Challenging the Falsehoods of Black Criminality by Jamala Rogers

Every time I hear a black person utter the phrase “black on black” crime and I’m in position to have a conversation, I educate them about the pathology of the term. The phrase is barren of any sociological meaning. Only people of African descent have been made to believe that something is inherently different about the way we commit crimes against one another. It is not.

When black people don’t understand all the elements of criminality, we take on the added burden that it’s our fault and therefore, we are solely responsible for what happens to us or to our communities. We must oppose violence including violence against women while being crystal clear that state violence is very different from violence that erupts within families or among friends.

No one refers to mass murders by the like of Ted Bundy and Adam Lanza as white-on-white crimes. Bundy confessed to killing 30 young, white women but the real number is unknown. Lanza gunned down 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. In fact, there have been about 70 mass shootings since 1982 and 40 of the killers have been white males. I’ve never heard the media refer to these heinous crimes as “white-on-white crimes.”

Any set of crime statistics bears out the fact that most crime is intra-racial meaning the background of the typical victim is close to that of the perpetrator. In a segregated America, it’s easy to predict who a black person will rob or kill. Likewise for a white person.

Most rape victims know their attackers. Most children are sexually abused by someone they know-a family member or family friend. Most murder victims are the same race as their offenders. FBI stats for 2013 show that black homicide victims are killed by black offenders at roughly the same rate that white people kill other white people.

For several years, I have written articles that spoke to the phenomena of decreasing violent crime. Even so-called black-on-black crime has decreased violent crime. Even so-called black-on-black crime has decreased over the last 20 years by nearly 70 percent. Yet you couldn’t tell it by the mainstream media or law enforcement tactics who would have you believe that black people have crime in their DNA.

Crime is sociological, not biological. Factors such as poverty, unemployment, economic inequality and failed educational systems are contributions to crime.

It’s understandable that black people think there’s more crime in their neighbourhoods. That’s because of the concentration of the above factors that collide in compressed black communities. There’s no comfort in knowing that crime is down overall when you hear gun shots or police sirens outside your door on a regular basis.

The myth of the criminality-inclined black man has it’s roots in slavery as the rationale to maintain white dominance and control at all costs. During slavery and Reconstruction when food was withheld and a black man seized a loaf of bread to eat or a black mother liberated medicine for her sick baby, these incidents were not only used to perpetuate the mythology of black criminality but also fuelled laws like Black Codes to justify the continued need for white supremacy. After the annihilation of Black Reconstruction by Plessy vs Ferguson, elements of the Black Codes crept into Jim Crow laws.

Most notable was the use of vagrancy as a crime where black folks could be convicted and sent to work on a plantation as their sentence. Petty crimes such as theft would get you the same punishment. It was an extension of the free labor afforded to whites elites under slavery. The sight of black chain-gangs in the South reinforced the perception of black criminality as did racist movies like “Birth of a Nation.”

Fast forward to 2015. Over two million people are in U.S. prisons, the highest number of any developed country in the world. Black men are over-represented in the Prison Industrial Complex – the genesis of their incarceration can be traced back to disproportionate suspension rates in school, disproportionate interactions with the police, and disproportionate rates of convictions along with harsher and longer sentences. The cycle continues and the perception of dangerous black men becomes to entrenched American reality. The mainstream media is always happy to lend a helping hand in the criminalization of African Americans.

Courtesy of “Ferguson is America” Roots of Rebellion by Jamala Rogers



Who Killed McDuffie? A definitive question

Jamala Rogers performed this powerful poem since the 1980s, always wondering about the author. She would update the names with the latest police murder. Sadly, there was a never ending roll call of black children, women, and men that made the poem ever relevant and timely. After the Trayvon Martin murder and changing the names and cities yet again, she finally found him on Facebook.

Harold Lee Rush aka Hakim Al-Jamil is a creative artist who has used his talents in theater and spoken word to raise the consciousness of his community. You can hear him dropping knowledge on “Live with Harold Rush” at Chicago’s 893FM WKKC radio.

Who Killed McDuffie?

