Tag Archives: African American

The Failing Justice System

I know there has been a lot of talk about what happened at the Metropolitan King County Council meeting when they voted unanimously for the new Children and Family ‘Justice’ Center; the Jail, Prison, School-to-Prison Pipeline, factory, warehouse for our children. This is what really went down.

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The lid on Pandora’s Box has been torn off because our elected officials’ apathetic and unresponsive approach to our social ills is inadequate and inappropriate!

Although, they voted unanimously for the new supposed CFJC It is not built yet, and even if they waste the money to build it, we can still work to ensure that it is not used and that alternatives are employed to help our children, who are victims of the system, not criminals.

Recap:

Regan Dunn, Dave Upthegrove, Rod Demowski, Kathy Lambert, Larry Phillips, Petr von Reichbauer, Larry Gossett, Jane Hague, and Joe McDermott

These are the names of the people currently on the Metropolitan King County Council. Voting is right around the corner and we both want and need people in office who are going to be sensitive and responsive to our needs and concerns.

The Criminal Justice System is no longer,

if it ever has been in American,

about punishment and rehabilitation.

The philosophy grounding the criminal justice system suggests that society has a right to punish those who violate the laws. How the laws are devised is questionable at best, but the premise is that laws are rules that are less stringent than the actual moral code of a particular group of people, yet sufficient to ensure the stability and order of the society. In this regard, John Stuart Mill in the paper On Liberty (1859) phrased the justification as such: “the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.” This is what is called the Harm Principle and is the primary principle by which of criminal justice system is justified. However, and in stark contrast to what the principle suggests and what the actual practices of the Department of Justice, with it many subsidiary police departments and courts, reveals is that it diverges dangerously far away from the grounding principle.

First, I do not think that we will find much argument, unless the person be a sociopath, that causing undue and unjust harm to another human being is wrong. People are naturally inclined to form or have desires; to form plans for their lives and to share special bonds or connections with those whom they care about. Furthermore, most people believe that insofar as those plans do not impede and infringe upon the plans of others, or horrendously violate some moral code, that all people should be permitted to express and exercise their desires, plans, and special connections. If this is disagreed with and the person be not a sociopath, then I do not think they have fully considered the implications of their argument because if it were the case that people did not have the liberty to do this, then the dissenter could not rightly voice their opinion in contention. For example, if this individual did not think that another should play baseball, let’s say, because the sport in their opinion is a useless endeavor,and this ruling was to hold even though no harm was done to anyone by the playing of the sport, then a new principle would be employed wherein no one is protected. Nothing would protect that individual’s expression from interference by others, and the result would be a system of arbitrary infringements based on whims. In other words, a devolving into lawless tyranny, (this is not to be confused with anarchy), wherein whoever could gain power would rightfully exercise that power over others at their choosing. This should make it clear that a principle needs to be in place, which permits the exercise and expression of one’s desires, given that they do not cause harm to others.

Second, the criminal justice system, as became clear with such recent events as the killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Oscar Parez, John T. Williams and so forth, is causing undue and unjust harm to people. These cases by themselves should be enough to cast more than doubt on the Department of Justice, but actually usher in a reconstruction of the entire system. These are just the cases that have made national and international news, but are representative of a much more grave problem that exists within the United States concerning police brutality. The police have a dangerous task, there is no argument about that. If the Harm Principle is accepted, and the society chooses to attempt to limit or punish any harms that may occur to its citizens, then something like a police institution as an option becomes viable. For the sake of argument, assume that there are no socio-economic discriminatory conditions creating vital motivations to violate the laws in order to survive. In a society of millions it would be nearly impossible to ensure that undue and unjust harm was either not done, or that those who caused it were punished. This means that there would be a potential to escape punishment, and people tend not to enjoy punishment, so they do what they can to avoid it.This can create a dangerous situation for a police officer to walk into, given that their only intent is to prevent harm, or to assist in the punishing of those actually guilty of causing harm. Their own person is at risk of being harmed by performing this function that society deems as something necessary, and society does not think it’s guardians should be sacrificed or harmed, so it grants that these guardians can protect themselves against harm. This is all in accordance with the Harm Principle as stated earlier, “self-protection.” This line of reasoning also assumes that the guardians do not harbor biases against particular groups of individuals and act in an impartial manner with all people. This of course is an ideal world and is horrendously far from reality. As soon as we remove the things that we have assumed for the sake of argument, we will see that much that is considered crime is a response to socially imposed harms and that these groups suffering the socially imposed harms are also targeted by the supposed guardians of our society. Furthermore, because these guardians are granted the liberty to exert force to protect themselves and to execute their social function, they can justify unjust and undue harms as necessary to complete and fulfill the expectations of their roles. The result is the problem of police brutality and murder that we are now witnessing plague our country.

