Thoughts on the Removal of the N Word from Huckleberry Finn Books

I  attended schools in the Bronx where I grew up that had very few Blacks and whole lot of prejudice white kids who used our required reading of Mark Twain as an excuse to utter those hurtful words. On more than a few occasions I had fights.  But in retrospect those fights would’ve occurred anyway. On those days Huckleberry Finn was the justification..

‘Mark Twain says nigger so why can’t I’, was the asinine line of reasoning.

If we hadn’t read the book it would’ve been and was other incidents that sparked racially charged fights. As I’m writing I’m recalling how the TV series Roots sparked a bunch of fist fights and we were required to watch and discuss that in class.

Personally I think it needs to be conveyed that the use of the word Nigger and injun are bad.. and it should be done so in the very pages students are asked to read.

Replacing the word Nigger with the word Slave is not the best way to go about doing this… I would keep the word and not spell it out.. i.e. Nigger would become N%$#er. That’s done all the time in newspapers and other popular materials that print offensive words..

On a side note what’s gonna happen with the Huckleberry Finn books in Texas? for people who don’t know, the state of Texas is switching up their text books and one of the major changes is they are removing the word ‘slavery’ and replacing it with ‘Atlantic Triangular Trade‘. So will we see that long word used in the Texas books? I’m just saying..

Davey D-

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An Open Letter to Tea Party members in the 112th Congress

Dear Tea Party Members and Supporters of the 112th Congress

Later on today as many as 90 men and women backed by you will be among the 434 members of the 112th Congress that will be sworn in today.  There has been a lot of speculation as to what the Tea Party will do and how your influence and potential power will be respected. Almost everyone agrees the shift in power with Nancy Pelosi stepping down and John Boehner stepping in as Speaker of the House, is due to the enthusiasm you all touched off in people.

As an acknowledgement to that influence for the first time, the Constitution will be read. As I understand it will take more than an hour and a half  and the point of reading it is so that everyone in the chambers, the country and for that matter the entire world, is reminded exactly what sort of principles we as a country should ideally be embracing.

I have a couple of questions about this reading and your next actions as members of Congress. The first involves the 4th amendment around the issue of search and seizures and our collective protections from them..The amendment reads as follows:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and Warrants shall not be issued, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Now as you all are aware over the past few years surveillance on the American people is an at an all time high. Some of this has been a result of so-called ‘War on Drugs‘ and in more recent days the ‘War on Terror‘. We went from a nation that prided itself on having a right to privacy to one where police can stop you at any time under the loosely interpreted ‘suspicion of illegal activity‘.

For example, in places like New York City under their infamous Stop and Frisk policy anywhere from 300 thousand to more than half a million people stopped each year in New York with the police looking for guns. Very few are found, but there are high numbers of lower level summons issued.We recently come to find that New York police are under pressure to meet a quota. 20 summons is the equivalent to one arrest.

In cities like Oakland, LA and Chicago we see the government has created far-reaching gang injunctions. If it’s done thing to stop criminal activity. I think we can all agree to that, but what many of these cities are doing is establishing gang data bases.

Many of the people entered into the database are young men and women who live in high crime neighborhoods but have no gang affiliations. How they wind up being placed in the database is the police will stop many under that pesky little ‘reasonable suspicion‘ clause and then look for literally anything to associate them with a gang.

It could be they have a red, blue, purple etc backpack or jersey from a school that happens to have the same color or initials favored by a gang. They could’ve had their hats worn backwards or they were observed saying ‘hello’ to a family member or friend who is a suspected gang member. The police observe this sort of activity and the next thing you know the person they’re profiling winds up in the gang database. Once this happens, that person is subjected to all sorts of unwarranted surveillance, stop and frisk measures and even civil lawsuits.

This is all happening more often than not, without due process or the person’s knowledge they were even added to the database. Years later if that person is pulled over for a minor traffic violation, the officer punches in their name and voila, suddenly they’re viewed as a gang member.

