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Equality Means Making Hard Choices

Everyday we see more and more examples that make it appear as if America’s principles and ideas of fairness and equality are just words.  We talk about equality but then say that certain men, men accused of terrorism or caught in the act of committing terrorism, are not entitled to a fair judicial hearing and should be prosecuted in a military court.  The assumption is that a military court would guarantee a conviction and we can do without any semblance of a fair process.  As the citizens of the United States, we take pride in our legal system that’s supposed to be the envy of the world.

The underwear bomber wasn’t simply trying to blow people up.  He was actually trying to blow a hole in America’s sense of security.  Had the Christmas Day flight from Amsterdam to Detroit blown up on its final approach to the airport, the shock wave would still be reverberating through our collective.  You think getting on a plane is a hassle now?  They couldn’t develop enough security procedures, machines, technologies, and personnel to make us all feel safe to fly again.  A strip down and body cavity search would only be the first security measures to jump through at the ticket gate.  If you’re suspicious looking, you’d get an MRI and an interrogation in a closed room with no lights or windows and a free dose of with sodium thiopental to help loosen your tongue up.  And if you’re really suspicious looking, you just might disappear from the face of the Earth.  Next in line please step forward and be judged!  So the Christmas Day attack was an attack on America.  All of us were the intended victim.  All of us have a stake in assuring this man is prosecuted to the fullest extent of our laws.

One of the things we do to assure fairness in our judicial process is to remove the accused from an area where the potential pool of jurors is tainted.  Our system is also designed so that we require judges to recuse him or her self in order to present a truly fair and impartial trial.  If there is so much as a hint of someone having a vested interest in a verdict going one way or the other, that person is not allowed to participate in the judgment process.  We don’t allow victims of an alleged crime to serve as jurors or judges in a trial of the accused.  No doubt letting people who feel that they have been wronged participate in the judgment process would assure a guilty verdict, but any semblance of fairness would go out the window with the bath water.  That’s why when selecting people for a jury pool, if someone said that they knew the victim or the perpetrator, if someone said that they believed that the perpetrator was guilty or innocent before the trial even started, chances are they’d be excused.

The underwear bomber was trying to hurt all of America.  He has been described as an enemy combatant.  He is an enemy of the state.  And as such, his chances of getting a fair trial are severely limited when so many people are willing to throw his rights down the drain.  So many American citizens feel entitled to judge this man before a trial can even begin.  So many people say that he’s not entitled to a lawyer at the taxpayer’s expense.  So many people would prefer to dispense without anything resembling a fair trail, railroad this guy through a kangaroo court, and simply get on with deciding his fate.  No doubt, many people in this country would feel entitled to give this guy a death sentence.  If terrorists are truly so horrible, it would seem that finding them guilty through a fully above board judicial process would be a slam dunk.  But in these times of war who has the luxury of caring about fairness?

And so when the pool of people is so tainted, if so many people feel like a victim that it would be virtually a nil chance of having a fair trial, the defense is entitled to a change of venue.  It should be painfully obvious that our political climate is such that it is impossible to give the underwear bomber a fair trial here in America.  The defense should ask for a change of venue totally out of the country.  And it should be granted.  When it comes to this case in particular, there is as slim a chance as any that an impartial judge and jury can be found free of political influences to dispense the type of justice so many Americans are supposed to be so proud of.  We fight these wars on terror to protect our beliefs and our Constitution.  But let’s trash that shit here and now because we all know dude’s guilty as all hell.

Being a people of principles isn’t easy.  It’s hard as hell.  If it was easy everybody would be doing it.  But like a victim of a crime who has to sit back and allow the wheels of justice to roll their conclusion, we should have enough faith in our system that we believe to be so fair.  We shouldn’t be so quick to throw our principles away because we are the victim.  We’re supposed to be above that.

But the truth of the matter is that our system of justice is just as flawed as the next guy.  And it’s not because we don’t have principles.  We have plenty of those.  We simply chose when they apply and when they don’t.  We might be a people who say we believe in equality and fairness.  But when it comes times to put those pretty words into practice, we see that we allow our prejudices to manifest at the drop of a hat.  And when such gaping holes of prejudice appear in our beliefs and the ideas that we hold self evident, it really is a no brainer to see that although we might be principled, our integrity really is lacking.

Sunday, February 14, 2010 Posted by | Justice, Life, Politics, Thoughts | 1 Comment

How The Hell Do You Wander Across An Axis Of Evil Border?

X Marks The Spot

American journalist Laura Ling and fellow reporter Euna Lee, held captive in North Korea for illegally entering that country from China, are finally home.  Both reporters were working on a story about the trafficking of women in North Korea for former Vice President Al Gore’s San Francisco based Current TV when they were arrested back in March.  They were both sentenced to twelve years of hard labor.  Their release was the result of a successful unofficial diplomatic foray from former President Bill Clinton with the blessings of the White House.  Mr. Clinton’s diplomatic mission comes during a period of heightened tensions over North Korea’s nuclear program.  Former Vice President thanked the State Department for its help in winning their release.

