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Tag Archives: Steven Barnes

My Musings: Economic Matters, American Slavery & Black Wealth, Manufacturing Fear

Greetings friends,

As promised post before last, here are my latest musings from social media, using the new format of sharing a few quick postings rather than one longer piece so that I can spend more time writing fiction. Enjoy!

Talitha, why don’t you discuss economic matters more?

stacks_of_moneySometimes people ask me why I don’t speak out more on matters of the economy. I do, but those aren’t the social media posts that are popular. Most, if not all of our social woes in America, are inextricably bound to the fiscal ones anyway. I talk about fiscal matters to select audiences of people armed with the economic acumen to engage me. All else is a waste of my time. I can’t discuss the post-jobs economy, the ponzi scheme we affectionately call  Social “Security” quanitative easing, nor the mounting federal debt with people who retort with anecdotes, about their buying power, when the lack of wealth of certain groups in America is discussed. This usually comes from those whose cultural egos bruise easily, especially when our lack of wealth is pointed out by the likes of Donald Trump if I’m polite, any white person if I’m not. Many prefer that our fiscal, community, dirty laundry not be aired, and for some it’s a futile attempt to prove that race related poverty is mostly a myth. “I can keep up with the Jones’,” many insist. The keyword is “I”, which is irrelevant to the topic of what “we” can do, or have. Fortunately for me, I’m under no such delusion. An economic discussion is a moot one, when had with those who believe wealth can be measured by consumerism. This is America, where living beyond one’s means is the norm, and where many poor citizens spend frivolously, while many among the wealthy are frugal. We’ve got it all backwards folks, so one’s ability to consume has no place in an analysis of collective wealth. Some are asking me to discuss the blue sky, even though they’re stubbornly convinced that it’s green. Nope, I’m not doing that anymore, because it’s impossible to wake up people who are pretending to be asleep. Don’t fret though, such persons will never be alone. There’s always plenty of blissful room in Club Ignorance.

Slavery in America & Black Wealth:

Some Americans grossly underestimate the impact of centuries of chattel slavery in this shacklescountry on black folks, in terms of the lack of wealth as a whole. And before someone says “Africans sold other Africans into slavery,” or, “There were black/Native-American slave owners too,” “White people were chattel slaves too,” (utter nonsense, btw), or, “Look at immigrant group X and emulate them,”- note that these are all irrelevant, red herrings. Let your fingertips take you away from this discussion – this one’s for conscious grown-ups, not childish, talking point spouting, keyboard commandos. Everyone else, as my friend & mentor Steven Barnes (NY Times bestselling author of LION’S BLOOD & ZULU HEART) said to me a few years ago – “There’s no such thing as a wound that takes less time to heal than it took to inflict,”. Using those excuses, is like breaking the legs of one man in a race, then shooting the gun in the air for everyone to begin running. After the race & his obvious loss, the winners ask him, “Now why is it taking you so long to start running?”.

If you think that other groups, under identical conditions, would have fared better, you’re a part of the problem. If we believe that there’s no such thing as race, and it’s just a social construct, any other conclusions drawn point to a belief in the inferiority of black Americans, or Native Americans, who aren’t doing so well either. There’s no escaping that. For those who often ask me, “What can we do to help?”, you can start by acknowledging our humanity. When some did have wealth long ago – land (40 acres & a mule), economic prosperity (Black Wallstreet) or, were entrepreneurs (black owned businesses in the Jim Crow south) this was forcibly & violently taken from far too many. That’s not our fault, so you’ll have to excuse me if I’m weary of the whole “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” rhetoric hurled at black Americans. We did that, and were re-victimized many times over LEGALLY. It’s still happening on some level today via the judicial system. Do some of us gain economic prosperity despite this? Absolutely! but that’s not the point. Individual triumphs are anecdotal, nothing more or less. Collective ones, however, are an indication of economic stability, which is needed to have & maintain generational wealth. That should be the goal. That is our inherited disadvantage.