Recently a new law was enacted in states like California which allows the police to confiscate and search our cell phones or computers to seek additional evidence in the form of text messages and emails to qualify their suspicions.

Does this sound fair? Does this sound reasonable?

Now what I described is going on in many urban areas, but I’m sure these search and seizure tactics, are manifesting themselves in other areas, probably in the form of warrantless wiretapping and are being applied to ‘suspected’ groups of varied backgrounds.

I know earlier this year while at the Netroots convention in Las Vegas I attended a panel discussion that focused on increased government surveillance. I was shocked to hear about recent reports that had come out identifying the top three targets for profiling and monitoring were Muslims with Middle Eastern Backgrounds, students at historically Black colleges and Ron Paul supporters are considered Constitutionalists. This was discussed at length at the netroots convention and I know its been discussed in other circles.

As the constitution is being read today, will you in the Tea Party be looking to put an end to all this government surveillance of innocent people? Will you be fighting to put an end to to intrusive policies like stop and frisk, warrantless wiretaps, no knock warrants and all this government monitoring on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter?

As members of the Tea Party we understand that you are all about making sure we have Due Process. This is outlined in the 5th Amendment which reads as follows:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

As you are probably aware the past few years we’ve seen government violate this amendment on all sorts of grounds. In recent days we’ve seen the Department of Homeland Security shut down websites without due process. Popular websites like and were shut down on the suspicion of copyright infringement.

The owners say they are innocent but that didn’t seem to matter to DHS. What was most disturbing there was no warrant, no letter inquiring about so-called infringement or  whether or not the site owners had permission to post particular material. In fact with RapGodfathers they didn’t post material, but instead pointed links to sites where music was hosted.

There was no discussion or place to appeal the shut downs. There was no letter issued asking sites to remove material. Similar fate was met with 80 other sites also shut down by DHS. These sites were shut down completely along with years worth of robust discussions and exchanges on message boards and  a wealth of information in the form of articles and reviews submitted by visitors to the sites. Where was the due process for those who posted up writings and material to a site. What laws did they break?

These sites were suspected of copyright infringement and for those who respect the law that may seem like an open and shut case, but as those who love the constitution we all know that due process is paramount and a precedent should not be set by allowing increased government encroachment.  Today its the rap sites, but tomorrow it could any of our own sites if we don’t do proper attributions to quotes from newspaper article or if a visitor to our message boards post up a copyrighted picture.

It wasn’t to long ago Tea Party backed candidate Sharon Angle found herself the subject of lawsuit for posting up an article from a local newspaper about herself. Although it was a private entity that sued her and not the government, there was suspicion that the government was behind it. In addition, no letters were written requesting she remove material,she was dragged into court.

Angle is high profile but thousands of others have been hit with similar fate.

Will this sort of activity be vigoriously opposed by the 90 Tea Party backed members in congress?

Lastly I read this morning that Congressman Darrell Issa, who is set to lead the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has written to over 150 corporations asking what sort of regulations they need lifted. Is this something the Tea Party supports?

Maybe I’m cynical but last year we saw 29 miners get killed in West Virginia with the company Massey being cited as one that routinely scoffed the few regulations already in place. In fact they are cited as having the worse record in US mining history.

In San Bruno California, 6 people were killed and entire neighborhood destroyed because of faulty gas pipe that was supposed to be repaired by PG&E. At first we thought it was an unfortunate accident, but came to find out PG&E had increased rates in 2007 to justify the 5 million dollars which they had on hand needed repair faulty pipes including the one that exploded which was deemed by them to be one of the most at risk.

PG&E never did the work instead they spent 46 million dollars on Prop 16 this past summer to prevent other gas companies from coming into the area and being contracted by local municipalities. The people of California rejected PG&E’s proposition.

We won’t even speak about the negligence that led to the explosion and repair efforts around the BP Gulf Oil Spill.

