Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Help Defend the People's Voice in Benton Harbor, Michigan!


*** ACTION ***

To start, we are looking for 100 good people to donate $10 each to BANCO's legal defense fund. This is phase one of raising the support needed and is your chance to make a big difference in the fight for a fair and just outcome of the trial and the recall vote. Supporters are also asked to come to Benton Harbor for a rally on March 11th and to be court observers once the trial begins. For more background and details, see the Web site below.

1) Support the right of Benton Harbor citizens to take a stand against a corrupt political and judicial system

2) Defend the right of Benton Harbor residents to speak out against injustice without intimidation and reprisals (two key witnesses for the defense were recently arrested and imprisoned)

3) Stop the disenfranchisement of Benton Harbor voters (a valid recall election was overturned)

4) Support BANCO's fight against brutality and sexual harassment by police

5) Help balance the odds for activists in a community with 90% unemployment and under-employment (material aid is needed)

6) Defend our friend and colleague Rev. Pinkney from an unjust trial on trumped-up charges (several witnesses have been paid to falsely testify against him)

7) Challenge economic and racial apartheid in the U.S. today

8) Make a positive difference for the cost of a movie or a couple coffees

9) With a donation of $20 or more, request a free BANCO T-shirt

10) Join with others worldwide calling for justice in Benton Harbor. Together we can make a difference!


In Benton Harbor, Michigan, residents won a recall vote of a corrupt city commissioner through a successful campaign led by BANCO (Black Autonomy Network Community Organization). Then, in an attempt to circumvent the will of the people, the vote was overturned by a local judge. In a further outrage, community leader Rev. Edward Pinkney of BANCO was arrested on trumped-up charges of alleged vote fraud. He faces a possible sentence of twenty years. His trial is set for March 15, 2006. BANCO won't back down and we need your help. We can't let authorities disenfranchise voters and squash dissent in Benton Harbor, or anywhere.

Make checks payable to "BANCO" and mail to:
BANCO, 1940 Union St., Benton Harbor, MI 49022


Contributions are tax-deductible. BANCO is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Download PDF flier

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Rethinking Superiority: Reflections on Whiteness and the Cult of "Progress"

By Tim Wise

(This is only part of an essay found on There is so much to learn in this essay, but I've only included
2 sections of it. On his website you'll see his extensive speaking schedule, and other information about him.)

September 15, 2005
As of this coming year, high school students in Philadelphia, PA will be required to take a course in African American history in order to graduate. In a recent column, I lent my support to the new prerequisite, and responded to those who have attacked the plan, most of whom have criticized such a course for being "divisive," or too narrowly focused, or otherwise a distraction from the presumably more important (and unrelated) work of reading, writing and arithmetic.
Having grown accustomed to hostile e-mails in response to my internet-based essays, I was utterly unsurprised then by the missive I received, shortly after the first piece went up on my website a few weeks ago. Therein, the author attacked the black history requirement, offering reasons for his objections that I suspect were far more honest than those put forth by most, and which reasons were also considerably more racist in both tone and content.
Indeed, his racial hostility virtually leapt off the page when he insisted among other things, that no sub-Saharan African nation had developed a wheel prior to contact with whites, and that ancient Egypt (which he grudgingly admitted was, as with modern-day Egypt, located in Africa) wasn't really African in the sense of being a black nation.
Finally, he self-confidently proclaimed that "blacks have contributed between nil and zilch" to American history, and thus were unworthy of any classroom attention, let alone an entire course dedicated to their non-achievement. To be more specific, my detractor insisted that blacks have contributed no technological advances, no scientific discoveries, or other inventions that would merit a class on Black History.
There is much one could say here, and perhaps some will question why I would even bother to respond at all. Yet the ubiquity with which such pedantry finds its way into my web browser suggests that letting it slide will hardly make such views go away. At the very least, this kind of vapid argumentation points up a number of disturbing conclusions about the people who forward it, and those who believe it--and let us be clear, with regard to the last bunch, the numbers are far greater than are willing to say so openly. Bottom line: racists almost always tell you more about themselves than the people they seek to denigrate, and this is no exception to that rule.

[skipping over a lot of paragraphs....]

Imagine, to survive attempted cultural and physical genocide does not, on this view, merit wonder or amazement, let alone a class to discuss how such a thing could be possible: this, in a nation that has made surviving a few weeks on an island with television cameras and emergency medical assistance at the ready something for which the last person standing should be rewarded one million dollars. In a nation where surviving the consumption of raw pig snouts or bull testicles might well win you $50,000 on Fear Factor.
Since when has survival been seen as such an unimpressive accomplishment? Does not surviving the concerted attempt to destroy or at least subjugate one's people say something about the character of those who manage the feat? Does not leading a struggle for freedom, and the advancement of human dignity not suggest that the persons in question have made a substantial contribution to the nation in which they live, and indeed the world? By what moral, ethical or practical standard could one fairly argue otherwise?

[there is more, and it's well worth reading - for anyone who wants to truly understand our racial "divide"]