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Kind of Blue

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Gender: Female
Hometown: California
Member since: Fri Aug 29, 2008, 10:47 AM
Number of posts: 8,709

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Cold War Civil Rights.

I was surprised by the passage of the criminal reform bill in the Senate. https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142226626

We know that the bill has been in the works since Pres. Obama's administration with Loretta Lynch's DOJ investigations of some egregious police departments' practices and corruption. All of that and more the attorney general implemented while obstructionist Republicans blocked the reform bill, not wanting to give Obama a win.

I've read of the bill that's not as sweeping as I'd hoped and all sorts of reasons for its passage from 45 saving himself, his family and friends to helping white opioid addicts to, of course, it's easier to pass now since the country is on board because of the opioid crisis, and the Repugs are worried about 2020 elections, if not saving themselves from prison as well.

This happening now reminded me of another article on the history of Russia using America's "Negro Problem" to discredit the country. The article included a bit that I'd overlooked.

The beginning of the Cold War coincided with the beginning of the civil rights movement, and the two became intertwined—both in how the Soviets used the racial strife, and how the Cold War propelled the cause of civil rights forward. “Early on in the Cold War, there was a recognition that the U.S. couldn’t lead the world if it was seen as repressing people of color,” says Mary Dudziak, a legal historian at Emory, whose book Cold War Civil Rights is the seminal work on the topic.

As the United States tried to convince countries to join its sphere by taking up democracy and liberal values, the U.S. government was competing with the Soviets in parts of the world where images of white cops turning fire hoses and attack dogs on black protesters did not sit well—especially considering that this was coinciding with the wave African countries declaring independence from white colonial rulers. “Here at the United Nations I can see clearly the harm that the riots in Little Rock are doing to our foreign relations,” Henry Cabot Lodge, then the U.S. ambassador to the UN, wrote to President Eisenhower in 1957. “More than two-thirds of the world is non-white and the reactions of the representatives of these people is easy to see. I suspect that we lost several votes on the Chinese communist item because of Little Rock.”

“The Soviet propaganda was working. American diplomats were reporting back both their chagrin and the difficulty of preaching democracy when images of the violence around the civil rights movement were reported all over the world, and amplified by Soviet or communist propaganda. On a trip to Latin America, then-Vice President Richard Nixon and his wife were met with protestors chanting, “Little Rock! Little Rock!” Secretary of State John Foster Dulles complained that “this situation was ruining our foreign policy. The effect of this in Asia and Africa will be worse for us than Hungary was for the Russians.” Ultimately, he prevailed on Eisenhower to insert a passage into his national address on Little Rock that directly addressed the discrepancy that Soviet propaganda was highlighting—and spinning as American hypocrisy. Whenever the Soviet Union was criticized for its human rights abuses, the rebuttal became, “And you lynch Negroes.”

It was not only Little Rock that sparked passionate international outcry against the violence on black people in this country but also, in Alabama in '57, a black man named Jimmy Wilson was sentenced to electric chair execution for "stealing" $1.95 from his white female employer who threw the money at him after he asked for a loan. From Mary Dudziak introduction,"Ultimately the most effective response to foreign critics was to achieve some level of social change," from Truman to Eisenhower to Kennedy to Johnson.

Moscow never abandoned these tactics, which became known as “whataboutism,” even after the Soviet Union collapsed. The difference this time is that the Russians got better at penetrating the American discussions on these fraught subjects. They became a more effective bellows, amplifying the fire Americans built.

Russians have been fighting for our freedom :D

for so long

Came upon the history of Soviet/Russian involvement with African Americans during the 2016 presidential campaign after a condescending post reached me on FB, sent by 2 of my white liberal friends, both DUers, that blacks should not be dumb enough to fall for Russian trolls, think smart. As if AAs in huge numbers have fallen for Russian propaganda in the past. I was stunned by the tone especially since I saw many posts of whites thanking Putin and several thanking Mother Russia that were not taken seriously before 2016 election night.

I reject any narrative of Russia specifically targeting us as the cause of slightly lower AA voter turnout. I hope that our allies and anyone else who wander here keeps in mind that besides gerrymandering, restrictions on early voting, or requiring specific forms of voter identification that we as a group have Russians not only there but, of course, helping avowed racists here to suppress our vote. Just another thing we have to worry about.

One of my favorite early propaganda targeting African-Americans


How red Russia broke new ground in the portrayal of black Americans https://www.pri.org/stories/2017-08-31/how-red-russia-broke-new-ground-portrayal-black-americans

When The Soviet Union Tried To Woo Black America https://www.ozy.com/flashback/when-the-soviet-union-tried-to-woo-black-america/62517

Senegal Opens Museum of Black Civilizations--One of the Largest of Its Kind In the World

Four of 7 elders/founders of my African-American women's organization are on their way next year to visit Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Mali, South Africa and Uganda. I'm excited to tell them about this.

What began as an idea proposed by Senegal's first president Léopold Sédar Senghor over 50 years ago, has now become a reality as Senegal has officially opened the Museum of Black Civilizations, one of the largest of its kind in the world.

