Friday, December 23, 2005

Delays, the Daily, Tookie, and Holidays

So I have been meaning to post, but there has been too much on my plate as of late. Though my posting hasn’t been happening, the world has continued moving. Well kinda, the TWU helped put NY on hault for a minute. But due to public pressure we all gotta make like Tribe Called Quest and keep it moving. So let’s get to it.

Last time I checked in we were all watching the Daily to see what their response would be to the controversy surrounding Michelle Bien’s cartoon. Word is that Bien has left the Daily staff, but I haven’t found verification of this on their site and her cartoon ran as recently as last week. The editor published his view on the situation. Nothing I didn’t expect. He strategically attempts to rely on the first ammendment. No one attempted to curtail free speech, but people did ask the Daily to be cognizant of the effects that their materials could and do have. There is no need to "force" the Daily staff to all support affirmative action, but their writers, artists, and editors should be able to justify their decisions and deal with their repurcussions.

Speaking of changing times, Pesnick makes sure to refer everyone to his Multicultural Commission.
In February, I formed a commission of editors and writers on the Daily’s staff to examine the work environment at the paper and the perceptions members of multicultural communities have of the Daily.
Their findings are here. Once again, I’m underwhelmed. I don’t think they’re off-base, I just don’t think we learn anything really new. I do have some questions about the Daily Commission though:
1) Is a commission of staff reporters the best assessment of the Daily?
2) Why was the commission’s identity not easily available to the public?
3) What type of influence or power does this commission have on the Daily?
As a policy wonk these are the kind of questions that continue to swirl in my head.

After the commission’s report, there was another cartoon run that raised some issues. The “Legacy Bitches” cartoon was, I am told, supposed to be a pro-affirmative action cartoon that attacked the concept of legacy. Instead of commenting on the cartoon, I’d rather comment on the political landscape. Isn’t it odd that right on the heels of a controversy that the Daily editorials staff chose to publish such an … ambiguous cartoon? Maybe it’s just me…

Aight, well that is enough of the Daily for this post. Be on the look out for my in-depth commentary on the Daily boycott of a couple of years ago and other folks thoughts on the Daily situation.

The Governator did not grant Stan Tookie Williams clemency. In the wake of his execution I learned a lot of folks that I knew were behind him. Maybe too many of us were silent. Maybe it’s na├»ve to believe that the “corrections” system believes in correcting behaviors, attitudes, or ideologies of Black men.

And as I close this post, someone sent me a link to this video… hilarious! Clearly finals drove people insane here. Over the next couple of days I’ll be trying to get some rest and relaxation back East, so whatever happens in Michigan … can stay in Michigan. If I get bored I’ll post my annual Best of BAM. Catch you on the flip.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Help Wanted

Today in a fit of procrastination and contemplation I realized that I need help with this website. For the past year has been reduced to the BlackBlog. It's time for a change

I am looking for someone who is a "design wizard" or at least a "design apprentice", lol, I'm funny. I have some site ideas but have neither the time nor dedication to carry them through. If you're out there and interested in contributing to this virtual endeavor contact me at When we talk, we can discuss your "handsome reward."

Also, I've been kicking around for some time the idea of adding another blogger/columnist, I'm not 100 percent sure on this one, but still interested in finding out if there are folks interested in contributing. Once again, drop me an email.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Daily Boycott? Jury of your peers? Nope!

ANOTHER DAILY BOYCOTT??? Not likely. But that's not what the Daily's article title would lead you to believe, "NAACP considers boycotting." The article then goes on to state,
"Fair [2nd Vice President] would not comment on whether the group is considering a boycott or what other actions NAACP will take against the Daily."

Now that's funny, so I may not have my PhD yet, but I can read decently well. The reason this is so interesting to me is that if Fair gave the reporter no indication of action then the title could have been "NAACP considers joining Daily staff in response to cartoon" or how about "NAACP has concerns about Daily's treatment of minorities" or "NAACP plans to host carnival on diag." Anyone of these titles is possible but instead boycott is used.

Why does this matter, you ask? And you should. Because the past Daily Boycott left a bitter taste in a lot of people's mouths. The boycott was poorly planned and executed, but I think it did have some positive results (if you want more commentary on what the boycotts did in my eyes, I'll post it later). Since its planning and execution failed a couple of years ago, people are apprehensive to endorse another boycott. So how do you address concerns of a group critiquing you while delegitmizing their claim? Give them a headline with a strong amount of stigma attached. So throughout the day, numerous students will glance the cover of the Daily as they usually do and think, "Oh no, another boycott, I'm against that" and continue on with their day. Consider me a conspiracy theorist or a political strategist, but do send congrats to the Daily, even Sun-tzu would be proud.

