American Idol

Idol

Pride in one’s country is a good thing. In fact, I would argue that in some cases in particular it is almost necessary to excel and be the best.

For the Olympic athlete for instance – or for the politician – and certainly for a man or woman serving in the armed forces…it is a distinct pride in one’s country that can be the motivating factor and/or the driving force to be elite and to act selflessly; especially when a given person recognizes they are a part of something that is bigger than their self. However, as is the case with ANYTHING in life, no matter how noble this idea of pride might be, there is always what is known as too much of a good thing.

Whether you are religious or not maybe you will be familiar with one of the “Ten Commandments” found in the bible that reads: “Thou shall not have any other god’s before me”. That verse is essentially a reference to not succumbing to the ever present temptation of idolatry or of worshiping a “false god” – particularly in a society like America where let’s just say we have a lot going on! The “gods” or “idols” we erect in our individual lives could be money – prestige – status – a person/celebrity – a house or car – and so on. And the reason I mention that verse is because I believe that Americans have collectively created a “false god” in the form of what we might call “fanatical patriotism” or an “American Idol”; which is much different from a healthy pride in one’s country. In fact, the general public has done so to the point of becoming a cliché of sorts whereby citizens of this nation regurgitate scripted lines of which – to be quite honest – we have all been indoctrinated with from birth on some level.

There are SO many layers to this subject matter and I really wish I had time to unpack this further than I will be able to today. But, in the interest of time I want to talk about the particular fact that what some people call “Patriotism” (the kind that is built upon a false reality) is actually a tool that is utilized by those in power to – among other things – oppress people of color and ironically emboldens people to behave in a manner that is detrimental to the very freedoms they themselves hold so dear. All of this while believing their cause to be a righteous one, no less.

A perfect example is the “untouchable” pedestal that police officers or “first responders” – are placed upon. It’s true – police officers have a dangerous and often times thankless job. And if somebody breaks into the home of yours truly – you better believe I am going to dial 911 with the quickness! I appreciate what first responders do on a daily basis and believe that they ought to be commended for their service to the public. But, does that mean that police officers (for instance) are infallible? Incorruptible? Or, most importantly, are they impervious to the tenants of White Supremacy that infiltrate ALL other facets of society? Of course not.

As we all know one of the social issues at the forefront of the current fight for equality in America is police brutality against people of color. We have all seen video footage of black men being shot in the back: which is indisputable proof that policemen are not perfect. However, what happens in the midst of the discussions which transpire after many a police shooting is that a lot of Americans who are over-zealous about the ideals they “grew up on” – REFUSE to accept any possible wrong-doing on the part of police officers in our country and instead regurgitate lines that they have heard all their lives: “Policemen are the best”. “America is the greatest”. “Black people shoot other black people so they can’t talk”. Oh and then there’s the ridiculous line that is often repeated as of late: “Go live somewhere else if you don’t like it here” or “Go back to Africa”.

And I get it (not patronizing) – some individuals have been told all their lives that America is the land of the free and home of the brave. They have been told that you can NEVER criticize the police or soldiers who put their lives on the line for you. NEVER….EVER do you do that. And what’s more is that those “ideals” they have been taught match THEIR reality as they walk down the street. Meaning that they have NEVER had to worry – not even for a second – that they may be discriminated against or possibly killed based on the color of their skin. The very idea that someone in a position of authority would harm them without due cause is inconceivable – especially not the “good old “boys in blue”! So therefore when those individuals see that NFL athlete – that “son of a b&$@h” as Trump put it…kneeling during the anthem??! It goes against every idea of America that they have ever known or experienced – ideas they have been dutifully trained to love and revere.

My response to those who take that approach is to begin by stating that NO ONE and NO THING is perfect.

And that goes for America as a whole – the Flag…Soldiers…Police Officers…you name it. We are all imperfect and so that means that since WE are America – America must be imperfect too, right? And what I want those individuals who have not considered this perspective to understand is: Your reality is not this writer’s reality. Nor is it the reality of millions of other Americans. And, yet, America has cultivated a particular and peculiar type of jingoism that has led to an idol-like perspective of a country whose ideals do not match the reality experienced by ALL of her citizens.

Instead of actually adhering to the principles put forth by our founding fathers, America is currently engaged in the overzealous worshiping of an “idea” (freedom for all) that is not even real to begin with and never has been given the overtly racist track record of our country. The antidote: we must take down or remove these false gods and begin to focus on the humanity of every person everywhere. If we truly want America to be as special as some have portrayed it to be today – we won’t start with a worshiping OF the flag – we’ll start with insisting on equality for all which will give true validation TO the flag…or any of the other American Idols or symbols at whose feet many have fallen prostrate.


Oreos to go: 

17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Daniel (Chapter 3)


 

signature-4

 

 

More than a blog. It’s a movement.

 

Though there is much more that could be said, I will have to stop for now. But hopefully you will continue the conversation in your living rooms, at your places of worship, and even with that person of another race you just met as you were walking down the street in your neighborhood.

And also I do have what I think is another interesting plate of cookies on a platter for next Monday (you can share via social media buttons below), when I hope you will join me again to talk some more oreos. 

Advertisements

Free Meek Mill

Meek

Here we go again. Another young black man who finds himself the victim of what is an unquestionably corrupt criminal justice system in America.

Robert Rihmeek Williams, aka “Meek Mill” is a well known hip-hop artist who was recently sentenced to a 2 – 4 year prison sentence for a “probation violation” regarding a crime he allegedly committed ELEVEN years ago when he was the tender young age of nineteen. And what was this egregious violation that led the judge to come down upon Meek with such a heavy hand of justice you may wonder? He made the insanely inconceivable decision to “pop a wheelie” on a motorcycle. No really, that was it. Quick…grab the women and children and rush them inside! Lock your doors and throw away the key America, a mad man on a motorcycle is trying to have fun! What are we to do – what with such debauchery and hoodlum-like activity unbridled and running amuck on our streets?!

This is so obviously ridiculous. It is…within a nutshell…everything that is wrong about the prison industrial complex. And that complex is incidentally – an institution with a binary purpose that clearly defines its ultimate objective: 1) Make money 2) Enslave young black men. After all more black men are in prison today than were slaves during that period in America. But wait it gets worse. The probation officer and THE PROSECUTOR in Meek’s case informed the judge that he did not need to see ONE DAY – let alone two to four years in prison – and yet the judge ignored their advice and decided to exact this severe punishment upon him anyway. MEANWHILE – just last week – the parents of another unarmed black man who died at the hands of the police had to sit and watch a “not guilty verdict” handed down by a jury of their peers as justice once again leaped out the window of a another courtroom of supposed “law & order”. This was a reenactment of an all too familiar scene or a really bad movie for the families and friends of black men and women who cry tears of pain upon a loss of life and then again for a second time after witnessing the assailant walk away scot-free.

