The Hazards Of Personal Development, Part 1: Aggressive Positivity

THERE’S A DARK SIDE TO PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT THEORIES, PRACTICES, AND GURUS

Beyond Growth: Exploring The Future of Personal Development is one of my favorite blogs. It features thoughtful, and sometimes scathing, critiques of the personal development industry and community. The questions the blog hosts raise are both timely and necessary. In this post, Duff McDuffie (one of the blog hosts of Beyond Growth) discusses his experience of attending a live seminar with Tony Robbins (“Unleash The Power Within”),

With drums beating in the background, everyone was chanting “YES! YES! YES!” There was no room for doubt. All fear had been overpowered by force of will.

. . . Nearly every technique employed for the firewalk employed aggressive positivity, actively negating reality through force:

• 2000 people in a huge conference room with 50-ft screens jumping up and down and clapping to loud music.

• Screaming “Yes!” when you are feeling “this is dangerous and possibly stupid.”

• Yelling “cool moss!” when you are feeling burning coals against the soft tissue of your feet.

• Making your “power move” to get into “a peak state”—a power move being an aggressive gesture (Robbins’ involves beating his chest like an ape) that stimulates a fight-flight nervous system response, overpowering subtler experiences.

Does this planned frenzy sound familiar? I won’t name the “usual suspects” of African-American cultural and political institutions that engage in this practice as standard operating procedure (while exploiting their base of mostly Black women “footsoldiers”). I won’t call the traditional Black (Baptist) Church’s name. I also won’t call the names of various other African-American organizations such as Operation PUSH, or the National Action Network. I won’t mention them.

Pep rallies are generally entertaining, and they can serve a useful purpose in energizing people to get over an immediate hump. However, pep rallies are usually inadequate for meeting life’s long-term challenges. Mr. McDuffie goes on to note,

Unfortunately few contexts are relevantly similar to firewalking, as I found out the hard way. Achieving most personal outcomes requires patience, persistence, and flexibility, not an intense emotional display and impulsive action.

This reality is why the Million Man March (one of the ultimate African-American pep rallies of the past twenty years) did not create lasting positive change. This came up during a recent conversation when a reader cited an article from The Root that looked back at the Million Man March. In response, I said,

About The Root article discussing the missed opportunities of the Million Man March: I was amused to see the author briefly ‘fess up to a few observations of INTERNAL failures. He said,

And so, for me, any celebration of that wondrous October day is tinged with more than a little sorrow that we squandered our best opportunity to arrest black America’s inexorable slog to Gomorrah.

The reality is that since 1965 — when I was born — black America has never had so many of our own in jail (in terms of absolute numbers or as a percentage of our overall population); seen more “good” jobs disappear; been sicker; experienced a wider income gap within our community; and, most important, seen more of our material gains reversed than we have over the last 15 years. This is true in almost all areas, including housing, educational outcomes, widening of the income gap and representation in trade unions.

Yes, in the aftermath, we elected our first black president, which many see as a major step forward for African Americans. And in some ways, that is true. But I would argue that using the election of Barack Obama as proof of black progress is central to the problem. His presidency has not stalled the downward spiral of so many African Americans. You would be hard pressed to identify a period over the last 45 years when black politicians have been less responsive to the black polity. In other words, while Marion Barry and Coleman Young and Harold Washington might have been flawed, they were ours.

No one would say the same of the Adrian Fentys, Cory Bookers and Harold Ford Jrs. of the world. We’re living in different times, times that we could not have foreseen 15 years ago as we gathered on the Mall.

But, unfortunately, he quickly got back to the traditional AA mantra of “blame the government…look to the government to accommodate internal dysfunctions.” As you know, the problem with this mindset is that it gives away our agency to so-called “all powerful” outsiders. Meanwhile,

Nobody is forcing AA males to engage in behaviors that lead to them filling the nation’s jails and prisons. That’s their free and voluntary choice.

Nobody prevented AAs from preparing ourselves for economic shifts. I recall Ross Perot warning everybody during his 1992 presidential campaign—3 years before the Million Man March—about what he correctly predicted would be the bad effects of NAFTA. I recall his comment about listening for the “giant sucking sound” of American jobs being vacuumed out of the US and into places like Mexico.

Nobody is preventing AAs from taking better care of our bodies and our health.

Nobody prevented AAs from creating our own infrastructure (businesses and other institutions) to safeguard whatever gains we had made.

Nobody put a gun to AAs’ heads and forced us to support and vote for Crossover Negro Politicians whose main claims to fame are: (1) how “post racial” they are, and (2) how determined they are to ignore AAs’ concerns.

Nobody prevented AAs from taking advantage of various HUD educational programs for aspiring homeowners.Folks didn’t have to be “snookered” into getting subprime mortgages. Furthermore, nobody required AAs who were NOT prepared for the responsibilities of home ownership to buy houses in the first place. I saw a whole lot of people who had never been responsible enough to balance their checkbooks or pay their other bills on time decide to buy houses. Particularly houses that it was quite obvious that they could NOT afford. Nobody forced them to do any of that.

When, if ever, will AAs grow up and assume adult levels of responsibility?

There aren’t any shortcuts to lasting change. Lasting change requires persistent, day by day, and often boring behavior that supports change.

**Addendum** A reader named Karen made the following observation,

I personally do not understand why all too many expect a quick fix. Our lives are the summation of every step, choice or action that we have done (or not done). There is nothing “sexy” about perseverance, discipline and consistency of effort along with continually reflecting/adjusting one’s goals to build a life for oneself and family (and/or laying the foundation for future generations).

She’s absolutely right.

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81 Responses to “The Hazards Of Personal Development, Part 1: Aggressive Positivity”

  1. Vonnie says:

    I am always giving the side eye to huge rallies and holy ghost church services because after all of the hollering and whooping is done, what CHANGES? People get into a nirvana trance and feel good for 5 minutes and then WHAT? it lulls them into passivity apparently because we never take that next step of rectifying a situation, just whoooo haaaaa doooo it type yelling. *smh* at least back during the civil rights movement they’d whoop and holler then DO something…same with the tea baggers, much as I hate them they at least try to DO something. we whoop and holler about stopping crime and helping “our black boys” and then what? nothing USEFUL is done

  2. Vonnie,

    I hear you. You said, “People get into a nirvana trance and feel good for 5 minutes and then WHAT? it lulls them into passivity apparently because we never take that next step of rectifying a situation, just whoooo haaaaa doooo it type yelling. *smh* at least back during the civil rights movement they’d whoop and holler then DO something”

    Oh, the civil rights activists did something… after whooping and hollering…

    After whooping and hollering, they BEGGED Whites to pass some legislation and enforce other laws…That civil rights movement model of “beg White folks to do something” is a large part of the problem. That civil right model of “beg Whites to fix our problems” seems to be the default setting for AA politics and political analysis. This is a problem, because Whites have already done all that they’re willing to do to solve AAs’ problems. They’re not going to do any more. And the upcoming Latinos and Asians who are replacing Whites as the political elites in the US are NOT trying to hear that noise. They have their own immigrant sob stories; and they’re not interested in the AAs’ problems.

    The Nation of Islam is the only AA organization that has had a consistent history of creating institutions (private schools, businesses, working farms, etc.). They are the ONLY AA group that has ever encouaraged its members to behave like all other FREE and INDEPENDENT people—and make their own way in life.

    **Addendum**

    Now that I think about it, the NOI has been the only AA organization that actually believes in and practices AAs having agency and being the equals of anybody else. During their various business operations over the decades (including during segregation), the NOI dealt with the nonblacks involved in these transactions as EQUALS. Unlike the Dr. King faction, they didn’t go to nonblacks as beggars with their hats in hand.

    Expect Success!

  3. LaJane Galt says:

    Mass emotional movements are like a sugar rush. They get you to a temporary spot, then leave you worse off than before.

    I have personally found that any changes in my life have happened in a subtle manner, and over time.

    Those YOUCANDOIT type seminars always seemed cult-like to me. For that type of adoration I go to rock concerts.

  4. LaJaneGalt,

    You said, “Mass emotional movements are like a sugar rush. They get you to a temporary spot, then leave you worse off than before.”

    I believe that they can serve the extremely limited purpose of getting people over an immediate hump. But no more. After that, they become counterproductive (as you noted).

    You said, “I have personally found that any changes in my life have happened in a subtle manner, and over time.”

    That’s my point with this post. Real change usually isn’t loud or sexy. It’s filled with quiet, often boring, everyday choices: Such as choosing to exercise when one doesn’t feel like it; and choosing to do other things on a regular basis—even when one isn’t pumped up about doing it.

    You said, “Those YOUCANDOIT type seminars always seemed cult-like to me. For that type of adoration I go to rock concerts.”

    {chuckling at the “YOUCANDOIT”} In addition to reconsidering the “YOUCANDOIT,” I’m asking us all to rethink the endless search for the “We’re coming together now as Black folks” sensation. That’s another attraction to events like the Million Man March, Million Woman March, etc. People go to these events to feel like “Black folks are coming together,” and then return to their everyday lives—lives in which they DON’T have any sort of regular fellowship with other people (including other Black folks, including the people who live in their homes). Everyday lives where they don’t even have family dinners together at the same table, at the same time. [All of which was discussed during the “True Fellowship” series of posts at the previous blog.]

    There’s not going to be any rock concert-like “coming together” of Black folks that leads to long-term change. Instead, true and lasting “coming together” is composed of daily behaviors of “coming together” with other like-minded Black folks.

    Expect Success!

  5. Nikita says:

    Here is the thing, a lot of churches that participate in whooping and hollering are really simply offering a place for release and relief. I have no issue with the relief and release part if something is being done to move forward. SOME churches tell people to pray for strength to endure and do not tell their members to find a way or pray for a way that they must work on/do to get out of their situation. The magic word in the previous statement is endure which means (to me!) accept suffering. Yes, sometimes you must bear things and that cannot be helped, but most things can be changed and it takes time and work to do so. My biggest pet peeve is when folks who go to church forget to tell people that truth – that yes miracles happen daily but a great deal of the time you are going to have to change your outlook, the way you live, your friends etc. Churches that do not participate in whooping and hollering, but do have the occassional affirmative yes are places that people come to learn about God and the Bible. These folks can be just as stay along to get along as the other church and do nothing to improve or make themselves better. Learning but not putting what you learn to use is no better to me than attending the whooping church. That is just gaining knowledge for knowledge sake. And in all honesty sometimes that is what folks need – relief or to learn. The issue is that moving beyond these states does not seem to happen often or is the goal in so many churches.

    The we can’t move beyond this enduring/victim/ judging stage is why I left church about 5 years ago to be honest. The continuous re-play of can’t move beyond the abusive patriarchal nonsense, can’t see past judgment to see the value in people, etc. and the refusal to allow people the time to change but expecting miraculous change overnight thing. iCan’t. I know God is in the miracle business, but in some things you must put in the work – sometimes that is your answer from God – get to work. I decided it was better if I took a break from church and lived a bit, thought a bit, walked with God a bit by myself. When I read the posting for today honestly it was confirmation for me that I am not the only one who saw/see some serious dysfunctions and that I had a right to be alarmed and to remove myself. I simply do not believe that God intended for us to be victims or to victimize other people. I do not expect perfection, but I do expect church to have a goal to get their members to move, to work, and inspire folks to do something better and I do MEAN beyond material things and being holier/more judgmental than thou. I recently watched a church service from my old church which alerted me that the leaders there may have finally gotten that message and am now considering going to a church service there.

    I continue to build my new life brick by brick being careful about what I lay on top of my foundation. My relationship with God is very important to me and is a major part of my foundation. That call and return thing that is going on in church has its place, but the working to a frenzy and really doing nothing that occurs in some churches does NOT belong there to me.

    • Mobile68 says:

      THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU Nikita!

      I couldn’t had said it better myself! That is my hoopin’ and hollering for today. And now it’s time to get on with the business of getting out of this hellhole called the black community.
      It will depress you to the point of entertaining suicidal thoughts because you keep wondering, what is wrong with me? I had to give up religion for the sake of my sanity!
      The black community has been dead for quite a while & I be damned that it’s going to take me down with it! Unlike the resurrection of Jesus, I do not see a resurrection of the black community that I grew up in coming no time soon.
      Personally I think if we keep going at the rate we’re going now, I would almost be willing to bet money (if I live that long to see it) black people will become a relic in the history museum with in three generations from now like the saber tooth tiger.

      Also, I want to thank Khadija for this blog. It literally has save my life. Now I’m going to order the book to help me further stratigize my plan of escape. Thank you ladies!

  6. Oshun/Aphrodite says:

    This is part of the reason why I left the black church. I grew up in the Baptist church and I kept wondering where was the practical application? I and other parishioners were getting our butts kicked by life the other 6 days a week – and on Sunday it was a lot of entertainment, fashion, and hold on just a little while longer.

    They made it all seem like change/betterment was doled out at the whim of God and it was located out there/up there some where. The church I grew up in did not even have any ministries to help those who were in need or any community education outreach services like some other denominations/churches I have seen.

    But there was plenty of talk about “holding on” for a blessing. Holding out. Waiting on the Lord for everything.

    I have witnessed and been the recipient of personal attacks from the pulpit. I have seen black ministers attack education for parishioners. I had a friend who attended a different church and when he won some science award his minister said its good to be good in science, but you need to always have the lord or something like that – and he was a teenager at the time.

    I have had so many instances in dealing with the church where I have been worse off afterwards. Then there was my personal issue of abuse within the church.

    I will second what LaJane said some of these orgs function like a cult. I will add something that you have said in the past. I think these organizations prep/groom black people to function like the “cargo cults”.

    They encourage you to shut your brain down, never question anything, put all manner of foolishness (things withing human control) on God etc

    Lots of control mechanisms – “God told me to tell you” (insert bs message here) and “if you do/don’t do x then you are blocking your blessings”.

    This and other issues plus the womanizing/whoremongering and women are all evil bc Eve ate the apple mess scrambled my brain.

    So now I have not only BM- PTSD, but I have Black church/organization PTSD.

    When I switched to my new religion I started seeing some of the same mess. Its like wherever Black folks go all this crazy mess is sure to be there.

    All of it: in this new religion I have been seeing the need to include other folks and join with them/fight their battles at AA’s expense, the crazy lift the BM up black nationalism agenda, the lets have open polygamy bs, don’t question your religious elders/teachers – the ATR version of “touch not thine anointed”, don’t demand justice for those (usually women) who have been wronged in any way – let “God” extract the justice…

    So Khadija I want to thank you. Its not pretty seeing that these trends are everywhere black people congregate, but at least I am aware and can avoid/protect myself.

  7. Truth P. says:

    Hey Khadija, this was an excellent post.
    I completely agree with what you said by the way.It is not always good to act on impulse.
    Alot of time you may want something to change for the better in your life but I have found that “getting pumped” is only a first step in fixing things.It is good to encourage yourself but you actually have to have a plan on how to get things done,follow some steps,change doesn’t usually happen all at once or all in one day.That’s why the million man march failed.I know what they did,coming together as a group, was encouraging and probably felt good and helped them to acknowledge some things needed to change and get better but what were the plans for after the march?If they had any, why didn’t they follow through with them?Maybe because some of them were content with the way things are.IDK.