I've also recently been visiting the Daily editor's Blog. Jason has been posting about the Daily's plan of redress, another smart move. But he recently decided to change the dates on which his response to the controversy would come. I hope he doesn't already have his response ready, that would mean he wasn't considering everyone's voices. On his blog he also mentions the Multicultural Commission, I ask him a bunch of questions about it in the comments section of his post and get some answers . We will see if the commission has any leverage to create change at the Daily (more on that later).

I'm saying all this so that readers realize that strategy is important in any disagreement. Diplomacy wins many battles. Even Michelle Bien the author of the original comic has joined the "can't we all just get along" parade. But change is a slow process. As NAACP and other bodies respond to the concerns of the Daily, I wonder how it will be portrayed. Most people get there image of a thing through second and third hand information, not primary participation. This information forms opinions and determines next moves.

And while we were all sleeping, the Michigan Supreme court recently issued an important decision on jury pools. The MSC suggests that jury selection should not consider race, sex, religion or nationality. The idea, again, is one of colorblindness, though the problem is that many groups are under-represented when a "jury of peers" is composed. What do you think of the ruling?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Cartoons, HBCU Activism, and Tookie

So of course I'm a huge fan of the Michigan Daily. Of course they publish really accurate and insightful pieces. Of course I'm lying. The cartoon to the right was published on Wednesday. Nice job Michelle Bean!

There is a nice letter to the editor by Lisa Bakale-Wise that breaks down why the cartoon is ridiculous and inaccurate.

There is a cartoon to the editor response from Meisha Jihan Williams in Thursday's paper. It's pretty funny, I hope you all can see the image cause the Daily digital image was too pixelated to post.

Hey, where is that multicultural comission when you need them? Oh, here's the answer... kinda.

Hampton University is really in the spotlight these days among progressive communities. I definitely do not think the students should be expelled, but I would not be suprised if they were. Its hard for many people, particularly those who did not attend HBCUs,to understand and deal with that fact most HBCUs have conservative administrations while their student bodies are generally progressive. And I do not mean conservative administrations in the sense that we usually talk about at U of M, trust me, ya'll don't know conservativism. I've always understood HBCUs conservativism as closely tied to their financial donations. Since HBCUs are so financially strapped they have little choice but to present themselves as traditional and attempt to keep their institutions running. It will be interesting to see how Hampton responds to pressure from progressive communities in the long run. Part of the advantage of the internet is quick communication, so many more people found out about this incident than other similar incidents that I heard about in the past. I'll keep you posted.

Update: The seven students were not expelled, but 5 of them will do some form of community service.

Save Tookie! In a couple of days the Governator will hear the appeal for clemency in Stan "Tookie" Williams' case. Tookie co-founded the Crips and is serving a life sentence with a death penalty. His prior appeals have failed, the most recent attempt at appeal based evidence issues was denied by the California Supreme Court. This appeal however is based on his work as anti-gang, anti-violence advocate. I think the case is important because it speaks to the idea of reform within prison and whether America is interested in seeing people reformed, I'm not too hopeful for the outcome.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Nehemiah: The Pet Negro

Okay, you must forgive me for posting twice in a row on TV. I had no intention to post on the Real World Austin, honestly it's a pretty bad show. I watched early episodes and then found more valuable things to do with my time. However, this week I found myself "tuned into the 10 spot." This week's episode was divided between two people's woes: Nehemiah and Wes. This week's episode starts with Wes receiving a call that Nehemiah is in the county jail. Turns out that Nehemiah got in a fight outside of a local bar. He was placed in jail with a 3000 dollar bond. It's not abnormal for the Austin Real Worlders to get into fights or get thrown in jail, but apparently Nehemiah's fight and jailing get the episode's attention.(Note that Nehemiah gets a lot of attention because episode 22 is named Nehemiah's actin' up... bad Negro, bad!). When confronted with the issue of getting Nehemiah out of jail Johanna lamentably repeats that it's a shame that Nehemiah's in jail because he's so poor and he, nor his family has any money! Eventually, Danny negotiates with the Production company to take the bail money out of Nehemiah's pay check (you did know that they got paid to be on this show, right?).

While Nehemiah sits in jail, Rachel reminds the group that they have a deadline on their documentary and Nehemiah is not there to do the documentary. This entire f***ing season they have been begging/demanding that Nehemiah take the lead (which really means do all the work) on a documentary on a local music festival. So what is the cast to do? Their pet Negro is jailed and they only have a few days before their deadline. The helpless cast sits and attempts to work on the documentary, but they can't possibly pick all that cotton themselves...oops I mean they can't possibly complete the editing without him. As they sit in a state of paralysis, Wes notes (paraphrasing) "Well he just spent the night in jail, so he'll probably want to take a nap and then work on the documentary." Are you kidding me!?! Danny returns from the jail having bailed Nehemiah out but he doesn't have his Negro in tow. As the cast watches Danny walk in alone they ask, "Where is Negr.... Nehemiah?" Alas, he won't be released for another couple of hours.

