Friday, February 29, 2008

"Toby's Kids" Go To College





I get frustrated some times at the way some of my people think and the various tactics they use to form a clique among themselves in response to a perceived threat. In reading an article in the magazine "Focus On Africa" this point was driven home to an extent much greater than before.

In the article "Coming To America" which discusses the controversy regarding the number of African and Caribbean immigrants that are taking seats in elite colleges. The article concludes that the more elite the school the greater the representation of Black immigrants. There has been a bit of a backlash seen by Black Americans students in response.

Many Black Americans believe that the recruitment efforts by White admissions officers of their immigrant brothers and sisters amounts as a manipulation of the true intentions of "minority recruitment". They make the case that these Whites view the Black immigrants as less prone to confront them on racial issues and thus more passive. The key point that bothered me is that many Black Americans on the campus of Harvard have begun to call themselves "The Descendants" as a means of distinguishing them from their African and Caribbean brothers and sisters.

You must understand - when they say "The Descendants" they are saying, of course, the DESCENDANTS OF SLAVES. They wear this as a badge of honor for their forefather's suffering. In turn they logically conclude that the Africans and Caribbean immigrants "did not GO THROUGH IT" and thus don't have this mark of distinction. I am sure that some regions of Africa did not endure colonialism but INDEED Caribbeans are descendants of slaves, just not American slave holders but slaves none the less.

My greater problem, however, is the definition by these young African American students with reference to 400 YEARS OF THEIR HISTORY rather than the tens of thousands of years that their ancestors have lived in Africa as free people. This is the CONDITIONING that comes as a result of Affirmative Action - "Ted Kenedy" type policies. VICTIMIZATION is a badge of distinction.

Why are they allowing what SOMEONE ELSE DID TO THEM to be the key distinguishing feature between them and the other Black? Does it take an Indian, Pakistani or Chinese person of color to come along and TAKE the "Black seat" in these elite majority White schools for them to realize their shared interests?

For me - I am not a "Descendant of SLAVERY". My forefathers were NOT SLAVES!!! They were ENSLAVED!!! The former is a noun, the later depicts the condition that they were placed within. They had the option of remaining where their "owner" forced them to stay or suffer a physical act of terror in response. They had the choice of working or being made an example of so that others don't get the same idea.

I am not sure about YOUR PEOPLE but MY PEOPLE chose to suffer along with the conditions that they were put in as a means of survival and the avoidance of torturous, brutal pain. They had the hopes that one day they would be free and reunite with their African brothers and sisters, returning to their former freedom mindset when they were labeled themselves "Kunta Kente" rather than the given name of "Toby"

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Black Best Interests




The "Black Best Interests" or "The Best Interests Of The Black Community"!

I keep hearing this repeated over and over and over in debates and commentaries.

Who possesses it?
Who stands against it?

Rarely do I see it defined in any particular way. How exactly is it measured?

As I listen to and scrutinize the dialogue I have concluded that the concept of "The Black Best Interests" is really defined as "What is POPULARLY CONSIDERED TO BE In The Best Interests of The Black Community" as defined by the Black community itself. As strange as this might sound - if you are satisfied with the notion that the active MAJORITY of Black folks having defined their notions of "best interests" is indeed descriptive of their ABSOLUTE "best interests" you indeed might be WRONG.

You see - all you have done is to define the POPULAR notions. This is subjective. This is opinion based. This has a lot of bias injected within. When was the last time you have seen those who DEFINE this "Best Interest" actually taking inventory of the real world advancement of Black people and making note of how far THEY have lead us? Of course they do this all of the time with respect to how much they have gotten White people and 'the system' to follow the rules and they have opened the pathway toward seeking recourse in the event that any of them violate our rights. These advances are indeed important. I must make note, however, that these are EXTERNAL issues to the Black community that set the stage for locally elected leaders of our own choosing to govern in our best interests. The true measure of "Black Best Interests" should be focused upon the advancements that are made WITHIN the system of government by people of our own choosing having our rights to live as we choose secured by the protections that are stated above.

For me I must take a more empirical and systematic approach and add the requisite constructs to the question in order to come up with a more definitive measure of what is indeed "in the Best Interests of Black folks". There must be some fixed reference defined in order to turn what is otherwise subjective into something that we all can plainly see as being the case.

