Black Republic Media Archives

 June 10, 2023 

Violence is Their Religion!


Twenty-four years ago, I moved to Johannesburg to head the Washington Post’s Southern Africa Bureau. The Post’s home office was located in the city’s tony northern suburbs, which was reserved for whites during apartheid. Voters of all races went to the polls for the first time in 1994– five years before I arrived–to abolish white minority rule.

But you cannot undo in half a decade a white settler crime spree that has terrorized Black people the world over for half a millenium, as I discovered the hard way while jogging through my suburban Johannesburg neighborhood one spring afternoon.

Suddenly, as I ran past a row of gated, walled-off rambler-styled homes, I heard barking ; I turned sharply to my right and saw a dog–maybe a labrador retriever– clearly with bad intentions, running towards me.

I froze, remembering that someone had once told me that dogs return our energy. But this dog apparently had not gotten the memo, crossing the busy four- lane thoroughfare into traffic, and continuing to bear down on me.

Finally, in desperation, I turned to my left, spied a six-foot- tall- security wall, and leapt. The dog continued barking at me for what seemed an eternity before the electric gate across the street opened, and he ambled home. When the path was clear, I rappelled down the wall, and continued on my way.

A few days later I went jogging again, but as I approached Cujo’s home, I spotted a white couple jogging towards me. When I asked if they had encountered a dog in the vicinity of my canine tormentor, they responded “no,” and I sped off, relieved.

Not two blocks later, the same dog was nipping at my heels. I hadn’t heard him bark, and by the time I spotted him he was in a full trot. There was no time to do anything but run. I took off, zig-zagging through the neighborhood for another two blocks. Finally, as he closed in for the attack, I leapt again onto a security wall, slicing a gash in my calf so deep that the scar remains visible to this day.

I recounted the incident months later to some South African friends, both Black and white, and they explained to me that this reflected one of the more perverse legacies of apartheid, which was created in 1948 to address white South Africans concerns that they being replaced by the African majority.

Whites often trained dogs to protect homes and businesses by attacking Blacks, and only blacks. In other words, that dog who twice chased me up a wall had a Pavlovian response to my dark skin and reflexively chose violence to eliminate the threat; yet the same dog had spotted the white couple in the same spot and engaged in the same activity only a few minutes earlier, and he didn’t even budge.


 March 16, 2023 

Ride or Die


The political economy of white settler colonialism is organized around murder, or its threat: forcing Africans to work at gunpoint; raping and stealing indigenous land at gunpoint; herding Palestinians into open-air jails, at gunpoint; overthrowing elected leaders at gunpoint are all part of the colonial and neocolonial blueprint. In this series, Black Republic Media explores what it means when a junta of homicidal maniacs governs a nation, or a network of nations, across the world.


Twenty years ago today, an Israeli soldier drove a bulldozer over Rachel Corrie, crushing her to death. The 23-year-old from Olympia, Washington was part of an international team of peace activists who had volunteered to protect Palestinian homes from demolition by Israeli settlers. Mother Jones magazine gave this account of her final hours:

At two o’clock on the afternoon of Sunday, March 16, Rachel Corrie received a cell-phone call from a comrade in the International Solidarity Movement. “The Israelis are back,” she told Corrie. “Get over here right away. I think they’re heading for Dr. Samir’s house.” The news alarmed Corrie. Samir Nasrallah was a Palestinian pharmacist who lived with his wife and three children a few hundred yards from the battle-scarred Egyptian border in the Gaza Strip town of Rafah. Corrie and other pro-Palestinian activists based in Rafah had frequently spent the night in Nasrallah’s house, acting as human shields against the Israeli tanks and bulldozers, clearing a security zone around the border. Almost every other structure in the area had been knocked down in recent months; Nasrallah’s abode now stood alone in a sea of sand and debris.

