40th Anniversary as a professional artist Synthia Saint James

Internationally renowned artist Synthia SAINT JAMES will celebrate her 60th birthday and 40th anniversary as a professional artist in 2009.

According to SAINT JAMES her first birthday present was her licensing agreement with Barnes and Noble. Look for merchandise featuring her artwork in their stores and on their website in February.

New to her palette is her Tuscany Series, inspired by a recent visit to this beautiful region in Italy. To date the suite includes “A Taste of Tuscany”, “Tuscan Sunflowers”, “Cypress Grove”, and “Autumn Leaves”.

Her next destination will be the Turks and Caicos Islands, her new inspiration for a series of seascapes. Which be added to her ever expanding Seascapes Revisited Series, inspired by her many trips to the Caribbean, Hawaiian, Tahitian and Fijian islands.

For more information please see info below.

Thank YOU!

Life is Magnificent! Accept, Release, Relax and EnJOY IT...>^^<

P.O. Box 27683
Los Angeles, CA 90027/USA323.993.5722

Winners of the Women of the African Diaspora Gifts

Our winners:

From the United States:

Shawnty Perry
Gift: Free six-session coaching package by Creating Tomorrow

From the United Kingdom:

Carol Denis
Gift: Domain name and a year of the economy hosting plan by I-pavilion

From the Netherlands Europe:

Chantal Cooper
Gift: Copy of Love Like Hallelujah by Lutishia Lovely

Claim your Women of the African Diaspora Gift

We turned one last month and you have until 16 December 2008 to claim your Women of the African Diaspora Website One Year Anniversary Gift!

Locations of visitors to this page

Thank you to our partners who have so generously created special offers and gifts just for you!!

For Everyone:

..Received a 25 % discount on any coaching package! View your choicesand then email Sandra and let her know which package you want. She will happily put you in touch with Trina at Creating Tomorrow so that you can claim your 25% discount.

We have one of each of the following gifts.
Simply let Sandra
know which gift you would like to win.
She will be sure to contact you if you are the lucky winner!

Your very own domain name and a year of the economy hosting plan!


A free six-session (career or business) coaching package!

For book lovers: Love Like Hallelujah: one hardcover, one paperback!

For book lovers: A Special Summer

For book lovers: Jealousy

For book lovers: The Other Side Of Through

From the Netherlands and Sweden,
Sandra Rafaela
Adrianne George


4th Women in Africa and the African Diaspora (WAAD)
International Conference on

Education, Gender & Sustainable Development
in the Age of Globalization

Abuja, Nigeria (August 3-8, 2009)

Professor Obioma Nnaemeka, Convener
waadconf@iupui.edu; website: http://www.waadconf.org/



For over a decade, the WAAD conferences have provided the space for researchers, students, policy makers, activists, women and men of different races, religious persuasions and ideological leanings to engage in vigorous and fruitful debates on issues relating to women in Africa and the African Diaspora.

The first WAAD conference held in Nsukka, a small university town in rural Nigeria, gathered over 700 researchers, activists, policy makers, and students from five continents. The conference generated ten-volume proceedings of over 200 original papers and saw the beginning of the Association of African Women Scholars (AAWS).

The second WAAD conference, held in Indianapolis (USA) in 1998, gathered hundreds of participants from 35 countries and 48 national and international organizations. The third conference in Madagascar was equally very well attended. The WAAD conference has succeeded in putting in place forward-looking strategies for continuing its work—it maintains a global network and has published three volumes of selected papers.

THEME (Education, Gender & Sustainable Development in the Age of Globalization)
The 4th WAAD interdisciplinary conference will provide opportunities for constituencies inside and outside the academy—researchers, academicians, practitioners, policy makers, professionals, and students from various disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, pure and applied sciences, professional schools, etc.—to discuss the education of women and girls in Africa and the African Diaspora and explore its relationship to sustainable development in a rapidly globalizing, complex world. How can the acquisition of different forms of knowledge guarantee women’s participation in ensuring that today’s growth does not jeopardize the growth and possibilities of future generations and that “development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”?

What role would indigenous knowledge play in women’s participation? In disciplinary terms, the conference will examine the central role the arts and humanities can and must play in the global knowledge economy and their relevance to development discourses and practice. How can humanistic studies dialogue with scientific studies in addressing global issues such as social and environmental justice, gender/social inequality and knowledge gap, and education for 21st century global citizenship?


Autobiographies and Biographies
Capacity-building and Leadership
Civil Society, NGOs and Transnational Activism
Creativity (Oral & Written Traditions), Artistic Expressions and Development
Curricular Development and Reform
Democratization and Women’s Participation
Educating against War and Militarization
Volunteerism, Civil Engagement and Global Citizenship
Education Policy, Teacher Education, and National Development
Energy, Mineral Wealth and National Security
Engendering the Disciplines
Entrepreneurship and Small/Medium-size Businesses
Feminist/Womanist Interventions
Gendered Inequalities and Access to Education
Gendered Spaces and the Diaspora Question
Global Financial Institutions and Women in Developing Countries
Health, Medical Sciences and Health Education
Gendered Violence, Human Rights and Social Justice
Libraries and Archives
Mobilization and Transnational Social Movements
Peace and Conflict Resolution
Poverty Alleviation, Agriculture, and Food Security
Preserving the Environment, Saving Our Planet
Religion, Culture, and Indigenous Knowledge
Skills-Training and Economic Independence
Communications, Technology and the Digital Divide
The Economy and Global Capital
The Humanities, Development, and Globalization
Understanding Gender and Global Africa
Women in Higher Education: Research, Teaching and Administration
Youth Engaging Development Strategies

Forms for paper, panel, roundtable and workshop proposals are available on the conference website: http://www.waadconf.org/. Send as e-mail attachments the completed proposal form, abstract and curriculum vitae (as Word documents) by FEBRUARY 15, 2009 to the Convener at waadconf@iupui.edu. Selected papers will be published.

Registration form and fee schedule are available at the conference website: http://www.waadconf.org/. All presenters whose proposals have been accepted must pre-register by MARCH 15, 2009 for their names to appear on the conference program.

Professor Obioma Nnaemeka, Convener
2009 WAAD Conference
Department of World Languages & Cultures
Indiana University
425 University Boulevard
Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA
Phone: 317-278-2038; Fax: 317-278-7375
E-mail: waadconf@iupui.edu; Website: http://www.waadconf.org/

European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008

Send in by Joyce van Genderen-Naar

Newsletter - Flagship Projects Special Edition

Dear readers,

… to the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008!
We want everyone to feel a part of EYID – as the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008 is known. That’s why we are sending out this newsletter. It gives you a close-up view of the latest news and upcoming events as well as debates and projects related to intercultural dialogue.

Seven pan-European flagship projects have been underway as centre-pieces of the EYID. This special edition of the newsletter focuses on what they have done, what they are still doing, and what is still to come.

If you’d like to share the story of what you’re doing to make EYID a success, send an email to info@dialogue2008.eu.

Enjoy it. It’s your Year!
The EYID team

Iyouwe SHARE THE WORLD – A concert to discover Europe’s cultures
Meeting the Other – borders, identities and cultures in the European space
TATAPUME – “Radiotherapy” about the history of migration in Europe
StrangerFestival – a video competition and festival for young people
Diversidad! What if European hip-hop had its own festival?
Alter Ego – Imagine you were born in another European country, who would you be?
Cultures from around the block

Iyouwe SHARE THE WORLD – A concert to discover Europe’s cultures

One of the pan-European projects of the European Year, “iyouwe SHARE THE WORLD”, will come to a climax on 3 December with a concert at the Cirque Royal in Brussels, as the storytellers and musicians from various cultures who all share the ideals of the project gather on stage, including Iva Bittová, the Roma musicians Trio Loyko, Natacha Atlas and the Mazeeka Ensemble, Marlène Dorcéna, and Dani Klein, from “Vaya con Dios”. This concert will be presented in several languages. And it will end with an original interpretation of the melody created by Yehudi Menuhin for his Foundation – which allows each musician to improvise, as well as joining in a common chorus linking the whole group.

iyouwe SHARE THE WORLD is a project that explores learning about the Other through tales and arts. Launched in January 2008, and run by the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation, it has involved 14 primary school classes in Hungary, Germany, France, Scotland, Belgium, Italy and Portugal.

Through an approach based on stories and art, and with the participation of the storyteller Hamadi, the children have been able to discover archetypes common to all cultures, and at the same time increase their awareness of cultural diversity. The project is also showing the value of promoting artistic teaching in primary schools as a way of increasing understanding of diversity.
To read more, please click here.

Meeting the Other – borders, identities and cultures in the European space

On 20-21 October, in Barcelona, the project “Meeting the Other…” celebrated their closing event with focus on cultural journalism. Artists, intellectuals and journalists active in the project were invited to present and discuss the main results of the initiative. The event, organised by IeMed (the European Institute of the Mediterranean) and Babelmed, also featured the presentation of the intercultural virtual festival at www.babelmedfestival.net, which offers a virtual space for artists with a creative and conceptual approach to immigration to share their content and get their voice heard.

The project “Meeting the Other…” was conceived in July 2007 by Babelmed and eight European partners, as an attempt to overcome negative prejudice about migrants and to deploy culture in asserting the valuable contribution of migration. The project covered several fields such as research, journalistic content and creation. Its main objective was to highlight cultural and artistic expression inspired by migration, and to offer migrant creativity the space necessary for it to make its full contribution.

Visit the virtual festival at www.babelmedfestival.net and feel free to spread the word to artists working on issues related to immigration to join! The platform will continue to exist after the end of the European Year, as one of its legacies.
To read more, please click here.

