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Equally Idiotic

ObamaJoker

How often have you turned to some national news show only to see two people on opposite sides of an issue arguing with each other?  Usually it goes something like this:  The host of the news show will put out a hypothetical question.  Coming up next we’ll find out which is more racist, the Democrats or the Republicans?  We’ll discuss this question and more with a high profile member from the Republican Party and another high profile pundit from the Democrats.

Now how many people will actually tune and listen with an unprejudiced ear?  It is rare to find a person in America who truly holds no opinion either way on any of these subjects and will open themselves to be influenced one way or the other in five minutes of two people throwing explicit and implicit insults at each other.  Some people might call this fair and balanced news reporting.  But in all honesty it’s nothing more than a slightly more civilized version of the Jerry Springer Show.

I haven’t really paid much attention to CNN lately and decided to do something different this morning.  Instead of my usual of watching the local broadcast from the CBS affiliate KMOV-TV I decided to see what was happening on CNN.  It didn’t take long for me to regret my decision.  This morning the public was treated to a new segment where one of the whacky crazy antics of zanies from the far left is compared to a single crazy antic from one of the zanies on the right.  I turned the television off and dragged my disgusted ass to work.

As I drove to work I thought of the implications of CNN’s new segment.  Right now the chaos over healthcare is being ratcheted up to seriously scary levels.  On the conservative side we see people holding up signs calling the President a socialist or a communist, we see pictures of the President done up in makeup similar to Heath Ledger’s Joker from one of the Batman movies or donning a mustache ala Adolph Hitler, we see people taking handguns to protest holding signs with subtle threats about shedding blood and offing bureaucrats, and we see conservative politicians easily stirring up this hornets net of fear with insinuations that the current government administration wants to employ “death panels” that will make the decision to kill the elderly and the infirm and whoever else they deem unworthy of life.  On the other hand, we have the Speaker of the House saying that the over the top protests of shouting and the refusal to listen is un-American.  But picking one from each side simply makes all the zaniness look even handed.

It’s a familiar tactic.  It is one of the tactics that has been employed against any talk of racism.  The moment somebody says we have racial disparity you can count the seconds before somebody says something like, I’m a white person and back in school a black person beat me up and stole my lunch money.  But it’s a rather asinine attempt to equate racial disparity to somebody getting their lunch money stolen by somebody who’s on the other side of the racial divide.  But if we follow the method of comparing a single event from one side of a wrong to a single event on the other side, we can make the illusion that both sides of the racial divide are equally wrong.

It is a fact of life that on any issue between peoples there will be jerks on both sides.  But simply because there are jerks on the other side of the divide doesn’t automatically equate the wrongs of the two.  Just because somebody is an idiot on one side doesn’t negate or equate to all the idiocy that occurs on the other side of an issue.

CNN continues to do a disservice to the public by doing its unfair share of fanning the embers of disorder and confusion in order to make the most out of any controversy.  And instead of reporting on all the stupidity we’ll focus only on one fringe act and that way people won’t get the complete picture in order to make a completely informed opinion.  So CNN reports only a small part of the story and then asks people to call in with their opinion of what’s happening.  And even the reporting of the opinions won’t be an accurate picture of how people truly feel.  CNN will pick two opinions from one side to read and two opinions from the other.  It gives the impression that the split is straight down the middle when it may be anything but.

But controversy and a confused public and an impression that things are even is an easy formula for good ratings.  It works for Jerry Springer.  He started out trying to be serious about informing the public.  But he quickly discovered that controversy was good for ratings.  Mr. Springer gave up his show about informing the public for the current circus he is infamous for.  CNN started off trying to be serious as well.  But with each and every change they make to their programs they become more like a circus as well.

Saturday, August 15, 2009 Posted by | CNN, Democrats, Politics, Republicans, Universal Healthcare | | Leave a comment

Does The “C” In CNN Stand For Coon?

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My morning workday rituals include catching up on all the news overnight.  At some time around four in the morning I will start my day with the television on in the background.  I will start with the CBS national news.  I then will switch to the ABC national news to get their version of whatever somebody says is the top news for the day.  I then switch back to the CBS affiliate to get the local news.  And I wrap it all up with CNN, the most trusted name in news.  MSNBC with Joe Scarborough is not an option.  And FOX News is anything but news.  While the others get about thirty minutes apiece, CNN can benefit from as much as ninety minutes of my time.

