How Distracting Has this Debate About the Ground Zero Mosque Been?

It’s funny how many of us were kinda caught off guard when it was announced that we were pulling our ‘combat troops’ out of Iraq. We would no longer be engaged in day to day fighting, instead the 50 thousand troops left behind would be in an ‘advisory and consultant’ role. So in short, things are being framed as the War in Iraq has ended and everyone is happy but scratching their heads asking ‘How did we not know this’? “Why did we not see this coming?’

By now we all know that the mainstream media and those who have access to controlling or influencing its inner workings have perfected the art of distraction. Maybe it’s a Tiger Woods scandal to overshadow our increasing troops and funding for the War in Afghanistan. Maybe its Lebron James and his big decision to leave Cleveland overshadowing the beg decision made by an LA jury to hand down a light sentence to a murderous cop. (Oscar Grant/ Johannes Mehserle).

In any case most of us know by now that when corporate backed news outlets start over saturating us with an issue, then something else is going on. That something else is usually something we should be paying attention to.

So what have we been talking about over the past couple of weeks? The main topics that have gotten us heated center around race and religion. They include: Anchor babies, Terror babies, Changing the 14th Amendment, Dr Laura using the N word and the dust-up over building a Mosque/Community center near Ground Zero.

I’ll be the first to say discussions about race and politics are always important but only  if we are 1-equal participants in framing the discussion and 2-If we have a desired goal we wish to reach. The above mentioned topics seem to have come out of left field with the end result being a lot of folks being put on the defensive and reacting to a script and a narrative already laid out. Many of us have spent hours debating these issues with groups of people who have decided that no matter what is said or how much logic is used they’re still gonna push the issue and stick to the main talking points.

Texas Rep Debbie Riddle believes we have Terror Babies to Fear

We’ve seen this play out around the issue of terror babies. We saw political figures like Texas Congressmen Lou Gohmert and Texas State Rep Debbie Riddle riding this issue hard only to find that once questioned they had absolutely no proof and had their stories were categorically refuted by the FBI’s terror experts. Nevertheless these advocates stuck to their guns and kept fanning the flames of a Non-Issue.

We seen this play out with the Mosque/Community Center near Ground Zero debate . For the past two weeks our TV screens and radio dials were filled with whining voices of people who aren’t even from New York declaring folks as un-American for being insensitive to 9-11 victims. They claimed that the land around Ground Zero was sacred ground and we all need to show respect. All that was coupled with over the top pejorative remarks about the ‘Evils of Islam‘. Of course pointing that the initial proposals to make Ground Zero a building free memorial park were rejected by developers who wanted commercial buildings on this ‘sacred ground’ was done without one word from many of the people talking that hallowed ground stuff today, has fallen on deaf ears.

Ann Coulter said the widows of 9-11 were 'enjoying their husband's death

The ‘deaf ear’ treatment continued when pointing out that there was a huge silence when right-wing pundit Ann Coulter accused 9-11 widows of ‘enjoying their husbands deaths‘. We didn’t see all these pundits running around demanding she show sensitivity. She wasn’t banned nor were her books removed from bookstores near Ground Zero.

The main point here is while we been going in on these topics, we missed the run up to our troops leaving Iraq and in doing so, we never got to ask all the hard questions like:

1-Did Iraq’s oil reserves really pay for the War? This was one of the strong selling points or us going to Iraq. Are getting reimbursed by them?

2-Suicide rates are at all-time highs with many of our troops having served 4 and 5 tours of duty. Are we equipped to absorb them back into society? Are they gonna be able to cope? Did we provide enough money in our budget to take care of their needs?

3-Will they have jobs waiting or will the returning soldiers join the ranks of under employed and un-employed?

4-What is Iraq to us now? Is it a sovereign nation free to do as she sees fit? Is it a colony of the US?

5-People who have been against the Mosque have talked about how allowing it to be built will send a strong negative message of us ‘giving in’ if we allow it to be built. What signal (positive or negative) is being suggested when we pull out of Iraq? Are we seen as winners or a super power that couldn’t get the job done?

6-Does a pullout in Iraq mean we are gearing up for the war in Iran?

7-Us pulling out of Iraq today overshadows the premier of the Pat Tilman movie where its pointed that the military brass deliberately lied and deceived the American public not only about the circumstances around his death but lots of other issues related to drawing us into war. One of the more damning facets highlighted in this movie is the role of former general Stanley McChrystal played in all this? Why was he kept on to run operations? Was the Tilman coverup an isolated incident or widespread?

