Adonis Diaries

Archive for June 16th, 2016

America’s Forgotten Mass Lynching? hundreds in a single day?

In 1919, after the end of World War I, Black sharecroppers in Arkansas began to unionize.

This attempt to form unions, triggered white vigilantism and mass killings, that left 237 Blacks dead.

Towards the end of 1918, attorney Ulysses S. Bratton of Little Rock, Arkansas listened to Black sharecroppers tell stories of theft, exploitation, and never ending debt.

One man by the name of Carter, explained how he cultivated 90 acres of cotton and then had his landlord confiscate the crop and all of his possessions. Another Black farmer, from Ratio, Arkansas said a plantation manager would not give sharecroppers an itemized record of their crop.

No one realized that within a year of meeting with Mr. Bratton, one of the worst incidents of racial violence in U.S. would take place.

In a report released by the Equal Justice Initiative, white people in the Delta region of the South, started a massacre that left 237 Black people dead. Even though the one-time death toll was unusually high, it was not uncommon for whites to use racial violence to intimidate Blacks.

Mr. Bratton represented the deprived sharecroppers who became members of a new union, the Progressive Farmers and Household Union of America. The new union was founded by a Black Delta native named Robert Hill.

With no prior organizing experience, all Robert Hill had going for him was ambition. Mr. Hill said “the union wants to know why it is that the laborers cannot control their just earnings which they work for,” as he asked Black sharecroppers to each persuade 25 new members to join a lodge.

Rania Masri shared a link.
blackwestchester.com|By Black Westchester Magazine

The white elites of the region understood that the only way they could maintain their economic prosperity was to exploit Black sharecroppers and laborers.

A well-to-do Northerner, E.M. “Mort” Allen, came to Arkansas and founded a new town called Elaine, which became a hub for the lucrative lumber industry.

Mort Allen said the “Southern men can handle the negroes all right and peaceably,” but peaceable techniques were far from what was used to destroy the sharecroppers’ union. In an attempt to disrupt a union meeting, a white landowner was shot and killed.

The sharecroppers braced for reprisals that were sure to come and formed self-defense forces. The local sheriff, Frank Kitchens, deputized a large white militia that was headquartered at the county courthouse. In the end, 237 Black people were killed because they wanted fair compensation for the crops they harvested.

No one was ever charged or any trials held for anyone that took part in the mass lynching.

The basis for these heinous crimes was the reassertion of white supremacy after veterans returned home from World War I.

The white militias wanted to send a message that they were going to keep the Blacks in their ‘place.’ But what made 1919 unique, was the willingness and fortitude, of the Black sharecroppers and their community to engage in armed resistance against white oppression.

There’s nowt wrong with dialects, nothing broke ass about slang

Policing children’s language encourages them to think nonstandard English is substandard. Linguistic diversity should be celebrated, not banned

Language use is one of the last places where prejudice remains socially acceptable.

It can even have official approval, as we see in attempts to suppress slang and dialects at school. Most recently, Ongar Academy in Essex launched a project to discourage students from using words like ain’t, geezer, whatever, like, and literally.

We’ve been here before. Schools across the country have outlawed inoffensive words, with some asking parents to “correct” children at home.

Slang, regionalisms, and colloquialisms are typical usages objected to, with occasional spelling errors thrown in as though somehow equivalent. The only thing uniting them is that they’re not considered standard or sufficiently formal.

Banning words is not a sound educational strategy.

As Michael Rosen points out, schools have been trying this for more than 100 years to no avail.

Research shows that gradual transition towards standard English works better. But because dialect prejudice is so prevalent, this must be done in such a way that children understand there’s nothing inherently wrong with their natural expression.

Ongar Academy says it’s not banning words, but “evolving” its pupils’ speech – a description with classist implications.

The head teacher, David Grant, says that students’ dialect “may not favourably reflect on them when they attend college and job interviews”. This may seem a reasonable position, when even those who work in education are subject to linguistic intolerance.

But to assume that students who use slang – ie, most of them – will do so in interviews does them a disservice.

Native speakers of English are generally at least bidialectal.

We have the dialect we grew up using, with its idiosyncrasies of vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation, and we learn standard English at school and through media like books and radio.

As with any social behaviour, we pick up linguistic norms and learn to code-switch according to context. Just as we may wear a T-shirt and slippers at home, but a suit and shoes at work, so we adjust our language to fit the situation.

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Standard English is a prestige dialect of huge social value. It’s important that students learn it. But the common belief that nonstandard means substandard is not just false but damaging, because it fosters prejudice and hostility.

Young people can be taught formal English, and understand its great cultural utility, without being led to believe there’s something inferior or shameful about other varieties.

Grant says that in Shakespeare’s anniversary year, we should “ensure the way the pupils talk gives a positive impression”.

But Shakespeare’s plays abound in slang and informal language.

“Geezer” appears in books by HG Wells, Graham Greene, and Anthony Burgess. Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens and Vladimir Nabokov used non-literal literally. Rather than spurning such words, we can teach students when and why they are used. Learning different Englishes gives us command of different domains, a skill we can then put to creative and appropriate use. Facility with slang is a real advantage in some jobs.

James Sledd once wrote: “To use slang is to deny allegiance to the existing order … by refusing even the words which represent convention and signal status.” That is, slang lends covert prestige – however anathema to those in authority who prefer teenagers not to be teenagers.

It doesn’t help Grant’s cause that in a short radio interview, he put basically on the Bad List but used it himself several times.

Linguistic vetoes can be counterproductive pedagogically too.

