Sunday, October 5, 2008

Fear of a black step line

The video embedded below is causing a ruckus in the right-wing blogosphere. It shows a group of black teenagers marching and chanting about the inspirational qualities of Barack Obama... and the benefits of his health-care plan.

To white folks unfamiliar with black fraternities and “stepping,” such a display carries overtones of fascism and mind control.

“Nazi Youth – Obama Style,” reads one blog headline. “Freakin frightening.”

According to the NewsBusters blog, “This is reminiscent of North Korean kids chanting out their praises for the ‘Dear Leader.’ ”

My old nemesis Lawrence Auster was reminded of North Korea as well, except “this Obama Youth video is worse, because it has an African primitiveness about it.”

“Scary stuff,” wrote one of Auster’s readers.

“Militant radicals in the making,” wrote another anti-Obama blogger.

This video is now being pushed on the Drudge Report, which is an agenda-setter for Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. So you can expect to hear more about it in the coming days.

Evidently, the video was originally uploaded by the Urban Community Leadership Academy, a Kansas City charter school. It is now being viralized by YouTubers with nicknames such as NoObamaCant.

This isn’t good news for that charter school, which is affiliated with the University of Central Missouri, a public university. Because if taxpayer money is going towards these types of partisan shenanigans, the Urban Community Leadership Academy will likely catch hell.

And rightly so.

42 comments:

Christina said...

I just can't care about this. I know I should or whatever, but I'm choking on the hypocrisy. If this were a bunch of youth talking about McCain, the right wing bloggers would have no problem with this. Just like the term "celebrity" was an horrible until they got them one. Now Sarah Palin makes "inspiring" a good enough reason to vote again! Whatever.

And schools often sponsor Young Democrats or Young Republicans or Young Christians or GLBT-support type groups, so I don't think there's any shenanigans here that they have to worry about. What public schools have to have is equal and space for many viewpoints to coexist and they can't PROMOTE political speech, just like they can't promote religious speech. But schools are not required to *ban* such speech.

I hate that I try to keep the likes of Lawrence Auster out of my life at all times and yet I read about him here like his crazy ass is someone important or noteworthy. Perhaps you need to put a "Rated X for Extra-Crazy Auster Rant" on certain posts... :-)

cnulan said...

negrovian (my new coinage) collaboration with this ridiculous contrived smear is even more insufferable....,

JD Rhoades said...

Man, I'm a middle aged white guy and even I know what stepping is.

Kellybelle said...

The right wing only likes Black men marching in line in orange jumpsuits behind bars. Step on Obama Youth!

Undercover Black Man said...

What public schools have to have is equal and space for many viewpoints to coexist and they can't PROMOTE political speech...

All right now, Christina. Reality check. You think these kids are doing this on their own?

Run the video again and listen closely at 0:06. You'll hear an adult voice say "Louder," and the kids obligingly pump up the volume on their "Alpha, Omegas."

Public school kids, publicly funded... partisan political shenanigans. At least that's what it looks like.

If this were a church group, I wouldn't complain. (Right-wingers would be just as frightened. It's the "optics," after all, that scare them so. It's less about the public-school aspect.)

Did these kids get graded on this? A question worth asking.

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

Hey there!

The fact that this video scares some white people underscores the reality that whenever black men exhibit ANY level of self-control, unity, and mental discipline, they are an outrageous threat...no matter what age they are!

STAND TALL, black man, stand tall!

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!
Lisa

Undercover Black Man said...

^ You got that right, Lisa. The irony is that these kids are talking about becoming productive, prosperous citizens... which will require discipline to attain. White conservatives are freaking out about the camouflage pants and not even thinking about their professional goals.

Christina said...

"Run the video again and listen closely at 0:06. You'll hear an adult voice say "Louder," and the kids obligingly pump up the volume on their "Alpha, Omegas."

School clubs have adult sponsors! Step teams have coaches. None of that is new or shady. The coercion I'm talking about is if some adult said to these kids, "You must join this step team and chant about Obama." If the kids did this on their own and aren't coerced into joining or punished by not joining, I don't see any difference between this and students joining the Young Republicans of America. (which would have an adult sponsor as well.)

Again, there are many politically-themed clubs and organizations in schools and there's nothing particularly noteworthy about them until someone decides to raise an objection. I'd have to see more than a video to put some kind of shenanigans label on this.

(And yes, I would feel the SAME WAY if these were students acting out some skit about their love for McCain. Except I wouldn't have to defend them in that case because no one would have an objection to it)

This is such a non-issue. To me, anyway -- not my blog, not my rules.

