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Author Topic: new book by Lincoln Alexander
johnpauljones
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posted 11 December 2006 07:56 AM      Profile for johnpauljones     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I just heard about a new book written by former LG and first African Canadian MP and Cabinet Minsiter Lincoln Alexander. The book is called "Go to School, You're a Little Black Boy, was published this month by Dundurn Press."

Has anyone read it or know anything about it?


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sidra
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posted 11 December 2006 10:43 AM      Profile for sidra   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I have not and I doubt he would say anything worth reading as far as I am concerned. Somehow, black and conservative.. I have yet to digest the concept.

"Go to school" is very easy to say. But questiong the gap between the rate of unemployed Blacks and unemployed Whites does not appear to be an undertaking he would touch. No stirring "trouble" to his fellow members of the Establishment.


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johnpauljones
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posted 11 December 2006 10:54 AM      Profile for johnpauljones     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
according to a story on the Uof Guelph website about the book. the title comes from:
quote:
The book's title was something Alexander's mother often said to him during his childhood.

"Those words, her words, have been at the core of what I've accomplished in my life," he says. "My mother was the one who encouraged me to go to school. She was right, of course. My education has always been my empowerment."


quote:
Alexander's life is often described as one of exemplary firsts. Among them, he was the first person in his family to attend university, Canada's first black member of Parliament, the first black chair of the Workers' Compensation Board, the first visible minority to hold the post of lieutenant-governor and the first person to serve five terms as U of G's chancellor.

Alexander says he was "encouraged and prodded" for years to write an autobiography but kept finding excuses not to do it because the task was so daunting and because he's not one to brag about his accomplishments.


uguelph site


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Ken Burch
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posted 11 December 2006 02:45 PM      Profile for Ken Burch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Has Alexander ever explained why he chose to identify with the Tories?

I've always wondered why the first black member of the Canadian House of Commons was nominated by the party which has always been the least supportive of social change.


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miles
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posted 11 December 2006 02:47 PM      Profile for miles     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Ken Burch:
Has Alexander ever explained why he chose to identify with the Tories?

I've always wondered why the first black member of the Canadian House of Commons was nominated by the party which has always been the least supportive of social change.


I wonder if it was the riding as well. Hamilton West was also the riding of Ellen Fairclough who as a PC MP was the first female Cabinet Minister.


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M. Spector
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posted 11 December 2006 02:50 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Ken Burch:
I've always wondered why the first black member of the Canadian House of Commons was nominated by the party which has always been the least supportive of social change.
That's the way capitalist politics works. A black MP is much less "threatening" if he's a Tory.

This is why Canada's first woman Prime Minister was a Tory. This is why a black woman was able to become secretary of state in the USA.

And this is why Hillary Clinton will not be the first woman to become president, nor will Barack Obama be the first black man to be president.


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Bobolink
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posted 14 December 2006 06:40 PM      Profile for Bobolink   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It is interesting that a "black man makes good" book brings out the racists in babble.
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Lard Tunderin' Jeezus
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posted 14 December 2006 06:48 PM      Profile for Lard Tunderin' Jeezus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
And that's an interesting opinion. Care to try to substantiate it for me?
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sidra
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posted 14 December 2006 08:42 PM      Profile for sidra   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yeah, go on Bobolink, substantiate. But do not forget also to tell us what is the "good" that Lincoln Alexander made and to whom other than himself ?

[ 14 December 2006: Message edited by: sidra ]


From: Ontario | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 14 December 2006 08:59 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Bobolink:
It is interesting that a "black man makes good" book brings out the racists in babble.

Sure does.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Ken Burch
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posted 15 December 2006 12:17 AM      Profile for Ken Burch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Bobolink, are you actually saying that it's racist to wonder why a black person would be politically right of center?

Where do you get that?


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Michelle
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posted 15 December 2006 04:21 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Ken Burch:
Has Alexander ever explained why he chose to identify with the Tories?

I've always wondered why the first black member of the Canadian House of Commons was nominated by the party which has always been the least supportive of social change.


The same reason why most glass-ceiling-breakers tend to be Conservative - because it's easier to break glass ceilings when you support the status quo. It's the reason the first female president of the US may be Hillary Clinton, or the first Black president could be someone like Condi Rice or Colin Powell.

Unfortunately, the way to break the glass ceiling is to go along to get along, and to support the status quo in order to "prove yourself" to white colleagues and racist societal expectations. It's only once people are used to seeing the glass ceiling broken, or the glass ceiling is no longer as powerful, that women and minority groups with more radical ideas will have the same acceptance as white men with those same ideas.

