To be young, gifted and black,
Oh what a lovely precious dream
To be young, gifted and black,
Open your heart to what I mean
In the whole world you know
There are billion boys and girls
Who are young, gifted and black,
And that's a fact!
Young, gifted and black
We must begin to tell our young
There's a world waiting for you
This is a quest that's just begun
When you feel really low
Yeah, there's a great truth you should know
When you're young, gifted and black
Your soul's intact
Young, gifted and black
How I long to know the truth
There are times when I look back
And I am haunted by my youth
Oh but my joy of today
Is that we can all be proud to say
To be young, gifted and black
Is where it's at
Many of you who live or grew up in Black communities in the United States have probably heard of "Watch Night Services," the gathering of the faithful in church on New Year's Eve.
The service usually begins anywhere from 7 p.m. To 10 p.m. And ends at midnight with the entrance of the New Year.
Some folks come to church first, before going out to celebrate.
For others, church is the only New Year's Eve event.
Like many others, I always assumed that Watch Night was a fairly standard Christian religious service -- made a bit more Afro centric because that's what happens when elements of Christianity become linked with the Black Church.
Still, it seemed that predominately White Christian churches did not include Watch Night services on their calendars, but focused instead on Christmas Eve programs.
In fact, there were instances where clergy in mainline denominations wondered aloud about the propriety of linking religious services with a secular holiday like New Year's Eve.
However, there is a reason for the importance of New Year's Eve services in African American congregations.
The Watch Night Services in Black communities that we celebrate today can be traced back to gatherings on December 31, 1862, also known as "Freedom's Eve."
On that night, Blacks came together in churches and private homes all across the nation, anxiously awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation actually had become law.
Then, at the stroke of midnight, it was January 1, 1863, and all slaves in the Confederate States were declared legally free .
When the news was received, there were prayers, shouts and songs of joy as people fell to their knees and thanked God.
Black folks have gathered in churches annually on New Year's Eve ever since, praising God for bringing us safely through another year.
It's been 145 years since that first Freedom's Eve and many of us were never taught the African American history of Watch Night, but tradition still brings us together at this time every year to celebrate "how we got over."
By Gary Duffy,
BBC News, Rio de Janeiro
There are more people of African descent in Brazil than in any country outside the African continent itself, but the higher you go in Brazilian society the less evidence there appears to be of that reality.
Critics say part of the blame lies with a system which has often failed to provide equality of access to third-level education, though recent years have seen some improvements.
To try to address the problem, many Brazilian universities have adopted affirmative action policies or quotas to try to boost the number of black and mixed race students, or more generally those from poor backgrounds.
Gisele says the quotas system has given her a head-start
It is a controversial approach which some argue is necessary to end decades of inequality, while others fear it threatens to introduce racial tension in a society which has been largely free of such problems.
Gisele Alves lives in a poor neighbourhood in Nova Iguacu on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, and says she doubts she would have got to college without a helping hand from the state.
She is studying at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), which was one of the first to adopt quotas.
"I thought I was going to finish school, find work in a little shop, get married and pregnant and that would be it. I didn't expect much more than that," she says.
"But with the system of quotas I started to think I could go to university. My parents couldn't pay privately - if I wanted to study it had to be at a public university."
Giselle got her place in part due to Rio's controversial quotas system which sets aside 20% of public university places for poor black and indigenous students, and the same number for students educated in the much criticised public school system.
Those parents who can afford it often opt to have their children educated in more expensive private schools, giving them a considerable advantage when it comes to highly competitive university entrance exams - especially for prestigious courses such as law and medicine.
Mr Bolsonaro says the quotas approach is a form of reverse discrimination
It is a process which works against poorer students - which in Brazil often means black or mixed race.
"When you consider the way things are in Brazil, you can see that poverty has a colour," says Lena Medeiros de Menezes, vice rector at the State University.
"It will take a long time for investment in primary and secondary education to bring about equality. How do I see quotas? It's a way to change things and change them rapidly."
But in Rio de Janeiro a question mark hangs over the quotas system after a legal challenge mounted by state congressman Flavio Bolsonaro.
He argues the approach is a form of reverse discrimination.
"What are you going to say to a teenager who goes to do a university entrance exam and gets a high mark, but doesn't get through, but another teenager has passed with a much lower mark because they have a dark skin?" he says.
"What would be the legacy of that for future generations?"
White or black?
Rio's Federal University (UFRJ) does not operate a system of quotas, though the issue has been widely debated.
Prof Paixao says black Brazilians are largely absent from key professions
Professor Marcelo Paixao, who lectures there, says it is clear that in Brazil those of African descent are largely absent from many key professions.
"Here the percentage of black people holding jobs - such as doctors, engineers, economists, lawyers - is very low," he says.
"When you have universities - principally the most prestigious ones which are the public ones - so closed to presence of the Afro-descendent population, this means these professions will also continue to be exclusive to a certain group of people for a very long time."
The debate in Brazil is further complicated because of the sometimes uncertain definition here of who is white, black or mixed race - official surveys let people classify themselves.
Hundreds of years of racial mixing means that many Brazilians regard themselves as neither black nor white but something in between, and recent surveys suggest some people have even changed their view of how they should be described.
Racial equality law
Some argue that quotas even partly based on race introduce a tension that never existed in Brazilian society in the way it has in the United States, while others say it simply recognises the obvious link between being poor and black.
You can not force a racial identity in a population where a large percentage of the population don't have a clear racial identity and don't want that
"I think the main issue has to do with poverty and the bad quality of basic education," says Simon Schwartzman, senior researcher at the Institute of Studies of Work and Society in Rio de Janeiro.
"People who are poor don't have access to good education; they have more difficulty in having access, in particular to the more prestigious courses. It is a question of poverty not of race.
"There are good reasons to be against race quotas in Brazil - I don't think it makes any sense at all. For people who are poor and didn't have a good education, I think there is a good argument for that, provided you do it properly.
"You can not force a racial identity in a population where a large percentage of the population don't have a clear racial identity and don't want that. If you look at the population and ask people 'what is your race?' - many people won't know exactly what to answer.
"That is not to say that you don't have prejudice, that the fact that you are black you don't suffer, because you do. You should do specific things about that, but not to institute a kind of national policy based on race," Mr Schwartzman says.
