Within weeks after this meeting I was in attendance of a national gathering of performance artists in Black Mountain, North Carolina. (I am a Poet) The gathering was hosted by Alternate Roots.http://www.alternateroots.org/... During the week long conference there were many main performances scheduled. One performance in particular caused a great stir amongst the attendees. The controversy was centered on a one man (white man) skit. The skit involved the performer wearing a two foot long card board black penis, while his other character brandished a real shotgun (not loaded I presume). Fear and indignation was ignited amongst the crowd for different reasons. A walk out by the Black attendees ensued. Because of the walk out and refusal to participate further in the conference by Black artists, a emergency meeting was called. What resulted from the meeting was that the director of the Peoples Institute was flown in to facilitate a conflict resolution. .
Ron Chisom http://www.pisab.org/...
In the 1970s Ron recognized that economic exploitation is typically organized and sustained by a racial hierarchy that is personally internalized and institutionally perpetuated. Importantly, he understood that most organizers did not know how to undo their racism and subsequently extended the racial fault lines into causes such as the women’s rights movement, the environmental movement, and other initiatives to empower local people to create change. As a result, these movements are fractured but the racial hierarchy within them is strong.
This matter is complicated by the fact that the best training in effective organizing actually perpetuates the problem. In the 1950s and 1960s, Ron was apprenticed by several legendary community organizers including Saul Alinsky, but in the mid-1970s he decided to correct a consistent problem with those who work to empower American communities. Most community organizers were trained in political analysis and organizing techniques but did not understand the history and practices that support racism. In Ron’s words, “Community organizer trainings usually focus on tactics and skills but giving organizers more skills without teaching them how to deal with racism was just making them more skilled racists.” When this happens, organizers often practice gate-keeping—the practice of deciding who will have access to knowledge and opportunities that rightfully belong to disempowered people.
Ron has since been recognized internationally for his work as a community organizer/anti-racist activist. http://www.ashoka.org/...
My attendance at this gathering became a pivotal experience for me as an Anti-Racist Activist. In fact, after the presentation by Ron Chisom, he invited me to participate in the Peoples Institute's National gathering of community organizers in Mississippi the following month. Well, I took the invitation very serious and in fact was one of the organizers of the Million Man March, which was scheduled two weeks after the Black Mountain incident. While in attendance at the Million Man March I found my way to the Grant Memorial and was standing below the statute when I turned and found myself face to face with Ron Chisom! Sufficed to say, with a million to one odds Ron and I became spiritually bonded. Ron became my mentor.
Two weeks later I was again with Ron at the Peoples Institutes national gathering. My memory of that gathering stands out. The issue of the color gradient within the African American identity became a conference issue. I remember feelings from my childhood surface again. Being mixed, it was said during a heated exchange meant that bi-racial persons were confused. That bi-racial individuals who embraced that identity were betraying the identity of being a Black American. My consternation at this comment caused me to speak out loudly. "I cannot hate my white side no more than I can hate my Black side"..."My self identity should be inclusive of all the racial parts that created me"...."My self esteem is based on self-identity" "My self-identity is a Person of Color".
I remember being approached after that exchange by Joseph Brandt who was in attendance. Joe thanked me for bringing up the issue of the color gradient and wondered outloud why the issue seemed taboo at previous conferences.
Dismantling Racism: The Continuing Challenge To White America.
Barndt, Joseph. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 1991.
Addresses the issues facing white Americans of dismantling and deconstructing racist privilege. Clarifying a number of important issues, from personal to institutional to cultural racism, Brandt also addresses racism in the church. Recommended to anyone working in the field of social justice and social diversity as well as those trying to understand what the issues and roles of white Americans are concerning race and racism. Non-threatening, it does not attack or try to promote guilt, but does call for some critical thinking and evaluation.
I was tired of being Grey in a black and white society. The Grey area of racial categories in the United States for me has always been blurred. I am bi-racial. Born in 1958 when mix marriage was illegal in most States, I was thereby involuntarily born an outlaw in this society.
With the recent election of Barack Hussien Obama as the First African American President (?)
REFERENCES AND ADDITIONAL READING
FIVE BLACK PRESIDENTS
Adler, D. (1987) Thomas Jefferson: Father of our Democracy. New York: Holiday House.
Bakhufu, A. (1993) The Six Black Presidents, Washington, D.C.: PIK2 Publications.
Bennett, L. (1988) Before the Mayflower. New Penguin Books.
Brodie, F. (1974) Thomas Jefferson, An Intimate History. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.
Curtis, J. (1982) Return to These Hills: The Vermont Years of Calvin Coolidge. Woodstock, Vermont: Curtis-Lieberman Books.
Dennis, R. (1970) The Black People of America. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co.
Erickson, E. (1974) Dimensions of a New Identity: Jefferson Lectures. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.
Kane, J. (1981) Facts About the Presidents: From George Washington to Ronald Reagan. New York: The H.W. Wilson Co.
Mapp, A. (1987) Thomas Jefferson: A Strange Case of Mistaken Identity. New York: Madison Books.
Morrow, E. (1963) Black Man in the White House. New York: Coward-McCann Inc.
Remini, R. (1966) Andrew Jackson. New York: Harper & Row
Reuter, E. (1969) The Mulatto in the United States. Haskell House.
