Still Sinking: Education Needs Saving

My last article was highlighting areas of our government that may be turning on the citizens. Most of the focus was on the Department of Education and its leader Betsy DeVos. In my opinion, Mrs. DeVos is not helping increase the level of education that is received in public schools. There may be some who disagree with my assessment of her job performance but let me highlight a couple of more things I believe will have a negative impact on the education of our citizens.

The new tax bill which Mrs. DeVos is in support of, will not allow individuals to deduct the interest in student loans, the bill will eliminate the Lifetime Learning Credit, which allows of to a $2000 deduction, and scholarships may be considered income. If your scholarship is considered income you will have to pay taxes on that income. There are many individuals who need scholarships to afford college, and these students have worked hard to obtain these scholarships. Without these scholarships, students would require more loans. How is a student working a part-time job or one who has graduated and is underemployed going to be able to pay taxes on a scholarship? Students are being put in place where no answer is the right answer. You are being told to attend college, you graduate but you can not find a job paying enough for you to live and pay back your student’s loans. They have taxed your scholarship, now you own the IRS and the degree you obtained is not at the standard the industry requires. You do not have the personal connections to get a job in the desired company. Students will start to think is college helping me or hurting me because they are now in a hole that was not there before going to college.

The other thing the tax bill does is to eliminate the deduction teachers use when they spend their own money on school supplies or learning materials for their students. There may be some teachers who will stop spending their money because they will not be reimbursed, and I understand if they do not spend their money because these teachers have bills, families, and student loans they must take care off. We know who this will hit the hardest, private schools and schools in affluent neighborhoods do not have a problem with supplies.

These policies are clearly devised to hinder the education of the low and middle class, people will consider these policies racial and they are because a large percent of the minority community will be adversely affected by them. But the racism is part of the issue the real issue is classism. There are a lot of white people who are in the low and middle class, they support these policies for some reason they believe it will not affect them. It does not matter your racial makeup if you can not afford college you cannot afford it. The question I ask is why, should the government work hard to ensure the citizens are able to compete on a global scale. I am confused, can someone explain it to me?

Advertisements

Is America A Sinking Ship?

Are we witnessing the destruction of America? Does the phrase “Make America Great Again” mean to start from the beginning? Are we, the people, being distracted by all the other things taking place in America? I ask these questions because Donald Trump has been exhibiting strange behavior and some of his appointments have been strange. Take for example Scott Pruitt the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Scott Pruitt described himself as an advocate against the EPA, and he does not believe in climate change. Dr. Ben Carson is the head of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the man is a brilliant neurosurgeon but has no experience with HUD. Then, there is Betsy DeVos, the head of Education, at least she has a long history dealing with education, but the history is shrouded in the destruction of the educational system of Michigan.

I am going to share my opinion about the appointment of Betsy DeVos. Betsy DeVos believes in charter schools, and allowing children to attend the schools of their choice, which I do not have a problem with but her record in Michigan has shown that the charter schools are worse than the public schools. The charter schools in Michigan are run by private companies, therefore there is a profit incentive associated with schools. Mrs. DeVos wants deregulations, which is one of the reasons she champions charter schools, but with deregulation, the level of education received is decreased. Regulations hold the schools and the teachers to a standard, this forces the teachers and schools to live up to or exceed these standards. Without regulations who is accountable for the failures or miseducation of the children.

It is a well-known fact that companies in the United States need individuals educated in the fields that are useful. Manufacturing jobs are becoming a thing of the past, having a college degree is becoming a necessity, there are many jobs requiring a master’s degree. Companies are hiring people from other countries because the people from these countries are better equipped to perform the duties of the job. Knowing all of this why would Mrs. DeVos take positions that would discourage people from attending college? She is against student loan forgiveness, there was a provision put in place if a student was defrauded by a school or if the school utilized illegal or deceptive tactics to get the student to take a loan the student would be forgiven for the loan. In the new tax bill, students would no longer be able to deduct the interest from their student loan repayments. The cost of education is rising, therefore, most people need a student loan to attend college, but making people fearful of student loans will result in fewer people going to college, more jobs going overseas, and the destruction of the middle class.