  8. calpurnia says:

    Since 1965, some people say that’s when the ‘sex and drug culture’ really started, and our people could afford it the least. America began to self destruct in many ways with the drug culture–although it may have happened in 1968 or 1969; around the time of the ‘Woodstock’ concert.I think we should have desegrated BEFORE we integrated; the ‘busing’ was a fiasco, etc. In 1965, there were many black businesses that burned in Watts and other places that werent replaced.

  9. Eunice Ave says:

    Who or what is post-racial? I have only heard the people in the press make that assertion and I thought it was silly the first time I heard it and every time since. Immediately post-racial because we have an African American president? Do the words, “Birther” mean anything to you? Pres. Obama did not win a single category of the white vote. He won enough. Enough said.

    I have come to certain conclusions as I tread inexorably toward 60 years old. We don’t need political solutions tailored to our particular needs unless they are narrowly constructed to be remedial for past offenses. I could go on and on about this. Examples too numerous to be listed here.

    I say that we do not need specific tailoring geared toward the Af American population because I can tell the difference between the different eras: the 1950sm 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s plus. Things have changed and so should our approached. We are disproportionately poor, educated, housed, and etc, etc; this list is shamefully long and includes almost any other indicator of social wellness and the ability to thrive in today’s society.

    Many of these problems can be remediated if there were political/social solutions aimed at ANY citizens in the above straits, not just Af Americans. We will naturally benefit because we have disproportionate numbers in these categories.

    What else do we need that the government can provide?

  10. sisterlocgirl says:

    Again, another excellent post. I have definitely had my own beliefs about a better way to have solved the bus boycott. . .all the busriders should have pooled their money & bought their own buses. This idea of begging whites/Jews/Hispanics/Arabs/Asians to ” do the right thing ” by us is ludicrous. Instead of taking a page from the Jewish playbook, our leadership behaves as if we have no financial base or other abilities to handle our own problems. There is no cohesiveness in the so called BC, and I seriously doubt there ever will be. A sad, sad thing indeed. Talk without action is fantasy. That’s all this let’s march on it rah rah crap leads to. . .nothing at all.

  11. Oshun/Aphrodite says:

    I was vaguely remember Perot, but I agree what he said was true.

    I had to write a paper on NAFTA. It has been a disaster for both Mexico and the US. The US lost millions of jobs and wages are suppressed. Employers often use NAFTA as a bargaining chip against unions and non unionized workers in some sectors.

  12. Nikita,

    Let me state my biases up front: My immediate family is Catholic, and the Catholic church is what I’m familiar with in terms of Christianity. I didn’t grow up within the Black Protestant “whoop and holler,” or “holy rollers running and screaming up and down the pews” tradition. All of that sort of behavior in a house of worship is quite alien to me. So, I don’t feel nostalgic about seeing that sort of behavior.

    I’m also not attracted to that sort of spiritual practice. I prefer contemplative spiritual practices (like Zen, or dhikr in Islam).

    My point of concern is that AAs reject any and all forms of contemplation across the board, including in the spiritual realm. The same goes with the political realm. This is connected with our cultural rejction of any and all forms of discipline. We don’t like things that require thought. At the same time, we lift up various types of emotional frenzies as somehow being more “authentic” than contemplation. This mental habit is part of what keeps us firmly at the bottom of US society.

    There’s a place for ecstatic forms of worship, politics, etc. Like I’ve said all along, pep rallies do serve a limited purpose. The problem is that everything AAs do as a group revolves around various types of pep rallies. That’s unbalanced, unhealthy, and unwise. These short-term emotional highs don’t lead to lasting change.

    My point is that AAs take this unbalanced mental/behavior pattern everywhere we go. We do this sort of uncritical acceptance of slogans and pep rallies in everything we adopt, including Islam, New Age practices, whatever. All of it.

    You said, “The issue is that moving beyond these states does not seem to happen often or is the goal in so many churches.”

    You’re correct. Nobody’s moving on. Along any dimension. Aren’t AAs currently being whipped up into a frenzy of fear to get us to vote in the upcoming elections? Isn’t there right now a replay of the traditional AA cry of “If we don’t come out and vote [for the Democrats who have thus far ignored us and put us on the backburner], the Republican boogeymen will get in?” The underlying emotional message of this threat is, and has always been, “If AAs don’t come out and vote, then we’re going back to slavery!”

    How many times, and for how many decades, are we going to be whipped up into the various frenzies and therefore manipulated?
    _________________________________________

    Oshun/Aphrodite,

    You said, “I will second what LaJane said some of these orgs function like a cult. I will add something that you have said in the past. I think these organizations prep/groom black people to function like the “cargo cults”. They encourage you to shut your brain down, never question anything, put all manner of foolishness (things withing human control) on God etc

    Lots of control mechanisms – “God told me to tell you” (insert bs message here) and “if you do/don’t do x then you are blocking your blessings”. This and other issues plus the womanizing/whoremongering and women are all evil bc Eve ate the apple mess scrambled my brain.”

    The same unhealthy pattern plays out in various things AAs are involved in.
    _____________________________________

    TruthP.,

    Thank you for your kind words about the post; I truly appreciate it.

    You said, “I completely agree with what you said by the way.It is not always good to act on impulse.”

    I agree. The bloggers at Beyond Growth have discussed how a certain percentage of people make life-damaging decisions while in the emotional high atmosphere of personal development seminars. Mr. McDuffie mentioned the following about Steve Pavlina (a major personal development blogger that I quoted during “The Art of Stealth, Pt. 5: Cultivating Personal Character As A Weapon and Shield,”

    Personal development superstar blogger Steve Pavlina just tweeted that he is now promoting Eben Pagan’s DVD set, “Man Transformation.” (Link goes to Pavlina’s sales page for a 20-DVD course costing $436.50.) Pavlina seems to have become interested in dating advice right around the time he announced that he and his wife decided to have an open marriage and explore polyamory.

    In his sales letter, Pavlina attempts to distinguish Pagan’s pick-up advice from that of “pick-up artists,” but the truth is that Pagan put himself on the pick-up artist guru map with his interview series “Interviews with Dating Gurus” that interviewed all the other pick-up artists which Pagan speaks very highly of, including our confused friend “Tyler Durden.”

    http://beyondgrowth.net/guru-criticism/the-unquestioned-gurus-of-the-religion-of-the-self/

    He made the following observation about intensive self-help seminars,

    While I wouldn’t want to eliminate the self-help seminar industry, I do think this is a major safety concern for participants that is rarely addressed in a responsible manner (with a few notable exceptions).

    I personally have seen people go through acute psychosis and mania and make really dumb major life changes after such weekend events—which are often encouraged by seminar leaders. In fact, Steve Pavlina says that his own recent “Conscious Growth Workshop” precipitated his separation from his wife Erin. Conscious growth in general often breaks up perfectly fine (and not so fine) committed relationships, something family therapists know but few seminar leaders seem to value or guard against.

    For instance, it is very common for seminar participants to hook up in hotel rooms during the workshop, having been blown wide open from the hundreds of hugs and sharing of intimate wounds with strangers (some meditation centers have rules against male-female interaction precisely because of this). (Again, this comes from my personal observations of attending workshops and speaking with those who have attended workshops.)

    These seminar teachers (that I’ve observed) almost never do followups, and when participants complain of negative side-effects they are usually scolded for “not taking 100% responsibility” (LGAT companies themselves almost never take responsibility). Further attempts at justice are met with high-powered legal teams, and settlements generally occur outside of court with gag orders to prevent bad PR. (I should mention that I don’t know anything specifically about Bill Harris’ seminars, and haven’t met anyone who’s attended.)

    http://beyondgrowth.net/guru-criticism/the-hollow-sink-of-push-button-enlightenment-bill-harris-centerpointe-holosync/
    _________________________________________

    Calpurnia,

    You said, “In 1965, there were many black businesses that burned in Watts and other places that werent replaced.”

    I’m not sure there were many Black-owned business left by 1965. I have the feeling that AAs had already abandoned most Black businesses by the time of the major riots. I don’t know.
    _________________________________________

    Eunice Ave,

    You said, “Who or what is post-racial? I have only heard the people in the press make that assertion and I thought it was silly the first time I heard it and every time since. Immediately post-racial because we have an African American president? Do the words, “Birther” mean anything to you? Pres. Obama did not win a single category of the white vote. He won enough. Enough said.”

    In my opinion, “post racial” was when all the Obama-ssiah worshippers told AA non-worshippers like me that:

    It was perfectly fine and dandy for Candidate Obama to treat AAs as if we have political “cooties.” They said the rest of us should accept Candidate Obama running away from Black folks’ venues and forums, such as Tavis Smiley’s talkfest. Not to say that somebody has to come through Tavis Smiley to address AAs’ issues, but I didn’t appreciate Candidate Obama treating AA voters and forums as if we had “cooties.”

    It was a-okay for Obama to be a snivelling coward who wouldn’t defend his own wife from attacks, much less the pastor who baptized his children.

    All of that behavior is what some Whites praised as being “post racial.” In other words, Obama was/is a punk who catered to racist Whites. To no avail, because these various other factions don’t want to be placated. And many AAs were/are gullible enough to believe that AA voters supporting Black politicians who run away from Black folks is somehow a shrewd move.

    I made the following comments on Nov. 5-6, 2008 at the previous blog right after Pres. Obama’s election,

    Here’s the critical difference between idol worship of the “1st Blacks” and idol worship of money, men, preachers, etc.

    At least the money, men, preachers, etc. hold out the [often false] promise of doing something to benefit their worshippers! People worship these other people & things with the expectation of receiving some benefit.

    Notice that with the recent batch of “1st Blacks,” Black people are going into this explicitly agreeing to NOT get anything in return for our support! We’re already saying that Pres.-elect Obama can’t and SHOULDN’T do anything in particular for us, because he’s president for all the people.

    We are openly encouraging each other to be politically “pimped” FOR FREE! Nobody else does this. Ever. Didn’t Sen. Obama have to appear before AIPAC to tell the Jewish leadership what he was going to do for them?

    So…Black folks don’t even feel worthy to demand anything of the “1st Black” idol other than the pleasure of worshipping it. This is shocking to me.

    . . . Whites & other non-Blacks only like Obama because they don’t perceive him to be fully one of us (AA). If he was all-Black, he would NOT have gotten this far, no matter how many times he bent over for White folks.

    Also, do you notice how the “we can’t expect Obama to solve every problem” argument converts into “we shouldn’t expect Obama to address or solve ANY of our problems”? So, we are already excusing Obama from furthering ANY of our core interests, much less solving ANY of our problems.

    In other words, it’s okay with us if we are in the same bad condition at the end of his term(s). We’re satisfied with looking at a Black face in that job.

    Even if we’re disproportionately:

    1-starving.
    2-losing more of our homes to foreclosure.
    3-out on the streets.
    4-have diminished access to higher education because affirmative action has been cut off.
    5-can’t afford medical care or medicine.

    All of this okay with us. We’ve already got Obama’s excuses lined up:

    He “couldn’t” do anything for us because White folks won’t “let” him. He shouldn’t do anything for us because he’s President for everybody, not just us. He “has to” ignore us to keep his job (just like he “had to” ignore us to get this job). He “has to” ignore us to enact more important policies (i.e., whatever White folks want). And so on ad infinitum.

    This is insanely self-hating. NOBODY ELSE agrees that it’s okay for anybody to ignore them & their interests! EVER.

    . . . Hello there, [Reader]!

    I voted (early) for President-elect Obama. I did so without enthusiasm, and without pleasure. I mentioned this on an earlier comment I made on the Singular Voice blog.

    I voted for him for pragmatic reasons, not to get “the 1st Black president.” Sen. Obama is marginally preferable to the other “mainstream” candidate. I would have preferred to have more & BETTER choices of candidates. Why are you interpreting my misgivings about the hysteria surrounding the Obama-ssiah as feeling that those who VOTED FOR HIM (which would include me) are deluded? I never said that those who voted for him are deluded.

    I also find it somewhat disconcerting that people assume that they can guess who I voted for, or my political affiliations, from me not being enthused about him. Is being enthusiastic about Pres.-elect Obama a new litmus test?

    I never said that those who voted for him are deluded. I’m saying that the idol-worhipping of him is delusional. I’m saying that the belief that his presence ALONE in that job is going to lift our condition is delusional. I’m saying that the cult of personality that is forming around him is delusional AND dangerous.

    I feel that worshipping the “1st Black _________” golden calf & the “prominent Black” golden calf is delusional AND dangerous. This has already cost Black lives. I feel that Blacks who are engaged in the above-described practices are delusional. They are also a hindrance to our liberation as long as they persist in these practices.

    Worshipping these idols is a diversion from doing things that would actually benefit us in the long run. I’ve given the example of how anything that enhances our access to higher education should be considered a core interest for AAs (such as affirmative action). I’ve given the example of how, instead of pursuing this core interest, AAs support prominent & 1st Blacks who support the party that is opposed to affirmative action! Worshipping Colin Powell & Condi Rice has diverted us from opposing their Republican Party’s efforts at destroying affirmative action.

    I believe the racists (within the Republican Party & elsewhere) know this about us. They know that we will shut up & be pacified with ANYTHING as long as it comes from the lips of a sock-puppet 1st Black/prominent Black.

    I’ve given several examples of what some of these celebrated 1st & prominent Blacks have done to us:

    Wilson Goode and the Black children who were incinerated because of him. Burned to death in their own homes. Hundreds of Black people in Philly made homeless because of him.

    Condi Rice shopping for shoes and watching “Spamalot” while Black bodies floated down the streets of New Orleans.

    How is it that we’ve collectively glossed right over what some of these 1st & prominent Blacks have done to us? How is it that you have glossed over these examples in your comments? Please understand that I’m NOT attacking you; I just don’t understand why there’s very little said about these atrocities I’ve named. I don’t understand why the focus is on defending the undue hysteria & idol-worship surrounding these 1st Blacks. What’s that about?

    There are all sorts of policies that Sen. Obama has already supported that I believe have harmed AAs’ interests. And yet we’re weeping as if the Rapture is coming with his election.

    With the way many of us are behaving, I can see that we will persist in this Obama-worship even while the economy crashes around our heads, while HE CONTINUES TO IGNORE US, and while we suffer disproportionately. I object to, and dissent from, this scenario.

    You said, “I have come to certain conclusions as I tread inexorably toward 60 years old. We don’t need political solutions tailored to our particular needs unless they are narrowly constructed to be remedial for past offenses. I could go on and on about this.”

    ITA. When political solutions aren’t narrowly tailored to remedy our specific historical grievances as AAs, then all sorts of other people run in and snatch whatever morsel of government remedies out of our hands. Well, this is EXACTLY what has happened with most affirmative action programs. Other people [White women, Latinos, foreign Blacks, gays, whoever else] have jumped ahead of AAs while we were asleep in the “goodies line.” Therefore, these other people scooped up almost all the goodies. Even the ones that were supposed to be for us (AAs).

    You said, “Many of these problems can be remediated if there were political/social solutions aimed at ANY citizens in the above straits, not just Af Americans. We will naturally benefit because we have disproportionate numbers in these categories.”

    This is basically the “rising tide will lift all boats” argument. I disagree; because it hasn’t worked that way for AAs so far. Partially because of our own internal dysfunctions and deficits. And partially because despite the generalist rhetoric, other interest groups/stakeholders make sure that government policies benefit THEM, specifically. Even if the policy is stated in generalist terms.

