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At a time where people in our community are looking for examples of achievement, every event that is publicized is a morale boost. This past Friday, the Metropolitan Black Bar Association held the 32nd Annual Awards Gala at Chelsea Piers. On a Friday evening in downtown Manhattan, I was fortunate to attend, and witness the spirit of collective affirmation. The MBBA is an organization that began in the city, and has grown to be among the largest organization of Black lawyers in New York State. The theme for this year’s gala was Advocates for Inclusion: Leading With Courage, Commitment, and Conviction.
At this event, those qualities were recognized and lauded. Since attorneys often find themselves concerned with diversity in the field, they can at times be activists. The purpose of the gala was to raise funds for community outreach efforts, advocacy, and working to lessen the barriers for those interested in entering the legal field.
Sandra Bookman of WABC was this year’s mistress of ceremonies. The five people who were recognized were as follows:
Donahue Peebles, Founder, Chairman and CEO of The Peebles Corporation, who received the award for Trailblazer of the Year
Kathlyn Card Beckles, General Counsel for Card Services J.P. Morgan Chase, for Corporate Counsel of the year
Honorable Marguerite Grays, Eleventh Judicial District and Presiding Justice – Commercial Division, Jurist of the year
S. Jeanine Conley, Partner, Littler Mendelson, P.C. , Private Practitioner of the year
The Honorable Carl Heastie, Speaker of the New York State Assembly, Public Servant of the year
Congratulations to all of the award winners, and to the MBBA for hosting a successful gala.
About the MBBA:
The Metropolitan Black Bar Association (MBBA) is a unified, citywide association of African-American and other minority lawyers. Founded on July 5, 1984, MBBA is one of the largest organizations of Black attorneys in New York State. Providing a voice for Black legal professionals in the communities it serves, the purpose of MBBA is to advance equality and excellence in the pursuit of justice, aid the progress of Blacks and other minorities in the profession and address legal issues affecting the citywide community. To learn more visit: https://www.mbbanyc.org
A system of free and open elections along with a strong system of public education, are the two most fundamental factors to a society of ever growing prosperity and equity. Frighteningly, both of these factors are currently compromised. While the degradation of the field of education is an evergreen topic, the blooming deficiencies of our democratic system are in full view in this presidential election season.
The citizenry of our country is watching the archetypical modern democracy transmute into a full blown banana republic in much the same way that they watch the Super Bowl—with meaningless statistics, helpless commentary, and expensive commercials.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are both touting themselves as the presumptive candidates for the major party nominations. Both candidates, have doubtlessly risen to the top of the pile based on nothing other than sheer brand recognition, and can declare victory in entirely different ways. Trump by a minor majority and Clinton through blunt corruption.
While Trump can assert that he won his nomination cleanly, the mathematics of this win hinge entirely on the depth of the field for the nomination. Even in the face of a few dirty party tricks against him, he defeated 16 other major contesters for the GOP nomination—which is at once objectively impressive and an obvious problem for unity in the party he has recently assumed affiliation with.
There’s actually a decent reason Cruz isn’t handing over his delegates and Ryan isn’t endorsing him yet. There are likely more Republicans who were against Trump than there are those in the majority that voted for him.
Claiming the largest of 17 slices of the Republican Party is hardly a mandate. Even when they were down to three candidates, he had a less than 20% lead on Ted Cruz. In some other states he declared victory with a margin of single digit leads. Many in the party are claiming they won’t show up for Trump in November.
Complicating his “majority”, only 29% of the country identifies as Republican according to a 2010 Gallup poll. This makes Trump’s “decisive victory” suddenly miniscule in the face of a larger electorate. He doesn’t have a mandate, even if you factor in whomever may have cast a ballot for him in an open primary state.
The purported inevitability of Trump to the White House will likely be ushered more by a media frenzy around his sensational campaign rather than a victorious realization of a populist movement as typified by the embattled Bernie Sanders. (Even Sanders’ campaign is not truly populist because, as institutionally beset as he is, he is still campaigning in the Democrat Party).
As fractioned as Trump’s win is, its clean, which is a triumph that Clinton will not have. Her only substantial gain on Bernie Sanders is the Super Delegate vote–the vote of the unelected, heavily entrenched, party status quo. Any victory she collects in the primary race of 2016 will be the culmination of the most obvious, above water disenfranchising of voters since the poor black districts of Florida were thrown in the trash in 2000, carried out by sloppy, unrepentant career politicians rather than the Supreme Court.
