Category Archives: Editorial

Voters’ Guide to the November 2018 General Election- St. Louis

Voters’ Guide to the November 2018 Election- St. Louis

 

This being the 2018 General Election, we recommend Democrat votes across the sample ballot for St. Louis city. Quite simply, those candidates have shown a greater interest and/or commitment to issues affecting Black folks and other people of color. This includes:

 

*Nicole Galloway (DEM)- State Auditor
*Lacy Clay (DEM)- US Representative, District 1
*Karla May (DEM)- State Senate, District 4
*Tommie Pierson, Jr. (DEM)- State Representative, District 66
*Chris Carter (DEM)- State Representative, District 76
*Steve Roberts (DEM)- State Representative, District 77
*Bruce Franks, Jr. (DEM)- State Representative, District 78
*Lakeysha Bosley (DEM)- State Representative, District 79
*Peter Merideth (DEM)- State Representative, District 80
*Wiley Price IV (DEM)- State Representative, District 84
* Mavis (Tessa) Thompson (DEM)- License Collector
*Michael Butler (DEM)- Collector of Revenue

 

Here is a link to the sample ballot for St. Louis City, where you will find a full list of races and measure and full ballot language: https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/board-election-commissioners/documents/upload/November-2018-Sample-Ballot-2.pdf

 

Below are a few highly contested races and measures on the ballot as well and our thoughts on them.

 

US Senator

Candidates: Josh Hawley – REP, Claire McCaskill – DEM, Japheth Campbell – LIB, Jo Crain – GRN, Craig O’Dear – IND

Our recommendation: Senator Claire McCaskill

 

Based on McCaskill’s talk and recent (in)activity, we believe a vote for McCaskill is in order. But we don’t see a vote for the incumbent as advancing a progressive agenda, but rather a vote to hold off evil. If Josh Hawley, who has fashioned his bid as a protégé to the president we revile, wins this senator seat, an already ultraconservative Missouri would seek to cut even more money from social programs and urban development and stripping affordable health insurance options, while seeking to bolster the disastrous “right-to-work” model that repressed workers’ rights and pay.

 

McCaskill leaves much to be desired. Not only has she been pretty absent as far as Black concerns in the state of Missouri, particularly in the wake of the uprising in Ferguson, but she has recently been caught attempting to curry favor with out-state voters and conservatives with unprogressive stances. In the fray around Brett Kava-NAH’s angry defense preceding his senate nomination to the Supreme Court, McCaskill held out to say that she would not vote to advance him past the judiciary hearings. She seems more interested in attracting white conservative and centrist voters who do not prioritize issues of Black and other people of color and this is causing some lukewarm responses to our needs.

 

But Hawley, who savors conservative Trump support, is worse.

 

Constitutional Amendment 1 (Lobbying, Campaign Finance and Redistricting)

Our recommendation: YES.

 

Amendment 1 takes would change the redistricting process from a group of 5 Democrat and 5 Republican lawmakers (supporting two-party politics) into a specially appointed state demographer who would draw the lines that would be approved by state legislature. The process seems to be fairer and may provide greater safeguards against gerrymandering.

 

The section on limiting campaign contributions is promising. If the measure passes, it could help level the playing field that has been manipulated by dastardly conservatives and help get more progressive candidates elected.

 

Also of note is the fact that the measure is being opposed by billionaire conservative political manipulator Rex Sinquefield. But according to https://www.cleanmissouri.org/support/, the measure is supported by St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones, Rev. Starsky Wilson, Organization for Black Struggle (OBS), AFSCME, SEIU, the Missouri Conference of the NAACP, the League of Women Voters and Missouri Jobs with Justice Voter Action, among others.

 

Constitutional Amendment 2 (Medical Marijuana with 4% Retail Tax Fund for Missouri Veterans)

Our recommendation: YES.

 

The legalization of marijuana leads to decriminalization, which directly benefits communities of color and the poor. As a follow up, we would like to see restorative justice measures brought forward that would eliminate or reduce sentences for previous offenses and increased drug treatment options for communities affected by the failed conservative War on Drugs.

 

Constitutional Amendment 3 (Medical Marijuana with 15% Retail Tax Fund for Cancer Research)

Our recommendation: NO.