For a future generation of students this complicated question has still to be finally resolved.
A long-debated law on racial equality only recently passed an important stage in congressional approval by avoiding controversial issues such as quotas.
It appears the final word may be left to the country's Supreme Court which is due to give its views on the matter in the year ahead.
By Chikodili Emelumadu
BBC Africa Have Your Say
It was only after losing a huge chunk of hair that I stopped straightening it with chemical relaxer - something I had done growing up in Nigeria since the age of six.
My bald patch was dubbed the "helicopter landing pad" by my flat mates at university for months afterwards.
I share this painful anecdote because a new documentary has re-ignited the natural versus straightened hair debate among black women.
I've had my hair chemicalised for the last 10 years. It's so easy to manage because I have a lot of hair. I love it
Olivia at Queens Hair Design
Chris Rock's film Good Hair focuses on the United States and the lengths and money African-Americans will go to achieve longer, smoother, shinier, straighter "good" hair - using hot presses, creme relaxers, weaves and wigs.
Women in Africa are no strangers to the lure of "the creamy crack", as our American counterparts call relaxer - likening it to cocaine because of its addictive nature, and are as willing to take the risk of burning their scalps using it.
'Feel the burn'
"I've had my hair chemicalised for the last 10 years," Olivia told the BBC as she had her hair done in Queens Hair Designers in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
Cameroonian first lady Chantal Biya's leonine mane is her trademark
"It's so easy to manage because I have a lot of hair. I love it."
The most common ingredient in relaxers is sodium hydroxide or lye. In the documentary, an aluminium can dipped in a bowl containing the chemical melts completely.
But Florence, a hairdresser at Queens Hair Design, dismisses the "if you feel the burn, it's working" belief.
She says it is all about technique and places the blame for any "helicopter landing pads" squarely on too-clean or already traumatised scalps.
"Usually before I relax your hair I will ask you whether you have recently braided or washed your hair. If you have then the hair will not relax nicely," she explains.
South African Elma Titus, who specialises in African hair and scalp problems, agrees that relaxers are not solely to blame for the problem of hair loss.
"It could be the chemicals or it could be the extensions that you're putting in your hair all the time without giving your hair time to recuperate - or even the wigs," she says.
Apart from the health implications women face in search of good hair, there is the expense. Black women are said to spend about three times more on their hair than other women.
My bad scalp days are well and truly over
The cost of extensions and wigs can be staggering, ranging from $10 a-piece for synthetic hair to as much as $800 (£486) and upwards for human hair pieces.
Yet it does not seem to deter women bent on achieving perfect flowing locks.
Take Cameroon's first lady Chantal Biya for example. Her leonine mane of tawny hair has become her trademark.
Nigerian Cherish Angula admitted to the BBC's Africa Have Your Say programme that she had just spent $750 getting a lace-front wig - but she said it is money well spent.
"It lasts three, four times as long as ordinary weave-ons [extensions] and so it works out cheaper for me.
"It is basically a whole head unit, you attach it with glue around the circumference of your head and it gives it a more natural appearance like the hair is growing from your head.
"It's basically the same thing that celebrities like Beyonce wear."
What might seem like vanity to some can in fact boil down to survival for many women in Africa where careers and incomes can rely on one's hair style.
If you really want the job you'll have to do what they want
Judy at Queens Hair Design
In Kenya, for example, a woman with the natural look or dreadlocks is unlikely to succeed at job interviews.
"If you really want the job you'll have to do what they want," says Judy at Queens Hair Design.
And even the thought of opting for a natural look is greeted with hilarity by the Queens Hair Design clientele.
But some women, such as journalist Phyllis Nyambura who edits a women's supplement for a Tanzanian newspaper, are trying to take on such prejudices.
"The weaves were great at first," Ms Nyambura says.
"I would change my hairstyles and look different all the time but the problem was that they are a bit expensive and there is also that fake thing about them."
For my part, I am immune to the fashion fascism, and my bad scalp days are well and truly over.
At 9:30 a.m tomorrow, the Universade do Estado da Bahia (Uneb) will award Mãe Stella de Oxossi, iyalorisa of Ilê Axé Opo Afonjá, an honorary doctorate to mark the 70th anniversary of her initiation. Two people were selected to receive this honour in 2009. The other was Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, the President of Brazil.
Saturday night, Van Jones resigned from his job as the White House special adviser on Green Jobs.1 Van's resignation came after a vicious smear campaign by Fox television host Glenn Beck, and it is the latest evidence of why our campaign against Beck is so important.
Van is a passionate thinker and leader and we are grateful to him for co-founding ColorOfChange. But this campaign is not about Van. It's about stopping Glenn Beck, who has promised to take his witch-hunt to others in the administration. Beck's overall plan is to create an atmosphere in which the White House can accomplish nothing, and he's carrying it out by preying on race-based fears and mobilizing hate.
The good news is that our campaign is working. More than 175,000 of you have stood up, and advertisers have followed suit. As of today, 62 companies have stopped their ads from running on Beck's show. Every national company with a name you'd recognize is gone. What's left are mostly far-right groups and direct marketing companies selling things like gold coins and discounted exercise equipment.
The reality of Beck's attacks on Van
After we launched this campaign, some bloggers and reporters tried to discredit the effort by claiming that the White House or Van was somehow involved, or that we launched the campaign to protect Van. It's an absurd accusation. Van hasn't worked with ColorOfChange in years, and when we decided to launch the campaign we didn't even know that Beck had attacked him. The reality is that we began our campaign for the same reason 175,000 of you have now joined it: Glenn Beck called the president of the United States a "racist" who "has a deep seated hatred for White people," which is part of a pattern of Beck using lies and distortions to race-bait and fear-monger.2
As Beck started losing advertisers in response to our campaign, he went into full-scale attack mode on Van--exaggerating or distorting his record on 23 shows and devoting an entire segment to discrediting him. Beck presented his attacks on Van as honest journalistic inquiry, while dishonestly failing to mention that Van co-founded the group leading a successful advertiser boycott against him.
But Beck's real goals were clear: Take down Van. Undermine the White House. Set the stage for his followers to say our campaign was about protecting Van. And of course, create a distraction from our campaign and the real reasons major companies are ditching Beck's show.