Ironically, the boost that Clinton is getting from the corruption of the Democrat party is complimented only by the integrity of the Sanders Campaign. Sanders has declined the call for recounts, taken the high road in close calls, and commented little in the media to denounce his opponent and his assumed party.
Sanders’ herculean efforts to stick to the issues that face the nation rather than the ones that hinder his path to the White House may ultimately paint the picture of the politicians this country needs, but not the one we receive. And certainly not the ones we elect.
Assuming that Clinton and Trump are the candidates of the oligarchy, our country is in a very bad position. We’ve elected either the Democrat or the Republican for the last 166 years straight, a streak which fuels that misunderstanding that we have a “two party system” in this country. We don’t have a two party system, we have a representative democracy which has been overtaken by money, power, and fame.
In the event of either candidate winning we’ve lost. In the case that Clinton wins in 2016, there is little doubt that Trump will win in 2020 as an independent; breaking an almost two century streak of political two party rule and probably breaking the country too.
Have no doubt that Trump will take to Twitter eight hours a day during a Clinton administration (or any other for that matter) critiquing every misstep and misquoting every word for four years until he establishes a Trump Party and takes it all the way to the inauguration in January of 2021.
Frankly, these candidates aren’t any damned good for America, American citizens, or the world. A Hillary Clinton presidency will likely bring no major changes to systemic injustice and will lead to more jingoism framed as diplomacy, and more poverty framed as prosperity a Trump presidency will strip our country of the intention of its soul.
Many may argue that America has never lived up to its promise as a land of liberty and equity for all men, the language of this purpose has always been manifest in its founding documents. Those who come to, or are born in America are supposed to get a shot at maximizing their potential and their wealth by the leverage of their freedom, their talent, and their wits.
A Trump presidency will be one of exclusion, rooted in the solutions of primitive thinking. Sitting in the office where the “greatest” modern Republican president demanded a wall come down, Trump will order that one go up. In a country built on the foundation of political and religious refugees’ settlements, Trump will order that a third of the world be denied entry to our country for a lack of a more creative and thorough way to ensure and protect our safety.
Effective argument against this comes from none other than Benjamin Franklin. “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” While Franklin was, in fact, discussing taxing for frontier security the words can be repurposed for many of the Federal Government’s security initiatives in our post-911 world. Doubly so for every isolationist, xenophobic immigration initiative touted by the Trump campaign.
His economic plans make no sense either. Imposing a tariff on foreign manufactured goods will hurt the American consumer not the Chinese manufacturer. Many of the items manufactured China don’t have American made counterparts. All this will do is drive up the price for Americans, separating the haves further from the have-nots.
A tariff plan would only work if there was a suitable revival of the manufacturing sector in the United States. This could only happen through strong mediation of labor unions, corporations, banks, and the Congress to the point that a system where taxes, hiring local, and incentivizing companies to build and bank here could be realized. While no candidate I’m aware of is capable of brokering a deal of this magnitude, a man whose definition of the Art of the Deal is “You’re Fired” is certainly incapable of doing so.
In fairness to the Donald, Hillary’s economic plan of “put Bill in charge” and her patented defense plan of “blame YouTube” certainly won’t make us any safer or richer. Bill sent our entire garment industry abroad to China in the first place and YouTube didn’t create ISIS or storm our embassy in Benghazi. Furthermore, Bernie Sanders’ international chops seem to be comprised entirely of honeymooning in Moscow—which besides proving to be a great ice breaker in conversations with Putin about places to eat near the Kremlin isn’t much of a platform.
Neither of these will lead to the prosperity and liberty we are supposed to be embracing. Perhaps, of the two, Sanders would make better strides towards levying some equity into the system but he would be just as obstructed as Obama has been. (Not that I’m so enamored with the job he’s done with eight years in the Oval Office.)
What we really need in this country is to break down the Republican and the Democrat co-rule of this country. A populist Sanders/Warren (or Warren/Sanders) ticket in a known third party, such as the Green Party might have really given the mainstream candidates a run for their money. That ship has sailed, and perhaps may not have realistically had enough ballast anyway.