Certain that the pharmacist’s house was about to be razed, Corrie caught a taxi to the Hai as-Salam neighborhood. The paved roads of downtown Rafah gave way to sandy tracks lined with scrabbly olive groves, mosques, modest houses, and dirt pitches where Corrie often played soccer—badly but enthusiastically—with local youths. At 2:30, a neighbor of Nasrallah’s named Abu Ahmed caught sight of the activist hurrying past his house. Slight, hazel-eyed, with high cheekbones and dirty blond hair pulled back in a ponytail, she carried a megaphone in one hand and an orange fluorescent jacket in the other. “Come inside and have some tea,” he urged her. But Corrie told him she didn’t have time, and he watched as she disappeared around the corner of his house, heading toward the roar of machinery.

This much has never been contested: placing herself in the path of an Israeli bulldozer that she believed was about to flatten Nasrallah’s house, Rachel Corrie was crushed to death—her skull fractured, her ribs shattered, her lungs punctured. But the bitter accusations and violent recriminations that followed obscured almost everything else about the incident. Palestinians hailed her as a martyr of the Intifada. Several eyewitnesses charged that the bulldozer operator ran her down deliberately and called her killing “a war crime.” The Israeli government, which rarely acknowledges the deaths of Palestinian civilians killed during its military operations, went into damage-control mode. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon promised President Bush a “thorough, credible, and transparent investigation.” Later Israel declared the killing a “regrettable accident” and blamed it on overzealous Corrie and the other activists working as human shields. Charges and countercharges flew back and forth until, like Rashomon, the facts of Rachel Corrie’s death dissolved into a half-dozen competing versions of the truth, none of them fully convincing.

Maybe, maybe not. But if there were any doubts that Israel deliberately killed Corrie, they were surely erased by the fatal shooting last spring of Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American journalist who had worked for the Arabic language channel, Al Jazeera, for 25 years at the time of her death.

On May 11, 2022, while covering a raid by Israeli soldiers on the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank, Abu Akleh was standing with a group of colleagues, wearing a vest clearly marked “PRESS,” when she was shot in the head by sniper fire. Israel initially blamed the shooting on Palestinians, but separate investigations by the Washington Post, the New York Times, Bellingcat, the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights and the U.S. State Department concluded that the fatal shot was fired by an Israeli soldier; CNN went a step further and asserted that Abu Akleh was targeted by Israel Defense Forces.

Rachel’s death was eerily similar to Abu Akleh’s. She was wearing a fluorescent orange jacket with reflective stripes and had been on the scene for hours with other activists from the International Solidarity Movement, standing in the path of the bulldozer and occasionally speaking into a megaphone. According to witnesses, Rachel climbed onto a mound of dirt to be clearly visible as the driver pushed the bulldozer forward. When she fell to the ground, the dirt engulfed her, but the driver continued to move forward, and after running over her the first time, monstrously, put the bulldozer in reverse and did it again. It would be revealed later that a spotter accompanied the driver of the bulldozer that killed Rachel and that his sole function was to report any obstructions in the machine’s path. 


 December 7, 2022 



This is the first in an occasional series on America’s bizarre, ritualistic scapegoating of blacks so that the white settler might atone for the white settler’s sins. To paraphrase Malcolm X, if you’re not careful, this sick culture will have you hating the oppressed and loving the ones who are doing the oppressing.


As with most political matters, my introduction to “the Jews” was via my father, Cecil Nathaniel Jeter, the blue-black grandson of a slave, and a millwright at Indianapolis Chrysler, who did not, as the saying goes, suffer fools gladly. He loathed Henry Kissinger and whenever the warlord appeared on the evening news, my father would erupt in a fusillade of invective, calling him everything but a child of God, and referencing his Jewishness, although I can’t recall if he ever used any ethnic slurs.

Similarly, he sympathized with Palestinians living under Israeli occupation, and voiced his displeasure with Jimmy Carter for pressuring his United Nations Ambassador, Andrew Young, to resign in 1979 simply for his back channel communication with the Palestine Liberation Organization.

But it would be a stretch to say that my old man was an anti-Semite. I don’t ever recall him gaslighting the Holocaust, or referring to Hitler as anything but a monster; he envied how close-knit the Jewish community was, and wished for African Americans the same level of solidarity; and he admired the ferocity of radical Jewish activists such as the civil rights lawyer William Kuntsler who defended the inmates involved in the Attica uprising, Assata Shakur, and activists with the American Indian Movement.