 

Though we support marijuana legalization, we now know that a major proponent of the bill is a multimillionaire named Brad Bradshaw, who will be heading the research center the tax funds will be funneled to. This is an attempt for a few to lines their own pockets with law.

 

Constitutional Amendment 4 (Bingo)

Our recommendation: NO.

 

The language being asked to be prohibited has already been ruled unenforacble and this measure would also reduce the amount of time a member would have to be a part of a licensed organization before participating in the management of the games. Nah Son, pay your dues first.

 

Proposition B (Minimum Wage)

Our recommendation: YES.

 

We support increasing the minimum wage, though we feel a greater increase is needed to provide a living wage for workers. But it’s better than no increase, so we’ll be voting in favor of the minimum wage increase.

 

The fear that many of us have about cost of living increases due to minimum wage hike is not the fault of people in poverty who need the increase; it’s the greed of corporations. We should fight for minimum wage increase EVEN if it does affect us directly, WHILE we fight for more controls on corporate greed. It will raise the quality of life in our communities helping fund public education with more tax dollars, boost the economy with more income, and therefore, reduce crime and increase access and agency among our people.

 

Wealthy, often white, often conservative elitists try to scare the people with lies about scarcity. There is no shortage of resources; these elitists are just asserting tighter controls on the resources. That’s the major hustle; don’t go for it. Vote yes for minimum wage increase.

 

Proposition C (End Marijuana Prohibitions on Use and Growth)

Our recommendation: YES.

 

Once again, we support marijuana legalization. The 2% retail tax funds raised if the measure passes will go toward veterans’ services, drug treatment, early childhood education, and public safety for cities with a medical marijuana facility.

 

Proposition D (Motor Fuel Tax Fund for Law Enforcement)

Our recommendation- NO.

 

  1. Another tax on the backs of the people, more specifically, people who buy gas, many of whom or low income, especially in St. Louis and Kansas City. The burden on these folks would be inequitable greater on low and middle income gas consumers.

 

  1. The lion share of funds would be coming from the two urban centers, St. Louis and Kansas City, to pay for roads and law enforcement across the rest of this RED state. But WHEN has the rest of this red state ever voted or acted in the interest of the urban centers, which are majority Black and POC? Never. Outstate MO ALWAYS votes against our urban/Black/POC interests, but we’re supposed to foot the bill for their roads. Nah B.

 

  1. What is “law enforcement” going to use the funds for? We don’t support any funds going to police without, at the very least, any commitments to reforms or diversity education or more civilian oversight. Police have been running roughshod over the people of St. Louis and Kansas City, and this bill asks us to pay to more to continue to hurt our communities.

 

For Member of Board of Education

Candidates: Donna R. Jones, Joyce M. Roberts, Adam Layne, Bill [William C.] Haas, Jared Opsal, Cydney E. Johnson, David L. Jackson, Jr.

Our recommendation: Donna R. Jones and Dr. Joyce M. Roberts– both Black women who have worked in our communities for a number of years and who we believe understand the needs of our children concerning public education.

 

Also of note:

Action St. Louis, which is a Black-led organizing collective working to build political power in STL, founded in 2014, suggests voting “NO” on the following judges:

*Judge Joseph L. Walsh, St. Louis County, Division 17
*Judge Thomas C. Clark II, St. Louis City, Division 7

*Judge Joan Moriarty, St. Louis City, Division 20

Midler Forgets Sankofa- White Privileged Feminism Ensues

By S. Christopher Emerson

Some attribute Bette Midler’s now-infamous tweet “Women are the n-word of the world” to Yoko Ono, who forthrightly regarded that “Women are the nigger of the world.” But the roots of the controversial comment stem far deeper and darker than Ono’s 1969 declaration.

In Zora Neale Hurstons 1937 Blackety Black Black coming-of -age novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” main character Jamie Crawford gets a lion’s share of motherwit from her grandmother Nanny, whose wisdom proves timeless in the present circumstances. No doubt that some may see Ono as a standalone force for change, but many attribute the foundation of Ono’s bold acknowledgement to Nanny’s declaration “De nigger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah can see.”