Bay Radical said...

I agree that it is normal for high schools to allow and/or sponsor clubs and that the clubs usually have an adult mentor/coach/sponsor/whatever. There are queer youth groups, BSUs, Democratic and Republican clubs, etc. My high school had a Viking club! Even during school hours there's nothing wrong about kids expressing their politics. Kids write papers expressing certain partisan perspectives, they do theater and art and so forth with the same "biases". It's really only an issue if the students are somehow obligated to maintain a particular political ideology and I have no reason to think, based on that video, that those kids had any obligation to do so. Sure, it's possible that they're being manipulated (shit, school is all about manipulating the beliefs and ideas of youth, right?), but there's no evidence for that.

jjbrock said...

UBM, if white America would educated themselves about our culture. May-be then we wouldn't have to explain every thing to them. This is harmless and, it shocks me that people find fault with it.

DeAngelo Starnes said...

Give me a goddamn break. Steppin' is a form of dancing. If you can't dance or sing or lampoon a vice presidential candidate for your presidential choice, then this has become facism. Step on, brothas!

Christina said...

It doesn't shock me that ignorant people say ignorant things. But I refuse to concede that there's some bullshit point about "political shenanigans" in the schools to be made here. It's not "rightly so" that this school should catch hell BASED ON WHAT WE'VE SEEN (I leave the door open for further info.) It's not "scary stuff." And Lawrence Auster makes me want to barf.

If this were a school newspaper and the students decided for whatever reason to write an endorsement of Obama's health plan, would there be political shenanigans in that? What if their adult newspaper sponsor helped them craft such a piece after the students said they wanted to do it, to make sure they were expressing their points of view clearly? That kind of thing happens every day at schools that have decent student newspapers.

Undercover Black Man said...

I agree that it is normal for high schools to allow and/or sponsor clubs and that the clubs usually have an adult mentor/coach/sponsor/whatever.

Howdy, Bay Radical. I should point out that this particular charter school is a middle school, not a high school... grades 5 thru 9.

So ninth graders, we're talking about, what, 14-year-olds? It's their idea to break down the details of Obama's health-care plan?

Don't let partisanship blind you all to higher values. My suspicion is that the routine they so proudly videotaped was part of the curriculum, not an extra-curricular activity.

I have a feeling we'll find out soon enough.

And if it was done for grades, would you have a problem with it or not? (Not just asking you, Bay Radical, but Christina also, and anyone else who'd care to answer.)

Bay Radical said...

Hey UBM, I'm still reading your blog, just super busy. Anyhow,

It's fine to grade student work that states an opinion - English teachers have to do that every day. If this performance is evaluated/graded/whatever, the evaluation should be based on the students' planning, carrying out of the plan, choreography, writing, performance, etc, and if it is, that seems fine to me. And no, I don't imagine middle schoolers were doing a lot of research on dude's health plan (which, for the record, I think bites) but then, if they were doing an oral report on the Monroe Doctrine, I wouldn't imagine that would have been their idea either. Based only on my own experiences with teens (not knowing any details about these kids - and thanks for pointing out their ages) I'd guess that this activity was probably more internally generated than most school activities, curricular or extracurricular. Obama has an immediacy to kids that most academic subjects do not have. If I were to guess, I'd think that some student suggested they create this performance about Obama, and then their coach/mentor/teacher/whoever probably worked with them to decide what content would be most powerful to include when talking about Obama. Yes, that person probably pushed their own politics within that, but honestly I think that's just part of the teaching experience anywhere.

I get what you're saying UBM, and lets face it, teachers tend towards the liberal, but I just don't think this is a big deal. Now, if I'd heard that there was a pro-McCain step group at the school and that teachers refused to sponsor that group, and that that group got lower grades than the Obama group, well then I'd be concerned. But come on, on what planet would that ever happen?

that dude said...

I can't believe you are criticizing this on any level, UBM.

Publically funded institutions have political events all the time. So what? It's only a big deal because white conservatives are scared of baby faced black kids who are exhibiting some slight form of military discipline, who talking about having productive careers in mainstream society and have learned something about national politics. Oh, and it's expressed with ethnic swagger.

Most of these kids are either pudgy or beanpoles. If these conservatives are scared of them, they are biggest punks on the planet and/or they have a onological fear of black males....particularly promising ones.

Wait, you mean an adult was interested enough in these kids to help them in an afterschool activity? Oh, THAT makes it bad?

