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. 

Agent Orange

Agent Orange

It has often been stated that when one assumes the highest office in the United States they immediately become the most powerful individual in the free world.

Given the inherent power and position of the United States in the Western Hemisphere and the influence that said hemisphere has on the rest of the globe – it would be hard to argue that this is not the case. But, regardless of how one might perceive the pecking order of the POTUS relative to all other world leaders – one thing is for certain – a sitting U.S. President is clothed in immense power.

When Donald Trump first entered into the presidential race back in 2015 I honestly believed like most that he had a better chance of beating Lebron James in a dunk competition than he had of becoming our commander in chief. And once he opened his mouth on the campaign trail I was all the more certain! Even up unto the last hour – after all the drama and the “tightening polls” that suddenly occurred when former FBI Director James Comey inexplicably threw a monkey wrench into the game plan of Hillary Clinton – I thought to myself NO WAY. And if Trump and his team are honest they were thinking “no way” too. Alas, the rest…as they say…is history.

After having been sworn into office on January 20, 2017, Trump had an opportunity to utilize the aforementioned power his office wields in order to be an effective agent for change. An agent for progress and for the common good or public welfare of ALL Americans. He could have also chosen to prove that all of the doubters (like myself) were wrong when we said he was incapable – bigoted – incorrigible – EXTREMELY temperamental. But instead of taking advantage of that opportunity he has fulfilled if not exceeded every single ill-fated expectation those who were in opposition to his apparent philosophical objectives feared. He has been indifferent – boisterous – outlandish – insensitive – tone deaf – unwilling to admit his mistakes and conspicuous offenses. And BECAUSE of all of that his administration has not passed a single piece of substantive legislation to-date.

Beyond all of the above – and most importantly in my opinion – Donald Trump has been an agent of division. Dating back to the campaign trail his use of racially charged rhetoric has been the single most polarizing characteristic of many dubious ones in his possession. He has inflamed a “racialized” trail of social accelerants that have been bubbling right there at our feet for decades. What we needed was a “special” agent and what we got instead was Agent Orange; which is more dangerous than the unassuming caricature some have depicted of a harmless sometimes over the top – orangy colored & funny-haired – “you’re fired” reality TV star that is always telling us everything is “gonna be HUGE”. While Donald Trump is all of those things he has also become the personification of a highly flammable “substance” that ignites controversy and stokes the flames of vitriolic emotions which are not limited to but ESPECIALLY associated with issues of race. In a time when we need a flame retardant in the form of public discussion and constructive debate under the watchful eye of strong leadership – he has instead thrown gasoline (his own self that is) onto the fire.

You know who loses out in all of this? We do. The people of the United States that HE claimed he would make great. Although many of us tried to avoid (forecasted) this disaster that is unfolding before our eyes every single day – we are nonetheless witnessing a raging inferno set ablaze by a serial-arsonist who it appears is all-to-happy to fan the flames. What Trump is apparently failing to realize is that we don’t need a president whose ego is three times the size of his head we need our frickin’ health care! We don’t need a tweet about the Emmy’s we need better and more affordable education for our children. We need well thought out police reform and revised public policies regarding our criminal justice system. We need to know that we won’t go to war simply because our President’s feelings have been hurt!

All of this is particularly important in regards to the most vulnerable among us who are facing very real issues (poverty – police brutality – lay-offs – dilapidated housing) on a daily basis even as we speak. These are the people who are suffering the most and they don’t need nor do they want Agent Orange…they need an agent of change. And to that end I will let you in on a little secret. While many on the far-right believe they have won what has essentially become a culture war – the truth is they merely won the battle. In fact, it could just be that Trump’s divisive agenda and intractable disposition is in and of itself the very catalyst for the change that we need to occur in America. The 45th president may in fact wind up inspiring the individual (“Special Agent”) we’ve all been waiting for to come forth and do that which he himself seems incapable of: finally lead this nation toward the perfection of what is a purported democracy. In that respect Donald Trump is merely the opening act to the main event that is the Revolution of America.

 

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 Oreos to Go: In the interest of laughing so we don’t cry @ Agent Orange: watch video below and every time you hear “the Bears” insert “the Trump Administration” in place of that – and that’s how I (and I’m sure many others) feel! (R.I.P. Dennis Green)


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 Dark Heart of Racism

Dark Heart

 

Back in the day I used to be a member of a local YMCA in North Carolina.

