Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

New York City - a place imagined as a center of liberality - is a mega-human rights violator, where 8:30pm curfews are enforced to make minority neighborhoods into "ghost towns." In the Bedford-Stuyvesant section, police "are told to make arrests for incidents they have not seen and probably didn't happen, all to meet quotas and clear the streets."

 

New York City Beats Arizona Hands Down in Police Abuse of Citizens

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"The NYPD is without a doubt the worst violator of human rights in the United States - by volume."

There is a growing crime wave on the streets of New York City, a public menace that has assaulted the bodies and minds of nearly 3 million residents in the last six years. The source of the crime wave is the NYPD, without a doubt the worst violator of human rights in the United States - by volume - and arguably the most racist police force of any major city.

The ringleader of this crime wave is multi-billionaire Michael Bloomberg, the once-Republican now independent mayor of New York since 2001 and - in quantitative terms - the nation's worst human rights abuser. Every year since 2004, Mayor Bloomberg has demanded, and gotten, a bigger body count of detained New Yorkers: some 575,000 persons stopped-and frisked in 2009, nearly 90 percent of them Black and brown.

What civil libertarians fear will happen in Arizona under that state's new, anti-immigrant laws, has been happening every day to Black and Latino residents of New York. Men, women and children are routinely stopped and often arrested right in front of their homes and while sitting on their stoops. Many have been stopped tens or scores of times by cops working under harsh quotas and under orders to clear the streets of everyone by 8:30 at night - a de facto and illegal curfew on the Black and the poor - in, of all places, New York, the City That Never Sleeps.

The horror stories are finally reaching the general public because of recordings made secretly and delivered to the Village Voice newspaper by a disgruntled cop. The tapes, recorded in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn over a 17-month period, reveal a lawless police department in which patrol cops are instructed to arrest people first and make up charges against them, later. Cops are told to make arrests for incidents they have not seen and probably didn't happen, all to meet quotas and clear the streets. One particularly oppressive and profane supervisor summed it up for his men: "I want a ghost town.... The less people on the street, the easier our job will be."

"Cops are instructed to arrest people first and make up charges against them, later."

Another supervisor is heard saying, "They don't own the block. We own the block. They might live here, but we own the block. We own the streets, here."

Community members that complain about police abuse are vilified as "the bad guys."

The police department operates like a hate machine, grooming officers to hate residents and giving residents every reason to hate the police. One young man interviewed by the Village Voice said he has been stopped 14 times just since New Years Day.  "You can't stand on the sidewalk and talk or sit on someone's stoop," he says.

The sheer intensity and duration of the six-year police assault on poor, minority neighborhoods, in a city where gentrification is a public policy priority, is reason to suspect that Mayor Bloomberg's reign of terror is designed to drive out New York's unwanted classes. 

On tape, Bloomberg's cops rant and rave that they'd like to "blow up" buildings and make streets into "ghost towns." And then their boss can bring in a new population - and the cops can start acting like human beings, again.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.


Direct download: 20100526_gf_NYPD.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:18pm EST

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Jared A. Ball, Ph.D.

Rev. Al Sharpton preached that her death was a "breaking point" - but he's said that too many times before. Even the police execution of a child fails as a catalyst for change. "These issues are the result of a legacy of enslavement which has seemingly permanently inscribed an archetype of Black people as property and predators."

Her Name Was Aiyana Jones

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Jared A. Ball, Ph.D.

"Police brutality and mass incarceration are just not seen by Black leadership as issues worthy of popular attention."

Her name was Aiyana Jones. She was 7, Black, in a poor family, living in Detroit and was killed by the police. She was the victim of an unbroken and thoroughly vicious cycle of police brutality, followed by temporary, short-lived outcry and then the soon-to-come oppressive silence or worse, acceptance. Most will never hear the story, fewer will hear and follow up on it and fewer still will have yet another name to list during self-aggrandizing moments on podia, panels or in various forms of media commentary. The national eulogizer Al Sharpton spoke at Aiyana's funeral this week and said, again, that "this child is the breaking point... enough is enough" which I am sure a search would show he has said in one form or another at the never-ending cavalcade of funerals he does. But is it really enough? Is Aiyana really a "breaking point?" Absolutely not and we know it.