    For example, how does our tax dollars flowing to Israel help any Americans except Jewish-Americans? It doesn’t. Nobody calls this massive transfer of wealth “affirmative action for Jewish people.” It’s called “foreign policy.” [This is perceived totally as foreign policy, despite the fact that many Jewish-Americans have dual citizenship and go back and forth between the US and Israel/Palestine.] But it still has the (intended) effect of its benefits being targeted to help a specific demographic.

    In any event, given the amount of money that AAs squander, I don’t believe that we actually need government programs at this point. If we managed our money better and spent our money with our own people—as a collective—we wouldn’t be poor. But we’re unwilling to do that.
    _____________________________________

    Sisterlocgirl,

    I 100% cosign. I will also add that I believe many non-AAs deliberately give AAs bad advice. Advice that they don’t even follow themselves. Whenever AAs make any moves toward building AA teams to look out for OUR own interests, others scream & pout (about solidarity, and not “discriminating”, etc.) and do whatever they can to discourage us from focusing on OUR OWN interests.

    They do this to maintain their current slice of the resources, by encouraging AAs to remain NON-COMPETITIVE. I’ll give an example from the 1960s. Our White, Jewish allies encouraged AAs to march, protest, etc. But protest marches are NOT how American Jews solved their problems with anti-Semitism in this country. Instead, they built their OWN businesses. And worked to have a disproportionate presence in the professions.

    The same with our White, Catholic allies. When the public schools were doing negative things with their children when they 1st immigratated here, they DIDN’T have protest marches, etc. They simply built their OWN network of Catholic schools to meet their children’s needs.

    Now, it’s AAs’ own fault for being gullible & confused enough to follow bad advice. It’s our own fault for following what people say, and not watching what they DID to solve their problems. But I do believe that this bears mentioning.

    Expect Success!

    • Aren’t AAs currently being whipped up into a frenzy of fear to get us to vote in the upcoming elections? Isn’t there right now a replay of the traditional AA cry of “If we don’t come out and vote [for the Democrats who have thus far ignored us and put us on the backburner], the Republican boogeymen will get in?” The underlying emotional message of this threat is, and has always been, “If AAs don’t come out and vote, then we’re going back to slavery!”

      Thank you for saying this. This approach to getting us to vote is insulting and disrespectful to say the least. It’s never anything concrete and tangible – just fear mongering. I dislike that some black media (latest Essence issue) and black bloggers are running with this nonsense. And it never changes, it’s the same garbage every election.

      • Betty Chambers,

        You’re welcome. I’m sick of that “if we don’t vote for the Democrats who have ignored us, then the Republican boogeymen will get elected” routine. Perhaps we need to get ourselves into a spot where it doesn’t matter who gets in. Like the Mormons, the Jews, and the Cubans in Miami.

        Furthermore, I’m DONE with “lesser evilism.” Pres. Obama was my last “lesser evil” vote. I’m not doing that again. I’m fed up with Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum politics. Look at what the Democrats did—and how cowardly they were—while they did have whatever numbers…I’m through with that.

        Now is a good time for folks to read (or reread) Rabbi Michael Lerner’s essay from 10 years ago, that I republished at the previous blog. Here are some highlights:

        Yet lesser evilism may do more to destroy the moral fabric and political viability of a democracy than any real or imagined evil that might be achieved through the electoral victory of whoever we imagine to be the “bad guy” beneficiary of voting our conscience. Here are some reasons why:

        First, Lesser evilism leads to a moral and spiritual corruption of our souls. The habit of voting lesser evil in politics is a slippery slope. We start by giving our vote to a candidate who supports and is a product of a social reality that we actually deplore, and we end up learning to accommodate ourselves to moral corruption in other aspects of our lives.

        . . . Second, lesser evilism disempowers liberal and progressive forces because it gives the Democratic Party no incentive to respond to progressive ideals. Secure in the certainty that liberals will always respond to the demand of lesser evilism, the Democrats can put their full attention at repositioning their party to accommodate those who might otherwise vote Republican, thus dramatically decreasing the differences between the two parties.

        [Khadija speaking, interrupting the quote—Well, isn’t this exactly what has happened over the past 2 decades? The Democrats slide further and further to the right to accommodate people who will NEVER vote for them no matter how far they move to the right. And the Demopublicans do this knowing that AAs will vote for them anyway—because they claim to be the lesser evil.]

        And your vote for a lesser evil gives the corporate media the excuse they seek to ignore progressive views throughout the next four years-because the media will say that your progressive views were shown to have no real constituency since you and others didn’t vote for the candidates who articulated those views, but chose to empower people who champion the status quo…

        (emphasis added)
        http://muslimbushido.blogspot.com/2009/09/change-that-never-came-part-3.html

        Like I said, I’m done with that lesser evilism mess.

        Expect Success!

        • ak says:

          Khadija:

          You’re welcome. I’m sick of that “if we don’t vote for the Democrats who have ignored us, then the Republican boogeymen will get elected” routine. Perhaps we need to get ourselves into a spot where it doesn’t matter who gets in. Like the Mormons, the Jews, and the Cubans in Miami.

          Malcolm X alluded to this in his autobiography. He said it was silly for black people to separate themselves by voting for Democrats or for Republicans and he thought that black people should vote together for whatever their specific needs, rights, and concerns were but as one huge bloc andd Malcolm said even the most bigoted Southern congressman would sit up and take notice of that as they would see a lot of voters that politicians would want to place on their side.

          I don’t know if that would work today though necessarily. Malcolm must be rolling in his grave regarding what blacks are doing today.

  13. Truth P. says:

    “I personally have seen people go through acute psychosis and mania and make really dumb major life changes after such weekend events—which are often encouraged by seminar leaders. In fact, Steve Pavlina says that his own recent “Conscious Growth Workshop” precipitated his separation from his wife Erin. Conscious growth in general often breaks up perfectly fine (and not so fine) committed relationships, something family therapists know but few seminar leaders seem to value or guard against.

    This guy hit the nail on the head Khadija.I saw something that was awful on tv.This self help Guru,James Ray, told these people to go into a sweat lodge and stay in there for hours.The people were apparently allowed to leave but many of them were coached into staying.Ray stood outside the door telling those people if they wanted to emerge stronger they’d stay in there.People were in there dying.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/james-ray-employee-paramedics-mistook-sweat-lodge-mass/story?id=9283937

  14. Sharifa says:

    Enjoyed the post as usual. This one hit home for me, as I grew up in and am still a member of the Baptist church. I often get (tacitly)’frenzy checked’ by people in the church for not being as outwardly emotional as they think I (and others) should be.

    I actually run into more issues with the younger members of the church encouraging more frenzied emotionality that the elder members. Just as a point of clarification, typically outside of the Christian church, Baptists are assumed to be very ‘loud,’ but within the church, Baptists (especially as compared with COGIC’s etc), are considered more staid and quiet, though there are variations. The older generations are sometimes criticized for being too quiet, while the younger, “praise and worship” crowd turns up the volume, lol. I find that I can’t tolerate so much of the contemporary gospel music I hear on the radio, and often prefer traditional hymns (though I enjoy the choirs at my church). Maybe I’m just an old young-person, lol.

    To be clear, I understand and honor my religious traditions in their various forms, and for me the religious experience does involve a certain type/level of emotionality, but I think that emotion serves a specific purpose. I think religion in general is catergorized as being opposite of rational or logical, but I think there can be quieter moments, and there is a time and place for calm, reasoned discussion, teaching, planning, and implementation.

    In some of my positions at church now, I am challenging the status quo and encouraging more thought and discussion about some vital topics. It has been an…interesting experience, lol.

    Often, I think AA’s have an ADHD-like aversion to calm and the mundane aspects of life, as you alluded to. Much of life is quietly sitting, paying attention, working, thinking, planning, following rules, all without fanfare and a 3-ring circus. Apparently many of us have to learn that, and learn to adjust.

    Overall, (and I think this is your point), I think that the more arenas where AA’s engaged in more deliberate thoughtfulness and less fruitless emotionality, the better for the collective. Religious institutions would be one of the best locations for the encouragement of these thought patterns.

  15. squarlymade says:

    Along with the hoopin and hollering that goes on in some churches are the pew sitters who look around and say, mmmhmm, ‘this message is for brother and sister so and so’…

    I think in moving forward it’s good to look at where you may fit into any category in an unproductive way and make the necessary changes.

    There are many categories being spoken of.

    … “engage in behaviors that lead to them filling the nation’s jails and prisons.”

    … “preparing ourselves for economic shifts.”

    … “taking better care of our bodies and our health.”

    … “creating our own infrastructure (businesses and other institutions) to safeguard whatever gains we had made.”

    … “support and vote for Crossover Negro Politicians whose main claims to fame are: (1) how “post racial” they are, and (2) how determined they are to ignore AAs’ concerns.”
    … “taking advantage of various HUD educational programs for aspiring homeowners.”
    When a person is gullible and bends to the demands and persuasion of others, they then turn around and beg and expect people to ‘cover them’ and meet their needs. Many AA’s need to develop the right boundaries in their life. I recommend the book “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend.
    As AA’s we have the right to put our own self interest first. Many progressives want to convince AA’s that because we are who we are, we have to be accepting of any body and anything. Nope, I discriminate as necessary. I went into my daughters school and told the teacher move my daughter away from ‘that’ kid. She (the teacher) was surprised. I could tell the kid had issues when I first went to the open house( my daughters seat wasn’t next to his at that time) I guess after trying to find a seat for him next to a person that would tolerate and put up with this kids’ issues she choose my daughter ??? Ah, that was a No. My daughter is not there to help another kid to calm down and stay focused!
    Well, while I’m recommending books if any one is on the home ownership path again (because don’t forget- if at first you don’t succeed…) or for the first time a good book is “Your First Home” by Lynnette Khalfani-Cox . I’m in the planning, saving, information gathering stage of purchasing my first home. I sure would love to grab a house at some of these prices!
    In regards to ‘businesses and other institutions’ these are some of the easiest things to do! You don’t need any formal education, however you do need to educate yourself. When any type of materialism is present, it’s hard to get things accomplished. Why open up your small little ( for now) business when you can take that degree and get a prestigious position. I had a problem with a product that I was using so I called the customer care line. I soon had to be transferred to the manager. Upon speaking to the manager I could tell she was a black women, I had a unique problem that didn’t fit into the standard issues people have. I wasn’t getting a unique response. She kept saying ‘the policy book says’. Wow, I thought what a waist of education, weather if it was because she wasn’t allowed to go outside of the ‘book’ or because she couldn’t think enough to, it’s still a waist of education. You can hire and train any numb-skull to read a book and follow it. I eventually asked to be transferred to the VP of quality control. Many AA’s education could be put to better use by creating something of their own.
    With taking care of my and my families bodies as far as food goes. I try to use beans as much as possible. When I first leaned of how good they are for you I made some meals that revolved around them, chili, white chili, burritos, tacos- LOL-we have them maybe three times a week.
    Economic shifts are a challenge for me. It seems you can do an information search for these things once you know of them. But gathering and coming across this information in a timely way I’m clueless on how to go about that…any suggestions on how to stay ahead of the economic shifts?

  16. TruthP.,

    Oh yeah, Beyond Growth has done several posts about James Ray, the death-lodge operator. IIRC, he’s going on trial soon. These tragedies are the price of uninformed outsiders trying to play around with Native American spiritual practices—WITHOUT consulting the indigenous people themselves. [Incidentally, I’ve always found the (mostly White) New Age rip-off of Native American religious practices offensive.] The blogger at Don’t Pay To Pray said the following,

    I think that their deaths should be seen as a warning. For thousands and thousands of years, no one died in a sweat lodge. When people decided to sell them, seven people, that we know of, died on 28 years. The act of subjecting spirituality to Capitalism is what makes them poisonous to the spirit. This is what happens when indigenous people lose sovereignty over our own spiritual practices. This is inevitably what happens when one engages in the absurd act of subjecting spirituality to free market forces. Because in Capitalism, the customer is always right. To make the maximum profit, service must be adapted to the greatest number of customers – the lowest common denominators.

    The lesson that the frauds refuse to learn is protocol. The counterculture shuns rationality, accountability, sacrifice, discipline and protocol and embraces narcissism and self indulgence. These were never indigenous values. When people reject our protocol out of ignorance and arrogance and try to take the empty form of our spiritual practices, they will harm themselves.

    (emphasis added)
    http://dontpaytopray.blogspot.com/2008/06/in-memoriam.html

    TruthP., I don’t want to fixate on the sometimes deadly follies of the New Age/New Thought folks in isolation. At their core, these emotional frenzy practices are all the same.

    Also, there aren’t that many AAs involved in that (relative to our involvement in the Black Protestant church and Islam), and so it’s easy and comfortable for us to pinpoint the things that have gone wrong within New Age/New Thought practices. My points are that:

    (1) AAs have established a harmful cultural norm of lifting up emotional frenzies above reason;

    (2) we take the SAME emotionally frenzied approach to almost everything, including politics; and

    (3) even when AAs think they’re escaping the things they didn’t like about the “whoop and holler” Black Protestant church, they take the SAME “whoop and holler” mindset to the other faith practices they enter.
    _____________________________________________

    Sharifa,

    You said, “In some of my positions at church now, I am challenging the status quo and encouraging more thought and discussion about some vital topics. It has been an…interesting experience, lol.”

    I’m sure. {chuckling}

    You said, “Often, I think AA’s have an ADHD-like aversion to calm and the mundane aspects of life, as you alluded to. Much of life is quietly sitting, paying attention, working, thinking, planning, following rules, all without fanfare and a 3-ring circus. Apparently many of us have to learn that, and learn to adjust.”

    Exactly.

    You said, “Overall, (and I think this is your point), I think that the more arenas where AA’s engaged in more deliberate thoughtfulness and less fruitless emotionality, the better for the collective. Religious institutions would be one of the best locations for the encouragement of these thought patterns.”

    That’s EXACTLY my point! This mindless, fruitless emotionality is counterproductive. And it sets us up to be endlessly manipulated by others.

    Expect Success!

    • ak says:

      Khadija:

      (1) AAs have established a harmful cultural norm of lifting up emotional frenzies above reason;

      (2) we take the SAME emotionally frenzied approach to almost everything, including politics; and

      (3) even when AAs think they’re escaping the things they didn’t like about the “whoop and holler” Black Protestant church, they take the SAME “whoop and holler” mindset to the other faith practices they enter.

      This is too true, especially no. 1 .

  17. Squarlymade,

    Good for you that you got your child away from sitting next to a problem child! As you know, a lot of silly AAs would condemn you for that. Many foolish AAs expect people to engage in human sacrifice—including the sacrifice of their children’s wellbeing—as an act of charity.

    You said, “When a person is gullible and bends to the demands and persuasion of others, they then turn around and beg and expect people to ‘cover them’ and meet their needs.”

    That’s deep…and you’re absolutely right! {smile}

    You said, “Economic shifts are a challenge for me. It seems you can do an information search for these things once you know of them. But gathering and coming across this information in a timely way I’m clueless on how to go about that…any suggestions on how to stay ahead of the economic shifts?”

    In addition to my standard mantra of “develop multiple income streams,” 🙂 I would suggest that folks check out the A Tribute to the Automatic Earth post, conversation, and AE post that’s linked to in the blog post. That’s a start. I believe a key part of any plan is to get as much control as possible over necessities such as food. If at all possible, it’s good for folks to start growing a portion of their family’s food.

