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January 05, 2006

Black 2005: The Year in Review - Part One

I thought I'd do something a little different this year and do a black year in review. Let's see what happens. I cover all of these stories and issues in Cobb. Just click on the month in the Archives section in the right column.

January 2005
Eyes on the Prize was briefly put up on the web for free downloads. Three episodes were made available by a group called Downhill. Hotel Rwanda made everyone cry, cheer and recognize the acting genius of Don Cheadle, finally. DeLa Soul drops 'The Grind Date'. It's pretty slammin' but. Faye Anderson starts blogging. Norman Kelley's new book blows up. Randy Moss proves that he does what he wants to do.

February 2005
There may have been something different about this years Black Summit. There were several reasons. Firstly, it reminded all of us that we can't remember the last time there was a 'black summit' outside of the various sub-million marches. The second was that it wasn't all preachers and academics, but a few businessmen too. Tavis Smiley brought the spotlight. Louis Farrakhan introduced 'testicular fortitude' into the argot of inspirational oratory.

Devin Brown, juvenile car thief, was gunned down by the LAPD at the end of a car chase at 3 in the morning. This sparked the usual hand wringing and thus began my naming the Coalition of the Damned, those Americans whose primary form of politics involves dogging cops and definding crooks.

Ossie Davis, the legend of film and theatre, died at the age of. He too, was a black shining prince. Some black people win Oscars. Morgan Freeman, I think.

March 2005
Harold Cruse died, passing the torch of the last black organic intellectual of world stature t.. nobody in particular. His Crisis of the Black Intellectual and Plural But Equal stand pretty much unchallenged and even unparalleled.

Then within the same month, Johnnie Cochran died of brain cancer. Plenty of haters, incuding Ira Reiner, get their digs in over his dead body, but his legend is undeniable.

April 2005
Ted Hayes gets profiled in the WSJ proving once and for all that black Republicans can indeed wear dreadlocks and be down for their communities.

I visit (antediluvian) New Orleans and take some pictures, meet some relatives and eat some food. It's a big deal. I write a huge diary of my experiences. I haven't reviewed it much, even in the aftermath of the flood, but I think it would make for some interesting reading of the experiences of a black man of my type in New Orleans.

Martin Kilson throws down a two part essay on the black elite over at the[Marxist] Black Commentator. He raises very good points. I have mixed opinins about Kilson's conclusions. I agree that there are Talented Tenth aspirations among us, but that Progressivism and race raising is nowhere near as important as it once was - that the relative amount of time elite blacks need to consider and dedicate themselves to their inferiors is less. Furthermore, I would argue that the social capital with which blacks are endowed allow their elites broad responsibilities in mainstream organizations which far outweigh those that can be accomplished via progressivism and aggregation. This sets up a paradox that Kilson seems to ignore. There are more things that black elites can do, but it's not entirely clear that they need to or want to.

Tiger Woods wins the Masters, again. His birdie chip on the 16th hole is the most incredible shot in the year of golf. Byron Allen buys PAX for 2.2Billion dollars. Who knew?

May 2005
Claude Steele's theory of Stereotype Threat is validated. Professor Kim recounts with some excruciatingly painful detail bombing of MOVE and the birth by fire of crusader Mumia Abu Jamal. What she doesn't do is give me a reason to let my heart bleed. Maybe I'm just not charitable, or maybe I am authentically pride of my blackness for orthogonal reasons.

Now you would think that when a black man is dragged from an automobile and gets decapitated, that there would be some outcry, some noise, something. But there's a very particular reason why there wasn't in this case. That's because that black man was Tommy Edward Scott, a police officer.

Emmitt Louis Till died about 50 years ago, but it has been decided that his body should be exhumed in order to discover new forensic evidence which might lead to others who might have participated in his killing. A conviction is gotten.

Malcolm Gladwell's
book 'Blink' is a huge success. Michael Eric Dyson fast talks his way into oblivion trying to dis Bill Cosby.

June 2005

Michael Jackson is found not guilty. Everybody knows that something weird is going on. Nobody riots. What I've been hearing is basically another species of "you're not guilty, but you're guilty". Having stayed away from the back and forth that generally surrounds these kinds of trials, I'm pretty safe in saying that I'm prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt. He may be a weirdo, but as far as the law is concerned, he's cleaner than Martha Stewart.

Terry McMillan gets what's coming to her. Life is stranger than even her fiction. Krump hits the airwaves as the movie Rize makes a critical and popular smash.

The Reparations issue gets another public rehash.

Mike Tyson goes down for the last time.

Harvard economist and wunderkind Roland Fryer is hot news all year. This time out he publishes findings on 'Acting White' in which he demonstrates "that there are large racial differences in the relationship between popularity and academic achievement; our (albeit narrow) definition of ‘acting white.’ The effect is intensified among high achievers and in schools with more interracial contact, but non-existent among students in predominantly black schools or private schools."

Posted by mbowen at January 5, 2006 12:52 PM

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