Saturday Open Thread | Luther Vandross Week

Luther Vandross 7For almost 25 years, from 1981 to 2005, Luther dominated the American R&B music charts like no other artist before or since. In that span Luther released eight #1 R&B albums, seven #1 R&B singles and another five Top 20 R&B singles. He achieved crossover status with eight Billboard Top 10 albums, including reaching #1 with 2003’s Dance With My Father; and another five Top 10 Billboard Hot 100 singles.

From 1981 to 1996, Luther Vandross released 11 consecutive platinum/double platinum albums on CBS/Sony’s Epic Records label; and at the time of his passing in 2005, 13 of Luther’s 14 studio albums had gone Platinum or multi-platinum.

Luther’s success was not confined to the United States, with record sales of over 40 million worldwide since 1981, including four Top 10 UK albums (one #1). In March 1989, Luther Vandross was the first male artist to sell out 10 consecutive live shows at London’s Wembley Arena.

About SouthernGirl2

A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
This entry was posted in Current Events, Music, News, Open Thread, Politics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Saturday Open Thread | Luther Vandross Week

  1. rikyrah says:

    April 12, 2013
    Jackie Robinson Again

    I’ll catch the new Jackie Robinson movie, “42,” over the weekend—it’s great, friends say—but I need no sports-clip reminders or careful re-creations to bring his front-footed swing or his shouldering, headlong style on the base paths clearly back into view. I will keep some of his games forever—in particular, that final meeting with the Phillies, in 1951, to force a playoff for the pennant, which he saved with an astounding dive and stop behind second base in the twelfth, and won with a home run in the fourteenth. But that was just baseball; my first thought about him to this day was never a play or a famous hit but an idle, almost inexplicable midsummer, mid-game moment at the Polo Grounds in June or July of 1948.

    I was sitting in a grandstand seat behind the third-base-side lower boxes, pretty close to the field, there as a Giants fan of long standing but not as yet a baseball writer. Never mind the score or the pitchers; this was a trifling midseason meeting—if any Giants-Dodgers game could be called trifling—with stretches of empty seats in the oblong upper reaches of the stands. Robinson, a Dodger base runner, had reached third and was standing on the bag, not far from me, when he suddenly came apart. I don’t know what happened, what brought it on, but it must have been something ugly and far too familiar to him, another racial taunt—I didn’t hear it—that reached him from the stands and this time struck home.

    I didn’t quite hear Jackie, either, but his head was down and a stream of sound and profanity poured out of him. His head was down and his shoulders were barely holding in something more. The game stopped. The Dodgers’ third-base coach came over, and then the Giants’ third baseman—it must have been Sid Gordon—who talked to him quietly and consolingly. The third-base umpire walked in at last to join them, and put one hand on Robinson’s arm. The stands fell silent—what’s going on?—but the moment passed too quickly to require any kind of an explanation. The men parted, and Jackie took his lead off third while the Giants pitcher looked in for his sign. The game went on.

    I have no memory of who won, but that infinitesimal mid-inning tableau stayed with me, quickly resurfacing whenever I saw Jackie play again, in person or on TV, over the next eight seasons and then again on the day he died, in 1972. He was fifty-three years old but already white-haired and frail. We all knew his story by heart, of course, and took a great American pride in him, the very first black player in the majors: a carefully selected twenty-eight-year-old college graduate and Army veteran primed and prepped in 1947 by Dodger President Branch Rickey, who exacted a promise from him that he would never respond, never complain, never talk back, no matter what taunts or trash came at him from enemy players out of the stands.

    He did us proud, but at a cost beyond the paying.

    • Ametia says:

      Yes; the RACISM he endured exacted a heavy price; his HEART.

      And there was a lasting love from Rachel. Even today aat 90; she personifies that deep abiding love she had for Jackie.

      They did an ok job portraying it in the movie. I know they had a passion for each other too, and once, just once, I wanted to see them MAKE LOVE, before that baby was born.

      If the story were about a white hero, they would have been buck naked and rolling all over the bed. But in 2013, it’s still a challenge for Hollywood to show a black couple MAKING, good old-fashioned LOVE.

  2. Hey Chicas!

    Have you seen this commercial with the little cutie saying she “get red bumps and it starts to itch”?

    Listen to the southern accent. bwa ha ha ha ha…TOO MUCH CUTENESS!

  3. Ametia says:

    Saw 42.
    The reoccuring message in the movie is the only color that mattered was GREEN, the BENJAMINS. When you threaten to hit them in the purse, it’s suddenly the color of green they see.