    Expect Success!

  18. Karen says:

    Before I begin, I will preface my statements with the fact that I have never been a participant in “Group Think” and I also never found organized religion to be that appealing (faith in God – yes, organized religion – no).

    I have often wondered how so many people can go through life without reflecting or acknowledging cause and effect?

    A few examples:

    a) If I spend more than I earn, will end up in debt
    b) If I do not take the time to understand who I am as a person and what qualities are important in a relationship, I run the risk of choosing poorly when it comes to a partner.
    c) If I do not set boundaries, then I am always open to being taken advantage by others
    d) If I am not taking the effort to continually develop myself as a person, I run the risk of stagnating or missing out on other opportunities.
    e) Given that the days of the “good job” actually ended during the Reagan years; if I do not continually add to my skill set and do things to improve my market value, I run the risk of obsolescence.

    I personally do not understand why all too many expect a quick fix. Our lives are the summation of every step, choice or action that we have done (or not done).

    There is nothing “sexy” about perserverance, discipline and consistency of effort along with continually reflecting/adjusting one’s goals to build a life for oneself and family (and/or laying the foundation for future generations).

    For all of the above, this practice of “Agressive Possitivity” in whatever form has never appealed to me. It is foreign to me in that it seems to allow people to walk away from rational thought.

    Perhaps therein lies the answer; to be responsible for one’s actions and decisions is a measure of adulthood and it appears that our society is allowing or even encouraging “arrested development”.

  19. Karen,

    You said, “I personally do not understand why all too many expect a quick fix. Our lives are the summation of every step, choice or action that we have done (or not done).

    There is nothing “sexy” about perserverance, discipline and consistency of effort along with continually reflecting/adjusting one’s goals to build a life for oneself and family (and/or laying the foundation for future generations).”

    Exactly! Thank you for summing this up so efficiently. I’ve added this part of your comment to the post.

    You said, “For all of the above, this practice of “Agressive Possitivity” in whatever form has never appealed to me. It is foreign to me in that it seems to allow people to walk away from rational thought.”

    “Walking away from rational thought” is what most AAs glorify and celebrate. I don’t know what’s worse. This mass walking away from reason, or the current AA political fad of redefining surrender and appeasement (what Pres. Obama has consistently done with racist Whites) as “grand strategy” or “3-dimensional chess moves.”

    Expect Success!

  20. pioneervalleywoman says:

    Greetings, Khadija!

    I have been mulling over this post in light of some observations recently, of what I have been seeing in the classroom.

    I have a young student who embodies a version of this type of behavior, the “all form, but no subtance” type that embodies smoothness with no foundation. It is rather scary to see.

    The last time I saw this I was teaching undergraduates and I noticed this pattern in one of my young black male students. It is now several years later, and I can see how that young man then could become the young black man in my classroom now.

    A few weeks ago there was an election for class president and he was running–he is used to this type of thing–running for office, speaking the language of “aggressive positivity,” ie., “vote for me and it will be a party!” [Smirk–sounds familiar???]

    In the classroom, he shows up but when he asks questions, he sounds as though he just dropped in from some other place, as though he never prepared the materials, never listened, never took notes…He doesn’t sound like the type to put in the hard work; he always seems to be looking for a short-cut answer, but he sure knows how to be the go-to guy for socializing…

    After I heard his “off-the-wall-I-just-dropped-in-from-Mars” type of questions, I suggested he go visit the folks in academic support. Yes, Khadija, academic support, and this is not college. It is graduate school.

    • Greetings, PioneerValleyWoman!

      Feh. Dealing with that sort of “student” (especially at the grad level, when folks are supposed to be totally serious) sounds extremely . . . tiresome.

      Expect Success!

  21. It’s interesting to see that in the decades following the Civil Rights movement, the bar for any “black” victory has been set so low that any subsequent congratulatory back-patting seems overwhelmingly out of sync with the actual “victory.” I’m thinking in particular of a recent televised “celebration” here in Chicago where a few black leaders were grinning like Cheshire cats because they got the Michigan Bridge renamed the DuSable Bridge, in recognition of Jean Baptist Point DuSable. The way these black folks went on and on about the rewards of their efforts, you would have thought they’d figured out how to cure every ill in the black community.

    I’ve become more of a cynic in the past few years because all I could think of while watching the extended news coverage is “who gives a hoot about a bridge named for a man who may not have wanted to identify with us as a people anyway?” To put all of this effort to this minor “feel good” project which does not benefit any community, let alone the black community, shows just how misdirected certain “black leaders” have become.

    I know this is tangentially related to the aggressive positivity topic, but it does relate in that the black community can become so ridiculously happy for just the merest of symbolism that doesn’t equal a can of beans (which starving folks can actually use).

    • Sharon Cullars,

      Once again, I’m happy that I don’t watch the local news. I wasn’t aware of this so-called great victory. Hmmph!

      You said, “I know this is tangentially related to the aggressive positivity topic, but it does relate in that the black community can become so ridiculously happy for just the merest of symbolism that doesn’t equal a can of beans (which starving folks can actually use).”

      The fact that AAs are pacified with SYMBOLIC victories (instead of substance) is something that Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammad, and others warned about several generations ago. AAs are just happy to see “Black faces in high places,” and anything—no matter how trivial—that looks like validation from outsiders.

      I recall how Malcolm X made mockery of AAs celebrating “a Negro becoming the Mayor’s butler, or the first Black dogcatcher…” We’re still celebrating “the first Black dogcatchers” [Black folks with titles, but no real power].

      Expect Success!

  22. Evia says:

    Khadija, as a person with a lifelong, passionate interest in cultural anthropology and lots of readings in that topic, living in, observing of various cultures, and comparing and contrasting the folkways and customs of these cultures, I look at the thinking and many behaviors of blacks ONLY through that ethnology lens.

    Re your topic, MOST blacks are seduced to the core of their being by fancy dressers, clever talkers, charismatic personalities, “the hoopin’ and hollerin'” emotionalism, and grandiose displays in general. The LOVE for “showy” things or showmanship is ingrained in many blacks culturally and you will find this in black cultures worldwide much more so than you will find it in other cultures.

    I’m NOT saying this doesn’t happen with others, but the attraction to the grandiose and charismatic elements, the emotionalism without logically/rationally looking beneath the surface or behind the curtain is much more prevalent among blacks. Many times, blacks even discourage each other from looking beneath the surface, examining, thinking critically and to instead simply ACCEPT what the so-called leader tells them and enjoy the way he makes them feel–without question. I’ve noticed that whether they’re AAs or continental Africans, this is a strong element in their functioning.

    As I said, this happens with non-blacks too, but it’s the extent of this–that is a staple with many blacks–that I’m focusing on. This occurs among even the most intelligent, the most educated, the richest, the most learned, etc. of blacks. There’s a layer of naivete there that, I think, warrants intense study by black scholars because this layer of naivete has been the central element in the undoing of black folks historically. IMO, naivete is a staple in black cultures, though we may not want to admit it.

    Specifically, why do blacks tend to be deathly naive?

    Blacks tend to focus on, embrace, and in some cases will fight and die for the leader or the person(s) seen as the leader, but not expend any time or resources or barely any on examining the message or the “substance” of the institution or maintaining the message/institution. The leader often BECOMES their everything! The leader becomes the message or the institution in the minds of so many blacks. Therefore if the leader is killed or diminished in some way, the message and institution dies too.

    Also, way too many blacks seem to want to cling to the notion that everyone plays by the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you,” and other ‘mom and apple pie’ gooey stuff that some of us may have been taught as children. Too many blacks (of various cultures) can’t seem to accept that other folks can be counted on to tell them polyanna lies and smarmy stuff while these folks actually operate VERY differently, even savagely when necessary. The “golden rule” has never been the way the world actually works.

    I’ve often wondered why so many blacks shy away from adopting a cut-throat philosophy in a cut-throat world, particularly when they need to adopt that philosophy. I’m not saying that bw should ever openly behave as if that’s their philosophy or behave like Sapphires in any way. Behaving like a Sapphire is a losing tactic. If AA women were TRULY Sapphires, a high percentage of them would be living well. Instead, they “act” the part, which is just doing something “showy.”

    This is why I harp so much on ridding bw of this notion of “life is supposed to be fair.” This belief is embraced by so many blacks. I see that as a large part of the naive plank in the minds of many blacks. However, there are lots of other parts of that plank that are just assumed and never examined and refuted by the so-called intelligentsia of blacks–of various ethnic groups.

    Whether they are in Africa or America, there is that strong tendency to be greatly swayed by these types of “showy” “glittery” superficial elements, so if I wanted to con the largest group of blacks in any black culture, I know I could get most of them by appealing to these culturally intrinsic elements. This is done everyday. In order to con the most people in the most effective way, you need to take the beliefs that you know are already ingrained in them, exploit those beliefs, and the rest is gravy. All good politicians know and do this.

    MANY Blacks –from wherever–tend to moreso focus on and get caught up in superficial things because it’s embedded in their collective unconscious to be aroused much more by “form” versus “substance.” We all see a gazillion examples of this every single day. This type of thinking needed to die YESTERDAY.

    Bw really need to be aware of and fight against this type of unconscious, subconscious thinking.

    Therefore, many bw are easily duped by jive-talking, stylish dressing, smooth-dancers, jokster men who appeal to the sensual side of their brains rather than the rational side. Virtually every successful bm minister I’ve encountered or every noticed has to have mastered most these showy elements.

    • Evia,

      ITA.

      You said, “As I said, this happens with non-blacks too, but it’s the extent of this–that is a staple with many blacks–that I’m focusing on. This occurs among even the most intelligent, the most educated, the richest, the most learned, etc. of blacks. There’s a layer of naivete there that, I think, warrants intense study by black scholars because this layer of naivete has been the central element in the undoing of black folks historically. IMO, naivete is a staple in black cultures, though we may not want to admit it.”

      This is yet another topic that Black social scientists and clinicians need to study—and find a cure for it. THIS one, deeply engrained trait has been the literal death of Black folks across the planet. For millenia.

      This is why the northern tier of the African continent is overrun with, and ruled over by, Arabs. This is why there was a trans-Atlantic slave trade, and Africa’s children from many generations ago are strewn across the globe. This is why—decades after the official end of colonialism—Blacks are NOT the masters of their own houses. Not on the African continent. And not in any of the “Black” countries in the Western Hemisphere.

      This is why a continuously-rotating set of nonblack immigrants can come to AA slums as merchants, get rich off of the idiot AA customers that they mistreat, and have their children go on to work in the professions. Meanwhile, the only thing that remains constant is AAs continuing to live monolithically at the bottom of every social index.

      Yes, indeed. Somebody needs to study this. For real.

      Expect Success!

  23. Sasha says:

    It’s not what people say it is what they do. It’s how people treat each other in big and small ways day in and day out. It’s how people treat themselves – do they treat themselves like they matter – take care of their health, take time to exercise, eat right – relax and just be. It’s how they talk to each other what they say about each other – what they verbalize about themselves – how they allow others to treat them in big and small ways. All those actions send a message and children hear that message louder than words. Talk the talk but walk the walk because actions speak louder than words.

    Just like one must think critically about life one must apply that critical thinking to everything especially religion. The feel good rush release and relief may be a step to get past a speed bump but only if you embrace the peace that comes from the release and then take the next step. Feeling good does no good if it does not move you forward and in fact it can make you feel worse. Many churches play on this they get people up give them a rush of joy then they crash even harder than before and of course need more of the same. It does not matter if it is religion or any other feel good fix the next question should always be so how can I use this in my daily life -if that is not a take away then no feel good fix for me. The thing is in the current culture feeling good is the goal and there are many quick fixes readily available sort of like fast food – feel good fast fix. Problem is sometimes pain/discomfort can be a message that something needs to change and can promote change – short term pain and or discomfort while working to a larger more worthwhile goal can create a better future – like the grasshopper and the ant.

    As far as religion goes I have always found joy in the music I prefer the more traditional songs – it drowns out nonsense that does not bear thinking about. If something said by a religious figure or authority figure does not track or make sense or honor my truth I just ignore it and quietly but firmly move on even as a child I tended to ignore what did not make sense even if someone I loved and respect said it.

    • Sasha,

      I’m calling on more of us to rethink this excessive and inappropriate emotionalism. A good start would be what (Iranian activist/sociologist) Dr. Ali Shariati suggested decades ago: To examine the various ideas and things we currently hold dear in order to see whether or not we’ve made them into idols we worship. This is what I did when I first snapped out of my prior Black Nationalist trance. I found some things worthy of my continued allegiance. And other things were found lacking. It wasn’t a pleasant experience, but it was for the best.

      Most AAs should start with their unexamined, DEEP, and unreciprocated emotional attachment to Pres. Obama. That would be a good starting point for most of us. And go from there, to take a serious look at everything and everyone we currently hold dear. Including pet philosophies and ideologies. I find it absolutely shocking that most AAs have never given any serious thought about why they follow whatever faith tradition they follow.

      Now, folks can often tell you all about why they believe whatever they believe about abortion. But they can’t explain why they participate in churches in any particular denomination. Or even explain the tenets of the denomination they are part of. I don’t understand that sort of behavior.

      Expect Success!

      • T says:

        I know. It all boils down to this: AA’s are afraid of being wrong. Wrong has such loaded connotation, that AA’s associate it with being inferior, incompetent, and vulnerable. We know that being “wrong” is just “being wrong” and requires the necessary course corrections to get back on the right track. However, for the AA community that is still “living in darkness,” that’s not the case. That’s why you see the problems you see.

  24. squarlymade says:

    Khadija Nassif, thank you so much for that link. I watched ‘A Tribute to the Automatic Earth’. Oh-My-Goodness! I had to immediately buy some books online about growing a garden and farming. I’ve always wanted this life style, but now I feel a big push to “buy a learning curve”. A lot of families in the US already live like this, they can be read about in greater depth (day-to-day know how) on blogs about large families.
    Thank you for the information, just started reading this blog about a month ago. It’s been a great resource.

    • Squarlymade,

      You’re welcome! 🙂 It’s fine to just call me “Khadija.” {chuckling}

      I’m delighted that you’ve found some things that are useful. Most of the posts that touch on overall economic or political preparation issues are in the “Uncategorized” category.

      Expect Success!

  25. YMB says:

    I was at a conference this week where one of the speakers used the following quote from Joel A. Barker, “Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.

    It appears that was based on a Japanese proverb that I think also applies to what’s been discussed here, “Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.

    AAs have either been dreaming and waiting for God, white folks, or whomever and whatever to take care of things for generations. And when we have acted, it’s been thoughtlessly, without any realistic long term and concrete plan.

    This is why I was so put off several years back about the whole The Secret phenomenon. It really lowered my opinion of Oprah that she endorsed and promoted that ideology when her spectacular success was not at all based on passivity and wishing really hard that she would be a media superstar. Yet that is what AAs embraced whole-heartedly. I’m glad that I don’t hear much about The Secret any more. I guess it fell out of favor when money did not start magically appearing in people’s bank accounts and they did not drop all of their extra pounds while reclining on the couch every night, et cetera.

    At the conference I attended, which was about reducing health disparities, one of the speakers related some of her experiences working with community health workers and how most of them had no idea how to set about accomplishing major objectives. They had to be taught to break things down into the many steps that needed to be done to achieve these objectives. This is another manifestation of that naivete- that inability or unwillingness to see that successfully getting from point A to point B is accomplished by taking many small steps, rather than being magically teleported.

