Monday, October 30, 2017

Adding Insult to Injury: Telling the Story From the Abuser's Point of View

Why tell the story from the abuser's point of view? Note: "Gerald Dugan tried to remain calm as the elevator doors opened and the man at the center of a case that’s haunted him for 40 years stepped into his 14th-floor law office."

This is racism on top of racism. Compare what has "haunted" the prosecutor - Dugan - with what the brother - Kevin Brinkly - endured.

The article was written to evoke sympathy for Dugan while Brinkly remains almost as anonymous in the article as he was in a prison cell for 40 years. The writer could have asked: "What haunted Brinkly in prison? What realizations did Brinkly come to?"

Instead of allowing the abuser - Dugan - to speak for Brinkly saying, “You never saw a sunrise..., saw a sunset..., drove a car..., fell in love ..."; the writer, Melamed, could have allowed the brother to tell his own story in the same number of lines.

No! racism (unconscious or not) dictates that Brinkly can only say one thing: "Being angry won't do me any good, and I don't hate him." Racism is carefully instructed and maintained. The readers and Black people especially must be induced to revere Dugan while being instructed to respond with forgiving, acceptance of our circumstances as fate or luck, if not self-inflicted, and most of all with no anger or power.

In the article, Brinkly could have asked that Dugan do more than hope the new prosecutor take up the case or being willing to put in a good word from him for a job. How about restitution? Brinkly could have disagreed with the conclusion that Dugan didn't do anything *unethical*, though the prosecutor admits he didn't do what he should have done. Brinkley could have detailed how he survived and kept some sanity shouldering an illegal conviction and 40 years of imprisonment. He could have said what he thinks about this racist criminal injustice system.
Racist reporting of a racist prosecutor, system, and event.

You and I are to have sympathy for Dugan, to accept his repentance, and still see him as a great man - even more so, since his apologized.

The writer doesn't even suggest that Dugan should actually do something like crusading for a change in the system that allowed him to convict the wrong brother. Dugan doesn't have to account for the racism and other things that led to him not do what he admits he should have done. He doesn't have to articulate or work for change in himself, others like him, nor the system that falsely prosecutes young Black youth like Brinkly with impunity.

Brinkley, on the other hand, is not really a free man. He's not been exonerated and I assume calculates that attending this pow-wow will increase his chances of getting that exoneration. I understand. I hope it works for him, and I'm thankful that his brother will not allow this apology to be enough!

I hope that we will NOT allow this article to be enough to induce us to believe that Dugan is an anomaly, or that Brinkly's experience is rare. I hope that we don't cry crocodile tears for Dugan or minimize the power of Brinkly and his family, and their tireless efforts to free him - even if temporarily.

We'll need to drink from their well of power to free the many young African American brothers and sisters who are daily jailed and killed by a racist unjust society and court system.

Let the family's steps and insistence that an "apology is not enough" inspire us to engage the long journey to remove from over us the people, policies, and practices that oppress us

Wekesa Madzimoyo,
Co-Director, AYA Educational Institute

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Weaponize Our Dollars?

A friend on Social Media posted this question to Black people:

Here are my thoughts to his query:

First, we have to grow in ourselves a mindset for war, winning, healing, building and expanding our territory whether others like it (or us) or not! Most don't even know that we are at war, and another huge percentage think that it's ONLY about the dollar. 

Our dollars will serve our mission of self-determination - which includes removing people from power over us, building for and healing our own - only if that's our mission. If our dollars are not doing that, it means that's not our prevailing mission.

Our dollars will have no more sense than we have.

They will go where our deepest desires go. If that's to get in where we fit in, to ape oppressor values, earn oppressor approval, oppressor acceptance, etc., then our dollars will go there and become weapons against anyone who tries to stop us from achieving that mission. 

In truth, our dollars are already weaponized - against us. 

Whatever you may think about the Hon. Elijah Muhammad, he knew that if you weaponize the mind, the dollars will follow.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Economic Conundrum and Making Our Own Currency 2017 #1

I love AYA.

One of my favorite courses is AYA's Economic Conundrum. These 9th-12th-grade students are on it. After digesting and dissecting the so-called economic collapse of 2008, and the white elite's manipulation of the greatest transfer of wealth from the Black to the white community since captivity, the students are now moving to what we can do to sure up our communities.
They've learned about CDOs, Federal Reserve history, bogus ratings by investment "rating agencies, lenders, servicers, and the infamous - Credit Default Swaps.
Why are they interested when they were 5-8 years old at the time of the Great Theft (2008)?

The answer is CARS! - Like Grand Theft Auto - but not he video game.

Wells Fargo - one of the banksters in the Great Theft, are continuing their illegal theft - this time with car loans, and loan contracts. While owning a home is quite a ways off for them, owning a car is not. Well's Fargo's forced placed insurance scamming nearly a million customers hit home. The students could see how the 25K car buyers were illegally forced into repossession provided a bridge to understanding how others were forced into foreclosure.
Ikeche, a student that lives in Jaimaca, said "wait a minute. I have an account with Wells Fargo." He sank lower when he discovered that his beloved bank had also created and charged people for unauthorized bank accounts. The 2008 stories of massive bank fraud, governmental and judicial collusion is still hard for many to believe. The August 2017 news accounts of Wells Fargo fraud helped make it more believable and relevant for our students.
I'm proud of them for digesting the first unit - one bite at a time.

Now, the fun begins. The real challenge is that they are taking up a project proposed by previous AYA students for us to make and use our own currency. They have 30 days to create an initial plan to present for community feedback.

Today they brainstormed:
  • Vision
  • Possibilities
  • Obstacles
It wasn't easy. After all, they are "just" high school students who are they to create and implement a currency system by and for Afrikans.
They deliberated about how to peg their currency to an hour of work if they followed the Ithica, NY model. "But, is all work the same," questioned AJ. Should a person who is paid to move a bolder be paid the same as a person for watering flowers? This was his question that led to a powerful discussion of how payment for work is negotiated, about social values on certain work and certain people that we've caught.

This is gut and head deliberation. They are discovering that the "dollar" is both (1) a medium of exchange or payment (a currency), and (2) as the standard of value measurement. They are discovering how to decouple their currency (Garvey Dollars) from "the dollar," and how to create another standard of value for Afrikan work.

They were surprised to discover the average hourly wage in the US was $24.75 per hour. Few of them knew people who they thought were making that, so they researched in class the average hourly wage for Afrikans ($14.90). Khadira from Lexington, KY articulated that the minimum wage was $7.25. When I asked could anyone really make it on that, one student said, "yes." What a teachable moment!

That lead them to convert that to a yearly wage of just over $14,000. To a high school student, that may seem like a lot of money. So, I asked them to pretend they were on their own and asked that they look up costs for renting a one bedroom apartment in their area of the country. Even when they checked out living in "the projects" or living with a section 8 subsidy, it became clear to them that the elite maintaining a low minimum wage was part of the manipulation of the economy that we studied in the last section.

Income disparity began to become a bit more real for them today!

The students even considered what it would mean to have our system affirm us by pegging a Garvey Dollar to an hour of work valued at $20.00 per hour. I asked them to ponder that with these questions: 1. What if the basic unit of work for each other dwarfed the value measurement of this racist society? 2. What if working and exchanging with each other was inherently affirming based on the value assessment assigned to the currency?
They have many more issues to ponder, and questions to answer, and they are on it. I'm proud for these are nation-within-a-nation questions. Yes, they'll even research digital currency! We'll keep you posted.
Who knows you might want to join their effort to create an Afrikan people's currency movement

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