Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Birthday Reflection

On this day, November 27th, my birthday, I woke up in my right mind, I think, understanding that I have less time to live than ever before. As prophetic as that sounds, it is very true. However, I am so very grateful because I received a very special blessing, which was the gift of life. As I sat with a cup of java reflecting upon my journey, to this point, I am humbled by the many blessings I’ve received. I was born with nothing at a time when hope was a concept that was an unrealistic ideal for people of my hue. Yet, today I bare witness to a reality I never thought could happen – a Black Man as President - from the outhouse to the Whitehouse, as Jesse would say.

As I sit peacefully thinking about the phenomena that is my “Dash” I can only say Amen. What I mean by the “Dash” is this: on my final marker, like yours, there will be a beginning date, a dash, and an end date inscribed on the stone. In other word, the whole of my life will be contained within a tiny little “Dash”. As I continue to recount the time God has granted me, I subconsciously think about my mortality. Asking myself the ultimate question, if today was my last day, have invested enough equity into the contents of my “Dash”. For I know judgment will be based upon the work I’ve done.

During this wonderful journey I have endured mountains, milestones, and valleys that I have come to understand were not obstacles rather stepping stones that has made me stronger, in some cases whole, and surely a man. My life has not been unlike that of any other man, although challenging at times, the answer to those challenges was to have the will to survive and that means being accountable for life on life’s terms, and of course understanding that I have no control over life’s terms.

Life’s lessons have taught me that I can never plan the future by the past, which leads me to conclude that I don’t know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future. To live has only one purpose and that is reality. With that said, I thought these words were very appropriate to describe the rest of my life. I have only just a minute, sixty seconds in it, I did not choose it, can’t refuse it; it is up to me to use it, just a tiny little minute, but an eternity in it.

I am keenly aware that I stand on the shoulders of the ghost of many greats whose inspiration, courage, and motivation humble me, and I’m filled with gratitude that their example enriched my soul before they made their transition into the kingdom of heaven. So much so that in those times of trouble, when the bridges are hard to cross and the road gets rough, I hear their gentle voices reciting these words: “Fear not for we are with you.”

So I ask you, if someone were to tell the story concealed within your dash. What might they say?

Author of "Just a Season"

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Anti-Obama bumper stickers – Psalm 109:8 - SHOCKING!!!

While reading the New York Times today I came across a blog written by Schott Vocab referencing a slogan that the right is using which seems to urge people to pray for an end to the President’s days. What is despicable about this is that they are using Bible verses to rally their faithful to bring harm not just to the President but to his family as well. Appalling, and inexcusable!!!

I have seen a few of these stickers that said “Pray for Obama – Psalms 109:8” but I honestly did not think much of it until I read this blog. Then I decided to use Google to see how viral this was and found that these people (and I use the word loosely) are selling posters, T-shirts and bumper stickers of this slogan that is disturbing, and dare I say sinister. However, as a number of commentators have noted, the wording that follows this bumper-sticker’s appeal is even more alarming. It reads as follows:

Let his days be few; and let another take his office.
Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.

Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places.

Let the extortioner catch all that he hath; and let the strangers spoil his labor.
Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any to favor his fatherless children.

Let his posterity be cut off; and in the generation following let their name be blotted out.

Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered with the LORD; and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out.

Let them be before the LORD continually that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth.

Every time I think the “rightwing nuts” have gone too far – they find a way to go further. Most of these folks, I assume, believe they are Christians, although not of any faith I want to be part of. This seems eerily similar to the way the Bible was interrupted to justify slavery and other amoral atrocities by racists who call themselves “Americans”.

I have to ask myself “how can these people say the love God who they cannot see and cannot love a man (a great man) who they can see?” Who, by the way, is the elected President of the United States charged with the responsibility for their salvation?

President Obama has received treats of unprecedented proportions and now his family. I ask that we PRAY for our President and his family. If you agree, please repost and share this message to make others aware and ask all who believe this great man deserves our support and prayers to please do so. Pray that we are delivered from evil.