Meanwhile, at another location on our globe, Iran confirmed the arrest of three American hikers who crossed into that country from neighboring Iraq and said they have been charged with “illegal entry,” a semi-official news agency reported.  Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Joshua Fattal were arrested in the western Iranian city of Marivan.  Swiss diplomats in Iran and United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Iran to provide information on the hikers.  These three are supposed to be seasoned hikers who we are supposed to believe just happened to have wandered across an unmarked border with Iran when they were detained.

Now maybe it’s just me, like most humans I have a history of forming an opinion without the need to wait for every single detailed fact to be discovered before forming an opinion, but how the hell do you get on a plane, travel halfway around the world to a country that borders a country once considered an axis of evil, then take some local form of transportation to the fore mentioned border, put on a backpack, and then start wandering around aimlessly without the slightest clue that they might be heading into dangerous territory?  Maybe it’s just me, but these two episodes of wandering Americans in supposedly hostile countries sound the fishiest of fishy.

Does anybody really have to wonder what would happen if an undocumented North Korean or an Iranian was found aimlessly wandering around in Phoenix, Arizona or San Antonio, Texas?  I wonder if anyone would buy their story that they were simply took a hiking trip during their tourist visit to Juarez, Mexico.  More than likely nobody here would share a tear if such a visitor to our country would wind up in high security, protect the country from terrorist, Guantanamo Bay like accommodations.  We don’t even want the people in Mexico, a friendly state, coming across our borders, let alone the citizen from a hostile state.

So don’t the goods for the goose apply to the gander?  If we want to prosecute people who illegally come into our country, aren’t other countries entitled to prosecute Americans who illegally come into theirs?  And if an American is there to do a story on how screwed up other cultures are, all the more reason to stop their shit cold.

But one thing I do know for sure is that within days after their arrest, all of the American infiltrators listed here, Laura Ling, Euna Lee, Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Joshua Fattal, were given an opportunity to contact their families and get help.  Imagine that from an axis of evil!  There were stories from Guantanamo Bay that the lawyers assigned to represent some of the accused terrorist had to fight tooth and nail to get access to their clients.  And some of those people that were condemned to rot in the detention at Camp X-Ray in downtown Guantanamo had just become teenagers.  Imagine what would have happened if Iran or North Korea had sentenced a young American teenager to one of their detention facilities.

A lot of people who work in our government on behalf of the American people look for every loophole not to give people accused of being here illegally the representation they need to have a day in court or to simply go back home.  If not already, our national paranoia is becoming legendary.  But our national hypocrisy is even greater.

Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee stayed in the news and our government officials and unofficials pulled out all the stops to help bring these two home.  Ms. Clinton and the State Department are undoubtedly pulling out similar stops to earn the release of the three hikers being held in Iran.  We’ll work to bring these people home and then put them in front of cameras and hail them as American heroes for their foray into enemy territory.  I’m sure the people we hold here in America for similar transgressions against our country would appreciate being treated like Americans being held elsewhere.  I’m sure the foreigners being held here would like to go home and have the opportunity to see their families again.

Thursday, August 6, 2009 Posted by | Hillary Clinton, Iran, Justice, Life, Politics, Thoughts | 7 Comments

Sonia Sotomayor Is A Poor Example Of Racism


People who applauded the fact that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, with her somewhat less than impeccable and rather questionable record of national level executive political experience that was somehow the equivalent of the man who would become President, was the most perfect choice to lead the Republican Party to the routing it received that first Tuesday night back in November of 2008 are now saying that Sonia Sotomayor isn’t qualified to be a Supreme Court.  While the political right was happy to see Ms. Palin entrench herself into the good graces of hardworking typical Americans with eye winks to the camera and a shout out and a promise of extra credit to the students in some way off elementary school’s second grade classroom, these same people are doing their best to give Ms. Sotomayor the equivalent of a political beat down.

The party with all the racial diversity of a Ronald Reagan movie is now pointing at Mr. Obama’s choice to be the next justice on the Supreme Court as a racist.  If confirmed she would be the court’s first Hispanic and only the third woman to enjoy such a post, one of only five people not be a white male.  The Republicans have a variety of reasons to justify the rejection of Ms. Sotomayor.  Controversial conservative talk radio personality Rush Limbaugh called Ms. Sotomayor a reverse racist.  Mr. Limbaugh, who never spares any effort when stirring up the Republican faithful, said he hopes Ms. Sotomayor fails.  Mitt Romney called the nomination of Ms. Sotomayor troubling because she has made a statement indicating she has an expansive view of the role of the judiciary.  Mr. Romney said that the American public deserves is a judge who will put the law above her own personal political philosophy.

Most of the people against Ms. Sotomayor’s nomination point to a line from a 2001 speech to a Hispanic group in Berkeley, California as proof of Ms. Sotomayor’s activist potential when she was describing how life experiences can help formulate judicial opinion.  Ms. Sotomayor said, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

Newt Gingrich called Ms. Sotomayor an overt racist asking people to imagine a white male judicial nominee saying his experience as a white man makes him better than a Latina woman.  Mr. Gangrich said new racism is no better than old racism and if a white man racist would be forced to withdraw then a Hispanic woman should also withdraw.

