Sunday, September 30, 2007

Two Teachers Made The Greatest Impact Upon Me This Weekend

In traveling to Pittsburgh for my fraternity reunion this past weekend I have concluded that beyond the brothers who I have not seen in several years and meeting the new brothers who I have not meet before - it was the engagement with two teachers that imprinted upon me the most.

The first teacher was a former friend of our organization. As an underclassman she was a bit of a social misfit - too chubby, too black, too off key with her actions. Our frat's auxiliary of little sisters had to lobby hard on her behalf for us to accept her.

Fast forward more than 15 years and she is all grown up. I had no prior warning that she would be there and my conversation with her impressed me the most. She is a school teacher in Ohio. She has gone from a young girl in need of other people to like her into a self-assured instructor who had learned that she needs to push back or these young people with little training in civility would run over her.

She told me the story of one kid who had given her a hard time in her classroom a few days prior. He came to her for assistance with his math work. He words were: "So a few days ago I was a 'big, fat Black bitch to you' and now you want me to help you? Get out of my face boy I have no time for you". She told me of how she brought some positive speakers to present to her 8th grade classes only to have them get cursed out by the kids and walk out of the session in mid stream. These kids have no respect - just like the episode of "Mighty Mouse" in which all of the kids were smoking and cutting up.

The bottom line in all of this was that these type of engagements with people that I know who are real world teachers makes me see that Jonathan Kozol, the leftwing educational activist has it all wrong in his avoidance of the discipline problem. He instead wants to focus on the funding gap with the White folks in the suburbs and to send Black kids to sit next to them. Quite honestly - which White parent OR BLACK PARENT with a choice would sit their children next to these bad kids with no respect?

As a standard reference - I asked her about her opinions on "No Child Left Behind". She said that it takes control over her curriculum and these kids who have all of the discipline problems that have been noted that are stealing academic time from them and their peers.

As I flew home I sat next to a Black woman from Pittsburgh who I learned is a retired educator. She saw me reading the newspaper in which I immediately put aside the sports section as I read the business pages. She asked me with amazement why I did that. I told her that I love football and basketball but I do not invest my time in bulking up on sports statistics and player tracking. She asked me about the stock listings that she thought I was reading. I told her that I was not reading the stocks but the article on nuclear energy. This leads to a general discussion about the changes to this country coming from globalization. We then discussed the situation in Pittsburgh. I told her about the two local shows that I saw - one on the growing problems of crime and violence within the Black community and the plans by the technology group to better position the city for the future.

She then went on to detail major points about the Black community that would otherwise be labeled as "conservative" - Kids raising kids; parents not managing the children's affairs; etc. I told her that if she said these things in public she would be attacked. She brought up the shameful treatment of Bill Cosby after he spoke out. I told her that this is my reference point for what is to be expected. If Bill Cosby is attacked after all that he has done - why should I even worry that these same forces would attack me?

At the end of the conversation - I figured that she must be some type of educator or community coordinator - but from the angle of discipline and setting limits. She told me that she was a retired teacher. I knew it despite the fact that we never talked directly about school. I told her that a good friend of mine who went into education with a lot of idealism only to be changed into saying much of the things that he saw. Without discipline and limits placed on these students a school has no chance at success.

These two teachers were saying very similar things about the problems of Black America. The popular dialogue within the Black America is about unequal funding (I just happen to be listening to the Jesse Jackson/Bill O'Reilly interview in the back ground right now. Interestingly enough Jackson just talked about unequal funding in schools that channel people a certain way). The conversation about DISCIPLINE is demoted behind the points of EXTERNAL advocacy that have more traction among those who like advocacy over management.

Pittsburgh - A Tale Of One City - Two Ships Passing In The Night

(Please note: This is a documentation of my experiences and should not be taken as criticism of either side nor do I attempt to provide solutions, only a documentation of my experiences as a visitor)

Pittsburgh PA - the city of rivers. I hadn't spent a significant amount of time in the city which I once lived for more than 10 years. Much has changed during this time, much has not. My typical route as I head into Oakland is to view the portal to the city that the tunnel that opens up to show downtown functions as. The rivers, the bridges and the towers provide a beautiful welcome to the "large city with people with a small town, friendly character" display.

My first reference regarding the development of the city is to note any new towers downtown and also the continued development along the Allegheny River (I am going from memory that the southside river is the Allegheny and not the Mon. - because it is also easier to spell). The South Side on Carson St is a brand new city unto itself. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has taken over larger swaths of this area along with several notable hi-tech firms. They have transformed an old railroad bridge spanning the southside river into a bridge for auto traffic.

The second measure of the state of Pittsburgh is my drive through the Hill District. First there is the upward creep of the new housing from the Civic Arena to the Hill House. I saw a new community being formed. I am still waiting for someone to reviatalize the "New Granada" theater which has been mothballed for decades. It is just waiting there as a potential community theater but lacks the capital funding to make it a viable concern. I saw a few other new buildings that have popped up.