I just find it strange that someone would work hard to discourage people from seeking an education and work for people to receive a subpar education. Remember the one percent will not be affected by any of these changes in the department of education, department of housing or the EPA, the other 99% will suffer. The American people are divided by racial lines, political lines, and religious lines but the line that everyone is ignoring is the class line. While the 99% is fighting each other the 1% is “Making American Great Again” for them.

 

Cyntoia Brown: The Crime of Bravery

Cyntoia Brown is a young black woman who has been sentenced to life in prison for killing a man when she was sixteen years old. Cyntoia was kidnapped and sold into child prostitution, the man she killed was a 43-year-old white who brought her for sex. After the sexual act Cyntoia believe that the man was reaching for a weapon with the intent of harming her. Cyntoia claims is that she shot this man in self-defense.  There have been several celebrities speaking out on her behalf outlining the injustice in her sentencing. This incident took place in 2004 and Cyntoia has been in prison since. Some of the celebrities who have spoken out are Rihanna and Kim Kardashian-West.

My position is not trying to relitigate the case to prove her innocence, Cyntoia has never denied shooting the man. There are people who will say murder is the worst crime a person can commit but I believe that pedophilia is just as harsh. Whoever wants to debate me on my position please send me a message. Cyntoia was tried as an adult for this crime at the age of 16, she was an abused child. People will state this is based on the laws of the state of Tennessee. They will refer to the state because we have witnessed the case of Brock Turner we see how the system of justice can be unjust. Brock Turner is a young white male who admittedly rape a woman, Turner was caught in the act by two students who chased him down and held until the police arrived. Turner was sentenced to six months in jail in which he served three months.

Cyntoia was a child who was raped and abused by her pimp and the Johns who purchased her. My question is why couldn’t she have been suffering from PTSD. We see all the other situations where people commit acts because of trauma, but society generally associates PTSD with soldiers, but this is not true. We all know children make rash decisions, the decisions are not well thought out, and their minds make lack the capability to analyze a situation properly. Cyntoia was not given this consideration.

My other issue with regards to Cyntoia is lack of movement from the Black Feminist and the White Feminist groups. I made the distinction between white and black because to me there seem to be two different agendas amongst the groups. The feminist groups should have descended t down on the courthouse in Tennessee like a hurricane to defend or support Cyntoia. She is the poster child for all the things they are fighting against. I have watched the black feminist go after Nate Parker, even though he was acquitted of rape over decade ago, protest outside of the courthouse during Bill Cosby’s trial. But nothing visible for Cyntoia. Feminist, in my opinion, can not be mad at Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose and the countless others and not defend or support Cyntoia. The very fact that Cyntoia has been allowed to be treated this way signals that the sexual abuse of children and women is acceptable in our country and defending yourself against this abuse will not be tolerated.

Cyntoia has been a model prison, received her college degree while in prison and mentored other prisoners. For all the things she has been through and will go through she is a strong impressive woman. The sad part of this story is she continues to suffer because we have failed her, we failed her when she was that 16-year-old child and we are failing her now as a young woman.

The [Meek] Shall Inherit the Earth or The Earth May Engulf the [Meek]?

How come we must pick sides? Remember the Martin Luther King Jr. quote “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” The reason why I ask this question and reference this quote is that people have been taking sides regarding the Meek Mill situation.

Meek Mill has been sentenced to a prison term of two to four years for probation violation. There are people on all sides of this topic, many people believe he deserves it for violating the conditions of his probations. There are people upset because some celebrities have come to Meek’s defensive, these people believe their others in the prison system who need the help of these celebrities. There are those people who view this as a mistreatment by the justice system. I personally believe in the latter, this is an abusive system of justice. I offer this to the people who believe Meek is getting what he deserves and to those who are concerned about others in similar or worse situations. If they can do this to an individual who has some success, notoriety, means and minor wealth; what will stop them from doing this to all of us. Instead of complaining about him receiving this attention because he is a celebrity we need to use this moment to point out other situation that displays a miscarriage of justice. People past judgment on the Meek Mill situation without learning what really happened, people rely on the media and the media has proven over time that is not on our side. The media only reports the truth when they are forced to report the truth. The judge indicated he violated his terms of probation by leaving the state without permission, police contact from a fight in the airport, and police contact for riding an unauthorized vehicle in the streets of New York. The charge of leaving the state without permission charge, Meek Mill’s people notified the judge of his travel request and she signed off on the request. The judge later denied giving permission. The fight in the airport, after farther investigation it was determined that Meek was trying to prevent the fight and the charges were dismissed. Riding the unauthorized vehicle incident happened while he was shooting a video, the police were present the entire time, and he was not arrested for this infraction until the next day.

