Saturday, December 13, 2008

WEEK 13: Incarceration and Slavery

From the beginning of this country, the people in power have been trying to keep people of color locked down and under close watch. From slavery to the prison industrial complex to urbanization, all help the government keep a close watch on people of color and in a way, keep them locked up. A fact that a lot of people might not know is that prisons didn't come about until right after slavery was abolished. Coincidence, I think not.

It went from black folks being slaves to being forced into chain gangs, which eventually evolved to actual prison complexes. All of these excuses for the people in power to keep people of color oppressed. Our country always talks about how much we need to get out of this economic drought and how our society is in a horrible place right now, but yet they continue to spend millions and millions of dollars just to make sure the people of color are kept in prison. It seems like our governments motives are selfishly driven than economically driven. If they really wanted to save our economy, they would spend money educating kids before they get old enough to go to prison, and they would use the billions of dollars spent on incarceration and war and put it into our country. It seems to me that the government would rather win a self-moraled victory by keeping people of color locked up than win a victory for our country by using money in a different way.

It seems like every century, we find a way to break the oppression, than a couple years later, the people in power find a way to oppress us again. After slavery was abolished they came up with chain gangs and prisons. Then as segregation and Jim Crow became closer to ending, they came up with urbanization. They moved all the people of color into the urban centers not for any purpose but that it would be easier for the government to keep a close watch on us. It was sort of like a diaspora within our own country. Now people of color who live in urban centers face constant surveillance from cops, for no reason but just to keep watch, as if they are predicting that something illegal is going on. Sounds pretty stereotypical to me. It isn't even the government who runs prisons, it is private corporations. This basically made the prison industrial complex a business that makes money, and that people can invest in. So basically, the more people the prison held, the more money the owners of these corporations made.

The penalty for crack, the poor man's cocaine, is now a lot worse than that of cocaine. Coincidence that crack is running through the urban streets where yes, people of color live. Illegal drugs kill about 11 thousand people per year while cigarettes, alcohol, and pharmaceutical drugs kill near a million. The government works in mysterious ways, and every way they work is a way that is trying to oppress people of color. Our country continues to deny it, but all their agendas seem to work against people of color.

Monday, December 8, 2008

WEEK 12: Education is The Key To Everything

As much as the government doesn't conform to our educational needs; the fact is that education is the key to all of our success. The downside is, it is also the reason for all of our failures as well. All of the problems that face the working class of our country stems from lack of education. If we put more money into our elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools instead of spending it on fighting with everyone, a lot of the plights that face the African American community would be a lot less severe. The bad thing is our country's system, even down to our earliest years, has socialized racism. I think the fact that integration of schools was passed a long time ago and our schools are still segregated is a testament to this. In the past, it was the law that blacks and whites couldn't go to school together, but now, the law permits it, and our schools are still segregated. This in turn socializes people say in the suburbs, to believe that it is the norm to see all white people at school, and when they see any person of color, it is weird, and this person gets treated weirdly.

The urbanization of black folks in our country's history caused most black folks to be centralized in our urban centers, where resources were lacking and money was scarce. This lack of money didn't help when cities needed funding for the community, such as in schools, housing, and things of that sort. This lack of money going towards schools not only made it so that the schools couldn't rebuild and get renovations, but it also prevented the school from being able to hire qualified teachers. This became a chain reaction that led to students not getting adequate education, children dropping out of school and joining gangs as an alternative, which led to more and more violence in our country's urban ghettoes. One would think there is more to it, but if you think about it, not really. Education is the key to everything, whether we realize it or not. We put money into education, a lot of the problems we face within our country will go away. So wake up government, quit trying to implement racist agendas and put money into the cornerstone of

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

WEEK 10: Salon speaks out on Lavena Johnson and Michelle Obama

Salon is a blog website dedicated to discussing issues of the treatment of women in this country, and Lavena Johnson's story wasn't the first time they had to deal with discrimination against a woman in the military. It seems like its up to internet blogs to do something about the discrimination we face in America because the media very often decides to stray away from these cases. Coincidence...I think not. The Lavena Johnson article written by Salon basically discusses the fact that all the evidence that they have found points away from what they ruled it: a suicide. All evidence points towards the fact that it was a rape, but no talk of that by media has yet to rise up. After this case surfaced, many more families of women in the military came out with similar stories. So the military not only lets their male soldiers rape and murder their female soldiers, but also provides cover up for them when they do it.

