Hopefully, after reading this, everyone will have a better idea of what it means to be white in America.
NBA referee Tim Donaghy is due back in court for sentencing today. He faces up to 33 months in prison. Last summer, on August 15, 2007, Mr. Donaghy stunned the league by pleading guilty to federal charges that he took payoffs from a professional gambler for inside tips on games, he conspired to engage in wire fraud and transmit betting information through interstate commerce. Since then, Mr. Donaghy has claimed corruption among referees runs deeper, drawing angry denials by the league and demands that he pay hefty restitution. Mr. Donaghy pleaded for leniancy citing a professional analysis that his defense could afford that discovered he would never have committed these offenses if he was not a pathological gambler.
Even though he was fairly compensated by the NBA and enjoyed a truly unique opportunity to be involved with professional basketball without having anything in the way of talent, Mr. Donaghy marred the NBA finals by making fresh accusations that the league routinely encouraged refs to ring up bogus fouls to manipulate results. He also claimed that the league discouraged calling technical fouls on star players to keep them active in games and protect ticket sales and television ratings in order to make even more money for American corporations that already had a virtual monopoly on the ability to generate income from the games.
Court papers argued that Mr. Donaghy deserved leniency for voluntarily disclosing the alleged corruption even though he did not come clean until he was arrested. The documents also refer to one instance claiming referees rigged a 2002 playoff series to generate more revenue by forcing a seven game playoff. Although no teams were mentioned in the documents, only the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento Kings series went to seven games during the 2002 playoffs.
NBA commissioner David Stern has called the allegations baseless since Mr. Donaghy cannot prove his allegations beyond a shadow of a doubt. Mr. Stern accused Mr. Donaghy of “singing” in order to get a lighter sentence. Mr. Stern is obviously implying that Mr. Donaghy should have followed a code of silence and kept the secrets of the league out of the public. Mr. Donaghy also implicated two of his former high school classmates. Mr. Dongahy named James Battista, the professional gambler who paid thousands of dollars for Donaghy’s tips, and Thomas Martino, who acted as a middleman. Both men pleaded guilty and were sentenced last week.
To date, 100% of NBA officials indicted and convicted for gambling have been white.
Fatal Shootings in Tennessee
Jim D. Adkisson, an unemployed trucker, is accused of killing two people and wounding six others during a children’s musical production of Annie at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church Sunday morning. A four page letter found in Mr. Adkisson’s truck indicated he picked the church for the attack because he hated the liberal movement of the congregation. The letter is proof positive that Mr. Adkisson made the choice to commit a hate crime. Mr. Adkisson was on welfare and was on the verge of losing his food stamps
The attack Sunday morning lasted only minutes. Mr. Adkisson entered the church during the children’s performance and fired three blasts from his semiautomatic shotgun. The anger behind this attack may have been building for quite a while. It appears his lack of being able to obtain a job combined with his hatred for the liberal movement are two contributing factors. He said that he had targeted the church because of its liberal teachings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country. Mr. Adkisson was a loner who admitted that he hated blacks, gays and anyone different from him.
The Unitarian Universalist church advocates women’s rights and gay rights and has provided sanctuary for political refugees. The church also has fed the homeless and founded a chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, according to its Web site. The police chief said Mr. Adkisson bought the shotgun at a pawn shop about a month ago, and he wrote the letter in the last week or so. A .38-caliber handgun was found in his home.
To date, 100% of people accused or guilty of church shootings and bombings have been white according to the Cap the Steeple People foundation.
Record Breaking Federal Deficit
The United States government’s budget deficit will surge past a half trillion dollars next year, according to new estimates by the Bush administration. The deficit will hit $482 billion in the 2009 budget year. However, that figure will rise after adding the eighty billion dollars in additional Iraq war funding that is not included in the total. And the estimate could be higher yet if the economy fails to recover as the administration predicts. In a break from tradition, and in violation of new mandates from Congress, the White House did not include its full estimate of war costs. It will be the biggest deficit ever.