TATAPUME – “Radiotherapy” about the history of migration in Europe

Tatapume – “let’s talk!” in Greek – is what people say when they part. It is the same as the French “au revoir”, the English “see you”, the German “Auf Wiedersehen” or the Italian “arrivederci”. With one difference: instead of referring to seeing, as the others do, it refers to dialogue.

This is the perfect title to invite people to talk with the “Other”. It is not a matter of being politically correct, but because talking to a different person brings new opportunities. It may sometimes be difficult, but it will usually be rewarding. In the European year of intercultural dialogue, this project is trying to discover how far this readiness to talk to the Other is the true story of Europe. “Radiotherapy” against stereotypes!

Ten programmes about European history are being produced and broadcast by seven radio stations in seven European countries: Austria, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Slovenia and Spain. The programmes are also available for free as a Podcast on the website www.tatapume.org, accompanied by bibliographies and full interviews with personalities from each country. They can be used as educational materials, presenting the topic from an original point of view, yet with a solid scientific background.
To read more, please click here.

StrangerFestival – a video competition and festival for young people

The first edition of the StrangerFestival – Europe’s biggest event for young video-makers and fans – took place on 3–5 July at the Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam. Throughout the three days, more than 2.000 people from over 30 countries people joined the festival, which offered young video-makers a rich programme of workshops, debate sessions, master classes, exhibitions, parties and of course the spectacular StrangerAwards Show!

The StrangerFestival was open to everyone – fans, total amateurs and experienced video-makers. Leading up to the event, young people could share and submit their videos online for the StrangerFestival competition and also vote for their favourite works from the fellow competitors. On 5 July, the festival reached its climax when the winners of the Stranger competition – in four different categories, chosen by the public and professional juries – received their awards.

Just now, the best works are travelling with the StrangerExhibition and are shown in museums across Europe. All finalist films and the works created during the festival workshops can be seen on the StrangerFestival website at www.strangerfestival.com.

The StrangerFestival is a project initiated by the European Cultural Foundation (ECF), which helps the arts to contribute to a strong, united and diverse Europe built on shared cultural values. It will continue beyond 2008, so stay tuned!
Diversidad! What if European hip-hop had its own festival?

While the European Football Championship 2008 was in full swing in Austria in June, another big European event took place in Vienna, as part of the DIVERSIDAD project. It brought together some of the best hip-hop artists in Europe – rappers, graffiti artists, and DJs – for three days of festivities, exchanges and creation at the hip culture place, the WUK.

European artists performing included the EYID Ambassador Abd al Malik, and IAM and La Caution from France; Baloji from Belgium; Curse from Germany; Sam the Kid from Portugal, Noora Noor from Norway, Texta from Austria, Colle der Fomento from Italy, Looptroop Rockers from Sweden, 7 Notas 7 Colores and Porta from Spain, and DJ’s Waxolutionists and Cut Ex from Austria. The event also featured the first Euro DJ Battle, under the banner of DIVERSIDAD.

But DIVERSIDAD is more than a music festival. The DIVERSIDAD project was thought up by the European Music Office (EMO) and the Diversités association in order to provide the players of the European urban culture with a platform for getting to know one another, sharing, creating and together founding a lasting bridge of exchanges. In order to allow European artists to network by working together on a common song, artists associated to the project got together in March 2008 for the recording of a joint DIVERSIDAD hip-hop single, which was uploaded on www.myspace.com/diversidadexperience. Here, other musicians could remix it and upload it – the first pan-European hip-hop platform.

For more information and to listen to the single as well as to watch the video clip, please visit www.myspace.com/diversidadexperience.

Alter Ego – Imagine you were born in another European country, who would you be?

The 44 winners of the “Alter Ego” dual portrait competition for young people have now been announced! The challenge for competitors was for each of them to imagine who they would be if they had been born in another European country and to create a dual portrait – a picture of themselves with their “alter ego”, a person from another cultural heritage. By 15 September more than 750 of these portraits were submitted online at www.alterego-europe.eu, using film, photography, painting, music or mixed-media.

Two entries were chosen from each of the 22 participating European countries (Austria, Belgium, France, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, The Netherlands, Slovenia, Sweden and the UK). The winners will soon be heading off for the artistic workshop camp in Denmark at the end of November, where they will receive a week’s training by 14 renowned European artists. The selected work will also be part of an exhibition touring throughout Europe from January to March 2009.

Alter Ego project is organised by the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) in the framework of the European Year. To see the winning entries, please visit www.alterego-europe.eu.

Cultures from around the block

“Cultures from around the block” is a photo and video project for young people that aims to rediscover the character of local communities in large European cities. Its highpoint was an intercultural festival in Prague in October – the Dialogue of Cultures festival, where schoolchildren from across Europe showed the local media projects they had created in photography, sound, written word or film, and took part in debates, workshops, concerts and exhibitions.

Throughout the project, partners from Bratislava, Brussels, Bucharest, Coventry, Offenbach, Prague and Warsaw have shared their work, promoting interaction and communication that helps break down cultural stereotypes. In addition, a documentary film entitled “Your Street. My Street” and a website about local integration were created based on the media items from local workshops. Now, via the website www.europeancity.cz, it is possible to take a vivid “virtual stroll” through European cultural diversity in local neighbourhoods.

The project brought together young people from different ethnic groups living in the same city and, through media workshops that documented their surroundings, helped promote intercultural dialogue and build long-lasting ties.
To read more, please click here.

"QUILOMBO COUNTRY," the Documentary about Black Rebel Villages of Brazil, Now Live Online

"Quilombo Country," the award-winning film about Brazilian villages founded by escaped and rebel slaves, can now be downloaded to rent, buy and stream instantly, right here:

Brazil, once the world's largest slave colony, was brutal and deadly for millions of Africans. But many thousands escaped and rebelled, creating settlements they called quilombos in Brazil's untamed hinterland. Largely unknown to the outside world, these communities struggle today to preserve a rich heritage born of resistance to oppression.

"Quilombo Country," narrated by Chuck D, the legendary poet and leader of the iconic hip hop band Public Enemy, explores Afrobrazilian village life among the forests and rivers of northern Brazil, with rare footage of festivals and ceremonies that blend Catholic, African and native Amazonian rituals and customs. "Quilombo Country" is alive with first-person accounts of racial conflict, cultural ferment, political identity, and the struggle for land and human rights.

See it now.

[This download option is for personal use only. For institutional use, please go to http://quilombofilm.com/cart.htm to purchase or rent "Quilombo Country." All institutional DVDs are full-resolution suitable for projection, and contain public performance and classroom screening rights. Journalists may write to info@quilombofilm.com or call 212-260-7540 to receive a copy for review for publication.]

"An up-close-and-personal look at the state of these villages today, featuring surprisingly articulate accounts from residents lacking in formal education."
The New York Times

"Persuasive, complex, and timely."– Southern Quarterly"Outstanding footage of festivals, parties and religious ceremonies."– In These Times

"Wonderfully rich...Abrams's grainy, intimate portrait of the difficult everyday life of contemporary quilombo residentsrefuses romanticization."– Black Camera
"Winner, Best Documentary, 2007"– Black International Cinema Berlin festival"Quilombo Country"2006 • USA • Color • Digital 4:3 • Running time: 73 minutes

Website: http://www.quilombocountry.com/

For Immediate Release: Women of the African Diaspora

Rotterdam, NL/Stockholm, SWE – Women of the African Diaspora website is having a birthday complete with gifts for its readers. The website, which celebrates Black women, will unveil its new look and a new domain name on November 1, 2008.

"Women of the African Diaspora website is simply better than ever," says Sandra Rafaela, Women of the African Diaspora's co-founder and co-editor. "We are working very hard to create a website that provides information, inspiration and more for Black women around the world."

Women of the African Diaspora website leverages the global reach of the Internet to share relevant news, event notices and showcase a wide range of talented Black women including authors, artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, and others. And with Black women living on virtually every continent, it certainly has a large market.

"Women of the African Diaspora's website content is very compelling and shines a positive spotlight on Black women that main stream media far too often ignores," says Adrianne George, Women of the African Diaspora's co-founder and co-editor. "The number of visitors to the site has increased each month over the past year, and our new look and new domain name make us the perfect choice for advertisers who want to reach the important market of Black women consumers."

The year has been marked with highlights for the Women of the African Diaspora co-editors, with Ms. Rafaela's Afro European Sisters Network blog being awarded blogged's "great" rating. Ms. George's Black Women in Europe blog was a member of a credentialed blogging team at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Her blog also won the Helping Hand Award, a 2009 Black Web Award for Best European Website, and was a finalist for a 2008 Black Weblog award.

Within the next year, Ms. Rafaela and Ms. George have big goals for the website: to introduce new categories including a section showcasing photographers, increase the number of visitors, attract quality advertisers, and continue to fill every page of Women of the African Diaspora with inspiration and information for Black women.

"We've come so far in just one year," explains George. "We haven't just built a website, we've built a community with the Women of the African Diaspora Social Network. Rafaela explains, "We have really enjoyed meeting accomplished and positive Black women while providing them with a unique platform for exposure. We're ready to take on year two." Anniversary gifts are provided by Creating Tomorrow, iPavilion, Marsha T. Jenkins, Lutishia Lovely, and Victoria Wells.

More information is available at Women of the African Diaspora

Sandra Rafaela:

Adrianne George:

For more information:

Contact us: http://womenoftheafricandiaspora.com

Hastings Urges Increased Support for Combating Racism and Discrimination

Contact: Lale Mamaux
Phone: (202) 225-1901
Cell: (202) 279-0442

Hastings Urges Increased Support for Combating Racism and Discrimination
against Blacks and Other Minorities in Europe

(Washington, D.C.) Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission), introduced a resolution (H.RES.1496 ) calling on the United States government to increase support for public and private sector initiatives focused on combating racism and discrimination against blacks and other minorities in Europe. (Please find attached a copy of the resolution.)