Third, punishment for acts considered to be crime in the United States tends to take the form penitentiary confinement. Aside from death, this is considered to be the ultimate restriction of liberty that an individual can experience and thus the harshest punishment. Again, in order to justify this system, it has to be assumed that  that the guardians do not harbor biases against particular groups of individuals and act in an impartial manner with all peopleHowever, the data shows that this is not the case. There is a disproportionate and disparaging representation of minorities and people of color in the penal system of the United States. Making matters worse, the US has 5% of the world’s population, but boasts 25% of the world’s prison population. In addition, the number of prisons are ballooning and so is the prison population, which reveals that the penitentiary system is not solving the problem. At best, it is like attempting to place a bandaid on a gushing wound. A more precise definition is that it is a treatment that is not suited to the cause because the cause of the problem is being ignored. This leaves us with one of two options; either the United States does not know or want to know what the real problem is, or the penitentiaries are not about punishment and rehabilitation.  If it is the former option, which I do not think is even possible given the mountainous research that has been conducted over the last few decades, then we need officials who are intelligent enough to perceive and understand that the problem is not that people are choosing to commit ‘crime,’ but the reason they do so. If it is the latter option, which I am more inclined to agree with, then we have to expose what the true reason for the prison system is to understand why it is failing at its purported reason for existing.

The Prison System relegates humans to slaves. Much of the argument that we hear from the public is couched in a colorblind language and an individualistic ideology that is characteristic of the United States, “they committed the crime, they deserve the time, and all that happens to them while they are serving that time.” The arguments further express that since these individuals are incarcerated and they are consuming state resources that they should work for their keep and pay their own way. Again, in principle this all makes sense, but for it to truly be justified the system must be fair and impartial both before prison and after the person is in the penal system. However, that is also not the case. I have already argued that the manner in which particular groups are targeted for prison is unjust and undue, and now I am fleshing out the reason why they are targeted for prison and exposing the unfair and undue treatment they receive while in the system.

The State of Washington has written into law that all municipal buildings must be furnished with products produced by prison labor. The corporation responsible for the fourth largest prison factory system in the United States, which is located here in Washington is Correction Industries Inc. This law guarantees C.I. a virtual monopoly on particular state purchases and guarantees a revenue stream. Most private prison companies, like Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group sign contracts with the states in which they operate guaranteeing a specific amount of inmates that is to increase over time so that they can continue to increase their profits from prison labor. Corporations are bound by law to increase their bottom lines to provide their stock holders with increased returns on their investments. Pulling all of this together in a rather blunt manner, as if it was not already apparent without my stating it explicitly, the motivation for the penal system, given all this, is not punishment and rehabilitation, but rather, profit.

Fourth, the School-to-Prison Pipeline is a serious concern because the data reveals that minorities, people of color, and those with mental disabilities are over 50% more likely to end up as a slave in the Penal System. Students from these groups are about 75% more likely to be punished (suspended or expelled) while in school. Of those who are punished they are 75% more likely to enter the Juvenile Detention System. And of those who enter the juvenile system, they are 80-95% more likely to enter the adult penitentiary system. These are very disparaging and upsetting statistics when just taken alone, but when included with the entire system of harm wrought against particular populations, what is revealed is a system constructed to to populate our prison system with slaves that is targeting our children.

The Criminal Justice System is not failing, it is functioning in precisely the manner that it was designed to function. The problem is that we are allowing it to continue to function in this manner. The problem is that we continue to permit this colorblind language and to accept the false justifications for this system that is failing us as a people. We are being lied to. We are being harmed. And we should not stand for this any more.

That is why the people, who after not being heard in the Metropolitan King County Council went off and occupied the court room. That is why we all testified against the creation of the supposed ‘Justice’ that they are proposing to build. Justice does not mean punishment for crime. What justice means is to provide for the flourishing of the human population. What the state is doing right now is not justice.

Hitler Becomes Useful, When the United States is Charged with Genocide

“THE RESPONSIBILITY of being the first in history to charge the government of the United States of America with the crime of genocide is not one your petitioners takes lightly. The responsibility is particularly grave when citizens must charge their own government with mass murder of its own nationals, with institutionalized oppression and persistent slaughter of the Negro people in the United States on a basis of “race,” a crime abhorred by mankind and prohibited by the conscience of the world as expressed in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1948.”

William L. Patterson, We Charge Genocide, 1951[i]

The actions of the German Nazis, especially as they pertain to the concentration camps and the extermination of the Jews during World War II became the touchstone by which the actions of other people or groups were evaluated in terms of Human Rights violations. The Nazis became a reference point because one of the major results of WWII was the Universal Declaration of Human Rights drafted by the United Nations (UN) in 1948 to hold individuals and governments responsible in international court for atrocious acts against humanity.[ii] In the same year, the Genocide Convention defined genocide as an international delict, with a definition of genocide, and relevant punishments for the guilty parties.[iii] Based on the Genocide Convention, William L. Patterson drafted and submitted a petition to the United Nations in 1951 titled We Charge Genocide, indicting the United States (US) government for its treatment and the mass murder of the African American population. Patterson compared the Nazis of Germany and Hitler to the US government and the citizens of the US to argue that the Human Rights violations against African Americans were equitable to the Jews and should be held accountable by the authority of the United Nations and punished under international law.

