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Thursday September 20th 2018

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Why local media did not report about stabbing victim in downtown Minneapolis

Downtown Minneapolis’ Warehouse District; once a place of fun and excitement, now a place to watch who you pass on the streets. (photo: Meet Minneapolis – Fair Use, Google Search).

If it bleeds, it leads; not in the case of a 24-year old black American female that almost lost her life in downtown Minneapolis. Remember, the Super Bowl is coming and we don’t talk anything but “Minnesota Nice” in the ugly eye of oversights.

By Don Allen, Publisher – IBNN NEWS

24-year old Myra Reed is laying in a hospital bed at HCMC with eight staples in her heart from a knife attack that went in her stomach, up through her liver and pierced her heart. Her aunt, Angela Edwards tells the story about what happened from Reed who now is coming out of a fog from this violent encounter.

“Myra was in a shelter in downtown Minneapolis and might have got into an argument with some other women. As she was being attacked, laying on the ground, someone passed  the young woman fighting Myra a butcher knife and that’s all my nice remembers,” said Edwards.

Downtown Minneapolis’ Warehouse Distirct has become a area of great concern and rising crime. While the city of Minneapolis wants to play-down the violent after club crime in the streets, others, including this author are troubled by the once “fun area” of Minneapolis on some nights turning into a gang-land shooting and stabbing range.

In June of 2017, the City Pages published, “17 years of watching downtown Minneapolis go from vibrant to shaky to frightful,” by Carter Averbeck who wrote:

“One would think I live in a war zone, and that notion wouldn’t be wrong. The police now have become reactive instead of proactive. Political restrictions placed on them by a higher level of city government render their abilities almost futile, since a crime has to happen before they can act.And city council? When I send them the footage, I am lucky if I even get a response back. In the case that I do, it’s usually some slick rhetoric that does nothing to solve the issue, while real time crime continues to escalate.

Myra Reed might have not been the most perfect Minnesotan, but she lived the best way she could. Living in shelters, trying to get your life back together is not an easy task; but when someone has reached an animalistic level of terror and attacks with intent to kill, there is something very wrong in a system that overlooks the “least of thee” in what should have been headline news at 6pm and at least a mention in the local newspapers. Reed was stabbed on Tuesday, August 9 with no media coverage.

Sources tell IBNN, the City of Minneapolis is not willing to give up on downtown Minneapolis with alleged plans to ship “shelter people” far away from the city during the Super Bowl events, making it seem like Minneapolis is some type of Urban Shangri-La.

What has happened to Ms. Reed has happened to many more in downtown Minneapolis; most incidents of this nature go unreported because of the demographic of this population: Poor, of color, veterans, families, children and all homeless – a combination best left alone, not talked about and most of all hidden from the people and millions of dollars the city will make during one of the largest sporting events in the world.

In a mayoral election year, I’m sure no one is concerned about Ms. Reed; and certainly, the mainstream media is in collaboration with the city to make sure “bad” stays “silent.”

Minneapolis mayoral candidate Al Flowers on Twin Cities New Talk

Al Flowers with Michael Eric Dyson.

By IBNN NEWS – (Sponsored Placement)

Al Flowers, candidate in a crowded field of contenders for Minneapolis’ mayoral seat that is up for grabs in 2017. Local mainstream media outlets, mainly the Star Tribune have ignored Flowers and have taken quotes out of context and attributed them to other candidates in what we think is an attempt to silence Flowers and his come-from behind non-traditional approach.

On Monday, July 31 around 8:00AM, Minneapolis mayoral candidate will mix it up with the two most important men in political talk radio: Jon Justice and Drew Lee of the “Justice and Drew Show” on Twin Cities News Talk, AM 1130/FM 103.5; an #iHeartRadio station.

Flowers says, “I humbled by this opportunity to be on such a powerful radio program and I hope that listeners will tune in and hear what I have to say. I’m not scared to answer any question, but I also want to make sure the real story gets out,” said Flowers.

