I AM...

I am whatever YOU think I am until YOU get to KNOW me. This is true for everyone else too, of course.. so don't make assumptions about anyone or pass judgment; ask questions. You might just make a new friend.


Sunday, February 10, 2013


Since the origins of the field in the late 19th century, historians and intellectuals have offered various answers to the question: "what is African-American history?" Some have seen it as an extension or corollary to American history, some have stressed the influence of Africa on African-American history and still others have viewed African-American history as vital to black liberation and power.

Late 19th Century

An Ohio lawyer and minister, George Washington Williams, published the first serious work of African-American history in 1882. His work, History of the Negro Race in America from 1619 to 1880, began with the arrival of the first slaves in the North American colonies and concentrated on the major events in American history that involved or affected African Americans. Washington, in his "Note" to volume two of his opus, said that his purpose was to "to lift the Negro race to its pedestal in American history" as well as "to instruct the present, inform the future."

During this period of history, most African Americans, like Frederick Douglass  stressed their identities as Americans and did not look to Africa as a source of history and culture, according to historian Nell Irvin Painter. This was true of historians like Washington as well, but during the early decades of the 20th century and especially during the Harlem Renaissance, African Americans, including historians, began to celebrate Africa's history as their own.

The Harlem Renaissance, or The New Negro Movement

W.E.B. Du Bois was the foremost African-American historian during this period. In works like The Souls of Black Folk, he stressed African-American history as the confluence of three different cultures: African, American and African-American. Du Bois's historical works, such as The Negro (1915), began the history of African Americans in Africa.

One of Du Bois's contemporaries, historian Carter G. Woodson, created the forerunner of today's Black History Month--Negro History Week--in 1926. While Woodson felt that Negro History Week should emphasize the influence of African Americans on American history, he, too, in his historical works looked back to Africa. A professor at Howard University between 1922 and 1959, William Leo Hansberry, developed this trend even further: he conceptualized African-American history as the experience of the African diaspora.

During the Harlem Renaissance, artists, poets, novelists and musicians also looked toward Africa as a source of history and culture. For instance, artist Aaron Douglas regularly used African themes in his paintings and murals.

Black Liberation and African-American History

In the 1960s and 1970s, activists and intellectuals, like Malcolm X, saw African-American history as an essential component of black liberation and power. In a 1962 speech, Malcolm explained: "The thing that has made the so-called Negro in America fail, more than any other thing, is your, my, lack of knowledge concerning history. We know less about history than anything else." As Pero Dagbovie argues in African American History Reconsidered, many black intellectuals and scholars, such as Harold Cruse, Sterling Stuckey and Vincent Harding, agreed with Malcolm that African Americans needed to understand their past in order to seize the future.

Post-Sixties Era

White academia finally accepted African-American history in the 1960s, and it was during that decade that many universities and colleges began to offer classes and programs in African-American studies and history. The field exploded, and American history textbooks began to incorporate African-American history (as well as women's and Native American history) into their standard narratives.

As a sign of the increasing visibility and importance of the field of African-American history, President Gerald Ford declared February to be "Black History Month" in 1974. Since then, both black and white historians have built on the work of earlier African-American historians, exploring the influence of Africa on the lives of African Americans, creating the field of black women's history and revealing the myriad ways in which the story of the United States is the story of race relations.

History in general has expanded to include the working class, women, Native Americans and Latino Americans in addition to the experiences of African Americans. Some historians concentrate solely on telling the history of the human impact on the environment or the history of labor. All of these histories have become intertwined in today's U.S. history textbooks.

African-American history, as practiced today, is interconnected with all of these other sub-fields in U.S. history. Many of today's historians would probably agree with Du Bois's inclusive definition of African-American history as the interaction among African, American and African-American peoples and cultures.



