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Saturday August 19th 2017

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Medical cannabis law changes clarify use in health care facilities

Medical marijuana news in Minnesota.

Minnesota Department of Health

Minnesota Department of Health

Certification and registration starts June 1

Media inquiries: Scott Smith – MDH Communications, Phone: 651-201-5806

During the final days of the 2015 regular legislative session, state lawmakers amended Minnesota’s medical cannabis statute to address patients’ use of medical cannabis in hospitals and other health care facilities.

The amendment extends protections and immunities to employees of health care facilities to possess medical cannabis while carrying out their employment duties. These protections include providing care or distributing medical cannabis to a patient on the Minnesota medical cannabis patient registry who is actively receiving treatment or care at the facility. The amendment also allows health care facilities to reasonably restrict the use of medical cannabis by patients. For example, the facility may choose not store or maintain a patient’s supply of medical cannabis or that use of medical cannabis may be limited to a specific location.

With certification and registration beginning Monday, June 1, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has added informational resources on the Medical Cannabis website (mn.gov/medicalcannabis) to help Minnesota patients better understand their options under the state’s new medical cannabis program.

June 1 is the first day that the registration process can start,” said Assistant Commissioner Manny Munson-Regala. ”While there is no time limit on when patients can register, this is a good time for patients and practitioners to start having the conversation about medical cannabis.”

An essential first step for those patients interested in medical cannabis is to visit a health care practitioner – a doctor, nurse practitioner or physician assistant – who can go to the MDH website and certify they have one or more of the qualifying conditions. Once a provider certifies a patient, the patient can register at the MDH website to receive medical cannabis at one of the locations established by manufacturers after the program goes live July 1.

Practitioners voluntarily choose whether to certify patients. Patients may have to seek a second opinion if their practitioner declines to participate. Patients also need to consider the potential out-of-pocket costs, which could be hundreds of dollars a month. Minnesota insurers do not cover medical cannabis.

Under the law passed in 2014, patients with the following conditions qualify for medical cannabis in Minnesota:

  • Cancer associated with severe/chronic pain, nausea  or severe vomiting, or cachexia or severe wasting
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Tourette Syndrome
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy
  • Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis.
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Terminal illness, with a life expectancy of less than one year, if the illness or treatment produces severe/chronic pain, nausea or severe vomiting, cachexia or severe wasting

Minnesota plans to have eight Cannabis Patient Centers across the state. The first ones will open July 1 in Minneapolis, Eagan and St. Cloud. Additional locations in Rochester, Eden Prairie, St. Paul, Hibbing and Moorhead will open in the following months. After completing the registration process, patients can visit a cannabis patient center to receive medical cannabis. Patients meet with a pharmacist to determine the correct dose of medication.

-MDH-

 

Military Families’ Reliance On Food Stamps Hit A Record High

I wish someone could explain to me why our military personnel need food stamps.

I wish someone could explain to me why our military personnel need food stamps.

Editors note: DOD-run stores, known as commissaries, sell food to active-duty and retired military personnel and their families at prices that are lower than what private grocers charge. Nearly $104 million of the $6.2 billion in total revenue the commissaries brought in during fiscal year 2013 came from food stamps.  Food stamp usage at the stores has more than quadrupled since 2007 as the recession compounded the already difficult financial situation faced by military families. New soldiers with a child and a spouse earn $20,000 per year in pay, according to CNN Money, and the frequent relocations and disruptions inherent to the lifestyle of a military family make it harder for military spouses to find jobs and bring in supplementary income. The unemployment rate for young military spouses was 30 percent in 2012. Retired military servicemen and women who joined up after 9/11 have a 10 percent unemployment rate, which also contributes to the elevated food stamp figures at DOD commissaries, and nearly a million working-age veterans lived in poverty in 2010.

The following is from MPR by Krissy Clark:

growing number of working people use food stamps to help make ends meet. Often they work in retail, food and service industry jobs, where pay is traditionally low. But there’s another group of working people turning to food stamps that might surprise you: active-duty military personnel and their families.