First - clearly it is the best interests for a group to gravitate to some common goals. Why aren't these goals defined as the foundation of the debate over "Best Interests" if it is a credible debate then? Absent such a list I note that representatives of the people in power often cherry pick from a wide range of items in order to paint a rather unbalanced picture of what they have done while in power to benefit Black people. There is no measure of "comprehensiveness" detailed in their response. (ie: How many Black people are actually benefiting from a particular strategy that is popular among us?) Surely their list is out of tune with the realities on the streets of Black America per the continued grievances heard from our people.

Based on my research the universal best interests of Black people are defined as follows:

1) Attainment Of Quality Education
2) Safe Communities
3) Local Economic Development
4) Healthy Lifestyles

I have listened to Black folks - left and right - and I can safely conclude that these points are what all of them can agree upon. I have also introduced a 5th point as a means of driving home the point of a disciplined way forward:

5) The execution of the first 4 goals as EFFICIENTLY as possible using the most COMPREHENSIVE solutions so that the maximum amount of the community can recognize the benefit as soon as practical

This #5 is important because it removes from the table the consideration of "crumbs" that have been gained from an INEFFICIENT movement when we could have had a LOAF OF BREAD had we had the constraint of EFFECTIVENESS, COMPREHENSIVENESS and EXECUTION as our operating mandate. Today many of our leaders operate in this zone of low expectations placed upon them. They live down to these objectives routinely.

With respect to the label: "The Best Interests of Black America" - it stands to reason that this state is obtained by any faction who can MEASURABLY PROVE that they are indeed moving the collective closer to obtaining these 5 points in our destination. We can consider improvements on standardized tests per the self directed supplemental education that is offed BY US to augment the failings of the public school system, the reduced unemployment via the corresponding increase in businesses of our own in our community, the reduction in street crimes because there is more self-initiated community bonding events and thus the former petty thief is no longer inclined to break into someone's home that he knows and finally - a reduction in diabetes among Black people in a particular community because of a program that goes door to door getting community members to come out and walk around the block for exercise. (I think I just happened upon a #6 principle - The Organic, self-initiate, self-directed nature of our actions where we are not waiting for external help to give us what we need)

I especially want to attack the notions of POPULARITY as there is no particular reason why these measures must be POPULAR as a prerequisite for moving us closer to our goals. In the world of diets - surely it is more popular to seek out that one pill that you take in the morning and magically shed 40 pounds after 4 weeks of doing nothing else to contribute to your goal. Certainly there is billions of dollars per year that is made by the people supplying the pills to satisfy the popular demand. The alternate weight-loss route of going to the gym and exercising only to wake up the next morning and not be able to get out of bed due to the muscle pain that you experience ranks very low on the list. Despite its low rating on the POPULARITY scale- empirical evidence shows us that exercise is far more EFFECTIVE for individuals aspiring to reach their weight loss goals than is that magic pill. Beyond this it is the LIFESTYLE CHANGE where the exercise regimen is integrated as part of one's daily routine along with better dietary choices works most EFFECTIVELY at achieving this goal. Few people are willing to sacrifice as such and thus this is not a POPULAR course of action.

In truth that pain felt in the morning is a sign that your body has been worked beyond what it has gotten used to. You have ripped some muscle fibers that hadn't been challenged in years. The pain that you experience is your body's natural recovery process. Once completed the pain subsides and your body is stronger than it was prior to your workout. Thus the temporary pain that had to be endured was actually a gateway to more strength and greater capabilities for the future. It may be easy to converse about this pain in theoretical terms instead of suffering through it - but indeed it is for the best for your body.

Why then are my people so inclined to focus on POPULARITY rather than EFFECTIVENESS? Part of the reasons are associated with "group think". We have some active "Attack Sheep Dogs" who punish dissent and thrive on "forced unity". Even though we produce some of this nations most strident Rebels and Revolutionaries who work to counter the US Government, corporate entities and the prevailing White Establishment - when it comes to the criticism of THEIR ACTIONS they don't seem to have the respect for free speech and diversity that they have lobbyed for in these other adversarial entities.

Having done battle with these forces for years and making note of their canned responses - I have leanred not to take their assaults personally. Instead I marvel at the techniques that the particular individual uses. Some are more cleaver than most while the majority simply don't have the intellect to disguise their antics beyond the simplicity of "either you go with the crowd of Blacks or I'll attack you and 'Uncle Tom You'" that they display. Little intellectual jousting is shown on their parts.

