Friday, July 29, 2011

A War of Their Own

IT HAS COME TO THIS!!! With what most reasonable people perceive as financial Armageddon upon us. The Grand Ol’ Party is really showing the world who the “Real Americans” are and it looks bad. Yesterday, Mr. McCain, the would have been president, called out his conservatives party on their approach to dealing with the great debt ceiling debate. He called their argument “foolish” and “bizarro,” adding that to portray the balanced-budget amendment as a possibility amounts to “deceiving many of our constituents.” He quoted extensively from a Wall Street Journal op-ed that compared tea partyers to “hobbits.”

As children do, the tea party members responded in kind. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) deadpanned that he would “rather be a hobbit than a troll,” while 2010 Senate candidate Sharron Angle of Nevada said “it is the hobbits who are the heroes and save the land.” Ok, I’m laughing as I wonder if these folks truly understand that this situation is neither a joke nor a Hollywood screenplay. Do they have a clue? Regardless, not only are they mean-spirited – they are childish and immature.

Then there are the pundits who are supposed to have a clue, referred to as the smartest and most astute, are saying that we’re in an epic struggle for the soul of the nation. Charles Krauthammer, for example, argues today that the debt-ceiling debate is but part of a protracted death-match between irreconcilable visions of American political life. He writes:

“We’re in the midst of a great four-year national debate on the size and reach of government, the future of the welfare state, indeed, the nature of the social contract between citizen and state. The distinctive visions of the two parties — social-democratic vs. limited-government — have underlain every debate on every issue since Barack Obama’s inauguration: the stimulus, the auto bailouts, health-care reform, financial regulation, deficit spending. Everything. The debt ceiling is but the latest focus of this fundamental divide.”
Their leader, the Tan Man, complained that Obama moved the goal posts in his negotiations on the debt, but it is the Republicans who are marching these days with goal posts in hand. They want to shrink the size of government dramatically and give the rich more or at least not take anything from them. Then there’s Grover Norquist who has said he would like to see federal spending cut in half to just 10 percent of GDP, and then cut in half again. This is the America they want to see while the meek, poor, and elderly suffer in the name of the Constitution.

Let’s be real, this argument is really about entitlement spending and specifically about how to treat the elderly. That’s where the growth in spending is. “Government” as traditionally construed is something more than a Treasury check going to a retiree. Discretionary spending hasn’t been growing in recent decades. I would bet that, as a percentage of GDP, non-military discretionary spending has been going down in recent decades. This is the war the conservatives already won, circa 1980.

In a recent column, George Will wrote:

“Beneath the tattered, fading banner of reactionary liberalism, Obama struggles to sustain a doomed system. Democrats’ dependency agenda — swelling the ranks of government employees, multiplying government-subsidized industries, enveloping ever-more individuals in the entitlement culture — is buckling under an intractable contradiction: It is incompatible with economic growth sufficient to create enough wealth to feed the multiplying tax eaters.”
Before I continue, lest not forget that God himself told the Tea Party Republicans to lead the country straight into hell. The picture does not get any clearer than that. The influence by their love for the slave owning founding fathers and religion as their Party platform is so very bizarre. With these people every issue be it gun control, abortion, economics or the right to live, their response is the same. "God gives me my rights, and I'm only accountable to Him." Their twisted quasi-religious adherence to a belief that government is bad and all decisions flow from that unalterable belief is a concept that should scare us all.

Then when you factor in the Bachmann’s, DeMint, Palin, Cantor, and the rest of the wing nuts, who all believe the Tea Party has the only thought in this debate that is ruining the country and our democracy. Maybe their leader was right to say to them "Gets your asses in line" but for the reasons of sanity not his wacked out plan. Frankly, this circus atmosphere on display is being viewed by the entire world and is in fact shameful but let’s be very clear as to why this is happening. There are about 30 of these guys and gals in this bucket of crazies out of 433 in the House. The truth is, in this environment, you only need a thimbleful of crazy’s to wreck the whole thing.

Even if the GOP gets their act together and works out a debt ceiling compromise with the president and catastrophe is averted, the world has seen the cracks in America's social fabric and things won't be the same. To be honest, you know you're in trouble when McCain is the voice of sanity. God Bless America.


This is a powerful Video – what do you think?

A War For Your Soul-regular version from Erisai Films on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

What Happened to the BLACK FAMILY? You’re Thoughts…

I posted the first part of this commentary last week where I provided excerpts from several research papers submitted by a group of students I once taught. As powerful as the dozen points outlined where I believe the root cause or the real issue we face, as a community, was not fully addressed. Most of us know that many of these issues were handed down from America’s forefathers creating this mental conditioning and yes it is mental.