For the past couple of months or so, with just about every break for commercials, CNN, the most trusted name in news, has been peppering their broadcasts with advertisements for their head coon as farce, D. L. Hughley.  CNN wants to capitalize on the trend for young people to get their news through comedy shows like the Daily Show with Jon Steward and the Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert.  In order to exploit this development, CNN has put its effort for comedy news behind Mr. Hughley.  And what a choice it is.  It ranks right up there with Arizona Senator John McCain choosing the infamous Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.  One of the advertisements for the program shows Mr. Hughley with his hand up as if trying to slow one of his guests down during one of his sure to be far from in depth interviews and saying something like, “Come on, man.  I barely know how to read.  I’ve got a G.E.D.”

Mr. Hughley is first to admit that he has no love of news, politics, current events.  He is quick to complain about the rigor of reading newspapers and web sites, listening to the radio talk shows, and watching his own network’s number one product, the anchored news broadcast.  And this is the man CNN wants to represent their foray into satirical news.  Mr. Hughley is about as qualified to be a network news anchor as Rush Limbaugh is qualified to be an advocate of affirmative action.

And speaking of affirmative action, it should be obvious to anyone with or without working vision balls that Mr. Hughley is a classic example of an unqualified black man benefitting from seriously unfair favorable treatment.  The last time I had anything to say about this man who will do anything to ingratiate himself to anyone willing to pay good money to see him lick boots, he was doing his best to bring attention to himself by telling black people to get over themselves and leave Don Imus alone.  Mr. Hughley was quick to add his less than helpful opinion and say, “There were some nappy headed women on the team and those are some of the ugliest women I have ever seen in my life.”  As a reward for being the epitome of the news media’s cheesing lawn jockey, Mr. Hughley is now given his own television show.

I must confess that I was tempted to tune into this show once.  During my morning ritual, an advertisement for the program showed an officious looking man calling Mr. Hughley a liar.  That piqued my curiosity for about a minute.  Early one Sunday morning, probably after the second or third airing of Mr. Hughley’s show, I found out that the officious guy calling the head coon as farce a liar was actually Josh Levs who appears regularly as part of CNN’s Truth Squad segment.  It turns out that Mr. Levs was planted on the scripted show and the liar accusation was nothing more than a gimmick.  The Sunday morning anchors were giving Mr. Levs a bit of teasing for being the victim of some colorful threats from Mr. Hughley.  I was glad that I never followed through on my curiosity.  I was disappointed in myself for being so easily duped into almost thinking of tuning into this travesty of comedy or of news.

Watching any other CNN program, no anchor, reporter, contributor, producer, cameraman, assistant, or anyone else affiliated with the news network would even think of promoting the fact that they didn’t have a degree, never mind never graduated from high school.  But there is no shame to Mr. Hughley’s lack of an education or lack of anything to credibly support him getting his own television show on CNN.  Stephen Colbert studied at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.  Jon Stewart attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.  It took some searching but according to his linkedin.com web page Josh Levs attended Yale University.  But Mr. Hughley gets a pass with nothing more than a successful score on his general educational development test.

The Colbert Report is a 2008 winner of the George Foster Peabody Award which recognizes excellence in news and entertainment.  In 2008, the program also won an Emmy Award for outstanding writing for a variety, music, or comedy.  While I’d like to think that my opinion of anything is not influenced solely by the number of awards won or the caliber of such awards, for a comedy show to garner such recognition indicates a certain amount of sophistication and intelligent delivery in its development.

However, it would be no surprise to see Mr. Hughley’s show stoop to the sophomoric humor as fart jokes and put downs that are the staple of Mr. Hughley’s comedic talent.  What more can you expect from a man whose two cents to racially charged issues like a white man calling an organization of predominantly black women “There were some nappy headed women on the team and those are some of the ugliest women I have ever seen in my life.”  CNN might as well let Wolf Blitzer tell fart jokes in his opening monologue before he gives his “news” reports.