    20th century= racism

    Racial slurs and hatred, inferiority/superiority complex by white team members and opponnents.
    Team mates and opponnents “wanting America the way it was., when they could live in their seperate world and not deal with the fact that black men were humans too, and you know could do anything they could do and BETTER!

    Sanford Florida hasn’t changed much from the 1940’s- Enter Trayvon Martin’s murder case

    Jackie having to suck it up and get on with it, knowing if he fought the hate all the time, it would keep him down and out of the game of life. But in a way ,it did eat at him. i’m glad they showed that scene beneath the dugout, when he smashed that bat against the wall and yelled.

    Maybe if he had let go more often, he wouldn’t have died of a heart attack at 53. He took it for the greater good, and broke down the color barrier.

    Little black boys looked up to Jackie knowing they too could achieve their dreams.

    21st =racism

    Enter PBO the lives are uncanny. First Black president of the USA.

    Enter Tea Party-GOP scream racial slurs chanting they want to take back their country!

    Even today, these folks don’t want to OWN THEIR SHIT.

    PBO & FLOTUS keep on keeping on, getting it done for the greater good, despite the outright hate racism, moving of the goalpost.

    Little Black boys and girls looking up to POTUS & FLOTUS and seeing ALL THE POSSIBILITES.

    I don’t think this movie gave white folks a reason to pat themselves on the back as they walked out of the theater. It was another reminder to wake the fuck up, and call out the bulshit that is racism, because it’s still alive and well in 2013.

    For me, the movie highlighted the more things and people change, the more they stay the same.

    • rikyrah says:

      hey Ametia,

      I like your review. I have thought for a long time that Robinson died so young because of all he had to take. I will forever believe it.

      To see Robinson’s grace and strength just humbled me…and I mean both Jackie and Rachel Robinson.

      • rikyrah says:

        the scene in the airport….

        well, I posted the link to the story THIS WEEK about the BLACK COUPLE denied First Class seats because of what they wore.

      • Ametia says:

        yes; I remember the scene in the airport from the movie and the link to the story. And some white folks who can’t seem to get that they are part of the RACISM, because they REAP the rewards of the racists acts, simply by being WHITE.

        Same shit, different day. We must keep calling out the racist bullshit. WE WILL NOT BE GOING BACK.

    • rikyrah says:

      I also loved that they didn’t leave out that Jackie was court- marshalled because he wouldn’t be down with a segregated Army.

      it was also good to see Jackie begin to realize how it wasn’t just him…how it was bigger than him.

      I was wondering why the reporter had the typewriter on his lap…he wasn’t allowed into the sportswriters box

  4. rikyrah says:

    Friday, April 12, 2013
    Daily Kos: A case study in epistemic closure
    Like many pragmatic progressives who blog, I used to spend most of my time online at Daily Kos. Many of us quit writing there at about the same time. I know that for me the final straw was getting attacked – even by those I generally agreed with – for poking some questions at what had become conventional wisdom there.

    Ever since Barack Obama’s rise in national politics, Daily Kos has had mixed reactions to him. But there are times it has gotten ugly. Lately its the worst I’ve seen it. Since the day it was announced that President Obama would include chained CPI in his budget, the place has become a case study in what Julian Sanchez calls epistemic closure. Sanchez used the term to talk about modern-day conservatives. But listen to his description and then we’ll see how it applies at Daily Kos these days.

    Reality is defined by a multimedia array of interconnected and cross promoting conservative blogs, radio programs, magazines, and of course, Fox News. Whatever conflicts with that reality can be dismissed out of hand because it comes from the liberal media, and is therefore ipso facto not to be trusted…Internal criticism is then especially problematic, because it threatens the hermetic seal. It’s not just that any particular criticism might have to be taken seriously coming from a fellow conservative. Rather, it’s that anything that breaks down the tacit equivalence between “critic of conservatives and “wicked liberal smear artist” undermines the effectiveness of the entire information filter. If disagreement is not in itself evidence of malign intent or moral degeneracy, people start feeling an obligation to engage it sincerely…And there is nothing more potentially fatal to the momentum of an insurgency fueled by anger than a conversation.

    One of my routines is to read the news summary posted every morning on Daily Kos titled Abbreviated Pundit Roundup (just as I check out the roundup at Real Clear politics). This morning’s edition was telling. It covered the first full day of punditry since President Obama released his budget. The roundup included 5 commentaries on that topic – all focused on critiquing the inclusion of chained CPI. They were from Dean Baker, Robert Reich, Andrew Fieldhouse, Stephen Henderson and Derek Thompson.