One unfortunate index of the Hill District is the number of Black people who stand around on Centre Avenue. Year ago as I rode the 81D Hamilton to my job downtown after my classes, I would marvel at the number of people standing around socializing at 1pm on a workday with nothing to do otherwise. Just 10 blocks away may have been people standing around a water cooler on the tenth floor talking just the same. The key difference was, however, that the office tower dweller was making a living. There were far less people standing around this time as I drove through at 7pm but the general culture was still present.

The key focus of this entry is about two television shows that depicted key challenges that Pittsburgh faces today. On Saturday I watched the replay of a community forum called "Night Talk" on WPXI television. On Sunday morning I watched a community affairs show on KDKA called "Sunday Business Page".

"Night Talk" had a panel of guests focusing on the major problems with crime and violence in the Black communities in and around Pittsburgh. If I recall correctly - last year there was 96 murders in Pittsburgh and 72 of them were Black males, 78 of them were Black people in general. The discussions documenting the problem was open and honest. All of the panelists agreed that there was a major problem. None denied that Black people were both the victims and the assailants in these crimes. Some of the panelists went even further than I had anticipated. They stated the secondary consequences and in some cases the underlying problems. The Black owned retail infrastructure is suffering because people are fearful to walk down the street in their own community. They instead go outside to spend their money. Another gentleman identified the lack of resident fathers and males that present a positive image of Black men. It was stated that the examples that they do see ensnare future generations looking for references into the same path.

To add bit of my personal views - I noted that the brother from the Nation Of Islam seemed more interested in pointing out that violence is not exclusive to the Black community. He stated that our president is a bad influence on inner city kids that pattern themselves after violence because Bush is bombing and killing people in other countries. It was clear to me that this brother has a philosophy of "internal correction by fighting outward, not inward".

Also of interest was that one of the men was from a political activist community. This suggests that his organization sees the violence in Black America as being derived from certain political decisions in the past and present. His objective was to obtain more government funds and more partnerships with corporations to invest in communities as a means of constructing a new framework for people to live in and improve.

The "Sunday Business Page" had a markedly different tone. A representative from the "Pittsburgh Technology Council" talked about her organization's interest to create jobs within the city by coordinating policies and to also do corporate partnerships. In this regard the two groups nearly echoed each other. It was their key differences that were most striking. The Technology group clearly is working from the assumption that the basic issues that the previous show about violence was not in her domain and thus she was able to focus on secondary or tertiary steps forward. IE: Crime and lack of education are not a problem to the people who I see as key to my goals. Second: We have the schools in the area that are top notch and which provide quality education. Our problem is that we continuously lose these people as they graduate and leave town. Where as the first group was seeking policies that would stop the violence by giving kids something to do.....this second group was interested in keepign valued minds in the area as a means of extending and enhancing the economic position of the city.

What if the domain of people that the Technology Council was targeting were also the people that the first group of people were targeting? What would be the attributes and qualifications of this troubled group in order for them to be a group that is targeted for retention?

The first group criticized Pittsburgh for feigning diversity when in fact there is little diversity among the ranks in business. If conditions are today as they were 20 years ago when I was in the mix there - I would have to agree with them. Southern cities such as Atlanta, Charlotte and Dallas have far more diversity despite the stereotype that the South has been labeled with.

It seems to me that there is a relationship that needs to be built between these two groups. If the common goal is the development of the city and to best position it for the competition in the future - then there needs to be dialogue to make this happen. The technology folks needs to open their eyes toward more people and seek to include them into their academic development plans. The community activists will need to turn their confrontational demands that they would be inclined to place upon this group which would be considered the "White power structure" and begin to work together to push technology and distance learning via computer further into communities that need to be recast - just as they did after the Steel Industry collapse.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Sacredness Of "The Black Agenda"

2007 has been a powerful and enlightening year thus far.

I have learned the power of and the sacredness of "The Black Agenda".

It struck me this morning as I listened to "Tell Me More" on NPR. I heard Congressional Democratic Black Caucus leader U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick INSERT the "Jena 6" issue into the AGENDA of the US House at the Federal Level.

For 2007 the agenda has "Genarlo Wilson", "Michael Richards", "Don Imus" and "The Jena 6". These are issues that involve RACISM - related to comments by a WHITE MAN or government/judicial system injustice caused by a WHITE MAN. All of these items garnered the full force of the "Black Civil Rights Industrial Complex". Indeed it was a good year for Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton's frequent flier miles accounts.


What about the:

The Philadelphia 300?
The Baltimore 200?
The New Orleans 168?