In the 1950s when We Charge Genocide was submitted to the U. N. many of the states within the US had Jim Crow laws that legally instituted segregation in employment, education, residence, transportation, hospitalization, and so forth, on the basis of race and relegated African Americans to an inferior position in society. In addition to this, the configuration of some state laws stood in contrast to the 15th Amendment of the United States Constitution, which guaranteed the right of citizens to vote regardless of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” The state laws in conjunction with the actions of extralegal organizations such as, the Klu Klux Klan (KKK),[iv] deprived many African Americans of their right to vote, and thus barred them from participating in the democratic process.[v] Comparable to the Nuremberg Laws (1935), the Jim Crow laws were depriving a particular group of US citizens their Civil Rights.[vi] Often times enforcing these deprivations with economic, legal, physical, and psychological sanctions, many of which were upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States as permissible. For example, lynching was still permissible in many states, i.e., the hanging of African American people, whether legal or extralegal. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was waging a major Anti-Lynching campaign to convince the US Congress and or the Supreme Court to criminalize the act, but at the time of this petition, the campaign had not done so yet.[vii]

Furthermore, the United States had just weathered the Great Depression—when upwards of 24% of the US population was unemployed—and World War II, both of which divided the country along racial, ethnic, political and economic lines. The Nuremberg Trials of the Nazi war criminals were made internationally known, which set the stage to ask questions about Jim Crow and segregation, and their relation to the Genocide Convention and international law. After 1945 however, the Cold War between the United States and Union of Social Soviets Republics (USSR) in particular and between Democracy and Communism more generally, began. Many of the people, whom were not in support of the status quo within the United States, were perceived by those in the government of the US to be enemies of the state. This is the social and political climate that Patterson wrote and submitted We Charge Genocide to the United Nations in.

Patterson, with the help of the NAACP and the Civil Rights Congress, collected and analyzed hundreds of cases of brutality and injustice wrought against the African American population in the US between 1945 and 1951.[viii] Then Patterson used the language and the legal framework of the Genocide Convention to present an argument for the justification of the United Nations holding the United States responsible and accountable for genocide. As cited in We Charge Genocide from the Genocide Convention of the United Nations in 1948, genocide was defined as:

‘In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.’

Article III:

‘The following acts shall be punishable:

(a) Genocide;

(b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;

(c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;

(d) Attempt to commit genocide;

(e) Complicity in genocide.’[ix]

Of particular interest to Patterson was the clause “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part” because it identified that motivation to destroy members of a group for their affiliation with that group, was more important than the successful destruction of that particular group, in whole or in part, at least in the terms of an act or series of acts qualifying as genocide. Patterson also listed several cases under each subheading of genocide and explicated reasons why the US should be punishable under each subheading of Article III.

Patterson could very well have cited incidents that reached as far back as the abolishment of slavery with the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution in 1865, but he constrained his reports to three years prior to the Genocide Convention, when WWII ended. Ex post facto is a legal, which is used to describe that a person or an entity cannot be held liable for a crime that prior to the act there was not a law condemning the action. In general practice this is because it is usually believed that a person or an entity must have foreknowledge that something is illegal so that they may make an informed decision about the action in question. However, the Nuremburg Trials of the Nazi war criminals (1945-1949), wherein a new legal framework was designed by the UN to hold those who were either active or complicit in human rights violations during WWII legally responsible, established a new mandate.[x] The UN displayed by its creation of Human Rights laws and the subsequent Nuremberg Trials that in some cases the ex post facto rule does not apply because there are some acts that humans, as members of our moral community, should know are wrong. For example, participating in the extermination of nearly six million Jewish people was perceived as being unequivocally wrong. Patterson recognized this, but also drew a line to 1945 when the United Nations became an official political entity and the United States one of its dominant members, for presenting cases arguing that genocide was occurring in the US.

However, Patterson had to contend with the fact that the United States was one of the founding members of the United Nations and also a major proponent of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Moreover, Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of the late President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933-1945) who was president during most of WWII, was the chairperson of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights Committee. She also denied Patterson’s request to present the petition to the UN. In addition to that the US State Department confiscated Patterson’s passport in an attempt to limit his international travel between the United States and France where the UN was at the time located. Both of these actions were an attempt to impede Patterson’s ability to address the UN and officially charge the US with genocide. In part, it was believed to be inappropriate for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to indict their governments and that if permitted, there would be no end to the petitions.[xi]

Yet, however true that reasoning may have been it seems more realistic that the US did not want to be implicated in a contradiction between its foreign and domestic policies, especially when the US was actively engaged in the international disbanding of racial oppression. Patterson says in regard to this; “Seldom in human annals has so iniquitous a conspiracy been so gilded with the trappings of respectability. Seldom has mass murder on the score of ‘race’ been so sanctified by law, so justified by those who demand free elections abroad even as they kill their fellow citizens who demand free elections at home. Never have so many individuals been so ruthlessly destroyed amid so many tributes to the sacredness of the individual.”[xii]  By the responses of Eleanor Roosevelt and the US State Department, as well as Patterson’s analysis of the conditions and characteristics of the US, it can certainly be asserted that the US had sufficient reason not to want this petition submitted to the UN. However, in the absence of corroborating evidence the reason can only be speculated upon. Yet, notwithstanding the reason why he was impeded in submitting this petition to the United Nations, the fact remains that there was definite opposition to this petition from the United States in the early 1950s. [xiii]

Patterson was confronted with a further complication, given that the genocide he claimed was occurring in the United States to the African American population was not as evident as the genocide that occurred in Germany to the Jewish population. A stark contrast between the African American population in the US in the 1950s and the Jews of Germany in the first half of the 1940s was that there were no concentration camps as defined by Nazi standards in the US. Furthermore, the African American population was also not indiscriminately as a whole being actively herded by the US military into ghettos or extermination camps. Thus, Patterson had to show piecemeal, on a case-by-case basis, that something very similar to what had occurred in Europe under Nazi occupation was occurring in the United States to sustain his claim that the United States was guilty of genocide.

