Friday, December 28, 2007

Version 2.0 Of 70% Of All Black Women Are Single

Please accept this as an updated copy to the previous post titled "What Is The Cost Of The 70% Unmarried Black Women As Reported By Oprah?"

In the 3 days I have been in Jamaica my experiences with my wife who is a native Jamaican has given me more real world evidence not of the "COSTS" to the community of not having more permanent partnerships but to the BENEFIT to me for having one. So this version 2.0 will be more of a personal assessment from my perspective.

First I have to relate the key differences in the scenes that went through my head at two distinct Jamaican parties while visiting Jamaica. About 15 years ago I came to Montego Bay with my good male friend just to get away on an island vacation. On one of the nights we found a local night club to hang out for the evening. Where as my friends personality is an outgoing, make her laugh on the front end to attract the girl but then go too far (in his drunken state) and turn off all but the most "ride or die" type in the long run (I am sure you women know what I am talking about) style is more laid back and conversational. Bottom line - he is more effective at snagging in the girls to sit with but driving them away. I am more effective at keeping them sitting at the table and enjoying themselves for the rest of the night. We work well as a team.

With that being said I could not help but to compare the party two years ago which I attended in an unaccompanied state with the party that I attended two nights ago while accompanied with "My Jamaican Girl" - both a song that the live band had played and the reality that was the case with my wife by my side. Where as in the first party - coming into a different culture with people I didn't know it was a bit disorienting, for me, finding a dance partner. The other night having a more permanent fixture to spend the evening with there was a great improvement as the evening was a combination of listening to and appreciating the talents of both the live vocalists and the musicians who's movements produced that distinct sound of Reggae. So what was the benefit to being attached - for me - it fits my style and my personality. I in fact did bring "sand to the beach" and the sand that I know and love was better than hunting for sand but coming up empty.

The next benefit that I recognized was in seeing the network of friends that my wife knows from which I naturally benefit from. There is no doubt about it that today my life is more defined by the people that she knows and brings us along as a couple to engage with than by the people who I had originally known. My counter parts are either male friends that I hang out with or business associates. It is clear that when it is time to sell Girl Scout cookies or other school fund raisers it is easier to hand the order form to mom than to dad. She is the social butterfly.

In addition to bringing me into the house of the people with whom we are staying yesterday proved rather enlightening with respect to the network of people in relatively high places in the small country that she knew and that I was exposed to. In the balance between the realities of a small sized country and thus a concentrated network of people with the fact that they have a government that must perform the same functions of a larger nation such as the USA - it was far easier to get introduced to the people are responsible for key operations within the government.

Yesterday as I talked with the one man who leads the marketing effort for the island to attract businesses and other opportunity for the benefit of Jamaica I instead realized how much of a valuable asset that I had right under my own roof, right in my own bed. Where as I have personal aspirations regarding my "next step" in my life and my career - it dawned on me how much I had been under-utilizing the potential partnership that I go home with every night. This is not some "business opportunity" or female relationship that I must pursue, having her get to know me - this was untapped potential right under my nose. Only time and maturity had to express it to me.

Here I have a wife who just completed an MBA having been assisted by the fact that me, a resident father, was able to take the load of responsibility off of her back with respect to child care, cooking and of course finances for the essentials in life. With this major investment in hand I saw the need for me to learn how to manage my personal career dreams leveraging my wife's assets rather than factoring her and my family in after the fact. So my dream of departing the house alone and moving to Dubai for a year or two to make enough money to pay off the mortgage will need to be modified a bit.

Yes this is the same woman who I hear whining if I accidentally kick her leg in the bed which couldn't possibly hurt in the way that she over dramatizes it in her response. At the same time I don't have the exposure into the personal lives of other women who I have respect for with regard to their business accumen so I could not possibly get a view of the same intimate information that I have with my wife.

In summary - the presence and management of long term, committed relationships has the benefit of exposing one's self to a person as we all go through the cycles of life. We change. They change. Our needs from someone else changes. Our ability to contribute value to other people also changes. As we consider some of the problems that our community faces it is clear to me that it is a continuing mistake to allow certain things to perpetuate as they have. At the end of the day a culture, a society, a nation is nothing more than the aggregate sum of its parts. We as a people are looking at the downstream problems but are nearly totally missing the fundamental causes of the problem. It might indeed be true that our centuries old experiences have destroyed our culture as it was once known. The fact remains that no one alive today KNEW THAT CULTURE. All that we know is that which we live by today. All that our children know is that which we will hand to them.

In the question of Black male/female relationships it is a matter of ensuring more permanency and endurance to them as a key means of expressing the synergies of the two combined as one. All involved will benefit.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

"The Great Debaters" Why Are Black Folks Taken By The Populist Message?

I watched the movie "The Great Debaters" with Denzel Washington. I promise not to spill the beans about the conclusion of the movie for those who did not see it. I could not help but notice some of the subtle messages that where hidden within the movie as a means of appealing to the sentiments and racial grievances that are popular among Black folks. In fact - it could be argued that this movie which referenced the 1930's Texas USA provides further proof of how far Black people have come today.

Yes there was a lynching scene. Yes the Wiley College debate team were not able to compete against one but fellow Black schools with few exceptions. Yes indeed - a Black man being caught outside of his own house and engaging a White man had reason to fear the White man because THE LAW would cover for him regardless of what he might do. Is this the state of "America 2008"? Or are the examples that one could pull up EXCEPTIONS rather than rules? Despite this point that I needed to make THESE are not the point of my post.

I want to talk about the Populist Message and how it is broadcast to Black folks. Denzel Washington - a fine actor, also played in the movie "John Q". This movie was about a father who in desperation to acquire medical attention for his dying son as he couldn't afford to pay for these services took hostages at the hospital in the last ditch attempt to bring awareness to his cause. While the movie "John Q" bashed the movie going audience over the head with its populist message, the move "The Great Debaters" had a similar goal with less abruptness in the message.

One key subtext of the movie was the union organizing efforts of the lead character that was played by Mr. Washington. During that time in our development as a nation a "union organizer" was consider a communist, socialist, radical or agitator. In addition - the "Law men" were agents of the Industrial complex that worked to suppress any such challenges to the status quo as they attempted to have more benefit flow to the laborers, in the movie's case - the poor "Sharecroppers" both Black and White.

Let us move forward to the year 2008 which is just around the corner. As we consider the densely populated urban areas where Black folks are concentrated - is it the lack of the RIGHT TO FORM A UNION that is our critical issue of the day? What would happen if all of the abandoned lots that litter North Philly and Baltimore were replaced by a brand new UNION HALL, built by the hands of the unemployed citizenry? What if upon holding a meeting in these corrupt sheriff or Pennsylvania's version of the "Texas Rangers" ever drove up to the union hall to bust up the meeting? What happens when no union rally attendee gets beaten up by the corrupt sheriff to motivate him to talk - dropping the dime on who else was in the meeting?

What happens in 2008 when NONE OF THIS HAPPENS?



What is the "photographic negative" to this message that is so appealing to those "without"? Isn't it clear that in 2008 the Black community needs to PRODUCE ITS OWN JOBS for the people within to a greater extent than FIGHTING FOR LABOR RIGHTS?

In the movie there were several debate teams that argued "in the affirmative" for various social welfare programs. One debater said that "a man needs to be GIVEN a job.......". My serious challenge to the Black community with its strong Popular Black Political Machine that dominates every single political ward where we are the majority across America - WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE CONTROL THE KEY KNOBS AND SWITCHES IN A GIVEN DISTRICT? In this circumstance when it is said "a man needs to be GIVEN A JOB" who is the GRANTER of such a social benefit? One can't help but note that as this nation has changed over time. In the past economic development was done at the local as a part of a city's choice to INCORPORATE as they realized that as a chartered entity they were more or less self-contained and the synergies of their local resources could produce more benefit for its citizens than would be the case for the un-incorporated entity. Today despite having a favorable political machine in office controlling the entity of the city - the political leaders having taken over that plateau now seek to conquer the federal government as the pretext for economic abundance at the local level. What is the consequence of this?

