THE STUDY - Vol.2.2 | Between Barack and a Hard Place

BY: TamonGeorge , @tamongeorge

Between Barack And A Hard Place – Tim Wise

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Tim Wise, an anti-racist activist and political thinker has written yet another successful book on the current affairs of African Americans in America. Wise, a white man has opened the doors previously unexplored by people of his persuasion.

Wise uses this short and concise piece to dig into the layers of structural and historical racism in the age of Obama. He poses questions, gives answers and shines a light on issues such as housing, employment, justice and education. These topics have been discussed in great length by hundreds of authors, but where Wise makes a difference is in his ability to link these issues with the age of Colorblindness. These structural and historical issues cannot be solved without a swift philosophy that acknowledges race.

Wise creates a simple book that poses a key fundamental issue. “Is Black success making it harder for Whites to see the problem of racism?”

Wise argues Race relations are being strained by the colorblind outlook. He believes that in the white perspective it is now becoming mainstream to witness Black success and at claim all things are equal when they are not. The White population has crossed the finish line of race relation work and is not looking back to verify its completion.

This short book was a simple read with a strong message.

 Has Black Success made it harder for Whites the see the problem of Racism?

THE STUDY - Vol.2.1 | Hip Hop Wars

The Hip Hop Wars – Tricia Rose

BY: TamonGeorge ,  @tamongeorge

Author Tricia Rose writes a compelling book illustrating the highs and lows of the 20th centuries most powerful music genre…Hip-Hop. Rose, a professor of Africana studies at Brown University uses her vast knowledge and understanding of true American history to accurately pen the current affairs of Hip Hop.

Rose writes in laymen terms, avoiding academic jargon, all the while allowing the reader to focus on the complexity of this topic instead of the complexity of academic diction. This book is not only easy to understand but is written with the reader in mind. Clear, concise and captivating.

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Tricia Rose uses a rather uncommon template is this book, using the first half of the piece to comment solely on the detractors of Hip Hop.

  • Violence
  • Ghetto Culture
  • American Values
  • Hip Hop & Women

Critics of Hip Hop have plenty of ammunition to back up their claims.  Tricia Rose sharply analyzes these claims from the perspective of a Hip Hop lover. Understanding its shortfalls but loving it non-the less.

The second half of this book is written from the perspective of the Hip Hop head, from the eyes of those willing to defend Hip Hop as fact. The second half of this book is entirely in defense of Hip Hop.

Why is Hip Hop real? What has it come from? Why does it sell? What responsibility does it have?. All questions addressed by Rose.

This read is one that holds its value in all circles of life. Any person of marginal youth will benefit from the information derived from this book. Not only does it open ones eyes to the high levels of Hip Hop, but also the Sublevels we tend to overlook. Difficult issues… Masculinity, Self Worth, Discrimination, Economies of the music industry.

Read this book, to better appreciate Hip Hop for what it 

THE STUDY - Vol.1.9 | THE NEW JIM CROW

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Amazon :The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

BY TamonGeorge@tamongeorge

“You are a felon, you can not work here, you cannot live here, you can not ask for assistance…. However, you must go straight”

Initially written with modest anticipation of sales and distribution, this book has been printed over ten times and become an international success holding court in education curriculum’s and C-Span alike. This book has successfully made the leap to social manifesto of the American prison system.  Author Michelle Alexander makes her stand at the foot injustice through her careful examination of the creation of a second class society through racial control. Her evidence is exact and direct, she neatly plants the seeds of thought needed to fully understand the breadth of an American Class war created through imprisonment of black youths.

The New Jim Crow is an epitome of enlightenment, this book teaches; it sparks necessary thought that will forever change the way we understand incarceration as a solution to a problem.  Simply put, the mark of a felon is forever lasting, and this mark is being placed on the forehead of Men of color at a feverish pace.

Michelle Alexander tackles old forms of discrimination and aligns them with new school policy that creates similar outcomes to Jim Crow law of the early 20th century. The unequivocal outcome is a two tiered class system that scars the lives of millions of Black males every year. This is a book written for those interested in the pipeline to prison and the big business… that is mass incarceration. 