There have been many legal obstructive systems imputed upon African American life designed to destroy our culture and families. We know that and our ancestors overcame the horrors of slavery. So what is our excuse? I am going to cut right to the chase; we must take responsibility as Black men, step up and be the head of the family, which is a necessary component to the whole concept family. Moreover, ladies - he must be allowed to guide, direct, and lead. As simple as this sound, it is the single most contributor to our demise.

We can all agree that there is no one, 5, or 12 reasons for our plight. My point is this is more significant than all others and should be at the top of the list. The dynamics between black men and women, full of anger and resentment, continue to weaken our families. Of course, the centuries of mistreatment has had a lethal impact on the health of our people and it would take many books to list everything that we've survived. I don’t need to retell the story; we all know that since 1619 Black people have been in this land, now the USA, for centuries as indentured servants, slaves, property, 2nd class "citizens", the list goes on.

Generational transference of tactics from slavery that indirectly taught our children to suppress or minimize personality traits not conducive to survival in a society aimed at their destruction. Traits like compromise, trust, acceptance, conflict resolution, pride in accomplishment is communally absent. During slavery, we were taught thru examples of violence to downplay our children's accomplishments for fear of calling attention to them and thus making them a target for racial discrimination. For example knowing how to read was shrouded in secrecy, which had validity to some degree and a dramatic effect on self-confidence that we are still paying the price for today.

We have created a form of mental slavery whereby reason is of the abstract. We know slavery was horrible but we are taught and perpetuate everyday in subtle and not so subtle ways that somehow slavery was not as horrible as the conditions we now face. They say segregation has ended, which means the horrors of Black Wall Street, American before Brown v Board of Education, Rosewood and frankly all of our American history never existed because of integration. We seem to have forgotten what Malcolm said, “anywhere south of Canada was south” and by extension caused a separation of unity within the black family structure.

Let me be clear, integration was necessary to short circuit the INSTITUTIONALIZED system of “separate but equal” but it diluted the focus on economic independence in our communities. Therefore, the unintended consequence of this was to further separate our people. Cognitive dissonance is the root of all of this, in my opinion. This conflict in reality coupled with what we are taught has caused far reaching mental and emotional issues that we do not face or deal with as a people. We fight, blame and mistrust each other because of this and do not focus on the true issues.

We don't fight for proper condolences, recognition or respect for those who died and fought for our rights to be "human" in America. It is obvious because we can see the impact and the symptoms as we point the collective finger at each other when the big pink elephant of our denial hugely sit in the room. To correct this we must start with the complete acceptance of the facts and until we are all ready to look to each other and seek viable resolutions or the solution will continue to elude us. I attribute this to the extreme stresses of an oppressive social system that keeps large numbers of people in poverty or near-poverty conditions, and to the widespread ghetto mentality, which all stem from trying to cope with those oppressive living conditions.

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, you are one who believe the black family is "broken"; implying that it wasn’t before. We then have to first identify the time(s) when these families were "whole". Was it during slavery, when a child could be ripped from its mother's arms and sold to another owner in the same manner as dairy calves? Was it during the era of lynching, when a successful business owner could be dragged from his home and hung from a tree, leaving behind a family? Perhaps it was soon after desegregation, when Blacks were no longer forced to support the local black-owned business in the community and could shop at the better, whiter stores, so long as it wasn't their shop that went under with the exodus of patronage?

Segregation was really an impetus to support Black communities (schools, residences, economies, etc.). Once Blacks were no longer forced to support each other…we didn't; and why should we? Blackness was/is considered other, ugly, and less than, something one did not willingly associate with. It's no coincidence that the mantras "Black is beautiful" and “I'm Black and Proud” were coined soon segregation ended. We needed to be convinced that we were indeed beautiful and worthy of pride, and continue to be. I think it’s fair to say that since the Civil Rights movement, the only tie left that connects black folks to each other are our collective experiences with present-day racism.

The very thing that plagues us is the one thing that we can all still identify with on some level. We don't listen to each other long enough to determine or recognize what is necessary for us to survive. We base our perception on what our peers and mass media says as opposed to the issues concerning our collective salvation. In an ideal world, Blacks shouldn't be forced to or even need to "stick together" to make our families stable, loving, and satisfying. But we've been broken down, systematically, as an entire race, which I believe we have to build ourselves back up as an entire race.