How is it that certain operatives WITHIN THE BLACK COMMUNITY are able to fly over CRITICAL issues WITHIN THE BLACK COMMUNITY while they cherry pick issues in which a WHITE ANTAGONIST is at play? Just as I have no firm evidence of WHITE FOLKS conspiring to move out of my upper middle class subdivision in suburban Atlanta.....I have no evidence of a meeting between Black Quasi-Socialist Progress-Fundamentalist Racism Chasers in deciding upon what they will take up and what they will ignore.

What I CAN SAY is that "what is being ignored is proving to be more DEADLY AND DESTRUCTIVE to Black people" than what they are choosing to rally around.

In listening to Congresswoman Kilpartrick's tightly organized rant about Jena, LA which did not fully represent all of the facts about the incident it was clear that a well oiled machine was in play.

For me as a harsh CRITIC of the POPULIST Black Dogma that is in play WITHIN THE BLACK COMMUNITY I see my job as being a counter-balance against those who would use their monopoly power to have their way with Black people.

I am amazed as I hear Black people say "voting doesn't make a difference anyway, they are going to do what they want to do" routinely cast their votes without taking a step back and checking out those who have their confidence rather than just those who have their scorn.

The Black Agenda is the "Lord of the Rings" that is at play. These operatives are fully aware about how Black people think and what our hot button issues are. RACISM, an UN-JUST JUDICIAL SYSTEM and ANTI-CORPORATE sentiments ring true for many Black people. As certain operatives are plotting out how to best appeal to Black people - these key themes are front and center in their planning sessions. To believe that there is NOT a deliberative process going on in much of what we see is to be naive.

I realize that I can't fight the power through direct means. There are too many smooth talkers who know how to play the crowd through ridicule. On a stage debate the "boo bears" would nullify any opportunity for me to get a fully formed set of thoughts out of my mouth. The only way change is going to come is to bring forth the COST OF BLACK PEOPLE CONTINUING TO DO AS WE ARE DOING into the minds of the Black masses so that THE MASSES will recognized that there is a GREATER AGENDA that can be put forth.

For me personally it is the "Melanated Immigrant" that proves to be the best counter punch to the Black Quasi-Socialist Progressive-Fundamentalist Racism Chaser that dominates the political discourse WITHIN THE BLACK COMMUNITY. Where as we are CONSUMERS in the urban mall.....he is the OWNER of many of the outlets that we hand our money over to. In the context of the theory of White Supremacy, redlining, and denial of access to capital his success at taking a dominant position in Black Retail despite these claims of the system being against all who are non-White.

It is the BLACK AGENDA that is being crafted by these operatives who will respond to the Korean merchant in a REACTIONARY. All the while the BQPFRC told about how Capitalism "underdeveloped" the Black community....these Koreans saw a CONSUMER PEOPLE and they developed markets in our community right under our noses. The Black operatives - being clueless as usual didn't value what they had all along and instead had to respond the claim that was identified by someone else.

It is the Black community who must be more conscious between our own interests and that of the political/ideological operatives that seek to use us from WITHIN. They enjoy unfettered access to the controls of our community. After years of misleading us it is time for our community to begin asking QUESTIONS and pushing back. The control of the entries upon the "Black Agenda" and the priorities that this represents is the only way that things are going to change.

Our people need to decide if they "hate their enemies or love themselves" and act accordingly.

An Incident That Raised My Consciousness About The World I Live In

I have no shame in telling this story. Yesterday the water service to my house was cut off due to an outstanding balance. I us my bank's bill pay service in which most of my bills are mailed (electronically) to my bank and then I am presented with a summary which I pay. My small town's water system doesn't support such an arrangement and thus they send me a physical bill. I had a reoccurring payment set up in which I pay a constant amount each month without carefully scrutinizing this particular bill each month. Due to summertime watering of my lawn this normal amount was not sufficient. I had an unpaid balance that was carried forward for 3 months. I did not pay attention to the cut off threat as it was contained in the normal mailing - which obviously I did not pay attention to.

As I left the house for a late morning meeting I got the surprise of my life when the toilet did not flush. I thought the chain had broken but this was not the case. The service man must have come right before my kids left and turned the service off. They got the last tank full of water out of the toilet.

I went outside to see if they were doing construction in the neighborhood. I looked to see if my neighbor was home to ask him if he had water service. He was not home. I knew I had paid my bill but I looked on my front door and my garage for a "nasty gram". There was none to be found.

I called the water department to ask if there had been a water main break in the neighborhood. After a quick check they told me no but transfered me to the COLLECTIONS DEPARTMENT. "WTHF - My service was cut off?" How did this happen?
I paid my outstanding balance via debit card over the phone. They promised to have the service restored later in the afternoon.

Meanwhile I had to get to my meeting. I had to WASH UP!!! I ended up getting a bottle of spring water out of my garage that I use for my cooler. I used this to refill the toilet so that it can flush. (I'll spare you the details). That was a $5 flush of the toilet - the most expensive I ever made.