THE STUDY - Vol.1.8 | REBUILDING THE INNER CITY

BY: TamonGeorge@tamongeorge

Rebuilding the Inner City – Robert Halpern

This book is not for the faint of heart. Its not intended to be a quick read before bed, nor a read to be carried out between the commercial breaks of your favorite television show. This book is an in depth lesson of the afflictions chaining inner cities to their unfulfilling destiny. Rebuilding the inner city is a book that requires focus and an attentive spirit to fully understand the complex creation of the inner cities deprivation of progression.

Robert Halpern writes this book with an academic tone that challenges the reader to conceptualize the underpinnings of the perpetual and systemic downfalls of inner city reform.  From a historical standpoint Halpern untangles the thick tentacles of inner city evolution with in depth analysis of historical events that contributed to the various phases of public awareness and government response to the unshakable crisis of inner city revitalization.

Two key components of inner city development as outlines by this book have been Community development corporations and secondly, neighborhood initiatives. Each having their own collection of shortcomings and uprisings.

Moreover, this book gives tremendous insight in a general context to the creation of the “inner city”, framing the inner city plight in its totality. Harlpern addresses a broad range if cyclical issues, from education reform to job loss post WWII to the migration of whites to the suburbs. This book addresses the inner city fight not through a racial lens but addresses the stark realities with an objective monocle that speaks to real circumstance.

This read is for the social conscious, for those who want a heightened understanding of the afflictions of an inner city. This book is written for someone who is yet to understand why certain neighborhoods haven’t changed in decades and why programs that vow to create change often fail. This is a slow read, one that will change the way you see the ruble and troubles of an inner city. But lastly, this book isn’t a recipe for change, it is an oven.

Why are Ghettos still Ghettos?

THE STUDY - Vol.1.7 | Is Black America still “Black America?”

By: TamonGeorge . @tamongeorge

The Pulitzer prize-winning author Eugene Robinson writes a passionate down to earth book about the state of Black America and the painfully complex relationship amongst its members. 

amazon.com/Disintegration-Splintering-America-Eugene-Robinson

Robinson starts this book with an informative analysis of the last century in Black unrest and civil turmoil. He examines the roles of then leaders and their ability to unite and ignite Blacks to a unified calling. Robinson examines the current culture created by a society without a clear leader, and better yet, without a firm agenda. The question then posed is weather or not a leader or an agenda can be made for Black America in the same fashion it was made before. Thus creating the shift and disintegration of Black America. who is responsible for who? Can an entire people unify the same way they did 50 years ago? Is that unification now necessary?

The disintegration Robinson defines is based on the real challenge created by the American dream. Some Black people are trying to survive while others thrive. The struggle is real in terms of the direction Black America can take with its precarious position on the scale of equality and inequality.

Digging through the thick layers of Black society. Robinson identifies four main groups created in the last three decades. The Transcendent, the mainstream-middle class, the Abandoned and the emergent’s.

  • Transcendent: the few elite who have navigated through race and society as a whole to become exceptional players in America at large.
  • The mainstream middle Class: Black who are firmly rooted in middle class values and status, often those who have attained higher education and created wealth for their families
  • The Abandoned: Million of Blacks who have been unable to get out of the forest of oppression and depression unable to escape poverty
  • The Emergent’s: recent immigrants from predominantly Black countries such as African nations and the Caribbean who are visually held inside the Black American context but have surprisingly different outlooks.

This read offers insight into the diverging outlooks of Black America. With some gains being made every day the consensus is that these gains are blinding the true disparities within the widening spectrum of Black living.

Is Black America, still Black America? 

THE STUDY - Vol.1.6

Whos Afraid of Post-Blackness, What it means to be black now – Toure

"Black people don’t do that!"

This examination will be short, mainly because we have all been down this path. We have crossed this street and addressed these issues in our own minds time and time before. What is Black? Who are we to judge Black? What does Black do? What does Black not do?

This question is firmly rooted in Black fashion. Scroll through this blog, any blog. Black fashion… is everything, does everything.

Unequivocally, a must read for anyone who wants to remain relevant in a world of constant refinement.

Toure has been classified as everything under the sun, and then some. The critical analysis of his life has brought him to the crossroads of Blackness Vs Blackness. Toure has crafted an exceptional piece depicting the ever changing concept of Blackness.

Toure’s position is an interesting one, he challenges the restrictions that the “Black” identity creates. He ever goes so far to challenge the restrictions we Blacks put on each other. We’ve all heard it… “Black people don’t do that”. Case in point, yes, we do.