You act like kids have to be coerced into supporting Obama, the same way the civil rights movement had to be communist-inspired since there's no way the darkies would do it on their own.

Even if it was during school,for credit, so what? Any teacher who does more than phone it in is a hero in my book.

These kids are beautiful. What they did was beautiful. Stop worrying about what racists think. Stop defining yourself and our people by their twisted hatred. This is how black folks die of high blood pressure. It's Obama time.

Christina said...

You know what I hate? The idea that I'm too blinded by my partisanship to have good sense. I hear enough of that insult hurled around to really be sick of it. I don't question other peoples' motives.

I don't know much about stepping. But I do know a lot about schools and education, and I can't say much more than that because I'm not anonymous. Based on what I've seen here, if this was an graded assignment, no, I don't necessarily have a problem with it.

I'm throwing out this hypothesis without any way to know if this is true, but maybe these kids were asked to make a presentation on some aspect of the presidential campaign, and this is what they came up with. Lots of times students do skits and presentations or art installations or whatever based on assignments that they get in class. There's lessons I've seen where you put math lessons to rap music. I remember in school making up a song about something I was learning in physics. The point is to try to engage students with the curriculum. If there were a legitimate curricular and non-coercive reason behind this, nope, wouldn't care if it were for a grade. If there's a teacher who is NOT using the intense interest in this presidential race as a "teachable moment," I would say that's a poor teacher.

And to go back to my earlier analogy about a school newspaper, if a kid wrote an editorial in support of a candidate's health care plan for the student newspaper, I also would not care if it were for a grade.

Christina said...

"I get what you're saying UBM, and lets face it, teachers tend towards the liberal..."

I wouldn't say that.

Bay Radical said...

Well, I live in California, so maybe I have a skewed view, but almost all the teachers I've dealt with as a student, parent, and in the communities I've lived have been on the liberal side. Except for this one wingnut gym teacher I had in middle school who told me to "go back to Russia" when I refused to say the pledge of allegiance.

Christina said...

I think, just like anything, whether most the people around you are liberal or conservative is based on where you live. I hear plenty of teachers who complain that they aren't allowed to paddle students and lead prayer in schools, and I don't think those teachers are predominantly liberal. I don't think that the teeny-tiny school district in TX that voted a couple of months ago to allow teachers (with permission) to carry a gun in class is a district filled with liberals.

I'm not saying that this one school is not a school filled with liberal teachers. I just think that across the board, teachers are liberal or conservative along the same lines as the population as a whole.

SJ said...

Black youth being inspired to become chemical engineers, architects and lawyers??? Next they'll want to run for president!!



I do agree though that the part about his healthcare system is kinda creepy. But I don't see what the big deal is.

Undercover Black Man said...

Publically funded institutions have political events all the time. So what?

I just happen to believe that public schools shouldn't tell kids what to think but teach them how to think.

And rote memorization of campaign talking points regarding health care doesn't seem to me like the way to grow free thinkers.

Christina said...

But you don't know if that's all that was going on -- the rote memorization. All you're looking at is a video and you're deciding to let it take you down the same path a bunch of racists went down.

You know what? I have no idea what this video is about. I don't know if it was part of one huge larger assignment. Maybe this little thing was to reward the kids after they wrote a paper...I have no clue at all. But rather than think the worst, I'm going to just think that there was some school value to it unless other information comes forward. I'm not "blinded to higher values" as you said in an earlier post -- I'm going to assume that I'm not the only one who has them.

Anonymous said...

>>Stop worrying about what racists think. Stop defining yourself and our people by their twisted hatred. This is how black folks die of high blood pressure. It's Obama time.>>

>>But you don't know if that's all that was going on -- the rote memorization. All you're looking at is a video and you're deciding to let it take you down the same path a bunch of racists went down.>>

Ditto, what That Dude and Christina said. You guys nailed it.

These racists are just grasping at straws, trying to find anything that'll play into the fears of the scared whites who are trying to find a reason not to vote for Obama, even knowing that the alternative ticket would not support their economic interests.

Let Limbaugh, Drudge and dem try and make a Hail Mary pass issue out of this video for the sake of the McCain/Palin ticket. They'll just end up looking stupid and desperate, as usual.

Nothing is going to stop this Obama train to the White House.

Obama '08 !! Obama '08 !! Obama '08

John B. said...

It's really ironic that Obama has to keep under wraps any sort of "black" expressions of support for his candidacy and populate his TV ads with corn-fed white folks out of mid-America.

Not that he's wrong to do this - in fact it's tactically brilliant! It's just not fair.

