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.


 

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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. 

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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!


 

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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.


 

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 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??


 

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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?

 

 

 

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 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.


 

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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. 

Vegas: The American Divide

Vegas

Police responded to reports of the shooting just after 10 p.m. (1 a.m. ET), and the suspect was fatally shot in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, officials said.

 

Note the following was posted at approximately 9:30 a.m. EST –  hours before Donald Trump made an official statement:

 

Every time a mass shooting like the one that took place in Las Vegas occurs (though this one may be unparalleled in U.S. History) the aftermath pretty much looks the same.

Media outlets scramble to the scene and start releasing information prematurely. Information that is usually incorrect or at best extremely hazy and incomplete. Social media immediately blows up with those incomplete facts – after which a bunch of… “Well, I had heard…” type of wild speculation ensues. And then of course…slowly but surely…the actual details begin to be filled in and form a more clear picture of the event as the media ravenously consumes as much detail as is humanly possible through eye-witnesses that reporters interview (and throw up on camera) – through its connections to local law enforcement – through interviews with the mayor AND the governor AND local pastors AND the employee who worked nearby and the list goes on and on…and on. It’s odd really – as it almost seems like a “canned response” or a formulaic theory that has been constructed by the media on “how to respond to tragedy”. A sort of handbook utilized by the media to “sell newspapers” and capitalize on the suffering of human beings.

Next comes the general public’s customary finger pointing. You know like: “This is why we need the far-right to finally admit we need gun control”. “That is B.S. – guns don’t kill people…people kill people”. “It’s all these antifa – Black Lives Matter thugs who are infesting America with their Libtard communist agenda”. “It’s the far-right white nationalist white supremacy movement that has spread division and caused anger and dissent”. “If Trump was a better leader and was not so divisive maybe events like this wouldn’t happen. He has created a cauldron of hatred and animosity”. “This all began with Barack Obama and his race-baiting philosophy to try and divide us. We never had any problems in America before he took office”. 

After we have finished slinging as much mud as we have the mental fortitude to hurl back and forth at one another – then the healing of course must begin. President Trump real-time…has already tweeted a “safe message” which essentially said: This was terrible and God bless all the victims of this senseless tragedy (paraphrasing). As we speak he is no doubt awaiting all the facts so that he can assess what happened – what were the motivations behind what happened – and how he can possibly shape what happened to his political advantage. Regardless of whatever those details might be however – he will without question call for all Americans to come together. He will say that we are strong and will praise all the AMAZING and HEROIC law enforcement and first responders (as will the media); which is always a winning and indisputable talking point that will score him brownie points in a manner that the Democratic Party dare not criticize (works the same way the other way around when a Democrat is President) . He will note that all of our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims who died as innocent individuals at the hands of a mad man – a deranged lunatic.

America in turn will figuratively and literally join hands and recant the ideals and principles we supposedly stand for as a Republic. There will probably be some candle light vigils at the scene and maybe around the nation. And the media in the days ahead will squeeze every last drop that it can out of this story – which will include prime-time specials later this week entitled a gripping: “ABC presents TRAGEDY IN LAS VEGAS: An in depth look at the shooting on the strip”. We will all watch and all live vicariously through the first-hand accounts and shake our proverbial heads. “Oh, I just can’t imagine” we will say – “Those poor people…” we will continue.

But, then what? Will the ties that bind us go on beyond the next two weeks? I should think not. History would indicate that we WILL NOT be changed by this unfortunate event. In fact, it might just be that the division among us may only continue to widen and become even uglier in nature. And I am convinced that this is because the American public does not know how to conduct a conversation that is civil in nature. And part of the reason for our inability to do so is that we are uneducated on the REAL issues that are before us in present day America; and more importantly what causes those issues. Rather than worrying about the facts we simply regurgitate whatever talking points are stated on Fox News or CNN (depending on our political ideology). Meanwhile those who are in power – whether by wealth or by political clout – laugh at a general public who readily accepts their agenda which is to divide and conquer so that they may maintain their monopoly over resources and power in this nation.

For me – yes – this shooting is about an evil or sinful nature that the perpetrator exercised in a horrific manner. But, I am almost certain that when we get all the facts it will also be about a specific agenda that was forged in the fire of our current political climate that is extremely toxic in nature. And to that end I fear we are ALL being played. We are trying to win a losing battle regardless of which side of the political fence we reside on. Because the truth is that the power – the benefits of freedom as defined by the U.S. Constitution – should rest in the hands of the people. And if we were to rewind back to the night of our most recent election I am sad to say that no matter who won – the power would still be in the hands of those whom W.E.B. DuBois would call the “Southern Planters” and the “Northern Capitalists”. Which is to say the same men of the aristocratic class who are HAPPY to see the “common man” irrevocably divided.