Over a month ago, a north Minneapolis mother was traumatized when she came home and found her 15-year old daughter in the bedroom closet dead from hanging herself. The Star Tribune, fully briefed on the situation never wrote a story about the circumstances surrounding the young girls’ death, nor that she was interrogate by police for over four-hours who sought information about a local north Minneapolis murder the young child might, or might not have witnessed.

Flowers is instrumental in making sure the public has the opportunity to review police body camera footage planting himself in the state legislature in 2016 demanding that privacy wasn’t just for the police and local news agencies.

About Al Flowers – Truth to the People! www.TruthtothePeople.com

Al Flowers believes that police accountability starts with the City of Minneapolis following the Federal Mediation Agreement between the Police Federation and the community.

The black elected and Al.

Al Flowers reveals his New Housing Policy and Funding Platform at the Northside Minneapolis Mayoral Forum.

Al Flowers work includes organizing for the The North Minneapolis African American Housing Opportunity Survey in collaboration University of Minnesota Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA).

Communities are united together to get needs met for all in Minneapolis under Al Flowers leadership. Whether you are White, Somali, Latino, LGBT, Hmong, young, elderly, or Black, you have a seat at the table.

Al Flowers Creates Community Dialogue

Al Flowers has shown through the radio and TV the importance of talking to people. We need a Mayor who will excel in walking into every community and have an authentic dialogue, not just there for a photo-op.

Al Flowers Respects People

Minneapolis has become a nation wide embarrassment for our horrendous police-community relations. It has gotten to the point that people do not call the 911 because they view the police making the situation even worse. This has got to stop. Al Flowers believes that the Minneapolis Police should serve all residents in this city.

Al Flowers Brings Common Sense Government

Too much bureaucracy is getting in the way providing good policies and resources to people. Al Flowers knows that basic rights are not “privileges” and getting paid for your work is not an “entitlement”. Al Flowers has established programs with many to meet the needs of families and individuals in Minneapolis.

Al Flowers cares for our Elders and Youth

Al Flowers a community activist directed the meeting of with community leaders, faith leaders and police officials talking about the recent outbreak of violence on North side.] A group of community leaders met with police officials and others today to talk about shootings and homicides that have pushed the north side to near boiling point. In the basement of New Bethel Baptist Church, Community Standards Initiative was held with community leaders, faith leaders and police officials talking about the recent outbreak of violence on North side. Richard.Sennott@startribune.com Richard Sennott/Star Tribune Minneapolis Minn. Wednesday 7/9/2014)

As a family man, Al Flowers had committed to seeing our young people be provided with positive choices in education. Providing positive choices for young people will results in positive outcomes for years to come. In addition, Al Flowers is concerned that the needs of our elders are not seen and heard. Needs of those who help built our communities need to be met and with out any exceptions

Al Flowers has Strength and Dedication

Often times fragile egos get in the way of getting things done. Politicians would rather be heard they are right then doing what is right for the people. Al Flowers has demonstrated the strength to pursue good ideas and is dedicated to do what is best for our communities.

Larry Tucker: The Surreptitious state of Being

To Whom It May Concern:

Mr. Larry Tucker; long-time north Minneapolis resident (photo: Facebook).

My name is Larry Tucker, I am an American Black having been a resident of Minnesota for over 45 years with one of my four children born in Minneapolis. I have witnessed the decline of the American Blacks in the Twin Cities. It is easy to point to other cultures as the culprit for what they did are doing not doing.

I lived through the FIRES OF THE 60’S and after going home to change my smoke filled clothes I met with politicians late at night to early in the morning in obscure places going over and over the issues. After which only to discover we had not done enough to resolve our own issues. The issues surrounding disparate treatment has been unresolved within the American Black Culture, as a significant cause of our station in Minnesota and this country.  At the time, if you were low income black you were without a voice in the dialoged. Many of the spokespersons then and now suffered from the STOCKHOLM SYNDROM (where the prisoners began to treat each other in a the same manner negative manner as they were being treated),

I have been asked over the years. “Why don’t Blacks do more to assist other Blacks”?

Several years ago we had a Black Bankers association convention in Minneapolis and the president of Chase Manhattan Bank was in attendance. He stated that he had brought several American Blacks employees into the bank but they failed to bring on other Blacks.