This location or “branch” as they called it…one day came up with a new verification system in order to verify individual memberships. You would simply slide your membership card through a scanner – similar to the way you slide a credit card at any given store – and that scanner then delivered your information up onto a screen which a designated person then used to confirm or deny your access to the facility.

At the time that this verification process first began I was around twenty-two or twenty-three years old and I distinctly remember there was this one older white lady who was pretty much always the one sitting at the sign-in desk. And as I approached the desk one day I noticed that she intently eye-balled me as I was scanning my card. After my information popped up on the screen she apparently noticed I was part of what was called a “Family Plan” (meaning my parents’ plan) which was allowed until you were like twenty-five or so. She then remarked with a sort of scowl on her face: “Isn’t it about time you get off your family’s bill”?? I was so taken aback at this comment – a comment that came out of nowhere – that I don’t think I said anything really and just kept going (one of those instances now where I REALLY wish I could have it back so I could share a few choice words with her!).

Flash forward a year or so from that interesting encounter to another time when I had arranged for a couple friends of mine – both black – to meet me at that same location for a game of pick-up basketball. For them to get in they’d need a “day pass” which was afforded to  friends of any member – really as a way of introducing the gym to individuals whom the YMCA hoped might then consider a membership of their own. Mind you I had actually previously WORKED at this YMCA as a youth counselor so I knew how this worked and had seen others take advantage of day passes on countless occasions. As we approached the sign-in desk to request the day pass – who else was sitting there but the same old lady who had once tried to punk me! Upon our asking for the requisite day passes she advised that no such program existed. I was incredulous and told her as much. But to no avail.

My two friends and I stepped outside and I told them in no uncertain terms that this lady was trippin’ and that this was without question about the color of our skin. Not only had she harassed me in the past – I said – but I had seen her give other black people a hard time on numerous occasions. So one of my friends devised a plan. He dialed the number of this YMCA and in a clear articulate tone he began: “Hi, I am a good friend of one of your members who advised that if I wanted to come check out your facilities I could be given a ‘Day Pass’ and gain access to any part of the building”? The response of the old lady who as fate would have it had picked up: “Why, yes that is correct – feel free to stop by at any time”!! We walked right back in and confronted her and her face immediately turned bright red with fury as she admitted her wrong in front of other employees who now listened in. Two passes were secured – apologies from several employees were received – and we got our game of five-on-five basketball going in short order.

Despite the suspicions of many of our fellow Americans @ the claims that black people make about racism in America – racism is indeed a problem in this country. Though it is no doubt true that White America in particular rarely if ever has to worry about encountering situations like the one I described above…I do. And so do countless other black people across the country every single day as we navigate our way through a society that consists of prejudiced and racist hearts. And, if anyone is tempted to believe that racist acts begin and end at your local YMCA – think again. The reality is that racist hearts beat in the chests of various employers – police officers – politicians – judges – restaurant owners – coaches – and yes even bitter old ladies at the front desk of the YMCA!

I recently heard this dynamic brilliantly broken down by a well-known black actor who said: White America has the privilege to go through life on offense. In other words he explained: they live and move and dream in any given space without any concern whatsoever that someone will impede their ambitions or progress because of their ethnicity. He continued: Black America on the other hand has to constantly play defense. When we walk into a room we have to feel it out first. We must consider how we will be perceived and in many instances overcome that perception if there is an end we are trying to obtain. He could not have put it any better and this perspective is not based on paranoia – but is rather – an unfortunate reality of being black in present day America.

About four of five years ago now I was home for a visit and decided to stop by that same YMCA to see if some of my old pals happened to be around. I talked with some of the leadership whom I’d known going back to my days as a member and they advised that I could walk around and see what’s what. I eventually made my way downstairs and who did I see (sitting outside the weight room as opposed to the front desk now but with that same old scanner!) but the same old lady! I don’t think she recognized me and she begrudgingly allowed my wife and I by after we explained that her boss had given us access to the building carte blanche style. I felt sorry for her in that moment… and I mean that sincerely. She will most likely die with that racist heart intact (and probably that scanner in hand!) and take it with her to the grave as her casket is placed into the ground. And the sad truth is that that prejudiced heart will be inextricably bound to her legacy – part of the story of her life. In the end it can be said of her that: “she clung to that scanner protecting the YMCA from black people with all she had”! Congrats I guess…right?

 

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 Oreos to go: Morally and socially speaking…racism is a cardiovascular disease. It is a blockage of the arteries through which the blood of democracy, equality, and love are purposed to flow.