I filled up a larger storage container with water from a second water bottle and used that to wash via a wash cloth, to brush my teeth and to shave.

My goal at this point was to insure that the water was restored before my wife got home and then "beat me up".

I received a call from the Water Department that drew me out of a meeting with a major customer. They came by my house to restore service but cut it back off because their "leak detector" indicated that a faucet was opened in the house. I had to call them back and let them know that I did not leave a faucet open and that it was fine for them to restore service. I had already called my wife and asked her to pick up the kids because I would be running late. They told me that they required a person to be home on the second attempt because they could not be responsible for flooding a house due to a faucet that runs all day. Luckily my wife came home before they were closed for the day and they restored service. I now need to determine if indeed I have a leak. Last year my neighbor had a major water leak at the point were the service pipe comes into the house due to 10 years of settling which caused the pipe to separate at the joints. This incident may have brought to light a similar issue with my house. Time will tell.

This incident, as well as my episode last week with DirecTV shows me how interconnected I am with the rapid fire environment that we live in. Last week as I worked to reduce the television channels that we consume in the house - I picked a television package that cut more channels than what their web site had indicated. As soon as I pressed the submit button the television channel that I was watching went off of the air. After I called them to go back to my original service - my kids are not going to do without "Nick" and "Toon Network" - they instantly restored my service. Why have a "Family Package" that does not include all of the cartoon channels?

My lifestyle and standard of living is directly related to the act of sending in money each month.

I have implemented new policies regarding the use of electronic bill payment.

1) I will inspect every line item of every bill that I pay each month. I found a retailer that billed me twice last month for one purchase. Failure to inspect will allow people to get over on me.

2) No more automatic payments - I have set aside time each week to send out a variable payment amount so that I can stay on top of my balances as was the case when I had to write a check. I now have a large positive balance on my DirecTV and natural gas accounts due to overpayment from monthly reoccurring payments. I am not making interest from the money that I am giving them in excess.

3) I purchased Quicken 2008. Where as when I was broke 15 years ago I went overboard tracking every single penny in Quicken - today this web based banking crap has made me lazy. I need to keep better track of my daily spending and form a budget

4) Use my debit card rather than cash for tracking purposes. I can download my debit card transactions. I have to type in my cash transactions.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Black Economics / Black Politics

Black Hiring Blacks

Yet, more African Americans have the means to hire. A few years ago there was one Black-owned firm for every three White-owned businesses. That disparity, according to the Urban League's State of Black America in 2006 report, has dropped to 2.5 to one.

From 1997 to 2002 the number of businesses owned by Black entrepreneurs grew more than four times the U.S. rate. In 1997, according to the U.S. Census, 823,499 Black-owned businesses employed 718,341 workers. Five years later 1,197,988 African-American businesses had 770,746 pay-rolled workers, most of them in the service and retail industries.

And though it's generally not discussed, at least in mixed company, some of these Blacks hire immigrants. They mow Blacks' lawns, wash their dishes and baby-sit their kids. They are often from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and other Latin American countries, and they are frequently in this country illegally.

But to some African Americans, hiring a Latino immigrant is less about employing a non-Black than it is a non-White. "It can be complicated," said Percy Hintzen, a professor of African-American studies at the University of California Berkeley. "The African-American middle class has always been engaged with international issues, and always have sort of identified with the Diaspora, people in the Caribbean and those of the global south. There's a tendency for the middle class to be progressive or liberal."

Friday, September 14, 2007

Philadelphia Police Chief Asks Black Men To Help Patrol Their Own Community

Philly Seeks 10,000 Men to Guard Streets

Give that man 10,000 hand claps!!!

This is the ONLY way things are going to change WITHIN the Black community.

PHILADELPHIA — The city's embattled police chief, acknowledging that police alone cannot quell a run of deadly violence, has called on 10,000 black men to patrol the streets to reduce crime.

Sylvester Johnson, who is black, says black men have a duty to protect more vulnerable residents. He wants each volunteer to pledge to work three hours a day for at least 90 days.

"It's time for African-American men to stand up," Johnson told the Philadelphia Daily News, which first reported the story Wednesday. "We have an obligation to protect our women, our children and our elderly. We're going to put men on the street. We're going to train them in conflict resolution."

The program's backers include Dennis Muhammad, a former Nation of Islam official who has been hired by police departments in Detroit, Syracuse, N.Y., and other cities to conduct community-sensitivity training.

Philadelphia, the nation's sixth-largest city, has nearly 1.5 million residents, 44 percent of them black. It has notched 294 homicides this year. More than 80 percent of the slayings involve handguns, and most involve young black males.

Johnson plans to introduce the "Call to Action: 10,000 Men, It's a New Day" program on Oct. 21, three months before his planned retirement.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

12 Things The Negro Must Do For Himself

2007/09/11 Back by popular demand:

I have no idea about the origins or authenticity of this piece but as far as I am is a timeless piece that is as true today as in the early 1900's when it was written.

