The Police Institution

Think about it, when you have a problem like domestic violence or robbery, who do you call? It goes without saying, the police. Yet we are all aware what the police institution has done to our communities. Oscar Grant, Sean Bell. Everywhere we look people are calling for the arrest of someone, the extension of prison time for another person. Even activists rely heavily on the police institution to end the problems that speak about. Police officers are found most often in poor, communities of color, the police institution was specifically designed to be a type of watch dog mechanism for these communities. We forget the violence done to us by the police institution, something we should never forget. Abner Louima. Duanna Johnson. They keep us in tact, whenever one of us steps out of line they send us to prison, no matter the circumstances. Entire communities are criminalized, which results in the overrepresentation of Black, Chicanos, and Natives in the prison system. Being a person of color is a criminal offense in this country. Driving while black, longer prison terms for crack than cocaine, the three strikes law, the criminalization of poor mothers of color, the criminalization of prostitution; all these issues disproportiantely affect people of color. Prison, police and the military are branches of the same oppressive tree. We cannot forget the racism and sexism inherent in the police institution. Kathryn Johnston. Amadou Diallo. We think that the police are inevitable, that they are needed. Indigenous communities, before conquest praticed community accountability. Communities that have love and respect within them do not need outsiders to maintain "order and peace."

Immigration and Race Relations

Most people assume that all Raza people are illegal immigrants. However, the majority of Raza persons in the US are legal citizens. Because of this, for the most part all Raza people get treated like illegal immigrants, as taking advantage of the system, as dirty, and as stupid. Being an undocumented person is racialized as being Raza. However, there are many more immigrant populations that are not apart of La Raza; mainly European and African. However, La Raza is targeted for the racism that comes along with discussion about immigration issues.

This also means that other races get left out of the immigration conversation.
Anti-immigration rhetoric relies on the slaveability of Blackness and also as seeing La Raza as a threat to US empire building. Privileged persons who have high paying jobs and are able to successfully navigate the job world know that blacks will still be here to do the slave labor. They and anti-immigrant blacks are ignorant of the fact that undocumented persons do necessary labor for this country. With documented labor out of this country, all those people with jobs will see an decrease in the lure and viability of their position. In fact, Blacks have benefited largely and gained privilege in the job market because of mass immigration. Blacks, in the long run, are largely in a better economic position. We hold better jobs and live in more affluent areas than ever before.

Immigration can also be seen as threatening to an individual's personal privilege of being a legal citizen. Undocumented persons are seen as taking advantage of healthcare, welfare, and public educational services. This logic also seeps into the conversation when anti-immigrantion people accuse undocumented persons of taking American jobs. There is especially tension between Black Americans and La Raza. Black Americans have typically been situated as slaves in the American labor force, however, now more undocumented workers hold lower level positions; which can be interpreted as "taking jobs." However, when we complicate the notion of capitalism and white supremacy, we see that immigrants are not to blame for this. La Raza also has issues with unemployment. However, corporate entities will take cheaper labor, which is immigrant labor not black labor, because undocumented workers do not possess the means to fairly negotiate the workforce because they are without legal citizenship status. They are also pawns in a capitalist state, they take what labor is available to them out of necessity to feed their families.


The Racialization of Music: Part 2: The Power and Criminalization of Hip Hop

The following post is part two from this post about the Racialization of Music.

One area where the racialization of music is particularly evident is within hip hop. We can all agree that hip hop perpetuates stereotypes, such as black people being thugs and ho's. However, we have to make the distinction that hip hop is not to blame for these stereotypes. These defining images were created by the system of white supremacist capitalism and was unfortunately adopted by commercial areas of hip hop, which is the same area that record companies choose to propel to the forefront of the media.
For example, it is incredibly evident that ideas of black womyn being hypersexual, circa the spectacle of Sarah Baartman, are also seen in commerical hip hop music through the sexed out personas of rappers. We must realize the evident agenda in this, the furthering of stereotypes sustains the purposes of white supremacy.

Hip hop, in its present commerical state is being used to promote a capitalist, white supremacist agenda, while simultaenously being scapegoated for the world's problems. For example, remember when 2pac was persecuted becuase a guy listening to his album shot two cops? Another example is how society continuously blames hip hop for sexism and misogyny. However, the ultimate reason why Hip hop is criminalized is because blackness is also criminalized. Andrea Smith, in her article, "Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy: Rethinking Women of Color Organizing" says, that "we can actually look at the criminalization of Blackness as a logical extension of Blackness as property." Thus we can say that even though hip hop is a entity that is multicultural, it is criminalized and commodified at the expense of black bodies. I think we deserve much more as the creators of hip hop, however, white America always has the power and privilege to twist and distort good intentions.