“Black Europeans are a population of more than 7 million. Increasingly, they have become the targets of violent hate crimes, many resulting in death,” said Chairman Hastings. “It is imperative that the U.S. government increase its support for European efforts to combat racism and discrimination.”

The introduction of the resolution coincides with the launch of the Black European Women’s Council (BEWC) and their effort to fight for equality (visit: http://www.bewnet.eu). In an effort to raise public awareness at the national and international level, BEWC brought together over 130 Black women from across Europe to “insist on the recognition and inclusion of Black Europeans economically, politically, and culturally.”

The resolution also urges European governments to implement recently introduced anti-discrimination legislation and action plans, including a fund for victims incapacitated as a result of a hate crime.

“Like African-Americans, Black Europeans continue to be hampered by inequalities in education, housing, employment, and the criminal justice system, (e.g., racial profiling). Few Blacks are in leadership positions and political participation is limited for many, providing additional obstacles for addressing these problems. I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this resolution recognizing Black Europeans, their numerous contributions to society, and the struggles they face daily,” said Chairman Hastings.

On April 29, Chairman Hastings held a hearing entitled, “The State of (In)visible Black Europe: Race, Rights, and Politics,” (ctrl+click for link) focusing on the challenges and opportunities experienced by Europe’s Black population amidst reported increases in racism and discrimination, anti-immigration and national identity debates, and growing security concerns. Additionally, the hearing examined the impact of anti-discrimination measures as well as diversity initiatives aimed at ensuring and protecting equal rights for a population many do not know exists. Additional information on the hearing can be found at www.csce.gov.

The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, is a U.S. Government agency that monitors progress in the implementation of the provisions of the 1975 Helsinki Accords. The Commission consists of nine members from the United States Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense and Commerce.

Lale M. Mamaux, Communications Director
Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
(Helsinki Commission)
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (FL-23), Chairman
Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (MD), Co-Chairman
234 Ford House Office Building
202-225-1901 (phone)

Hastings_Resolution_Europe_9.24.08.pdf, 38 KB

Who will be The Dutch Black Business Female Entrepreneur or The Dutch Black Business Female Manager of the year 2008?

The answer to that question will be given on October 4th 2008, during the annually Awards Gala of the Zwarte Zaken Vrouwen Nederland (The Dutch Black Business Woman). For the second time the event is organised in cooperation with the city of Rotterdam. The event will take place on Saturday, October 4th 2008 , at The World Trade Centre in Rotterdam.

The event is attended by many well – known celebrities from the political world as well as by several ambassadors. Many top Dutch businesses, that have diversity as a priority, are also represented. Besides a packed programme full of entertainment with top artists and an extensive dinner, you will have the opportunity to network and to establish contacts with many distinguished professionals from the United States, Great Britain and France.

The last three years ZZVN has grown to be the platform of the black female entrepreneurs and the expert on diversity to the government and the business world in the Netherlands. With the cooperation of several European female network organisations, with a common membership of more than 5,000 women, the organisation tries to create greater accessibility for all black women in business across the world, enabling even more positive social and economic contributions to the GDP of their respective countries. In order to improve, stimulate and support the importance of woman’s networking, another aim of the ZZVN is to connect Black Women Business Networks globally through a virtual network platform.

Tickets for the awards dinner are € 165,-- per person and tables are sold for € 2.500,--. For members of the ZZVN we have special arrangements. Should you require further information on the nominations, the nominations process, or be interested in branding opportunities, buying tables or tickets please do not hesitate to get in touch with the zzvn as below or contact us direct.
The programme and directions to the location will be sent once we receive your affirmative reply.

We are looking forward to welcome you at the awards gala of the ZZVN.

ZZVN tel: 00-31-102857722
Email: info@zzvn.nl
Web: www.zzvn.nl

Official Launching of the Black European Women’s Council in Brussels

The Official Launching of the Black European Women’s Council (BEWC) took place on Tuesday 9th September at the premisses of the European Economic and Social Committee, Rue Van Maerlant 2, 1040 Brussels. It was organised by AFRA – International Center Black Women’s Perspectives, Wien, Austria (in the framework of the European Year of Equal Opportunities for ALL,Vienna, September 2007) and Tiye International (Holland) under the leadership of Beatrice Achakele (AFRA) and Hellen Felter (TIYE) and facilitated by Brenda King, President of the Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).www.blackwoncenter.org, www.bewnet.eu

For the first time in EU history black women, the majority coming from ACP countries and living all over Europe (Austria, Sweden, Ireland, Greece, Holland, Belgium, Italy, the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland) united and launched the black European Women's Council in Brussels to become visible and take on the responsability to be active as European citizens in politic, economic and social life.

The stories were similar: about discrimination, racism, unequality, invisibility, struggle to survive and to be recognized. In some countries it is even worse than in others, like in Greece where black people can not be appointed in public jobs; in Switzerland where there is structural violence against women and courts refuse to recognize racism; in Italy where there is a terrifying women traffic; in Ireland where descendants from Africa who want to buy a house have to do a HIV-test before they can get a mortgage. But also in France, the UK, Austria, Germany and especially in Belgium and Brussels, the capital of Europe and the heart of the EU institutions, where black people and migrants are invisible and underrepresented everywhere. The BEWC stated that black women do not want to be victims anymore but actors who participate in all EU structures.

The EU commissioner Vladimir Spidla attended the launching and gave his support to this initiative. The multiple discrimination against black women has to be tackled by implementing existing rules and sanctions. Members of Parliament speeched and support the Black European Women's Council.

18 million black people in the EU, many descendants from ACP countries, are struggling for equal opportunties and economic, social and human rights. This is a serious and urgent issue. 'Reaffirming Human Rights for All' that was the theme of the conference that was held from 3-5 September 2008 in Paris UNESCO Headquarters at the occasion of 60 years Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The conclusion was that human rights are at stake because of the international trading system and economic situation today with its energy and foodcrisis.

Human rights have to come first, they concern the integrity of each human being. Economic and social situations may never be an excuse to exploit people. 1400 representatives from 74 countries attended the 61 annual United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI)/Non- Governmental Organisations (NGO) in Paris. They discussed the situation of the human rights in the world today 60 years after the Universal Declaration was concluded.

The final conclusion was that there is not enough awareness and knowledge about the meaning of human rights, that there has to be more education, information and capacity building, especially among lawyers to safeguard the implementation of the Human Rights.

Joyce van Genderen-Naar

Teaching Abroad With Obama


Barack Obama's March speech on race

By Helen Solterer (with Jean Delabroy)

Among the thousands of students beginning classes this week, a surprising few gained admission to their university by analyzing a speech of Barack Obama. They are students at the flagship public institution for engineering and the sciences in France, the Polytechnique. Entrance requires passing nine examinations, including an oral on general culture. In this competitive research environment akin to that of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, this exam often proves decisive, opening or closing the door for applicants to the Parisian school. This time around, they were tested on the Philadelphia speech of an American presidential candidate, in French.

The oral is a defining ritual in French education. Students must demonstrate in the moment not only their sharp thinking, but their eloquence. Typically they are given the work of statesmen — Victor Hugo speaking in favor of Italian independence or Jean Jaurès, the fiery socialist who spoke on behalf of striking workers. Or they square off with that of intellectuals who are not French — Victor Klemperer writing against totalitarian language in Hitler's Germany. Yet no matter the culture or the historical period of the text on the table, the challenge remains the same. In less than 30 minutes, improvise an argument about a work that they are receiving for the first time, and field questions about it with aplomb. For the class of 2008, why choose Obama's political writing?

One of the Polytechnique examiners from the University of Paris system, Jean Delabroy, had heard a singular voice when Obama was introduced on French radio some 18 months ago. Like many, he was intrigued by the senator of African descent, and in the heat of the primaries, began reading his speeches that appeared in translation as well as in their original in the major newspapers. Long before Obama became a European jet-setter in Maureen Dowd's jargon, he represented, in the view of the French press, an orator standing in the line of a classical tradition. While Democrats clamored for him to substantiate his call for change, Delabroy decided that the American's language, rich and complex, merited explication.

Choosing Obama for this year's oral was good pedagogy to my colleague, who directs the department of literature, arts, and film at the University of Paris-Diderot. But to me, and I imagined, to many colleagues outside of France, it was an unusual move, and thought-provoking. When he told me about the long days of questioning the students, I wanted to find out why Obama could serve as a model speaker for them.

The choice had everything to do with the strategic force of his public speaking, Delabroy explained. He's a reflective thinker, an example for Polytechnique candidates of articulating a political position persuasively. The opaque tones of a young voice made his text an even more interesting case.

What exactly did these students discover speaking about Obama's speech: "Two hundred and twenty one years ago in a hall that still stands across the street"?

Class entwined with race in the day-to-day bargaining of life in America. They thought about Obama describing in one breath the working and middle class, black, brown, and white. They examined the ways he outlined their similar dilemmas: keeping a well-paying job, educating their children, staying healthy. One student was moved to think further about social class, as a mirror blinding many Americans of different racial backgrounds to what they have in common: poverty. In a piece that was quickly named in America "the race speech," the students in France found Obama puncturing the illusion of a class-free society, confronting the taboo subject of economic inequalities.