The problem with Beck
Glenn Beck's show is described as news analysis and commentary, and he claims to be bringing his viewers "the facts"; but his attacks on the President's character, agenda and advisers are anything but news. They are political character assassination of the worst form, relying on dishonesty, distortion, exaggeration, and fear. And Beck has promised to launch more attacks on new targets.3 Our country is facing numerous challenges, including a struggling economy, a climate and energy crisis, and a broken health care system. The media should be promoting thoughtful, rational dialogue about how to solve these problems, not launching dishonest political attacks to distract and divide us.
Our team is working hard to use all the tools at our disposal to take away Beck's platform. In the coming weeks there will be more for you to do. But for now, we ask you to do something simple. If you haven't done so already, please email your friends and family, and ask them to sign on to our campaign against Glenn Beck. There's a message you can send them at the link below:
Thanks and Peace,
-- James, Gabriel, William, Dani and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
September 9th, 2009
Help support our work. ColorOfChange.org is powered by YOU -- your energy and dollars. We take no money from lobbyists or large corporations that don't share our values, and our tiny staff ensures your contri
butions go a long way. You can contribute here:
1. "White House Official Resigns After G.O.P. Criticism," New York Times, 9-06-09
2. "Beck caps off week of race-baiting by calling Obama a 'racist'," Media Matters, 7-30-09
3. @glennbeck on Twitter, 9-03-09
Yesterday, nearly two years after more than 320,000 of you stood up to protect them from Jim Crow justice, the Jena 6--Jesse Ray Beard, Carwin Jones, Robert Bailey, Theo Shaw, Bryant Purvis and Mychal Bell--are all now free to move ahead with their lives. We should all be proud.
The five remaining Jena 6 cases were brought to conclusion on Friday1 when Jesse Ray, Carwin, Robert, Theo, and Bryant pleaded "no contest" to misdemeanor simple battery charges.2 They will spend no time in jail, serve seven days of probation, and pay relatively minor fines and court fees.
It's an incredible outcome given that the young men were originally charged with attempted murder in small-town Louisiana and had neither the funds nor the connections to get high-quality representation or attention for their cases.
Luckily for the Jena 6, hundreds of thousands of you got involved, and the power of your participation changed the game. An amazing team of lawyers worked tirelessly to achieve Friday's outcome. Our staff helped recruit them, and your financial contributions--over $275,000--provided the bulk of the funds for their work. Jim Boren, the coordinating attorney, said this about ColorOfChange members' contribution: "None of this would have happened without you."
But it wasn't just lawyers and money. Over 300,000 of you wrote to Governor Blanco and District Attorney Reed Walters. On September 20th, 2007, more than 10,000 of you went to Jena. Members who couldn't make it to Jena held more than 150 rallies and vigils across the country, and made more than 6,000 phone calls to elected officials in Louisiana. And a few weeks later, ColorOfChange members sent almost 4,000 complaints demanding an inquiry into the DA's actions.
Your actions offline and online helped put Jena on the map and resulted in critical coverage in every mainstream news outlet. You started a movement that made it impossible for Louisiana officials to support the status quo.
Today we offer congratulations to these young men and their families, and we say thank you to the entire ColorOfChange.org community. We're also so thankful to the attorneys who took these cases but chose to stay out of the limelight. They and several others3 are the unsung heroes of this story.
As the young men of the Jena 6 close this chapter of their lives, we wanted to give you an opportunity to wish them well. Click the link below to leave a personal statement for the young men of the Jena 6, or to listen to the voicemail from Jim Boren thanking the ColorOfChange community for our work:
While this is a great moment, it's important to remember that if it were not for the extreme nature of this case, most of us wouldn't have known about it or gotten involved. The reality is that there are countless Jena 6's: young people--often Black and male--who are overcharged or unduly criminalized, and whose plight is unknown to most of the outside world.
It's the reason our work cannot just be about identifying and fighting for individuals railroaded by the system, but about creating systemic change in criminal justice in America. We are truly grateful to have the chance to do this work with you, and we're hoping for your continued engagement and support.
Thanks and Peace,
-- James, Gabriel, William, Dani and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
June 27, 2009
Help support our work. ColorOfChange.org is powered by YOU -- your energy and dollars. We take no money from lobbyists or large corporations that don't share our values, and our tiny staff ensures your contributions go a long way. You can contribute here:
1. "Plea Bargain Wraps Up 'Jena 6' Case," 9-26-09
2. The sixth teenager charged, Mychal Bell, pleaded guilty to battery in juvenile court on December 3rd, 2007.
3. Thanks are due to Alan Bean, Tory Pegram, and King Downing, who dedicated months to working with the families and getting the story out, and to our friends at the Southern Poverty Law Center who played a central role in putting together and supporting the legal teams. Without any one of them, our work would have been hampered, or in some cases not possible at all.
Henry A. Giroux, Truthout: "With the election of Barack Obama, it has been argued that not only will the social state be renewed in the spirit and legacy of the New Deal, but that the punishing racial state and its vast complex of disciplinary institutions will, if not come to an end, at least be significantly reformed. From this perspective, Obama's presidency not only represents a post-racial victory, but also signals a new space of post-racial harmony. While 'post-racial' may mean less overt racism, the idea that we have moved into a post-racial period in American history is not merely premature - it is an act of willful denial and ignorance."
Also: 'POWER BEHIND THE POWER: TOP BLACKS IN THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION': 'Brought together by EBONY magazine on the White House grounds for the first time since Inauguration Day, they are part of a team put together by the president to carry forth his vision for the country. With one look at the historic collection of dynamic advisers-12, the most African- Americans ever in such high-powered positions within the White House-it is obvious that change has already come to the nation's capital.'
The remarkable photo includes Lisa Jackson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; Eric Holder, attorney general; Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser; Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; (standing, l. to r.) Melody Barnes, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council; Joshua DuBois, director of the White House Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships; Ron Kirk, U.S. trade representative; Desirée Rogers, White House social secretary; Mike Strautmanis, chief of staff to the assistant to the president for Intergovernmental Relations and Public Liaison; and Rob Nabors, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget.