A definitive question

By Hakim Al-Jamil

his brain was crashed

cranium crashed

skull fractured/broken

all the way around

but they said those who beat him

didn’t kill him

so who killed mcduffie?

maybe it was the same ones that didn’t kill

clifford glover/randy heath/jay parker

claude reese/randy evans/luis baez

arturo reyes/bonita carter/eula love

elizabeth magnum/arthur miller

and countless others

when there fingers slipped or

they musta tripped

maybe it was the same ones

who didn’t kill

jose torres/zayd shakur/fred and carl hampton

jonathon jackson and george jackson/ joe dell

twyman myers/spurgeon winters

and a few hundred others

perhaps it was those who didn’t kill



and quite a few thousands more

do you suppose it may have been those

who didn’t kill

the indians and mexicans

who didn’t steal african people

halfway across the planet

who didn’t loot our customs/cultures

religions/languages/labor and land

who didn’t steal a continent

and claim that they discovered it

who didn’t bomb the japanese/

vietnamese and boriqua too

do you think it might have been those

who didn’t kill at


detroit/newark/ el barrios

at jackson state, at southern u

at the algiers motel

who didn’t shoot mark essex for

16 hours after he was dead

ask them and they’ll tell you

what they didn’t do

but they can’t tell you

who killed mcduffie

maybe it was one of those

seizures unexplainable

where he beat himself to death

it wouldn’t be unusual

our history is full of cases where we

attack nightsticks with our heads

choke billyclubs with our throats

till we die/

jump in front of bullets with our backs/

throw our selves into rivers

with our hands and feet bound/

hang ourselves into rivers

with our hands and feet bound/

hang ourselves on trees/in prison cells

by magic

so it shouldn’t be a mystery

that nobody killed mcduffie

he just died the way

so many of us do

of a disease nobody makes a claim to

the police say they didn’t do it

the majors say they didn’t do it

the judges say they didn’t do it

the government say it didn’t do it

nixon say he didn’t do it

the fbi/ cia/military establishment

say they didn’t do it

xerox/exxon/itt say they didn’t do it

the klan and nazis say they didn’t do it

(say they were busy in greensboro and wrightsville)

I know I didn’t do it

that don’t leave nobody but you

and if you say you didn’t do it

we’re right back where we started

looking for nobody who killed mcduffie

you remember nobody don’t you

like with de facto segregation

where they said the schools were segregated

but nobody did it on purpose

like when they said there’s been

job discrimination for years

but nobody it intentionally

that’s the nobody we’re looking for

the one with the motive

to kill mcduffie

and you see, we MUST find

this nobody who slew mcduffie

because the next person

nobody will beat/stomp/hang or shoot to death

won’t be mcduffie

you should know the reason of

who killed mcduffie

it’ll be you or someone close to you

so for your own safely

you should know the pedigree of

who kill mcduffie

you should know the reason of who

killed mcduffie

you should remember all those forgotten

who died of the disease


makes a claim to

so we won’t be here asking

who killed you

Courtesy of Jamala Rogers and her book Ferguson is America: Roots of Rebellion

Measure D Berkeley vs Big Soda Wins Historic Victory

On November 4th 2014 a broad coalition of Berkeley voters passed Measure D by a 76% majority. The Berkeley Healthy Child Coalition directed the campaign from the beginning that included health care professionals, educators, students, parents, the NAACP and African-American community, and Latinos Unidos among others. The yes on D Measure is one of few times when people defeated Wall Street corporations such as Coca Cola, Pepsico, and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group.

Measure D originated because soda and sugar laden drinks have caused an increased risk of diabetes and other health problems such as heart and liver disease, obesity, and tooth decay. Soft drink companies target all people but especially African-American and Latino youth. People were tired of their deteriorated health and decided to fight back.

The measure taxes soda distributors not consumers and is not a sales tax. As a result, soda companies will pay a one cent per ounce tax. What will be taxed are high-calorie, low nutritional sugar laden drinks and syrups like soda, energy drinks, juice with added sugar, sweetened tea, and drinks like Frappuccinos. In practice Measure D will tax the 15-20 soda distribution companies and will be added to their license fees.