Maybe by the 2020 election, enough Americans will be so disgusted by the goings on of this election, and the awful governance we’ll receive from any of the winning losers of 2016 to get a fair shot at real, non-binary discourse towards solutions, starting with serious third party contention for either the presidency or the Congress. Hopefully that third party, won’t be Trump’s. Perhaps we’ll remember that compromise, not obstructionism, is the key to a successful democracy where the voice of dissent is valued equally to the voice of the majority and the rights of all are equal and should be treated with the exact same reverence.
Imagine if the money spent on building up cartoonish characters such as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump just to tear them down in commentary was be focused more on constructive solution based discourse in this country. If the objective media is truly dead, then we can only hope for a media that is biased against the status quo instead.
Otherwise, we’ll become no better than any other Banana Republic or Absurdistan in the world. The American experiment will be dead, and the people will be privy to many more expensive commercials about the choices they don’t have.
In a direct jab at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again”, Krystal Lake of Staten Island counters with a hat saying otherwise. Cutting through the dense, racist nostalgia, this hat says more in four words than Trump has for his entire campaign. Thumbs down on erasure, and being ahistorical about the experiences of people of color, women, and pretty much everyone else who Trump doesn’t have a use for. Lake, who is also a supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, wanted to make a statement about the 2016 election. Well done.
What the streets want to know is when the fitted version of this cap comes out. Sticker on it, and all. Because, Harlem. Immortal Technique need to rock that at his next concert. With the Urban League recently releasing a report about how Black Americans are locked out of Education, Jobs, and Justice, it’s a little hard to see this great America that once existed.
The myth making business is the American way, and who better to play on it than a reality show creator?
Good evening my readers. I’d like to take the time to say thank you to those who came out tonight to Calabar Imports in Harlem to commemorate the seventh year anniversary of Polite On Society.
Thanks for asking your questions, and asking what is next. I have no intention of stopping, despite whoever might have an issue with it.
If it wasn’t for the support I received here initially, I wouldn’t be poised to take the direction I am going in now. Over the course of seven years has come two books, four awards, numerous panel discussions, and a visit to the White House. An interesting journey indeed… and it ain’t over.
We’ll see what the future holds. I will be just as surprised as y’all are. Lol. Thanks again, and good night.
Good evening folks. I hope everyone is doing alright this evening, and unwinding from this Monday. As you can see from the title above, this article is in response to something that was written about yours truly. When you have been in these social media spaces, it emboldens people to say things about you that may or may not be true. I been doing this for seven years as of tomorrow, and I have had a few people come at me. People may feel like they can say anything, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to let it slide.
On Saturday evening, DC Livers of Black Press Radio decided to jump in my Twitter mentions referring to me as a “Harlem pretender” and a “money hog” with a link to an article titled: Obama’s Black Card in Jeopardy as Harlem’s Pretenders Caught Slipping
I linked to it, because I want you to read this for yourself. Go on ahead. By the way, Jeopardy is spelled wrong in the post and the article headline and the link, and it only gets more peculiar from there. Several people were included on this blog post, but I will only address what was said about me. The other folks can speak for themselves.
Referring to the recent sale of property owned by Dance Theater of Harlem, the writer of the piece inexplicably targeted me for “indifference” I’ll point you to the following excerpt:
“Was “blogger for people” Marc W. Polite, who claims to be a political blogging watch dog for Harlem, was too busy tooting his own horn and focusing on his efforts to climb the blog ladder to care about an influential plot that for the past FOUR DECADES was required to only house cultural nonprofits and was owned by the Dance Theater of Harlem?”
First of all, what gives you the right to throw my name in this story all random? Second of all, are you sure you are upset with the right people? Shouldn’t your investigation into this matter start with, oh, I don’t know.. the folks who run the Dance Theater of Harlem? You’re exclaiming, “how could they not know” when apparently, you don’t have an inside track either. Pretty pointless.
Third of all, if by “focusing on his own efforts..” you mean continuing to cover a myriad of other political issues, then I own up to that. What you fail to understand is that this latest land grab is just the most recent expression of gentrification, an issue that I have been discussing on here for years. Had you been paying attention, you would have realized that. Don’t act like you forgot how to use a search function within a blog. Be for real.
I don’t need a lecture on how gentrification effects the Harlem community from you. Especially, when you have come all late to the struggle, don’t even know who the activists are on the scene, and have your facts wrong on top of it.
Let’s go to another excerpt, shall we?
“After all, where were these “defenders” when Harlem’s Hip Hop Cultural Center and the community’s only Black-owned bookstore, Hue-Man, were both forced to close their doors to make room for the biggest Buffalo Wild Wings (BW-3s). Think about that: Black culture and books were replaced by chicken wings.”