Rogers, J. (1965) Sex and Race. St. Petersburg, FL: Helga Rogers Publishing
Rogers, J. (1965) The Five Negro Presidents. St. Petersburg, FL: Helga Rogers Publishing.
Sullivan, M. (1991) Presidential Passions: The Love Affairs of America’s Presidents - From Washington and Jefferson to Kennedy and Johnson. New York: Shapolsky Publishers Inc.
Whitney, T. (1975) The Descendants of the Presidents. Charlotte, NC: Delmar Printing Co.
I have become even more sensitive to the race issue in the United States. Barack Obama is aImmigrant African American. Most African Americans are non-immigrants. A category that has not been explored in depth. The most signifant difference between the Obama experience and that of most African Americans is the dynamic of the neurosis of internalized inferiority.
This fascinating phrase comes from the book of Frantz Fanon, “Black Skin White Masks.” Fanon, the black psychiatrist from Martinique and author of the classic “The Wretched of the Earth,” diagnoses the neurosis of wanting-to-be-white as a product of the internalization of colonial subjugation. “If there is an inferiority complex,” Fanon writes, “it is the outcome of a double process: primarily, economic; subsequently, the internalization—or, better, the epidermalization—of this inferiority.”
Internalized superiority also exists on the bifurcation of this neurosis...
Barack Obama did not suffer the direct impact of the Willie Lynch syndrome.http://en.wikipedia.org/... His racial identity formation resulted from his formative years being lived outside of mainstream America. In fact, only in the United States and South Africa are you born with a racial category affixed to your identity at birth. Obama was not raised in the United States. This calls to mind the unique upbringing of Obama. Ever notice that many of the thought leaders of the African American experience historically are Immigrant African Americans or spent years outside of the United States?
High-Tech Retribalization. Having left the United States after the Peoples Institute experience, (I actually stayed in New Orleans and trained with Ron after the National gathering of the Peoples Institute) and now tucked away in the jungles of Belize, I became convinced that the organizing capabilities of peoples movements must be centered on the ability to communicate. (this especially included the ability to universalize the definition of Racism) While globalization was gaining it's corporate foothold worldwide, I became convinced that social change agents must be armed with the ability to coordinate efforts. Thus, High Tech Retribalization became my Vision...
I subsequently left Belize and found my way to New York City in quest of realizing my Vision. I arrived in New York City on September 10, 2004. Right past midnight I was on stage at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. http://www.nuyorican.org/...
Now, September 11th, I proceeded to perform this poem:
State of Emergency
Some weeks before the September 11th attack
America came back from a International Conference on Racism
in Durban S. Africa.
In fact, America walked out, Which leaves no doubt
that blaming the victim is truly one major symptom of our many sicknesses.
So, in a State of Emergency, we should recall 911
and we will see the emerging deniability to the United State of Mind
call racism, something we can longer shun
Nor the reality of others who've victimized by our own patriotic guns
ablaze as silent weapons used upon the death, blind and dumb.
Personally, I've become despondent over recent events
and the messages of hate that we reciprocate
continuously being sent.
And the subsequent response of million dollar bombs
launched against ten dollar tents
while anthrax mail was delivered for 34 cents
for who knows whose premise
As we suffer 24/7 sounds bytes of the so-called Muslim menace
and we maintain these fertile grounds for subliminal sounds of hate
can we negate the thoughts?
Civil Liberties for all will be lost as freedom is tossed to and fro
the cost of Liberty now risen to who knows what price
of invasion of human lives by the righteous satellites of the moral right
While rockets are used by psychotics who define what is patriotic
and Racism, maintains its stamp of approval
Like a mirage thats been sent through economics of Voodoo
and who do you side with? while the end is decided by silent wars
as mainstream media so graciously keeps score
and all the points lead towards a universal war
between the have and have nots, for the have mores.
So what is left for one to think
when reality is distinct about how lowly we sink
in denial of the truth,
which is: The Chickens did truly come home to roost.
Yet we continue to profile and maintain our denials that we
US are the ones who dialed 911....EMERGENCY!
All of this sharing of my story brings me to the point: I have designed a software that will enable advancement of communications. (and undermine MSM) There is a technological convergence going on. All devices will have the same content. Television, PCs and Phones. I have created a platform by which user-generated content will blossom.
I have a story and a vision to share with you. Presently I am involved in the development of a Social Media software that will be the template for Anti-Racism.Tv - SpokenWord.Tv - Poetry.Tv. This open portal platform will combine user-generated content with premium content produced and showcased on the homepage. This is a media rich software. I will be candid with you, we hope to push the paradigm shift further by providing a platform for live video communications and a full media production cycle online. We combine all the social networking widgets, with media storage, online video editing suite, customize video players with embed coding, video emails, live chat rooms, live broadcaster, live Presenter/with interactive white-board. These tools are provided to the communities and members we host free of charge.
The problem: I cannot find any takers to invest. I have a finished prototype (so we know it can work!) Anti-Racism.Tv is dedicated as a social enterprise. (501(c)3) but it has proved difficult to explain and obtain funding. This sounds like a solicitation but it is not, I am still on the quest for a High Tech Retribalization...