Nanny provides an insightful, plainfolk analysis of the plight of BLACK women, with regard to gender and race, during a time in which an American women’s movement, built off the straight-backed energy and efforts of Black women abolitionists like Sojourner Truth and Mama Harriet Tubman during slavery, was gaining steam after having won the right to vote in 1919. The elder asserts that Black women, quite flatly, have to work the hardest, often driven to push and pull with all they’ve got, while deplorably being treated the worst. Others have since echoed this sentiment, even some men, namely Malcolm X, who famously said “The most disrespected person in America, is the Black woman.”

This is a central idea that Black women have been knowin’ and tellin’ and fightin’ to change for decades, centuries even; and only within the last 100 years, have mainstream ears paid heed.

And while Ono gathered this energy to give voice to the efforts for women’s equality in this country, let’s be clear that even that within those ranks, Black women like Nanny, and freedom fighter Bree Newsome, even Auntie Maxine Waters still stand firmly at the bottom of the hierarchy within white feminism.

Midler’s, eh… thought-provoking [*shrug] statement is a bit more problematic than at first glance, because it forgets to Sankofa- “Go back and fetch it.” Not only does she use language that we are in the process of simultaneously reclaiming and eradicating with reckless privilege, but she neglects the foundation of her statement, that would, no doubt, help her definitively, demonstratively and acutely call the racistly-informed patriarchy demon by its name.

This is why we fight not just for changes WITHIN the systems we find ourselves, but we’re also building a total cultural shift toward equity and inclusion across cultural, economic, gender, age, ability intersections. We don’t want white supremacy in Black face, with all the misogynist, capitalist trappings of time-honored, pale-faced, mayonnaise-flavored oppression. Quite frankly, the cultural mores, economic/capitalist structures, gender roles/norms, age assumptions and ability fallacies created and maintained by this euro, elite-dominated society are just not good enough for The People.

A humble analysis.

 

Love,

 

 

a Black man who sees Sistas out here, against the odds, working it out and making magic happen daily

When Your Cousin Embarrasses You in Front of Family

By S. Christopher Emerson

I’m starting to think W. Kamau Bell is kinda corny; or at least, not who I thought he would be.

Definitely that’s a subjective statement, and all in all, I’m rooting for the brotha. I ain’t mad at him, but I’m just seeing him and his rise a bit differently these days. The CNN “United Shades of America” star seems to be revealing that the cloth from which he’s cut is a bit blander than I thought.

And let me be clear here; we’re using Bell as an archetype here for Black folx who have spent a little too much time around wypipo.

Watching an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown,” which I JUST NOW found out was the last full episode the chef and traveler finished before his suicide, I was inspired to critique on this matter. I’ve been going through all of the episodes in Bourdain’s series (which I enjoy) on Netflix and watching the ones filmed on The Continent and then secondarily, other homelands of people of color. This episode was filmed in Kenya, with W. Kamau Bell joining him.

Now, considering the current sociopolitical environment, I’m careful about giving deference to wypipo, ESPECIALLY when Black folx are present. But… in the episode, it was apparent through post-production that Bourdain was FAR more comfortable and relatable to the Kenyan sistas and brothas and environs than Bell.

Now it’s not lost on me that the chef was a celebrated world traveler and had been to East Africa before; Bourdain knows how to navigate unfamiliar cultural situations- it’s literally, what he does.

But there is an authoritative connection with the people of Kenya, East Africa and the continent as a whole that I was expecting Bell to have that just wasn’t there. ‘Cuz- and I don’t give a damn what some self-“othering” Black folx say- no matter what city, what country, which side, or which cookout you get invited to, there are some intrinsically Black things that slap five across current sociopolitical boundaries. I’ve prepared an inexhaustive list below:

*The “What up, Sis/Bro” head nod
*The time-honored chest to chest “Black DapHug”
*The innate quickening of something incredibly and uncomfortably white going down which culminates in perfect eye contact with a simultaneously perceiving Black person, possibly across the room (where do you think “Sense8” got it from?)
*The “mTXC…” sound of Black people sucking our teeth which either signifies that some food was just extraordinarily satisfying or that a situation is about to get extraordinarily real

Nahmean?