The deficit situation confronting the next President in early 2009 is reminiscent of that which Bill Clinton faced in 1993. Under financial pressure from Wall Street, Mr. Clinton abandoned promises of tax cuts and pushed an aggressive tax deficit reduction plan through Congress.
The Bush administration claims that the deficit was being driven to its all time high by the sagging economy and the stimulus payments being made to America’s households in an effort to keep the country from falling into a deep recession. The Bush administration refuses to connect the federal budget deficit to the tax breaks that were a tremendous benefit to wealthy Americans. Regardless, pressure is building to allow some tax cuts enacted early in Mr. Bush’s first term in 2001 and 2003 to expire as scheduled.
Monday’s figures capped a remarkable deterioration in the United States’ budgetary health under Mr. Bush’s time in office. He inherited a budget seen as producing endless huge surpluses after four straight years in positive territory. That stretch of surpluses represented a period when the country’s finances had been bolstered by a ten year period of uninterrupted economic growth, the longest expansion in U.S. history. In his first year in office, helped by projections of continuing surpluses, Mr. Bush drove through a one point three trillion dollar package of tax cuts. On average, Wealthy tax payers received about two hundred forty thousand dollars in tax savings. However, most people’s savings barely passed a thousand dollars.
To date, 100% of the people who have run the executive branch of the United States government have been white.
Keith Walendowski is accused of shooting his Lawn Boy lawn mower because it wouldn’t start. According to the criminal complaint, Mr. Walendowski said, “I can do that, it’s my lawn mower and my yard so I can shoot it if I want.” Mr. Walendowski has been charged with felony possession of a short barreled shotgun or rifle and misdemeanor disorderly conduct while armed. A woman who lives at Mr. Walendowski’s house reported the incident saying that he was intoxicated. Mr. Walendowski could face up to an $11,000 fine and six years and three months in prison if convicted.
White people are ninety hundred thirty two times more likely to shoot their lawnmower according to Lawnmower Shooters Monthly.
Poor Parenting Techniques
Dear Dr. Jan,
My wife and I have a loving marriage. We have been through more than our share of hard times. One problem that keeps coming up in our relationship is her eight year old son. He is Oedipal, extremely jealous of any attention his mother gets and inappropriate around her. He touches her breasts and her behind, and constantly tries to invade her space if she’s showering or changing clothes. He also walks nude into the room where she is and touches himself in front of her. I have been trying to tell her these are unnatural behaviors, but she says the boy is just more in touch than his contemporaries and doesn’t hide his curiosity. Who is right?
What this kid is in touch with is emotional disturbance. To think that the youngster is not hiding his curiosity suggests to me that the mother has oatmeal cookies for brains. Nothing you describe is in the realm of normal child development. You somehow have to get your wife to a session with a child specialist who can convince her that the kid is off the rails. It’s possible she is feeding his neurosis. Believe me, there is nothing customary about a boy who’s in the habit of touching his mother’s breasts and behind and taking every chance he gets to see her naked. Displaying himself and attempting what sounds like masturbation is a red flag for psychiatric intervention. That your wife thinks all this is normal means there are two people in your house who need help.
White eight year old boys are four million eighty two times more likely to masturbate in front of their mother without repercussions according to Choking the Monkey Monthly.
Dad Flees With Daughter by Yacht
A divorced father with a murky background snatched his seven year old daughter during a supervised weekend visit and may be trying to flee the country on a 72-foot yacht, police say. Boston police said Tuesday they had no new information on the whereabouts of Clark Rockefeller or his daughter Reigh Boss. Authorities alleged that Mr. Rockefeller, who they said has used several aliases, grabbed the girl Sunday during a visit supervised by a social worker and fled in a vehicle driven by another man. Massachusetts posted an Amber Alert for Reigh, but canceled it Monday after New York City police reported that Rockefeller had been seen the night before at the city’s Grand Central Terminal. Authorities said they believe he may be trying to flee with his daughter Reigh on the yacht, possibly to Bermuda. The New York Police Department Harbor Patrol, the Coast Guard and the FBI searched for the yacht Monday around New York City and Long Island.
