Saturday, December 25, 2004

Black at Michigan's Best of 2004

I figure I would do a random best of 2004 post. These are not the favorite stories I posted, just what was important or semi-important, ya dig (remember Cross Colours)?

- If you don't have it, you should.
1) Jean Grae- This Week.... "The hottest thing in your hood since crack..."
We've been waiting for a Greasy product for a minute and this one does not dissappoint. Check all inhibitions at the door and listen as she pours her heart out on this mic. Refreshing and smooth. Not to mention any M.C. who is hungry enough to review her own album on Amazon gets props from me.

2) Dead Prez- RBG... The official RBG album finally arrived. Getting dropped from labels, getting arrested, and a host of other things didn't keep Stick and M-1 from bringing it on this feature length EP. Classic dead prez material with a raw video for "Hell Yeah" and a remix featuring Jay-Z, "together on the same track, what they gonna call us now?"

3) John Legend- Get Lifted (the bootleg)... So the real album is out now, but who cares? Legend's album is so smooth you'll finish listening and realize, damn, cheating is really sexy. Just kidding. Kanye's Kid comes through with a solid project that can be listened to cover to cover. So go buy it, support black music ;)

Honorable Mention- Certainly not a album but the song is so sick it has that kind of impact. Bin Ladin by Immortal Technique. If you didn't check for it before, get Revolutionary Volume 2.

1) The Player-UPN- Aight, this show did not make the water cooler talk around my way, but it was easily the sleeper hit of the year. If you could make it past the terrible slang use and cheesiest metaphors, you were golden. AC took all the other cats to school as he flexed skills that would make Don Magic "oh yeah, I'm a preacher now" Juan wonder if his playbook got stolen. If it comes out on DVD, I doubt it, check it out. Until then, "hate the player, don't hate the game."

2) Chapelle's Show- Season 2 Comedy Central- I loth putting this up, but this season was killer. Was I annoyed with by the constant yells of "Yeah" whenever I rocked a fitted, YES!!! But even with that, I can't knock the hustle. Dave has some of the most poignant social and racial commentary on TV!

3) Desperate Housewives- ABC- I don't know how I started watching this, but it is definitely addictive. If you haven't watched, stay away, you'll get caught up.

1)City of God- I know it was released before, but it's soooo good. Also make sure to check out the extras on the DVD.

2) Mean Girls- To me a new(er) Clueless. I don't care what y'all say, this movie is fetch! For some unknown reason, I was drawn to this movie and saw it a couple times in theaters. I haven't gotten the DVD yet, but it's my most coveted xmas gift.

3) Supersize me- I know that it's not the best documentary that came out, but the take home message was beautifully illustrated. If it could get me to stop messing with fast food, well okay, reduce my fast food consumption, it had to be on point. I still get sick thinking about eating McDonald's! FYI: There is an effort to bring Super Size Me into classrooms for health education, they will modify the original version, but there is also a conservative "movement" to stop the film from getting to kids. True story, I'm signed up for conservative listservs so I now know some of their inner workings ;)

1) The Battle at Auburn Hills- So people never eva, eva, eva get it twisted, the battle took place in Auburn Hills with some West Bloomfield thugs. So the media used it as one more opportunity to villiafy Detroit, but everybody who knows, knows. Enough of that, the OG award goes to Stevie Jackson for running up in the stands and the runner up is definitely J. O'neal with that one hitter quitter. Some straight up playground action!

2) Finally the Red Sox Win- Even as a Mets fan, I gotta give respect where respect is due. Boston took the crown and now rocks out to tunes by the Drop Kick Murphy's. Congrats... though I still hate Bean Town.

3)Kobe- Nuff Said.

1)The Ann Arbor flasher- terrible crime, dumb criminal. Larry Harrison,starting tackle for the U of M footbal team, was caught because he only flashed during home game weekends. Clearly brotha needs some help.

2) Arbor Update- This year, the colloborative weblog Arbor Update emerged as Ann Arbor news central. Not only has it been referenced multiple times as as source in the Ann Arbor News, but it one of the few locations where people of vastly different political and social orientations can be found "debating" each other. Am I biased because I contribute, yeah, so what, no one said I was "fair and balanced" like Fox News.

3) Critical Moment- Critical Moment, originally known as Moment, is a great progressive voice for the Ann Arbor metro area (sorry I thought I would make up a term). It has been expanding in readership and each issue has aesthically improved. Keep submitting stories and it will keep flourishing.

Honorable Mentions- Qdoba and Big Ten Burrito- Ah, finally affordable tasty burritos.

This concludes my best of 2004. Think I got it wrong? Tell me so! One

Monday, December 20, 2004

Multicultural Co-op Theme House

Gilberto Simpson has been working on organizing a multicultural cooperative them house . Rather than restate everything, the email I recieved is pasted below.

Are you serious about multiculturalism? Do you want to want to live in a
positive environment with other students interested in promoting

A unique opportunity has arisen to create a multicultural cooperative
theme house in the north State area of Ann Arbor but we need members who
want to be a part of it. It could be whatever kind of place we define it
to be. An ongoing residential community, a revolutionary meeting hall, a
home away from home, a chance to learn about yourself, a place to be
nurtured both spiritually and culturally, a refuge where you can be
yourself, and above all a great place to live.

Physically the house has enough space for 23 people (both singles and
doubles available) high-speed DSL access in every room, cable tv,
washer/dryer and an industrial kitchen. Monthly charges would be
aproximately $450 per month (including regular meals, utilities and

If you are interested in participating in this exciting possibility then
send an e-mail to or call 734-709-4921

Born Day

"I woke up early on my born day... it's a blessin" -Nas
This line has been running through my head all day. I don't know why I'm posting, more so to give thanks to those who have come before me, with me, and those who shall come after me. It's rare for Black men to make it this far along in their lives without experiences some real systematic struggles (incarceration, children, violence), for the most part, I've survived or have been missed by all of these. So on my born day, I want to just say, celebrate yourselves, everyday on top of this earth is an amazing one. We gotta struggle, but a change is gonna come. I'll be postin more now that I'm on winter break too.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Ward is out... and BAMN is stupid...

