New novel (First draft completed) 8.29.2016

As mentioned, I am working on a new novel, titled “Unravel.”

A synopsis: 

 

Subhash and Naima are middle-class, suburban, white-collar professionals living in central New Jersey, who will do anything to maintain the life they’ve built. They are also young parents to their 6 year old daughter, Tulsi. Both want the best for her, but as they face off against obstacles, they begin to realize that choices must be made and consequences accepted.

 

The final chapters are the following:

Chapter 13 Click here to read.

Chapter 14 Click here to read.

Chapter 15 Click here to read.

Chapter 16 Click here to read.

Chapter 17 Click here to read.

I didn’t include excerpts this time because I think you as the reader will gain more by not knowing what’s to be expected.

Also, as I make clear in each chapter, these are very rough drafts. Unlike other chapters, Chapter 13-17 were left unedited due to life getting in the way and not finding the time or energy just yet.

Either way, the first draft of my novel is completed and I thank everyone for the encouragement and support!

PREVIOUS CHAPTERS

CHAPTER 1

Excerpt:

Naima held on. But once they stepped through, Tulsi squirmed free and ran.

Naima chased, as Subhash followed.

Click here to read more.

 

CHAPTER 2

Excerpt:

As the only black reporter, Naima usually relied on what she described to Subhash when they started dating, as her “Spidey sense.” Back then, it was cute, and even something to be proud of, an ability to be conscious of what was around her at almost all times, a skill perfect for her job. But after spending nearly seven years in the same newsroom, and trying her best to get to know everyone who’d come through, even the interns, she realized that her valued “Spidey sense” was tingling more and more often. Everyone was a possible enemy she concluded after a co-worker (who left to be an editor for The New York Times after only a year at the Tribune) complained about Naima’s “demeanor” to the others last summer, claiming that Naima was too “abrasive.” Naima learned her lesson to not let her guard down just yet. It was tiring of course. And on some mornings, she felt like staying in bed and closing her eyes, imagining she was someplace else, somewhere she could laugh as loud as she wanted, or even cry in public. At times like that, she’d tell herself that one day, it would all be worth it. One day, all this would be returned in full.

Click here to read more.

 

CHAPTER 3

Excerpt:

“I don’t know what to do,” Rhona said, gasping for breath. “They just came saying they needed to talk to me, and I didn’t say anything. I didn’t know who they were. I told you I wanted to be anonymous. I don’t want to be a part of this anymore.”

“Just stay calm, I’m on my way,” Naima said.

Click here to read more.

 

CHAPTER 4

Excerpt:

People fled, tripping and falling across the lawn.

For a moment, Subhash had the urge to jump into the crowd. He took a step forward. Tulsi wrapped her arms around his leg like it was a tree.

Subhash scooped her up into his arms and hustled to the opposite end, disappearing behind the art museum. He moved as fast as he could without losing his grip on Tulsi, as her arms were around his neck.

Click here to read more.

 

CHAPTER 5

Excerpt:

Blood trickled over his eyes.

He let the drops land on his shoes and carpet.

“Daddy, are you sick? Did you fall down?”

Soon, Naima arrived and dabbed the wounds, and they went upstairs. He laid in bed as she took off his shirt and wrapped his hands and feet with bandages.

Tulsi crept up the steps as well.

“What’s wrong with Daddy?”

“Nothing, honey. Daddy is just tired.”

“He looks hurt.”

“Just go back and watch your show.”

Naima applied pressure to Subhash’s side and Subhash grimaced.

Click here to read more.

CHAPTER 6

Excerpt:

 

After an assignment interviewing owners of a Italian/Thai fusion restaurant, which was opened in the neighborhood closest to the Holland Tunnel where most of the newer residents lived, the ones who wore sunglasses on cloudy days as well as khakis and sandals, Naima stopped at a C-Town in Journal Square. She was on her way to the office, but feeling thirsty, hungry and her contacts were irritating her eyes. The C-Town was next to a row of apartment buildings and convenience stores, and the aisles were filled with Caribbean and Indian spices. Naima grabbed a Snapple from the freezer and was ready to pop it open on the spot. However, she stepped aside, allowing a family and their shopping cart to get through, and caught a glimpse of a face in the corner of her eye. She quickly hid behind a column of Reese’s Puffs cereal and Ramen noodles.

Click here to read more.

 

CHAPTER 7

Excerpt:

Naima rushed down the stairs, her coat flying like a cape. She jumped off the last steps and grabbed the door knob.