At the end of the day, regardless of how we choose to identify ourselves, we are not afforded all of the privileges to which we are entitled in this country simply because of our complexion, which is used as the power to divide and compartmentalize people. Therefore, it requires action from the person you see in the mirror to understand that it requires responsibility and unity to do what our forefathers did, which was to continue the species. “We can change the world but first we must change ourselves.” And that is my Thought Provoking Perspective.

What do you think???

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Deficit and What It Means to Black America

The Congressional Black Caucus has put out an e-alert message to help explain to African Americans what the deficit means to Black America. Read that message below:

As our leadership in Washington, DC seeks common ground over the nation’s debt limit, there are some real consequences at stake for the black community. The debate on Capitol Hill is no longer philosophical, it’s real and the impact on African-Americans and the poor could be devastating. With significant cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid being discussed, our nation’s social safety net is being shred and the quality of life for many of our friends, family and neighbors will be severely impacted.

Cuts to Social Security benefits will increase hardships on already stressed seniors, while $250 billion in proposed Medicare cuts will force retirees to make decisions about their health care that might affect their well-being. The poor, disabled and elderly, already the most vulnerable segment of our population, stand to be further disadvantaged if states are allowed to trim their Medicaid rolls through cutbacks to current levels of eligibility.

At $14 trillion, there is no denying the nation’s deficit must be addressed. However, it is unconscionable that the most disadvantaged Americans are being asked to shoulder the burden. Sadly though, we find ourselves in this predicament because too many of us ignore or dismiss important policy debates until it reaches a crisis state. Worse, somehow we have forgotten how we got in this mess and are on the verge of repeating the mistakes that put us in this predicament.

Increasing tax cuts and the extension of those cuts, combined with spending on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have bankrupted our nation. The bill has now come due and those who have been hurt the most are being made scapegoats. Beyond raising the federal debt limit, we must raise the nation’s moral consciousness and restore fairness and balance to federal policymaking.

The bottom line – if we are not engaged in this debate, the responsibility for the nation’s deficit will fall upon the most vulnerable Americans.

Through our economic development initiatives, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation continues to advocate for job creation, small business development, home ownership, personal financial management and wealth generation – the keys to restoring our economy and securing America’s future. What can you do? Get involved, share your thoughts with your member of Congress and the White House and voice your opinion. When citizens are informed, engaged and active participants in moving the country in the right direction, our nation is that much stronger.

If you are interested in learning more about some of the issues addressed in this correspondence, follow CBCF’s CPAR (Center for Policy Analysis and Research) at the 41st Annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference (ALC), September 21 – 24 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. To lead, to serve, to listen to premier voices addressing critical issues facing African Americans, join us in Washington. To find out more and to register, visit us on line at or to find out more about CBCF, visit

The E-Alert is a bi-weekly communiqué from the leadership of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation to inform, educate and call to action people who support the mission and vision of the CBCF. The CBCF, established in 1976, is a non-partisan, non-profit, public policy, research and educational institute created to broaden and elevate the influence of African Americans in the political, legislative and public policy arenas.

This message was published in support of the Congressional Black Caucus’s mission to empower the community.
Thank you

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What Happened to the BLACK FAMILY?

In a past life, one of many that I have enjoyed, I taught a college course called the Psychology of the Black Family. From time to time I go back and look through some of those old term papers from that class to which I become enthralled by the content. The assignment given to each student was to write a term paper on “The Breakdown of the African American Family”. As I read through some of the thirty or so papers I found several very significant points and a common theme throughout the papers. I decided to capture some of the key points from those research papers to share with you.

I know this “Thought Provoking Perspective” may cause some controversy and maybe some hate mail. Nonetheless, my intent is to, maybe, create some dialog within our consciousness as to why the black family, our community, and black people are the least likely to work together as a solid unit to the benefit of each other as other ethnic groups do.

During slavery, and from the 1800's through the 1980's, the concept of family was tight knit, strongly woven, and the envy of most cultures. The African American family unit survived in spite of unimaginable cruelty and adversity. It is only recently, during the last thirty years or so that the African American family became dysfunctional and lost its direction. One has to think for some twisted reason we do not feel whole because in many cases we allow others define us.

I can recall a powerful statement made by one of the students who expressed that she thinks the different social pressures on black men and women have contributed to the weak traditional family structure. Black women have been able to achieve more economic and educational success than black men, leading to them being higher wage earners. This inequality has eroded black women's reliance on men and their willingness to compromise on their needs or expectations, which in turn has led to resentment and disappointment on both sides.