And, what about this opioid epidemic that is sweeping through white communities around the nation? The response of the current administration in the White House to stories like the one I just read the other day in which two white women were found passed out in the front seat of their car (Click here for story) with the infant baby of each respectively in the back seat…is empathy. We need to HELP White Americans not JAIL them apparently. Therefore Trump is suggesting programs of rehabilitation and assistance for those hooked on opioids which he calls a “Public Health Emergency” (a program that since he labeled it “Public” will cost upwards of a billion dollars out of the pockets of tax payers by the way – I thought his crowd hated socialism??). Meanwhile, if a black mom should be caught – AWAKE – with a nickel bag of marijuana – a much more benign drug – she is headed to jail. We don’t need to help her – she’s just a bad mother and a degenerate drug addict.

The double standard in this country is as evident as it is appalling. So when I say “Free Meek Mill” in the subject line above, I don’t just mean from prison (although somebody DEFINITELY needs to step in and let that negro out). I am actually referring to something I’d like to think is much more profound. What I am suggesting is the cultivation of a society in which he is truly free. A society in which such an egregious miscarriage of justice is unthinkable not just for some but for all. A society in which a black male cannot be killed by individuals who are sworn to protect him. And if he is – one in which that officer KNOWS justice will be swift and impartial. It is in THAT type of society that you TRULY free Meek Mill and all who share his pigmentation. Whereas in this society Meek Mill can be released from his physical incarceration TODAY, and yet he still will not be completely free. Because to be black in current day America is to live in bondage and to be subject to an unjust system economically – socially – and politically. God speed the day when that is no longer the case. Until then I guess no “popping wheelies” Black America. If you want to commit a crime – overdose on heroin with your kids in the car because that will elicit the sympathy of our Commander-in-Chief.

 


FREE MEEK MILL


 


 Oreos to go: Black Americans don’t get treatment via “Public Funds” they get locked up:


 

signature-4

 

 

More than a blog. It’s a movement.

 

Though there is much more that could be said, I will have to stop for now. But hopefully you will continue the conversation in your living rooms, at your places of worship, and even with that person of another race you just met as you were walking down the street in your neighborhood.

And also I do have what I think is another interesting plate of cookies on a platter for next Monday (you can share via social media buttons below), when I hope you will join me again to talk some more oreos. 

The Aftermath (Part II)

Hurricane

On the heels of (Part I) posted on Monday I want to discuss Black America’s role as I see it @ the rebuilding

of our community as a whole in the Aftermath of the debilitating “natural disaster” that has unfolded here in America.

To begin with I want to reiterate that the steps outlined in part one MUST be seen as a prerequisite to what I want to share @ the part Black America has to play in this dilemma. In other words, we must finally reach the point of a universal agreement that there was indeed a natural disaster (destructive racism) that took place in this nation. Secondly, we must also agree that the perpetrators never took responsibility and therefore did not act accordingly. In fact, to the contrary, they denied having played any role in bringing about the tragic circumstances that ensued as a direct result of their very own actions and even worse were successful in intervening and preventing any attempts by those who were seeking assistance in rebuilding or being compensated for what had been taken or destroyed.

It is vitally important that we start from that place of truth as Americans of all races. It is not ok for America to continue to perpetuate the lies it has to-date about how we arrived where we are at present. Those lies affect this entire rehabilitation process and cloud the judgment of the public at large. This has allowed ignorance to prevail in a form that is counterproductive to progress and has for decades prevented the sorely needed dispensation of public policies – resources – and basic tenants of human decency across the board; leaving large pockets of Black America to sink into the quicksand of hopelessness and despair.

Having said all of the above – there is an immensely important facet to this scenario that sits squarely upon the lap of Black America. Which is to say that once we are able to hopefully reach the moment of truth when America ultimately recognizes and is therefore prepared to right her evident wrongs – Black America must be ready to take advantage – and right now… generally speaking…we are not.

You know one of the greatest travesties of all of this unfortunate history is not necessarily what it has done physically or economically to black people – though it has been truly destructive in each of those regards. But, it is the mental toll or the warped mentality that this has produced in our community (again I am speaking in generalities) that is the most harmful aspect in my opinion. The trauma – the lack – the impact upon our self-esteem (and much more) has collectively speaking led to a scenario in which far too many black people have turned away from education to crime – turned away from loving ties and brotherhood to violence and distrust. And, perhaps worst of all, we have turned away from hope to apathy and despair due to an environment that breeds a “dog-eat-dog” mentality.

All of this has happened in neighborhoods where our children have been left to walk among the broken glass – the felled trees – the twisted metal of the Aftermath of White Supremacy in America. This Aftermath has crippled the black community in ways which are simply indescribable and it has produced a myriad of unhealthy habits and backwards ways of thinking that now must be reversed. Our narrow perspective – our limited worldview has been brought to fruition within the confines of a small box constructed with the limited space of four enclosed walls that are suffocating and have left various communities feeling woefully claustrophobic. And to survive those dire circumstances far too many among us have hardened a carefully constructed shell around our individual persons and turned to detrimental vices as a coping mechanism to deal with the traumatic results of being left behind to fend for ourselves in the Aftermath.

This is precisely why we see so many shootings on the Westside of Chicago and in the “Pork n’ Beans” in Miami and in South Central Los Angeles – where even innocent children are not spared from the stray bullets of the guerrilla warfare known as gang violence. This is why in my own city two eighteen year-old black kids were recently arrested after going on an epic crime spree which included armed robbery and a carjacking of a lady with her kid in the car. This is why too many fathers are absent and domestic violence is a regular occurrence in our communities. Rather than making positive choices that can revolutionize our communities like pursuing an education – business ownership – pursuing political empowerment; we instead witness countless young souls filled with untold and untapped promise being lost to “the streets”. And so we must take a LONG look in the mirror as we attempt to proceed in the right direction.

If this truth is not addressed we will not be prepared, Black America, and therefore we cannot advance. Which means we need leadership in our own right that has in tote a game plan of preparation and revolution. We need a person(s) with a plan to redirect our attention – our focus – and to recalibrate our mentality so that we can in fact be ready to utilize and not squander the opportunities that are hopefully forthcoming (and so that we can also – even now – create our own opportunities to the extent possible). The truth we must understand is this: We can have all of the resources in the world…money…new public policies…free healthcare….you name it. BUT if our minds are not free we can NEVER be free either.

And for me that is the key to all of this on both sides of this equation…meaning black and white America. Both sides respectively must free their minds from the confining and destructive effects that White Supremacy has had on their way of thinking in order to deal with the Aftermath – pick up the pieces – and move forward in a positive direction in this unparalleled effort known as the American Experiment. NONE of us can truly be free until we have done that. In that sense, both sides have a critical role to play @ moving forward in the Aftermath. And it is the cooperation of each side respectively @ their role in all of this – that will allow the American Experiment to be successful. To that end, MLK was right when he offered the quote I leave you with now:

 

“In a real sense all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be…

This is the inter-related structure of reality.”

 


 Oreos to go: 

Aftermath Clean-up Effort:

Step 1) Remove the harmful effects of White Supremacy on rebuilding.

Step 2) Black America must be prepared to take advantage of that removal.


