Recent Posts

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 10
A-Friends Cafe / Re: Black History
« Last post by Mystic1 on May 23, 2015, 11:33 PM »
I was wandering around Youtube (As, I confess, has become a bit of an addiction of late.) and I began to listen to Langston Hughes. I came across the poet reciting his poem Mulatto and I resolved to post it here. As is also a habit, I began to research the subject and, well, as so often happens, I got caught up in the history. Now I know this particular subject has been covered numerous times in the past. But I hadn't covered it myself. While I can't speak from a practical point of view, not having experienced it personally, I can (I hope) however, speak from a strictly poetic and historical perspective.

mulatto (n.)

1590s, "offspring of a European and a black African," from Spanish or Portuguese mulato "of mixed breed," literally "young mule," from mulo "mule," from Latin mulus (fem. mula) "mule" (see mule (n.1)); possibly in reference to hybrid origin of mules. As an adjective from 1670s. Fem. mulatta is attested from 1620s; mulattress from 1805.

American culture, even in its most rigidly segregated precincts, is patently and irrevocably composite. It is, regardless of all the hysterical protestations of those who would have it otherwise, incontestibly mulatto. Indeed, for all their traditional antagonisms and obvious differences, the so-called black and so-called white people of the United States resemble nobody else in the world so much as they resemble each other. [Albert Murray, "The Omni-Americans: Black Experience & American Culture," 1970]

Old English had sunderboren "born of disparate parents."

Langston Hughes reads Mulatto


I am your son, white man!

Georgia dusk
And the turpentine woods.
One of the pillars of the temple fell.

You are my son!
Like Hell!

The moon over the turpentine woods.
The Southern night
Full of stars,
Great big yellow stars.

What’s a body but a toy?

Juicy bodies
Of nigger wenches
Blue black
Against black fences.
O, you little bastard boy,
What’s a body but a toy?

The scent of pine wood stings the soft night air.

What’s the body of your mother?

Silver moonlight everywhere.

What’s the body of your mother?

Sharp pine scent in the evening air.

A nigger night,
A nigger joy,
A little yellow
Bastard boy. Naw, you ain’t my brother.
Niggers ain’t my brother.
Not ever.
Niggers ain’t my brother.

The Southern night is full of stars,
Great big yellow stars.

O, sweet as earth,
Dusk dark bodies
Give sweet birth

To little yellow bastard boys.

Git on back there in the night,
You ain’t white.

The bright stars scatter everywhere.
Pine wood scent in the evening air.

A nigger night,
A nigger joy. I am your son, white man!
A little yellow
Bastard boy.

From: Fine Clothes To The Jew 1927

The speaker tells the white man that he (the speaker) is his son. The white man responds,

You are my son!
Like Hell!

The moon rises over the woods and the Southern evening is filled with huge yellow stars. The father claims that the body is only a toy, describes the bodies of

nigger wenches

battered and bruised, up against a fence. He addresses the speaker, calling him a bastard and saying that he, too, is just a toy.

The moonlight is silver and the night is filled with the scent of pine. The speaker asks,

What’s the body of your mother?

It is a
nigger night,
A nigger joy,

and he is

"a little yellow bastard boy."

In response, a white boy rejects the idea of being the speaker's brother, claiming

"niggers ain't my brother."

The Southern evening is filled with stars. On the sweet Earth,

dusk dark

women’s bodies give birth

'To little yellow' bastard boys."

The stars and the scent of pines are everywhere. It is a

nigger night,
A nigger joy,

the speaker says, and ends the poem by repeating,

"I am your son, white man!
A little yellow
Bastard boy.

This is one of Hughes’ most intense and incisive poems. It contains extremely potent imagery and thematic content, addressing the cultural role of biracial children in segregated America, father/son relationships, and the enduring legacy of slavery. "Mulatto" appeared as part of Fine Clothes to the Jew, a collection of Hughes' poetry that was published in 1925. Hughes writes from the voice of several different characters, and the structure of the poem (written in free verse.) is the key to understanding which character speaks which lines.

Hughes was not the only poet to write a poem about biracial children. In fact, Festus Claudius "Claude" McKay, a Jamaican-American poet and author, published a sonnet with a similar title sometime earlier (I couldn’t pin down an exact date) between two and five years before Hughes collection was released.