Black women raise children, too often alone, and the bitterness that difficult task creates causes some women to make derogatory complaints against men in general, tainting their daughters and shaming their sons. Also, it seems that black women do not often hold their sons to as high a standard as their daughters, making them further vulnerable.

If proper behavior is not modeled for young people, they have difficulty fulfilling those expectations. This creates the perfect ingredients for the dismal situations to occur in our community. She went on to say that a lot of that has to do with our values, and the lack of knowing the importance of loving our communities, our families, and ourselves.

These are 12 key factors expressed from my student’s outstanding research papers:

1. The Vietnam War: Hundreds of thousands of strong, intelligent, hardworking black men were shipped abroad to be murdered, returned home shell shocked, severely damaged, or addicted. Many of which were unable to get back on track after returning from war because the government abandoned them.

2. COINTELPRO: The covert actions of J. Edgar Hoover in the wake of the Civil Rights Era and the Black Power Movements all but insured that anyone speaking out against the governments wrong doings would receive either long prison sentences or bullets. This fear silenced our forward progression, fueling distrust, and removing many of our leaders as well as potential future leaders.

3. The Assassinations of the 1960’s: Left a huge void in leadership that has yet to be filled, particularly within the Civil Rights Movement to include within the community. Instead, a universal acceptance of the pimp/hustler image in popular culture that presented alternative heroes to black youth, which resonant in the form of Gangster Rap. This genre leads to the glorification of the criminal element amidst immature minds that lack familial structure. In addition to black on black crime and staying silent while black youth are murdered by other black youth.

4. The Feminist Movement: Backed by liberal white women to fight for the equal rights of women; the same rights most black men had yet to fully be granted. A lot of black women got lost in the rhetoric of how men were keeping them down, losing sight of the fact that black men were down there with them. To this day, the power exchange and infighting among black men and women, is sadly considered the norm, a tool enumerated by Willie Lynch.

5. Oliver North & the Contras: The volume of drugs, mainly crack cocaine that flooded the black community during the 80 to which most of the drugs came in on U.S. ships with the support of the Government. The CRACK era escalated death and incarceration rates, unwanted pregnancies, neighborhood prostitution and a culture of violence. Folks were selling their kids to hit the pipe, and selling their souls to sell what went in that pipe. This epidemic destroyed our community in ways slavery could never have done. This form of contemporary was the cruelest type of slavery imposed upon our communities.

6. Mass media brainwashing & mind control: The influences of propaganda and distorted images of beauty and male/female roles. Shows like Life Styles of the Rich and Famous, Dynasty, Different Strokes, and the Jefferson’s for example. The American conscious during the 80's was money driven. Materialism became the idea that stuff defines you and others.

7. Education: The lack of proper education, financing support, and knowledge being taught by African American professionals. In addition our leaders and academics failed us as they fled the hood in droves for the suburbs during those crazy 80's. Prior to this period, kids saw on a daily basis married couples that looked like them, even if they didn’t live in their households. Yet the great migration to greener pastures left a void in the community leaving it to be filled by the image of the hustler-pimp-thug, ruthlessness, and violence.

8. Communication: This speaks to education of self and listening to the wrong messengers. The communication of values - parents became unavailable to hand down family legacies, traditions and value systems. We're like POW's locked in the same building for 20 years, unable to converse thru cement walls confined by our personas, egos, insecurities, isms etc.

9. The Black Church: Many churches have lost their way. The business of religion is bankrupting our communities. Many churches are not touching the lives of those outside of the church most in need. Just like back in the day when it was the design of slave masters, who did so much wickedness to use this as a tactic by offering a bible and in most instances nothing more than pain and a promise of a better life to keep us in line. This is not the same as faith which was necessary to survive our struggles.

10. Urbanization - work and home were once connected. Parents were near their families and children understood work as a way of life. Urbanization helped create “latch key" kids and images of hard work disappeared while replacing it with material objects.

11. Social Services: The advent of the system of welfare that demanded the absence of the influence of the black man in the home. Before Claudine during the early 50's welfare was a Midwestern farmer hook up and back then you HAD to be a complete family to apply. So the laws for welfare changed in the inner-city while many in the farm lands of Mid America started to change in culture to fit the application for welfare. For decades to follow, trillions of dollars in government spending on ineffective social programs in our cities have not by enlarge benefited the mobility of the family.

12. Segregation: Jim Crow Laws and Black Codes that prevented legal marriages, dehumanized people, and discriminatory practices in work/education left many African Americans unable to access resources necessary to build strong family bases causing disillusioned men/husbands/fathers to abandonment rather than face daily reminder of their "failure".
The next time you look in the mirror or just look at the picture I have inserted which might give you something to think about. And that’s my THOUGHT PROVOKING PERSPECTIVE!


