brotherpeacemaker

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It’s Always A Joke When It’s About Black People

chipsaltsman

Of course Mike Duncan, the chairman of the Republican National Committee said that he was appalled by the song called Barack the Magic Negro distributed by Chip Saltsman.  Set to the tune of the sixties Puff the Magic Dragon, the song first reached national attention when it was played on Rush “The Lush” Limbaugh’s radio show back in early 2007.  The title was drawn from a Los Angeles Times column that suggested Mr. Obama appealed to those who feel guilty about the nation’s history of mistreatment of African-Americans.

Mr. Duncan said that the presidential election should have been a wakeup call for the Republican Party to reach out and bring more diversity to their virtually white only membership.  Mr. Duncan claimed that he was shocked to think that anyone would find the parody appropriate.  The fact that a candidate for the RNC chairmanship would stoop to such juvenile political humor is proof positive that not everyone in the Republican Party is serious about more inclusion.

Mr. Saltsman, a former chair of the Tennessee Republican Party, was a top advisor to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and managed former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign, sent other RNC members a CD which included the controversial tune about President-elect Barack Obama.  Mr. Saltsman defended his actions Friday saying that the song was intended as a joke.  Mr. Saltsman obviously has the same sense of humor as those white students back in Jena, Louisiana who thought hanging a noose under a tree was a good joke to play on black students.  It was only after the manifestation of some of the worst racial disparity began to collect the nation’s attention with marches coordinated by members of the black community from every corner of the country did some people see that hanging nooses isn’t just fun and games but something to be taken seriously.  Mr. Saltsman probably needs to learn the same lessons about his race tinged humor.

Now it just might be that Mr. Saltsman is a man who is sensitive to issues of race and just simply exercised poor judgment.  But, there is the potential for this same poor judgment to apply to other issues of race as well.  Mr. Saltsman already shows his willingness to play the race card.  What chance would issues sensitive to the black community have with such a man in a position of high political importance?  But black people are supposed to believe that the Republican Party stands ready to welcome us into their fold.

I remember the political race to the general election and the conservative rhetoric that Mr. Obama was an elitist out of touch with the reality of most Americans.  Whether or not that statement is true or not is a matter of opinion.  But it should be pretty obvious that people like Republican notables like Mr. Saltsman is a racial elitist who is out of touch with the reality of most black Americans.

In the current environment of social disparity that happens to fall along racial lines with black people falling short by every measure without a single exception, it should be no surprise to anyone of reasonable intelligence to recognize the need for racial sensitivity.  Unfortunately, we see just the opposite.  We see various Republican leadership wannabes attending their white only country clubs and living large with so many homes that they have to hire someone to research their property holdings.  And when one of these high profile Republican members wants to play a joke, he stoops to racial discrimination.  Next thing you know another member of the RNC wants to demonstrate how funny he can be by painting himself in black face and dancing a jig ala Al Jolson style.  And when the man is busted for his foolishness, he’ll defend himself by saying it was a joke.

Unfortunately, over and over again, people in the Republican Party are quick to demonstrate that they have as much racial sensitivity and awareness as a rock.  At least the rock has the good sense not to do anything that might be thoughtless or tacky.  But the leadership of the Republican Party is not so astute.  We are more likely to see a member of the Republican Party get on stage before his constituents and point to the only obvious racial minority in the group and happily refer to the attendee as macaca.  We are more likely to see someone in the Republican Party say something stupid like black people who have lost everything in the world, including their loved ones, to a flood fueled by a hurricane as so fortunate to be housed in the Astrodome because they didn’t have jack before.  There was a lot of sympathy for black people that day.

Yet, these are the types of people who represent the RNC.  Is there any surprise that the number of black people we saw at the Republican National Convention could be counted on one’s fingers?  The RNC is nothing but one huge, insensitive, hate filled, and racist joke with black people the subject.  It wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t so serious.  Mr. Duncan wants to feign indignation and surprise with Mr. Saltsman’s latest manifestation that supports the Republican’s exclusive, white only mindset.  But honestly, it appears to be nothing more than the standard GOP operating procedure.