So the good news of the week for me is that Wardell aka Ward Connerly will not seek another appointment on U of C board of regents when his term expires in March 2005!!!! Cue cheers and adulation. The bad news from where I stand is that he will likely dedicate more time to states like Michigan, where he has a plan to dismantle what's left of Affirmative Action. The most hilarious part of the article has to be Ward Connerly calling BAMN a "stupid organization." Ah, eloquent as usual!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

A2 achievement gap, Black Solidarity Conference, Felons and Voting

Ann Arbor is in the national spotlight, this week in Time, due to the achievement gap between Black and White students. Ann Arbor is one of the highest performing districts in the state of Michigan, but features one of the largest gaps between MEAP, SAT, and grades between Black and White students. Glad to see it's getting more coverage, sad there is no new info in it, but gives hope for the value of my dissertation which partially covers the Ann Arbor Black-White achievement gap.

The Black Student Union is organizing a Black Solidarity Conference the weekend of Feb 4th-6th. The conference is projecting an attendance of about 200 folks, so they are looking for students to host visitors. Contact for more information.

The question of felons being allowed to vote in NY is still not "settled." Want more info on felon voting disenfranchisement, click here or here. FYI: Felons who have served there time in the state of Michigan are allowed to vote.

Monday, November 08, 2004

See you in Canada? G-G-G-OP Unit? 50 the anti-christ?

So I was all set to go to Canada (Mexico, Venezuela, or any other place people could argue convincingly about) immediately following last Tuesday's results and I know I'm not alone! William Jelani Cobb has a great commentary about expatriation. So who is down to leave?

Hadji Williams comes with some ruckus about the hidden conservative youth vote in the 2004 presidential election. It's an interesting piece about culture (really how people dress and what they listen to)and their political leanings. My favorite quote is "many of those who did vote screamed revolution for a while but went
behind the curtain and changed clothes on us and rolled with the G-G-G-G…O-P Unit

Lastly, reason 452, 50 cent may be the anti-christ are reports that he didn't vote after endorsing the "Vote or Die" campaign. Some are speculating because he is a convicted felon he may not have been able to vote, unless he's currently on parole, he was good to go in New York, right? And I really don't care if Luda or Paris Hilton did or didn't vote. Ludacris was probably too busy thinking about Bill O'Reilly and Paris Hilton... no comment.

Still don't have my thoughts together on the election results.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Fun with Maps...

So there are a number of maps floating around the internet these days regarding November 2nd's election. Some hilarious. Some disturbing. These are the most thought provoking to me. What do you think?

This is frightening. Posted by Hello
red counties went for Bush, Blue for Kerry, Grey were undecided

Somethings never change... Posted by Hello
green states were free states and territories, yellow were open to slavery, and red were slaves states

Get it... ha, ha, ha. Posted by Hello

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Say it ain't so....

Life imitating art...? Posted by Hello

So I've had a day to process the election and its results... well after a day, I'm convinced it still sucks! Bad news, except for medical marijuana in Ann Arbor and the Detroit school board. I'm still searching for the words to describe the past couple of days... more on that to come later...

Monday, November 01, 2004

Tinkering under the hood... Voter Guide

I've been tinkering under the hood of the site since its return, it may not look different yet, but I hope the improvements will make your experience better. It's amazing how much stuff I forgot about blogging and the web, even more amazing how hard it is to figure out how to get stuff working again.

Too busy or lazy to figure out who to vote for besides the president? Solution= A voter guide (of course from good sources. Tomorrow in Election day, ya know, go Vote or Die but while you're at it, print out Goodspeed Updates' Voter Guide. That is of course if you're in the Ann Arbor area, not in A-deuce, check out the League of Pissed of Voters' Guides for you local area. Aight, off to try to break writers block!!!!!

Friday, October 29, 2004

Blackblogs and Chomsky Talk Online

So I have just realized there are a world of Black U of M bloggers that I had been completely unaware of, shame, shame, shame. Granted most of the blog are on xanga, it's good to know that folks are up and technologically talking. I'll post more on this later and work connecting with folks. On a side note, yesterday Chomsky's lecture at the Law School was packed, way past packed, folks jumping in windows and the whole nine (I hear). Did you miss it? If you did, here is the talk, U of M has so many resources that I didn't even know about. Oh, shout out to Gary Weisserman's page, where I stole this link from.

The Return of

So this is a post that is resurrecting the page. I have moved it off of my U of M space because NO ONE could help me figure out why it wouldn't publish!!!!!! So months off, many a dissertation idea smashed, classes taught, and a few days from election day. That's right, November 2nd, the time when the populus waits on more pins and needles than Boston fans this past week. If the sox can break their curse, then I think we can break this curse of Bush. A couple of logistics, the page is all white right now, yeah, uh, I'll work on that later. It's the Black words that really matter right? There is also plans to create a site that is similar to but under a different name at U of M. I've been consulting on this project and will keep you posted!! So now to some stuff that you should have seen by now and if you haven't, let's get on it!

1) Everybody and their momma is at it producing songs to inspire the young hip-hop generation to vote. There are two songs that are .... mediocre at best: the first is Dear Mr. President by KRS-ONE and company and Wake Up Everybody which is a We are the world type of song (which really means way too many people are on this song at once). You can give them a listen, but they really don't compare to my favorite two new songs that both happen to be featured on the new Green Lantern mixtape. The first one is by Immortal Technique and Mos Def and it's called Bin Ladin. The song is so cold and on point, the only issue is I can't find a location where it stays up on the web. So google it and give it a listen- it's worth the search!!!!!
The second song that is "rallying the masses" is Eminem's Mosh. The video is getting major play, even on TRL!!! Ugh, yeah, who knows!

2) November 2nd is darn near upon us and the polls are close, we know that, but there is something more important than watching exit polls on the 2nd. Become a election site monitor. It's easy and could mean a WORLD of difference!!!! Also if you can't make it to the D for training the good folks at M Go Vote are doing training sessions on Sunday morning at 11am in the MSA chambers (Third floor of the Michigan Union). Oh and the Onion has a really funny story on voting, I wouldn't put this past the republicans ;)

3) I have been writing for a site in the local Ann Arbor area for the past couple of months. The site is called Arbor Update. Confession is I'm an infrequent post-er, but when I do contribute, I like to say something that gets people pissed and commenting. Check it out when you have a chance.