    The choices were interesting in that there certainly wasn’t a vacuum of commentary from progressives on the rest of the budget. For example, how about linking to:

  5. rikyrah says:

    Howard Sorority Caught Tampering With Witnesses
    Posted by Will Sommer on Apr. 12, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    The Howard University sorority lawsuit has taken another byzantine turn! The story of two seniors’ legal fight to get into a sorority now involves something very unsisterly: witness tampering.

    In case you missed the strange case of the would-be sorority sisters, some background: seniors Laurin Compton and Lauren Cofield, and their mothers are suing Howard and the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, alleging that their legacy status was ignored in the pledge process, in part because they refused to go along with “dehumanizing” hazing.

    A lawsuit is a a strange way to get into a sorority, but Alpha Kappa Alpha apparently took the complaint seriously enough that it decided to cancel sorority privileges for both Compton’s and Cofield’s mothers. The note spooked potential witnesses, according to the plaintiffs, and convinced Compton’s mother not to attend a hearing.

    In an opinion released Thursday, Judge Rosemary Collyer slammed the tampering as “deplorable” and “supercilious.” Collyer decided not to sanction the sorority for the tampering, but that didn’t depress their outspoken attorney, J. Wyndal Gordon.

    Gordon, the self-proclaimed “Warrior Lawyer,” took to Facebook to trumpet the judge’s decision. “We’re just getting started,” he writes. “The Warrior Lawyer!!”


  6. rikyrah says:

    ‘Mixed Kids Are the Cutest’ Isn’t Cute?
    Race Manners: Comments about the superior beauty of your biracial child aren’t just weird — they’re troubling.

    By: Jenée Desmond-Harris | Posted: April 8, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    “I’m a Caucasian woman with a biracial child (her father is black). I live in a predominantly white community. Why is it that whenever people discover that I have a ‘mixed’ child, they always say things like, ‘Oh, he/she must be so cute/gorgeous/adorable, those kids are always the best looking. You are so lucky.’

    I know they mean well, but it seems off to me, and maybe racist. Do they mean compared to ‘real’ black children? When a German and Italian or an Asian and Jewish person have a child, black people don’t say, ‘Mixed children like yours are always the best looking.’ (Plus, it’s not true — not all black-white biracial kids are the ‘best looking.’)

    Am I being overly sensitive by feeling there’s something off about these comments? If not, what’s the best way to respond?”


    I chose this question for the first installment of Race Manners, The Root’s new advice column on racial etiquette and ethics, because it hits close to home. Like your daughter, I’m biracial. Like you, my white mother has developed an acute sensitivity to the subtle ways prejudice and bigotry pop up in daily life. I should know. She calls me to file what I’ve deemed her “racism reports.”

    And let’s be clear. Americans of all races say bizarre things to and about mixed people, who can inspire some of the most revealing remarks about our black-white baggage. Just think of the public debates about how MSNBC’s Karen Finney, and even President Obama, should be allowed to identify.

    But the comments in your question often come from a good place, and they’re often said with a smile. When I was a child, adults loved to tell me that people paid “good money” for hair like mine (think 1980s-era perms on white women) and for tanning beds (again, it was the ’80s and ’90s) to achieve my skin color. Thus, the grown-up argument went, I should be happy (even if these trends didn’t stop people from petting my curls as if I were an exotic poodle, nor did they give me the straight blond hair I envied, and it’s not as if I was on the receiving end of the beauty-shop payments).

    A friend got the biscuit analogy. Wait for it: God burned black people and undercooked white people, but removed her from the heavenly oven at the perfect moment, she was told.

    Awkward. Well-intended. Poorly thought-through. A window into our shared cultural stuff about identity. These statements are all these things at once.

    That’s another reason I selected your question. When it comes to remarks that are so obviously dead-wrong to some of us, and so clearly innocuous to others, there’s often little energy for or interest in breaking down the explanation that lies between “Ugh, so ignorant!” and “Oh, come on, stop being so sensitive.”

    I’ll try it out here.

    You’re right to be bothered by the remarks from the Biracial Babies Fan Club. Here’s why: These people aren’t pulling an arbitrary appreciation for almond-colored skin and curls from the ether. Instead — even if they are not aware of this — they’re both reflecting and perpetuating troubling beliefs that are bigger than their individual tastes. Specifically, while “mixed kids are the cutest” is evenhanded on its face, treating both black and white (and all other ethnic groups) as inferior to your daughter, I hear it as anti-black.

  7. rikyrah says:

    The Secrets within the Ivy: The Continuation of White Supremacy
    By Dr. Terence Fitzgerald

    Upon recently reading the New York Times op-ed piece by Ross Douthat, The Secrets of Princeton, I am reminded of Dr. Joe Feagin’s words:

    White racism today remains “‘normal’” and deeply imbedded in most historically white institutions. Every such institution is still substantially whitewashed in its important norms, rules, and arrangements…it seems likely that a majority of whites cannot see just how whitewashed their historically white organizations and institutions really are.

