Thursday, February 28, 2013

1st Grade "Shim"?! (She-Him)

Most children have vivid imaginations. It's part of their normal development. Just the other day my little girl said that she wishes that she could be a fairy, and is disappointed because she doesn't have wings. My job as a responsible father, and adult who lives his life firmly rooted in reality, is to explain to her why being a fairy could never be anything more a dream or a fantasy. I didn't tell her that she could be a real fairy, then allow her to dress & behave like one., or create a false since of reality just to make her happy. If I indulged my children's whims, my son would have been Batman a long time ago, and their diets would consist only of pizza, and cool ranch Doritos. But apparently some parents don't believe in reality, or discipline. Instead they believe in entertaining each and every one if their children's wishes, no matter how obscene or outrageous they may be.

Case in point. A transgender group has filed a discrimination complaint against the Colorado school board on behalf of a first grader who was born a boy but identifies as a girl.

Yes, you're reading this right.

The filing stems from a decision announced last December by officials at Fountain-Fort Carson School District that Coy Mathis could no longer use the girls' bathroom at Eagleside Elementary.

Mother Kathryn Mathis said she and her husband were shocked.
Of course they were shocked, society has become so accepting of foolishness, that it has become the norm instead of the exception.

"We were very confused because everything was going so well, and they had been so accepting, and all of a sudden it changed and it was very confusing and very upsetting because we knew that, by doing that, she was going to go back to being unhappy." It is going to set her up for a lot of bad things."

No, they are the ones who are setting HIM up for bad things........and the last time I checked, having a penis officially makes him a male.
The child had attended classes during his kindergarten year with no problems and no complaints from anyone at the school, Mathis told reporters at the Colorado Capitol in Denver, where she was flanked by her husband, Jeremy, and four other children.
Thank God someone in that school system had the heart to stand up for what is right. Especially given the fact that this boy's Daddy isn't much of a father. No self respecting man would allow such nonsense to take place, or stand by and co-sign such deviant behavior.
This boys parents, and this transgender group want him to have the right to use the girls bathroom, but what about my right as a father to not have my little girl see a little boys penis!


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Increasing Wealth Inequity Between Blacks and Whites

Whenever the subject of financial inequity is brought up, there is an automatic indictment and criticism of African-American spending habits. As if white people are born with an innate ability to save, and manage money. This accusation is insulting, woefully inaccurate, and just plain ridiculous. While some of us have made fiscal decisions that were not advantageous, there are just as many if not more people in the Caucasian community who have made financial decisions that were just as irresponsible. But there is still inequity and disparity.
The wealth gap between blacks and whites has nearly tripled over the past 25 years, due largely to inequality in home ownership, income, education and inheritances, according to a new study by Brandeis University.

The difference in wealth between typical Blacks & white households has ballooned to $236,500 in 2009, up from $85,000 in 1984, according to the study. By 2009, the median net worth of white families was $265,000, while blacks had only $28,500.
Brandeis researchers looked at the same set of 1,700 families over the 25-year period to see how their actual work and school experiences affected their wealth accumulation.
What they found is that home ownership is driving the growing gap. Price appreciation is more limited in non-white neighborhoods, making it harder for African-Americans to build equity. Also, because whites are more likely to have family financial assistance for down payments, they are able to buy homes an average of eight years earlier than black families and to put down larger upfront payments, that allows them to qualify for lower interest rates and mortgage costs.
The rate of home ownership for whites is 28% higher than that of blacks.
Another advantage whites have is the fact that they are more likely to receive an inheritance, from their families because of a certain level of generational weallth. Among the families studied, whites were five times more likely to inherit money than blacks, and their typical inheritances were 10 times as big.
Another differentiating factor is income. Whites are more likely to apply any raises they may receive to wealth building because they have already accumulated a cash cushion. African- American's were more likely to use their increase as emergency savings.
When it comes to education African-Americans graduate with significantly more student loan debt than their white counter parts, 4 out of 5 Black students graduate with student loan debt compared to 64% of whites.

The fact of the matter is that white society has benefited greatly from a system of privilege that has afforded them every possible opportunity to succeed. The United States was founded on the premise of white prosperity. The drafters of the constitution were slave masters, who built a great a deal of their wealth trafficking human flesh, and thought of Black people as little more than property. So when we look at economic disparities we are looking at a generational pattern driven by a system that was not designed to be all inclusive, and is still economically oppressive centuries later. The bottom line is, it is easy to stay ahead in a race designed for you to win, with ever changing rules and circumstances that are always in your favor.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Why Conservatives Are Mad At The First Lady

Almost every other week there seems to be some sort of childish, petty Conservative criticism of Michelle Obama. Everything from her weight, which isn't even an issue, to her decision to wear a sleeveless dress, has been discussed, tweeted, editorialized, and parodied with an extreme venomous intent never before levied against any First Lady in the history of the United States. It seems that she just can't do anything right in their eyes.
Her latest crime, appearing via video stream from the White House at the Academy Awards this past Sunday to present the award for best picture.
Here are just a few of the scathing remarks from some conservative media "talking heads".
Jennifer Rubin, a political blogger for the Washington Post criticized The First Lady's speech, claiming she,
“feels entitled,” and that “both the president and the first lady seem small and grasping.”

Translation: "Who does think she is? She doesn't deserve to be there."

Conservative journalist Michelle Malkin and Fox News host Todd Starnes tweeted their own grievances.
“Can POTUS and FLOTUS just relocate the White House to Hollywood and be done with it? #oscars2013,″

Translation: "I'm tired of seeing these Black folks on T.V. ! It's bad enough that they're President & First Lady of the United States. But do I really have to keep looking at them for the next 4 years?"

Malkin tweeted, while Starnes tweeted,

“Tonight was supposed to be about Hollywood but Mrs. Obama made it about herself. #oscars.”

Translation: "No one at the Academy Awards, should have been upstaged by a woman who wouldn't have even been allowed into the building years ago, much less one who is now the first African-American First Lady."

In all honesty, the uproar over Michele Obamas appearance had nothing to do with her trying to steal the spotlight. After all former First Lady Laura Bush and former President Ronald Reagan both made appearances at previous academy awards, and they were not accused of trying to be "Hollywood".
The true nucleus of the criticism comes from envy, jealousy, and racism. Before I elaborate. It is important to first understand what Michelle Obama is not before these reasons are understood. Our First Lady is not a billion dollar Mamie, someone whose fame, influence, and smile puts America at ease. Nor is she a public figure who attempts to be affable or ingratiating. She is not apologetic for being herself. She is not the background to her husbands foreground, subject to the necessity of having to play politics.