On a separate occasion a spokesperson for the McKnight Foundation made similar statements in the early 1970’s. On that occasion the McKnight Foundation had given a black neighborhood group funds to build a home, if successful would have been given additional funds if successful. However, the Black nonprofit was unable to sale the home at a stated price for failure to lose money and was told by the spokesperson for The McKnight foundation to reduce the price and sale the house.

Lastly, my experience over 70’ plus years has requires us to address the disparate treatment in the  American Black culture  in addition to addressing the disparate treatment by other cultures.

Respectful Submitted

Larry Tucker

What Black Parents Must Do This Summer

Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu

by Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu

There is a 3 year gap between Black and White students. Many people love to believe it’s due to income fatherlessness, educational attainment of the parent and lack of parental involvement. I believe a major reason for the gap is we continue to close schools for the summer as if we are an agrarian economy. Very few Black youth will be farming this summer. If you multiply 3 months by 12 years you will see the 3 year gap. There is nothing wrong with Black youth if their schools remained open during the summer and/or their parents kept them academically engaged.
Middle-income parents who value education enroll their children in some type of academic experience during the summer. They also visit libraries, museums, zoos and colleges. Other parents allow their children to sleep longer, play more video games, watch more television and play basketball until they can’t see the hoop. These students will have to review the same work they had mastered in May in September.
Black parents cannot allow their child to lose 3 months every year. Black parents cannot say they cannot afford the library. It’s free! Most museums have discounted days. A male friend of mine shared his experience with me when he took his family to the museum. He wondered why so many people were staring at him. His wife and children had to tell him he was the only Black man in the building! I am appealing to every father to take his children this summer to the library, museum, and the zoo. I a appealing to every mother if he won’t, you will.
We need every parent to make sure their child reads at least one book per week and to write a book report. I am reminded of the formula Sonya Carson used to develop Ben Carson to become the best pediatric neurosurgeon. This low-income single parent, with a third grade education, had enough sense to tell her sons to turn off the television, read a book and write a report that her sister would grade!
I have a theory that I can go into your house and within 5 minutes tell you the type of student who lives there and predict their future. I believe that engineers, doctors, lawyers, accountants etc. need different items in their house than ballplayers, rappers, and criminals. I am very concerned when I visit a house that has more cds and downloads than books. My company African American Images has designed a special
collection of books for boys. Research shows one of the major reasons boys dislike reading is because of the content. The set is titled Best Books for Boys. We also have one for girls, parents and teachers. Enjoy your summer. Let’s close the gap. I look forward to your child’s teacher asking your child what did you do for the summer? And your child answering we went to the library, museum, zoo, colleges and other great
educational places. Excerpt from There is Nothing Wrong with Black Students.

Did Linguistics and the study of language neglect Black boys? #blackdegreesmatter

By Don Allen, M.A. Ed.

It troubles me that in 2017 in the United States, we still have a challenge with the teaching of language, reading, literacy and critical thinking to boys of Black American heritage; to be very clear, there are some items we need to explore. First, public schools, curriculum and classroom design were never meant to house, teach or guide black boys. Secondly, the people who control identity, are the same who control language, wealth and education. It’s unfortunate we have to live by rules that were never meant nor updated for us (sans the victim mentality).  A 1990 study of more than 105,000 students in Maryland’s Prince George’s County, where African Americans made up about 65 percent of the enrollment, showed that black male pupils performed comparably to boys and girls of all races on first- and second-grade standardized math and reading test. But by fourth grade, African American boys experienced a sharp decline in their scores. More recent national studies have shown similar findings: In 1994, fourth-grade reading scores of African American boys lagged behind those of all other groups at the same grade level, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (Bennett-Alexander, 1997). This becomes problematic because we know that prisons use a grade four model do create an anticipatory set on how many prisons will be needed. We know that our private prison systems are calculating how many new beds (they will need) based on the third grade, number of third graders, and that’s just wrong,” I think waiting until kids are ready for kindergarten to begin to intervene is too late (Ford, 2013).