I understand people need to be punished for their mistakes, but the punishment must fit the crime. I ask our people to do one thing instead of looking at all the negative things people like Meek does look at the positive things they do. The media will always highlight the negative, but they will never report on all the charity work he may do, the people he may employ and the lives he may save. Look at the situation regarding Senatorial candidate Roy Moore people are coming to his defense and he is accused of, in my opinion, one of the most heinous crimes a person can commit. As Black people, we have many problems, us fighting amongst ourselves should not be one of them. Any issue regarding a Black person should be dealt with among Black people, the media or no outside forces should influence our decision about another Black person. Remember the injustice you allow to happen to one person, you may one day become a victim of the same injustice.

White Out: The Whiting of the World

After having a conversation with some youths, I determined that they were under the impression that much of the world is Caucasians. The lead me to wonder how did this mindset come to be? Do other people in different parts of the world believe the same thing? Do other people in different parts of the world believe that being white is superior?

With regards, the young men I was speaking with I can understand why they thought the much of the world’s population are Caucasians. Most of the people they see on TV, in schools and in positions of authority are Caucasians. I then remembered watching a video interview with a Reggaetón rapper Tego Calderone, in this interview he talked about being discriminated against because he has darker skin and appears to black instead of looking more like would some people would envision Puerto Ricans resemble. This led me down a different path of thinking, I began wondering how someone could discriminate against someone who has the same culture, speaks the same language, and they live their entire life on the same island. I may be naïve on somethings but for me, I understood the discrimination here in the United States because black people and white people are different culturally, the institution of slavery, the disparity of laws towards black Americans, and the economic benefits to discrimination. With Tego the only difference is the tone of their skin.

Before I go on I must admit I am not as well versed on world history as others, but I have not read or heard of any other time in history before slavery in America where discrimination based on skin color was prevalent. I may be wrong if so please inform me. If I am right, has racism and discrimination in America infected the rest of the world? I started to recall stories that I have read and heard where people of darker skin being treated differently around the world, South America, Asia, Australia, and Europe. If so, I find this fascinating that a small percentage of the world’s population have convinced the rest of the world that is better to be white.

I hope I am wrong on all my assertions. If I am right this means white people do not have to discriminate against black people we will do it to each other. Racism is on auto-pilot!!!!

Does Hollywood Know Your History?

The other day I was watching the television show Superstition starring Mario Van Peeples. In the show, Mario Van Peebles character is an immortal Moorish warrior and his wife has the powers of the Egyptian goddess Isis. This started me to thinking about how Hollywood is aware of Black people’s history and our impact on the world. Kevin Barringer of the Zo What Morning Show constantly points out characters in movies and symbols that are related to Moors and/or Africa.

The reason why I bring this up is that I would like to know should we be ashamed that Hollywood has more knowledge about our history than we do. There are many things that I did not know about our impact on the world and our place in history, I did not gain knowledge of our history until my adult years. The school system does not teach us about our history, the schools omit it or change it. Hollywood gives some knowledge, and they may change the imagery, but the knowledge is still there. For example, Elizabeth Taylor was presented as Cleopatra. They gave you knowledge of Cleopatra and her power, but we should have related that information to a black woman regardless of who is playing her. I remember when I was in college we were having a conversation about Egypt, a white student referred to Egypt as Africa and a black student so no I am talking about Egypt, not Africa. It dawned on me that the school system has us believing that Egypt is not Africa. We were taught about all the great accomplishments, the great people, and the great wealth associated with Egypt. The school system separated this greatness from black people. The reason why I tell this story is the white student had to appeal to logic to convince the black student that Egypt is Africa, he did this by simply asking where is Egypt located. This relates to Hollywood because for the most part Hollywood is controlled by Jewish people and these people have more knowledge about our history than we do.

I point out Hollywood’s knowledge of our history not as a negative, but it can be used as a learning tool. The information presented to us should be used to present the truth to our children. Just as I watch the show Superstition I told my son to watch it and one of is question was how was the wife able to bring him back to life. This question allowed me to teach him about Isis and how she brought her husband back to life. The knowledge was not forced but was well received, this made him want to learn more about Isis and the Moors. When given lemons make lemonade.