4) This Sunday is not only Halloween, but is a very important day. At 6pm in the Michigan League Ballroom, there will be a memorial for Magali Padilla. Magali Padilla was an active, and I mean active, member of the U of M community. Gali was into environmental justice, equity and social justice at large. She is/was 100% bad ass and this memorial will be a time to formally acknowledge her legacy to U of M community. Magali passed this past summer in a car accident while visiting family in Mexico, please come if you can. I know she's watching now and will be in the house on Sunday.

Aight, it's late. This is a new post. Not sure who will see this, but I figured I'd get the ball rolling again. Break bread!

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Hidden Post

so this post never published and has hidden in cyber space for months..... ooooohhhh
So I've not survived an appartment move and got my internet hooked up and ready to go. So here goes what I've missed (or my best attempt at recollecting relevant info).

Dean of Students Ed Willis has decided to leave U of M. I am not sure 100% if his resignation will be a big blow to students, but he has been known sometimes to really support students of color. However, it should be noted that Willis' resignation comes behind Rackham's Dean Earl Lewis' exit. Both Lewis and Willis are African-American men and U of M's recent loss of deans (Education, Public Health, etc.) have occured among mainly women and faculty of color. The U will have some serious scrutiny if those positions are filled like President Coleman's VP cabinet (chock full of White males). Food for thought.

The Emmett Till case is being re-opened. If you don't know Emmett Till's name beyond the Kanye West Song- Through the Wire, "scared as hell that her guy look like Emmett Till," you should read this article which discusses some of the allegations against Till and the trial where two White men were found not guilty. The re-opening of the Till case will likely do more for the moral conscious of race relations in the US than actually administer justice. Till's mother, before her passing, was an strong advocate for civil rights and against the death penalty. So is justice delayed justice at all?

Okay, it's 2004 and allegedly TN Rep. Frank Buck didn't know wetback was a racial epithat, come on! Sadly, other folks in TN also think that Buck made an accurate assessment of things.

We are now literally right around the 50 year annniversary of the Brown v. Board of Ed decision. Here are a number of resources on understanding the case and it's ramification. Brown is credited with the legal end to "separate but equal" doctorine solidified by Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). The first is a book list published by Africana. The second resource is a conversation between Cornel West and Henry Louis Gates from the NY Times (you'll need to log into the Times to see it). The third is an interview with Derrick Bell on the anniversary of the Brown Decision. The fourth is a newsweek article that lays out the lineage of the case and the contemporary reality of things.

In closing, we lost a tremendous author in Gloria Anzaldua at the age of 61. I remember her for her book of collected poetry which featured "The Bridge Poem" by Donna Kate Rushin. I encountered Anzaldua's writing in high school and learned what a pen could really be used for. RIP.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Marcus Dixon case overturned

The Marcus Dixon ruling of aggravated child molestation, which he was convicted for after having consensual sex with another white female high school student, was overturned this morning. The Dixon case has captured national attention, rightfully so, and displays the nature of institutional racism in the US court system. The overturning of the decision is a good beginning.
It's been a long time.... since I've last left you: there have been no new wars (that's actually a surprise), a failed Black Scholar House, my dissertation idea blasted out of water, packing for a move and the graduating of a tremendous group of seniors. So I'll tell you about the stuff that you probably care about, you know the Black stuff happening at Michigan ;)

The Black Scholar House was conceived by Dhani Jones, a U of M Alum and current Philadelphia Eagle. While at U of M (1996-2000) Dhani was a member of the Alphas and one of the co-founders of HEADS. Upon my arrival, immediately after Dhani's departure, I was told about the "Scholar House." The Scholar House was to be a place of residence and academic excellence. A place where Black students, as it was told to me- Black males, who were serious about erudition would be located, an unprecedented occurrence at U of M. We all know the Trotter House is certainly less than what it needs to be- to say the least. I remember this was one of the things that I looked forward to as a new member of HEADS and a new member of the Black Community. Over the years, the discussion of the house faded from conversation, but I always waited to hear anything about it. Having never met Dhani, I gathered info second and third hand. During the month of March, word came down that Dhani was looking to close on a house near campus for this Black Scholar House. I immediately went over to take a look at it, didn't get to go in, but it was really nice from the outside. The day that was talked about for all details to be finalized was May 1. Well somewhere between the end of March and May 1, a lot of issues arose.

To be as objective as possible, the interests of a number of folks came into play: campus organizations, teams, personal interests, and Dhani's interests as a landlord. The end result is best summarized in the letter below that Dhani recently sent to be distributed to the Black Community at U of M. One day Dhani, we will carpe diem...

Dear Students:
I appreciate you all attending the mass meeting last Monday April 19,
2004 about the Black Scholar House. Taking time to understand the
dynamic of the campus, the students, the community and after pondering
over the discussions and some of the issues that were brought to light
at this meeting I have decided to postpone my purchase of the property of the
Black Scholar House, and put my efforts and energy into laying a solid
foundation for my vision for the house. Your suggestions have
prompted me to put together a student, faculty and staff advisory panel that
will help to shape and sustain my vision for the house. Also, I am researching
the house's relationship to the University with respect to resources and
facility management issues. In addition, I will be pursuing outside financial
resources in order to have an endowment set up for the house so that
it will be able to be maintained throughout the years.

I really want to take the time now and just let you know how much I
appreciate your feedback. This is a growing process for both you and
I, and I am looking forward to giving back to a campus community that
I love. It is important that this process is done right and I will not
cut corners, because I want this house to endure. I will be
contacting students in the future in order to get your input on
different ideas that we might want to see come into fruition in the
Black Scholar House.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me
at ########## Thank you again in advance for your understanding and
support of the Black Scholar House. I know that a dream such as this
needs students to believe, but what it also needs is direction and
support which takes time.

Warm regards,

Dhani Jones

Carpe Diem...