What do we know about food stamp use in the military?
 
Every year the Department of Agriculture publishes data about where food stamp benefits (officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) are being spent. The categories range from grocery stores and super stores to convenience stores and farmers markets. Also on the list, surprisingly, are military commissaries — those stores on military bases that sell groceries just above cost to active duty and retired military personnel and their families, as well as those in the reserves and National Guard.
In 2014 more than $84 million-worth of food stamp benefits were spent at military commissaries. That’s just a fraction of a percent of all the food stamps spent in the U.S. last year. But the number is sobering when you think of who is doing this spending — people who served or are currently serving our country and are still having trouble making ends meet.
Do we know how many active-duty military personnel are on food stamps?
The numbers are hard to come by. Neither the military nor the USDA tally those numbers, but recently the USDA estimated that between 2,000 and 22,000 active-duty military members
used food stamps in 2012, the latest data available. (There’s an interesting explanation of how those vastly divergent numbers are arrived at in this PDF, a report from the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission.) These estimates suggest that between 1 percent and 2 percent of active-duty military members used food stamps in 2012.
What about veterans?
The USDA estimates that in 2012, more than 1.5 million veterans used food stamps, or about 7 percent of all veterans.
How low does your income have to be to qualify for food stamps?
Pretty low — though it depends on how big your household is. A single person has to be grossing less than $15,180 a year. For a family of four, the annual income threshold is $31,008.
So what is military pay these days?
If you are a very junior member of the military on active duty, your annual base pay can be less than $19,000. Add in housing and food allowances and it can go up to the high $30,000s. But if you’ve got a big family, if your spouse isn’t working (which, if you’re moving around from base to base or if one parent is overseas can often be the case), that money may not go too far. You might very well qualify for food stamps, or at least find yourself struggling to get by.
What kinds of financial challenges face military families?
Jennifer Daelyn grew up in a military family and now runs the Hand Up Youth Food Pantry near Camp Pendleton, the Marine Corps base north of San Diego. When she tells people that she helps a lot of active-duty military families, “often people are really surprised that it’s even needed,” she says. “They’re like ‘they don’t need that — that doesn’t really happen.’ But it does.”
Daelyn says she hears common concerns from the military families she serves. “They might have things set up if everything is going as planned, but if unplanned costs arise — someone needed to get new tires for their car, or had an unexpected pregnancy, it’s difficult to handle considering the financial situation that they’re in.”
And then there’s the added challenge that military families are moved around a lot. “It can be hard to maintain family and social support networks,” Daelyn says. “People who are in different states than their parents, than the kids’ grandparent that was providing support for them emotionally, financially, just with coping.”
Does it matter if military personnel use food stamps?
You could look at the issue of military personnel on food stamps as academic — it’s all government money after all. Does it matter if lower-paid military members are getting part of their paychecks supplemented through one taxpayer-funded program, SNAP, rather than subsisting on their taxpayer-funded paychecks alone?
Others argue it’s just not right that wages for some of those serving in the military haven’t kept up with inflation.

The Suicide Rate for African American Boys has doubled since 1993

By Your Black World

A study published in the JAMA Pediatrics on Tuesday found that black-boys suicide rate among has doubled since 1993. The suicide rate among white children during the same period has declined.

Why do black youth commit suicide?

Why do black youth commit suicide?

The study tracked the suicide rate of children aged 5 to 11 from 1993 to 2012. During the period studied, the suicide rate among black boys rose from 1.78 to 3.47 per million, while suicides among white boys dropped from 1.96 to 1.31 per million.

“I was shocked, I’ll be honest with you,” said Jeffrey Bridge, lead researcher and epidemiologist at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.

“I looked at it and I thought, ‘Did we do the analysis correctly?’ I thought we had made a mistake,” Bridge told the New York Times.

“We were very surprised to see higher suicide rates among black children over time,” added Bridge.