The Mulatto

Claude McKay

Because I am the white man's son - his own,
Bearing his bastard birth-mark on my face,
I will dispute his title to his throne,
Forever fight him for my rightful place.
There is a searing hate within my soul,
A hate that only kin can feel for kin,
A hate that makes me vigorous and whole,
And spurs me on unceasingly to win.
Because I am my cruel father's child,
My love of justice stirs me up to hate,
A warring Ishmaelite, unreconciled,
When falls the hour I shall not hesitate,
Into my father's heart to plunge the knife,
To gain the utmost freedom that is life.

In McKay's poem, the biracial protagonist is anguished, tortured, and prone to violent thoughts about his white father. He thinks the only way to achieve catharsis is to murder the man and then create himself anew. Meanwhile, Robert Paul Lamb's writing on Hughes’ “Mulatto” has practically created and heavily informs popular critical discourse on the poem. Lamb believes that Hughes’ narrator “finds a way to defeat his adversary and assume a Self-hood that is not merely reactive. In effect, he disarms and creates..”

Langston Hughes' parents were both 'mostly' black, but his grandfathers each had Cherokee and French blood. Hughes' father was profoundly ashamed of his race and fled to Mexico to escape segregated life in the United States. As a result, Hughes' relationship with his father was painful and tortured, and the elder Hughes emphatically criticized his son's attempts to write poetry that celebrated his racial heritage. Thus, "Mulatto" contains some underlying biographical elements.

Hughes’ own travels to Africa and his experience as a jazz musician also informed his work, particularly in regards to the call-and-response structure, which Lamb deems “the single most centrally important tradition in African American culture.” Call-and-response originated in Central and West Africa, and slaves brought it to America. This “democratic participatory dynamic... melds the individual to the communal and innovation to tradition," Lamb writes, and it still appears frequently in African American cultural expressions, including gospel, jazz, blues, and hip-hop music. 

I am currently researching and compiling material for a continuation of the subject to be posted in the near future.

A-Friends Cafe / Re: Black History
« Last post by A-FRIEND on May 22, 2015, 01:49 PM »
So there is no difference in the way police interact with the black community and the white community?
Look at this picture. One shows how peaceful protesters are treated, the other shows how a known organized crime organization is treated after being involved in a deadly running gun battle?

I guess black people are making this up too.
A-Friends Cafe / Re: Black History
« Last post by A-FRIEND on May 21, 2015, 05:53 PM »
You really can’t have it both ways.

You cannot praise the Justice Department for, in effect, exonerating officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown—and argue how that report proves that the black community’s outrage over police racism was manufactured—and yet ignore the Department’s companion report (or even worse, criticize it as the work of “black radicals and Marxists”), which found a pattern of racist abuse on the part of the Ferguson P.D. over many years.
A-Friends Cafe / Re: Black History
« Last post by A-FRIEND on May 21, 2015, 05:52 PM »
Thanks G. Very informative.

I'm going to post that last youtube on my facebook. Very, very good explanation.
A-Friends Cafe / Re: Black History
« Last post by Mystic1 on May 21, 2015, 02:00 PM »
I live just 35 miles from Waco and you're right about the news coverage here. These 'white' bikers - yes they are a 'gang' - but they aren't being portrayed as 'thugs' and the incident wasn't a 'riot'. They are labeled as 'Organized Crime' i. e. 'The Mafia' and what happened is a  'Brawl' and a 'Tragedy', according to the news.

Original press conference:

Here are a couple of responses I found on Youtube:

Thug is the new N Word

White Biker Gangs - Black Gangs Media Bias:

Tim Black:

Texas Biker Massacre And Thug Culture

Alex Jones:

 Thug (n.) 1810, "member of a gang of murderers and robbers in India who strangled their victims," from Marathi thag, thak "cheat, swindler," Hindi thag, perhaps from Sanskrit sthaga-s "cunning, fraudulent," from sthagayati "(he) covers, conceals," perhaps from PIE root *(s)teg- (2) "to cover" (see stegosaurus).

The thugs roamed about the country in bands of from 10 to 100, usually in the disguise of peddlers or pilgrims, gaining the confidence of other travelers, whom they strangled, when a favorable opportunity presented itself, with a handkerchief, an unwound turban, or a noosed cord. The shedding of blood was seldom resorted to. The motive of the thugs was not so much lust of plunder as a certain religious fanaticism. The bodies of their victims were hidden in graves dug with a consecrated pickax, and of their spoil one third was devoted to the goddess Kali, whom they worshiped. [Century Dictionary]

The more correct Indian name is phanseegur (from phansi "noose"), and the activity was described in English as far back as c. 1665. Rigorously prosecuted by the British from 1831, they were driven from existence by century's end. Transferred sense of "ruffian, cutthroat, violent lowbrow" is from 1839.

