Ted Kennedy’s Legacy in the Black Community

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The passing of Senator Edward Kennedy meant the end of an era especially for a lot of elders and vets of the Civil Rights struggle

The passing of Senator Edward Kennedy meant the end of an era especially for a lot of elders and vets of the Civil Rights struggle

When you talk to alot of elders in the community you hear them remark fondly about the ‘Age of Camelot’ in the early 60s. This was when a young John F Kennedy ascended to the White House against all odds and his two brothers Robert and Edward aka ‘Ted’ came along with him and took high profile seats in the government. Robert became Attorney General and Ted went onto start what would be a 47 year tenure in the Senate.

To hear the elders tell it, the Kennedy brothers brought with them a youthful energy that inspired hope and gave people a sense of empowerment. It’s that energy that has led many to compare President Obama to what they saw and felt with the Kennedys. For Black folks, the Kennedy brothers underscored that hope. For the first time those who were struggling to dismantle the nation’s harsh Jim Crow Laws, the Kennedy’s were an unexpected friend in the White House. For many, there was an understanding that while people were sitting in at lunch counters, boycotting buses, integrating schools and boldly challenging voting right laws, the wicked brutality they experienced oftentimes at the hands of southern police with the full support of local and state government, the Kennedy’s were the federal answer that would eventually triumph.

When John and later Robert Kennedy were killed many in the Black community took it hard. Those involved in the Civil Rights struggle felt they lost key allies and Ted was the one kernel of hope they had left. Him speaking out forcefully and championing numerous causes that spoke to the poor and down trodden during the reign of President Ronald Regan was a blessing that kept many connected to the Age of Camelot.  Him endorsing Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton, struck a major chord and went along ways amongst those old enough to remember.  

For those who are younger, Senator Kennedy was the large, robust grey haired Senator who was called a liberal and would make his points loud and passionately in the Senate chambers. He was a good guy if you rolled with his politics, but he didn’t evoke that same emotional connection I could see with my mom and others who watched the tributes playing on TV yesterday. The passing of Senator Edward Kennedy was truly the end of an era especially for an older generation. He will be missed.

 -Davey D-

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Ted Kennedy’s Legacy in the Black Community

The Loop 21, Commentary, Marvin King, Review it on NewsTrust

I was deeply saddened upon hearing that Ted Kennedy, the Lion of the Senate, had died due to a brain tumor. I was sad because the Kennedy clan lost another of its leaders, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics, just two weeks ago. But even more so because I really believe that Kennedy represents the last of a breed, and I’m afraid my daughter will grow up in a world where people like Kennedy, who actually serve the people, are no more.

Kennedy was special because of his tireless work for the dispossessed, the immigrant, the disenfranchised, the poor, the everyman and every woman that makes America great.

As a man of privilege, Kennedy did not know poverty, but as he came from a family of immigrants, he recognized that if we could establish a level playing field, anyone in America can succeed. Given the proper tools and sufficient opportunity, Kennedy believed all Americans could reach loftier perches.

And for that purpose he worked. For more than 40 years, he worked in the Senate to provide us with that opportunity. As a staunch supporter of President Johnson’s Great Society, Kennedy made sure segregationist congressmen did not water down critical legislation such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968. His first piece of legislation, the Hart-Celler Act of 1965, opened up American immigration policy to be more inclusive of immigrants from places other than Europe. His vision, one of pragmatic fairness for all Americans, will not and cannot be easily replaced.

Massachusetts has a relatively small black population, just 7 percent, yet he acted as if winning the black vote was the key to electoral success. Like his brother John F. Kennedy, who submitted the original Civil Rights Act, Ted realized that America could not fulfill its promise as long as it treated Blacks as second-class citizens. It was extra meaningful then when Kennedy endorsed Barack Obama early in the primary season, despite his longstanding friendship with the Clintons. Kennedy understood before most of us what the symbolic benefit of an Obama presidency would mean.

Kennedy was always a proud liberal and never compromised his beliefs, even though he occasionally sought political compromise. This was most evident in 2001 when he reached across the aisle to work with Republicans in crafting No Child Left Behind, because he believed we must do something to improve our schools. Yet, he always remained a true Democrat; he bitterly complained when those same Republicans failed to adequately fund NCLB.

Kennedy was at his best in 1980 when he challenged Jimmy Carter for the Democratic presidential nomination. In an America moving to the right, Kennedy called for a more liberal platform. Although his bid to unseat Carter failed, Kennedy shined a bright light on the issues he believed Congress and the president had neglected, most notably assistance for the poor in fighting nasty rates of inflation and unemployment.