Sociolinguist Julia Snell argues that “to learn and develop, children must participate actively in classroom discussion; they must think out loud, answer and ask questions”. When the focus is on the forms of speech instead of its content, she writes, “children may simply remain silent in order to avoid the shame of speaking ‘incorrectly’, and miss the interactions crucial to learning”. In light of this I can’t share Ongar Academy’s satisfaction that its students are now policing each other’s speech.

People feel strongly about correctness in language, but this strength of feeling isn’t always matched by knowledge and tolerance. And because children are sensitive to how they’re perceived, stigmatising their everyday speech can be harmful. By educating them about linguistic diversity instead of proscribing it, we can empower students and deter misguided pedantry.

There’s nowt wrong with regional dialects, nothing broke ass about slang. They’re part of our identities, connecting us to time, place, community, and self-image.

They needn’t be displaced by formal English – we can have both.

As David Almond wrote, in a wonderful response to one school’s linguistic crackdown: “Ye hav to knaa the words the world thinks is rite and ye have to knaa how to spel them rite an speek them rite … But ye neva hav to put the otha words away.”

Liberty! Where are you?  (November 10, 2004) 

I left the USA for good in December 2000.

Since then, people would ask me whether I‘ll go back.

No, not in the foreseeable future.

Don’t you have any nostalgia to return after living on and off for 20 years there?

Yes, I have nostalgia for a specific attitude that I don’t feel will be re-captured again

For an indeterminate period of time.

My first visit to the USA was in 1975.

All you had to do was to be there in person to circumvent many requirements.

People in position of authority were not squeamish in making a decision here and there.

Their decisions were heavily weighted toward compassion.

They gave a chance to your dreams.

You have taken the pain to be there and they would help you the most they can.

I went back in 1985 for no specific dreams and with no preparation, as usual.

The old timers in position of authority still wielded

The courage and confidence to make decisions.

But the landscape of authority had shifted to newly naturalized citizen.

In their wisdom, the old timers relegated positions of day to day decision to others.

These others, with obviously high credentials,

Understood authority as the strict application of rules and regulations.

It was their way to earn more credibility by exercising intransigence in form.

The chairman of the department, from India by origin, denied me an assistantship.

All my savings evaporated within two semesters.

My PhD study dragged on trying to meet expenses.

For years, I worked, legally, several minimum pay jobs within campus, by regulations.

Before I leave in 2000, even the old timers were weary to exercise their authority.

The system was programmed in the minute details.

Loopholes for compassioned decision were banished.

Decisions were preferably transferred to others to make.

Liberality in authority was scrutinized and sanctioned.

The robotic system was well entrenched for administering people’s life.

Just before the September upheaval in 2001.

The Liberty to make compassioned decisions was dead.

Well before September 11th 2001.

The American style of confident authority was dead

And September 11th 2001 provided plenty of justifications to burry liberty

For the American people first and the Third World people later.

No time/inclination to find out all the facts about the EU referendum? Check this list

Calvin Morris posted June 11, 2016 at 11:40am ·

A good friend of mine came up with a great idea. If you don’t have the time/inclination to find out all the facts about the EU referendum (I don’t blame you) and are possibly unsure which way to vote, perhaps knowing how other notable people are thinking could help out.

Here are a few that strongly believe the UK should remain a member of the EU:

• Governor of the Bank of England
• International Monetary Fund
• Institute for Fiscal Studies
• Confederation of British Industry
• Leaders/heads of state of every single other member of the EU
• President of the United States of America
• Eight former US Treasury Secretaries
• President of China
• Prime Minister of India
• Prime Minister of Canada
• Prime Minister of Australia
• Prime Minister of Japan
• Prime Minister of New Zealand
• The chief executives of most of the top 100 companies in the UK including Marks and Spencer, BT, Asda, Vodafone, Virgin, IBM, BMW etc.
• Kofi Annan, the former Secretary General of the United Nations
• All living former Prime Ministers of the UK (from both parties)
• Virtually all reputable and recognised economists
• The Prime Minister of the UK
• The leader of the Labour Party
• The Leader of the Liberal Democrats
• The Leader of the Green Party
• The Leader of the Scottish National Party
• The leader of Plaid Cymru
• Leader of Sinn Fein
• Martin Lewis, that money saving dude off the telly
• The Secretary General of the TUC
• Unison
• National Union of Students
• National Union of Farmers
• Stephen Hawking
• Chief Executive of the NHS
• 300 of the most prominent international historians
• Director of Europol
• David Anderson QC, Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation
• Former Directors of GCHQ
• Secretary General of Nato
• Church of England
• Church in Scotland
• Church in Wales
• Friends of the Earth
• Greenpeace
• Director General of the World Trade Organisation
• WWF
• World Bank
• OECD

Here are pretty much the only notable people who think we should leave the EU:

• Boris Johnson, who probably doesn’t really care either way, but knows he’ll become Prime Minister if the country votes to leave
• A former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions who carried out a brutal regime of cuts to benefits and essential support for the poorest in society as well as the disabled and sick
• That idiot that was Education Secretary and every single teacher in the country hated with a furious passion for the damage he was doing to the education system
• Leader of UKIP
• BNP
• Britain First
• Donald Trump
• Keith Chegwin
• David Icke

So, as I said, if you can’t be bothered to look into the real facts and implications of all this in/out stuff, just pick the list that you most trust and vote that way. It really couldn’t be more simple.

And if you are unsure about leaving, don’t.

Please repost this list, if you think it might help.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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