“The stable overall suicide rate in school-aged children in the United States during 20 years of study obscured a significant increase in suicide incidence in black children and a significant decrease in suicide incidence among white children. Findings highlight a potential racial disparity that warrants attention. Further studies are needed to monitor these emerging trends and identify risk, protective, and precipitating factors relevant to suicide prevention efforts in children younger than 12 years,” the journal concluded.

The rate of suicide among black girls is also rising, increasing from .68 to 1.23 per one million. The suicide rate for white girls during that same period went from 0.25 to 0.24 per 1 million.

This increase in suicide in black children is alarming since it goes against the national trend.

“Historically, the suicide rate among US black individuals has been lower than that of white individuals across age groups, although the gap between black and white boys aged 10 to 19 years narrowed from 1980 to 1995.9,15 To our knowledge, this is the first national study to observe higher suicide rates among US black individuals compared with white individuals.”

What can the Minneapolis Urban League do to survive it’s own reputation?

Today I, Don Allen offer an olive branch to the Minneapolis Urban League. If I have to work to help keep the doors open, then let it be. It is much more important the agency survives its own storm with the assistance of broad thinkers like myself who hold the key to survival and re-invention.

By Don Allen, Publisher – Our Black News

One right move today can make the difference for the Minneapolis Urban League.

One right move today can make the difference for the Minneapolis Urban League.

Since 2007, the Minneapolis Urban League has been plagued with issues funding, accountability and questionable numbers of community members served by the agency. In 2007, community members were in shock as the city of Minneapolis re-directed over $700,000 in funding for a truancy program to another agency under the watchful hand of former Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak who maintained concerns the Minneapolis Urban Leagues program missed the mark in addressing critical needs in the areas of truancy and community engagement. The termination of the contract to manage the Curfew/Truancy Center also meant a dozen people hired by the program were unemployed effective December 31, 2007 when the current contract expires. The Minneapolis Urban League managed the program for the city and county since its inception, 12 years ago. The program was created as collaboration between then County Attorney (now U.S. Senator) Amy Klobachar, and then Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton.

Between 2008 and 2009, the Greater Twin Cities United Way pulled over $1 million from the agency. It was explained the United Way changed their focus from 7th-to-12th grade education to early childhood education and this was significant to MUL, because they operates both an elementary/middle school and high school that experienced a direct hit [approximately $500,000 per year].

In 2013, the Minnesota House of Representatives have enacted a bill attempting to establish a “13th” grade pilot project based in north Minneapolis. The bill, H.F. 1149 is part of an education and employability solution for young adults who are unemployed, underemployed and not enrolled in postsecondary education. Co-authored by Senators Jeff Hayden (D-SD 62), Bobby Joe Champion (D-SD 59), Representatives Ray Dehn (D-HD 59B) and Will Morgan (D-SD 56B), the bill is said to potentially impact over 3,000 young adults ages 18-26, placing them on college and career pathways by 2015. It states the commissioner of education shall develop a one-year “13th” grade pilot project, with one site being operated by the Minneapolis Urban League. Unfortunately, the oversight for this educational juggernaut was snatched away by the bills authors, leaving responsibilities only to officials and board members at the agency (MUL). That too was shut down when the Minneapolis Urban League was accused of potential double billing. The questions started after the Minneapolis School District awarded the Minneapolis Urban League as much as $800,000 a year for a program that never lived up to its promise of graduating the city’s most troubled high school students. Then Minnesota legislators agreed to give the Urban League $300,000 a year for nearly identical work, paying some of the same staff to work with many of the same students the school district already was paying to help. Now top state officials and Minneapolis school leaders are investigating whether the Urban League is getting paid twice for similar work (Star Tribune).

Needless to say, the Minneapolis Urban League has a trend, not a fluke of alleged mismanagement of resources.

In 2015, after 40 years of service to the Minneapolis Public School systems, the relationship between the Minneapolis Urban League and school system was cut off. Minneapolis Urban League will be closing its alternative high school, coming a month after criticism from state and Minneapolis School District officials that the agency was double billing for its work helping at-risk teenagers. The alternative high school will close June 5, ending a 40-year partnership with the Minneapolis Public Schools.