Thursday, November 20, 2008 Posted by | ABC News, Affirmative Action, African Americans, Black Community, Black Culture, Black Men, Black People, CBS News, CNN, Life, News, Philosophy, Politics, Racism, Thoughts | 2 Comments

Blurred Lines

On Tuesday, September 9th, I caught the tail end of a discussion monitored by John Roberts between Paul Begala, former political aid to President Bill Clinton, and Alex Castellanos, a former consultant to Mitt Romney’s campaign for the presidency.  Mr. Roberts was standing in front of the two men who were appearing together, side by side on a giant floor to ceiling television monitor.

Mr. Roberts asked Mr. Begala how come Senator Barack Obama cannot make it more clear to people that Governor Sarah Palin is actually misleading the public over the significance of her involvement in stopping the bridge to nowhere.  Mr. Begala charges that it is because the press refuses to do its job.  Mr. Begala said, “It is the media’s job, when a politician flat out lies on this bridge to nowhere, to call her on it.  Or this matter of earmarks where she’s attacking Barack Obama for having earmarks when she was the Mayor of little Wasilla, Alaska, six thousand people, she hired a lobbyist who was connected to Jack Abramoff, who is a criminal, and they brought home twenty seven million dollars in earmarks.  She carried home so much pork home she got triganosis.  But we in the media are letting her tell lies about her record.”

When Mr. Begala finished Mr. Roberts pointed to Mr. Castellanos, “Okay, we’re going to let Alex respond to that.  Flat out lies Alex?”

Mr. Castellanos replied, “Let’s be a little gentle.  Look.  Every elected official in this country works under the system we have which is we try to get a little bit of your tax money back.  You just don’t want to leave it all in Washington.  The amazing thing about Sarah Palin is that when she became Governor she actually stood up and said no.  And she made changes and she took a strong stand.  That is rare and that never happens.”

There was more back and forth between Mr. Begala and Mr. Castellanos when Mr. Roberts broke in with, “We still have fifty six days to talk about this back and forth…”

Mr. Begala interrupted, “You see this is the problem.  We have this false debate when we ought to have the agreed upon facts.”

The camera switched over to Kiran Chetry at the anchor desk who told people if they wanted to check the accuracy of the candidates’ statements they could go to a couple of websites.  In other words, don’t expect any fact checking from the people at CNN.  The network is doing its best to keep the political race close and as competitive as possible despite facts like a vice presidential candidate is lying about her record and is blatantly hypocritical about earmarks.  As her supporter Mr. Castellanos himself said, this is the political environment we find ourselves operating in these days.  A little gentleness would be appreciated.  When it comes to earmarks, Ms. Palin should not be throwing rocks in her glass house.

On Friday morning, the former Mayor of New York, New York, Ed Koch made an appearance on CNN and he was asked his opinion on Sarah Palin.  The Mayor said that the woman bothered him because, among other things, she used her political office to try and have books banned from the library in Wasilla.  When the librarian refused, Ms. Palin tried to have the librarian fired.  Right after he said that, Ms. Chetry challenged him and said that CNN found proof that it never happened.  Mr. Koch argued that he didn’t know where they got their proof but there is evidence to show that Ms. Palin tried to have books banned and people fired.  Ms. Chetry repeated that CNN is on record and have proven beyond a doubt that Ms. Palin never did that.  The two went back and forth until the network had to cut for commercial.  Mr. Koch was thanked for his appearance.

When they program continued, Ms. Chetry wanted to make the network’s position clear.  The network had proof that books were never banned from the library and no librarian was ever fired for not removing books from the library.  Ms. Palin did try to use her position to remove books and fire librarians, but since she was unsuccessful the actual events never happened.  Ms. Chetry apologized for any misunderstanding.  If this is news reporting then it must be its darkest hour.

CNN was once billing itself as the most trusted name in news.  CNN is probably still using that tag line.  However, now the network appears to be doing its best to blur the lines between facts and reality.  Whether someone in politics tried to do something or not is not important.  If they weren’t successful then it didn’t happen.  No one who is concerned about their reputation for honesty would claim such a narrow and rather asinine interpretation of actual events.  Yet CNN appears to be ready to stoke controversy for the next fifty odd days or so in order to keep people tuned in.  But if you want to know actual facts, you have to go elsewhere.