“What are you doing?” Subhash said.

“I’m late,” she replied, gasping for breath.

Subhash was at the top landing.

“It’s still out there,” he said.

Click here to read more.

 

CHAPTER 8

Excerpt:

 

Suddenly, thunder rumbled, and a bright flash blinded. He collapsed. Struggling to breathe, he dug his nails into the asphalt, unable to break through. The sky was gray, clouds gliding like fumes.

Soon, the sound of tires screaming echoed. And the smell of freshly cut grass disappeared.

Click here to read more.

 

CHAPTER 9

Excerpt:

Naima snapped pictures and turned on the car. Suddenly, there was screaming and Tulsi bolted awake.

“What’s going on? Where’s Rhona?”

“Keep your head down.”

Naima picked up speed, finding the nearest entrance to the turnpike. Tulsi turned around, and Naima boomed, “Keep your head down!”

Click here to read more.

CHAPTER 10

Excerpt:

“He smelled like garlic,” Grace said as she grabbed a bag of weed from a drawer and stuffed it into her bra.

After she left, Subhash tickled Naima, until they both were under the sheets, while music and voices from the other rooms reverberated.

Click here to read more.

CHAPTER 11

Excerpt:

Subhash rushed into the hallway, and Naima found him splashing water on his face in the kitchen sink.

“I can’t believe that fucker!”

“Lower your voice…”

“You all remember what that monster did to us right? How he made high-school a living hell!”

Naima took a step forward and Subhash’s breathing slowly returned to normal.

“Let’s finish the meeting.”

“I can’t.”

“Please. This is not helping.”

Subhash turned around and opened the back door that led into the parking lot. Naima paused before returning to the conference room to write notes.

Click here to read more.

CHAPTER 12

Excerpt:

Subhash glowered as he went to the wall. Naima was a few feet away and wasn’t allowed any closer.

“Show me I.D.” the officer said and Subhash handed it to him.

Subhash waited.

The officer asked where Subhash was going.

Click here to read more.

Advertisements

New novel (updated) 7.30.2016

As mentioned, I am working on a new novel, titled “Unravel.”

A synopsis: 

 

Subhash and Naima are middle-class, suburban, white-collar professionals living in central New Jersey, who will do anything to maintain the life they’ve built. They are also young parents to their 6 year old daughter, Tulsi. Both want the best for her, but as they face off against obstacles, they begin to realize that choices must be made and consequences accepted.

 

Chapters 10, 11, and 12 are the latest that I’ve added and are all from Section II. The first nine chapters are Section I. Section III, which I’ll be working on soon, is the final part.

CHAPTER 10

Excerpt:

“He smelled like garlic,” Grace said as she grabbed a bag of weed from a drawer and stuffed it into her bra.

After she left, Subhash tickled Naima, until they both were under the sheets, while music and voices from the other rooms reverberated.

Click here to read more.

CHAPTER 11

Excerpt:

Subhash rushed into the hallway, and Naima found him splashing water on his face in the kitchen sink.

“I can’t believe that fucker!”

“Lower your voice…”

“You all remember what that monster did to us right? How he made high-school a living hell!”

Naima took a step forward and Subhash’s breathing slowly returned to normal.

“Let’s finish the meeting.”

“I can’t.”

“Please. This is not helping.”

Subhash turned around and opened the back door that led into the parking lot. Naima paused before returning to the conference room to write notes.

Click here to read more.

CHAPTER 12

Excerpt:

Subhash glowered as he went to the wall. Naima was a few feet away and wasn’t allowed any closer.

“Show me I.D.” the officer said and Subhash handed it to him.

Subhash waited.

The officer asked where Subhash was going.

Click here to read more.

 

PREVIOUS CHAPTERS

 

CHAPTER 1

Excerpt:

Naima held on. But once they stepped through, Tulsi squirmed free and ran.

Naima chased, as Subhash followed.

Click here to read more.

 

CHAPTER 2

Excerpt:

As the only black reporter, Naima usually relied on what she described to Subhash when they started dating, as her “Spidey sense.” Back then, it was cute, and even something to be proud of, an ability to be conscious of what was around her at almost all times, a skill perfect for her job. But after spending nearly seven years in the same newsroom, and trying her best to get to know everyone who’d come through, even the interns, she realized that her valued “Spidey sense” was tingling more and more often. Everyone was a possible enemy she concluded after a co-worker (who left to be an editor for The New York Times after only a year at the Tribune) complained about Naima’s “demeanor” to the others last summer, claiming that Naima was too “abrasive.” Naima learned her lesson to not let her guard down just yet. It was tiring of course. And on some mornings, she felt like staying in bed and closing her eyes, imagining she was someplace else, somewhere she could laugh as loud as she wanted, or even cry in public. At times like that, she’d tell herself that one day, it would all be worth it. One day, all this would be returned in full.