As Nehemiah returns to the house Wes, clearly part of the moral majority, in a paternal manner asks Nehemiah about what he did and advises him not to hide anything (thanks Dad). Wes then tells Nehemiah how much jail time he could be facing and that he needs to be careful about his actions. Nehemiah is a big boy and goes and apologizes to the White bar owner that he "assaulted" with a big non-threatening sheepish grin on. Lesson learned. If that wasn't enough, throughout the episode there are interjections of cast members in the confessional explaining how Nehemiah needs to watch himself when he's drunk and this should be a lesson. After all none of them have been drunk and in altercations, put in jail, or belligerent... not so fast! As Nehemiah returns to his quarters he settles in to work all night, the rest of the house goes out drinking.

Wes comes back drunk and does some "drunken" walking and smashing of the house. He knocks down a closet door, throws a canister of coffee at his housemates, and ends up slapping Rachel a fellow housemate. But of course, he's "too drunk" to remember any of it. See, Rachel flicked off Nehemiah, and Wes ran to the aid of his Negro. The result is an off camera smack that Rachel forgives Wes for because she's too tired to deal with it. Alas, the episode draws to a close with Nehemiah having learned his lesson, worked overtime on the documentary, and Wes having slapped a castmate. Thank God their pet Negro learned to behave.

My goodness, that episode was disgusting. If you happen to see it on, watch it! It's amazing. And I guess it would be good for me to relate this to Michigan, ready.... apparently a future home of the Real World may be Royal Oak. Well maybe while they are in the treelined suburbs they can avoid all those misbehaved Detroiters.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Aaron McGruder's Diabolical Plot

I have a ritual nearly every morning. Every morning I wake up and open my browser to the Boondocks comic. I love this comic. I even buy the books that he puts out on this comic. I have waited for years, literally, to experience the Boondocks Cartoon. Now that I've watched the cartoon twice, I have really mixed feelings. One possible reason is that I am a Boondocksphile (made that one up). I read the comic day in and day out, read interviews by McGruder, and all but have tattooed Huey on my arm (aight, I'm really not THAT into the comic but you know what I mean). So when I finally heard Cartoon Network picked up the show, I patiently waited. Maybe I'm too close to it to appreciate artistic variation. I think the cartoon is funny, not as funny as it could be, but definitely enjoyable. Most of the laughs come in a "comic strip" form (short jokes or running gags)which is true to the comic. The one thing that has concerned me and many who watched and are discussing the show is the use of "the n-word."

McGruder decided to use it because its part of Black culture and he himself sometimes uses it. I was kind of dismayed the first week, but now I feel like I understand. No, I don't think that "the n-word" (gotta put in quotes because now apparently it is a phrase)is appropriate or that he's doing it from an empowering standpoint. I think he's doing it to really piss people off. Who you ask? Everyone!

It seems McGruder has taken a different route with the show than he did with the comic strip. I think that the n-word is so over used in the show that most people who watch it, those who are pro and anti-n-word, would feel unsettled by it and question its role. I figure Aaron is SO smart, that he is taking a uniquely critical approach. He's challenging progressives to grapple with its presence in our speech, while also challenging folks who do use it to question it's frequency and utility.

Here's another possible theory and possibly further evidence that Aaron McGruder is being critical in an avant-guard way. Ceasar is absent. Ceaser is normally the dude that balances Huey, he's not gonna show up for the whole year. Instead, McGruder has Uncle Ruckus in every episode (thus far). Unless you really stalk the Boondocks, you were like, who is that crazy looking dude, but he has appeared in the comic before. In the comic, he is just as loathing of Black folks and ridiculous, just less ever-present. Ruckus shows us a part of the Black community that is self-hating. Ruckus' off the wall antics are a heavy satire, but would get any viewer who knows a Ruckus or is a Ruckus to think twice about their commentary on Black folks and their commentaries on White folks.

Aight, this post was supposed to be really short, but I kinda feel like I may be "on to something" with the Boondocks cartoon. I guess time will be the test.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Fear of a Vagina of Color

Over the past couple of weeks, the announcement of an all women of color casting call for the Vagina Monologues production this year on campus has raised quite a controversy. This year's director Lauren Whitehead issued a call via email that has gotten several people's underwear in a knot. *I can't find the original email right now, but when I do, I'll post it.*

Yesterday, Emily Squires, former Vagina Monologues director, weighed in with a nice viewpoint on the issue.

Today, the Daily published a viewpoint by 6 men entitled: In Dissent: V is for Racism.