What the experts are saying:

  • Three of four African-American boys in California classrooms failed to meet reading and writing standards on the most recent round of testing, according to data obtained from the state Department of Education and analyzed by CALmatters (Department of Education, 2016).
  • African American males in primary and secondary schools were suspended more than twice as often as white males in 1992, according to the Office of Civil Rights. (Levin, 2017).
  • The United States has made virtually no improvement in reaching its lowest performing students. Although the percentage of white students in the country has declined dramatically over the past 50 years, while the percentage of black students has changed very little, the achievement levels of black students compared to white students (and other racial/ethnic groups) has barely narrowed (Hanushek, 2006).

One of the problems in public school education is that some poor, economically disadvantaged Black boys are treated as victims.  If you are walking into a classroom and see students as victims, you are seeing them as having an inherent flaw that only you can fix. You [the teacher] are there to help them learn and allow them to do fixing for themselves (Elie, 2016). The cup-filling and entitlements become less-than a strict balance of academic rigor and low expectations from educators make it simple for this lost generation to get passed on and graduate as functional illiterates. In an article by author Maya Elie: Author’s Advice to White Teachers in Urban Schools: Drop the ‘Savior Complex’ and Learn from Students, Elie writes in an interview with Dr. Christopher Emdin, an associate professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College, who is a passionate and unapologetic advocate for the advancement of urban education nationwide who wrote the book, For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood…and the Rest of Y’all Too, says:

“There are teachers who are not being trained appropriately. Not to speak negatively about education schools, but there are people coming out of school with a Masters or Bachelor’s in education, taking one class in multiculturalism, or one class on ethnicity, race and politics. Then these teachers go into spaces where race, politics, ethnicity and class are the biggest factors they have to face. There’s also the idea of the hyper-scripted curriculum that the teachers don’t have the space to ask the students about who they are” (Elie, 2016).

How does Linguistics play a role in this hyper-critical failure for Black Boys?

One of many positions held by linguists and many anthropologists locates the problem not in the children, but in the relations between them and the school system. This position holds that inner-city children do not necessarily have inferior mothers, language, or experience, but that the language, family style, and ways of living of inner-city children are significantly different from the standard culture of the classroom, and that this difference is not always properly understood by teachers and psychologists. Linguists believe that we must begin to adapt our school system to the language and learning styles of the majority in the inner-city schools. They argue that everyone has the right to learn the standard languages and culture in reading and writing (and speaking, if they are so inclined); but this is the end result, not the beginning of the educational process. They do not believe that the standard language is the only medium in which teaching and learning can take place, or that the first step in education is to convert all first-graders to replicas of white middle-class suburban children (Labov, 1972). Even after decades of research on African American English (AAE), there is still no consensus as to exactly how it has developed. Although there are several theories, the two most prominent are featured in Do You Speak American? One theory suggests that when slaves of different language backgrounds were transported from Africa to America, they developed a pidgin—a simplified version of a language used for communication between people or groups who do not have a common language. This language subsequently developed into a full-fledged creole language that children acquired in their homes. (Some creole languages—languages that have developed out of pidgins and have acquired native speakers—have the word creole in their names—for example, Hawaiian Creole—while others do not—for example, Gullah.) It is believed that the Gullah spoken to this day on the sea islands of South Carolina and Georgia closely resembles the language used by slaves on plantations. Because plantation slaves were not taught English and had limited contact with English speakers, some features of this creole were passed from generation to generation. These features have survived post-slavery because as AAE developed, it became more than just a means of communicating between groups: It is a source of solidarity among people who use it. A second theory is that slaves in the South worked alongside indentured servants who spoke non-mainstream varieties of English. African American slaves learned English from these indentured servants (often of Scots-Irish descent). People who believe this explanation for the beginning of AAE say that it explains similarities between AAE and other non-mainstream varieties of English (such as Appalachian English, which shares some linguistic features with AAE), (PBS, n.d.).