I challenge all of us to open our eyes. To critically assess the events unfolding before us in this nation. Our circumstances WILL NOT change until we stop fighting each other and begin fighting against a system that oppresses what is in fact the vast majority of Americans – those who do not possess anything near the amount of resources and power that those who have spoon fed us their agenda currently wield in their high and privileged places.

 

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 Oreos to go: A house divided against itself cannot stand.

– Abraham Lincoln


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. 

Mars Blackmon

Mars Blackmon

 

When I think of Spike Lee my mind always leaps to the classic character “Mars Blackmon”

that Lee played in a series of shoe commercials back in the day featuring the G.O.A.T. Michael Jordan. After some careful analysis Blackmon once theorized @ the explanation for Jordan’s serious hops: “It’s gotta be the shoes”! But, don’t get me wrong though, I am certainly not sleeping on Spike’s tremendous talent as a writer/director. Spike Lee, a savant of the cinema, has brought some of the most important pictures to the silver screen in the modern era. Two films that stand out in my mind are: “Do the Right Thing” and “Malcolm X. The latter of which I will go to my grave wondering how Denzel Washington did not win “Best Actor” for and how the movie itself did not take home “Best Film”. If EVER an actor embodied a character – the incomparable Mr. Denzel Washington embodied Malcolm Little who transmogrified into Malcolm X before our very eyes on the movie screen. This all under the watchful and creative eye of Mr. Lee.

You know I if I am honest I actually do have a feeling that I know exactly why Denzel did not win Best Actor that year and how it is that such a masterpiece did not win best picture. I would submit that the Academy – which by extension – especially twenty years ago – meant an audience of a lighter complexion – did not appreciate a film that depicted a gentlemen who advertised the idea of “black empowerment & militarism”. And despite the many years that had elapsed since the actual events depicted in the film – I suspect it caused uneasiness in the stomachs of those who had been tapped to decide the film’s “Oscar worthiness”. To the point where they could not separate art from what is a very real world of racism – bigotry – and hate (but does that not all the more confirm the film’s brilliance?) Thus, Washington’s incomparable performance was sacrificed on the altar of the “judges'” realm of acceptance.

Malcolm X was outspoken – bombastic – and preached self-defense by “any means necessary”. A far cry from the types of methods that White America condoned and found safe and dignified on the part of the “negro” as black folks were known at the time. White folks back in those days preferred what Robert Kennedy once called “moderate negroes” and what LBJ called “responsible negroes”. And you might say they still do. Anyone who stepped out of these sort of preconceived boundaries at the time – boundaries defined by White America – were tagged by people in positions of authority (politicians and police forces – at federal and state level) as unruly – as hooligans – as thugs. All words that sound mighty familiar even today when protests – peaceful or not – are conducted by Black America.

Once again it’s safe to say that as much as things change they stay the same. When Colin Karpernick took a knee in protest to police brutality he was vilified by certain Americans who suggested that he was disrespecting the U.S. Flag. His approach to trying to bring sorely needed attention to pressing issues is apparently outside the boundaries that White America in particular has theoretically set for black people – as if we need its permission any more than it needs ours. And it appears the NFL owners have followed suit since no one has hired Kaepernick to-date for the upcoming season – meanwhile other QBs with not even half his talent are currently on NFL rosters.

This is a double edged sword @ how bad it is making the owners look because: A) It hearkens back to the Jim Crowe era and the signs at that time that basically said: “know your place” and B) If Colin was coming off a stellar season you can be sure they would have forgone their “principles” and signed him anyway out of pure greed. Which is an indication that the principles THEY and others like them abide by are no more than a house of cards – easily blown down. This is all before we talk about the fact that we are speaking of a league in which 70% of its players are black – and yet not one owner has come out and said “Police brutality is wrong”. Or at the VERY LEAST – “let’s set up a forum to discuss this issue”. A fact which clearly indicates it’s not about human lives – it’s about the brand – the money – the “NFL shield”.