What racist white person has ever been forced to withdraw from government service?  George Allen stood on stage during a campaign rally and referred to a minority in the audience using a racial slur.  Bill Bennett suggested that it would be abhorrent but if you wanted to reduce crime abort all black babies.  Sarah Palin said that she doesn’t care about black people and as Governor she wasn’t about to hire black people on her staff.  George Wallace stood in front of a school blocking the entrance to keep black people out.  Mr. Wallace went on to win the office of Governor of Alabama several times after that.  John McCain, the Republican Party nominee for the presidency, referred to some Asians as gooks and refused to apologize for the slur.

Only in America can the leadership of a political party whose members to this day continue to ask questions like what has the first black President of the United States done to earn an honorary doctorate from Notre Dame, an honor the school regularly bestows on just about anybody who shows up to give a commencement speech, can flip the script and call anyone who has ever said anything indicating their willingness to buck the racial status quo.

Whether or not the pick of Ms. Sotomayor is actually a wise choice for the benefit of the nation or not has yet to be determined.  Most of us never heard of her before she was revealed as Mr. Obama’s top nominee to replace David Souter on the nation’s highest court.  Most of us will have to pay close and careful attention to the confirmation process itself and not rely solely on the regurgitated excerpts and commentary from political pundits on all the news shows in order to form an honest opinion.

But it should be no surprise to see the Republicans attack Mr. Obama’s choice with all the vehemence they can muster within minutes after she was announced.  For many, a line from a speech about eight years ago saying that she hoped her experience as a Latina woman makes her wiser than a white man is all the proof they need to label her a racist and an activist.

And the fact that Mr. Obama used code words like “empathy” to describe what he wanted to see in a judicial nominee doesn’t help.  That was an indication that the President was looking for someone who would actually have enough of a consciousness to consider how his or her ruling would impact people.  These people would probably have been happier if Mr. Obama said that he wanted someone who could not care any less about the impact a ruling may effect the population.  I know how much I look forward to seeing that kind of judge hearing any case I bring to court.

It should be noted that most of the people trying to paint Ms. Sotomayor as a liberal activist would love to see someone nominated who would support their position on each and every controversial issue that goes before the court.  They’d love to see an activist judge for corporate America or for the further dismantling of anything remotely resembling affirmative action or an activist judge ready to support for the status quo that is synonymous with patriarchy and white privilege.

Thursday, May 28, 2009 Posted by | Justice, Life, Racism, Republicans, Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court, Thoughts | 5 Comments

Believing Who We Can Be

Legion of Superheroes

Who we are is just a matter of believing who we can be.

These were the words I heard in an episode of the cartoon Legion of Superheroes. A shape shifter from the bad side has infiltrated the Legion by assuming the identity of Superman. The subterfuge had been going on for so long that by the time the shape shifter’s cover was blown his evil ways were kicked to the curb and he wanted to work with the League to make amends for his previously evil ways. The shape shifter was experiencing a conflict of personality objectives until the leader of the super criminals showed up and fully restored the shape shifter’s original personality and any thought to be helpful to the League was forgotten with one exception.

As the leader of the criminals and the shape shifter returned to their headquarters the leader started ragging the shape shifter about his temporary desire to be helpful to the League. Suddenly, in one final act in defiance of evil, the shape shifter helped the League destroy a group of missiles that numbered into the thousands on a trajectory to destroy a planet of people unaware of the conflict between the two groups. There is no doubt that the planet would have been destroyed if the shape shifter hadn’t destroyed the key missile that triggered a domino reaction that destroyed all the missiles. The shape shifter returned to his headquarters and the League was left to ponder this final act of compassion. Why would someone who worked so hard to cause trouble would work so hard to help. I think it was Superman who said, “Who we are is just a matter of believing who we can be.”

Like most things I hear I started to apply this quote to the black community. Maybe who we are is just a matter of believing who we can be. Maybe if people in the black community simply made the choice to be the best educated people we can be then we will be the best. Maybe if we believed we deserved employment all of us will have jobs. Maybe if we believed that we have the right to walk down the street without being harassed by posses of the dominant culture we won’t be harassed by posses. That sounds so simple and too good to be true. The only problem is that the black community would be competing to be everything we wanted to be against a culture that wants to a dominator of the black community. We live in a world by the white, of the white, and for the white. This world will be and must be protected at all cost. And part of what makes many people in the white community feel better about themselves is the fact that the vast majority of the black population is in a situation similar to or worse than what they have to deal with.

Imagine what it was like for black people who believed they could learn to read and write back at the peak of institutionalized slavery on the American plantation. The common practice among white slave owners was to severely punish the African for having the audacity to learn how to read. But the African wanted to learn. Suddenly just believing who you can be is woefully inadequate when compared to someone who is committed to you being ignorant and less than your full potential. Africans who were caught trying to learn were suddenly sold away from their family and everything that was familiar to them. A black parent who caught their child trying to learn would reinforce the rule of ignorance out of fear that they could have their child sold away. The choice to be literate was a difficult one for many of our ancestors. And while some of our ancestors were able to learn, many of them paid the consequences of being able to read.