Patterson referenced the Nazis and Hitler to draw some parallels in his argument to the US government to reveal the common characteristics of genocidal treatment to the Jews and African Americans. Patterson presents the first point of reference to the Nazis in the Introduction to We Charge Genocide: “The Hitler crimes, of awful magnitude, beginning as they did against the heroic Jewish people, finally drenched the world in blood, and left a record of maimed and tortured bodies and devastated areas such as mankind had never seen before.”[xiv] This analogy is drawn after Patterson mentions the “ghettos” and “cotton plantations” of America from which he states that the stories of mass murders “on the basis of race” emerged, before arguing that the then Justice Robert H. Jackson’s opening statements at the Nuremberg trials on November 21, 1945 should apply the same to the US government.[xv] In the Opening Address for the United States, Jackson states: “The wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant, and so devastating, that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored, because it cannot survive their being repeated.”[xvi] Patterson seems to be referencing three points from the opening address, “Crimes against Peace,” “Crimes against Humanity,” and that these acts should not be ignored.[xvii] Patterson’s argument was that Crimes against Humanity were occurring in the United States, that they were being ignored, and that they posed a threat to the continued peace of the world. The painstaking effort to collect and organize the cases in the Evidence section of We Charge Genocide, from the many disparate news articles and court cases from throughout the US, reveals that the conditions African Americans confronted in the United States were, for the most part, being ignored by the international community. Patterson’s allusion to Justice Jackson was a demand to be seen, heard, and respected.

The parallel that Patterson makes is not necessarily that a project of mass extermination of the kind witnessed during the Holocaust was occurring in the US. Rather, based on the Genocide Convention of 1948, Patterson argues: “15,000,000 of [the United States’] own nationals”[xviii] were suffering from genocide because of the laws and practices of the US government whom he further claims to be either, complicit in genocide or conspirator to it. The number “15,000,000” was important to Patterson’s case because in the US in the 1950s US representatives were debating the required number of harms for acts count as genocide.[xix] Nearly 6,000,000 million Jews lost their lives during the Holocaust, but many more suffered from the conditions of genocide under Nazi rule and occupation. Patterson establishes that more than just random cases of hate violence and terror were being wrought upon the African American population in the US during the 1940s, and asserts from this point that something parallel to Germany was occurring in the United States.

The crux of Patterson’s argument, although presenting empirical examples of violence and oppression that according to the Genocide Convention satisfy the sufficient conditions to qualify as genocide, rests more aptly on the parallel of the ideology between the United States government and society, and Hitler and his Nazi regime. Patterson writes; “The whole institution of segregation, which is training for killing, education for genocide, is based on the Hitler-like theory of the ‘inherent inferiority of the Negro.’ The tragic fact of segregation is the basis for the statement, too often heard after a murder, particularly in the South, ‘Why I think no more of killing a n—-r, than of killing a dog.”[xx] Patterson essentially argues and presents cases in support of the entire African American population, estimated at “15,000,000” people, being dehumanized, deprived of dignity and value, and being disposed of with impunity under the same pretext as the Jewish people who were exterminated under Nazi rule and occupation in Europe during the 1940s. Based on Patterson’s analysis and characterization of the United States in regard to the African American population, it was the ideology of inferiority that justified Jim Crow laws and red-lining neighborhoods. Permitted police brutality and extralegal organization like the KKK to terrorize people seeking to vote or improve their living conditions. That justified the US Supreme Court’s decisions to hold as Constitutional decisions regarding infringements of the 15th Amendment, extradition, and other state court rulings in criminal cases. And in permitting political leaders, such as governors to publically advocate the murder, “in whole or in part,” of the African American people in the US on the basis of “race”.

Given the considerable space devoted within the petition to justifying that the United Nations both could and should permit the petition, and the opposition from both the United States and its representatives, it is apparent that the petition was not met with wide approval and perhaps even much disbelief. This presented a few problems for Patterson. First, he was opposing the status quo of the United States during the beginning the Cold War, and was perceived as an enemy of the state. Second, a major component of the arguments within We Charge Genocide are economic in nature and not only do they serve as evidence for the “conspiracy to commit genocide” by the US government, but also implicitly advocate redistributive principles, which revealed his communist leanings. Third, he had to establish the grounds for being heard in the General Assembly of the United Nations as a non-governmental organization. Hence, Patterson had a necessity to compare the United States government to Hitler and the Nazi regime as a point of reference and so as to establish the credibility for the claims presented in his petition. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Genocide Convention were both direct results of the Holocaust concerning international law, thus making both Hitler and the Nazi regime the quintessential examples by which to evaluate human rights violations.