The Minneapolis Urban League must come to the realization a different approach is needed before the agencies doors are shut for good. Here are my suggestions:

  1. Admit to the mainstream community of the Twin Cities, not just the black bourgeoisie of the Twin Cities that the MUL has made many mistakes.
  2. Talk in open forums about the plans to correct or reset the MUL.
  3. Stop using black media outlets to cry race card and that the white news paper are “attacking a black agency,” when in fact any thinking person knows the MUL has been virtually ineffective for many years and provides no real substance to its surrounding community in north, or south Minneapolis.
  4. Re-engage members of the community the MUL has vilified, like Don Allen for instance. New and different relationships might reconnect the MUL to uncovered funding that is currently on the table. (Hint)
  5. Let community members know when you will have the challenge fixed. There’s nothing worse than black folks working in a silo like they’re members of the NSA.
  6. The failure of the MUL’s “Gateway to Success” must be rebranded to something meaningful and Twin Cities appropriate. Former MUL president R. Scott Gray had no skin-in-the-game, and we allege most of his ideas were someone else’s ideas.
  7. Open the MUL’s focus to the Hispanic-Latino, Asian and Immigrant population in the Twin Cites. The discretionary spending of these groups combined with black Minnesotans is in the billions every year…an MUL self-awareness campaign wouldn’t be a bad idea to build the community with affirmations like, “We can build the MUL together.”
  8. Apologize: At this point, thinking you’re pulling the wool over someone’s eyes is a death sentence for the MUL; yes it’s humbling, but a necessary part of the community healing process.
  9. Make sure those Conflict of Interest Statements are signed, god forbid state auditor James Noble finds out the MUL has been paying a board member for advertising and editorial content the crap will hit the fan (oops).
  10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Many of us already know the Minneapolis Urban League under its past and current leadership cannot make it alone. If the Minneapolis Urban League maintains it stratified social cabal, marginalizing creativity by those they demonize, we can expect the Minneapolis Urban League to take the same path of the St. Paul Urban League…Closed, out of service.

Open Letter to Minnesota’s Homeless Black Veterans: The historical legacy of exclusion still follows us in this challenge too

If you judge me by my color, and deny me a seat at the table because of my words, you are no better than the racist who use structural violence concealed in a series of meeting with on people of color at the table.

If you judge me by my color, and deny me a seat at the table because of my words, you are no better than the racist who uses structural violence concealed in a series of meeting with no people of color at the table.

The date of my enlistment will never expire. The oath I took I swore to leave no soldier behind; to make sure all soldiers are accounted for and no soldier who served in the United States military be put in harms way will be maintained for life. So far, I have been marginalized because to complete my mission, funding is needed and collaborations with organizations that will work together and intentionally get our boys and girls off the streets…I am truly troubled and my head hangs low on today, Memorial Day 2015.

By Don Allen, Publisher –Our Black News

Today is the day we pay tribute to those who have fallen and given the ultimate sacrifice to the United States of America. In Minnesota we hold events all across the state to honor, remember and salute warriors who wore the uniform with pride, respect and honor. Today is also the day we should be concerned about those who will not have a warm bed, a roof over their heads or a place they can call home. Today, we must be very concerned about the possibility of the walking dead; Minnesota’s homeless veteran population, warriors stuck in a purgatory of need, ignored by those who hold the controlling means of getting our warriors off the streets and giving a voice to the voiceless; a home to the homeless, creating stability where there is none.

Minnesota’s homeless veterans might not read this letter, but my goal is to let those who control the flow of equity that I will not give up; I will not be mislead, swayed or marginalized because I speak in the public sphere about catastrophic malfeasance in focusing on all homeless veterans, men and women; yellow, red, black and white who need someone to advocate for this cause that has become my passion, hope and dream.