Monday, December 29, 2008 Posted by | Affirmative Action, African Americans, Barack Obama, Black Community, Black Culture, Black People, Democrats, George Bush, Hurricane Katrina, Life, Politics, Racism, Republicans, The Race Card, Thoughts, White Privilege | Leave a comment

William Jefferson’s Departure Appears Long Overdue

williamjefferson

Nine-term Louisiana Democratic Representative William Jefferson, who has been fighting charges and federal indictments from a bribery scandal for the past three years, lost his bid for reelection on Saturday.  Republican challenger Anh Joseph Cao, an attorney and community organizer, defeated Mr. Jefferson in the 2nd Congressional district race centered in New Orleans, a mostly African American area and predominantly Democratic.  Mr. Jefferson appeared to be the favored to win re-election going into the election.  But with one hundred percent of precincts reporting, Mr. Cao had almost fifty percent of the vote to Mr. Jefferson’s forty seven percent.  Mr. Cao will become the first Vietnamese American elected to Congress.  It appears that even the black community, who many people believe is greatly monolithic when it comes to political issues and will dumbly support the black candidate even against its best interest, has had enough of this high profile loser.

Jefferson has pleaded not guilty to sixteen criminal counts of racketeering, bribery, money laundering and obstruction of justice.  In an amazing impersonation of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, denies any wrongdoing even though he is on tape accepting a bribe from FBI informants.  In 2005, Mr. Jefferson’s private homes in Washington and New Orleans were by authorities raided and agents claim they found somewhere in the neighborhood of ninety thousand dollars in cash stashed in one of his freezers.  Some of the serial numbers of that cold cash money found was part of the marked bills from the FBI informant in the transaction captured on videotape.  And let’s not forget the fact that a few days after hurricane Katrina hit, Mr. Jefferson utilized a National Guard detachment to recover personal effects and belongings from his home while people in the rest of the city struggled just to get out of water.  I’m happy to see the people in New Orleans wake up from their slumber.

Sunday, December 7, 2008 Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black Culture, Black Men, Black People, Hurricane Katrina, Life, New Orleans, Thoughts | Leave a comment

The Response To Hurricane Ike

I talked to my sister in Houston, Texas late Saturday afternoon.  She had to call out because any attempt to call in was met with a busy signal or an all lines were busy message.  She was okay and the rest of our family in the area was okay as well.  Hurricane Ike had came through and moved on.  By the time we talked, Ike was pretty close to Arkansas.  But in the hurricane’s wake, what are normally blue skies and sunny, was a maelstrom of the most ferocious thunderstorms my sister said she ever experienced.

The year before I moved away from Houston I would regularly go to the coast and spend the night on one of the barrier islands.  I would head south on Texas 288 to Clute, Texas and then take Texas 332 to Surfside, Texas hang a left onto Texas 257 and the Bluewater highway and head east towards Mud Island.  The night mosquitoes on the beach would be relentless.  But the sounds of the ocean and Yemonja, the constant breeze of Oya, and watching the sunrise over the Orisa of the horizon are well worth the effort.  The dreams such closeness to nature inspires are truly a phenomenon on their own.

Early Sunday morning the affects of Ike were all over the news.  I saw pictures of the destruction of so many familiar stomping grounds of mine.  I saw picture of Bilovar Peninsula with so many empty piers that once held beautiful vacation homes.  Entire neighborhoods swept away as if they never existed.  The only things left behind are the streets and the sidewalks.  I saw pictures of the debris along the Galveston Island’s seawall.  I’m surprised to see the San Luis, the giant hotel built on a pier that juts out from the seawall and over the water, still standing.  I saw the pictures of the water flooding the interior of Galveston.  I saw the flooding along The Strand.  And Sunday morning I saw the National Guard distributing supplies and water from the back of trucks.

Only hours after the storms cleared the area the National Guard was on the scene setting up shop to help.  President Bush was on television telling the world that this is what our country does after a disaster or some other superfluous nonsense.  I’ve gotten to a point that I don’t expect him to say anything but the obvious whenever he gives one of his infamous say nothing speeches.  I was upset with the noticeable difference between what happened after Katrina and what happened here.  But nevertheless, people are upset that the government was still dragging its feet.

The aftermath of Katrina looks like it will forever be the standard for incompetent government.  Four days after the storm cleared the area the people in New Orleans and the surrounding municipalities were waiting for some kind of help from the federal government.  People sat in the shadow of the Superdome and waited for help, and waited, and waited, and waited.  The storm not only inundated the city with water, it besieged local and state governments while the federal government pussyfooted around in an uncanny impersonation of the perpetually loosing Washington Generals to the finesse of the disaster’s Harlem Globetrotters.  While people were suffering the President, the Vice President, the National Security Advisor, and the director of the Federal Emergency Management Association acted as if it was business as usual.