Beyond these battles - the RESULTS OF THE WAR cannot be spun! Time is the true disinfectant. 40 years and millions of individuals who serve as samples as to the efficacy of the plan "is what it is". There is no excuse that can be justified otherwise. Yes we will continue to hear from them about the damage that Slavery has done which continues to perpetuate throughout the Black community today. I have a hard time believing, however, that the kid who was born in 1995 that I was helping to read over this past weekend is a victim of Slavery and Jim Crow. In his case his mother did not practice his reading with him enough to make any difference. He was in 6th grade but had difficulty reading material about Louis Armstrong that was written at a third grade level. I told him that he needs to find an older person who could help him figure out the words that he was struggling with but by all means he needed to PRACTICE!

Despite these modern painful truths there are still a number of Black people who have a long roll of "police tape" in which they seek to extend the crime scene far back into the past to explain the circumstances of today. This does nothing more than IMOBILIZE and OBFUSCATE the issues of today. There will be NO SCIENTIFIC STUDY done in order to come up with a more EFFECTIVE MEANS of moving forward with these tactics in place. The only thing that can result is MENTAL PACIFICATION, the assumption of the notion that "It ain't our fault that we are this way. WE WERE MADE TO BE THIS WAY by the events of our past."

Ultimately the Black Community in aggregate must decide the importance of REACHING THESE GOALS that I have detailed up above. We must ask an honest question of ourselves - Has our interests in PARTISAN POLITICS and IDEOLOGICAL LOYALTY trumped our willingness to open our eyes to the painful truth that is upon us AND the relative protections and resource via the law that was never in place before in the event that external mauraders destroy our communities...despite all of this in place today....broad stretches of GOALS as a people remain UNMET and the no closer in sight.

I thought that as a faction GREW in power they would be LESS inclined to blame some outside entity for their failures? This CLEARLY not likely to happen - when there is no COUNTER FORCE present to scrutinize the performance of this faction that has monopoloy control. Where is the INDEPENDENT force of the Black commuity that DEMANDS RESULTS after we have previously agreed to follow this course that the leadership has taken us upon??? Maybe the problem is that we have a COMMITMENT TO THE IDEOLOGY THAT THEY ARE PREDISPOSED to agree with rather than having a full commitment to the END GAME - regardless of the IDEOLOGY that takes us there?

Today there is a CIRCULAR REFERENCE in place within our community that keeps us neutralized:

#1 "Why do most Blacks vote and think as we do today? Our votes are in the bag before we even enter the polling place. Is this a good thing? "
#2 "Because we are expressing the popular mandate of our people! - Look at the numbers. Black people know who has their best interests in mind and who care for us. Are you calling Black people STUPID?"
#1 "No. I am just trying to figure out why, despite our near unity of ideology we are still short of satisfaction within our own communities. What ever we are doing - it is not working to solve our problems."
#2 "Well please tell me what THE OTHER GUY who doesn't care about us is going to do any differently and then we'll change and begin supporting him!"

The sad fact in this oh so common exchange within Black America is that #2 WILL NEVER ASK THE PEOPLE WHO ARE IN CHARGE RIGHT NOW to tell him WHAT THEY ARE DOING TO MAINTAIN HIS SUPPORT. He will never consider the fact that he remains DISCONTENT despite their growth in power over him. He is instead EXTERNALLY YOLKED - more focused upon what his ADVERSARY is doing to get away from him than he is about what HE IS DOING while he is alone. He might even fuse his own development goals in with this external political enemy becoming a more valiant and consistent warrior on behalf of his party than the other members as he more of his racial development goals vested in this political entity than does the other party mates do.

The fact that those in power are ideologically compliant with him is enough to pacify his mind. Ultimately - He has done EVERYTHING NECESSARY to remain where he is today - in the future. The punishment of "asking the tough questions" upon his own virtually insures this. Where is their support of free speech, agitation and revolution where it is needed most?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Asian Community In Duluth GA Puts Vacant Property To Use - On Their Own




AJC Article: Vacant Macy's at mall will become Asian store

Typically when a community loses a valuable tenant in their local mall they may engage their politicians and business leaders to go to various large national retailers and plead for them to bring their enterprise into the said community.

I must give a hand to the Asian community in Gwinnett County Georgia for doing otherwise. Instead of going outside and asking someone else to set up shop in their community so that they might hand their money over to someone else - they supported 'one of their own' to setup a store that caters to their own particular culture and the goods that come with it and thus effectively they are "supporting their own" and "keeping their money in their own community".

The Atlanta area is unique. There are indeed enclaves in various parts of the metro area that have a racially/ethnically identifiable texture.

In this particular portion of Gwinnett County, which is to the northeast of Atlanta, is dominated by Asians and the stores that cater to them. They have translated their population numbers into ECONOMIC power. Other people who have instead taken the POLITICAL route to obtain the same should take note. They are gaining economic power without political representation.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

African Girls, Their Period & Always?