In the process, Delabroy their examiner, recognized a public figure who was critical of his own and loyal. He heard someone who did not silence the contradictions that filled the statements of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, but on the contrary sought to understand them even while he judged them severely. Obama spoke, Delabroy discovered, in order to reckon with the conflicted experience of black activists who spoke out in the 60s and 70s, and he did so on behalf of his generation — of all backgrounds — and of the next. Obama's openness was telling: He took on his personal quandary over his former pastor so as to deepen the analysis of the legacies of slavery and immigration. And he spelled out the record to give the electorate choices: how will you respond now to divisions that are so deep-seated?

Delabroy's understanding was tinged with longing. Today in France, the Left is made up of an old guard called in mock affection, the elephants, and a new one still searching for its voice. It is hard to identify a well-spoken public figure who is grappling with all the repercussions of race.

The surprise of the Polytechnique oral for many outside France is, precisely, the minor importance given race. There is no more current cliché about the French than their difficulty in working through the tangle of race relations. With the rioting of thousands of young men and women of African and Arab descent in over one hundred urban areas during the fall of 2005, the malaise intensified. The official government commemoration of French slaves the following January 2006 could hardly begin to answer the need for a full debate on the question. And the trompe l'oeil of a rainbow coalition in the present government of Nicolas Sarkozy has something perverse about it. The Polytechnique candidates are coming of age in a political era when their minister of justice is a woman of Moroccan and Algerian descent, and the foreign affairs secretary with the human rights portfolio, a Senegalese woman; but it is also a time when the Right has yet to articulate fully a cogent argument about institutionalized barriers limiting the development of young people of color from Martinique to the neighborhoods of Toulouse.

Studying Obama's Philadelphia speech makes, then, for a timely lesson. It is tempting to imagine these students in France taking his language as an incitement to consider the situations they encounter. How could his analysis of legal discrimination and the contradictions of racist behavior help to advance debate in their country? When the candidate visited Paris for a day in late July, the French-speaking Internet lit up with hopeful queries whether he could show them something more of liberty, equality, fraternity.

This generation in France is primed to analyze clearly and openly their Republic's original sin of slavery, the social and economic conflict it continues to create. Perhaps it will present a leader capable of addressing the anger over education jeopardized and jobs blocked in towns that burned across France in 2005.

In June, a few Polytechnique students were glad to have had the chance to think through Obama's speech. They thanked Professor Delabroy for making their oral such a worthwhile exercise.

For those of us on American campuses, the many possible lessons are different, but no less challenging.

As I prepare to go into the classroom again in the battleground state of North Carolina, I wonder, for one, when will we make the political writing of contemporaries abroad a part of our general culture and debate?

Helen Solterer teaches French literature and culture in the Department of Romance Studies at Duke University. Jean Delabroy teaches literature at the University of Paris-Diderot.

The original story and user comments can be viewed online at http://insidehighered.com/views/2008/08/25/solterer.

The Women of the African Diaspora Website and Social Network Celebrates 1 Year on 1 November 2008!

Dear Sisters,

Sandra Rafaela of the Afro European Sisters Network and Adrianne George of the Black Women in Europe Blog are pleased to announce that their jointly created Women of the African Diaspora (WAD) website and social network will celebrate their one year anniversary on 1 November 2008.

During the first year the WAD website has featured dozens of contributors and the network has grown to enjoy hundreds of members around the world.

Anniversary celebration plans include a new look and domain name for the website, and new featured sections to highlight more talented women of the African Diaspora.

Additionally we would like to offer our readers and users "gifts of thanks" for their support and participation. We also want to encourage buying within our community by asking for Black Female Entrepreneurs to provide WAD Anniversary Sponsorships of product and service gifts and discounts.

Appropriate examples include discount coupons to your products and services, as well as free subscriptions to your magazine or associations and free products or services.

Any and all gift sponsors will receive recognition and thanks on the WAD website and social networking that includes your logo and link to your website.

To participate as a sponsor please submit your logo, link and prize, along with directions on redemption, to Sandra Rafaela.

Thank you for helping to celebrate the Women of the African Diaspora website and social network!

Kind regards,

Adrianne George
Sandra Rafaela
Women of the African Diaspora Founders

Launching Black Women Council 9 September 2008 Brussels

High Level Roundtable discussion on
"The Role of Black Women in an all inclusive Europe,challenges faced by Black Communitie"

Welcome by

-Brenda King
President of the Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citzenship of the European Economic and Social Comittee

-Beatrice Achaleke
Initiator Black European Women's Council, Executive Director of AFRA- International Center for Black Women's Perspective, Austria


- Lissy Groner
MEP, Committe on Women's Rights and Gender Equality, the European Parliament

- Pascale Charhon
Director of ENAR- Director ENAR-European Network Against Racism

-Myria Vassiliadou
Secretary General of European Women's Lobby

-Yvette Jarvis
City Council Athens Greece

-Anne Gaspard
Executive Director Equinet

More speakers:

-Vladimir Spidla
Commissioner responsible for Emplyament, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities

-MEP Christa Prets
MEP, Committee on Culture and Education, the European Parliament

-Peter Moore
Member of the Committee of the Regions and rapporteur for the opinion on Equal opportunitie, Member of Sheffield City Council

-Morten Kjaerum
Director of FRA- European Fundamental Rights Agency, Austria

-Hellen Felter
Co-Initiator BEWC, Tiye International, The Netherlands

-Slyvia Serbin
Writer and City Counselor, France

-Leah Sempaya
Black European Women's Council, Sweden

It was great to be there and to be part of the lauching of the Black European Women Council. Finally we have a Visible Voice in Europe!


Read Press Release Click Here

Voices of Black European Women 1

1st Black European Women's Congress

Plastic Surgery

(Bernice Angoh)

We've all seen and heard of the horror stories unfortunately, the trend still increases. So many people want to look like the celebrities. They hate themselves, they hate their noses, their chins, their butts, their eyes and everything that's about them. Some want to be different people altogether. "I want to be like Barbie" They say. So they go under the knife 30 to 40 times before they turn thirty! We have become an extremely vain society.

Parents have become advocates. They are too lazy to teach their kids about self-esteem or self-image. For graduation they shower them with extravagant gifts and no, I'm not talking about a brand new car, this one is more special; a brand new pair of perfect breasts. High school kids barely even 21years old, that's what they want and that's what Mom and Dad give them. It is a perfect world!

Liposuction is the most common form of plastic surgery, with about 18-100 deaths per 100,000 performed. There are also grave risks including:

1) Infections: Like any other surgery, infections may occur is the wound is not properly cleaned. It is important for a doctor to prescribe antibiotics for his patients. Sometimes there are bacteria that start to eat up the tissue and cause infections that may be deadly. Also a toxic shock syndrome may occur, it is a bacterial infection commonly associated with surgery you may have heard this too with women who use tampons.

2) Complications with Anesthesia: Like most surgeries, anesthetic toxicity may occur. Large amounts of this when given can cause the heart to stop and consequently death.

3) Imbalance of Fluids: Your body's fat contains lots of fluids and this is what is taken or removed during surgery. Excess fluid may collect in the lungs and your kidney in trying to maintain this imbalance may fail

4) Skin Death or Necrosis: Skin around or above surgery area may 'die off' and fall. Bacteria may also grow in such areas and skin color changes occur and become infected with microorganisms.

5) Loss of Sensation: Sometimes, there may be permanent loss of 'feeling' or sensation to the area. Usually in the case of breast implants, around the nipple.

6) Perforated Organs: Organs may be wounded and perforated during procedures and this may be fatal.

7) Clots: Loosened fat may travel through broken blood vessels and cause a clot in the brain, blood vessels and in the lungs where it will cause shortness of breath or breathing difficulties. Sometimes these clots may cause permanent disabilities and/or death.

There are more complications that can occur during plastic surgery but they are too many to name. So many people try to fill the emptiness in them with things that will instead cause more like plastic surgery. Because, like most things, it becomes an addiction--you will never feel good enough and there can always be more procedures done. Plastic surgery is a multi-billion dollar industry and most surgeons will not turn down a returning patient. It means more money in their pockets and it is a business.

Some people have been termed 'Plastic Surgery Nightmares' for a good reason. Most celebrities due to public scrutiny have become addicts themselves at least they have the money to splurge. But when you see someone who's only making $10 per hour at a job and spends years saving up almost $10,000.00 to get a face lift or breast implant, you begin to wonder what is going on in their brains.

With celebrities, one day you see them this way and the next time, they look like burnt victims, or battered victims or ghosts. I remember Mickey Rouke when he used to be younger and handsome. Now he looks like a burn victim. Vivica A. Fox has probably injected more collagen into her lips than needed and even though she still looks pretty, she was prettier before. Some people have done so many face lifts they actually can not distinguish themselves from their own cats. Then the new Botox trend has left others with expressionless faces.

Everyday in the news we hear of another person who died because of plastic surgery gone bad. In 2004 we lost Olivia Goldsmith from 'The first wives' club' due to a facelift gone bad.

Just recently, rap artist, Kanye West, lost his beloved mother to plastic surgery. I understand people who need it for medical purposes but those whose only reason is vanity, baffle me. There are more kids and families out there who can be sponsored for medical procedures because they don't have the funds. Yet we have a society so selfish and so self-centered who would go through extreme lengths to change their already beautiful self to something they think is more 'ideal'.

30% of aging and 70% is lifestyle. That is a fact. So instead of going through all the risks and throwing all that money away maybe we can do the following non-quick-fixes:

1) Change your diet, eat better and make better choices to lose weight.

2) Exercise, three times a week, thirty minutes each time. Get off the couch, put off the TV and take a walk.