Carpe Diem...

Besides the Scholar House, the Black Community also held the annual Black Celeb. For all who do not know, this is not the Black graduation, this is a celebration of U of M's Black graduates. Graduation happens earlier in the day, simple idea...okay, let's move on. While graduates were having their names called, Philip Morgan did something that has never been done, he proposed marriage to his girlfriend on stage. Congratulations.

Friday, April 09, 2004

I'm on hiatus. I'll be back. Dumi

Monday, March 29, 2004

Last week, Connerly and croanies were dealt two big blows in their anti-affirmative action movement: one in Colorado and one in Michigan. Congratulations to all who worked hard on these victories. I posted on this before but apparently messed up so it didn't show up to the public.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Ward was trying to pull the wool over folks eyes, and the Ingham County judge agreed and threw out (really stalled) the petition drive aimed at ending affirmative action.

And I maybe a day late and a dollar short, but Citizens for a United Michigan finally has a webpage up.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Yesterday, the National Urban League released theState of Black America 2004 report which features an "equality" index. The full report is not available yet, and I hope they make it available online, but for now you have to buy the book to get details. The press release states that the status of Blacks is 73% of Whites. Check it out.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Today Tavis Smiley did an interview with Alford Young Jr., an Associate professor of Sociology and African and Afroamerican Studies her at U of M... also my advisor. The converstation they had was on Al's new book The Minds of Marginalized Black Men. The book is expensive, but definitely dope. Lilsten to the interview and then buy the book!
The Free Press runs a q&a with Ward Connerly today.

One of my favorite excerpts
This is somewhat of a personal question. You are obviously a sincere person and have a lot of integrity. A lot of the people that are following you in this are sincere and well-intentioned, too. But there are probably a lot of them that really cannot be regarded as friends of black folks. They have sort of taken the banner of civil rights and equal rights, but certainly are not people who would have been marching in the '60s for anybody else. And a few of them probably are straight-up racists. How you do feel about making alliances with people like that?

I appreciate that and respect the question. I'm not making alliances with them. We are not seeking their endorsement. It's a free country, however. If they want to support us, then, although some of the things they may have done and may still continue to do in their conduct -- even a broken clock can be wrong twice a day. We're not asking them to support us. We are saying, this is what we believe in. And we can't control those who happen to attach to our views. It might make us uncomfortable politically. But, you know, just because (Unabomber) Ted Kaczynski believed in environmental protection doesn't mean that every environmentalist is somebody like Ted Kaczynski. That's just part of the politics of it.

And on the other side, there are people who oppose what we are doing, who wrap themselves in the swaddling clothes of equality, that are not good people. They are mean-spirited. They pursue their course by any means necessary. These are not good people, some of them. So, each side has its burdens to bear with respect to those that align themselves with our respective viewpoints

Hey Ward... the saying is even a broken clock is RIGHT two times a day.

Another excerpt:
I guess the question we should have asked at the beginning of this is, is there any construct in which you where race matters? Does race exist? Is it real in your mind?

A friend of mine once said, "Ward, there is your opinion, there is mine, there is perception and there is reality." And I think the perception is that race is real. We sort of think that there are these five races and we can go around this table and we could put you in that one, we could put you in this one. I don't think it is real. I think we come in different textures, different colors, from different parts of the globe. But we are one, extended human family that we have arbitrarily divided into these basic food groups and that was the original sin almost in this country with regard to race.

My response- the Thomas dictum, "If people define situations as real they are real in their consequences" The Q&A is long, but well worth the read. Hear it from the horse's mouth!

Here's an article from the Daily that outlines the ballot clash. Here is a piece from Ann Arbor on the move to block the petition legally. And a piece in the Detroit News that I must have missed on BAMN and their tactics. For alternative perspectives on BAMN and DAAP, it's U of M political wing, check out this site.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Thankfully, yesterday the Michigan House voted down the attempt to bring the Death penalty back to Michigan on the November ballot. The only way that this measure will get on the ballot is if they do a signature campaign and receive 300,000 signatures (sound familiar?).

Speaking of signature campaigns, you may have noticed emails yesterday going out about a cross burning in Macomb and an incident of racial intimidation at EMU in which a student was greeted at her door by someone in green klan regalia and these being a result of the Michigan ballot initiative. This may be a rare possibility, but of course this would mean that the KKK was really organized in the state, which maybe possible but still not likely in these cases. In Macomb there is rumor that the Macomb police were involved in the burning of the cross (also not that people are failing to mention that the couple is interracial) and at EMU whoever came to the door was most likely local. There is no one on security cams and no one has suggested anything suspicious who was on duty. These two possible Klan activities were likely more localized actions than coordinated in response to the MCRI. I really think assuming that this is the catalyst would be a leap of logic. And because I'm always interested in a good conspiracy theory, I could even go with them coming about in response to the police slaying in Detroit, speaking of which...After three weeks of hours arrest, the Joe Louis fist vandals Brett Cashman and John Price, are free until their trial goes to Wayne County Court. Let's not forget that at the base of the fist they left picture of the slain officers and "courtesy of fighting whities." Also, let's not forget they allege it was a political statement, not racism .... uh, no comment!

And I gotta stop posting now, because I gotta do some work, but before I go. Yesterday the Regents meeting was greeted with a lot of protest and seemed to definitely impact some Regents views. I prefer Rob Goodspeed's report of it, but you can also read this Daily article if you want. BE ALERT, MORE STUFF TO COME!

Thursday, March 18, 2004

The Daily printed a letter that was speared by Monique Perry on the Trotter proposal that features a laundry list of names from the MSA President to lil old me!

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Below is announcement for what looks like a great event!