Click here to read more.

 

CHAPTER 3

Excerpt:

“I don’t know what to do,” Rhona said, gasping for breath. “They just came saying they needed to talk to me, and I didn’t say anything. I didn’t know who they were. I told you I wanted to be anonymous. I don’t want to be a part of this anymore.”

“Just stay calm, I’m on my way,” Naima said.

Click here to read more.

 

CHAPTER 4

Excerpt:

People fled, tripping and falling across the lawn.

For a moment, Subhash had the urge to jump into the crowd. He took a step forward. Tulsi wrapped her arms around his leg like it was a tree.

Subhash scooped her up into his arms and hustled to the opposite end, disappearing behind the art museum. He moved as fast as he could without losing his grip on Tulsi, as her arms were around his neck.

Click here to read more.

 

CHAPTER 5

Excerpt:

Blood trickled over his eyes.

He let the drops land on his shoes and carpet.

“Daddy, are you sick? Did you fall down?”

Soon, Naima arrived and dabbed the wounds, and they went upstairs. He laid in bed as she took off his shirt and wrapped his hands and feet with bandages.

Tulsi crept up the steps as well.

“What’s wrong with Daddy?”

“Nothing, honey. Daddy is just tired.”

“He looks hurt.”

“Just go back and watch your show.”

Naima applied pressure to Subhash’s side and Subhash grimaced.

Click here to read more.

CHAPTER 6

Excerpt:

 

After an assignment interviewing owners of a Italian/Thai fusion restaurant, which was opened in the neighborhood closest to the Holland Tunnel where most of the newer residents lived, the ones who wore sunglasses on cloudy days as well as khakis and sandals, Naima stopped at a C-Town in Journal Square. She was on her way to the office, but feeling thirsty, hungry and her contacts were irritating her eyes. The C-Town was next to a row of apartment buildings and convenience stores, and the aisles were filled with Caribbean and Indian spices. Naima grabbed a Snapple from the freezer and was ready to pop it open on the spot. However, she stepped aside, allowing a family and their shopping cart to get through, and caught a glimpse of a face in the corner of her eye. She quickly hid behind a column of Reese’s Puffs cereal and Ramen noodles.

Click here to read more.

 

CHAPTER 7

Excerpt:

Naima rushed down the stairs, her coat flying like a cape. She jumped off the last steps and grabbed the door knob.

“What are you doing?” Subhash said.

“I’m late,” she replied, gasping for breath.

Subhash was at the top landing.

“It’s still out there,” he said.

Click here to read more.

 

CHAPTER 8

Excerpt:

 

Suddenly, thunder rumbled, and a bright flash blinded. He collapsed. Struggling to breathe, he dug his nails into the asphalt, unable to break through. The sky was gray, clouds gliding like fumes.

Soon, the sound of tires screaming echoed. And the smell of freshly cut grass disappeared.

Click here to read more.

 

CHAPTER 9

Excerpt:

Naima snapped pictures and turned on the car. Suddenly, there was screaming and Tulsi bolted awake.

“What’s going on? Where’s Rhona?”

“Keep your head down.”

Naima picked up speed, finding the nearest entrance to the turnpike. Tulsi turned around, and Naima boomed, “Keep your head down!”

Click here to read more.

New novel (updated) 7.11.2016

As mentioned, I am working on a new novel, titled “Unravel.”

A synopsis: 

Subhash and Naima are middle-class, suburban, white-collar professionals living in central New Jersey, who will do anything to maintain the life they’ve built. They are also young parents to their 6 year old daughter, Tulsi. Both want the best for her, but as they face off against obstacles, they begin to realize that choices must be made and consequences accepted.

Chapter 9 is the latest one that I wrote and added.

CHAPTER 9

Excerpt:

Naima snapped pictures and turned on the car. Suddenly, there was screaming and Tulsi bolted awake.

“What’s going on? Where’s Rhona?”

“Keep your head down.”

Naima picked up speed, finding the nearest entrance to the turnpike. Tulsi turned around, and Naima boomed, “Keep your head down!”

Click here to read more.