 

signature-4

 

 

More than a blog. It’s a movement.

 

Though there is much more that could be said, I will have to stop for now. But hopefully you will continue the conversation in your living rooms, at your places of worship, and even with that person of another race you just met as you were walking down the street in your neighborhood.

And also I do have what I think is another interesting plate of cookies on a platter for next Monday (you can share via social media buttons below), when I hope you will join me again to talk some more oreos. 

Fake News

Newspaper

At the risk of stating the obvious I dare say: we live in strange times.

A time in which the truth is now open to interpretation and any particular subject of fact is now “up for debate”. To begin with – atop our society – sitting within the auspices of the highest office of our nation – we have an individual who is willing to make any statement that pops into his head irrespective of the truth in order to appease his inexorable ego. It is extremely odd to watch the leader of this nation try to substitute absolute truth with what White House counselor Kellyanne Conway coined “alternative facts” at the onset of the Trump presidency. And even stranger when the individuals who follow him KNOW that he looks foolish as he dispenses these imaginary tales – and at least to-date – still refuse to admit as much. Let me give you just a few examples.

If you recall…after photos and videos showed a relatively diminutive crowd at his inauguration he went on the record and said: “There were (according to his naked eye you understand) what looked like at least 1.5 million people there that day”. AND THEN he proceeded to have now terminated press-secretary Sean Spicer come out and say: “It was the largest crowd to EVER witness an inauguration both in person AND on TV” (SO BIZZARE 😂!!). Or how about after we ALL saw THE video tape of him on THE bus talking about female genitalia 😳? Trump subsequently addressed the now infamous controversy in the third person: “The lying media is saying Donald Trump doesn’t respect women…I can tell you, everybody knows Donald Trump respects women, ok folks. Nobody respects women more than me….FAKE NEWS”. In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico – which he clearly dragged his feet on – he said verbatim: NOBODY could have done what I’ve done for Puerto Rico and with so little appreciation”.

The very audacity to openly offer what are all clearly egregious lies that presuppose the stupidity of his audience (oh that would be us by the way!) is a slap in the face. It undermines Trump’s integrity on just about everything. If he can’t tell the truth about that for which we have clear evidence – or even be able to speak the truth about subjects like “crowd size” which is inconsequential and trivial – how then can we trust him on the issues that actually matter like tax reform – healthcare – military engagements or the hot topic of today regarding the ongoing investigation into Russian ties to his campaign? The irony is that the guy who goes around screaming “Fake News” lies through his teeth on an almost daily basis without even blinking and consequently we have absolutely no idea when he is being truthful.

Now, in the interest of fairness I must admit that although our President is certainly a historically fantastic conveyer of falsehoods and mis-information he is not the only guilty party in this epic saga that is unfolding before our eyes. The mainstream media – as it were – is entirely complicit in this scheme to mis-lead the American public and/or at the very least control the everyday narrative in order to achieve its own desired ends as well. That is to say that if the media has an agenda it wants to push @ any particular cause it fancies: that is precisely what it does. The media will choose said cause – personify it in the form of an endearing “character” – and then appeal to the bleeding hearts of its enraptured audience. This is particularly true in our current political climate where it has declared war in a reprisal against a President who began launching missiles in its direction from the word go; and a President who to its great dismay was successful in deploying dubious but effective methods of undermining their espoused integrity from day one.

So what we have then is a scenario in which we are witnessing – what is in fact an at least sometimes dishonest media (with an established agenda) that has been assaulted by an all too often dishonest President (the likes of which we have never seen). And this just so happens to be a President who also has the most frightful political agenda of my lifetime…one that is unfortunately built upon a racially discriminatory platform that should no doubt be labeled as white nationalism. This I am afraid is a recipe for disaster. When you have a narcissistic commander-in-chief who is also bigoted – stoking flames of hatred that not only embolden individuals who are white supremacists but that also fosters an environment conducive to that ideology – AND – meanwhile a mass media that essentially can do nothing to combat this alarming state of affairs as it itself has been exposed as a pawn in the hands of those who command it do their bidding…things are not going to go well in the intermediate future.

Noam Chomsky may have said it best: “Citizens of the democratic societies should undertake a course of intellectual self-defense to protect themselves from manipulation and control, and to lay the basis for meaningful democracy.” (Please read that quote again). There is a sacrificial lamb that has been slaughtered on the altar of public opinion in the midst of this circus and its name is “the truth”. Truth – integrity – morality – NONE of that matters anymore – at least not to those in power. And to be frank, the reason they all get away with their “wicked schemes” is because we as an American public are collectively the “ignorant masses”. Like sheep being led to the slaughter – we blindly follow the pied piper as he plays his tantalizing tune. We sorely lack the ability to critically assess the issues at hand or the requisite fortitude to educate ourselves and to question the status quo. If Fox News or CNN said it – it must be true. Even worse if Donald Trump had said FIFTEEN million people were at his inauguration – I guarantee when the rest of us looked at his followers with an incredulous look on our faces they would have been like…”What”??

I’d say it’s time – wouldn’t you – to start seeking the truth in ALL these things? It is time for the ride to stop and for each of us to get off and start dealing with the reality that America is nowhere near a perfect union. To the contrary – though some like to pretend that America is a magical kingdom of freedom and justice…filled with edible red white & blue pixie dust – we have to-date forged a society in which many face the severe consequences of inequality. A fact which can only be rectified if we begin to accept the truth about our current state of affairs. Once the majority FINALLY comes to grips with that reality – then and only then can we elect qualified officials and hold those officials accountable and to an ethical standard that is beneficial to all Americans regardless of race or tax bracket. But, this can NEVER happen if America continues to accept the copious lies spoon fed directly into the mouths of the unsuspecting proletariat from the crooked tribunes of our nation.

 

Final thought: There is only ONE President of these United States. And, when he or the people who are followers of his try to equate his copious lies with that of ANYONE else it is a non sequitur or false equivalency.

For instance: whether or not Hillary Clinton spoke lies last year or used a private email server is irrelevant to Trump’s current job performance because she is not President. Donald J. Trump is and HE is the singular person whose lies are the most dangerous and relevant to our nation given the office he holds. He drives policies – he literally has the ability to start wars at the push of a button – and HE is the person accountable for the direction of our country as President. That is what he signed up for. He said HE was going to “drain the swamp”, so we must hold him accountable for HIS actions. The buck stops with him and him alone.

 


 Oreos to go: Remember this jewel?


 

signature-4

 

 

More than a blog. It’s a movement.

 

Though there is much more that could be said, I will have to stop for now. But hopefully you will continue the conversation in your living rooms, at your places of worship, and even with that person of another race you just met as you were walking down the street in your neighborhood.

And also I do have what I think is another interesting plate of cookies on a platter for next Monday (you can share via social media buttons below), when I hope you will join me again to talk some more oreos. 

Before the “After Barack” (Part II)

Barack

If you did not read Part I of this topic posted on Monday – go back and do that now!