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 Knee

The Knee

Colin Kaepernick owns the most famous and talked about knee in the world at the moment.

He may just want to patent that thing! Ever since he made the decision to kneel during the national anthem last season a furious debate has ensued. Though he clearly stated what his intentions were – there are those who insist that he is disrespecting a flag that represents those who put their lives on the line so that we could all be free. For them that is what his kneeling posture means and they don’t want to hear ANYTHING about social issues in that regard. Despite the desperate pleas of many for these folks to actually listen to Kaepernick’s message…his critics have the unwavering opinion that: “That is not how you should protest”!

For me at least the question to all of his detractors is simple: Do you understand what Colin and other players are trying to say – what they are protesting – even if you don’t agree with their method? And if you DO understand what they are protesting against then why are you not incensed (the same way you are about him kneeling)? Or to use a football analogy: Why are you sitting on the sidelines? The truth is that if you understand the issues facing people of color – some of which are issues that threaten their very lives – then as a human being – intrinsically speaking – you would clearly understand that those issues are far more important than a player kneeling down during the national anthem. That is unless, you want to avoid  those issues instead of doing something about them.

And this actually brings us full circle; because by taking a knee Colin is saying: “America you have not addressed – you have AVOIDED issues that are facing people of color either because you know and are silent (or are unmoved by the suffering of others) – OR – because you know and simply do not care”. Therefore the actions of he and others on this public platform is simply an attempt to force a discussion that has been avoided in our country for centuries – and they are willing to do so by any means necessary. And its important to note as well that we would not be having this debate were it not for the fact that to-date America has wanted to have its cake and eat it too. In other words, what it wants to do is avoid the issues when they are protested against in “typical” fashion and then when someone like Colin protests in a way they can’t avoid or that touches a nerve – act indignant and say “Hey, you can’t do that”!

Though many have been critical of Kaepernick’s methods his actions have actually been successful as they have started that much needed discussion I mentioned above and in many ways kneeling for the anthem has exposed the types of attitudes that are at the center of this whole issue to begin with. For instance NFL Owners (all of whom are powerful white men) have clearly black-balled Kaepernick which is a quintessential example of black people (dating back to antebellum) being told to know our place or otherwise reap the consequences. A message is therefore sent to other black people that if you try it…you too might bare the brunt – so best to keep your mouth closed and do as your told. This sentiment was echoed by Donald Trump during a bellicose speech he delivered on this past Friday in which he exclaimed: “The NFL should fire these sons of bi@&$es”. Aside from those words being entirely inappropriate, notice that not a word has been uttered by the owners or the President (who received million dollar campaign contributions from many of those same owners) about the issues the players are protesting – and to the contrary the narrative has been steered to “the defiling of the precious flag by those terrible and ungrateful black men”.

In the opening paragraph I mentioned that members of “the opposition” to Kaepernick stake their argument upon the claim that soldiers have fought under the U.S. flag so that we could ALL be free. But that really isn’t true historically speaking is it? Wars have been waged for centuries while African-Americans were denied even the most basic rights although THEY themselves fought and died in those battles too! We fought in the Civil War which the North would have lost without our contributions – and yet – Reconstruction laws were sacked and replaced by Jim Crow. We fought in World War I and II – Vietnam – and a Korean War that left my grandfather with recurring nightmares until he died not long ago. And yet for most of his life he could not eat in the same restaurants or choose a seat on the bus because of overtly racist laws. He sacrificed and bled the same color blood as White Americans who told him in turn that he was not good enough to be in their presence.

Today the black community faces disproportionate impoverishment and police brutality and joblessness and health issues and lack of housing and insufficient resources and disgraceful schools and in the face of that extreme lack within the land of plenty some would propose that we are all free? We are not all free. And in fact, NONE of us will be free until we are indeed ALL free. The disparity along lines of color is not the result of divine appointment or an innate sense of laziness as some have suggested. It is precisely because America has avoided and has scapegoated – and has devised crooked public policies and has clung to dogmas and stereotypes for far too long. And the weight of ALL OF THAT HISTORY – all of that social misery was heaped onto the shoulders of Colin Kaepernick’s conscience forcing him to that knee which was driven down into the soil of a nation that has never mustered the courage to deal with its greatest sins. And the truth is that far too many in the black community have been forced to their knees as well – right alongside him. The national anthem then – on the day he first knelt to the ground – was merely the soundtrack to the sad production that is the commentary on race in America.

 

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 Oreos to go: 


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.