Tuesday, March 28, 2006

"A Poverty of the Mined"

Another interesting post by Daniel Moshenberg on black prof:

He responds to Orlando Patterson's op - ed piece in the NY Times called A Poverty of Mind via a reading of Kara Walker. "Since Patterson avoids defining `culture’, he can say whatever he wants, and it must be correct, or at least happily beyond correction. Patterson’s writes of a "cool pose culture." For Fanon, for example, that’s not culture; it’s consciousness, and frozen consciousness at that. Those who engage in it purchase and consume and are persuaded, intensively and profitably so, that they do not make it. It is the gift that keeps on taking. [...]

Patterson writes about the `disconnected fifth’. Of course, this hearkens to the talented tenth. Fine. But the cultural studies question would be that of the connectedness of the disconnection. (It would also interrogate the seductive neatness of twenty percent. How is the minority a majority? This is the Pan-African Black Consciousness cultural critique. When is one in five equal to nine in ten?) The political economic question is who derives profit and power from the establishment and maintenance of a disconnected, surplus?, population? The cultural question is who derives pleasure from a disconnected population? Who, personally and structurally? The cultural studies question is what becomes of profit, power, pleasure in the calculus of the disconnected fifth? A poverty of the mind is also a misery of the mind. It’s also a misery of the mined, those whose bodies and lives and more are read as always already used, depleted, and best forgotten. (read more).

Monday, March 27, 2006

Who Is Killing New Orleans?

Mike Davis in The Nation

"More than 60 percent of Nagin's constituents--including an estimated 80 percent of the African-Americans--are still scattered in exile with no obvious way home.

In their absence, local business elites, advised by conservative think tanks, "New Urbanists" and neo-Democrats, have usurped almost every function of elected government. With the City Council largely shut out of their deliberations, mayor-appointed commissions and outside experts, mostly white and Republican, propose to radically shrink and reshape a majority-black and Democratic city. Without any mandate from local voters, the public-school system has already been virtually abolished, along with the jobs of unionized teachers and school employees. Thousands of other unionized jobs have been lost with the closure of Charity Hospital, formerly the flagship of public medicine in Louisiana. And a proposed oversight board, dominated by appointees of President Bush and Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, would end local control over city finances. [...]

With each passing week of neglect--what Representative Barney Frank has labeled "a policy of ethnic cleansing by inaction"--the likelihood increases that most black Orleanians will never be able to return. read more

Black Men in Danger

Erik Eckholm "Plight Deepens for Black Men, Studies Warn" in NY Times

"The share of young black men without jobs has climbed relentlessly, with only a slight pause during the economic peak of the late 1990's. In 2000, 65 percent of black male high school dropouts in their 20's were jobless — that is, unable to find work, not seeking it or incarcerated. By 2004, the share had grown to 72 percent, compared with 34 percent of white and 19 percent of Hispanic dropouts. Even when high school graduates were included, half of black men in their 20's were jobless in 2004, up from 46 percent in 2000" (read more).

Orlando Patterson "A Poverty of the Mind" in NY Times

"SO why were they [black men] flunking out? Their candid answer was that what sociologists call the "cool-pose culture" of young black men was simply too gratifying to give up. For these young men, it was almost like a drug, hanging out on the street after school, shopping and dressing sharply, sexual conquests, party drugs, hip-hop music and culture, the fact that almost all the superstar athletes and a great many of the nation's best entertainers were black (read more).

Trey Ellis "The University of Prison" in The Huffington Post Part I, Part II.