Precise numbers are hard to pin down but one study concluded that from 1990-2005 an average of one person per day was killed by the police. And in Chicago, for example, of the 84 people killed by police since 2000 only one was determined to be unjustified. But between under-reporting and unjust legal conclusions of incidents that are reported there remains this unbroken cycle. This cycle is irritatingly too easy to foresee and has, of course, already begun in the case of Aiyana Jones. This includes the obligatory and already mentioned Sharpton eulogy, followed by some basic local and national news coverage. Some have raised important questions about, for instance, the television show "The First 48" which was there filming the police raid which led to Aiyana's death and the role of what has to be euphemistically called "reality" t.v. in general in encouraging more action or prompting a greater degree of excessive behavior among the police. Some have asked about the "muted media" whose lack of substantive coverage prevents an appropriate societal education about police brutality or race in America. Of course, others prefer to focus on allegations that the Jones family was not well liked in their community and were themselves seen as a bad element, especially since the police were there looking for a murder suspect who was found either in or right next to the Jones household.

"One study concluded that from 1990-2005 an average of one person per day was killed by the police."

But other news reported recently speaks to the true nature of this cycle. For example, Black Agenda Report carried a story last week that was a follow up to the Jena Six case, the last major pre-Haiti earthquake cause celebre, which showed that rather than progress there has only been further repression and targeting of families and individuals who supported the six Black victims of that case. The federal probe into police killings of Black people in post-Katrina New Orleans is still on-going more than 5 years later.

And Jon Burge, the former Chicago police chief who "ran a torture ring that abused approximately 200 suspects" during the 1970s and 80s, finally goes on trial this week, decades later.

During a recent discussion with the powerful sibling duo of Michelle and Leslie Alexander whose scholarship and activism centers around the history of criminalizing Blackness the two made the point that these issues are the result of a legacy of enslavement which has seemingly permanently inscribed an archetype of Black people as property and predators demanding levels of "social control" which are only viewed as extreme or unjust if applied outside that context or outside those communities. They also both noted the "human rights nightmare" of police brutality and mass incarceration are just not seen by Black leadership as issues worthy of popular attention precisely because they often involve segments of our communities we'd rather escape from or simply not acknowledge. It is the concern summarized by Obama's willingness to defend his similarly-classed Skip Gates while dismissing as issues the killings of the under-classed Sean Bell or Oscar Grant. And it is also why this cycle is so vicious and why it is predictable that this little girls name will soon be added to the list of the forgotten. Her name was Aiyana Jones.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Jared Ball. Online go to www.blackagendareport.com.

Jared Ball can be reached at jared.ball@morgan.edu

Direct download: 20100529_jb_ayana_jones.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 12:14pm EST

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

It was like pulling teeth, but Tea Party star Rand Paul finally blurted out his core, racist ideology in front of national TV cameras.  Property rights trump Black rights, every time. "White supremacy is the connective link that holds the 'Tea Party' together - that, and relentless media coverage."

 

Rand Paul Tells On Self and Fellow Tea Partyers

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"White people in the aggregate will try to preserve the essential elements of a White Man's Country in perpetuity unless the state intervenes."

Finally, a moment of clarity in American politics! Rand Paul, the Tea Party champion and winner of the Republican senatorial nomination from Kentucky, thinks business owners have the inalienable right to refuse service to Black people. It only took a few minutes for MSNBC's liberal-minded Rachel Maddow to pry the truth out of Paul - to make him elocute his racist beliefs before a national audience. What an idiot, say pundits of the left and right. If only Rand Paul had stuck with the code words that respectable white Republicans and Democrats deploy to sanitize an essentially racist American political conversation, he would still be the media's fair-haired boy. Instead, he's now the "Mad Hatter" - for blurting out on Maddow's show beliefs he and his Texas congressman father, Ron Paul, have always held, and which have served both men well in the white nationalist movement called the Tea Party.

Father and son Paul have never made a secret of their bedrock belief that the right to do whatever one wants with one's private property is the fountainhead of their of liberty. It is an idea fundamentally at odds with evolving human values, an obstacle to the advance of civilization, itself - but one that resonates deeply among whites who pine for the days when Blacks were the collective property of the white citizenry. "Our niggras," as the white folks used to say.

"Property rights is a legal construct to preserve what's left of a White Man's Country."