This go round has people at least trying to respond.  Although clearly overwhelmed the President at least acknowledged that there was a disaster.  That in itself is a good thing.  The rest of the executive branch is actually trying to mobilize and get people to safety or to provide some relief for the people who stayed behind.  There was an extreme amount of damage to our structured, civilized world and all the preparation in the world can’t counter some of nature’s more intense moves.

If I was one of the people in Galveston who waited in the long lines for water and other supplies for my family only to be told that supplies ran out I have no doubt that I would be angry and frustrated and ready to slander the people there to help as everything incompetent and first class examples of ineffectiveness and stupidity.  I would conveniently forget that I made their jobs that much harder and the amount of supplies needed just one more family greater.  I would forget that I have contributed to their daunting task at hand.  I know that chances are good that I would forget that the people in New Orleans waited four days for any help while people are there to help me within hours after the storms clear.

But by any measure one cares to take the response to Ike has been a gargantuan improvement over the gross incompetence and indifference we’ve seen our government capable of.  I hope I can remember that whenever I’m caught in a disaster of historic proportions, especially when the need for someone else to respond to my need for help or rescue is partially due to my decision to stay or my inability to leave.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008 Posted by | Hurricane Ike, Hurricane Katrina, Life, Thoughts, Weather | Leave a comment

No Comparison

Like a lot of people I have been keeping an eye on the happenings in China since the massive earthquake last week. I have to applaud the Chinese government. For all practical purposes the government went into action the moment the disaster struck. There was no hemming and hawing for bureaucratic paperwork or fussing over the details regarding the appropriate protocol for helping people in immediate need. It was common sense that the massive quake would overwhelm the local or provincial government’s ability to handle the crisis. Governments from all over the world were stepping forward to offer aid. It was a humanitarian crisis and it would take humanity to respond. The official number of dead has risen steadily standing at about thirty thousand as I write this. The death toll will be changed higher before I will finish writing this article.

I cannot help but compare the Chinese government’s response to their earthquake disaster to the United State government’s response to the hurricane known as Katrina. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security and the office of the President all proved too politically motivated to help all the people whose lives were turned upside down by the storm of the century. When President George H.W. Bush exercised foresight and declared parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama disaster areas, he conveniently left out the heavily African American areas such as New Orleans and the surrounding parishes. The explanation from the executive branch of the federal government was that the Governor of Louisiana didn’t ask for help. But Governor Blanco produced a letter in which she specifically asked for a declaration of all parts of Louisiana along the gulf coast. Despite the lack of a quick response to the disaster, our government excelled when it came to finger pointing.

Maybe I’m being unfair. Maybe we all would have a different take on China’s response to their disaster had there been an area with a heavy black population. Maybe the Chinese government would have held back any aid to their black citizens until they provided the appropriate paperwork through the appropriate channels. Maybe three years from now China will continue to have the affected population staying in temporary shelters and suffering from formaldehyde poisoning like so many people in the wake of Katrina are being poisoned in their temporary mobile homes built with lumber cured with formaldehyde for the past three years.

We already know that the Chinese premier visited the area and gave comfort to the masses in a fraction of the time it took the American President to visit New Orleans. The day after the disaster China had over a hundred thousand troops working to help the populace. It took America’s National Guard five days to find New Orleans on their maps. People existed without food, water, medical care, sanitation, and any hope that their government cared about their welfare for five days. The idea of airlifting supplies to all those people concentrated around the Superdome in downtown New Orleans just never occurred to anybody who could have made a difference.

This is not to say that China is doing everything right while America did everything wrong. On the contrary, China has its own set of problems. I’m sure many people will contend that the Chinese government’s response to the earthquake was entirely too slow. But honestly, as of Thursday morning, less than seventy two hours after the initial quake, more than 130,000 Chinese troops were engaged in relief efforts. Rescuers were operating in each and every county and town stricken. Military transporters and helicopters had made over three hundred flights to either transport or airlift rescuers or relief supplies. Seventy two medical teams with over two thousand medical personnel were in the area. Comparisons with Katrina response are inevitable. But really there is no comparison.