In this article, the author talks about the "momification" of Michelle Obama, and how is she is not getting a lot of credit where a lot of credit is due. A lot of people do not know that she is a very prominent lawyer, but throughout the campaign, she was just getting looked at as "Barack's wife," and when he won the race, focus went to things like "how she's going to be dressing," and "how she is going to raise the kids" in the White House. Never has the issue been brought up about her profession, or where she is going to start working now that they had to move into the White House from Illinois. Their family has to make a huge adjustment, not just her husband. While Barack is busy getting his team together and figuring out his plan of action, Michelle has to worry about finding herself a new place to work, putting the kids in schools, and all these other "motherly" responsibilities. She might even be able to serve on her own husband's team somehow, but people are ruling that out just because they are married. This is another excuse to hold back a woman in making advancements. Even though her husband is the President, what's to say she don't want to make some bread too?

Monday, November 17, 2008

WEEK 9: Government Sets Racial Trends

So throughout the extent of this blog, it is obvious that there is something fishy going on within the ranks of the armed forces; the thing is, I don't think it was created through themselves. I think this trend of racism going on amongst our soldiers stems from a trend our own government has set from the beginning of our country. If you look at the trends in racial issues in our country and compare them to those of the military, they are moving in the same direction, and are mighty similar.

If you take a look at the history of our country as it pertains to the issue of race, the U.S. has been on a very, very slow moving train towards racial justice. The military has been on this same train. If you look back when our country was first established, one of the first wars we had besides the Revolutionary War was the Civil War. At this time, slavery was coming to an end, but blacks still had no rights and were seen as less than human. The war was fought to free the slaves, but slaves were not allowed to fight alongside whites. Slaves made up their own regimes, and although they fought on the same side as whites, they were not allowed in the same company.

It is like the military was copying exactly what the government was doing, because blacks and whites didn't fight in the same companies until segregation was ended. As soon as the government abolished segregation, the military all of a sudden started to become integrated. Whites and blacks fought alongside each other, but a lot of white boys in the military could not come to rest with the fact that they would have to fight alongside a black man. Whites were taught that blacks were less than human which in turn brought about the belief that the life of a black man was worth less than theirs.

Since the beginning of the country, the government has been teaching our institutions racism. Although now it may not be as overt as it was before, it is still there. Racism was the law until they instituted the Civil Rights Act, so up until than, racism was the norm in our society. This means that since it was the law, every institution was going along with it, and the military was one of these institutions.

The military is one of those institutions that contains a lot of family ties. There are generations of families in the military, because it kind of becomes a culture in itself to be apart of it. When it becomes a culture in families to be a soldier, the culture of the older generations get passed down. So if a man who served in say World War I, when the country was still overtly a racist country, was taught by a racist government and military, he is going to pass these teachings down to his son, who will pass it down to his son, and so on. Next thing you know, you have a bunch of racist, 3rd or 4th generation soldiers serving our country now. They have a racist backing, and their beliefs are passed down through 3 generations, so they are probably really strong. This backing causes cases like Lavena Johnson's to happen. These racists have a belief that blacks don't belong in the same company or even fighting at all with them, and it causes them to committ heinous acts like those that were committed against Lavena Johnson.

Once the government starts changing this trend of racism towards a more equal society, all of the institutions that it controls will follow, and I think the military will be one of the first to follow. Make moves Obama, start the trend to a more equal America.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


The stories that Aiden Delgado tells are disturbing, horrific stories about what our military is actually doing over in Iraq. It seems that racism has taken over our armed forces overseas. Not just anyone, but men who were supposedly devout Christians are over in Iraq committing heinous acts you would only see a monster act out.

Delgado is a converted Buddhist who was a member of the 320th Military Police Company that helped to serve our country detaining POW's at the notorious Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq. He wrote a bunch of articles called "The Sutras of Abu Ghraib" about what actually went on in the prison and all the atrocities that the government was hiding from the American public. When I say that this is an instance where it was evident that racism was taking over our military I meant it not in the exact sense as the Lavena Johnson story, but in a similar sense. The Johnson story is an example of how racism exists within our armed forces, and Aidan Delgado's stories are, to me, those same evils of racism that exist in our armed forces let out on our enemies. Chris Hedges who is the war correspondent for the New York Times said it best when talking about war saying "War forms its own also promotes killers and racists."

From the beginning of the invasion, it went from being a war on terror to being an anti-Arab, anti-Muslim war. Since the beginning of the time there has always had to be a good and an evil, and the war went from being a war against terrorists, to the U.S. vs. Iraq, to our "Christian" country vs. their Muslim country. Troops were and still are killing innocent civilians in Iraq, and degrading an entire country's population, just because they have this preconceived notion that all Muslims have the potential to be these "terrorists" that did damages to our country. The term "Hajjis" is a word commonly used among our troops to refer to any Muslim or someone of Middle Eastern descent. The term is used by Muslims to refer to someone who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca, according to Delgado, but our troops have turned it into the new ethnic slur, with the same connotations as the n-word has. It seems to me that this "War on Terror" is just giving a lot of racist bigots a chance to unleash their racism on some people of color in a way that society makes feasible.