In part one I utilized the disparities between Barack Obama and Donald Trump as a backdrop and began my exploration of what I think is an interesting question: Which political party is better suited @ the best interests of Black Americans? And I ended that post by alluding to the fact that the principles of White Supremacy – which engulf BOTH parties – are mainly perpetuated by those privileged few that are in possession of almost all of the resources in America. And to that point it’s worth noting that the main objective of those at the top (the elite class) is to maintain a rift that has long since been created between people of color and everyday White Americans (in the modern day that means whites individually making less than $250k annually – which is pretty much EVERY white citizen).

So before we proceed I am going to let you in on a little secret that flips this discussion on its head: The majority of White Americans who vote for the policies of the GOP are shooting themselves directly in their own foot.

Why on earth – for instance – would anyone want to support tax reform that provides tax breaks and other distinct privileges for the wealthy while their relatively meager pay is slashed to pieces? Why would they be in bed with a party who openly condones tax cuts for the same individuals who caused the collapse of the so called “Big Banks” back in 2007: which the American tax payer had to foot the bill for with a 700 BILLION dollar bailout? I’ll tell you why: because White Americans have from day one been convinced by those who W.E.B. Du Bois calls the Planters and the Northern Capitalists – the Super Rich that is – that their best interests align with those individuals who are billionaires and not with other Americans who are living in the same exact predicament they are experiencing. AND…it goes deeper still. I’ll give you one guess as to the primary tool the elite utilize in order to convince White Americans that this is the case and to maintain the separation of themselves from the “common man” (the majority of Americans) below them on the economic totem pole. That’s right….RACE.

You ever noticed that it is popular in America to tell black people that we are no better off by voting for Democrats than Republicans (Donald Trump for instance famously asked black people “What do you have to lose”?), but it is not popular to tell White Americans who do not have a million dollars in their bank account that they are no better off by voting for Republican candidates? And that is because the elite are in control of that narrative. A narrative used by them to distract White Americans away from their own well-being and instead zero-in on stereotypes like these: “They’re taking your jobs”. “They’re all lazy”. “They’re rapist and murderers”. “They’re taking over YOUR country” They want to take your guns”. “They all want welfare”. These are the stereotypes that have been perpetuated all the way back to when the South was defeated in the Civil War and has therefore created such hatred – vitriol – and disdain on the part of White America for people of color and black people in particular – that they are more focused on those falsehoods and racist tendencies than they are on their own self-interests.

While White Americans are focused on immigrants crossing the border and the movements of ISIS – the CEOs of companies like Goldman Sachs where many White Americans are chained to a desk pushing paper – or – the OWNERS of the manufacturing plants where they slave away every day on an assembly line…are hoarding all the spoils of the products and services they produce; and meanwhile trying their best not to pay for that “pre-existing condition” contracted in the coal mine where their family member has worked for twenty years.

Adam Smith in his masterpiece entitled Wealth of Nations put it like this:

What are the common wages of labor, depends everywhere upon the contract made between two parties, those whose interests are by no means the same. The workmen desire to get as much, the masters to give as little as possible.

Many White Americans don’t focus nearly enough (or at all) upon these truths when they consider their circumstances or cast their vote because they are obsessed with this supposed “idea of what America is”an idea that is based largely upon what are centuries old racist tendencies handed to them directly from the very same men who only cut for them a minuscule sliver of the significant pie that is the opulent wealth of America. Thus a Donald Trump comes along and can EASILY tap into old unchecked dogmas that have been dutifully injected into the very DNA – the bone marrow of white society from day one. And as a result he got himself elected even in so late a date as the year 2017 based upon a platform of overt racism.

This was particularly easy to do coming on the heels of the first Black President who wasn’t hated for his policies nearly so much as he was hated by many for the color of his skin. After witnessing the election of Obama a lot of white people were angry – and wanted – as their “saviour” Trump said: To make America Great Again! But what they do not understand is that their idea of making America great does not mean the super-rich finally sharing the wealth – wealth which the elite have always refused to those who labor to produce it. Instead most White Americans while being exploited are STILL smiling because Trump is “taking America back from the Kenyan Born Muslim, Obama, and all the foreigners he’s lettin’ in”!

W.E.B. Du Bois who I mentioned earlier also wrote the following in the same work regarding the South during attempts at reconstruction:

“Here comes the penalty which a land pays when it stifles free speech and free discussions and turns itself over entirely to propaganda. It does not make any difference if at the time the things advocated are absolutely right, the nation, nevertheless becomes morally emasculated and mentally hogtied, and cannot evolve that healthy difference of opinion which leads to the discovery of truth under changing conditions”.

Sound familiar? That is exactly what Donald Trump has been attempting to do since before he took office. Stifle free speech (They’re disrespecting the flag!) and stifle free discussions (FAKE NEWS!!) while meanwhile peddling his own peculiar form of propaganda via Twitter. And many of his followers refuse to acknowledge this TRUTH because they are “mentally hogtied” by a culture of denial that has been forged in the fires of white supremacy for damn near five hundred years. So the truth is that the joke is not just on black people who think the Democratic Party wants to help them – it is on white people who think the Republican Party wants to help them as well. This is in large part, incidentally, why I registered as an Independent and am a HUGE proponent of a formation of a legitimate 3rd Party.

If we were not divided by race – if we were to tear down the wall (sound familiar) of White Supremacy that stands between ourselves and a coalition – we could LITERALLY change the entire system. And those who are in power know it. They are scared to death of that coalition which would mean they would have to pay better wages – provide better and more affordable healthcare – create more hospitable and safer work place environments – fork up the dough for a better educated society which would lift the working wage. And the money to do so would come out of their pockets and threatens institutions of greed and avarice that have been intact since 1492.

My challenge to my white brothers and sisters is to open your eyes. See this for what it is. Don’t hate the player (get it…NFL…you see what I did there?) HATE the game! Donald Trump does not care about YOU either. Unless you are running a Fortune 500 Company (that is). He DOES care about perpetuating racial stereotypes to secure the votes of White Americans – which creates division along lines of race and maintains the economic interests of the “one percent” who are hoarding 90% of our nation’s wealth. LISTEN: the mission of the elite is so entirely clear: DIVIDE and CONQUER in order to maintain their wealth and power. And up until this very moment that is EXACTLY what they’ve done. They are playing the American public like a fiddle and I am sick and tired of their whack lyrics and played out songs.

 


 Oreos to go: A final quote from Du Bois:

“The chief obstacle in this rich realm (the United States), endowed with every natural resource and with abilities of a hundred different people – the chief and only obstacle to the coming of that kingdom of economic equality which is the only logical end of work…is the determination of the white world to keep the black world poor and themselves rich.

A clear vision of a world without INORDINATE individual wealth, of capital without profit and of income based on work alone, is the path out, not only for America but for all men. Across this path stands the South (White Supremacy) with a flaming sword.


 

signature-4

 

 

More than a blog. It’s a movement.

 

Though there is much more that could be said, I will have to stop for now. But hopefully you will continue the conversation in your living rooms, at your places of worship, and even with that person of another race you just met as you were walking down the street in your neighborhood.