Saturday, May 24, 2008 Posted by | China, Hurricane Katrina, Life, Thoughts | 2 Comments

The Guardians

The Coast Guard

A few weeks ago, the morning news broadcast a story about the Coast Guard being called to help some utility workers who were stranded on top of a light pole one hundred fifty feet in the air when the cherry picker they were using malfunctioned. Amazingly, the fire department wasn’t able to make a quick rescue. One man was hanging onto the light pole and were tiring. The news video showed the familiar red and white Coast Guard helicopter dropping a rescuer down a cable to pluck each man from his perch. Everyone was saved.

I was reminded of the images of two and a half years ago when the Coast Guard worked overtime and double time to pull people off the roof tops of their flooded houses, businesses, and other structures. At the peak of the storm the Coast Guard and its helicopters were at work plucking people out of the way of danger. When other arms of the government were arguing about who had jurisdiction and who filed the proper paperwork and who was to decide if the federal government had the right to trample over the rights of the state in order to save people. The other arms of the government were paralyzed into doing nothing because everybody needed time to put together a plan for a disaster that was predicted years ago, the Coast Guard acted.

The Coast Guard didn’t stop to get permission from its higher ups in Washington, DC. The people in the Coast Guard weren’t paralyzed into protecting their territory or offending the sensitivities of government officials who were more concerned with scoring political points. When the President George Bush was in California strumming a guitar there was a Coast Guard helicopter in New Orleans saving a life. When Condoleezza Rice was buying expensive boots and attending a concert in New York someone from the Coast Guard was helping a poor elderly person into a basket so they can be rescued.

Such quick action has bought this government institution a lot of goodwill in my book. If someone was to ask me to vote for a tax increase to increase funding for the Coast Guard I would return the favor and would not hesitate to give this measure my utmost support. I don’t need to know how many helicopters they plan to buy or if the helicopters are being used for personal trips. I don’t need to know the salary of the guy who is flying the machine or the guy who lowers the basket or the guy who gets lowered with the basket. I don’t need to know how much of their funds are going to no bid contracts and I don’t need to know how much of their funds is going to some war effort. Unlike a lot of government entities, I am sold on the belief that the Coast Guard operates with integrity. Why, because the Coast Guard was there to save American lives from a real and immediate threat at the very moment when the American people needed them most.

A few months ago there was a news story about a noose hanging in the locker room of the Coast Guard academy. I don’t remember all the details because it was at a time when there seemed to be a noose hanging every other day. The last thing the coast guard needs is the specter of racism among its personnel. I would hope they found the racist and expelled him. If not I hope the Coast Guard expelled the entire class. Better to err on the side of caution and expel everyone than let a cowardly white racist who was willing to express his or her intolerance of others under the cloak of anonymity infiltrate the system. If those other cadets wanted to stay in the coast guard they’d better help identify the bigot in their midst.

I don’t know how many people in the Coast Guard would be willing to let their racial prejudices interfere with their ability to do their job. I can imagine someone wrapping the harness around a black person’s neck instead of their waist and giving the hoist operator the thumbs up to lift them up. I can imagine a coast guard pilot intentionally picking through the houses looking only for white people to help. Racist so bold yet cowardly as to put nooses in front of black people would be the same type of people who would claim that the Coast Guard would need a plan before it could just go in willy nilly saving people from a predominantly black area. The Coast Guard doesn’t need to be saddled with such dishonesty.

The Coast Guard is one of the few government agencies I trust without reservation. I would hope they will forever move to keep and protect the trust that I, as well as a number of other Americans, have in them. I applaud them. I thank each and every one of their personnel for their work in protecting and saving all Americans. They truly are the guardians.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008 Posted by | Hurricane Katrina, Life, New Orleans, Thoughts | 1 Comment

God Doesn’t Have To Damn America

Burning Stars and Stripes

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger and you did not receive me as a guest, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they too will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not give you whatever you needed?’ Then he will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for me.’ And these will depart into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” – Matthew 25:41-46

Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s sermon where he damns America for its intolerance against the black community has been the source of a lot of conversation about race relations. Mr. Wright claims that Hillary Clinton has never been called a nigger. Ms. Clinton did not deny this charge so chances are extremely high that this is true. Mr. Wright said that Ms. Clinton didn’t know what it was like to be a struggling black person here in America. Ms. Clinton is as much a Caucasoid as they come so this is probably true as well. In fact, a lot of what Mr. Wright said was accurate and factual.

