Black History Month

It’s that time of year again when we celebrate and acknowledge the contributions that Black people have made to American history. I don’t have cable or even an antenna so I’m sure I’ll miss out on the fine shows that will be aired on PBS and the History Channel detailing the integral role that Blacks have played in shaping the course of this nation. Okay, I know it seems like I’m being sarcastic when I say that, but I’m not. I recognize that Blacks are as much a part of America as baseball, apple pie and Chinese take out. America wouldn’t be America without Black people.

When this month comes along, a song usually pops into my head. A song by dance punk duo Death From Above 1979, appropiately titled, Black History Month. It’s a simple yet catchy little song that stays in your head long after you hear it. The video isn’t anything special, but the simple lyrics convey a clear message that speaks to the heart of the Black experience in America.

“Black History Month”

Can you remember a time when this city was
A great place for architects and dilettantes
A nice place for midwives and crossing guards
And on, and on…

Hold on children
Your mother and father are leaving

Do you remember a time when this pool was
A great place for waterwings and cannonballs
A nice place for astrologists and blow up dolls
And on, and on…

Hold on children
Your best friend’s parents are leaving

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38 thoughts on “Black History Month

  1. “message that speaks to the heart of the Black experience in America”

    Why is the “black Experience” always the same regardless of where they are in the world? Is it those darn jews again?

  2. I don’t think these artists intended this song to be a commentary on White flight, if that’s what you’re driving at…

  3. I don’t think these artists intended this song to be a commentary on White flight

    Well, that’s how I interpret the song. It seems clear to me, given the title and the lyrics that it’s about White flight. Officially, they claim they called the song that simply because it was written in February. I don’t see what the song would be about, if it’s not about White flight, but I guess, as with most songs, there can be multiple interpretations.

  4. Do they even have Black History month in the UK?

    They’re from Canada, but the song is obviously about Blacks in America, since they titled it, “Black History Month.” I’ve argued with others before that have said the song has nothing to do with Blacks, but the title of the song clearly says otherwise. Their intent with the song probably wasn’t malicious. It can be seen as a statement about how Whites in America feel about Blacks and depending on your personal views, will either be an affirmation or rejection of those feelings.

  5. OK, so it reached #48 on the UK singles chart… that’s much different than reaching the US charts.

    Elsewhere on the Internet some of that band’s fans are claiming that the song was inspired by “a ride on the NYC subway.”

    And yet other fans are claiming that the song is indeed about race, but in ways that show blacks as suffering the “collateral damage” caused by racism or some other similar bs psycholibspeak like that.

  6. Camlost,

    Yeah, you’re right. I listened to this band back when they came out and I remember hearing that this song broke the top 100. When I searched for this song I saw it had a ranking of 48 and I thought that was for the US. I was certain that I read that they had gotten pretty far on the US charts, but now I can’t find a listing. I may remember it wrong.

  7. Well, if you want pop music for white nationalists there’s always Prussian Blue.

    Sorry Cam. After listening to that Prussian Blue song, I had to remove that link to save anyone else the horror of that experience. – Sagat

  8. Roughly speaking, U.K. vs. U.S. record sales figures, in terms of stature and ‘units sold,’ is a ratio of about 40-to- 100%.; in other words, a number-one record in the U.K. is a bit less than half as impressive as a number-one in the u.s. in terms of sales and competitive popularity.
    Traditionally, accuracy to these and other music-industry sales figures are considered to be speculative, at best. For instance, sales figures in China and other major Asian countries and cities are typically smaller than those of smaller, major-western markets —— but piracy rates are thought to be as much as 30-to-50% higher in the far east.

    But we’re catching up in that dept!

  9. The other difference between the US and UK charts is that I can’t see UK audiences understanding the white flight phenomenon in the same way as Americans.