You are welcome to add your comments, views, and perspectives.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Parent Company of Fox and Fools Crumbles

There is nothing more sacred in a free society or to the maintenance of democracy than a free unbiased press. It is imperative that viewers and readers have access to comprehensive, accurate and quality information. This is essential to a society characterized by a civically engaged, well-informed and socially invested populace. Thus, to the degree that access to quality information is willfully or unintentionally obstructed, democracy itself is degraded.

Unfortunately, we live in an era of 24-hour cable news networks and "reality" programming whereas the news-to-fluff ratio and overall veracity of information has declined precipitously. Take the fact that Americans now spend on average about 50 hours a week using various forms of media, while at the same time cultural literacy levels hover just above the gutter. Not only does mainstream media tolerate gross misrepresentations of fact and history by public figures – they legitimize it as truth.

I’ve noticed and been saying that the Fox News viewership seems to be marked by a sort of collective personality disorder whereby the viewer feels almost as though they've been let into a secret society (WINK). Something about their affiliation with the network makes them feel privileged and this affinity is likely what drives the viewers to defend the network so vehemently. That effect is also likely to make the propaganda more believable and potently powerful, because it goes mostly unquestioned.

I’ve been saying for years that those who listen to what they call “fair and balance” are imbalanced and certainly not fair with respect to their versions of news. Well, now it’s official! I came across a survey which finds that the American voters who follow the cult that is Fox News are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources. In other words, the survey proves that watching Fox is detrimental to your intelligence.

The renowned World Public Opinion, a project managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, conducted a survey of American voters finding that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources. Moreover, the study shows that the greater the exposure to Fox increases mental distortion. Frankly, this really isn’t anything new but what it does is validate or lend credence to support what most sane people already knew.

There is a vast body of evidence to support the reality that Fox is nothing more than a propaganda machine dedicated to deception. Those of us who have seen the so-called “Real Americans” before know this Klan is simply a tool for the “New Jim Crow” wing of the conservative movement, and it is growing. Therefore, the more you watch, the less you know which feeds the racism brazenly directed at our president and by extension us. Lest not forget that it is also a fact that racism and bigotry is linked to the lack of intelligence.

Let me make this a little more precise, the more their viewer’s think they know is actually false. It has been corroborated time and time again by other notable organizations. For example, a previous PIPA study that focused on the Iraq war produced similar results. Then, there was an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that demonstrates the break with reality on the part of Fox viewers with regard to health care. Not to mention the cast of characters who appear on the screen with their skewed views and misrepresentations of truth. And, we can’t leave out the captain of the ship whose dealing with a huge scandal related to the ethic of the organization not to mention what I view as abuse of power.

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely!

As we have seen in recent days, News International Limited, the British arm of the Murdoch empire, is a subsidiary of News Corp., a publicly traded American company which also owns the Wall Street Journal and Fox News, not to mention the Sunday Times of London, the Times of London, and the British tabloid the Sun. Because of this, experts say, News Corp. and all of its subsidiaries come under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a Watergate-era law which makes it a crime for U.S. companies to participate in bribery abroad. The Watergate part brings to mind what Nixon said, “I am not a crook”.

There have been about a dozen senior executive level managers who have been arrested, the FBI is now involved, and soon Congress. Let’s say the allegations are true and the empire was entirely honest in the company's internal books and enter the payment as a "bribe," you've just created an irrefutable piece of evidence that can be used against you and your company in a prosecution by the Justice Department for violating U.S. statutes against overseas bribery. If, as is more likely, you file an expense account which refers to the cash payment as taxicabs or office supplies, you stand a chance of being pursued by the Securities and Exchange Commission for keeping fake records. We know the bribery and wiretapping charges are surely illegal!

This is where News Corp. may be most vulnerable: under the "Books and Records" and "Internal Controls" provisions of the FCPA, according to lawyers who practice in this field. News Corp also depends on the government for its broadcast licenses. Fox Television Stations Inc. has 269 active licenses with the Federal Communications Commission, according to the agency's website. An agency spokesman would not comment on whether FCPA violations might put those licenses in jeopardy as well. This could very well bring down the “empire”.

Fox News, in my opinion, surely has a pretty high batting average for journalistic fraud. I believe they deliberately misinform its viewers and it does so for a reason. The Grand Ol’ Party benefits from the ignorance that Fox News proliferates. The results were apparent in the election last fall as voters based their decisions on demonstrably false information fed to them by Fox. Let me add that a fox is a sly creature. Just look at what the party of “No” is doing today with their tea party tenet.