America has been built on the backs and with the blood of the children of Africa. Generally speaking, while black people toiled in fields of agriculture with no pay, no benefits, no rights, no education, no citizenship, and no acknowledgement of the fact that they were human, white people enjoyed the fruits of black people’s enslavement. While not all white people owned slaves, they benefited from the low price of many goods and services because the investment in labor cost was so minimal. While not all white people owned slaves, white people benefited from the fact that blacks remained uneducated and were less likely to compete in the job market for many positions that required an education, talents, or learned skills.

In this environment, some black people were able to overcome these conditions so overwhelmingly stacked against their success. The dominant community allowed some black people to go free if their owners gave them permission. Some black people were able to accumulate wealth as long as they were careful to stay within the strict confines that constituted acceptable black behavior. But black people could never forget that their success and their status were subject to tolerance from the dominant community. This may help to explain why many well to do blacks, who used to be aware of the inequity between the black community and the white community but now have accumulated their own materialism and wealth, do well to say nothing against the status quo of white privilege and black subjugation.

Any white person could jeopardize a black person’s position in the dominant community controlled so greatly by the members of the white community. For example, a white woman can accuse a black man of rape and unleash a mob of white retaliation on the entire black community regardless of the merits of the claim. And after the violence against the black community is done, white people are free to go back to their lives without any fear of justice for their transgressions against black people. This type of behavior was rampant in the days of slavery and continues today with such intolerance for black people who think they have the right to defend themselves from white people. John White made this error when he tried to defend his family and property from the drunken mob of white youths led by Daniel Cicciaro. The Jena Six made this mistake when they had the audacity to fight back against white students who instigated racial conflicts when they hanged nooses from trees and initiated fights with their pranks of racial intolerance.

Black people are constantly overlooked by the dominant community. The dominant community will pull out a series of excuses and reasons why it was impossible to help black people caught in the catastrophic flood of New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. People in the black community are constantly told to exercise personal responsibility and to show some initiative to lift themselves out of the perpetual condition of black subjugation. It is okay to let black people lose their houses to predatory lending practices that force black people with good credit into sub prime loans that make borrowing more expensive. But, when the ripple effect of so many black people losing their homes suddenly affects the banks and investment firms on Wall Street the government is quick to do what it can to save them.

A nationally syndicated radio talk show host calls black women nappy headed ho’s and the dominant community says its black people’s fault because black rappers who get paid by the corporate music industry controlled primarily by white people makes the subject so confusing. The main character from a nationally syndicated show about bounty hunters call his son’s black girlfriend a nigger and the dominant community says this is okay because it happened behind closed doors. A white comedian gets on stage and espouses the lynching of black hecklers repeatedly calling black people niggers and asking somebody to get him a rope and the dominant community gives him a break because he’s under so much stress. A former Secretary of Education makes the suggestion that crime can be reduced by aborting all black babies and people defend his words by saying that people are trying to take his words out of context. And through all this, people who bring attention to the disparity that has become the standard operating procedure in America are the problem.

With all this racial disparity under America’s collective belt, the dominant community expects black people to simply go along with the status quo of white privilege and black subjugation without complaint. For the most part, the broader community doesn’t care about what happens to the black community. We would prefer to sweep all of this racial discord under the proverbial rug and pretend that everything is okay when racial relations are anything but okay. The black community is constantly under distress from this racial status quo. And when black people have the audacity to say that there is something wrong here these black people are ridiculed and minimized as wanting a pity party or having a victim mentality or wanting a handout or whatever standard knee jerk reaction that minimizes this disparity.

Is Mr. Wright out of line? Did he say anything that wasn’t true? No. He says that while others may sing god bless America there are plenty of people who can say god damn America. That should be no surprise. I’m sure when the people were standing outside the Superdome in those days after Katrina a lot of them were saying god damn America. When black people were being hanged from trees and being dragged behind cars with nooses around their neck I’m pretty sure that were saying god damn America. When black men are trying to defend their home from drunken white mobs I’m sure they were thinking god damn America. When black people were losing their homes in the sub prime mortgage meltdown while the government handed various American corporations billions of dollars on a silver platter I’m sure these people were saying god damn America. When qualified black people are rejected as a candidate for a job or for a learning opportunity or as President because someone says they don’t know why they don’t trust them, then god damn America.