 

PREVIOUS CHAPTERS

 

CHAPTER 1

Excerpt:

Naima held on. But once they stepped through, Tulsi squirmed free and ran.

Naima chased, as Subhash followed.

Click here to read more.

 

CHAPTER 2

Excerpt:

As the only black reporter, Naima usually relied on what she described to Subhash when they started dating, as her “Spidey sense.” Back then, it was cute, and even something to be proud of, an ability to be conscious of what was around her at almost all times, a skill perfect for her job. But after spending nearly seven years in the same newsroom, and trying her best to get to know everyone who’d come through, even the interns, she realized that her valued “Spidey sense” was tingling more and more often. Everyone was a possible enemy she concluded after a co-worker (who left to be an editor for The New York Times after only a year at the Tribune) complained about Naima’s “demeanor” to the others last summer, claiming that Naima was too “abrasive.” Naima learned her lesson to not let her guard down just yet. It was tiring of course. And on some mornings, she felt like staying in bed and closing her eyes, imagining she was someplace else, somewhere she could laugh as loud as she wanted, or even cry in public. At times like that, she’d tell herself that one day, it would all be worth it. One day, all this would be returned in full.

Click here to read more.

 

CHAPTER 3

Excerpt:

“I don’t know what to do,” Rhona said, gasping for breath. “They just came saying they needed to talk to me, and I didn’t say anything. I didn’t know who they were. I told you I wanted to be anonymous. I don’t want to be a part of this anymore.”

“Just stay calm, I’m on my way,” Naima said.

Click here to read more.

 

CHAPTER 4

Excerpt:

People fled, tripping and falling across the lawn.

For a moment, Subhash had the urge to jump into the crowd. He took a step forward. Tulsi wrapped her arms around his leg like it was a tree.

Subhash scooped her up into his arms and hustled to the opposite end, disappearing behind the art museum. He moved as fast as he could without losing his grip on Tulsi, as her arms were around his neck.

Click here to read more.

 

CHAPTER 5

Excerpt:

Blood trickled over his eyes.

He let the drops land on his shoes and carpet.

“Daddy, are you sick? Did you fall down?”

Soon, Naima arrived and dabbed the wounds, and they went upstairs. He laid in bed as she took off his shirt and wrapped his hands and feet with bandages.

Tulsi crept up the steps as well.

“What’s wrong with Daddy?”

“Nothing, honey. Daddy is just tired.”

“He looks hurt.”

“Just go back and watch your show.”

Naima applied pressure to Subhash’s side and Subhash grimaced.

Click here to read more.

CHAPTER 6

Excerpt:

 

After an assignment interviewing owners of a Italian/Thai fusion restaurant, which was opened in the neighborhood closest to the Holland Tunnel where most of the newer residents lived, the ones who wore sunglasses on cloudy days as well as khakis and sandals, Naima stopped at a C-Town in Journal Square. She was on her way to the office, but feeling thirsty, hungry and her contacts were irritating her eyes. The C-Town was next to a row of apartment buildings and convenience stores, and the aisles were filled with Caribbean and Indian spices. Naima grabbed a Snapple from the freezer and was ready to pop it open on the spot. However, she stepped aside, allowing a family and their shopping cart to get through, and caught a glimpse of a face in the corner of her eye. She quickly hid behind a column of Reese’s Puffs cereal and Ramen noodles.

Click here to read more.

 

CHAPTER 7

Excerpt:

Naima rushed down the stairs, her coat flying like a cape. She jumped off the last steps and grabbed the door knob.

“What are you doing?” Subhash said.

“I’m late,” she replied, gasping for breath.

Subhash was at the top landing.

“It’s still out there,” he said.

Click here to read more.

 

CHAPTER 8

Excerpt:

 

Suddenly, thunder rumbled, and a bright flash blinded. He collapsed. Struggling to breathe, he dug his nails into the asphalt, unable to break through. The sky was gray, clouds gliding like fumes.

Soon, the sound of tires screaming echoed. And the smell of freshly cut grass disappeared.

Click here to read more.

New novel (updated)6.26.2016

As mentioned, I am working on a new novel, titled “Unravel.”

A synopsis: 

Subhash and Naima are middle-class, suburban, white-collar professionals living in central New Jersey, who will do anything to maintain the life they’ve built. They are also young parents to their 6 year old daughter, Tulsi. Both want the best for her, but as they face off against obstacles, they begin to realize that choices must be made and consequences accepted.

Chapter 8 is the latest one that I wrote and added. The rest are below, if you are interested and want to check up.