Hip hop is a billion dollar a year industry and is also the most popular musical genre to date. It has surpassed being a part of media to become a media itself. Much like the news and also other forms of art, hip hop, as an entity of mass media, has the power to influence pop culture. No wonder why white America hijacked and now owns it. It can influence people to dance and dress in provacative or fly ways, it can inspire people to become more aware of social justice issues, and it also has the power to dumb people down. Hip hop is used to sell everything from cars to cell phones. White Corporate America has stolen hip hop to further its capitalistic purposes, however, this offers no real agency for the black people whose music is being abused. Hip hop was created as an organic, anti-colonial tool of expression and what was particulary beautiful about that expression was that it was used as a tool for black Americans, particularly black men, who had been shut up, marginalized, stigmatized and deemed invisible by dominant society. Now, commercialized hip hop is used to further ideas of black hypermasculinity, capitalistim, and violence against the female and queer; which in turn only fuels a corporate agenda for white America. Black men and black women have once again been shut up and we don't have hip hop as an outlet for mainstream expression any longer.

Do we really want to support the commercial hip hop that perpetuates stereotypes about us and therefore furthers our own oppression? We must constantly be aware of the power we have as black American consumers to dictate trends as far as what is being sold to and bought by us. We cannot allow white America to continue to own hip hop and dictate what parts of it we see, use and listen to. We must be concious consumers and seek out alternative hip hop music that uplifts, enlightens and empowers us. Nothing that you get from commercial hip hop on the radio or in the mainstream media will be good for you and definitely not good for the black American community.

Rappers and producers: Quit making music if you love money and fame more than you love the people.

Come on baby, light my fire, everything you drop is so tired, music is supposed to inspire, how come we ain't getting no higher?" -L.Boogie

Lessons from M.X.

So as I have said before in a previous post, I have been trying to make a point to read speeches from those deemed leaders in liberation movements. So far, I have only read Malcolm X's "After the Bombing" speech, because I've been busy. Anyway, for this post I wanted to highlight that speech and specific points that he makes about social justice organizing in this country. I don't think that most people of my generation know how smart Malcolm X was, all we know is the name "Malcolm X." We don't know any of his words or what he really stood for. Or that he was pretty funny too.

One point that he talks about is oppressed people becoming enlightened and aware of the colonial situation in this country. "The newly awakened people all over the world pose a problem for what's known as Western interests, which is imperialism, colonialism, racism and all these other negative vulturistic isms. But the internal forces pose an even greater threat only when they have properly analyzed the situation and know what the stakes really are." So we can see here that Malcolm is emphasizing education and knowledge about the oppressed situation, which I totally agree with. He goes on to say, "the man knows that if Negroes find out how dissatisfied they really are -- and all of them, even Uncle Tom is dissatisfied, he's just playing his part for now -- this is what makes them frightened. It frightens them in France, it frightens them in England, and it frightens them in the United States." So we see that knowledge really is power, as corny as it sounds. That there is no hope for ending your oppressive situation if you don't even know what oppression is and that it is designed to be seen as invisible.

Another important point is alliances among struggles. "They'll do it to them today, and do it to you tomorrow. Because you and I and they are all the same." I think this integral to remember. Above all, we are all one people. If they do it to them, they'll do it to you. He continues, "and one of our first programs is to take our problem our of the civil rights context and place it at the international level, of human rights, so that the entire world can have a voice in our struggle. If we keep it at civil rights, then the only place we can turn for allies is with in the domestic confines of America. But when you make it a human rights struggle, it becomes international, and then you can open the door for all types of advice and support from our brothers in Africa, Latin America, Asia, and elsewhere." Oppression is never faced in solitude, the oppression of one community is also the oppression of every other community. We must create alliances and solidarity among our communities.

With the election of Obama, people, mainly oppressed people seem to have a lot more faith in the political system with no factual basis supporting this faith. "Some of these liberals who grin in your face like they're your best friends, they have money tied up in the Congo." Liberals are not angels, and they are not anarchists. They have a hand in the capitalist oppressive system that we live in as well. Don't allow yourself to be fooled thinking that Democrats are so liberal and great, that they aren't oppressive to your situation. In actuality, most Democrats know that they have to somewhat liberal for the preservation of their party and ideals, Republicans are just more bold with their marginalizing.


Elsie's Business

I just gone done reading "Elsie's Business" by Frances Washburn. Pretty good book. Check it out if your looking for a book outside of the European spectrum. Its about a Native woman's murder. Kind of eerie but the storytelling is really good.


West Coast Hip Hop: Part 5: Dom Kennedy

I don't even remember when I first heard of Dom Kennedy or downloaded his most recent mixtape, From the Westide With Love. He was kind of annoying to me at first. It was probably because of that, that it took me forever to listen to it. But when I did, I loved it. I've been meaning to write this post for a long time, even though I'm sure most of yall already know about Mr. Kennedy.

I really like Dom Kennedy's videos. He's smart enough to know that riding down Crenshaw in a low rider dressed in your choice or either red or blue is straight played. He chooses to show different parts of LA in a interesting way. He also has dope beat selection and unique rap style.

& his newest official video from the mixtape:

Download Dom's music here.