Just as "states' rights" was polite political cover for slavery and, later, legal segregation, so is property rights the legal construct to conserve what's left of a White Man's Country. That's what the Tea Party's kind of "conservatism" is all about. White supremacy is the connective link that holds the "Tea Party" together - that, and relentless media coverage.

Fox News anchor John Stossel last week expanded on Rand Paul's racist opening, to declare that elements of the 1964 Civil Rights Act should be repealed. Activists at the Internet-based Color of Change are calling for Stossel's head, or woe be unto Fox News - as if Fox does not thrive in a racist environment. Color of Change says, correctly, that "market forces," left to their own devices, would have perpetuated Jim Crow segregation, since whites overwhelmingly preferred to shop and travel and dine in white-only environments. Which is to say, that white people in the aggregate will try to preserve the essential elements of a White Man's Country in perpetuity unless the state intervenes. The market is responding to a racist demand.

There is a significant demand among white Americans to rid their lives of Black people. That's why Blacks are more segregated in housing and schooling than 40 years ago, and why about half of U.S. prison inmates are Black. Whites demand that it be so, in the economic and political marketplace.

Rand Paul seems to be sorry that he threw his Tea Party mob too much red meat. He says he can live with the Civil Rights Act, despite principled objections. And I'm sure he can. Money can still buy distance from all but a few Black people. The White Man's Country is still a going concern.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.



Direct download: 20100526_gf_FoxAndPaul.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 12:08pm EST

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

There is no advice Black and brown parents can give their children to avoid being stopped and frisked by New York City police. Cops last year stopped almost half a million non-whites on the streets based on "furtive movements," appearing to "case" a person or location, or for reasons explained only as "other." Apparently, Blacks are nine times as "furtive," felonious-looking, or "other"-wise threatening, as whites.

 

A Police State for Black and Brown New Yorkers

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"Stop-and-frisks have reached astronomical heights - increasing five-fold under the current police commissioner - on direct orders of City Hall."

A full-blown police state exists in New York City. It is not the result of a crime wave; crime has been on the decline for decades, as successive city administrations proudly boast. The New York police state has been methodically constructed by the city administration to create an environment of fear and intimidation in Black and brown neighborhoods. Last year the racist police state juggernaut swept up nearly half a million African American and Latino New Yorkers, while affecting only 53,000 whites.

A Center for Constitutional Rights' lawsuit forced the city to begin keeping racial data on police activity following the 1999 police killing of Amadou Diallou. The latest data show that Blacks are nine times as likely to be stopped and frisked as whites. And these are anything but polite police procedures; in about one out of four cases, police draw their weapons or throw people to the ground. Still, only about six percent of the stops result in a formal arrest. In other words, in three out of four cases in which cops draw their weapons or use violence against New Yorkers on the street, in involves totally innocent persons, unworthy of arrest. Police used force against only 19 percent of whites, but against 27 percent of Blacks. Those whites that are among the very small proportion stopped by police are slightly more likely to be arrested than Blacks, and one-and-a-half times more likely to be carrying a weapon.

The Center for Constitutional Rights concludes, as would any sane observer, that the stop-and-frisk numbers reflect racial bias, and that they are flagrantly unconstitutional. It is equally clear that stop-and-frisks have reached astronomical heights - increasing five-fold under the current police commissioner - on direct orders of City Hall. The pace of unjustifiable stops has become too fast and furious even for some street cops. The Village Voice newspaper is publishing a series of articles based on secret police recordings of supervisors as they impose relentless and escalating quotas for stops and petty summonses on residents in Black and brown Brooklyn.

"In nearly half the cases, cops claim they stopped a pedestrian because he was making 'furtive movements.'"

This has nothing to do with crime, and everything to do with enforcement of a racist social order.

The cops claim that they are simply exercising their right to stop people based on "reasonable suspicion." But of course, white racism has its own system of reasoning, its own logic - it even invents or imagines its own facts. Police fill out forms to list the "facts" as they see them, after every stop-and-frisk on the street, as required by New York City law. In nearly half the cases, cops claim they stopped a pedestrian because he was making "furtive movements." What are "furtive movements"? Apparently, whatever the police think or imagine they are. The second biggest excuse for frisking people - listed in 30 percent of the stops - is that they were "casing a victim or location." In other words, the cop could just look at the subject and see that he had felonious intentions - that criminal "look" about him. In 19 percent of the cases, the cops don't even bother to be specific about why they made the person a target of the state; they simply check "other" as the reason.