And last:

Manufacturing Fear: Hillary Clinton as POTUS & ISIS

isisI’m going to preface this by saying that this is more or less food for thought that requires some level of objectivity. In a recent discussion, a friend brought up his committment to vote for Donald Trump, because he thinks having a female president will open the door for more terrorist attacks from radical, Islamic jihadists. His logic and that of others, is that a woman as POTUS will give the appearance of weakness exceedingly more, from members of a culture & religion, in which women are totally subjugated & have very little freedom.This is within the context of an extremist, radical, Islamic microcosm, to be differentiated from the greater, non-radicalized Islamic culture. Obviously, all Muslims are not radicalized, and I don’t mind going further to say that most aren’t. My intuition initially says yes, they could view America as vulnerable with a woman at the helm, but that’s not reason enough for us to not elect a woman in any election. In fact, that line of reasoning is preposterous. Moreover, America may be embarking on its first female president, but we aren’t the first such country – that logic is lacking in precedents to buttress it. Having a female president may be perceived as a weakness by ISIS, and perhaps even domestic terrorists, but this can be advantageous in our battle against terrorism. Perception often doesn’t match reality. Doesn’t it benefit us to be falsely perceived as weaker? I’m not a fan of Clinton for a myriad of reasons, but this isn’t one of them. It can’t be. It’s a provocative assertion, and not altogether flawed, but it seems to me its more of a fear tactic than a cohesive, valid argument. Maybe I’m just not paranoid.Your thoughts?

Have a safe & productive weekend! Until next musing,

TK McEachin

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Remembering Nelson Mandela; The American Political Right’s Reaction

Nelson MandelaFriends,

I can’t tell you how very disgusted I have been with the sheer amount of vitriol directed towards former president of South Africa & freedom fighter Nelson Mandela by the American political right, immediately following his death. Let me say that I have no problem with objective criticism of his political philosophy at one time in his life & I find some things he advocated fallacious or morally wrong as well, but Nelson Mandela was no “terrorist” nor was he an Idi Amin as some are attempting to portray him as. I want to share the comments & the sharing of Newt Gingrich’s very poignant blog from Steven (which is where I saw it first) of a very good friend & mentor of mine Steven Barnes, a New York Times bestselling writer, screenplay writer, life coach & I could go on. I also want to recognize those few on the right who have stood up to the criticism of Mandela as well – Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Medved & Newt Gingrich have all spoken out in reverence for him & expressed their condolences. Here is what Steven had to say & I concur:

“I find the venom against Mandela on the day of his passing to be indicative of a total emotional disconnect, an inability to extend humanity to others. When even Newt Gingrich agrees, you know there is a problem.”- Steven Barnes
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“Yesterday I issued a heartfelt and personal statement about the passing of President Nelson Mandela. I said that his family and his country would be in my prayers and Callista’s prayers.

I was surprised by the hostility and vehemence of some of the people who reacted to me saying a kind word about a unique historic figure.

So let me say to those conservatives who don’t want to honor Nelson Mandela, what would you have done?

Mandela was faced with a vicious apartheid regime that eliminated all rights for blacks and gave them no hope for the future. This was a regime which used secret police, prisons and military force to crush all efforts at seeking freedom by blacks.

What would you have done faced with that crushing government?

What would you do here in America if you had that kind of oppression?

Some of the people who are most opposed to oppression from Washington attack Mandela when he was opposed to oppression in his own country.

After years of preaching non-violence, using the political system, making his case as a defendant in court, Mandela resorted to violence against a government that was ruthless and violent in its suppression of free speech.

As Americans we celebrate the farmers at Lexington and Concord who used force to oppose British tyranny. We praise George Washington for spending eight years in the field fighting the British Army’s dictatorial assault on our freedom.

Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death.”

Thomas Jefferson wrote and the Continental Congress adopted that “all men are created equal, and they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Doesn’t this apply to Nelson Mandela and his people?

Some conservatives say, ah, but he was a communist.

Actually Mandela was raised in a Methodist school, was a devout Christian, turned to communism in desperation only after South Africa was taken over by an extraordinarily racist government determined to eliminate all rights for blacks.