His loss will be, and already is, greatly felt in the great health care debate. The Senate could use his calming influence during the greatest domestic policy debate in a generation. Hopefully, congressional Democrats can summon Kennedy’s courage and vision and pass meaningful reform that would make him proud.

source: http://news.newamericamedia.org/news/view_article.html?article_id=92706c93c2931ccdce8b69065da988f4
Marvin King is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Mississippiand writes the blog King Politics.

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The Kennedy brothers ushered in the Age of Camelot

The Kennedy brothers ushered in the Age of Camelot

 

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Comments

  1. Great Piece. Would love your feedback on my take on Kennedy’s death:

    Ted Kennedy and the Death of Liberalism:

    http://thoughtmerchant.net/2009/08/26/ted-kenne

    http://thoughtmerchant.net
    Politics and Commentary for the thinking person of color.
    “Better to sell an idea than to buy a lie”

  2. Good points!

  3. OK, wait a minute. Hold on folks. Forgive the intrusion on this revisionist love-fest but can we please retain some connection to the real politics of change that has propelled this country to whatever degree it has improved since its ignoble inception? There are other elders to which we could refer when rethinking “Camelot.” For instance, how about the white and Black people who were beaten and jailed while those same in-office Kennedys refused federal support for Freedom Riders? Those elders know full well how little friendship they had in that white house.

    Do we really forget Malcolm’s absolutely correct analysis (confirmed by Zinn’s account if you need it) that JFK sold out that march in 1963? Remember also that JFK had been in office for 3 years and not signed a thing regarding civil rights. He also did all he could to destroy a Cuban revolution that to this day does more for those engaged in real politics of change than any Kennedy (or Obama for that matter) ever did. I mean do folks really not know that Vietnam was JFK’s war? He started that ish (to the extent that presidents really do these things on their own).

    Please also remember that no matter what legislation Teddy signed into law the material conditions of Black people has worsened since 1968 and none of that legislation ended poverty, curbed corporate exploitation or control, delivered us real healthcare or ended a single war, stopped a single case of police brutality or closed one prison. And, by the way, its not going to bring us health care because Obama abandoned real reform before this all started and by the time anything passes it will be an absolute farce.

    And I hope all do go back and listen carefully to Teddy’s DNC speech where he said that electing Obama would “close the door” on the politics of race, gender and sexual orientation. The real connection between the Kennedys and Obama is the myth of change while the majority continue to suffer.

    He passed No Child Left Behind and is credited with this as being a positive? Please. One elder whose opinion should be counted here, Marian Wright Edelman, said of NCLB being stolen from her:

    “The Leave No Child Behind phrase is a trademark of CDF and was created in 1990. It encompasses a long-term policy vision to truly Leave No Child Behind. It is not to be confused with the Bush Administration’s single-issue No Child Left Behind Education Act, which seems to be a smokescreen to dismantle all of the gains we have made for children. His policy can be interpreted as “leave no millionaire behind. “And no, they have not given us credit for out” trademark.”

    Being a good democrat or the best politician is akin to being a benevolent jailer or at best the first place team in the wackest conference. I had planned to say nothing since im not even interested in speaking ill of the dead but lets just not forget the other elders whose memories might not fit these new narratives. Shoot, Peltier just lost another parole hearing, i wonder what that elder feels today.

    • Jared .. to answer your question.. No.. the elders I spoke to did not have that sort of analysis.. Which is why what was written was written.. Its like Obama you ask some folks like yourself he’s wack.. You ask others he’s incredible..growing up as I did in the 70s, wasn’t a Black household that I went to that didn’t have Kennedy’s picture on the wall.. Right there alongside King.. There was nothing revisionist.. It was a reflection of how people felt about those three brothers.. did everyone feel the sameway? hell naw.. We know alot of folks didn’t like Jesus, Malcolm or Martin..
      lastly the issues u raise may not hold the same weight in the minds of people they way they do with you.. even if you can connect those dots… Bottomline for alot of folks Kennedy’s was perceived as a friends…Call it emotion, not having all the info at a day and time when we didn’t have internet..The kennedy’s were heroes..for large number of people..

  4. Davey, I hear you. I understand. And I wasn’t only responding to your post, but to the King one as well. And there certainly was revisionism there. But your reference to “a lot of elders” just reminded me of the many of others who, for what i consider to be a more correct politics, did/do not see the kennedys as myths but as the real people who caused or extended a great deal of pain. I didnt even mention RFK siding with Hoover to spy on King and others, just as another for instance. Or JFK’s senatorial positions on southern Africa for another. So for that other wing of elders, who also did not have the internet, the reality was known and standards set higher than teddy could reach. Like i said, teddy spoke against the real conditions of the black community at the DNC (for another instance) and that should be made known even to those who mistakenly see him as a hero.