It should not be a political candidate’s job to prove that his or her opponent is lying.  It is the responsibility of the press to assure that the candidates stay truthful.  When a political candidate lies about his or her record it isn’t the job of the other candidate to root the untruths out.  The more our trusted news sources do to generate controversy the more the public is misled.  The majority of the people won’t check other sources.

If the news programs don’t report the facts then many people will go without factual reports.  When news anchors defend deviant behaviors then they increase public support for deviants.  Phony debates and the blurring of facts are good for increasing the number of viewers but do nothing to educate people who need education in order to vote for what many people consider the most important job in the world.  In that respect, no one should be so quick to blur the lines of reality in order to increase ratings and therefore the value of the network.

We might have fifty odd or X number of days to figure out who is the best to run the country.  But the misinformation being supported now will be the foundation for people’s decision making in the voting booth in November.  With the stakes so high, a series of global crises that could lead to world wide catastrophes, we need to be doing everything we can to assure that all the facts are laid out as soon as possible so that people can better exercise their judgment.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008 Posted by | ABC News, Alaska, Barack Obama, Bridge To Nowhere, CNN, Democrats, Fox News, Gravina Island, Joe Biden, John McCain, Life, News, Politics, Republicans, Sarah Palin, Thoughts | Leave a comment

I Refuse To Believe What The Polls Say

I caught a little of the Democratic National Convention in Denver and even less of the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul.  I saw the Democratic nominee for the presidency, Senator Barack Obama, give his acceptance speech in a standing room only stadium of eighty five thousand plus seats.  I saw the Republican nominee for the presidency, Senator John McCain, give his acceptance speech in a stadium of about fifteen thousand seats.  The crowd at the Democratic National Convention was a racially diverse bunch with something like thirty some odd percent of the delegates of African American heritage.  On the other hand, the Republican National Convention looked like a 1950’s Happy Days meets Lavern & Shirley reunion with a black people participation running along the lines of one point five percent.  Thirty six black delegates out of more than twenty three hundred.

Now with just about one sixth the attendance at its national convention and only one race of people represented with audience participation about ninety eight percent white, I wake up this morning to hear that John McCain has a slight lead over Barack Obama.  If that’s not enough, John McCain has a record of voting with his Republican Party and President George Bush ninety percent of the time.  People say they want to change this political environment that has our economy, military, education system, our reputation, our housing market, and just about everything else you can think of on a national level in the toilet and getting shit on constantly.  But now I’m supposed to believe that more than half the people polled these days think that our best bet for changing course is Mr. McCain.

After two terms with George Bush I can’t believe the American public would be so stuck on stupid.  To make the same mistake again for a third time, and to expect different results, is truly madness.  People at the high end of the income spectrum don’t need another tax cut.  They have all the funds they need to fill up their Bentleys and their super class luxury yachts.  What in the world they need another tax cut for?  Exxon-Mobile made tens of billions of dollars last year.  Why do they need another tax cut?  Warren Buffet and Donald Trump did well.  Bill Gates did well.  Cindy McCain made out like a bandit.  Why do they need another capital gains tax cut?  Is it to help her go buy another house or two because nine just isn’t enough?

Mr. McCain promises to open up our coastlines to more petroleum drilling.  He’ll open the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve to more petroleum drilling.  He’ll open your backyard to more petroleum drilling if that’s what the oil companies wanted.  But drilling for more oil and keeping the price of gasoline cheap doesn’t do anything to give people an incentive to develop new energy alternatives or to conserve energy or curb wasteful energy expenditures.  After eight years of having two former oil men in the White House, who allowed oil executives to develop America’s energy policy, I’m supposed to believe that over half of America is ready to reward the oil companies for their service to the American public by giving them access to even more potential inventory?  I refuse to believe that our national collective short term memory is that short.