Saturday, November 14, 2009

My favorite Negro – the Man of Steele

I’m writing this article not from the perspective of disrespect rather from an inquisitive concern, but frankly I am vexed. As you know, from past articles, I delve into the political arena every once in a while and I was compelled to say something about the Republican’s puppet. Although I must admit, I really find it hard to understand or find the words to describe the “Black Face” of the Grand Ol’ Party. So I will use Malcolm’s words and say he has been hoodwinked, bamboozled, or maybe more appropriately stated “run a muck”. How can an “educated” Negro be so out of touch with reality?

Before I add my commentary, let me explain. Last Sunday I was watching “Washington Watch” hosted by Roland Martin whose guest was none other than the man of Steele. Roland asked Chairman Steele to name two issues that “speak to black voters that Republicans have a shot at.” Steele replied, “Education and the economy. Education and jobs. Education and small business.” I was surprised because I thought “finally” this guy was going to reconnect with his identity.

Roland then pointed out that he has long criticized the GOP because “white Republicans have been scared of black folks.” Uh-oh. Well that’s when my man Steele relapsed meaning “foot in mouth disease”. Faced with this loaded statement, surely the first African American chairman (after six ballots) of the overwhelmingly white and increasingly Southern party would use some tact or at least realize he was being viewed by an African American audience – people who looked like him even if he is not one of them.

So, how did Steele defend his party's honor?

“And what if, eh, . . . No, you're absolutely right,” Steele said. “I mean, I've been in the room and they've been scared of me. And I'm like, I'm on your side. You know, so I can imagine going out there and talking to someone like you…” WOW!!!

Let me be perfectly clear, I am all for ANYONE having a hustle. If you can succeed and are trying to accomplish something - GREAT - but this guy is severely challenged with respect to his ideals or identity. Now, he has every right to be as foolish as he wishes and I understand that there have been house Negro’s since they’ve been Negro’s - but Negro Please!!!

As we celebrate the most significant event since the resurrection of our Lord, the first African American President, we also must be subject to this throwback to the days of a Blackface minstrel show. So to the man of Steele, I say I am scared because you are the face of the Grand Ol’ Party.

More and more he reminds me of my uncle whose name is Tom…


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The 41 Cent Secret

I was very fortunate to have been asked by a wonderful lady out of H-Town, Ar-Lena Richardson, to be a guest on her radio show - “Deeper than the Game”. First, let me thank Ar-Lena for the opportunity to be interviewed by a truly phenomenal host. During the interview, Ar-Lena asked me to share something powerful from my novel “Just a Season” to which I shared a subliminal message. It was interesting because we hold it in our hands but most people probably have no idea there is a message concealed within what I call “The 41 Cent Secret”.

The legacy of America is a heritage that is controlled by economics, no matter what, nothing trumps cash, and cash only. The lure of money is so powerful that you will sell your soul for it. Most people think racism is about the color of your hue but it’s not. It is about color true, but the color is green. Therefore, the phrase on money, “In God we trust,” is really a catchphrase suggesting that economic superiority is the cornerstone of this legacy. As we know slavery and the economic profits derived from it built a capitalistic society and this message speaks to the heart of it.

I’m sure you know that a secret is designed to elude observation because it contains information that, if disclosed, could endanger. Therefore, secrets are never to be told or shared. So this is just between you and I. I would like for you to take a quarter, nickel, dime, and a penny placing them in a row in that order from left to right. Look at the coins very carefully. What do you see other than the obvious - forty-one cents. Notice the faces on the coins. You will see four presidents - but there is more.

“Let me explain.” There is Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln. Washington was the father of the country who instituted, by law, slavery as an American institution and owned many slaves. Jefferson, well we all know his storied history relating to slaves. Then there was Roosevelt who had the same philosophy but live in the era of segregation.