7PM - 9:30PM



This forum will address some of the analysis and strategies that might
develop when one centers African American and Native American women within
reparations struggle. That is, one of the human rights violations
perpetrated by state policy in the forms of slavery and boarding schools
has been sexual violence perpetrated by both slave masters and boarding
school officials. However, continuing effect of this human rights
violation has been the internalization of sexual and other forms of gender
violence within African and Native American communities. Can a reparations
framework speak to the specific types of harms that women of color have
suffered? If so, how? Are there demands around reparations for the types
of continuing effects of human rights violations that are evidenced by
violence within communities, but are nonetheless colonial
legacies? Furthermore, how can an analysis that frames gender violence as
a continuing effect of human rights violations perpetrated by state policy
challenge the mainstream anti-domestic/sexual violence movement to directly
challenge state-sponsored sexual violence as central to its work?

for more information: Andrea Smith, 734-231-1845

co-sponsors: CAAS, Native American Students Association, Institute for
Research on Women and Gender, Women's Studies, Detroit Chapter National
Lawyer's Guild, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, LSA Research and
Graduate Studies, Black Law Students Association, National Lawyers Guild (U
of Michigan Law School)
As a continuation of yesterday's surreal editorial, the Daily today printsthe Trotter House badly in need of 'U'-funded repairs. At some point, I still want to know if the Daily really thinks that the U is going to just decide to dedicate money despite the continued pressure from community members for years.

And the Daily continues on its tear of not providing solutions but suggestions resolutions are a bad idea. This time the resolution is about bias incidents. Geez, you know verbally or physically harassing someone is so "60s" good thing it doesn't happen any more! Don't allow anyone discretion, because they will certainly always err on the direction of overuse. For example, the woman at EMU, come on the man in Klan regalia could have just been trying out his Halloween costumes. Gosh, I hate political correctness. ;)

And here is a NY Times article on Brown and the search to examine the roll of slavery in their University. I know you had to jump through hopes to get to the other one.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Last Thursday at EMU, there is was an alleged incident of racial intimidation. Glennisha Morgan said she answered her door to find someone in something that resembled Klan regalia. EMU is looking into the incident though it is unlikely anything concrete will come of it. The same issues of permissible "hate speech" will remain.

In other news about free speech. A professor at my boy Andrew Van Alstyne's alma mater Saint Lawrence University. Bob Torres, an untenured Latino Sociology professor, at SLU has recently come under a lot of fire and national attention for the views he expressed on his personal website (blog). He expressed issues with the College Republicans and Bush. He has now become a national case example of free speech and alleged attempts at "intimidation."Here is one of his responses to the allegations. Here is a recent Wall Street Journal Op-Ed piece on it- warning it's written by a writer for the conservative National Review. Lastly, here is the statement that the Department of Sociology released. Okay, that was a lot of links for one story!

On the local tip, the Michigan Daily publishes an opinion in opposition to the proposed 1 fee to be levied to work on the Trotter House aka the Trotter Multicultural Center. The editors reason that the resolution is simply a "stop-gap." What they fail to mention is that the U has been "discussing" improving the Trotter House for years, but has made no significant moves beyond a consultation on revisions (NO $ HAS BEEN PUT UP). The MSA resolution would first demonstrate that students are serious about the priority of the revision and could be the start of a matched campaign for the TH. This editorial really frustrates me because they clearly did not talk to the sponsors of the resolution. How do they propose to finally get the administration to action?

Friday, March 12, 2004

Larry Elder strikes back at Aaron McGruder, creator of the Boondocks by creating The McGruder award for most outrageous statement by a black public figure. This response was spured by this McGruder comic. Well good try Larry, here's a public announcement ... you're still not funny and young Black folks still don't like you.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Boxes and Walls is back on! The exhibit will run from March 22-25 at Hillel. Check out the website. Tours are given priority, so find a bunch of folks and roll through!

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

There were two important things that occurred in Lansing yesterday. The first was the proposed gay marriage ban failed, and actually got support by 8 GOP members, miracles never cease to happen. Also, the death penalty was discussed more and the father of one of the slain officers announced plans to attempt to make the death penalty for convicted first degree murder a ballot question. Though Michigan was the first state to remove the death penalty, it is now considering running counter a growing trend of concern and opposition to the death penalty.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Daniel Adams argues that public opinion should not/will not be the harbinger of justice, especially not in the state of Michigan in his piecethe Tyranny of the Majority. Adams, though against Affirmative Action (I can forgive him. I like this editorial.), suggests that the public sentiments about race and equality have lagged behind the necessity for progressive policy. This is a really clear argument as to why letting people in "nowhere" Michigan who have no idea what "Affirmative Action" or "racial preferences" are decide on their existence. I must admit, like Saul Williams said, "Some forms of free speech make me nervous."

Monday, March 08, 2004

Despite trouble with establishment of links between slavery and companies in earlier reparations suits, Brown's President Ruth Simmons has opened a committee to examine Brown's ties to slavery! The article is difficult to access because you have to register, but nonetheless it's an interesting read!!!!

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Action Alert! The Michigan political scene is going to be really crucial this coming year. There are a number of important things on the ballot. One thing that has not been getting much play, but is really important is the possibility of bringing the death penalty to Michigan! The conversation largely resurfaced after Eric Marshall, a black man, killed two White police officers in February in Detroit. Well we know that Black folks killing or addressing Whites in anyway beyond deference has to be met with excessive force from the powers that be and thus we're talking about the "death penalty" again in Michigan. The Friends have set up a website for armchair activism where you can voice your discontent for bringing this policy to MI. Here's some more information on the death penalties disparate impact on Black folks.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Rackham Dean Earl Lewis is leaving the University of Michigan for Emory. Dean Lewis is one of the highest ranking Black males here at U of M. And to many considered graduate students of color's greatest ally. I am pretty shocked and saddened that he's leaving. I sincerely doubt that whoever replaces him will look out for students of color as much as he did.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

A email message I received from the Native American Student Association chair- Nickole Fox about Michigamua

After creating beautiful powwow diag boards until 2am tonight, a group of
dedicated NASA members were about to venture home. However, we were caught off
guard by a suspicious group of students gathering near the fountain in
Michigamua Plaza (outside the union), appearing to hide something. These
students muttered "its NASA" and "ooo...the Chief." While we are not certain
of their affiliations on campus, it was clear they didn’t want to be around us
and it reminded me of what time of year it is: Michigamua recruiting time.