America celebrates the fact that black children are murdered in boot camps for taking their grandmother’s car without permission. Police punch teenaged black girls in the face for breaking curfew and America is horrified that black people complain. America defends the fact that black teenaged boys are getting ten year prison sentences for having sex with teenaged girls. Black teenagers are being tried for second degree attempted murder for getting in fights with white teenagers and the dominant American community feigns confusion when black people rally to come to their aid. A black celebrity stands in front of white people and rips the black community a new one while he absolves the dominant community of its culpability in the condition of the black community. Black celebrities distance themselves from the black community and elevate themselves above their racial identity into the racially generic ether that is overwhelmingly dominated by members of the white community or who are very sensitive to white standards of thoughts are hailed as an example of black opinion that is acceptable, and manageable, by the dominant community.

Regardless of what a lot of people think the established political and corporate leadership does not have the welfare of the black community at heart. People may go into the black community and give some noble sounding speeches full of racial equality rhetoric with suggestions of finally giving some desperately needed fairness to the black community. But when these people get elected the black community will suffer even larger pattern of disparity while the status quo remains safe and even more reinforced.

A politician will promise to rid drugs from the black community. More police will patrol drug infested areas. More arrests are made of individuals who indulge in illegal drugs. People found with fifty grams of crack cocaine, an illegal drug found mostly in the black community, will receive the same sentence as people who carry five kilos of powdered cocaine, an illegal drug more associated with the white community. But the arrest of more people in the black neighborhood who use and sell drugs is nothing more than a simple placebo designed to placate the fears of people. Why are there so many black people using drugs? Where are the drugs in the black community coming from? How are the drugs getting into the black community? Some black people may applaud this heavy handed approach to the drug problem, but the strategy of locking up the drug seller or the drug user does not get to the roots of the problem which is the despair in the black community and the lack of opportunity for improvement in our lives. The long term solution is not in the incarceration of more sellers and users. God damn America!

America likes to tell black people to lift ourselves out of our predicament. Essentially the American government says that the conditions in the black community are not a concern for the dominant culture. This country would rather spend a trillion dollars and four thousand American lives in Iraq on a war to liberate that country from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein who never threatened a single American life. This country would rather go halfway around the world and stick our national nose in another country’s affairs and create a Pandora’s box like the world has never seen than do anything to help alleviate the despair of the black community. God damn America!

There is a great deal of despondency and depression in the black community. There is an overwhelming sense of disconnect from the major community. Instead of trying to build bridges and trying to build communities we are content to let the despair fester like an open wound. A country that is so willing to let such a large part of its population suffer such disparity is nothing that calls for god’s blessing. Such a country should be cursed. It should be damned to the deepest pit of hell. In a nation of such wealth and prosperity we tolerate so much disparity along racial lines. In Matthew 25:41-56, Jesus said that we will be judged by how well we take care of the least of us and not by how well we tell others to get their own bootstrap. As Mr. Wright said, it is in the bible. The bible indicates this happened just two days before the Passover.

America is willing to spend as much time as it takes to understand what drives a white man to strap a fake bomb to their person and hold an entire office of presidential campaign workers hostage. The city will waste no resource in order to find a peaceful solution that will allow the troubled man to get some help for his mental condition that drives his lack of judgment. But let it be a black man who has a history of mental problems and threatening the community with a hairbrush. After five minutes of trying nothing the police will have no choice but to open fire in order to keep the black man from brushing somebody’s hair. God damn America!

But in all honesty we have damned ourselves. The drug problem that is festering in America got its foothold in the black community because people were willing to ignore the plight of the black people who indulged in drugs. The people who are willing to let the education of the black community lapse will pay with higher cost of a social welfare burden that will be a drain on local, state, and federal treasures. The lack of adequate medical care that permeates the black community will drive up medical cost for everyone without being an effective help to anyone. And as a country, we are more than willing to sit back and allow corporate America to rape black people with higher costs for credit, insurance, and housing until we get to a point where those chickens have come home to roost and we find ourselves facing a global financial crisis of epidemic proportions that has the dollar falling against currencies around the world. Our inability to provide a share in the prosperity of America to everyone will come back to damn us all.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008 Posted by | Barack Obama, Black Community, Black History, Democrats, Faith, Geraldine Ferraro, Hillary Clinton, Hurricane Katrina, Jeremiah Wright, John White, Justice, Life, Martin Lee Anderson, Michelle Obama, Racism, Spirituality, The Race Card, Thoughts, White Privilege | 3 Comments

The World Has Had Enough

The World Has Had Enough

I know I’ve had plenty!

