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Interview :: Education : Gender : Globalization : Human Rights : International : Labor : Media : Organizing : Politics : Race : Social Welfare
"Belafonte told the truth"
31 Jan 2006
Living in a racist and sexist society, it is ever more important to be conscious and keep in the forefront of our work the triple oppression of Black women via race, class and gender.
WW interview with Black historian/activist
‘Belafonte told the truth’
Published Jan 30, 2006 8:59 PM

Tony Van Der Meer is an adjunct professor of Africana Studies at the University of Massachusetts and an adjunct professor within the Social Science Department at Roxbury Community College in Boston. He is co-chair of the Rosa Parks Human Rights Day Committee in Boston. Van Der Meer is co-editor with Jemadari Kamara of “State of the Race,” an anthology on the Afro-Cuba diaspora. He is also co-founder and program director of Cultural Cafe, an independent alternative cultural venue of art and politics. This interview was conducted by Bryan Pfeifer of the Boston WW bureau on Jan. 30.

WW: What is the role and importance of Black history?

Van Der Meer: The role and importance of Black history is to set the record straight. To differentiate between Black History that was created by white supremacist institutions and Black History created by Black (African) people, especially in the diaspora, who resisted racial and class domination and oppression and struggled to live and create their lives on their own terms. It is to clarify the contradictions of the enslavement of African people and a reminder of our continuing struggle to control the cultural, political and economic realities of our lives as human beings, instead of being viewed as Budweiser’s great kings and queens of Africa, and having bling bling and a swimming pool in our living room.

WW: Harry Belafonte, while in Venezuela Jan. 8, said, “No matter what the greatest tyrant in the world, the greatest terrorist in the world, George W. Bush says, we’re here to tell you: Not hundreds, not thousands, but millions of the American people ... support your revolution.”

Van Der Meer: God bless Harry Belafonte, may he live a long life for telling the truth. Essentially Belafonte is saying what Martin Luther King Jr. said about the U.S. government being “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world,” and you can modernize that and place a cap on top of “W’s” head as the greatest leader of tyranny and terrorism of the world. The American people aren’t as dumb as Bush and his corporate/media backers want us to believe. When ordinary American workers get their pay checks (those who still get them), they know they have been had. They know this when they get sick; they know this when their kids go to poor schools. Many of them can see that the revolution occurring in Venezuela is in the greatest interest of ordinary working people.

WW: You often talk about the contributions of women in the civil rights and Black liberation movements.

Van Der Meer: That’s simple. How can one talk about eggs and not talk about hens? It’s not a question of what came first, it’s a question of what exists. Black women in the civil rights and Black liberation movements are a very important and significant component of those struggles. Living in a racist and sexist society, it is ever more important to be conscious and keep in the forefront of our work the triple oppression of Black women via race, class and gender. Otherwise, as men we are prone to internalize the “inferiority” of women instead of seeing and working with them as equal partners in our struggle. It is the revolutionary duty of men (and women as well) to struggle against the internalized racist, sexist and class “inferiorities” we have developed living in a male-dominated, white-supremacist capitalist world

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Re: "Belafonte told the truth"
31 Jan 2006
Yes he did! Dem black tarantulas are something else.
And when daylight come, me wanna go home.
Re: "Belafonte told the truth"
31 Jan 2006
3 week old story. Apparently it took the communists 3 weeks to decide whether they agree with Harry Belafonte. Wooooo. Tough decisions these party lines have to face.
Re: "Belafonte told the truth"
31 Jan 2006
Day-ooo...Day-oooo. I crave attention because I'm a has been star... Dayyy-000.. Maybe I should just go home.
Re: "Belafonte told the truth"
01 Feb 2006
black people and many others in the us seem to be seeing through the wall of misinformation from the us govt and official media about the political reality in venezuela. hugo sent heating oil to poor people in the us, offered serious help in katrina's aftermath (unlike the us govt), and back home has used oil profits to benefit the poor. with cuban doctors, they are on the verge of curing every treatable case of blindness in the country and also in bolivia; and again with cuba, recently offered to fly as many poor people as want to go from miami to cuba for free to treat blindness.
as much as has been said about cuba and venezuela's authoritarianism, these programs to advance those without the power of capital are difficult to complain against (though i'm sure some people will find a way...).
Re: "Belafonte told the truth"
01 Feb 2006
Dayooo.....Dayoooo...I have no carreer, I'm a senile old fool.

America has been good to me.
Daylights come, I otta stay home.
But now I'm upset 'cause no pays attention you see.
Daylights come, I should probably stay home.
I have less intellect than pigs in the barn.
daylights come, I should just stay home.
Hey, look I'm hanging' with Farrakhan !...

Re: "Belafonte told the truth"
01 Feb 2006
This guy proves that having one hit song, a genius does not make you.
Re: "Belafonte told the truth"
01 Feb 2006
At this stage in his career, the best gig Belafonte can hope for, is singing at Castro's funeral.
Hey, did he sing "The Big Bamboo", or was that Calypso Louie?
Re: "Belafonte told the truth"
01 Feb 2006
Too much money he did make on that one silly song. Now a commentator on world events he feels he is qualified to be.
Despite all this to do...
01 Feb 2006
Louis Farrakhan is a far more amusing Calypso politician than Harry Belafonte. Harry doesn't have the piss off power.
Re: "Belafonte told the truth"
01 Feb 2006
Belafonte has always been politically involved, and was a big supporter of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee during the Civil Rights Movement--be careful who you diss

. . .and he had many hit songs, not just one. . .
Re: "Belafonte told the truth"
01 Feb 2006
I sense a disturbance in the force. On this board Bleafonte's mom appears to be.
Re: "Belafonte told the truth"
01 Feb 2006
Daylight come an me wan cooooooke!

Mi say Ya-a-a-yo!