African Americans in the United States were suffering under horrendous conditions in the 1940s, but by comparing the perpetrators of that suffering to Hitler and the Nazi regime in such a profound way, Patterson only made the situation appear more dire and repugnant. What Patterson wanted was to have the United Nations force the United States to honor the treatise it had signed and to change the laws of the land to guarantee Civil Rights for the African American population. Yet, nearly ten years later, the Jim Crow laws were still in effect, segregation was still a dominant practice in the South, and African Americans had yet to unequivocally have their Civil Right to vote protected Constitutionally. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in the October 1960 issue of the Courier, however, did not advocate for the revision of the US laws, but rather for a revision of the manner in which the children in the US were educated.[xxi] The Courier did acknowledge the “Hitler-like” ideology Patterson claimed to exist in the US with the statement; “there is still a fairly widespread feeling that ‘colored’ people are in some way inferior to ‘white’ people,”[xxii] but it did not go so far as to label the feeling “Hitler-like”. If the Courier is taken as representative of the response of the United Nations to Patterson’s petition We Charge Genocide, then it can be argued, the UN was unwilling to hold the United States accountable for the crime of genocide in light of the proof. Furthermore, it also reveals that although, Patterson’s charge of genocide was heard, that in contradiction of the Genocide Convention, it nonetheless still, remained largely ignored by the United Nations in 1960. And while the people of the United States and the representatives of both the US and the UN at the time may have been too close to the claims to fully acknowledge their gravity, a more objective analysis of the evidence and the analogy between Hitler, the Nazi regime, and the US government of the mid-20th Century is very relevant.

[i] Patterson, William L., We Charge Genocide: The Historic Petition to the United Nations for Relief from a Crime of the United States Government (1951), (p. 3) (doc. P. 32). http://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015074197859

[ii] United Nations. Universal Declaration of Human Rights http://www.un.org/Depts/dhl/udhr/                           

[iii] United Nations. Genocide Convention https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/UNTS/Volume%2078/volume-78-I-1021-English.pdf

[iv] Patterson, “The Opening Statement,” (p. 18) (doc. p. 47)

[v] Patterson, “The Evidence,” (p.106) (doc. p. 135)

[vi] Newsweek, “Germany: Hitler Decrees Swastika Reich Flag; Bars Intermarriage; Relegates Jews to Dark Ages” September 21, 1935. American Views of the Holocaust 1933-1945: A Brief Documentary History, ed. Robert H. Abzug (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1999), 58.

[vii] Dr. Glenn, Susan A. Lecture. University of Washington: History Department. The Holocaust and American Life (February 17, 2015).

[viii] Patterson, “The Opening Statement,” (p. 8) (doc. p. 37)

[ix] Patterson, (doc. p. 20)

[x] Dr. Glenn. Lecture. (January 6, 2015).

[xi] Dr. Glenn. Lecture. (February 17, 2015).

[xii] Patterson, “The Opening Statement,” (p. 3-4) (doc. p. 32-33)

[xiii] Dr. Glenn. Lecture. (February 17, 2015).

[xiv] Patterson, “Introduction,” (p. xii) (doc. p. 25)

[xv] Patterson, “Introduction,” (p. xi-xii) (doc. p. 24-25)

[xvi] Jackson, Robert H. “Opening Address for the United States” November 21, 1945. Reprinted in Michael R. Marrus, ed. The Nuremberg War Crimes Trial, 1945-46: A Documentary War History(Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1997), 79.

[xvii] Jackson, p. 83.

[xviii] Patterson, “Introduction,” (p. xii) (doc. p. 25)

[xix] Dr. Glenn. Lecture. (February 17, 2015)

[xx] Patterson, “The Opening Statement,” (p. 8) (doc. p. 37)

[xxi] United Nations. Courier. United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. October 1960.

[xxii] Courier, p. 9.

BlackLivesMatterUW

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#‎BlackLivesMatterUW‬

Disparaging statistics and percentages of the University of Washington.

‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬ and not just when we are discussing Police Brutality but also of the potential to improve ourselves and our communities, to participate equally in the “benefits” this nation presents to others.

They may claim that “Reverse Racism” is something that actually exists, and that “Affirmative Action” is evidence of this, but what underlies those arguments is not only ignorance, but an unwillingness to face the fact that the crumbs our people have had to make due with, even with Affirmative Action, does not make a dent in the privilege others have, experience, or benefit from.

Stats

Fight for Equity not just Equality;

there is a difference:

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If the University is Public, then it should both represent the Public and provide for the benefit of the Public; not just a portion of the Public, but the whole Public. 

Let’s see to it that our Universities

Provide an Equity of Access to higher education,

Which will undoubtedly lead to a more

Diverse, Representative and Full Community

That is prepared to engage

The plurality of issues

Our society is confronting.

https://www.facebook.com/events/800415593339407/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

Anger Boils to the Surface

I opened up and started reading the “We Charge Genocide” (1951) petition to the United Nations and I am all but left speechless. Not because I am unfeeling, and neither because I have no words, but rather because I have so much anger pumping through me at the moment as a result of how clearly the system of oppression is detailed. This I expected of a document from the 1950s, so that is not what has gotten me so wound up. It is the fact that these same atrocities and ‘justifications’ (which fall flat on their face) are still occurring today.