Why has New York created a police state for Blacks and Latinos? Because the powers-that-be think that a voting majority of citizens approve, and because Black and brown leadership are in the pockets of those in power. For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20100519_gf_copfrisks.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:33am EST

Malcolm X and the "Pan-African Pantheon"

It is a mistake to ask, What would Malcolm do if he were here, because if Malcolm had lived we would not be in the situation that confronts us, today. "What exists today is in part the willful result of his assassination." Deprived of a clear mind and voice, the Black movement ultimately faltered, and failed.

 

Malcolm X and the "Pan-African Pantheon"

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR columnist Jared A. Ball, Ph.D.

"Malcolm X represented an incorruptible proponent of revolutionary politics."

Today would have been the 85th birthday of Malcolm X.  It is also the 85th anniversary of the birth year of what living legend Elombe Brath calls our "pan-African pantheon;" Malcolm X, Patrice Lumumba and Frantz Fanon.  And in each case the analyses and movements that produced this pantheon are as necessary as ever.  Lumumba's Congo remains mired in a Western-inspired and Western-supported world war costing the lives of at least 10 million Congolese and counting.  Fanon's Martinique remains impoverished, consumed by labor strife and said by the French president Nicholas Sarkozy to forever be the property of France.  And despite mythological delusions of progress Malcolm's Black America is so impoverished, suffering world record-levels of un- and under-employment, a recession said to be "permanent," and rates of incarceration seen as so systematic as to have that process compared to a modern state of enslavement.

And while there is the annual temptation to ask, "what would Malcolm say or do in response to today's conditions," it is best to remember at least of couple of things: First, today's conditions and a living, breathing Malcolm X are absolutely mutually exclusive.  One could not exist with the other.  There is not one trace of evidence to suggest that Malcolm X would have, over the last 40 years, found ways to accept or rationalize the loss of a movement and a momentum that was designed to rid us of the conditions faced here and abroad, so we have to conclude, based on all existing evidence, that what exists today is in part the willful result of his assassination.  This is, of course, the purpose of political assassinations, to stunt or end movements represented by the target.  What do we think those in power killed him to achieve?

Secondly, as we have argued previously, the fact that those who took up the mantle of a struggle defined by Malcolm X remain marginalized academically, omitted journalistically or left to languish in prisons absent any legitimate legal justification, is conclusive proof of the continuity of power and the incompleteness of that movement.  This especially after this past week's release of a man who admits to having carried out the killing of brother Malcolm.  If this man can serve his time and be allowed to go safely home while so many others whose efforts were in the lineage of Malcolm X remain incarcerated or exiled there can be no discussion of "progress," or "completion." 

"Malcolm X had become the international standard by which our struggle was measured."

And finally, it is as Dhoruba bin-Wahad said many years ago, "If Malcolm were alive today he'd be a political prisoner and we'd be saying nothing of him because we don't support our political prisoners."  Malcolm X represented an incorruptible proponent of revolutionary politics that defies a single name but combined a kind of revolutionary nationalism, pan-Africanism and anti-imperialism with a grassroots focus that is today as threatening as ever.  It is why Wahad noted that as soon as Malcolm X's image became powerful again among the youth of the early 1990s that it had to be destroyed.  This is part of a continuing semiotic warfare Malcolm himself noted when he proclaimed correctly that the United States "had perfected the science of image-making."

Congressman John Lewis wrote in his memoirs said that in 1964 as a member of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee he toured the African continent on a path that happened to follow one recently taken by Malcolm X. Lewis noted that at each stop African leadership warned his contingent that if they were anywhere to the right of Malcolm no ear would be given them.  Malcolm X had become the international standard by which our struggle was measured.  Today, that standard has been reset along lines far farther to the right of Malcolm X than Lewis and SNCC represented in 1964 and to our severe detriment.

Lets make yet another call to commemorate Malcolm X by encouraging further enrollment in efforts attempting to continue his work.  We have the examples, beginning next week with the release of his missing autobiographical chapters in New York City, as well as, The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, whose Washington, DC chapter will be hosting a Malcolm X Day event May 29 and the Black Is Back Coalition whose work around the country is beginning to reignite and reset the standards of an anti-war movement.  In the end Malcolm's Organization for Afro-American Unity had as part of its mission a Black united front that sought to further the phrase he helped to popularize, "by any means necessary."  That kind of political unity is a missing component to a truly commemorative effort of our "shining Black prince."