The constraints of Urban Education in the “James” Crow Era

The fact is, Black boys in public school settings are not learning language, the use of, or anything else. The major challenge points to teacher training universities (current), and curriculum that has been surreptitiously void of all cultural responsive content-in-context. The challenge of Black boys and their education now becomes a part of a racial-political paradigm that is still controlled by the people who designed the construct in the beginning. If educators look at the model of first-things-first in urban education, they would understand that until all gaps are gone, there can be no success for the Black boy, nor the black in the federation in education.  By recognizing these challenges, we’re also acknowledging the responsibility we share to bridge the race, language and color divides in our country. No doubt our Black Boys are smart enough, spirited enough, and genuine enough to meet the challenge. The question is, are we?

Bibliography

Bennett-Alexander, D. (1997, April ). Are schools failing black boys? Parenting Magazine.

Elie, M. (2016, July 8). Author’s advice to white teachers in urban schools: Drop the ‘savior complex’       and learn from students. NEAToday. Retrieved from neaToday.

Hanushek, E. a. (2006, October). School quality and the black-white achievement gap. National Bureau of Economic Research, Stanford University, University of Texas at Dallas.

Labov, W. (1972, June). Academic ignorance and black intelligence. The Atlantic. (T. Atlantic, Ed.) New York, NY, U.S.

Levin, M. (2017, June 6). 75% of black California boys don’t meet state reading standards. (L. A. News, Producer) Retrieved June 6, 2017, from Los Angeles Daily News Literacy : http://www.dailynews.com/social-affairs/20170604/75-of-black-california-boys-dont-meet-state-reading-standards

PBS. (n.d.). Do you speak American?. Carnegie Corporation of New York. Twin Cities Television (TPT). (C. C. York, Ed.) Minneapolis, MN, U.S. .

 

The Weirdness of Facebook and bumping in to a Facebook friend you’ve never met in person

Facebook: No, it’s not real life. Deal with it. (Photo: Fair Use).

…no, I have no conversation for you in Target; that was Facebook, this is real life. (True story)

By Don Allen, Publisher – Our Black News

I love Facebook; it’s as simple as that. The social media giant of connecting nouns (people, places and things) have been a daily stable in my predominantly argumentative concerns about politics, people and process. The “Three P’s” have provided me with enough context-in-content to post interesting topics, concerns and facts that in most cases are undeniably telling about our society and the people –  some self-appointed that don’t really give a damn about resetting communities across the United States in need of a reset. Yes, my friends, this is the state of my people in Black communities used as petri dishes of disparities so that local community poverty pimps can say, “We need this program to help the poor Black people.” The funny thing is, when was the last time you saw a white man or woman stand up in any meeting and say, “We need this program to help poor white people”?

Lately, the social media giant (Facebook, if you lost track of the title), has been buzzing with liberal zealots and right wing activists concerned about the Trump presidency. As I read the misdirection’s, misinformation and the outrageous of Black youth fight-videos, it concerns me that somebody is not keeping anyone accountable for all this excitement…is that the institution of the Book?  Could the utility of Facebook be mainly to distract? Unfortunately, while it all becomes exciting click-bait, there should be some concerns about who you communicate with; what you say, and how you say it. What I found out over a couple of days and nine-years on Facebook, there are some crazy people in this world and many of them hang out on Facebook.

My wife knows I hate shopping; especially after she’s been at Target for three-hours and comes home and says, “…honey, I forgot bread” – the foundation of peanut butter sandwiches for a four and six-year-old. Begrudgingly, I head down to the garage, stopping at my desk to grab my wallet, wedding ring and watch to head out the door. The Target by my house is a massive red and white powerhouse of lights, noise, people and indecision; the mere fact that I must go into the store creates great anxiety in my inner-self. To prepare for this trip, I have an Apple Music file on my iPhone called “Target” –  it’s a variety of music from David Bowie, Prince, AC/DC and Kenny Loggins that keeps me sane during this shopping adventure. As I pull into the parking lot, packed with every human in the area, I stop briefly at the crosswalk to let people cross who are determined to get into the store for a shopping experience of sometimes buying stuff you don’t need…but that’s Target’s hook: Come for milk, leave with bedspreads and curtains.