Please understand, to complete the mission of putting homeless veterans in stable housing takes money. Between 2013 and 2015 millions of dollars were distributed to agencies, some obscure, to come up with a plan. The plan, rather than purchasing hundreds of vacant homes in Minneapolis and St. Paul was to start a Homeless Veterans Registry. While this idea is key to create a database of homeless veterans in Minnesota, it still lacks the action plan of getting veterans into housing, stable and back to a regiment of work, education, addressing health care concerns and tending to addiction challenges, boldly connected to focusing on the overall veterans well-being.

The Minnesota Homeless Veteran Registry should ensure that Veterans experiencing homelessness have access to appropriate housing and services. But there has been some significant rejection of veterans of color and agencies who serve these veterans. In other word, the historical rejection of the black body who wore green has evolved into racist construct that has denied me and other black people a place at the table, funding or culturally competent engagement.

I have pulled together some amazing organizations: WellSpring Second Chance, an agency with the means to collaborate with veterans on their own terms and evaluate human needs; Wilson Image Barbers Community Training Initiative, a nonprofit that has a Veterans Grooming Project to make sure all veterans have haircuts with beauticians to style female veterans also. Drop Out To Drop Ins, an agency that will focus on education and families of veterans to make sure the sons and daughter of Minnesota’s homeless veterans are in school, learning and successful. New Perspectives Housing Alliances, a new nonprofit agency that was virtually ignored by those who control funding, but wanted to start the process of focusing on homeless veterans, purchasing, and renting housing in the Twin Cities and immediately placing veterans into homes with a program that sought sustainability for all homeless veterans. There is also the Council on Black Minnesotans, whose board and executive director are willing to be the fiscal oversight for all the organizations.

Then you have me. Yes, this is my passion, but isn’t it important to be supported, like a job with my focus on planning, implementing and collaborating with local agencies building bridges, connecting people to services and feeling good at the end of the day.

It’s time to take this to the next level. I have prepared several data requests to analyze the construct in control of funding mechanisms in Minnesota to assist homeless veterans. I understand why the black veteran and those who support them is still marginalized and lays within the walls of a building on Kellogg Street in St. Paul Minnesota.

Postmodern Deconstruction of Queer Studies

Before we more forward, we must be clear.

Before we more forward, we must be clear.

By Don Allen, Publisher – Our Black News

The postmodern effects of thinking are seen in our Western culture, with homosexual, bisexual, and polyamorous behavior becoming more acceptable to Americans, but it also creates a divide in academics and the academic political right. The most worrying trend is scholars who are right-wing Christian fundamentalist looking through the lens of queer studies who do not represent a homosexual orientation and have taken up the mantle of inquisition, self-charged to define, compare and contrast acceptable rhetoric about queer studies.

My article on queer studies looking through a postmodern lens addresses the problems of sexual identity, human sexuality, and gender. The challenge still remains should academics debate how we should interpret the relation between the long history of queer practices and the history of queer identities – or come to terms the interpretations of queer practices has changed across time and space?

If postmodernism represents a new way to look at queer studies, then critical literary apparatuses must be used to define queering (or queer studies) as a non-sexual orientation ideology. However, when looking through the lens of postmodernism as it pertains to color, race, class and more specifically, sexual orientation, it becomes even more problematic to define the modern, postmodern and post-post modernism; not because we cannot comprehend the meanings, but so few intellectuals have been indoctrinated with postmodernism in a way that would lay bare my very clear definitions, claims, arguments and evidence as it pertains to queer studies. Heterosexual males in academia are not considered authorities on queer studies, however English departments and many other disciplines have adopted the principles of queer studies and trained their students to read though this lens.