    • YMB,

      You said, “I’m glad that I don’t hear much about The Secret any more. I guess it fell out of favor when money did not start magically appearing in people’s bank accounts and they did not drop all of their extra pounds while reclining on the couch every night, et cetera.”

      Oh, “The Secret” and those who starred in the movie (except for Death Lodge James Ray, who goes on trial soon, IIRC) are still going strong. I’ve been reading a number blogs that are critics of the self-help/New Age/New Thought industry and it’s been fascinating.

      You said, “At the conference I attended, which was about reducing health disparities, one of the speakers related some of her experiences working with community health workers and how most of them had no idea how to set about accomplishing major objectives. They had to be taught to break things down into the many steps that needed to be done to achieve these objectives. This is another manifestation of that naivete- that inability or unwillingness to see that successfully getting from point A to point B is accomplished by taking many small steps, rather than being magically teleported.”

      Pep rallies can be useful for getting revved up to take action. But at some point, folks have to do exactly that: take methodical, often boring, step-by-step action to achieve things. This is the point where many AAs stop moving along because, as you noted, we’re waiting to be “magically teleported” to the end result.

      Expect Success!

  26. Evia says:

    Oops, y’all please forgive my grammatical errors. Didn’t proofread well enough–apparently. LOL!

    Khadija, re that layer of naivete in so many blacks, a perfect example of it is when you consider the huge expectations that so many AAs had/have that Obama would/will save alla our people. Lawdy!

    SMH So many AAs totally overlook the fact that they bring minimal VALUE to Obama’s table, yet they expect for him to commit suicide for them just because it’s the “right” thing to do. This is that “fairness” plank again and it shows mindboggling naivete. He would NEVER have been able to make it to the Presidency if he would do something so foolish.

    And the ironic thing is that IF he actually were willing to slit his throat to save AAs, most AAs would turn on him and FAST–because he would have to light a roaring fire under their butts. For ex. even when he urged bm to step up to be better dads, they went ballistic. So many AAs don’t realize what would have to happen to them and/or how they would have to change in order to save themselves. AAs need a total mindset change in order to save themselves. However, just look at how so many so-called sane bw have gone off the cliff over NWNW. And just look at how so many of them want to roast us for simply urging AA women to mate out in order to find higher quality husbands.

    Trust me–the typical AA person is NOT ready to be saved.

    I personally would vote for Obama again and again because–as I’ve said before–he has already earned my vote forevermore by marrying Michelle. By doing so, he uplifted the IMAGE and value of average looking bw by a gazillion percent, rendering her and by proxy all average looking bw the fairest of them all.

    • Evia,

      We’re going to have to agree to disagree about Barry Obama.

      Barry Obama fails in terms of the 2 values you’ve talked about the most: true men serving as protectors and providers for their women, and reciprocity.
      Let’s examine Pres. Obama specifically in terms of the values that you’ve consistently espoused: true men serving as protectors and providers for their women, and reciprocity.

      Barry Obama has consistently FAILED to protect his wife from racist attacks. That’s one sign of a FAILED man. If we’re going to hold men—all men, including BM—up to the MAN’S criteria of being protectors and providers for their women…then Barry Obama FAILS that prong of the test. Barry Obama FAILED (in fact, refused) to protect his own wife from racist attacks in the media. He refused to be a PROTECTOR for his own wife.

      In terms of Barry the Half-African/Half-White Outsider tongue-lashing AA men, Barry only did this to appease racist White voters. Even though what Barry said to and about AA men was true, his motives for saying this were all wrong. It wasn’t about correcting something that’s gone wrong within the AA collective (of which Barry knows very little about, since he’s not part of it). It was about buckdancing for White voters. Which is the same reason why Barry has consistently failed to protect his wife from racist attacks.

      AA men were NOT the intended recipients of Barry’s message that day—Barry was triangulating for White voters’ ears when he said that stuff.

      Barry Obama refuses to offer, much less give, RECIPROCITY to the AA slaves who gave him 90%+ of their votes. From the beginning of his political career here in Chicago, Barry Obama has been an outside carpetbagger who made his climb on the blood and bones of AAs. [Barry Obama is NOT part of the AA bloodline. He’s half-continental African and half-White.] Barry Obama never paid any dues in any AA organization that I’m aware of. All of the faux local community activism he engaged in was specifically designed to be non-threatening to Whites.

      Let’s Dispel Some Myths About Barry Obama’s Political Background in Chicago Politics

      When Barry ran for the Congress in 2000 against an incumbent Black Congressman, he lost by a margin of 2-to-1. All of the above lack of having paid any dues and lack of any real connection to AAs is why Barry lost when he ran for Congress in 2000. From an NPR report,

      In March of 2000, Obama, then an Illinois state General Assembly member, made his first run for Congress — and lost.

      Obama sought to unseat Rep. Bobby Rush, who by then had served four terms in Congress, in a Democratic primary. Rush had a long history with voters, who knew him as a Baptist minister, a veteran of the civil rights battles of the ’60s, and a founding member of the Illinois branch of the Black Panthers, where he set up meal programs and medical screenings for the poor.

      . . . There are other things from the 2000 congressional race that have echoes in the Obama for President campaign, most notably the questions about his connection to the African-American community. The 1st district in Illinois was roughly two-thirds black when he ran in 2000, but Obama’s biggest base of support came from Hyde Park, a more affluent, more diverse section of the district.

      Obama had not come up through the civil-rights movement. His Harvard education and experience as a University of Chicago Law School professor were not necessarily a plus when put up against Rush’s street-level experience.

      Paul Green, director of the Institute for Politics at Chicago’s Roosevelt University, said Rush did not try to out do Obama in the areas of oratory or charisma; Obama had an easy edge in both categories.

      Green said that Bobby Rush “basically had a campaign in which the argument was, ‘Obama’s not one of us.'”

      http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14502364

      Well, Barry Obama is NOT “one of us.” He’s an outside carpetbagger who’s riding our dead civil rights martyrs’ coatails.

      Barry Obama never beat the Chicago “Machine.” He slipped into the U.S. Senate because the White Republican candidate (Jack Ryan) self-destructed in a sex scandal involving his ex-wife (who played Seven Of Nine on Star Trek: Voyager).

      From Barry’s Wikipedia entry,

      Obama’s expected opponent in the general election, Republican primary winner Jack Ryan, withdrew from the race in June 2004. Six weeks later, Alan Keyes accepted the Illinois Republican Party’s nomination to replace Ryan. In the November 2004 general election, Obama won with 70% of the vote.

      From Jack Ryan’s Wikipedia entry,

      Jack Ryan (born October 6, 1959) is a Republican from the state of Illinois who was forced to withdraw from the 2004 United States Senate race due to an alleged sex scandal involving his relationship with his ex-wife, actress Jeri Ryan. His eventual replacement, Alan Keyes, would go on to lose the general election to State Senator and future President of the United States, Barack Obama.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Ryan_(politician)

      Barry Obama is only the latest among a long line of crossover Negro politicians who left AAs worse than they found us. For those who are concerned that I have a special, unique disdain for Barry Obama. No—I can’t stand Crossover Negro Politicians in general! I’ve lived long enough to see and remember the harm these creatures have done to AAs’ collective interests. Barry Obama is just the latest among others such as,
      Doug Wilder
      David Dinkins
      Wilson Goode
      Adrian Fenty
      Harold Ford Jr.

      The best I can say about some of these folks is that they didn’t do as much damage as other Crossover Negro Politicians.

      I will note that it’s possible to appeal to all types of voters without being a bootlicking, Crossover Negro Politician who buckdances for White racists, and ignores AAs, or treast AAs as if we have political “cooties.” Mayor Harold Washington had support among all segments of Chicago’s (then extremely racially polarized) electorate. He didn’t buckdance and grovel to racist Whites. He also didn’t treat AA voters as if we had cooties. Mayor Washington also did concrete things that advanced local AAs’ interests, such as opening up city employment to AAs.

      In terms of the Crossover Negro Politicians, AAs supported these crossover creatures because we were under the mistaken impression that they were technocrats who would do better for AA interests than the old-school, greasy, poverty-pimp AA politicians including criminals such as Marion Barry, Sharpe James, and others. Well, things haven’t worked out that way.

      The ONLY untainted good thing I see in Barry’s election in terms of AA women is that his “typical Black woman”-looking, dark-skinned Black wife is being lifted up and recognized as “the fairest of them all.” This is a VERY good thing in lifting up the image of typical, Black-looking, non-“exotic” Black women and girls. This is a very good thing in terms of positioning typical, non-exotic AA women and girls as attractive potential wives for quality men in the global village.

      This is good, but it doesn’t make up for the rest. I believe in reciprocity. Since Barry isn’t going to do anything for me or mine, then I’m not going to do anything for Barry Obama.

      **Addendum**
      Barry’s tongue-lashing of AA men about their mass paternal irresponsibility was his Sister Souljah moment in order to curry favor with White racists. As explained by Wikipedia,

      In United States politics, a Sister Souljah moment is a politician’s public repudiation of an allegedly extremist person or group, statement, or position perceived to have some association with the politician or their party. Such an act of repudiation is designed to signal to centrist voters that the politician is not beholden to traditional, and sometimes unpopular, interest groups associated with the party, although such a repudiation runs the risk of alienating some of the politician’s allies and the party’s base voters. The term is named for the political activist Sister Souljah.

      The Wikipedia entry glosses over the reality of this tactic. It’s NOT about repudiating so-called “extremists” to curry favor with so-called “centrists.” It’s about repudiating AAs to curry favor with White racists. The only folks who are repeatedly, consistently repudiated by politicians are AAs. And AAs are gullible and self-disrespecting enough to be okay with being “dissed” over and over again. Tea Party lunatics don’t seem to be repudiated.

      Expect Success!

      • Karen says:

        Whatever his reasons or motives for not defending his wife, it says quite a bit about his character (or lack thereof). Decent men will do whatever is necessary to protect their loved ones, even if that means not becoming President. It comes down to what values and principles we hold dear.

        For me and my spouse, our family comes first…end of story. Careers, businesses, positions cannot take care of you when you are sick, hold and hug you when you are feeling despair, share and rejoice in the joys of life.

        When he did not defend his wife, it told me more about his character than anything else…namely that everything is expendable in the pursuit of becoming President. Definitely not the type of person I would want to call my spouse.

        AS for reciprocity, I 100% co-sign with Khadija, AAs have received NOTHING for their vote. Full disclosure: I did vote for him but not from the point of view of being particularly for him, it was more a factor of being against the other candidate. I also will not make that mistake again.

        • ink says:

          He did defend his wife. He went on FOX News and said “stop talking about my wife”. If that’s not taking up for someone I don’t know what is then.

          • Ink,

            We’ll agree to disagree. I expect Barry Obama to be a big boy, open his mouth, and speak up in support of his own wife with at least the SAME amount of vigor that he uses for taking up for Jewish people in the foreign state of Israel/Palestine.

            Contrast the clear, NON-mealy-mouth statements Barry Obama has made over the years in support of Jewish interests with the extremely limited, mealy-mouth mess he reserves for AAs—including when it comes to protecting his own wife. See this news story from the election period (May, 2008) as example of just how firm Barry can be—in support of NONBLACK OTHERS.
            http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/05/house-republica.html

            Expect Success!

  27. T says:

    This might be slightly off-topic, Khadija, but I’ll say it anyway, because it speaks to the mentality that many AA’s have-the “smash and grab.” You may have heard it when associated with criminals, but it is pervasive through all AA endeavors, as far as I’m concerned. It’s the immediate quick fix, the proverbial band-aid-on-cancer approach. Instead of applying stealthier, steadier methods of attaining progress and, eventually, success, the majority of the AA community prefers instant gratification. Unfortunately, those same AA’s think that everyone else operates this way, which is why the long-term, delayed gratification thing does not work with them.

    • T,

      You said, “Unfortunately, those same AA’s think that everyone else operates this way, which is why the long-term, delayed gratification thing does not work with them.”

      Meanwhile, most things of value come from delayed gratification. {shaking my head}

      Expect Success!

  28. Evia says:

    Evia,

    We’re going to have to agree to disagree about Barry Obama.

    Barry Obama fails in terms of the 2 values you’ve talked about the most: true men serving as protectors and providers for their women, and reciprocity.

    I hear ya, Khadija, but I got my reciprocity up front. LOL! I personally would never believe that the first black president of the U.S. could do for blacks what so many blacks even come close to expecting him to do, so I’m not disappointed and don’t feel that he’s shortchanged me.

    I could be very wrong, but I also believe that Michelle, even Hillary and most of those other unpopular political wives understood the deal when they agreed to move on up into the highest echelons with their husbands. After all, you can’t be a warrior unless you expect to be shot at and the Obamas were at bigtime war as soon as there was speculation that he was going to run for the presidency. I personally would not want my husband to end up in the cemetery trying to defend me from name-calling, especially when I’ve got one foot close or in the White House or I’m already in there. And there’s no doubt about it that the Obamas took a step into HELL when they decided to aim for the White House.

    He is going to continue to cater to whites–even if he’s re-elected by some stroke of magic–because whites are his bread and butter. He’s never going to be able to convince the typical white or other non-AA voter that he needs to or should help AAs in any special way because these other folks mostly don’t know WHY blacks need any special help.

  29. SweetSoulSister says:

    Evia said: “He’s never going to be able to convince the typical white or other non-AA voter that he needs to or should help AAs in any special way because these other folks mostly don’t know WHY blacks need any special help.”

    I completely agree with this. I don’t know how a politician can do for blacks what blacks won’t do for themselves. I don’t expect politicians to cater to any interest group unless that interest group is white male (a lot of times when catering to white males, they seem to go for the lowest of white males- the bigots/ Tea Party Jethros), the wealthy, or corporate entities. It’s been that way my entire life and will continue to be that way. Anyone who thought Obama would get into office and do anything for black people that black people won’t do for themselves truly is on some other stuff. I voted for Obama not out of any great love for him but, because the alternative was chilling. I had a decision to make. Was it going to be McCain/Palin or Obama/Biden. I chose the more intellectually gifted ticket. I didn’t expect anything in return because I’m not naive. This country was and still is in some serious trouble and I feel it would be even worse off with McCain and Palin in the White House.

    That said, I fully agree with Khadija when she says:

    “Barry Obama fails in terms of the 2 values you’ve talked about the most: true men serving as protectors and providers for their women, and reciprocity.
    Let’s examine Pres. Obama specifically in terms of the values that you’ve consistently espoused: true men serving as protectors and providers for their women, and reciprocity.

    Barry Obama has consistently FAILED to protect his wife from racist attacks. That’s one sign of a FAILED man. If we’re going to hold men—all men, including BM—up to the MAN’S criteria of being protectors and providers for their women…then Barry Obama FAILS that prong of the test. Barry Obama FAILED (in fact, refused) to protect his own wife from racist attacks in the media. He refused to be a PROTECTOR for his own wife”

    This was an epic fail, imo. It also showed me who he was because GW Bush would’ve never let that ish go down when it came to Laura.

  30. Evia and SweetSoulSister,

    Evia said, “He’s never going to be able to convince the typical white or other non-AA voter that he needs to or should help AAs in any special way because these other folks mostly don’t know WHY blacks need any special help.”