Yet, the American public in its apathetic and ‘Holier than Thou” ideological bent likes to parade as though the lives of People of Color have improved and that the conditions we suffer are not horrendous. And this hardly scratches the surface of what the marauders masquerading under the premise of liberty are doing to the rest of the world. They are tyrants wrapped in the stolen cloth of a language of justice and it is time that the shroud be ripped from from their stinking, pestilential bodies to reveal the monsters for what they truly are.

Why I Be

Diggin in the trenches
Flipping over benches
Running through Seattle
Cuz, I aim to make a difference

Marching up these Streets
Rapping on these Beats
Pouring through these books
And my words come with heat

Speakin at the Council
Chillin at the Town Hall
Repping our People
Bouncin to throw my hands up

Teaching youth the answer
Fighting cops like cancer
Questioning the system
And how it loves to pander

Reeling at rejection
Feeling insurrection
Cuz they hear nothing
And recoil from inspection

Retaliate with weapons
Paid for with our taxes
They forget to ask us
want bullets in our asses

Went from hoses to mace
suppression the case
The same as the 60s
& We still up in they face

My people unstoppable
Success more than probable
Tearing down this Jim Crow
First thing that’s gotta go!

“Get to the Truth” by Renaissance the Poet (New Music)

Lyrics:

Verse # 1
Why’s it such a mystery? The mister be a fiend.
The man was out for blood but now you’re bleedin at the seams.
Sometimes it’s hard to see but the truth is there to read.
If you dare to look inside a book you can’t avoid the scheme.
Don’t know what they taught you but you know they bound to lock you.
In a cell until they pop you and you’ve given up what I do
Speakin on survival, rival all they propaganda
These Simple Politicians always lackin speech with candor
Never see their motives, Trojans claim a heart of gold
Shouting to the masses but their actions have been sold
To the highest bidder, can we hold them to their word?
Hell no…. cuz that would be absurd!!!
At least from their perspective, only answer to a vote
Democracy, hypocrisy hard it’s to keep afloat
While wading through the lies, so thick you have to choke
Slavery not history, the rope’s around our throat.

Chorus

Get to the Truth
What they teachin ain’t right
Get to the Truth
Out the Prison of Your mind
Get to the Truth
& Open your third eye
Gettin to the Truth
Only way to beat the lie

Verse # 2
The gravest lie conceived still pervades undefeated
&keeps the people thinking that a drive within is needed
Seeded in for centuries its presence now benign
Cliché in a sense, got us livin by this line
Feelin, peelin back the worth inside the heart of men
Like a fundamental error has been locked within our skin
it’ss been the purview to exploit this ignorance
While we’re strugglin for dollars but we can’t afford our rents
Why can’t you be like Lincoln and make yourself from nothin?-
Pull yourself up by your bootstraps and hit the ground runnin
When it’s the American Dream and the America Way
To start from nothing and end gettin paid!!!
But what they don’t tell you, is it ain’t that way
The aristocracy got us a rat in a maze
Based on where you’re born they tell you where you’re goin
Whether be to college or on the block hoein

Chorus
Get to the Truth
What they teachin ain’t right
Get to the Truth
Out the Prison of Your mind
Get to the Truth
& Open your third eye
Gettin to the Truth
Only way to beat the lie

Verse # 3
They want us to believe, that our voice really matters
But in truth, ya’ll, they want us all scattered
They want us in a frenzy and to fight one another
They want us ignorant to what they’re doin to our brothers
They don’t want us to bind and to build our strength together
What they want, is for us scrounge the gutter
Pessimistic maybe, till you been in the books
And you see stratification and how it really looks
Till you see the way that money begets money
And how tyrants are made by political funding
It’s a conundrum, no wonder, people have given up
Trying to see through the lies when we got to earn a buck
Ain’t left us no time to dig through policy
And understand political posturing
But lies without grounds tend to fall through the cracks
And through the cracks we’ll see the truth at last

Chorus

Get to the Truth
What they teachin ain’t right
Get to the Truth
Out the Prison of Your mind
Get to the Truth
& Open your third eye
Gettin to the Truth
Only way to beat the lie

Hustle for Life (New Hip Hop Music) by Renaissance the Poet

(Lyrics)
Streets are alive
With the hustle for life
Man on the corner
with end on his mind
Jesus Saves
What you read on the signs
But its Hard to tell
from the scope of the lies
Death in the veins
See the truth in the eyes
Pray to the what
Watch it darken the skies
Rims on the ride
That’s the rich roll on by
Girl in the stoop
Beggin somethin to buy
Nap knotted hair
Bags everywhere
Life on the block
But the People just stare
No where to go
Why would she care
Nothing to give
She Filled with despair
Doesn’t wanna to live
never been fair
Always felt odd
That much has been clear
A little outta place
In the race, and the case
Is that rats in a maze
With their hunger ablaze

Will lose ever trace
Of the face that they had
Turn on each another
Till tummies turn glad
That’s a gun in the jack
He Pullin the strap
What he learned in the rap
Is the money come fat
What it mean to be Black
Is ya packin the stacks
Hundreds and fifties
And ya fast on the mack
Wagin, War on ya own
Till the gate at ya back
St. Peter at the entrance
With his hands on the map
Finally set free
From a Life long trap
He wrapped in boxt
hat never endin nap
To die a good death
What’s better that
If not to be rich
Then not to be bitch
Cuz cowards die quick
May live a little bit
But their image is shit
Ain’t got no heart
And that is far
From being Par
With the mark of dogg
Dyin BIG, livin small

