ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
Racism and xenophobia are on the rise as the war drums get louder. Many of us
are waiting to see just how the war and AmeriKKKa’s morph into a police
state will play out. We can not sit on the sidelines, we must be active resisters!
The Demise of Black History Month
Or Denying the Justice of Reparations
By Junious Ricardo Stanton
On February 22 I went to a county facility to attend a seminar and was shocked to see they had St. Patrick’s Day Shamrocks up already. As I wandered through the building looking for the conference meeting rooms, I saw nothing denoting Black History Month. I thought about it once I got home and it dawned on me since the historic 2001 Durban Conference on Racism and Xenophobia, there has been a falling off of acknowledging and celebrating Black History Month. I suspect this is the result of deliberate political decisions based upon not wanting Africans in AmeriKKKa to rally around the issue of Reparations and to minimize racial antagonism and hostilities as AmeriKKKa mounts it’s imperialist agenda under the guise of a War on Terrorism.
As most of you know Black History Month is an outgrowth of Negro History Week which was initiated by the venerable ancestor Carter G. Woodson who founded the Association For the Study of Negro Life and History. In 1926 Woodson lobbied and organized a week to stress the study and appreciation of African people’s accomplishments in AmeriKKKa during a time when white AmeriKKKa was still teaching black folks had no history, we came from nothing and contributed nothing to the human cultural mosaic. Woodson was a stalwart at debunking Euro-centric lies and documenting the ingeniousness of African people. His efforts to encourage us to honor ourselves and our accomplishments took root and in 1976 Negro History Week was expanded and renamed Black History Month.
In their effort to keep us in a state of culturally induced amnesia and self-hatred much of the material culled for study and promotion by whites ( and their Negro sycophants) in their books and educational systems reinforced the existing status quo of Eurocentric white supremacy. For example they fiercely resist the Afrocentric movement’s efforts to reclaim Kemet as an African civilization. To give us heroes they hold up for emulation people like Crispus Attucks and Colin Powell but not Nat Turner or Sonny Carson. They promote Frederick Douglas but not Martin R. Delaney. They lionize Ralph Bunche but not an A. Phillip Randolph, Charles Houston, or Elijah Muhammad.
In 2001 white supremacy was on the ropes as never before. The Reparations movement blew up and went international. At the United Nations Conference Against Racial Discrimination and Xenophobia in Durban, South Africa. Africans from all over the world converged on Durban with the sole purpose of having the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade declared a Crime Against Humanity and setting the stage for dialogue about restitution and reparations for the Maafa. The U.S. and Israel pulled out of the conference with their tails between their legs lamely refusing even to engage in dialogue, thus aligning themselves against truth, justice, and reconciliation. Africans worldwide felt a sense of empowerment as our issues were pushed to the forefront for the first time on a global stage. Then came September 11 and our issues were kicked to the curb as Bush and Co bum rushed their fascist agenda to expropriate the world’s oil and energy supplies under cover of the media induced psychological trauma of 9-11.
Immediately after 9-11 the focus shifted to toeing the Bush Line, “You are either with us or against us.” His rhetoric allowed AmeriKKKa to duck and dodge the pressure activists were bringing for AmeriKKKa’s role in the slave trade, her subsequent policies of racial caste and oppression. Bush and the media shut our issues down along with any dissent against the administration’s launch of their campaign of perpetual war. Remember during the 2001 Christmas season there were almost no references whatsoever to “Peace on Earth Good Will Towards Man” because the media played up the revenge factor so Bush & Co. could bomb Afghanistan to smithereens. Clear Channel, the media giant that owns over 1200 radio stations, even put out a memo forbidding the playing of peace songs following 9-11. And on it went.
In order to galvanize support and minimize any issues that could derail Bush’s psychological ploy to unite the nation behind his fascist agenda Black History has been curtailed. Except for last year’s HBO’s The Middle Passage and this year’s HBO’s Slave Narratives very few programs were aired nationally seriously examining AmeriKKKan race issues or history.
Ironically as hyped as Africans were in 2001 following the Durban Conference, we allowed 9-11 to take the wind out of our sails and we dropped the ball by failing to keep our issues front and center. Part of this is because of the intimidation factor, being overwhelmed by the pro-war PR and media propaganda; not wanting to be singled out as unpatriotic. However we must remember AmeriKKKa has never embraced us, or had our interests at heart, never not even during the so called Civil Rights era.
Racism and xenophobia are on the rise as the war drums get louder. Many of us are waiting to see just how the war and AmeriKKKa’s morph into a police state will play out. We can not sit on the sidelines, we must be active resisters! What we fail to realize is, we of all people (along with the Native Americans) have experienced both overt and subtle terrorism at the hands of AmeriKKKan white men and women! This is an integral part of our experiences and history in AmeriKKKa. Not to acknowledge this is to negate our history.
We must tell and share this story, not only during the shortest month of the year, no disrespect to Carter G. Woodson and the Association For the Study of Negro Life and History, but every day. As we have seen during the recent Lott debacle, racism and deceit are still the order of the day. We can’t afford not to celebrate our history of struggle. If we become too complacent, lulled into being lethargic, given AmeriKKKa’s history of genocide against us, we may not survive to create history for our great grandchildren to study.
posted 23 February 2003
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#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 Eroticanoir.com 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
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A Novel by Jesmyn Ward
On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family thats about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrinas inexorable winds is the voice of Wards narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her familys raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brothers blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt. Her fathers hands are like gravel, while her own hand slides through his grip like a wet fish, and a handsome boys muscles jabbered like chickens. Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isnt usually just metaphor for metaphors sake. She conveys something fundamental about Eschs fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, whats salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.
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By Noam Chomsky
In this urgent new book, Noam Chomsky surveys the dangers and prospects of our early twenty-first century. Exploring challenges such as the growing gap between North and South, American exceptionalism (including under President Barack Obama), the fiascos of Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S.-Israeli assault on Gaza, and the recent financial bailouts, he also sees hope for the future and a way to move forwardin the democratic wave in Latin America and in the global solidarity movements that suggest “real progress toward freedom and justice.” Hopes and Prospects is essential reading for anyone who is concerned about the primary challenges still facing the human race. “This is a classic Chomsky work: a bonfire of myths and lies, sophistries and delusions. Noam Chomsky is an enduring inspiration all over the worldto millions, I suspectfor the simple reason that he is a truth-teller on an epic scale. I salute him.” John Pilger In dissecting the rhetoric and logic of American empire and class domination, at home and abroad, Chomsky continues a longstanding and crucial work of elucidation and activism . . .the writing remains unswervingly rational and principled throughout, and lends bracing impetus to the real alternatives before us.Publisher’s Weekly
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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update 15 February 2012