Black people who can believe themselves capable of operating outside the confining parameters defined by the dominant culture can be successful but they have to expend a great deal of fortitude to achieve their objectives. The black man that has the audacity to be the first to play major league baseball, the black woman who imagined herself being able to sit anywhere she wanted on a public bus, the first black man to be a quarterback in professional football, the first black woman to actually run for President, the first black man to earn the right to practice medicine and develop techniques for the first successful open heart surgery, black people working hard for the right to vote, black people working hard for an education or a livelihood, all these black people had to do a lot more than just believe who that wanted to be. They actually had to work against people strongly committed to keeping the status quo of black subjugation safe and in place. Some of these people struggled and were never successful. Many died working for what they believed.

A lot of white people have their own imaginings. A lot of white people imagine themselves free of black people. A lot of white people work to keep black people out of their neighborhood, out of their profession, out of their place of employment or education, out of their church, and out of their sight. The two imaginings are very incongruous. Believing in ourselves to be whatever we want ourselves to be is just the first step. Then there are all the steps necessary to make it happen. No disrespect to Superman but it is a lot more complicated than just believing who we can be. Sometimes black people have to go up against the very definition of modern society steeped in beliefs of racial prejudice. The white mindset, as practiced by people on both sides of the racial divide, will not capitulate to ideas of racial equality just because somebody believes it can happen.

Sunday, October 12, 2008 Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black History, Justice, Life, Racism | 4 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

For What Shall It Profit Us

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the world, and lose his soul?” – Mark 8:36

American politics is a system that breeds cynicism, corruption, cronyism, and mediocrity. The most successful political candidates are usually the ones that offer quick and easy solutions to problems that can have deep social implications. Can’t afford to rebuild the roads? Issue a bond, borrow the money, and let future generations figure out how to pay for it. Need to balance the federal budget? Tap the social security money reserves intended to help pay for people’s retirement and let the politicians in office when it’s time for people to retire figure out how to get the money. People are complaining about the racial disparity in the public school system? Instead of spending money to support the schools that are lacking, usually in the black neighborhoods, we can spend money on bussing so we can shuffle students around to various schools so everyone can be mediocre. Are the gasoline prices getting too high? We can suspend federal taxes for a time period so that the eighteen cents that the government collects to repair roads and other services stops. Instead of paying four dollars a gallon gasoline with eighteen cents going to taxes we can pay four dollars a gallon and someone just pockets that extra eighteen cents. In the world of politics, immediate, simple solutions are key to winning over a public with little interest for the details of public social issues.

To compound this problem, there are powerful entities that want to make sure that their interest are well represented whatever the political environment. Wealthy corporate and private entities will use whatever vast resources at their disposal to wield influence on just about any serious political candidate from the local level all the way to the federal. These people have the resources to influence even the most powerful politicians to their disposal. It is a foregone conclusion that this influence involves money. But the ultimate goal is the power to bend others, even the most committed type A personality, to act against their own self interest no matter what. Often, it is a system of quid pro quo where I scratch your back and you’ll scratch mine. It is a prime condition for secrets that betray not the public’s trust or sense of faith, but the public’s sense of comfort that the politician will do whatever so the public doesn’t have to care about it. A politician’s penchant for secret deals and under the table partnerships and is a prime environment for fostering the corruption and cronyism.

It is truly difficult for me as a member of the black community to develop a comfortable trust in someone who has become so adept at thriving in such an environment. With rare exception, the political environment of the manipulators and the manipulated rarely has the black community’s welfare at heart. Indeed, a politician that makes the choice to reveal his or her self as a proponent of the black community is a politician that will be quickly guided to the exit door signaling an end to their political career. Therefore, a politician, whether black or white, will do well to keep any affiliation with the black community as distant as possible.

Black politicians have been able to achieve public office at all levels of government. Blacks have been city councilmen, Mayors, state representatives, Governors, and federal representatives. The only office black people have yet to hold is the President. But just because a black person holds a certain political office means nothing to black people. Black people are just as likely to be lynched by the police in cities with black Mayors or black police chiefs as we are in cities with all white public officials. The black community is ignored in states with black Governors just as we are in any other state. Poverty in the black community is just as rampant. Black unemployment is just as pervasive. Education for black people will be just as lacking. Medical care for black people will be just as disappointing.

With all of that said, there is an inherent flaw in the black community’s proclivity to put its collective faith in any politician. A cursory glance at American history will show that some politicians have appeared as champions of social change and an enormous boon to the black community. People in the black community have been programmed to accept America’s most famous politicians as people who have done well for the black community. The black community is supposed to appreciate George Washington because he freed his slaves in his will. But the fact is that George Washington condoned and supported the institution of slavery just like every land owner in his day. The black community is supposed to be thankful to Abraham Lincoln because he freed the slaves. But little is mentioned of the fact that Mr. Lincoln was a stout segregationist he never wanted to end slavery, who believed in the superiority of the white race, and would never condone black people achieving equality to white people. John Kennedy may have made the phone call to Doctor Martin Luther King when he was in prison for his civil disobedience. But Mr. Kennedy had a history of selecting some of the most conservative judges to fill the openings in the American south. And while the black community may thank Lyndon Johnson for passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Mr. Johnson condoned the public harassment of all civil rights icons throughout his presidency. And these are the Presidents we are supposed to admire.