    • Jared here’s the deal.. of course there were people critical about the kennedy’s.. Thats not what was being pointed out.. What was being pointed out was that the kennedy’s had meaning for the vast majority of our folks at that time.. I read your note and went back and questioned, my mom auntie and others as to further clarify what the climate was like at that time.. the key words here is at that TIME.. Not what we can look back on and then assess..

      One reason why the Kennedys were relatable was because of the attacks they came under because of his catholic upbringing.. Black folks came on board because they could relate to the attacks and saw the folks doing the attacking as the same folks who were attacking them..The other thing is that the Kennedy’s weren’t seen as robber barons in contrast to the Rockerfellas and others.. so there was sense that they had a more common touch and could and would bring change..In short they offered HOPE.. so people came around and rolled with them..

      This is like the Obama situation.. when we are in our 70s god willing and we are asked to recount what took place in 2008. It would be wrong to say the objections you and others had against Obama was representative of the majority of our folks..It would be wrong to discount the thousands who erupted and danced in the streets when he won the election. It would be wrong to dismiss the millions who showed up during the inauguration. People were jubilant and happy beyond belief.. Time will tell if they still feel that way next year , next month, next week or whenever he finishes his term. But there is no comparison to the throngs of people who felt good about Obama to the people in our community offering critique..

      .Did your objections and objections of others resonate and get our community to pause and change directions? No.. We went out in record numbers to the polls, and voted in higher % for this man then in previous elections.. If he was to die to tomorrow and we reflect back.. 20 years later, people may have found memories.. What would be revisionist is if we downplayed that enthusiasms that and give equal weight to what would be in contrast a significantly smaller number of folks who weren’t feeling him..

      Now with Kennedy thats the same thing.. as it was explained to me.. Black people came out and cried and mourned.. when the two brothers were killed. They felt they had a friend in those brothers..The passing of Kennedy conjured up memories for others and yeah some might have looked back with rose colored glasses because things are a lot worse today the they were then..

      People didn’t see the Cuba issue the way you broke it down. It was seen as Russia versus the United States and not necessarily Castro vs the US.. Folks didn’t necessarily know about Cointel-pro.. As my godmother long time Harlem activist who was friends with Malcolm explained to me.. the Kennedy’s were highly thought in Harlem .. People knew about the father.. They knew about the scandal with mariyln monroe but they weren’t seen in a different light then the others who were holding office.. I asked about Malcolm’s assesment and she noted that she didn’t recall him speaking out about them like that as if he and the brothers were public enemy number 1..

      In many ways Clinton’s appeal could be compared to that of the Kennedys..He blew it when he made his remarks in South carolina.. In spite of his policies and Sista souljah moments.. he still had love and admiration from our people..same with kennedys..

      With all that being said, what i think is more interesting and engaging is why the love affair when as you pointed out there was so much wrong? is it a pyschological condition? Are we a people who vote against our collective self interest.. Were the warning messages and objection not felt? If so why not?

      There’s no easy answers to any of this.. and people are complex.. as individuals and as a group.. All I know is as a kid.. I always saw those pictures of the kennedys in our homes.. Camlot meant something to more than a handful of folks.. inspite all the flaws you laid out..

  5. No Davey, here is the deal… as i said, popularity does not equal accuracy. So, though not popular, there were those who saw the events as I am describing. But the numbers are not relevant other than to mark the levels of miseducation and propaganda under which we suffer to this day.

    So of course we vote against our interest. So do most people who participate. that was the point of my attempt and the strong one my McKinney and Clemente in a long line of people in history (mostly unknown or under-appreciated) . And no, my views moved few people. This hardly makes me wrong. In fact, the opposite, as is being proven every day by obama’s actions.

    But this is the result of those “who know better” not properly articulating or supporting efforts that do match their politics. this was precisely the exchange you and i had about obama in 2008. Simply rehashing myths, even if popularly held, does not change the fact of their inaccuracy.

    Seeing pictures in your house as a kid or asking our parents is not forming an analysis. By that logic people should still be sitting outside looking for santa or an easter bunny. I mean, for a time in this nation the popular view was that slavery was normal, necessary, justified. in fact, it still is given the way so many in this country and the world remain treated. Most people know the “founding fathers” as heroes despite the fallacy of that myth. Should we not challenge that either? we all grew up saying the pledge of allegiance, should we not now challenge that as propaganda and look more critically at our country’s history and contemporary reality?

    So, again, in my immediately household these myths did not carry. Should i now dismiss my elders or the broader community of elders who saw things more or less as ive described them even as they were happening? just because they were popular, again, does not make them wrong.