What? You are really going to fix your mouth to allege that I among many weren’t concerned about the Hue-Man Bookstore, when I was part of the book club there? Really? I guess you missed all the posts on here about the store, or maybe you didn’t read them at all. Also, you are 100 percent wrong on your assertion: Hue-Man Bookstore, was not the only Black owned bookstore in Harlem. There is also Sister’s Uptown Bookstore and Cultural Center which is still in operation right now. If you were as “on your job” as you purport to be about Harlem, you would have known that too. At least bother to get the facts straight for the sake of your readers. Letting your readers think that there are no Black bookstores in Harlem does them a disservice, especially for a site called Black Press Radio.
This is exactly the kind of johnny come lately journalism that keeps people in the dark. We have been known that entities like Columbia University play a role in gentrification. Whether people like it or not, the church does as well, as I posted about in a past piece about the sale of the East Harlem Pathmark by Abyssinian Baptist Church. Where have you been? After the fact analyses don’t help us much in the context of a live struggle.
Welcome to the anti-gentrification struggle, and thanks for finally paying attention. Before you attempt to come at me talking about what I am doing or not doing, get your facts straight and drop this lateral hostility nonsense. It’s not a good look.
“I make dough, but don’t call me dough-boy.” -Ice Cube (Check Your Self)
Rapper Ice Cube distances himself from the iconic character he played in “Boyz N The Hood” , but the circumstances that are faced by the generations coming up after still affect many. The 1991 film is a classic, and resonates 25 years after its release.
Doughboy is a play loosely based off of the life of the classic character from “Boyz in The Hood”. Written by Paul “PJ The Closer” Johnson and Stanley Fritz, Doughboy is the acting debut of Aulton Hargett. Produced by Rainy Dayz Films, it is a commentary on many issues, from the vantage point of the 19 year old character.
Interspersed with humor, the play talks about the cradle to prison pipeline, and the cycle of violence that befalls people in under-served communities. There are no shortage of traps to be navigated, and some of the best ways to show that is to poke fun at the hypocrisy of ostensibly expecting excellence, but intentionally setting up youth to fail.
At this viewing, I thought it was pretty well balanced with commentary, but not done in a preachy way. There was a strong anti-religious streak, in support of critical thinking and introspection that is at times discouraged in environments of worship. In showing how problematic Christianity can be, I am sure it may be off putting to some, but it’s important to understand why there is a “belief gap” between Millennials and people from earlier generations.
Doughboy had a good supporting cast, although it was mostly a one man show. Aulton Hargett brought the West Coast to Harlem by showing the range of emotions as Doughboy grew through the situations he was placed in.
This play was edgy, but not in a forced way. It was edgy in the sense that it had an irreverent attitude towards official politics, Reagan, Clinton, drug wars, etc. The mention of so many Bush-isms made for an entertaining reminder, yet ugly portent about what kind of dense statements we may be in for come after November.
These are issues that people tend to not want to hear discussed, so how one does it is important. Doughboy was an cool play, and I would like to see what else Rainy Dayz Films has in store.
The Bronx Book Fair 2016 was this past weekend. A gathering of readers, writers, authors, and artists at the Bronx Library Center for the second year in a row. As I experienced before, it was an event to reach out and discover what others are reading. I was fortunate to be accepted as a vendor again this year to promote my work.
Other authors like Dara Marsh, Taneeka Wilder, Angela Williamson, Kalisha Buckhanon, Shanika Sealy, and Sonya Harris were also there. When we were not speaking to fair attendees, we were talking among ourselves about what motivated us to write and publish our books. Feel free to check out a great set of photo’s over at Shanika’s blog: Positivealicious Bronx Book Fair 2016 photo slide
Talking with a few people. Me being a political writer, I got more than a few interesting questions.. including one about my opinion on immigration matters. Also discussed were promoting strategies, and thoughts on the logic of respectability politics and if there is any connection to behavior and Black oppression. You know, with me being me, there was no escaping the controversy. When it comes to how people conceptualize society, I enjoy answering questions from a number of different angles and engaging people.
I came away with knowing how serious this is to me. After waking up at 6am the morning of, prepping the various items you see in the picture on the table below, that’s how you know its real. Choosing how to do something is important. Choosing your messaging, approach, is critical. My greater purpose is to do this.