Richard Nixon hired Donald Rumsfeld to head the office charged with the responsibility of eliminating poverty in America. Hiring the uber neoconservative to manage one of the most socially oriented offices in the presidency is akin to hiring a fox to guard a chicken coop. Ronald Reagan initiated his war on welfare with his story of the black welfare queen who sits at home and robs the federal government blind as justification to cut the social welfare programs that helped the black community to the bone. And no President could have manifested more disinterest in the welfare of the black community than George Bush during the Katrina disaster. President Bush declared a state of emergency for parts of Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana, but his declaration didn’t include New Orleans or the parishes with a heavy black population.

So it is with a great deal of suspicion and low expectations that a black politician becoming President will do anything with the black community in mind. Indeed, it is interesting that a black politician that has to defend himself against white people who regularly make everything from highly suggestive racial innuendoes all the way through to outright blatant claims of African American inferiority will dismiss such language as something that must be ignored, but will become visibly outraged and angry when his former pastor says that the black politician is required to make politically advantageous moves in order to win the highest political office in the land.

It is understandable after all. A lot of black people say that the pastor should keep quiet in order to help the black man win the presidency. But what will the black community gain other than bragging rights that a black man has finally reached the final political frontier? If the experience with the black Governor and the black Mayor is any indication, we won’t gain anything that will achieve anything for us. It will be business as usual.

Most of the social changes that have benefited the black community did not come from public office. The social changes that we have craved came through activism. It came through people who have been front and center in the church. Most of our changes have come from the black community that works hard and made sacrifices of dignity, sacrifices of physical pain, sacrifices of time and money, and the ultimate sacrifices of life. No politician is willing to make these kinds of sacrifices to help the black community. The black politician has an image that white people can trust him or her to uphold. Social changes, the type of changes many white people protest in order to keep their white privilege, will damage that image of trust. It is the black church that has gotten us this far. If black people are to ever come back together again to continue our long, arduous fight for some kind of racial equality in America, it will be through the black church and not through any political office.

The way things look it is a fairly safe bet that soon a black man will wear the title of President of the United States. In order to help the black man gain that title, a lot of people are ready to turn their back on the liberal theology of the black church. Many of us are willing to sell our soul in order to gain what we think is the greatest political office in the world. And black people want those bragging rights so badly that we are ready to allow the only institution that has ever truly worked in our favor, the black church, to be labeled as some relic of a segregationist past fueled by black people’s victim mentality. The black community stands ready to abandon our collective soul.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 Posted by | African Americans, Barack Obama, Black Community, Black Culture, Black History, Black Men, Black People, Clarence Thomas, Democrats, Jeremiah Wright, Justice, Life, Michelle Obama, Philosophy, Racism, Reverse Discrimination, Slavery, Spirituality, The Race Card, Thoughts, White Privilege | 6 Comments

The Polygamist Predicament

Seventeen years old Genarlow Wilson was arrested in the state of Georgia for indulging in oral sex with a girl two years his junior. He was convicted of aggravated child molestation. He received a ten year prison sentence after refusing to plea bargain and admitting guilt. On October 26 of 2007, the Georgia State Supreme Court ruled in a four to three split that Wilson’s sentence was cruel and unusual and ordered him release. It was written in the majority decision, although society has a significant interest in protecting children from premature sexual activity, we must acknowledge that Wilson’s crime does not rise to the level of culpability of adults who prey on children and that, for the law to punish Wilson as it would an adult, with the extraordinarily harsh punishment of ten years in prison without the possibility of probation or parole, appears to be grossly disproportionate to his crime.

Today, in San Angelo, Texas, the state is taking great pains to make sure everything stays proper in its investigation of accusations of child abuse in the polygamist ranch. There is a possibility that at this ranch there is a history of girls as young as sixteen years of age giving birth to babies impregnated by men as old as fifty years or so. If the girl is giving birth at age sixteen, chances are good the sex that resulted in pregnancy happened when she was fifteen.

Texas is a state that prides itself on its inability to tolerate crime unless it is of a corporate nature. After all, this is the same state that allowed Kenny Boy Lay and his posse to develop the infamous Enron debacle. The Texas Department of Justice will kill a man on the flimsiest of evidence so flimsy the paper it would be written on wouldn’t even make a good ass wipe. If asked, most Texans will tell you that they believe their state has mistakenly killed innocent people in its rush to administer justice. However, if you asked Texans if they thought the state should stop capitol punishment, most people would reply with a hearty hell no. This is the state that sentenced fourteen years old Shaquanda Cotton to juvenile detention with the Texas Youth Commission for shoving a hall monitor at her high school in Paris, Texas. People here follow a simple philosophy of no justice is too big, no sentence is too big.