 

CHAPTER 8

Excerpt:

 

Suddenly, thunder rumbled, and a bright flash blinded. He collapsed. Struggling to breathe, he dug his nails into the asphalt, unable to break through. The sky was gray, clouds gliding like fumes.

Soon, the sound of tires screaming echoed. And the smell of freshly cut grass disappeared.

Click here to read more.

 

CHAPTER 1

Excerpt:

Naima held on. But once they stepped through, Tulsi squirmed free and ran.

Naima chased, as Subhash followed.

Click here to read more.

 

CHAPTER 2

Excerpt:

As the only black reporter, Naima usually relied on what she described to Subhash when they started dating, as her “Spidey sense.” Back then, it was cute, and even something to be proud of, an ability to be conscious of what was around her at almost all times, a skill perfect for her job. But after spending nearly seven years in the same newsroom, and trying her best to get to know everyone who’d come through, even the interns, she realized that her valued “Spidey sense” was tingling more and more often. Everyone was a possible enemy she concluded after a co-worker (who left to be an editor for The New York Times after only a year at the Tribune) complained about Naima’s “demeanor” to the others last summer, claiming that Naima was too “abrasive.” Naima learned her lesson to not let her guard down just yet. It was tiring of course. And on some mornings, she felt like staying in bed and closing her eyes, imagining she was someplace else, somewhere she could laugh as loud as she wanted, or even cry in public. At times like that, she’d tell herself that one day, it would all be worth it. One day, all this would be returned in full.

Click here to read more.

 

CHAPTER 3

Excerpt:

“I don’t know what to do,” Rhona said, gasping for breath. “They just came saying they needed to talk to me, and I didn’t say anything. I didn’t know who they were. I told you I wanted to be anonymous. I don’t want to be a part of this anymore.”

“Just stay calm, I’m on my way,” Naima said.

Click here to read more.

 

CHAPTER 4

Excerpt:

People fled, tripping and falling across the lawn.

For a moment, Subhash had the urge to jump into the crowd. He took a step forward. Tulsi wrapped her arms around his leg like it was a tree.

Subhash scooped her up into his arms and hustled to the opposite end, disappearing behind the art museum. He moved as fast as he could without losing his grip on Tulsi, as her arms were around his neck.

Click here to read more.

 

CHAPTER 5

Excerpt:

Blood trickled over his eyes.

He let the drops land on his shoes and carpet.

“Daddy, are you sick? Did you fall down?”

Soon, Naima arrived and dabbed the wounds, and they went upstairs. He laid in bed as she took off his shirt and wrapped his hands and feet with bandages.

Tulsi crept up the steps as well.

“What’s wrong with Daddy?”

“Nothing, honey. Daddy is just tired.”

“He looks hurt.”

“Just go back and watch your show.”

Naima applied pressure to Subhash’s side and Subhash grimaced.

Click here to read more.

CHAPTER 6

Excerpt:

 

After an assignment interviewing owners of a Italian/Thai fusion restaurant, which was opened in the neighborhood closest to the Holland Tunnel where most of the newer residents lived, the ones who wore sunglasses on cloudy days as well as khakis and sandals, Naima stopped at a C-Town in Journal Square. She was on her way to the office, but feeling thirsty, hungry and her contacts were irritating her eyes. The C-Town was next to a row of apartment buildings and convenience stores, and the aisles were filled with Caribbean and Indian spices. Naima grabbed a Snapple from the freezer and was ready to pop it open on the spot. However, she stepped aside, allowing a family and their shopping cart to get through, and caught a glimpse of a face in the corner of her eye. She quickly hid behind a column of Reese’s Puffs cereal and Ramen noodles.

Click here to read more.

 

CHAPTER 7

Excerpt:

Naima rushed down the stairs, her coat flying like a cape. She jumped off the last steps and grabbed the door knob.

“What are you doing?” Subhash said.

“I’m late,” she replied, gasping for breath.

Subhash was at the top landing.

“It’s still out there,” he said.

Click here to read more.

The Old Left and American Exceptionalism

bernie image
(Image from Google)

After this past weekend, it’s clear that even those on the Left love to romanticize the past.

What I mean is: the language we use to push forward our arguments about equality and social justice can feel just as naive and ignorant as policies shared by some bow-tie wearing freak at CPAC (shout-out to the sexually repressed conservative!)

Ex. Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders.

They are the most popular progressives in the country, and for good reason. They speak up for the marginalized, and go after the right-wing with zeal.