The attacks they perpetrate and the disenfranchisement efforts use to be directed at African Americans or coloreds, as it were. But this cult, and dare I say from 2000-2008, uses this against anyone who is not rich. We need to be aware of their dangerous manipulation of weak and the venom being spewed by those professing to love America, mostly those of the other hue, with lies. What REAL AMERICANS need to do is take a stand and disseminate the truth as broadly as possible to empower people with reality.

The fact that Fox News is so blatantly dishonest and the effects of that dishonesty may very well be ingrained from the top - News Corp. Our democracy cannot function if voters are making choices based on lies for the sole purpose of removing the first black president. The facts are there and we have the evidence. Each of us most do our part to make certain that the corporate ownership do not get away with it.

I know this article is a little lengthy but I had to add my THOUGHT PROVOKING PERSPECTIVE. Therefore, I will end with a powerful statement once made by Marcus Garvey:

“Up! You mighty race; you can accomplish what you will.”

This article was inspired by an article by Mark Howard.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

So Say Bachman - A Declaration of Dependence

Well folks, the “Good Ol’ Boys” and the “Tea Party Princess” have taken the leap. Yeap – they did it!! I have said both of these group are akin to the “Citizens Councils” of days long gone. I can vividly remember when people with this mentality roamed the nation, with impunity, causing trepidation and terror. Let me also remind you that it wasn’t very long ago but obviously, we, sane people and people of color, have forgotten this horrible time when danger was afoot like the mean-spirited venom of a snake.

Now to be fair, all of us know that racism and bigotry exist and of course it is fair to say that each of us harbor some of it, for whatever reason. Minorities surely know this because there is not a day that goes by where we don’t feel it. Surely most people can see this today on a grand scale – just look at what “they” say and do with regard to President Obama. These so-called real Americans have become more outspoken , and frankly more blatant than ever. Will the resurrection of Bill Connor be near.

A few days ago two of the eight GOP gang of challengers for the 2011 Presidential, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum, signed a pledge that contained a vial statement “That Black Folks Were Better Off As Slaves” according to news reports. SHOCKING!!! Of course some will say, “she’s just talking and we have freedom of speech”. I agree except, you cannot yell fire, if there is none, in a crowded theater. Moreover, when you say something it is one thing but when you sign a pledge, a formal document – that is akin to shouting fire in the theater.

“The Marriage Vow: A Declaration of Dependence Upon Marriage and Family” which they pledged has at least one thing most Americans and particularly African American’s should find objectionable. The fact that these two GOP candidates for the presidency affixed their names to a statement that say somehow “Black people were better off during slavery than they are living during the era of a Black President”. Can there thinking be more clearly exposed? Now, for those who say racism is dead in the year of our Lord 2011 with a Black President; you are dead wrong.

The document not only offends Black people. It speaks to their anti-gay marriage, anti-Islamic and anti-porn views, anti, anti, anti.. I guess I should say here that I do agree with the pledge that speaks to human trafficking because they did not express a desire to sell us back into slavery - YET. Before I continue let me tell you what was featured at the very top of the document.

Ready: Law and Order Theme:

“Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.”
Given that families were broken up regularly through sales during slavery and that rape by masters was the norm, this could not be more offensive. Now we know what they mean when they constantly say, “We want to take our Country Back”. Putting aside the stupidity, I could not be more angry because they said what the feel taking a shot at the president and all of us in the process. It is the opposite of persuasive and is another reason Republicans repel us.

To be fair, the Marriage Vow did say slavery was “disastrous” but they appeared to be arguing that slavery was good or, as stated, slavery was worse than Barack Obama. Right here I am going to be fair and balance like the “Fox and Fool”. They used a footnote to a study by black scholars who dare I say was someone who would remind me of my Uncle whose name was Tom and the story gets even more disturbing.

The study they cite was published in 2005, which means that any comparison to slavery must be made, not with our first black president, but with our 43rd white one – “W”. Furthermore, the data in the study only dates back to 1880, which means they not only had to stretch the pretzel to include Barack Obama and conflate the data with slavery.

A reporter for The Plum Line attempted to put the whole matter in perspective: Expect lots more of this. The real question is what Bachmann (and Cain, and Santorum) wouldn’t sign if asked by social conservatives — and what, if anything, Mitt Romney, or Tim Pawlenty, or Rick Perry would actually oppose as too extreme. The answer appears to be: nothing. It’s true that Bachmann is the only one to make this “vow” so far. But it’s early yet.