And then there was the matter of my father’s deep affection for our family’s Jewish pediatrician  Dr. Bertram Roth, who overlooked it when my father couldn’t afford his health plan’ s copay. I remember Dr. Roth going so far as to scold his secretary for dunning my father about a past-due bill, explaining to her that he and  “Mr. Jeter had an arrangement. ” Even as a child, I could sense my father’s respect for Dr. Roth. Sometimes the two men would laugh and banter on for fifteen minutes after Dr. Roth had finished looking me over, and I remember specifically one conversation when my father jokingly asked Dr. Roth when he was going to follow his white neighbors who had left the city for the suburbs, the unspoken subtext being the influx of blacks in the post civil rights generation who were buying homes in neighborhoods previously reserved for whites.


“ The house still works, Cecil” I remember him saying to my father with a knowing smile. “ I’ m not going anywhere. ”

I swear my father swooned like a schoolgirl.

All of which is to say that my father did not hate “the Jews” but rather he hated “some Jews” just as he hated “some Catholics” and “some Italians” and even, some African Americans.


 November 15, 2022 

The Republic of Black Suffering


Only the do-nothing Democrats can snatch defeat from the jaws of defeat and swear it’s a victory as was the case following last week’s midterm elections. Joltin’ Joe Biden led the cheers for the Blue team despite the fact that the Grand Ol’ Party took the House and is still even money to retain half of the seats in the U.S. Senate depending on the final vote tally in Georgia where a moron, Herschel Walker, meets a mannequin,  Raphael Warnock, in next month’s runoff. 

Should the Republicans maintain parity in the Senate, it would mean that they would control both chambers of Congress if they take back the White House in 2024, with a Republican Vice-President casting the tiebreaking vote in the event of a deadlocked parliament. But in the meantime, puzzle me this, Family: If the Biden administration couldn’t get a Goddamn thing accomplished when it controlled both legislative bodies, what in the hell is it going to accomplish with only the Senate?


The question is of course, rhetorical.


The pretense that there are moral victories in politics is akin to Michael Spinks claiming victory over Mike Tyson because the ass whooping he got wasn’t nearly as bad as everyone anticipated.

More important than the Dems’ cognitive dissonance, however is that whichever party wins, the American people —and Black people especially–lose. 

That is because neither party has articulated a plan to pay reparations to Blacks—which could help resuscitate a moribund economy–or dismantle a wholly privatized health care system in which African American babies die before their first birthday at three times the rate of white newborns. Nor has either party expressed any interest in downsizing the U.S. police state which kills unarmed African Americans at nearly four times the rate than it does whites. 

Regardless of which faction of the duopoly ultimately comes out on top in the midterms, the water in Flint, Michigan, by most accounts,  remanis poisoned, the nation’s  public schools don’t teach our children so much as lobotomize them– when they’re not ratting them out to the police– and the federal sentence for selling crack cocaine is 18 times that for powder cocaine, despite the fact that there is no substantive difference between the two, other than that one is associated with Blacks and the other whites.

And so it goes in the America that never was yet must always be, if I may borrow from Langston Hughes.


 November 8, 2022 

No Justice, No Peace, No Voting, No Piece


It’s election day! And that’s a good question. “How DO the Democrats motivate their party’s most ardent voters to go to the polls without doing a thing for them?”

One truism is that Democrats prey on the loyalty of Black women and use us to encourage, convince, keep in line, even shame, chastise, and now, thanks to the vuckery that is “No Voting, No Vucking,” pun intended, penalize Black men.

Voting statistics indicate that Black women haven’t had to exactly arm wrestle with the Black community to vote Democratic. The first and only time my grandmother has ventured out since COVID-19 hit was to vote in November 2020, and she was two months shy of 96. I didn’t know whom I was more upset with for endangering her health: her or the silly alderman that arranged her transport to the poll.

The majority of Black people in this country are still poor and working-class folk. Despite not having our needs met, we hold on to the Dems’ broken and unfulfilled promises because frankly, the GOP never pledged to do anything. The Democrats are the party we associate with the passing of Civil Rights.