Forget a proposed Mosque being built on private property lets talk about the wars we been fighting and what’s behind them. Forget the Mosque, lets talk about the plight of those returning to college. last year we saw massive strikes from New York to Cali as students protested fee hikes that ranged from 30-38% percent. With the economy in shambles, what’s happened to all those who couldn’t afford high fee hikes?

We can go on and on with questions and pointing out issues we really need to be focusing on. We could be talking about the rise in private prisons like Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and how they are connected to the push for tougher immigration laws like SB 1070.

We have the situation with the Gulf and the BP Oil spill. In spite of all the assurances that everything is ok, there has been recent citings of an oil plume 22 miles long. How much damage has been really been done? How much is being covered up? Should we be discussing this or the Ground Zero Mosque/ Culture Center?

Karl Rove has quietly started a Shadow RNC and plans to toss unlimited amounts of money at specific mid-term contests

We can talk about the Jerrymandering and Redistricting efforts that will take place after the 2010 elections-Perhaps we should be talking about the secret Shadow RNC that has been formed by former Bush advisor Karl Rove and former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie. They have raised close to 130 million dollars and will be taking advantage of the new supreme court rulings that allow corporations to spend whatever they want during elections. What will that mean?

Many of us have been remarking about how Sarah Palin has been defending Dr Laura and her using the N word. We definitely should shut that down, but we should also be paying attention to her Mama Grizzly campaign. She’s been stomping for a number of women to get into office where they can carry out her policies. Who are we stomping for?

Remember a distracted population is a dumbed down population. A dumbed down population is a population that’s easily manipulated and pimped.

something to ponder

-Davey D-

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Wright: White Supremacy from Bacon to Obama: Are We Finally at the Moment of Reckoning?

White Supremacy from Bacon to Obama: Are We Finally at the Moment of Reckoning?

by Professor Tina Wright

A few months ago, I got into a debate online with a white woman I did not know. She was “scared to death” about the direction of this country and felt Obama and his policies were going to ruin the United States. She was worried about the “new world order” and saw Obama as the face of it. While acknowledging “problems” starting under Bush, she believed things were much worse now under Obama.

Her reasoning epitomized white privilege so I asked her one last question which i had a feeling she would not, or could not answer: When were things “better” in this country? Name one time.

as i suspected, I never heard from her again…

maybe she thought she was being set up for a history lesson…and she was. I wanted to ask her if things were better when the indigenous’ lost their land and lives? or Africans and African Americans were enslaved for hundreds of years? Or maybe during the rule of jim crow domestic terrorism? lynching? the great depression? segregation? crack? 50% youth unemployment in cities in the 80s? For her, today’s “sky is falling doomsday” is for many “just another day in the U.S.A.”.

I’m not sure she learned anything that day….but i know i did. James Baldwin’s Fire Next Time may be upon us.

“But it is not permissible that the authors of devastation should also be innocent.

It is the innocence which constitutes the crime.” – James Baldwin

Before Obama won the election, I knew his presidency would be the opportunity for reckoning. I wrote and said many times that this country was not ready for even the symbolism of a black man as head of state. White supremacists would revolt..and in many ways have (politically, rhetorically, and even in some cases, violently).

While Obama has no real power (or desire) to threaten white supremacy, the symbolism of him being the president is more than many in this country can bare. Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck have decided to employ the same strategy that has been utilized throughout this country’s existence to protect white supremacy and the status quo power structure: stroke white fears.

Bacon’s Rebellion: The Writing on the Wall

Early slavery was “indentured servitude” for many Africans and Europeans that were brought in bondage (some kidnapped). Many worked for years and then earned freedom. That is why there were free Africans in VA and other areas from early on (some of which even went on to own slaves themselves (but that’s another story). Chattel slavery “for life” as it came to be was a result of this fear of the poorer masses (white and black) coming together and threatening the planter class (elite). Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676 was a symbol of their greatest fear and THAT led to “African” based “slave for life” system, and white supremacy as an ideology to keep poor whites supporting a system that never benefited them…they were taught one thing: “at least you are not black”.