Now, here is why this issue and the remarks should matter to every Negro, Black person, and African American (maybe I should have added Colored because that’s probably how we are still viewed) we do not have the right to vote like all other citizens. The 1965 Voting Rights Act says, in essence, that we cannot be deterred from voting and ever so many years a president has to resign the amendment for African Americans to reaffirmed the vote. When it came before 43 I was very concerned that he might not sign it. Mainly because he refused to ever attend an NAACP convention – among other things like Hurricane Katrina.

There was an ominous and shameful period called segregation where individuals and states made great efforts to deny African-Americans access to newfound constitutional rights, racial segregation was the norm and courts gave legal sanction to the principle of "separate but equal." Jim Crow, a name derived from a fictional minstrel character, has long been used to refer to this especially tortured time period in our nation's story -- one that was marked by violence, lynchings and the rise of the KKK.

Former President Bill Clinton has observed that "There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the other Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today." Clinton's effort to establish a parallel between the laws now being proposed to make voting more difficult and the efforts used during the Jim Crow era was intended to sound an alarm about a nation-wide strategy that threatens the exercise of our most important and central civil right -- the right to vote.

African American’s were denied access to the ballot box by a sophisticated matrix of Jim Crow restrictions that imposed burdensome hurdles and barriers that made voting difficult if not impossible. For example, literacy tests were written and administered in such a way that few whites failed, while blacks with college educations were routinely rejected. Understanding tests locked black voters out by requiring that anyone seeking to register to vote be able to read and write any article of the Constitution.

Just imagine, if someone from this Klan was in the oval office. I've said it before, we need to be concerned but now I am saying it time to be afraid – VERY AFRAID.

And that is my Thought Provoking Perspective.


VIDEO: Whoopi Goldberg loses it on 'The View'

Friday, July 8, 2011

Killing Us Softly, and Slowly

I am and proud to say I’m “old-school”. With that said, I grew up in an era where black pride was meaningful and its images where, despite the negativity portrayed in media, important. We have seen, of late, the onslaught of major corporations seeking to take over the black-owned media. I just need to mention the buffoonery of what is now BET.

I am sure you know by now that BET, Essence Magazine, and black media sources sought and were conquered by the financial white knights. One of the last holdouts in black owned media was the Johnson Publishing Company, which runs Ebony and Jet Magazines, and dare I say an institution in the black community. You could not go to Big Momma’s house and not see a copy of one or the other near the picture of Jesus and Martin. Now that legacy is over.

I’m sure they fought hard to maintain its independence but they recently announced that JP Morgan Chase has bought a substantial stake in the company. As sad as it was to hear the news, this end’s a sixty-nine year tradition of giving our community information that mainstream media would not while instilling pride where there was little and much needed. For example, it was Jet who told the truth about what happened to little Emmitt Till and published the picture of his brutally beaten body in his casket. If it had not been for that issue of Jet I doubt very seriously if the Civil Rights Movement would have been ignited in earnest.

I have precious memories of the of this media empire of ours; they shaped minds and made stars of the known and unknowns who have graced its pages over time. In fact, I still have copies dated back to the sixties. Founded in 1945 with an initial press run of 25,000 copies, John H. Johnson built Ebony Magazine into a media beast, with a circulation of 1.9 million in 1997. Jet was founded in 1951 and had an equally impressive amount of success. The once family owned company did not disclosed the terms of the deal causing one to wonder if pride was the reason. Hell – I’ll just say it SHAME!

It is my understanding that the CEO of the company went out of her way to say the bank would only hold a minority stake and will have a presence on the board. Saying, it was “very important that the company remain minority-owned,” she said, claiming that it “gives us the capital to move forward with the plans we’ve been working on — the continuing ‘rebranding’ of Ebony, which includes remaking the magazine’s digital platform; rebranding the pocket-sized Jet magazine, as it did with Ebony; and marketing the Fashion Fair cosmetics line more effectively.”

This partnership between JP Morgan Chase and the Johnson family is troubling. Dr. Boyce Watkins put it this way; “I can also tell by the careful words used by Desiree that it bothers her too. Most of us are incredibly uncomfortable with the fact that the ability of African Americans to find our own voice has been slowly imperialized by big, wealthy (mostly white) corporations. It all seems harmless at first, like the pimp who offers food to the hungry girl in the bus station. Before long, the girl is wondering how she ended up on the corner turning tricks for another hit of blow.” And I agree!