It’s May 10th, and my spring tour is coming near it’s end. It may be a quiet summer from the looks of things, but it was a fun ride. The last event I have coming up before the June 3rd show at The Shrine is my 7th year anniversary celebration for this very blog next week. I hope y’all will come out for that. I am up here trying to figure out what I am going to say next week. I am sure I’ll come up with something.
Thanks to everyone who came by to see me at the Bronx Book Fair this past Saturday. Take care y’all.
And then there was one. After the Indiana primary Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is the last man standing. Ted Cruz dropped out last night, and John Kasich followed suit this morning. Not exactly anything to be thrilled about. It’s kind of like hearing that Mothra lost a fight with Godzilla. Here we are, with one part of the race.
On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders took Indiana. Even after the MSM said he was done. It’s interesting that it is May and Sanders hasn’t been put away by the powerful Clinton machine. Indiana was “feeling the Bern”
What would be a better match up, unfortunately looks unlikely. Our only choices that are shoved in front of us is a hawkish neo-liberal, and a candidate who may mess around and initiate the New Founding Father’s of America in 2017 after he wins. Gotta love American politics.
Good morning, readers! Here is the footage from the Black Power Open Mic at Raw Space this past Monday. Enjoy!
Good morning my readers! Happy Friday! I want to share with you this morning the link from my radio appearance on Independent Underground Radio Live with host Monica RW.
*Full Disclosure* The author of this piece, supported Bernie Sanders in the NY primary*
Good evening folks. As we have all seen from a combination of the results in last weeks primary in New York and the primaries held in 5 states Tuesday, a Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump match up in the general election is pretty much guaranteed. Oh, the joy.
As I sit here, thinking about the conversations and online interactions that I have had about these 2016 presidential primaries, I have to say that this outcome is disappointing for principled progressives. Bernie Sanders is pretty much wrapping up with very little chance of securing the nomination, laying off staffers and concentrating on California. A Sanders-Trump match up would have been interesting. Now, we will see a match up between a center-right Democrat and a billionaire real estate mogul.
The fact of the matter is that despite what many on the progressive side have said, Sanders did not push Clinton to the left at all during the primaries. Clinton was able to secure wins in several states without having to account for the Goldman Sachs speech transcripts, and getting away with whoppers about her record. To say that she was pushed left, is delusional.
Futhermore, what needs to be said is this: It already looks like Sanders is staying in the race to keep people engaged when he wont win. The purpose is to convince his supporters to fall in line and support Clinton in the general election. He is already toning down his rhetoric for that purpose. While I can respect what Bernie Sanders has done in the context of this election in putting issues at the forefront, this is where I get off.
Sanders may have to “play ball” and still support the Democrats in the Fall, but I as a voter, do not. I do not owe Hillary Clinton my vote. To pivot away from principle, and support a centrist Democrat after witnessing a strident and unabashed left wing populist win millions of votes runs counter to most of what I support. Sanders was derided throughout these past months as “too far to the left” when some of the proposals he put forward were exactly what we need at this time. To the most reactionary elements of our society, even those who advocate reforms can sound like revolutionaries. Don’t think that its a coincidence that the only state that Sanders won last night was Rhode Island- the state with an open primary.
Now here we are, with millions of people alienated. Bill Clinton attacked millennials for not voting in the 2010 elections, and President Obama told Black Lives Matter to “stop yelling” The unmistakable intent of both the former Democratic president and the current president condemning their own base is tell the young voter to shut up, and to silence the activists. The point, is to hush, and vote Dem. Regardless if the person running has any intention of working to alleviate any of the issues people are facing as citizens.
The harsh reality is that today millions of people feel as though their window of opportunity for a decent life is slipping away. Whether it be un-affordable housing, crushing school debt, or wages that struggle to keep pace with prices, so many areas of people’s lives are under duress. For those who want to gloat about about Clinton’s win, I hope you like neo-liberalism. You are certain to get more of it. As for this writer, my vote will not be held hostage. Jill Stein of the Green Party is getting my vote this fall. Some folks may like their neo-liberalism as long as it co-opts the language of intersectionality, but I am not going for it. I know, of course many people won’t agree with this outlook, but it is what it is.
I will be talking more about this on my radio appearance on Independent Underground Radio and News on Thursday, April 28th, 2016 at 9:15pm. Peace.
-Marc W. Polite