And in 'A GREAT DAY AT THE WHITE HOUSE: AFRICAN-AMERICANS IN THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS CORPS,' Kevin Chappell (called on by President Obama at the last presser) reports that the press corps includes 'a record number of African-Americans who intensely cover the most watched president ever. Ebony magazine has gathered for the first time these nearly two dozen journalists in the White House press briefing room for a historic photograph of Black writers, editors, producers, correspondents, photographers and cameramen. They range from energetic newbies covering their first administration to grizzled veterans who have seen presidents come and go. They work for a variety of outlets, including mainstream media, African-American mainstays and Internet-only operations. While many of them were proud at the thought of the first African-American president, these journalists each day ask the tough questions, reject evasive answers and go after the news wherever it may lead. It's not personal. It's their job.'
The photograph includes: Pamela Gentry, senior political analyst for BET.com; April Ryan, White House correspondent for American Urban Radio; Suzanne Malveaux, White House correspondent for CNN; Nia-Malika Henderson, writer for POLITICO; Lauren V. Burke, freelance photographer; Darlene Superville, writer for The Associated Press; Michael Fletcher, White House correspondent for The Washington Post; Dayo Olopade, Washington correspondent for TheRoot.com; Athena Jones, NBC producer; Dan Lothian, White House correspondent for CNN; Giaco Riggs, cameraman for CNN; Andre Showell, reporter BET News; Kevin Chappell, senior editor for EBONY and Jet magazines; Karen Ann Carr, writer for Washington Waterfront News; Tony Umrani, cameraman for CNN; Rodney Batten, cameraman for NBC; Tony Butler, cameraman for NBC; Doug Perkins, freelance cameraman for CBS and The Associated Press; and Edward Lewis, cameraman for FOX. Not pictured are Hazel Trice Edney of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), Cynthia Gordy of Essence magazine and Wendell Goler of FOX News Channel.
Source: Mike Allen's POLITICO Playbook Daily Update
Henry Louis Gates Jr., The Root: "When I was 20, I decided to hitchhike across the African continent, more or less following the line of the equator, from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic. I packed only one pair of sandals and one pair of jeans to make room for the three hefty books I had decided to read from cover to cover: Don Quixote, Moby Dick and From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans. I read the latter - the black-and-white-bound third edition of John Hope Franklin's 1947 book - while sailing down the Congo River and recovering from a nasty bout of dysentery. It became such a valued reference for me that I kept it, for years, in the bookcase at my bedside."
Gil Scott-Heron stands as a towering figure of black popular music. With a masters in creative writing from Johns Hopkins, the writer, poet, composer, pianist, and modern-day griot is a true artist in an industry lacking true artistry.
Scott-Heron emerged in the early 1970s with albums such as What’s Going On and There’s A Riot Goin’ On. By 1970, there was a profound shift in the struggle for equality as the fight for civil rights gave way to the demand for Black Power. The Civil Rights Movement had lost its focus, being ripped apart by differing interest groups and ignored by a wartime US government. The voices of its leaders were silenced by jail or bullets.
Black popular music reflected this change. The voices on the radio stopped preaching brotherhood and togetherness and started reporting the facts, and the music got more aggressive. Leading the new attack was a new voice: articulate, uncompromising, and enraged. The voice held the light up to the country’s missteps and shook up an apathetic audience. The voice was Gil Scott-Heron’s. Scott-Heron was born in Chicago in 1949. He grew up in Lincoln, Tennessee and later the Chelsea neighborhood of the Bronx.
As a student, he admired the poetry of Langston Hughes and followed his footsteps by enrolling in Lincoln University. By age 20, he completed the novel The Vulture and the book of poetry, Small Talk At 125th & Lenox. The Vulture was an auspicious beginning, heralded by Essence as "a strong start for a writer with important things to say." In the 1970’s, Scott-Heron hooked up with Flying Dutchman records to produce several important albums including Pieces of Man and Free Will.
During the 1980s, for Arista label, Scott-Heron released twelve albums. Then, after a twelve-year break, he signed with TVT Records and released Spirits in 1993. The first cut of this album, "Message To The Messenger," is a warning to today’s rappers, urging them to take responsibility in their art and in their communities. Since then, he has played to sell-out crowds all over the world, performing at major festivals in England and the United States, including New York’s Central Park.
The revolution will no be televised
You will not be able to stay home, brother.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip,
Skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox
In 4 parts without commercial interruptions.
The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon
blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John
Mitchell, General Abrams and Spiro Agnew to eat
hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary.
The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by the
Schaefer Award Theatre and will not star Natalie
Woods and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and Julia.
The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal.
The revolution will not get rid of the nubs.
The revolution will not make you look five pounds
thinner, because the revolution will not be televised, Brother.
There will be no pictures of you and Willie May
pushing that shopping cart down the block on the dead run,
or trying to slide that color television into a stolen ambulance.
NBC will not be able predict the winner at 8:32
or report from 29 districts.
The revolution will not be televised.
There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of Whitney Young being
run out of Harlem on a rail with a brand new process.
There will be no slow motion or still life of Roy
Wilkens strolling through Watts in a Red, Black and
Green liberation jumpsuit that he had been saving
For just the proper occasion.
Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Hooterville
Junction will no longer be so damned relevant, and
women will not care if Dick finally gets down with
Jane on Search for Tomorrow because Black people
will be in the street looking for a brighter day.
The revolution will not be televised.
There will be no highlights on the eleven o'clock
news and no pictures of hairy armed women
liberationists and Jackie Onassis blowing her nose.
The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb,
Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom
Jones, Johnny Cash, Englebert Humperdink, or the Rare Earth.
The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be right back
after a message about a white tornado, white lightning, or white people.
You will not have to worry about a dove in your
bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl.
The revolution will not go better with Coke.
The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
The revolution will put you in the driver's seat.
The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
will not be televised, will not be televised.
The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
The revolution will be live.
This year’s Theme: Manifesto for New Social Movements: Equity, Access, and Empowerment
It will be held in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil on June 16th - 19th 2009.
A brief description follows:
Scholars, teachers, students and activists from various fields and countries will convene in Salvador, Bahia (Brazil) to compare theoretical perspectives, share pedagogical experiences, and work toward developing a global movement for social justice in and through education. We invite proposals from the following perspectives: indigenous, feminist, postcolonial, Marxist/neomarxist, queer theory, critiques of neoliberalism/globalization, CRT, liberation theology, anthropology, comparative/international education, etc. Visit our website for more information. http://academics.utep.edu/
We appreciate if you can forward this invitation to others who may be interested.
