Tuesday, June 05, 2007

THE SONNY CARSON STREET NAME ISSUE: IT’S A MATTER OF SELF DETERMINATION - NO MATTER WHAT CHRISTINE QUINN SAYS.

UP FRONT News May 31, 2007
Published by Tom Weiss
Editorial Advisor: Willard Whittingham

“The paper that can’t be bought and can’t be sold.” www.tomsupfrontnews.blogspot.com


City Councilmembers Al Vann and Charles Barron, both from Brooklyn were under no illusions as to the outcome of the City Council vote on Mr. Vann’s amendment on restoring Sonny Abubadika Carson’s name to the list of street name changes to be approved by the Council. Mr. Carson’s name had been removed from the list at the behest of primarily City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, vociferously supported by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Ms. Quinn said that the black nationalist Carson, who died in 2002, was “divisive.”
She cited in particular his role in what became something of a black boycott of Korean owned delicatessens and Carson’s claim that he was “anti-white.” As far as the Korean matter is concerned, I recall that there had been complaints in the black community that various groceries were playing games with prices on welfare days and that there had been anti-black slurs made by some Korean deli people. I do not recall the substance of Mr. Carson’s statements at the time. I do know, however, that one of the great peacemakers between Korean-Americans and African-Americans has been Rev. Timothy P. Mitchell, the soon to retire Pastor of the Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in Korean-American and very diverse Flushing, Queens. Rev. Mitchell’s views on political matters are very close to Charles Barron’s.

I’m told that Mr. Carson’s “anti-white” statement came in response to a reporter’s
question as to whether he was anti-Semitic. Mr. Carson’s response, as described to me that, citing his own Semitic roots, he was certainly not anti-Semitic and that it would be more accurate to consider him anti-white. That comment reminds me now of my recent somewhat playful dialogue with my good friend, Willard Whittingham, who is African-American. He and I talk about a lot of inter-ethnic stuff and one day he in mock anger said to me, “You’re not white, you’re Jewish!” Now that I think of it some more, he makes a very good point. I’m quite sure that those very early slaves in Egypt were Jewish and black. (In fact since I am part Spanish Sephardic, I’m even somewhat darker complexion-wise with people sometimes taking me for Hispanic.) While there has been plenty of black-on-black oppression, the historical reality is that racism tends to be inflicted by the light-skinned on the dark-skinned. A very related but very, very under-reported fact is that the continuing Chinese Communist Genocide in Occupied Tibet is the racism of the light-complexioned Chinese against the ethnically and culturally distinct and much darker-complexioned Tibetans.

Back to Brooklyn and the City Council. I am also increasingly aware that there is a ra-
cial double standard at work here. It is a widely known historical fact that Thomas Jef-
ferson was a slave-owner and that he was an adulterer who indulged in sex with at least one very young black female. (Consensual? I doubt it.) I am not aware of any effort in the City Council to change the name of Jefferson High School or similarly named streets, parks, etc. Councilman Barron also told me that the “Gates”, whose name would be dropped from the several block segment of the Brooklyn street to be named after Mr. Carson, was a slave-owner, too.

Mr. Barron, acting in his capacity as an elected official, on Memorial Day, “officially”
named George Gershwin Park on his district as “Sonny Abubadika Carson Park”, quite
openly defying Ms. Quinn, and/or the Parks Department to take down the new sign.

I’ve dealt with Christine Quinn. She is a Hillary Clinton-style autocrat. She regards any challenge to what she sees as her imperial authority as sedition. I used to be her constitu-ent as a homeless person staying at a drop-in center called Peter’s Place in the heart of her Chelsea district. She is guilty of covering up staff abuse of homeless people there.

Christine Quinn is a political opportunist. After I for several years lobbied former City Councilmember Kathryn Freed for a pro-Tibet resolution, in 2001 Quinn took the credit by introducing the eloquent but critically incomplete Resolution #802 which denounced the Chinese for their atrocities but said nothing about the money issue, which is opposing the corporate cash cow that is the 2008 Beijing Olympics. On that she remains silent like her boss Hillary Clinton who, like Rupert Murdoch, makes a lot of money in China.

Christine Quinn has successfully used the gay rights issues (I am totally for gay rights and against any form of sexism) as a Trojan horse to curry favor with liberals. She has a slick populist rap that has some believing she is an advocate of tenants rights. In fact she and her pal Bloomberg are a developer’s dream. Gentrification and over-development are rampant under what I call the Quinnberg Administration. I think that, especially with her Sonny Carson maneuver, which has made this New York summer hotter, Christine is divisive.

A couple of hours before the Council vote as I was waiting on Broadway outside City Hall I saw City Councilman Tony Avella, with whom, as a journalist and activist, I am Acquainted. After he and I talked about a possible City Council resolution calling for the removal of the 2008 Olympics from China because of the Genocides in Tibet (and maybe Darfur, where China is playing a Genocide abetting role), I asked Mr. Avella how he was planning to vote on the Carson issue. He said he was not sure. I asked him if I could tell him my view and he said “yes.” I told him that, while I would not vouch for Mr. Carson’s diplomatic gifts, his contributions to the quality of life (fighting drugs and gang violence, helping to start Medgar Evers College) are a matter of record. I also brought up the slave-owning histories of Jefferson and Gates. I said that Sonny Carson is a self-determination issue.

Aside from Rosie Mendez (from Lower Manhattan), and John Liu (from Flushing) Mr. Avella (from northern Queens), was the only non-African-American Councilmember to vote in favor of Mr. Vann’s amendment. Since I give (and take) credit where credit is due, I told Mr. Barron about my efforts with Mr. Avella. About a half hour after the vote, which in the Pyrrhic sense was “won” by Ms. Quinn, Mr. Barron brought Mr. Avella out to the crowd of Carson supporters who were in front of City Hall making plans. Mr. Barron thanked me and introduced Mr. Avella, congratulating him for his courageous vote.

Christine Quinn wants to be mayor about as much as her role model, Hillary Clinton wants to be president of the United States of America. It’s a good thing that among those running for mayor is Tony Avella.
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