This spirited often humorous book critiques the 21st century Black and spins it into an understandable amalgamation of past present and future. Read it with an open mind, and a reflective spirit. You wont regret it.

The rules of Blackness no longer exist.

Do you think post blackness exists and if so, are you afraid of it?

THE STUDY - Vol.1.5 | VOTE! - “THE PRICE OF THE TICKET”

BY - TamonGeorge , @tamongeorge 

The Price of The Ticket (Barack Obama and the rise and decline of Black politics)– Fredrick Harris

In light of the recent presidential debate and upcoming election, I find this to be an ideal time to write about a book with so much influence and relevance of the current American world.  President Barack Obama has become a symbol of hope, prosperity and power and has been the North Star for Black across America since his emergence onto the national political scene. His image has transcended him into a figure of ultimate power, but has his politics reflected such a transformation in the lives of Blacks in America? This.. is a question explored heavily by Fredrick Harris, the author.

Harris starts by examining the roots of Black political society and its inception out of a little known place of influence called Southside Chicago.  Obama was not the first of Black political leaders and certainly wont be the last. His roots post Harvard, were grown out of a deep dish pan of Black political thinkers who all contributed to his now unprecedented success.  Harris analyzes the road taken by Blacks before him such as Jesse Jackson among many, that helped shape the Black political philosophy that served as a framework for Obama 2008 Campaign.  His campaign was a playbook for “New School” Black politics as apposed to the “Old School” protest politics of the mid century. The deployment of a seemingly race-neutral agenda combined with the usage of color blind rhetoric gave his campaign a mainstream American identity that ultimately allowed him to capture the heart of a multicultural society and therefore posses the coveted position of President of the United States.

Harris also speaks to disgruntled Blacks. Some believe Obama hasn’t contributed enough to the empowerment of the African American community; but what many don’t see as claimed by Harris is the “Inside-Outside” game played by Black politicians. The subliminal work, behind the scenes if you will, to serve the agenda of the people. When Obamas policies are examined beyond the surface we see he is in fact working to better the Black community. His mission however is coded in strategy that appears universal at face value. Case in point, “Obamacare”, providing health care to those who are least likely to have coverage at all. His flagstaff political stance is on an issue that predominantly affects Blacks, providing millions with adequate healthcare who would otherwise be left without. And if you needed additional evidence, you need only look to the first lady and her claim to fame mission of fighting childhood obesity, that effects Black youth at an astounding rate.

Lastly, Harris takes an in depth look at the often unflinching support of Obama within the Black community. This topic was most impressive and well reported giving the greatest insight into the unintended consequences of Barack Obamas election.  I offer this book to you as pre-election stimulus to ignite the political fire that won Obama the presidential election in 2008.

Enjoy & VOTE

Do you think the racism in this country stops President Obama from addressing the problems such as high unemployment, illegal immigration and etc in minority communities?

THE STUDY - Vol.1.4 | IS MARRIAGE FOR WHITE PEOPLE

BY: Tamongeorge @tamongeorge

Is Marriage for White People – Ralph Banks

I read this book not because of the enticing and controversial book cover but because I knew underneath a title so jarring there had to be some serious substance to substantiate such a claim. Reading this book was a challenge, I dared this book to convince me of its bold claims and interestingly enough it came close.

Studying recent trends, statistics and personal experience Banks digs through the layers of historical Black family structure and analyzes the current situation of the Black family. “Is Marriage For White People?” examines the current state of affairs of Black women, Black men, and their diverging beliefs about relationships and marriage. This book starts simple enough, firstly by combing through the personal stories females and their experiences with Black men, and secondly by scrutinizing the unflattering statistics of Black marriage rates. But then delves deep in the perception and norms of Black relationships. The cultural and societal perceptual norms that expect Black women to be single and to raise their children in a one parent household.

“Is Marriage For White People?” is written from the ink of a Man but from the eyes of women. Banks covers sensitive and significant topics throughout the book and displays how these issues affect the likelihood that one day Black women will be able to wed Black men at the same rate as any other race. It was startling for me to read that of adult White women, only 21% have never been married, yet the same statistic reads 42% of adult Black women have never been married!

Other issues covered: the increasing Black male prison population, the disparities in college and university enrollment among Black men and women, interracial marriages among Black men, and in that same vein the historical plight of the Black female that has created a loyalty above all else attitude that keeps Black women away from interracial relationships of their own.