Please do send in your proposals, here are the guidelines:
CALL FOR PROPOSALS
We are currently witnessing the emergence of a new context for education, labor, and emancipatory social movements. Global flows of people, capital, and energy increasingly define the world we live in. The multinational corporation, with its pursuit of ever-cheaper sources of labor and materials and its disregard for human life, is replacing the nation-state as the dominant form of economic organization. Faced with intensifying environmental pressures and depletion of essential resources, economic elites have responded with increased militarism and restriction of civil liberties.
At the same time, masses of displaced workers, peasants, and indigenous peoples are situating their struggles in a global context. Labor activists can no longer ignore the concomitant struggles of Indigenous peoples, African diasporic populations, other marginalized ethnic groups, immigrants, women, GLBT people, children and youth. Concern for democracy and human rights is moving in from the margins to challenge capitalist priorities of “efficiency” and exploitation. In some places, the representatives of popular movements are actually taking the reins of state power. Everywhere we look, new progressive movements are emerging to bridge national identities and boundaries, in solidarity with transnational class, gender, and ethnic struggles.
At this juncture, educators have a key role to play. The ideology of market competition has become more entrenched in schools, even as opportunities for skilled employment diminish. We must rethink the relationship between schooling and the labor market, developing transnational pedagogies that draw upon the myriad social struggles shaping students’ lives and communities. Critical educators need to connect with other social movements to put a radically democratic agenda, based on principles of equity, access, and emancipation, at the center of a transnational pedagogical praxis.
Distinguished scholars from numerous fields and various countries will convene in Salvador, Bahia (Brazil) to compare and contribute to theoretical perspectives, share pedagogical experiences, and work toward developing a global movement of enlightening activism. Issues related to education, labor, and emancipation will be addressed from a range of theoretical perspectives, including but not limited to the following:
- Critical Pedagogy
- Critical Race Theory
- Postcolonial Studies
- Marxist and Neo-Marxist Perspectives
- Social Constructivism
- Comparative/International Education
- Indigenous Perspectives
- Feminist Theory
- Queer Theory
- Critical Environmental Studies
- Critiques of Globalization and Neoliberalism
- Liberation Theology
Proposals may be offered as panel presentations or individual papers. Please indicate type of proposal with the submission.
Individual paper proposals should contain a cover sheet with the paper title, contact information (e-mail, address, telephone number, and affiliation), a brief bio, for each presenter, and an abstract of no more than 250 words (not including references). Please indicate whether you will present in Portuguese, Spanish or English. Presenters who wish to present in Portuguese should nevertheless include an English or Spanish translation of the abstract with their submission.
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Please submit proposals by E-mail only to: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> . THE DEADLINE FOR PROPOSALS IS March 1st, 2009. Proposals must be accompanied by your conference registration in order to be considered.
Following the tradition of the last three conferences, a book will be produced
César Augusto Rossatto, Ph.D.
Critical Pedagogy & Multiculturalism and Social Justice
The University of Texas at El Paso
College of Education, Room #812
El Paso, TX 79968-0574
- William Jackson, a slave, learned key details inside the home of Jefferson Davis
- Davis was president of the Confederacy; Jackson leaked key secrets to the Union
- "Because of his role as a menial servant, he simply was ignored" by Southerners
- Author said history must never forget the sacrifice of African-Americans in Civil War
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- William Jackson was a slave in the home of Confederate president Jefferson Davis during the Civil War. It turns out he was also a spy for the Union Army, providing key secrets to the North about the Confederacy.
William Jackson, a slave, listened closely to Jefferson Davis' conversations and leaked them to the North.
Jackson was Davis' house servant and personal coachman. He learned high-level details about Confederate battle plans and movements because Davis saw him as a "piece of furniture" -- not a human, according to Ken Dagler, author of "Black Dispatches," which explores espionage by America's slaves.
"Because of his role as a menial servant, he simply was ignored," Dagler said. "So Jefferson Davis would hold conversations with military and Confederate civilian officials in his presence."
Dagler has written extensively on the issue for the CIA's Center for the Study of Intelligence . Watch the stories of slaves as spies »
In late 1861, Jackson fled across enemy lines and was immediately debriefed by Union soldiers. Dagler said Jackson provided information about supply routes and military strategy.
"In Jackson's case, what he did was ... present some of the current issues that were affecting the Confederacy that you could not read about in the local press that was being passed back and forth across local lines. He actually had some feel for the issues of supply problems," Dagler said.
Jackson and other slaves' heroic efforts have been a forgotten legacy of the war -- lost amid the nation's racially charged past and the heaps of information about the war's historic battles. But historians over the last few decades have been taking an interest in the sacrifice of African-Americans during those war years.
Jackson's espionage is mentioned in a letter from a general to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. Maj. Gen. Irvin McDowell refers to "Jeff Davis' coachman" as the source of information about Confederate deployments. Watch grandson of slaves: "They call me Little Man" »
Dagler said slaves who served as spies were able to collect incredibly detailed information, in large part because of their tradition of oral history. Because Southern laws prevented blacks from learning how to read and write, he said, the slave spies listened intently to minute details and memorized them.
"What the Union officers found very quickly with those who crossed the line ... was that if you talked to them, they remembered a great more in the way of details and specifics than the average person ... because again they relied totally on their memory as opposed to any written records," he said.
Jackson wasn't the only spy. There were hundreds of them. In some cases, the slaves made it to the North, only to return to the South to risk being hanged. One Union general wrote that he counted on black spies in Tennessee because "no white man had the pluck to do it."
No one was better than Robert Smalls, a slave who guided vital supply ships in and out of Charleston Harbor in South Carolina. He eventually escaped and provided the Union with "a turning of the forces in Charleston Harbor," according to an annual report of the Navy secretary to President Lincoln.
"A debriefing of him gave ... the Union force there the entire fortification scheme for the interior harbor," Dagler said.
One of the most iconic spies was Harriet Tubman, who ran the Underground Railroad, bringing slaves to the North. In 1863, she was asked by the Union to help with espionage in South Carolina. She picked former slaves from the region for an espionage ring and led many of the spy expeditions herself.
"The height of her intelligence involvement occurred late in 1863 when she actually led a raid into South Carolina," Dagler said. "In addition to the destruction of millions of dollars of property, she brought out over 800 slaves back into freedom in the North."