    Thus, I am guessing that the potential white flight undercurrent of this song’s lyrics flew right over the unwitting head of UK audiences — they just heard a nifty song with a pleasant sound and the song’s curious title actually enhanced its cool factor — since we’re conditioned to equate blackness with coolness in the entertainment sphere.

    It’s kinda like white college kids hollering “Ras Tafari!!” but not really understanding (or caring) that this phenomenon is essentially a pan-Africanist cultural movement claiming that Haile Selassie was the divine savior and trinity incarnated on earth.

  10. “…..I can’t see UK audiences understanding the white flight phenomenon in the same way as Americans.”

    Why not? It’s quite prevalent there, too:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/personal-view/3634805/White-flight-is-a-fact-of-British-life.html

    It’s kinda like white college kids hollering “Ras Tafari!!” but not really understanding (or caring) that this phenomenon is essentially a pan-Africanist cultural movement claiming that Haile Selassie was the divine savior and trinity incarnated on earth.

    Well, that is the sort-of obligatory, eye-raising rhetoric that everyone gives lip service to, mainly for the sake of putting some myth behind the music —— but is there really anything further to it beyond pop escapism? I mean, beyond college-age Bob Marley fans, does there exist a serious, devout & non-music-related Ras Tafari sect out there practicing?

  11. I write a lot about genetics, pyschometrics, and the Black man. I don’t feel adverse to writing because either the black man will soon disappear in the white man, as the post racialists would have it — and I am therefore not writing about the black man, save for those primitive minded trapped in the past; and who can take such people seriously? — or because the black man as a black man will persist. In the latter case, I do not feel adverse to writing because for the black man qua black man to persist, he must be spiritually healthy. And as a spiritually healthy man, he is unoffended by my comments, for he then, as I, takes a phylogenetic, that is developmental, view of peoples. He, then, understands that my considerations only refer to him at a particular stage of being.
    My suspicion is, indeed, that the black man qua black man is healthy — or at least not decadent, spiritually speaking. Some would point out the black man’s uncivilizedness, to argue otherwise, but that is just evidence of his cultural health — that he is still largely undomesticated or, as the SWPLs put it, vibrant. Were it not for his penchant for sentimentalism and self pityism, we might even classify him, on the basis of this cultural energy, as a Nietzschean… well, we need not go that far. Regardless, there is much that is positive to say about the black man — and I mean this from a rightminded, robust and not pity party perspective. It just so happens that since I am rightminded, I am adverse to say it — a rather womanly thing to do.

  12. “It’s kinda like white college kids hollering “Ras Tafari!!” but not really understanding (or caring) that this phenomenon is essentially a pan-Africanist cultural movement claiming that Haile Selassie was the divine savior and trinity incarnated on earth.”

    I think most whites get it when it comes to afro culture. Its just like the ebony phonics joke. Whites and others talk the lingo in jest. No one takes it serious. Like the average trumpet player Winton Marsalis. We want him there to make ourselves think we are super human and dont see race. How we manage token diversity without seeing race, thats for someone else to figure out. Word to yo momma. Ay yight. See how stupid that sounds? Thats what Im talking about.

  13. The lyrics combined with the title suggest a racial angle. I think Sagat is right about it being “white flight”. Though the band could be sympathetic to the black perspective. One would need to know more about the band to say for sure. But performers usually advertise it when they take the black perspective. That they denied the racial angle altogether makes me think they were taking the white perspective.

    College kids listening to Bob Marley and yelling “Ras Tafari” is probably a reference to smoking marijuana cigarettes.

  14. First, thank you for calling me by my Tag instead of the game with referring to me as a computer company. As for preferred trumpet players, I would say Maurice Andre’ is enough to shame the idea of Marsalis being this “great” virtuoso. Aside from Wintons potty mouth, the whole “look we have one” attitude is so obvious when he performs in Europe. Of course thats not his fault, nevertheless its there in the air. Even the babe Tine Helseth is preferable(My kind of people, absolutely). Louis Armstrong and John “Dizzy” Gillespie were never any more than clown acts. Forgotten music already; For certain in a few more decades.

