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In a recent interview with GRITtv, Noam Chomsky, Linguist, Author and Political analyst, discussed the rise of ISIL and how the events in Ferguson, Missouri and the protests that followed demonstrate just how little race relations in the United States have advanced since the end of the Civil War. He goes on to make points that only someone who has lived and or studied the subjects could make. Checkout the entire interview as well as some excerpts below.

“The constitutional amendments that were supposed to free African-American slaves did something for about 10 years, then there was a North-South compact that granted the former the slave-owning states the right to do whatever they wanted,” he explained. “And what they did was criminalize black life, and that created a kind of slave force. It threw mostly black males into jail, where they became a perfect labor force, much better than slaves.”

“If you’re a slave owner, you have to pay for — you have to keep your ‘capital’ alive. But if the state does it for you, that’s terrific. No strikes, no disobedience, the perfect labor force. A lot of the American Industrial Revolution in the late 19th, early 20th Century was based on that. It pretty must lasted until World War II.”

“After that,” Chomsky said, “African-Americans had about two decades in which they had a shot of entering [American] society. A black worker could get a job in an auto plant, as the unions were still functioning, and he could buy a small house and send his kid to college. But by the 1970s and 1980s it’s going back to the criminalization of black life.”

“It’s called the drug war, and it’s a racist war. Ronald Reagan was an extreme racist — though he denied it — but the whole drug war is designed, from policing to eventual release from prison, to make it impossible for black men and, increasingly, women to be part of [American] society.”

“In fact,” he continued, “if you look at American history, the first slaves came over in 1619, and that’s half a millennium. There have only been three or four decades in which African-Americans have had a limited degree of freedom — not entirely, but at least some.”

“They have been re-criminalized and turned into a slave labor force — that’s prison labor,” Chomsky concluded. “This is American history. To break out of that is no small trick.”

 

 

SCAD president and founder Paula Wallace talks with André 3000 Benjamin about the inspiration behind the collaborative exhibition “i feel ya: SCAD + André 3000 Benjamin” on Dec. 4 at the Design Miami Collector’s Breakfast.

André 3000, half of six-time Grammy Award-winning duo OutKast, designed 46 custom jumpsuits featuring different phrases emblazoned across the chest — one for each stop on the group’s recent 20-year reunion tour. The phrases are his way of saying something new as an artist while performing songs he had written, in some cases, decades ago, he tells Wallace.

For the “i feel ya,” exhibition, which ran Dec. 3-14 at the Mana Miami Wynwood in Miami, Florida, the jumpsuits were featured in one space for the first time alongside an experimental film by Greg Brunkalla and oversized mirror paintings by Jimmy O’Neal, both SCAD alumni.

“I was probably 19 when I first came to Hollywood. Eddie Murphy brought me out to do Beverly Hills Cop II and he had a deal at Paramount, so I remember going through the gates of the Paramount lot. He’s in a Rolls-Royce, and he’s not just a star, he’s the biggest star in the world. Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer’s office was in the same building as Eddie’s office, and they would come to work every day with matching cars. Some days it would be the Porsches, and the next day it would be Ferraris. I was like the kid in A Bronx Tale. I got to just hang around when the biggest parts of show business were happening. I was only there a couple of weeks, but I remember every day Jeffrey Katzenberg would call Eddie Murphy — I don’t even know if Eddie was calling him back — but it was like, “Jeffrey Katzenberg called again.” “Janet Jackson just called.” “Michael Jackson called.” It was that crazy. I’ve still never seen anything like it. I had a small part in the movie, but my dream was bigger than that. I wanted to have a convertible Rolls-Royce with a fine girl driving down Melrose blasting Prince.

Now I’m not Murphy, but I’ve done fine. And I try to help young black guys coming up because those people took chances on me. Eddie didn’t have to put me in Beverly Hills Cop II. Keenen Wayans didn’t have to put me in I’m Gonna Git You Sucka. Arsenio didn’t have to let me on his show. I’d do the same for a young white guy, but here’s the difference: Someone’s going to help the white guy. Multiple people will. The people whom I’ve tried to help, I’m not sure anybody was going to help them. Read More