However, they still package their beliefs in quaint doses of American exceptionalism.

When Warren attacked Trump over Twitter, she does so by criticizing his race-bating methods but in turn, essentially condemning him as un-American, and that the U.S. has a tradition of being inclusive and unity.

It’s great that she gone after an asshole like Trump. But her statement that the U.S. was built on merit and that Trump is an outlier played into the right-wing patriotic narrative that’s been holding back POC and the working-class (women and men) since its founding.

Similarly, Sanders has been criticizing the economic elites. He’s been an opponent of Big Banks and corrupt capitalism. Yet, time and time again, his solution to a society that works for everyone is reverting to the New Deal or to a period in time when the wealthiest paid more in taxes. Again, I agree that capitalism is a sick enterprise and one that values profit over lives. But the fact that he looks to the past, a past mired in segregation and white terrorism as well as gender oppression, always make me annoyed and frustrated.

Economic inequality has to be tackled effectively. But it seems as if major progressive have given into romanticizing American Old Left politics.

Former Labor Secretary, Robert Reich, does the same in his documentary, Inequality for All, where he continues to cite 1950s era as a time of high-growth and low-disparity. I actually do recommend everyone to watch the movie because it is very informative. But no one in their right mind, especially POC, should believe that pre-1970s, that the U.S. worked for everyone equally. Was there perhaps less inequality? Perhaps. But economic equality shouldn’t just be based on capital. Economic equality itself shouldn’t be tied to freedom either. If you were a black intellectual somehow able to build a life for yourself in the deep south, or in places further north, you are still living under the specter of lynching and terror. This will harm your health, your well-being, your state of mind and security.

I am a democratic socialist. I find positives and negatives in both Marxism and capitalism and hope we can one day merge them into a system that works for everyone.

And I do take lessons from the past. I can’t lie and say I am not moved when I read about movements of working-class peoples striving for more rights in a time when risk and sacrifice was the only way. I am also very much aware of how unions in our modern era helped create some of the economic rights and privileges we have today and that we take for granted.

Yet, for some friends (and I am not being sarcastic, I hope we can continue this discussion) to be just as critical of those on the Left who abide by a narrow logic of the American system and history. And to admit that the image of working-class people struggling together against the elites is simplistic.

As sociologist Deborah K. King explains in her seminal work, “Multiple Jeopardy, Multiple Consciousness: The Context of a Black Feminist ideology,” labor movements of the past were quick to represent solely the interests of white men:

“Samuel Gompers, the leading force of trade unionism and president of the American Federation of Labor (AFL, founded in 1886), believed that the best means of improving wages for Anglo males was to restrict the labor supply. His strategy was to advocate the return of women to the home and the banning of blacks and Asians from the unions. Although the AFL never formally adopted these restrictions at the national level, many local chapters did so through both formal rules and informal practices.”

In “African-American Women’s History and the Metalanguage of Race,” famed historian Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, states:

“The metalanguage of race also transcended the voices of class and
ethnic conflict among Northern whites in the great upheavals of labor
during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Amid their opposition, capital and labor agreed sufficiently to exclude blacks from union membership and from more than a marginal place within the emerging industrial work force. Job ceilings and hiring practices limited the overwhelming majority of black men and women to dead-end, low paying employment-employment whites disdained or were in the process of abandoning. The actual class positions of blacks did not matter, nor did the acknowledgment of differential statuses (such as by income, type of employment, morals and manners, education, or color) by blacks themselves. An entire system of cultural preconceptions disregarded these complexities and tensions by grouping all blacks into a normative well of inferiority and subserviency.”

I know many of you probably already know this. Yet, I also think many of you needed a reminder.

http://dartmouth.edu/faculty-directory/deborah-karyn-king

http://history.fas.harvard.edu/p…/evelyn-brooks-higginbotham

News/Stuff To Know. Week of 2.8.2016-2.13.2016

Here are the highlights of the past week///

bernie sanders week news
(Image from Google)

Guess what? The youth aren’t the stereotype they’re often portrayed as by rich annoying old white comedians.

EXCERPT: “The survey found that nearly 9 percent of freshmen say there’s a “very good chance” they’ll participate in a student protest on campus, the highest in the survey’s history and up from about 6 percent in 2014.

Click here for full article.

. . .

In fact, Millennials are more diverse and more educated than previous generations.