As the nation marks Black History Month in February, Dagler said that history should include the sacrifices of the African-Americans who risked their lives for their nation. Many paid the ultimate sacrifice.
"They were all over the place, and no one [in the South] considered them to be of any value. Consequently, they heard and saw virtually everything done by their masters, who were the decision-makers," Dagler said.
Whatever happened to William Jackson, the spy in Jefferson Davis's house? Unfortunately, that remains a great unknown."He simply disappeared from history, as so many of them have."
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By Charles M. Blow
Most whites harbor a hidden racial bias that many are unaware of and don’t consciously agree with. And getting them to talk frankly about race is still hard.
This began as a relatively quiet Black History Month. The biggest highlight was a 72-year-old former Klansman scratching “apologize to John Lewis for beating him up” off his bucket list.
Then came Attorney General Eric Holder’s scathing comments about America being “a nation of cowards” because we don’t have “frank” conversations about race. That got a lot of attention.
I take exception to Holder’s language, but not his line of reasoning. Calling people cowards is counterproductive. It turns the conversation into a confrontation — moving it beyond the breach of true dialogue and the pale of real understanding.
That said, frank conversations are always welcomed. But, before we start, it might be helpful to have a better understanding of the breadth and nature of racial bias.
According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released last month, twice as many blacks as whites thought racism was a big problem in this country, while twice as many whites as blacks thought that blacks had achieved racial equality.
Furthermore, according to a 2003 Gallup poll, two in five of blacks said that they felt discriminated against at least once a month, and one in five felt discriminated against every day. But, a CNN poll from last January found that 72 percent of whites thought that blacks overestimated the amount of discrimination against them, while 82 percent of blacks thought that whites underestimated the amount of discrimination against blacks.
What explains this wide discrepancy? One factor could be that most whites harbor a hidden racial bias that many are unaware of and don’t consciously agree with.
Project Implicit, a virtual laboratory maintained by Harvard, the University of Washington and the University of Virginia, has administered hundreds of thousands of online tests designed to detect hidden racial biases. In tests taken from 2000 to 2006, they found that three-quarters of whites have an implicit pro-white/anti-black bias. (Blacks showed racial biases, too, but unlike whites, they split about evenly between pro-black and pro-white. And, blacks were the most likely of all races to exhibit no bias at all.) In addition, a 2006 study by Harvard researchers published in the journal Psychological Science used these tests to show how this implicit bias is present in white children as young as 6 years old, and how it stays constant into adulthood.
(You can take the test yourself.)
So why do so many people have this anti-black bias?
I called Brian Nosek, an associate professor in psychology at the University of Virginia and the director of Project Implicit, to find out. According to him, our brains automatically make associations based on our experiences and the information we receive, whether we consciously agree with those associations or not. He said that many egalitarian test-takers were shown to have an implicit anti-black bias, much to their chagrin. Professor Nosek took the test himself, and even he showed a pro-white/anti-black bias. Basically, our brains have a mind of their own.
This bias can seep into our everyday lives in insidious ways. For example, a paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association in October found that many white doctors also had an implicit pro-white/anti-black bias, while black doctors showed almost no bias for one race or the other. The paper suggested that these biases may contribute to the unequal treatment of blacks, and that doctors may not even be conscious of it.
Can we eradicate this implicit bias? Maybe.
According to a Brown University and University of Victoria study that was published last month in the online journal PLoS One, researchers were able to ameliorate white’s racial biases by teaching them to distinguish black peoples’ faces from one another. Basically, seeing black people as individuals diminished white peoples’ discrimination. Imagine that.
Now that we know this, are we ready to talk? Maybe not yet. Talking frankly about race is still hard because it’s confusing and uncomfortable.
First, white people don’t want to be labeled as prejudiced, so they work hard around blacks not to appear so. A study conducted by researchers at Tufts University and Harvard Business School and published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that many whites — including those as young as 10 years old — are so worried about appearing prejudiced that they act colorblind around blacks, avoiding “talking about race, or even acknowledging racial difference,” even when race is germane. Interestingly, blacks thought that whites who did this were more prejudiced than those who didn’t.
Second, that work is exhausting. A 2007 study by researchers at Northwestern and Princeton that was published in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science found that interracial interactions leave whites both “cognitively and emotionally” drained because they are trying not to be perceived as prejudiced.
The fear of offending isn’t necessarily cowardice, nor is a failure to acknowledge a bias that you don’t know that you have, but they are impediments. We have to forget about who’s a coward and who’s brave, about who feels offended and who gets blamed. Let’s focus on the facts, and let’s just talk.
Yesterday, the day after President Obama signed his stimulus bill into law, the NY Post ran a cartoon depicting the bill's "author" as a dead monkey, covered in blood after being shot by police. You can see the image by clicking on the link below.
In the face of intense criticism, the Post's editor is standing by the cartoon, claiming that it's not about Obama, has no racial undertones, and that it was simply referencing a recent incident when police shot a pet chimpanzee. But it's impossible to believe that any newspaper editor could be ignorant enough to not understand how this cartoon evokes a history of racist symbolism, or how frightening this image feels at a time when death threats against President Obama have been on the rise.
Please join me and other ColorOfChange.org members in demanding that the Post apologize publicly and fire the editor who allowed this cartoon to go to print:
The Post would have us believe that the cartoon is not about Obama. But on the page just before the cartoon appears, there's a big picture of Obama signing the stimulus bill. A reader paging through the Post would see Obama putting pen to paper, then turn the page to see this violent cartoon. The imagery is chilling.
There is a clear history in our country of racist symbolism that depicts Black people as apes or monkeys, and it came up multiple times during the presidential campaign.
We're also in a time of increased race-based violence. In the months following President Obama's election there has been a nationwide surge in hate crimes ranging from vandalism to assaults to arson on Black churches. There has been an unprecedented number of threats against President Obama since he was elected, with hate-based groups fantasizing about the killing of the president. Just a week ago, a man drove from Louisiana to the Capitol with a rifle, telling the police who stopped him that he had a "delivery" for the president.
There is no excuse for the Post to have allowed this cartoon to be printed, and even less for Editor Col Allan's outright dismissal of legitimate concerns.