Protecting Futures Campaign Home Page

OK I get it.
The theme of the commercial and campaign is that these young girls throughout Africa who are attempting to obtain an education don't have something as simple as a female sanitary napkin that would allow them to go to school during that time of month and thus this is a threat to their forward progress. I understand this. Really I do.

What I don't get, however, is - Why does it take an American corporation and the activists that stand behind it to HAND OUT sanitary napkins in South Africa and other nations in order to address the needs for the masses?

Please note the trend - earlier today I heard on the radio about the fate of the "World Champion New England Patriots" gear that was printed out. You see the NFL arranges to have paraphernalia that has both of the competitors as winners for show immediately after the game. The losing goods gets shipped to some 3rd world nation - usually in Africa. Somewhere on the continent of Africa is a person with a t-shirt and a hat that says "Chicago Bears - Super Bowl Champs 2007".

All of this disturbs me because it seems that Africa has become the dumping ground for certain consumer goods. Previous reports have detailed how the abundance of used clothing from American charities has destroyed the new clothing manufacturing industry for domestic consumption there.

I am of the opinion that - as much as possible - a society must have the supply chain infrastructure to recognize the needs that it has and supply it as close to home as possible. The program to provide female sanitary napkins to South African female students just didn't sit right with me. The natives people of that part of Africa have been around far longer than the people of the American culture. How exactly did the manage to deal with "that time of month" prior to Always getting the idea to "help them"?

I would much rather see the manufacturers of "Always" to set up a plant in South Africa - provide the women there with jobs and thus afford them the opportunity to earn a salary from which they can pay for their own "maxi-pads". While their theory today is no doubt - we are clearing the way for young girls to receive an education - the more goods that are dumped upon Africa the fewer local manufacture of goods needed to satisfy the market there will be. These girls, once they get their education - they will no doubt leave for a more fruitful part of the world.

Sometimes it is better to ask for a means to help yourselves rather than to ask for help in the way of charity.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

"Power Trip" - Societal and Cultural Change




"Power Trip" Web site

As much as I hate to admit it - "Link TV" - the left biased channel on DirecTV is my most favored and frequently watched television station. My Tivo can be found recording from this source more than all others. FoxNews channel has nothing on Link TV. I have always been a fan of "muckraking" journalism. Even if I differ with the ideological assumptions that the media organization standing behind the initiative - I respect their "keeping them honest" motivations. So is the case with the movie "Power Trip".

"Power Trip" details the struggles in the nation of Georgia - a former province in the Soviet Union. If you are looking for an example of a "White" 3rd world nation - look no further than this. Poverty is rampant. After the break up of the Soviet Union the resources that once flowed from the strong central government dried up. They were pretty much on their own since then.

In 1999 an American energy conglomerate purchased the formerly state owned power generating company. They were hoping to make massive improvements in the electricity distribution system and to increase the reliability of the service. Boy did they fail to see what they were stepping into!

The reason why I posted this information on my "cultural" blog is because this movie shows the BRAINWASHED STATE that an entire country of people can acquire having had a central government to provide them will all their needs - ABSTRACTING them from the COSTS of delivering them services and in the process destroying any notion of QUALITY OF SERVICE. So was the case here.

The formerly state owned electrical system DID NOT HAVE ELECTRIC METERS on every residence to track and of course bill the consumers for their power. The entire system was like an open river - cast your bucket within and take the power that you wanted. There were housing complexes that had a main electrical trunk line coming into a distribution panel. Over the years people had paid the local handyman money to run their own make shift electrical cable from their own apartment into the distribution grid. Wires were dangling everywhere and it was literally a hazard for anyone to go near this tangle of wires lest they risk electrocution.

When the American management took over they attempted to shift the cost burden upon the individual consumers. They spent $100 per customer to put in an electrical meter in and establish an account with consumers. After several months they obtained only a 10% COLLECTION RATE on residential electrical service!!!!! The people hadn't been used to paying for the electricity that they consumed and just because the COMPANY had changed didn't mean that the PEOPLE and their mindset had changed.