I guess I was expecting something like… an instance in which Bourdain would try to introduce the comedian to a food, or to a local custom and Bell would just kinda look at him and say “It’s cool, Bro… I got this.” Then he’d shoot the quickening look to a group of very pleasant locals and bust out laughing uncontrollably. But that didn’t happen.

This big Black dude stuck out like a sore thumb. In Africa, y’all.

Making corny ass jokes… Asking corny ass questions… Making corny ass wypipo pop culture references… I could just feel the Kenyan brothas, in their own still very welcoming way, asking each other “Where they get THIS big Black mzungu from? Dude is strange, Bruh…” And this was no Ugly American culture gap. This was that same gap we feel when some new kid whose hair ain’t done shows up at your school from some private academy that Black parents have been warning yours about sending you to. And that new kid miraculously finds the weirdest, whitest clique to become a part of. Weird.

It got me wondering that maybe Bell thinks that since he looks like a “big, scary Black dude” to White people, his Black card is secure. And he seems like he IS aware of his Black card; he just hasn’t set up his direct deposit yet, so that mug is dry. It occurs to me that he spends most of his public time performing from a wyt centered perspective; possibly unintentionally, but because he’s surrounded by wypipo, he can’t help it.

Don’t get me wrong…There are times when I appreciate his self-deprecating brand of comedic writing and performance; I just have to be in the mood for it. It’s kinda like how many Black people used to watch “Cheers,” but we ain’t finna remember any of the lines; he probably does though. Bell’s persona and style make White people feel comfortable, of which he seems vaguely self-aware.

I was kinda embarrassed for US-born Black folx, feeling like Bell was SUPPOSED to be our ambassador, and he rolled into Nairobi with some khakis and boat shoes on, and he committed the faux pas of being more affable to wyt savior aid workers than his own people. Shit just left me feeling unfulfilled and disappointed; like fried chicken with no seasoning.

Weed Can Get You HIgh, But Can it Get You Allies?

By Free Radicalindex

Chances are, wherever they live, our children perhaps, but more than likely their children’s children will be able to smoke weed legally. Now I’m not advocating the practice. It can both positively and negatively impact your health.

That’s between you, your doctor, and your Creator.

Nonetheless, I do support its decriminalization. If anything, it is no more harmful than the gallons of coffee, tons of cigarettes, and volumes of unhealthy prescription drugs we take without fear of penalty. Weed, on the other hand, has been used to lock up generations of Black and Brown people at shamefully disproportionate rates when compared to Whites.

So I welcome the movement to make weed legal. Blow on brothers and sisters.

Yet at the same time I am weary. As an elder has told me, whenever you put the word “industry” behind anything it is subject to be ravaged by the ills of capitalism. In America, capitalism is often mixed with white supremacy to make a bitches brew that tastes like Black disadvantage.

This came in sharp focus this past week in the heartbreaking case of Dallas police officer Amber Guyger who barged in the home of Botham Jean before killing him. Guyger allegedly believed that it was her apartment though mounds of evidence has materialized that she had to either be stupid or perhaps high out of her mind to reach such a conclusion.

Speaking of such, in the investigation (if that’s what we want to call it), Dallas police executed a search warrant of Jean’s home that uncovered marijuana. Accusations that this is just part of a smear campaign were bolstered by the fact that news of the discovery occurred during Jean’s funeral when family and friends spoke volumes about his good character. Similarly, no warrant of for Guyger’s home had been revealed. Neither have details of her toxicology report.

This seems like a perfect case for the ostensibly liberal marijuana legalization community to rally behind. According to the USA Today, the industry generates more than $8 billion in annual revenues and donates hundreds of thousands of dollars to politicians. Just this past May, the Guardian reported that 200 industry leaders descended upon Washington to lobby political insiders.

Yet White pro-weed businessmen, lobbyists, and politicians have been deafeningly silent on Jean’s death. This is even more ironic when considering that the industry often cites the disproportionate rates of incarceration as a justification for to legalize the drug. Yet when presented with such a compelling case as Botham Jean, they have failed to put their money where their mouth his. I guess that’s reserved for blunts.

In any case, this presents another case of the precarious nature of White allyship, particularly when it is tied to large capital. Ultimately, whether fighting for justice for Botham Jean or an equitable post-legalization world, we are likely all we got. Other possibilities just may be smokescreens.