After eight years of having a President of the United States who was a strong, mediocre student with his average grades, over half of America is ready to now ready to vote for Mr. McCain, a man who wasn’t exactly a Rhodes Scholar when he graduated from the Navy academy.  In fact, Mr. McCain wasn’t even a mediocre student.  Out of eight hundred ninety nine students who graduated in his class, Mr. McCain came in sixth from the bottom.  Mr. McCain graduated with a rank of eight hundred ninety four.  Mr. McCain actually managed to avoid graduating in the upper ninety nine percentile.  The man didn’t have enough moxie to graduate above the bottom one percent of his class.  Am I supposed to believe that the majority of America wants another half-ass in the presidency?

I don’t have a problem believing that there are a lot of people out there who are hoping with all their heart that John McCain gets into the White House.  These are the same people who’d be willing to vote George Bush back into the White House for a third term if they could.  These are the same people who would be willing to give the Captain Edward J. Smith, the arrogant and complacent captain of the tragically doomed RMS Titanic, one of the United States Navy’s new high technology Ticonderoga-class Aegis guided missile cruisers.  These are the same people that would let Michael “Brownie” Brown stay the chief of FEMA while black bodies are floated through the streets of New Orleans.  These people have a lot to gain with a third Bush term even while the rest of the country is heading to hell in a rocket powered hand basket.

But I’m supposed to believe that the people of America are ready to put Mr. McCain, Mr. Bush junior, into the White House to change the political course of this country after eight years of Republican executive leadership, with six of those eight years with a complacent Republican legislature.  In order to change the track of the current Republican leadership, America wants to put another Republican in the White House.  I’m supposed to believe the news when they tell me that John McCain has not only tied Barack Obama but has taken the lead because of the bounce of his selection of Sarah Palin as his presidential running mate?

I refuse to believe that the people in America would be so foolish.  This race isn’t even hardly this close.  The majority of the American public are not that narrow minded.  I believe that the news agencies and networks are trying to make a horse race of this political routing to sell some kind of political melodrama to keep people tuning in.  At best, maybe one sixth of the public would vote for the McCain and Palin combo over the Obama and Biden duo.  I would hope that the American public isn’t so gullible to think that Mr. McCain is going to change this country.  Mr. McCain is another train wreck waiting to join the pile up that’s already happened.  He promises more tax cuts that benefit the rich more than they benefit anyone else, more war with more of our soldiers dying, more disparity, and more of all the things that have us in the mess we’re in now.  I seriously hope that the vast majority of America is smarter than the polls say we are.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008 Posted by | ABC News, Barack Obama, CNN, Democrats, Fox News, Joe Biden, John McCain, Life, Politics, Republicans, Sarah Palin, Thoughts | 27 Comments

The Rock Star And The Navy Veteran

By many measures the Democratic National Convention has been a success for the Democratic Party and for Senator Barack Obama. As it turned out, Invesco Field with its eighty four thousand seating capacity, turned out to be a bit too small for the crowd that came to see Mr. Obama accept the Democratic nomination. I have to admit I didn’t watch much of the affair. Too much of the convention reporting was spent talking to political pundits who were experts on everything such as the intent behind the color of the stage, who was wearing what, the size of somebody’s lapel pin American flag, and other such nonsense. I watched most of the convention through the filter of the early morning news shows hoping to get the gist of what happened the night before.

On Friday morning I woke to do my treadmill thing while listening to John Roberts on CNN. Mr. Roberts referred to Mr. Obama as the rock star nominee. It didn’t register in my brain immediately. It took about five seconds for me to become aware of the subtle manipulation that is being projected to the public. How many weeks ago did the Republican Party create the rather ridiculous accusation that Mr. Obama is little more than a celebrity on par with such socialites as Britney Spears and Paris Hilton in one of their campaign advertisements? But now, it appears that at least CNN is ready to do a little slandering of Mr. Obama on behalf of Senator John McCain and give the Republicans a little free political advertising.

I have little doubt that most people who were watching the broadcast heard the slight dig at Mr. Obama and had let it settle into their subconscious without a second thought, or a first one for that matter. There is little doubt that is the first time this network used this reference to Mr. Obama. There is little doubt that it will be the last. All the while, the power of suggestion will subtly try to persuade people to think of Mr. Obama as nothing consequential and void of depth.

