Politics

Why I'm Not Here for Bill Clinton...

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Today, Bill Clinton showed me who he really is.

At a rally in Philadelphia this afternoon, Bill Clinton had a heated argument with Black Lives Matter protestors about what he really thought about Black crime once-and-for-damn-all. Here's the video:

In the video, Bill Clinton makes 3 egregious mistakes:

  1. He justified his notorious ‘94 crime bill that was ultimately responsible for the Mass-Incarceration of Black men and women
  2. Attempted to vindicate his wife and her use of the phrase “Super Predators” and its application toward Black + Brown kids in urban areas (me included)
  3. Fallaciously tried to convince a liberal audience that Black Lives Matter protesters are actually responsible for America's failure of urban revitalization caused historically by policy  ( i.e. Slavery + Segregation + Redlining + G.I. bill), which gainfully contributed to areas where over-policing/police brutality/ high-crime tend to happen: Section 8 housing and ghettos

Ultimately, I've arrived to one conclusion:

The Clinton's don't care about Black people.

The Clintons, in my opinion, are just two southern-style politicians whose paternalism toward Black americans is far to egregious to ignore. Sista Souljah was right. From this point on, I'm over Bill Clinton. I'm not drinking the proverbial Democratic Kool-Aid they like to slang to Black people every four years. Bill Clinton sucks, and by affiliation, so does Hillary, too.

#ImNotWithThem

 

Are Candidates Exploiting the Families of Black Victims for Votes? Sandra Bland’s Mom Says “No”

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When most mothers endorse presidential candidates, their voices have limited impact. But an endorsement by the mother of Sandra Bland, a black woman who died in police custody? That holds weight.

Geneva Reed-Veal endorsed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton a few weeks ago—and she’s proud. “Hillary has been championing women and families for over a decade.”

Is it appropriate for candidates to approach mourning mothers?

She’s not alone: The mothers of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Dontre Hamilton, and Eric Garner are also supporting Clinton through Mothers of the Movement, a coalition they, along with Reed-Veal, formed for mothers whose children were killed by state violence. This may have boosted Clinton’s numbers in the South Carolina and Georgia Democratic primaries—she received more than 80 percent of black voters’ support in both states.

Garner’s daughter, Erica Garner, disagrees with her grandmother on who should become our next president. She has endorsed Bernie Sanders. “He heard us, and I believe he’ll continue to listen,” Erica wrote in op-ed for the Washington Post . “I’m behind anyone who’s going to listen and speak up for us, and I think we need to believe in a leader like Bernie Sanders.”

The Sanders campaign didn’t respond to interview requests, and the Clinton campaign directed YES! to MSNBC, which was streaming live coverage of Mothers of the Movement from South Carolina.

These endorsements may be crucial to the candidates’ chances, as black voters will play a major role this election season. But is it appropriate for candidates to approach mourning mothers? Or is it exploitative?

Bland’s mother finds offensive the idea that she is being exploited. “I am over 50, and I understand exploitation and what it is,” she says. “We were all offended that it’s being said that we are being exploited—because we’re not.”

Reed-Veal, is excited to work with Clinton, even if others within the movement find the candidates’ alignment with black victims insulting and disingenuous.

“For these [deaths] to be used as a campaign tool is one of the worst things that can be done. How dare you?” says Los Angeles-based Black Lives Matter organizer Melina Abdullah, who is also the chair of the Pan-African Studies department at Cal State Los Angeles.

“We were all offended that it’s being said that we are being exploited—because we’re not.”

Some activists would like to see candidates focus instead on reparations. “Political engagement with the black community should be like a bank,” says Marissa Johnson, Seattle Black Lives Matter co-founder. “If the engagement is not quantifiable or monetizing, it isn’t really engagement.” The Black Youth Project 100’s proposed Agenda to Build Black Futures Campaign also mentions reparations.

Charlene Carruthers, national director of BYP 100, an activist organization comprised of black millennials dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all black people, says she is more concerned about the candidates’ strategies to win black voters than whom the families of state violence endorse.

But these strategies aren’t new. Consider JFK.

In the 1960 presidential race, John F. Kennedy successfully secured 70 percent of the black vote. Kennedy and his brother, Robert, used their political influence to get Martin Luther King Jr. released from jail, where he was being held following peaceful protests. That led to Kennedy’s endorsment by King’s father, Martin Luther King Sr.

