Breaking Brown


20/08/14 Black Politics , featured , Obama , ybw #

Pastors Blame Malik Shabazz for Escalating Violence, Demand He Leave Ferguson

Pastors Blame Malik Shabazz for Escalating Violence, Demand He Leave Ferguson

Malik Shabazz

Church leaders are demanding that Malik Shabazz, president of the Black Lawyers for Justice and former chairman of the New Black Panther Party, leave Ferguson because he is escalating violence. According to the pastors, Shabazz says he is in town as a peacekeeper, but he’s actually ratcheting up tensions.

“I am upset with a certain group of them that are rebel rousers. We know them by name. Last night was the scariest night of my life,” said Pastor Mike Robinson.

He added: “I literally watched him cause chaos within a large group of people and prepare to send them to the front line, then he shifts and says ‘let’s keep the peace.’ We’re calling him out. We want him out of our city, we don’t need his help at all, and he’s doing nothing but cause chaos.”

A story published by the Kansas City Star, however, paints a different picture of Shabazz:

In many cases, they’re right. Shabazz was gentle with some, firm with others on a recent night as he urged them to get off the streets at night, and to stay away from looting. One young man wearing a bandanna around his neck seemed primed for trouble standing near a closed restaurant until Shabazz put a hand on his shoulder and had a quiet talk. Soon, the young man nodded and walked away.

Read more here:

As Gene Demby noted in a piece for NPR, some have noticed a generational divide with regards to how best to handle the protests:

Though everyone is exceedingly polite on Canfield, folks say there are some tensions. “There’s a generational divide,” says Demetrius Upchurch, a high school teacher from a few towns over who’s here with his 4-year-old son, Aiden. He’s visiting some family; his 85-year-old grandfather lives near the street where Michael Brown was killed. Upchurch says his grandfather is scared by the unrest. “Old people don’t understand younger people, and younger people don’t understand older people.” And there weren’t a lot of older people on the streets.

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12/04/14 Black News , Black Politics , Obama , ybw #

Yvette Carnell: Please Don’t Embarrass Yourself by Defending “Rev.” Al Sharpton

Yvette Carnell: Please Don’t Embarrass Yourself by Defending “Rev.” Al Sharpton


by Yvette Carnell

He’s a fiction of black people’s imagination. A reverend without a church. An activist without a conscience. A man who took the reins of power in New York while running an organization with only 200 or 300 members, while using manufactured outrages like the Tawana Brawley scam to gain publicity.

By now, black people should have come to terms with what a grave mistake we made by ever bestowing upon Sharpton the responsibility of leadership. He shouldn’t be trusted to take a horse to water, let alone lead a marginalized group in dire need of innovative solutions to entrenched and systemic racism. Yet, many black people in media are hitching their wagon to this crestfallen mob affiliate turned rat.

In NewsOne, Michael Arceneaux, who has had some insightful thoughts on the politics of respectability, offered us this cartoonish justification for why we should support “The Rev”:

I imagine some group of crotchety, conservative old White men gathering around a boardroom as one extra large fellow – probably petting a cat – says, “Don’t those Blacks hate when you help the ‘po-po?’ What do they call it? “Snitching?” Let’s set Sharpton up. Show his people that he’s a ‘snitch.’ That’ll teach him.” Then everyone laughs and we cut back to Sharpton at the dinner table eating fat back and collard greens out of a can ’cause times are hard.

This isn’t about collard greens or “crotchety” old white men sitting in smoke filled rooms plotting against the self-anointed reverend. This is about whether a poser, a man caught on camera negotiating a cocaine deal with an undercover FBI agent, is fit to lead Black America.

What matters more to me than who outed Sharpton is whether the picture being painted in these official documents is true. And judging from the fact that Sharpton has not once accused the government of falsifying documents, I’ll assume that they are. What I won’t do is fall into the trap of vindicationist black thought which supposes that black people should replace thoughtful analysis with knee jerk reactionary thinking. Arceneaux assumes that just because some white men somewhere in a room may have set this story in motion, black folk are supposed to rally around Sharpton.