You might be wondering what’s all this got to do with Mars Blackmon?! Last evening a protest of the perceived injustice that is Kaepernick’s treatment in this regard took place at the NFL headquarters. And, Spike Lee a.k.a.  “Mars Blackmon”, lent his support towards the endeavor going back a few weeks now. I would imagine his thought – at least in part is that NFL owners who do not have a lick of talent and without whom the league would go right on thriving – need to have a better understanding of the talent (players) that make the NFL what it is – not the other way around. And they (like much of America) need to be aroused from their calloused slumber of indifference to the ALARM that is the issues facing Black America – as does America in general (INCLUDING a lot of black people). Furthermore, in a dream scenario, this is a prime opportunity for the NFL athletes to be galvinized and say “we aren’t going back to work until you speak out against racial discrimination in this nation”. And maybe just maybe (I am contemplating taking this step myself) people who are friendly to this cause should not watch the NFL as some have suggested. Because just as was the case with Lee’s biopic film “Malcolm X” when Oscar time rolled around back in the day – I think the powers that be have decided Kaepernick is going to be on the outside looking in.

For the record: Taking a knee during the national anthem pales in comparison to the social misery that has been inflicted upon people of color for centuries in this nation. So you will have to excuse us if we are not concerned about encroaching upon the self-righteous sensibilities of individuals who otherwise do not concern themselves in the least about what black people are going through or facing in America every single day across this country. Because the only time we hear from them (including NFL owners) on matters of race is when we cross the imaginary boundaries of a box in which they have tried to keep us trapped since the word “go”. So that even if we are shot down like a dog in the street by people sworn to protect us they do not  speak a mumbling word. And to be quite frank it’s sickening that they could care less due to the disease that is racism and ignorance: a seemingly incurable epidemic in this land. 

Sufficed to say I’m with Mars Blackmon on this one folks. Enough is enough. We cannot allow America – especially those in power to be well adjusted to injustice. The moral conscience of this nation must be re-calibrated. The sleeping dogs of justice must be set loose. Now is the time to finish the fight and pick up the torch handed down from our previous generation. In the words of Malcolm X we need to win this battle by “any means necessary” (non-violent means in our case that is). So let’s do just that shall we? Let’s win.

 

 

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 Oreos to go:  Scene from Malcolm X. No way anyone was better than Denzel in this role:


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. 

Racial Code: The “Lesser Man”

Less Than

 

Note: I know on Monday I said I was going to post that day’s intended submission today – however circumstances surrounding our President’s decision to double-down on ignorance compelled me to share the following words instead:


 

The strategy that made Donald Trump’s ascent to the highest possible office in our land was not revolutionary or groundbreaking. Black people in particular knew exactly what he was doing  because we’d seen it COUNTLESS times before. Of George Wallace, reputed racist, who once while governor attempted to disregard a federal mandate integrating schools in Alabama by literally standing in the entrance to a school to block access to black students, a fellow Alabama politician (who was a supporter of his) once said the following about comments he’d made as he ran for the presidency:

 

“He can use all the other issues – law and order, running your own schools, protecting property rights – and never mention the word race. But people will know he’s telling them ‘A nigger’s trying to get your job, trying to move into your neighborhood.’ What Wallace is doing is talking to them in a kind of shorthand, a kind of code.”

 

Not long after that scenario Richard Nixon questioned the civil-rights agenda that had been put forth by then president LBJ as he (Nixon) was gearing up for his own presidential run:

 

“Why have ghetto riots and a rise in crime, welfare dependency, illegitimacy, drug use, and joblessness followed the civil-rights revolution?”…Nixon wondered aloud. 

His answer to his own question: “There is no structural problem of race or class, only excesses on the part of bleeding heart liberalism”. 

 

Once again these were code words aimed directly at racist hearts who were susceptible to vicious lies due to the unbridled ignorance running rampant across the country. Ignorance that dated back to our nation’s inception. Just imagine living at that time and hearing Nixon’s words even as lynching and segregation was an institution. And yet a candidate for the PRESIDENCY had the nerve to say that there was no “structural problem of race” – and even more dumbfounding it worked! Nixon had successfully employed what had come to be known as the “southern strategy”. A strategy to appeal to xenophobic fears and baseless “rationalies” by directing unfounded theories in the direction of White America.

It actually reared its ugly head again when in 1980 Ronald Regan launched his campaign for the presidency at the Neshoba County Fair in of all places Philadelphia, Mississippi – the same town where three civil rights activists had been murdered by racist bigots. It was there that he posited his own form of racial code when asked about enforcing previously instituted civil-rights initiatives: “I believe in State’s rights”. A deliberate message or eye-wink to the old-boy network signaling that he would not let the federal government intervene in the business of states in the south to stop them from doing what they’d always done to that point: abridge and nullify the rights of black citizens. Jesse Jackson while speaking at Harvard Law School during Regan’s administration asked if the students there knew where Regan had opened his campaign and no one in the room had even heard of Philadelphia, Mississippi – much less realized he started off in that town. Jackson responded: “If even the brightest among us do not uncover these signals, who will”?