Boston police issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Rockefeller on charges of custodial kidnapping. He was also charged with assault and battery and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon because the social worker was injured while trying to hold onto the vehicle. Reigh lives with her mother, Sandra Boss, who works in London as a partner in global management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. and who also is on the board of The Mount, Edith Wharton’s estate at Lenox, Massachusetts.
Little has been made public about Mr. Rockefeller’s background. Fraser Seitel, a spokesman for the descendants of John D. Rockefeller Sr., said Clark Rockefeller was not descended from that side of the wealthy family, and added there is no indication the fugitive was descended from William Rockefeller, John D. Rockefeller Sr.’s only sibling.
To date, 100% of people who try to kidnap their children by 72-foot yacht in America have been white according to federal yachting statistics.
Prejudice Hiring Practices
Former Justice Department officials broke the law by letting Bush administration politics dictate the hiring of prosecutors, immigration judges and other career government lawyers, according to an internal investigation. For nearly two years Monica Goodling, a top adviser to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, discriminated against applicants for career jobs who weren’t Republican or conservative loyalists. At times, the search for GOP activists delayed filling judgeships and threatened to clog immigration courts. Ms. Goodling routinely asked career job applicants about politics.
Ms. Goodling would ask candidates things such as, what is it about George W. Bush that makes you want to serve him? Other questions to candidates were used to guage their conservative convictions on issues such as abortion or gay marriage.
The investigation was one of several examining accusations that White House political meddling drove prosecution, policy and employment decisions within the once fiercely independent Justice Department. Those charges were spurred initially by the firings of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006 and culminated with Mr. Gonzales’ resignation under fire as attorney general last September. Mr. Gonzales claims that he was unaware of the political hiring process outlined by Ms. Goodling and other Department of Justice officials.
The one hundred forty page report does not indicate whether Ms. Goodling or anyone else could face any charges. But congressional Democrats took aim, raising the possibility they would seek prosecution on a number of fronts, potentially including charges of lying to lawmakers for giving sworn testimony that contradicts Monday’s findings.
In one instance, investigators found that Ms. Goodling objected to hiring an assistant prosecutor in Washington because she said “judging from his resume, he appeared to be a liberal Democrat.” In another example, she rejected an experienced terror prosecutor to work on counterterror issues because of his wife’s political affiliations. She rejected at least one job applicant because of a rumor that she was a lesbian. Ms. Goodling is a former Republican National Committee researcher with little experience as a prosecutor. In her House Judiciary Committee testimony in May 2007, she admitted that she had crossed the lines while hiring career employees. She received immunity for her testimony and cannot be prosecuted unless proven that she lied while under oath.
White House spokesman Tony Fratto played down the report, saying, “There really is not a lot new here.”
Many are ready to believe that people in key positions to hire and fire people would rely on prejudiced political values when offering opportunities, but would never believe that people would offer hiring opportunities based on racial prejudices.
It should come as no surprise that I didn’t expect much out of Soledad O’Brien’s earth shattering documentary Black in America being featured on CNN. Ms. O’Brien has never given me the impression that she recognizes or understands or sympathizes with the issues that plague the black community. In fact, none of the reporting on the CNN network has given me the impression that these people are aware that the black community even exist.
I remember watching CNN when Tony Harris was reporting breaking news on the incident that became known as the Jena Six more than a year after the incidents were initiated. While CNN was busy reporting on such perils as the dangers of people having fat pets or Roland Martin reporting on What Would Jesus Do to talk about the commercialization of Christmas or some other nonsense from Jenny Moost, six young black men were being railroaded by an overzealous prosecutor for second degree murder for a school fight with a young white man. The network could have given a rat’s ass about this first class example of racial prejudice and racial discrimination. And instead of the network reporting the facts of the case, the article simply reported the opinion of people living in Jena, Louisiana. We were given a chance to hear what the white people of Jena think and then we were given a chance to hear what the black people of Jena think. Then we were allowed to formulate our own opinion about what actually happened.