A slave to the rich
Another turn snitch
Succa packin books
Gettin mixed in the twis
tHoles in his sneaks
can’t afford no kicks
Spent on tuition
His dream is a mission
But he missin the kissin
Doin math in the kitchen
Wantin out the ghetto
Cuz this gimmick isn’t livin
Never knew his father
nother man in prison
3 strikes hit him
& Sent him down river
Like he had a decision
A choice in position
Economy dippin
& Jobs been stringent
No education
teachers went missin
Like the rent, the food,
The Electric bills and
So, he hit the streets
With dope in possession
To keep himself safe
He was packin a weapon
Then sold to the wrong
Turned out to be a cop
That’s all it took,
Like that, he was gone

So, never knew his father
& his mother never home
He know where she be
But, never think on
Ashamed,
cuz of how she meets
The needs of the weeks
Bringin in the CHEESE
How she Pays the rent
Buys what he eats
Keeps him in clothes
Puts shoes on his feet
Roof over head
All the books that he read
Every thing he is
Is owed to what she did
she, Grew up the same
But, the game ain’t fair
Not, for a woman
Hungry kids in her lair
Then be surprised
That what she’d never do alone
Changes real quick
When there’s children at home
And a man will divest
His purse of the rest
Of his cash and his checks
For a chance to invest
& molest her breast
And shatters her pride
When it comes to the sex
The apex
Of her moral conquest
And utter Distress
she resorts to drugs
To quite the stress
At first, a means
To cope with the mess
But soon, She’s lost in the hell
With the rest
Strung out
Doped out
The end never come about
Needles in the corner
Dying all she ever think about

This on his mind
Hittin books on the grind
Doing every thing he can
To make a better life
But, times have been hard
He fallin behind
He doesn’t look the same
See the end in his eyes
When his grades start slippin
& The pressure up & quickens
begins to lose hope
he can make his own footprints
Stead of follow dad’s
Right into prison
The only difference
He had a decision
Not like, the man
On, the street, with the sign
Old age, bent cage
Near blind, crook spine
Denied, confined,
despised, resigned
display signs
But what it reads
on its only line
Silent
but The loudest Scream
cut through the ages
every fiber of being
This decadent, vagrant
Fallin, caved in
Misses by the system
Even though that it made him

Hopeless, how he wrote it
Totin despair
wishin that somebody care
Enough to spare
Time enough
To see what is there
On that cardboard sign
Scribbled in felt
A life of trouble welled
Spilled and dispelled
into 4 letters spelled
The surmise of his life
And the same is true
For everyone else
& The sign read
Simply,
HELP…

The Streets are alive
With the hustle for life
It’s easy to see
But, we like to deny
This hustle ain’t shit
& these people will die
They’re not like us
All they had to do was try
It’s not my fault
This world is contrived
rich above the poor
Grindin, riskin their lives
For a piece of the pie
Bein spoon fed lies
just the way it is
Underneath these skies

But, if I care, for my own
Then I’ll, be, alright
Cognitive Dissonance
Used to defy
Just-if-ic-ation
to cope with the lie
that the response we need
doesn’t require
People to rise
Open their eyes
Seek and devise
A way to revise
How we’re livin our lives
Marginalized
here is the end
See the truth in our eyes

Help, is what you
Hear in our cries
& not because
We’ve have never tried
But rather because
We’ve been denied
Consigned, front line
War on Prime Time
We fight, by right
To have, their life
Even if you make it
A crime

This is why the streets are alive
& This right here
Is a Hustle for Life

Reclaiming Legacy

Undoing the colonizer’s language is perhaps one of the most important tasks we as revolutionaries can undertake because it is through and by language that we form concepts and ideas about ourselves and the world we live in.

One of the major objectives of the colonizer mentality and activity, aside from the profit motive and the oppression and suppression of people to serve that end, is the disassociation of those people, and in particular the people from the African Diaspora (16th– 19th Century, c.a. 12 million people), from our historical roots, i.e., to dislocate us from our heritage because without knowledge of our heritage, we would have no claim to legacy.  There is nothing more detrimental that has happened to the African community in American than the systematic dismissal of our legacy. By legacy what I mean is that which we transmit to the next generation and generations thereafter such as, capital, land, and companies that remain within the African community’s hands. Instead, what we have been given and what has taken its place is the love for one’s self, that is, individualism. A love for sneakers and cars and many other things that perish with their Planned Obsolescence and are not intended for inheritance and to be transmitted from one generation to the next.

This is the antithesis of legacy and is an American ideal, not an African ideal and is the foundation of capitalism, which is the force that systematically pits us all in competition and against one another. However, while it is observed that many of the so-called lower classes are in competition with one another, and the African community is most in competition with itself for favor in this society based on white-supremacy, what is almost unnoticed is that White Americans understand the system and have knowledge and appreciation for legacy; thus, they, and especially the top 10% of the wealthiest in this society, transmit capital from generation to generation because they have knowledge of where they came from and thus a direction for the future. There is a serious disconnection between what we are being told and what is happening beyond our notice. Those in the top 10% and especially in the 1% of this capitalistic society do not want us to think about the future generations and do not want us to have ownership of capital because the more capital we possess and transmit between generations then that only means that is the less capital that they have access to, to control and keep within their families.