Our First Lady is a dark-skinned, African-American woman whose elegance and class does not accurately reflect the image of the archetype that pervasive cultural conditioning has worked so hard to cultivate. Michelle Obama represents the abject debunking of the African-American woman as the over weight, under uneducated, baby mama, and the mythical welfare queen, and this shakes Conservatives to their core. Her outspokenness is labeled as elitist, bourgeois, and audacious, and her strength and confidence in who she is serves as an unnerving reminder of the fact that they are quickly becoming the new American minority. Mrs.Obama is not a racially ambiguous Black woman of questionable heritage that can be placed in a box marked other. She is the Black girl next door who could be one our wives, mother's, sister's or family member's. A woman who cannot be put in her place because she creates a place all her own.
In Conservative minds it is not enough that she has the prevailage of being FLOTUS, but she has to flaunt it by introducing a program designed to influence American children to eat healthy, appearing on Jimmy Fallon, and making an appearance at Hollywood's most sacred awards program, The Oscars.
Conservatives are mad a Michelle Obama just for being Michelle Obama.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Messy Jessie (Jackson Jr.) & The Congressional Black Caucus

It is painful for many of us who are African-American to hear about one of our own falling, and failing. The phrase, "fall from grace" is an extreme cliche' that is always misapplied, simply because of the fact that the majority of Black politicians, and public figures who get into trouble are not afforded the luxury of grace, and rarely if ever get a second chance. Society is swift to judge and slow to remember that there is no saint without a past, or a sinner without a future. America as a society has always had a habit of deifying public figures, but the list of qualifications for such deification has shrank over the years to one line item, fame. Black America has always followed suit, because of the fact that so few of us are able to rise to the upper echelons of public life. So, many famous African-American's are pedestalized just for being famous, that most people forget that they are human, and at the same time many African-American public figures relish a life of notoriety and privilege, and live in a perpetual state of illusion, and self aggrandizement.

Last week, Congressman Jessie Jackson Jr. (D. Chicago) was indicted in federal court for "enriching" himself. According to the Justice Department Jackson was embroiled in a criminal scheme to defraud campaign donors by misusing their funds for his own "personal benefit." He pled guilty last Wednesday. Jackson admitted to spending at least $750,000 of public funds on personal items, including a $43,350 gold Rolex, $5,150 worth of mink capes and parkas from Beverly Hills, a $4,600 Michael Jackson fedora and $2,200 worth of Malcolm X memorabilia. He was also accused of falsifying federal campaign finance disclosure reports to conceal the embezzlement. Jackson, who faces 46 to 57 months in jail under a plea agreement, won't be sentenced until June 28. His wife, Sandi, who also recently resigned from public office, has pleaded guilty to separate tax fraud charges. Mink capes, and parka's?! Was he in the running for "Mack of The Year", or what?

Jackson, in a statement, said he made some "errors in judgment," adding that we all make "mistakes." But this wasn't some sudden ethical lapse. The indictment says Jackson engaged in at least a seven year conspiracy to defraud the public, allegedly going as far back as 2005.

This latest scandal brings some disturbing facts to light concerning the Congressional Black Caucus.
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s guilty plea to fraud charges raises fresh questions about the Congressional Black Caucus. It's a group with many laudable goals, but why do so many in it succumb to corruption? A disproportionate share of ethics cases have been brought against this exclusive club.
According to a 2012 National Journal study, five of the six lawmakers under review by the House Ethics Committee were Black Caucus members. Yet just one in 10 House members belong to the group.
It's an all too familiar pattern. In 2009, all eight lawmakers under ethics investigation were African-American. Besides Jackson, they included Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., who was later convicted of accepting gifts from donors with business before his tax writing panel and 11 other ethics violations.
All told, an astonishing one third of sitting black lawmakers have been named in an ethics probe at some point in their career's on Capitol Hill. The stats do not include former lawmakers now doing time in prison, such as ex-Rep. William Jefferson, D-La. FBI agents caught Jefferson red handed with $90,000 of bribery cash stashed in his office freezer, giving the phrase "cold, hard, cash', a whole new meaning.

The Congressional Black Caucus was founded 40 years ago by Representatives Shirley Chisholm, William Clay, George Collins, John Conyers, Ronald Dellums, Charles Diggs, Augustus Hawkins, Ralph Metcalfe, Parren Mitchell, Robert Nix, Charles Rangel, Louis Stokes, and DC Delegate Walter Fauntroy. Its members considered themselves "the conscience of the Congress." and swore to help "disadvantaged African-Americans." Today, members of the group seem more likely to be in trouble for lining their pockets than solving the very serious problems of their constituents.

I am almost at a loss for words. It seems as if things like honesty, integrity, and honor have become a thing of the past. But the fact of the matter is, to whom much is given, much is required. That applies to each and every person who has been entrusted with any and all kinds of responsibilities. I could easily sit here and speculate on a conspiracy to ruin the careers of those who are a part of the Congressional Black Caucus, but the fact is, the evidence is just to obvious to ignore. For me to make a case about overzealous prosecution would be an attempt to ignore the fact that some of those members caught in scandal were actually guilty, choosing to operate in their own free will with calamitous results. The reality is, fine jewelry, furs, and a massive amount of cash in a freezer are all inexplicable symbols of greed and malfeasance that cannot be over looked or classified as the spoils of flawed human character.
They are the results of narcissism, and egocentric personalities run a muck, leading to the slow unraveling of both their careers and their lives.


Saturday, February 23, 2013


It never fails, each and every time we go to an event, whether it is my sons violin recital, dinner, or a show, somebody's child or children always seems to be out of control. It is NEVER one of my children though, they just act crazy at home. But other people's children climb up on tables, stand up in chairs, yell, scream, have temper tantrums, and just don't listen to their parents. Of course, there are always some parents who don't even bother to acknowledge their kids behavior. Some just ignore it, seemingly chalking it up to self expression, or children just being children. These parents don't teach their children any accountability or sense of boundaries. They just indulge each and every wild childhood notion that their offspring have.
The only time these particular parents even consider making their children cut it out is when they notice the big bald headed dude behind them or in front of them giving their kids the dirtiest look that he could muster. I've got this look down to a science, and all though there have been many times that I have had to use all of the restraint that I could conjure up to keep myself from "popping" one of these nutty kids up side the head, I have never acted on it, and I never will. After all, I wouldn't want anyone laying a hand on one of my children, or one of my young nephews. But there are some people out there who do not have the ability to exercise the same level of restraint. Especially when their deficiency in reference to having such an attribute is predicated largely upon being racist.

Joe Rickey Hundley of Hayden, Idaho, surrendered to authorities, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Atlanta. Hundley was charged with assaulting a minor. The charge stems from a February 8th incident aboard a Delta flight to Atlanta. According to documents filed in United States District Court in Atlanta last week, the boy's mother, Jessica Bennett, 33, of Minnesota and her son were seated in Row 28, Seat B on Delta Flight 721 which originated in Minneapolis.
Bennett spent part of the flight in the rear of the plane to get away from Hundley, whom she said reeked of alcohol and was slurring his speech, according to John Thompson, the attorney for the child's family.
As the plane began its descent into Atlanta, the boy began to cry because of the altitude change and his mother tried to soothe him.
Hundley, who was seated next to the mother and son, allegedly told her to "Shut that nigger baby up."
Hundley then turned around and slapped the child in the face with an open hand, which caused him to scream even louder, an FBI affidavit said.
The baby, who is 19 months old, suffered a scratch below his right eye. Other passengers on the plane assisted Bennett, and one of them heard the slur and witnessed the alleged assault, the affidavit said. Hundley's attorney, Marcia Shein, has said her client is being unfairly portrayed.
"This has escalated into a racist issue and I want to be clear he is not a racist," Shein said. Shein also said that Hundley is dealing with unspecified issues.