EXCERPT: “Among Millennials ages 18 to 33, women are 6 percentage points more likely to have finished at least a bachelor’s degree than men (27% vs. 21%). Back when Silents were ages 18 to 33, women were 5 percentage points less likely than men to have finished at least four years of college education.”

Click here for full article.

. . .

Of course, Bernie Sanders is tapping into the “youth vote.” That being said, some are giving advice on how best his political reforms can take shape.

EXCERPT: “Third, Sanders should also take a page from the Obama 2008 playbook. That campaign organized young people more systematically than any presidential campaign in history. Across the country, it held ‘Camp Obama’ trainings, in which young people taught each other Marshall Ganz’s story-centered methods of community organizing. Sanders has the young people; now he needs the machinery to amplify their force.”

Click here for full article.

. . .

Erica Garner, the late Eric Garner’s daughter, endorsed Bernie Sanders this past week.

Watch the moving ad below:

 

Bernie Sanders is not the GOAT, and the limited choices for POC

Bernie v. Clinton image
(Image from Google)

The “[politically] captured minority.” This is a concept introduced by Paul Frymer, a political scientist at Princeton University in his seminal work Uneasy Alliances: Race and Party Competition in America.

The theory can be summarized as such: Throughout American history, political parties have been able to organize disparate interests, and give voice to concerns of their constituents. In many ways, political parties are essential to those who aren’t part of the elite and who still have needs to be met. After all, if you are the average person living in a town in the Mid-west, far away from the powerful in D.C., you can still have your opinion and thoughts shared through a representative attuned to what your community requires.

However, this sort of framing falls short when we discuss the real history of the U.S., one of racial inequality. In fact, as Frymer explains, black Americans have largely been ignored by the political system. When black Americans enjoyed limited freedom during Reconstruction, there was no other party for them to choose other than the Republicans, and after the civil rights bills were passed in the 1960s, many switched over to the Democrats since that was the party that seemed to care. Yet, at the end, the system overall has learned to take for granted black American political participation. Even though Democrats are now the party of the POC, it’s clear that this doesn’t mean that black and brown Americans are able to connect with them on all issues. During the 1990s especially, when Bill Clinton was interested in re-branding the party and making it more salient to the elusive Independent, him and his political aides avoided going into majority black neighborhoods unless necessary. Their main objective was to reach out in suburban communities, and utilize talking points, such as “crime” and “welfare” to stem the tide of white Americans voting Republican. It was obvious what was being done: The Democrats knew that many black Americans were stuck. The Republican party were of course hostile to black American interests, so they were not a viable option. And in a two-party system, the only other “choice” was Clinton, who despite being the lesser-of-two evils, still behaved very much like a law and order politician, someone who was disconnected from the everyday struggle, and more focused on winning executive office than helping those in his constituency.

Frymer’s work was published prior to Obama’s candidacy and of course, things had changed by the time the first black President took office. In both elections, Obama mobilized people of color as opposed to just expecting them to turn out and vote. He knew that the demographics of the country had changed and therefore, the white voter than Clinton had yearned for was not as viable as before. The white voter, especially one who is middle-class and a homeowner, will remain a vested part of the political machine, but as the Hispanic and Asian populations continue to grow, it would be silly to ignore this growing reality that to win the general election a candidate must learn to navigate race and ethnicity on a national level. Ignoring it would be a detriment, much like what the current GOP has done.

However, President Obama himself has been a complicated example of our modern era. He has championed the rights of the LGBTQ community like no other in the executive branch, Democrat or Republican. He has managed to get more Americans the healthcare they deserve, and done much to prevent the country was truly spiraling into the abyss of another Great Depression. It’s unfortunate but many of Obama’s achievements are difficult to quantify right now, such as what I mentioned with stopping the economy from crumbling. After all, there was no major collapse so therefore, most people didn’t see or hear or feel anything. It’s akin to someone looking up at the night sky and not seeing any stars, concluding that there are no other planets but our own.

Obama, however, has also done things that are problematic. For every speech he’s given to echo the heartache of gun violence, he has sometimes done more to chastise and lecture black and brown Americans (i.e. “radical Islam“). And in the case of Trump and the white radical voters who support him, instead of challenging them for their racism, Obama has done what any typical white center-right politician would do, which is to placate to some hurt working-class stand-in, blaming their hatred on extenuating circumstances of a failing economy and stagnant wages. I wonder if Obama would’ve done the same if it were crowds of black voters supporting someone who might be considered out of the mainstream. I doubt it. But then again, this is politics, and to be successful, sometimes you have to play the game.