    In fact, it was hip-hop that began helping me shatter existing national mythology. should i have rejected PE and X-Clan simply because their views werent supported in my classrooms? isnt that the point? We should be doing more to challenge these popular lies even if that means challenging our loved ones and elders. Because, again, simply repeating how popular the lies were then and now does not make them any less than the lies they were or are. Think about it, more people have by now heard amy winehouse than aretha franklin. am i now to tell them they are right to think she is better?

    If more of us organized around our principles rather than responding to the ease of popular myths we might actually be able to create a new world. we cannot continue to simply swim with the tide because its easier to do. its ease does not make it the better direction.

    and for those so expert in media we should be more aware of what mcluhan meant when he said “we dont know who discovered water but we know it was not the fish. an all pervasive environment is almost always beyond perception.” growing up in a reality (or popular myth) does not mean it should go unchallenged.

    and it certainly does not mean we should ignore the elders who did know – as it was happening – that things then were wrong just as i hope historians will not forget that there were some of us who saw through the lies of today.

    • We’re talking apples and oranges here Jared.. Its apples and oranges because you are laying out several facts and assuming that all of us are on the same page about them.. For example, I may not give a damn about Cuba.. I am not disputing that John F Kennedy tried to interfere with their revolution.. So you point this out as if it reveberates with me the same way as it did with you..and to honest I may care less. In fact as far as I’m concerned it may be a good thing.. and made him more of hero..

      Second. this is not an academic paper.. Its a conversation and what needs to be decided upon is our point to be right or to build with the people you feel need to be engaged. Presentation and tone is everything..You know that as academic..What are we trying to communicate at the end of the day?

      As I stated in the article.. The Kenndy’s meant alot to folks..My aunt is by no means miseducated. My godmother definitely not.. They put in work and paid dues so Davey and Jared could do what we do today..The question to ask is did they know what you are pointing out? Did it make a difference to them? Was there other factors in play?.

      Perhaps in an academic paper where i and ts need to be dotted and crossed I could fully explain all that.. I wasn’t around and too young to know who was so I can only ask and reflect on what the popular sentiment was.. That does count even if everyone in the room was dead wrong..

      heres a an example.. people reflect fondly on the Golden Era of Hip Hop. The days in which X-Clan, PE and KRS came through inspired many and had major impact. To hear many tell it, it was Hip Hop’s most shining moment. At the same time one could argue it was at its worth. Two Live Crew and Too Short and NWA were around and in full swing during the Golden era. They actually outsold all of those acts mentioned. The crack epedemic was at an alltime high and in many places increased as those groups grew in popularity. I personally lost more of my peers and seen more violence ast shows between the years 1988- 1993 then any other period in life, yet if you ask me, and those I came up with ‘Those were the good ole days’. One might argue that was our camelot..

      There was more going on then the in your face or behind the scenes facts
      to be continued

  6. I made no comments about your family Davey. Im no fool and I dont know them. Just as you (or few else) know mine or the many dues they paid, and continue to pay, giving me every right to defend their unpopular views as others repeat their own, more popular ones.

    And please dont add to the nonsense of hate against all of us in academia. we arent all the same just as there are differences and traditions within journalism, hip-hop or anything else. It doesnt require an academic paper for there to be accuracy in people’s reflections of history. i dont want to hear falsehoods from someone on the corner or at the bar any more than i do from someone with letters behind her/his name at a conference or in a classroom. in fact, most of the people i mentioned or thought of in my initial statement had nothing to do with academia. although, more study – in or out of academia – is a good thing so i dont apologize for that either.

    Ill agree with you about the apples and oranges. This is precisely my point. The differences are in politics, interpretation, analyses and information. the two cannot stand together. no question there. and this is why i think its our job to build on the space our elders and ancestors laid out for us which is precisely why i made my initial statement. the space we are offered should be used to make more for the reality that is often submerged beneath lies and popular mythology.

    so i wasnt looking back to a mythologized glorious past. you actually make my point in your recollection of the variety in hip-hop and the often forcibly submerged reality of people suffering even in the “golden age.” thats my point. popular myth can kill unpopular reality.

    So yes, i lay out facts, but not assuming people know them (in all cases). but in the hopes that those who do will defend them even when not popular. i also bring them up so that those who do not know of them will be confronted by them and challenged to consider their meaning.

    again, i dont care how many people say they liked kennedy then or now. and i dont care how many people say they like obama. the facts are there and here that none of these people have been good or good enough and have caused and are causing as much pain as they are given credit for ending. at some point the space our elders have given us should be to advance, push further, raise questions perhaps they couldnt and find answers they might not have had access to. none of this can happen if we simply regurgitate myth.