In my view the consequence of "the external economic chase" has been to promote the power of the Federal government into a high stakes game of big money politics. Black people are made to be agents of a given political party that promises more POPULIST/PROGRESSIVE policies that will establish our standard of living, having OUTSOURCED this function from the local economy that actually PRODUCES value over to the POLITICAL process that REDISTRIBUTES value as confiscated from the SYSTEM THAT PRODUCES IT. This is the bastardization to the notion that "all politics is local". To violate such a principle is to buy into the notion that THE MACHINE that you are loyal to provides you with your quality of life and standard of living. Thus your very stake is at risk IF "your side LOSES" the election rather than it being a matter of if YOUR EFFORTS at producing value is more efficient in the marketplace. Having reached this point what must you do besides VOTING to attain your station in life? As you have adopted such indoctrination WHO HAS GROWN MORE POWERFUL? Your COMMUNITY or YOUR PARTY?

The job market in Detroit, in New Orleans, in Gary, in Baltimore will be regenerated NOT by the federal government but by the efforts of local entities who have the primary interests in employing the minds of the people contained there in as they play their individual parts in the system that crafts the STANDARD OF LIVING that is expressed by the community. This is the sum of all of their labors.

With the populist message one can't help but to notice that the burden for producing this end is OBFUSCATED onto some external entity who is always inches away from being conquered. Just as these golden rings are in the vestiges of control of the body politic per their superior numbers stuffed into the polling place.................THEY MOVE AWAY, hopscotching just over the man made political boundary that frees them of the legislative mandate that your new found power had arrayed AGAINST THEM as you plotted to reorder the system to your advantage. The key question that must be asked is: "Is it YOUR SYSTEM that produces economic value or are you in a system in which YOUR ADVERSARIES wealth is central to the development of your own? (In a spate of intellectual honesty I am compelled to admit that while I was talking about GOVERNMENT CONFISCATION it is also true that the CAPITALIST is plotting on your wallet as well. Of the two, however, the former is passing laws and thus the benefits rain down upon those who haven't even done anything differently prior to the law being enacted. In the latter AT LEAST he is doing something, learning from doing and then increasing his capabilities and market value as he develops 'schemes' to lighten your wallet.)

If you are going to be dependent on a system then at least be dependent on one that requires your efforts to produce value rather than requiring your ballot, properly filled out in November.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

What Is The Cost Of The 70% Unmarried Black Women As Reported By Oprah?

Oprah video clip on the rate of Single Black women

According to a topic on the Oprah Winfrey show - 70% of Black females are single and many are likely to remain that way. Instead of talking about the reasons why this might be I hope to use this post to detail the costs to the Black community and culture in the wake of this situation.

First let me start off and say - Marriage is a long term commitment and needs to be taken seriously. No societal pressure from the outside is going to craft a successful and healthy marriage. The two individuals involved in the agreement will ultimately determine the effective results of this social contract.

I have no problem with people expressing their liberty and independence to do as they please. When the exception becomes the rule - then there is a problem that will show up in the long term condition of the community.

It is my view that the cost of this high rate of signle-ness among Black women is as follow

1) Relationships that are meant to be are never consummated. From my perspective as a Black man - the Black woman is the God created complement to the Black man. A woman brings natural balance into a man's life. She, in the context of a family forces him to prioritize his behaviors and to eliminate the foolish actions that he may have done in the past which now threaten the bond with his family. In a culture that is so permissive that the primary male/female relationship is casual and serial in nature (sometimes overlapping depending on the "player" involved) the long term commitment to the person never develops. What happens with the physical relationship goes and gravity takes over with the bodies of both of them? At this point in time a more firm understanding and contentment should have been created in the relationship. Just knowing that someone else is there to care for your primary interests when you are infirmed due to some type of accident or medical ailment is something that so many people take for granted.

2)Temperament - when one in it for the long haul they adopt a more give and take attitude about accepting the flaws and frustration of a more permanent mate. The first sample that comes to mind is a family member who is "hard on a brother" as I always tell her. That promising brother one month becomes a "has been" the next as he does the slightest thing to ruin the interview. By the next month this same young lady is complaining how she doesn't have a man. It is clear to me that if she were to open up about her own flaws and enter into more of a give and take exchange with a brother that has potential that together they could over come the start up complexities in the relationship and be more of a balance between each other. I always laugh at her in that in having me as a permanent family member who has enough background with her that she can't push out of her life and with my years of seniority over her where she respects my wisdom and accomplishments in life - THIS is an example of the women who I struggled with upon first moving to Atlanta. At the time I was broke and in a tenuous position. I did not come from a family with much drama that is the hidden secret that some have to gently expose their new mate to. In my case it was not the women who I had chosen from the streets or the club that I settled upon. It was the women that other women that had more experience in identifying a "good man" as they got to know me on a more long term basis via the job that had the woman that I settled with to tune into me.

3) Kids caught in the middle. There is no way around it. You add a third party mate into the mix of two people who have borne children and you have just complicated the matter in an exponential manner. It is already difficult to do the give and take with respect to child rearing while in a committed relationship where both parties live together. I can imagine how things get even more complicated when one parent, typically the man resides outside of the residence of the mother of his children and his children. That last minute coverage to pick up the child from school because she is running late to pick him up becomes more complex, particularly if the father lives across town and thus is not in a practical position to receive the call at the last minute. When brother man starts to date other females or when mother beings to seek out male companionship as well there is no doubt that the natural feelings of jealousy about your partner moving on with their lives will be introduced. This is especially the case if one side of the issue feels in the back of their minds that there is another change to come back into the relationship in the long run that the other does not feel is the case. If it is the mother who is bearing the majority of the burden and the father who resumes his dating then all too often the children will be caught in the middle as the father's good name is trampled in the minds of his children while he is not there to defend himself. On the other side as the mother resumes dating - the concern that I have even as a resident father is ever present - another male is now in the presence of my children. Beyond the difficulty in knowing that another man is attempting to be the authority figure who my children have to obey is the dismantling of my rule that no male that is older than my children will ever be alone with them as the threat of sexual molestation is introduced into their lives. Of course at times it is the father himself who is the culprit of such an act that so greatly impacts the psyche of so many girls and boys as well. In the case of myself and so many other male protective figures who wouldn't think of doing such a thing, however, not knowing the true character of this third party male is beyond my ability of contentment.

3) Back to the sex and physical relationships angle. Today Black people are disproportionate victims of sexually transmitted diseases, most notably AIDS. It is unfortunate that certain cities such as Washington DC, Atlanta and Baltimore that have a racially (and income strata) identifiable population also have a designation of being HIV infection hot spots. The pure mechanics of the situation dictates that as a culture that imposes a "slow your roll" type constraint upon those who partake in it will also receive the benefit of having a reduced velocity of STDs among the population. There need not be a focus on the "moral" elements of married relationships to make this argument. This is strictly from a "functional" stand point. I also note that the veil of marriage does not always mean that a wayward mate will actually "stop his roll" but merely "get in when he can fit in". At the same time having a society that expects a certain reference for all to follow and then DEALS WITH THE EXCEPTION when they take place will have a bee-line that is more close to the ideal than a comparative culture that chooses to "dumb down" their standards because that which was the exception has now become THE RULE, mostly due to the absence of some controlling influence to redirect.

More on this point - so many pseudo-Black Public Intellectuals will take the rebellious position AGAINST that which "White folks have indoctrinated us with" - as they will say. You will hear from them certain notions such as "formal marriage was not a part of the African culture. It was imposed upon us as slaves or colonial subjects". They will add a turn of the knife with some point such as "And even then the commerce of the buying and selling of human beings who were Black was not subordinated by the common law agreement of marriage between these two people who assumed a married relationship. To this I ask - "How the HELL does this address any real world situation that we face as a people in 2007/2008?". Besides what the WHITE MAN has given our culture has not stopped you from using capitalisticly manufactured toilet paper rather than leaves from a tree to wipe your behind nor has it prevented you from mastering the art of elocution of the non-native language of proper English so that you, the self proclaimed 'Public Intellectual' can spout your IGNORANCE but make it sound so good in your appeal to people who value style over APPLICABILITY to the real world and the problems that they face.

Thus it is up to the Black people alive today to make note of both the problems that we have WITHIN the Black community and of the ideals that we want to MANAGE TOWARD and then implement a cultural NORM that is commonly enforced that can express this ideal for both the people living today and for transmission across the generational synapse to our progeny. (PS: and NO - the serial marriages of Pamela Anderson is NOT a reference to what WHITE FOLKS are doing as you look for ways to PACIFY yourself as to what Black folks are not doing. Having another people 'in the mud with you' gives you contentment in your backslidden condition. It does NOTHING to advance YOU and your people into the full potential that you seek - which should be the focus of your efforts. It is only an example of Non-White White Supremacy where another man is your primary reference. He is a "1.0" on your scale and you are a fraction there of.)