While I applaud these guys for doing a little bit of research, they should really read more carefully. If you go page 23 of the Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence,and Consequences of Violence Against Women report, you find this note of caution when comparing simply Whites and women of color in general.
These findings underscore the need for specificity
when comparing victimization rates among
women and men of different racial backgrounds.
As results from the survey show, combining data
on all types of minorities may diminish differences
that exist between whites and nonwhites
and at the same time obscure very large differences
in prevalence rates among women and
men of specific racial backgrounds.

If you read the reports' full findings, you did find differences in rates of domestic violence, particularly rape, depedent upon the comparision group. I understand that they are attempting to respond directly to Whitehead's assertion, but in their response, they should tell the whole story. Not to mention, there is the strong possibility that there are differences in rates of reporting that underestimate the rates of DV in communities of color.

I am in full support of a woman of color cast for the Vagina Monologues
. While I'm not sure you're suprised, this is likely different than the position a number of my Black male collegues will likely take, but then again, that is why we need a production like this. I do think that domestic violence is a serious concern among all communities and particularly communities of color. While some may feel excluded by this production, the potential it has to draw in new communities of folks to become concerned with violence against women is even greater in my opinion. If nothing else, seeing your sister, mother, girlfriend, wife, or friend reflected in these women of color could have a profound impact on the future of DV in communities of color. While there are many complex issues in DV and resolving it, I do believe this production does open a "can of worms" that needs to be addressed. One Tamara Williams is enough.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The need to tinker

So recently I have been feeling the need to tinker with this blog. I want to redo it, but I haven't figured out what I should do. This page went through a major a revision a while back but I gave that up for laziness and because I felt like people were taking blogging "too seriously." (Insert your own interpretation) Some of you may remember my old page, which had more than the Blackblog. I just sat down to look at the old html and stuff I had set up and I realized something sad. All the pages I created and mock-ups were on my old laptop which fried and died. So I guess I'll be starting from "scratch" again. That is unless the rest of my life zooms ahead. I only sat down to do this because my next deadline for work related materials is December 1st, which seems really far away, but surely isn't. If you've got suggestions, drop me a line in the comments. Oh, and I changed over to Blogger's comment feature, which may or may not work. If that doesn't work hit me at

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

BAMN.... need I say more.

So looks like BAMN has been "exposed" to the U of M community. Honestly this has been some time in the making, but glad to see it's happening in a semi-systematic manner. Below you will find the NAACP UM Chapter's statement at last night's MSA meeting regarding BAMN.
The University of Michigan Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People publicly denounces BAMN for their actions at the University of Michigan this past Thursday. The rally had no positive ramifications and only served to humiliate and embarrass black Michigan students and black people everywhere. The rally perpetuated myths and stereotypes about the black community that pervade this campus, nation and world. While the high school students were able to leave the campus and go home, and the white organizers of BAMN were able to go on living their privledged existences with no consequences. The black students at the University of Michigan were left to clean up the mess and reassemble their destroyed pride and dignity. Because of this under no circumstances will BAMN be allowed at any U of M Chapter NAACP meetings, which includes but is not limited to: emailing our membership, attending our events or making general announcements. If BAMN organizers would like to participate in NAACP meetings as individuals then they are more than welcome. But under no circumstances will BAMN be allowed to organize in or around the U of M Chapter NAACP in the future. On Monday, Novemeber 7, 2005 NAACP President Riana Anderson will be meeting with BAMN organizers to talk about how they can better improve their relations with the black community.

The MSA meeting was apparently quite an event. Alex Moffett outlined her version of the event in a much more detailed letter that I may post later. There are, again, a number of interesting pieces on Affirmative Action, but I was most intrigued by Mara Gay's "The gags have got to go." I was so intrigued by her piece that I penned a response. I'm not sure if I'm going to send it to the Daily.
My response to Mara Gay's piece:
I appreciate Mara Gay'?s discussion of the last Thursday'?s events, but I think she misses a few key factors. First, the day of silence was designed to highlight the silence that would ensue if Affirmative Action programming was eliminated among all communities of color, not just the Black community. It is all too often that our dialogue on Affirmative Action and programs that are historically tied to it (i.e. ethnic studies, multicultural centers, etc.) are limited by a Black and White racial dialogue. While it is true that Black students compose the largest minority group on campus, it should be equally telling that other groups are underrepresented and often less "heard"? among the debates on Affirmative Action. Second, while the BAMN rally has consistently been characterized as out of control, there were a number of formerly gagged students who attempted to intervene in the chaos but were unable to change the high school students'? actions. The gags for some did come off, but their message still wasn'?t received. Third, there is the old adage that the "squeaky wheel gets the oil"?, which I believe is one major reason BAMN has consistently gotten national attention. Many progressive communities have consistently organized to amplify the voice of organizations that provide an alternative to BAMN (i.e. Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Critical Moment, The Independent, etc.) but locally until recently most groups could make very little headway on getting their views represented. Now that there are more visible and acknowledged alternatives, I implore all to get involved or at least attend a meeting so that you can gain greater knowledge. It appears that now is the time for other voices to rise, but not necessarily be "loud?." If we take the business of organizing against the MCRI seriously, then we will continue to argue with strong logic and drawing appeal to the population that is on this campus and far beyond. The majority of this state does not look like U of M, whether you measure it by class, race, sexual orientation or political orientation. So the best question that I think can be asked is, "?What type of voice and what kind of message affect the masses of Michigan?" Now that the gags are off, the squeaky wheel has been exposed, and the MCRI is forging ahead we must seriously consider how this fight for equality will be engaged and won.