In the process, lesbian or gay studies sometimes take on a sound of essentializing lesbians, gays, or straight people and pitting lesbians or gays or “homosexuals” against straights as binary opposites. Just as deconstruction tries to go beyond the binary oppositions that structuralists believe organize our thinking, so queer studies drawing on and contributing to deconstruction- tries to go beyond the binary oppositions and essentialism that it sometimes sees as characterizing gay or lesbian studies. Could this be considered a postmodern approach? “Deconstruction is only the negation of the negation, it remains in the same sphere, it nourishes the same terrorist pretension to truth, that is to say the association of the sign — here in its decline, that’s the only difference — with intensity. It requires the same surgical tampering with words, the same split and the same exclusions that the lover’s demand exacts on skins,” (Lyotard).

The concern is that some people use terms such as lesbian and gay or use lesbian or gay studies to suggest a belief in stable characteristics that can describe all gays or all lesbians across geography and time and that definitively separate gays and lesbians from each other and from straight people. By contrast, the term queer suggests instability and continuous process. We might say that queer studies are a deconstructive version of gay and lesbian studies. “When this debate is applied to sexualities, the interactionist/postmodernist offers up a much more modest account of sexualities than many in the sexological world would have us believe. It throws into doubt any ‘Grand Narratives of Sexuality’—from Freud to sexology—that have haunted much of the modern world’s analysis of sexuality,” (Plummer p. 520).

The desire for a deconstructive postmodern version of lesbian and gay studies speaks to the larger project of reconstructing ideas of identity and sexuality, moving away from the naturalizing of heterosexuality and away from compulsory heterosexuality. The naturalizing of heterosexuality is the assumption, typically made without thinking, that everyone is heterosexual unless labeled otherwise, that heterosexuality is the norm and anything else is a special case. What postmodernism presents can be meaningless promoting obscurantism and uses relativism (in culture, morality, knowledge) to the extent that it cripples literature and most judgment calls. Read the rest of this entry »

They don’t need signs

No, they don't need signs to tell us our blackness makes them feel uncomfortable and that we should not been alive.

No, they don’t need signs to tell us our blackness makes them feel uncomfortable and that we should not been alive.

It does not matter; black or white, you are not born a racist. Being a racist is a skill-sets taught to those with a lower-level of thinking.

By Don Allen, Publisher – Our Black News

They don’t need signs to tell us how much they dislike us;

They don’t need signs.

They don’t need signs to treat us like animals begging for our children to graduate from high school; begging for our youth not to be shot down in the street by other youth; begging for that one police officer not to work the shift when my black child is walking home from football practice…

They don’t need signs.

They don’t need signs to tell us we are overqualified, hard working and the perfect candidate for a job they will not offer us.

They don’t need signs.

They don’t need signs when they tell us we are “working on diversity” and the only people on campus who look like me are the janitors.

They don’t need signs.

They don’t need signs when other community members marginalize, dismiss and exclude me from important conversations about my black people; They don’t need signs when my people tell me I hate black people and I do not. They don’t need signs. They don’t need signs when leadership in the black community has been contracted to keep us uninformed, uneducated, undocumented, unemployed and unfit.

They don’t need signs.

It is 2015…They don’t need signs.

Analyzing Hortense Spillers “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe” and the New Black

For those outside of reality, coonery exists as a tight fitting hat or a reversible reality.  

By Don Allen, Publisher – Our Black News

Hortense Spillers, “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe,” becomes more timely and relevant in 2015 than ever before with the talk about the New Black. Hip Hop music artist Pharrell, interviewed by Oprah said,  “The New Black doesn’t blame other races for our issues.,” then, one of the world’s most successful musicians, said to Oprah, the billionaire queen of the world, “The New Black dreams and realizes that it’s not pigmentation: it’s a mentality and it’s either going to work for you or it’s going to work against you. And you’ve got to pick the side you’re going to be on.”

Pharrell lays bare huge blind spots in his cognitive thinking of picking the side (or identity) you are going to be. Choice and the operant construction of race, in step with severe structural violence for those who do not have it like the Pharrell (money, fame, women and prestige), is the spectacle for those on the outside looking in can only dream of obtaining, which makes Pharrell’s statements about the New Black even more arguable.  Pharrell’s comments are ultimately folly to people who do not fit in with his narrow ideas. He misses the point that “black outsiders” exist.