The concept of sacrifice now as a future investment and of "living below your means" are both concepts of economics that are directly applicable to the situation of male/female relationships and thus "wealth building via relationships".

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Henry McNeal Turner - My Favority AME Bishop Of All Time

Henry McNeal Turner

Born during Slavery times but never a slave - neither physically or mentally.
He was one of the first "Civil Rights Leaders" for Black people.
He did not mince his words.
He was "pro-gun" when the GUN was the only thing standing in the way between a Black man cowering in fear in the living room of his own house and his visit to the tree out front with the Klan's noose dangling waiting for his neck to be inserted.

I have much respect for Bishop Turner. He was not bought and sold for a given political party in front of his efforts to fundamentally help Black people.

He strongly challenged the Supreme Court ruling against the Civil Rights Act of 1875 which would have outlawed "Black Codes" or "Jim Crow" laws throughout the nation.

He later gave up on America, realizing that the prevailing winds that stood in the way of real justice for African Americans was too strong for a people who just a few short years ago figured that we were worthy of being "owned" like a stock yard animal and treated as such.

If only todays so called Black leaders could show as much clear leadership and courage.

He realized the importance of gun ownership for self defense during a time when the "White Racist" wished to confiscate guns from Black people so that they could have their way with our ancestors. Sadly today the attempts to confiscate the Black man's guns is being lead by Black people as we have placed our own kind in the rifle scopes of these guns.

Wikipedia Entry: Henry McNeal Turner

Black Males - Dying For Respect

Many young black men in Oakland are killing and dying for respect

Boys don't think they will live past 25, so they don't live their life as if they will. None of the convicted killers told The Chronicle that they were worried about their futures or the consequences of their criminal lifestyle before going to prison. To be a square, to go to school, work for minimum wage and shun the "game," takes an enormous amount of patience and personal risk in the middle of what is, in effect, a war zone. The payoff is too far off for someone who doesn't plan for middle age or a career. At the time, the quick buck didn't seem like a bad choice, inmates said.

Only a handful of the killers had legitimate jobs. Criminal records and lack of a high school diploma, no car to get to work, and no support from immediate family ensure that they simply don't fit in to what society sees as employee material.

It was only after they were taken out of their environment and given years to reflect behind bars that they had time to grasp the concept of another way of life.

The experts - and the killers - say a mentor might have saved them, anyone from the outside who could have shown them another way to be a man.

This series of articles paints a chilling picture of what is going on in our communities around America. Basically it links the destruction of the family structure in our communities with the prevalence of the violence and destruction that is abundant within. This point stands to reason. A community of people has its civility defined by the social agreements that are contained within. If indeed the "prison culture" prevails then the notion of "cut his throat before he cuts mine" will take over.

It is time for Black America to implement certain policies that have thus far been shunned as being "conservative". We do a better job at producing individuals who FIGHT THE SYSTEM and who are rebels. The failure comes when the adversary clears out and then we need these same people to - LEAD us internally. They are no experts in cultivating culture. At minimum it can be said that what ever "non-conservative" policies that are in place right now ARE NOT working. Too many of our people are being killed in the process of our unwillingness to SEEK a solution because we are bound to what is popular rather than what is effective.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

My Disagreement With "Black Progressives" On Strategy

I have been recording a series of radio programs that are streamed on the Internet so that I can later review them during long business trips or other times when I can multi-task. It is important for me to listen to the messages that are being pumped out to my people in order to both stay abreast of multiple viewpoints and to apply these perspectives onto what I believe and determine if my current beliefs stand up to alternative reasoning.

It goes without saying that the majority of the messages that are heard on Black media outlets are "progressive" in nature. Atlanta's "WRFG" tags itself as the "Progressive Information Station". They give preference to those who have experienced discrimination in getting their messages out in the mainstream media because of their "race, age, gender, sexual orientation or political status". Amy Goodman of Democracy now and a host of Pro-African Revolutionaries (who are residing comfortably in an air conditioned studio in Atlanta Georgia USA) frequent this station. I must say that I enjoy the muckraking and challenges to the American system that they so often bring. It is not that they are "wrong", in my view, it is so often the case that they abstract themselves from the benefit that they receive from the very system that they live in, seeking change as they eat from the tree.

I record "The Friday Night Drum" each week. This is an interesting show because the show with "Sista Courage" puts forth a particular political perspective which is in constant struggle against the repressive forces of the "United Snakes of America". She also uses terms such as "We'll be right Black in a moment" and "We Overstand the importance of certain things". It is actually an excellent show with respect to the detailed community interest issues that they bring up. I don't have to agree with their viewpoints in order to greatly appreciate the value of bringing up that which we are not likely to hear in the mainstream media.

This week's episode was a discussion about Reparations. I learned that the long sought after study to consider the impact of the study of Reparations for American slavery (HR 40) was going to be reviewed by John Conyers' House Judiciary committee.

There was a Black physician who was on the show. She made the case that the legacy of slavery and "Jim Crow" has had a deleterious impact upon Black people and our community's development in relation to other people in this country who were accepted in without the same obstacles. She told of how the cultural admonitions that were created from our history are still apart of parental warnings to their children which limit them. For example where as it was often deadly for a Black person to look a White person directly in the eye the doctor noted that today parents distribute similar warnings to their children before they leave the house which end up perpetuating a sense of inferiority within Black people. Some of these points show up in the lower academic performance of Black kids compared to White.

The more interesting part of her conversation was when she argued that there is a direct link between current Black medical ailments and the legacy of slavery. Obesity, increased cases of diabetes, suicide, stroke, high blood pressure and depression all have their roots in the fact that we live in a society that continues to oppress us because we are Black. This was the basis for her call for Reparations.

The doctor argued that Black people should be offered free health care because the conspiracy that America has concocted against Blacks for its duration as a nation. Black people are dying for the want of quality health care. These medical ailments are directly linked to the deeds of America and the psychological effects on our ancestors and the culture that has communicated them intergenerationally. The remedy for that which ails Black people today and in the future is government paid health care as a reparation.

Upon hearing the above linkage I realized how fundamentally my thoughts differed from those of this doctor, the "Friday Night Drum program", the average progressive Black person and those who support Reparations for these purposes.

First let me identify my common view points. I agree that access to quality health care is a fundamental requirement for a people and a community to sustain itself. It goes without saying then that the Black community should do everything necessary to insure that our people obtain quality health care. I believe that as a society would should MAXIMIZE the provision of health care to everyone while not attempting to violate the fundamental principles of economics nor private property rights in order to achieve this worthy end.

The point where I differ fundamentally with my ideological adversaries is the tendency of the Progressive to focus almost exclusively on lobbying and protesting toward the government in order to be provided such health care services. By definition this creates an external dependency upon a system that Blacks have no direct control over. All the while Black people remain in want of health care services and some are dying in the process.

In the program the host and the guest listed all of the surplus revenues that the state of Georgia had amassed. The governor recently made note of a $750 million to $1 billion balance in the "rainy day fund" for the state. The guest and radio show host claimed their right to these funds for provision of health care. "Black people have only come as far as we have through protests and letting our feelings of outrage be known". They focused upon the unfeeling and unsympathetic politicians that were seemingly out of tune with the needs of the Black community when it comes to health care. Thus again their strategy for providing health care to Black people was NOT to have Blacks organize to provide health care to Black people. Instead the strategy is to LOBBY the powers that be to provide health care to Black people.

I can just image years later when the contracts have been let to provide the government based services that these advocates have lobbied for that some of these advocates will turn their future protests into the issue of how Black owned firms are not receiving their "fair share" of contracted revenues to provide these services to their own people. I can image that these same people might raise a protest about the race of the people providing these services in the Black community and how Blacks are not provided with adequate medical training to work in these facilities. The common point of their message is the fact that the need is for the Black community to ADVOCATE FOR rather than ACTUALLY POSITION OURSELVES TO PROVIDE health care services to Black people, indeed to "save our own selves" where others are not interested in doing so.

I was reminded of a statement recently made by radio host Steve Harvey which said "in life it is often the journey toward your goal rather than the actual point of achieving the goal that knowledge and character is built the most". I believe this to be a true statement. In the course of seeking to improve one's condition per the goal that is present - it is the SYSTEM of changes that are implemented that form the structure that all else is built upon. Upon realizing important lessons along the way and them making sure that harmful elements are not passed along is how the concept of "don't forget your history lest you are doomed to repeat it" should be implemented.