So when CNN started promoting its Black in America series with the tag line, everyone will learn what it means to be black in America, I honestly didn’t expect much. But I could have been wrong and waited with everyone else to see what CNN thinks being black in America means.
I’ve seen four of the segments. There was the one that started with the report from the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee talking about Doctor Martin Luther King, Junior and his dream for the black community. There was the report from the town hall where some notables from the black community got together to discuss issues of education in the black community. Wednesday was a report about individual experiences of a handful of black people in America. And Thursday night’s broadcast focused on a few stories about how some black men can make the American dream and make it very successfully while some black men will suffer the American nightmare of incarceration, drugs, alcohol, and poverty. I watched these shows and I’ve come away scratching my head and wondering what exactly is the common connection all these people have that makes their experience exclusive to the black community.
I know for a fact that there are white people who suffer with poverty and poor education. I really don’t think the black community has an exclusive on this experience. I know that there are white people in America who have to deal with losing their homes and being evicted for not being able to pay the mortgage or paying the rent. I know there are white women who are raising their white children alone because the white father is absent. I know there are white people who are looking at dating outside their race. I know there are white people who are doing well while their siblings are doing poorly. I know for a fact that there are white people who suffer with issues of drugs and alcohol. Believe it or not, I know there are white people who get thrown in jail. Are we to believe that these white people are now experiencing what it is like to be black in America?
These shows do little to show me what it means to be black in America. Ms. O’Brien has simply taken the experience of a handful of black people and pasted their stories into a documentary. If somebody did the same thing with people from the white community, who would come away with the impression that they now know what it is like to be white in America? While some people might find the program entertaining not every white person would relate to these examples. There really is no reason to think these stories define what it means to be black in this country.
I was hoping to see something that would help to explain what people in the black community are going through as a collective. Black people have to deal with higher rates of school dropouts. Why? Black people have to deal with higher rates of unemployment. Why? Black people have to deal with higher rates of incarceration. Black people have to deal with higher rates of home foreclosures. Why? I was hoping to learn what the main components were of the complex social issues that all of these black stories share in common.
The purpose of the program was never to show the issues facing the black community. The program was designed to show instances of how black people choose not to respond responsibly to their environment for whatever reason. I came away thinking that we are depicted as simply surviving instead of assessing our situation and planning to act accordingly. Many of us simply refuse to pick ourselves up by our boot strap and instead simply adapt to our circumstances. The majority of people in the black community continue to do what we do and simply hope for the best outcome or we simply fail to better ourselves for our future and the future of our families. And all of this of course happens in a vacuum without any external influences from outside the black community. As far as being an eye opening documentary on life for black people in America, this piece of work falls terribly short.
But in at least one respect, Ms. O’Brien really does hit the nail on the head on what it means to be black in America. To be black in America is to be depicted in the most simplest of terms. Negative experiences of most black people are the result of a stereotypical lack of planning and black people’s refusal to take responsibility for developing their own solutions. Some black people made it. Black people who study hard will get the good job and the nice house and drive the nice car and will become examples of how it can be done for others in the black community. Because we all know that if everyone in the black community gets a doctorate today come tomorrow unemployment will drop to zero. Black people who make the choice to stop acting like typical black people will stop being typical black people in America.
I watched Soledad O’Brien’s Black in America presented by CNN and Essence Magazine. I must admit that I had a whole slue of doubts and reservations about this program. I would have rather watched Silence of the Lambs with Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins that I recorded the night before from Encore. But the misses kind of wanted to watch it and I thought what the heck.