If you do not know, Michigamua has a long history of degrading Native American
Culture. They would wear loin clothes, paint themselves red and give each other
suto-indian names and use language of a broken English sort, like "me like um
squaw." They have been pictured in the yearbook smoking a pipe, with beers in
hand, on the presidents lawn. While these examples are wrong on many levels, I
encourage each person who receives this email to educate yourself about this
organization. I know it can be hard to understand some issues concerning
Native people, so to help you understand...if there is anything that confuses
you, think about the action if it was against another group of people. Think
about blackface, think about the KKK...

What I am asking of you is to
1) if you are a junior, and they want you to join, say no, no matter how much
the connections will benefit you. If you are interested in the community
service aspect of the org, join another group that does community service,
there are a ton of them, and if you need help finding one, I will gladly help.

2) If you are a current member: get out. its not worth it. the group may or
may not have changed their practices (they said they would change in the 70's,
again in writing in 89 and didnt!) but the history they carry in the name is
not worth your time. Imagine if the KKK decided one day to not be a racist
organization any longer....would KKK still mean the same thing to the people it
hurt? yes. Would you then join the KKK? Please know the history and know that
you are a part of an organization that was founded on hatred, do you really
want to be associated with that?

3) if you are alum of gamua: see #2

4) if you don’t fit any of the above, educate yourself, and everyone you know.

Here are some links:

More info
Even more info

Sorry if you receive this email multiple times. I just think this is something
everyone needs to know about, especially University students, alumni, faculty,
and staff.

Hoping for social justice,
Nickole Fox

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Need to laugh? Here's an article that my friend Andrew sent me about African-American Studies programs being "left-leaning." Okay, I can't stop laughing!
And somehow, I have neglected to mention the murder of Kenneth Walker in Columbus, Georgia by police. Walker was a college grad, family man, and apparently most important to police- a Black man. This story has gotten very little media attention, despite it's horrendous nature! Google news searchs reveal little, but we need to keep the word about this moving. Thought police brutality only happened to those who didn't abide by the law, to people hopped up on drugs, or any of the above? WRONG Why do the brutality cases that get national attention always have some way of explaining away the abuse, it doesn't seem like they'll be able to explain this one away.
So now the Daily and Tim O'brien have weighed in on the Klan's endorsement of the MCRI. It is becoming painfully obvious that there is minimal connection between the MCRI and Dr King. Can we all get real!?!

Monday, February 16, 2004

Still convinced that the MCRI's initiative to end "racial preferences" is about equality? Still think it's not about "affrimative action"? Still think it continues King's legacy? Let's see what Michigan's Mystic Knight's of the KKK have to say? Wow, they support it, must mean that it's a great thing!

Now that I've been to their website and now know that there is a application process, I am considering applying. Of course, if I get killed mysteriously then we know what happened. Should I do it? (This is not a joke. I've already drafted a letter of inquiry)
Hey look, finally another strategy for disgruntled folks to "rebut" Affirmative Action- a white only scholarship. May I recommend that all the students of color at Roger Williams apply for the scholarship. After all, scholarships that are for underrepresented minorities do not require a test of authenticity*. This extra standard that the "white only" scholarship offers is unique.
*the only exception to this statement would be scholarships for students of Native descent who are part of a nation that defines membership by blood quantums to my knowledge.

Friday, February 13, 2004

A survey of US Commission on Civil Rights letterhead has gone out asking colleges to describe their affirmative action policies in-depth. The issue, it's not an official US CRC communication and no one is mandated to respond!!! Trickeration, trickeration!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Okay, I have to offer a little commentary in between working, too much happening to not mention it. Three issues of interest and importance: 1) The drop in minority applicants to U of M, 2) The Ann Arbor study on Racial Profiling, and 3) Andre 3000's grammy performance. Aight one at a time.

Well the numbers are coming in and we now know that the poll of applicants and acceptances for underrepresented minorities is down by 23% I will offer my initial conjectures for this drop, take them, challenge them, or leave them.
1) the increased rigor/intimidation factor of new application process
2) people assuming incorrectly that Affirmative Action was eliminated
3) perception of a hostile/tense racial environment on the U of M campus
4) failure to provide a strong outreach infrastructure like those implemented in Texas and California (we sat on our laurels too much behind victory

and for the record, I do not think "racial preferences" as a concept are driving these numbers down.

Issue 2: Ann Arbor recently released the results of study that found African Americans were no more likely to be stopped than Whites in Washtenaw County. Now though I am an pessimist that Ann Arbor would challenge conventional practices of racial profiling, I will grant that this may be true. As mentioned by many, one major issue is that the study does not inquire about what happens after the stop. One key issue in racial profiling is the treatment people receive as officers perceive what their race means (i.e. drug searches, etc.).

Issue 3: I am not sure what in the world Andre was thinking when he and his team developed their Grammy performance. The performance involved members on stage dressed in "Indian costumes" and featured a giant smoking tee pee. I am awaiting a video tape of the show to verify that it is as stereotypical as I am reading and seeing, but it doesn't look to good for Kast. There is a great deal of discussion happening in the Native community about action. CBS has already issued an "apology" which says little more than, I'm sorry you were offended! Gee, that's the same attitude that people seem to have taken toward Indians as mascots, when are we gonna stop that?

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

It's been a long time... and the wait ain't over. I have been under piles of work and I won't be able to really re-emerge until around Valentine's Day. So here is my compromise, you won't get any of my dazzling commentary, but beginning tomorrow, I will post links to stories of interest? Sound good? Thanks for your patience. It's difficult being Black at Michigan ;)

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Now you can affectionately call me Mr. MPD (multiple personality disorder). Because I go to sleep defending BAMN, and wake up asking why is CUM (Citizens for a United Michigan) advocating BAMN's don't sign campaign? Now fundamentally, I do not take issue with a don't sign campaign, the issue I take is a strategic one. The opposition will be garnering signatures in the whitest of White locations, places like Livonia, etc. Which means they are gonna stay out more racially-diverse areas if they want to get the most bang for their buck. For the sake of argument, let's suggest BAMN is effective at organizing .... Detroit, I said for the sake of argument- follow me, the MCRI would just side-step Detroit completely and hit the suburbs for their signatures. I cannot foresee middle aged White women meeting up with BAMN foot soldiers and saying, "Why wait a minute, this initiative is bad. I'm not gonna sign." Having gone door to door in Metro Detroit (city and surrounding areas) I can tell you that its amazingly hard to get in the door, literally, and people will likely not be open to hearing you suggest an initiative against Affirmative Action is racist. Feel me?

