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

 

Killer Mike is a NRA Member, Says Black People Need Be Stockpiling Guns to Fight Domestic Terror

Killer Mike is one of my favorite artists, because he’s willing to speak truth to power with passion and conviction. Unlike many of his mainstream counterparts, Mike is willing to tackle important social issues and put it in his music..We saw him do that in songs like The Pressure w/ Ice Cube and the the song Burnwhere he had compelling videos..that captured the hearts  and minds of those who have long felt disenfranchised and voiceless.

The other day he sat down with Sway of MTV and expressed his anger with Reverend Jesse Jackson. He was upset that Jesse was directing people to lobby congress to get rid of assault rifles..He felt that Jesse who was speaking out on the back of the Trayvon Martin tragedy. He noted that Trayvon wasn’t killed by an assault rifle and that most people who die are killed by handguns not assault rifles.

Killer Mike said we shouldnt be banning assault rifles, we as Black folks should be stockpiling them and arming ourselves more. He noted that we should have  Black men at every corner who are armed, not just to protect ourselves against the George Zimmerman‘s of the world, but also to make sure our daughters aren’t being harassed by thugs on the corner as they go to school.

You can peep the video HERE

http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:uma:video:mtv.com:753924/cp~vid%3D753924%26uri%3Dmgid%3Auma%3Avideo%3Amtv.com%3A753924

During his interview Killer Mike  also noted that we as a Black community need to get back to a point where we not only protect ourselves from fake authority figures, but also know how to survive on our own in case of mass blackouts or any other situation where we no longer have electricity and the modern comforts of life. In short, he talked about how important it is for all of us to know how to fish, hunt and survive the land. He said every family member needs to know how to handle themselves and be familiar with guns.

Killer Mike noted that we are under terrorist attack and we need to be protecting ourselves. He said its a damn shame that Black men as old as Dick Gregory to men his own age and little boys as young as 10 are afraid of the police when we see them.. He said no other group until recently with Arab-Americans after 9-11 has been subjected to that sort of terror.

Killer Mike during his interview noted that he recently joined Al Sharpton‘s organization National Action Network and he’s member of the NRA.. That remark drew a lot of raised eyebrows, primarily because the NRA is a lobbying arm that has long supported causes that have led to further eroding of rights and eventual suppression of Black folks.. Someone was upset and even posted a video where Malcolm X speaks to this issue.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3oLTy0C4MA

This just in.. Killer Mike upon seeing this article responded in the comment section.. Here’s his take on the video..and the NRA

This Is Killer Mike. I joined the NRA as a Public display that WE as BLACKS can use that organization to “Protect” our 2cd amendment rights also. I think it be more important to stop blacks from joining the 700 club but, I digress. Here is why i joined.

My Father was a Cop. He taught me Gun Safety and has in his life been a member also. It’s about using every resource available at your disposal to ensure we can have the full American Experience. The NRA offers many classes on Gun safety and gun owner responsibility and rights. These are things all Gun owners need to know. In short their practicality for advancing safe gun ownership and rights out weigh their political stance because Black NEED that knowledge in the NOW.

WE HAVE NO BLACK NRA and until we do i will continue to use the organization that my white counter parts use to “Protect” them against law makers infringing upon 2cd Amendment rights. I hunt and Fish. I shot with my father and wife. My kids will begin shooting this year. I am glad that I have an organization that has programs and classes for all of us to use at our disposal.

Malcolm has a grand idea and I will be asking my black friends to join me in organizing a shooting club.

Salute and Love.

On a side note.. the way this conversation with Killer Mike has been framed is he is angry with Black leadership..I disagree, Killer Mike is angry with Jesse Jackson and at this point in time when you are over 30, have kids and a platform to speak to the masses you are also Black leadership. Many of the old guard i.e Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and others were all leaders in their community at young ages. They were folks barely out of their teens and in their early 20s. We saw this with many of the leaders in SNCC, The Black Panthers and numerous other organizations.

We can no longer be upset with 60 and 70 year old men who we call Black leadership as if we aren’t able to go out and help craft solutions and implement them.. This doesn’t mean we have to go and reinvent the wheel or be in some sort of competition, but at a date and time where there is so much need in our respective hoods, there’s no excuse for us not to be out there filling the voids and being ‘leaders’ in our own right.. We should be helping fortify or building institutions and not be to be tripping too hard with elders in our community. We can definitely disagree. We can and should debate. But again at this stage in the game we should all be helping lead those who are coming up behind us..and be factors in our respective communities.

Today December 4th We Remember Chairman Fred Hampton-Killed by the FBI and Chicago Police

“I am … a revolutionary” was the rallying cry of Chairman Fred Hampton, a leader so powerful that he could draw tens of thousands on a moment’s notice and therefore such a threat to the system that he was assassinated at the age of only 21, on Dec. 4, 1969. – Photo: Paul Sequeira

Today December 4th  2010, many in our generation and community will note this was the day rap star Jay-Z was born 41 years ago. His birth will be celebrated, people will shout him out and his success will be a symbol of our collective achievement. Thats a good thing. We should always give props to those making moves among us.

