20 Years Ago the Infamous Sister Souljah Moment Occured -We Look Back

I was just reminded via tweet by Dr Goddess out Pittsburgh and Gwen Ifill of PBS that today is the 20th Anniversary of the infamous Sister Souljah Moment. For those unfamiliar with the term.. It’s a political strategy in which a politician makes public repudiation of an ‘extremist’ person or group, statement, or position perceived to have some association with the politician or the politician’s party. It’s designed to show that the politician is not beholden to anyone, is unafraid and willing to stand up to so-called special interest groups.

The Sister Souljah Moment finds it origins in 1992 when former President Bill Clinton was campaigning and decided he wanted to appeal to blue color voters, independents and soccer moms who seemed to be apprehensive about Clinton’s connection to Black folks, in particular Reverend Jesse Jackson. He figured the best way to reach those voters was to show up at Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition convention and publicly smash on him and create some distance.

Clinton’s people were looking for a good excuse and found it in the form of Sista Souljah who was invited to speak at the same convention.. Souljah in an interview about the Rodney King/ LA Uprisings that occurred earlier that year was quoted as saying ‘If Black people kill Black people every day, why not have a week and kill white people?’.. her remarks were connected to a much longer response and in full context makes sense, but isolated subjected her to criticism.

Souljah also had a song out called The Final Solution: Slavery’s back in Effect where she said ‘If there are any good white people, I haven’t met them’…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcWgPEUT_x0

Bill Clinton

The Clinton team used those two situations to basically embarrass Jackson at his own convention. During his speech Clinton remarked; “If you took the words ‘white’ and ‘black,’ and you reversed them, you might think David Duke was giving that speech,” referring to Sista Souljah..

This set off a fire storm and angered Jesse who tried to come back at Clinton by explaining that  Souljah was misquoted and her overall sentiments represent the feeling of an entire generation of people, many who feel alienated, but damage was already done. Jackson was rebuffed and Clinton sent a strong message to his centrist voters that he was capable and more than willing to put Black folks in their place.. This soon became known as the Sista Souljah moment and political pundits look for those opportunities where a politicians takes a bold stance against his party..

Clinton was able to maintain this facade of being unafraid, because the media went out of their way to ignore Sista Souljah who had no problem speaking her mind and putting folks in check.. She put out a statement to bashed back on Clinton and let folks know that in spite of folks fondly calling him the first Black president,  he wasn’t all that friendly and was more than willing to throw Black folks under the bus to appeal to skittish white voters..

Lastly one can’t look at the Sister Souljah moment without noting the long history of this country resurrecting Black boogeymen to scare white voters or appease them..During the Presidential campaign prior to Bill Clinton in 1988, George Bush sr brought to life Willie Horton, which led to him defeating Gov Dukakis   During Clinton’s presidency, the spectre of the Black welfare queen help him push through welfare reform..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EC9j6Wfdq3o

Last week during the Recall election in Wisconsin, we saw lots of white voters go against their interest after Gov Scott Walker suggested that him being recalled would lead to all of Wisconsin becoming like Milwaukee, meaning Black folks would be everywhere. We can take this all the way back to the turn of the 20th century where we had the movie Birth of a Nation which depicted stereotypical images of Blacks played by whites in Blackface ruining the government. and chasing white women.. This led to the popularity o and rise of the Ku Klux Klan who were shown as heroes in this land mark film..

Below is Sister Souljah’s statement

SISTER SOULJAH STATEMENT

Sister Souljah

Peace. I stand before you today feeling very confident, steadfast and powerful; at the same time, I am surprised, that I as a young African woman, have impacted and effected the development of not only national politics, but international politics as well. It is very shocking to me that in a time of American economic recession, and inner city urban chaos, Democratic presidential contender Bill Clinton has chosen to attack not the issues, but a young African woman who is very well educated, alcohol free, drug free and a successful self employed businesswoman, and community servant.

Considerable time has been spent debating whether America should take seriously the words of a rap artist, or so called entertainers. Let me clarify for the press who I am – I am Sister Souljah; rapper, activist, organizer, and lecturer. I was born in the Bronx, New York, spent the earlier part of my life there, was raised by my mother, was on and off the welfare system for approximately 15 years, lived in government subsidized housing and was classified by sociologists as being in the under class-meaning living below the poverty line in a vicious cycle of poverty that America says one can not break out of. I supplemented my education in the White American school system by reading African history, which was intentionally left out of the curriculum of American students. By doing so, I was able to become the well-balanced, reassured woman that I am now. While in high school, I was a Legislative intern at the House of Representatives for the Republican party. I was a winner of the American Legion’s Constitutional Oratory Contest, attended Cornell University’s Advanced Placement Summer Session, and entered Rutgers University. I attended the University of Salamanca’s Study Abroad program in Salamance, Spain, worked at a medical center in Zimbabwe, visited Mozambiquan refugee camps and traveled throughout the Southern African region. I have also visited and lectured in the former Soviet Union, England, France, Portugal, Finland and Holland.