(Edited to add - whoops, I wrote this before reading M. Spector's post, which took up about a tenth of the space of my post and said mostly the same thing. Except that I think Clinton is "status quo" enough that I think she could win.)

I have some sympathy for bobolink's point of view, although I think it's out of line for him to label people in this thread "racists". Please try to contribute more constructively, bobolink.

It shouldn't surprise anyone that, yes, amazingly enough, people from every group, minority or majority, male or female, span the political spectrum with their views. A Black woman has just as much right to be a conservative as a white male.

I think we lefties have to get over the idea that women and minorities somehow "owe" their support to the left. They don't, and we have to get over the idea that we speak for them. It's a very paternalistic idea.

[ 15 December 2006: Message edited by: Michelle ]


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Ken Burch
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posted 15 December 2006 08:39 AM      Profile for Ken Burch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I wasn't saying that members of visible racial minorities or women owed the left anything, Michelle. I had just wondered what, in particular, had driven Lincoln Alexander's choice in this matter. Also, I would have wondered if the man had meant originally to have started in Liberal or NDP politics but been rejected by those parties, as Howard McCurdy had faced some discrimination with the NDP early in his career because the party had feared being seen as a party of visible minorities in its early days.

No paternalism was intended.


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Wolf
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posted 15 December 2006 10:12 AM      Profile for Wolf     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I agree with Michelle. It is possible to be black and conservative without "selling out" or being duped.
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Michelle
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posted 15 December 2006 10:17 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I didn't say they weren't selling out. Anyone who is Conservative is a sellout on some level, especially if they have any progressive views on equality, social justice, or have ever benefited from any of the progressive values or services that progressives put in place and that Conservatives are on a continual quest to dismantle.

What I'm saying could be possibly racist or sexist or whatever is to assume that women and minorities have any more duty to refrain from being Conservative than anyone else. If you can imagine white men being Conservative, then you should be able to just as easily imagine women and minorities as conservatives.

[ 15 December 2006: Message edited by: Michelle ]


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Kronstadt
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posted 15 December 2006 12:32 PM      Profile for Kronstadt     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I think we lefties have to get over the idea that women and minorities somehow "owe" their support to the left. They don't, and we have to get over the idea that we speak for them. It's a very paternalistic idea.

Well said.


From: A Future Utopia | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged
sidra
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posted 15 December 2006 01:34 PM      Profile for sidra   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I agree with Michelle. It is possible to be black and conservative without "selling out" or being duped.

Of course evrybody is free to pursue whatever political inclination. But I consider visible minorities and women who climb the conservative ladder not only sellouts by selfish opportunists, pawns and tokens for an illusory inclusion.


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Ken Burch
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posted 16 December 2006 02:25 AM      Profile for Ken Burch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
And I wasn't even saying the guy WAS a sellout. I was just wondering what led to his decision to join that particular party. It never occurred to me that people would take that as racist.

How did what was meant to be an inoffensive question end up cheesing so many people off?

I guess I won't ask a question like this again.


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miles
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posted 16 December 2006 06:33 AM      Profile for miles     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by sidra:
But I consider visible minorities and women who climb the conservative ladder not only sellouts by selfish opportunists, pawns and tokens for an illusory inclusion.

I guess you have to say the exact same thing about those who join the Liberal Party of Canada as well.

Lincoln Alexander broke a barrier. Whether he did it as a PC or a Lib or an NDP is not as imporatant as the fact that it was in 1968 that a man of colour was elected to the HOuse of Commons being the first POC to be elected.

What is shameful is that it took until 1968.


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sidra
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posted 16 December 2006 08:42 AM      Profile for sidra   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Lincoln Alexander is forever hailed as a "model" for Black youth in whom they can recognize themselves, but what they need is not an individual but an environment where they can recognize themselves.

The "model" approach is a conservative one that reposes on the premise that if he could make it, so can you. If you fail, it is YOUR fault, the system cannot change, there is nothing wrong with the system. Thus, become a lawyer, mingle with the rich and powerful and you will break barriers, you will find your place in society.

Also, many women "broke barriers". Yet barriers were put a few weeks ago to offices that advocate for women's equality.

Maybe we do not need any offices or money or advocates for women's equality. After all, many women broke barriers and "proved" that they can make it. Every woman then should look at a model and emulate. Why not every woman get a statue of a "model woman" and every visible minority get a statue of Lincoln Alexander and pray to it everyday ?