There was a notable array of high profile black people. There was Doctor Cornel West, Doctor Julianne Malveaux, Bishop T. D. Jakes, Tom Joyner, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Ed Gordon of Sixty Minutes fame, author Hill Harper, Professor Roland Fryer of Harvard University, and a few others. They even got a little input from D. L. Hughley. The last time I saw Mr. Hughley he was commenting about the accuracy of Don Imus’ statement about black women being nappy headed ho’s. My suspicions that I’d learn nothing meaningful or earth shattering about being black in America coming out of this shoe kicked up a notch or a dozen. But I continued to watch.
From the opening moment the program seemed to focus not on what it means to be black in America but on what it means to be black and slandered in America. The program started in by tying the problems of the black community directly to the fact that seventy percent of the children born from black women are born to single, unwed mothers. Another problem in the black community depicted in the program was the fact that there were so many cases of AIDS or HIV+ turning up among black women. Black women needed to take more control of their bodies and have more self esteem. One sister talked about how she was infected with the AIDS virus because she made the choice to have sex with an older man who was in denial about being a carrier.
Young black men were turning their back on getting an education. Young black men were not stepping up to the plate to take care of their children with all the women that they were getting pregnant.
According to this program to be black in America is to be a young, single woman with a baby and HIV or a single young man with multiple children from a variety of women and revulsion for education. The black community’s problem stem from a lack of our young people taking responsibility for the messes they make in their lives.
This program did nothing to show me what it mans to be black in America. Out of all the young black people that I know amongst my family and friends, not a single one has tested positive for HIV. None of the young black men that I know have fathered a child and all of them have plans to further their education beyond high school. None of the young ladies that I know have born a child out of wedlock. So I would have to assume one of two things. It is my opinion that the young black people that I know first hand are not indicative of what it means to be considered the stereotypical black person in America.
Young women having babies out of wedlock is not a phenomenon that is unique to the black community. Just a month ago CNN, as well as a host of other news agencies, was reporting on a group of white girls up in Gloucester, Massachusetts and their pregnancy pact which lead to a sharp increase in a number of white girls preparing to share their child bearing experience. Maybe these white girls wanted to experience what it means to be considered stereotypically black in America. And HIV and AIDS is not just a problem in the black community but a problem for America in general.
Young black men are not the only ones refusing to support their children. According to United States Census Bureau statistics there are seven point three million black children living in a household absent their father. There are ten point three white children living in a household absent their father. Some people will dismiss the fact that there are three million more white children living without their father by saying that the black population is so much smaller than its white counterpart. But the simple fact remains that there are more white children living without their fathers than there are black children. Because white children enjoy a lower rate does little to minimize the fact that they dwarf the number of black children living without their father by about three million.
This show does a disservice to people if its intent is to show what it actually means to be black in America. Like most programs that try to enlighten us as to what is happening in the black community, the entire group of black people will be judged by the lack of discretion of a relatively minor pool of black people. It is true that some black people have AIDS or are testing HIV+. But it is not indicative of all black people in America. It is true that out of wedlock births appear to be on the rise in the black community. But it also appears to be on the rise across the racial board throughout America.
What Ms. O’Brien has given us is a program that enlightens the public as to what it means to be the stereotypical black person in America. Black people are irresponsible and need to straighten up and fly right. This program gives credence to politicians who pander to the rest of America by holding the black community’s collective feet to the fire until America can release its strangle hold on the perception that black people are somehow more irresponsible than any other. According to Ms. O’Brien the lack of responsibility and courage to do the right thing is more than enough to explain the racial disparity that continues to plague America.
Unfortunately, this program did little to explain the reality of the majority of people in the black community and our relationship to the rest of America. The black community is more than the pool of irresponsible black people that many people, like Ms. O’Brien, have a penchant to focus on. One day we will learn as a people, both black and white, that the experiences of the black community are far greater than our need to prove the conjecture that the black community is its own worst enemy.