In the meantime, the Republican candidate, presidential hopeful Senator John McCain, will be referred to as the navy veteran. The implication here is one of patriotism and courage and strength of character that is greater than most individuals, certainly better than any politician with the celebrity on a scale of a Ms. Hilton or a Ms. Spears. The image of Mr. McCain is one of stability and pragmatism. The suggestion is that he is a person who is willing to put personal sacrifice on the line in order to do whatever for his country.

There are other, more colorful references for Mr. McCain. Paris Hilton called him the white haired dude. A group supporting Mr. Obama’s bid for President called the Republican hopeful McSame. It doesn’t take much imagination to come up with colorful expressions of McCain like McCrypt or Mc-Needs-A-Cane or McShame or McFreakingOld. But instead, the network will use a reference that elevates Mr. McCain’s character while choosing an expression that makes a dig at Mr. Obama’s popularity.

The fact that people are already suspicious of Mr. Obama and his desire to serve as President doesn’t help. So many people are quick to buy any of the propaganda currently in circulation about Mr. Obama. He doesn’t have enough experience is probably the favorite. But there’s also the one that paints him as a Muslim, as if that’s a crime. These same people who believe he’s a Muslim will say that he spent so many years listening to his Christian Pastor Jeremiah Wright preach hate against the white community. People are quick to say that Mr. Obama is an elitist out of touch with the rest of the population even though Mr. McCain is the one who has to hire somebody in order to determine how many houses he and his family own. I don’t think we ever got a clear answer on that one.

There was a time that the Democratic nominee was called the Democratic nominee and the Republican nominee was called the Republican nominee. No commentary was necessary. There was a time when it was just the facts. But now, in the era of twenty four hour news stations, colorful news commentary is necessary to keep people interested and watching. Now, instead of referring to the two presidential candidates with their respective titles, we hear reporters refer to our choice of candidates as the rock star and the veteran.

I’m sure CNN is not the only one using these references. Other networks will use them as well. And each is very aware of its lack of being fair and impartial in the selection of its colorful handles for the two candidates. I have no doubt that by design the news agency is trying to covertly influence people’s thinking. The two extremes could not be more disparate and keep their on the down low status. The hope is that come November, people will go into the voting booth persuaded from the constant barrage of messages that help us conjure up images of the rock star and the veteran. Some people who are easily influenced and could go either way will stand there and scratch their heads wondering why it’s so hard for them to take Mr. Obama seriously and why Mr. McCain appears to be such a strong character. It’s all in the power of persuasion.

Monday, September 1, 2008 Posted by | Barack Obama, CNN, Democrats, John McCain, Life, News, Politics, Republicans, Thoughts | 3 Comments

No AIDS In The White Community

“[The] Black AIDS Institute reported that if African-Americans with HIV/AIDS were their own country, they would make up more HIV/AIDS cases than seven of the countries currently receiving emergency funding for… AIDS. Think about that. There are almost 600,000 African-Americans living with HIV, and there are still 30,000 newly infected cases every year. As things stand now, AIDS remains the leading cause of death among African-American women between the ages of 25 and 34, and the second-leading cause of death among African-American men between 35 and 44 years of age.”

“As Jesse Milan, board chair of the institute, said, ‘When the world wasn’t looking, the AIDS epidemic refused to go away.’ AIDS has always been a disparate African-American problem. Even at the beginning of this epidemic in the United States, when there were only a few thousand cases, more than a quarter of them were among African-Americans.”

“Today, 47% of the HIV cases in the United States are in African Americans, even though African Americans make up only 13% of the population. If you peer deeper into certain cities, you find of all the HIV cases in Washington DC, 80 percent are among African Americans. In Jackson, Mississippi – 84%.”Doctor Sanjay Gupta

Mr. Gupta went on to say that the AIDS rates in the Latino community is also on the rise. Although Hispanics make up about fourteen percent of the population, they account for about twenty two percent of new diagnoses tallied as reported by federal officials in 2006. Mr. Gupta never mentioned what rates or numbers were for the white community or how much of a problem it truly is. It appears that this disease isn’t an issue for the country until it becomes a problem for the non white communities. So I decided to go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for myself to get the information I wanted.