Senegal's current president Macky Sall inaugurated the museum earlier today in Dakar. The design of the building, which contains 14,000 square meters of floor space and a capacity for 18,000 exhibits, was inspired by circular traditional homes native to Southern Senegal, BBC Africa reports. Its size is comparable to the National Museum of African American History in Washington, according to Al Jazeera.

The museum has been several years in the making, with leaders after Senghor putting investment into the arts on the back burner in the face of economic and political challenges. In 2011, President Abdoulaye Wade laid the foundation for the museum, but construction was halted due to a political transition, adds CGTN Africa News. The project was put into motion by Sall beginning in 2013, and has finally come to fruition through a $34 million investment from China—another indication of China's ubiquitous economic presence across Africa.

The museum, is dedicated to "decolonizing African knowledge" and hosts artifacts and exhibitions representative of both continental Africa, and its diaspora. The museum's first exhibitions showcase works from artists from Mali and Burkina Faso as well as from Cuba and Haiti. The diaspora in Brazil and the United States are also represented in the museum's collection.

As Al Jazeera reports, some of the works currently showing at the museum include "Memory in Motion" by Haitian artist Philippe Dodard, which depicts "the stages of enslavement from Africa to the slave ship to the Caribbean plantation with floating eyes," to quote the publication directly. As well as "Women of the Nation" which pays homage to impactful women of African decent.

In November, Senegal urged France to return 100 pieces of looted art, following the release of a report commissioned by France's President Emmanuel Macron, entitled The Restitution of African Cultural Heritage: Toward a New Relational Ethics. Macron had recently ordered 26 Benin artifacts to be returned to their country of origin.


Best of times, the worst of times

I don't know how to tell this because it happened so fast this afternoon at the supermarket.

A little over three hours ago, my sister and I decided to make a quick run. The best of time of the day because no rush-hour traffic and we were anticipating another onslaught of precious rain here in SoCal. We're being rung up at one of the registers near the entry/exit when an elderly African American gentleman with a cane walked in. I could tell that he was once a very tall man. He wore a black cap emblazoned with "Viet Nam Veteran Proudly Served" and a couple of other badges on his jacket. We looked at each other long enough to exchange a pleasant glance but he was clearly agitated, more frustrated though. I thought his distress was because no one was at the special counter near the door for cigs, money orders and stuff like that.

I smiled at him anyway and surprisingly he came directly to us as we were being rung up, talking. His voice was shaking and his cane was shaking. He spoke directly to us saying, "They tried to run me over! They said get out of the way, nigger. I told them I have the right of way! And you better be glad I don't have my pistol! I wish I had my pistol. I wish I had my pistol."

My heart sank but what could we say but I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. Then he said, "I escaped Tennessee and came here to get away from that." And in unison we said, "It's everywhere," remembering the first shocking outright racist incident at our community college a few weeks ago. He said, "I'm 75 years old and I have heart failure and I was just crossing the parking lot. I told them white bastards, you better be glad I don't have my pistol!"

At this point, I get out of the line saying, They're cowards! We just left the cashier and went to him. We hugged him and he let us heap kisses on his neck and as far as we could reach on his face. Sister asked, "Are you okay?" He said, "I'm all right, girls. I'm all right. Get your stuff and get home safe."

He just needed everything to stop! and to be heard. I'm so weary and hope our tears will be gone with the rain come morning. Good night.

White Innocence

Gloria Wekker is a cultural anthropologist and emeritus professor of Gender Studies (Faculty of Humanities, Utrecht University). She was also the director of the expertise center GEM – Gender, Ethnicity and Multiculturalism in higher education – at the same faculty. In April 2016 her book: White Innocence; Paradoxes of Colonialism and Race, came out at Duke University Press and has, since then, sparked renewed discussions on gender, race and colonialism in Dutch media and beyond.

Prof. Wekker is Afro-Surinamese Dutch. She earned her doctorate at UCLA. As for white innocence, Prof. Wekker describes as follows:

It encapsulates a dominant way in which the Dutch think of themselves, as being a small, but just, ethical nation; colour-blind, thus free of racism; as being inherently on the moral and ethical high ground, thus a guiding light to other folks and nations. Notwithstanding the many, daily protestations in a Dutch context that "we" are innocent, racially speaking; that racism is a feature found in the US and South Africa, not the Netherlands; that, by definition, racism is located in working-class circles, not among "our kind of middle-class people;" much remains hidden under the univocally and the pure strength of will defending innocence. I am led to suspect bad faith; innocence is not as innocent as it appears to be.

More of her life, experience in America, and white innocence in her TED Talks.

Posted by Kind of Blue | Sun Dec 2, 2018, 03:37 PM (5 replies)

The Cat - Jimmie Smith plays Jimmy Smith

Heard this version of The Cat driving back home the other night. I had to pull over and just listen. I remembered the very ending to see if I could get the exact piece and lo! some wonderful person posted.

Posted by Kind of Blue | Sat Dec 1, 2018, 06:26 PM (2 replies)

For JHan: All I could think after Washington's Hub-Tones was Mercy, Mercy, Mercy

And it wasn't because of adversity

Posted by Kind of Blue | Sat Dec 1, 2018, 06:14 PM (2 replies)
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