12 Things The Negro Must Do For Himself

by Nannie Helen Burroughs

(Circa Early 1900's)

1. The Negro Must Learn To Put First Things First. The First Things Are: Education; Development of Character Traits; A Trade and Home Ownership.
· The Negro puts too much of his earning in clothes, in food, in show and in having what he calls "a good time." The Dr. Kelly Miller said, "The Negro buys what he WANTS and begs for what he needs."

2. The Negro Must Stop Expecting God and White Folk To Do For Him What He Can Do For Himself.
· It is the "Divine Plan" that the strong shall help the weak, but even God does not do for man what man can do for himself. The Negro will have to do exactly what Jesus told the man (in John 5:8) to do--Carry his own load--"Take up your bed and walk."

3. The Negro Must Keep Himself, His Children And His Home Clean And Make The Surroundings In Which He Lives Comfortable and Attractive.
· He must learn to "run his community up"--not down. We can segregate by law, we integrate only by living. Civilization is not a matter of race, it is a matter of standards. Believe it or not--some day, some race is going to outdo the Anglo-Saxon, completely. It can be the Negro race, if the Negro gets sense enough. Civilization goes up and down that way.

4. The Negro Must Learn To Dress More Appropriately For Work And For Leisure.
· Knowing what to wear--how to wear it--when to wear it and where to wear it, are earmarks of common sense, culture and also an index to character.

5. The Negro Must Make His Religion An Everyday Practice And Not Just A Sunday-Go-To-Meeting Emotional Affair.

6. The Negro Must Highly Resolve To Wipe Out Mass Ignorance.
· The leaders of the race must teach and inspire the masses to become eager and determined to improve mentally, morally and spiritually, and to meet the basic requirements of good citizenship.
· We should initiate an intensive literacy campaign in America, as well as in Africa. Ignorance-- satisfied ignorance --is a millstone about the neck of the race. It is democracy's greatest burden.
· Social integration is a relationship attained as a result of the cultivation of kindred social ideals, interests and standards.
· It is a blending process that requires time, understanding and kindred purposes to achieve. Likes alone and not laws can do it.

7. The Negro Must Stop Charging His Failures Up To His "Color" And To White People's Attitude.
· The truth of the matter is that good service and conduct will make senseless race prejudice fade like mist before the rising sun.
· God never intended that a man's color shall be anything other than a badge of distinction . It is high time that all races were learning that fact. The Negro must first QUALIFY for whatever position he wants. Purpose, initiative, ingenuity and industry are the keys that all men use to get what they want. The Negro will have to do the same. He must make himself a workman who is too skilled not to be wanted, and too DEPENDABLE not to be on the job, according to promise or plan. He will never become a vital factor in industry until he learns to put into his work the vitalizing force of initiative, skill and dependability. He has gone "RIGHTS" mad and "DUTY" dumb.

8. The Negro Must Overcome His Bad Job Habits.
· He must make a brand new reputation for himself in the world of labor. His bad job habits are absenteeism, funerals to attend, or a little business to look after. The Negro runs an off and on business. He also has a bad reputation for conduct on the job--such as petty quarrelling with other help, incessant loud talking about nothing; loafing, carelessness, due to lack of job pride; insolence, gum chewing and--too often--liquor drinking. Just plain bad job habits!

9. He Must Improve His Conduct In Public Places.
· Taken as a whole, he is entirely too loud and too ill-mannered.
· There is much talk about wiping out racial segregation and also much talk about achieving integration.
· Segregation is a physical arrangement by which people are separated in various services.
· It is definitely up to the Negro to wipe out the apparent justification or excuse for segregation.
· The only effective way to do it is to clean up and keep clean. By practice, cleanliness will become a habit and habit becomes character.

10. The Negro Must Learn How To Operate Business For People--Not For Negro People, Only.
· To do business, he will have to remove all typical "earmarks," business principles; measure up to accepted standards and meet stimulating competition, graciously--in fact, he must learn to welcome competition.

11. The Average So-Called Educated Negro Will Have To Come Down Out Of The Air. He Is Too Inflated Over Nothing. He Needs An Experience Similar To The One That Ezekiel Had--(Ezekiel 3:14-19). And He Must Do What Ezekiel Did
· Otherwise, through indifference, as to the plight of the masses, the Negro, who thinks that he has escaped, will lose his own soul. It will do all leaders good to read Hebrew 13:3, and the first Thirty-seven Chapters of Ezekiel.
· A race transformation itself through its own leaders and its sensible "common people." A race rises on its own wings, or is held down by its own weight. True leaders are never "things apart from the people." They are the masses. They simply got to the front ahead of them. Their only business at the front is to inspire to masses by hard work and noble example and challenge them to "Come on!" Dante stated a fact when he said, "Show the people the light and they will find the way!"
· There must arise within the Negro race a leadership that is not out hunting bargains for itself. A noble example is found in the men and women of the Negro race, who, in the early days, laid down their lives for the people. Their invaluable contributions have not been appraised by the "latter-day leaders." In many cases, their names would never be recorded, among the unsung heroes of the world, but for the fact that white friends have written them there.