3) Start taking care of your skin now and don't wait till you are 'older'. A lady should start having a skin care regimen from age 12. For the number one in prestige skin care(and retail sales)try either 'Artistry' or 'Clear.now' from the following site: www.langohshops.com

For those of you who are older, there is an alternative for Botox that has everyone talking. We call it 'Notox'. Visit www.langohshops.com and look for Artistry Time Defiance Intensive Repair Serum in the search box on the site. Enjoy free shipping on most of our products.

4) Last but not the least. Love yourself as you are.

More about Bernice Angoh:

New Documentary about Black Rebel Villages of Brazil

“QUILOMBO COUNTRY,” New Documentary about Black Rebel Villages of Brazil,
In Debut Run at the Pioneer Theater in NYC, September 19-25, 2008 –
Narrated by Public Enemy’s Chuck D

WHAT: Debut run of “Quilombo Country”

WHEN: Fri, Sept 19 – Thurs, Sept 25, 2008. Most shows at 7 pm.

WHERE: Pioneer Theater, Ave. A & 3rd Street, NYC

PLUS: Q&A with director Leonard Abrams after Fri & Sat shows.
Leonard Abrams at 212-260-7540, leonard@quilombofilm.com
or Marjorie Sweeney Publicity at marjorie.sweeney@mac.com

"Quilombo Country," the award-winning documentary about Brazilian villages founded by escaped and rebel slaves, will have its premiere theatrical run at the Two Boots Pioneer Theater from Friday, September 19th to Thursday, September 25th every evening at 7 pm. The film is narrated by Chuck D, the legendary poet, media commentator and leader of the iconic hip hop band Public Enemy.

The Pioneer Theater is located in the heart of New York City's
ast Village at 155 East 3rd Street near Avenue A. The film's creator, writer-director Leonard Abrams, will take questions after the Friday and Saturday screenings. Seating is limited -- online purchase, especially for the Friday and Saturday shows, is highly recommended. Go to http://www.twoboots.com/pioneer. Student discounts apply.

Brazil, once the world's largest slave colony, was brutal and deadly for millions of Africans. But many thousands escaped and rebelled, creating settlements they called quilombos in Brazil's untamed hinterland. Largely unknown to the outside world, these communities struggle today to preserve a rich heritage born of resistance to oppression.

"Quilombo Country" explores Afrobrazilian village life among the forests and rivers of northern Brazil, with rare footage of festivals and ceremonies that blend Catholic, African and native Amazonian rituals and customs, including the use of dance, drumming, tobacco and other sacred plants to facilitate the communication between the spiritual and material worlds. "Quilombo Country" is alive with first-person accounts of racial conflict, cultural ferment,
political identity, and the struggle for land and human rights.

If you can't make it to New York, find out how to see the film at http://www.quilombocountry.com/.

Journalists and educators may write to mailto:leonard@quilombofilm.com
or call 212-260-7540 to receive a copy for review for publication or
possible institutional purchase.

"Wonderfully rich...Abrams's grainy, intimate portrait of the difficult everyday life of contemporary quilombo residents refuses romanticization."
– Black Camera

"Persuasive, complex, and timely."
– Southern Quarterly

"Outstanding footage of festivals, parties and religious ceremonies."
– In These Times

"Winner, Best Documentary, 2007"
– Black International Cinema Berlin festival

"Quilombo Country"
2006 • USA • Color • Digital 4:3 • Running time: 73 minutes

Website: http://www.quilombocountry.com/

Official launching of Blacktree.TV Europe

(High class event)

Saturday 27 September 2008, Blacktree TV Europe will celebrate its official start of activities. This will be included among the manifestations of the 28th Dutch film Festival in Utrecht/Netherlands.

Launching program: Activities From 1 to 4

1 -Lecture by Didier Chabi (Director Blacktree TV Europe)

Lecture by Jamaal Finkley (CEO Blacktree media USA)

2-Debate: Theme/ Multicultural collaboration issues in European Entertainment sector. Problems and solutions. Free for Audience.

Hosted by: Mr Bruce Mutsvairo, Journalist at AFP.


Beatrice Achaleke (AFRA International Center for Black Women's Perspectives Austria, www.blackwomencenter.org)

Didier Chabi: Actor and Director, NL

Jamaal Finkley: CEO Blacktree media USA

Don Clovis: Film Producer USA/NL

Anthony Idem: Co-CEO Blacktree media USA

ED Klute: Directeur Mira Media (Minorities in Media) NL/EU

Noah Sow: multi-talented musician, voice artist, radio playwright, author, and producer has made a name for herself as a composer and singer. She is internationally active on rock music stages with her band Noah Sow & Das Heimlich Maneuver"

Sami Gathii: Actor Producer entertainer Crossroad production

Prof. Donald Muldrow Griffith:co-founder/director: Fountainhead Tanz Theatre/Black International Cinema/ The Collegium - Forum & Television Program Berlin/Cultural Zephyr e.V.

Jean Van Der Velde: Director Film Producer

Misstrezz: Female rapper/NL

Ali B: Musician Rapper/NL

Nino (Blacklabel): Rapper entertainer / NL

Negatif: Award winning actor, musician Rapper/NL

Kees de koning: Hip Hop music Producer Director at Topnotch/NL and many more.

3-First interviews with Blacktree TV Europe
(Stars of the Dutch film premier "Het wapen van Geldrop" Katja Schuurman and Thijs Romer)

4-Black Carpet disco: First VIP after party to celebrate the launching of Blacktree.TV Europe.

Divers DJ's in menus.

Live performances of artists under Black voice label from music Producer Marlon Steven Kate.

Live act: Performance by Ndure Basiru, Actor and Dramaturge.

Video release:

Misstrezz (The love ones)

Black Marshall (Mr Politician)

Guests: Member owners of Blacktree media. (Anthony Idem, Jamaal finkley etc)

Dutch Celebrities as: Kenny-B, Postmen, Ziggi, Anthony kamerling and spouse Isa Hous, Victor Low, katja Schuurman and Thijs Romer, Ali B, Negatif, The French rapper celebrity Mokobe.

Venues and Time: From 1 to 4
1-Lectures at Winkel van Sinkel Film Festival Grand Restaurant Urecht. 14h to 15h

2-Debate at Winkel van Sinkel Film festival Grand restaurant Utrecht. 16h to 18h

3-First Interviews at Stadschouwburg Theater Utrecht after film premier. 22h-23h

4-Black carpet VIP party at (DNB) De nachtburgemeester Disco Utrecht. 22pm-5am

NB: Diner at Ostrich Restaurant at 18h-20h / Only invited guests.

Its A LGBT Thang


This blogspot is a mixture of a lil bit of everything. I'm really passionate about many issues, whether it be politics, celebrity gossip, activism, black history, all history. My reading, researching and watching, drives me 2 write. I could always explain myself better with paper and pen....and now fingers 2 keyboard, lol. I hope you enjoy, understand and respect my opinion. All feedback is appreciated.

Check Out My Other Site

OUT NOW on Poca TV >> Valley of Decision part 3 !!

Poca TV shows in parts 1 and 2 of this Seek-Well
(and in the little mood-makers in between)
that our day in the Valley of Decision is a very intense one-
Our crew quickly falls under a mystical spell
and tyooonzz in to the message brought forward by Mama Itah...

Mama Itah is roootzz reggae phenomenon Queen Ifrica's mother
and has lived a completely natural Life for over 30 years-
In part three of our Seek-Well she gives her vyooozz
on how development is destroying the Earth…

No rush, no stress, no distraxxionzzz...
Just that Natural Mystic, 48/7 !

4 more freestyle multi-media global journalizzimmm
ina roootzz rebel styleee!


International Black Women Conference Kwakoe Amsterdam 27 July 2008 (pictures and video)

A few pictures of the Conference of 27 July 2008 in Amsterdam during the Kwakoe Festival

For More Pictures Click Here

The Perfect One

(Bernice Angoh)

So many of us walk around looking for the perfect one, where O where could he be?

Did we pass him by in the streets and did not realize it? Could he be in the Mall or maybe at the famous clubs? Where is the perfect one? In a church? next door? In the park walking his little puppy? Sitting next to me in the bus? Questions and more questions but never any answers. Frustration builds, resentment resurfaces and self-loathing begins. There must be something wrong with me then! Everyone I meet just seems to vanish. They say "I'll call you" but then they never do. I am not worthy. Let's see, maybe it's my breast, they are not big enough or maybe he thinks they are grotesque because they are 'DDs'. My nose! That witches nose, it's no where near Cameron Diaz's and my lips are not as thick and lush as Angelina Jolie's. No, that's not it, I am just too fat, no matter how much I exercise, I can never be like Calista Flokhart.

The perfect one does not exist and even when you do find the one you think is 'The Perfect One', you will soon see all his shortcomings and then he becomes the 'not so perfect one anymore'. Too many women sell themselves short when they choose their dates. A woman, who has not dated for a while, may get so super exited that someone even comes to talk to them or asks them out. "Oh my Gosh, the way he said it, no one has ever said it like that" She would say.

"What? What did he say, how did he say it?" asks the friend

"You are very beautiful" she would gush. "Wao!"

Yes, wao! That a guy whom you thought was a loser has now charmed you by telling you something you already know?

I guess what I'm trying to say is the perfect one is inside of you. The perfect one is who you choose to be or become. Instead of spending all that time looking for him, work more on yourself and you will attract what you become. Don't rush into a relationship because you're tired of being lonely. Get into a relationship because you found a great person like yourself, who wants to grow and realizes that they are the other part of that 100%-100% circle and not 50%-50%.

To start becoming the perfect one, you must be willing to sincerely look into your heart and accept responsibility. It is amazing that when one does that "truly taking responsibility" something magical happens. You stop making excuses and blaming other people and start realizing that you are the captain of your own ship and you define and create your destiny.