This brings us to the current election cycle. Again, we are left with a slew of Republican candidates who are far-right and offer little to no incentive for POC to vote for them. Unless you agree with deporting immigrants, locking up more people of color in jails for marijuana, increasing the wealth gap between rich and poor, and taking away the ACA, then be my guest and go against your own economic interests as a black and brown citizen. I wouldn’t be surprised. But for the vast majority of us, there doesn’t seem to be anyone in the GOP who is serious with connecting to our needs. And for that, the only “choice” we have in regards to the election is in the Democratic Party once more.

As I’ve hinted, Obama represents an aberration. He will always be an inspiration for me and countless others. He will always be my President. That being said, his eight years in office proves that change in America is ephemeral. Right now, we are again stuck, left to pick from two major Democratic candidates (sorry O’Malley): Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders.

Clinton’s candidacy can also be a monumental one. Of course, if she wins, she will be the first female President in our history, which is an achievement that shouldn’t be belittled. While the rest of the world, including Pakistan and India, have elected female leaders, we still suffer from our own prejudices. So Clinton has history on her side. Yet, that seems to be it. Despite being a Democrat, she has often been perceived as an ally of Wall Street, from speaking on their behalf to receiving their donations. Even business leaders would prefer Clinton over Bernie and other GOP figures. And in the case of her husband’s term in office, Clinton had also been in support of the crime bill that ended up increasing the prison-industrial complex and thereby, destroying many communities of color.

Now, before I get into why I also don’t “feel the Bern” as much as others, I’d like to point out some things first:

  1. I consider myself a democratic socialist.
  2. Socialism to me is the middle ground between extreme forms of communism and capitalism.
  3. I do believe that all people deserve healthcare, shelter, food, and other amenities that are crucial to our dignity as people.
  4. The U.S. is a great place to live (for some), and a horrible place (for others). My version of socialism would honor those realities the best they can.

So, here’s why I am not so inclined to enthusiastically support Bernie Sanders.

  1. He continues to seem in support of far-right policies in Israel. For me, Palestinian lives should be as valuable as Israelis.
  2. He governed a predominantly white population in Vermont. Vermont doesn’t represent the wide swath of our diverse America.
  3. In his narratives of class inequality, he often uses talking points from conservatives, in somehow painting the past as a source of legitimate reform in our present. It is true that in the 1950s, people were taxed at higher-rates and this provided the necessary funds to take care of our roads and infrastructure. But it is also true that all this was driven by racial inequalities as well. While white Americans enjoyed prosperity, there were many black and brown Americans and also white working-class who still suffered and faced terror daily from the established bourgeoisie.
  4. He is a white male. To be honest, I think we’ve had enough of white dudes running the country.

I understand that Sanders has changed over the course of his campaign. I am aware that he’s been to places like Baltimore, that other politicians wouldn’t even care to go (including fellow Democrats). I respect that instead of shutting out Black Lives Matter protesters, he included them in his group. But what still worries me is that it took him a while to really admit that race plays a key component in class dynamics and that, even to this day, he has moments where I tilt my head and think, “Wait, what?” Ex. Like Obama, he still believes that Trump supporters are driven by economic frustrations, instead of their own psychopathic and selfish urge to live in a country dominated by them.

Most importantly, this race proves that despite Obama’s years as President, although transformative, were unable to shake the system into truly opening up options for POC. Unlike white liberals (Chait and his white tears), I don’t blame Obama for this. That would be incredibly dumb and short-sighted (see: Chait and his white tears). But the system itself still needs a massive overhaul.

Maybe what we need are more than two parties. The U.S. is a big country and a parliamentary system can be confusing. Still, the parties we have now do not represent the needs and interests of the modern American voter. Let’s be real here. There is no real Left in this country. The Democratic Party are pretty center-right if you compare them to those in Europe. The Republicans are the National Front (as in France). If you are a POC who is Left, who believes in diversity AND substantive policy reform, you will be left in the cold, factoring in the minuteness of details to come to your decision of who to cast your ballot for.

Ultimately, I will be voting for Bernie, just because I can’t stand having another corporatist Dem in office. But it’s hard not to feel like we’re back in the 1990s, when both parties took for granted people of color and their beliefs. It took protests back then to raise our concerns and it takes protests now. Non-electoral means such as uprisings in Baltimore and Ferguson, and social media (i.e. dismantling Islamophobic tropes on Twitter) have been valuable. Still, we are “politically captured” and the “lesser of two-evils” approach remains our diminished guiding light.