White Nigga-rettes To Kick-Start Black History Month!

‘Is it ever OK for white people to use the N-word?”

This is the question posted on the Thisis50.com website on a blog discussing rappers Kreayshawn and V-nasty.  Kreayshawn (a phonetic play on the word creation) has recently been signed to Columbia records.  They’re both women. They’re from East Oakland.

Natassia Toloz a.k.a Kreayshawn

Oh yeah…and they’re white.

They also say the N-Word when they rap.  (To be fair, calling it the N-word suggests they’re using the racial epithet, nigger, when in fact they use the more colloquial–and culturally acceptable–nigga.)  Although Kreayshawn doesn’t use it in her recorded music (only on the occasional off-the-top freestyle), V-nasty uses it profusely which she demonstrates in her 1 million+ viewed You Tube video Psycho B*tch.  Kreayshawn is a bit more mainstream in her approach as evidenced by the 30 million+ views she’s garnered for her You Tube hit Gucci Gucci.

So now everyone is mad.  Kreayshawn, V-Nasty, and their inimitable White Girl Mob are getting dissed by everyone from “You Tubers” to the blogosphere.  They’re being called racists and cultural appropriators (seems like you’d need a PHd for that?).  Even L.A. rapper Game included them in a diss track.

Vanessa Renee Reece a.k.a V-Nasty

I, on the other hand, don’t have a problem with it.  Their tracks are typical of the music you hear thundering out of youngsters’ trunks these days.  If these girls were black there would be no problem.  And they’re not using the word to proclaim any kind of socioeconomic plight.  There’s no cultural significance in how they use it at all; it’s syllabic filler. Some might say that makes it worse.  To me, the intention’s the thing.

They’re 21st Century inner city kids.   Not “street”, but from the streets.  Sure, they’re a tad clownish with the crazy clothes and the gun talk (like Nicki Minaj isn’t a little clownish?). The one thing they’re not is racist.  Besides, the word has become a central dialectic element of urban culture.  Their culture.   Saying nigga is like, well, saying “like”.

As for them exploiting black culture, McDonald’s and Chrysler beat them to it.  A decade ago.  We plunged off that moral peak when Clinton was still president.  Rap sells fast food and sneakers these days. Catch up.

And when did rap become so ass backwards?  A fifteen year-old drug dealer (and user) gets shot over a dime-bag and everyone goes, hate the game not the player.  But some ghetto white girl throws the N-word into a freestyle and it’s “Waaaa?!”  Mental.

It’s always a judgement call with racialist etiquette in post-Obama  America.  But if we’ve got enough love to put a black man in the White House, isn’t there a little left over for a couple of white nigga-rettes from East Oakland?

(Kreayshawn image from: http://live.drjays.com/index.php/2011/08/02/how-to-dress-like-kreayshawn/  V-Nasty image from:  http://rapdose.com/2011/11/11/v-nasty-im-a-real-bh)

The Obama Problem

President Barack Obama

There was an interesting article by Andrew Sullivan in The Daily Beast about President Barack Obama showing how both the left and the right have underestimated him and his supposed mastery of fourth dimensional political chess.

Andrew Sullivan has done some compelling work and often displays a very unique perspective.

This article, however, is nonsense.

Not in its entirety, mind you.  Mr. Sullivan does a nice compilation of the Obama administration’s achievements from a fairly objective point of view.  It’s an argument not made nearly enough in the media, forcing Obama to make it himself.  Sullivan is also effective contrasting the rapaciousness of the right’s attacks on Obama’s every word (even when they agree with it) and the left’s “unjustified” dissatisfaction with the rate and quality of progress.

However, he  uses the actions Obama is criticized for on the left to show conservatives why Obama is not a capitalism-squelching Marxist/Leninist.  Sullivan then ignores everything he just said and uses issues like the passage of Healthcare and Finance reforms into law as proof that Obama is achieving liberal objectives, pishawing the fact that most of the legislation his administration has passed has been gutted of the elements most dear to lefties and much of it by Obama’s hand.

The problem is, Sullivan seems to be  going by the conventional wisdom that progressives are a bunch of wide-eyed stargazers infuriated that Obama hasn’t delivered nirvana.  It’s a gross generalization.  Are there dreamers on the left? Absolutely.  That still doesn’t make it fair, or accurate, to portray all of us in that same light.