I am amazed about the number of people who don't read good books. They would rather escape into the land of fantasy than face reality by taking ownership of their lives and future. Reading is one of the greatest and most important tools you can ever use on your journey of self-discovery.

When you spend half of your time focusing on things outside of yourself, you are looking outward and not inward, only when you step outside and like another person, look at yourself; you will find the things you need to work on that will help you not seem so desperate. Men hate or are scared to death of desperate women. A desperate woman is quick to jump into relationships, she is resentful, excessively jealous, possessive and over controlling. If you sound like the description, you are selling yourself short. No matter how you try to hide it, it will show and people will 'see' it from across town. Be confident in yourself, realize that you are worth more than pearls and that any man who is up to par, will respect your space, your body and your mind and if he chooses not to, you don't hesitate to show him the door.

Women today need to have more self confidence and realize that beauty comes from within, being the most beautiful woman in town and having no character and class is like a broken piece of glass that looks like a diamond. People will be attracted to its light and they will see as the get closer that the light fades and that if they are not careful, that piece of glass will hurt them instead of shining along side them...

Knowing yourself will help you in so many ways;

1) You know who you are and no one's opinion of you can change your self-image

2) You will know the kind of person you want by your side

3) You will never settle for less than you are

4) You will ask for the respect you deserve or nothing otherwise

5) You will stay away from the things and people who bring you down

6) You know not be in a hurry, a great person is worth the wait

7) You will understand others a lot better and it makes you a better judge of character.

8) You will have confidence, love and respect for yourself and your body

9) You will focus more on things that make you a better person

10)You will make decision and so when Mr. Right comes by..

Some great books I will recommend are:

"Fight like a girl" by Lisa Bevere
"Big girls don't whine" by Jan Silvious
"In the Meantime" by Iyanla Vanzant
"As a man thinketh" by James Allen
"The five love languages" by Gary Chapman

The perfect one is not right around the corner, not waiting in a church, or in the park. He is not in the best clubs. The perfect one is inside of you waiting for you to become the complete person 'he' wants to be a part of.

The Great African-American Awakening

Een interessante discussie. Kunnen we deze in Nederland, Suriname en op de Antillen ook voeren? (An interesting discussion. Can we also have these types of discussion in the Netherlands, Suriname or the Dutch Caribbean?)

Myron Magnet
The Great African-American Awakening
Some brave voices are shifting the conversation from victimhood to responsibility.
Summer 2008

The conversation about race that Barack Obama says America needs is already in full swing—and it is a conversation among blacks. Its spark was a speech that TV star Bill Cosby gave at the NAACP in 2004. In books and articles, on talk shows and in town meetings, at barbecues and barber shops, African-Americans have been arguing over his words ever since. Their impassioned discussion is the most hopeful development in race relations in years.

With a 50 percent high school dropout rate and a 70 percent illegitimacy rate, with African-Americans committing half the nation’s murders though only 13 percent of the population, black America—especially the poorer part of it—is in trouble. “We cannot blame white people,” Cosby asserted in his incendiary speech commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board school desegregation decision. “It’s not what they’re doing to us. It’s what we’re not doing.” As Jesse Jackson used to say, Cosby recalls, “No one can save us from us but us.”

Sure, racism hasn’t vanished, Cosby acknowledges in his 2007 book Come On People, a follow-up to his speech written with Harvard psychiatrist Alvin Poussaint. “But for all the talk of systemic racism and governmental screw-ups, we must look at ourselves and understand our own responsibility.” Even with lingering discrimination, “there are more doors of opportunity open for black people today than ever before in the history of America,” and “these doors are tall enough and wide enough” for just about all black people “to walk through with their heads held high.” So while “there are forces that make the effort to escape poverty difficult,” African-Americans are by no means merely the playthings of vast forces and helpless victims of racism. “When people tell you, ‘You can’t get up, you’re a victim,’ ” Cosby warns, “that’s when you know it is the devil you’re hearing.”

Why do so many blacks, especially men, find it so hard to grasp the opportunity that is theirs for the taking? Why are “so many of our black youth squandering their freedom?” Cosby and Poussaint’s answer is that the social structure and culture of poor black neighborhoods distort the psychology of the children who grow up there, often shackling them in “psychological slavery.” The authors zero in on the permanently destructive effects of fractured families and slapdash child rearing—much more slapdash than middle-class parents, with their years spent nurturing, encouraging, and cajoling their children, could easily imagine. “In the neighborhood that most of us grew up in, parenting is not going on,” Cosby told the NAACP. “You have the pile-up of these sweet beautiful things born by nature—raised by no one.”
Certainly their fathers aren’t raising them. That 70 percent illegitimacy rate, troubling in itself, isn’t evenly distributed but is concentrated in poor neighborhoods, where it soars above 85 percent and can approach 100 percent. “A house without a father is a challenge,” Cosby and Poussaint write. “A neighborhood without fathers is a catastrophe.” That’s because mothers “have difficulty showing a son how to be a man,” a truly toxic problem when there are no father figures around to show boys how to channel their natural aggressiveness in constructive ways. Worse still, the authors muse, “We wonder if much of these kids’ rage was born when their fathers abandoned them.”

To come into the world already abandoned by your father is damaging enough, but Come On People teems with children abandoned by their mothers as well. Many end up among America’s half-million foster children, two-thirds of whom—more than 300,000 abused or cast-off souls—are black. We meet a Kentuckian born in a housing project and taken away from her jailed, drug-addicted mother at the age of six. After a string of foster homes and group facilities, she began doing “drugs, alcohol, shoplifting, gangbanging, hustling. I was in and out of jail,” she says. “I was angry. I would fight at the drop of a dime.” We hear of an eight-year-old smash-and-grab burglar abandoned even more abruptly. A cop tells the authors about catching him. The boy wouldn’t say one word, beyond the address of his housing-project home. The officer drove the boy there, followed him into his apartment, and saw his mother on the sofa. The boy finally spoke. “She’s dead, ain’t she?” And she was, with the needle that killed her lying on the floor. The boy calmly ate a bowl of cereal as he watched the cop deal with the body.

We hear of children abandoned emotionally if not literally. Another cop tells of a seven-year-old he picked up for bashing out car windows. “I’m very good at making these kids cry,” the cop said. “But this one, I couldn’t touch him.” He drove the kid home to what looked like a shack. The boy opened the door, and there was his mother on a mattress on the floor, having sex. The boy walked past the couple “and sealed himself off behind a curtain.” The man fled; the mother signed the form the cop held out to her, “pulled the covers over her head, and left her son standing mutely behind the curtain.”

These are the extreme cases, but even among normal poor black single-parent families Cosby and Poussaint find child-rearing patterns that prime kids for failure. Since the authors believe that too many black adults “are giving up their main responsibility to look after their children,” they make a portion of their book a child-raising handbook—an inner-city Dr. Spock—whose sound, simply stated advice makes clear what they think is going wrong in numerous ghetto families. Their optimistic, encouraging precepts, in spite of themselves, lift the curtain on a world of heartrending childhood sorrow and suffering, which ordinarily no one comes to help or comfort, and which leaves scars that never heal.

Above all, they counsel, spare the rod. “Many black parents use physical punishment—not just spanking, but also hitting, slapping, and beating kids with objects,” they report. Indeed, “many black parents have told us that physical punishment is part of black culture.” But, Cosby and Poussaint warn, “when they beat their kids they are sending a message that it is okay to use violence to resolve conflicts,” rather than helping them develop self-control and a sense of right and wrong. Too often, physical punishment turns into child abuse; too often, parents (or caregivers, especially the mother’s boyfriend) “beat their kids, not to discipline them, but to exorcise their own demons. . . . They take their anger out on the child,” who “serves as a ‘whupping’ object for peevish adults. . . . These beatings often produce angry children who treat others as violently as they have been treated.” The prisons are bursting with grown-up abused children.

In addition to physical abuse, Cosby and Poussaint observe, we’ve all cringed at hearing inner-city mothers abusing kids verbally as well, making them feel worthless and unwanted. “Words like ‘You’re stupid,’ ‘You’re an idiot,’ ‘I’m sorry you were born,’ or ‘You’ll never amount to anything’ can stick a dagger in a child’s heart.” Single mothers angry with men, whether their current boyfriends or their children’s fathers, regularly transfer their rage to their sons, since they’re afraid to take it out on the adult males. “If they hear their mom say, ‘Black men ain’t worth s—-,’ the boys wonder whether that includes them. When their moms yell, ‘You’re no good, just like your father!’ all the doubt goes away.” When such racially tinged verbal abuse takes the form of “ ‘Nigger, I’ll kick your f——— black a—,’ ” the child ends up ashamed of being black, as well—a danger anyway in a society where rumors of black inferiority still echo, if more faintly.

One of black America’s most disabling problems, Cosby and Poussaint think, is this wounded anger—of children toward parents, women toward men, men toward their mothers and women in general. Some try self-sedation, whether by “wallowing in sedated victimhood,” by music “loud enough to wake the dead,” by “a lover or some crack or, if nothing else, a bag of burgers.” Another way that “black men have tried to maintain their dignity and to keep control of their anger is by being ‘cool.’ . . . Many who feel abandoned by a parent protect themselves from being hurt by putting on a cool detachment.” Trouble is, beyond becoming emotionally frigid, they too easily lose their cool and explode in violence. Still, their effort is better than the hotheadedness of today’s young black gangstas, as touchy and ready to duel to the death as the Three Musketeers. “He dissed me so I shot him” is now a common ghetto refrain, Cosby and Poussaint report. Hence African-Americans account for 44 percent of U.S. prisoners; six out of ten black high school dropouts have been in prison before they hit the age of 40; and what Cosby and Poussaint call “a culture of imprisonment devastates black families and communities.”