    Well, the Jews DON’T need any special help from anybody, and yet nobody questions Barry Obama (or any other American politician) giving THEM “special help”! And I doubt Jewish-Americans gave Barry 90% of their votes. I also doubt that they contributed the majority of the contributions to Barry’s campaign.

    So why is it unremarkable that they get so much, and yet unthinkable for AAs to demand more than moldy crumbs?

    The Jewish collective does NOT need anything from anybody else, but yet it’s unquestioned for US politicians to give them “special help.” What I want to know is why can’t AAs insist upon getting the SAME type of reciprocity that Jewish people get from American politicians? [And in terms of Jewish-Americans, they’re getting reciprocity PLUS more.]

    Here’s what I DO know: Decades of supporting Crossover Negro Politicians who treat AAs as if we have “cooties” has left AAs in the WORST, WEAKEST, and most CASUALLY DISRESPECTED and IGNORED political position that I’ve ever seen in my entire adult life! I would compare this “Treat AA voters Like They Have Cooties” thing to the colorism situation that has metastasized among AAs since the 1980s.

    At this rate, the AA voter is going to end up totally disenfranchised by our support of politicians who treat us like we have cooties. Barry Obama was the last “lesser evil” vote that I’ll ever cast. No more supporting the “lesser evil” for me—I’m going to only support candidates who are in sync with my values from now on.

    Expect Success!

    • Evia says:

      Well, the Jews DON’T need any special help from anybody, and yet nobody questions Barry Obama (or any other American politician) giving THEM “special help”!

      There are key differences between AAs and Jews. One of the biggest differences on the world stage is that it is common knowledge that there is a Siamese twin connection between Jews in the U.S. and Jews in the Middle East/Israel, geo-politically speaking. Israel is like Little United States in the Middle East and therefore VALUABLE to the U.S. Israel is highly strategically located and serves U.S. interests there to the max.

      Likewise, without being in bed with the U.S., Israel would have been obliterated by now by its enemies in the Middle East. So, the 2 countries are interdependent–not equally so, of course, but still depend a lot on each other. That’s not news because most countries are very interdependent on one or more other countries, and some moreso than others and in different ways.

      I know this may be painful to think about, but how exactly are AAs as a group valuable to the U.S.? We’re not allied with any other country, let alone one that supplies the U.S. with anything. Where’s our leverage?

      The Jews are well organized which means that their WILL and their money are highly organized. Organized money and WILL = power. AAs have money individually speaking but we are highly fractured, splintered. Most importantly, especially to a politician, this means that our money and our will are highly splintered. AAs cannot be counted on for more than a minute. AAs can come together sometimes, but then POOF, we’re splintered again.

      Khadija, as even you’ve pointed out, an AA person would be foolish to depend on other AAs to support a business that any one of us might start.

      Both groups have clout but Jewish clout is REAL clout whereas AA clout is potential clout because it’s disorganized clout. Therefore for all practical purposes, it’s useless at this point.

      AAs can’t demand anything because we’re not ORGANIZED and cohesive enough to do so. We don’t ALL have to be united and in agreement about everything, but the greatest portion of the most influential AAs would need to be of one accord on certain key issues in order to sway enough AA voters and make demands of politicians.

      Some have said that the smartest thing that AAs could do politically is form a political party because then we could swing certain elections. That would command respect. As we are now, our votes will always be taken for granted, if we vote at all. Even with that, AAs would have to be savvy, aggressive, and ruthless enough to make demands and enact penalties.

      However, as we are now, the bulk of AAs don’t even get married and do a halfway decent job of raising and educating children, let alone having an organized, well run political party. Everything begins with the FAMILY.

      Also, what exact type of special help do AAs need that a president could supply? Presidential policies impact everybody, not just AAs.

      IMO, the non-progressive/destructive VALUES, non-critical thinking, and the rampant lack of discipline of too many AAs are among the many things that are sinking the group. I can’t quite see how Obama can impact that without violating the constitution.

      As you and others are saying in this post, perseverance, discipline, being responsible, etc. are boring, not sexy, and don’t supply immediate gratification, so I’d be interested to know what exactly Obama could do to spur AAs to change their ways. IMO, we pretty much have EQUAL ACCESS already, so why aren’t AAs taking advantage of that like other groups?

    • Evia,

      I think there are several separate, but interlocking things going on that AAs have to examine one by one.

      the us alliance with israel: asset or liability?

      You said, “There are key differences between AAs and Jews. One of the biggest differences on the world stage is that it is common knowledge that there is a Siamese twin connection between Jews in the U.S. and Jews in the Middle East/Israel, geo-politically speaking. Israel is like Little United States in the Middle East and therefore VALUABLE to the U.S. Israel is highly strategically located and serves U.S. interests there to the max.”

      We agree to disagree that Israel is somehow an asset for the US. I would submit that Israel is actually a huge LIABILITY for the US. Statements by a number of current and former US military and CIA officials support this view. I’ll quote from a few of them:

      From 22-year CIA veteran, Michael F. Scheuer, Adjunct Professor of Security Studies, Georgetown University, and author of “Imperial Hubris,””Marching Toward Hell: America and Islam After Iraq,” and “Through Our Enemies’ Eyes.”

      Israel is not only an unnecessary and self-made liability for the United States, it is an untreated and spreading cancer on our domestic politics, foreign policy, and national security. America has no genuine national security interests at stake in either Israel or Palestine; if they both disappeared tomorrow the welfare of Americans and the security of their country would not be impacted a lick.

      The Arab-Israeli religious war is a war that properly belongs solely to Israelis and Arabs; let them fight each other to the death with no interference in favor of either side from the United States. The continued, automatic, and idiotic identification of U.S. national interests as identical with Israel’s made by our bipartisan political elite, the media, and those U.S. citizens who prefer Israeli to American security is only earning Americans deeper hatred and more wars with Muslims.

      There is no question that Israel has every right in the world to militarily defend itself to whatever extent it deems necessary, but neither Israel, the United States, nor any other nation has a “right” to exist. Nation-states survive if they can vanquish their enemies. The democratically elected Israeli govermment is right to try to vanquish Hamas; and the democratically elected Hamas regime has every right to try do the same to Israel. The point to keep squarely in view is that it does not matter to America’s security who emerges the winner.

      http://security.nationaljournal.com/2009/01/is-israel-a-strategic-liability-for-the-us.php#1211298

      During the same article, (retired) Col. Patrick Lang said,

      It is not possible to “set aside the emotional and religious anchors of the US-Israel alliance.” Those are the principal bases of the alliance. Israel’s welfare is a self assigned interest of the United States. That does not make that interest less real, but it renders the interest a “duty” of a spiritual and moral nature rather than the kind of thing that a British PM meant in the 19th century when he supposedly said that “countries do not have friends or enemies. They have interests.” That kind of interest confers an advantage militarily, economically, geographically or in some other material way. The US interest in Israel’s welfare does none of those things and it costs a lot of money.

      The Israelis have been careful to separate “things” into neat groupings. They have operated on the basis that their things are their things and US things are their things. I was the principal officer in the US military intelligence relationship with Israel for many years. That was how the relationship worked. It was not a truly two-sided arrangement. The products of Israeli intelligence are sometimes valuable but often do not reach the standard of the legend concerning them. The reverse is not true. US military operations have not been benefited by the relationship with Israel. Israel does not want to be a military client of the United States. Our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have not been based in or logistically supported from Israel. Israel has never functioned as an “unsinkable aircraft carrier” for the United States and it does not wish to do so.

      Aside from providing useful liberty ports for the Sixth Fleet’s sailors and marines, and an occasional venue for small military maneuvers, it is hard to see what Israel does for the US in the military field that is worth the trouble that the relationship causes diplomatically with the surrounding states. Israel does not contribute to the well being of the US economy. In fact, in many high tech fields Israeli companies are competitors of American companies. I will not dwell excessively on the USS Liberty and Pollard incidents. Those events speak for themselves and most Americans have long ago forgiven the offenses and chosen to forget.

      [Khadija speaking: This quote is from the same link given above. Here are the Wikipedia links to the incidents Col. (Ret.) Lang is speaking of. The USS Liberty Incident, which was

      an attack on a United States Navy technical research ship, USS Liberty, by Israeli Air Force jet fighter aircraft and motor torpedo boats of the Israeli Navy, on June 8, 1967, during the Six-Day War. The combined air and sea attack killed 34 crew members (naval officers, seamen, two Marines, and one civilian), wounded 170 crew members, and severely damaged the ship. At the time, the ship was in international waters north of the Sinai Peninsula, about 25.5 nmi (29.3 mi; 47.2 km) northwest from the Egyptian city of Arish.(emphasis added)

      Jonathan Pollard “is

      a former civilian intelligence analyst who was convicted of spying for Israel. He received a life sentence in 1987. Israel granted Pollard citizenship in 1995, while publicly denying, until 1998, that he was an Israeli spy. Israeli activist groups, as well as high-profile Israeli politicians, have lobbied for his release.[2] Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has voiced particularly strong support for Pollard, visiting the convicted spy in prison in 2002.

      Pollard’s case was later linked to that of Ben-Ami Kadish, another U.S. national who pleaded guilty to charges of passing classified information to Israel in the same period.”

      ]

      Currently serving Gen. David Petraeus has also discussed this issue in his comments before the US Senate Armed Services Committee,

      In prepared testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee this morning, Gen. David Petraeus delivered the message that, as we’ve been writing over the last few days, Mark Parry reported on Saturday. Here’s the money quote:

      Insufficient progress toward a comprehensive Middle East peace. The enduring hostilities between Israel and some of its neighbors present distinct challenges to our ability to advance our interests in the AOR. Israeli-Palestinian tensions often flare into violence and large-scale armed confrontations. The conflict foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel. Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships with governments and peoples in the AOR and weakens the legitimacy of moderate regimes in the Arab world. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda and other militant groups exploit that anger to mobilize support. The conflict also gives Iran influence in the Arab world through its clients, Lebanese Hizballah and Hamas. [Khadija speaking: boldface emphasis added by me]

      One can expect that some of the senators in attendance will want to follow up with questions on this, and it will be interesting to see how Petraeus elaborates. Part of the hearing, however, will be in closed session, so we’ll have to wait to see what leaks from that.

      In any event, Petraeus’ willingness to publicly — and in uniform with all those decorations on his chest — make the connection between Israeli treatment of the Palestinians and the spread of “anti-American sentiment” and the deterioration of the U.S. position in the region — a connection which, of course, is completely evident to any casual observer of Middle East — marks what can only be considered a major breakthrough in the debate over the relationship between the United States and Israel.

      http://www.lobelog.com/petraeus-confirms-link-between-israel-palestine-and-u-s-security/

      does stupid AA behavior justify AAs supporting the current status quo of AAs being treated like political lepers?

      I would say, “No.” I’m never going to support the notion that it’s okay—or it supports AAs’ interests—for Crossover Negro Politicians to treat AA voters as if we have cooties. This sort of insulting behavior might support the career aspirations of various Crossover Negro candidates, but it does nothing to benefit AA voters. So, I don’t support that. No matter how stupid the AA collective is, I will never support people cutting our collective throats.

      You said,“I know this may be painful to think about, but how exactly are AAs as a group valuable to the U.S.? We’re not allied with any other country, let alone one that supplies the U.S. with anything. Where’s our leverage?”

      I believe the negative example of the Jewish collective’s impact on US policy shows that it’s not about actual value, it’s about LEVERAGE. America’s blind support of Israel is a major liability, and yet we support them. We act against our own national interests by doing this because of the LEVERAGE the Jewish collect has and uses to their benefit. Which is their right in a competitive world.

      If AAs would get our heads screwed on straight, AAs could develop leverage. You noted this when you said, “Some have said that the smartest thing that AAs could do politically is form a political party because then we could swing certain elections. That would command respect. As we are now, our votes will always be taken for granted, if we vote at all. Even with that, AAs would have to be savvy, aggressive, and ruthless enough to make demands and enact penalties.”

      In the realm of politics, the first step to getting our minds right would be for AAs to STOP celebrating being spit on and shunned by Crossover Negro Politicians. To STOP thinking that it’s a shrewd strategy to support the politicians who treat us like we have cooties. That behavior of ours is incredibly sick, self-hating, and self-disrespecting when one really thinks about it. Nobody except AAs agrees to being shunned and treated as if they have cooties.

      What kind of help could Pres. Obama give to AAs? The same help that the government currently gives to the Mormons in Utah and the Jewish collective

      You said, “Also, what exact type of special help do AAs need that a president could supply? Presidential policies impact everybody, not just AAs.”

      I want the same dollar figure of US tax dollars Barry Obama gives to the Jews in Israel/Palestine given to AA-owned and operated entities (schools, businesses, and other institutions) that are acting in alignment with PowerNomics principles as described by Dr. Claud Anderson. I’m NOT saying funnel this money through anybody and everybody who is Black-skinned. I’m referring to this support ONLY being given to AA entities that are following the principles that Dr. Anderson laid out in his book PowerNomics. The Mormons and Jews have already been using principles similar to PowerNomics to advance their groups’ interests.

      Dr. Anderson has talked at length about AAs’ inappropriate, disorganized, and self-destructive collective behavior. I would suggest that folks start by reading an issue of his Harvest Institute’s newsletter.
      http://www.harvestinstitute.org/newsletter-fall-2005.pdf

      [Also, for those who are interested, there are a number of YouTube videos featuring him.]

      We always assume that US tax dollars doing for AAs what those same tax dollars are already doing for other specific, AFFLUENT groups like the Jews and Mormons is automatically unconstitutional. Quiet as its kept, lots of government money is flowing through Mormon and Jewish hands and institutions in places like Utah and New York City, and Israel/Palestine.

      As rich as the Mormon church is, and as much as they tout their supposed lack of involvement in taking handouts, there are a number of married Mormons who are quite happy to use welfare. Just like any inner-city, unwed, single mother AA welfare queen. And not just the Mormon splinter groups that still openly practice polygamy and have around a dozen kids per family. See the discussion at this link. http://www.mormonmentality.org/2007/06/05/married-mormon-graduate-students-on-welfare-is-it-right.htm

      The reality is that no, right now AAs are NOT sufficiently organized to take advantage of government monies as effectively as other collectives such as the Mormons and Jews do. However, our collective lack of readiness and dare I say madness does NOT mean that it’s wrong for us to want the same reciprocity that other groups get in exchange for their political support. If we wanted to, AAs could start making moves to get into a position of leverage. Individually and collectively.

      But we’ll never do that as long as we’re chanting insane, self-defeating mantras such as “Obama is the President for all the people. He ‘can’t’ do anything specific for AAs. He ‘shouldn’t do anything specific for AAs. We ‘shouldn’t demand anything that specifically benefits us.” NOBODY else is saying stuff like that—these other groups make sure that they get theirs (and more!) from anybody who’s running for office.

      Expect Success!

      • ZooPath says:

        Khadija: Will you please run for some type of office or get into some type of prominent academic position? People would be saying Cornel West, who? I mean seriously…I just love the way you think. Reading your blog has helped me think more strategically and feel like I’m better prepared to deal with complex power situations. And I agree with the main thrust of your post that just because we don’t ahve our *ish together doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t demand accountability from politicians we invest in. Sigh…I just wish there were libertarian candidates that I could vote for this election cycle. No such luck.