Watching the Democratic National Convention I had to smile when they played "There Ain't No Stopping Us Now" toward the end. The cat was out of the bag!

I'm sure Obama field organizers across America are doing their best to get out every African-American vote come Nov. 4, and the Austers of the world are in for a big surprise.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ I need to give Auster his due, John. He actually is such a hater of McCain, he argues that an Obama victory might be better for Western civilization... because it at least carries the possibility of triggering a racial awakening in whites.

Send that man a lawn sign!

Vince Spence said...

Why would anybody, regardless of color, politics or party affiliation, be the least bit upset about this? I do not care if they did it on their own or otherwise. I agree with DeAngelo, can we not express our thoughts and believes as we wish? This is America in 2008, not Nazi Germany in 1936-1945.

I do think the Obama camp would have preferred if the young men had spoken in a way where what they said could be understood a little better.

Lyndon said...

How do we know that these kids didn't decide to do this on their own? They're all intelligent young men.

Stepping has been a staple of black fraternities for years. What's the big deal?

destruction said...

Speaking of the SludgeReport.... check this out:

This was Drudge's page about midnight on Sunday, which is where I first noticed the Stepping article.

First notice the Obama/McCain pics at the time, and the line between them. Scroll down and there's the Obama Nazi Youth pic, clearly leaning on Obama's side of the line.

Down from McCain we have a lady looking into her pocketbook (is she clutching it?) at her empty savings and wondering what more could be happening.

And there it is, below the steppers, It's Juice...the Racial Third Rail...nuff said.....then down on the white, i mean, right side of page is a shot of Biden, botoxicated.

He does this all the time.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

http://www.drudgereportarchives.com/data/2008/10/06/20081006_010930.htm

Laura said...

"African primitiveness"
??? O_o

maria said...

i'd like to read an objective, mainstream piece about what really went on here.

too quick a rush to judgment when i have not read any facts. could have been just practice as some kind of routine. the words perhaps weren't thought to matter. if it was stopped as the youtube page says, then, fine. it probably was a mistake and then action was taken. it's a smear.

anyone got a link?

these look like high schoolers, btw. 9-12 graders.

what kid--let alone adults--know what reinsurance is?

eclectique916 said...

Send those culturally deprived folks here: www.stepafrika.org. There's information about stepping, it's roots and this group has travelled abroad on behalf of U.S. citizens as cultural ambassadors for the State Department. They were featured on "Extreme Home Makeover" and will be performing at this year's White House national tree lighting. Tell them I sent you.

Anonymous said...

Fox News' front page...

maria said...

A middle school 'youth fraternity' in Kansas City, Mo., is seen drilling before class in an image from a video posted to YouTube. The teacher who led the group was suspended Monday after posting the video, which showed the students chanting Obama slogans.

that's all fox says. not a story!

Big Man said...

All those young black man showing discipline and dedication...I'm not surprised white folks were scared.

quirkychick said...

You know if they were marines at bootcamp sounding off as they ran around with M16s no one would have a problem with this.

At my public high school the kids in ROTC did stuff like this all the time with fake guns.

Sadly, to a lot of people, white people in this country, they look like what is considered acceptable expendable collateral damage.

It's tragic to me that when they sound off about being inspired to take responsibility for their lives and make good choices that is perceived and spun as some kind of threat.

I don't buy that people don't know what stepping is - there have been too many mainstream movies featuring stepping and this kind of dancing for anyone except maybe the Amish to claim ignorance.

makheru bradley said...

It would be interesting to know what the pragmatic Perfect Proxy who has run away from “race” this entire campaign thinks of this video. I’m sure that if it ruffles one hair on the head of his white supporters these young people will be tossed under the bus with Jeremiah Wright, Rene Marie, and others.

Having said that, since the Neo-Nazis are running wild with this video, it’s certain to become cannon-fodder for the culture war the Crypto-Fascists and The Barracuda are igniting.

BTW, the images these youth are projecting would be a threat in the minds of the White Supremacy Dynamic even if they weren’t chanting a pro-Obama message.


They are a threat because they’ve seemingly avoided the trappings of the psychodynamics of Black self-annihilation in service of white domination.

WasteofMyOxygen said...

Those that have brought this to the publics attention did not do so for fear of black stepping, racism or any such reverse racism arguments. The point of it has to do with the education of these students using tax payers money and the abuse of the authority of the school...

