Category Archives: Uncategorized

BHM: Hidden History

We are amid Black History Month, this month we take the time to honor our heroes and teach others about our heroes. The main reason I enjoy Black History Month is that every year I learn about one person who I had no previous knowledge of, I am no spring chicken so learning about these people now is not something I am proud of. Knowledge of these great black people should be common.

Through my school years and my children schools’ years during Black History Month, we would discuss mainly the same individuals. The individuals discussed are extraordinary people, but the list of people was limited. The people we would discuss were Martin Luther King Jr, Harriet Tubman, and Frederick Douglass; I enjoyed learning about them but each year it was basically the same information being regurgitated. I think it is a shame that our children are not taught about the vast number of great Black people in this world. Take the movie Hidden Figures, I knew nothing of these great women, oddly enough many well educated Black people knew nothing of them as well. Can you imagine our little black girls being taught about these extraordinary black women for the last 50 years, the impact of this knowledge may have had on our community? There countless other Black people who are not well known and should be. People such as Frederick Douglass Patterson, Bernard Harris, Reginald Lewis, Guion Bluford, Bessie Stringfield, Dr. Shirley Jackson and Lonnie G. Johnson just to name a few. There was a time when Black people could not hold a patent, so who took credit for all those inventions? What would Black wealth look like if Black people did hold the patents to their inventions?

My point to this is to say it is truly a shame that we do not know about our heroes in the same way we know about other race’s heroes. There people who idolize traitors to this country like, General Robert E. Lee but these same people dismiss Black people with great accomplishments. I believe there is a reason to hide this history from us and the rest of the world, by allowing this information to become common knowledge we would realize the greatness in ourselves and America would have to admit it would not be great without us

Advertisements

The Central Park Five’s Yusef Salaam calls Donald Trump “the devil”

TheGrio interviewed Yusef Salaam to find out more about the Central Park Five’s relationship to the 45th president and why he considers Trump a hypocrite.

Source: The Central Park Five’s Yusef Salaam calls Donald Trump “the devil”

A Conversation About Racism

My family is from a small town in South Carolina, my grandfather was born in the early 1900s, so I know that members of my family have had experiences racism, discrimination, and evil. Having said that growing up my family never spoke about these experiencing, I believe that it was never spoken about for several reasons. One I think they wanted us to come to our own conclusion about people, they would warn us about certain dangers or how to approach situations, but the conversation was never presented with racial overtones. Another reason I believe it was not talked about is they did not want it to be a mental obstacle. No one has ever said these are the reason, I do not know if this was the correct way to handle the situation, but everyone is successful and good human beings.

I remember as a little boy going to my grandfather’s retirement party and at the party, all these white men were giving these speeches glorifying my grandfather. I was so proud of my grandfather, but I could help but think how any man of any color could have a disparaging word to say about my grandfather. I could not imagine a man disliking my grandfather based on the color of his skin, so I resigned myself to believe my grandfather did not experience racism and I left the subject alone. Fast forward over 30 years, now I am at a funeral of my uncle and again I witness these white men speaking favorably of my uncle. Once again pride filled me, but those old questions came back to mind, how could someone hate or treat these great men differently based on their skin color. So, when we got back to the house I decided I want to have a conversation about racism.

Started by asking my mother and uncle about their experiences with racism growing up in South Carolina, they began to tell me stories about having to travel to school through the woods because they would see the Klan coming down the road. Instead of having to confront the Klan they would rather travel through the woods. My mother told me a story of her childhood friend, whom I have known my entire life, her friend was being harassed by a white girl, the girl was their age but one day the friend could not take the harassment anymore and beat the little white girl’s ass. After the beating, they were so scared that the Klan or the Sheriff would come looking for them even though her friend was defending herself. I heard a similar story about my wife’s grandmother, but her grandmother had to leave the south because the Klan did come looking for her. I believe she was 13 at the time, so imagine a child having to leave her family because she may be killed and/or raped by white men.

My uncle decided to discuss his experiences while serving this country, my uncle was in the Navy and he was stationed on the USS Intrepid. He told me how he would not be allowed in places while in uniform because he was black, I know we have seen this happen in movies but to hear it from someone’s mouth offers a different experience. He did say that his white shipmates would refuse to patronize any establishment if he and the other black Navy men were not allowed in. The feeling of risking your life for a country and the people of this country and they do not respect you or the uniform you are in is heartbreaking.

After witnessing the pain, the horror, and the disappointment on their faces I now understand why in the past we never had a conversation about racism. I decided to end the conversation because them reliving their pain began to hurt me and the conversation was no longer productive in my opinion. You know things must hurt a person when they can remember every detail about an event that happened 50 or 60 years ago.

The Game for the Green?

A few weeks ago, news came out the Boston Celtics rookie Jason Tatum has a child with his high school sweetheart, but Tatum is currently dating a college classmate. Now you may say why I am writing about a pro basketball player, the reason I am writing about this is that Jason Tatum current girlfriend is a white woman. After reading this story I started to wonder are white women targeting black athletes? I am not accusing Jason’s current girlfriend of this because I do not know her or the circumstances surrounding his relationship with her or his son’s mother. I am just curious.