    • what I was going to say when I said to be continued was both reflections are accurate..depending on where u sit.. The golden era was magical./ it was incredible.. The fact are chuck and KRS did inspire.. and we loved them.. For many looking back to those years will hold special meaning.. As would the years I spent alone in NY during the pioneering days -magical, inspiring at the same time my family was not together..and new york had its highest number of killings to date.. Thats reflection and an accurate one..

      While many can have fond memories of those two periods I described someone else can recall them as misreable.. If you was one of the many who lost your loved one or felt the harshness of certain economic and political conditions.. the Golden era would be a place intime you wouldn’t wanna go to.. same with the late 70s early 80s..

      Both can and do exist.. I feel you’re being dismissive when you toss in phrases like ‘these are facts’ as if they are end all be all points to various views and takes. To suggest as you have that people are ignorant, miseducated etc because they don’t conclude that that particular era in time or person should be viewed with scorn is dogmatic and in some ways a bit arrogant.
      people aren’t as miseducated as we think.. They may not articulate all the facts and figures and they might not be as eloquent.., from the convos I had no ever made these folks to be perfect people.. I also found that folks have come to understand that politicians are always gonna be shady…. so pointing out their shadiness might be seen as part and parcel to what politicians do..

      If I say my father was a great man and a great dad .. am I someone who is miseducated or ignorant because from the outside looking in.. he seemed negligent? Could one still have those feelings even after all the facts are laid out.
      1- he wasn’t around 2-Didn’t pay child support.. 3-didn’t live up to his responsibilities

      Before someone makes that judgement they should ask why I think I think he’s great dad.. Those three ‘facts’ may not be the criteria that I was basing my assesment on…. I also may have come to belive and accept that all fathers are absent from the home..so him buying me a cookie or giving me akind word may result in me saying he was great versus someone who might have higher expectations.. Its complex.. our people are complex.. and I feel u allow no room for people to have a differing point of view..

      So what’s true is that Kennedys inspired Hope for a whole lot of people including Black people who look back fondly at that time as the age of camelot.

      As a journalist i have a variety of roles.. I could spell out the facts and challnge everything before me.. I could also report exactly what people are saying and feeling.. I could be one who reminds us of the history.. and history is that theose brothers were thought highly of.. and yes another part of that history, is that they werrte thought highly of inspite of these ‘facts’ that you pointed out..

      Moving forward the question is did our people know these facts? Was the information widely available? What lessons do we glean from that? Is really about being the only person in the room who has all the facts while everyone is oblivious? and is that in itself an accurate conclusion?

      For me personally i have causes I champion and when i find myself has being the only one with that strong opinion say on issues like net neutrality or radio..then its on me to f9igure out how to reach those people if I feel they are needed in the struggle or this will somehow impact them..

  7. There are so many contradictions here. i am dismissive when i simply outline facts of history that go against popular feelings of hope. and yet you are a champion of causes when you go against popularly held, and equally false, myths of free market corporate dominance of art as a positive or at worst a mostly benign result of nature. while maybe with slightly different areas of focus our work is largely the same.

    you put quotation marks around the word “facts” in order to dismiss my argument. you dont actually prove them false you simply place them aside as not your point or “criteria.” you dismiss the historical record and the massive impact on people in order to center the general hopefulness people felt. but you would not do this with your journalistic championing of causes you take to heart. its like if i were to read your work and respond with questions of the “fact” of clear channel’s negative impact on radio. i could then simply say, “but my assessment is based on the enjoyment that millions of americans get from the nationally placed programming of the network.”

    so when you speak to audiences, as you do all the time, and explain things to them about the industry you know they could not possibly know but often misunderstand is this only to be the one in the room with all the facts surrounded by the oblivious? or are you trying to share information you know is intentionally withheld from most so as to inspire thought, action and organization with which you can work and support?

    so, again, my point from the beginning has been precisely this issue of criteria or area of focus or point of emphasis. my point has been that to emphasize the end result of the hopefulness and not the political origins and impact of that hope deserves criticism. things are branded specifically to avoid focus on the item itself, to make people focus on the feeling they get from the item. this is the origin of that hope. it has nothing to do with what is actually happening.

    and all im saying is i disagree with the point of emphasis. the fact that more people feel hope than apparently know what is happening does not make me feel good. that is the point you made about your pops and that i make about mine. i will determine (depending on who im talking to) what criteria i will judge him by so that the outcome pleases my sensibilities. but that doesnt mean that this is really in my ultimate best interest and that certain loved ones shouldnt ever challenge it.

