All We Are Asking

All We Are Asking


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



Our cries became louder more desperate / as the war waged on year after year after year. / Legislative strategies ended / the war eventually, after millions of stanzas were / sung and almost as many young men died. 



All We Are Asking

By June Labyzon


We sat surrounding a fountain in our Country’s capital linked together chanting “all we are asking is give peace a chance”.    We were a small nation of sitting militants, “sit-in, speak-out, lock-in”. Coming towards us sprinting down the mall, five or so blocks away, were tens of  “law enforcement officers” sticks in hand; their actions sanctioned by the state.  We scattered the peaceful generation that we were. We weren’t buying bus tickets to our own funerals.  My husband, Ed always the minute man, grabbed my hand and together we made a run for it, giddy with the danger, puffed up with virtue..  We didn’t get arrested, not that day . Hand in hand we made it to our VW van and made love mingling our tears with our desires. 

My activism was born from my groin  in those days, nurtured. We  were resilient; not open to compromise.  And we were everywhere, $100 a plate dinners, having our own 25 cents rice dinners across the street, inaugurations, impeachment rallies, political celebrations, election days. Yes we meant to be seen and heard, “Hell no we won’t go”. Our cries became louder more desperate as the war waged on year after year after year. Legislative strategies ended the war eventually, after millions of stanzas were sung and almost as many young men died.  Time has not refined the animalistic instincts of our leaders.  On National TV last week in a display of the worst form of political hysteria I’ve ever witnessed, the president announced War on Iraq.    “We will have victory and bring peace and freedom to the Iraqi people. However a result of this victory will mean that some of our military personnel come home in body bags.”  The stink of imperialistic nostalgia regurgitates my anger    I go to bed livid, “Mr. Bush, that’s my body in a bodybag.”  In the righteousness of the night, I dream of Bush’s severed head laying in a body bag next to body bags filled with the bodies of “children” I’ve taught over the years.    My family members are proud of their president “we have no choice, war is the only answer”. Philosophic dissentions from ethics collide with the principles of the individual. My mother in a second of compassionate emergence rises from her demented inertia “that’s because they don’t have sons the age to go”. And I think perhaps she isn’t as crazy as she seems.     Humanity shouldn’t be one of life’s big questions. Our children aren’t cervical specks to be disposed of at our leaders’ wills, to fight their battles, soothe their egos.  The  media reports that “a significant number of the soldiers in Iraq are African American”; These  racial constructionists plot to kill off the promise of smart kids, planning the system their way. The  world’s game is not just a game. There’s a possibility we may never know the specifics.  With national steam, strength of awkwardness, pushing aside our fears and neuroses we need to revolt against this counter culture of war. 

This war will be exposed for what it is, a destructive fatal obsession with power.  Laundering our fenced in fears will not whitewash this dirty bombshell called war.  We must scoop our dreams off this glassy surface of economical ownership. We know what’s wrong; we know what to do. Thirty years later we are still linked together in chant “all we are asking is give peace a chance”.

*   *   *   *   *’s 25 Best Selling Books



#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 – Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 – Don’t Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 – Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 – Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King

#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

*   *   *   *   *

Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

*   *   *   *   *

Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label ‘trafficked’ does not accurately describe migrants’ lives and that the ‘rescue industry’ serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. “Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality.”—Lisa Adkins, University of London

*   *   *   *   *

The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

*   *   *   *   *

Ancient African Nations

*   *   *   *   *

If you like this page consider making a donation

online through PayPal

*   *   *   *   *

Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


*   *   *   *   *

The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

*   *   *   *   *

The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

*   *   *   *   *


*   *   *   *   *



update 29 December 2011




Home   Another Look at Israel 

Post Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.