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Friday July 3rd 2020

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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.


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:





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.

If you think burning the American Flag anywhere in Minnesota is tolerated…you’re wrong

By Don Allen, Publisher – Our Black News (formally IBNN News)

Where is #blaklivesmatter? I'll tell you; far away from black life. (Photo: Star Tribune story 5/17)

Where is #blaklivesmatter? I’ll tell you; far away from black life. (Photo: Star Tribune story 5/17)

Minneapolis, Minn…As a former active duty military solider, now scholar, it shocks me to see the limited amount of intellectual aptitude from those who wish to deface the United States flag.

If black issues matter, then local Twin Cities protest groups like #blacklivesmatter and others would realize there

are more than 300 homeless black veterans in Minnesota who faithfully, without hesitation defended the rights of freedom, liberty and justice. So go ahead, you can disgrace them (and yourselves) by burning the American flag with no consequences. This is telling about movements that only produced a 10-year-old child who was maced by Minneapolis police with the talking point: “Lucky I was only maced, not shot.”

A homeless veteran in downtown Minneapolis, “Gym-Shoe,” said, “Even though I’m homeless and not doing to good handling my PTSD and drinking, I wanted to rip the throats out of those punks burning my flag. I know America has not been kind to the brothers who served, but burning the flag is not the way to talk about racism, unemployment, homelessness and drug abuse among our people. These kids have never risked their life’s to do anything, getting into a club does not count.”

Organizing for positive outcomes is everything. It seems like protest groups in the Twin Cities want a “Mini-Baltimore,” where people are arrested, beaten and maybe killed by law enforcement that seek to go home to their families after work. The challenge is not black or white, but an issue of identifying a plan and working towards a change with the goal of seeking common ground.

I never heard once about #blacklivesmatter protesting for Minnesota veterans issues, which concerned me tremendously. There are issues inside the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs that should be addressed with a rally or a protest. If veterans in Minnesota, especially vets of color, cannot expect to see an agenda item from those concerned about issues of fairness, then any movement that says something matters…is a lie.

Why Does Obama Keep Trying to Play Daddy to Black America?

By Yvette Carnell, Originally posted on YourBlackNews.com

Do you ever notice that when President Obama speaks to black people, the tone seems to change? Some welcome the shift in conversation as a reflection of cozy familiarity. Others, however, feel that the president tends to shift his focus from policy to preaching, or from advocacy to finger wagging. What if the president were to speak to the gay community and tell them that they are the reason for their own discrimination? What if he told women’s groups that he can’t do anything for them and that they simply have to work harder to battle against sexism?

Yvette Carnell breaks it all down in this video.  You can also download the podcast as well.

View more stories like this here.

The Black image in the white mind : media and race in America

Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2001.

Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2001.

By Robert M. Entman and Andrew Rojecki

This highly recommended study traces the reciprocal relationship between white racial attitudes and the presentation of blacks in the mass media. The authors have worked hard to make their carefully nuanced presentation, based on a significant body of empirical data, clear and understandable. Nevertheless, it is not an easy read. Entman and Rojecki demonstrate that the central attitude of most whites is the denial of both existing racism and white privilege. The largely unconscious racism in commercials, films, magazines, newspapers, and television (both news and entertainment) is demonstrated beyond debate. A telling illustration is the examination of a multitude of white reviews of major feature films in which there is not a single mention of their racist subtexts. Shows such as Bill Cosby’s are two-edged swords making blacks visible while supporting white denial of racism. Many readers will use the cute term “politically correct” to disregard these findings and reinforce denial, but careful reading by practitioners may help them become aware of their largely unconscious racism. There is extensive annotation, charts, graphs, and tables as well as a Web cite for more extensive documentation. P. E. Kane; emeritus, SUNY College at Brockport


Minneapolis Urban League will not seek new contract for Urban League Academy, ending 40-year partnership with Minneapolis Public Schools

OBN Editors Note: If you did not see this coming, the evidence was clear as the nose on your face.

For Immediate Release – Contact: Steven Belton,  sbelton@mul.org – 612-302-3101

Minneapolis, MN – The Minneapolis Urban League (MUL) Board of Directors and Interim CEO announce today the MUL will not seek to renew for the 2015-2016 academic year its contract with Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) for the Urban League Academy (ULA). The alternative high school will close on June 5, 2015 ending a 40-year partnership.

"...sans education." (Photo: Urban League logo- Fair Use)

“…sans education.” (Photo: Urban League logo- Fair Use)

“This is a sad day for the Urban League Academy and community,” said Steven Belton, Interim President and CEO. “Our students found caring and encouraging teachers and an environment of mutual support and high expectations there. The Minneapolis Urban League will continue to advocate for educational equity and develop strategies for new educational services.”

“We thank the Minneapolis Urban League for their years of service and partnership. We are committed to working closely with families to provide a smooth transition for students and to meet their academic needs for this upcoming school year,” said MPS interim Superintendent Michael Goar.

The ULA serves a population of at-risk students who face serious challenges and have struggled to achieve academic success in traditional school settings. Unfortunately, contract revenue for ULA students has not kept up with costs and MUL has absorbed operating losses from the school for each of the past several years. In April, the MUL board agreed to lease its school building, located in south Minneapolis, to a startup charter school, which will provide revenue to the MUL. A search for another school venue proved unsuccessful.