As I understand the law, Texas does not acknowledge the marriage of polygamist. As far as the state is concerned these people never filed papers with the state saying that they are married. So in essence, these people who claim that they are married are just shacking up and living in sin. Therefore, although they claim to be married the marriage is not sanctioned by the state. A polygamist is not recognized until he submits document to the state of multiple marriages. So this is why polygamist can live in the state without fear of running afoul of the law. I’m not a lawyer so please forgive my inaccurate laymen’s legalese. Like the majority of the states, Texas does not want to be an accessory to a bigamist.

According to ABC News, the Texas Rangers were involved in the arrest of a Colorado woman who they claimed pretended to be one of the many sixteen year old girls living in the polygamist compound in San Angelo, Texas, sexually abused and locked in a basement. The thirty three year old woman was arrested and is being charged with filing a false report. The phone call from this woman that sparked what has become one of the largest child custody cases in history. The resulting raid on the compound netted four hundred sixteen children being taken into protective custody. Hundreds of lawyers from across the state are participating in the legal representation of the children and the mothers. According to court documents, the call originated from a young under aged mother who called herself Sarah, said she was being physically and sexually abused by her adult husband, court documents say.

Texas child protection lawyers have said that they believe the girl does exist, even though they have not found her. Even the Federal Bureau of Investigations is assisting in this investigation. Filing a false report appears to be a federal offense. Lord knows no one ever calls the police and makes a false report for fear of breaking federal law. There is that special federal task force that deals with criminals making false police reports because it is such a national problem. The fact that there are so many people making fake phone calls is a nationwide epidemic. And the fact that the call may have actually resulted in the rescue of four hundred sixteen children from a group of men whose religious practice allows them to practice statutory rape.

It is easy to sit back and think that this whole thing was little more than a hoax. For some reason a black woman in Colorado is trying to throw a monkey wrench into the happenings at an all white dude ranch in the heart of Texas. But, child protection lawyers continue to believe the girl Sarah does exist, even though they have not been able to find and/or identify her. In other words, there’s every reason in the world to believe that old men are having sex with under aged girls. Back in Georgia, it was written that society has a significant interest in protecting children from premature sexual activity from adults who prey on children. Maybe Texas sees things just a little bit differently.

People in Georgia would send a seventeen year old to jail for ten years for having sex with a fifteen year old. But people in Texas, who are more than happy to support a judicial system that would be most likely to kill an innocent man, would tolerate a religious compound that would promote the rape of children. Sixteen year old girls giving birth were impregnated by somebody. And if they’re calling men in their fifties their spiritual husbands it’s a fair bet that there was no immaculate conception going on here. But it is very interesting that the first arrest associated with this entire sordid episode is of a single woman making prank phone calls up in Colorado instead of one of the men with a penchant for young girls.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008 Posted by | Genarlow Wilson, Justice, Life, News, Religion, Spirituality, Thoughts | | 2 Comments

Expectations For Expecting Answers

Answers For Blacks

It has been said that I do a lot of complaining about conditions in the traditional black community but offer little in the way of ideas for a solution. That may be a true assessment. If somebody backs up and takes a look at the scope of problems that faces the black community it is very reasonable to say that in many respects I have woefully little to offer to solve these problems. I don’t have a problem with that opinion. Actually, I think it is totally unreasonable for someone to think that I am going to come along and offer a solution to the subjugation of the black community all by my lonesome. After four hundreds of years of varying forms institutionalized subjugation that ranges from active enslavement to passive continuation of the status quo that has been perpetrated by millions and millions of people on both sides of the racial divide, it would be rather unfair for someone, anyone to think that I suddenly have all of the answers or that I am capable of engineering solutions for this mess of epic proportions. But inevitably, people will respond to my blog with a condemnation of my message because I offer little to nothing as a solution.

Even if I had all the solutions and a plan for their implementation how in the world can one black man with nothing more than a blog influence a country of well over three hundred million people to accept these solutions that can liberate the black community? With more than seventy percent of the population considered white the vast majority would actually benefit from keeping things the way they are. The black population would have to work with near complete unity to get any solution for our emancipation realized. Unfortunately, unity in the black community is about as likely as a strange guy in a seriously modified Delorean with a flux capacitor pulling up in my driveway and giving me a list of every winning number for every lottery on the planet for the next fifty years.

There are just way too many black people with personal interest that run contrary to an interest in the welfare of the black community. There are black people who honestly would rather see racial subjugation continue than the day the black community achieves true parity with the dominant culture. Many of these people would throw a monkey wrench in any effort towards black liberation. There will be a variety of reasons used to justify their sabotage. Some examples: Black people can’t be trusted. Black people need to quit making trouble. Black people need to take personal responsibility. Black people need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Black people need to get an education. Black people need to get a job. Black people don’t know how to dress for interviews. Black people don’t use proper grammar. Black people aren’t doing their fare share. Black people want a handout. Black people haven’t paid their dues. Black people need to stop having babies out of wedlock. Black people need to conform. This list will go on and on.