    • i am dismissive when i simply outline facts of history that go against popular feelings of hope.

      No Jared you are not being dismissive by outlining facts. Thats not the point I was making, nor was I minimizing what you have spent a lifetime learning..I don’t dispute what your saying. In fact its valuable information for me.. I was simply saying that your ‘facts’.. and I put quotations for emphasis not to ridicule.. may not be the thing that someone cares about when determining how they view someone.. or something. That was my point.

      I took issue when you said that people were somehow ‘miseducated’ or ‘ignorant’ when they in fact weren’t offering up or challenging your facts but reflecting their experiences.. I said your facts as well researched as they are may not add up to the facts of those who look fondly at Camelot. When I say add up I mean specifically the flaws, and shortcomings you pointed out of Kennedy’s may and apparently have not been cared about the way you and me amy care about them..

      lemme give you a different example.. Ike Turner beat his wife. Dr Dre beat on women. I don’t like that I think its despicable. But let me go to an audience and point those ‘facts’ out.. and large numbers of people bioth those who I consider socially conscious and others who are not will still cheer when Dre’s songs come on.. they’ll buy his album and will speak highly of him. same with Ike Turner for an older generation.

      What you said in your second paragraph

      you dismiss the historical record and the massive impact on people in order to center the general hopefulness people felt. but you would not do this with your journalistic championing of causes you take to heart. its like if i were to read your work and respond with questions of the “fact” of clear channel’s negative impact on radio. i could then simply say, “but my assessment is based on the enjoyment that millions of americans get from the nationally placed programming of the network.”

      a couple of points I wasn’t dismissing the historical record. I was simply saying that historical record as you presented doesn’t exist in a vaccum.. people weighs those wrongs with what they perceive as rights..

      with respect to what I champion.. thats a challenge for me.. My ‘facts’ oftentimes are heard by audience but does not result in the changes I would like to see.. is the audience dumb or ignorant to my ‘facts’. From where i sit-maybe… the hard truth that I had to learn to deal with the fact that quite few people actually enjoy what’s being fed to them..I also had to learn that this issue is not as important to folks as it is for me.. Its on me to figure out the best way to communicate my point and be more persausive. It gets frustarting, its challenging.. But if you ain’t feeling me on a point of view that I feel has been well researched and is accurate to the T.. then I didn’t complete my work.. I only did my job halfway.. I excelled in research and failed in presentation..

      Earlier when I referenced academia this is what i was alluding to.. You know that presentation of your ‘facts’ is crucial for you to move upwards in that world. If Jared Ball writes a book that is easily understood by by Pookie and Ray Ray because you use layman’s terms it may not cut mustard in academioa where they want a certain type of prose and citation etc.. At the same time the average person on the block may view such writing as too heady, boring and confusing. So again my ‘facts’ or your ‘facts’ may not mean nothing to the people we wish to reach if other factors aren’t in place. Those factors range from personal relationships to style and swagger.. In this case our relationship to one another has allowed me to sit down, read, disgest and respond to your points.. even if I disagree, Jared is still my homie and thus he gets a second , third and fourth look.. whereas someone else who came across the same way I would pay them no mind..

      so, again, my point from the beginning has been precisely this issue of criteria or area of focus or point of emphasis. my point has been that to emphasize the end result of the hopefulness and not the political origins and impact of that hope deserves criticism. things are branded specifically to avoid focus on the item itself, to make people focus on the feeling they get from the item. this is the origin of that hope. it has nothing to do with what is actually happening.

      I understand..However, i think both are important the critique as well as an underscoring of how people are feeling this gives us amuch more well rounded picture.. Whats missing thesre are direct answers to your questions.. Did they know these political realities in 1963? Were they ignored and dismissed? if so why?

      and all im saying is i disagree with the point of emphasis. the fact that more people feel hope than apparently know what is happening does not make me feel good. that is the point you made about your pops and that i make about mine. i will determine (depending on who im talking to) what criteria i will judge him by so that the outcome pleases my sensibilities. but that doesnt mean that this is really in my ultimate best interest and that certain loved ones shouldnt ever challenge it

      I understand this as well..this is where tone and presentation come into play.. I feel that your take on this could’ve been stated differently…It was framed as if u were being confrontational -a guy (Ted Kennedy) died and people had strong emotions around this and you said ‘y’all are being revisionist and are miseducated.. If my pops dies tomorrow, unless i ran around publicly dissing pops, God help the person who decides the day of his funeral I need to be challenged on how I viewed him.. When they say Kennedy passing was an end of an era.. they really meant that and part of the nostalgia is the realization of that really was the nd.. Much like when Michael Jackson passed. It made me realize my own mortality and that a constant presence good or bad in my life was gone. I wasn’t trying to hear ‘facts’ about child molestation and shit like that.. To this day i won’t watch Keith Oberman cause he felt people needed to hear his information rather then take a moment to grieve.