I have noticed that some professional black athletes are in relationships with white women. Now I do not know if a black athlete with a white woman just sticks out more or that black athletes with white women exceed societal norms. We see athletes such as Ezekiel Elliot, Robert Griffin, III, Reggie Bush, and Andre Drummond in relationships with white women. People will say to me, people should be allowed to marry who they want, love has no color, and it is none of your business. All these statements may be true in some context but the lack of wealth and generational wealth in the black community is what concerns me. Let’s take OJ Simpson case, for example, Nicole Brown Simpson came from a modest family but after marrying OJ her family was now rubbing elbows with the upper class. Her family members were residing in upper-class neighborhoods and her father had his own Hertz business all because of OJ. The Jason Tatum situation just seems odd to me, here is a black young man from St. Louis who has been with his girlfriend throughout high school, he attends Duke University for 10 months now he is no longer with his high school sweetheart. He started dating the new girl all around the time he is projected to become a lottery pick. People will say this all a coincidence, it may well be, but I keep thinking of the book “Killers of the Flower Moon.” In this book white men marry into Native Indian families who have a wealth of oil, the white men then kill the members of the Indian tribe so that the white men will now have all the wealth generated from the oil. My point is history repeats itself and never underestimate the levels people will stoop too.

Maybe this is all in my head, a by-product of watching the movie “Get Out” too many times, but many of these athletes grew up in black home, black neighborhoods, with the support of the black community I just have a problem with another race benefiting from a person struggles without having invested in him or her. Something somebody told me years ago once you become successful you must ask yourself would this person be in my corner or in my life if I did not have this success?

The Fight for Justice has Begun: Where Y’All At?

Sexual assault, sexual harassment, rape, and pedophilia cases have been running ramped in the few months. We have seen newscasters, comedians, actors, music executives, movie executives and politicians being accused of these infractions. Many of which have been fired or resigned from their current positions because of these allegations. The Time magazine persons of the year are the women who have spoken out against these sexual deviants. For some reason, the woman who created the #metoo movement, Tarana Burke was left off the cover but anyway. This movement or moment has given life to conflicting feelings about this phenomenon.

People will ask why would I have conflicted feelings but there are several reasons why. I believe many of these men are criminals and should be punished but there are some situations where I believe the men should not be judged as harshly. The ones who have raped women should be in jail, the ones who exposed themselves should get professional help, the ones who groped should receive a combination of both. The problem I have is with the ones who may have just been a little too aggressive with the women, were they fully aware of how the woman would feel about these tactics. If this behavior has worked on women in the past how would you know if it offended a woman?  I am not saying it is right, I am saying I am conflicted. It causes me to think about my interactions with women. A time when you are trying to get a young lady’s attention and you grab her by the arm. I may think I am being smooth but to her, I might be aggressive. The other problem I have is this may cause the pendulum too far in the other direction. How do we know who is telling the truth, if they’re just the two people involved, and they are the only witnesses? What if the woman exaggerates the incident? How do you handle this? My other issue is Rose McGowan, she is listed as one of the silence breakers and I am not sure I agree with this. I know some women will not like this statement but if I am wrong please enlighten me. She said Harvey Weinstein raped her, she initially took money to be quiet, when the other young lady filed charges against Weinstein, Weinstein people offered her more money not say anything when asked. Rose agreed to take the second payout, the next day after she agreed she changed her mind and decided to speak out against Weinstein. My issue is why take any money let alone agree twice to take the money. Was it only after you saw how big this was going to be you decided to change your mind about the second payout? After Weinstein was exposed she attacks Ben Affleck stating he knew and did nothing. My thinking may be off but as a father, I would be mad if Weinstein did this to my daughter and I find out this may have been prevented if Rose did not take the initial payment and continued to seek justice. Just think if she had fought, Weinstein might not have had the opportunity to do this to other women.

My final issue is the feminist. Why are the feminists more visible on these issues? Roy Moore, an accused pedophile was running for Congress, there should have been thousands of women in Alabama protesting this, Roy Moore called the accusers liars and no uprising. Donald Trump stands accused by 19 women for many of these same charges as the other men and nothing for the women. On January 21, 2017 over a million women march in Washington DC to protest for women’s rights. There should at least be a fraction of that crowd protesting Donald Trump. I have seen protest Nate Parker and Bill Cosby why not Roy Moore and Donald Trump? This is the real fight these men influence laws and have serious affect on the nation, if there are criminals they should be checked. Where is the support for Cyntoia Brown? The world is watching why aren’t feminist leading the charge?

I want justice for women, I believe there needs to be a national discuss to let man know what is not acceptable and women should let man know on an individual level what is not acceptable. I would go crazy if something like this happen to my daughter and it would driving me further insane if she felt she could not tell anyone what happened to her. My point of view is from a male perspective, so it may be wrong, but I am in full support of women. The most important people in my life are women and I will die before I allow someone to get away with hurting them.

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?

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.

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!!!!