[ 16 December 2006: Message edited by: sidra ]


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Bobolink
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posted 16 December 2006 07:08 PM      Profile for Bobolink   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Michelle:

When people judge unfavourably someone who has achieved a degree of personal success, just because he/she is a member of a visible minority, that is racism.

Being politically left or right does not exempt a person from being racist. I have found racism in places and people I never expected to.

[ 16 December 2006: Message edited by: Bobolink ]


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M. Spector
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posted 16 December 2006 07:36 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Michelle:
If you can imagine white men being Conservative, then you should be able to just as easily imagine women and minorities as conservatives.
I don't agree with this as stated, although I think I agree with what you are trying to say.

Read your sentence again, substituting "privileged people" for "white men" and "disadvantaged people" for "women and minorities." Does it really make sense that disadvantaged people would embrace the ideology of the privileged - one that in fact helps to perpetuate the historical disadvantage of the groups they belong to?


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sidra
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posted 17 December 2006 05:12 AM      Profile for sidra   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
When people judge unfavourably someone who has achieved a degree of personal success, just because he/she is a member of a visible minority, that is racism.

Being politically left or right does not exempt a person from being racist. I have found racism in places and people I never expected to. Bobolink


He was a politician (still is in many ways) and a 'public figure'. He himself never ceased blowing the horn of his visible-minoritiness, lecturing Black youth and parading as a model, with much help from media that is all too happy for that kind of symbolism, tokenism and illusions of 'equal opportunity'.

He was the President of the Canadian Foundation for Race Relations. Anything earth-shaking that this foundation has ever accomplished ? Ziltch. Actually, how many people even heard of it, other than those in the field of anti-racism and race-relations ?

As for your alluding that I am a racist, I do not think I am. What I know is that you are a white ),mainstream) folk who seems to be applauding tokenism and "modelism" that are working in your favour. I also know that I am a visible minority.

Perhaps if you reflect deeper you might find out that you are very well-intentioned but you are not helping to bring systemic barriers down but merely applauding the statu quo.

[ 17 December 2006: Message edited by: sidra ]


From: Ontario | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Ken Burch
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posted 17 December 2006 06:50 AM      Profile for Ken Burch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't think I'm a racist either, and I really believe that bobolink is using a kind of ideological/emotional blackmail to silence legitimate and honorable questions.

Could it not equally be argued that there was something racist or bigoted in stating that the political choices made by a person of color can never be questioned simply because that person IS a person of color?

Finally, I think I can safely say that neither I nor sidra was questioning Alexander's Tory allegiance because we begrudged Alexander's personal success. The man has as much right as anybody else to be successful, and congratulations to him for achieving what he's achieved. His political choices are still a legitimate topic for discussion, as are the political choices of anybody else.

[ 17 December 2006: Message edited by: Ken Burch ]

[ 17 December 2006: Message edited by: Ken Burch ]


From: A seedy truckstop on the Information Superhighway | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Ken Burch
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posted 17 December 2006 09:45 PM      Profile for Ken Burch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
And I think we can also say that it's not particularly impressive that the man's autobiography was published, considering that it was published by the publishing imprint of the university where he serves as chancellor.

I mean, like they really had a choice...


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bigcitygal
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posted 18 December 2006 05:29 AM      Profile for bigcitygal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Some thoughts on this argument.

The veracity of M.Spector and Michelle's arguments have been indicated over time. The way to gain legitimate power, in the Western anglo context, is to be big C or small c conservative, if you are non-male and non-white or both. The reasons for this? We can guess at it, but I'd say internalizing the dominant persepctive and getting along with the white boys who are the power holders are pretty strong incentives, if it's power and "legitimacy" you're after.

I don't think that all, or even many, advances for all women, and men of colour, have happened because of leftist politics. The end of slavery? Economic issues, plus losing the war, yes? (White) women gaining the right to vote? By fighting for a number of years, being thwarted by white ruling class men, and by excluding women not from their class and cultural background.

Women of colour, including FN women, are still the poorest and the most marginalized.

Conservatives love a token. It's the reason they can say "See we aren't racist". And there will be people who will be okay to be the token. I don't hold anger or resentment or higher levels of scrutiny towards them, and perhaps Lincoln Alexander is in that category. He's still a Black man in this racist world, we can assume that he's stopped regularly by the cops, and requires a white person to "legitimize" his place when he goes to various governmental thingys as the former GG. Or maybe he's recognizable enough these days.


From: It's difficult to work in a group when you're omnipotent - Q | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged

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