All in all we hope you in the Tea Party who railed against the government clamping down on our freedoms will step up and make sure the government backs off some of these egregious intrusions. At the same time we hope that you are wary of powerful forces and corporations that have access to lawmakers like yourself and have used their money, resources and influence to literally put elected officials in their back pocket. An unchecked corporation can be just as oppressive as an unchecked government and from what I gathered y’all should be opposed that as well or are you? We look forward to seeing how you will reform Washington or if Washington will reform you.

peace out for now

Davey D

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Chuck D’s Open Letter: Never Have So Many Been Pimped

[Note: Chuck D wrote this essay as a letter to Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur ( and Davey D ( With permission, the message by the Public Enemy leader, has been edited slightly into a scathing editorial about the media, Hip-Hop and the how the culture has been pimped by a mere few.]

Chuck D:

I really don’t know what constitutes for “relevant” coverage in  HIP-HOP news in America these days, but I really want to give you all a heads up. As you know I’ve been through three passports, 76 countries on the regular in the name of Hip-Hop since 1987 and in 2010, although I’ve never stopped traveling the earth this year, I’ve seen, heard and felt some new things.

As far as RAP and HIP-HOP, it’s like USA Olympic basketball, the world has parity now and have surpassed the USA in ALL of the basic fundamentals of HIP-HOP – TURNTABLISM,  BREAKING,  GRAFFITI, and now EMCEEING with succinct mission , meaning and skill. Skill-wise rappers spitting three languages, have created super rappers to move the crowd with intensity and passion. The “arrogant” American comes in blackface, but if there was a HIP-HOP or Rap Olympics, I really don’t think the United States would get Gold, Silver or Brass or even ass for that sake.

Personally, Public Enemy has been setting records in a record book that doesn’t really exist. The 20th year anniversary of FEAR OF A BLACK PLANET has become into a year and a half celebration of eights legs and five continents. All the while, looking at a HIP-HOP Planet across 25 countries while still somewhat supportive of American rap, the rest of the world has surpassed the U.S. in skill, in fundamentals and commitment to their communities. Public Enemy’s mission is to set the path, pave the road for cats to do their thing for a long time as long as they do it right.

Because of the lack of support from local radio, television and community in the United States, the ability for “local” acts to thrive in their own radius has killed the ability to connect and grow into a proper development as a performer, entertainer and artist. Rappers trying to get put on to a national contract hustle from a NEW YORK or LOS ANGELES corporation has caused the art-form to atrophy from the bottom, while never getting signed to a top echelon that really doesn’t exist, but to a very few.

HIP-HOP NEWS spreads like any other mainstream NEWS in America. The garbage that’s unfit to print has now floated on websites and blogs like sh*t. For example a rapper working in the community gets obscured while if that same rapper robbed a gas station he’d get top coverage and be label a “rapper” while getting his upcoming or current music somewhat put on blast, regardless of its quality which of course is subjective like any other art. RAP sites and blogs are mimicking the New York POST.

This is not mere complaint , this is truth and its coming down on Americans like rain without a raincoat with cats screaming how they ain’t wet. This is real. The other night upon finishing groundbreaking concert performances in Johannesburg we followed a special free concert in Soweto. To make a point that our agenda was to “show? and encourage the Hip-Hop community to be comfortable in its mind and skin without chasing valueless Amerikkkan values.

Never have so many been pimped by so few.

It does the people of the planet little good to hear that an an artist is famous and rich, will wear expensive jewelry straight from the mines, show it off, stay it the hotel, ride in limos, do the VIP with chilled champagne in the clubs, ape and monkey the chicks (meaning not even talking) and keep the dudes away with slave paid bodyguards when real people come close. The mimic of the VIACOM-sanctioned video has run tired, because it shows off, does NOT inspire and it says NOTHING.