Now notice that Washington, Jefferson, and Roosevelt have turned their backs on Lincoln arguably the most significant of all presidents. Lincoln is on the lowest denomination of all money and it is made of copper, the cheapest metal. Now, notice that the penny looks like you in color (if you are African American). This was done to scorn Lincoln for all eternity because he freed the slaves. Anytime someone comes along who changes the system, status quo, they will be scorned or destroyed. You have heard of assassination.

You have carried change in my pockets all of your life but did you know there was a subliminal message. It is important to understand that “The system is designed to protect the system.” Now, let me put this into perspective. It takes an act of congress to get a face approved to be put on a postage stamp. This was no accident. If you can see this and understand it, know that there are other forms of deception perpetrated by the majority people who control the system. In particular, systematic slavery, that continues, and designed to make sure people of a certain races remain a permanent underclass. This is what is meant when they referred to the system protecting the system. It is all about wealth, which drives the system.

Just a Season

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Brown v Board of Education - fifty five years later

This year we will celebrate the fifty fifth anniversary of the landmark Brown v Board of Education case successfully argued before Supreme Court of the United States. It is also very appropriate at this time to also take this opportunity to recognize the skill of the late great Thurgood Marshall who brilliantly won this case and more than fifty other cases before the Supreme Court - winning all of them.

This case changed the face of America in away unlike any other decision. The Brown case, as it is known, was not the first such case regarding civil rights argued before the court it is worth mentioning. It was just the most significant of what some would say was the final battle in the courts that had been fought by African American parents since 1849, which started with Roberts v. City of Boston, Massachusetts. It is also important to note that Kansas was the site of eleven such cases spanning from 1881 to 1949.

The case was named after Oliver Brown one of 200 plaintiffs. The Brown case was initiated and organized by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) leadership who recruited African American parents in Topeka, Kansas for a class action suit against the local school board. The Supreme Court combined five cases under the heading of Brown v. Board of Education: Delaware, Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. The ultimate goal sought by the NAACP was to end the practice of “separate but equal” throughout every segment of society, including public transportation, dining facilities, public schools and all forms of public accommodations.

The Brown Supreme Court ruling determined racial segregation in public education was unconstitutional in Brown I, the first opinion. The court’s implementation mandate of "with all deliberate speed" in 1955 is known as Brown II. In 1979, twenty five years later, there was a Brown III because Topeka was not living up to the earlier Supreme Court ruling, which resulted in Topeka Public Schools building three magnet schools to comply with the court's findings. As had been the case since Homer Plessy, the subject in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896 when the U.S. Supreme Court decided that a Louisiana law mandating separate but equal accommodations for blacks and whites on intrastate railroads was constitutional. This decision provided the legal foundation to justify many other actions by state and local governments to socially separate blacks and whites.

Now that I have provided some history related to the case let me add my commentary. It has been said that as sure as things change they remain the same. First, it took 60 year to overturn Plessy with Brown and it took “with all deliberate speed” 13 years for integration to begin fully. During this period of time from 1954 to 1967 Governors blocked school entrances and actually closed schools rather than comply with the law of the land. I am not going to touch on the violence that caused President’s to send the US Army and National Guard troops to schools in order to protect the safety of those the ruling was intended benefit as a result of the Brown decision.

Since then and over time many scams have been devised to disenfranchise minorities and African Americans in particular – need I only remind you of “No Child Left Behind”. This brings us to where we are today. Schools are equally as segregated, poorly funded, dilapidated facilities, and a police presence to save, often times, the kids from themselves. The dropout rate averages 2 to 1. These are just a few issues and by any measure of academic standards or common sense – is a failure.

Let’s make sure we understand that public education was not created to develop minds rather it was intended to simply teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. It was created to maintain a permanent underclass. Now maybe the word “class” is the operative word in all of this – the haves have and the have not’s will have not. So as sure as things change they remain the same. That is why it is imperative for us to celebrate this milestone and continue to the struggle as the ghosts of so many who died for the principle that “education is the single most important ingredient necessary to neutralize those forces that breed poverty and despair”.