What will not be noted by many in our generation and for that matter many in previous generations will be the vicious and deliberate death of 21 year old Chairman Fred Hampton..and Mark Clark. Fred was the leader of the Chicago Black Panther Party which was the largest chapter.

Chairman Fred was man decades ahead of his time. He’s the one who started the original Rainbow Coalition where he united and formed effective coalitions with whites, Black, Brown,  Yellow and Red peoples. Here was man that was actively working to politicize and work with the local gangs to help advance our people. here was a man who used a cadence and style of call and response speech later made famous by Jesse Jackson. Today we hear Jesse say ‘I am … Somebody’.. Back in the days you heard Fred say ”I am..a Revolutionary‘.

What won’t be remembered is that the deaths of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark came at the hands of the racist Chicago Police department and the FBI through its cointel-program. On this day December 4th we hope don’t forget.. 41 years later Justice has not been served.

Davey D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UstROPm3Ezw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNYuSBXUo6g&feature=player_embedded

This article was written by former Black Panther and editor of the Black Agenda Report Bruce Dixon it was for last year’s (2009) 40th commemoration of Chairman Fred Hampton‘s Death

Remembering Fred Hampton

by bruce Dixon

http://blackagendareport.com/?q=content/remembering-fred-hampton-40-years-later

Bruce Dixon

I remember Fred Hampton.  For the last year of his life, which was the whole time I knew him, he was Deputy Chairman of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party.  Fred was a big man whose inexhaustible energy, keen insight and passionate commitment to the struggle made him seem even larger still.  We called him Chairman Fred.  Chairman Fred was murdered by the FBI and Chicago Police Department in the pre-dawn hours of December 4, 1969.  He was just 21 years old.  Fred’s family and comrades mourned him for a little while and have celebrated his life of struggle, service, intensity and sacrifice ever since.

For such a short life there is much to celebrate.  A gifted communicator and natural leader, Fred was organizing other high school students at the age of 15.  Though a brilliant student, Fred passed up the chance to attend some elite college, the straight road to some lucrative and prestigious career.  Inspired by examples from the civil rights movement to anti-colonial struggles in Vietnam and Africa, Fred chose instead to live and work on the West Side of Chicago and devote all his talents and energies to ending the oppression of woman and man by man, helping to organize and lead the Black Panther Party in Chicago.

Chairman Fred led by example.  He had high standards and challenged all those in his orbit to get up as early, to read as much, and to work and study as hard and as productively as he did.  I never saw anybody meet that challenge for long, but he made us want to keep trying.  Fred sought out principled critiques of his own practices, and taught us the vital role of constructing, receiving and acting on such criticism in building a sound organization.

Fred assumed a lead role in organizing the party’s Breakfast for Children program, in which we solicited donations of food and facilities and provided or recruited the labor to serve free hot breakfasts to children on the way to school in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods where local authorities assured us that no hunger problem existed.  Not long afterward the city of Chicago began using federal funds to provide hot breakfasts to children in lower income neighborhoods across the city.  Fred worked with the Medical Committee for Human Rights to open the Black Panther Party’s free medical clinic on the West Side of Chicago where authorities again solemnly declared there were no shortage of such services.  And again, not long afterward the Chicago Board of Health was persuaded of the need to open a network of clinics providing free and low-cost services in the city’s poorer areas.

Chairman Fred Hampton

Fred reached out to work with the Young Lords Organization in Chicago’s Puerto Rican community, and to a group of  white working class youth who called themselves the Young Patriots.  He made time to speak to and with student groups in high schools and colleges all over Chicago and the surrounding area.  He organized community surveys to get snapshots of the actual and perceived needs of some neighborhoods.  1969 was well before the epidemics of powdered and crack cocaine put large and permanently corrupting sums of money into the hands of gang leaders.  Fred was instrumental in crafting a principled approach not just to individual members but to the rank and file and leaderships of black Chicago’s two major street gangs to put aside their differences and work for the good of the entire community.  His efforts met with some initial success, and earned him some extra special attention from the FBI.

There was much more, really an awful lot going on for a young man of 20 or 21, all the more amazing as most members of the organization he led were a year or two or three younger than Fred.  Despite arrests and threats of imprisonment or death hanging over him, Fred persevered and challenged us to do the same.  He was impatient with injustice, as the finest young people of every age always are.  Fred was animated, almost consumed by a love for our people and for all of humanity and determined to do whatever it took to end the exploitation of woman and man by man.

Times do change and the mechanisms of oppression evolve into new forms.  Political organizations and strategic visions crafted for the needs of one era do not make the grade in another.  If Fred was alive today he’d be a grandfather in his sixties.  It’s impossible to know exactly how he’d be doing but there is no doubt that Fred would still be teaching and learning and inspiring, still tirelessly organizing and struggling in the great cause of human liberation.

Chairman Fred called us to a lifetime of service to humanity.  If we weren’t doing something revolutionary, Fred told us many times, we should not even bother to remember him.  So, forty years on and counting, we continue to work hard to be worthy of his memory.

This is Bruce Dixon, for Black Agenda Radio. Find us on the web atwww.blackagendareport.com.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6CEaS0PBhc&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KF9xycQITo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DzzFEeHot8&feature=related

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