Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Just a Matter of Time

I ain't cornel west
I am cornel west side chi town Guevara
Malcolm eXorcise the demons
Gangster leaning
He traded in his kufi for a new era
chose a 44 over a mortar board
I ain't a credited institute graduate
I ain't from Nazareth
My conception wasn't immaculate
I ain't mastering no calculus
A good addition to the rap audience
I back flipped on the mattress they slept on me on
What down Joe, knowing is half the battle
fighting temptation, have an apple
Shakes the snakes, pimp the system
Let's get into it, tabernacle
-Lupe Fiasco

In little more than ten years the internet has been transformed from a province of specialized technocrats and commercial interests to a democratic platform. The citizen journalists known as bloggers mirror the pamphleteers of the eighteenth and nineteenth century who played an important role in the founding of the United States, the erosion of monarchical authority in Europe, and the abolition of slavery.

By their unique legacy of being present for the longest and possessing the rights of citizenship in the least, blacks have served as a barometer for the health of American democracy. Every motion at enlarging democracy has been met with resistance. It has ranged from abrasive government policies in the postbellum South used to limit movement of the labor force out of agriculture to the inundation of narcotics and hedonism into urban centers as part of the insidious undermining of a nascent Black Power movement.

In keeping with his role as comprador, Henry Louis Gates Jr. has recently launched The Root, a consortium of black bloggers. Many venerable and formidable intellects are included. But how does the imprimatur of The Washington Post change this landscape?

The Afrosphere has dared to venture where few tread. Subject matter traditionally considered to be outside the concern of blacks regularly appear. The complexities and motivations of the actors involved defy easy encapsulation and branding.

Don't get me wrong. I subscribe to WaPo and my brother is a regular contributor. But I worry that this is just one more field corporate barbarians have chosen to exploit. No form of human expression has escaped their viral attachment and penetration.

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