This time, I was lucky…got a parking space by the door right next to the shopping carts; so far, easy. As I mouthwateringly looked over at the Pizza Hut food stand and pushed my cart toward the produce, a couple of weird things happened. There stood a man and woman, who I have never met, but the way they looked at me was incredibly “friendly.” I proceeded to the isle with the bread and I was being followed. As I turned around to confront these stalkers, the male yelled, “Hey Don Allen, how are you…my name is Tony…the woman said, “I’m Sarah, just a friend who lives near here and I caught a ride with Tone.” This was all great and wonderful, but I asked, “Do I know you?

“Have we met before? If so, I’m sorry, I don’t remember.”

Both Tony and Sarah smiled and chuckled a bit… “We’re your friends on Facebook.”

Oh shit… I said to myself, I hope these two aren’t some liberal idiots wanting to confront me on Global Warming or why Trump should be impeached. I gave a slight smile, nodded my head and said, “What can I do for you?”

Tony was the first one to speak while I looked through the 50 varieties of bread…

“I’ve been following both your pages and did you know you’re in 15 arguments, three women are hitting on you and you spelled a word or two wrong.”

Rather than telling Tony to get screwed, I took this moment as a learning-moment in the study of Linguistics and the use of language and expressions between a small group of people. I asked Tony did he get paid by Facebook to monitor my or any other accounts? The look in his face; scrunched up and unsure of what I was asking could have been considered as a moment of awakening for him; Sarah was rather quiet, probably catching on I was a little disturbed by Tony’s CIA-like spying on my page, and of course my wonderment about why the hell he thought that was important.

I explained to Tony and Sarah that I don’t know all my 4000-plus friends on Facebook and only 10-percent engage with me and I’m sure more than 50-percent don’t agree with what I say, but damn, I’m not expected to know you in-person, on-site in a Target store just because you’re my friend on Facebook…it’s not ever going to happen.

I guess it’s okay to introduce yourself if you run into me in public, but don’t expect me or any of your Facebook friends to want to dialog outside the social-media app; it’s a new day in inner-personal communications and the old-school way of going out and talking to someone face-to-face went away when Facebook created a narcissistic, self-centered posting mechanism of a timeline that all your friends see.

Today, conversations are for Facebook, not real life…and that’s never a good thing.

Bonita “BO” Money and Minneapolis mayoral candidate Jonathan Hornerbrink on the Black Republican, Black Democrat Show…Saturday at 6pm (CST)

Don Allen, Jamar Nelson: Keep it Real Radio.

Join co-hosts Don Allen and Jamar Nelson Saturday at 6pm on Twin Cities News Talk’s Black Republican, Black Democrat Show on AM 1130, FM 103.5 and online at www.TwinCitesNewsTalk.com. In our first segment, we present in a #BRBD exclusive, Bonita “Bo” Money, one of the few women of color in the emerging, billion-dollar cannabis business.

In our second segment, we introduce Minneapolis mayoral candidate Jonathan Hornerbrink as he gives us one of the most real stories about the “evil” within the city of Minneapolis and what he will do as mayor when elected in November. This is a most listen program as #BRBD continues it’s 2017-2018 Candidate series.

About our guests:

Bonita “BO” Money, co-creator of That Glass Jar™

Bonita “BO” Money

A cannapreneur, Bonita “Bo” Money is one of the few women of color in the emerging, billion-dollar cannabis business. She’s the co-creator of That Glass Jar™, a cannabis-infused topical, and founder of Women Abuv Ground, a networking organization, dedicated to introducing the cannabis business to women of color. As a 25-year veteran of the entertainment business, her current projects include producing segments for ESPN’s “30 for 30” sport documentaries as well as a scripted television series, called “The Chronic,” which documents her inner working with mega rappers Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg within the walls of record label Death Row. To hear the panel discussion, visit the Women Abuv Ground YouTube.

 

 

Jonathan Hornerbrink

Minneapolis mayoral candidate Jonathan Hornerbrink

Quote from campaign website: Our City is broken. Failed policy, failing institutions and generation after generation of weak leadership have left us with a broken system and a broken government. But in truth, fixing this City is not about us today. It’s about our children. While we argue over politics, our most vulnerable citizens suffer most. Our children suffer when communities are not safe, when their parents can’t get a decent job, when “affordable housing” costs too much for their families, and when schools fail to educate and prepare them for success in life. And yet, for another year, the other candidates have ignored our most precious asset, our children. That’s why I’m running. That’s who I’ll defend as mayor.