And also I do have what I think is another interesting plate of cookies on a platter for next Monday (you can share via social media buttons below), when I hope you will join me again to talk some more oreos. 

Before the “After Barack” (Part I)

Barack 1

Though it has felt like the current administration has inhabited the White House for ten years

the reality is that it has only been ten months since the traveling circus Trump & Co. came to town. The remarkable differences between him and his predecessor – Barack Obama of course – are overwhelmingly compelling. To begin with in disposition Obama was measured – erudite – eloquent – restrained. Trump on the other hand as we all know is impulsive – brash – temperamental – unapologetic – and seems to have an extremely limited vocabulary that centers primarily around the word “HUGE” for some reason. Politically speaking there are clear distinctions as well. On everything from immigration – healthcare – tax reform – foreign politics – climate change – RACE RELATIONS – and on and on – they each are no doubt on opposite sides of the proverbial fence.

And then there are their respective backgrounds and ethnicities. Obama is a bi-racial man who identifies as an African-American. He grew up in relatively meager beginnings in Hawaii – and got his start after finishing Harvard Law as a community organizer before delving into politics and becoming a Senator in Illinois. Meanwhile, Trump, who is a white man was the product of a wealthy family and went to military school as a teenager before attending the Wharton School @ Univ. of Pennsylvania. And, after having earned an economics degree, with a significant loan from his father, he started into real estate and wound up forging what we all now know as the “Trump Brand”; which eventually culminated with his entre in to the world of reality TV.

It is striking – isn’t it – that these two VERY different men should hold the office of the Presidency in direct succession – one from the other. And, believe it or not, I think I actually have found an even more profound aspect to the disparity between the two in the form of a question that often comes to the forefront of the discussion on race in America. That question: What is the difference – for Black America – between when a Democrat (who black people largely vote for obviously) and when a Republican is in power? And given the stark contrasts between Obama and Trump I think this is an even more fascinating subject or question to explore – as the two of them are not only from different parties but also could not possibly be more different in every other conceivable manner.

Let me just go ahead and admit off tops that as a black man in America – it was the singular privilege of my life – other than my marriage and the birth of my two little girls to bear witness to an occurrence (Black Man elected President) that not only did I not believe could EVER happen in my life time – given the overtly racist past and present of America – but an occurrence I also did not think my daughters would ever witness in their lifetime either. Not only that but this was a President that although I did not agree with all of his political ideology was so apparently poised – brilliant – capable. Contrast those innate abilities or qualities if you will with that of our current President and well – don’t even get me started. However, capability in and of itself is not the crux of the question (or its answer) that lies before us today.

The question again is: are black people better off when a Democrat is in office? And my answer is: YES but that is not good enough. Allow me to explain.

Generally speaking the Democratic Party’s philosophies and policies are without question better for Black Americans (and all Americans of color) than the current GOP platform. The very fact that someone like Donald Trump – who has spewed racially charged rhetoric and insulted one race after another since he announced he was running for office – could even be CONSIDERED by Republicans – let alone be elected – is living proof of that fact. Add to that the tone deaf policies and ideology espoused by the GOP party (and Trump in particular) where people of color are concerned; and you have a situation that is dreadful at best.

Case and point: as we speak the Trump Administration is working with the FBI to try and identify and designate those HE deems to be “black extremists groups”. And, I guarantee you if he gets his way Black Lives Matter and any other predominately black organization that is pushing for equality will end up on that list. Meanwhile, White Supremacists who openly ADMIT that they are White Supremacists just marched AGAIN on Charlottesville two weekends ago. But is Trump focusing on that with the FBI? Is he tweeting about it? Is Trump working with the FBI to create gun legislation after a white dude shot 500+ people in Las Vegas or to curtail any possible future actions of other white domestic terrorists (why not label them??). One word answer: NOPE.

Instead he spends his time trying to silence black athletes on the NFL football field when they protest peacefully OR people in the street when they protest with their voices (Black Lives Matter). He tweets about “antifa” – he stood up before an audience in Alabama and called NFL players “sons of bitches” – he sent the VP – via a pre-meditated publicity stunt – to a NFL Football game and had him storm out in fake righteous indignation. And in the midst of all of that he has not said ONE WORD about police brutality.

The Republican Party is abysmal when it comes to social issues – which by the way they conveniently forget ARE moral issues; and that puts people who are any shade of brown in an even more precarious position than we are already in to begin with. And apparently a lot of the people who voted for Trump simply don’t care. They sit back and watch all of the above and much more unfold and don’t say a mumbling word or even worse defend his actions! Why then would people of color associate ourselves with a party like that? A party so far detached from the reality of anyone who does not have white skin that it is literally dumbfounding.

I digress. Despite having said all of the above – the reason I made the statement that: though the Democratic Party is better it is still not good enough – is that while I wouldn’t call its policies abysmal like that of the GOP it is something akin to abysmal which is in no way comforting. And the proof is in the pudding – whereas even when Barack Obama was in office – and Clinton before him (@ Democrats) – black people were still left out in the cold. Still incarcerated at wildly disproportionate numbers – still restricted by the highest rates of poverty of any race or as the gifted poet Tupac Shakur once said: “Still tryna’ make a dollar outta 15 cents”. Translation: As it is to-date: no party has ever been committed to addressing the social ills that began WAY BACK during slavery and have NEVER been acknowledged or truly remedied by any political structure since. Political structures by the way – ALL of which have been dominated by the tenants of White Supremacy; Trump is just an extreme version or manifestation of that unfortunate truth.

Man do I wish I had more time to break it down today so that in the words of Isaiah Washington in Love Jones: “It could forever be broke”Which is why I have decided to offer up Part II this coming Thursday (gonna be good!). But, I do want to say this before I go:

Without the acknowledgement by BOTH parties that White Supremacy is a systemic problem in America we cannot precede with this democratic experiment. To progress from what is essentially an oligarchic dictatorship into a true democratic republic will require wholesale change. And said progression will require the relinquishing of the cherished White Privilege that is currently held tightly within the bosom of those who hold the keys to power in our nation. It is those individuals to whom we must collectively direct our attention. To be continued…


 Oreos to go: Part II coming this Thursday – don’t miss it!


 

signature-4

 

 

More than a blog. It’s a movement.

 

Though there is much more that could be said, I will have to stop for now. But hopefully you will continue the conversation in your living rooms, at your places of worship, and even with that person of another race you just met as you were walking down the street in your neighborhood.

And also I do have what I think is another interesting plate of cookies on a platter for next Monday (you can share via social media buttons below), when I hope you will join me again to talk some more oreos. 

LBJ For President?

LBJ

To begin with it is a shame that within the context of the most powerful and wealthy nation on earth (supposedly built upon the principles of freedom) – more than FIVE HUNDRED YEARS after her inception

that a race of people there within find themselves needing to be “led” due to oppressive circumstances. That in and of itself is a sad commentary on race in America. Black America to this day is in a precarious situation which has perpetuated itself for centuries without ever having been resolved because of various forms of opposition to progress that have been omnipresent at every turn of the mighty struggle that is the fight for justice and equality in America.