Spillers thoughts on the erasure of blackness, as it “inscribe[s] ‘ethnicity’ as a scene of negation,” through the construction of a binary opposition between “white” (or normalized American) and “black” family structures is a point that must be considered as fact.  In the analysis of any blind extension of blackness, we (scholars) must address statements from the people who perpetrate unoccupied materialism as a platform for the most absurd rhetoric.

In Spillers feminist-focused argument, the road of identification is shrouded and unclear: To her point, we (Blacks), are not in control of our identity, but assigned to an infrastructure by historical placement. “Embedded in a bizarre axiological ground, they demonstrate a sort of telegraphic coding; they are markers so loaded with mythical prepossession that there is no easy way for the agents buried beneath them to come clean.  In that regard, the names by which I am called in the public place render an example of signifying property plus.  In order for me to speak a truer word concerning myself, I must strip down through layers of attenuated meanings, made in excess over time, assigned by a particular historical order, and there await whatever marvels of my own inventiveness,” (67).

I love my people; I don't love the coonery.

I love my people; I don’t love the coonery.

Rapper/actor Common fell into the same trap as Pharrell, while discussing the legacy of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement and the current tensions in an interview with John Stewart. Common said, “We all know there’s been some bad history in our country. We know that racism exists,” the star conceded, before adding, “I’m…extending a hand. In addition, I think many generations and different cultures are saying ‘Hey, we want to get past this. We have been bullied and we have been beat down, but we do not want it anymore. We’re not extending a fist and saying, ‘Hey, you did us wrong.’ It is more like ‘Hey, I am extending my hand in love. Let us forget about the past as much as we can, and let us move from where we are now. How can we help each other? Can you try to help us because we’re going to help ourselves, too.’ That’s really where we are right now.”

Again, Common presents a gaping blind spot in not understanding America is fixed. We can access Spillers and her argument in reflecting back on its major points.  It leaves us with the challenging supposition that maybe the ways in which historically gender and race has been configured for black men and women through slavery and its aftermath will always be a part of the constructed identity by the dominant white patriarchal structure. We (Blacks) sit outside of a dominant “American grammar.”

The so-called legitimacy of white, normative gender constructions as potentially radical ways of re-conceptualizing what it means to be a man or woman, black or white, rather than banishing the “illegitimacy” of black family structures as lacking something fundamentally in the American landscape.

Works Cited

Spillers, Hortense J. “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book.” Diacritics 17.2 (1987): 64-81. Print.

References

Stewart, John. “The John Stewart Show”. 2015.

Winfrey, Oprah. “The Oprah Show”. 2015.

A Message to the Ancestors from the Angry Black Boy

By Don Allen, Publisher – Our Black News

Someone carries a key; a key to the past – searching for a door; a door with a lock.  A door with a keyhole; a keyhole that unlocks the past and shows someone the future. Lifting the ancestors, my ancestors, I see a vague a tattered past; a past reminiscent of an egg, an egg that has dropped out of a robin’s nest; an egg broken by the force of the world. A place where a mother robin looks helplessly and cannot communicate to the world what might have been?

My anger is my hate, people make my anger, and my rage is carried back and forward into generations that do not see moving visions in their decision but chose a quick fix with a hot needle and some warm heroin. The pain comes in many forms from my mother who picked one-hundred pounds of cotton everyday of her young life and was beat if she was sick our did not go out in the rain. The Irish plantation owner who raped my great grandmother is also to blame for my anger. The blood of his blood; the blood of his sons; the blood of his bloodline; runs through my veins, red, raw and ruined for generations to come.

Being the Angry Black Boy is sometimes like being laid to rest:

Dead,

Deep,

Dark,

Decaying.

My ancestors cursed me on both sides as a cruel joke to make sure I carried out the missions of Nat Turner in a modern day execution of all that is evil; all that is bad; all that my ancestors never had.