This incident did not escalate into a racial issue. To make such an implication, is an attempt to alleviate Hundley of all accountability in this case. Each and every time the N-word is used, especially by someone who is not African-American, racism is implied. I am not a detective, but if I had to take a stab in the dark, I would say that the unspecified issue, has something to do with alcohol abuse.

The fact that there are still some people in this country who feel that it is perfectly acceptable to serve African-Americans a heaping portion of disrespect with a side serving of "N-word", any time they want to, is both disturbing and insane. An especially disturbing aspect of this story is the fact that there seems to be a pervasive culture of disrespect when it comes to Black women and children. When I first heard about this story I began to wonder if things would have played out a little differently had this child's father been sitting next to his mother. In all reality Hundley probably would have never assaulted the baby. But I can't help but fantasize about the outcome if the father of this child was there, and I invariably put myself in his shoes. The story would have probably been a little different.......
"Noted author PR Brown was arrested today for repeatedly "back hand slapping" another passenger, Joe Rickey Hundley, 17 times aboard a Delta airlines flight for assaulting his infant son. Brown has since been released on his on recognizance, and Hundley is now under going reconstructive surgery to remove a huge red hand impression from the side of his face.


The PRBrown Report

If you enjoy analytical thinking outside of the box, political and social commentary, then you'll love The PRBrown Report!
Also on Twitter @prbrownreport

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mocking Emmett Till

One of my earliest memories growing up is of my father telling me the story of Emmett Till. In August of 1955, when Emmett was fourteen years old, he went to visit his relatives near Money, Mississippi. Before he left, his mother gave him some tips on proper behavior in the South. She told him that you do not talk to white people. As you meet a white women on the street you look down and do not make eye contact, and to step off the street if necessary. These were the rules of the day as far as African-Americans were concerned. A few in a laundry list of instructions that had to be utilized for survival. 
 After Emmett got to Mississippi he was with a few local boys. He showed them a picture of a white girl back home and told them that she was his girlfriend, they scoffed because interracial relationships were largely unheard of especially in the south in 1955. The boys dared Emmett to talk to the women working in the local store to prove his familiarity with white women, and Emmett, who was known to be particularly precocious, and daring, went into the store and as he left, he said, “Bye Baby” to Carolyn Bryant, who happened to be the wife of the store owner.
While asleep at his friend Mose Wright's house, two white men drove up in a blue Chevy truck, got out, broke down the door, and then proceeded to tie up Wright. When Emmett tried to help him they took him and forced him into the truck.
The two men took Emmett to an old abandoned shack and beat him with a pistol. During the beating, they tied him up and shot him in the head. While they were beating him up, they gouged out one of his eyes. After they murdered him, they tied up his lifeless body, anchored him with a seventy-five pound fan and dropped him to the bottom of the Tallahassee River so that he would never float to the top. 

Before Emmett’s body was found Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam were arrested for kidnapping. But they were tried and found not guilty.  Three days after he was savagely beaten and murdered, Police found Emmett's body at the bottom of the river. After he was found the police put him in a box and sent him back to his home in Chicago for a proper funeral. The state ordered that no one was to see his body except his mother. But Mamie Bradley, Emmett's mother, decided to have an open casket funeral so that the world could see what these "men" did to her only child.
She was quoted as saying....
 “Have you ever sent a loved son on vacation and had him returned to you in a pine box, so horribly battered and water-logged that someone needs to tell you this sickening sight is your son?"

In September of 1955 Jet Magazine published a photograph of Emmett's badly deformed, bloated, body and his murder garnered national attention as a result. This was the beginning of the Civil Rights movement, and was the catalyst for Rosa Parks no to give up her seat on the bus, sparking the Montgomery bus boycott.

I told this story in gruesome detail because it is imperative that the full impact is understood. Blacks being murdered in the South just for being black,was not unusual back in those days, but the shear brutality inflicted upon a child was far more sinister than most, and changed the world forever.

Fast forward 60 years later. One of my co-workers told me about a rap song that referred to Emmett Till in a derogatory manner. I thought he misunderstood, and believed that he must have been talking about Emmett Smith. After all, who would use Emmett Till as a point of reference in a rap song? Lil Wayne, that's who. The controversial self proclaimed "greatest rapper alive", known for his penchant for sipping on cough syrup, covering every inch of his body in barely decipherable tattoo's, and collecting baby mama's made an insulting reference to Emmett Till in his verse on a song entitled, "Karate Chop". Wayne compared rough sex to the beating of Till, and as of this writing seems to find nothing wrong with such a crass insensitive lyric. Emmett Till's family has expressed their outrage, and Wayne still hasn't commented or apologized
This is inexcusable. If he had no idea that it was was offensive when he wrote it, or spit it in the studio, surely he knows now.
Stevie Wonder, who spoke out recently in condemnation of Lil Wayne said it best,
"You can't equate that to Emmett Till, you just cannot do that, I think you got to have someone around you even if they are the same age or older, is wiser to say, yo that's not happening, don't do that."  He then went on to sat that the disturbing verse should have never made it beyond the recording studio for the world to hear.
He could not be more right!  To use this horrific tragedy as a metaphor is to mock the memory of Emmett Till, and all of those who died in the struggle so that artists like Wayne could have the right to act a fool for profit.
Warning! One of the following photo's is disturbing!



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Zombie Foreclosures

It has been an unfortunate sign of the times. In the past few years, there have been a record number of foreclosures in the United States in the past few years.
Perhaps as many as 8 million by some estimates. A stark reminder, and an all too familiar story indicating American dream's deferred. For many it represents a chance to start anew. A chance to reassemble the broken pieces of their lives using hope, faith, and effort in order to restore their lives.. So imagine the unfathomable surprise experienced by many, once they discovered that the nightmare just won't end.
Borrows are discovering that their foreclosed homes are coming back to haunt them long after they've moved out.
In these "zombie foreclosures," borrowers move out after their bank schedules a foreclosure auction only to learn months or even years later that the auction never took place or the bank never transferred the deed. That means the borrower still technically owns the house and is on the hook for property taxes, fees and homeowners' association dues. In essence, the foreclosure never dies.
Since the housing bubble burst seven years ago, almost two million properties have started but never completed the foreclosure process, according to RealtyTrac, an organization who's sole purpose is to track real estate trends. While no one knows the exact number, it's estimated that tens of thousands could be zombie foreclosures.
The vast majority of these homes are in low income communities where foreclosed homes are so difficult to sell that some lenders delay taking possession to avoid paying taxes, and other costs associated with owning the home. As a result, the home, taxes, fees, and costs stay under the borrowers name long after the premises has been vacated. Causing the borrower to unknowingly accumulate massive debt, driving their credit scores even lower, and making life after foreclosure that much more difficult .