After a rather quiet spell, things are really not quiet anymore on campus. I know a number of folks who are alums check in and ask about campus, well no longer will I be able to say, nothing is going on. I truly think the public denouncement of BAMN and visible support for it is new.

N.B. A story from 2001 involving MSA and BAMN. Thanks for the reminder of the history and the link Rob.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Activism- Past, Presnt, and the Future?

Last week we lost the life of Rosa Parks, the legendary civil rights figure. People are writing a lot about Rosa and how her decision not to give up her seat. As we reflect on those who have led us to this point, me must also ask, where are we now, and where are we going?

Rosa Parks' body will be on display until Wednesday at the Charles H. Wright museum in Detroit.

In local campus news, last week's National Take Affirmative Action Day, certainly had action, though not all of it affirmative. While SSAA hosted a gag-in, BAMN staged a rally with Al Sharpton. The big problem apparently occured when there were some clashes intiated by the high and middle school students that BAMN imported.

Today's Daily has a number of stories on Affirmative Action relatd stuff. There is and editorial that compares the BAMN and SSAA event. *Ignore the fact that it states the SSAA rally piggy-backed on the BAMN rally. NTAAD is an initiave of USSA, a group that BAMN has no affiliation with, but SSAA has been affiliated with for years. Hey journalists don't always get it right.*

There is are a couple of responses to Alex Moffett's letter on why she was silent. Even Carl Cohen weighed in, ah gotta love him.

And finally what did the NAACP's five fingers say to BAMN's face? Answer= Click Here.

Looks like there is a rising tide of anti-BAMNism. This is not a new thing to folks who have been following BAMN or those involved in the Affirmative Action activism.

We will see where it all goes.

UPDATE: The Michigan Appeals court ordered the Board of Canvassers to certify the MCRI for the 2006 ballot. There is still the chance for legal challenges, but it really looks like this will be on the 2006 ballot.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Millions More Movement

View from the Mall
Originally uploaded by strawmanl.
I got on the bus and made my way to DC this weekend for the Millions More Movement. For those that missed it, this was the 10 year commemoration of the Million Man March. I attended the Million Man March when I was 16 and it was, arguably, one of the most powerful days of my life. My sister attended the Million Woman March, which I'm told was also powerful, despite the weather. Remarkably when I heard the prospect of the Millions More Movement, I was very hesitant to attend. I'll be honest, I didn't want to mess up the image that I held of MMM (1995). But at the 11th hour, I decided to get on the bus (a number of U of M Black orgs put their heads and funds together to sponsor a bus to DC- good job ya'll). After arriving to the mall at approximately 9am, I was a little skeptical that turn out was going to be strong. But as the day went on, the mall really filled out. I'm not saying it was as large as the MMM (1995) but there were certainly a large amount of people there! The speeches during the day were good, though not everyone did me proud (please see Jim Jones of the Diplomats). The crowd was in really good spirits and I ran into a bunch of old friends and associates who were on the mall listening. This MMM was designed to incorporate a range of voices from different backgrounds. Farrakhan and his co-conveners made an effort suggest the need for unity among folks of color in particular. I'm not sure that message got through to all the invited communities, judging from the overwhelmingly Black audience, but I think it's a beginning. Farrakhan delivered a pretty strong closing address, which for some reason, struck me as suprsingly nationalist (which I don't have beef with). I guess that's just because it appeared to me that as time wore on Farrakhan had been getting more middle of the road. All in all it was an amazingly positive experience and I'm glad I attended.

Travelling Man...

moving through places... just had to bring back the Mos Def real quick. So I've been on the road a little bit, so some of this will be Michigan related, and some of it will not be.

My friend recently sent me this picture, it's a shame that I have to share the same birthplace as that man!