    The editorial piece discusses a recent submission from guest contributor of The Daily Princetonian and Princeton alumna, Susan Patton, who controversially declared that the women of Princeton should, “Find a husband on campus before you graduate.” She goes on to say:

    I am the mother of two sons who are both Princetonians. My older son had the good judgment and great fortune to marry a classmate of his, but he could have married anyone. My younger son is a junior and the universe of women he can marry is limitless… As Princeton women, we have almost priced ourselves out of the market. Simply put, there is a very limited population of men who are as smart or smarter than we are. And I say again — you will never again be surrounded by this concentration of men who are worthy of you.

    Oh no, she didn’t!! Sorry, I was channeling a number of high school students I work with. But nonetheless, apparently from the slings and arrows she received for publishing her essay, Susan forgot the first two rules of the Ivy League:

    1st RULE: You do not talk about the secrets of the Ivy League.
    2nd RULE: You DO NOT talk about the secrets of the Ivy League.

    Douthat noted many of her ideological opponents deem her as a turncoat to feminism. Her betrayal of acknowledging a truth, which Douthat feels many who attend Ivy League institutions are conscious of, is Patton’s biggest crime. A truth that encompasses the ideas that these places of highly manicured lawns and pristine historically well-kept buildings are focused not only on the pursuit of academic excellence, but also the charge of preserving racial entitlement while safeguarding the advantages accrued over generations in order to be safely transmitted to the next.

    Even though these institutions over the decades have visibly discussed racial diversity and applied a dash of the finest cosmetic makeup to cover their blemished pale skin, Ivy League schools continue to be, as Feagin states, “whitewashed.” The quest for meritocracy continues within the 21st century. The current mode of protecting white interests, access to power, and purifying the elite is constant in country that attempts to convince its people that they are living in a post racial society. Albert Memmi understood this mechanism of racial supremacy when he stated,

    racists are people who are afraid…generally it is because one wishes to obtain or defend something of value…the necessity to defend an individual identity and a collective identity, against all who come from elsewhere and don’t belong, is in operation.

    This is not a declaration that all who attend these settings are racist per se, but the institution itself and those that practice the dark arts of the white racial frame, are definitely protecting historically privileged White placement on a hierarchy while simultaneously dispensing unequal treatment for a marginalized people. Its systems do not freely and equally entitle Blacks and Latinos to the same resources, power, and empathy as predetermined for the privileged placement of Whites. This is definitely illustrated within their modest number of students and faculty of color.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Saturday, April 13, 2013
    The coalition of the ascendant
    In his remarks at the Newtown memorial, President Obama said this:

    It comes as a shock at a certain point where you realize no matter how much you love these kids, you can’t do it by yourself, that this job of keeping our children safe and teaching them well is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the help of a community and the help of a nation.

    And in that way we come to realize that we bear responsibility for every child, because we’re counting on everybody else to help look after ours, that we’re all parents, that they are all our children.

    This is our first task, caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.

    Of course at the time, he was referring to the need to protect our children against gun violence. But I’ve also thought of these words as I hear people talk about his budget proposal – especially in light of Ron Brownstein’s article about the coalition of the ascendant.

    Much of this year’s Washington story is about Obama aligning the Democratic agenda with the priorities of the “coalition of the ascendant”—minorities, the millennial generation, and college-educated whites, especially women—that powered his 2008 and 2012 victories…

    The Obama fiscal blueprint released this week cautiously dips into this same current by seeking to restrain entitlement spending while invigorating public investment (through initiatives such as expanded preschool, an infrastructure bank, and more college aid). That combination would challenge the federal budget’s hardening tendency to favor the old over the young…

    In 1969, according to Office of Management and Budget figures released this week, payments to individuals (primarily entitlements) and investments in the future (defined as education and training, scientific research, and infrastructure) each constituted about one-third of the federal budget. By 2012, payments to individuals had reached 65 percent of the budget—and investments had plummeted to just 14 percent.

    The Urban Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, calculates that Washington now spends seven times as much per senior citizen as it does per child.

    It would be a tragedy of epic proportions if this country devolved into polarization over an argument of the young vs the old. Ron Brownstein has been one of the few journalists who’s been warning us about that possibility for a while now – particularly when you take into consideration that the young are increasingly black, Latino and Asian while the elderly are overwhelmingly white.