Moreover, at Rutgers I was a well known writer and political commentator for the university newspaper. I attended church in the Bronx in New York City, where my great grandmother was the pastor. She died this year at age 92. While finishing at Rutgers University, I was offered a job by Rev. Benjamin F. Chavis of the United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice, which is a church sponsored civil rights firm. I developed, organized and financed, through hip-hop music, a sleep away summer camp called the African Youth Survival Camp for children of homeless families and ran it successfully for 3 years, thus leaving Rutgers one semester prior to graduation. I have spoken on the same platform with Jesse Jackson, Minister Louis Farrakkan, Rev. Ben Chavis, Rev. Calvin Butts and Nelson Mandela.

As you can see I am no newcomer to the world of politics. I am mentally, spiritually, physically, emotionally, intellectually and academically developed and acutely aware of the condition of African people throughout the entire world.

My album “360 Degrees of Power” is an amalgamation of all of my thoughts, personal, and professional experiences here in America. My album was produced by Eric Sadler, one of the producers who created the music for Public Enemy, Ice-Cube and others. Any person who purchases my album will have a full understanding of what I think and believe, although it was designed specifically with the African community in mind. I was certain that Bill Clinton was unfamiliar with me, my development and work, musical and otherwise. He chose to comment without any investigation whatsoever based on an interview in an ultra conservative newspaper, The Washington Post, which is about as familiar with the experiences of Africans in America, inner city youth, and hip-hop, as Bill Clinton is. I however, did not fail to do my research and my research reveals the following indictment of Bill Clinton’s integrity:

1) Bill Clinton is a draft-dodger who wrote in a letter “Thank you…for saving me from the draft” and then asserts regularly that he supports military force when necessary, especially against Communism. He, therefore, feels it’s alright to send your son to fight wars when he himself would not fight for the principals he SAYS he believes in.

2) Bill Clinton talks of morality but admits that he was a reefer smoker who does not inhale. Sister Soujah has never smoked reefer or any other drug.

3) Bill Clinton says he believes in a strong family unit but could never quite get his own personal and social behavior together. His treatment and dismissal of Jennifer Flowers is indicative of how he relieves himself from his personal responsibility and created an emotionally abusive environment to Jennifer Flowers. He seems to feel comfortable attacking and alienating women for his own shortcomings.

4) Bill Clinton says that Sister Souljah is a racist like David Duke, a well known ex-Klan member and White supremist, but was a member in an all White segregated club up until this year.

5) Bill Clinton portrays himself as compassionate, yet he supports giving prisoners lobotomies, removing sections of the brain.

6) Bill Clinton takes shots at Dan Quayle’s intellectual feasibility yet he has not presented America with any substantive, comprehensive agenda around economic development, foreign policy, budget containment or social policy.

7) Bill Clinton says he is not a racist but he tries to distance himself from Jesse Jackson – a candidate who has registered more voters, served the interest of poor Blacks, poor Whites, poor Latinos, unions, laborers and farmers and by experience, intellect, and charisma, is far more qualified for the job.

Therefore, we can conclude that Bill Clinton lacks integrity at painting himself as a staunch patriot, a people’s servant, a compassionate liberal, a family man, a pro-woman candidate and a coherent scholar. Sister Souljah, on the other hand, was used as a vehicle, like Willie Horton, and various other Black victims. A poor excuse for an AGENDA-LESS candidate.

Sister Souljah does not own a gun, has not shot or killed anyone, did not invade Grenada, Panama, Nicaragua, Kuwait or Angola. Sister Souljah has never ordered the National Guard into anyone’s community and has not made drug deals with Noriega. Sister Souljah has never been a member of a terrorist organization, has no history of crime, has not burned crosses on anybody’s lawn or lynched or hanged White people from trees. Sister Souljah has not systematically denied people the right to study and enjoy their culture in the so-called public education system. Sister Souljah did not send Haitians back to Haiti as though they were sub-human. Sister Souljah did not kill the native Indians under the guise of friendship. Sister Souljah did not cause or inspire police brutality, did not beat Rodney King, or shoot Phillip Panell and never shot and killed a little White girl in the head for stealing orange juice and let her murderer go free. Sister Souljah did not vote on the Simi Valley jury and let criminal cops free. Sister Souljah did not create the economic conditions of South Central L.A. or any other urban area for that matter, and did not create an environment of insecurity that forced people into gangs.