And the pattern has been used ever since…Birth of a Nation was the visualization of white fear post Civil-War. Reconstruction time was a very progressive time for the African American community, including land ownership (some of which was seized from confederate former slave owners) education, & political representation (to the point we have not seen since – why you often here preface “first Black _____ since Reconstruction…etc.). Black progress was real and Black wallstreet (Tulsa OK) and Mound Bayou (Mississippi) were models of it … but white America was NOT ready and domestic terrorism as a strategy was implemented (KKK, lynching, white mobs and finally Jim Crow by law for a century). Trust me, history does repeat itself when we do not learn the REAL lesson… these days, I hear talk of repealing the 14th amendment?! exactly…

Obama’s presidency has been about nothing BUT the ongoing racial struggle in this country…it is the latest chapter if you will. I want to take a minute to give the historical context…i will use black history but this can also be done with Native Ameican History, Chicano history, and so on…

With progress made, there is always backlash…

TO secure our freedom:

1. David Walker’s Appeal (calling for enslaved Africans to secure freedom by any means)

2. Bacon’s Rebellion (class based revolt)


1. racialization of slavery (from indentured servitude to slave for life)

2. black codes for non-enslaved African Americans


1. Abolition movement to end slavery (from reform tactics like pressure though press and courts to radical revolts to moral religious tactics)..led to whole free state/slave state – congressional politics of representation 3/5 clause etc.



THEN to secure freedom we:


1. Federal FREEDMAN’S Bureau

2. gains in education, land, and political representation


1. Domestic Terrorism, birth of KKK

2. Legalization of Jim Crow


1. Booker T. – building institutions but not fighting racism,

2. DuBois – NAACP, tried reforming system, holding to its ideals,

3. Garvey – actually inspired by Booker T., self determination, building black institutions and economic empowerment with black money not white donors like Booker T. had


1. J Edgar Hoover hired first black agent to infiltrate UNIA.

2. Black leaders pitted against each other as tactic (Washington v. DuBOis, Garvey v. DuBois)

3. Internal strife (movements brought down from within/tactic used in revolts earlier too)


1. CRM – Emmitt Till, montgomery bus boycott – masses organizing, SNCC, BPP, etc



2. MLK v. MALCOLM,take sides (tactic divide and conquer which Malcolm X later rejected)


hip hop – voice for youth coming of post-CR era


commodfied – frame one dimensional and sell for profit while reinforcing stereotypes..see BAMBOOZLED




1. tea party

2. “liberal” squabbling on politics instead of organizing actions (which i argue is very purposeful and again refer to Malcolm X speech on foxes and wolves..liberals and conservatives)

3. the fear of a brown planet (immigration debate, 14th amendment, etc.)

I write all this to basically point out that we have to make sure we know not only what we are fighting for (freedom, justice, sustenance)…but WHO we are fighting for (people’s class), and who we are fighting against (elite)…because there have been many times in history we have been pitted against each other as a tactic when we could have united and been a powerful force for our own freedom…we can either learn lessons of history, or continue to repeat them…

Ms. Sherrod breaks it down plainly on why understanding and dealing with white supremacy is critical to building class consciousness…it has not only been A strategy but it has been THE strategy of the owning class since before this country formed…back to colonial days..

We cannot be free until they are free – James Baldwin

James Baldwin

For working people to come together (again – see Bacon) they must first recognize the humanity they share…and white supremacy is the roadblock denying that truth. That is what the white middle class has done for this system…people will continue to support a system that only benefits 1% until they recognize that they are not a part of that 1%…they are a part of the 99% masses across the globe of all hues…

so i say all that to say this:

If you really study the struggle of black history and the use of white supremacy to keep iniquity alive, as i have said many times before…even the symbolic aspect of a “black” man being the president of this racist empire and how it is driving white supremacists crazy was change enough for me to believe in…lol.

Obama’s presidency is an opportunity for this country if we seize it..Before Obama rattled white supremacists awake, they were able to hide behind institutional racism and now they have to come from behind the Bushes (pun intended), show their true color (pun intended) and let the fall out begin (AZ, tea party, 14th amendment now etc)…which will FORCE US to do what we have to do to …FIGHT FOR OUR FREEDOM…and THAT is what i’ve been waiting for…The Fire Next Time… it’s time and i’ve been ready..

as my son would say…LET’S GO!!

original story:

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DJ Kuttin Kandi: Why Fat Beats Matter to Hip Hop


by DJ Kuttin Kandi

Fat Beats recently announced that they will be closing their legendary Fat Beats Record store in Los Angeles and New York City in early September (New York: Sept 4, Los Angeles: September 18th). Upon hearing this sad news many things came to mind, but first my emotions got the best of me. My heart stopped breathing and I felt as though I was going to choke. It was like the world suddenly ended. I felt like I lost a best friend and a big part of my identity. That’s simply because Fat Beats was truly like a best friend to me. But even more so, Fat Beats had much to do with my identity. Like many Hip-Hop heads I pride myself in stating the words of KRS One – “I AM Hip-Hop”. And like many true Hip-Hop heads know, Fat Beats IS Hip-Hop and Hip-Hop IS Fat Beats. So, it’s only natural when a Hip-Hop head like myself hears the news that the world famous Hip-Hop store is closing they know that it’s like losing a big chunk of Hip-Hop. Suddenly the words of “I AM Hip-Hop” can’t seem to ring true anymore when Fat Beats closes.

For those that are just now learning of what Fat Beats are I am saddened that you are just learning about Fat Beats now and that you won’t be witnessing the Fat Beats that many of us once knew and loved to heart. I will do the best that I can to give honor to the store that paved the way for all of us.

Fat Beats is a place for which many of us call “underground Hip-Hop” or “real Hip-Hop”. As much as many of us don’t like to divide Hip-Hop, the truth is the mainstream music industry creates those rifts where independent Hip-Hop just don’t get the opportunity to have mainstream airplay. The co-optation of Hip-Hop culture of big corporations many of which are record labels and etc. controlling and monopolizing mainstream airwaves, many of whom don’t know a lot about Hip-Hop history or culture, play a huge factor as to why many independent artists are never heard. So, many of those great legends in Hip-Hop and dope Hip-Hop top-notch-ill-lyricist who can actually rhyme, you might not ever get a chance to know about unless you went to Fat Beats or were part of that “underground Hip-Hop” scene in which Fat Beats played a huge role.

Before I even get into how Fat Beats played a huge role in Hip-Hop, let me start how it played a huge role in my life. Memories of Fat Beats are starting to play like a needle to the groove as I reminisce my earlier days in the scene. The year was 1995, and DJ Roli Rho and I walked throughout the Greenwich Village of New York City, looking for the record store we had heard about from other friends. The original store was located in a basement and if you were a regular passerby you probably would never notice it was there unless you were intentionally looking for the spot. The minute Roli and I walked in we were mesmerized. We knew we walked into a paradise of not just records, but pure, original, organic, and true Hip-Hop. That was the day we also met Joe Abajian aka DJ Jab, the owner of Fat Beats. When we left Fat Beats that day, Roli and I, like little kids who found a secret stash of candy, swore to each other to keep the place secret and to only show people who were worthy. I know, right? What the heck? Lol, why so secret? Well, quite honestly, we knew we found something so valuable. We knew it was a treasure we felt we had to keep safe. We had to protect Hip-Hop.  Eventually, we couldn’t be that selfish.  We knew we had to share it amongst folks and deepen the knowledge for others who were looking for really good music.

It was from that point on that my world changed. Through Fat Beats, I’ve met some of my greatest friends as well as some of my idols, inspirations and mentors. Fat Beats introduced me to a whole world of true Hip-Hop. They’ve introduced me to my crew the 5th Platoon. I probably would have never met my all-female-crew Anomolies had it not been for Fat Beats. So many moments, so many memories, so many people.  People we all grew up together with in this culture Hip-Hop we loved so much… Arsonists, Non-Phixion, Stronghold, Percee P i’ll never forget you chillin there!  I mean, i can’t name everybody, but we all were there.  Visitors all over the world, comin through to the tiny spot that moved to upstairs ave of america’s.  We moved on up!  Fat Beats was the place to be, the place to go to find out all the underground Hip-hop events. It was the place where I met Gangstar, and had it not been for that moment of truth time Guru (rest in peace) and I might not have been longtime friends. Fat Beats had seen me grow as a DJ, has helped me to become a DJ. They sold my mixtapes.  Then when I proved my skills, Fat Beats invited me on stage to perform with legends. One of them being in 1995, our very first Fifth Platoon show for Fat Beats Anniversary and for GrandMaster Roc Raida’s (rest in peace) birthday. That was the day I also made my debut. Fat Beats developed my name – Kuttin Kandi – could not have existed without Fat Beats. And right now, as I am 3000 miles away from Fat Beats NY, our 5th Platoon signed picture still hangs on their ceiling till Fat Beats closes.

Memories, so many of them. And I am sure it is not just me reminiscing….