Based on this radio interview and the general direction of the Reparations movement it seems that they are building a legacy of advocacy and lobbying EXTERNAL FORCES so that Black people might be given the resources that are seen as their "rights". This view point seems to prioritize the RECEIPT OF SERVICES over the PROVISION OF SERVICES and and the question of WHO the people are that are providing these services to the Black community.

My criticism of such a strategy is that there is no guarantee that the Black community will be improved from a technical perspective with regard to our capabilities to provide both the resources and then the medical expertise to take care of our own interests. As we consider the impact of " flight" from our cities (ie: White flight or Black middle class flight) it is clear that the citizens that remain are often highly concentrated with poor and unskilled individuals who are looking for jobs and to define their very place in the society that seemingly has discarded them. It is my opinion that the "lack of opportunity" that is so often heard about in these communities is a direct consequence of the outsourcing of the financing for and the the provision of such services within our community to the government. As strange as it might sound - it is indeed true that the state and federal government must be seen as external resources to the main interests of the Black community in order for this long sought after repair to take place. (Or at minimum as "resources of last resort" rather than first response). It is a serious strategic mistake to settle for the CONSUMPTION of these services while failing to create a framework for the economic funding of, the technical provision of and the community contribution to their own health care related state of affairs. In literal terms - you are placing your own life in the hands of an external force that has long proven not to have your exclusive best interests in mind.

The "unemployment problem" within urban America is really an "under-utilization" problem within the Black community. Will there be calls for Black people from these same underserved communities to focus their educational efforts into becoming doctors and other highly skilled medical professionals? Will the community be willing to develop a fund raising charitable organization to pay for the college education of these individuals and have them return to their own communities to deliver such services to the people? Think of the organizational and management skills that are squandered by NOT seeking to address the problem from within. Instead internal skills are shifted to EXTERNAL LOBBYING. I know that many people will say that it is OFFENSIVE of me to dare believe that the people must help themselves when they need help today. The key is to focus on the FUTURE COMPETENCIES that are developed rather than the CURRENT CONSUMPTION that is received. The demand is perpetual. The question is will the supply of resources be available and how is your community negatively impacted if the system that you have no direct control over fails?

Update 2007/12/08 12:26pm :
I would fully support the call made by these operatives to have the state of Georgia to transition the property of the now defunct Morris Brown College into an urban medical institute for the education of medical professionals that are focused upon preparing doctors and nurses to provide medical services to the underserved communities across the state of Georgia.

Friday, November 30, 2007

AIDS - The Bridge Builder Between Blacks In Washington DC and Africa

Will the Next President Fight AIDS?

If Washington, D.C., were a country, its estimated HIV prevalence of 1 in 20 adults would rank it 23rd in the world--higher than half of the nations in sub-Saharan Africa.

Yesterday I saw a poster from the Atlanta Convention And Visitors Bureau that stated "If Metro Atlanta were its own country - it would be the 6th largest economy in the World based on GDP". Clearly this is a well orchestrated result that is a payoff from years and years of effort.

I can't help but make the very same inference about HIV infection and AIDS. It is not the "President that must FIGHT AIDS". HIV is transmitted through the exchange of body fluid between one person that is infected to another that previously was not. AIDS is an INTERPERSONAL disease. When I hear Gay Activist Keith Boykin and others make the case that it is the "Homophobic Black Church" that is the cause of the unchecked spread of AIDS within the Black American community it is clear to me that he and others are using this claim as a means of receiving forbearance from responsibility for their risky behaviors than they are in actually doing the things that are necessary to prevent the spread of this infection.

Sadly this virus has shown us that the African-American who previously thought that they were safe from all that threatens the rest of the world are in fact little different from their African cousins when it comes to HIV infection. This 23rd ranking got this way as a step by step MIS-directed effort. Similarly it will be addressed more permanently but on a more DIRECTED effort where people's consciousness dictate their behavior that exposes them to risk.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ian Smith Of The Country Known Now As Zimbabwe Dies

Wikipedia page on Ian Smith

This post has a dual purpose.

First is to send off a racist leader of the former country known as Rhodesia. He was quoted as saying "the Black Africa would never rule this country for 1,000 years (to come". Ironically he and his white minority government was removed from office in 1979 and replaced by a government that was of the majority population. Clearly Ian Smith was wrong in his ignorant pronouncement.

At the same time I would be remiss if I failed to make note of the oppressive government of today. Though the name of the nation has changed to Zimbabwe - the average person is catching hell just the same. Robert Mugabe came to office with so much hope. For the first few years he did a good job in managing the nation's affairs. Recently, however, he has shown that he's learned well from the former White oppressors and has carried the tradition forward.

Movie: The Debaters

Movie Trailer

All Movie Web Site: The Great Debaters

The word is that this movie, "The Great Debaters" will not receive a massive amount of marketing dollars from the film studios. Once again the blogesphere will be called upon to do the work that we should be doing anyway for getting the word out about a quality movie.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Big Communications Deal Will Bring More Internet To The African Continent

African nations agree to $1 billion Indian satellite project

Indian government will finance $1 billion project to at develop Africa's information and communication technology infrastructure

A critical mass of countries are signing on to a plan for India to invest $1 billion in the Pan-African e-Network satellite project, a joint initiative with the Africa Union aimed at developing the region's information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure.

I am happy to see that more people in Africa will have access to the Internet.

At the same time the Indian government pulled off a coup in that they are positioned to see them the networking and switching equipment that will bring this all about.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Bridge Over Troubled Water

Wikipedia Page: Bridge Over Troubled Water

Special thanks to Simon and Garfunkel for writing the song "Bridge Over Troubled Waters". I had always thought that Aretha Franklin had wrote the song. I heard the S & G version for the first time last night. Sorry to say fellas - "Re Re" done took your work and ran with it. Her version drives me to close my eyes and raise my hands to the sky as if I was in church listening to a spiritual.

I even listened to Bobby Womack's version of the song. He is more soulful than S&G but he still can't touch Aretha Franklin's version.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Prostate Health & Black Men

I tried to put off the day of reckoning as long as possible was the day. My first prostate examination.

I had an option of getting it done during my physical two years ago. Interestingly enough my normal doctor was on vacation and a substitute doctor......who just happened to be my neighbor across the street.....did my exam that day. He told me that it was optional since I am still relatively young. Thought about all of the talks that we have while standing outside retrieving our mail or newspapers. I couldn't bear to think upon our future discussions that this man had violated me in such a way - so I passed.

Today there would be no deferment. I have to say that there are three things that a Black man does not want to hear from another man (or make that a "straight Black man") while he is naked except for the loose fitting smock that he has on:

1) "OK bend over across the table and spread your legs"

2) "I need you to relax your butt for me"

3) And upon completion of the exam "Well your prostate felt smooth just as I expected it to be for someone your age"

I am glad that everything checked out properly and I am glad that this is only done every two years.

With all of the preventable ailments that are present among Black males who are older than 35 but younger than 70 - this is certainly one issue that can be managed toward a less than fatal ending if we all get our periodic exam.

Now if someone could just come up with a pill with a camera that I swallow and then dispose of instead of having a doctor with a glove and some lubricating jelly that probes me....I would call this a serious medical advancement.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Africa To Receive $55 Billion In Internet Investments By 2012

Africa to receive investment to boost internet

KIGALI - Africa will receive investment worth 55 billion dollars to boost its goal of securing universal Internet access by 2012, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) said yesterday.

The commitments were made at the two-day “Connect Africa” summit that ended in Rwandan capital on Tuesday, with a pledge to speed up technology in the continent, the ITU said in a statement.

The ITU and African Development Bank (AfDB) jointly vowed to cooperate in connecting all African capitals and major cities with a broadband infrastructure and strengthen connectivity to the rest of the world by 2012.

“By 2015, broadband and ICT (information and communication technology) services will be extended to all African villages,” the statement said.

This is great news for the people who live on the continent of Africa. Telecommunications, like a water distribution system and the electrical grid are the foundations of an advanced and productive society. Just as a new highway leads to development of restaurants and shopping plazas on the side of the road, so too will this information highway produce similar benefits for millions of people.

In my own line of research on the impact that the mobile phone has had in Africa and in various "developing countries" around the world such enhanced communications has radically changed people's lives for the better. In fact many African nations are further ahead of the United States when it comes to mobile payments. Since many of these countries use prepaid calling cards for their cellphones the mobile operators there have set up a system by which a son that has moved to the big city is able to transfer credits to his mother's cellphone back in the village. He account receives these increased credits. She is then able to go into a store and transfer the stored value on her phone account to the store as a means of purchasing food. This is a "Western Union" type money transfer service via the cellphone.