White America on the other hand has never had to wrestle with this profound dilemma. I don’t say that to elicit guilt (necessarily) or to simply moan and complain – this is just a fact! Every political structure – economic apparatus – social normative has been in its distinct favor in every conceivable form during the entirety of this so-called American experiment. There has therefore been no need whatsoever for white Americans to even conceive of having to designate a leader outside of those who are a part of conventional power structures because they have always known that those actors will never violate their best interests as a race. Black and brown Americans on the other hand have always known that those very same conventional power structures do not have their best interests in mind – either by design or default.

It is for all of these reasons and more that various members of the modern day black community make attempts to step to the forefront and try to galvanize black Americans as they push forward an agenda that they believe will promote progress in this country. The question today though is: who exactly is it that is the leader of this freedom movement and what should their agenda be? This is especially crucial in present day America where we are lacking overall leadership – generally speaking – in this country as well. The current administration in the White House is chaotic at best. And the head of that Administration has chosen to utilize his bully pulpit to promote division and berate just about anyone who does not share his skin tone. In the middle of all of THAT black people are still searching for their ever elusive civil rights and forced to find leadership in a “leaderless world”.

Today it seems that we have SO many different organizations or entities – many who have great intentions no doubt – (but) who are all sort of doing their own thing. Not only that but we also have individuals that though they certainly should be welcomed (even encouraged) to lend their voices and platforms to “the cause” – they are not necessarily civic leaders equipped to speak for and guide Black America in the direction we need to go. Imagine if you will: Tom Brady or Adam Sandler or Justin Bieber or Blake Shelton being responsible for leading the initiatives of White America. It sounds ridiculous, but this is essentially what happens when Lebron James or Steve Harvey or John Legend or Charles Barkley try to lead the way or speak for black people. And outside of those individuals we have the Black Lives Matters and the Jesse Jacksons and the NAACPs of the world raising their own battle cries. And so as a black man in America I have to be honest… I have not a clue as to who is supposed to be the captain of this ship?!

To be honest I do not believe any of the above ought to be ultimately responsible for spearheading a much needed movement – a movement that would entail a specific and clear agenda. Lebron James is a fantastic athlete who is certainly intelligent and socially conscious, but he cannot be the one on whom Black America relies (though I must say he was awesome in his press conference a couple Mondays ago!) Instead of relying on the best athletes or singers to lead the way – we must create a scenario where we have our best and brightest – including athletes too incidentally (and not just black people by the way) – under “one roof” and led by one leader who is calling the shots. We need a leader with vision who is able to bring people together and who is seeking solely to serve and speak for those who are suffering from the social ills of inequality. This it seems to me is a critical piece that is missing in the complex equation that we need to solve @ racism in America.

Before I let you go can I just say this: we will know that black America has reached the point of equality when we enjoy what is currently – though many try to deny it… “White Privilege”. We will know we have reached the point of equality when we – like White America – do not need a “designated leader” to speak out against oppression. When it will sound just as ridiculous to suggest that an entertainer could be the leader of Black America as it does to suggest that Lady GaGa is the leader of White America. We will know we have arrived when like White America we can be confidant that public policy and politicians have our best interests as a race in mind. When it doesn’t even begin to cross our mind that the American institutions and infrastructure could possibly be against us based on the color of our skin. Don’t look now, but that sounds like a true democracy. Go figure.


Side Note: The NFL athletes who are being pressured to conform to the very same system that oppresses people who look like them are a prime example of why all of the above is so important. While many of them are intelligent – informed – they are still very young and are athletes by occupation. These various players are certainly courageous to kneel despite the backlash that is a result of White Supremacy in America – and should continue their fight – but they should not be ALONE in this struggle for equality. We need a centralized civil-rights coalition to take shape and lead the way. NOW is the time.


 

signature-4

 


 Oreos to go: The aforementioned press conference featuring Lebron:


More than a blog. It’s a movement.

 

Though there is much more that could be said, I will have to stop for now. But hopefully you will continue the conversation in your living rooms, at your places of worship, and even with that person of another race you just met as you were walking down the street in your neighborhood.

And also I do have what I think is another interesting plate of cookies on a platter for next Monday (you can share via social media buttons below), when I hope you will join me again to talk some more oreos. 

White Male: Armed & Dangerous

Armed

By now we have all heard and read a thousand headlines about the shooting that took place last week in Las Vegas.

An event that is to-date the single greatest mass shooting in the history of these United States (which is a mouthful).The perpetrator of the heinous crime was Stephen Paddock – a white male – 64 years of age and reportedly, as I understand, a millionaire who loved to participate in the world of high stakes gambling. Americans literally do not know what to make of him although many have postulated their own make-shift theories for his motivations. I even heard one Fox News anchor say that she heard he didn’t believe in God and that that might explain the shooter’s actions.

One description I have NOT heard from our President or really anyone (including the mainstream media) is exactly what Stephen Paddock is: A Domestic Terrorist. Just imagine if Stephen’s name was Muhammad – a U.S. born Muslim from California. You can bet the bank that Donald Trump would not have stopped at “sick individual” or “raving lunatic” when he addressed the nation; nor would the media-at-large. Had the shooter been of Middle-Eastern descent this episode would have been immediately decried as terrorism. The perpetrator would be demonized in that specific vein and White Americans (on the right in particular) would have been all over every xenophobic talking point known to man.

This is a glaring example of the hypocrisy with which this nation operates regarding matters of race. Even the largest mass shooting in our country’s history did not persuade our President nor the lion’s share of American citizens to own up to the fact that a White American once again has committed an act of terrorism. And the scary part is that this mentality of denial is so deeply ingrained within American culture as a whole that many if not most do not even realize that they view scenarios like the one that just unfolded through a discriminatory lens of race.

Instead of labeling Stephen Paddock a terrorist, White Americans regard him as a “lone wolf” as the article in this hyperlink details. The majority (White America) has basically just scratched its proverbial head and said hmmm…go figure? Meanwhile, those in power apparently see no need to castigate the warlike proclivities of white males in particular who stock pile “weapons of mass destruction” like the arsenal utilized by Paddock; including an AR-15 Assault Rifle modified by “bump stock” (which was one of 40+ guns he needlessly purchased – 23 of which were found on the scene). They see no need to profile white males who are many of them – overtly militaristic and obsessed with their 2nd Amendment right – or – to discuss any possible curtailing of their dangerous behavior that has led to countless other shootings of this nature in the past. Instead – when the perpetrator is white – America – as it has in this case – will just call him “crazy” – light some candles – talk about unity and move on after everyone has had ample time to grieve.