Long before twitter, facebook, and blogging ever existed – people relied on fliers, word of mouth and real contact with people. Fat Beats was the place to find out all the upcoming Hip-Hop events, where’s the next open mic spot, who’s the next artist. You had to go to Fat Beats because there was going to be an MC Battle, a record release, a DJ Battle. You had to go to Fat Beats because they were going to tell you the newest artist. You knew they were going to be the first to play the artist before they blew up. You were going to see cats outside of Fat Beats selling you their CDs. There were going to be lines outside of Fat Beats. Tickets to the hottest Hip-Hop event were going to be sold at Fat Beats. They promoted our events. They pushed and moved our careers. They’ve seen us come up and make it. And they kept the buzz going. But most of all Fat Beats kept true to keeping vinyl alive. Even as I’m sure vinyl sales went down over the years and the rent on avenue on the america’s were going up, Fat Beats still kept trying to go on.  I’m surprised it stood ground for this long, but then again I’m not that surprised because they knew how important the music and the culture was to all of us. And because Hip-Hop knew how important Fat Beats was to keeping true Hip-Hop alive.

So what does this mean for Hip-Hop?  Well, the good news is that Fat Beats will still continue on with their website, retail and their wholesale distribution. Of course, on our ends will need to continue supporting Fat Beats. But while it’s a good thing that Fat Beats will continue online and etc, I am still saddened. Having a space for Hip-Hop heads to gravitate to is so important for the culture. Sure, I know we’ve got our open mic spots and other little spots.  And i know we’ll survive this just as we survived when the Stretch and Bobbito show ended.  Even recently good long-time friend dope ill battle MC Sara Kana from Grind Time reminded me and told me that, “We Are this Underground Hip-Hop”.

But this is big, at least this is big for me… having a record store may not be the full representation of Hip-Hop but it definitely plays a huge role in bringing us together.

Let’s bring this to the perspective of community.

Starbucks, and other coffee spots, a fairly known place, has been labeled a “third space”. “Third Space”, is a popularized coined term created by urban sociologist, Ray Oldenburg which is used to label spaces created by businesses that create an “anchor of community” to have conversation, dialogue and discussion. While I often enjoy a good latte once in a blue, hanging out starbucks will never be my “place to be” nor are folks from my community really chillin there. I don’t consider the “third space” of starbucks a place where I find a sense of community. And again, it’s not my community. Nor do I want it ever to be my community.

Fat Beats is that third space for me, and for many of us, particularly for us, people-of-color (and our allies) who love real Hip-Hop.  Fat Beats is that independent store we love to support, because they support independent Hip-Hop artists. They support people-of-color. They support our communities. They support our history, our culture, our passion, our friends, our music. And I am sad, that we lost this third space. Where and when will we have that space again?  A space where we can be truly who we are… where we can get down.. listen to what we love… and not conform to the mainstream status quo. Where will we have that space for us again?

While I love the fact that the internet has opened up doors, bridged some divides, and actually helps independent artists, it has also closed a few doors for us.

Again, don’t get me wrong, I still support newer technology. Serato has made things easier in my life, at the same time there is still a loss. Everything is so accessible to us now. We no longer have to dig in the crates and search for a record. It’s just with a stroke of a key that we can get that joint. You don’t even need to memorize the color of the label no more, because you just enter the title and the song comes up. Record shopping created relationships and friendships. Crate diggers know this, especially all of you who are true classic collectors. And I’m sure you all still do this in whatever record store still remains in your city. But losing Fat Beats is a sign for us to find ways to stay connected. It’s a sign for us to not lose ourselves completely to technology. We are losing human connection. While we connect with people, more than we can imagine, via the internet… we are still losing the human touch. We need to walk out the door, go to a record store, meet that lifelong friend who knows exactly how you feel when you put the needle to the groove. Listen to the music together at the record store. Nod your head. Bboy, Bgirl… cut it up… because it connects you to Hip-Hop. Hip-Hop connects you to your community. This is what Fat Beats taught us throughout the years.

Thank you for believing in me and thank you for supporting me all of these years.  Thank you Joe and for all the staff throughout the years (DJ Boo, Lalena, Max Glazer, and so many others), especially the legendary DJ Eclipse for holding it down all these years.  You will never be forgotten!

Thank you Fat Beats for a lifetime of memories, music, love, hope, independence, vinyl and true Hip-Hop.

With love,

DJ Kuttin Kandi

5th Platoon, Anomolies, Guerrilla Words, R.E.A.C.Hip-Hop

DJ, Poet, Writer, Activist

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