 

Phone lines will be open, we look forward to having you the Black Republican, Black Democrat Show, part of Black Politics in Minnesota and the Black Jedi Radio NetworkTM –  an iHeartRadio program exclusive, all rights reserved.

 

Mpls mayoral candidate Jacob Frey on Black Republican, Black Democrat – Saturday!

Minneapolis mayoral candidate Jacob Frey with Allen and Nelson – Saturday at 6pm – #TCNT.

Minneapolis, Minn. –  Don Allen and Jamar Nelson are pleased to announce their very special guest Minneapolis city councilman and 2017 mayoral candidate Jacob Frey on the return of the Black Jedi Talk Radio Network on the “Black Republican, Black Democrat Show. The political talk show will feature resident conservative Black-American Donald Allen; and supporter of everything Democrat and all around nice liberal Jamar Nelson. The duo co-hosts the Twin Cities News Talk AM 1130, FM 103.5 show Black Republican, Black Democrat Show on Saturday’s at 6pm CST with Roving Reporter Preya Samsudar from Alpha News. Audiences may  listen online using the #iHeart Radio app (search for Twin Cities News Talk).

Saturday at 6pm on AM 1130/FM 103.5 – Twin Cities News Talk.

The Black Republican, Black Democrat Show features in-depth conversations about education, community accountability, current events, election news and of course…politics. #BRBD is now available on iTunes.

Join us as we talk to candidate Frey about the City of Minneapolis and what he will different if elected in November 2017.

 

If you truly knew what the N-word meant to our ancestors, you’d NEVER use it

By 

A few years ago, I read slave narratives to explore the lives of black agricultural workers after the end of the Civil War. The narratives came from the Federal Writers Project of the Works Progress Administration, a program that employed researchers from 1936 to 1938 to interview former enslaved people, producing more than 2,300 narratives that, thankfully, reside online and are fully searchable.

Those whom the law defined as property recounted various unique human experiences — their daily horrors and monotonies, how they freed themselves or learned of their emancipation, the surge of exhilaration upon securing freedom, and how they endured life on the edges of a white supremacist society in the decades thereafter.

As I pored over the narratives, I was struck less by their experiences, as heartrending as they were, than by how their experiences sculpted their self-perceptions. The best explanation of what I gleaned, what social scientists called internalized oppression, describes the psychological trauma that ensues when a person from a stigmatized group believes those negative stigmas.

White folk indoctrinated them into accepting their supposed inferiority. These narratives illustrate the success of this campaign of mental terrorism, and no word conveyed the depth of this internalized oppression more than “nigger.” Now, whenever I hear the epithet, a visual and emotional representation of the heinous process by which a people — my people — were induced to think they were less than trespasses into my thoughts. After years of habitual use of “nigger,” I banished it from my speech to honor the humanity that many never saw in themselves.


The internalized oppression revealed itself in various ways. Sometimes the former enslaved people clearly, perhaps subconsciously, considered themselves subhuman, just like how their former owners regarded them. Jim Allen, for example, dubbed himself his master’s “pet nigger boy” and a “stray” and thought himself privileged because he could sleep on the floor beside his master’s bed. That he likened himself to a fortunate mangy mutt or frisky feline crushed me. The word laid bare a worldview that held black folk as a lower order of being, as when Irene Robertson claimed her former master Mr. Sanders was mean, in part, because “he beat his wife like he beat a nigger woman.”

“Nigger” also signaled antipathy toward fellow black folk. After the end of slavery, Mattie Mooreman went north to Wisconsin with a white family for whom she worked. Members of the family wanted her to go to the circus to watch a black boy’s performance. She told her interviewer, “Guess they thought it would be a treat to me to see another niggah. I told ’em, ‘Law, don’t you think I see lots, lots more than I wants, every day when I is at home?’ ” But read how she talks about the family’s baby, whom she constantly watched over, fearing, irrationally, someone would kidnap him: “No matter what time they come home they’d find me there. ‘Why don’t you go in your bedroom and lie down?’ they’d ask me. ‘No,’ I’d tell ’em, ‘somebody might come in, and they would have to get that baby over my dead body.” Her eyes fixated on the white baby, but she saw too many niggers.