It is Just A Battle In A War

Colin Kaepernick has filed a lawsuit against the NFL accusing the NFL of collusion. Many people are stating he is a crybaby, he is not good enough to play in the league, he cannot win the lawsuit or he is getting what he deserves. In my opinion, everybody is wrong, even people who support Colin are stating he may be making a mistake by filing the lawsuit.

Everyone believes Colin has filed the lawsuit with expectations of winning or getting back in the league, I would like to present a different point of view. I believe Colin wants to play in the NFL again but I believe he realizes this is no longer a possibility. Everything Colin has done until this point has been a selfless act, therefore why shouldn’t we assume this lawsuit is a selfless act. By filing this lawsuit, it may prevent other players who have kneeled from losing their jobs. The lawsuit will expose any conversation by the owners on how they will address players who knelt. Jerry Jones comments about players not playing who knelt offer an insight into how the owners may be thinking. If the owners have not colluded up until this point the lawsuit may prevent them from colluding in the future and this will benefit the players. There have been some commentators expressing the concern of his choice of lawyers because they believe Mark Geragos is a celebrity attorney. They believe a celebrity attorney will bring the wrong type of attention to this situation. I think a Mark Geragos or an attorney like him is the correct move, the NFL and/or the media have changed the narrative surrounding Colin’s protest. Geragos has the ability to change the narrative again, he can expose the NFL on several fronts not just regarding Colin. The media likes to portrait that most of the country is against Colin the reality may be that most of the country may support him. This has come down to public perception, the media, NFL, and the President have a stranglehold on public perception. Geragos may have the ability to loosen that hold.

I leave you with two quotes from Sun Tzu “If His forces are united, separate them.” If some of the owners partook in the collusion this will force the others to separate themselves, therefore making them weaker. “Begin by seizing something which your opponent holds dear; then he will be amenable to your will.” These owners are powerful white men, they are used to being in control and not answering to others. The lawsuit will seize some of their power, this will make them uncomfortable and lead to mistakes. People must understand this is not Colin Kaepernick’s war it is everyone’s war.

The Guns of America

The Las Vegas shooting is a tragedy, after this affair we are hearing about gun reform, background checks and now controlling the selling of bump stocks. I am not a gun enthusiast so I had never heard of a bump stock but a “bump stock” replaces a rifle’s standard stock, which is the part held against the shoulder. The bump-stock frees the weapon to slide back and forth rapidly, harnessing the energy from the kickback shooters feel when the weapon fires. The stock “bumps” back and forth between the shooter’s shoulder and trigger finger, causing the rifle to rapidly fire again and again. The shooter holds his or her trigger finger in place while maintaining forward pressure on the barrel and backward pressure on the pistol grip while firing. Bump stocks are not illegal and honestly, I do not see a reason the average person or hunter would need this device. But will there be gun reform? If there is gun reform how will it impact the country? Will new gun laws stop mass shootings?

In my opinion, the answer to all the questions is NO. The reason why I say no is because there will not be any gun reform in any way. After the Newtown shooting where babies were gun down there was no gun reform. After the killing of babies and you stand on your position about gun control there will be no movement after the Las Vegas shootings. You constantly hear people say America has a gun cultural besides the gun cultural here the manufacturing of guns is engrained into the economy of America. Remember the auto industry bailout, the reason for the auto industry bailout is because we were told if the auto companies fail the impact on the country would be devastating. The reason I bring up the auto industry bailout is that there are just as many guns as there are cars in America. Therefore, if the success of the auto industry has a huge impact on the country then the gun manufacturer has a similar impact on the country. Based on these politicians will not do anything that will have a negative impact on gun manufacturers.

In my opinion, there will be no gun reform and there will be no reduction in mass shootings. The hype around the Las Vegas shooting will die down and the gun talk will go away until the next incident. How do we prevent these mass shooting and how do we prepare for a mass shooting, I have no idea? Getting your own guns will not help but if it makes you feel better then get yours. A large number of guns are owned by a small number of citizens. I am afraid this will become a part of life in America

 

Part Time Patriots

Colin Kaepernick reason for his protest was clearly stated, he is protesting police brutality with regards to people of color and how we receive no justice because of police brutality. The media, fans, a government is trying to change the narrative, they are stating this protest is disrespectful to the veterans. Honestly, they have done a good job at changing the narrative, the country is divided. There are many people who believe the players are disrespecting the veterans. The other day I was a post on twitter where someone posted a picture of a soldier’s coffin with the flag on it and his wife next to the coffin crying. The statement was (paraphrasing) “How could you see this and take a knee.”  Since people are so concerned about the veterans and feel the players are disrespecting veterans let’s talk about how the veterans are being really disrespected and these patriots are not upset about these issues.