Rarely do I use the writing of others but Dr. Boyce Watkins’ powerful article “JP Morgan Now Owns a Chunk of Ebony/Jet – The Death of Black-Owned Media” was more thought provoking than I could share. But I wanted to share it and hope the good Dr. doesn't mind. The most powerful part of the article reads as follows:

Not to be exceedingly dramatic about all of this, the truth is that media is an awesome force in our society. It shapes minds and affects the dreams and visions (or lack thereof) of our children. NASA had an overabundance of applicants for its astronaut program because of televised space missions. HBCUs saw a boost in their enrollment numbers because “A Different World” was on the air every week. Now, little black boys who would have made outstanding doctors, lawyers and fathers, are hoping to grow into Lil Wayne after watching the BET Awards.

On the female side, young black girls are seeing women like Nene Leakes and Shaunie O’neal (Executive Producer for “Basketball Wives”) being introduced as empowerment speakers” at the Essence Music Festival. When Shaunie O’neal is chosen by CNN as the expert commentator on black female images in media, there’s not a damn thing that the black folks at Essence can do about it without the Time Inc. pimp hand being presented in full-effect. If only our girls could aspire to be more than basketball wives.”

One of the greatest challenges for African Americans seeking to build institutions and navigate their way through a capitalist society is to fully understand the power of money and capitalism. Money is like a drug: it can make you healthy and strong, or it can turn you into an addict. By trying to keep up with the insatiable best of profit maximization and believing that the bottom line is all that matters, black media companies are finding that selling their power is the only way to survive in this economy.

What is true, however, is that BET could have been a profitable entity while maintaining black ownership and focusing on a duel bottom line of revenue generation and community empowerment. But money becomes the trump card for even the most dastardly of corporate decisions, which is almost like a man marrying an evil woman just because she’s pretty.

The point is that black ownership in media must be considered to be an issue of cultural security. The same way the United States doesn’t allow too much foreign ownership of its airlines or nuclear power plants without regard to how much extra money they can make by selling out), African Americans must understand the value of keeping specific assets within the control of black people.

No matter how well-intended a partnership might be on the surface, the truth is that when the hard decisions are being made and that white editor comes into your office to tell you that your article is too radical, you have no choice but to stand down. Power comes with ownership, nothing less. Black folks need to learn this valuable lesson.
What can I say when it has been said so eloquently; Thank you Sir. And that is my Thought Provoking Perspective.

Magazine Covers

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Insanity of it All

I awoke yesterday to a very disturbing, in fact horrifying, news report that said President Obama had been assassinated. My first reaction was, as expected, NOOOOO! Then as I investigated further I had to consider the source. It was connected to Fox News.

I am all for Independence Day, let me first say but I have to be honest and say “I am more of a Juneteenth kinda guy”. Nonetheless, as I prepared to do the hot dogs and fireworks thing I found out that an anonymous hacker spent Monday morning breaking into a Fox News Twitter account posting fake reports of a presidential assassination.

The prank tweets, six in total, included gory (and entirely bogus) details: two shots at an Iowa restaurant, hitting the president in the pelvis and neck, etc. Fox News apparently struggled for a few hours to regain control of its Twitter account. In the afternoon, it managed to remove the prank tweets and issued a statement on its Web site saying it “regrets any distress the false tweets may have created.”

Adam Peck, a writer for Think, relayed instant messages he exchanged with a person claiming to represent Script Kiddies in the wee hours of the morning right after the hack. One message said, “Fox News was selected because we figured their security would be just as much of a joke as their reporting.” I do however agree with the statement that the reporting on Fox is a joke but it is not a joke to prank the death of the president. Later, I read a report that said the prank was distasteful. I beg to differ.
The Secret Service said it is launching an investigation, given the graphic and serious contents of the prank tweets. “We are investigating and will be conducting the appropriate follow-up,” said spokesman George Ogilvie. Very good – NO GREAT!!! However, many people today obviously have forgotten the horrible history of assassinations experienced in America’s not too distant past.

I am old enough to remember the horrors resulting from the assassination of the four little black girls in the Birmingham church, Dr. King, the Kennedy’s, Medger Evers, Emmitt Till, the three freedom fighters killed down in Mississippi, and what seemed like an endless stream of murder. The wretchedness of this prank is unconscionable. Therefore, I will take this opportunity to remind you that we are living in trying times and all is not what it seems. We are still in grave danger as a people.

Maybe those who so vehemently despise our president and people who look like him should Google the riots of April 1968 and the aftermath of the King assassination. God forbid such an event should happen but it would spark a similar episode on a global scale.

And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective!