Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I was perusing a post about Michelle Obama over at Gina's blog What About Our Daughters? and came across a comment written by someone name KIT (Keep It Trill). Here is the comment in its entirety:

Darker-complexioned blacks have always had a rougher time in this country. They
were the field hands while their lighter-skinned brothers and sisters got to
work in the shade of the slave-holder's house. This visceral hatred by many
whites of darker blacks contaminated our own community to some degree until this century, when we finally began seeing gorgeous dark women on music videos. Much of white America has not caught up with us.
I often wonder if Michelle Obama was as light as her husband or looked like a Beyonce, they wouldn't be quite as crazy in their hatred.

This is also because she does not fit their Euro standard of beauty.If/when he gets elected, frequent exposure of Michelle will become normal to many of them and gradually these ones will accept her. Others will never accept a black couple in the White House even if they could restore the economy and bring peace to entire world. It's too threatening to their illusion of white supremacy.

Maybe some of their children won't be so ignorant.

The comment has some good merits, but stumbles at the start because of the fundamentally deficient assumption that "Field Negroes" somehow endured or more dehumanizing and harsh form of slavery than the "House Negroes". This irritates me to no end because it smacks of a litmus test for one's authenticity of blackness. For anyone who purports to be an aficionado of African American History or Black Studies, this is assumption understates the inherent wrong of the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade. I'll get back to this later, but I do want discuss the notion that blacks with light skin are treated better than blacks with dark skin, using the FN vs. HN ideal as the basis for that assumption.

In order for the the argument to be true from a philosophical perspective one would have to assume that all FN are dark skinned blacks and that all HN are light-skinned blacks. How would one be able to know this without thoroughly reviewing slave masters records to determine who was purchased, for what jobs, and after arriving at the plantation after "seasoning", assigned to what living quarters?

If it cannot be done, and we don't know this to be true, let's stop using this as a basis for the FN vs. HN argument.

Let's also look at the practice of the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade. According to Dr. Marimba Ani (Dona Richards), she coined the term Maafa or "widespread destruction" to describe the TAST. She made no distinctions among classes or colors of enslaved Africans because anyone stolen from Africa during the Maafa was subjected to equally abusive treatment by their white slave owners. Unless the practice drastically changed as enslaved Africans were delivered to the U.S., which I surmise that it didn't given our current racial climate, then the FN vs. HN argument is further negated.

With this in mind, I think it's historically accurate to say that regardless of one's complexion, if they were enslaved and black (not excluding the native indigenous people whose land was stolen from them, but for this argument they aren't relevant...yet), they were treated with disdain and disgust by the white people who owned them. The Field Negro may have had to work all day in the field, be beaten and abused, and in many cases killed, but does that automatically mean that the House Negro did not have to endure the same level of treatment? How about the rape, sodomy, pedophilia, destruction of family, psychological abuse, and overall ill treatment by the white woman because you're mulatto appearance is a constant reminder of her sexual inadequacy and her husband's wanton lust for black flesh? Does that sound like a less caustic form of forced labor and deprivation of freedom and dignity?

There's also the common misconception that the HN actually LIVED in the "big house" with the "Massa". This could not be further from the truth. Enslaved blacks were not considered people then and they were still some white person's property. They were forced to live in conditions as deplorable as the FN and in most cases they lived together. The HN ONLY worked IN AND cleaned the house. They didn't get to sip lemonade on the Veranda and regale Massa with tales of how they used to wrestle Lions and Tigers in the bush.

When I was about 13 years old I competed in a talent show by reciting a piece I had written called Black Is, Black Was, and Black Will Always Be. I won. However, the runner-up to my oratory was a team of two black girls who both wrote a short skit about what it meant to be black. The title of the play was called "Blackness in Your Soul". The skit was about 15 minutes long, but it was VERY powerful and so relevant to our color obsessesed culture. They were both slaves, one was the HN and the other the FN. When they compared each other's first hand accounts of their experiences as slaves, they cried and hugged each other. They also apologized for thinking one had it better or worse than the other.

I'll paraphrase one quote that I can remember (this was 20 years ago). It went like this, "Blackness is in your soul because don't you know that the darkest brother can sell you out when you fairest sister will give her life for you?"

My point is that the authenticity of one's blackness cannot be measured by one's phenotype. We are not a monolith. What makes us black is our collective, systematic oppression by white people. I am no less threatening to a white person as a light-skinned black man. They simply see me as part of a monolith. This thinking is dangerous and KIT talks about this in the rest of their comment and they do make some salient points. Conversely though, I am left to wonder if they truly believe that because my skin may be slightly lighter than theirs that it makes me less likely to experience the hell that all black people have gone through.

Light, Dark, Brown, Pecan, Caramel, Burnt Sienna, Red... we are ALL black and for that, I am proud, unapologetic, and most important of all, unashamed.

Monday, June 23, 2008


As Washington, DC braces for one of the most pivotal and defining moments of the Supreme Court this year, I am left to wonder how the rest of the country will react.

As many of you are aware, DC has one of the most restrictive handgun bans in the country and petitioned a challenge of that ban all the way to the Supreme Court. I was present for oral arguments in March and I don't think the ban passes constitutional muster.