      With Kennedy passing.. I saw people reflecting on a era with those brothers as key backdrops who were highly thought of and respected.. I think you could’ve presented what you said without compromise while simultaneously being more inclusive..

  8. i hear you davey and thanks for responding with such clarity and seriousness. we just dont agree and thats ok. i did say i had planned to say nothing about the man. i have tried to learn lessons about timing and tone. but sometimes its just too much. and yes, i do mean that most are deluded. it doesnt mean im better, it doesnt mean they are stupid. it means that this is the result of the most powerful and well-studied propaganda machine in human history. the framers of this media environment have been meticulously studying how to reach this point of mass confusion. theyve been working hard for a long, long time and are succeeding.

    in fact, i was recently asked to speak on Tupac for an event in DC. the first thing i said was that i, during his life, had been duped by popular image to see him as someone he wasnt and to largely dismiss him despite we being contemporaries. i am no better or worse than anyone else. but i do think that we need to find ways to confronting these myths. i think teddy should be an easier one in our communities than most. who really cares – in our generation – about the man? nobody. nor should they. he should not be revered by our generation as a hero because we are that much removed from the myth. and we should work to keep it that way.

    but i feel no need to compromise or be more inclusive. in fact, i feel what i said and the way i said it was compromise enough. and perhaps we should be a bit more exclusive, politically speaking. this is the problem with the “left.” we are always trying to expand our tent to include some really backwards ideas. at some point there has to be some form of conflict, if not physical (i hope), at least regarding ideas/politics. i mean, at some point if someone keeps arguing that asher roth is a better emcee than KRS (purely an example here, just making a point, ive not actually heard this argument made — yet!) they must be excluded! LOL!!

    but its cool man. we will kick this up again next time. and oh, i dont watch olberman any more because of his last rant on rev. Wright. he is another fake “leftist.”

    • I get your point on the over inclusiveness.. lemme clarify..the work we all do is for our communities.. and that can be defined different ways..When communicating we may speak different languages both phonically and culturally. In this instance I think we are speaking different languages on a cultural tip. Meaning and I paraphrase.. when Jared speaks he comes hard with information..Its well researched , its serious and to be honest it may not be for the faint of heart.. It also comes with the expectation that one has certain degree of political understanding from a marked political position which is often defined as progressive, left, radical.

      I speak in a different tone..and oftentimes to a different audience..so I apporach it and ways that may be described as more accomodating..I don’t wanna come across as abrasive and I have concluded that its best to work on how I communicate…Its still work in progress. reflected in that is that I may genuinely have a different politic which may be to the right of yours if we were to look at this on a political spectrum..
      My goal at the end of the day is to know and understand the other political languages that are spoken to the best of my ability, even if I don’t agree its important to know them for the following reasons.

      1- because of my visibility I will more often then not find my self being lumped into the same category as you and others because of race and may find myself be challenged on things you believe in or I may be in a place where what you say is being clowned and lambasted and I am a prop of sorts who is by not responding validate the maligning or by speaking ill informed underscore the reason why your position was being clowned in the first place. I need to have working knwoledge if for any reason just to refute a maligning point of view in public space.. I hope that make sense.

      2- this is more important point.. to this date many in our respective communities are still oppressed and we are still working on ways to eradicate that.. hence its important that you ride your horse as hard as you can as far as you can with all the bells and whistles to see if a wall buckles and things change.. It would be foolish to wait around. It might happen next week, next month , next year..

      Hence I should ride my horse to the full degree and see where it gets us.. It may or may not work..

      The one thing we should try to do is not undermine one another’s efforts.. I always been clear about that.. In other words. I might not take a torch and go burn down the plantation, but hell if you come along with amatch I sure as hell ain’t gonna stop.. you. In fact I may actually let you know where’s the best place to to put the match..

      Last point to the question of tone and presentation.. In church we have various levels of Bible study . Each sunday all the classes in my church may approach the same topic, but how they are discussed varies. There are anumber of classes because long ago our pastors figured out that some people are babies in Christ and others are adults.. One class the teacher is serious. They study scriptures and it has an academic approach to saisfy the questions and curiousity of those who simply cannnot sit in a chair and recite words verbatim.. So that class a lot of history and social politics are discussed along with the scripture.

      In another class folks are about the spirit. They see the Bible as God inspired and they believe faith is important . They wanna get into the word and for them its a spiritual thing. They sing, they clap, they even dance.. I would freaking go crazy in that class.

