Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was right


kareemwhen he said ‘more whites believe in ghosts than believe in racism’ during an appearance on This Week with George Stephanopoulos and as usual this statement brought out the worst in America and underscored his point.  One only need to look at remarks overwhelmingly negative made on the comments section of any media source that reported on this story to see he touched a nerve.  Abdul-Jabbar was on the show to talk about the latest example of American racism…unsolicited by him but for which he was asked to comment, the Donald Sterling affair, where the former owner of an NBASterling franchise made some extremely salacious, racist remarks about African-Americans  and how they are not welcomed at his team’s basketball games, despite the fact more than half of his team’s members are black themselves. 

The Donald Sterling fiasco happened shortly America was given another example of its racist nature when lectured by one Cliven Bundy about the Negro when he wondered

are they(African-Americans) better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.

Nevada Rancher And Federal Gov't Face Off Over Land Use BattleBundy made these remarks during the stand-off with an administration of an African-American president over land rights in Nevada. Why and how is it that Bundy can make such outlandishly stereotypical, nonsensical, erroneous statements is a study in ‘white privilege‘ that is steeped in and indistinguishable from racism itself.

Even earlier than the Bundy example during the news media continuum, there’s the Hank Aaron story where Aaron, a baseball Hall of Famer who was the first person to break Babe Ruth’s homerun record during the days when steriods weren’t a factor in sports achievements, was vehemently castigated by unknown people for merely pointing out that Hank Aaron Home & Museum Opening

We have moved in the right direction, and there have been improvements, but we still have a long ways to go in the country. The bigger difference is that back then they had hoods. Now they have neckties and starched shirts…..

It’s sad Aaron, successful on and off the baseball diamond has had to relieve vile racist insults for merely pointing out the obvious…..from his own experience, just as he had to have such insults hurled at him for being merely a record breaking athlete.  This is the nature of racism in America.  It is insidious, raw, ugly and meant to hurt and demean an entire group of people.  Merely keeping quiet or turning a blind eye to it does not mean it doesn’t exist.  Just ask Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hank Aaron, or any other African-American you may know.  Chances are they unlike white America get it and believe in racism’s efficacy more than they believe in ghosts.

 

Islam and the West-A history shrouded in mystery


It shouldn’t be……Islam has been a constant in the western world just as much as Christianity and the European empires of England, France and Spain, yet far too many people don’t know that about the Islamic religion.  I’ve posted on this blog before the lecture of one American Muslim scholar, Jerald Dirks that relates historical documents about Islam and Muslim interaction with Europeans and indigenous people of North America that dates anything written by contemporary historical scholars.  Here again I post his lecture

Now comes word of the reasons why Thomas Jefferson possessed an English copy of the Quran, which leads me to wonder has anyone asked themselves why would he want one?

Long before Europeans governed Muslim colonies, interest in Islam and its cultures ran high in Europe. Part of the reason was political. Three Muslim empires dominated large parts of Asia: the Ottomans in Anatolia, the Mediterranean and Arabia; the Safavids in Persia; and the Mughals in India.

These Muslim dynasties were not just powerful but were also admired for their refined arts and culture — music, poetry, gardens, ceramics and textiles. Moreover, books in Arabic offered knowledge of many fields to those who learned the language. Not just the sciences and philosophy but even Arabic literature enticed European translators. Thus, in 1704 a Frenchman first translated the “1001 Nights,” whose tales soon became an enduring classic of European as well as of Arabic letters.

Above all else, the religion of Islam itself seemed an especially compelling field of inquiry to a variety of European scholars and thinkers. How had a handful of Muslims emerged from the Arabian Peninsula in the seventh century to conquer so much of the known world? This was one of the great questions of world history, as both the French Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire and the English historian Edward Gibbon agreed. In addition, philosophers and freethinking Christians deemed the central tenet of Islam, the unity of God, more rational than the mystery of the Christian Trinity. Thus, many different Europeans attributed singular importance to Islam and the language of its revelation, Arabic.

A Common Foe


Donning a blond wig, Laurel Borowich did the dishes after dinner. Chappaqua, N.Y. February 2013.

Donning a blond wig, Laurel Borowich did the dishes after dinner. Chappaqua, N.Y. February 2013.

I have railed against this disease for as long as I can remember and in the after glow of what some may consider a victory against the dark forces of conservatism, I would like to remind all that “death” is a common enemy  that has enlisted cancer as one of its allies.  I know we can’t win the war with death but I would like to think we can win one battle with it; our lives and the lives of people we love depends on it.  So any politician who wants to demagogue on an issue let him or  her pick this one; let them pick a fight with cancer and stir up the emotions of the public against it in order to defeat it once and for all.  Let us hang it publicly as we did Saddam Hussein in 2006 so that it becomes a dark and distant memory in our collective consciousness.

Congratulations America!


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You’ve done your job and done it magnificently! You said no to the haters and doubters among us; those who preferred division to unity and common purpose and interest.  Too many of us wanted to point fingers at evils that didn’t exist or at groups of people who are just like us except in gender or skin color or religious belief or the lack thereof.  We too quickly threw off the mantle of our own innate divinity and instead embraced hatred and rancor.  Somehow, through all that…..we overcame.  Now that we have done what we are supposed to do as a Nation….make Obama do what he’s supposed to do as a President.  Hold him to his promises, make sure you call his attention to mistakes in decisions or errors in policy; push your local elected officials to do the same.  Your ballots are just the first step in this process called democracy.  It doesn’t end with the election of any one official, it is an on going process.  Choose the high ground of civility in the national discourse; don’t give in  to the forces of darkness, hatred and FoxNews. This is only the beginning.  Celebrate it but move on to the real work at hand of re-building America or if you like, improving it. At some point in the very near future…I’d like to think at the end of this week, we’re going to have to roll up our sleeves and get busy.  For now, enjoy the moment.

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Day of Destruction, Decade of War – US military increasingly privatized


More death and destruction for profit
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Day of Destruction, Decade of War – War as for-profit business


Tea Party members are hypocrites unless they call for reductions in defense spending that grows year after year and adds to the deficit they say they are sworn to reduce at all costs.
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This is America


This is the beginning of the American thirst for blood which the country has inflicted on itself and all those who live within its borders

The idea of collective punishment, a Biblical idea steeped in the Judea-Christian ethic, continued with the onslaught against the Japanese during World War II

Some of the oldest immigrants to this country’s shores faced the wrath of American racism for no other reason than they were different

Now for the new occupants within America, the mantle of an oppressed and vilified minority at the hands of Americans is passed

Our country’s history is one full of xenophobia and bloodshed. Looking back at the historical perspective of its impact on the American fabric, it is as senseless and irrational now as it was then.  Not one of the groups who’ve born the brunt of this disease should now participate in its spread among Muslim Americans, but unfortunately many of the past recipients of American violence are not perpetuating it against their fellow Americans.   All of the wars we’ve fought to preserve the American way of life, mean that we’ve fought to preserve this part of our nature, our irrational hatred for those things different from ourselves. This is our history, this is our fate.