Since the last day of the High Court's term is today, I expect the decision to be handed out soon. I'll post the .pdf here if I can get access to it.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Obligatory Post: Having too Many Things to say and no Time to Develop Them Properly

Blogging has turned out to be a little more significant than I had initially thought it would be. I just KNEW that I had tons of things to say and that I was going to be posting everyday to keep up with current events and in some cases, vent and bitch about my frustrations with the world and my existence in it. I typically ebb and flow this way; I am completely motivated and focused at the beginning of a project and I perform exceptionally well - exceeding my own expectations [which almost always seem to be abnormally high] and then becoming almost lethargic at the lack of a definite end in sight [because of the amount of work that goes into completing a project]. When I started to blog it was because I wanted to hone my writing and off-the-cuff critical thinking skills. Now, because of work obligations, personal struggles, and other factors, I am lucky if I can actually write a decent piece every 2 weeks or so. I have several pieces that I've started, but refused to publish because I couldn't develop the arguments in a balanced manner. This was not due to lack of trying though; I simply could not find the evidence needed to provide both sides of the story.

Again, blogging takes time. Most of my better pieces were written in knee jerk fashion, but were refined before publishing because I had put in the time to carefully research what I wrote about. I'm also not at a shortage for topics either, because so much awful shit is happening at one time that I didn't want to turn my blog into a CNN or FoxNews internet "Cliff Notes" brochure. So, I have decided to write about things that I feel passionately about and in the coming weeks and months that should be evidenced by my writings. If you feel as though there are things you'd like for me to discuss, email me through my blog. I'll leave this as an open thread so that way anything and everything can be discussed without folks feeling as though we're straying from a specific topic.

Start of the Podcast

I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting a great person through this blog who lives in also Washington, DC. We are in the beginning stages of starting a podcast that I am going to host in conjunction with this blog. I'm still looking for a title and I'm sure that my muse is just waiting inundate me with ideas for shows. I still need a name for my show, besides BLKSeaGoat's Rambling Rant. You will also hear from some of my blog sisters Like SheCodes, Symphony, Professor Tracey, and AttorneyMom, as well as others, as I begin my foray in the web based radio. So, if you email me a decent name for a show, there's a 25.00 Starbucks gift card in it for you! *LOL*

DC Law School Forum

I attended the Law School forum to get mentally prepared to re-enter the application process as the last two years have been major distractions. I was not ready two years ago to return to academia and I'm certainly not ready now. However, I recognize that it MUST be done because I still have a fire burning inside of me that's compelling me to take this road. It has been kismet and cathartic at times, because no matter how far I've tried to get away from it, I feel it as my calling. I am particularly gifted at very effective advocacy and having a legal education will only enhance that gift. The only thing standing in my way at this point is , well, ... ME. The forum was great and, at least in the short term, will provide me with a consistent reminder that I have got to get crackin'!
So blogosphere, what say ya'll?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Mildred Braeburn: Rest In Peace for Sticking to Your Principles

Heads Up to Symphony over at Essential Presence for keeping the plight of black women at the forefront.

I am disgusted all over again. Today, Mildred Braeburn an 18 year old young lady from Central Florida was supposed to be celebrating graduating from High School and moving forward with her life. She and her friends should have been making plans to go see Sex And The City, Hulk, Iron Man or some other summer blockbuster movie that most young people plan to see as a group.

She should have been enjoying her last free summer as the road ahead would be occupied with college applications, internships, summer jobs, and puppy love.

Instead, she's dead. She died because she refused to be treated as an object or another notch in the belt of a worthless thug.

According to several news media and blogs, Mildred Braeburn was shot because she refused to be harassed by a group of hoodrats packed in a vehicle who wanted her phone number.

Instead of calling her names and resorting to the "You were ugly anyway" strategy to save face in front of their "boys", one of these pieces of garbage decided to shoot her. She spent a few weeks in a coma and actually passed away last night. You may read more about Mildred by visiting Essential Presence.

Again, I am disgusted. I am also embarrassed, hurt and disappointed. Black men, we have got to do better. At what point did we become amoral and so narcissistic that our collective ego trumps our obligation to black women to be their protectors?

I realize the role that slavery, racism, colonialism and other factors have influenced how we relate to one another. However, I am not convinced that we are unable to change that influence and break the cycle of abuse that we, as black men, inflict upon black women.

I'm not being a chauvinist; I am aware that women are our equals. That's why it's so bewildering to me that treat them with such contempt. I say we as a collective. If you're a black man who is aware of his obligation to black women and you respect and cherish them, fine. We need more men like you. I would challenge you to encourage your brothers, our brothers, who may not have come this realization, to get it together.

We must change.

Black men, the time for excuses has ended. We cannot expect anyone else to care for black women and we must be contrite and repentant of our indifference toward them. Black women have done nothing except exercise an extraordinary amount of patience in their dealings with us. We OWE them that much.

As one of my blog sisters pointed out, "black men have a lot of soul searching to do". I agree. I just hope that during the period of introspection that we can find wholeness. I don't see that right now.

If anyone recognizes the men in the illustrations above please contact Orlando Police Department or CRIMELINE at 1-800-423-TIPS. Callers may remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward up to $5000
From Symphony's post:
Again, if the people who know who these men are don't come forward then the
"Black community" is doomed. I don't want to hear about White people, rich
people, the police or the government. Men and women, old and young know who
these men are.

Rest in peace, Mildred Braeburn

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Good afternoon everyone,

AP reports that Barack Obama has effectively clinched the Democratic Nomination for President of the United States.

More to follow...