The tax revenue to go into a Berkeley general fund that will create a panel of experts in education and health. These experts will then make recommendations to the city government. The implementation of decisions will then educate the public about the role of sugary drinks health issues, raise income for community groups to combat the influence soda marketing, and hopefully reduce consumption of soft drinks.

KPOO Radio

KPOO is an African-American and independently owned non commercial radio station based in San Francisco, CA. It’s mission is to open the airwaves to the disenfranchised and the under served. During the week KPOO covers news, events, interviews, public meetings, and public service announcements. KPOO’s program focus has always been jazz, hip hop, salsa, reggae, blues, and gospel. The station’s diverse programing also includes Irish Americans, Arab American, Latin programing, prisoner rights issues, health issues, and Native American concerns.


Joe Rudolph (1938 to 2001) was the founder and creator of KPOO radio. He helped organize the 1968 student strikes at San Francisco State University. He started Fillmore Media, a precursor of KPOO, a community based media center. He later taught about community media at Lone Mountain College in San Francisco. KPOO was the first station that created the first all gospel, reggae, rap, salsa, blues, and doo-wop.

My favorite KPOO programs:

“Love Soul” by Al Glenn Tuesday from 11:30 P.M. to 2:00 A.M. Great soul music rarely heard.

“Uplift! The Music of John Coltrane” by Wanika King-Stephens Tuesdays from 12 to 4. They play all the classics.

“Jumpstart” by Scott Thompson Thursday from 6 to 9. News from around the world & insightful interviews.

“Reality Sandwich” by Julie & Martin Matthews Thursdays from 12 to 1. Insightful information about healthful living.

“Arab Talk” by Jess Thursday from 2 to 3. I listen to this program for my information about the Arab world.

“La Verdad Musical” by Avotcja Friday from 12 to 3. No one knows the musical scene like Avotcja.

“Do I Move You” by Francesca Fridays from 6 to 10. Great musical mix especially reggae.

“Ghetto Gumbo” by K-Maxx Fridays from 10 P.M. To 2 A.M. The best rap show around.

“Wake Up Everyone” by Donald Lacy Saturdays from 7 to 12. Donald gives it to you straight.

“Con Clave” by Chata Guiterrez Saturdays from 12 to 3. Chata is definitely the best salsa DJ.

“Cruisin through the 70’s” by JJ Saturdays from 10 P.M. To 12 Midnight. No one re-creates the 70’s like JJ.

“Vintage Soul” (1960’S) by JJ Saturdays from 12 Midnight to 2 A.M. Live the 60’s through JJ.

KPOO Streaming


Why I Use Linux Ubuntu

I have been enjoying and using Linux for many years. Currently I am a member of Berkeley Linux Users Group (BLUG) Linux is a free computer operating system similar to Windows and Mac although technically only the kernel is called Linux. Currently Ubuntu is the most popular distribution system for Linux. Ubuntu means “Humanity Towards Others”. The new version available is Ubuntu 11.04 out April 2011.

Linux originated when Linus Torvalds was a student at University of Helsinki he developed Linux in 1991. It was released for free and started a great increase in software development. Linus currently works for the Linux Foundation in Oregon.

Why Linux?

It’s all free and you save money. All Linux software is open source. Upgrades come every six months. Linux is part of the open source software movement.

No computer viruses and you don’t have to buy anti-virus software.

Any software glitches you can usually solve through the Linux community.

Don’t have to buy new computers every few years and old computers work perfectly on Linux.

Linux has a nice support system. One type group is called Ubuntu Local Community Teams (LoCo) – a regional group of Ubuntu users to advocate, build, and improve Ubuntu. Ubuntu California is another group to advocate and promote Ubuntu. Linux Users Groups (LUG) are worldwide and they meet regularly to assist and support. You can also receive support through the Ubuntu community.

Linux Users are Enlightened: 1) Linux computer users are more interested in improving, assisting, and building the existing Linux community than monetary gain. 2) Computer Professionals, novices, young, old, women, and all races & cultures are treated the same.

You can operate Linux with Windows and Mac or completely replace your operating system. All you need to insert a CD-R or USB stick. If you use Windows you can operate Ubuntu with the Windows installer (Wubi).

Be a little different & give it a try!