      My class is taught by a former cop who was always involved in liberation struggle.. His lessons are raw, but he always relates it to real life situations. Woven into the lessons are the stories he encountered on the streets, his political take on things as well as his cultural take. Here we talk about everything from Tupac to Zionism to the panthers to the shooting of Oscar Grant.. If it wasn’t for that class I wouldn’t be at church..

      Discussions around politics are the similar in the sense some folks are ready for the ‘hard truth’ others want it raw and uncut, others are somewhere in the middle. Victory for me.. might be getting someone from not reading to reading the paper. Victory for you might be picking the ‘right’ material to read..

      Anyway I’m out for now.. I had no idea Oberman dissed Rev Wright-what a dumb dipshit…Well now I might whup his ass as opposed to not watching him.. As for Asher Roth vs KRS.. Come on fam.. Asher Roth is much better.. You need to stay up on your Hip Hop my man..

  9. rosa clemente says:

    i didn’t know revolution was a popular sport, and i could care less that only a small group of people voted for us although i would say 200,000 is not so small, Shirley Chisolm didn’t care, Fannie Lou Hamer did not care, Sojourner and Harriet left those behind who were not ready to step, Lolita went to the US congress so puerto rico can be free,

    as fidel said, jared, History will absolve us, we need to start a hip hop website and make a space for the left, progressive, radicals of our communities, I see now whom has been bought, the liberals in hip hop and fake left have become the center of our collective politics, whether yearwood, van jones, or the domination of the culture by men whom continue to be sexist and misogynistic will only be served by us through self determination

  10. Yea, Olberman said Wright should no longer be able to wear his collar due to comments caught on tape about Obama’s “jews” not allowing the president to invite Wright to the white house.

    And yes. for a decade now people have been raising the issue of my “tone” when entering the debate. i am less moved by this by the day. the reality is that it is not tone but politics. if your views are seen as too radical the tone is irrelevant. Malcolm’s tone, King’s tone, Stokely’s tone, all different, all more or less saying the same thing and all forcibly removed from the debate by liberalism. thats really what it is. so now the issue is teddy kennedy and liberalism has again taken over. we musnt be too angry, or loud, or critical or calmly reflective even if our conclusions are the same; that this man and his family and those they truly represent have been manipulating us with lies and myth for centuries.

    here are two more examples which clearly demonstrate my point. they detail the history of teddy being a fake friend of the poor and labor and how his support of neo-liberalism and deregulation has ruined the lives of most of the working people on the american continent. it doesnt matter what popular opinion is or was, other than in its very real impact (as demonstrated here) of disrupting and distracting real discussion of real history. What matters is what has really happened and what is really happening to those majorities of working people who will continue to suffer until we get some stuff straight.

    liberalism siding with popular myth and compromise are absolutely not what have improved this world. it has always been organized efforts around uncompromising, upsetting and unabashedly critical ideas. so if continuing to raise these questions is seen as undermining others’ activity, then so be it. in fact, i prefer it that way. because it is really they who undermine our legitimate right to question (even angrily and loud and will curse words!) the ideas and policies which ravage us.

    Teddy Kennedy the Hollow Champion
    By ALEXANDER COCKBURN
    http://counterpunch.org/cockburn08282009.html

    Kennedy’s Sins Against Labor
    By STEVE EARLY
    http://counterpunch.org/early08282009.html

  11. Robert Jr. James McClendon says:

    Boy, you all are getting it on. He lost me on the “immigration” piece, and the only thing that stand out to me with him his his brothers back there with Dr. King. Other than that the only thing I can add is “With all due respect, that dude had a big ass head.”

  12. N yes when i heard about my man laorn since we reconnected back wit each other my man laron told me about his album wit the reagan era music also spoke to me about what happened to his arrest wit what his kids mother kimberly vanderhee as of getn juelz locked up 8 times because kimberly was jealous of me n all because of laron ju s mom n i said well es dominicana as she can see as of me im here wit laron n for him to leave her alone when he s wit me anyhow when it comes to me im from 158th st es DR to DR!”

  13. It es about n for what my man as juelz santana es for the people for bein born to win built to win wit the reagan era album as for harlem knowin what it means for a life struggle as for santo domingo to the people of harlem livn to be the best with who are as afro americans livn in americ to moms debbi to ke for me as wifey destiny as for laron jr ! always since 95!”JUELZ&Destiny!”xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox always for a key to …………..! e s dr to dr !”

  14. a key to cuban kimberly vanderhee sincerly es about my man n to us !” es Juelz&destiny!” always es dr!” since june 95!”