We are celebrating a great civil rights victory, Cosby told the NAACP. People actually present in the audience “marched and were hit in the face with rocks” so that black kids could get a decent education. But now? “What the hell good is Brown v. Board of Education if nobody wants it?” What did those brave marchers achieve if, 50 years later, half of African-American kids drop out of high school and can’t speak standard English—especially since all it takes to get started in today’s more open America is a high school diploma and the ability to impress potential bosses as articulate, polite, and dependable?

This failure, too, is largely a failure of parenting. Yes, ghetto schools are bad, Cosby and Poussaint acknowledge, and parents can’t fix them. “But you can make the best use of what you have to get the best you can for your child,” they advise. You can make sure he does his homework and pays attention in class. And much of what a kid learns he learns at home, after all—especially in his crucial first five years. “Talking and reading to infants and children help lay down the physical structures in the brain to develop skills in language,” the authors point out.
But many ghetto moms aren’t imparting the language and cognitive skills without which children can’t succeed once they get to school. “Teachers report that in poor neighborhoods children often begin school not knowing their colors or the letters of the alphabet,” Cosby and Poussaint write. “Some have limited vocabularies and little knowledge of numbers. Some don’t even know that sheep go ‘Baaa.’ ” These deficits are hard to correct later on. Indeed, “sharp-eyed teachers can identify the children who will become high school dropouts the day they walk in the kindergarten door.” The damage is already done.

Readers of Come On People and the thousands who waited for hours to hear Cosby press home his message in dozens of free town meetings nationwide will surely profit from his levelheaded advice. They, and thousands more like them, will talk to their kids (in standard English and in a tone that doesn’t “sound like a prison guard”), listen to them, read to them, encourage them, discipline them with gentle firmness, limit their TV watching, and never give up on them. But these are the caring parents. The problem is the ones who don’t care—who don’t understand, as a California doctor tells Cosby, that “you have a choice as to whether to have children or not” and to “decide who gets to be your baby’s daddy,” and that once you’ve made that decision, “both of you are supposed to have something to do with that child for the rest of its life.” The problem is the girls who view sex, in Cosby’s terms, as “You see me. I see you. You want it. . . . We’re both hot. Now let’s do it”—the girls who have “five or six different children—same woman, eight, ten different husbands or whatever.”

What will become of all these “kids with different fathers,” who “compete, often unequally, for whatever attention is going around,” so that (as with the offspring of polygamous sheikhs) “there is bound to be bad blood”? What can we expect from families with “grandmother, mother, and great grandmother in the same room, raising children, and the child knows nothing about love or respect of any one of the three of them”? How much of the cultivation of civility and virtue, which makes strong families the building blocks of a strong society, can happen here? “When we see these boys walking around the neighborhood,” say Cosby and Poussaint, “we imagine them thirty or forty years down the road wandering around just as aimlessly, and we want to cry.” For they are lost.

Black conservatives have said such things for years, only to be unthinkingly ostracized as race traitors for breaking with orthodoxy. But no one could dismiss the lovable Cosby: African-Americans are proud of his success and admire his munificence to black charities. What’s more, as Princeton prof and sometime rapper Cornel West put it, the TV star “is not in the right wing. He’s not Clarence Thomas. He is not Ward Connerly.” Nor could anyone dismiss National Public Radio’s respected Juan Williams when he emphatically endorsed Cosby’s views in a 2006 book, Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America—and What We Can Do About It. When a longtime liberal like Williams embraces these ideas, something important is changing in the black mainstream—despite racial arsonist Al Sharpton’s effort to demonize Williams as “the black Ann Coulter.”

It requires explanation that black leaders don’t mob Cosby with support, Williams points out, because he is so obviously right. Of course today’s African-Americans have full civil rights and ample opportunity. Look at how immigrants from far-flung Ethiopia and Nigeria—no less black—succeed in their new land of opportunity. Moreover, notes Williams, Cosby’s views mirror those of the civil rights greats of old. Booker T. Washington similarly urged education and self-reliance and cautioned that “we should not permit our grievances to overshadow our opportunities.” W. E. B. Du Bois, despite differences with Washington, shared his “goal of black self-reliance.” Martin Luther King “said he wanted above all else to get black people to shed the idea that they did not control their destiny.” And from the moment of emancipation, “education was a radical tool of liberation for black people so recently enslaved and purposely denied the chance to learn.” From the founding of the Tuskegee Institute to Thurgood Marshall’s Brown v. Board victory to James Meredith bravely entering Ole Miss in 1962, the right to education was central to the civil rights movement. As for out-of-wedlock childbearing, married couples headed 78 percent of black families in 1950, compared with 34 percent today.
In the 1960s, this can-do worldview changed. A vast transformation of American culture combined with the black-power movement and the War on Poverty to brew a toxic new orthodoxy among black leaders, who remain stuck in that era to this day. “Very few new ideas are allowed into this stifling echo chamber,” Williams reports. Despite startling African-American progress in the intervening half-century, “the official message from civil rights leaders remains the same. Black people are victims of the system, and the government needs to increase social spending. . . . Even the most dysfunctional and criminal behavior among black people is not to be criticized by black leaders” but must “be denied and hidden in the name of protecting the image of blacks as disadvantaged, oppressed, and perpetually victimized.” Dissent, and you’re an “Uncle Tom and a sellout.”

That half-century of progress, though, makes it hard to profess the orthodoxy in good faith. Some, such as Barack Obama’s ex-pastor Jeremiah Wright, whose “black liberation theology” is pure sixties black-power political radicalism preserved in amber, still spout it sincerely. But Williams’s view of most of today’s black leaders recalls Eric Hoffer’s dictum that great causes often start out as movements but degenerate into rackets. Today’s leaders have made lucrative careers out of preaching a crippling ideology that ensures that they will never run out of poor blacks to agitate for. As Cosby quipped in one of his town meetings, “There are people who want you to remain in a hole, and they rejoice in your hopelessness because they have jobs mismanaging you.”

Williams presents a rogues’ gallery of African-American leaders who harm the people they claim to serve by blinding them to the opportunity all around them and stoking resentments that serve as excuses for wrongdoing. Jesse Jackson, “the unofficial president of black America,” takes pride of place, with Al Sharpton as runner-up. Williams “detects a smell of extortion” about them; their main business, he says, is “staging phony protest marches for money.” What blacks has Jackson benefited, except for two of his sons, whom his pressure tactics helped win a multimillion-dollar beer distributorship? Sharpton, Williams thinks, is lower still: he took a campaign contribution from a GOP operative who aimed to weaken the Democrats by keeping so polarizing a figure in their 2004 presidential primary.

When black politicians actually have won power, their politics of victimhood has often proved a rationale for not even trying to help the black masses but rather for decrying the white racism that supposedly causes their plight. Congresswoman Maxine Waters, for instance, spewed charges of racism to block officials from reforming a dysfunctional (and now closed) Los Angeles hospital that had become a high-paying jobs program for some blacks but whose poor care was harming its many black patients. Mayors Sharpe James of Newark and Marion Barry of Washington, Williams says, “saw political opportunity in making themselves masters of large pools of black people dependent on state and federal poverty programs.” The money flowed in, mayoral aides stole it and went to jail, the schools got worse, crime festered, and finally prosecutors nailed James himself for rigging the sale of city property to enrich his mistress. By contrast, Cory Booker, James’s successor, is (so to speak) the Bill Cosby of urban governance, exemplifying the right way forward for African-American pols.

If black leaders really wanted to help the black poor, Williams argues, they’d combat the “cultural belief that being ‘authentically black’ does not allow for high quality intellectual engagement in school,” as columnist Joseph H. Brown put it. They’d demand radical school reform, including vouchers. It’s a hopeful sign, Williams thinks, that New York Times editorialist Brent Staples, normally part of black orthodoxy’s amen choir, has declared that if the civil rights establishment doesn’t push hard for real school reform, even if it “would discomfort the teachers among its supporters, . . . it will inevitably be viewed as having missed the most important civil rights battle of the last half-century.”

If black leaders really wanted to help the black poor, they’d stop decrying “police brutality and the increasing number of black people in jail” and focus instead “on having black people take personal responsibility for the exorbitant amount of crime committed by black people against other black people” (which accounts for the exorbitant number of African-Americans in jail). But they don’t. As Cosby pointed out to Williams, the NAACP has its headquarters in murder-ridden Baltimore, but “I’ve never once heard the NAACP say, ‘Let’s do something about this.’ ” Indeed, Williams notes, “they never marched or organized, or even criticized the criminals.” Nor did they exhort poor black people to stop smoking crack.

But black crime devastates African-American communities. Residents live with “a sense of an enemy within. That enemy is a neighbor, a friend, possibly a child, any of whom is capable of robbing or assaulting them.” In some cities, like Baltimore, drug dealers still terrorize entire neighborhoods, which resemble Sadr City. The thugs are as vicious as Sadr City militiamen, too. Williams tells of a Baltimore woman who testified against drug dealers operating outside her house in 2002. The next day, gangbangers firebombed her house, though she managed to put out the flames. Two weeks later, they firebombed her house again, this time kicking in the front door and dousing the staircase with gasoline, incinerating the woman, her husband, and their five kids. As she was dying, the woman fruitlessly screamed, “Help me get my children out!”