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Jared Ball.  Online go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

Jared Ball can be reached at freemixradio@voxunion.com.

Direct download: 20100519_jb_malcolm-x.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:13am EST

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

As Arizona moves past the "tipping point" of non-white population, its government scrambles to safeguard historical white lies from exposure by public school ethnic studies programs. The governor "intends to wipe the white historical slate clean of actual genocides, enslavements, land piracies, and all manner of crimes against darker peoples." The truth shall not be spoken in Arizona."

 

The Truth Shall Not be Spoken in Arizona

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"The truth shall not be spoken in Arizona, if it is detrimental to the reputation and sensibilities of white people."

The State of Arizona has very ambitious goals. It will not be satisfied simply to impose a kind of apartheid system in which Latino-looking persons have no rights that a policeman is bound to respect. Oh no, Arizona's legislature and governor have a grander plan, a much larger vision to rewrite history so as to place white people back where they think they belong: at the unchallenged center of all things worth knowing and learning. In order to do that, it is necessary to erase and outlaw the past and present of those who are not white. Governor Jan Brewer thinks she can whitewash history and put barbed wired around the present and the future with the stroke of a pen. In signing what is effectively a ban on teaching any version of history other than the approved, white version, in elementary and secondary public schools, the governor seeks to impose an ethnic cleansing of the mind - a kind of official genocide of past generations. She intends to wipe the white historical slate clean of actual genocides, enslavements, land piracies, and all manner of crimes against darker peoples. The truth shall not be spoken in Arizona, if it is detrimental to the reputation and sensibilities of white people. Apparently, the true facts of history cause white Arizona great pain, like sunlight shining on Dracula. Gov. Brewer wants to shut out the light, by shutting down ethnic studies in the classroom, making the schools safe for white lies.

Whites make up less than 60 percent of Arizona, which is apparently past the tipping point at which many of them become terrified at the prospect of losing their monopoly on power, including the power to hijack history to the service of one group: whites. One of the ways whites dominate other ethnic groups, is by denying that whites are an ethnicity, at all, but the normative form of human being.  When Arizona's legislature prohibits teaching classes that are, in the language of the new law, "designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group," they mean classes designed for non-whites. Of course, schools in the United States have always tailored classes to one ethnic group: whites. History has always been a white narrative, and therefore by definition, a lie and a slander against the other ethnicities. Arizona wants its white lies back.

"Governor Jan Brewer thinks she can whitewash history and put barbed wired around the present and the future with the stroke of a pen."

It is now forbidden to teach that which causes "resentment toward a race or class of people." Since it is impossible to teach the truth of genocide, slavery, aggressive war and conquest, racial discrimination and all the other central facts of America's past and present, without arousing some degree of resentment among the victims, only falsified versions of history will pass legal muster in Arizona.

The state reveals itself as the unreconstructed heartland of Latter Day McCarthyism, where subversives lurk under every classroom desk. The new law puts schools off-limits to materials that advocate "overthrow of the United States government." What they really mean is: overthrow of white dominance over the rest of us. That includes preserving the sanctity of White American Manifest Destiny. What is actually manifest is that the destiny of Arizona, and America, is to lose its white majority. In the process, the United States will also shed all those books full of white lies - which is what Gov. Brewer is afraid of.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

 

Direct download: 20100519_gf_Arizona.mp3
Category:immigration, blacks and immigration, blacks and browns -- posted at: 11:34pm EST

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Weasel corporate media operatives strain to erase the stain of racism from the Tea Party “movement” – largely a media creation – while white nationalist leaders hide the hoods and nooses in the darker recesses of their bunkers. Yet the data seem to show that racism is what gives the Tea Party mass appeal (45 percent approval) among whites.
 