This book was at times hard for me to read, especially when Banks came out with the big blows that hit home. Being a college graduate myself, and a soon to be graduate student, I found it impossible to understand and internalize the chasm that has been dug in terms of educated Black males seemingly running away from educated Black females. Statistics show that the more schooling a Black man has, he is therefore exponentially less likely to wed a women of similar color, or… of any color… if you know what I mean.

Most notably, this book ends on a particularly controversial note just as the book began with its ambitious title. What is Banks solution to the Dismal rates of marriage for Black women?…How can the numerical influx of eligible Black females be educated with the decreasing number of eligible Black males?…

Answer: … I would tell you, but I don’t want to spoil the book.

Is Marriage For White People?

The STUDY Vol.1.3 | The Envy of the world


By. TamonGeorge @tamongeorge

“as much as they want to be LIKE us, they have no desire to BE us” – Ellis Cose.

Ellis Cose - The Envy of the world, on being a Black man in America

In response to the overwhelming number of notes to last weeks edition featuring Black Women, I would like to share a book of contrasting theology on Black men. A book depicting the ambiguous state of what it means to be a Black man in America and how that struggle has changed throughout the ticks of time. The quote above places a marker on the key points held in this book. Men of color are seen through a kaleidoscope that changes their appearance depending when you catch a glimpse. The difficulties confronting Black men have been well documented in recent research conducted throughout America. It would appear that Black males must coexist in many worlds to wage a decent path in life. A path that often holds blockades from external and internal sources, not to mention the personal sabotage created by self-doubt.

Written in 2002 Cose creates a dramatic collage built using memories of his childhood, anecdotes from colleagues and stories from other Black men who have navigated the muddy waters of what it means to be Black in a place that loves you and hates you. Among the many topics addressed, Cose elegantly outlines the destruction caused by societies classification of what is, and is not black activities and interests. A Black mans presence in athletics and entertainment make him king while his presence in academics is far from the ordinary.

This book addresses fundamental flaws in the mindset of both Blacks and Non-Blacks that create a racial juxtaposition leaving people of color constantly behind the eight ball. They want us, but dont want us, they need us, but dont need us. The personal struggle within is in direct relation to the systemic struggle. Cose goes to great lengths to convey the mindset if millions of men who want to achieve and succeed, but feel left behind.

I suggest this book not as a sob story for the plight of the Black man but as reinforcement that there is hope for all men of color to achieve heights previously thought unattainable.  

Why has so many Black males been left behind?

THESTUDY Vol 1.2| Why I love Black Women

BY: Tamon George @tamongeorge

Michael Eric Dyson – Why I love Black Women

“It’s time to stop viewing black women as scolding sapphires, welfare queens, professional prima donnas-and carping competitors with white women -and to start giving them the respect and the love they deserve.” – M.E Dyson

The fact that this blog is frequented most by females gives this book a special place in my collection of writings for BLACKFASHION. Why I Love Black Women is a timeless book that should have been written decades ago. Finally a Washington intellectual writes a spirited book that gives praise to a group of people marginalized because of both their race and gender.

We often read books giving praise to the powerful Black man who has triumphed in spite of all obsticles. So we must ask, who stands behind this man, who stands in front of him, beside him, who surrounds him to protect and lift him to new heights?

Michael Eric Dyson uses an array of eloquent and impassioned vernaculars to describe his encounters with women. This books is written something like a testimony, a deeply personal collection of experiences that have created one mans intense appreciation for the heart and soul of Black women.

Why I Love Back Women is a new age classic. Written as an attempt to dispel the negative anecdotes places on foreheads of Black women, this book is quick witted and passionate combining the stylistic rhetoric of a street corner poet with the depth of an ivy league scholar(which Dyson is), and paints unforgettable images of Black women of ALL shapes, sizes and shades.

In light of this book I see the perfect opportunity to pen my own tribute to the women I admire most.