Even as old-style racism fades, Williams says, the black-crime epidemic is incubating a new racism. The crime “gives credence to the racist stereotype of black people, especially young black men, as a race of marauding, jobless thugs”—a stereotype that even Jesse Jackson shares. “There is nothing so painful to me at this stage of my life,” Jackson said in 1993, “than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery and then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.” This grim development makes it all the more urgent for black leaders to say that “the black criminal is no friend of black progress.”
So now imagine one of Bill Cosby’s “sweet beautiful things born by nature—raised by no one”—grown to teen-age, filled with rage and buried sorrow at abandonment by his father and emotional abandonment, or worse, by his mother. Imagine that his mother never nurtured his basic language and cognitive skills, or properly disciplined and encouraged him, in his crucial first five years, so that learning and even sitting still in school have been hard for him. No respected civil rights group has used its moral capital to demand school reform that could give him the structured, rigorous teaching he especially needs. Almost no national black celebrity—until Cosby—has come into his neighborhood exhorting him to stay in school and work hard, because he could become a physical therapy assistant, say, or a car mechanic, starting at $35,000 to $50,000 a year. No reverend has come down from his pulpit to lead a march against the drug dealers and gangbangers who infest his neighborhood.

Instead, whenever a cop accidentally shoots an unarmed African-American, he hears of Al Sharpton leading a rent-a-demonstration, chanting, “No justice, no peace,” a motley relic of black-power radicalism, which keeps distrust of the police alive in neighborhoods that, to be livable, need policing more than most. Come election time, perhaps he hears a local pol or campaign worker rail against racism and demand more government money. He hears his elders rage against the stinginess of the welfare office and the injustice of the Man, a convenient outlet for a deeper anger about more personal injustice and deprivation.

But most of all, he hears rap. Pumped out from CDs, videos, and television (especially Black Entertainment Television), which black kids watch even more excessively than white kids, “nihilistic glorifications of ‘thug life’ ” and celebrations of gangbangers, drug dealers, and pimps “as black heroes” constantly wash over him, says Williams. “Black rappers, dressed for every video in convict style, posturing with menacing faces, hands flashing gang signals, their heads wrapped in prison-issue do-rags, pants hanging down in the convict style, and gangland tattoos covering their bodies” do their part “to promote black identity as the criminals’ identity.” Rap, says Williams, markets the idea that “violence, murder, and self-hatred” are “true blackness—authentic black identity.” It is “an open sewer throwing up the idea that black men are most genuine, most in touch with their power, when they are getting vengeance with a gun in hand.”
We know that this message reaches its listeners, says Williams, when we see ghetto kids “dress like rappers . . . and act hard-core, using nigger, cursing, and fighting on the way to school, in school, and after school—assuming they are still in school.” And we know it as well from the crime statistics.

We know that rap’s message about sex also hits home. Its cartoon-simple sentiment, says Williams: “All black women are sexually crazed, lack discrimination about men, and deserve to be treated as mindless bitches—dogs.” In rap, Cosby once said, there is “nothing about I care for you, nothing about may I go for a walk with you . . . just I’m hot, I’m leaking, I’m dripping, come on, and I know you want it too”—or, as the title of one rap song has it, “Face Down, Ass Up, C’mon.” There is something tragic, Williams says, about poor black girls “trying to find a way to feel good about their identity in a culture that gives little reinforcement to black women” being asked to dance to music that describes them as whores and bitches. “Rap’s pumped up message to them is to get naked and shake it before giving it up to do the wild thing,” he says. And many will do just that, bearing another generation of doomed innocents, who, despite the evil done them, grow up to be responsible for their own acts.

Of course, white kids listen to this music and see these videos, too, including kids who will grow up to be corporate America’s bosses, and it affects the way they see black people, Williams says. They will come away with an image of black women as indiscriminate sluts, and black men, as African-American journalist Stanley Crouch puts it, as “monkey-moving, gold-chain-wearing, illiteracy-spouting, penis-pulling, sullen, combative buffoons.” “Who would hire such a person?” Williams asks. “Who would want to live next to them?” This $4-billion-a-year industry, in which blacks are the performers, the designers, and many of the executives, presents African-Americans to the entire world in terms the Ku Klux Klan would use. Where are the civil rights leaders?

Williams’s rogues’ gallery includes—beside the stuck-in-the-sixties civil rights pooh-bahs, the racketeering reverends, the corrupt pols, and the exploitative rappers—also the nutty black-studies professors. A typical specimen, Georgetown prof Michael Eric Dyson, leaped into the Cosby debate in 2005 with Is Bill Cosby Right? Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind? Dyson’s attack, just the old victimology with a twenty-first-century twist, usefully underscores how specious and destructive that orthodoxy is. It also calls into question academe’s push for the black “perspective” on its faculties, when that perspective is by definition the harmful one of victimhood and grievance.

Cosby’s “blaming of the poor,” Dyson says, is the traditional attitude of an African-American elite “fatally obsessed with white approval” and persuaded that an embrace of “Victorian values” will win “acceptance from the white majority.” But the “pathologies” of the poor subvert their efforts, “ruining the reputation of the race.” And so, beginning long ago, the black aristocracy began “a program of moral rebuke disguised as social uplift.” Like Cosby, “they policed poor black communities from the . . . lectern,” trying to impose on them “temperance, thrift, refined manners, and Victorian sexual morals.”

But they were wrong to think that “if only the poor were willing to work harder, act better, get educated, stay out of jail and parent more effectively, their problems would go away.” It is not the personal behavior of the black poor but American society’s “structural barriers,” including the “export of jobs and ongoing racial stigma,” that prevent blacks from rising. Similar “structural barriers” hold black kids back educationally. While the suburbs boast “$60-million schools with state-of-the-art technology, . . . inner-city schools fight desperately for funding,” ensuring that “our children will continue to spiral down stairwells of suffering and oppression.”

Even black crime has a structural component, since society has consigned the black poor to “conditions that offer them limited options, which often, yes, lead to poor choices”—so that society is partly to blame. Moreover, the war on drugs “is a war on black and brown people,” and innovations in “policing measures (leading eventually to racial profiling) . . . greatly increased the odds that blacks would do serious time for nonviolent and often first-time offenses”—assertions with an untruth in almost every word. But white America has a reason for its war on minorities. “The prison-industrial complex literally provides white economic opportunity across class strata,” Dyson explains. “Big money is at stake when it comes to making a crucial choice: to support blacks at the state university or the state penitentiary.” Cosby’s call for personal responsibility is thus doubly cruel: it asks the black poor to feel undeserved blame for their own victimization, while excusing whites from coming to their rescue.

Dyson spruces up the old-style victimology with a dash of hip, multiculti relativism. In thinking he has achieved a universal humanity beyond race, because the virtues he embodies are supposedly universal, Cosby has made an error that most whites and many blacks (thanks to white dominance) make, says Dyson: that “white identity [is] normative, and hence universal.” But for black people to aspire to that identity requires “unhealthy doses of self-abnegation” and “conscious rejection of the identity they have inherited or invented.”

Much better, says Dyson, for black people to “ ‘keep it real,’ which often means honoring the ghetto roots of black identity.” African-Americans should value the “elements of mass black culture that enable black folk to resist oppression, transcend their suffering and transform their pain.” Hence Cosby is wrong to reject black English—which “grows out of the fierce linguisticality of black existence, the insistence by blacks of carving a speech of their own”—and to scoff at supposedly African names like “Shaniqua, Shaligua, Mohammed.” Though such names may be African “only in that they reflected flair and creativity,” Dyson says, the important thing is that they recall “the freedom to name themselves” that blacks asserted under slavery, “refusing to tie their identities to the names their owners gave them.”

Cosby is at his most wrong, though, Dyson says, in his hatred of rap, which expresses the authentically black “gangsta” belief that “the lifestyle and ideology of the outlaw, the rebel and the bandit challenge the corrupt norms of the state, the government, and the rule of law in society.” So too with hip-hop fashion, with its “hats on backward, pants down around the crack” that Cosby deplored in his speech. “Fashion in black urban circles rises to performance art,” Dyson tells us. “The more daring their fashions, the less cooperative they are with bourgeois elegance, and the more they undermine bland conformism, the more likely black youth are to understand their bodies as battlefields of fierce moral contest.” Do their pants hang low? “This may be understood as sympathy dress,” an “overidentification” with relatives “who may have been caught up in a bloody urban drama. . . . It is a way of reclaiming the body of a loved one from its demobilized confinement and granting it, vicariously, the freedom to walk on the streets from which it has been removed.” And in truth, “many black youth who wear baggy pants may feel that they are already in prison, at least one of perception, built by the white mainstream and by their dismissive, demeaning elders.” Thus does the idle sophistry of armchair elites come to ratify cultural patterns once recognized as fatal to the poor.
The debate raging throughout black America is the more historic because it is also raging within the soul of America’s first black presidential nominee. Which Obama will prevail? The old-orthodoxy Obama, who sat for 20 years listening to Reverend Wright saying “God damn America” and claiming that the government purposely infected the ghetto with AIDS, who brought his daughters to hear him, and who named a book after one of his sermons? The Obama whose wife, in her grievances and resentments, her whine that America is “just downright mean,” uncannily embodies the black bourgeois attitudes that Ellis Cose described 15 years ago as The Rage of a Privileged Class? Or will it be the Obama who will truly usher in the age of postracial politics, as he seemed to promise when he first emerged as so fresh and attractive a candidate? The Obama who marked Father’s Day with a moving speech on black America’s need for responsible fathers that Bill Cosby would cheer?
At the very least, his nomination, as he himself has said, shows how much progress black America has made. Let’s hope the African-American majority will take the lesson to heart.

Myron Magnet is the author of The Dream and the Nightmare: The Sixties’ Legacy to the Underclass. He is City Journal’s editor-at-large and was its editor from 1994 through 2006.