There are two things that if I am correct, then you are asking yourself right now and that is, (i) Why does he keep referring to the African community and, (ii.) How did they accomplish the destruction of the concept of legacy? Well the two are intricately linked and based on conversations that I have had, it is my suspicion that you are not going to like what I have to tell you because it is going to question the very foundation of your indoctrination in this society. It is the term “Black”.  Now during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s-70s and the Black Power Movement, the term Black was reclaimed by an oppressed people and took what was once a derogatory term and owned it. This was something that was necessary and a natural response to being associated with a negative label.  However, the term “black,” has simultaneously removed us from our connection with our heritage and disconnected us from the knowledge of who we truly are; Africans.

This is not meant to infer that the Black Culture which has emerged in American society or any other society is not important because that is simply not true. However, it is an attack on the colonizer’s language and indoctrination. Instead of labeling us African, which is a continent not a country or nationality, or by a country of origin such as, Uganda, Ethiopia, Nigeria, or Congo and thereby keeping us connected to our heritage they selected an arbitrary term, “Black,” to call us. I have never seen a black person and I am willing to bet that none of you have either. Although, I will accept that we have all seen many people of varying shades of brown, some of who are darker than others, but never a black person.  Thus, we have been labeled arbitrarily with a term that has nothing to do with who we truly are and for just as long as we continue to accept and use this definition of who we are, for just that long will we remain disassociated from our heritage.  And not being connected to our heritage we will not have a reason to fight for our future.

What they do not want is for us to come together, the entire African Diaspora and recognize that we are all African from many different African countries, but all sharing a common identity and heritage because we are all over the world and supersede state and national borders. Our power unified is much greater than any state by itself because we have infiltrated all levels of the hierarchy and echelons of the societies in which we now live today, and this is so even within the United States. They have power for only so long as we remain separated and in competition with one another as actors within the capitalistic system and it is the term “Black” which separates us. Once we can remove this term from our vocabulary and move beyond the colonizer’s language and see ourselves for whom we truly are, then we can begin to move forward and build our communities together.

At this point we can begin to focus on our legacy, i.e., the capital we are transmitting to the next generation and the generations thereafter. As we build our community infrastructure and begin to focus on financial security we could start our own banking system to provide more of us with the necessary means to gain access to capital. Couple this step with an educational component to teach fiscal responsibility and entrepreneurial practices that will sustain a business in this capitalist society our people will prove to be successful in transmitting ownership from generation to generation. As our communities begin to build the necessary capital we can begin to operate our own educational system so that we are no longer learning only the colonizer’s lessons, but are also instructing our youth and connecting them with our heritage and arming them for life in this system.

Most importantly, even if the formation of our legacy is a little different than what I have proposed, is that reclamation of our legacy does occur. This will occur through reclamation of our heritage and this will be done by destroying and denying the colonizer’s language about us. We are not “Black” we are “African”. This hurtle challenges an indoctrination of our people that is now comfortable and broadly accepted by many and will be difficult to dislodge. But this is not a hurdle that is impossible to surmount, if we put our hearts and minds to the task.

“The Real World” (Verse Two)

In the realm of the Dream

Life is served on a palter

the work, it doesn’t matter

add-up, laughter come cheaper than Präda

Worries and Woes are absent

flaccid, pass it by,

with a  flash of the passion

but if you ask’em

how lonely the mansion

he’ll lack  an answer

cuz the fact is a phantom

holdin him ransom

runnin in tandem, droppin in random

arbitrary standards

magination damned him

cuz… this is the land of the real

Where hard work

pays perks, quench thirsts, and hurts

time bursts, through curse

and friends are survivors

Standing and walking the road there to shoulder

the weight of the burden,

defendin the verdict,

your struggle is worth it,

a hint is emergent

that hurdles averted

and, outcomes are real

tangible the feel

hold them in your hand

like them cards you have to deal

and you get what you’ve got

but have to use your skill

cuz nothing comes cheap

In the land of the real

 

 

https://renaissancethepoet.wordpress.com/2014/06/14/the-real-world-verse-one/

“The Real World” (Verse One)

Livin a dream…

Nah, I’m livin the way that it is

Cuz there is something I’m bound to miss

If my head is up in the mist

Like a fist to the gut

fisticuffs

riskin to rush

cuz I’m missin the bus

missin her love

cuz I’m trapped in the lust

In the land of the lost

betta do what you must

Cuz… this is the land of the real

where cats squeal

caps peal

Bad deals, rap sheets, not rap deals

but real bills and missed meals

Where poverty comes with a blank, check

Where is the rent, betta make, that

Racial Profile, skin is BLACK

Cops they hatin, that a fact

hood they renovatin that

Gentrification, they phasin, balzin away the relations

raisin the rents to erase’em

this is the land of the real

not the land of the dream and appeal

not the land of the cream and the fill

but, the land they tax and kill…

Using the people, breakin their backs

to make them dollars in stacks

legal contracts

all been sealed with melted wax