Sunday, February 3, 2008 Posted by | Global Warming, Hurricane Katrina, Iran, Iraq, Life, Thoughts | 1 Comment

Brad Pitt Is Giving Really Deep

Brad Pitt

Until recently I have never been a big Brad Pitt fan. Although his filmography is long and includes some pretty heavy box office hits, the number of Brad Pitt movies I’ve seen can be counted on one hand. There is Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Ocean’s Eleven, Se7en (which I’m embarrassed to say I paid good money to be disappointed at the theater), Fight Club, and last but certainly my favorite Brad Pitt flick, The Twelve Monkeys. His portrayal of the mentally disturbed Jeffery Goines was priceless. Every twitch from his hands and blink of his eyes was hilarious.

I have to admit that I started on a couple of others. The other day I started watching Troy. But his character was so arrogant and anti social in the beginning of the film I turned it off right after he killed some giant about two minutes into the flick. You can actually witness the sword going inside this guy’s neck. The things people can do with computer graphics. I also started watching Ocean’s Twelve but couldn’t get through it. I think I had to pick some lent off a sweater or something else more meaningful. And I have to admit that I loved Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. But even though he makes an appearance I can hardly call this a Brad Pitt flick. But if one must then I will amend my claim to say you can count the number of Brad Pitt films I’ve watched on one hand and a finger.

But I got home from my packing job today and in my exhaustion I entertained myself with a little news from CNN. Brad Pitt was catching media attention with his Make It Right project to building homes a hundred and fifty new homes by the end of next summer in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward in an area of the city devastated by Katrina back in late August through early September of 2005. Said Mr. Pitt, “To build those one hundred fifty homes, we need the help of the American people. We need to all join together to do this. There is no reason why we can’t do a thousand homes.” Mr. Pitt and film producer Steve Bing will each donate five million dollars for the building project. Click here for more information on this initiative.

Now this is what I call giving deep. A few months ago I wrote an article titled Kelly Rowland and Giving Deep about Ms. Rowland’s message in an Ebony magazine article encouraging people to give painlessly with such activities as cleaning out their closet and donating the old clothes and shoes to charities. In my opinion this painless giving was nice, but it shouldn’t be the end all of people helping each other in the community. People who are capable of doing more should. With great ability comes great responsibility. The more we get from the community the more we have to give back to the community.

This message didn’t sit well with one Kelly Rowland fan that came to Ms. Rowland’s defense and chastised me about expecting more from people just because they are big stars in the entertainment industry. My message about everyone should have the courage and character to actually go out of their way and make a sacrifice that will impact their life for at least a little while in order to help others in our community fell on at least one set of deaf ears.

But here is Brad Pitt putting what I preach into practice. Five million dollars is a healthy sum no matter who you are. No matter how many old pairs of shoes you find in your closet there is little doubt that it would only amount to a fraction of this type of giving. And Mr. Pitt didn’t have to go to Africa or Australia or Austria to find someone in need. He found people in his own backyard. Mr. Pitt and his wife Angelina Jolie bought a mansion in the French Quarter earlier this year. He didn’t come out with some bull saying something off the wall like, “Hey, I tried helping black people before and they took advantage of me so I had to go and help black people somewhere else. Good poor black people in America are so hard to find these days.”

I realize that all this might be nothing more than a publicity stunt or some kind of popularity campaign. But it is a popularity campaign that has real benefit for people in the community. My hat comes off to Mr. Pitt and his associates for setting a real example of what it is like to be giving deep. And the fact that his charity crosses racial lines and specifically targets a predominantly black community is truly an example of reaching out to those most unlikely to be in a position to help themselves. I cannot express my gratitude to Mr. Pitt for his help to the black community. I don’t think I’ll be watching many more Brad Pitt movies. But I am more than happy to say that I am now a huge Brad Pitt fan.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007 Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Hurricane Katrina, Kelly Rowland, Life, New Orleans, News, Thoughts | Leave a comment