Kevin Alexander Gray

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Some tried to chide me on issuing a call of sorts to white people about the environment that creates a Dylann Roof.

Well, I'm from South Carolina. This state is the ideological home of white supremacy in this country.

We’ve heard the lie before. When accused murderer and former North Charleston Patrolman Michael Thomas Slager’s lawyer said his client “felt threatened,” it wasn't his life that had been threatened. What was threatened was his sense of authority.

After word of Nelson Mandela's death was announced, my son and nephew both called just to check on me.

I believe the George Zimmerman verdict will be of greater racial and civil significance for blacks than the O.J. Simpson trial.

First of all, there is no epidemic of old black ex-football player movie stars (allegedly) killing their young white wives and their boyfriends.

A friend asked me if I'd been keeping up with the George Zimmerman trial. My immediate answer was, "Not really. Watching it was really angering me." But when pressed, I had to admit I was avoiding the topic to temper my anger. I also didn't want to try to explain to the white person on the other end of the phone how it feels being black in the USA these days.

One has to believe in something or someone in order to betray that idea or person.

From the start President Barack Obama has shown little interest or loyalty in the issues that affect the poor, working class, and people of color in the United States. For almost his entire first term he didn't utter the words poor or poverty. Early on he reminded African Americans: "I'm not the president of black America. I'm the president of the United States of America..."

This is racial politics at its worst: When in trouble, blame black people.

The Obama campaign the First Lady and the woman who introduced her to put a soft face on militarism and empire.


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This time we’ve got some advantages.

We need to improve the condition of workers this Thanksgiving weekend. Here's what you can do.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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