Rose Nathan, a 37-year-old office manager lost her home in South Bend, Indiana in 2009. Nathan made an agreement with CitiMortgage to voluntarily walk away from the property,deed-in-lieu deal. The bank then told her that she had to move right away because the home was about to be sold at auction.
Nathan sold her belongings and moved to Hawaii. Nearly two years later, she received a property tax bill from the City of South Bend for the amount of
$5,000. The bank had never taken possession of the house.
Citi told her attorney, Judith Fox, that the holdup was due to a lien on the home that they were never told about. Nathan said she knew of no liens at the time of the transaction. Upon doing a title search, Fox found no evidence of a lien until well after the bank agreed to the deed-in-lieu deal.
As as result of the banks dirty dealings and dubious intentions, Nathan's credit score took a tremendous hit, dropping between 80-120 points. The companies who issued her credit cards cut her off even though she was making her payments, and the interest rate on her auto loan is now a whopping 25%. The only housing Nathan could afford is a 1 bedroom apartment where she lives with her 3 children. Nathan said she has since paid off the lien with the hope that Citi will take the deed on the home.
This is a classic story of corporate greed. Despite having received hundreds of millions of tax payer dollars from the government, CitiMortgage, a subsidiary of Citibank, one of the largest banks in the world, still insists on "sticking" it to average American citizens, just to save a buck. The shear absurdity of this story makes my blood boil, especially given the fact that although never documented one of the major caveats in the government bailout required that financial institutions be more accommodating to borrows. But the nightmarish reality is the fact that these humongous sometimes soul crushing institutions took the money and ran.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Someone Else's Dream

Most of us have dreams. Some of us have big dreams and some of us have small dreams. But in all reality there is really no such thing as a small dream because each and every dream is important to someone. The question is what good is a dream without effort, and what good is effort without faith.
My favorite poem is a poem written by Langston Hughes, entitled........

"A Dream Deferred"

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Whether we realize it or not those of us who work for someone else are contributing to the fruition of a dream. Someone had the vision and the drive to make it happen. It could be the founder of the company who started it from the ground up, or it could be your direct supervisor who put in 20 years to get their position, and are happy, thrilled and elated to be there. Every piece of food that we eat, and every article of clothing that we wear are brought into being in some way shape or form, because someone had an idea that they felt passionate enough about to pursue. In other words they dreamed it, imagined it pursued it, and executed it, in hopes of living their fulfillment.
There is no such thing as an over night sensation. It may sound poetic in a romanticized version of stardom but it is not an idea rooted in reality. Nothing worth having, or maintaining can be obtained overnight.
The Lord took 7 days to create heaven and earth for a reason. The all wise and mighty king of kings could have easily created heaven and earth in minutes instead of days. But he knows that quick and quality just don't mix. There is wisdom in time, a blessing in the pressing, and a reward for those who believe, and put effort into accomplishing their goals.
If you are seriously interested in fulfilling
your destiny, then you must act on your dreams, and be prepared to put in the time.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Hustle & Slow

We all know at least one person like this. You know, that person who just can't seem to get their life together. 41, doing the same thing that they were doing when they were 21. They're quick to hustle for quick solutions that never last, and slow to realize that they need to grow up. These people blame everybody else for their failures because when they take stock of themselves they quickly come to the conclusion that their incompetence has sparked self implosion time and time again. The reality of this fact is a hard pill to swallow so joy and comfort is found in irresponsibility without accountability.
It is a sad state of affairs when an adult chooses to be like Peter Pan, a lost child forever in limbo, and denial. Some people relocate for a fresh start and some even attempt to make a change because living life on a roller coaster has left them drained from the ups and downs. But if you send an idiot to the moon, that doesn't suddenly make them a genius. They have to decide that they are tired of being an idiot and then take the steps to no longer being one. Other wise the location changes and the condition stays the same. In other words its not the location that needs to be changed it is the mind that needs to be changed.
Everybody needs help sometimes, and I thank God for placing people in my life who love me enough to have been there for me when I've needed them. That doesn't mean that I continually lean on them as if they were crutches, and it doesn't mean that I look for them to pick me up each and every time I fall. It simply means that I am blessed. But I don't take it for granted by using someones else's generosity as a safety net. I am first and foremost, a grown man, and a responsible adult, willing to do whatever it takes to take care of my family, and myself. My plans are not a hustle, a scam, or a game. My plans are long term, stable ideas that will sustain my family unit in the future. Not short term, half-baked, schemes for momentary happiness. This is not what being an adult is all about. There are a lot of people who have grown in age but have not matured to the point of adulthood. Some don't want to, others don't choose to and some refuse to. But as the years fly by and the morning of their lives goes into the evening and afternoon, they look back with bitter regret, and wish they could take the nonsense back, and do life all over again. If you are this person, don't use being offended as an excuse not to take ownership. Remember, not taking ownership is part of what got you here. Go into a dark room, do some soul searching, and take stock of who you are. If you love who you are, not like, or can deal with who you are, but love you are. Then this blog is not for you. I am not a magician. But if after careful consideration and honesty you truly recognize yourself, grow up!
On the other hand, if this is someone that you know, don't be a crutch for them. Helping someone who cannot help themselves because of circumstances beyond their control, or is trying to help themselves is one thing. But enabling a grown man or woman to continuously be shiftless is quite another.
No one in this world is going to give you anything. So stop trying to take it, and earn your own.


The Wrong Color For Child Care

Racism, and ignorance are two of the most devastating things in the world as far as I'm concerned. They have been and continue to be the root cause of all of society's ill's, in one way or another. But there have always been certain aspects of life which represent a common thread. The well being and care of children is one of them. Children are innocent people who should not be exposed to the bias', and perverse proclivities of adults. As a father, my only concern is that my children are properly taught, trained, cared for, nurtured, and guided in the right direction by professionals who have their best interests at heart. Race, color, creed, and ethnicity do not matter, and no matter what my own personal beliefs may be, I would not allow them to stand in the way of my child's well being, or development. Unfortunately not all parents feel the same sense of responsibility.
Tonya Battle, an African-American nurse in Flint, Michigan is suing her employer, Hurley Medical Center, for discrimination.
Nurse Battle was instructed to stay away from a white newborn.
The lawsuit states: "The father told the nurse in charge that he did not want any African Americans taking care of his baby."
This is extremely ironic given the fact that there was a time in some parts of this country when white babies were primarily raised and reared by African-American maids, or mammies.
It also states in the law suit that, during the conversation with Battle's supervisor, the father rolled up his sleeve to reveal a tattoo of a Swastika.
This explains it. Another Neo-Nazi underachiever who chooses to mask his ineptitude with a symbol who's origin can be traced back to Africa, and he doesn't even know it. A man who puts his racism before his child's health and well being is truly an unfit parent in my opinion.
After the request was made, a staff meeting was held where instructions were given in reference to handling the baby, and when Battle, an employee since 1988, returned to work she saw a note in the patient's file that read: "No African American nurse to take care of baby."
I am not sure what infuriates me more. The baby's racist, morally bankrupt, father having the gall to make such a disparaging request, or the fact that the Medical Center actually honored it.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Where Would I Be?

If I didn't believe, where would I be?
Doubted that I could achieve, where would I be?
If I gave up, and hung my head low, where would my destiny go?
Where would I be?
If I didn't believe, where would I be?
Doubted that I could achieve, where would I be?
Living life in fear, unable see a future through my tears.
Where would I be?
I don't know, but I know where I am.
Living in abundance because of his master plan.
Where would I be?