        • ZooPath,

          Thank you for your kind words; I truly appreciate it. But no, I don’t have the temperament or interest in becoming a tv talking head. Not in ANY capacity. Cornel West, Dr. Julianne Malveaux, and the politicians can have all of that. {chuckling}

          Expect Success!

  31. Evia says:

    However, our collective lack of readiness and dare I say madness does NOT mean that it’s wrong for us to want the same reciprocity that other groups get in exchange for their political support. If we wanted to, AAs could start making moves to get into a position of leverage. Individually and collectively.

    I don’t think it’s wrong to WANT anything. It’s about being or getting into the position to GET it which means convincing and applying force of various types if necessary to others to give it up. Where are the MEN among AAs to do this? Should AA women take this on–battling men in other groups over resources? Again, where are the MEN? It’s usually MEN who force concessions from other men.

    I honestly think that typical AA women already are seriously overburdened, wearing too many hats, and not even able to live their lives fully as normal women, as it is, i.e. Dorothy Height. That being said, the opportunities are there for those AA women who want to go this route. I would imagine some are already doing it–becoming power brokers.

    Insofar as Israel is concerned, some at the higher level of the U.S. government have apparently decided that Israel is valuable for whatever reason. I don’t have a horse in that race.

    Anyway, great discussion with much to think about.

    • Evia,

      You said, “I don’t think it’s wrong to WANT anything. It’s about being or getting into the position to GET it which means convincing and applying force of various types if necessary to others to give it up. Where are the MEN among AAs to do this? Should AA women take this on–battling men in other groups over resources? Again, where are the MEN? It’s usually MEN who force concessions from other men.”

      Ooooh, guurl…no…I’m in NO way suggesting that AA women take up any responsibility for this—or any other “homework assignment” in support of AA’s collective interests. Each individual AA woman needs to focus on getting her OWN nest feathered. Bump the collective—it’s already dead. And will remain dead because AA men are not going to do anything to resurrect it.

      In that end, AA women need to stop doing or saying things that cut our own throats. What I am saying is that I believe AA women need to stop repeating slogans that serve to cut our own throats. To

      1-Stop saying that it’s somehow wrong for any AA voter to want reciprocity from Barry Obama or the rest of those crossover creatures.

      2-Stop saying that it’s a hip political idea for AA voters to support politicians who treat us as if we have cooties.

      3-Stop talking about how Barry is the President for everybody, and therefore AAs shouldn’t want any specific help from his Administration.

      To me, all of the above is in the same category of slogans that are suicidal for AA women such as “help a brotha out…etc.” This is all that I’m saying here.

      As far as Israel/Palestine, I don’t care what any of them do to each other. I have NO affection for either side of that conflict. There’s NO love lost between me and any of them. I haven’t forgotten or forgiven the bad advice (“do as we say and not as we do—don’t seek to form your own stuff because that’s ‘separatism'”) our Jewish “allies” gave AAs during the civil rights movement. I also haven’t forgotten how many of them were the parasitical slum merchants in AA slums during previous decades.

      Similarly, I haven’t forgotten or forgiven the Palestinians and other Arabs for currently being parasitical Immigrant Muslim Merchants of Death who sell drug paraphernalia, marijuana cigarette rolling papers, pork and liquor in AA slums.

      Expect Success!

    • Robynne says:

      “Insofar as Israel is concerned, some at the higher level of the U.S. government have apparently decided that Israel is valuable for whatever reason. I don’t have a horse in that race.”

      Oil. If the Middle East wasn’t the producer of such a valuable geostrategic resource, I doubt there would be that much pandering to Israel. It’s a base from which the US can take care of its geostrategic interest in oil production. Plus, it also helps that Jews are within the top 2% in terms of the wealthiest Americans, and they do give generously to political candidates so as to effect US foreign policy in their favour. The string is that the politicians dance to AIPAC/Israel’s will.

  32. Evia says:

    Khadija, I hear what you’re saying, but I’ve personally never invested in Obama, so I honestly don’t pay much attention to him–since there’s no investment. I totally and sincerely hope that he and his family are fine, but other than that, I haven’t followed his career or his policies. I don’t consider what he does to be of direct importance to me–as an INDIVIDUAL AA woman or my family–as long as his policies uphold my constitutional rights.

    1-Stop saying that it’s somehow wrong for any AA voter to want reciprocity from Barry Obama or the rest of those crossover creatures.

    I’m always in favor of reciprocity since I’ve waved that flag forever, but I take a practical stance and advise “cut the cord or cut throats” if necessary to GET reciprocity–not simply WANT it.

    2-Stop saying that it’s a hip political idea for AA voters to support politicians who treat us as if we have cooties.

    I barely even discuss politics. However, the main reason you won’t catch me discussing politics with AAs is because when it comes to AA uplift, I know that without the RUCOSS (reasonably uplifting culture of some sort), nothing significant is going to change for the masses of AAs. If I were to ever become interested in politics or a politician, I would run on the RUCOSS Political Party platform. LOL! If a candidate were to step forth with that platform, I would passionately support the person. Other than that, I can’t whip up any real interest. So, I just stated why I PERSONALLY voted for Obama.

    3-Stop talking about how Barry is the President for everybody, and therefore AAs shouldn’t want any specific help from his Administration.

    I hear various AAs angrily/emotionally allude to some sort of specific help that AAs should get from Obama, but if someone were to put a gun to my head, I wouldn’t be able to specify what that is. If I ever got involved with the RUCOSS political party, I would demand specifics because I’m a specifics type of person. However, I simply can’t think of any specifics at this point.

  33. T says:

    Just finished reading Shelby Steele’s “The Content of our Character.” A lot of what he talks about is paralleled here with these conversations. Instead of depending on the government, personal development gurus, preachers, etc. to point AA’s to the path of opportunity, it is by and large up to us as individuals to do the hard work. And hard work is hardly glamorous or easy.

  34. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I voted for Barack Obama for one reason and one reason only: Healthcare. I figured Hillary had already taken her shot at it and lost and maybe some new blood would have a better chance. I knew it would be an ugly fight, and frankly wouldn’t have bet in his favor, but somehow he got it done. Is it everything I wanted? No, but then I didn’t expect that either, I understand the forces of the corpocracy and the compromises that would have to be made.

    Call me selfish and self-absorbed, but I had no health insurance of any kind. Due to pre-existing conditions I couldn’t get it at ANY PRICE. Not even catastrophic coverage with a 20k deductible. Seeing as how I ran the risk of bankrupting my family, having some type of coverage was crucial to me. I frankly wasn’t particularly interested in what he did other than healthcare, and I was pretty sure he wouldn’t be as bad as the McCain/Palin ticket. I now have health insurance. Far as I’m concerned the man kept his promise to me. Just as I felt about Clinton, his relationship with his wife is his business. If she’s cool with it, so am I. He’s the president, not my husband. If other folk have beef with him so be it, but since I wasn’t expecting anything Messianic, I do not.

  35. Evia,

    My main point regarding Barry Obama is that the manner in which AAs are justifying their emotional-frenzy-based idol worship of him—

    —DESPITE his shunning of AAs’ issues and voters and refusal to offer reciprocity—

    —is cutting our collective throats.

    Specifically, I want AA women to STOP saying the 3 suicidal slogans that I mentioned previously. [1-Stop saying that it’s somehow wrong for any AA voter to want reciprocity from Barry Obama or the rest of those crossover creatures. 2-Stop saying that it’s a hip political idea for AA voters to support politicians who treat us as if we have cooties. 3-Stop talking about how Barry is the President for everybody, and therefore AAs shouldn’t want any specific help from his Administration.]

    When AAs say this madness, they are saying that they support AA voters being ignored (to death in the case of folks in New Orleans) by politicians. That’s the wrong answer. And it serves to cut all of our collective throats as AA voters.
    ___________________________________________________

    T,

    Shelby Steele opposes affirmative action. Affirmative action is what helped protect AAs’ access to higher education. Access to higher education is what lifted many AAs out of poverty. Therefore, Shelby Steele is a traitor and a Tom. Despite the fact that even a stopped clock is factually correct twice a day, I don’t support any statement said by bootlicking traitors like Shelby Steele—his motives are all wrong. He says these things to curry favor with racist Whites. Not because he has any affection for AAs or concern for our wellbeing. He doesn’t.

    He especially doesn’t have any affection for us since he wants to destroy the processes that were put in place to remedy our legitimate grievances of slavery and Jim Crow.

    The other thing that I dislike about Black Conservatives in general is how they appropriate for themselves the arguments and language of Black Nationalist patriarchs like Marcus Garvey and Elijah Muhammad, but they deliberately and dishonestly OMIT half of the equation.

    The Black Nationalist patriarchs always stressed self-reliance, character, and AAs “doing for self” and not begging the government for anything. However they ALSO mentioned that part of the reason why self-reliance was/is necessary for AAs is because there are White racists out there that want us all to suffer in poverty, serve as minimally-paid labor, starve, and die!

    It’s uncanny how bootlicking Negro Conservatives NEVER seem to mention that “little” detail. They never mention that some of their White overlords, patrons, and wives!—HATE AAs in general and would like to see most of us disappear. With the limited exception of their few AA pets and mascots. A lot of modern-day Archie Bunkers—err, Tea Party supporters—are nostalgic for Jim Crow to come back. The Negro Conservatives never seem to notice this.
    _________________________________

    Roslyn,

    Not that anybody else needs my approval for anything, but what you articulated is cool and sensible. YOU got something of value out of Barry’s Administration. Something that’s helping to feather your nest. That’s cool. Many of us didn’t get anything at all. Or anything that we didn’t already have before Barry.

    My issue is as I’ve stated above. The specious arguments that AA Obama-ssiah worshippers are using to justify their support of their idol serve to cut ALL of our throats as AA voters. The Obama-ssiah worshippers are normalizing the idea that AAs should support politicians who treat us as if we have cooties. They’re also spreading the meme that any AA voter who wants reciprocity is unreasonable or is looking for a politician to serve as their messiah.

    I say “NO!” to all of that. Regardless of our dysfunctions and flaws, AAs are just as entitled as everybody else to want reciprocity from the politicians that we vote for! Personally, I want AAs to get what the Jews and Mormons get. Nobody calls what the Jews and Mormons get from the US government “messianic.” Somehow, everybody accepts this state of affairs as normal. Meanwhile, we the AAs whose ancestors were forced to build this country think it’s wrong for us to want recprocity from the government officials we help elect. That’s crazy.

    The fact that we aren’t currently organized to be able to take from the US government like these other 2 groups doesn’t mean that it’s wrong to want that. If it’s okay for them to get what they get from the US government, then it’s equally okay for us to want the same.

    Expect Success!

  36. **Let me emphasize one underlying point here**

    Let me emphasize that I’m NOT saying any of this from a moralizing, “life should be fair” perspective. I’m not talking ethics or morality here. I’m speaking in terms of practical matters; most of all in terms of self-interest. My only measure of Barry and other crossover creatures, the poverty pimps, or any other politician is, “What’s in it for me or mine to support X-person or X-policy?”

    I can go along with a venal opportunist as long as the opportunist is winning victories that ALSO bring benefit to me and mine! In fact, I’ll probably do a future post about my favorite opportunist anti-hero, Talleyrand. Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord was the ultimate political survivor during turbulent, life-threatening times. He managed to survive AND exploit FOUR very different political regimes in France: the Ancien Régime, the French Revolution, Napoleon, and the Restoration. What I admire about Talleyrand is that while doing various masterfully cynical things, he managed to serve his own interests AND those of his own people (France).

    Meanwhile, the Black opportunists that AAs blindly support (Colin Powell, Condoleeze Rice, Barry O.) serve themselves WHILE cutting the rest of our throats as AAs. We give frenzied, emotional support to the Black-skinned people who oppose the very things that lifted many of our families out of poverty (such as Republican Negroes’ opposition against affirmative action), or who ignore us (Barry Obama and other crossover creatures). How crazy can we be?

    Here are some quotes from Talleyrand, to get the flavor of what he was about.

    Describing himself:
    “Regimes may fall and fail, but I do not.”

    With the 1830 revolutions going on and the tricolour raised over Notre Dame, he said, “We are triumphing!”
    He was asked, “Who are we?”
    “Quiet! Not a word. I will tell you tomorrow,” was the reply. [Khadija speaking: In other words, he was going to get with whoever won. “We” are always with the winner. {chuckling}]

    “Treason is a matter of dates.”, referring to Alexander’s rapprochement with Napoleon in 1807, when the former had signed the collaborative Treaty of Tilsit.

    So, my issue isn’t with pragmatism or cynical opportunism. My issue is that what AAs mistakenly call “pragmatism” or “being shrewd” is actually them being stupid and being played. For anybody to support THEIR interests and THEMSELVES being ignored is the height of stupidity. To take your own interests OFF the table is suicidal and always the wrong answer.

    A person with normal self-preservation instincts will always keep THEIR interests ON the table. Even when this means redefining their interests as “everybody’s” interests. Jewish-Americans have done a masterful job of doing this. They’ve managed to convince many Americans that their interests as Jews and Israel’s interests as a foreign country are somehow synonymous with US interests. Even though they’re not the same, and in fact there’s a huge divergence.

    A simple question that demonstrates this: How does it benefit Americans to p*ss off most of the planet’s oil-producing countries in order to blindly support a country that has NO oil or other valuable resources? Keep in mind, the US economy can’t currently function without this oil.

    They’ve woven their spell so masterfully that very few people question this state of affairs. Meanwhile, the descendants of those who built this country and its fabulous wealth are convincing themselves that it’s wrong and naive for them to even want anything back in reciprocity. Amazing…

    Expect Success!

  37. YMB says:

    All of this ties in with the need for BW to examine whether they are receiving reciprocity in ALL areas of their lives. B. Obama and the rest of the cross-over politicians, and Democrats in general are ever ready to throw AAs under the bus all the while demanding and relying on our support– just as BM do with BW. There is a huge difference between noting that Obama has treated AAs as a liability and done nothing to advance our interests all while feeling entitled to our support merely because he is a Black Democrat and the “lesser evil”.

    I have already been sent videos about how all of the Republican and tea party boogeymen are voting. These types of ads show that clearly the Democratic party needs and wants AA (and LBGT) votes. AAs are one of their core voter groups and they need us. However, they also think our only options are to vote for them or not at all, so they spend their time trying to engender good will with other groups (Supreme Court nominees to placate (white)women and Hispanic voters…interference with Arizona’s immigration law- again to curry favor with Hispanic voters).

    I don’t think anyone in this forum expected Obama to be the great savior of all black people. But why should we give support to any candidate who NEEDS our support and then refuses to do anything at all to benefit us, and snaps at the suggestion that he should even consider doing so? No, no one gets to rely on any of my resources, be it my vote or political contributions, and then take my support for granted and treat me like I have “political cooties”.

    An example of one specific thing he could have done that would have helped AAs would have been to not give new funding to the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program, the Federal program which gives money to local law enforcement entities for drug convictions. Numerous scandals, including the one in Texas depicted in the film, American Violet, have shown that this program leads to AAs being targeted for fraudulent drug charges. Even George Bush cut funding from this program and tried to phase it out during his presidency.

  38. YMB, THANK YOU for tying it all together better than I could! 🙂

    You said, “All of this ties in with the need for BW to examine whether they are receiving reciprocity in ALL areas of their lives. B. Obama and the rest of the cross-over politicians, and Democrats in general are ever ready to throw AAs under the bus all the while demanding and relying on our support– just as BM do with BW. There is a huge difference between noting that Obama has treated AAs as a liability and done nothing to advance our interests all while feeling entitled to our support merely because he is a Black Democrat and the “lesser evil”.