According to the table I found (click here), at the end of 2006 there were 439,693 cases of HIV/AIDS in the United States. Of this total 154,495 cases are in the white community and 191,590 cases are in the black community. That’s a breakdown of 35% for the white community and 44% for the black community.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find a state by state breakdown for 2006 (click here for access to all the 2004 tables). I had to go back to the 2004 tables to find a breakdown across the states, District of Columbia, and other United States territories such as Guam and Puerto Rico. While it is true that areas like Washington, D.C. and the state of Maryland can have black infection rates of about eighty percent of all cases, I discovered that states like Montana, Maine, Idaho, and Oregon will have white infection rates that can go as high as ninety percent. Would Mr. Gupta be willing to go public and say that there are areas where white infection rates are so high that they mimic what is happening in some of the worse places in Africa? Would the good doctor be willing to say that the number of HIV/AIDS cases in the white community appears to be just behind the numbers for the black community? Is anybody making the claim that if white people were their own country they would out number six of the countries currently receiving funding for HIV/AIDS?

I went through the numbers and added them all up in a spreadsheet. In between 2001 and 2004, over a four year time span, there were 365,444 new infection cases of HIV/AIDS in the white community and 360,860 cases in the black community, a virtual tie. And yet, at the end of 2006, there are only 154,495 white people living with HIV/AIDS and 191,590 black people with the disease were still alive at the same time. Although the black cases are high, higher than the numbers in the white community, it is far less than the six hundred thousand reported by Mr. Gupta. Nevertheless, it could be assumed that even with more access to better healthcare, more white people appear to be dying from the disease than black people.

But Mr. Gupta was not talking about numbers, he was talking about rates. Black people are only thirteen percent of the population but make up forty four percent of cases. Therefore, black rates are many times that of white people who only make up thirty five percent of cases and about seventy percent of the population. Rates are the only things that matter.

And if Mr. Gupta was truly a man of medicine, which implies he’s a man of science, he might have put some context on these numbers. Poverty plays a large role in the proliferation of this disease. A lack of education and a lack of opportunities play significant roles in the spread of HIV/AIDS. A lack of healthcare and a lack of family planning are huge factors. And all of these contributing factors runneth over in the black community.

But what’s the objective of Mr. Gupta’s story? Is he actually trying to help the black community or is his objective is to reinforce the stereotypical negative sentiment most people associate with black people and our behavior? Where was Mr. Gupta when HIV/AIDS was more prevalent in the white community? Did Mr. Gupta ever do a program where he talked about how the white community is so ravaged? Why is the black community his sole focus for this disease? Are we to believe that white people do not suffer from HIV/AIDS?

And why the focus only on HIV/AIDS? According to the Florida coroner that examined the body of Martin Lee Anderson, latent sickle cell traits are killing fourteen year old black males in boot camps. Why isn’t Mr. Gupta advocating something being done about all of these so-called dangerous latent sickle cell traits? Or how about a little help bringing attention to the black community’s susceptibility to hypertension or diabetes? Better yet, why doesn’t Doctor Gupta do something to help the black community obtain something that resembles racial equality in America instead of contributing to the negative stereotypes that makes the black community the subject of everything bad?

HIV/AIDS is a problem for the entire country. No one should be focusing on any single segment of the population. Any modern man of science who tries to give solace by saying only black people are a problem is a fraud and a quack. Mr. Gupta needs to hang his head in shame.

Monday, August 4, 2008 Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black Culture, Black in America, Black Men, Black People, Black Women, CNN, Health, Life, Philosophy, Racism, Thoughts | 9 Comments

What Does It Mean To Be White In America

Hopefully, after reading this, everyone will have a better idea of what it means to be white in America.

Tim Donaghy

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.

Lawnmower Man

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?

Stepfather

Dear Stepfather,

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.

Dr. Jan

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.

Friday, August 1, 2008 Posted by | African Americans, Bigotry, Black Community, Black Culture, Black in America, Black People, CNN, Life, Racism, Soledad O'Brien, The Race Card, Thoughts, White On White Crime, White Privilege | 9 Comments

Black In America Is Not About The Black Community

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.