· The Negro of today does not realize that, but, for these exhibits A's, that certainly show the innate possibilities of members of their own race, white people would not have been moved to make such princely investments in lives and money, as they have made, for the establishment of schools and for the on-going of the race.
12. The Negro Must Stop Forgetting His Friends. "Remember."
· Read Deuteronomy 24:18. Deuteronomy rings the big bell of gratitude. Why? Because an ingrate is an abomination in the sight of God. God is constantly telling us that "I the Lord thy God delivered you" --through human instrumentalities.
· The American Negro has had and still has friends--in the North and in the South. These friends not only pray, speak, write, influence others, but make unbelievable, unpublished sacrifices and contributions for the advancement of the race--for their brothers in bonds.
· The noblest thing that the Negro can do is to so live and labor that these benefactors will not have given in vain. The Negro must make his heart warm with gratitude, his lips sweet with thanks and his heart and mind resolute with purpose to justify the sacrifices and stand on his feet and go forward-- "God is no respector of persons. In every nation, he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is" sure to win out. Get to work! That's the answer to everything that hurts us. We talk too much about nothing instead of redeeming the time by working.

"Lord, God of Hosts, Be with us yet."


· In spite of race prejudice, America is brim full of opportunities. Go after them!

This was written in the early 1900 's! The more things change the more they stay the same.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Modern Realities Of HIV Impacts Long Held Cultural Practices In Kenya

HIV loosens Kenyan tribe's resistance to circumcision

MBITA, Kenya - Family gatherings for Collins Omondi once were boisterous affairs here on the verdant shores of Lake Victoria. But in just 11 years, AIDS has killed seven of his uncles, six aunts, five cousins and both his parents. His extended family now consists of one surviving uncle, an aunt and their 2-year-old child -- all of whom have AIDS.

Omondi, 28, a tall, broad-shouldered fish trader, has come to believe that a quirk of culture contributed to the decimation of his family. They were Luos, members of the only major tribe in Kenya that does not routinely circumcise boys. The absence of this ritual, Omondi said, helps explain why Luos are dying from AIDS at a rate unheard of among other Kenyans and rare in East Africa.

Twenty years after the first reports of a connection between HIV rates and circumcision, scientists are saying it is essential to understanding the path of the disease through Africa and possibly to reversing its course. President Bush's $15 billion anti-AIDS program is pledging millions of dollars to Kenya and other countries so they can offer circumcision services in communities long defined, in part, by their reluctance to perform the procedure

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Brazil Adopts Affirmative Action & The "Brown Paper Bag Test"

Last night on PBS's 'Wide Angle" was the premier of "Brazil In Black And White"
Wide Angle Web page

The show focused on the racial debate in Brazil as efforts are made to get the "brown skinned people" more integrated into the higher level economy and social strata.

Brazil is a heavily mixed race country. One kid that looks White can have a brother or sister that has brown skin. The sharp racial distinctions that are present in the United States simply don't fit down there. At the same time clear evidence of both the social preference for White/European look in hiring practices and media advertisements as well as positions within the government and the university system were provided for the objective observer to see that there was a problem.

The social activists working for change are pushing for "Affirmative Action". They want to reserve 20% of all freshman seats for brown skinned people. During the admissions process everyone who is applying for the "Black slots" must be photographed behind a bright colored background for a committee of judges to evaluate if they are indeed "Black" They also flew in 2 NAACP "Affirmative Action" lawyers into the country to give them advice. From these two we were lead to believe that A.A. has been successful in the United States and has lead to the growth of the Black middle class. They said nothing about the current dissolution of many education based A.A. programs.

All through the show I could not help but notice the OBVIOUS that no one else had mentioned. Brazil, which is seeking to increase the educational and economic opportunities for its people NEEDS MORE UNIVERSITIES and EDUCATIONAL OUTLETS so that there people can develop. When you have 20,000 people competing for only 2,000 slots at the federal university in Brazillia - indeed there is a problem. Upon failing one year certain students continued to take the admissions test year after year as they hoped to get into school and set their life on a different path.

It was clear to me that this was a RESOURCE ALLOCATION PROBLEM that is showing itself as a RACIAL PROBLEM. Several decades ago the government of Brazil sought to develop the inner regions of the country and thus they built the city of Brazillia and made it the nation's capital. Now it is time for them to strike out and create a larger UNIVERSITY SYSTEM. In addition to more full service universities they also need to have a junior college system as well as community college/trade schools.