I could not help but make a parallel between these people and the debates we here in America regarding health care. When their accounts were cut off due to non-payment they became angry and confronted the company for doing so. Many of them said that ELECTRICITY IS A HUMAN RIGHT!!!! How dare they cut off the electricity when so much of their STANDARD OF LIVING was based on their need for electricity! Many of them said that they liked things better under the Soviet Union when all of their needs were taken care of by the state. I have to give former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean credit. He made the case that once you give the masses a public benefit - it is nearly impossible to take it away from them. Truer words have never been said. The only problem is is when THE SYSTEM that had granted them this benefit has changed. When the people now have to PROVIDE FOR SELF - they are categorically unqualified to do so because of their conditioning.

The problem stemmed from the fact that the main power generation company is required to purchase natural gas in order to power the turbines that generate the electricity. The fact that they were not receiving any money from the electrical distribution company that manages the local lines and the customer accounts meant that they were losing masses of money as they operated. This fundamental resource - electricity - is the building block for all hopes at turning the economy of Georgia around.

It is sad to say but I believe that my country of the United States is moving incrementally toward the Soviet style central government resource distribution model that so many Georgians are brainwashed with. Today in America the same mindset can be found among those who are closely aligned with the government entitlement programs of all type (yes I am talking both social welfare and corporate welfare).

The movie "Power Trip" should be required viewing for all Americans as we seek to rediscover our national economic character.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

The White Man Must Indeed Serve Colder Ice




This morning I agreed to a business consulting session with an aspiring
entrepreneur who is seeking my advice about a new Internet community
venture. I suggested that we meet at “Thumbs Up Cafe”. This is a popular
eatery in East Point Georgia. When I got there the place was jam packed with
diners eating breakfast. There was a line of people waiting for seats as
well.

This strip is significant to me because a few years ago I lead a seemingly
one man effort to get my friends to support the new bars and restaurants
in this district. This is part of the revitalized city of East Point, a suburb of Atlanta. Unfortunately the blues club that I was working to get everyone to support
closed down after less than a year.

Knowing that "Thumbs Up" was too packed for me to have a chance at having an extended dialogue, I walked a few blocks down to see if “Q's Restaurant” was a bit less crowded for my meeting. Surprisingly “Q's”, the Black owned restaurant
was nearly empty. It is a "soul food" restaurant but they advertised clearly that they serve breakfast as well. I can only assume that “Thumbs Up” is White owned
because several of the workers were white. Usually the person who is
working with the cash register gives a pretty good hint as to the
ownership. I am not making the case against White owned restaurants in no
way. HOWEVER when there is the case where the one restaurant has 'feast'
and the other restaurant a few doors down has 'famine' then clearly there
is a CONSCIOUSNESS issue involved here. The fact that in many cases "your own people" are the only ones who are going to support your business effort - SURELY - someone should attempt to distribute this all Black crowd out in order to make sure that the other guy down the street stays open.

I am about to purchase some food from “Q's” and I am sure that the food down the street can't possibly be so good as to justify the imbalance. This is plain ridiculous at this point.

This is nothing new however. I recall the “Dougan's Sports Bar” in Stone
Mountain. As the community there transitioned to majority Black so too
did the customer base at Duguan's. The crowd of Black people got so thick
that the owners began charging $5 admission JUST TO COME IN TO GET SOMETHING TO
EAT. (No I did not say – to dance or to eat a free buffet). In the spirit of good
capitalism – I ain't mad at them. There is an abundant customer base that
is overflowing the seating capacity of the facility. One way to address the problem is to ration the seat to those willing to pay $5. A few years ago when they implemented this - upon my first visit when I was informed of the new policy I immediately turned around and refused to pay - taking my business elsewhere. Unfortunately the place was packed with young Black urban professionals who's didn't mind the $5 because they where gathering together with the Black friends. (I figured that it was the FRIENDS and not the ESTABLISHMENT that was creating the value - but I could be wrong).

Once again – a few months later a Black owned wing joint opened up about a
block away – down the hill from “The Atrium” theater and night club. It
used to be an old “Chili's” location. While this Black owned business
struggled to fill his seats – Black customers CONTINUED to wrap around the corner of the building in the cold waiting to get into Dugan's.

CLEARLY we have a CONSCIOUSNESS problem among our people.

Next time I go to Dugan's or Thumbs Up I will bring a thermometer to measure the temperature of their ice water as grounds for comparison.

(Let me be clear - I AM NOT MAD AT ANY OF THESE OWNERS. They are obviously putting forth an attractive product that this majority Black crowd enjoys. I encourage the other others to step up their game. At the same time I ask the BLACK CONSUMER to step up in his consciousness and support these other businesses - telling them what they are doing right and wrong so that they can IMPROVE. Share your opinions - don't keep them to yourself and vow that you will never go there again. How are they going to improve unless you communicate?)