Some black people are too wrapped up in the modern capitalistic culture that focuses on being totally selfish and socially irresponsible in their attempt to perpetuate every racial stereotype the dominant culture uses to justify the subjugation of the black community. This minority segment of the black community is more than happy to be used to reinforce every negative stereotype. While most of these people are content to do whatever to eek out an existence some of these individuals are so ethically challenged that they abuse their neighbors like the proverbial crab trying to pull other crabs down in the crab box. These behaviors make a lot of black people afraid to leave their homes for fear of being robbed. Black people are afraid to leave their car in the street because it may be stolen. Black people are afraid for their children because they have to walk to school through a neighborhood that looks like a war zone at times. Black people are concerned about the man or woman standing on the corner nearly any and every hour of the day. This list will go on as well. It’s a brutal dog eat dog world out there in the black community. And a lot of black people are living under the stress of it all.

And yet somehow we expect people who talk about these conditions to be the ones to have all the answers for a solution. Nobody calls the newsroom of the local television station and complain because they report all of the happenings in the community without giving a solution. Nobody tells the person who calls 9-1-1 and reports a fire to get their own fire truck before they have the audacity to bring people’s attention to the fact that somebody’s house is burning down. The fire alarm isn’t covered with a sign that says “break glass in case of fire only if you have a solution.” But somehow, for some reason, we expect those of us who are vocal about the disparity in the black community to have the answers in order to give our observations legitimacy.

As far as I know the only person that should be reasonably expected to have a solution to this problem is the somebody who is trying to get a job promising to do something about it. Politicians are required to have a solution for problems because they want to be the ones the community hires to correct these predicaments and others. If they want the job they’d better have some kind of solution or plan of attack or something to demonstrate their qualifications for getting the job done. These people advertise themselves saying things like, “I’m the one who knows what to do to end poverty, not my opponent.” But, nevertheless, whenever the next politician gets into office somehow the war on poverty seems to linger while the financially wealthy get tax breaks totaling trillions of dollars. Our politicians are no longer expected to adhere to what they promise. It should be easy to see how our collective expectations on people who talk about racial disparity is totally unfair and undermines the observations of disparity. People are very quick to say something to the effect that if people don’t have a solution then they are doing nothing but complaining and nobody has time for that.

In all honesty, there are a ton of solutions that are regularly dismissed without any serious consideration on their merit. Universal healthcare would do much to help alleviate the racial disparity associated with health. But all too often people will say that universal healthcare is just way too expensive and will bankrupt the country. The argument of cost may have some substance if the leadership of this country wasn’t so gung ho to start a war well on its way to costing a trillion dollars and more than four thousand American soldier’s lives with such a questionable benefit to national security. But just saying it would cost too much gives people who don’t want to see the racial gap in healthcare eliminated or even reduced a reason to say no.

Another idea that would help eliminate the racial disparity inherited in our legal system that is more than ready to come down harder on an African American that a European American would be to develop a legal and justice system that truly operates independently of the color of a person’s skin or the size of their wallet. Without the benefit of knowing the racial identity or ethnicity of an individual the blatant influence of prejudices can be eliminated as a factor in our judicial system. It would also help if the country would develop a system of laws that actually protect people who can’t protect themselves instead of allowing members of the white privilege from continuing to grow their privilege while others suffer. But to even suggest these ideas is to invite the ridicule and rancor of the establishment and the people who have consciously made the choice or who have been subconsciously manipulated into the defense of the status quo.

Monday, April 7, 2008 Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Justice, Life, Racism, Thoughts, White Privilege | 2 Comments

Blacks Have It Lenient

Leniency To Blacks

“…slavery was abolished more than a hundred years ago, but the topic is still brought up as leverage against the white community. [no one] living has been a slave, and [no one] living has been a slave owner. to bring this topic up further separates the two races…and on this note, why is it that more emphasis is put on to anything a white person says about a black person, when it is automatically wrong if a white person even utters one word about a black person. this in [general] is wrong. the [leniency] towards black people segregates the two races even more…African American people of lighter pigment however can only be called white as there is no other term for them…[i am] open to change of opinion, but i have to see both sides of the spectrum first.” – comment from therevlonspamqueen

Slavery is not brought up as leverage on white people. If it was being used as some kind of leverage one would have to admit that it really isn’t working very well. The suggestion that slavery is brought up as some form of punishment on white people is idiocy in its rawest form. I’m not sure of the motivation for other people but my point in bringing up slavery is to demonstrate the history or foundation of the relationship between black people and white people in this country. The history of slavery is not to be forgotten. It is indicative of the natural thought process and attitudes that the majority of white people feel towards black people. And a people who forget their past are doomed to repeat it, revel in it, and perpetuate it. I understand why white people would want to forget slavery. It is a stark reminder of their depravity and inhumanity towards black people. But black people should not forget.

Unfortunately, so many black people have been programmed by the dominant culture to sweep America’s institutionalized slavery under the proverbial rug so that we can just move along and so called “heal” while we live in conditions of perpetual subjugation. Just like it was from the very beginnings of our races mixing, so as it is today, so will it be in the future. Regardless of what measurement you wish to apply, whether it is personal wages, wages as a group, medical services, legal representation, housing, funds for education, employment, etcetera, black people live in conditions that are substandard to the conditions of white people. As a whole people in the white community live better. This is general speak and not to be taken as a rule without exception. No one alive may have been a slave owner. But that does not mean that black people are not being subjected to the very same subjugation that our enslaved ancestors suffered under. Our ancestors were robbed of wealth and the opportunity to accumulate material goods and property while white people could. Our ancestors and elders were robbed of educational opportunities that kept them ill equipped to compete in the job market and earn income. That wealth was passed from one generation to another allowing the children of white people to start their life with more choices and more opportunities and with less drawbacks. Black families could not pass the same wealth down to their children. Therefore young black people will start their careers with limited options and opportunities.