The Larry Davis Story

In 1986 New York was a dangerous place to live. New York City had 1,309 homicides in the first 10 months of that year, a year in which crack seemed to be an epidemic. That homicide figure is almost 20 percent higher than that of the same period in 1985 and nearly matches the number of homicides for all of that year, when 1,384 people were killed. Urban neighborhoods were nothing like the hip, gentrified enclaves that they are today. Gangs like the Decepticons, Deceptonettes, and Brooklyn crew, made each and every subway ride a game of survival. But there was no bigger gang than the New York City Police Department. There was an intense distrust between the NYPD and the very citizens that it had sworn to protect and serve. In many cases the Police themselves were the worst offenders, often embroiled in scandal, and preying on young Black and Latino men who were are characterized as guilty until proven innocent, fostering an us against them mentality. It is this legacy of skepticism that made 19 year old Larry Davis a folk hero.
The South Bronx was a devastated neighborhood back in those days. A landscape notorious for its garbage filled vacant lots, burned out abandoned buildings, and extraordinarily high crime rate. Despite its ominous reputation, this atmosphere served as an inspiration for arguably the most influential and profitable art form in history, hip-hop.
For those who were about to realize their dreams and escape the peril of the street, it was a classic example of that old cliche', making lemons out of lemonade. But for the many more who didn't, life on the streets became an art form in and of itself. One in which new pictures were painted in progress from one day to the next. Never really completed, but content to color in freedom and survival by the day. This is the urban landscape that created Larry Davis.
Davis was born in 1968. Being 1 of 12 children in a single parent household presented an especially unique set of challenges for Davis, and he eventually dropped out of High School and fell into a life of crime, and In March of 1985, Davis pled guilty to petty larceny and was put on probation. He was found in violation of probation in January 1986. Sometime that same year, Davis became a father after his girlfriend Melody Fludd gave birth to their daughter, Larrima.
By that fall, Davis is believed to have stepped up his illegal activities, becoming involved in several robbery-murder cases. He became a suspect in several murders of alleged drug dealers, including the October 30th killings of Jesus Perez, Juan Rodriguez, Hector Figueroa, and Angel Castro in the Bronx.
On November 19, 1986, more than 20 police officers were sent to bring in Davis for questioning. He hid in his sister's apartment. Refusing to surrender, in a scene straight out of a wild west shoot out, Davis engaged in a gunfight with police. Six officers were wounded in the exchange of bullets and shotgun blasts. Davis escaped capture this time, and became the subject of an intensive manhunt, which lasted 17 days. The Black community became infatuated with Davis as a mythical urban hero. One of our own who had taken on the enemy, and won, at least for a time.
He was finally taken into custody on December 6 after holding a family hostage in their apartment in the Twin Parks West housing project for numerous hours. As he was taken away from the scene, some of the project's residents cheered for him and chanted his name.
Before he caught, Davis had expressed concerns that the police were out to get him. He told his sister Regina Lewis that "If I'm caught in the street, the police are going to shoot me. But I am going to shoot them first," according to an article in The New York Times. Davis even attempted to escape from jail, a plan that was thwarted by corrections officers at the Rikers Island prison. He had tried to pass a map to two visitors, which was taken by the guards.
Davis was first tried for the four drug-related murders of October 30 in December 1987. Represented by lawyer William Kunstler, he maintained that he had been framed in the killings to justify the November 19 shootout. Davis claimed that the shootout was an effort to silence him for his knowledge of police corruption and drug dealing. When pressed to provide evidence to support his claim, he said that he would not do so unless he received immunity from prosecution.
Despite fingerprint and ballistic evidence, Davis was acquitted of all charges in his murder trial in March 1988, but was convicted in weapons charges. This verdict angered many Police Officers who blamed the outcome on the fact that the jury consisted of 10 African-Americans and 2 Latinos. Even going so far as to call the verdict racist. Davis was eventually sentenced to 5-15 years in prison for the weapons charges. Two years later, Davis was convicted of second-degree murder, felony murder, and attempted robbery for the August 5, 1986 murder of Bronx crack dealer Raymond Vizcaino. He was sentenced to 25 years to life for his crimes.
While in prison Davis was involved in a number of incidences for which he received disciplinary actions, and died in the prison yard after being stabbed numerous times by another inmate.
Whether you believe that he was a hero, legend, or villain, one thing that we can all agree on is the fact that Larry Davis' was a product of the time that he lived in. A tragic victim of circumstance who decided to take a stand by playing a game that he knew he could never win. A man whose notorious exploits, will always proceed him in infamy.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Bad Decisions & Poor Choices

It was a scene not uncommon to many of us, and those of us who have been there know what it's like. Your car breaks down for whatever reason and you steer to one side of the road and push. Hopefully you're not alone, or too far from home. But, either way it can be both a frustrating & embarrassing ordeal. What makes this story different is the fact that it ended in gun violence.
David Barajas, 31, was charged with murder in the shooting death of Jose Banda, 21. The tragedy unfolded just after 11pm when the Barajas’ family car ran out of gas along County Road 144 about 30 miles from Houston.
Caleb and David were helping push their father’s stalled truck when a car driven by 21-year-old Jose Banda slammed into the vehicle from behind. Barajas' sons David Jr. 12, died at the scene and Caleb, 11 died in the hospital hours later. Banda was found dead of a gunshot wound at the scene.
Last Friday Barajas was charged with murder after turning himself in, and is being held on $450,000 bail.
We all make mistakes. It is a tired cliché of last resort for those looking to offer absolution, or find it. But, there are some mistakes that can never be taken back. There is no reset button, there is no do-over, and no rewind. Bad decisions are made in haste, actions are taken without considering the consequences, and lives are lost forever. Jose Banda decided to drive under the influence, and David Barajas decided to execute Banda in a fit of rage. As a result, 4 lives were lost due to bad decisions, poor choices, and a lack of self control.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

1 Man's Castle (update)

In September of last year I wrote an article about John McNeil. McNeil was convicted and sent to prison for shooting and killing a contractor who was trespassing on his property. McNeil was released from prison on Tuesday after a hard fought battle with justice. He served six years in state prison.
McNeil was convicted of murdering Brian Epp in December of 2005 but he entered a guilty plea to a manslaughter charge to end an appeal pending before the Georgia Supreme Court. He was sentenced to seven years in prison and 13 years probation on the the manslaughter charge but he was credited for time served and released.
Mr. McNeal was still the victim of a grave injustice, and now has a tarnished record simply because he choose to do what the patriarch of a household is supposed to do, protect his family.
NAACP chairman Roslyn M. Brock had this to say, “While we would have preferred John to be exonerated based on self-defense, we are thankful that he can return home to be with his two sons and start his life over".
Back in 2006, McNeil was convicted and sentenced to life in prison despite arguing that he shot Epp in self defense. The case sparked national attention over the Stand Your Ground law and how it is applied to Blacks and Whites who use it as their legal defense. Last fall, a judge ruled that he deserved a new trial because his original attorney did not inform jurors they could acquit him if he shot in defense of his home or his son. Stand Your Ground can apply to the defense of someone else as well as himself. McNeil plead guilty to manslaughter instead, helping the prosecution to avoid a costly trial.
Although McNeil is now a free man, what should be an occasion for celebration is bitter sweet because days before he was released his wife lost her battle with breast cancer. Up until the time of her death she was a tireless advocate for her husband, and there is no doubt that she now rests in peace knowing that her efforts to free him paid off.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sex Addiction, Fact Or Fiction?

the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.