But let's be clear who's behind the Post: Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch, the Post's owner, is the man behind FOX News Channel. FOX has continually attacked and denigrated Black people, politicians, institutions at every opportunity, and ColorOfChange has run several campaigns to make clear how FOX poisons public debate.
I don't expect much from Murdoch. However, with enough public pressure, we can set the stage for advertisers and subscribers to think long and hard before patronizing outlets like the Post that refuse to be held accountable.
You can help, by making clear that the Post's behavior is unacceptable, and by asking your friends and family to do the same. Please join me:
(2004) Bill Cosby, “The Pound Cake Speech”
Ladies and gentlemen, I really have to ask you to seriously consider what you’ve heard, and now this is the end of the evening so to speak. I heard a prize fight manager say to his fellow who was losing badly, “David, listen to me. It’s not what’s he’s doing to you. It’s what you’re not doing."
Ladies and gentlemen, these people set -- they opened the doors, they gave us the right, and today, ladies and gentlemen, in our cities and public schools we have 50% drop out. In our own neighborhood, we have men in prison. No longer is a person embarrassed because they’re pregnant without a husband. No longer is a boy considered an embarrassment if he tries to run away from being the father of the unmarried child.
Ladies and gentlemen, the lower economic and lower middle economic people are not holding their end in this deal. In the neighborhood that most of us grew up in, parenting is not going on. In the old days, you couldn’t hooky school because every drawn shade was an eye. And before your mother got off the bus and to the house, she knew exactly where you had gone, who had gone into the house, and where you got on whatever you had one and where you got it from. Parents don’t know that today.
I’m talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange suit. Where were you when he was two? Where were you when he was twelve? Where were you when he was eighteen, and how come you don’t know he had a pistol? And where is his father, and why don’t you know where he is? And why doesn’t the father show up to talk to this boy?
The church is only open on Sunday. And you can’t keep asking Jesus to ask doing things for you. You can’t keep asking that God will find a way. God is tired of you . God was there when they won all those cases. 50 in a row. That’s where God was because these people were doing something. And God said, “I’m going to find a way.” I wasn’t there when God said it -- I’m making this up. But it sounds like what God would do.
We cannot blame white people. White people -- white people don’t live over there. They close up the shop early. The Korean ones still don’t know us as well -- they stay open 24 hours. I’m looking and I see a man named Kenneth Clark, he and his wife Mamie. Kenneth’s still alive. I have to apologize to him for these people because Kenneth said it straight. He said you have to strengthen yourselves, and we’ve got to have that black doll. And everybody said it. Julian Bond said it. Dick Gregory said it. All these lawyers said it. And you wouldn’t know that anybody had done a damned thing.
Fifty percent drop out rate, I’m telling you, and people in jail, and women having children by five, six different men. Under what excuse? I want somebody to love me. And as soon as you have it, you forget to parent. Grandmother, mother, and great grandmother in the same room, raising children, and the child knows nothing about love or respect of any one of the three of them. All this child knows is “gimme, gimme, gimme.” These people want to buy the friendship of a child, and the child couldn’t care less. Those of us sitting out here who have gone on to some college or whatever we’ve done, we still fear our parents. And these people are not parenting. They’re buying things for the kid -- $500 sneakers -- for what? They won’t buy or spend $250 on Hooked on Phonics.
Kenneth Clark, somewhere in his home in upstate New York -- just looking ahead. Thank God he doesn’t know what’s going on. Thank God. But these people -- the ones up here in the balcony fought so hard. Looking at the incarcerated, these are not political criminals. These are people going around stealing Coca Cola. People getting shot in the back of the head over a piece of pound cake! Then we all run out and are outraged: “The cops shouldn’t have shot him.” What the hell was he doing with the pound cake in his hand? I wanted a piece of pound cake just as bad as anybody else. And I looked at it and I had no money. And something called parenting said if you get caught with it you’re going to embarrass your mother." Not, "You’re going to get your butt kicked." No. "You’re going to embarrass your mother." "You’re going to embarrass your family." If you knock that girl up, you’re going to have to run away because it’s going to be too embarrassing for your family. In the old days, a girl getting pregnant had to go down South, and then her mother would go down to get her. But the mother had the baby. I said the mother had the baby. The girl didn’t have a baby. The mother had the baby in two weeks. We are not parenting.
Ladies and gentlemen, listen to these people. They are showing you what’s wrong. People putting their clothes on backwards. Isn’t that a sign of something going on wrong? Are you not paying attention? People with their hat on backwards, pants down around the crack. Isn’t that a sign of something or are you waiting for Jesus to pull his pants up? Isn’t it a sign of something when she’s got her dress all the way up to the crack -- and got all kinds of needles and things going through her body. What part of Africa did this come from? We are not Africans. Those people are not Africans; they don’t know a damned thing about Africa. With names like Shaniqua, Shaligua, Mohammed and all that crap and all of them are in jail. (When we give these kinds names to our children, we give them the strength and inspiration in the meaning of those names. What’s the point of giving them strong names if there is not parenting and values backing it up).
Brown versus the Board of Education is no longer the white person’s problem. We’ve got to take the neighborhood back. We’ve got to go in there. Just forget telling your child to go to the Peace Corps. It’s right around the corner. It’s standing on the corner. It can’t speak English. It doesn’t want to speak English. I can’t even talk the way these people talk. “Why you ain’t where you is go, ra.” I don’t know who these people are. And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk. Then I heard the father talk. This is all in the house. You used to talk a certain way on the corner and you got into the house and switched to English. Everybody knows it’s important to speak English except these knuckleheads. You can’t land a plane with, “Why you ain’t…” You can’t be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth. There is no Bible that has that kind of language. Where did these people get the idea that they’re moving ahead on this. Well, they know they’re not; they’re just hanging out in the same place, five or six generations sitting in the projects when you’re just supposed to stay there long enough to get a job and move out.
Now, look, I’m telling you. It’s not what they’re doing to us. It’s what we’re not doing. 50 percent drop out. Look, we’re raising our own ingrown immigrants. These people are fighting hard to be ignorant. There’s no English being spoken, and they’re walking and they’re angry. Oh God, they’re angry and they have pistols and they shoot and they do stupid things. And after they kill somebody, they don’t have a plan. Just murder somebody. Boom. Over what? A pizza? And then run to the poor cousin’s house.