And when black people have the nerve to speak of these inequalities somebody comes out the woodwork to tell black people they need to be happy and quit playing the victim. And if the dominant culture can find a black person to spew the assimilation rhetoric for them, then this is just so much for the better. Grab one black person and hold them up high as the shining example of what all black people can be. But then the dominant community will keep a foot on the collective neck of the rest of the black community in order to keep white communities and institutions from being overrun with black people.

I am a black man. I appreciate being called a black man. I would be offended if someone were to walk up to me and say something stupid like, when I see you I don’t see a black man. My question would be, then what do you see? Obviously you don’t care to see who I really am. Obviously you want to deny me my identity. Black people who are offended at being called black are not trying to be black. They are doing their best to assimilate and do not want to be reminded from whence they came. These people know that in order to get ahead they must shed the baggage of being black. I welcome that baggage. I am black. Although it is apparent that I may have some European blood in my genealogy I do not want to be mistaken for anything other than a black man.

And people want to make the claim that black people are being treated leniently? This is a matter of opinion of course. I don’t think John White who was found guilty for protecting his family from a drunken white mob would agree. I don’t think the family of Martin Lee Anderson who went for a joyride in his grandmother’s car and ended up being murdered by seven boot camp guards would agree. I don’t think the black boys who were prosecuted in Jena, Louisiana for attempted murder for a school fight with white boys would agree. I don’t think the families of Amadou Diallo who was murdered by police in a hail of bullets for pulling out his wallet, Sean Bell who was murdered by police in a hail of bullets as he went home to prepare for his wedding day, or Abner Louima who was sodomized with a broom handle in a police station by the police would agree either. Shelwanda Riley the fourteen year old who was punched in the face by a police officer for breaking curfew, Genarlow Wilson who received ten years of prison for being seventeen and having consensual sex with his fifteen year old girlfriend, or Shaquanda Cotton who received a seven year prison sentence for shoving a hall monitor at her school would disagree as well.

When black people get a job on average their rate of pay is twenty five percent less than white people. Black unemployment is higher. Black people in a place of employment are automatically assumed to be there only by the benefit of affirmative action. And you assume this to be preferential treatment.

If it is true that white people cannot say one word about black people without getting in trouble then how come they constantly do it and still get ahead? Don Imus is back on the radio and he now has his own television show. Bill O’Reilly constantly degrades the black community. Rush Limbaugh is more popular than ever. Ron Paul ran for the White House while making his contention that ninety percent of black men are criminals. Mark Fuhrman has his own radio show in syndication after he was recorded saying the derogatory comments about black people. And Duane “Dog” Chapman is getting his television show back after he was recorded berating his son for dating a black woman. Michael Richards gets on stage at a comedy club and says to the black people in the audience, “Fifty years ago we’d have you upside down with a fucking fork up your ass. You can talk, you can talk, you’re brave now motherfucker. Throw his ass out! He’s a nigger! He’s a nigger! He’s a nigger! A nigger! Look there’s a nigger! What? They are going to arrest me for calling a black man a nigger?” Sounds like a lot more than one word and yet Jerry Seinfeld still comes to his defense. Mr. Richards said he was sorry so what more do people want? Right after that Seinfeld DVD sales spike through the roof. You may think white people are being unfairly treated. But in the reality it really doesn’t sound like white people are getting into all that much trouble. They may get some attention. But if experience is any indication the dominant white culture will support their members that overtly subjugate and degenerate black people

You said “[I’m] open to change of opinion, but [I] have to see both sides of the spectrum first.” But you didn’t need to see both sides of the spectrum to form your opinion that “it is automatically wrong if a white person even utters one word about a black person” and “the [leniency] towards black people segregates the two races even more, but now, it is in favor of black people.” Where is it in black people’s favor? What Fortune 500 company is run predominantly by black people? How many companies are there where the vast majority of office workers and executives are black? How many black Presidents have their ever been? How many black Senators are there? How many black people are Governor of a state in this union? How many white people enjoy these positions? And yet, you believe black people have it lenient.

I appreciate your sentiment that you want to be fair. But these are only words. Even though you say yourself that you are aware of the unfair treatment of blacks today you have already made up your mind that black people are being privileged and are being treated leniently without getting all the facts. You have an opinion that black people have it easy despite all the evidence to the contrary. You have a prejudice against black people and it will not change with any words written here. If you want to be fair take your blinders off and look at the world with a truly open mind. Black people have leniency is a joke and you really need to quit trying to make me laugh.


Friday, March 21, 2008 Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black History, Duane Chapman, Justice, Life, Racism, Shelwanda Riley, Thoughts, White Privilege | 4 Comments

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