It’s safe to say Regan – as a former TV star from Hollywood – did not choose a random town in the deep south where controversy over the murder of civil-rights activists had caused a national outcry because of its cosmopolitan appeal and irresistible night life. Nor for its dense population (even today there’s barely 7,000 people living there) of voters whose sheer numbers could boost his campaign. And if anyone doubted his intentions at the time (or doubts them in 2017) and most informed minds did not incidentally – it was kind of hard for his apologists to explain away his refusal to denounce his Klu Klux Klan endorsement for a week’s time – he finally did so only because public outcry forced his hand (sound familiar?).

Jesse Jackson’s (like him or not) point at Harvard Law was a profound one. The southern strategy can only work if its intended audience is unaware (ignorant) – uneducated on issues of race – or simply racist. And for those who utilize or adhere to the argument in 2017 that the “past is in the past” and that we have “moved on from those days”Our current President employed that SAME “southern strategy” in his run for office. And, though no one thought it could work – believing that we are not living in the 60s or even the 80s anymore for that matter – it was obviously successful. Donald J. Trump is our 45th president because he – like Wallace – like Nixon – like Regan – and so many other politicians of all sorts before him appealed to prejudiced and racist idealogy living in the hearts and minds of more Americans than many of us believed still existed.

Of the many highly questionable  statements Trump made on the campaign trail here are just a few:

 

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. … They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people”. ( Note he ASSUMED some were good people!).

 

“I would build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me — and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall…”

 

“Islam hates us,” he said in an interview on CNN (drawing little distinction between the religion and radical Islamic terrorism).

After making that statement Trump was subsequently asked if the hate was “in Islam itself,” and said: “that’s for the media to figure out”.

 

These are some pretty polarizing statements. And the question one has to ask their self – that is if they TRULY want to assess the motivation behind these types of divisive words is: who exactly is he speaking to? Because he was trying to win an election after all. And it does not take a rocket scientists to right off the bat exclude Latinos and Muslims. Black people and Asians certainly would not respond to that kind of rhetoric. Indian people? Don’t think so. I can only think of one race – collectively speaking – that this type of racially charged language would appeal to. I don’t even have to say it do I?

And what is particularly disturbing and telling is that when he appealed to White Middle and Working Class Americans – he did so in a way that spoke to the “lesser man” within them. Stoking fear about Mexicans crossing the border to rape, rob, and pillage. Demonizing those of Muslim faith. He also – though not listed above – talked about black people and crime – and how we “have nothing to lose”. It worked – but it is pretty damn lousy if you ask me. And to be honest this is not so much and indictment of Trump as it is one on the American people. Because Donald Trump…the “loud and foul mouthed-apolitically correct-traveling circus” entity – would not have been possible had the electorate who voted him into office demanded better from someone seeking to run this country. You can talk about how he said he was bringing jobs back all day long. Donald Trump the candidate – sans the racially charged rhetoric – would not be our 45th president. After all was said and done THAT rhetoric – that coded language – was his foremost appeal to White-America.

We can demand greatness over mediocrity. We can demand respect over disrespect. We CAN kill the “southern strategy” and any other method that does not appeal to the “GREATER man” who also resides within each of us. Otherwise I fear that we are about to witness a further descent into chaos. Unless we check ourselves as a nation we will witness the proverbial chickens coming home to roost because of the sins of the father. The writing is on the wall. Let’s demand that America becomes the best version of herself – that she come out of denial – and that she supersede and purge herself of  her racist inclinations once and for all.

 

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 Oreos to go:  Steve Bannon recently said he thinks the racial issues that have arisen are good for the President. Let’s you know who and what he thinks about Trump’s base.


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. 

Get Your House in Order

White House

Disclaimer: I originally intended to post today about a completely different subject but could not ignore the issues of race at the forefront on this Monday morning on a blog that is in fact about race. So for the second week in a row I will post a second time later in the week (which in this case will be what I had intended to post today). 


This is actually my second effort on this subject matter. I wrote another entry in which I went after the President for side-stepping and doing the old “rope-a-dope” @ his failure to call out White Supremacy for what it is when he addressed the media regarding the fiasco that went down in Virginia. However, I decided to scrap it because at this point that just seems a bit cliché after the media and countless political pundits have already roasted and skewered him all weekend long for his comments which were no doubt deficient of the requisite substance to sufficiently denounce such a blatant display of hatred as witnessed in Charlottesville. And besides – if you are reading these words and don’t know or will not acknowledge that fact to begin with – not sure anything I could write will awaken the better man within (though I will continue trying).