Here in South Africa PUBLIC ENEMY has done crucial groundbreaking performances. Its the same level of smashing the house that we’ve done this year in Moscow, New York, Paris,  London , Chicago and other places this year. This is not news  We are not trying to prove any point other than to show that a classic work is timeless and doesn’t have a demographic per se. The Rolling Stones and U2 are NOT measured by mere tracks’ they are measured by the all-around event they present. The art of the performance has left Hip-Hop whereas somebody has led artists to do more performing off the stage than on it. The agenda here is to create artist exchange

This serves as a call to the infrastructure-less Hip-Hop game in Amerikkka. We know what your hustle is, but what is your work and job here? Faking it until making it runs its course in a recession, which is a depression for Black folks who increasingly are becoming more skill-less as they become jobless.

Never have so many been pimped by so few.

Since the music has so much power, and image has become everything to the point that it can dictate the direction of a person in their life, it is my mission now to really become a “freedom fighter” and stop this radiation. With Jay-Z and others who, for years would faint their worth, the statement of “with great power comes great responsibility,” is more true. Words are powerful and they can both start wars and bring peace. This cannot be taken lightly. Its important for the words to be body with the community. If not one dime of $250 million doesn’t benefit the people who contribute to it then why does that warrant coverage above the will and effort of many in the music who have done great things.

Never have so many been pimped by so few.

I turned 50 this year. Everyday I get the question whats up with Hip-Hop today. If nothing was wrong the question wouldn’t be the dominating question I get. I do massive interviews worldwide. I’m covered from varied aspects Hip-Hop, Public Enemy, social issues, musicology in general. So, my interactive world dialogue is deeper and more present than 140 characters. 

Never have so many been pimped by so few.

I am tired of the silence of people that know better. There is nothing worse than a person that knows better and does worse. Or says nothing.

And makes excuses for bulls**t.

You know damn well HIP-HOP in the USA has fell way the f**k off as the American dollar and much of America itself. Held up and dictated by White business lawyers, accountants in New York, and Los Angeles offices.

To dictate to a community and not even live or be with the people is offensive. VIACOMs reach into Africa to turn HIP-HOP in to Amerfrica, which is as exploitative as those slave-makers who carried us across on boats. The decisions made in a boardroom in New York City while these cats scurry to their high rises, and suburban mansions from cultural profiteering must stop. And I’m going to do something about it.

Never have so many been pimped by so few.

My agenda of Hip-Hop around the world is in line with its creators, who followed Black Music. The music had the people’s back. It has never been my personal agenda. Americans arrogantly have no back. Hip-Hop has followed this. I am disturbed by the fact that I tell artists that doing work in their community will get them little or no buzz for their effort, but in the same sense if they robbed or shot someone or did a bid they would get national and sometimes international attention.

Never have so many been pimped by so few.

So many of your favorite people suck up to the NBA and NFL, because it has order and when you make the game look bad David Stern or Robert Goddell is kicking their asses out . They are the indisputable HWIC, and negroes are in line and silenced. But here in Hip-Hop the dysfunctionality reward makes the money that puts food on many tables.

Its time, because I hear too many excuses. I wont allow what’s in the USA f**k up what I and others worked hard to instill. I drive a ’94 Montero, a ’97 Acura, and have no expensive jewelry. There is nothing on this planet materially that is better than myself. This is what I instill in many doing Hip-Hop that nothing is greater than what is given.  These games of people doing anything to get things has seeped into my way so therefore witness some radical virtual things coming from me in protecting the art-form of Hip-Hop.

Never have so many been pimped by so few.

So, I’m going after the few.

I’m tired of it.

Chuck D from CaPEtown, South Africa.

Public Enemy’s 71st Tour
6th Leg of a Fear Of A Black Plan Tour

Chuck D is an emcee, author, producer and civic leader, among other things. He also happens to front a legendary, revolutionary rap group called Public Enemy. Public Enemy is renown for their politically charged lyrics, frenetic production style and penchant for shaking up the power structure.

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