In the coming years the development of a robust and ubiquitous telecom infrastructure in Africa will mean that more people will participate as "knowledge workers" in these various economies. Africa's challenge is to being to ship finished goods outside of their region rather than raw materials. The implementation of this network will lead it further down this path. This is a good news story for Africa and her people.

Monday, November 05, 2007

There Is No Difference In The Level Of Savagery Between The Iraqi Insurgent and the White Racist Lynch Mob

A recent report on CNN that heralded the return of the noose as a symbol of racial intimidation as well as exposing the part that it played in the lynching of people - Black and White in the past detailed the sense of "justice" and revenge that was present in the lynch mob of ignorant, unjust men who violated the principles of law and order of this nation at every turn.

Today as we review pictures broadcast via satellite from Iraq showing a mob of men cheering at the sight of a burned corpse strung up on a bridge in this war zone Americans of all stripes should know that there was a time in America that such a sight was also a big community bonding event in this country.

There is little difference in the evil deeds that men do.

Traditional African Culture Conflict With Noah's Shipwrecked Theories

Traditional African Culture Conflict With Noah's Shipwrecked Theories

This post is an attempt to address many issues with one swipe. As I debate with an individual who is an ideologue as well as a self proclaimed “Afro-Centrist” my recent viewing of the documentary “The Secret Pain” provides an excellent opportunity to shoot down the framework of his theories as a simple transposition of its application over to Africans places him in great conflict with his notions of being spiritually connected to his African Ancestry.

The documentary “The Secret Pain” that is now being shown on my favorite “progressive television” network, Link TV shows the journey of an African woman who now lives in Denmark. She travels back to Sierra Leon to address a situation that has troubled her all of her life – female circumcision. She says that the experience has damaged her both physically but also mentally.
The practice of “female circumcision” is rooted in TRADITIONAL AFRICAN CULTURE. We all know that when the Europeans colonized many of these places they put a stop to many traditional African cultural practices that they called “savagery”. So often we hear “African-Centrists……..who live comfortably in America” discus how they are in tune with traditional African culture and how the changes that were imposed on Africa has disconnected the African from his SPIRTUALITY. Their claim is that the violence and hard times that have settled upon the Africa of today, or at least several major parts of the continent is a direct result of the cultural cleansing that has taken place.

In this post I hope to place two major conflicting THEORIES into my friend’s face and thus force him to decide if he is a “LIBERAL” reformer as he claims to be or “CONSERVATIVE” curator of traditional African culture as he ALSO claims to be. If you get a chance to see “The Secret Pain” you will see that one can’t sit on the fence and claim to be both.

In watching “The Secret Pain” it is shown that the practice of female circumcision is a part of their cultural tradition. Young girls are taken to the kanta – the traditional compound where the act is performed on the females and where they go to heal. The “digba” – the female elders who perform this ceremony prepare for it by going into the bush to find the appropriate herbs that will be used to blunt the pain. One of the digba’s that was filmed was seen “asking permission” from the spirits of the plants for her to cut them. Over the years I have had conversations with many Black Americans who are self proclaimed “conscious” people. They frequently talk about how Western culture has disrespected the SPIRT of the Earth and the vegetation there in. This digba woman and her practice seems to fit right into their notions of spirituality.

One thing that did surprise me was the level of integration that the practice of circumcision had within the society. The females, hovering around the age of 16 were sent to stay at the “kanta” until their bodies healed from the traumatic operation that was performed upon them. During this time they are taught by the elder women on how to be good housewives. How to tend to the house, the children and the husband. They were seen singing and dancing. Where it not for the brutal (from my cultural perspective) operation that had been performed upon them I would give such a package of traditional cultural practices a thumbs up.

Here in lies the conflict that is presented to my friend. In being an “African cultural purist” on the one hand but an attacker of “conservatism” on the other he places himself in a mutually exclusive, ABSTRACT position that has no place in time or on this Earth beyond his mind that is full of theory. For if he indeed seeks to return us Africans who are spread out into the Diaspora back to our original cultural roots so that we might be made whole again then on this occasion he is indeed acting the part of the hated CONSERVATIVE as he enforces certain practices that don’t lend themselves to theoretical analysis and pontification.
All females who are circumcised take a vow not to talk about their experience to anyone. In fact only females that have been circumcised are allowed into the “kanta”. Any person who works to stop the practice of this tradition will come under serious attack and shunning by the other members of the society. I saw this as a form of cultural gravitational pull. Women who were originally reluctant to send their daughters to the ceremony were told that others would not purchase their food in the market nor could they purchase food from others. Once this was imposed upon them the hardship and cultural isolation that this produced were enough to get them to change their mind.

Though most of the traditional practices around female circumcision were executed by the women, behind all of this stood the village men who ultimately enforced all of these traditions. They were the “muscle” if you will. When the camera crew that accompanied the woman from Denmark got permission to enter the kanta but failed to get permission from the males, the men were riled up on the outside of the compound, waiting for them to exit. (Tradition says that they were not allowed to come into the kanta because they were men). The woman and her crew ended up paying the men money and talking to them. Ultimately they were calmed down.

At the same time modern culture had indeed impacted the traditional ceremony that is roughly akin to other “Womanhood/Manhood Ceremonies” in other cultures sans the female circumcision. The interviewer asked one of the digba’s “The girls today only spend 2 weeks in the kanta, it used to be longer. Why was it shortened?” To which the digba’s replied “We’ve gotten like the White man we’re always in a hurry”. Another digba replied “We used to be able to cultivate the Earth. Now we need money to buy rice. The digbas and families must be fed during the months. We all have to contribute during the initiation seaon. That’s why it takes only one or two weeks these days. Otherwise we’d be broke. ” Secondly was asked “The girls used to be much older before they were circumcised, why are they so young today”, to which was replied “Times have gotten hard. I have both younger and older daughters. I can’t afford to pay for initiations all of the time – so they come in the kanta at the same time. “ Another question “So where does the circumcision originate?” A quick reply “ We’ve told you that you mustn’t ask about that.” To which the interviewer replied “Relax. I am a circumcised woman myself.”

This above exchange must be analyzed. Whereas the average Afro-Centrist would say “see society’s modern pressures and monetization has corrupted the African traditional purity” they miss the mark with this analysis. The fact is that the modern pressures have only altered the time interval of the initiation process and the ages of the girls as they undergo the operation. This TRADIITON is still in conflict with the progressive Afro-Centric’s view that such a practice that is IMPOSED upon an otherwise free individual is suppressive. Thus we have a person seeking to “reach back” and “progress” at the same time. Which one is it – oh great Mandinka warrior?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Upon Reciving "Reparation" What Will Be Asked Of The Black Man Regarding His Valuation Of The White Man?

Within the debate over Reparations for Western enslavement of Africans most of the discussion is focused around how the Black man must be made whole. We must be taken consciously back to the state at which we were before coming into contact with the Europeans that had their way with our physical bodies, our material resources and of course our mental and spiritual consciousness. Additionally the consideration of the modern stature that the African WOULD HAVE attained had he not been molested throughout the centuries by White oppression and exploitation is put forth upon the total invoice for what is owed to us as a people.

This post is not to debate the the matter of what is to be transfered from the White man back to the Black in the name of "Reparations". I instead would like to broach the subject of what the BLACK MAN will project forth regarding his views on THE WHITE MAN once we achieve our "Repaired State".

It comes as no surprise to anyone that today an offense by a White person against a Black is promoted as being SUPERIOR to the very same physical assault done by a fellow Black person. Though I have tried I cannot identify the multiplier by which one White man's killing of a Black man is equal to "X" number of Black people's killing of another Black man before the Black Community is made to give a response that is similar to that which is seen when the White man commits the same act. If any of you know this number - 10, 50, 200 to 1 please forward it to me. The answer will be greatly appreciated.

In today's news paper is the report of a rally held in West Virginia in protest of the recent detention, sexual assault and brutalization of a young Black girl by a gang of White thugs in the area.

Protesters: Add hate charge
Rape and torture case has divided some advocates, who differ on how to achieve punishment for 6 suspects.

In 2006 there were 75 homicides in West Virginia and 389 rapes
(West Virginia Crime Rates 1960 - 2006). What specifically about THIS incident has garnered a mass protest?