The Tea Party's Mass White Appeal
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
A near majority of whites approve of the Tea Party, and majorities of them subscribe to the most debased stereotypes of Black people.”
The corporate media have a problem. The so-called Tea Party movement that is the latest incarnation of centuries-old white American nationalism, cannot escape its racist roots, which makes everything the Tea Partyers say fruit of the racially poisoned tree. Having nurtured the Tea Party phenomenon at every stage of its existence, the corporate media now twist and turn and contort themselves in search of ways to make white nationalism respectable. That’s a difficult mission, since the racism of both the Tea Party’s rank and file and its leadership is not easily sanitized.
Polls associated with major newspapers and broadcast networks have historically been woefully inadequate when dealing with matters of race – as should be expected, since corporate media excel at papering over racial divisions so as not to upset important segments of their audiences. That’s one reason why corporate media speak in “code,” cloaking movements and events that are actually heavily charged with race in coded phrases like “family values,” law and order,” and “fiscal responsibility.” Ever since the Republicans replaced the Dixiecrats as the White Man’s Party, two generations ago, there has been a gentlemen’s agreement among all but the most undisciplined racists to clean up their language in public – to use code when speaking of race, so as not to embarrass one another.
There has been a gentlemen’s agreement among all but the most undisciplined racists to clean up their language in public.”
But loud and obnoxious elements of the Tea Party movement have not felt bound by this agreement. They have communicated their rage at the erosion of white supremacy in ways that are not only understandable to Blacks, whose antennas are always alert to racial threats, but also to code-speaking whites, a huge number of whom like what they hear.
While the corporate media find ways to fudge the racial character of the Tea Party, academic researchers at the University of Washington released a study showing the Tea Partyers have achieved real mass appeal among whites. Fully forty-five percent of whites either strongly approve or somewhat approve of the Tea Partyers. And, among those whites favorable to the Tea Party movement, “only 35% believe Blacks to be hardworking, only 45 % believe Blacks are intelligent, and only 41% think that Blacks are trustworthy.” Put another way: a near majority of whites approve of the Tea Party, and majorities of them subscribe to the most debased stereotypes of Black people. Which means, the majority of whites who look kindly on the Tea Party are themselves hardcore racists.
But it's worse than that. The real story lies in how much the general white public shares the worldview of the Tea Partyers. Sixty percent of Tea Partyers agree with the statement, “We have gone too far in pushing equal rights in this country.” But 42 percent of white people in general also think that way, marking them as unreconstructed racists.
In short, the Tea Party's biggest drawing card is its racism, just as white racism was central to the success of the Republican Party's “southern strategy,” beginning in the late Sixties. Forget about the Tea Party's other supposed issues, like the budget and the bank bailout. That's not what puts fire in their bellies. This is America, remember? Race is all some white people understand. For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20100512_gf_TeaPartyPoll.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 6:00pm EST

A Black Agenda radio commentary by Glen Ford
We were right when we said it in the Sixties. The police are an occupation army in the Black community. Secret NYPD tapes reveal the cops’ quota system for stopping and frisking hundreds of thousands of innocent minority residents every year. But when New Yorkers of color are victimized by crime, they “are often threatened with arrest, themselves, by belligerent detectives trying to fudge the figures.”
 