In An American Dilemma, economist and sociologist Gunnar Myrdal observed the following:

Negro thinking is almost completely determined by white opinions–negatively and positively. It develops as an answer to the popular theories prevalent among whites by which they rationalize their upholding of caste. In this sense it is a derivative, or secondary, thinking. The Negroes do not formulate the issues to be debated; these are set for them by the dominant group. Negro thinking develops upon the presupposition of white thinking.

This is the trap Arceneaux falls into when assuming that we, black people, should base our assessment of Sharpton on whether or not it is part of a plot devised by white people.

Reporter Errol Louis falls into a less obvious trap with his CNN published piece, “Al Sharpton is No Rat”:

Whatever Sharpton’s reasons, he did society a favor by helping to expose the outright criminality that was prevalent in the music industry. For decades, crooks had a stranglehold on popular music, according to “Hit Men,” Frederic Dannen’s 1990, eye-opening book about the hoodlums, artists and executives who routinely resorted to blackmail, extortion, payola and outright violence as business tools.

Among the tales picked up on Sharpton’s wire was information on Morris Levy, a legend in the music business who owned nightspots, including Birdland, in New York, and the rights to scores of hit songs.

Wait a minute, when Criminal X turns on Criminal Y, does that make Criminal X any less of a criminal? No one is making the case that the information gathered by Sharpton during his years as a paid informant didn’t help put away some really bad guys. The question is whether Sharpton, caught on tape negotiating a deal for kilos of coke, was also himself a bad guy? The documents seem to show that he was a mob affiliate. Judging from the documents, Al Sharpton didn’t run to the FBI for help, he ran away from a prison sentence and into the arms of Fed. 

And before you declare The Good Rev’s misdeeds forgiven since he works “for the people”, consider the scathing  2004 accusations made by Doug Ireland in L.A. Weekly:

Rev. Al has a long and sordid history of posing as the champion of the have-nots, while renting himself out to the greedy have-everythings, which predates his ’04 GOP-funded presidential campaign. In 1986, he endorsed N.Y. Senator Al D’Amato for re-election — although D’Amato, a conservative Republican pit bull, was anathema to more issues-attuned black leaders. In 1994, he helped dampen down the black vote for [Democratic] Governor Mario Cuomo by making a media-hyped appearance with successful conservative Republican candidate George Pataki just days before the election. In the 2001 New York mayoral campaign, he connived with GOP billionaire Michael Bloomberg in the defeat of the Democratic candidate, Mark Green.

But Sharpton has not limited himself simply to supporting candidates considered by most to be inimical to the interests of the impoverished black community. A 1988 investigation by the Long Island daily Newsday revealed that Sharpton, who denounces African-American leaders who disagree with him as “yellow n*****s,” had been a longtime FBI informant in a scheme to entrap black leaders and personalities on drug-related matters, even going so far as to wear a wire to record their conversations for the feds.

Sharpton’s rise to power has only benefited himself, the GOP,  and his cronies, but never the African-American community. Sharpton is the main beneficiary of his self-appointment as race leader. It is also widely assumed that the Rev was shielded from tax evasion charges mainly because he was a useful tool in managing dissent in the black community. Now it seems that because he’s no longer as useful to the powers that be, he’s poised to take a fall. My advice: Let him.   You’re only making a fool of yourself by defending a man who has made a fool of the black community for decades.

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03/01/13 Black Politics , Obama

Obama Admits He’s Really a Moderate Republican

Obama Admits He’s Really a Moderate Republican

I posted this on Kulture Kritic earlier today:

Whenever anyone dares to say that President Obama is a right of center politician, he or she is usually maligned as a “hater”, or someone who clearly doesn’t understand politics. (That sort of thing usually involves a trite chess vs. checkers reference as well.)  But in an all but unnoticed comment on Spanish-language television on December 14, Obama himself confirmed that, according to the traditional American political spectrum, he’s a moderate Republican. Said Obama, “The truth of the matter is that my policies are so mainstream that if I had set the same policies that I had back in the 1980s, I would be considered a moderate Republican.”