    You asked my opinion. There it is.

  15. On the one hand, I think Andre wins because I like classical and HATE jazz. On the other hand, I like big butts and I can not lie.

    —————

    Since we’re comparing musicians…

    Riddle me this – Who is better between kenny g’s sax and sideshow bob’s slidewhistle?

    http://goo.gl/i3Y8a

    http://goo.gl/gmR2R

    Now, tell me they don’t look like like twins.

  16. “Aside from Wintons potty mouth, the whole “look we have one” attitude is so obvious when he performs in Europe. Of course thats not his fault, nevertheless its there in the air.”

    Well, yeah, I agree; if he weren’t black, he would hardly merit one-fifth the amount of attention he does when playing classical repetoire; but that attention is really because, while he’s properly steeped in classical training and repetoire, he’s more accomplished as a player, arranger, historian and spokesman for the neo-classical jazz music (e.g., everything before approx. 1965) and that fame and notoriety spills over and onto everything else he does on the music scene, jazz and classical alike. And like you say, that’s technically not his fault, though he’s certainly not bashful about grabbing any bit of self-promotion he can.

    “Louis Armstrong and John “Dizzy” Gillespie were never any more than clown acts. Forgotten music already; For certain in a few more decades. ”

    Now you and I, re. this quote, are back on more familiar and feudal ground. 🙂

    To me, those two are giants of music; brilliant and incredibly influential.
    Forgotten? In terms of pop/mass listenership, that's already pretty much true —– but that's more a result of a aging 'minority' music with a fan and creation 'base' that was that much smaller to begin with. The shameful irony being, imho, that the reamaining jazz audience is almost entirely white!

    I have a rank performing background in classical repertoire (guitar) and a fair-to-decent familiarity on a appreciation level; ironically, I think I may have caught an ensemble performance that included Helseth, though I may be confusing her was Allison Balsom (sp?)

  17. @Fred,
    I’ve exchanged comments with you for quite some time —– but if you ever again mention the abomination that is Kenny G, I promise, I will find you and shoot you! 🙂

    (I’ve endured the cruel and unusual career punishment of having to review his concerts; three times no less!!!)

  18. p.s. @ fred,

    btw, that marley vid is very amusing; I always get a huge kick, whether from blacks or whites, those sort-of hedonistic, types who earnestly try to put a piously noble, even spiritual slant onto their purely self-satisfying indulgence.
    I mean, when I was a kid, I enjoyed Marley and, in fact, lots of good pop music comes out of Jamaica —– but all that mess has a very specific time, purpose and very limited relevance in my book; it reminds me of those types from high school who got a bit too much into the Grateful Dead back then, and nowadays, when you run into them, you see they’ve sort of fallen of or are even desolate, and it’s awkward even to stop and chat and you just want to get away.

  19. I think I’ve finally found your Achille’s heel. The only KG song I know is Songbird. Whenever it comes on I think, “That’s kind of nice.” Until it gets to the last 30 seconds which stinks. I don’t like that real fast part where they run up and down the scales (?) which is a big part of jazz. But I sympathize with you. Three KG concerts is like being trapped in an elevator praying for a relative to buy you an indulgence.

    those sort-of hedonistic, types who earnestly try to put a piously noble, even spiritual slant onto their purely self-satisfying indulgence.

    Bingo! For some of them it really is “spiritual”. You’ll recall the comment I made a while back about Santa Claus and the Sami shamans drinking hallucinogenic reindeer piss. Some indians do the same with peyote. Of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana I consider the latter the least of the evils. Unfortunately, growers have bred strains that are about 15 times more potent than they were 40 years ago. That probably has a lot to do with the Bob Marley / Grateful Dead types.