You know I was thinking…”Black Male: Armed & Dangerous” is almost like a popular catch-phrase in America. But, last time I checked no “black male” has mowed down anywhere close to 500 unsuspecting people all in a day’s or in this case a half hour’s work. In fact, White Males are FOUR times as likely (64% of mass shootings) to commit a mass-shooting as Black Males (16% of mass shootings). So…“White Male: Armed & Dangerous” should not be foreign to the American people…BUT it is. Which actually leads us to the larger point that needs to be addressed here which is: the issue of the perception of people based on the color of their skin in America. The negative perception of people of color is constructed FOR us by those who wield power and drives the narrative that black people (or Middle Eastern or Latino) are dangerous or criminals and white people are not.

This subject is important because a direct line can be drawn between the negative perceptions that are construed and the harsh policies that target people of a specific group or race. In this instance, because guns and the 2nd Amendment are of course the darlings of many White Americans, restrictions are deemed unnecessary. Whereas strict and highly punitive laws are apparently needed for petty crimes like selling a nickel bag of marijuana which is of course tied to Black Americans in low-income areas. America routinely scrutinizes and incarcerates black people every day while meanwhile providing multiple platforms to discuss their criminal behavior. Our current political arena is apparently a perfect platform to talk about violence in Chicago among black males – or to institute travel bans against Muslim or Arab nations – but when a white male like Dylan Roof walks into a church and murders nineteen innocent people he is a “lone wolf” – an aberration from the norm – case closed. The same goes for the thousands upon thousands of white kids in suburbia and on college campuses everywhere who as we speak are in possession of any number of illegal drugs. But the difference is those kids are not getting pulled over by the police for “looking suspicious”.

Despite the narrative that has been perpetuated in America – no race has a monopoly on morality. But, one race does have a monopoly over all others (due to its position of power that mind you was acquired by extremely violent means) regarding how each is depicted in the eyes of the American public and the descriptions that each receives accordingly; which makes ALL the difference. White America has a pretty ugly past and present in this nation of violence and murder (committed against people of color in particular) which it insist we must all forget and get over. Add to that the fact that White Americans as we saw in Las Vegas commit crimes everyday – some of which are unspeakable; the difference is when found guilty they are not categorized (terrorism in this case) the same way individuals of other races are after having committed a crime. In their case, allowances are made and excuses imagined to perpetuate the idea or perception of white innocence – or – the inherent goodness of White Americans in our society.

This is not a fun topic to discuss but it’s way past time that we as a nation started to speak the truth – deal with the truth and most importantly act on the truth about race in America.


Watch at least the first three minutes of this video below that depicts the obsession many White Americans have with guns. But instead of labeling it an “obsession” the establishment has labeled it “freedom”.

p.s. Why does the one dude need or even want a fully automatic machine gun??


 

signature-4

 


Oreos to go: First of all this speech makes absolutely no sense. I wish I had time to explain why.

But @ today’s topic it speaks to substituting out “obsession” or “violent tendencies” with the word “freedom” – based on race.


More than a blog. It’s a movement.

 

Though there is much more that could be said, I will have to stop for now. But hopefully you will continue the conversation in your living rooms, at your places of worship, and even with that person of another race you just met as you were walking down the street in your neighborhood.

And also I do have what I think is another interesting plate of cookies on a platter for next Monday (you can share via social media buttons below), when I hope you will join me again to talk some more oreos. 

Puerto Rico: America’s “Side Chick”

Side Chick

Donald Trump’s reaction to the humanitarian crisis transpiring in Puerto Rico is eerily reminiscent of George W. Bush’s lack luster response to Katrina back in 2005.

Yes, Katrina was a catastrophic event of much larger proportions – but nonetheless people have been suffering in P.R. since Sept. 20th and our President just got around to making his way there a couple days ago. Upon his arrival he pretty much patted himself on the back for his own leadership – told the citizens of Puerto Rico that their crisis was going to be an economic burden for America and talked about how great they made out in the process. The video of him tossing paper towels to citizens in a crowd that had formed around him – as if he was shooting a basketball like Steph Curry (his good friend!) – was downright shameful. Meanwhile 95% of the island had no power and the majority of the population, as he arrived, was in need of food and water.

Trump’s treatment of these U.S. Citizens in Puerto Rico is a derivative of an attitude that is possessed by an American Society that does not fully appreciate people or color and acts accordingly. Essentially what the President did was treat Puerto Rico as if it was his “side chick”. Or in other words “yeah I’ll keep you around but I would never fully embrace you as my own”. On the one hand regarding Texas and Florida his unequivocal pronouncement was that the constituents of each respectively are strong – we are with you – and we will make sure you have everything you need. On the other hand regarding Puerto Rico – it was seemingly one insult after another from a President who appeared to begrudgingly lend his support to those he deems second-class citizens.

I want you to imagine if you will – if after the recent hurricanes that hit Texas and Florida…what would happen if Trump had behaved the way he did from the onset in regards to Puerto Rico. Imagine the outrage that would have ensued if he made his way to either state THIRTEEN days after the storm made land fall and was flippantly shooting baskets with paper towels in Texas in the direction of the victims of a natural disaster. Imagine if he told Florida in the midst of people suffering: “You are setting our budget back” or as he tweeted about Puerto Ricans if he would have said: “Floridians want everything to be done for them”. Not only would the citizens of those states have lost their collective mind – but all Americans would have been united in criticism of a President who would have felt a heat under his behind tantamount to the very depths of Dante’s Inferno. This has not been the case with our collective reaction to how Puerto Rico has been disregarded. The reaction of not only Trump but most Americans has been tepid at best. In so many words we are saying to them: “Sure we’ll visit the island to vacation – buy a few cocktails – but like a side chick when push comes to shove – you are on your own.

This topic actually delves much deeper than humanitarian aid or the response time of FEMA. It highlights the general lack of respect that is shown to not only individuals of color – but also those who our society considers “the least of these” (not to put too fine a point it). Regarding what are identical circumstances – a hurricane in one place (Florida and/or Texas) vs. a hurricane in another (Puerto Rico) – we have just witnessed two entirely different responses based on race. Apologists for Trump and Trump himself will tell you in the president’s words: “Puerto Rico is an island. There is a HUGE ocean around it. It’s a big ocean…a VERY big ocean”. He actually said those words out loud. I would not have believed it had I not actually heard him with my own ears! Not only is he stating the obvious (islands due tend to have a lot of water around them!) in an attempt to explain away his lack of urgency or to imply an inability to move quickly – but we ALL know if that was an island that was pre-dominantly inhabited by White Americans – the response time and choice of words once Trump arrived would have been VERY different. Same as Bush’s would have back in the day when Katrina hit – had the New Orleans Super Dome been filled with White Americans.

What’s my point? Allow me to tie this together with my post from yesterday which was about the debate over the recent NFL protests. People of color do not want to be treated as if we are America’s side chick. We ARE American citizens after all. And unless we are afforded equitable treatment and called in out of the cold winter’s night of injustice to be clothed with the rights that are supposedly afforded to ALL AMERICANS – then the democratic republic that our nation lauds is a sham. It is a fantasy. If ALL of this country’s citizens do not receive the same treatment regardless of race…the U.S. Constitution is a fraudulent document – plain and simple.