In an interview with ESPN, former NBA star Winston Bennett chronicled the story of his sex addiction. During his time in the NBA Bennett had sex with approximately 90 women a month, and 45 women a month after he got married. According to Bennett, (in an extreme "dirty dog" moment), he slept with another woman just 5 hours after he married his wife.
Bennett also says that he spent huge swathes of time, looking for sex, cruising for sex, and paying for sex with prostitutes. He confessed to picking up women in malls, restaurants and massage parlor's.
According to Bennett, his basketball career allowed him to have an incredible dating life. Unfortunately, his risky life style also allowed him to infect his wife with chlamydia. It was not unusual for Bennett to have sex with 3-4 women per day, and he rarely, if ever used a condom.
As far as I'm concerned this is the equivalent of playing Russian Roulette with his life. The fact that neither him or his wife contracted AIDS or HIV is a miracle.
I personally do not believe in sex addiction. I think that it is a lame excuse for men who can't keep it in their pants, and women who can't keep their legs closed. In other words, it is the last bastion of refuge for those who are either not mature enough to control their urges, have no self control, or need an excuse to be unfaithful. It does not involve chemical dependency, and it seems to be heavily related to opportunity. Nobody has ever tried to sell their mothers VCR to feed their sex addiction, and nobody has ever taken their little brothers sneaker money for a sex hit. Bennett stated in the ESPN interview that his basketball career allowed him to have an incredible dating life. That "dating life" gave him access to an endless supply of women, and he was able to indulge his carnality with reckless abandon without being hindered by being a "common man", but enabled by his money, fame and status. In his mind he believed that he was so special, and so privileged that he was immune to STD's, and too smooth to ever get caught. How else do you explain having unprotected sex with multiple women during the late eighties-early nineties when a relatively new STD called AIDS reached epidemic proportions?
Money not only buys excuses, but it also provides the opportunity for to treat those excuses as if they were legitimate. The only difference between Winston Bennett and a lot of men was opportunity. He had sex with all of those women because he wanted to, not because he had to, or was so enslaved by a compulsion. His diagnosis of sexual addiction gave him the opportunity to ease his wife's pain because it provided a separate entity to take the blame, and alleviate him of all responsibility. Money cannot buy happiness but it can buy you a certified, clinical excuse.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

3 Reasons Why Nobody Diggs You At Work

1. You think that you know EVERYTHING!
But the mere fact that you believe this shows that you know nothing at all. Besides if you're such a genius, how did you end up working with people who you perceive to be nowhere near as smart as you are? Honestly, you're not there just because you love what you do, Einstein. You're there because you have to be.

2. You rat out everybody for everything to get on the boss' good side, and the boss can't stand you. Try doing a little less talking and a lot more listening, and if you insist on squealing like a stuck pig you should at least have your "thing" together. Don't show up late every day and then point the finger at someone else. For every finger that you point there are 3.....

3. You avoid soap, breath mints, combs, and brushes! Any place that does business is a place of business. If you don't care enough to at least wash your behind, it's pretty safe to say that you don't care about business. If it just so happens that you care more about business, (someone else's business), than soap and water, you need intense therapy, & Jesus. Correction, Jesus & intense therapy......On second thought you just need JESUS!!!


Friday, February 8, 2013

Rogue Robocop

A manhunt is under way in Los Angeles and across Southern California for alleged cop killer Christopher Jordan Donner. Donner is a former LAPD officer, and trained marksmen whom police suspect have murdered 3 people including the daughter of the police chief whom he feels wronged him. Donner believes that he was wrongfully terminated by the LAPD and has vowed to seek revenge in an 11 page manifesto he sent to the media. The following are excerpts from said manifesto.

"I know most of you who personally know me are in disbelief to hear from media reports that I am suspected of committing such horrendous murders and have taken drastic and shocking actions in the last couple of days. You are saying to yourself that this is completely out of character of the man you knew who always wore a smile wherever he was seen. I know I will be villified by the LAPD and the media. Unfortunately, this is a necessary evil that I do not enjoy but must partake and complete for substantial change to occur within the LAPD and reclaim my name. The department has not changed since the Rampart and Rodney King days. It has gotten worse. The consent decree should never have been lifted. The only thing that has evolved from the consent decree is those officers involved in the Rampart scandal and Rodney King incidents have since been promoted to supervisor, commanders, and command staff, and executive positions."
"Terminating me for telling the truth of a caucasian officer kicking a mentally ill man is disgusting. Don't ever call me a f***ing bully. I want all journalist's to utilize every source you have that specializes in collections for your reports. With the discovery and evidence available you will see the truth. Unfortunately, I will not be alive to see my name cleared. That's what this is about, my name. A man is nothing without his name."

This statement is an attempt to justify his murderous actions but it also gives us a peek into the psyche of an civil servant with his back against the wall who is willing to go to the extreme to clear his name. He once had dreams and aspirations but got pushed to the edge, went over the edge, and hit rock bottom.

"I have exhausted all available means at obtaining my name back. I have attempted all legal court efforts within appeals at the Superior Courts and California Appellate courts. This is my last resort. The LAPD has suppressed the truth and it has now lead to deadly consequences. The LAPD's actions have cost me my law enforcement ...They cost me my Naval career ... I lost my position as a Commanding Officer of a Naval Security Forces reserve unit at NAS Fallon because of the LAPD. I've lost a relationship with my mother and sister because of the LAPD. I've lost a relationship with close friends because of the LAPD. In essence, I've lost everything because the LAPD took my name and knew I was INNOCENT!!!"

The media and the LAPD have already began portraying Donner as a crazed madman on the fringe. But this manifesto
seems to suggest something very different. An enraged man who exhausted all possible options, and will not lay down and roll over. This was my initial conclusion but after I read the next excerpt, I realized that this theory didn't even scratch the surface and I was able to form an accurate hypothesis based on the following.

"I'm not an aspiring rapper, I'm not a gang member, I'm not a dope dealer, I don't have multiple babies momma's. I am an American by choice, I am a son, I am a brother, I am a military service member, I am a man who has lost complete faith in the system, when the system betrayed, slandered, and libeled me. I lived a good life and though not a religious man I always stuck to my own personal code of ethics, ethos and always stuck to my shoreline and true North. I didn't need the US Navy to instill Honor, Courage, and Commitment in me but I thank them for re-enforcing it. It's in my DNA.

