, eventually they may take the hint and change their behavior.€

                               Michael Dunn,  YOUTUBE screenshot


President Obama on Sunday condemned a measure to criminalize homosexuality in Uganda, publicly warning the country's president that such discrimination could harm its relationship with the United States. New York Times: Obama Condemns Uganda's Tough Antigay Measure.
President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda signaled on Friday that he was likely to sign a bill that would punish the the promotion or recognition€ of same-sex relations with as much as life in prison.

“As we have conveyed to President Museveni, enacting this legislation will complicate our valued relationship with Uganda, Mr. Obama said in his statement.

The bill, Mr. Obama added, œwill be more than an affront and a danger to the gay community in Uganda.

€œIt will be a step backward for all Ugandans and reflect poorly on Uganda'™s commitment to protecting the human rights of its people,€ the president said.

Mr. Obama'™s national security adviser, Susan E. Rice, who accompanied the president on his trip, announced that she had spoken €œat length€ with Mr. Museveni on Saturday evening to discourage him from signing the bill. In a series of posts on Twitter Sunday morning, Ms. Rice said she told him it will be a huge step backward for Uganda and the world.

Under the proposed law, a first conviction could result in a 14-year prison sentence, and subsequent convictions of €œaggravated homosexuality€ could lead to a life term.

The bill passed by the Ugandan Parliament in December is a modified version of a 2009 proposal that included death sentences. It was withdrawn after an international outcry.

Off shore tax havens and secretive banking laws are one of the major enablers of corruption in the developing world. Foreign Policy: How a Swiss commodities giant used shell companies to make an Angolan general three-quarters of a billion dollars richer.
Revolutionary communist regimes have a strange habit of transforming themselves into corrupt crony capitalist ones and Angola -- with its massive oil reserves and budding crop of billionaires -- has proved no exception.

In 2010, Trafigura, the world's third-largest private oil and metals trader based in Switzerland, sold an 18.75-percent stake in one of its major energy subsidiaries to a high-ranking and influential Angolan general, Foreign Policy has discovered. The sale, which amounted to $213 million, appears on the 2012 audit of the annual financial statements of a Singapore-registered company, which is wholly owned by Gen. Leopoldino Fragoso do Nascimento. Details of the sale and purchaser are also buried within a prospectus document of the sold company which was uploaded to the Luxembourg Stock Exchange within the last week. "General Dino," as he's more commonly called in Angola, purchased the 18.75 percent stake not in any minor bauble, but in a $5 billion multinational oil company called Puma Energy International. By 2011, his shares were diluted to 15 percent; but that's still quite a hefty prize: his stake in the company is today valued at around $750 million.

The sale illuminates not only a growing and little-scrutinized relationship between Trafigura, which earned nearly $1 billion in profits in 2012, and the autocratic regime of 71-year-old Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who has been in power since 1979 -- but also the role that Western enterprise continues to play in the Third World.
Despite a boom in its oil revenue over the last few decades, and dos Santos's own declared zero-tolerance campaign against corruption, Angola has yet to implement any meaningful development programs for a citizenry of 14 million, many of whom still live in poverty. "Angola is incredibly compelling from a human rights point of view partly because of the corruption and the fact that this is a government that has the resources to respond to the needs of its people and to fulfill the huge economic and social and cultural rights and yet is not doing so," said Leslie Lefkow, the deputy director for Human Rights Watch's Africa Division.

Meanwhile, Trafigura has spent the last several years cultivating lucrative commercial interests in Angola and buying up shares in at least seven different companies, ranging from real estate to cargo shipping. Unsurprisingly, it has assiduously pursued investment in Angola's oil sector, according to Marc Gueniat, the senior researcher at the Berne Declaration, a Swiss NGO that monitors corporate transparency. (The group is named for the 1968 accord signed by scholars and intellectuals calling for more equitable business practices in an increasingly globalized economy.) "I am not aware of any other country where one company has such a dominance on the oil imports as Trafigura has in Angola," Gueniat said.

"It effectively has a monopoly to supply petroleum products in the country. What sense does this make from an Angolan perspective?"

                        Angolan Gen. Leopoldino Fragoso do Nascimento


Voices and Soul


by Justice Putnam
Black Kos Poetry Editor

On the evening of 4 June 1968, at the age of thirteen, I accompanied my father to the Ambassador Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. For several years, he had been writing policy and research papers for the California State Democratic Steering and Platform Committees. I had walked precincts and volunteered at the Kennedy Campaign Headquarters in the San Gabriel Valley for the preceding two months, so as a sort of reward, I was allowed to stay up past my regular bedtime to go with my father to what was, we were certain, to be a victory celebration.

Dad and I had been at the Ambassador since around 8:30 p.m. It was a huge and boisterous crowd. Normally, I retired before 10 p.m., so by the time Kennedy entered the ballroom around 11:30 p.m., I was pretty bushed. His speech would be broadcast on the radio, so Dad and I headed home. On the way, we heard Kennedy and five others had been shot.

I was at a department store near our home, in the television department when the news of Martin Luther King's assassination was broadcast on 4 April 1968. Dad had been teaching his history classes at Cal State Fullerton that day and evening; and had not heard the news, so my revelation was the first he had heard of it. I never had seen my Dad cry, but he teared up when I told him. At that point, I had been a Eugene McCarthy aficionado, but I changed allegiances after listening, with my father, to Kennedy's speech in front of a black audience in Indiana, informing them of MLK's assassination.

Kennedy is reported to have questioned earlier, when informed of King's killing, "When will this violence stop?" It is a question that is still shouted to high heaven today.

So it is shouted outside courtrooms by mothers of black teens shot dead in the rain and in a parking lot listening to music. So it is shouted by fathers at the funerals of daughters killed on porches and parks walking home. So it is shouted by sons and daughters and wives and uncles and cousins and aunts and so it is shouted and shouted again and shouted again forevermore.

Dirge Without Music

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains, but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,—
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

-- Edna St. Vincent Millay


Welcome to the Black Kos Community Front Porch


Originally posted to Black Kos on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 01:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Barriers and Bridges, Support the Dream Defenders, Kitchen Table Kibitzing, and Black Kos community.

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