Quotes from the rally:

* "Hate crimes are out of control in America,"; "Nooses are being hung and our women are being raped by white mobs. Malik Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party

* "Protect the Black Woman." a message shown on the t-shirt of the victim - Megan Williams

* "As a father of a daughter and a child of African ancestry, the idea that I can sit by idly, [in] the face of one of the most violent and obscene acts committed against a black woman in my life, was too appalling," he said. "I had to come."


The question must be asked - Why is it that the assault upon Megan Williams by 6 White folks draw a protest while the assault by 4 Black males upon a Black mother and her son where she was forced to perform oral sex on him for the the amusement of the thugs NOT grounds for a protest as well?

Dunbar Villiage: Mother Raped and then forced to perform sex act upon her son


Beyond this quick divergence in order to set up the central question of this post is "Will REPARATION bring about the point which a crime done against a Black person is seen as an EQUAL ASSAULT, regardless of who the perpetrator is?" While I have no direct evidence regarding how our ancestors looked upon White folks from the standpoint of the valuation of their assaults upon them as compared to one from one of their own - it stands to reason that as a self-sufficient entity they were forced to deal with all offenders lest chaos and disorder come about.

As we journey to our "repaired state" as a people - will this state include the notion that "All Men Are Equal" and thus "all offensive that these men commit are equal and justice and outrage will be equally dispensed as proof of our REPAIRED STATE?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

54% of Southern Public School Students In Free Lunch Program

Report: Poor the majority in South's public schools

The number of low-income students in the South's public schools grew to 54 percent in the past school year, creating a "crisis of the first order of magnitude," an Atlanta-based education foundation says.

The percentage in the 15-state Southern region rose slightly from previous years and is the nation's highest, ahead of the West at 47 percent and the Midwest and Northeast at 36 percent each, according to the Southern Education Foundation's report issued Tuesday.

he report defines low-income students as those who qualify for free or reduced-cost public school meals and looks at the percentage they represent of total enrollment.

The findings highlight a steady increase in low-income student enrollment in Southern public schools since 1989, when the figure was 34 percent.

It reached 50 percent in 2004 and has continued to rise, a phenomenon researchers contribute to demographic changes, the economy and the South's history as a region with higher poverty rates.

Georgia, the report says, is among four Southern states where an increase in Latino children and a high birth rate among African-Americans has played a role.

Just "what if.....".

What IF we acknowledged that children born into poverty are going to be continuously challenged in their ability to achieve and compete in the world today BUT we took a different bias in our response to this challenge?

Where as today the standard response would be "This poverty is unacceptable.....we need new government programs to provide necessary resources to these children so that they won't have it so bad.". What if we took the reverse approach and communicated the message to young people that they should seek optimal environmental conditions in their lives BEFORE they have children and thus fewer children would be born into situations that compromise and threaten the child? I am fully aware of the situations under which a child is produced. By no means do I expect that "love children" will one day cease. However if there is in fact a greater goal for "Progressive People" then certainly getting more people to buy into behaviors that actually lead to "progression" is not unreasonable.

I am a married Black man. My wife and I have good jobs. We could easily support two more children without becoming "poor". Instead we have made the CONSCIOUS decision to not have any more children because of the time expense and our desire to invest the attention and resources that we do have in the two children that we already have. New borns are "expensive" beyond the monetary considerations. The massive change in lifestyle. The health concerns for them and the mother, the changes in daycare that are required make having another child a serious consideration.

How is it that society would demand that a middle class Black family like I have be RESPONSIBLE for the care and upkeep of my children and the associated reproductive choices but for some reason does not extend this same mandate and the resulting consequences to those who are far less able to care for one child let alone several?

It seems to me that some measure of reverse engineering is required. If indeed the great mandate for "HIGH, equal outcomes" is to be OPERATIONALIZED then the flow of expectations cannot only come from the government who makes up for the shortfalls in resources that private individuals need to live up to a common standard. It is clear to me that the people who indeed seek "SALVATION" need to play an active part in the attainment of these higher standards.

Simply put - some people are not in a position to offer a child a high quality and nurturing experience in their formative years. They can't even do so for themselves. How much of their own education, employability and social development is compromised because they have do all that is necessary to bring another life into this world? Worse yet - what of the confusing messages from society that support these choices but then feigns outrage when these children have not the resources to live up to the basic standards that we as a society expect to produce?

If you don't have an ideas of where you are going as a society - it is easy to get there over time.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The "Non-White White Supremacists"

(Originally posted in December 2006)

In listening to many people discuss current events they choose to pin the source of the problems plaguing people of color in both inner city America and on the global front upon the historical and present forces of "White Supremacy" and "White Racism".
Recently I took note of a conflict that was attributed as such which happened within the metro area that I live in. The proximity of the event allowed me to analyze the situation from a point of familiarity with many of the facts surrounding the incident and the context in which it played out.

Without going into great detail about the incident that many of you are familar with - the City of Atlanta, with a Black mayor, Black police chief and a majority Black command staff directing all of its officers on the street broke through the front door of a 92 year old Black woman in a botched drug raid, shooting and killing her. In listening to the local Black talk radio I witnessed as the masses attempted to "rationalize" this situation. This was not the classic "Bull Conner" versus the "Good Guys in the Civil Right Movement" the administration is a Black Democratic Progressive one, that many of the callers no doubt VOTED FOR TWICE. After I heard a string of callers bringing up the CONSPIRACY that "White Skin Heads" are now joining the police forces around the nation and killing Black people in which they asked the audience to note all of the "bald White cops" that are in abundance now AND after hearing a report in which the classic Civil Rights song "We Shall Over Come" was sung in the face of the Black mayor and Black police chief it was clear to me that some folks are stuck in the same rut. One caller said that he does not care about the RACE of the offender, if this person is acting in "WHITE RACIST WAYS then HE IS AN AGENT OF WHITE RACISM AND OPPRESSION upon Black people". Change most of the variables with respect to the race and motivations of the people in charge and THEIR RESPONSES are as what they know best - the classic White Racist versus Black Victim one. They discard the facts and develop a CT to allow their minds to return to a point of comfort as they know that the only reason why this happened to us is because of these RACISTS.

The responses to this event which played out with strict adherence to "racial-ist" dogma as well as other other notable recent events has lead me to the conclusion that one need not be "White" to be a "White Supremacist".

By definition a "White Supremacist" believes that the White Race is supreme over all others and that they leverage their power to order the world in a certain way that is favorable to them. Thus there is no genetic membership requirements to be a White Supremacist. One only need BELIEVE that this is the case to be one. This is the operating definition that I will adhere to as the basis for my argument.

Just as the White Supremacist believes that the white race has certain powers, regardless of the truth or falsehood of these claims, so do the non-White "White Supremacists".

So frequently the behavior of a given "non-White" person who is placed in certain situations is said by the White Supremacist to be the after-effects of centuries of White Colonialism and Oppression. This force, regardless of if the operator has directly experienced it first hand is said to be the reason why he "snapped" or acted violently. They will at this point typically "expand the police tape" and prove the individual's innocence by point to the pattern of other people of color who have similarly been incarcerated for acting out in such a way. Thus the person's innocence is proven by the commonality of the occurrence.

In taking this track, however, the person with the lifetime supply of "police tape" fail to note that very often a "fellow VICTIM" of this legacy oppression is also the VICTIM of this mal-actor. Thus this analysis has a neutralizing effect upon giving justice to the victim^2 (victim squared) - who is a victim both of history and his brother who has assaulted him while doing the bidding of the White man as he was set up to do as the proverbial "pawn in the chess game".

What does this say about the historical victim's ability to mentally rationalize? Does he not know that "the man" has ordered his environment in such a way that he will injure his own kind while "the man" profits from the Prison Industrial Complex to which he will be sent to? At this point the justice system which attempts to hold him accountable for his assault which is against the law has more respect for the victim^2 than does the victim who did the assault. This notion of course if TRUMPED if you believe that this same system had the goal of "placing the brother man where he belongs" jail to the tune of more money spent on incarceration per head than in college education. But again - if the victim KNOWS the scheme that he has been placed in why does he continue to act in accordance with what the man has laid out for him? What is it that "the man" as an individual has that he has not in the way of understanding and power over one's self and one's actions?

With the above scenario as a reference, by classic definition the "White Supremacist" has been the one who trampled over the rights of the person of color because he felt so little for the humanity of those he trampled over. I am raising the question of the thoughts of the VICTIM with respect to his own perceived power to order his environment via his own behavior and his relationship and actions toward people who look just like him and who's ancestors have experienced the very same thing. Does he believe that "the man" has more power over his own behavior than he does?

