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

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A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Jared A. Ball

She was young, Black, female, a dynamic political activist and Green Party candidate for the U.S. Senate from Maryland. Yet the corporate media and even many of those Blacks that gathered to mark Natasha Pettigrew's death in a bicycle-car collision were oblivious to her political passions and commitments - a life arbitrarily edited by post-mortem omission.

Natasha Pettigrew and the Recipe for Omission

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Jared A. Ball

"Natasha knew that change could not come from an electoral business as usual."

Natasha Pettigrew died last week from injuries sustained after being hit by a car while riding her bike.  She was 30, Black and a Green Party candidate for the U.S. senate in the state of Maryland.  The absence of fortune in her killing can never be matched but is certainly rivaled by the absence of fortune in that simple bio; a Black woman running for office as a member of the Green Party.  This unfortunate combination of natural and political selection was and is a recipe for omission.  This recipe? Start with being a woman, Black and a member of an alternative political party.  Then add one part Black people who love and are bought by Democrats; add a strong helping of White people who won't accept Black leadership (even Obama didn't get a majority of the White vote and certainly won't if there is a next time); add a dash of Whites who will accept Black leadership but who are often corny Green Party types too few in number to begin with; add most young people who love only manufactured popularity; and stir in a media environment, be it Black, White, mainstream or "progressive," who all shun third party politics and we are served up the powerful but bland dish of omission.

As a young Black woman without the political rock star pedigree earned or borrowed from a previous generation's struggles and who put her own law school work on hold to run for office on the Green Party ticket Natasha was by nature and choice destined for obscurity.  And she knew it.  She was killed preparing for a triathlon so she was no slouch incapable of readying herself for great feats.  In her own statements, including a personal challenge to this commentator to work harder, Natasha was clear that a fight was necessary to prevent further national political backsliding and that this would not be easy.  She knew the obstacles which include the fact that the Green Party gets no media attention other than to be discussed as "spoilers" or as the hopeless fringe.  But Natasha also knew that change could not come from an electoral business as usual. 

"Natasha was clear that a fight was necessary to prevent further national political backsliding and that this would not be easy."

She wrote of the "stark contrasts" between the White Fells Point area of Baltimore and the rest of the city which she said would become her "mission" to address.  She wrote of the obvious contradiction between a $100 million juvenile detention center being built in Baltimore while many are homeless and the school system "vies for first place as the worst performers alongside [the mostly Black] Prince George's County."  And she concluded that none of this could be addressed by the existing political structure, noting that it is the Green Party whose platform best represents the true interests of her community.

At the vigil that followed a few days later some of the ravages of this recipe of omission were on display.  As dozens gathered in a parking lot which sat adjacent to the place where Natasha was killed many of the mostly Black participants knew nothing of her Green Party campaign and the well-meaning White folks who showed up remain too distant and corny to have closed those gaps.  The lovers of dead Black people known as NBC, Fox and CBS were on hand but of course knew nothing of her political campaign, knew nothing of her admiration for Cynthia McKinney who they also failed to recognize at the vigil and simply continued a pattern established by their print cohorts The Baltimore Sun and Washington Post of offering time to Natasha only after being killed.

We need a new recipe for the Natashas of the world, especially now at a time when the fraudulence of the Democratic Party as an element of change is more obvious than at any other time in U.S. history.  Natasha and we deserve it.

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

Jared Ball can be reached via email at

Direct download: 20100929_jb_GreenObit.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:52am EDT