  20. Fred confesses,
    “On the other hand, I like big butts and I can not lie.”

    the conscientious mulatto is being a bit silly tonight —– a warm-up for tomorrow night’s celebration when my fine state WILL be celebrating the rightful and long-overdue return of the Vince Lombardi Trophy to its natural home in Green Bay, AKA “Titletown.”

    Fiscal note: Since the N.F.C. Championship game two weeks ago in which rivals the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears played and delivered the highest NFL-Game TV ratings since the 1982 Superbowl, the ‘Third Coast” corridor that consists of Green-Bay, Appleton, Milwaukee and Chicago has taken in an estimated $75-million built upon sports bars, restaurants and memorabilia profits.

    I won’t promise, but if things go according to plan — as it will! —– and the Green-&-Gold prevails, I may be so ecstatic that, as a present to this blog, I will present a vid of me singing the Sir Mix-A-Lot ditty in the above vid. (well, maybe….) 🙂

    Meanwhile, let’s hope that this positive vid, made by a stereotypical Green Bay hoser fan, is a dead-on premonition.

    For your amusement; welcome to the culture of the upper-midwest hinterlands (150 miles north of Milwaukee):

    I’ll check back with y’all after tonight’s post-game celebration!!!!!

  21. “…state WILL be celebrating the rightful and long-overdue return of the Vince Lombardi Trophy to its natural home in Green Bay…” bah blah blah.

    Right back to the stereotype.

    “On the other hand, I like big butts and I can not lie.”

    Fred, as always, thanks for the laugh.

  22. “Louis Armstrong and John “Dizzy” Gillespie were never any more than clown acts.

    “Julie Henderson (SI swimsuit model and girlfriend of Aaron Rodgers) is ‘plain and average-looking'”

    I’m learning quite a bit in this forum lately.

  23. Epps quotes me saying:
    “…state WILL be celebrating the rightful and long-overdue return of the Vince Lombardi Trophy to its natural home in Green Bay…”

    And then Epps comments: “bah blah blah.

    Right back to the stereotype.

    Hey,
    Whaddya mean? Vince Lombardi? Is there a whiter icon of hte gridiron than he? If so, I’d venture it’s Green Bay, Wisconsin —– hands down the most “NAM-free” NFL city in the Union or Dixie. (1.3% black population).

    But fear not: this half-NAM lives in the state’s biggest NAM depository; even my personal neighborhood bosts lots of colored folks like meself.

  24. Fred-
    I still find it a bit odd that Nikcrt wasn’t suspended over posting my email address. Not even an apology to this website or the host of it, which is really puzzling considering that he embarrassed the “No Emails Will be Posted” assurance given by WordPress. I still wonder how he acquired an email never revealed by me. Actually I know but I have to be nice. That’s okay, maybe I was a bit impolite and deserved to have my email posted(whatever that was supposed to do). Hope such assistance doesn’t happen in the future. Nikrt, I forgive you. By the way, how is Guywhite these days

  25. Right back to the stereotype.

    Eps,

    Stop making this ridiculous comment. Whites are numerically and proportionately into football way more than Blacks are. Just because you don’t like football, don’t assume that others don’t as well.

  26. “I still wonder how he acquired an email never revealed by me. Actually I know but I have to be nice. That’s okay, maybe I was a bit impolite and deserved to have my email posted”

    I told you, after you/Dell and I first clashed at Guy White, and you or ‘Dell’ used a slur, which was against blog rules, Guy callled you out and you or this ‘Dell’ sent him an apology; later, Guy White, to confirm that you had promised to follow blog rules, absentmindedly forwarded your apology to me, which included your or dell’s email.

    I only printed it in an attempt to shut you (or this Dell) up, having already realized how seemingly paranoid you were, I figured that would really get you going.

    But I assure you, htat is the only clue whatsoever I have of you beyond what you volunarily posted here and/or at Guy
    White. And I most certainly have no ohter way whatsoever of knowing or caring to know more. I mean, what else do you want me to do to prove as much: post the contents of your apology to Guy White sans the address?