"Thus the highest realization of warfare is to attack the enemy's plans; next is to attack their alliances; next to attack their army; and the lowest is to attack their fortified cities." -Sun Tzu Art of War. Does anyone else feel like we missed the first three levels? Ugh!

And as you can see from the article, people are now beginning to attack CUM's alliances ... Come on General Rice!

And on another sad note, Carol Mosley Braun has decided to drop her campaign for president. She'll be backing Dean too.
Okay, okay, I have no idea why I am still await, and even less idea why I am reading Jason Pesick's editorial entitled, "Please give liberals back liberalism." The piece starts with some valid points about the roots of BAMN and immediately problematizes some of their tactics, but soon there after Pesick loses me. First, may I suggest that Pesick, nor anyone at the Daily invoke the Black Student Union's name, in defense of your issues with a group. I doubt that you are fully aware of the history, and including the BSU name will not offer you a cloak of amnesty from being a racist. Actions define racism, not affiliations. But then again ... The first thing Jason has to realize is that "liberalism" is not a static ideology. I'm sorry, but liberalism can not be quaintly defined as, "A political theory founded on the natural goodness of humans and the autonomy of the individual and favoring civil and political liberties, government by law with the consent of the governed, and protection from arbitrary authority." Being liberal is a relative ideological positioning, if the center shifts, so does liberalism. With that said, at some point, the terms Marxist and Communist will cease to scare people. Wow, attempting to enact a code that limits the proliferation of symbols of hate in times of heated racial tension, boy of boy, you might as well be a conservative ... oh wait, don't they want less government intervention? I'm so confused, was that liberal or conservative? It's a game of semantics. If you don't like Bamn's tactics, then suggest alternatives. Last year, SSAA was really successful at doing this. Oh wait, maybe liberalism comes from sitting behind a desk at the Daily writing editorials.
Wednesday's Daily features an article on David Boyle, U of M Law School Alum's, petition to end alumni preferences (and yes this is a real preference*) in the state of Michigan. Boyle faces the same hoops that Connerly and croons have jumped if he wants it on the November ballot. The acronym is darn hilarious, MERIT, but I am a little worried that too many people will take it the wrong way and endorse this initiative as part and parcel with Ward's initiative. I can see people in Midland, Michigan saying, "Why yes I do believe in merit and I do not like discrimination." Then we end up in a sick-sad world where the meagerly informed vote yes on both. Boyle is pretty outspoken and usually stands in favor of Affirmative Action.

*I say this is real preference, note the difference in wording and tone on the U of M page on factors considered in admission:

"Will alumni ties still be considered?
The University values the relationship it has with current and former students. These students are part of the Michigan community. Alumni serve as a vital part of that community both as lifelong ambassadors for the University, and as lifelong learners who are encouraged to continue to be involved in the life and programs of the institution after they graduate. Accordingly, we will continue to consider-as one of many factors, but not as a determinative factor- a direct relationship, or stepfamily relationship, with someone who has attended the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor as a degree-seeking student."

"How will race factor into the new process?

Academic factors are the first and overriding criteria. Other factors will be considered, but the applicant must, under all circumstances, demonstrate the ability to succeed at and contribute to the University. Race will be only one of many additional factors taken into consideration during the review process, as will socioeconomic factors, geography, and special or unique experiences, skills and talents. All the factors we will use in the review process will be in the overall context of individualized consideration of each application. Furthermore, every student will have the opportunity to highlight his or her own special and unique qualities that will contribute to the overall diversity of the class. Multiple reviews by different staff members and validation by management staff will ensure that no single, nonacademic factor has a disproportionate impact on the overall admissions decision."

And the statement of the obvious award goes to the Michigan Daily for echoing Monique Perry's, VP of MSA, statement that the Trotter House is in need of renovation. Apparently the Daily missed that the facilities have been inadequete for the past .... 20 years. Good job Daily, it's only news if someone says it at an MSA meeting. By the way this in no way a diss to Monique, she is right-on for bringing it up again in public forum!

The transformation of the Trotter House from a Black cultural center to a multicultural center reminds me of the demands of BAM I (1970), BAM II (1975), and BAM III (1987):

BAM I -Demand # 7 "The establishment of a community-located Black Student Center."
BAM II- Demand- "The establishment of a Chicano Cultural Center;"
BAM III- Demand #2- The University of Michigan must grant the immediate endowment of $150,000 dollars for the William Monroe Trotter-House to insure that the integrity of African-Apreservedulture will be perserved in spite of the vile climate of racism that persists in the University."

Seems like the U has historically had trouble handling biz around Trotter and neglected other communities despite demands for address!!!

And on a much lighter and two completely unrelated notes:
1) I finally joined Blackblogz, you'll see it in the bottom left hand corner. Okay, I admit that I don't fully understand it, but it seems like a good thing.

2) I am really wondering is it possible to really dislike people, but really love friendster? I am now obsessed with friendster.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

So apparently the editorial by Steve Cotner in Monday's Daily prompted quite a response. The editorial does really give BAMN a lot of credit, but the responses to the editorial are the most interesting. Penned by 2 sophomores- Jeremy Curtis and Kylie Burleson ... yeah wise fools... I'm looking for the wisdom still. Cutis suggests that Affirmative Action has, "I am not one for affirmative action. I think it worked back when it was first started, but as times change, so do policies." Kyle Burleson's editorial states "The University is funded by taxpayers, why shouldn?t those taxpayers be given a choice in whether their money is used to enact an inherently racist policy?"

Okay, maybe I missed the boat but here is why these two propositions are too commonly uttered and make no sense! On the Aff Axn was good once but it's out lived its utility.
1) We are at a time when more students of color are enrolled in higher education than ever before, but we are far below representative for most of these ethnic minorities.
2) What was the initial utility that has died? Increased opportunity- looks like it's still working to me.