 
Secret NYPD Tapes Document Routine, Massive Police Racism
A Black Agenda radio commentary by Glen Ford
The New York City police are revealed as an occupying army that views residents of color as an enemy population.”
The New York City police force systematically withholds protective services from minority victims of crime, while simultaneously stopping and frisking hundreds of thousands of innocent Black and brown citizens on the streets for no legitimate reason. Hundreds of hours of secret recordings by a disgruntled New York City cop prove beyond question that the most aggressive forms of institutional racism are the guiding management principles of the NYPD. Just as the Black Panther Party and others charged two generations ago, the New York City police are revealed as an occupying army that views residents of color as an enemy population.The predatory nature of New York City policing is captured, digitally, in a police lieutenant’s exhortation to his officers at the beginning of their shift. "You're working in Bed-Stuy,” says the shift supervisor, “where everyone's probably got a warrant."
The recordings were made during a continuous 16-month period in 2008 and 2009, and are the basis of a series of articles now running in the Village Voice newspaper. They show how the relentless pressures exerted by billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his top police brass result in a total perversion of the criminal justice system in places like Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant section, where the cop with a pocket digital recorder was assigned. The turncoat cop’s recordings show that the police operate under a quota system, driven by their superiors to hand out vast quantities of summonses for petty offenses and to stop and frisk huge numbers of people. It is this quota system at the core of official police policy, that has resulted in two million innocent people being stopped and frisked on the streets of New York since 2004, close to 600,000 in 2009, alone. Eighty-five percent of the victims of this police state practice were Black or Latino – only 9 percent were white, although New York City is about 38 percent white. From roll call to end off shift, the New York police sweep the streets of non-white neighborhoods, stopping and searching more than fifteen hundred mostly Black and Brown pedestrians every day – the vast majority of whom are found to be carrying nothing illegal. Contrary to the police lieutenant's admonition to his officers, not everyone in places like Bedford-Stuyvesant has an outstanding warrant – but the police routinely act as if they do.
Police systematically discourage residents from reporting actual crimes committed against them.”
This has nothing to do with fighting crime. In fact, the secret recordings show that police systematically discourage residents from reporting actual crimes committed against them, in order to keep the crime statistics artificially low, and thus make the top brass and the mayor look good. Citizens that complain of being assaulted or robbed are often threatened with arrest, themselves, by belligerent detectives trying to fudge the figures. Felonies are routinely downgraded to misdemeanors - not because of clogged courts, but to give the appearance of a safer city. After police suppression of crime statistics was exposed in Bedford-Stuyvesant, preventing the cops from intimidating victims, felony assault statistics jumped 76 percent.
The Black and brown residents of New York City are stopped, harassed and abused by the millions, while the real crimes committed against them are swept under the rug by an occupation army in blue, masquerading as law enforcement. For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20100512_gf_NYPDtapes.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 6:00pm EST

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR columnist Jared A. Ball Ph.D.
Some folks are too dense even for cartoons – when they’re produced by Aaron McGruder. The Boondocks author’s political take on President Obama is too heavy for at least a portion of the audience, who tend to see the world as divided between those who are “hatin’” on Obama and those who are not. McGruder’s attempt to create Black political “space” for meaningful discussion confronts the empty spaces inside people’s heads.
 
The Boondocks as Black Public Sphere
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR columnist Jared A. Ball Ph.D.
If this is to be the last season of the Boondocks we need to be working to develop space for more public criticism of our horrific conditions.”
To all those who felt that Aaron McGruder had begun this season’s Boondocks with too much criticism of Obama you can rest easy, at least for now. Week two was quite a drop-off from the season-opener. After week one, where McGruder had set such a high-standard of criticism, less directly focused on Obama than on our reaction to the brand, some were actually calling him a replacement of Tavis Smiley as our “high profile… post-racial hater.” He was accused of airing our dirty laundry and was even asked why he had not felt it necessary to have Huey Freeman, his Black revolutionary “terrorist,” choose exile during the reign of Bush as opposed to only after the election of Obama. But what many seem to have missed was that Huey’s inability to pull off his escape of Obama being about having no ride was an allusion to our own political powerlessness and absence of a public sphere where these debates can actually take place. It was just as in Huey’s previous attempt at freeing political prisoner Shabazz K. Milton Burrow where he also couldn’t get a ride and where he also had no space to publicly debate or organize an end to the continued unjust imprisonment of a Black Panther Party revolutionary.
The “public sphere” has often been defined as space where a mostly bourgeois elite meet to openly discuss the politics of their time. The Black public sphere has been defined as one that challenges such class bias and which occurs in what are often considered alternative spaces but no less political or substantive in their exchanges. Churches, beauty and barbershops, street corners, parks and even – for a time – Black popular music all reflected the role of the public sphere. However, the impact on these spaces resulting from gentrification, to worsening economic crises and, most immediately relevant, to increased media consolidation among fewer owners has made these spaces harder to find. According to one scholar, if the public sphere is to be defined as that which allows for public critique of, and an offer of remedy to, the horrific conditions faced by African America, then, “A Black public sphere does not exist in contemporary America.” And it is this absence which has so many either angry at McGruder’s public airing of our dirty laundry or others of us so frustrated that this is as good as it ever gets.
According to one scholar, ‘A Black public sphere does not exist in contemporary America.’”
Given our current media environment where else is critical public discussion to occur? Even those who dismiss Tavis Smiley as being too hard on Obama need to ask where is the more private discussion they claim they want going to occur? Huey wanted exile after Obama precisely because of the deadening impact the election has had on our own political activity, as voiced by his grandfather, “the Black struggle is officially over.” He had little to say because, as demonstrated by the angry mob, even disinterest or a lack of excitement, not to mention actual fact-based critiques of the president, is risky business. As Huey did say, “hope is irrational.”
And we need more haters out there. Why should only conservatives and apologists have access to any popular media? Where are the critiques of their routine and public bashing of Black people? Why isn’t Obama properly taken to task for publicly airing our dirty laundry, especially when he airs it so often and so out of context? The president just spoke at Hampton University and dared to tell those students to stop paying so much attention to media technology, calling them a “distraction,” when his own pre- and post-election strategy has been openly expressed to be one of branding and media ubiquity with the purpose of making him difficult to pin down and critique. This level of hypocrisy was only matched by this week’s airing of Radio and TV One’s Cathy Hughes with Minister Farrakhan where she actually joined him in lamenting negative popular imagery of Black people. Her own role in killing Black radio and furthering these negative images was left untouched just as Obama’s media use and branding was not mentioned to those unsuspecting Black students.
In the absence of a real Black public sphere we have to enjoy what little we get while we work toward its development. If this is to be the last season of the Boondocks we need to be working to develop space for more public criticism of our horrific conditions. I mean, where else can we find so many public references to Ronald Reagan as a “devil?” No amount of “N-bombs” in The Boondocks can dampen that or worsen the damage done by Black political discussion as it takes place in the Washington Post, New York Times or even TheRoot.com. If we are truly dissatisfied with The Boondocks it is only because we have not cultivated our own Black public sphere.
For Black Agenda Radio I’m Jared Ball. Online go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.
Dr. Jared Ball can be reached at jared.ball@morgan.edu.
Direct download: 20100512_jb_boondocks_publicsphere.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 6:00pm EST