    There’s nothing else i can tell you re. this matter. Nonetheless, I’m sure you still believe this is all just further proof of the VAST LIBERAL CONSPIRACY!!! 🙂

  27. I know of no such email. But your admission of posting a private email address is interesting. Why did you choose to post My email for something another had mouthed?

    Racial slurs? Which ones have we decided today cant be used? A word, B word, C word, etc. Grow a pair. Know wha im sayin.

  28. Why did you choose to post My email for something another had mouthed?

    Epps,
    Pay attention!

    I’vetold you over and over: that email was from Guy White, send originally to him by someone named “Dell.” And despite my initial suspicions, you have repeatedly and a damantly denied usiing the avatar “Dell.”

    So, since that email address belonged to someone who went by ‘Dell,’ why do you keep asking “Why did you choose to post My email?”

    Which ones have we decided today cant be used

    you can use whatever ones you want; that’s neither the issue nor the reason for this exchange: you asked why GW posted that email; it was because the poster who it belonged to had broken blog rules, specifically re. the use of slurs on GW’s blog.

  29. You know what you did. And I shouldnt be surprised. Word to ya mother. I think thats ebonics for respect. Well, in her case it wasnt. But I meant peace out to you.

    Why doesnt anyone laugh at my racial jokes?

    Any thoughts on the female mummy”Beauty of Xiaoh” display in Philadelphia? Or rather, the Chinese ordering them not to display her.

  30. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/03/AR2011020307066.html

    I suppose it’s the fifth paragraph from this story that’s at the root of all the controversey, right? The paragraph that describes this mummy’s ‘European features?’

    Ahhh!So, is this the big holy grail? Europe proven to be home of original man? Fine by me. If that makes you happy. fine by me.

    Note to all the genetic anthropologist aficionados here; I acknowledge i’m not conversant on this subject, but I really don’t get all the fuss to this stuff; specifically, all the pride and chest-thumpin’ in the ‘source of origins’ stuff: national borders are subjective man-made lines —- not clear-cut ethnic distinctions; and even the supposed scientific distinctions are only as good as the language and times: each new distinction just creates definitions for new similarities and divides. nothing’s definitive, fixed and permanent beyond the rancor and quest for superiority.

  31. Why doesnt anyone laugh at my racial jokes?

    Seriously, it’s not funny to interject a few random “word to ya mothas” and “know wha I’m sayin’s” here and there. I can’t imagine where you live if that passes for humor there.

    There’s nothing else i can tell you re. this matter. Nonetheless, I’m sure you still believe this is all just further proof of the VAST LIBERAL CONSPIRACY!!!

    ** sighs **

    So, you don’t believe that the MSM selectively chooses what stories to push based on their innate liberal tendencies?

    I thought we already went through this with the Duke Lacrosse case… I haven’t seen national coverage lately for any of the approximately 30,000+ annual rapes committed by black males against white women, as listed by DoJ statistics.

  32. @camlost,
    Wasn’t saying that media bias doesn’t exist; i agree with you that it does.
    In this particular instance, I was pointing out that the addressee of my comment tends to always see liberal conspiracies.

    btw, what did you think of Sunday’s game?

  33. Green Bay won, just as I predicted.

    I was rooting against the colossal a-hole Ben Roethlisberger.

  34. Camlost: ” I haven’t seen national coverage lately for any of the approximately 30,000+ annual rapes committed by black males against white women, as listed by DoJ statistics.”

    Dont forget the Uniform Crime Reports FBI.

    Hey, “Word to Yo Momma” isnt funny? Its always funny to remember what once was looked seriously upon as modern ebonics. I know its embarrassing to hear now but come on. Do I detect the sensitive nerve of someone who once thought the mullet and MC Cheese was some deep understanding of youthful angst? Dont worry, as long as you laugh at it now.

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