    I’d suggest that one way to avoid that kind of polarization is to take some small steps now to rectify the imbalance that has built up over the last 40 years. By beginning to align our federal budget a bit more closely to “our first job” as a society, I think that’s exactly what President Obama is doing.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Little Old Jackie From Pasadena
    Saturday, April 13, 2013 | Posted by adept2u at 3:18 PM

    Pasadena was built by the kind of wealth so vast it doesn’t need to wear a watch because it determines who is late. Let me set the environment for you. It is linked to Los Angeles by California and the west’s first freeway what we now call the 110 or Arroyo Seco Parkway, but when it was constructed was known as the Pasadena Freeway.

    You might wonder how having the first freeway in the west means time waits for you, and let me tell you. They built it purposefully with looping curves and lovely parks surrounding it. No engineer’s straight line efficiency for these people. Driving into Pasadena was meant to be an event and one you went to through beautiful environs and narrow lanes. Consequently when I was a lad growing up just about every high school in the San Gabriel Valley had a missing person from the graduating class who went to fast and plunged into the LA River or missed a curve and slammed into a tree.

    Once you escape the curves you have the option of 3 exits for heading north into the city. Orange Grove is the first and when you make the turn left the first thing you might notice if you’ve watched TV on January 1st it is the route of the Rose Parade.

    The blocks on this street are wicked long and are an artifact of it’s beginnings as one of the Southland’s first millionaires row built by easterners one upping each other in their western retreats. The names on the mansions read like a who’s who of early 20th century mega-money. Busch had his first gardens Gamble had a mansion that used no metal fasteners, Wrigley chewed up a huge chunk with a lovely house that’s used as the parade’s headquarters today.

    I doubt when Jackie Robinson’s mother moved the family to town in 1920 they used the Orange Grove exit for even in my day doing so was an invitation for the Pasadena Police to ask a Black person what they were doing, and most folks I know of the Black persuasion try and avoid that. They would have most likely used Fair Oaks and turned left to drive through the city and north toward the Black section of Pasadena.

    121 Pepper Street where the Robinson’s made their home is currently solidly in the area that Black folks clearly live, but when he moved there it wasn’t. Pasadena has the honor or shall I say the indignity of being the only school district west of the Mississippi River to have had to undergo court ordered busing in the early 1970’s. I happen to be a graduate of the first class to be integrated.

    There were strict lines and rules about where blacks could live and go without good reason. Customs that were enforced by Realtors and bankers and police existed well into the busing era, but despite that life for Blacks in Pasadena was relatively prosperous and nice. The city is and was beautiful, and let’s face it, rich people really don’t want their maids hassled all that much. It tickles me to read accounts of Jackie Robinson’s life and the poverty he underwent as a child to think in the Southern California Blacks from Pasadena were thought of as rich, they owned their home and land, kind of uppity if I can borrow a term. The Robinson’s are considered one of Pasadena’s Black founding families and it’s just interesting to consider pioneers as poverty stricken. There are worse curses than may your Grandchildren consider you poor I suppose.

  10. This lowdown mofo here…

    Police sergeant fired for Trayvon Martin shooting targets

    Officials with Port Canaveral said a police sergeant has been fired after he brought Trayvon Martin shooting targets to a firearms training session.

    Sergeant Ron King was terminated from the police department on Thursday, according to officials.

    Port officials said King brought two shooting targets which had an images resembling Trayvon Martin on them to a firearms training session on April 4.

    King was supervising the training session and asked if anyone wanted to use them. Officials will not say if the targets were actually used.

    The firearms training was being held at a facility at the Brevard Community College campus in Cocoa. The officers who were participating in the training, as well as King, were on duty at the time.

    King had been employed with the Port Canaveral Police Department since January of 2011, officials said.

    Port officials told WFTV King purchased the targets on the internet.

  11. rikyrah says:

    went to see 42.

    waiting for Ametia to give her review.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Indian Affairs, Adoption, and Race: The Baby Veronica Case Comes to Washington
    A little girl is at the heart of a big case at the Supreme Court next week, a racially-tinged fight over Native American rights and state custody laws.

    The United States Supreme Court next Tuesday hears argument in a head-spinning case that blends the rank bigotry of the nation’s past with the glib sophistry of the country’s present. The case is about a little girl and a Nation, a family and a People. The question at the center of it has been asked (and answered) over and over again on this blessed continent for the past 400 years: Is the law of the land going to preclude or permit yet another attempt to take something precious away from an Indian?

    The case is styled Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, but everyone knows it as the “Baby Veronica” case. The “baby” is a little girl, now three-and-a-half years old, born of the fleeting union of an American Indian man named Dusten Brown and a Hispanic woman named Christina Maldonado. Before Veronica was born, her mother arranged for her to be adopted without telling the baby’s father. When, months after the baby’s birth, the father found out about the adoption, he exercised his rights under federal law to block the adoption and gain custody. The two state courts which have reviewed the case have both sided with him.

    The adoptive family, the couple who joyfully took Baby Veronica home from the hospital to South Carolina following her birth, claim that Brown waived his rights to custody under state law. The father, who now lives with the little girl in Oklahoma, claims that his conducts falls perfectly into the safe harbor of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978, a federal law designed to protect Indian families from “abusive child welfare practices that resulted in the separation of large numbers of Indian children from their families and tribes through adoption or foster case placement.”

    So there is an intensely personal component to the case. And there is the larger picture, the political calculus, that seems to animate every high-profile Supreme Court case. This is yet another case about federalism — about states’ rights — some experts have told the Court. And Paul Clement, the conservative lawyer representing the child’s guardian in the case, has made an extraordinary argument designed to undercut federal oversight over Indian affairs: These statutes, he argues, are unconstitutional because they are based upon racial classifications that violate the equal protection rights of non-Indians.

    Some of the elements of the case, sadly, harken back to the bad old days of dark stereotypes about Indians. The adoptive couple, who’ve relentlessly argued their case in the court of public opinion by appearing on television with the likes of Anderson Cooper and Dr. Phil, have been widely portrayed as the innocent victims of the story. Meanwhile, Baby Veronica’s father has been largely portrayed as little more than a shifty, good-for-nothing drifter. The truth lies somewhere in the middle — and the fact is that Baby Veronica’s story is precisely the sort of story Congress had in mind when it passed the ICWA.

    Which is why it was a surprise to many when the justices in Washington agreed to hear the case. The Supreme Court of South Carolina, where the adoptive couple lives and where Baby Veronica was located at the time of the lawsuit, ruled that the federal law trumped state law and gave custody of the child back to her biological father. So did the justices take the case to reaffirm the primacy of Congressional authority over the lives of Native Americans? Did they take the case to strengthen the federal law? Or did they take the case to force Baby Veronica’s father to give her back to the white couple who thought they had successfully adopted her?

    Some Facts

    Like most cases that come before the Supreme Court, the “Baby Veronica” case has many more villains in it than heroes. Neither of the little girl’s biological parents respected each other enough to do right by their legal or moral obligations to one another. The father did not want to pay child support. The mother did not tell the father that she intended to place the baby up for adoption. The adoptive couple filed for adoption three days after Baby Veronica was born but didn’t give her father official notice of the proceedings for four months — that is, until just a few days before Brown, a U.S. Army soldier, deployed to Iraq.

    There was a lot more of this sort of shadiness surrounding the adoption. Baby Veronica’s mother knew that the father was a member of the Cherokee Nation. She evidently told both the adoption agency and the adoptive couple that the father was Cherokee, but also acted in ways designed to conceal the situation from Indian officials (and, for that matter, from the little girl’s father). Before the baby’s birth, for example, there was an unsuccessful attempt to notify tribal officials, but Brown’s first name was misspelled on the notice, and his birth date on the form was, as the South Carolina Supreme Court later found, “misrepresented.”

    Transporting the baby from Oklahoma, where she was born, to South Carolina, where the adoptive couple lived, required the consent of Oklahoma officials. On the state form, one option for identification was labeled “Caucasian/Native-American-Indian/Hispanic.” The word “Hispanic” was circled (although it is unclear who circled it). Had the Cherokee Nation known about the baby’s heritage, an Indian official later testified at the four-day hearing in the case, it would have objected and prevented the child from leaving the state. In short, everyone knew that there were “Native American” interests in the adoption, but no one at the time did all they could to ensure that these interests were fairly represented.*

  13. rikyrah says:

    Farm-to-Table in Communities of Color
    Yuppie-style food activism gets more complicated in communities where farming comes with historical baggage.

    Why would I want to go back to picking cotton?” That’s one response you get when you talk to young people of color about farming and food sovereignty, says D.C. farmer and food activist Natasha Bowens. Yet food sovereignty is of vital importance in the broader context of social justice. According to a report by The Applied Research Center, 10 percent of black and Latino families lack access to adequate food–“three times the rate for white households.” And while about a third of whites live in an area with a supermarket, only 8 percent of blacks do.

    Bowens, author of the blog Brown Girl Farming and founder of The Color of Food, a directory of farmers of color, didn’t start out in agriculture. She had never set foot on a farm. But after working at a D.C. think tank on issues related to food, she says, “I was interested in knowing where my food came from.” She quit her job to devote herself full-time to farming and food justice. Focusing on communities of color affected by “the broken food system,” as she puts it, Bowens worked her way through Detroit, Chicago, and Brooklyn, founding The Color of Food after meeting and talking with Farms to Grow founder Gail Myers at the Black Farmers and Urban Gardeners Conference in 2010. Bowens wanted to go a step further than simply identifying and listing farmers of color across the country. So she hit the road for five months to speak in person with more than 60 farmers of African American, Native American, Asian, and Latino descent.

    What she expected to see were “farmers waiting on support from the government.” When it comes to funding, black farmers receive about one-third or less than what other farmers receive, which has resulted, Gail Myers points out, in black farmers losing their land. In fact, this asymmetry led a group of black farmers to sue the USDA for damages, claiming discriminatory treatment. The farmers agreed to a settlement, and in 1999, over 15,000 claimants received restitutions. Soon afterward, Native American, Latino, and female farmers stepped forward with their own civil rights lawsuits against the USDA. Discriminatory lending has cost the federal government billions in settlements.

    But while the USDA continues to try to make amends for its institutional racism and sexism, Bowens says, “I was really inspired by folks not waiting around.” Instead, they were “stepping outside of the obstacles and the structural racism” to create the organizations and mentorship programs that they needed. They were claiming ownership of their land and food, which is precisely what the modern term “food sovereignty” means.

    She met Cynthia Hayes of Savannah, Georgia, who runs the Southeastern African-American Farmers Organic Network (SAAFON). This African American grassroots organization trains and mentors black farmers in organic growing, not only to promote sustainable farming, but also to help these farmers of color yield more crops and preserve their land. Bowens also met Sará Reynolds Green of Saint Helena Island, South Carolina. Green lives on a farm that has been in her family for over a century, where she teaches African-American youth the value of getting back to the land and growing their own food.

    Through connecting younger farmers of color with their elders, Bowens is hoping she can reclaim the lost history of marginalized farmers and jump-start a more inclusive food justice movement. “If you’re trying to farm,” she says, “you need to go to the people who have been doing this already for years.” Her upcoming Color of Food book contains the dozens of stories and photographs that she captured when speaking with veteran farmers of color. The project, as she sees it, is a way not only to preserve the tradition of black farmers, but also to build solidarity.

    It’s true that, for youth of color, heading back to the farm recalls a fraught history of slavery and exploitive migrant labor. She says that immigrant youth often say, “Why would I go back to the farm that my immigrant parents worked so hard to get us off of?” For young people of color, claiming direct access to food by picking up the pitchfork at a local urban farm can feel like a step backwards.

    “My hope is that we can work past that,” Bowens says. “Who’s going to grow our food in the future?” Right now, black farmers are a dying breed. Fewer than 1 percent of America’s farms are owned by blacks, down from 14 percent in 1920. Those who remain may not be around for much longer. “The average age of the farmer is about 60 years old,” Bowens says, “and it’s even higher for black farmers.” Bowens, then, is part of a tenuous link between aging black farmers and, she hopes, a new wave of agrarians.

    If fellow young food activists of color can’t look past the stigma of farm labor, and the food justice movement doesn’t prioritize communities of color, then the goal of food sovereignty will remain out of reach. Some food activists try to fix urban food systems by starting gardens and farmers markets, but they tend to come from outside the community, Bowens points out. “They were creating these solutions without even talking to the community or letting them be at the table.” The food justice movement, for all its talk of eating local, often ignores the need to empower these local communities of color. That means racial and economic equity in the food system faces a number of obstacles, from discriminatory government lending to, now, top-down fixes that exclude those who are affected the most. It’s more important than ever for farmer-activists of color to build their grassroots movement. “We don’t have to wait around for the policy makers,” Bowens says. “We can make our own solutions.”

  14. rikyrah says:

    Medgar Evers to be remembered 50 years after death
    by Laura Tillman, Associated Press | April 12, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    The widow of civil rights leader Medgar Evers, who was killed by a white supremacist outside his Jackson, Miss., home in 1963, laments that her husband is remembered primarily as an assassination victim.

    This June, to mark the 50th anniversary of his slaying, a series of events will pay tribute to Evers’ work toward racial equality during his 37 years.

    “I see this as a celebration — one where we celebrate the man, what he did, and what his actions are still giving to us today, and to the future,” Evers’ widow, Myrlie Evers-Williams said Thursday.

    Evers was the first field secretary in Mississippi for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He led marches, investigated racial violence, and organized voter registration drives. Through it all, he promoted a message of peace and unity.

    During a news conference at a Jackson library named for Evers, Evers-Williams and daughter Reena Evers-Everette announced the details of the weeklong celebration. The first event, a memorial service, will be held June 5 at Arlington National Cemetery, just outside Washington, D.C.