    That’s my point: various entities (such as AA men and the Democratic Party) NEED Black women, but then they scornfully neglect, use, and abuse BW! And then BW start talking about various “reasons” why BW should be okay with that; and why it’s “unreasonable” to want/expect better than that for themselves.

    You said, “These types of ads show that clearly the Democratic party needs and wants AA (and LBGT) votes. AAs are one of their core voter groups and they need us. However, they also think our only options are to vote for them or not at all, so they spend their time trying to engender good will with other groups (Supreme Court nominees to placate (white)women and Hispanic voters…interference with Arizona’s immigration law- again to curry favor with Hispanic voters).”

    How this tracks with how the masses of AA men collectively treat AA women:

    BM, for self-serving reasons, like to promote the idea that AA women have no options other than being mistreated and exploited by BM or to be alone. Right now as we speak, various AA men and their BF enablers are busy using propaganda trying to convince AA women that we “can’t” walk away from AA men and get what we want (marriage) from a “third party”—nonblack men in the global village. Evia warned about this propaganda in a recent post.

    You said, “I don’t think anyone in this forum expected Obama to be the great savior of all black people. But why should we give support to any candidate who NEEDS our support and then refuses to do anything at all to benefit us, and snaps at the suggestion that he should even consider doing so? No, no one gets to rely on any of my resources, be it my vote or political contributions, and then take my support for granted and treat me like I have “political cooties”.

    That’s all I’m saying. AA women should apply this principle across the board. Especially with the folks who NEED us but then want to scornfully neglect and abuse us!

    Expect Success!

    • Evia says:

      Khadija, obviously, some here think that Obama has gotten over on them–got their vote and didn’t pay back. Of course, that’s a terrible feeling. But if and when I don’t get what I want from someone, I withhold whatever they need from me until they realize that the door must swing both ways. Period. If they never realize it, they don’t ever get my support again. I never change my mind about that. There would be no benefit to me for me to change my mind about that.

      Maybe, I’m cynical, but I call it being realistic. I do not have faith in the current political system of this country. So I don’t expect much from it at all.

      The bottom line is that NO ONE has to vote for ANYONE and maybe blacks who are likely to get angry about the lack of return/reciprocity shouldn’t vote at all for anyone BECAUSE AAs in general currently have no way to force politicians to pay back. Not voting is a personal decision, however.

      AAs are not organized and everyone knows that. AAs hoop and holler, as you pointed out, but everyone knows that after all of the emotionalism, AAs ALWAYS calm down. AAs implode; they don’t explode and make life miserable for others who shortchange them.

      Likewise, when it comes to getting reciprocity from AA men, any typical AA woman who I’ve ever encountered can simply stop doing anything for that AA man or men. I’ve preached about withholding support and help from AA men of all types for years! But for some reason, SOME AA women will NOT stop supporting/helping/defending/excusing AA men, and some will not stop supporting/excusing Obama, yet continue to complain about them!!!!!!

      AA women can simply walk away from AA men and they can walk away from Obama. They do not have to support these men. I personally will NEVER support, mingle with, marry, or be with anyone in anyway who I KNOW is using, shortchanging, and/or abusing me or not giving me a good return on my investment because that would drain me of resources of various types AND cause me to lose respect for myself. And when you lose self-respect, you have nothing left, IMO. So I would rather be alone, or in this case–NEVER vote for anyone, or in my romantic life–never have a man, husband, etc.

      I advocate in virtually every essay I write that other bw would do well to have that policy too, however, this a personal choice for each woman.

      The only reason why other groups like the Jews, etc. get a return on their investment is because they are organized and will combine their will and their money to do the equivalent of cutting throats if they don’t get a return on their investment. And politicians KNOW this.

      Another thing about this that irks me is that so many AAs constantly complain about how this and that “ain’t right” yet will run like heck and/or come up with all kinds of FANTABULOUS (LOL!)excuses when anyone expects ACTION from them. I’ve noticed that this is common among AAs. Due to fragile egos, distrust, inability to communicate with each other, etc., things like organizing, cooperating with each other to accomplish group goals, obligation, commitment, and as you’ve mentioned being responsible, disciplined, etc. are like curse words to many typical AAs. YET, they want everything that other groups have. This is yet another type of magical thinking.

      Ladies, do yourselves a favor and save yourself a lot of disappointment and stress. STOP supporting people who don’t reciprocate because after you finish complaining, nothing will have changed. Remember “Life is not fair” so just because you do something nice for someone else does NOT mean they will do the same for you.

      • Evia,

        I agree! {proudly waving the reciprocity banner :-)}

        [Personally, I’m going to actively seek out third party candidates that I can support. No more “lesser evilism” for me. I’m not thrilled about the idea of AAs simply passively sitting out all elections. That’s the political equivalent of leaving money on the table. Without breaking a sweat, those of us who feel as I do can take small, comfy actions to create having a viable 3rd party—therefore a real choice—in the future.]

        Expect Success!

  39. **A Question For Pres. Obama’s AA Supporters To Consider–Is Your Emotional Wellbeing Severely Impacted By HIS Political Victories/Losses?**

    In other words, how strung out will you be if (when?) he’s not reelected? Or suffers other political defeats?

    Unlike his AA supporters, other constituent groups that supported Pres. Obama’s election are not inclined to reward him or the other Democrats for ignoring and “triangulating” around their concerns. Gays and lesbians are one such constituent group. I’ve been noting the number of news stories detailing their displeasure with Pres. Obama and the resulting odds of them letting the Democrats continue their freefall in the polls in the upcoming election. I’ve been watching the “angry gay voters might punish the Democrats” meme spread in the online media.
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101024/ap_on_el_ge/us_gay_voters

    Far too many AAs are much too emotionally wrapped up into Pres. Obama. This sets them up emotionally to be totally demoralized and crushed if and when he suffers political defeats. His defeats become their defeats. This sort of TOTAL identification with a politican—any politician or leader—is not healthy or wise. The dangers of this sort of thing came up during a conversation at the first blog that took place right after his election.

    [Reader,]

    What you’ve described is a very old, very effective slave-breaking technique. Take the most-admired slave and build him up by granting him “special” favors for a while. Then make an example out of him by destroying him in front of the other slaves.

    This leaves the surviving slaves TOTALLY demoralized, beaten, and broken. All because they invested themselves into a person and NOT a plan for escape!

    Thank you for breaking this down. This could very well be the most important point to be made about the dangers of the Obama-ssiah phenomenon.

    . . . It shocks me that there are a LOT of Black folks who have already forgotten about Condi’s shoe shopping spree. It shocks me that there are a LOT of Black folks who never knew about Wilson Goode’s crimes against humanity.

    These 2 bad precedents (and others) are extremely relevant to any evaluation of any additional 1st/prominent Blacks. These bad precedents really should serve as cautionary tales of one reason why we need to STOP emotionally investing in these cosmetic, symbolic breakthroughs.

    There is also the grave danger that these extreme emotional investments lead to masses of Black folks having their spirits broken when the 1st Black/prominent Black is destroyed by Whites.

    Like I noted above, this pattern is a very old, very effective slave-breaking technique. Since whatever we’re doing is based on the presence of the 1st/prominent Black, our entire program (such as it is) falls apart when that 1st/prominent Black is neutralized.

    I believe that these are the sort of matters that more of us need to be contemplating, as opposed to frolicking in our mass delirium while our collective circumstances remain the same or get worse.

    (emphasis added)

    Expect Success!

    • mochachoc says:

      This is an important question. Many Black people outside of the US also have an emotional investment in President Obama. And I foresee many dashed dreams should he not be re-elected. I saw a lot of BM walking around as if they were untouchable when Pres. Obama was elected. I hesitate to say this as I am not an American but perhaps BW need to also prepare for the time when Michelle Obama will no longer be there as a symbolic hope. Don’t get me wrong her presence is important but I hope we haven’t pegged all that we hope to be on Michelle Obama. We have a small window of opportunity to cash in. Hope this make’s sense.

    • Mochachoc,

      You said, “This is an important question. Many Black people outside of the US also have an emotional investment in President Obama. And I foresee many dashed dreams should he not be re-elected.”

      I’m not surprised to hear that. The last time I saw something approaching this degree of personal identification with a politician was AAs regarding Mayor Washington in Chicago. It was not a pretty picture when he passed away.

      The other thing his untimely passing demonstrated was how fragile AAs’ progress in Chicago was. It was fragile because it was all based on him as an individual being present. It wasn’t based on building an infrastructure that could carry on with or without his personal presence. This is why many of his accomplishments in terms of opening city contracts to AAs have disappeared in the years since his death. It’s almost as if he was never there (in some ways).

      You said, “I hesitate to say this as I am not an American but perhaps BW need to also prepare for the time when Michelle Obama will no longer be there as a symbolic hope. Don’t get me wrong her presence is important but I hope we haven’t pegged all that we hope to be on Michelle Obama. We have a small window of opportunity to cash in. Hope this make’s sense.”

      Oh, what you said makes perfect sense. I saw how ephemeral progress can be after Mayor Washington died. In many ways, too many Black folks are emotionally living vicariously through the Obamas. Instead of seeking our own personal victories as individuals. The same could specifically be said in terms of BW and Michelle Obama. Which leads to some other questions folks might consider:

      What happens to BW’s self-esteem if Pres. Obama is revealed to have cheated on Michelle O.?

      Particularly if he is revealed to have cheated on Michelled O. with a WW (as Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. was recently revealed to have done)?

      Like I said, this degree of personal identification is not healthy or wise. It sets up a number of Black folks to be crushed when their Obama-idols are forcibly brought back to Earth.

      Expect Success!

  40. I assumed that healthcare would cost Obama re-election and cost the Democrats the House, if not the Senate. The only thing I didn’t calculate was that Pelosi would stand firm when faced with the specter of losing her position. She REALLY likes being Speaker. I think when the Republicans started calling healthcare Obama’s Waterloo they got her back up. Presumably this was intentional. Her response still surprised me. Anyway, I chose Obama over Hillary because I know the Clintons very well, and they’re ruthlessly pragmatic. If something costs too much, they’re far more likely to fold (Which they did before). Being of the pragmatic bent myself, normally I like this in a politician, but healthcare reform was going to require someone who was willing to fall on their sword for it. I banked on Obama being too politically inexperienced to back down when the cost got too high. And that’s exactly what he did.

    I don’t think the Republicans have a chance in Hades of overturning healthcare reform, primarily because Americans aren’t big on giving up something once they have it, but it’s still a calculated risk. I also think the Republicans will do what they always do which is hang themselves by going too far to the right. I don’t think we’re going to be out of the recession anytime within the next decade, and that being the case, there’s a good chance of the Democrats getting the House back in 2012. To my mind the presidency isn’t nearly as important as the House. After all, the House is where the money is.

    I haven’t seen a third party yet that particularly held my interest. Too idealistic, and not pragmatic enough for my taste.

  41. Roslyn,

    You said, “I haven’t seen a third party yet that particularly held my interest. Too idealistic, and not pragmatic enough for my taste.”

    Pragmatism can be helpful. My issue is with what many (most?) AAs mistakenly call “pragmatism.” What they call pragmatism is actually surrender.

    Also, I notice that what too many self-described “pragmatic” AAs think is possible—or even appropriate for AAs to seek—from the politicians they elect is getting smaller with each year that passes. We’ve reached the point that most AA voters are actually okay with being treated as if they have cooties. All for the dubious pleasure of seeing a Black face in a high place. {shaking my head}

    Expect Success!

  42. geekgrl says:

    HI Khadija,

    Just wanted to say thanks for the link. I’ve been having fun digging through the archives!

  43. Faith says:

    There has been such great commentary from the reader’s dialog. The only thing I have to add is I think a distinction should be made from Baptist churches (not all which engage in the “falling” out antics described) and the Pentecostal and/or Holiness churches which 99.99999% of the time DO have its members “catching the Holy Ghost”. I was traumatized when taken to one of those types of services as a child and had adults mad at me for not wanting to go back, but I preferred the Lutheran church on my block. Here’s the other caveat/issue. Some of the other denominations (like a more traditional Catholic church with it’s service in Latin or the lack of diversity did not appeal to me after a certai age. I didn’t like attending segregated churches but the ones with a majority white congregation didn’t have a good enough choir! Finding just the right combo has always been a challenge. Of course I want to learn something and not simply be entertained but I don’t want a staid, formal environment either. I realize how as my relationship with myself continues to evolve, so does my spiritual one and I still haven’t find that fit that’s “just right”.

  44. Hello Geekgrl,

    You said, “Just wanted to say thanks for the link. I’ve been having fun digging through the archives!”

    Me too! I’ve also been enjoying the archives at The Salty Droid. [And the droid is quite salty, indeed! :-)] He’s more focused on blasting internet marketing scam artists, but there’s a certain amount of overlap with the negative side of the self-help industry. He’s done a number of scathing posts about people being victimized by some “New Wage” gurus like James (“Death Ray”) Ray.
    _______________________________________

    Faith,

    You said, “The only thing I have to add is I think a distinction should be made from Baptist churches (not all which engage in the “falling” out antics described) and the Pentecostal and/or Holiness churches which 99.99999% of the time DO have its members “catching the Holy Ghost”.”

    Thank you for pointing out this distinction. Like I mentioned earlier when describing my own biases, my immediate family is Catholic, so I’m not familiar with the distinctions between various (Black) Protestant churches or practices.

    And let me repeat something I mentioned earlier: There’s a place for ecstatic forms of worship, politics, etc. Like I’ve said all along, pep rallies do serve a limited purpose. The problem is that everything AAs do as a group revolves around various types of pep rallies. That’s unbalanced, unhealthy, and unwise. These short-term emotional highs don’t lead to lasting change.

    Expect Success!

  45. ak says:

    I wish I could add some more but I’m studying accounting at the moment but trust me Khadija I’m reading along though!

  46. Pat says:

    Not too long ago I saw a woman that I had not seen in years. She asked oh so you are not married with kids yet? I said no. She said well what are you waiting for? I said that I want to be married before I had kids. She yelled “bullsh*t” why dont you just get pregnant by someone? I was sooooo offended.

    Society blames men for these oow kids but the ghetto way to have babies is to just “get pregnant by someone”. So even though some of these guys dont want to have kids, the women get pregnant by them anyway because they want to have kids and see no prospects for a man who will love them and want to have kids by them in the near future. This is very desperate. Dont get me wrong these guys are usually DBR but the women play a part in it too.

    So now you just had a baby by a DBR negro who does not love you, who did not want a baby and probably has other kids that he did not want. It is an ongoing cycle. I bet that that is how half of these atheletes came into the world.

    • T says:

      Pat and everyone,

      I had someone ask me this very same question and even suggested that I “just get pregnant and have a baby”-with any ol’ black man. Really? I did not offer a response to this suggestion; I was too offended and flabbergasted at the thought of doing something that random and that irresponsible. I am not about to bring one more DBR individual in the world just because I “should” have kids. This same person had two kids by a man who did not want to provide for her or the kids, so she would be the last person counseling me or anyone else to do the very same thing. I was going to ask her in my snarky Dr. Phil way, “how’s that working out for you?” But I did not want to engage her in her own nonsense without myself being dragged down with her.