This particular paragraph is quite interesting, and perhaps the most revealing. Donner makes an affirmation in reference to all of the things that he is not. As if he should never have been treated unfairly because he is not an aspiring rapper, a gang member or has multiple baby mamas. He believes that he is unlike the average black man. In fact Donner believes that he is an "exceptional negro" who stands head and shoulders above the rest. What he didn't realize is the fact that no matter how exceptional he thought he was, he is still subject to the racial bias that is part of life as an African-American.
Nothing that he achieved could transcend that stark reality. Not being a Los Angeles Police Officer, not being a Navy reservist, and not staying on the straight and narrow.
He has revealed himself. Donner was once a delusional Police Officer, completely detached from reality, who prided himself in the fact that he was nothing like the African-American men who had the misfortune of being passengers held captive in the back of his patrol car. Little did he know, nothing separated them, with the exception of a steel partition and a police uniform. But now he knows, and has become the very black man that he criticized, stereotyped and despised. A lawless, violent, irresponsible coward who decided to throw an extreme temper tantrum because he could not have his way. A man full of excuses, with no sense of responsibility. In a twist of fate he will soon find himself hand cuffed in the back of someone else's patrol car or staring down the barrel of a gun. A victim of his own personal illusion of inclusion.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Lock Down Drill

Every day I have a routine. Actually I have many routines throughout my day but the one that I really look forward to is picking up "daddy's baby" my 6 year old little lady. During the ride home we have deep discussions on a variety of topics, like, fairies, Doc McStuffins, magic carpets, princesses, and McDonalds. But one day she brought up something a little different. When I asked her about her day she said that the school had a lock drill, what she meant was that the school had conducted a (lock down drill), and her teacher told her that if a bad stranger comes, they have to be quiet and hide in a designated room. Even though she brought a letter home the week before informing us that the school would be conducting these kinds of drills, I still was not prepared for the answer I got when I asked her how her day was.
Something just seems surreal about hearing a kindergartener talk about, bad strangers and lock down drills. It almost seems as if they are being forced to lose their innocence for the sake if safety. Don't get me wrong, lock down drills are a spectacular idea, and I am all for doing whatever it takes to keep children alive. But before the Newtown tragedy, the most my little girl had to think about was which doll she was going to play with, or what she was going to have for a snack. But now, her life, and the lives of every six year old in America has been forever changed.
The ride home was the longest one of my life. I had to explain why there are bad people who want to hurt others, and describe in detail why it is important to take the necessary steps for survival. As usual each explanation, prompted another question, and each question made me just a little more uncomfortable as I tried to find the right words to describe the reality of evil. I think she understands as much as the mind of a gifted 6 year old could, because to her it was just another lesson learned in school with her friends and the teacher that she loves. However it was also a lesson for me both as an American and as a father. When tragedy strikes one of us it affects us all. Many of us react to catastrophe by thanking God that it wasn't our child, or one of our family member, and count ourselves blessed for not being on the receiving end. But the realty is, we all become victims to some degree whether we were ready or not, and the wicked world that we live in will always prompt us to leave our comfort zones and seek sustenance in order to maintain peace. That sustenance is The Lord, and that peace is that which can only be found in him.
Be blessed!


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The First Lady, Race, & Body Image

This past week, Bob Grisham, an obviously mentally impaired, High School football coach and psychology teacher at Lauderdale County High School in Rodgers, Alabama has been suspended for 10 days without pay for making derogatory comments about the First Lady, Michelle Obama, as well as anti gay statements. In a seemingly pre-pubescent outburst Grisham was caught on tape blaming "fat butt Michelle Obama" for the school's low-calorie lunches. On the recording which took place in front of his students, Grisham also is quoted as saying.
"Look at her. She looks like she weighs 185 or 190. She's overweight,"
An investigation into the allegations against Grisham was launched after the audio, believed to have been secretly recorded by a student, leaked to the media. Grisham told the Times Daily in an earlier interview that he "misspoke."
On Monday the Lauderdale County Board of education decided to allow Grisham to keep his teaching job at the school but imposed the suspension. Grisham will stop teaching his psychology class until the suspension is up. His coaching job was not discussed by the board. In addition, he will also need to attend "sensitivity training." The general consensus among parents and some community members is that the punishment is overkill.
The ambivalence, disrespect, and disdain shown toward the First Lady and the First Family in general is infuriating. The insolent insults which seem to be ever present in the media, are never founded on credible ideas or based on critical thinking. It is always the same barrage of small minded, resentful, and crass comments each and every time. The fact that anyone could find fault with Michelle Obama for advocated nutritious school lunches is both puzzling, and disturbing. There is a deep feeling of resentment, and racism simply because as First Lady, Mrs Obama is in a position to make changes, and change policies. Whether unofficial, or not. What Grisham really wanted to say was probably more like,
"Who does that N-word gal think she is deciding to make changes that affect my students".
Even if that change is something as positive as a nutritious lunch for every child in America. It is seen by many as an audacious power move, not because of the decision to effect change in and of itself. But because an African-American First Lady made a decision to effect change. A move seen as threatening to those who still feel that Black people have no right to power or control in America.
Michelle Obama is far from being a "fat butt" unless you have a cultural predilection for stick figures. Allow me to peel back the next layer. The African-American ideal of beauty, and The Caucasian or westernized idea of beauty are two very different ideals. While tastes, and preferences vary according to the individual, it has been my experience that the majority of Black men actually prefer full figured, pear shaped women. We find soft curves alluring, and sensual.
But the westernized idea of beauty is very different. That standard is petite, lean, and alarmingly thin. So much so that many starve themselves to become the image of "perfection" or at least what they have been told is the image of perfection. The two ideals are very different. But in all reality, Michelle Obama's body had nothing to do with Grisham's intent. But the color of her skin had everything to do with it.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

1968, Fists of Fury

1968 was a year of both triumph and tragedy. Both Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated, President Lyndon Johnson signed the 1968 Civil Rights Act providing equal housing opportunities for all minorities, and NASA launched its first space craft, Apollo 8.
That year the Olympic Games was held in Mexico City and 3 young men, John Carlos, Tommie Smith, and Peter Norman, made a bold statement the likes of which had never been seen on an international stage before or since.
John Carlos is the son of two working class parents and as a child growing up in Harlem, he would often chase Malcolm X down the street after his speeches firing questions at him.
As a mischievous teenager who had an obsession with Robin Hood, Carlos and his friends would often find themselves in trouble after stealing food from freight trains and giving it to the poor. He actually discovered that he was a gifted runner after being chased by the police several times and being the only one of his friends to get away. He went on to win the bronze metal in track and field in the 1968 Olympics.
Tommie smith was born in Clarksville, Texas the 7th of 12 children born to Richard and Dora Smith. He is the only man in the history of track and field to hold eleven world records simultaneously. As a college student, Smith amazingly tied or broke a total of 13 world records in track. He also broke the world and Olympic records with a time of 19.83 seconds and became the 200-meter Olympic champion winning the gold in Mexico City.
Peter Norman was an Australian sprinter in the 1960s. Norman was preparing to be a butcher, and he discovered his natural speed quite by accident, when he filled in for a no show in the local club championship. The story was that he ran his first race on borrowed spikes. He kept running, and became a consistent Australian champion at 200 meters. He went on to win the silver metal in Mexico City.
When Carlos, Smith, and Norman took the podium with their gold, silver, and bronze medals draped around their necks the star spangled banner began to play. Carlos and Smith who both stepped on to the podium wearing black gloves and socks raised their fists into the air in the black power salute. Norman wore the Olympic Project for Human Rights badge as a show of solidarity. The Olympic Project for Human Rights or OPHR was an organization established by sociologist Harry Edwards and others, including Smith and Carlos, in October 1967. The aim of the organization was to protest racial segregation in the United States and elsewhere (such as South Africa), and racism in sports in general.
Their gesture will forever be seared into the annals of history as a symbol of courage, defiance, and character. While all 3 men gained international fame. Carlos and Smith went on to become heroes in the black community, and Norman was criticized and ostracized in his homeland of Australia, and abroad. He has only received a posthumous apology. Norman died of a heart attack in 2006, and both John Carlos and Tommie Smith were pall bearers at his funeral.
Today Carlos is a counselor at at Palm Springs High School in California, and Smith’s autobiography, “Silent Gesture,” was published in 2007, he was a long-time sociology professor as well as track and cross country coach at Santa Monica College.
Little things truly mean a lot. It is amazing how something as simple as a gesture can mark a revolution, tell a story, change the world, or symbolize a movement. Some actions speak volumes. What do yours actions say? Are they clear, calculated, concise and meaningful, or just rampant insignificance signifying nothing. This story proves that we can be effectively articulate without ever saying a word. But we should always be careful about what we don't say.