In Abu Ghraib, they housed civilians who were unarmed that just happened to be around the area when it was attacked by enemy forces. Not only did they house innocent civilians, but when they got unruly, the soldiers were allowed to use lethal force. Lethal force on civilians just because they were getting "unruly." So a little yelling is enough reason to murder someone in cold blood? Not only did they do this but they saw it as a macho thing on who could kill the most people? According to Delgago they saw it as a "macho" thing when they killed these people, and they posted pictures up of the murders they committed.

The idea that from the beginning of training, basic training, soldiers are already being taught anti-Arab chants...racist a testament to what really drives our soldiers in Iraq. Not the idea that we need to get revenge on those who committed those acts on that heinous day in September or anyone involved, but that ALL Muslims and ALL Iraqis are evil and had a part in what happened on 9/11. The hatred of a whole ethnicity because of something a few men did, sounds like racism to me.

Friday, October 31, 2008

WEEK 7: The Military Covers Something Up Again

Surprise, surprise, another instance of the military messing up, and nothing comes out of it. Luckily this time someone did not have to pay for the military's "mess up" with their life. It is bad enough being a U.S. marine and having to fight for your life on the front lines, but when you have to worry about your life when you are on your own home turf, that is when things get scary.

David Faye, a Pfc in the marines looked death in the eye for 3 days while he was in ICU because of a reaction to a shot the military gave him. It wasn't a shot from a gun or anyhting like that, but from a syringe. David and his unit were supposedly getting vaccinated, but after the shot, things started going way wrong, and was forced to be put in ICU 3 months later.

When you are in the military and anything happens medically, it is supposed to be documented in their medical records, but after Faye got the shot, there was nothing listed on his medical record on November 28th, which is when it happened. It wasn't until Faye's mother called the U.S. Marine Hospital to ask what the shot was did they put it on his records. When his mother called, they told her that the type of shot was confidential, and that they couldn't tell her what it was. The shot showed up 11 months later on his medical records as a flu vaccine. Is that the best they could come up with? A flu vaccine? Did they have some kind of meeting to figure out what to put on his records and come up with a flu vaccine?

I have heard about the military using people as "guinea pigs" to test certain biological weapons, and using the "it's for the greater good" excuse. They don't use it on prisoners, or maybe people who might be on death row, but on their own service men and women, who have the courage to go and fight for their country. Why would the military dishonor someone who has the honor to die for their country by making them die in such a cowardly way.

To me this is just another instance in thousands of instances where the military keeps things extremely confidential to cover something up that they know is wrong. It seems that the military and the government can get away with whatever they want by just covering it up. I am still convinced that a lot of the events that started the biggest wars in our country's history was the government doing it to make an extra dollar. Call me crazy but the government is about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, and war makes a LOT of money, and also deprives people of a lot of money as well.

Although Lavena Johnson wasn't as lucky as David Faye to still be alive, I still think that the ability the military has to cover anything up is ashamed. Lavena Johnson and David Faye's case are just two of many that show that there is something fishy going on within the military. Our soldiers deserve more dignity than this. Getting raped and calling it a suicide? Getting some kind of weird biological weapon tried on you and calling it a flu vaccine? Come on, give our soldiers some respect; they chose to serve their country, let them get that chance.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

WEEK 6: Color of Change on Lavena Johnson

On Color of Change's website, they have a separate url devoted to the Lavena Johnson case and activism towards it. The Color of Change is a website that was established after the disaster of Katrina, and has been tackling issues affecting the black community ever since.

According to the website, the central idea that the website was focused on for a while was the case of the Jena 6 in Louisiana. The main focus of Color of Change is to get people behind their stance so that they can help change the plights that black people face in America, this "free" country.

Color of Change has sent letters to Congress, the only body of government that can challenge the military, asking for a complete investigation of Lavena Johnson's murder. They know that if Congress actually investigates, justice will be served, because there is ridiculous amounts of evidence that point away from the military's ruling and towards the truth, that she was raped, tortured, and murdered. The murder happened in 2005 and Congress has yet to act on it at all. The family of Lavena Johnson has been trying for 3 year to get Congress to do something, and yet they won't. Why not? A United States soldier lost her life, and the Congress can find out how she actually died, but will not. This goes against all of America's principles about everyone being created "equal." If it was a white woman suspected of being raped I bet this would be a much bigger issue, and get much more broadcasting.

Color of Change asks you to read the letter and send your voice to Representative Waxman and the House Committee so that they will maybe contemplate serving justice to a woman who was serving our country proudly, only to be murdered by one of her own.