At this point in our exchange of ideas no doubt some of you reading this are asking the question "How can you BLAME THE VICTIM FOR WHAT HE IS DOING while allowing the historical perpetrator and engineer of the environment go free from condemnation? How can you not expect him to REPAIR this situation that he has caused?"

My response is - You are expecting your historical adversary, who now has a measure of power over you from his past deeds of assembling the world that you live in as such to ALSO be the force who "repairs you"? What were his motivations to order your world as such? Did these motivations die out? Why then would you expect in full faith that this will ever happen? Most importantly, why do you create this "out of body experience" in which you yield your repair to someone else?

So frequently those who are successful in life make the case that the "JOURNEY toward Success" was more important to them than the actual destination. In taking the journey they learned much about themselves and how other people work. Their formulas that they now operate by were formulated by trial and error. In my view the act of handing over one's repair is the abandonment of the very force of understanding that will one day be the bricks of the foundation from which all else is built.

Make no mistake about it - "Who did this to us" is a very different question and answer from "Who's ultimate responsibility is it to REPAIR or UNDO THIS so that we are for the better". The Non-White White Supremacist confuses these two points. He believes that in identifying "Who did this to us" he is going to keep throwing this up in their face for eternity and one day they will tire, put forth contrition as to how their world came to order and will satisfy the second and not necessarily related question, repairing the colored man and asking for his forgiveness.

Real world events and the notion of probability is not a strong point of consideration in the non-White White Supremacist's way of thinking. The bulk of his repair plans for the man of color is couched upon the White man coming through for him in such a manner. This has the effect of neutralizing any serious and comprehensive movement forward for the people of color because of this DEPENDENCY of action by this next man.

I recently saw the movie "The Last King Of Scotland" which starred Forrest Whitaker as former Ugandan leader Idi Amin. In the movie Amin created a bloodbath in his country, spilling African blood with reckless abandon. It is no doubt true that the Belgians had colonized the country for an extended period of time. It is no doubt true that Idi Amin was a member of the military that had been controlled by the Belgians. It is also true that when the Belgians felt pressured to depart from Uganda and needed to place someone into power - they chose Idi Amin. In a sense "Idi Amin was their man". HOWEVER, when I saw the government death squads killing African people - I SAW AN AFRICAN KILLING THEM. The detractors to my position will tell you that these Africans were trained and conditioned by the White man to do their deeds and thus we can't look at these actions on their own merit (ie: did they or did they not kill their fellow Africans). Instead we must look at their actions within the historical context of colonialism and White Supremacy.

To this obfuscation I ask - Why is it that you demote the actions of the Black man with a weapon in his hand, having killed thousands and thousands of his own people to that of an automaton, absent of any HUMAN skills of rationalization and reason as to what he is doing? This is WHITE SUPREMACY at work within you. If you cannot hold this individual man responsible for his own actions you will NEVER be able to grab a hold of any control in changing course WITHIN. You will always pursue the White Supremacist course of action by seeking change via the White man making it.

The open challenge that I have for the non-White White Supremacist is to answer for yourself - "At what point would you feel that the people of color have been healed and thus they are to be held fully accountable for their own actions"? Do you not see that just as the White man has no best interest in "healing you" that IT IS NOT IN YOUR BEST INTEREST "TO BE HEALED" lest your resources get cut off? Why not START OUT with the assumption of ACCOUNTABILITY and leverage this through out? It has no dependency on an unwilling partner in your salvation.

Both White Supremacy and Non-White White Supremacy are best addressed, but never cured by having SYSTEMS. On the one hand there must be a system of accountability for anyone who operates outside of the accepted principals of human rights. The complementary force to "rights" is "responsibilities". Where as "rights" flow from some universal agreement TOWARD the individual, "responsibilities" flow from the individual outward. Absent both of these in equal proportion resides the state of being a slave or an oppressor.

The challenge for the Non-White White Supremacist is to ASK OF the victim what he expects from the oppressor as a pathway toward an effective "repair". In his inability to enumerate the responsibilities that the victim has the non-White White Supremacist makes his views of "White Supremacy" public.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Words From The Great Fredrick Douglass

* In regard to the colored people, there is always more that is benevolent, I perceive, than just, manifested towards us. What I ask for the negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice. The American people have always been anxious to know what they shall do with us... I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! ... And if the negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! ... your interference is doing him positive injury.
o "What the Black Man Wants" — speech in Boston, Massachusetts (1865-01-26)

Monday, October 22, 2007

My Dream All Too Real Dream

This is a true story of a dream that I had last night. The dream had actual people and places that are very familiar to me which increased the power of this dream to me and the underlying message.

In the dream I had traveled to Philadelphia, my home town. As usual I stayed at my parent’s house and called up my high school buddy Jeff to hang out with him on one of the nights that I was there. As usual we caught up on life, our wives and and I got an update on all of the high school and college friends in our network.

After a night of good conversation and a few beers we head home in his car. We are driving through West Philly. We get to the corner of 61st and Jefferson. I see all of the buildings clearly – the Simpson-Fletcher church on the right, the corner store across 61st street. Looking left – the houses going down the hill on 61st street and behind us all of the houses that I know on Jefferson Street going east. As we stop at the stop sign my friend Jeff slightly rear ends a car that is in front of us despite my shouts of “Watch it! Watch it! What are you doing man?”. He yells out “Oh Shit!”.

Just then things heat up because right behind us happens to be a Philadelphia police patrol car. My friend backs up as he attempts to flee the situation. I see that he is about to ram the cop. The cop backs up to avoid being hit. For some strange reason both cars back up one full block. Past “Poochies” house on the right, past Edgewood Street in the middle of the block, all the way back to 60th street. The cop still didn’t turn on his lights.

I am yelling to my friend Jeff “What are you doing man?!? That’s a cop!! What are you doing!?”. He stops the car as if he has come to his senses – right at the corner of 60th and Jefferson where I used to catch the #46 SEPTA bus to school sometimes. I jump out of the car thinking that everything will be resolved on the spot. I did not realize how wrong I was.

My friend Jeff speeds away down Jefferson Street fleeing the cop. I am standing in the street distraught and puzzled as to what is going on. The cop doesn’t chase my friend. He gets out of his car and arrests ME as I stand there. I protest saying that I didn’t do anything. I am visiting from Atlanta for a few days. I am as surprised that my friend has acted as he did in response to the cop being behind him.
The cop puts the handcuffs on me and puts me in the back of the patrol car, not believing what I told him. I did have a few beers that night but I can hold my liquor. I was buzzing but not drunk. As I sat in the back of the patrol car attempting to understand my friend Jeff’s actions as the police car drove me to the station – I remember that my friend Jeff told me a few months earlier that he had recently gotten a DUI and lost his drivers license for 60 days. The tough new rules that Pennsylvania had implemented shows little tolerance for drunk driving. During the time of his suspended driving privileges his wife drove him back and forth to work. I have no doubt that he caught a lot of grief during these few difficult days with her reminding him how much he had screwed up and inconvenienced her because of his irresponsible actions. I guess I did not know the breaking point of my lifelong friend when pressure upon him with the threat of this happening to him once again in less than a year. Unfortunately with his actions tonight he is digging a much deeper hole for himself than he had before.

When I get to the police station 3 White cops take me in to a holding room. The dialogue between me and them makes it clear to me how much I am in a different world than I am used to. My trip up to the modern day North turned out to be eerily similar to the experiences of those before me who traveled South and had a run in with the law during the days of Jim Crow.

I told the cops that I didn’t do anything wrong. I am visiting from Atlanta. I had a few drinks that evening. I am totally surprised with my friends actions. I told them that I have a good job, I am a married man. I have never been arrested before. As I continue talking about how much of a model citizen that I am and how “good I have it” in the South one of the cops say to me “I thought the South was all about bare floor boards and shotgun shacks?”. I realized that in their listening to me – my situation in Atlanta, my diction and my golf shirt, slacks and shoes that their detention of me has become increasingly about “breaking a Negro that thinks beyond his place” than it is about any crime that I may have committed.

There are three White cops. The arresting officer is the more arrogant, aggressive and jealous of them all. The second cop is the weak cop who is a follower of the first. All that he does is in laughing agreement of the first. The third cop is blond and overweight. He is more quiet and reasoning than the other two. They all go back and forth asking me about Atlanta. The arresting officer asks me “So have you had any run ins with the ‘Police down in Atlanta?” I tell him “I don’t live in Atlanta. I live in Fayetteville. We have more ‘Sheriffs’ patrolling our streets”. In response to the "verbal edge" that I put in my voice he and the others figured that I was sassing them. They all laughed at my correction of their friend.

