Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – July 26, 2013

With his recent remarks disparaging Latino immigrants Congressman Steve King has once again proven that Teapublicans never run out of racist sewage. Meanwhile Attorney General Eric Holder has taken on the state of Texas and its vicious voter suppression plan. And finally, Jay-Z is a wealthy superstar, adored by millions of fans around the world, but he is no match for Harry Belafonte.

This King is a Pauper

In explaining why he opposes just about everything related to immigration reform except self-deportation and higher walls, Congressman Steve King slimed the millions of men, women and children who have come to this country in recent years as he neatly sanctifies his own immigrant forebears.

Serving a bizarre stew of fiction, fantasy and racism, Congressman King claims that most immigrants coming from Mexico are drug mules. He even went so far as to say that many of these immigrants “have calves as big as cantaloupes” from carrying so much drug weight.

Unfortunately, his employment of racist myth to support his lily white America fantasy is nothing new. And when questioned, King was unapologetic and repeated his slimy statements.

And sadly for this country, Representative Steve King is also representative of the new leadership in the Teapublican Party.

Deep in the Heart of Texas

Immediately upon the Supreme Court’s evisceration of the Voting Rights Act of 1964 states, counties and local governments rushed to implement some of the most restrictive voter suppression measures since the high cotton days of Jim Crow. That the paperwork was already completed before the Shelby v. Holder decision was even announced shows how eager some white people are to suppress the vote of anyone who is not white.

Now Attorney General Eric Holder has announced that the Department of Justice will take the state of Texas to federal court to challenge the transparently racial and racist redistricting measures that will ensure white rule even as the demographics of the state turn darker every day. For this Attorney General Holder should be congratulated since thanks to the SCOTUS VRA travesty the Department of Justice will have to fight for voter rights trench by trench, case by case – hand to hand combat in every courtroom in every jurisdiction where voter suppression raises its ugly head.

And this is a good time to ask what do you think an Attorney General appointed by President Mitt Romney would be doing? Playing golf or just working on his tan?

Harry Belafonte v. Jay-Z

During the past few weeks there has been a media match going on as a result of lyrics in a song recently released by Jay-Z. Leaving out the profanity and the self-hating racist references, it appears that Jay-Z is criticizing Harry Belafonte for criticizing him for not demonstrating enough social responsibility.

Referring to the iconic Harry Belafonte as “boy”, Jay-Z basically deflects Mr. Belafonte’s criticism by alluding to his own charitable contributions. And we can give Mr. Sean Carter the benefit of the doubt that he and his wife, Beyonce, give significant sums of money to charity.

But Mr. Carter misses the point of Mr. Belafonte’s criticism. Social responsibility is more than giving away turkeys or dollars to the needy. Al Capone used to do that and drug dealers and gang leaders still do it.

Because of his success and popularity Jay-Z has the potential to follow in the footsteps of Paul Robeson and yes….Harry Belafonte. But to do that he would have to contribute to the enrichment of the lives and environment of his fans and supporters and that would mean reversing the decades that he has spent writing and singing lyrics glorifying and romanticizing violence while demeaning and degrading women all the while turning an incredibly racist epithet into some kind of bizarro term of endearment.

That might be a lot for Mr. Carter to do – but wouldn’t it be great to see him try.

Have a great weekend and stay strong!

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2 thoughts on “Weekend Edition – July 26, 2013

  1. Tyrone Byrd says:

    Jay Z has a scholarship program for the underprivileged youth. I however also believe that he and his contemporaries, as well as our generation, could be doing a lot more in terms of collaboration on building the Black community across the economic, political and social spectrums. We will then be in a better position to leverage from a point of strength in dealing with our friends and foes.

  2. M'Rabet Ahmed says:

    I enjoy so much reading yr column and wished millions of people could/would read it for some inspiration as you are truly the voice of reason, of decency and “levelheadedness” when dealing with the new challenges facing American society at large, be they political, social, economic, racial(?), etc… . I’d suggest that yr reflections be incorporated into some kind of corpus, comprising ideas of people like you, who are the moderators of the American society which seems to be going in the direction of a gloomy future, pronged in that, by whimsical (and hence dangerous) politicians who seem to be thinking no further than the tip of their noses… . From my vantage point , here in Morocco , I observe what’s going on in the U.S. with grave concern . American society seeming to widen the racial divide instead of narrowing it , witness the latest developments on the subject.. Gone are the breakthroughs and progresses of the 60’s .
    I’m finding similarities between what you (and yr likes, not many of them, it appears) propose for a better society ‘before it’s too late’ and the situation now in Egypt , where some “voices of reason” have been warning of the dangerous path the country is taking but not being listened to , now , after the bloodbath of earlier this week , the different protagonists of this conflict are finally willing to sit down and listen to these “voices of reason” and their suggestions as to how to climb out of this ‘ditch’ and put Egyptian society out the path of disintegrarion . Only yesterday , saturday 7/27 , these “men of reason” decided to create an Ad Hoc commitee suggesting ways and means to address this most catastrophic situation and they seem to have come up with a proposal that , finally , all parties appear to adhere to . We’ll see how it will be implemented .
    I do not believe the U.S. will go down the same path , I do not hope so , but one can only imagine how events can quickly take an uggly turn and the unthinkable happens . When cities start going bankrupt , the case of Detroit is not an isolated one , minimum social/health coverage not assured anymore , racial tensions being exacerbated , unemployment rising , retirement pay problems ,etc… , this is sure recipe for social havoc , Armaggedon ?!… . Let’s just hope someone is listening .
    “Keep the faith baby…” (The Rev. Adam Clayton Powel).

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