They sit there and the cousin says, “What are you doing here?” “I just killed somebody, man.” “What?” “I just killed somebody; I’ve got to stay here.” “No, you don’t.” “Well, give me some money, I’ll go….” “Where are you going?” “North Carolina.”
Everybody wanted to go to North Carolina. But the police know where you’re going because your cousin has a record.
Five or six different children -- same woman, eight, ten different husbands or whatever. Pretty soon you’re going to have to have DNA cards so you can tell who you’re making love to. You don’t who this is. It might be your grandmother. I’m telling you, they’re young enough. Hey, you have a baby when you’re twelve. Your baby turns thirteen and has a baby, how old are you? Huh? Grandmother. By the time you’re twelve, you could have sex with your grandmother, you keep those numbers coming. I’m just predicting.
I’m saying Brown versus the Board of Education. We’ve got to hit the streets, ladies and gentlemen. I’m winding up, now -- no more applause. I’m saying, look at the Black Muslims. There are Black Muslims standing on the street corners and they say so forth and so on, and we’re laughing at them because they have bean pies and all that, but you don’t read, “Black Muslim gunned down while chastising drug dealer.” You don’t read that. They don’t shoot down Black Muslims. You understand me. Muslims tell you to get out of the neighborhood. When you want to clear your neighborhood out, first thing you do is go get the Black Muslims, bean pies and all. And your neighborhood is then clear. The police can’t do it.
I’m telling you Christians, what’s wrong with you? Why can’t you hit the streets? Why can’t you clean it out yourselves? It’s our time now, ladies and gentlemen. It is our time. And I’ve got good news for you. It’s not about money. It’s about you doing something ordinarily that we do -- get in somebody else’s business. It’s time for you to not accept the language that these people are speaking, which will take them nowhere. What the hell good is Brown V. Board of Education if nobody wants it?
What is it with young girls getting after some girl who wants to still remain a virgin. Who are these sick black people and where did they come from and why haven’t they been parented to shut up? To go up to girls and try to get a club where “you are nobody....” This is a sickness, ladies and gentlemen, and we are not paying attention to these children. These are children. They don’t know anything. They don’t have anything. They’re homeless people. All they know how to do is beg. And you give it to them, trying to win their friendship. And what are they good for? And then they stand there in an orange suit and you drop to your knees: “He didn’t do anything. He didn’t do anything.” Yes, he did do it. And you need to have an orange suit on, too.
So, ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank you for the award -- and giving me an opportunity to speak because, I mean, this is the future, and all of these people who lined up and done -- they’ve got to be wondering what the hell happened. Brown V. Board of Education -- these people who marched and were hit in the face with rocks and punched in the face to get an education and we got these knuckleheads walking around who don’t want to learn English. I know that you all know it. I just want to get you as angry that you ought to be. When you walk around the neighborhood and you see this stuff, that stuff’s not funny. These people are not funny anymore. And that‘s not my brother. And that’s not my sister. They’re faking and they’re dragging me way down because the state, the city, and all these people have to pick up the tab on them because they don’t want to accept that they have to study to get an education.
We have to begin to build in the neighborhood, have restaurants, have cleaners, have pharmacies, have real estate, have medical buildings instead of trying to rob them all. And so, ladies and gentlemen, please, Dorothy Height, where ever she’s sitting, she didn’t do all that stuff so that she could hear somebody say “I can’t stand algebra, I can’t stand…" and “what you is.” It’s horrible.
Basketball players -- multimillionaires can’t write a paragraph. Football players, multimillionaires, can’t read. Yes. Multimillionaires. Well, Brown v. Board of Education, where are we today? It’s there. They paved the way. What did we do with it? The White Man, he’s laughing -- got to be laughing. 50 percent drop out -- rest of them in prison.
You got to tell me that if there was parenting -- help me -- if there was parenting, he wouldn’t have picked up the Coca Cola bottle and walked out with it to get shot in the back of the head. He wouldn’t have. Not if he loved his parents. And not if they were parenting! Not if the father would come home. Not if the boy hadn’t dropped the sperm cell inside of the girl and the girl had said, “No, you have to come back here and be the father of this child.” Not ..“I don’t have to.”
Therefore, you have the pile up of these sweet beautiful things born by nature -- raised by no one. Give them presents. You’re raising pimps. That’s what a pimp is. A pimp will act nasty to you so you have to go out and get them something. And then you bring it back and maybe he or she hugs you. And that’s why pimp is so famous. They’ve got a drink called the “Pimp-something.” You all wonder what that’s about, don’t you? Well, you’re probably going to let Jesus figure it out for you. Well, I’ve got something to tell you about Jesus. When you go to the church, look at the stained glass things of Jesus. Look at them. Is Jesus smiling? Not in one picture. So, tell your friends. Let’s try to do something. Let’s try to make Jesus smile. Let’s start parenting. Thank you, thank you.
Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi has said he would like a United States of Africa to include "Caribbean islands with African populations".
Col Gaddafi, speaking in Tripoli as the African Union's (AU) new chairman, said this could include Haiti, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.
The Libyan leader also sympathised with Somali pirates, describing their actions as self-defence.
Last week he said that multi-party democracy was not right for Africa.
The BBC's Rana Jawad in the Libyan capital says Col Gaddafi's critics believe he is too erratic to be chairman of the 53-nation AU.
A week into his appointment his agenda for Africa is expanding and his views remain as controversial as ever to some people, she says.
Praise for pirates
Celebrating his new role at his compound in Tripoli on Tuesday, Col Gaddafi suggested Caribbean islands should join the AU and become a bridge between Africa and Latin America.
He went on to tell a gathering of some 400 guests that Somali pirates were only hitting back against other countries stealing marine wealth from the region's waters.
Col Gaddafi said the United Nations should protect Somali waters from the piracy of other countries.
He also said he would use his 12 months at the helm of the AU to try to resolve Africa's conflicts, including Darfur and Somalia.
Last week, the Libyan leader used his inaugural address as rotating head of the AU in Ethiopia to push his long-cherished pet project of a United States of Africa.
He envisages a single African military force, a single currency and a single passport for Africans to move freely around the continent.
But the response from many of his fellow African leaders was lukewarm, with some saying the proposal would add an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy.He also raised eyebrows by saying that multi-party democracy only led to bloodshed in Africa and that the best model for Africa was his own country, where opposition parties are not allowed.
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