Friday, July 25, 2008 Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black Culture, Black in America, Black Men, Black People, Black Women, CNN, Jena 6, Justice, Life, Philosophy, Racism, Soledad O'Brien, Thoughts | 19 Comments

Stereotypical

“[A]s an independent filmmaker focusing on issues in the black community I found that many black males between the ages of sixteen and perhaps twenty six believes to be educated is to be considered weak and sometimes even feminine to the point where I’ve seen young black men rebuke their male children for reading books. So my question is why and when this trend gets started and what can we do to encourage and make more black men realize that education is still one of the main ingredients to healing the social ills in our communities?” – A question from Cindy Hurst during Soledad O’Brien’s Black in America.

“Well, I mean one, I don’t want to over exaggerate. There are, there may be a slice of the black community, a slice of young black brothers and sisters who feel that way. But the vast majority of young black brothers and sisters really want to be educated. So we don’t want to begin by isolating this slice as if that constitutes the lens through which we look the vast array of young brothers and sisters.” – A response from Professor Cornel West to Cindy Hurst during Soledad O’Brien’s Black in America.

“The percentage of black men who graduated from high school has more than doubled since 1970.” – A statistic displayed during Soledad O’Brien’s Black in America.

Much too often the standard representation for the black community will depend on our lowest behavioral denominator. We will see examples of black people committing a variety of criminal, immoral, or just plain thoughtless acts and use such examples as a barometer of all black people’s potential. Such behavior is followed with comments that will condemn the entire black community for the problems of one person or for a very small minority.

According to the numbers published by the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigations for the year 2006, for every heinous act committed by a black person there were more than two crimes committed by white people. Out of the 10,437,620 crimes committed in the United States in 2006, 7,270,214 were committed by white people while 2,924,724 were committed by black people. In terms of percentages that means 69.7% of the crime in 2006 were committed by white people and 28% committed by black people. Black people should be far from being considered America’s number one problem. And yet, we perpetually hear that the black crime phenomenon is skyrocketing out of control.

We have been conditioned to see black people not as individuals but as a group with a collective mentality for irresponsibility. People who live and dwell in the black community and have first hand experience with our black neighbors have been conditioned to see the negative behavior of one black person as an indication of what is happening to the black community in general. We allow ourselves to be manipulated to judge our neighbors negatively at the drop of a hat even though we have a wealth of experience with people in the black community that says we are not the cesspool of humanity. We are constantly bombarded with the image of the black criminal and the association of black people to crime or black people to acts of immorality or acts of self defeatism.

When I heard Ms. Hurst asks her question in the forum hosted by Ms. O’Brien, the first thing that popped into my head was a need for more information. Instead of simply nodding my head in the affirmative and ingesting a heaping helping of the typical black people are bad poison propaganda from one of our own, I wondered exactly how many black men did she see rebuke their son for reading. I also wondered how many black men this sister saw that actually supported and praised their sons for learning to read. And I also wondered if this sister saw a white man ridiculing his son for learning would she be so quick to judge the entire white community as harshly.

Personally, I have only witnessed one black man who ever ridiculed his sons for learning. By far the overwhelming majority of black men support their sons’ quest for knowledge and learning. Fathers who try to extinguish their sons’ love of reading and learning are retarding not just their sons’ future, but the future of their family as well as the future of the black community. Such attitudes are not indicative of the black community in general.

The bigger problem for the black community is the people who continue to judge us all based on the poor choices of the few. Yes, it is true that there are some black people who want to keep the future of the black community rooted in ignorance and propaganda. But I firmly believe that, although a detriment to the community, the man ridiculing his son and trying to discourage the young from learning is not the biggest problem for us. The bigger problem is the fact that some black people find it so easy to perpetuate stereotypical myths that the black community is full of people who promote ignorance and irresponsibility

Monday, July 21, 2008 Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black Culture, Black Men, Black People, CNN, Life, Racism, Thoughts | 5 Comments

Black In America by Soledad O’Brien

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.

Saturday, July 19, 2008 Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black Culture, Black People, CNN, Life, Racism, Soledad O'Brien, Thoughts | 8 Comments