First, there are many veterans who own small businesses the government has contracts set-a-side for these veteran-owned small businesses. These set-a-sides are supposed to ensure that a portion of the government contracts is given to veteran-owned businesses. The government issues billions of dollars in contracts, therefore, to me it seems like a no-brainer if a veteran-owned business has the capability to fulfill the needs of the contract they should be awarded the contract. The government has a rule of two, which states if at least two veterans owned submitted competitive bids for a contract the contract should go to the veteran-owned business. The government has been finding ways to circumvent this rule and adhere to the Veterans First Choice program. Veterans owned businesses have been in court fighting against this for years, they have recently won a ruling that is in favor of the veterans (Kingdomware). After winning this ruling the government is still not awarding some contracts to veteran-owned businesses. Now you ask how does this hurt veterans, these are veteran-owned small businesses these veterans support their families from these businesses and they employ other veterans. Many of these business owners are disabled veterans. So why would the federal government avoid providing opportunities to the people who risked their lives for the country? Who is getting these contracts? The businesses who when these contracts are they connected to the decision makers?

Secondly, health care for veterans. There is a high rate of veterans who are mentally ill and homeless. Why aren’t the part-time patriots outraged about this?  The recent Graham-Cassidy health care bill that was supposed to replace Obama Care was opposed by veterans because the bill would have harmed veterans. Luckily the bill did not receive the necessary votes but for some reason, no one was concerned about the veterans. The way the current health provided to veterans is good if the veteran has access to a VA hospital but many veterans do not reside near a VA hospital. These veterans who do not live near a VA hospital must see private physicians, once the veterans see a private physician the way the health benefits are structured changes meaning theirs out of pocket expenses increase.

I contest that these part-time patriots do not really care about veterans because if they really cared about veterans there are more pressing issues to address. I believe everyone in this country admires and respects veterans, veterans have made the ultimate sacrifice. Arguing that NFL players are disrespecting the veterans by kneeling is a ludicrous point of view. I would like to see the same energy for issues the really affect veterans lives and livelihoods.

 

 

 

So What You Took A Knee

This past weekend we witness a large portion of the NFL react to Donald Trump’s statement which he indicates any player who kneels during the National Anthem should be fired. The media and the public have praised many of the players and owners for opposing Trump and taking a knee or showing so another form of gesture during the anthem. I respect the unity and the heart to stand against the Donald Trump but part of me is disappointed.

The reason why I am somewhat disappointed is the fact that the reason Colin Kaepernick started sitting and then kneeling during the national anthem was to protest police brutality and the injustice towards black people. The fact that INNOCENT black people being slaughtered in the streets by the police and receiving no justice for these atrocities was not a good reason to take a knee. Some have only taken a knee because Trump called the league out and threaten their livelihood. Now the media is talking about every team who performed some gesture but NO ONE is talking about the injustice that started Colin on this crusade. The murder of Tamar Rice, Alton Sterling, Philando Castiel, or Freddy Gray wasn’t good enough to stand up against the system but an empty threat was the catalyst for your resistance. During all this kneeling we find out the T-Boz, of TLC, a relative was murdered by the police and this instance was barely reported. If not for T-Boz we may not have heard about this killing.

So what you took a knee, the reason for the knee as not been addressed and we are still be murdered by the people sworn to protect us. For all the black NFL players who did not want knee before the Donald Trump statement, you do not have to take a knee but you should donate money to the fight. There are many street-level organizations fighting the good fight you can donate too. There is no excuse for failing your people if you do not want to use your voice then use your wallet.

Advertisements

The purpose of our site to acquire and disseminate information that may be pertinent to our community. We would also like to spark dialogue that may alter opinion or provide a different perspective. The authors of each blog post are also here to learn from the community, we do not claim to more have knowledge about any subject. We simply want to be the highway for valuable information.

Advertisements