Another Young Life Lost

15 year old Hadiya Pendleton of Chicago was an honor student, volleyball player, and a majorette in The King College Prep High School Band. This last month she became a part of history when the band participated in several events during President Obama's inaugural celebration.
This was perhaps one of the high lights of her young life, and may have been one of many had she not been murdered in a park in Chicago just days later.
On a rainy Tuesday afternoon Pendleton sought shelter under a canopy in a neighborhood park with about a dozen other teenagers, something I've done many times as a kid. But there were never any deadly consequences. As she stood there huddled with some friends trying to stay dry, a young man jumped the fence and opened fire on the crowd shooting Ms. Pendleton in the back, and wounding another unidentified teen, she was rushed to City Hospital where she died. The man then fled in a waiting vehicle. There have been no arrests in this case and there are no suspects. Pendleton was not a gang member, or gang affiliated, and police do not believe that she was the intended target. Just an innocent bystander who started her day believing that she would live to see another. Her funeral will be held this Saturday.
The President has been uncharacteristically quiet given the fact that the park where the carnage took place is just minutes from his home in suburban Chicago. A petition has been circulated to urge the President to attend Pendleton's funeral but, as of this writing, there still has been no response from the White House.
Tragedies like this evoke a deep sense of sadness for those of us who are parents, and in this case especially, those of us who have daughters.
But it still doesn't change the fact that tragedies like this have become so common place in Chicago that it almost has a numbing effect. It 's like being familiar with sunrise, and 24 hour days. There is a perverse sense of inevitability that comes over me each and every time I hear another story about violent crime in Chicago, and it seems as if most of society is apathetic when it comes to this tired, age old narrative. One in which violence fueled by urban blight has become expected, and relegated to minority neighborhoods across the country. Neighborhoods often thought of as little pockets of hell where it's inhabitants endlessly devour each other, and implode. As long is gun violence is kept within that bubble, there is little or no national outrage. But every young life lost is just as precious as the last, no matter what their geographic location happens to be, or what the circumstances are. Instead of heads shaking in judgement, and hands thrown up as if the problem has been given to insolubility, there should be solution oriented ideas put into place. If not, then lives like that of Hadiya Pendleton will be relegated to being the casualties of ghetto battle while the world watches on, relieved that the blood shed is taking place on the other side of the tracks.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Who Cares About..........

......Chris Brown acting a fool all of the time? The fact of the matter is, that this kid needs to fire all of his "yes men" and hire people who will be honest enough to tell him when he is messing up, people who care more about him than his money, and who will keep him off of Twitter.

........Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. Kanye has never fully recovered from the loss of his mother so he's looking to fill that void. Kim Kardashian will latch on to any wealthy black dude who will raise her profile or her "career". By the way, if we stopped talking about her, she wouldn't have forget I mentioned her.

..........whether Beyonce' lip synced at the Presidential inauguration, as long as the record didn't skip, it doesn't matter.

...........all of those gang members murdering each other in Chicago. More than 500 last year! Wait a minute, they weren't all gang members, and even gang members are somebody's children.

...........the unemployment rate in the Black community? We don't need jobs because money grows on trees, and a rising tide lifts all boats. But only if you have a boat, and are already in the water.

...........the fact that private prison companies are cutting deals in some states to build prisons if the state can guarantee that the prison will be filled to 90 percent capacity. Nobody can possibly guarantee that. Right? Or can they?

............what everybody else thinks. You can't please everybody, and everybody is not trying to please you. You should only be concerned with pleasing, God, your spouse, and the I.R.S. You don't want to make any of them angry!

Some things are news and other things are distractions from the issues. We choose whether to be informed or distracted. Or sometimes both depending on the day. Which one do you choose?


Friday, February 1, 2013

W.W.J.D ?........ ( He'd Leave A Tip!)

Being a Christian is a huge responsibility. Because the whole idea of being Christ like, is to act and conduct ourselves in a manner that mirrors the way Jesus Christ lived his life. While it is impossible to live a perfect life because we all fall short. It is our privilege to serve a perfect God. Our lives must always be a living testimony because we may be the only representation of Christ that anyone sees.
This past week in St. Louis, Missouri, 37 year old Alois Bell, a Pastor, and member of World Deliverance Church made a decision that she will never forget. While eating at an Applebee's one night after service with a party of 20, the waitress presented the Pastor Bell with the bill which included an automatic 18% gratuity of $6.29 as part of the overall tab for her large dinner party. On the receipt, Bell wrote,
"I give God 10%, why do you get 18?", and wrote a 0 on the tip line.
Another waitress at the Applebee's posted a photo of the receipt on the social network site Reddit, sparking online outrage.
In an interview with The Smoking Gun website, Bell described her actions that night as a "lapse in my character and judgment that has been blown out of proportion. My heart is really broken. I've brought embarrassment to my church and ministry.”
A mother of three, Pastor Bell heads a 15-member church that rents a storefront space. Bell said she has a separate full-time job which she declined to describe and tithes 10 percent of her earnings to the church.
Unfortunately what the Pastor failed to realize on that night is that one of the greatest things that you can do is be a blessing someone else. That is what Jesus did. What is $6.29 compared to him being a blessing to us by giving his life so that we may have life more abundantly.
Bell claims despite crossing out the automatic gratuity, she did leave $6 in cash behind for the server.
Which is still less than the original gratuity.
But was saving a few bucks worth compromising her character?
When the pastor called Applebee's management to complain, she was told the waitresses responsible for posting the image of the receipt would be fired.
When asked about her decision to post a copy of the receipt the waitress was quoted as saying,
"I thought the note was insulting, but it was also comical. I posted it to Reddit because I thought other users would find it entertaining."
The waitress also claims that when the pastor called Applebee's, she demanded everyone at the restaurant be fired.
Applebee's recently issued a statement in reference to this incident.
"Our Guests' personal information -- including their meal check is private, and neither Applebee's nor its franchisees have a right to share this information publicly. We value our Guests' trust above all else. Our franchisee has apologized to the Guest and has taken disciplinary action with the Team Member for violating their Guest's right to privacy. This individual is no longer employed by the franchisee."
It is important to remember who we are, and we must always remember that someone is always paying attention, and someone is always watching.
We must live by his word.
Matthew 5:16
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

A light that doesn't shine represents a Christian who lives in the dark.