So I am going another way with this post today and am going to focus on the solution aspect. Unless we experience some type of  follow-up scenario(s) that is tied directly to Charlottesville, VA – in three weeks tops that story like many others of its kind in the past will be all but non-existent. Sure it will be brought up from time to time but the collective conscience and attention of America will shift away to something else in short order. Not to mention that much of America will dismiss this event and its participants as an aberration from the norm as is their custom. They will presume that the sentiments expressed by the White Nationalists are like a rare if not mythical unicorn floating around our society and that like a unicorn these people are basically harmless. Short of Robert E. Lee coming back to life and leaping from the statue at the center of this controversy to lead the Confederates in one last charge against “the Yanks”, some Americans just cannot admit racism is an issue in 2017. And it is precisely that exact set of beliefs – that perspective – that is the epicenter of the problem we face with progressing and transcending racial issues in America.

Newsflash: If you are someone who thinks that way YOU are part of the problem. In a sense you might as well have been standing there with the KKK and the neo-Nazis chanting whatever the hell it is they were saying because they depend on people just like you for their continued existence. If White America as a whole – as the majority race in possession the lion’s share of power – stops pretending that we do not have a race problem in America and decides that it WILL NOT accept white supremacy in any form…THE WORLD as we know it will change. And change for the better. Notice I didn’t say the country – I said the world and I did not stutter. And that is not hyperbole either. Why would I make so bold a statement? It’s not because of some special gift White America possesses. No individual race does. I say it rather because together and UNITED as Americans I have no doubt that we can shout the refrain of Marianne Williamson from the highest mountain top: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us”. We have as of yet to see America at its best in the light – truly living out the ideals to which it claims to aspire – in large part because white supremacist beliefs and practices have not yet been deconstructed. America has not been afraid of the dark – it has been afraid of the light.

You know I am an avid fan of hip-hop. A fan who happened to grow up in what is often referred to as the golden era of that genre: which is to say the 90s. So we are talking about Nas – A Tribe Called Quest – Wu-Tang Clan – Biggie Smalls – Snoop – Dre – KRS one – and the Fugees…just to name a few of the BEASTS that came out while I was yet a young pup. At the risk of sounding like an “old head” as they say – the current state of hip-hop is not the same as it was when I was on the come up. Though we have a few dope artists in the new school – I am sad to report that the originality – the content – the freshness of hip-hop has been replaced with messages of shootin’ up the spot and cookin’ in the trap. But you know what? It’s our fault as the listening audience. If the garbage being offered to consumers did not sell – the rappers would be forced to produce a better product.

White Supremacy is a product that much like bad music would not be possible in any form if the listening and viewing audience did not allow for it to be purchased or sold for that matter.  And we as a nation must FINALLY unite in this regard. Hate – discrimination – stereotypes – bigotry – all of this and more must no longer be fashionable to listen to in America. It is time for Americans to finally say “enough is enough”. Time to say: “We don’t want to hear that ish’ “no more”! Otherwise – you mark my word: more hate-filled rallies are going to come. More people are going to lose their lives in the streets. More presidents are going to tap dance around calling down to the mattress what is clearly domestic terrorism and racist organizations bent on creating division and chaos. Organizations whose philosophical disposition is hate-filled and represents the worst of this nation. This is not their country..it is ours. They are not the representation of America…we are.

Harry Truman once said in regard to America’s attempts to promote democracy around the world that: “Our case for democracy will be as strong as we can make it. It should rest on practical evidence that we have been able to put our own house in order”. He had a profound point. Much as was the case in his era – America today purports to be a beacon of freedom and an example to the world. But – and despite of his own racist tendencies – Truman knew that America was a fraud racially speaking. After all, this nation was championing freedom to other nations in the 1960s even while black people here at home could not sleep in “White Only” hotels or eat at “White Only” restaurants. And as is the case in the modern era – too many people back then were silent though they knew this was wrong. Let’s not be silent any longer. As Truman suggested let’s get our house in order. Let’s make sure that our actions match the words detailing freedom found within our hallowed constitution.

 You are reading these words today for a reason friend – you did not arrive here by accident. Share this post with your brother or sister. Share it with your co-worker and your neighbor. Share it with that person you know has some questionable views on this matter. We must have these conversations and end the silence. We must debunk the old wives tales and myths surrounding race. We must get our own house in order if this long and difficult story is to have a happy end.

 

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 Oreos to go:  Thoughts and prayers to the family of Heather Heyer who lost her life this weekend in the struggle for justice and equality in America.


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.