That, in conjunction with Lyndon B. Johnson’s support of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, was the beginning of what would become overwhelming black democratic allegiance for the next 50 years. In fact, according to a 2015 Pew report, almost two-thirds of blacks identify as democrats, with most of the rest identifying as independents. Only 5 percent identify as republicans.

Black voters matter, especially to the Democratic Party.

The 2008 election, when Barack Obama became our first black president, was the most diverse ever, turning out 65 percent of black voters. In 2012, 66 percent showed up at the polls.

Almost two-thirds of blacks identify as democrats.

Black Americans do more than increase voter turnout. They increase winning margins, too. In 1992, former president Bill Clinton, deemed the “first black president” by novelist Toni Morrison, received 83 percent of the black vote as opposed to only 39 percent of the white vote. Four years later, he won again, receiving 84 percent of the black vote compared to 43 percent of the white vote. Although black Americans did not fare any better under his presidency—his policies, in fact, destroyed and displaced millions of black men and women via mass incarceration—Bill’s appearances at black churches and black hubs won him eight years in office and solidified a reputation that even facts can’t dispute.

Bland’s mom doesn’t let Bill’s legacy taint her appreciation for Hillary. “Do not judge her based off what Bill did,” she says. “This is not about Bill. This is her time to show to show her abilities, and I’m standing with her because I know she’s capable of getting the job done.”

Hillary has convinced enough black voters in two predominantly black states, but Sanders still has a chance at those that remain. Over the last few months we’ve heard both candidates announce that “Black Lives Matter,” but, in the coming weeks, we can expect to see more from them to show us whether black votes matter, too.

This piece was originally featured in Yes! Magazine.

#TheCut Podcast | Ep. 1

 

Today, is the launch of my brand new podcast, #TheCut!

 #TheCut is a brand new podcast focused on urban culture, diversity, faith & hip-hop. The sister show to Temple’s The Corner, #TheCut showcases a millennial opinion on relationships, music, & current events. 

In this episode, I go into depth about my thoughts on this weeks hottest topics: #BlackoutFriday, The DOJ Ferguson report, and Kanye West's issues with classicism.

So, please take a listen and let me know what you think in the comments!

 

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Why Prop. 47 Matters!

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This week, California dealt a big blow to the prison system. One so significant, that it may change the way we view incarceration all together. With the passing of Proposition 47,  nonviolent felonies like shoplifting and drug possession will officially be downgraded to misdemeanors...But why does this matter?

  • As with other misdemeanors, the new maximum sentence will be one year in jail, down from a maximum of three years.
  • Anyone already serving time for a felony conviction may be able to petition for a new sentence—even those incarcerated under the state's “three strikes” law.
  • As many as 10,000 people may be eligible for early release from state prisons. Additionally, courts are expected to dispense around 40,000 fewer felony convictions annually.
  • The new measure will save hundreds of millions of dollars on prisons that will be redirected to education, mental health, crime victims, and addiction services.

With the passing of Proposition 47, we are witnessing the dismantling of the school to prison pipeline, an arrangement that has sustained policies and practices that have pushed our nation’s most at-risk children out of classrooms and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Essentially, California voters have reversed the prioritization of incarceration over education. And that's why I'm excited.

As a former at-risk youth, the passing of Proposition 47 brings me so much joy!  I have never been to prison, but I know plenty of young men who have, many of whom had bad experiences in primary school, like me.

I can't even recall how many times I was written off by teachers and school administrators who believed that I wouldn't make much of myself. Fortunately, due to wonderful mentors and interventions, I was redirected from a very clear trajectory. Unfortunately, many young men weren’t as lucky. Thankfully, under Prop 47, they will be given a second chance.

According to SuspensionsStories.com:

  • 40% of students expelled from U.S schools each year are Black.
  • 70% of students involved in "in-school" arrest or referred to law enforcement are Black or Latino.
  • Black students are 3.5 times more likely to be suspended than whites.
  • Black and Latino Students are twice as likely to NOT GRADUATE high school as whites.
  • 68% of all males in state and federal prison do not have a high school diploma.

Thank you, California, for deciding to reinvest into our children. I’m ready to see the pendulum of justice swing.