Therefore, we can conclude that Sister Souljah is not a racist. Neither Sister Souljah nor any other African leader in this world has the power to collectively and systematically beat down and destroy European people, White people deny it all, refuse to discuss it, silence, intimidate and harass those that take a stand and fight back. Yes, I am angry, which means that I am sane. Only an undereducated and misguided African person would not be angry at the racist White transgressions of this society.

The context in which my statements were made in the Washington Post was this, and I paraphrase speaking in the mind-set and in the mind of a gang member: Were you surprised at what happened in L.A.? No, I was not, White people should not have been surprised either; they knew that Black people were dying everyday in the streets of Los Angeles to gang violence created by poverty and social chaos, but they did not care. If young Black men in L.A. would kill their own kind, their own Brothers and Sisters, what would make White people think they wouldn’t kill them too? Do White people think they’re better, or is it that White death means so much more than Black death?

Breaking it down, this means injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. As Sister Souljah, I reserve the right to fight against White racism–I have not ordered anyone to kill anyone. My album creates pressure on White America–a lot of pressure, and pressure is what America needs, deserves, and inherited–no justice, no peace.

http://www.theroc.org/roc-mag/textarch/roc-09/roc09-07.htm

 

Wyclef Jean Shot in Haiti-Aristide Returns

With the madness going on in Japan and now Libya many of us have forgotten that neighboring Haiti is still in shambles.  First there’s an election run off for President. The last election was marred with accusations of fraud which resulted in widespread violence. The emerging candidates is Wyclef Jean‘s former rival Michel Martelly, 50, is a singer and entertainer known to his fans as “Sweet Micky“. He’s running against a 70 year old former first lady Mirlande Manigat.

Second, the election has become even more complicated because former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide returned to Haiti over the weekend after a 7 year exile. Why is this important? Because it marks the return of man who headed Haiti’s largest political party the Lavalas. That party has not been allowed to partake in Haiti elections primarily because they were not deemed favorable by US corporations and then George W Bush when help orchestrate a coup in 2004 which resulted in Aristide being ousted.

Folks should know Aristide was seen as a President who supported the poor and wanted to raise minimum wage. Sadly this was a coup supported by Wyclef Jean and his ambassador uncle Raymond Joseph.

Aristide has already denounced the elections as a sham.

As for Wyclef, He’s been back in Haiti stomping for his former  rival Michael Martelly. He was shot in his guitar playing hand. He was released from the hospital and is doing well.. There’s been no word on the assailants.

For those who want more indepth understanding on Aristide’s turbulent relationship with the US particularly under Bush and Clinton.. read the following article from investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill

Bill Clinton

In September 1991, the US backed the violent overthrow of the government of Haiti’s democratically-elected leftist priest President Jean Bertrand Aristide after he was in power less than a year. Aristide had defeated a US-backed candidate in the 1990 Haitian presidential election. The military coup leaders and their paramilitary gangs of CIA-backed murderous thugs, including the notorious FRAPH paramilitary units, were known for hacking the limbs off of Aristide supporters (and others) along with an unending slew of other horrifying crimes.

When Clinton came to power, he played a vicious game with Haiti that allowed the coup regime to continue rampaging Haiti and further destabilized the country. What’s more, in the 1992 election campaign, Bill Clinton campaigned on a pledge to reverse what he called then-President George HW Bush’s “cruel policy” of holding Haitian refugees at Guantanamo with no legal rights in US courts. Upon his election, however, Clinton reversed his position and sided with the Bush administration in denying the Haitians legal rights. the Haitians were held in atrocious conditions and the new Democratic president was sued by the Center for Constitutional Rights (sound familiar?).

While Clinton and his advisers publicly expressed their dismay with the coup, they simultaneously refused to support the swift reinstatement of the country’s democratically elected leader and would, in fact, not allow Aristide’s return until Washington received guarantees that: 1. Aristide would not lay claim to the years of his presidency lost in forced exile and; 2. US neoliberal economic plans were solidified as the law of the land in Haiti.

“The Clinton administration was credited for working for the return to power of Jean Bertrand Aristide after he was overthrown in a military coup,” says author William Blum. “But, in fact, Clinton had stalled the return for as long as he could, and had instead tried his best to return anti-Aristide conservatives to a leading power role in a mixed government, because Aristide was too leftist for Washington’s tastes.” Blum’s book “Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II” includes a chapter on the history of the US role in Haiti.

The fact that the coup against the democratically-elected president of Haiti was allowed to continue unabated for three full years seemed to be less offensive to Clinton than Aristide’s progressive vision for Haiti. As Blum observed in his book, “[Clinton] was not actually repulsed by [coup leader Raoul] Cédras and company, for they posed no ideological barrier to the United States continuing the economic and strategic control of Haiti it’s maintained for most of the century.  Unlike Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a man who only a year earlier had declared: ‘I still think capitalism is a mortal sin.’”