Recently, I went on a nice roadtrip out to NY, but when I got to the mountains of Pennsylvania we were brought to a hault. Normally this happens when travelling back east in the winter due to snow, weather conditions,etc. but this time, there was a house in the road! There were apparently a few pre-fabricated houses that had big issues and slid off the road. Just thought this was weird, if you wanna see click here.

I didn't get a chance to mention how I liked David Betts' piece "Authentically American" in Wednesday's Daily, reminds me of the old Du Bois double consciousness. I have to admit at first I was scared, thought it was gonna end up being a "thank God I'm American and not there" stuff, but I think he did a good job of getting at the tensions of a global identity. If you haven't checked it, you should check the Souls of Black Folk, saying it's a classic is an understatement.

On the book tip, the baba of my rites of passage recently released his first fiction novel called They Tell Me of a Home. I'll start reading it soon, but you should check it. And if you're reading this, you may or may not know who my baba is, but he is a genius, which is not an overstatement.

Oh, last week looks like Black folks took to the polls, well at least go polled, in a major way. Looks like 2 percent of Black folks support old G.W. Bush. So maybe Kanye was right or it's the other way around ;)

I would comment on this opinion, but come on, is there really a need? We'll see how I feel later.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Suspect continued. Sharon/SCOR speaks. Katrina Relief? Miers who?

So last week when I posted David Betts' story on being, I missed a great letter by Riana Anderson, president of the NAACP- UM Chapter. She does a good job about raising the issue of reporting the event as student-centered, which it was not. Now of course, the question that then arises, what do you do about incidents between non-students and students? Do you crack down on non-students presence everywhere? I recently went to a local club (prior to the shooting) where they demanded my U of M id to enter, despite it being an open party.

On Tuesday, the Daily published a letter written by Sharon Lee, SCOR president,in conjunction with a number of APIA and graduate organizations on the U's reaction to the recent alleged hate crimes. It's a good read.

As the news of Katrina relief begins to slow from the media flourish, you'll soon be seeing/hearing the effects of Bush and company "loosening" the Affirmative Action policies on hiring.

So Bush also nominated Miers, which was out of the blue for me, but there are some theories going around.

Lastly, if you haven't checked it out, do check out They have good commentary and are featuring a set of guest commentators.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The new "Hotter Trotter"(tm)

trotter main floor
Originally uploaded by strawmanl.
This is a picture of the Trotter House main floor. If you click the picture you will be taken to images of the new renovated Trotter House. After you check out the pictures, check out the Trotter House. It even features wireless now!
Photos and "Hotter Trotter" courtesy of Riana Anderson.


So for some time now, well since I've been at U of M, the issue of race and crime reporting comes up. In today's Daily David Betts throws his hat in the ring about what's wrong and what should be done. As you know, I personally love how almost every Black man available within 40 miles is indicted by each crime alert. But Betts tries to go a little deeper in his editorial. I appreciate the effort, but his call to action, is nothing more than a restatement of what he said he wasn't interested in doing.
He opens up with...
"I was really psyched up to write my column for this week. I was going to blast the Department of Public Safety for the vague suspect descriptions and general emphasis on making sure black people don’t act up while white members of the campus community are allowed to run relatively free."

And draws the piece to a close with...
"what we need to be doing is going to DPS and the AAPD and asking them, “What goes into a suspect description?” We need to explain to them why “baggy, hip-hop clothes” is an ineffective, racist remark. We need to ask them, “Why there is so much emphasis on having a presence at every black function?” We need to dedicate a lot of the energy spent on complaining to making sure the gentleman that was accidentally shot is OK."

I agree with Betts that there are no easy answers. I think the answer is going to lie in a multi-fold approach institutionally: (communicating and pressuring DPS and AAPD to work on the descriptions they present), socially (fighting against stereotypes of Black men), and communally (being accountable for our actions). We can't sacrifice anyone in this fight.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Hate Crimes, Black Writers, etc...

So, unless you've been under a rock, last week on campus news of an alleged hate crime made it to the inboxes of many at U of M. The incident involves two Asian-Americans and a White student. So the details are not yet clear, but there is a blog that has been created tracking what's going on with the case and responses. Check it here. Though the verdict is still out, but if nothing else, we can see how quickly the APIA community at U of M mobilized to raise awareness and raise concerns. Thought for the day, if the urinating incident had happened to a Black woman, what would have been the campus reaction?

A little birdie told me that I didn't have to pay attention to the Michigan Daily this year, except for on Wednesday's. Wednesday features some columns by Black writers, I look forward to hearing something interesting, if not, I'm gonna have to diss that little birdie ;)

Yesterday, the Trotter House officially saw it's revival. I didn't make it to the re-opening, but I would be willing to post pics of the new place if folks have them. Drop me an email at

And thanks to the Michigan Daily, I don't have to worry about John Roberts and Affirmative Action. Yeah, thanks guys. I also like how they omitted how we still don't know how he stands on things like affirmative action, how quickly files go missing from the public domain... maybe they were swallowed up by Katrina or Rita. I kinda feel like we're in for a long ride!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Food for Thought- DETROIT!!!!