Contract alternative schools like ULA do not receive lease aid from the State of Minnesota, which is a financial disadvantage as compared to charter schools, which receive lease aid. Contract alternatives also do not receive tax levy revenue, drop-out prevention assistance and other program monies that traditional public schools are eligible to receive. At-risk students require a host of academic and support services that are not covered by the per pupil allocation to alternative schools, which is far below the amount allocated to charter and traditional public schools.

“The financial issues are complicated, but the disappointing reality is we cannot afford to provide the quality education our students deserve under the present funding structure,” said Clinton Collins, Jr., MUL Chair. “We carefully studied the fiscal implications of continuing our partnership with MPS and examined various alternatives. Ultimately we decided our duty of financial stewardship necessitated closing the school.”

ULA will hold its final graduation ceremony for the Class of 2015 at 6:00 p.m. on June 1, for 12 students. The commencement exercise will be held at MUL’s Glover Sudduth Center, located at 2100 Plymouth Avenue North. The community is invited to attend.


“We keep coming back to the question of representation because identity is always about representation. People forget that when they wanted white women to get into the workforce because of the world war, what did they start doing? They started having a lot of commercials, a lot of movies, a lot of things that were redoing the female image, saying, “Hey, you can work for the war, but you can still be feminine.” So what we see is that the mass media, film, TV, all of these things, are powerful vehicles for maintaining the kinds of systems of domination we live under, imperialism, racism, sexism etc. Often there’s a denial of this and art is presented as politically neutral, as though it is not shaped by a reality of domination.” ― Bell HooksReel to Real: Race, Sex, and Class at the Movies

By Don Allen – Publisher – OurBlackNews.com 

Photo: black-culture.com - Fair Use

Photo: black-culture.com – Fair Use

Violence and questionable deaths, especially the deaths that provide a platform of tension and propaganda between blacks and white law enforcement make for good television news ratings. The trauma suffered from black males constantly being portrayed on camera in a negative representation, sometimes supported by the diaspora of black feminist has caused a society-wide stress factor for black Americans and many fearful whites. Why has American mainstream media made it highly improbable for viewers, readers and listeners to separate real news from high-impact stereotypical-sensationalism when reporting about the black body?


Critiquing bell hooks Postmodern Blackness: Does Black Literature need the critical apparatus of Black Postmodernism?

By Don Allen, Publisher

Looking through the lens of postmodernism as it pertains to color, race, class and more specifically, the African American, it becomes even more problematic to define the modern, postmodern and post-post modernism. Not because we cannot comprehend the meanings, but so few black intellectuals have been indoctrinated with postmodernism in a way that would lay bare to a very clear definitions, claims or arguments.

In bell hooks’ “Postmodern Debates: Postmodern Blackness,” she is determined to cut relevance into her view of postmodernism at the sake of not stepping out and defining an apparatus of her own that can be used by black authors and society to make meaning for a ‘modern, post or post-post’ in ‘blackness.’ hooks writes, “I was told by another black person that I was wasting my time, that ‘this stuff does not relate in any why to what’s happening with black people.” (128).

I tend to agree with the other black person on the critique of hooks amazement and have been unsettled by the lack of black literary agents who have not looked to solidify a meaning exclusively to black culture. If hooks and others would look at the examples of modernism to include the post and post-post in black culture there is an extensive prospect to break the mold

set by the white-patriarchal construct as it pertains to having exclusivity in the hierarchy of literary devises.

To define a change in literary meaning, you first need an example of devise you want to amend. For the simple sake of argument, the black culture could look at the sport of boxing. To look at the modern in boxing, one could argue that Mohammad Ali and Joe Frasier could fit  perfectly in a literary definition. From a postmodern definition, boxers like Sugar Ray Leonard,

Wilfred Benítez, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Durán, and Marvin Hagler, called the boxers of the decade for the 1980s by Sports Illustrated fit fine. Nevertheless, when looking at post-post modernism in this example, stepping away from boxing’s golden age society has the Ultimate

Fighting Championship (UFC), which is the largest mixed martial art Promotion Company in the world featuring most of the top-ranked fighters in the sport. In addition, the World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE), which is an American publicly traded, privately controlled Entertainment Company that deals primarily in professional wrestling, with major revenue

streams from television and cable. As a black author, given the examples above, we could argue for a new literary device, or critical apparatus such as Current Relevancy.

The meaning of Current Relevancy is that during our arts, society and literary history (black America), there were moments in the depths that are timely and relevant in our cannons that lay bare to likening of Marxism, capitalism, modernism, postmodernism and postmodernity that can only be defined by the current state relevant to the black literary cultures purchase.

Hence, while hooks understands what could be labeled as modern, she negates the opportunity to insert a new critical apparatus like Current Relevancy to account for the white-patriarchal construct and what it has used to create meaning and identity for black bodies, literature and culture for far too long. “During the sixties, black power movement was influenced by perspectives that could easily be labeled modernist,” (129).

If black literary agents cannot idea, create and distribute new meaning in the areas of literatures critical apparatus to define and review for debate, we have not gotten any further as intellectuals then the common household cat. Black Postmodernism and the definitions, which have never been cleared or applied, are unnecessary


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