Nigger (n.) 1786, earlier neger (1568, Scottish and northern England dialect), from French nègre, from Spanish negro (see Negro). From the earliest usage it was "the term that carries with it all the obloquy and contempt and rejection which whites have inflicted on blacks" [cited in Gowers, 1965, probably Harold R. Isaacs]. But as black inferiority was at one time a near universal assumption in English-speaking lands, the word in some cases could be used without deliberate insult. More sympathetic writers late 18c. and early 19c. seem to have used black (n.) and, after the American Civil War, colored person.

    "You're a fool nigger, and the worst day's work Pa ever did was to buy you," said Scarlett slowly. ... There, she thought, I've said "nigger" and Mother wouldn't like that at all. [Margaret Mitchell, "Gone With the Wind," 1936]

Also applied by English settlers to dark-skinned native peoples in India, Australia, Polynesia. The reclamation of the word as a neutral or positive term in black culture (not universally regarded as a worthwhile enterprise), often with a suggestion of "soul" or "style," is attested first in the U.S. South, later (1968) in the Northern, urban-based Black Power movement.

Used in combinations (such as nigger-brown) since 1840s for various dark brown or black hues or objects; euphemistic substitutions (such as Zulu) began to appear in these senses c. 1917. Brazil nuts were called nigger toes by 1896. Variant niggah, attested from 1925 (without the -h, from 1969), is found usually in situations where blacks use the word. Nigra (1944), on the other hand, in certain uses reflects a pronunciation of negro meant to suggest nigger, and is thus deemed (according to a 1960 slang dictionary) "even more derog[atory] than 'nigger.' " Slang phrase nigger in the woodpile attested by 1800; "A mode of accounting for the disappearance of fuel; an unsolved mystery" [R.H. Thornton, "American Glossary," 1912]. Nigger heaven "the top gallery in a (segregated) theater" first attested 1878 in reference to Troy, N.Y.

Is Racism Dead?
A-Friends Cafe / Re: Black History
« Last post by A-FRIEND on May 18, 2015, 02:49 PM »
1964 Oxford debate with Maclom X. Listen to it, put your self in Baltimore or maybe Ferguson, how about NYC or anywhere we have witnessed the racist brutality of the police against black people.
And let's be clear here. The killing of our young black men almost weekly is nothing more than systemic racism. I've recently posted several articles and examples that proves it, so I'm not going to apologise for saying the police are acting in a racist fashion when they deal with black people.
No I'm not going to have a running debate with the fools that want to somehow justify racist actions because there are justified actions as if they are the same thing.

Now remember this is 1964. Tell me why we are still having the same discussion today?
A-Friends Cafe / Re: Black History
« Last post by A-FRIEND on May 18, 2015, 12:09 PM »

Anybody see anywhere in this news article where these gangs are referred to as thugs?
Anybody see a militarized police response?
Anybody see in this news article where a call is being put out to send in the national guard to put down gangs that are in an actual live fire dispute?
Anybody see where all white people are being associated with this violence?
Anybody see a blanket condemnation for all white people from the Hannitys and Limbaughs?
Anybody see a constant looping of this over and over in the news calling all white people thug, criminals, uneducated with no family values?

You would and have seen every bit of what I asked if these people were black. Why is it you don't see it now?
Because these criminals are white, plain and simple.
This is a classic living example of the racist double standards the media uses when it reports on black crime as opposed to white crime.
A-Friends Cafe / Re: Black History
« Last post by A-FRIEND on May 17, 2015, 02:06 PM »
Do you want to know what being invisible sounds like? What?? You didn't know it had a sound? Well not only does being invisible have a sound, it has a culture, and it comes with deadly effects.

Read this, by now, very familiar news item. Clearly there is cause and effect here. But if you're invisible what does cause and effect mean your life? Nothing. Why? Because if you're invisible you can't be seen or heard, so of course one doesn't have to listen to any facts, listen to you or pay attention to any consequences that may emanate from your invisibility.

See it for yourself. Read the article, pay heed to what and why this action is taking place, then read the comments. This is what being invisible looks like. Then ask yourself if you think black people have a right to be mad.
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 10