So, got issues with the D? Got ideas for the future in the D? Wanna go to the D? Is your belly full but you're still hungry? Then get that good food for thought on Friday August 26th at Belle Isle in Detroit. More details... click here! Be there or be rectangular!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Passion and Plugs

"In no fashion have I lost my passion for the pen
It's just that lately life has been a lost less inspirin" -CeeLo
So this post will explain the absence of postings... well kinda. The real reason is... the Black media pretty much sucks right now, honestly, I feel like no one is writing really good critical stuff. I have been known to scour Blackelectorate, Black Commentator, Seeing Black, used to peruse Africana (plug the address in here to see the old site that I liked), but now they aren't even coming with it! And there are really few quality news sites. I have done the whole google news tracker and the NY times news tracker, but they give me a lot of not so interesting things, so I've been incognegro on the posts.

The only stuff I've seen on the internet lately is stuff by my boy Marc Hill for Pop Matters (beginning of shameless plugs) or my boy B Sims for HipHopDx (sorry they have too many popups to put a link on my page). So where is all the good stuff? Well, I'm not sure what exactly defines good stuff, after all, this page is usually filled with negative forces impacting Black folks. Hmmmm, now that I'm in stream on consciousness, the next book I want to read is is by Sherman Jackson entitled, Islam and the Black Americans. I got a chance to meet him briefly today and I was intrigued. Oh, and I still have to get to reading Kinship by Philippe Wamba (RIP). So that's what is "on my bird". When there is something I find newsworthy or poppin, I'll post it. In the meantime, be sure to check out La Bloguerra.

Aight, much like your favorite local coffee shop, it's late and I'm outta plugs... so I'm out!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Today was a good day...

No barkin from the dog, no smog and .... well not quite, but numbers of minority enrollment, well deposits to attend at least, at U of M increased for Black and Latino students!!! So now I'm waiting for the spin doctors on the Right decide to use this a demonstration of the need for revised admissions policies. You know, "We may have lost, but we were right."

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Back again...

So I'm dropping this post to just keep this blog alive. It's been a long time but I figured I would post on two things of relevance to me and probably you. Remember Benton Harbor, remember the uprising (note the traditional media would have called them riots), remember the community organizing in the aftermath (of course not, no one reports on organizing). Well Reverend Pinkney one of the major community leaders in BH is having charges brought against him. The people of BH are still backing him and I'll keep you updated on what I hear. It's amazing how some voting fraud cases actually end up being prosecuted, go figure. Thanks for the heads up Mark.

The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation recently released its report on diversity and the PhD. The report basically outlines that there has been an increase in percentage of PhDs for the Black and Latino population but Black and Latino folks still represent a very small minority over all. You can read the report here.

PhDiversity Posted by Hello

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Black Church and U of M, Native Repatriation, Detroit's Decay, the Daily and MSA

I recently visited the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and one thing really shocked me, the way in which the radical Black church position was barely present. Detroit is the birthplace of the Nation of Islam and the Black Christian Nationalism Movement but we seldom hear or talk about these traditions in Detroit or at U of M. Recently the Free Press ran an article about archives at the Bentley that make we wonder what else about our history is hidden in there.

On a separate but related note, the Native community has been struggling to get U of M to return the remains of a First Nation's (Canadian native folk) ancestors back to the nation. I can't find a weblink for it, but I'll post more on it. Don't know what repatriation is, well here you go.

Detroit is a city in trouble, but possibly a city with something to look forward to also. Well, you can see the ruin side of the story by watching George Steinmetz's new film about Detroit entitled, "Detroit: Ruin of a City."

Brian Stephens pens a half-intelligent commentary on the U's relationship to Black students. I'm with Brian on the not having enough institutional supports for underprepared students. By underprepared I mean students with equal intellectual blooming potential but have suffered from barriers such as lack of quality schools, etc. But after that Brian loses me is when he talks about black culture,
Certainly, minority culture, especially black culture, doesn?t encourage the attainment of education. After all, when Kanye?s ?The College Dropout? or 50 Cent?s ?Get Rich or Die Tryin? ? happen to be nominated for album of the year, something is terribly amiss. I could reference the countless refutations of the "anti-intellectual", "acting white" research, but you could find those by doing a google scholar search! Instead, I'll say, all cultures exhibit anti-education aspects. I can spew 10 names of White movies where the setting is college but the end result is students goofing off or dropping out. Second, let's not forget the majority of rap music is purchased by Whites, wouldn't that mean we should see huge drops in white enrollment. Just my two cents.