I would ask of his critics: where were some of these conservatives as allies against tyranny? Where were the masses of conservatives opposing Apartheid? In a desperate struggle against an overpowering government, you accept the allies you have just as Washington was grateful for a French monarchy helping him defeat the British.

Finally, if you had been imprisoned for 27 years, 18 of them in a cell eight foot by seven foot, how do you think you would have emerged? Would you have been angry? Would you have been bitter?
— Newt Gingrich

I salute, honor & revere the hero that Nelson Mandela was and my prayers & condolences go out to his family & the people of South Africa who are mourning him. I also salute the few conservatives who have the decency & courage to speak honestly about Nelson Mandela in spite of the vitriol & disrespect coming from their followers. Until next time…..Talitha McEachin

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2013 in Featured Guest blogs, In The News, Politics

 

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Danger Word moves fundraising to Indiegogo

Danger Word moves fundraising to Indiegogo.

 
 

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And still sci-fi’s Octavia E. Butler rises: A graphic adaptation. A literary society. Is a ‘Kindred’ movie next?

Wonderful piece written by novelist, screenwriter and Spelman College’s Cosby Chair in the Humanities Tananarive Due. Together with her husband Steven Barnes, they recently shot their short film DANGER WORD and are raising funds for the post-production costs, please visit www.dangerword.com to learn more & donate as little $1 to help them see this short film to fruition. DANGER WORD is based on a scene from their joint novel DEVIL’S WAKE. Here Tananarive discusses the legacy of one of speculative fiction’s greatest writers, the late Octavia Estelle Butler. Enjoy!

 

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Danger Word film: we have a TRAILER!

*Here it is!* This is the trailer for the short film DANGER WORD which I have been promoting & talking about with you all for weeks now. It is based on a scene from the novel DEVIL’S WAKE which, along with the screenplay is written by Steven Barnes & Tananarive Due & directed by Luchina Fisher! It really exceeds my expectations (and they were high). I can’t wait to see the entire short film! This film features veteren actor Frankie Faison (Silence of the Lambs, The Wire), newcomer Saoirse Scott (One Life To Live), Michael Power (The Dark Knight Rises) & newcomer Nicki Barnes! Great job #DangerWordCrew

Danger Word film: we have a TRAILER!

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2013 in Film Reviews, Videos

 

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Danger Word: a wrap and support from director Julie Dash. Can you help us reach our goal?

Danger Word: a wrap and support from director Julie Dash. Can you help us reach our goal?.

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2013 in Film Reviews, In The News

 

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Help Me Support Danger Word Film!

I rarely ask people to donate funds for anything, but this project, Danger Word Film is very dear to my heart & it is important to me, so I wanted to remind everyone about this community funded project I’ve have asked you all to be a part of, throughout social media. It’s from husband-wife writing team Steven Barnes Tananarive Due . Steven is the author of 27 novels & has written for television shows such as The Outer Limits, Andromeda & the (new) Twilight Zone. The episode he wrote “A Stitch In Time” on The Outer Limits won an Emmy Award as well.

Tananarive is the award winning novelist of 10 horror novels such as the African Immortal series which started with MY SOUL TO KEEP & she is the Spelman College Cosby Chair in the Humanities.

I have met them both, been informally mentored as a person and writer & they are wonderful, down-to-earth, exceptional human beings. Both of their novels have influenced me as a writer as well. Please visit www.dangerwordfilm.wordpress.com to learn how you can be a part of/support this project! I will be donating myself & NO DONATION IS TOO SMALL (OR BIG hehe!) Amounts can be donated anywhere from $1 & up, simply click the “donate” button once you’re on their website! They have acknowledgements for all levels of donations and some fantastic incentives available. Recently, they announced that the part of “Grandpa Joe” will be played by veteran actor Frankie Faison, well known for his roles on television show “The Wire” and The Silence of The Lambs. Faison is currently co-starring in Alan Ball’s series “Banshee” on Cinemax. Steven & Tananarive share more here:

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Connect with Danger Word Film on social media:

“Like” DWF on Facebook HERE

Follow DWF on Twitter HERE

Thanks so much to those who have donated already! It is greatly appreciated.

-Talitha “TK” McEachin

 

 
 

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