The teacher has been suspended and it is now proven that this video was the child of this teacher.

http://wasteofmyoxygen.wordpress.com/2008/10/06/urban-community-leadership-academy-teacher-suspended/

Christina said...

wasteofmyoxygen, when one of the people bemoaning this video comments on the "African primitiveness" of it, I don't think you can make a realistic argument that racism has nothing to do with the furor. Maybe YOU don't have a problem with racism, but you're just one person.

As for the teacher being suspended, sounds like there wasn't a valid educational reason for this after all. I'm not sorry that I didn't jump to a conclusion.

Thordaddy said...

makheru bradley,

Is it your contention that nothing nefarious should be perceived from this video while you sarcastically ponder what the "post-racial" candidate might think?

Aren't you implying that the "race doesn't matter" crowd and their 18-month campaign to pound that phony mantra into our heads was nothing but a farce?

But isn't the biggest farce the fact that "race" does matter especially to many blacks and this is what the leftist media along with "The One" has attempted to conceal?

Why is this video not an example of black supremacy in the making? Afterall, a racial group that was connived into "[s]elf-annihilation" would have plenty of rationale and justification for such supremacist pursuits?

WasteofMyOxygen said...

Christina,

"when one of the people bemoaning this video comments on the "African primitiveness" of it, I don't think you can make a realistic argument that racism has nothing to do with the furor. Maybe YOU don't have a problem with racism, but you're just one person."

Exactly,One person bemoaning this video comments on the "African primitiveness" of it doesn't make the points about the video's appropriateness being created by a school for a political agenda does not make it a racists issue, They're just one person.

The fact of the matter is, this school allowed this too be created using tax payers money and the only reason the teach has been suspended is because of the public outrage over the academic epidemic that is running rampant throughout the country.

Most critics of this video are critical of the teacher and the administration not the kids.

maria said...

^Why is this video not an example of black supremacy in the making? Afterall, a racial group that was connived into "[s]elf-annihilation" would have plenty of rationale and justification for such supremacist pursuits?

what a fucking load of horseshit.

my kids' middle school had a step team. i saw them perform. they were black and white girls...and brown...and asian.

and? about this crap?

the only objectionable aspect was that it was their words were political.

mostly it was a positive message.

makheru bradley said...

But isn't the biggest farce the fact that "race" does matter especially to many blacks and this is what the leftist media along with "The One" has attempted to conceal?—Thor

Of course RACE MATTERS. For the vast majority of the Afrikan American democratic voting bloc, this election is more about melanin-content, charisma, and a sense of historical redemption than it is about ethical-content.

Then again since this voting bloc routinely gives 90% of its votes to the Democratic candidate for the POTUS, why not do it with a sense of pride and hope for a better day.

Based on the way this campaign is playing out in the MSM, I see it as an extraordinary sectarian battle within the American power structure for the reigns of government, in which the Afrikan American masses are nothing more than pawns being used by one of the combatants.

However, we should note that working-class European Americans have been the pawns under the Republican Big Tent since 1968.

As regards this denial of race as an issue we understand that the Obama Campaign is driven by the expediency which they believe is necessary to get Obama elected POTUS. The Afrikan Americans who support his campaign, and have been willing to ride on the back of the Obama bus are hoping that they will be moved a few seats forward once he is elected. As Guy Uriel Charles noted:

Not only did Obama not mention Dr. King in his historic acceptance speech, he did not mention any racial policy issues. He signaled his support for gay rights, abortion rights, even the 2nd Amendment but could not signal his support of the 14th. Race was the public policy issue that could not be uttered.

There are two ways to address the racism that the Obama campaign knows exists and prevents those who may be inclined not to vote for Obama because he is black. One strategy is to minimize race as much as possible, which is what the Obama campaign has done. The other possibility is to be straightforward about racial inclusion and to use that frame to bring in working class whites.

The Obama campaign chose the first option as it is the least-risky choice. I understand the choice. The speech and the campaign have been remarkable. But it is ironic that while everyone was invited to the historic party and entered through the front door, only one group is still being asked to enter through the back door. It better be worth it.

Why is this video not an example of black supremacy in the making? Afterall, a racial group that was connived into "[s]elf-annihilation" would have plenty of rationale and justification for such supremacist pursuits? –Thor

Spoken like a true Afriphobe.

Power is the capacity to either control or significantly influence life-sustaining and life-enhancing institutions. This video demonstration is not connected to any mass-based movement for power which can influence any institution one iota. Furthermore, the Black Liberation Movement was never about supremacy. It only sought to neutralize the capacity of the White Supremacy Dynamic to impose their diabolical will upon us.

Nevertheless I understand your fear. “The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice”—Martin L. King.