Lastly, MSA elections are coming and as usual, they're drama. Just vote, be informed, go to the NAACP meeting tonight at 8:30 and get informed.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Don't be alarmed.... we're Negroes!!!! Crime Alert

Okay, so for years students of color, particularly Black folks, have been complaining about "crime alerts" and incidence reports that are non-descript and detrimental, for those who thought they stopped publish them, click here. Just in case those suckas wanna change the text, I'll copy the text as it appears at 8:35pm on Wednesday.
Suspect #1: Black male. early 20's, black hooded sweatshirt, blue bandana, black gloves, black pants.
Suspect #2: Black male, early 20's, black fleece jacket covering face, black gloves, black pants
Suspect #3: Black male, early 20's, black bandana with white pattern, black gloves, black pants

Since U of M is now alerted to look suspiciously at nearly every Black male on campus, one of my friends in law school has suggestions on how to make sure we (Black men) stay safe:
Some rules for us “students” (…like we are actually students here) about traveling at night to help avoid being interrogated:

1. Wear a button that says…”Bush for Blacks”
2. Avoid putting lotion on for three days so you are a walking snowstorm and look like some of these sorority girls
3. Get a timmy from that barbershop on State Street
4. Wear a tight t-shirt that says, “I don’t sit in a room alone white women”
5. Don’t wear black gloves…If you do, make sure that they fit. White folks will not fall for that trick twice. They will never forget OJ!
6. Wear sandals
7. Avoid wearing anything affiliated with Detroit, Ypsilanti, Detroit, Ypsilanti…Did I mention Detroit or Ypsilanti…actually, throw in Pontiac, Flint, Ecorse, Southfield, Inkster, Royal Oak Twp, Saginaw, Mt. Morris, and any other suburb or city that is more than 25% African-American
8. Cover up all tattoos….We all know all of you have gang affiliation or served time
9. Always walk with a white guy from Alpha Sigma Gamma Beta Omega UVWXYZ, Inc. after 9:00 for the next couple of weeks, kind of like a human apartheid pass. You won’t seem as suspicious.
10. Get one of those robes from that Howell auction.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Eyes on the Prize, Critical Race, and Not burning Klan robes and more

Just a couple of things that have come across my radar recently.

1) Eyes on the Prize the amazing documentary on the Civil Rights Movement has been unable to come to DVD and be aired due to copyright issues. The solution, massive bootlegging, I mean person2person sharing of the movie! Wanna share the gift of Eyes on the Prize, download it and organize a screening in solidarity on Feb 8th!

2) The U of M Law School's Journal of Race and Law is organizing a symposium on Critical Race Theory. The panelists and topics look like they are going to be off the hook. If you don't know about CRT, click here. The only catch is that you have to register and the registration deadline has already passed. But I figure there is not harm in publicizing and trying to get people in.

3) Looks like they decided it wouldn't be a good idea to burn the Klan robe in Howell.

4)Miss Jones & Company are out! Check the statement on the front of Hot 97 webpage. Now who says social activism no longer works?

Monday, January 24, 2005

Klan robes and Morning Shows

Okay, so Howell, Michigan is buying a Klan robe and plans to burn it. The robe was displayed in the window of an auction house, oh I'm sure that wasn't intimidating, and was going to be auctioned on MLK's bday. A Howell Diversity Council is collecting money to buy it and burn it. So my question is, what is worse, some old school racist paying big money to put in their closet or good minded folks paying big money to burn it? I'm not really sure, this story is just really weird.

Well, once again radio morning shows are in trouble, as if Star and Buc had not already been ignorant enough, Miss Jones of Hot 97 got into the act recently by airing the Tsunami Song. Hot 97 issued an apology for the song and made everyone who was involved give up a week's salary, but a number of groups are calling for Jones and company's removal. One of the most interesting things about this whole controversy was Ms. Jones' on air conversation with Ms. Info about the song and Ms. Info's refusal to participate and her voicing her opposition as an APA community member.

Gotta go do work.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Affrimative Action battle is officially back on

Today the Detroit Free Press reported that the Michigan Civil Rights Intiative (MCRI) submitted more than the necessary 317,000 signatures to make Affirmative Action a ballot issue in November 2006. The first drive for the ballot intiative was stopped by legal and financial troubles, both of these troubles seem to out of the way now.

Also, the Daily today covers the lawsuit that would force U of M to refund the application fee of all rejected non-underrepresented minority applicats between 1995 and 2003. The basic premise is that students rejected under the system ruled against in the LSA case were not discriminated against. Both sides claim they will be on the winning side of the case. To me it seems most logical that U of M will settle with CIR for some sum of money and be done with it.