Blum added: “Faced ultimately with Aristide returning to power, Clinton demanded and received — and then made sure to publicly announce — the Haitian president’s guarantee that he would not try to remain in office to make up for the time lost in exile. Clinton of course called this ‘democracy,’ although it represented a partial legitimization of the coup.” Indeed, Haiti experts say that Clinton could have restored Aristide to power under an almost identical arrangement years earlier than he did.

continue reading http://rebelreports.com/post/109822009/bill-clinton-named-new-un-envoy-to-stabilize-haiti-a

An Interview w/ David Banner-Contrasting Katrina and Haiti Recovery Efforts

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Click HERE to Listen

With all eyes on Haiti and the horrific devastation that has taken place there, it was natural for many to think back to how government officials and leaders handled recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane’s Katrina, Rita and Ike and see what lessons could be gleaned as we move forward with Haiti. Within our generation, one of the first people who came to mind was popular rap star/producer/ actor  David Banner. Best known for hit records like ‘Cadillac on 22s’, ‘Like a Pimp’ and ‘Play’, Banner is better known for the heroic efforts he put forth in the recovery efforts that took place in Mississippi after Katrina. So much so that he was awarded a prestigious Visionary Award by the National Black Caucus of the State Legislature.

In 2005 Banner was on a roll and was at the height of his career. ‘Play‘ was a number one record, his soon to be released album ‘Certified‘  was anticipated to be a huge success and the doors to Hollywood were starting to open.  Banner was on tour when Katrina hit. He immediately suspended all operations and turned his tour buses into rescue vehicles. Banner personally delivered water, clothing and food to those in need, spending tens of thousands of dollars of his own money…Ironically this caused tension between him and his record label because Banner stopped promoting his much anticipated album when appearing on popular media outlets like MTV or BET  and instead talked about relief efforts and what fans could do to help Katrina victims.

David Banner

As Banner often pointed out, New Orléans went through her immense suffering and death by the destructions of the levees which flooded the city and not the Hurricane itself which by the time it hit was downgraded from a category 5 to 3.  It was his native Mississippi that experienced Katrina at level 5 and bore the resulting devastation half way through the state.  The horrors suffered by Mississippi has not really been spoken about or fully documented. But Banner saw it all and was on the ground helping out just days after. He is still helping out in recovery efforts to this day..

When we sat down to talk with David  Banner, he explained that Haiti has been going through earthquakes ever since she freed herself from slavery and established that country.  She’s gone through economic and political earthquakes caused by the policies of our government including some put forth by George Bush and Bill Clinton who are heading up recovery efforts now. It’s like they were sent to finish a job they started. 

 Banner cautioned that all of us need to keep an eye on and be careful about the people and organizations we send our money. He reminded listeners that many of the recovery agencies involved with Katrina  made money and pimped the victims. He sees and hears many of the same troubling behavior with Haiti. Banner also recounted his own experience of seeing lots of money coming into organizations and it not being delivered to the people. He noted he saw how food and clothes that he brought to these organizations were taken away from poor parts of town and delivered to places where people were a little bit more well to do.. This is a complaint we are hearing over and over in Haiti.

Click HERE to listen to David Banner Interview

Banner also talked about all the money and opportunities that were granted when it came time to rebuild. He cautioned that we should all pay attention to the contracts being given out in Haiti, because after Katrina many of the people who were displaced and lost their homes did not get opportunities to work on the rebuilding. Banner said companies like Halliburton made tons of money while people most in need were left with nothing.

Banner also talked about the psychological damage that victims of Katrina had to endure. He explained that while people were still in shock after seeing a loved one drowned, eating by alligators or seeing their homes and personal effects destroyed, unscrupulous developers flooded the areas offering to buy people’s home for cheap and turn the areas into mini Las Vegas with expensive homes popping up and poor people being permanently displaced.

Banner said the solution to all this is for us in Black America to be prepared and understand Katrina and Haiti will happen again.  He said we will see some sort of catastrophe happen and that we need to be preparing ourselves now, because at the end of the day we’re gonna have to help ourselves..

We concluded by noting how fellow artists like Nelly, T.I. and Young Jeezy came to Banner’s help when he ran into road blocks and red tape by the government who tried to put all sorts of restrictions on the way he could help his own community. He talked about how his Heal the Hood foundation got hit with all sorts of red tape and that Nelly came along and absorbed Banners charity into his and helped him get all the paper work correct.

You can hear the full interview HERE

http://www.swift.fm/mrdaveyd/song/21400/

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