On the idea that Aff Axn is an inherently racist policy. 1) Have these people even read the new system of admission? Is the consideration of race a preference? If that's the case, if so, everything on the application is a preference!!! 2) Do these people know what racism is? Do they know what discrimination is? Do they really care?

Okay, enough babbling, I'm just confused how people still utter these things but have backing!!! Can people at least argue with information and ideas that are relevant?

Lastly, the Ballot initiative from the MCRI has been launched. By the way, I will openly say, this is Ward Connerly initiative. If you notice the MCRI is trying to push that it is Gratz's. If that is the case, then why the hell does it look eerily like the initiatives that Connerly has pushed before? Okay, maybe Connerly is a consultant .... yeah, just like a puppeteer with a puppet, just giving the lifeless characters voice.

PS. Special thanks to Rob Goodspeed for providing me with the new MCRI page, I was wondering why the old one was dead!

Monday, January 12, 2004

Well this is news to me! On the eve of the Michigan Civil Right Institute's launch of their campaign for signatures on the anti-Affirmative Action ballot intiative the Detroit News reports that BAMN is now officially tied with Citizens for a United Michigan. I was under the impression that C4AUM was not dealing with BAMN, but clearly, I've been out of the loop!!!!

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Before the MLK festivities go into full swing, I thought I would put a fake-o MLK site on BLAST! WWW.MARTINLUTHERKING.ORG is a page that attempts to tarnish King's legacy with half-truths and very poor argumentation (see for yourself). It appears the page is affliated with David Duke's webpage. You'll see this if you try to download an adobe version of the flyers they want people to download.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Here's some more stories on an oldie but goodie: Affirmative Action.
The Michigan Daily provides a pretty benign commentary on the Connerly Ballot Initiative, if you read yesterday's Ann Arbor News, no need to read this one. And suprise, suprise, the Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) are going to support the ballot initiative.

Jay Greene, in a piece for the Washington Post, argues that improving the pipeline to higher education is crucial, more crucial than Affirmative Action. Point taken, but it's not a trade off, in the process of improving K-12 education (where we don't know a definite solution to creating equality) we must also still utilize Affirmative Action for those already in the system!

Lastly, I'm gonna need conservakids (Harris 2002) to get a new bag of tricks. They are really pressing on this "affirmative action bake sale thing." They just did one at Utah State University and this AP story covers some of the others that have happened nationally. In my old age, 25 ;) , I'm getting tired of the same tactics.

Lastly, because I like to laugh, and sometimes cry at the ridiculus, here is story from the Atlanta Journal Constitution on names, not just any names, special names based on brands, Stop the madness!!! A la Casper in Kids, "What happened?"

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

I'm back in effect mode... yeah.
So the Ann Arbor News ran a piece today on Ward's hustle to raise money for his ballot initiative to ban Affirmative Action in the state of Michigan. The article is fairly basic and doesn't lend much insight into the complicated discussion of how well citizens can or will be informed/mobilized on this issue. Last week, the A-deuce News ran a story on the EPIC-MRA survey that found 63% of residents are not in support of racial preferences. Note: I said racial preferences, not Affirmative Action. The wording of the question, as reported by the A-deuce News, asked if residents would be in favor of a ballot initiative to "prohibit government agencies or universities from discriminating against or granting any preferential treatment to someone on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin."
The language is critically important, dependent on the term used (affirmative action, racial preferences, discrimination, reverse discrimination, etc.) the findings of surveys and polls vary. Below you'll find an editorial by Doreen O'Donovan, a Ford School student, about the News' reporting of the poll. I don't think the Ann Arbor News ever ran her editorial. Boo them!
Dear Editor,

I am surprised that the Ann Arbor News would allow itself to be used as a tool
by the enemies of affirmative action. Your article "Affirmative-action
disfavor" fulfils their dream to confuse the public. The poll was written just
as anti-affirmative action supporters wrote the state ballot proposal: in a
perplexing manner.

The semantics involved in writing polling questions is no accident. Research
supports that the wording of the proposal is more important that the actual
content. Just look at your article. "Respondents were asked whether they
would support a state ballot proposal that would prohibit government agencies
or universities from discriminating against or granting any preferential
treatment to someone on the bases if race, sex, color; ethnicity or national
origin." What! How many times do you have to read that to figure out what
they are supporting?
University of California Regent Ward Connerly, who founded the American Civil
Rights Institute to end affirmative action policies, has learned from his past
mistakes. Affirmative action was upheld in Texas due to positive phases.
Negative wording was used in the California Civil Rights Initiatives of 1996.
It asked whether voters wanted to "eliminate" affirmative action programs. The
positive wording in the November 1997 referendum in Houston, Texas asked
whether the voters preferred to "retain" the city’s affirmative action program.

Results of vote to eliminate affirmative action in California: 55% Yes, 45% No
Results of vote to retain affirmative action in Houston, Texas: 55% Yes, 45% No

When the Board of State Canvassers approved the ballot proposal on December 12,
protesters primary concern was the wording. As journalist it is our
responsibility to report on the entire story, not just the words fed to you by
the out of state group that proposes to change our state constitution. Point
out the purposely-convoluted wording and how it might affect those who answered
the poll. Ask why Texas was able to control the wording of the ballot and the
Michigan Board of State Canvassers was not. That is the real story.

Don't forget to look at the ballot initiative language, which is located in the political corner!

Dress warm ya'll, it's gonna be a cold winter (in more than one way)!

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Welcome back. Well you maybe saying to that to me since I haven't posted in a minute. I've been out of town, even on a Carribean vacation. Can you blame a brotha? But since I am still not back in Michigan this will be a short post that is all about me. Like to hear it? Here it go!

On December 28th, the New Haven Register, my local Connecticut paper covered a local club shooting in Milford, a suburb of New Haven. Their story, "1 man dies in Club shooting" was shockingly covert in its racial tones and messages. So on the way to the airport, to go on my fabulous vacation, I wrote a letter to the editor. The editorial is in today's paper. What do you think?

More to come later, I promise, for real. I know I've been slacking.