To those who have stood by my side in times of despair, to those who have guided my direction when I lost my compass I owe you much. I know there is no way for me to formally repay you for your compassion, your generosity and your love, but nonetheless I will give you what I can. You are often hidden behind the scenes, your talents overlooked and underappreciated as the world talks about you behind your back. They spread rumours about you, how you can be heard from a mile away, that you are brash, bossy and bold; I for one have never been concerned with stories told. I have shaped my love for you much in the same way you have shaped me. You have been measured with an unfair rubric that undervalues your significant in the modern world… not to mention your value in the creation of that very same world. How you have maintained an unwavering support for your men is beyond the word loyalty. Your wisdom is worldly and your spirit is strong, you can be found in every direction giving your all. On a stage such as this I will give you the credit you desire and deserve, I will tell the world who you are.

You are Black Women.

The question this week is simple, 

Why do YOU love Black women?

THE STUDY Vol.1.1| Racial Paranoia

BY. @tamongeorge , Tumblr

Welcome back to the weekly column titled THE STUDY

 First off I would like to say thank you to all who replied to my question brining an unexpected enthusiasm to the question of who is your favorite black author. It was an actual awe-inspiring experience for me to research each author to better understand the depth of their work.

Thank you for the enlightenment.

 Racial Paranoia – The unintended consequences of political correctness -, John L. Jackson

Written as a critique of our societies constant use of politically correct analogies and euphoniums. This book brings to light the undertones of racism that are felt and not seen. This book forces the reader to better understand the darkness that comes from subliminal and concealed racism.

Author John Jackson asks important and imperative questions: how can we prove racism that can only be felt? does a paranoid view or racism shape the outcome? Do we create what we believe to be racist because we are looking for it? Are we conspiracy theorists?

We’ve all been there, feeling slighted while others feel nothing. Feeling disrespected by an incident that others brush off their shoulders. That’s the brand of paranoia addressed by Jackson. Unseen, intangible forms of prejudice that’s shape our opinions of outside society.

I think of this book, and how its theories affect the Black psyche. Simply put, it shines a light on the racial distrust that affects America as a whole. Jackson proves his most crucial point by addressing the links between racial paranoia and distrust of government, corporate America and the media. At times rightfully so, and others blind without reason. 

This book focuses on perception, perception of ourselves, of others and of societies willingness to show its true feelings.  What is interesting is that in fashion, PERCEPTION holds the least weight in how we choose our attire.  We believe in our own creation of beauty and style and couldn’t care less about the visual acceptance of others.

Fashion, especially Black fashion dares to be different, its premise is to be different. It its frequently passed over from the mainstream gaze and yet holds no paranoia that because its different it is inadequate. This strong boned form of inspiration is critical to our existence as a people. Fashion is in its own sphere, a sphere of unfettered confidence that we need to live inside of each and every day.

Racial Paranoia is an eye opening piece of work that asks the reader to live like fashion, unapologetic and without fear. Challenge difficult subjects; get to the point and question points of others. Identify yourself paranoid if you must but always seek the truth.

 Question: Is Racial Paranoia REAL?

THE STUDY | INTRODUCTION

by Tamon George

Time is against us, So I Must be brief …

It is simple, we are all inspired. What changes is how that infinitesimal piece of inspiration is created and how it burgeons itself into an astronomical exhibition of uniqueness and self-expression. The fact remains that each form of inspirational creation has an origin, it has a moment of inception as it captures us and manifests itself in our minds and from there we display it for the world on our backs, chests, legs and feet.  Interestingly enough as our fashion is constantly in a state of unfettered change and cyclical exuberance other things stand the test of time to construct inspiration in our intellect as we decipher and examine the stimulation around us.

Books. Articles. Poetry. 

I welcome all of you to column aptly named The Study.  I bring you this column as an avid reader, a world traveler and a soul craving knowledge and wisdom. My name is Tamon George; a 25 year old foreigner spending time in America. I would tell you more, but we’ll learn about each other as we go.

My column is simple, each week I will examine and bring to you the excerpts or an overview of a book or article and share with you whys it’s worth reading. Black content of course as I’m sure you could have guessed. Literature that inspires uniqueness the same way fashion displays it.  There is and always will be a delicate yet powerful link between that which moves us, and how we show the world we have been moved. In this column we will bring to light the balance of mental inspiration and visual stimulation.

I encourage anyone submit their own choices to Blackfashion caption THE STUDY. Tell me about a piece of work. Ill read it and write on it and ask questions based on a theme from that piece of work.

But to open up the lines, I want to ask a simple question.

Who’s your favorite Black author?

-don’t feel bad if you don’t have one… you soon will-