    Evers served in the Army and fought at the Battle of Normandy. A symposium at the Newseum in Washington will also be held on June 5.

    On June 10 and 11, there will be tours of civil rights sites around Jackson, a civil rights film festival and a day of learning and dialogue for young people in collaboration with the University of Mississippi’s William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation. June 12 will mark an international day of remembrance, including a celebration at the Mississippi Museum of Art, the chiming of bells and a tribute gala.

    A decade ago, the anniversary of Evers’ slaying was marked with a memorial at his graveside, his daughter said. This year, she wanted to shift the focus from mourning to celebration.

    “I told my mother, ‘The 50th is coming up and I don’t want it to be about his death. I want it to be about his life,’” Evers-Everette said.

    But Evers-Everette said that remembering her father is always painful. After having lived in California and Atlanta, she recently moved back to Jackson. Here, her childhood home has been converted into a museum, preserving the memories of her eight years with her father.

    “I don’t think I will ever come down and not have the pain,” Evers-Everette said Thursday. “It has been 50 years and I’m learning how to put it to a certain point in my heart, in my head. And focusing on his life instead of his death has brought the joy back in celebrating his life, instead of always remembering the painful assassination and the blood.”

    Evers’ killer was convicted of the slaying in 1994.

    The news conference itself was punctuated with laughter and joy of the surviving Evers family, including Charles Evers, Medgar Evers’ brother.

    Nissan also presented a $100,000 donation to the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Institute.

    “This organization talks about and looks at youth education, diversity and racial reconciliation, and those are the same things Nissan looks at,” said Jeffrey Webster, director of human resources for Nissan North America in Canton, near Jackson. He said the gift can be used however the institute sees fit.

    This week, the lone survivor of the 1963 bombing of an Alabama church that killed four black girls said she wants millions of dollars in restitution and that she feels forgotten by history. Asked about the case, Evers-Williams said it’s important to make sure that a wide range of civil rights figures are remembered.

    “There are many people who suffered, who became disfigured, who lost homes, who lost other mates, et cetera, et cetera, who are never mentioned,” she said. She said that the institute established in Evers’ name seeks to draw attention to activists who been overlooked.

    Asked what Medgar Evers would think about the events, Evers-Williams said: “I think Medgar would’ve been extremely pleased but he probably would have added: ‘It’s not necessary to highlight me. Highlight the other people who are out there working.’”

  15. rikyrah says:

    Good Afternoon, Everyone :)

  16. Ametia says:

    Love how the progressives are all over the TV whining about PBO’s budget and the CPI. If this doesn’t highlight the budget and further paint the GOP into a corner, I don’t know what will.

  17. Ametia says:

    Angry White Guys: The Roots of Reactionary America
    Thomas Magstadt
    NationofChange / Op-Ed

    Published: Saturday 13 April 2013

    The angry white guys who dominate the Republican Party in Congress represent all the angry white men in America who cannot accept what they’ve lost forever—namely the exclusive right to take all the best jobs, run everything, make all the decisions and, oh yes, keep everybody who doesn’t look, act and talk the way they do out of the good old boys club.

  18. Ametia says:

    Let’s stay vigilent, folks; 2014 is just around the corner. The EMOPROGS are already telling folks to stay home.

  19. Ametia says:

    Going to see the movie “42” today. I hope this movie doesn’t give white folks a pass on their racism and play up the coach for signing on Robinson. I’m not hopeful thhough. It’s sounding like another movie about racism that makes white folks feel good about taking a small step by giving the negro a chance., one where white folks can leave the theater patting themselves on the back, and say, “See the coach gave Jackie a shot, We have OVERCOME!

  20. Ametia says:

    Tiger Woods was penalized two strokes Saturday after a rules committee deemed he violated one of golf’s ball-drop rules during Friday’s play, an official with the Masters Tournament said.

    With the ruling, Woods is now 1-under par, five strokes behind leader Jason Day.

    Woods, a four-time tournament champion, hit a shot on the 15th hole that ricocheted off the flagstick into a pond. Woods took a drop then bogeyed the hole.

    “After being prompted by a television viewer, the Rules Committee reviewed a video of the shot while he was playing the 18th hole,” Fred Ridley, the Augusta National Golf Club’s competition committee chairman, said in a written statement.

  21. Ametia says:


  22. Weekly Address: Sandy Hook Victim’s Mother Calls for Commonsense Gun Responsibility Reforms

  23. Shady_Grady says:

    I haven’t heard much of his stuff. Interesting…

Leave a Reply