"Trickle down disrespect" is the term we use to describe
the behavior of relatively more favored dispossessed individuals toward those
they believe people more powerful than them disrespect in a society where one's
self-esteem is based on degrading others. They act on the belief that, even
while they are less powerful than those they consider powerful, they can still
safely act as if they have some power because they have the sanction and
protection of the powerful. This sanction and protection comes from knowing who
the powerful blatantly disrespect, for these are seen as easy victims for those
not as disrespected. We are reminded of this truth in the Akan proverb,
"He who has no power depends on he who has it." (The Kemetic proverb
"How doth man purchase power but by being a slave to him who giveth
it?"equally speaks to this.) In a society where power is most commonly
measured by one's ability to disrespect others with impunity, even relatively
less powerful persons receive a measurable degree of satisfaction from having
someone beneath them to disrespect. This is both an intra- (within/among) and
intergroup behavior. Those people who have been earmarked to remain at the
lowest rung of the social hierarchy are politico-economically used and abused
by newcomers (and those individuals among more powerful groups who through
misfortune fall from grace) as easily exploitable doormats and stepping stones
for their rise into the more powerful ranks in society. They know that their
predacious disrespect of those more dispossessed than they will be subtly
authorized and safeguarded. Their approval and protection is given by the more
powerful people in society. The need to disrespect those "beneath"
them is assumed as a personal obligation by treasonous, self-hating, mentacidal
individuals within the targeted group itself who wishfully seek some form of
asylum within the lower ranks of whatever relatively more powerful (i.e.,
influential) group(s) they serve against their own."

Mwalimu K. Bomani


About The Movie:

Melissa McCarthy plays Diana, an unseemly Floridian con artist who – in the opening scene – dupes her mark into sharing his vital statistics (name, date of birth, credit card number) over the phone. That would be Sandy Bigelow Patterson (Jason Bateman) a mild-mannered Denver accountant with a gorgeous wife (Amanda Peet), two precocious kids, and a selfish boss (Jon Favreau) who is screwing him at every turn.

Sandy’s thrown a lifeline by an entrepreneurial colleague (John Cho) starting his own company. Better salary. A vice president’s title. It all sounds too good to be true. Unfortunately, before Sandy can move in to the corner office, he’s told that his credit scores are in the toilet and he’s wanted in the Sunshine State for skipping a mandatory court date. His identity has been stolen.

What Is Good/Bad About The Movie:

Sandy convinces his employers to give him one week to lure Diana back to Denver. He cooks up an elaborate sting operation that will trick the diminutive crook into confessing her crimes. Apparently flying from Florida isn’t an option (because a deceptive identity thief like Diana supposedly doesn’t have false credentials that will get her on an airplane), so Mazin and director Seth Gordon do their best impersonation of Due Date, putting polar opposites behind the wheel for a series of ludicrous, violent and demeaning pit stops.

McCarthy and Bateman riff on variations of the established snob-and-slob personalities. The pair does find ways to make the inevitable odd-couple clichΓ© click, though. Thief works best when its leads can dance around whatever silly situation Mazin hands them, be it a motel tryst with an amorous cowboy (Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet) or the film’s purest blast of guilt-free comedy involving Bateman and a six-foot-long snake.

For whatever reason, though, Thief keeps slowing down to introduce new characters through subplots that ultimately add little to the mix. Comedy might be the only genre that can be done in by too much plot. Do we really need Genesis Rodriguez and hip-hop artist T.I. as gangsters looking to kill Diana because she scammed them with bogus credit cards? No. They answer to Paolo (the great Jonathan Banks), a Godfather-type mob boss who pulls strings from his prison cell. 

Identity Thief isn’t odious. It’s just predictable. Lazy comedies cast the overweight McCarthy as the bullish deadbeat and the conservative Bateman as the buttoned-down bean counter. Gordon could have helped his film establish its own identity by having his talented leads switch characters. Make Bateman ditch his uptight comedic crutch to play a low-life criminal dirt bag. Gamble on McCarthy as the respectable female executive who’s victimized by a con. The gifted comedian has to start playing against type in big-screen comedies if she wants to be remembered as anything other than that heavy-set woman who crapped herself in a Kristen Wiig comedy.

Overall Grade: B+


Today is Umbrella Day! 



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