The second unspoken obvious that I noted is that THE UNIVERSITY SYSTEM IS GOVERNMENT OPERATED AND FREE TO THE STUDENTS. No one would dare mention the possible link between this resource constraint and the lack of facilities. No doubt the argument will be that with the government bearing the burden - the poor are able to go to school. Let's compare this to the United States. Aside from the elite schools which also have a high admissions demand - we have abundant second choices so that no one has to sit out of school as they wait to get into the main school. Most importantly the debt burden is placed on the back of the CONSUMER OF EDUCATION rather than all upon the government which then is resource constrained. This is a simple matter of "credit". The fact that there is a distributed credit load means that more universities and other schools can operate without the confinement of the "central planning" mode as they have in Brazil. In the USA the government provides grants and guarantees student loans.

If Brazil is serious in becoming an economic powerhouse via the education of more of its people, regardless of their race then they need to adopt a different strategy that will allow more people's DEMANDS for education to be expressed.

Unfortunately, as usual, the Civil Rights industry tends to focus on the "racial fracture" rather than stepping back and considering the big picture flaw that needs changing in order to allow the flow to take place unimpeded by secondary racial provincialism.

Monday, September 03, 2007

The "Urban Mall" Scene - Look At The Foold Court

Yesterday I went with my family to a local mall. It was once a "suburban mall" (read between the lines - a White mall) until former city residents (read between the line - Black folks) started moving out into the ring cities and the former residents (read between the lines - White folks) moved further out.

The mall has now predominately Black and Hispanic patrons. Aside from the typical loony people that you are inclined to see in the mall - everything was in order. The mall has not lost any of its luster during the transformation.

I could not help but to notice what is going on in the food court, however. Out of 9 food outlets there was not a single Black employee working. (Chick-Fil-A was closed because it was Sunday. They would be the most likely venue to have a "diverse" staff). All of the food outlets had Asians working behind the counter. I asked the one guy working behind the Dairy Queen where he was from. He told me "India". So more accurately one of the venues had a family of Indians working and the rest had some iteration of "Oriental Asians" working behind the counter.

I AM NOT MAD AT THEM. They are not stealing anything. They are providing a service and the consuming audience sees value and is exchanging their money for services rendered.

Out of the 9 outlets that were serving at least 5 of them had "Asian" food in some form (ie: chicken w/ broccoli, egg rolls or fried rice). Indeed this shows the influx of Asian foods into our culture.

I have to give credit to all of the owners of these outlets. They are positioning themselves for a great economic future in this country. I see various "Chinese Buffets" opening all over the place around town. They are supplying the demands for American consumers for tasty food at a reasonable price. All the while they are providing for the employment of their own people in the process. Again - I ain't mad at them. They are doing what they are supposed to be doing.

As various civil rights leaders target larger corporations for racially discriminatory hiring practices as a means of "creating opportunity" for minority workers - it is clear to me that these smaller, family owned outlets are 'creating jobs for their own' AND the OPPORTUNITY that comes along with it. I is clear at least to me that there needs to be a massive reconsideration of strategy to place it in line with reality.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

No More Cotton To Pick - What Will America Do With Her Black People?

With No More Cotton To Pick,

What Will America Do With 36 Million Black People?

by Phillip Jackson

What will America do with 36 million Black Americans now that there is no more cotton to pick? Last summer, I visited Mississippi . This was my first travel to the rural, deep south. To my surprise, I found that Black people were not involved in the planting, growing or harvesting of cotton. Instead, while White and Latino men drove machines that harvested the cotton, I saw hundreds of young Black men standing idle on street corners, drinking alcoholic beverages throughout the day and evening. For Black people in the South, there is no more cotton to pick.

For two centuries, America has exported its brand of democracy and humanism around the world. But now America 's values are being tested here at home. America 's dilemma is: what to do with 36 million Black Americans who are the descendants of the slaves that were shipped to American shores 400 years ago for their economic value but today their heirs have lost that value? And does anyone know what will happen to the current low status of Black people in America if, and after, tens of millions of new, undocumented immigrants receive citizenship?

Fifty-eight percent of Black boys do not graduate from high school in the United States . Many of the forty-two percent who do will be given diplomas that graduate them to low-wage jobs or no jobs at all, street-corner hustling, incarceration and violent death. In fact, for most of these students, their high school diplomas will not lead to a decent job, acceptance to a good college or even qualify them for military service. At best, most Black students in America are getting an education that prepares them to only pick cotton-if there were cotton for them to pick. Even so, according to a report by the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, forty-seven percent of non-institutional Black men in Illinois are not working. And many of them are high school graduates. And for these unemployed Black men there are no jobs in America , the America that flourished because of Black slave labor.