What we are asking is not complex. In fact, it is so simple a kindergartner could understand it. All everyone has to do is simply follow the rules. No less. No more. Police officers – Mayors – Senators and yes even Presidents must treat EVERY citizen – whether they are in Puerto Rico or Texas – whether they are black or white – whether rich or poor – treat everyone the same with dignity & respect AND according to the rule of law laid down in this nation. It sounds simple but America has had a REALLY hard time with that notion for 500 years. Americans are quick to get upset about players kneeling for the anthem – but either deny all together or are extremely reluctant to discuss discrepancies like those found in the response to Puerto Rico vs. the response to Texas & Florida – or the many other social ills that plague people of color in our nation. God speed the day when that reluctance finally comes to the end.

 

Maybe he will shoot  three pointers with boxes of band-aids and gauzes at hospital in Las Vegas; in the direction of victims like he does in video below. Perhaps that will help lighten the mood of the survivors?

 

 

 

signature-4

 

 


 Oreos to go: Image of the questionable statement made by our President via his favorite pass-time…Twitter:

 

Trump Tweet


More than a blog. It’s a movement.

 

Though there is much more that could be said, I will have to stop for now. But hopefully you will continue the conversation in your living rooms, at your places of worship, and even with that person of another race you just met as you were walking down the street in your neighborhood.

And also I do have what I think is another interesting plate of cookies on a platter for next Monday (you can share via social media buttons below), when I hope you will join me again to talk some more oreos. 

Respect the U.S. Flag

Flag

It’s no secret that there is a heated debate that has been transpiring real time in front of the eyes of the American public as of late.

What began with Colin Kaepernick planting a knee into the soil of a football field last year has now transformed into a full-fledged back and forth between differing schools of thought held by various factions of our society. Those who are against the protests that have taken place during the singing of the National Anthem offer up this argument: You DO NOT disrespect the flag of the United States by kneeling under ANY circumstance. And they base this argument largely upon one common theme: Men and women have both fought AND died for our freedom. And it is that theme that I want to address today.

It’s true…men & women have indeed fought and died for America – a fact for which this blogger is humbled and grateful. But, what does that mean exactly? Or in other words what is it that is so great about America that they would be willing to lay down their lives? In answering that question I think most Americans would probably agree with me that there are two universally lauded factors or ideals that come to mind:

1) The Declaration of Independence and specifically the line that states: We hold these truths to be selfevident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” – and  – 2) Our U.S. Constitution which lists the many rights afforded to all U.S. Citizens. These are rights that ostensibly speaking cannot be infringed upon due to their assumed & intrinsic merit as well as the definition and interpretation of those laws by the three branches of our U.S. Government. 

What does all this mean relative to this ongoing debate over the NFL protests? It means that if ANY of these rights is infringed upon – if any U.S. Citizen is not afforded their rights as defined by the most hallowed documents of our land – then the men and women who died fighting for those rights have died in vain unless that obstruction is remedied. And in case you are unaware that is EXACTLY what is happening to black people in America every single day across the country. Our rights as American citizens are in fact routinely being egregiously infringed upon and we are indeed looking for a remedy.

Despite the fact that men & women – INCLUDING COUNTLESS members of the black community no less – have bled and died on the battlefield protecting our freedoms here at home – Black America does not enjoy the full benefits of that freedom – and we NEVER have. This is the single greatest disrespect to the very same U.S. Flag that people are crying out into the streets about when NFL players take a knee on Sundays. Soldiers who serve and fight in the military do not do so…so that people will stand up during the national anthem – they do so…so that people can stand up for and enjoy the rights promised to them by the laws of our nation. Without the validation of those rights for ALL men (not some men) – regardless of race – creed – color or religion…the Flag is just another piece of cloth. This means then that we are witnessing a paradoxical contradiction in which: some Americans are INCENSED by NFL players who are kneeling rather than standing in front of a symbol (the flag) – as those same Americans meanwhile readily accept (even if by their silence) the withholding of the actual rights that that symbol actually represents which honestly makes no sense.

Having said all of the above the truth is that these protests – as many NFL players (including Kaepernick) have stated – is NOT about the U.S. Flag. The flag is simply being utilized by some (including the President) as propaganda to inflame the passions of an overzealous jingoistic audience that is operating within the restrictive confines of a culture that denies and avoids at all costs the issue of racism in America. If this debate was actually about the U.S. flag then Americans would gladly or readily talk about the true meaning of the flag that I just laid out above. And to be clear: you cannot have a LEGITIMATE conversation about what the flag represents without having THAT conversation. 

In the past week a lot of pundits have made some pretty outlandish claims about the recent protests including this one: “These millionaire NFL athletes should be thankful for all the money they are making and just shut up and play” (as if they didn’t EARN that money or as if that accumulation of money means they should just forget about all the black Americans – or Americans of ANY race for that matter -who are suffering and facing abject discrimination). Last time I checked – the saying goes: “to who much is given MUCH is required”. So in the interest of setting the record straight @ said pundits and all other critics – I would be remiss if I let you leave this blog today without the truth in hand. And the truth is that at every single stage of the American Experiment – including this one – Black Americans have existed within a turbulent sea of discrimination – racism – brutality – and inequality. That unfortunate truth is what has compelled these players to take a knee. Not just for themselves but for any member of their community who is not a beneficiary of what the U.S. Flag is supposed to represent.

Black America has tried every other method possible besides kneeling since the beginning of time in an attempt to make America hear that message and she has refused. Instead of listening she has closed her ears and turned her head for centuries; similar to the way she is now by attempting to make this about the flag rather than discrimination. It’s time that changed and my challenge to every single person who reads these words is in the form of a question:

 

What do you suppose YOUR role might be in securing equal rights for ALL citizens?

 

If you can answer that question it would be the ultimate respect for the American Flag that is beloved by so many and validate its meaning. If not…I get it…you can just go right on pretending racial inequality is not happening in America and continue to stand there during the anthem with your hand over your heart – “honoring” freedoms that far too many of your fellow citizens do not also have the privilege to enjoy.

 


Disclaimer: am not suggesting that those who view the protests as an affront are all racist or bad people. I am suggesting that many who took a stance against the players involved probably did so without ever having considered the content of the post above due to a dominate culture in our nation that avoids discussions about race in America. And it is the avoidance of that discussion that MUST come to an end in order to progress as a nation and for the flag to transform from a symbol of freedom for all – into a confirmation of freedom for all.


 

signature-4

 

 


Oreos to go: I have heard the statement that the “message” of the players is being “lost” in all this which is bogus. Do you think that anyone who REALLY wants to know could not easily find out? The truth is that people are avoiding their message.

For instance all I did was a simple Google search that read: “Why did Colin Kaepernick kneel” and in 5 seconds I was watching this video:


More than a blog. It’s a movement.

 

Though there is much more that could be said, I will have to stop for now. But hopefully you will continue the conversation in your living rooms, at your places of worship, and even with that person of another race you just met as you were walking down the street in your neighborhood.

And also I do have what I think is another interesting plate of cookies on a platter for next Monday (you can share via social media buttons below), when I hope you will join me again to talk some more oreos.