I told them that I have no criminal record. Look into my wallet. I just got my gun owners permit renewed for the Sheriff's office. They took my finger prints and put them into an electronic database. I just had a background check done with the Fayette County Sheriff as a condition of me participating in a mentoring program. "I have nothing to hide", I said. The lead guy takes my wallet out of my pocket and throw my credit cards to the floor as he shuffles through the contents, looking for my gun owners permit that has my finger prints stamped on it. I get angered by the disrespect shown to my property. This is what he was intending to do - get a violent physical response from me even though I was still in handcuffs and leg irons.

The lead cop walks out of the room along with the flunky. The fat, blond cop remains behind and is sitting next to me. I try to reason with him telling him that I have never been in trouble with the law before. I have cooperated with everything that you all have asked. You have the wrong guy locked up.

I woke up at the point due to the power of the dream.

In thinking about it all – I realized that THEY saw me as yet another Black man on the streets of Philadelphia, possibly riding in a stolen car, trying to run away from the cops in the big ‘cat and mouse’ game that they play every day in West Philly in particular. They had allowed their personal insecurities and jealousies to get in the way of disciplined police conduct. Since they believed that I was better than them based on how good I have it in “Atlanta” it was their goal to break down this Black man in front of them who thought that he was better than the average Negro that they are used to dealing with day in and day out. It was not “me” the full fledged individual with his own unique history and qualifications that they were arresting. It was the stereotypical Black man on the streets that they were arresting. My outer shell allowed them to go on their preexisting biases.

Where as most of my people would ONLY go after the “racist” cops for stereotyping me it would be unrealistic to fail to note the behavior of the individuals that they deal with on a daily basis who work to make the “stereotype” TRUE. Certainly there is a two way set of violations that need to be addressed for the problem to be solved and thus reduce the chances of me and other Black males being entrapped in a snare that we don't belong in.

On that very same block about 25 years ago there was indeed a Black male in a stolen car that came speeding around the corner and crashed into several cars on the left hand side of the street thus causing monetary damage to at least 5 individuals who lived on the street that were also Black. He got out of the car and ran. The police had to chase after him. I recall the trail of blood that was on the ground leading to his trail down Edgewood Street because his mouth was bleeding having hit the steering wheel after the impact from the crash.

The saying "No matter how educated you are still a N_____ to some" might be true. But it is also true that those who wear the same uniform (skin color) that you do need to realize the responsibility that they have in upholding certain standards lest everyone else who wears the uniform bears the negative burden that they have created. A racist cop can be dealt with via departmental policy. What can we do to reform a rogue Black man? (Seems to me preventing him from becoming one in the first place is key).

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Evidence Of King's Dream: Picking Cotton Together As A Learning Experience Rather Than As Child Labor

A recent trip with my son's kindergarten class on a fall outing to a local farm proved to be eye opening to me about the subtle changes that have taken this society forward as compared to 100 years ago. Several parents tagged along to chaperone this active pack of kids.

After feeding three hungry donkeys some corn and terrorizing them as 20 kids attempted to pet them we moved over to a patch of land that was ladened with symbolism for me: the cotton patch.

The tour guide asked the kids a series of questions concerning cotton: "What do you have at home that is made of cotton?", "What do you have on right now that is made of cotton?", "What other things do we use cotton for?". I whispered in the ear of a little White boy who was part of the group of 3 kids that I was charged to look after "oil". He said "No. We don't get oil out of cotton". Then I asked my son to say "oil" and he dutifully complied with me. The tour guide said "That's right. You are pretty smart. We use cotton seed oil in a lot of food that we eat".

The tour guide then taught us the various parts of the cotton plant - the cotton fiber, the seeds, the flower that sprouts from the plant which has assorted colors and the "boll" which is the bloom of the cotton which has not yet cracked open to expose the fiber.

The tour guide then handed out little bags for each of the kids to go through the cotton patch and pick their own cotton for use later on the tour. At this point I could not help to note the symbolism of this entire episode. There was a swarm of White kids, Black kids, Hispanic kids, Asian kids and Indian kids going through a cotton patch, picking cotton as a recreational exercise rather than in an act of child labor as was the case in the past. Instead of being DENIED an education because they had to pick they picked cotton as part of their education.

The tour guide had showed us the difficulty in separating the seeds from the fiber. Prior to the advent of the cotton gin this was done by hand. Upon direct inspection of the plant I could see why so many of our ancestor's fingers grew calloused because of the hard, prickly shell of the boll that stuck them as they reached for the fiber. I commented as such to a White father who was making a piece of thread out of the cotton while removing the seeds as a means of provoking a conversation about the labor (ie: slave labor) that was used to harvest this rich crop from the South in the past but he did not bite.

At the end of the day - all of the people involved in the exercise - Black, White, Indian, Hispanic and Asian were too far removed from the legacy of when the cotton was turned pink by the pricked skin of the African slave who was forced to work the fields under the duress of physical violence.

I had to assume the role of "overseer" as I worked to round up all of the stray kids who were still in the field conducting their recreational exercise as the rest of the people began to walk over to feed the cows and the chickens.

(Preemptive Note - Please do not mangle my words to assume that I am saying that based on this one scene that I am saying that the injury and assault from centuries of slavery is now "water under the bridge". There is no such hidden message in these words. I am simply depicting one experience from one snapshot of America on one day. It is clear to me that our children have more upside potential in regards to being shaped by what we introduce them to today more than they are bound by our slave/sharecropper past. Our job is to expose them to the painful truths of the past but more importantly to equip them with what they will need to blossom into their future)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Tyler Perry's Success Is Changing Minds About The Potential Of The Black Movie-Going Audience

Tyler Perry opens the door for black films
Hollywood is beginning to take notice of the black audience

The number of distributors and producers making movies that star and target blacks is climbing at an unprecedented clip. They’re reversing a pattern of studio indifference that for years allowed smaller players like Lionsgate, which has seen a box office gross of about $145 million from the three previous Perry films it has distributed, to enjoy a windfall.

I would love to see the strong return of the Black Independent films and the smaller theaters that they used to play within.

The best way to defeat those who refuse to give you the "green light" it to develop your own road and put your own traffic lights up.

There is a technological and communications revolution going on right now. We should not confine ourselves to the classical movie theater and DVD distribution system.

Good job Tyler Perry.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Painful Truth Said Behind Closed Door

At a recent gathering of a mentorship group that I am a part of I was amazed to hear the "painful truth" be said among those Black men who gathered. I consider myself to be one who doesn't mince words about the problems that we face as a people. I was stunned that in this, and other sessions those who would call themselves "Black Liberals" would come out and say what they would never say in public where ideological/political or face saving restraint in front of White folks would restrict them.

The focus was upon what we could expect in dealing with young boys who live in housing authority properties. We were given tactics regarding how to deal with them and the disruptive behavior among some of them. They were denied many of the academic foundation that is necessary for them to succeed in school. We were asked to reach them where they stand rather than expecting to engage them at the level that other children that we have interacted with, including our own.

The most stinging criticism, however, was reserved for the parents of these children. Most of them are young themselves and lack any sort of stability in their own lives to be a worthy guide for their children. We were told to drop any expectations that we would have our efforts to reach out to THEIR kids appreciated by the parents, at least many of them. Much of this reaction has to do with their own feelings of insecurity regarding their own education. We need to not look down upon them in any way but instead appreciate where they stand and their own perspective which is different than ours.

I am actually glad that many of these brothers said this (and more). It is plain to see that this is the case to the objective observer. What troubles me, however, is that many of these same bothers, when put into public discourse on the problems plaguing our people will go into denial over these very things if Bill O'Reilly, for example, made the same conclusion. I am not suggesting that any of these brothers are "Cosby Bashers" but I will say that many of them would not go strongly against those who are.

Why don't we start with what we know - stable homes, educated parents and at least two people working to take care of their own are the essential ingredients to address the cyclical problems that are present among segments of our population?

It is my personal view that as one man, or as part of a small group of Black men I am not going to be able to make universal change among these people. We need to promote THE MAN who produced these children to take prime responsibility for their care. There are literally MILLIONS of them compared with hundreds of thousands of us. We have our own children to consider as well. Left unattached - they have few responsibilities to ponder. This is not a 100% punitive proposal against them but it is a demand that they stand up and recognize their own "racial obligations" to "reach back" just as I am asked to do so as a Black man.