A barrage of dispiriting uses of the word bloodied me as I combed through the narratives. “The Ku Klux kept the niggers scared.” “The Ku Klux did a whole lot to keep the niggers away from the polls. …” Slaves owned by “nice” masters are repeatedly called “free niggers.” “Niggers ain’t got no sense. Put ’em in authority and they gits so uppity.” “I’se just a poor old nigger waitin’ for Jesus to come and take me to heaven.” Slave traders are called “nigger traders.” Defiant enslaved people required the service of a “niggerbreaker.” “Nigger dogs” aided the recapture of those who escaped.

Perhaps more depressing, ironically, was that circumstances sometimes led them to opt against calling a black person a nigger. William Porter stated that “some of the Tennessee niggers was called free niggers. There was a colored man in Pulaski, Tennessee, who owned slaves.” A black man who kept others in bondage — he’s a “colored man,” yet those who were owned were “niggers.” I instantly thought of a moment from the O.J.: Made in America documentary when a white woman who saw black people talking to Simpson uttered, “Look at those niggers sitting with O.J.” Simpson delights in hearing this because she “knew I wasn’t black. She saw me as O.J.” Porter’s outlook matched that of both the racist white woman and the unspeakably racially deranged O.J.

Since reading those narratives, I’ve noticed this mindset when perusing the remarks of freed people in other contexts. For example, before the trial of Rufus Martin, a black man who stood accused of the 1903 murder of Charles Swackhammer, a woman whom the Fort Worth Star-Telegram referred to as an “old negress who occupied a front seat in the court room” bellowed:

It’s the white people that is to blame. They know that they got to make niggahs work or they ain’t no good and they know as long as they ‘low niggah men to loaf aroun’ low down saloons they ain’t goin’ to work. This man come from a good niggah fam’ly — one of the best I knows of, but the p’lice ‘lowed him to loaf aroun’ without workin’, and to drink and gamble, till he just got to be no good and thought he didn’t have to work. The p’lice ought to raid them low down niggah saloons every day and every night till they make every blessed one of the niggah toughs go to work or else send ’em all to the county road. Them saloons is what makes bad niggahs and the white folks is to blame for it, ’cause they let ’em run.

That Martin sported a reddish mustache, light hair and skin so bright he could pass for white almost certainly colored her perception that Martin came from a “good niggah fam’ly.”

Black folk rescued the word from the smoldering debris of a virulently racist land, reclaimed it and renovated the slur into a celebration of black comradery — defenders of contemporary usage of “nigger” repeat this. When this tale collides with reality, however, it shatters as a misreading of history — the current use of the word is owed less to white folk calling black folk “nigger” and more to black folk who thought they were niggers and said so. Black people have hurled the infamous word for nearly as long as white folk have. It exists within black speech now because it existed within black speech then. The uncomfortable truth must be confronted: Absent the internalized oppression of those who called white men and women their masters, “nigger” would probably not be a part of black folk’s lexicon. We black folk are reclaiming it not from bigoted white folk but from our ancestors, who, sadly, deemed their blackness a badge of inferiority.

I seek not to usher the word to the gallows. I harbor no aims to kill it. I can still bump a Young Thug track or chortle at a Dave Chappelle routine. “Nigger” does not bar my enjoyment of popular culture. My soul, though, winces whenever I hear it. The decision for black people to include it in their vocabulary, nonetheless, remains personal, and I reject the criticism of black folk who continue to wield it.

I write only to summon the words of former enslaved people from beyond the grave to express that “nigger” is haunted by the ghosts of hate and the more spiritually chilling ghosts of self-hate.

Brando Simeo Starkey is an associate editor at The Undefeated and the author of In Defense of Uncle Tom: Why Blacks Must Police Racial Loyalty. He crawled through a river of books and came out brilliant on the other side.

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