Black folks have become inconsequential outside of their inner circles

By Don Allen, Publisher – Our Black News (Independent Business News NetworksTM)

Okay, I first have to apologize to my brothers and sisters from the East and West Coasts; especially the hard working blacks in the south. I have seen your greatness in many areas and I applaud your work ethic and ability to maintain sustainability. Let me explain, I live in Minnesota; a state with a little over 3 percent black population with some of the most severe segregation, gaps and non-equity post slavery. I know to navigate any system – you must be a problem solver and sometimes work outside of your comfort zone to bring new people in while maintaining cordial and diplomatic relationships trying not to marginalize those others on the outside looking in.

The “other” is one of the most important groups of people to collaborate both inside and out.

Would it be acceptable for a member of the NAACP or National Urban League to gloat about being a member of these organizations? My problem question begins when that individual, glorifying an organization steps out from under the masthead and delivers himself/herself to another type of public sphere. Do social cabals mean the same outside of the cabal as they do inside?

If one were to carry their stratification outside an inner circle, then it must mean they have successfully learned to navigate in multiple spheres simultaneously. Some black organizations (social cabals) have turned into a broad term to portray some aspects of the black-bourgeoisie American way of life, overall however, it is by a wide margin not that simple. The black-bourgeoisie American way consistently has been for the singular-person, or most focused on a single-type of person. This making of time stand still through drawing racial lines within black-stratification in the sand has been a part of black America’s routine since freedom began. However, history shows that over time and space the black body has been denied the basic elements of other dreams; and if to gain racial equity means to achieve an “American Dream,” then why are actions of racial politics and segregation in the black community, by black community members the norm in America?

One of the hardest conversations to have in the black community is about competence. To many of the right people are marginalized while blacks on the fringe do not bother to step in because they see a consequence that is unwarranted for the task at hand. The synthetic arrangements in the black community, some based on cabals, but most based on the white-male patriarchy and what Negro they feel comfortable with will always pick who they wish to deal with outside of a black inner circle.

Philosopher Franz Fanon contends, “I observed that I was an article amidst different articles. Fixed into that devastating object hood, I turned beseechingly to others. Their consideration was a liberation, running over my body all of a sudden rubbed into non-being, supplying me again with a nimbleness that I had thought lost, and by taking me out of the world, restoring me to it. Yet pretty much as I came to the next side, I staggered, and the developments, the demeanor, the looks of the other altered me there, in the sense in which a synthetic arrangement is settled by a color. I was rankled; I requested a clarification. Nothing happened. I blast separated. Presently the piece have been assembled again by another self” (Fanon 1).

Fanon is requesting clarity about where he fits in a society that has been racially constructed to marginalize black bodies to the point of racist assumptions. While I agree with my assessment of Fanon, I must move further into the relationships of blacks with blacks and why nothing seems to move forward outside of some inner circles.

Lets take the Minneapolis Urban League and its former president R. Scott Gray. He comes to Minneapolis by recommendation of the StairStep Foundations president Alfred Babington-Johnson (the first inner-circle). He is hired, not knowing the lay of the land; the Minneapolis Urban League is virtually ineffective – they get two Minnesota state senators to move on a bill for a 13th grade pilot program (second inner-circle) with no real foundation other than the money. Gray applies for the Bush Fellowship, receives it and resigns as president of the Minneapolis Urban League.

Of course nobody in the black community could question Gray or the MUL board chairman who did not have a conflict of interest statement signed for what OBN alleges were some questionable collaborations in profit. But the inner-circle, the all-powerful cabal of the MUL kept its secrets, to include not notifying the community on board meetings and election.

In retrospect, all these people are but dots on the end of a needle. Outside of their inner-circles, they represent what every other black body represents. It does not matter if it is suited and tied, dressed to the nines, or hanging out at the golf course. These are still black bodies inside an inner-circle that keep stratification close with nothing to show for it.

For a black person, especially in Minnesota, becoming inconsequential is something they do all by their selves. It doesn’t take much but to marginalize good black brothers and sisters and look important. But believe me when I say this; your time is done.

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