You can read the rest here. Although I doubt this changes anything, I am hopeful that people will, eventually, come to terms with who Obama is and what he actually believes, versus the beliefs we’ve projected onto him. Our epic misunderstanding of who Obama is ideologically should be a lesson to us all.


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24/11/12 Black Culture , Black Politics , Obama

This Is How Obama Got It All Wrong

This Is How Obama Got It All Wrong
English: Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth Presid...

To misinterpret a thing is to lie to yourself, albeit unintentionally.

From The New Yorker:

The movie is inspired by Doris Kearns Goodwin’s much and justly praised “Team Of Rivals.” But good books often cast strange shadows, and Goodwin’s account of Lincoln’s enormous instinctive shrewdness in managing his stroppy cabinet of prima donnas has been confused with the idea that Lincoln’s genius was for conciliation and compromise. This leads, in turn, to the notion that Lincoln was a kind of schmoozemeister, reaching out across the aisle, a sort of Tip O’Neill on the Atkins diet. It can’t be said too often, or too clearly, that the whole point of Lincoln is that he—and the Republican Party he then represented—marked the end of the policy of conciliation and compromise and cosseting that had been the general approach of Northern Presidents to the Southern slavery problem throughout the decades before. When the South seceded, Lincoln chose war—an all-out, brutal, bitter war of a kind that had never been fought until then. “Let the erring sisters go in peace!” the editor Horace Greeley recommended, and Lincoln said, “Lock the doors and make them stay.”

The implication here is that Obama, far from being a modern day Lincoln, is, in earnest, the anti-Lincoln. At best, a lukewarm president who sits around waiting for some sort of consensus to emerge.

Obama doesn’t relish making the tough calls, whereas Lincoln knew he had no other choice. That is the job of presidents, especially  those who preside over crises, as did Lincoln – as does Obama.

In any case, just as Obama misunderstood Lincoln, we are misunderstanding Obama. He is not some transformative president, as he himself claims, but a meek leader, driven only by pragmatism and pressure. Obama doesn’t lead from behind, as his staffers claim. He leads from the front, and, like a stubborn mule, only moves when prodded.

Lincoln’s fate was to die at the hands of an assassin. Obama will do anything to avoid such a fate, and therein lies the crux of the divide.

It doesn’t matter what Obama tells you. He’s only taking the hard road if pushed. So the only question left to be asked is, how hard are you willing to push to get this mule to work?


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14/11/12 Obama

It’s Over, Folks…

It’s Over, Folks…

If you want to see a group of  people become unhinged at the exact same time, feel free to head over to YourBlackWorld to read the reactions to my post How Both Al Sharpton and Michael Eric Dyson Tricked the Black Community.

Here’s a taste of the article:

Sharpton gave up on any serious assessment of Obama early, saying he wouldn’t offer any criticism of Obama during his first term. He was rewarded with an MSNBC show.

Dyson, who initially gave a fiery roundtable lecture on how blacks couldn’t allow racial symbolism to trump accountability, recently demonstrated a complete 180 in his debate with Black Agenda Report’s Glen Ford. His reward is coming, I’m sure.

But now there is good evidence that, contrary to the wisdom of Dyson and Sharpton, Obama didn’t need any protecting. He trounced Romney in Tuesday’s election, becoming one of only a handful of presidents to win 50 percent of the popular vote, and leaving me with no other choice than to believe that doing something substantive for black people during his first time wouldn’t have upended Obama’s  election prospects.

The rantings were fast, furious, and moronic, with many taking personal swipes me, and anyone else who would dare challenge Obama or his protectors. Saddest of all, there is no potential breakthrough here. These are unserious people, as evidenced by their unserious ramblings.

It’s not that they disagree with me. That’s not something I care about. What is worrisome is how unwilling the commenters are to address the main issue I raised in the post; whether blacks remaining silent so that Obama could win reelection was ever really necessary, and if so, was it worth it? That’s the issue I put on the table. The response I got was, “Yvette’s a hater.”

No hope.

(Shout out to all my folks who can see beyond the veil. It’s time for us to move on, and leave the adoring horde with their messiah. When they wake up, we’ll be gone. )


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