At the very same moment that hundreds of thousands of young Black people will be marching into oblivion across graduation stages, hundreds of thousands of foreign students will be preparing to enter our American cities, to attend some of our best schools, to take some of the best jobs in the United States and to earn the salaries that Black Americans need to support their families. While Black America laments the ridiculously high unemployment rates of Black males, hundreds of thousands of HB-1 visa workers will be imported to take jobs paying $70,000 to $90,000 a year and more. Many Blacks will not even be able to get low-wage jobs because they do not speak Spanish.

The dilemma for the government of the United States , as well as for big, urban cities, is that neither has an idea about what to do with the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of Black Americans who fled from the South during the "Great Migration" to a supposedly better existence in the North. But now, the welcome mat has been pulled-up in these cities, and children of slave ancestors who built this country are being thrown out the door. Our cities have tired of their Black populations, and America is now "getting out of the Black people business." Neighborhoods that used to be "Black Belts," like Harlem in New York City , Bronzeville in Chicago and much of Washington , D.C. , have gone upscale, and, as a result, most Blacks cannot afford to live there. In fact, many American Blacks can barely afford to live anywhere in America . So it is back to the South for many of them. This time, however, they will not be allowed to even pick cotton because there's no more cotton for Black Americans to pick.

What are the options for America and the Black people they brought here 400 years ago? These come to mind:

Option one - Let them perish. If they can make it in America , fine. If not, fine.

Option two - Find a new value for them, possibly fueling the growing industrial criminal justice complex, or as "widgets" in the American educational system.

Option three - Help Black people find a proper and productive place in American society. While this might be the most unpopular option, it is probably the easiest and, long term, the cheapest and the best solution.

If America chooses option three, there are five key components to fixing this problem:

1) Rebuild the Black family. Every major problem in the Black community, including poor education, massive unemployment, hyper-incarceration, high mortality rates and senseless violence, can be traced to the disintegration of the Black family.

2) Provide Black boys with strong, positive Black men as mentors, role models and, particularly, a connection to their fathers. Black boys, like any other children, will imitate and become what they see, including good fathers.

3) Control the negative peer culture and electronic media that mold many Black boys and men into violent, irresponsible and uncaring human beings.

4) Understand that for the rest of our existence, Black people will live in a "STEMM" world, a world based on Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Medicine (STEMM). If we are to survive, it will be because we understand and master "STEMM." We must teach Black children accordingly.

5) Control our economic fate by mastering the principles of entrepreneurship, business, management, finance, accounting, manufacturing and banking, and by teaching these principles to our children.

This is the way, and the only way, to solve the problems of Black people in America . Unless we, Black people, quickly respond to the changes of our world, even our cousins on the continent of Africa will not want us. And we will truly be "a lost tribe" wandering the world without a home. We must realize that we live in an "Educate or Die" society and an "Educate or Die" world! There is no middle ground. There is no more cotton to pick!

Phillip Jackson

Founder and Director

The Black Star Project

3473 South King Drive, Box 464

Chicago , Illinois 60616


Saturday, September 01, 2007

Chinese Restaurants Around The World - Individual Stories

One of my favorite programs on the air is a series on "Link TV" (see I do watch left leaning media sources) called "Chinese Restaurants". (

In the series the host of the show travels around the world to investigate various Chinese Restaurants. The key point of the show, however, is to document the narrative regarding how the Chinese immigrant owers of the restaurant have found their way from their home nation into the country at hand and to sample how the local cultural forces have altered the Chinese fare that is served in the restaurant. Another unmistakable angle is the impact of interracial marriage and procreation upon the descendants from China.

In two recent shows in Madegascar and Cuba, for example, there were so few Chinese people to intermarry with each other that a sizeable portion of the Chinese descendants were of mixed race or Mestesos as they are called in Madegascar.

I found the idea of the series to be grand and thought provoking. I happen to do the very same cross referencing regarding Jamaican restaurants, Sushi restaurants and Chinese restaurants. For me I compare the "jerk chicken recipe", the quality of the sushi and the tastiness of the "shrimp with mixed vegetables" between each resturant respectively in order to do a comparative evaluation of these specific restaurants when I travel the United States.

The segment based in Madegascar was of particular interest to me because of some comments made by a Chinese restauranteur and then a Mesteso. The owner of the Chinese restaurant in question made note of the fact that all of her kitchen staff were "African locals". She told of the process of teaching them about how to make authentic Chinese food since many of them had not ever tasted it prior to seeking employment in her restaurant. In essence she was teaching them how to cook her particular cuisine as well as educating them in how to operate a restaurant. The key point is the CULTURAL EXCHANGE that was taking place as transfered from the Chinese to the people of Madegascar.

Secondly the comments made by the Mesteso - he was a brown skinned, Chinese looking man. He said that "the Chinese are the 'elite minority' mainly due to their superior skills at managing commerce". Of course this was his opinion but it pointed to what is clearly obseverable all around the world. Certain "merchant cultures" are able to settle in various places around the world and "set up shop" as the key focus of their daily lives.

(to be continued)