December 5, 2014


Z. Hall 

Tendons, muscles, cartilage and bone
On these I depend to get me home

Poet: Z. Hall
Image with permission by: Patrick Campbell
Patrick Campbell on Facebook

November 28, 2014

Where Art Thou, Obama?

Where Art Thou, Obama?
Z. Hall

Where Art Thou, Obama? [Title]

Obama, Obama, where art thou, Obama?
Americans slain in the street
Unarmed, naked to the world
Rights assassinated
Blood pools curdle in the sun
Stains on Main Streets
Here, there
In every state
Mothers bend over in pain
Fathers fight tears of helplessness
Families torn asunder by systemic intolerance
Communities brutalized by the rule of law
Laws long-since divested of their humanity
Justice lies in state
Our children call from the grave
Obama, Obama, where art thou, Obama?

Poem: Z. Hall
Image: BBC News

October 17, 2014

October 7, 2014

In Defense of Raven Symoné

Typically, I avoid keeping abreast of what wealthy, famous people are doing and going though. ‘Call me unfeeling, but I just don't care much about their problems because most of them can be fixed with the resources they have. The rest of us are not so fortunate.

But the social media uproar about Raven Symoné's comments underscores an important cultural race practice in America--naming. So I took the bait and watched Raven's interview with Oprah because I wanted to know what she said that has led to the large amount of push-back.
Oh my gawd, from the posts I've read you'd have thought that ol' gurl said that she ain't black and doesn't want to be associated with those people or some such talk like that. Dang, she didn't say anything even close to that!

Maybe people would be less up-in-arms if Raven had not said "I am not African American, I am American," but instead had said "I am not African American, I am human," which is what I believe she is actually trying to communicate. But who knows, maybe people would not get that either.

Something that a friend posted on Facebook this morning is poignant and succinctly sums up the peculiar practice of racial badge wearing required of non-Europeans in America: ""I've been traveling a bit lately to other countries. When people hear me and/or my family speak, they say "You are AMERICAN!" ...not "African-American." That label is used ONLY IN AMERICA. *ijs*"" ~Bert Durant (emphasis his)

Raven is clear about rejecting other language that also labels her as alternative to a default or norm. She doesn't want to be labeled "gay" either.

In her interview with Oprah, Raven is saying that America fails at being the colorblind society that it should be and that in her personal life she is resisting the system of unequal treatment designed to oppress people of color—labeling being a key factor in perpetuating such oppression.

Shouldn't resistance to "othering" language that sets us apart by our skin, culture, or sexual preference be considered revolutionary?

May 20, 2014

'Let the Fire Burn'--Out of Sight, Out of Mind.

Watch The Philosophy of MOVE on PBS. See more from Independent Lens.

"Let the Fire Burn" had one of the shortest runs of any of the Independent Lens documentaries that I have watched on Kansas City's local PBS station, KCPT. 

The film sheds light on the May 13, 1985 destruction of 61 homes (let me say that again--61 homes) that resulted in the tragic deaths of 11 people, including five children! It was discovered that authorities decided to “…let the fire burn” after Philadelphia police dropped military-grade explosives onto the MOVE-occupied rowhouse in that neighborhood.   

Coverage of the hearings following the massacre are equally tragic and telling of the pure, unadulterated racial hatred that fostered the killings--bone chilling, even for those for whom this film is a mirror up to their own, though perhaps private, animosities.  

I called the station to find out why the film was aired only a couple of times in its first month of showing, and why the film could not be accessed on KCPT's website even though the link to the film says "view full episode."  

Well, that was yesterday. Today, the link has been removed altogether. 

Yesterday, the head of KCPT's online content (I don't recall her exact title) told me that the film did not load because "they probably didn't have rights to either the film or parts of the film."   


Who is "they" and how could KCPT possibly air the film in the first place if the proper rights had not been secured by "those people" before airing it?   

If you were unable to catch "Let the Fire Burn" while it was on *public television*, it is now accessible behind the gate of Netflix. SMDH   

But, never fear, you can still watch the Jayson Blair story on KCPT. In that film, racial stereotypes (both white and black) are maintained and perpetuated.   

Repeating specific stories influences public perception in a specific direction. Limiting access limits knowledge and understanding.   

Though I enjoy much of the programing on public television, and KCPT in particular, I will not bite my tongue regarding their participation in the perpetuation of racial stereotypes and pubic ignorance to appease particular audiences.  

There, I said it. 

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