illegal aliens have no rights white people are bound to respectA Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

 Language is the tool we use to frame our thoughts and thought processes. Every time we use, or tolerate the use around us of the terms “illegal” and “illegal alien” we are allowing white American nationalists, white racist, to tell us how to think. That can't lead to anywhere we really ought to go.  

There are No Such People as Illegals” and No Such Things as “Illegal Aliens”

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

It's been said before, but some things are worth saying again and again until we get them right. So everybody repeat after me: There are no such people as “illegals” and there are no such things as “illegal aliens.” The terms “illegals” and “illegal aliens” are nothing but good old fashioned hundred percent white American hate speech, and any time we allow a friend, enemy, family member or co-worker to utter either in our presence without rebuke or reproach, gentle or otherwise, we are co-signing American white nationalism and white racism, pure and simple. And as black people, when has that ever been in our interest?

Language is a lot more than thinking out loud. Language sets the boundaries for which thoughts are permissible and which thoughts are, well, unthinkable. People can't be stripped of their human rights unless we invent the language that makes them subhumans, or non humans. Aliens. That's why white American nationalists insist on calling brown people “aliens,” and “illegals,” and insist that everybody follow their lead. It's a lead to a place we must not, we dare not go.

No sane or moral person in the 21st century can fix her mouth to say “illegal humans,” “illegal people,” or “illegal persons.” They all sound ridiculous to our ears because we recognize universal and “unalienable” human rights to be the foundation of all just laws. It is only after we allow white American nationalists to twist our language, and with it our thinking to turn brown people into “aliens” that we can make them “illegal.” When white American nationalists, and some of the black and brown people whose minds they have contaminated ask “what part of illegal don't you understand,” they are endorsing the claim that white racist American law trumps, supersedes and takes precedence over the rights of humanity itself.

Given our history, black people would be bigger fools than anybody to sign on to this nonsense. Once upon a time, the language of America deemed our very persons property, subject to the whims of the global market and local slavemasters. We really should know better. “Illegals” and “aliens” are the perverted and mind-twisting racist terminology of our oppressors. They are hate speech, every bit as unacceptable as unauthorized use of the n-word. So spread the word. There are no such humans as “illegals” and there no such things as “illegal aliens.” and the next time or two or twenty that you hear somebody use those words, correct them, gently or otherwise.

Our people and our allies fought for the extension of citizenship rights and human rights to everyone without exception, or else we would not have what fraction of these rights we possess today. If we co-sign the creation of a class of subhumans, of “aliens” inside the United States with few or none of the rights of citizenship or humanity today, how secure are our rights and our children's rights tomorrow?

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.