I’m liberal because I’m on the left side of most issues, not every issue.  Plus, its a sliding scale.  My spectrum ranges from far left to center right depending on both the issue at hand and the state of affairs at the time.  I didn’t agree with every position Obama took in his campaign, but I agreed with him more often than not.  Since’ he’s gotten into office however, that ratio has inverted.

The problem isn’t what he gotten done or the compromises he had to make.  The problem is that he constantly gives in to the right.  Before the negotiations even begin he hands the republicans the left-wing’s heart.   He runs from almost every fight.  He never even makes the argument.

  • He put Social Security and Medicare on the table for budget cuts.  He never made the point that Social security had a surplus that the Federal government raided for the general fund and now doesn’t want to pay back.  He doesn’t talk about the seniors and disabled that have been kept out of poverty by Medicare.
  • He “loaned” money to the banks (at 0% interest) with no strings attached, allowing millions of people to go underwater on their homes or lose them outright while the banks raked in billions.
  • He torpedoed the public option in his healthcare reform legislation.

    Shirley Sherrod, former Georgia State Director of Rural Development and Obama Administration Victim
  • He’s kept the prison at Guantanamo Bay open.
  •  He “asked” for the resignation of Shirley Sherrod. ( The administration wanted Sherrod fired before Glenn Beck’s show on Fox News went on-air.)
  • He stared at his shoes while Republican Governors went to war with the unions all over the country despite promising to march with unions if they were under fire during his 2008 campaign.
  • He signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law, allowing for the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without a trial.
  • His administration has deported more illegal immigrants than any other president in history while offering no immigration reform in return.  (I guess he did give Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 a good finger-wagging.)
  •  He told Bernie Sanders that the problem with “us” liberals is that “we” always see the glass as half empty.

Does this sound like a president that liberals should be happy with?  Fortunately for the President the Republican candidates are comically absurd.  No reasonable, free-thinking candidate is going to make it  through this Republican party’s primary seasons (As illustrated by Jon Huntsman being criticized for simply saying he defers to science on things like evolution and global warming).

The Republicans are insane and a vote for a 3rd party candidate is a wasted vote.  These are facts the president is acutely aware of.  According to Joe Biden, Obama is fond of saying, “Don’t judge me against the Almighty.  Judge me against the alternative.”

…Obama 2012.  Damn.

(President Obama image from:(http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/president-obama). Shirley Sherrod image from: (http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2010/0729/Shirley-Sherrod-Does-she-have-a-case-against-Andrew-Breitbart)

Boykin Bounced?

West Point Coat of Arms

Think Progress and other news outlets are reporting that Retired Lt. General William Boykin has “pulled out” as the featured speaker for the National Prayer Breakfast at the United States Military Academy at West Point.  Gen. Boykin and West Point have  both taken heat for his participation from  cadets, veterans, and other groups due to his Islamophobic rhetoric.  He has some kooky opinions about President Barack Obama as well.

Lt. Gen. William Boykin

If Lt. General Boykin has decided to pull out of his volition, then that is obviously his decision.  However, several liberal news outlets and activist groups pushed to oust Boykin as the featured speaker.  If this led West Point to in turn push Boykin to bow out, I think it is a bad idea.

We liberals and progressives largely define ourselves by our openness to a wide variety of ideas and opinions.  We cannot let ourselves be threatened by Constitutionally protected speech, especially when that speech is ugly and unpopular.  Setting up some kind of open forum around the speech allowing cadets to debate–which Boykin most certainly would have sparked–is one thing.  A good thing.  So is making attendees aware of  Boykin’s previous statements and issues while still in uniform prior to the speech.  Stymieing that speech is another thing entirely and I’m not so sunny on that.

Let people go into the speech with some context and perspective and hear what he has to say.  If we can’t do that, even on the left, winning this battle to get him out of the speech means nothing.  We’ve already lost the war.

(Coat of arms image from: http://www.fighterpilotsusa.com/Portals/0/fpusaimages/west_point_coat_of_arms.jpg.  William Boykin image from: http://www.freedomcongress.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Boykin-Headshot-Lower-Rez.jpg)

Hello world!

Starting my blog as I’m watching the Pro Bowl.   It is exciting!  It’s been a surprisingly wild and entertaining game.  The participating Chargers have acquitted themselves nicely considering how the season has gone.

Aaanywayyyy, the plan is to get this thing going full speed this week…