Posts Tagged ‘racism’

 

 

 

Just finished watching a story on CNN where a group of Black kids, in Philadelphia were refused entrance to a predominantly White swim club. The story goes as such….. Creative Steps Day Camp was on their way to The Valley Club to enjoy a day of aquatic fun. Before their first visit to the club, the Camp satisfied a $1900 bill in order for the kids to enjoy the pool for the summer. Once they arrived, they were turned away. CNN interviewed a camper from the Creative Steps Day Camp as he tried and failed to hold back tears. The innocent child, no older than 8 or 9 years old, said he overheard a white woman say, “What are all these Black kids doing here…I’m afraid they might do something to my kids”. As the tears ran down his face, and his initial anecdote came to a close, he said, “I thought those days were over.” This statement is what inspired me to put this post together. Although the American society’s racial tolerance has improved leaps and bounds since the eradication of slavery, the fact remains that racism is very much, still a factor. 

Now, I’m not writing this to bitch and moan about racism in this country, or to gain some sort of sympathy for the plight of Black Americans.  The point of this regurgitation of feelings/thoughts is to lay down some reality. Although a child, the young boy’s naivete rubbed me the wrong way. Granted, I fully understand that children are oblivious to most of the problems faced by countless people in this country, but I think parents should give their kids a dose of reality at some point in their childhood. I think it is important for parents to sit children down and share with them their insight on the world we live in. Like telling them to wait until marriage to have sex, or not to smoke weed, and drink stay away from alcohol.  Well, those don’t usually work out too well, but, you get my drift. Kids should know that they might encounter things like racism, and that not everyone is accepting of others. They should also know that not everybody thinks like them, not everyone follows the same religion, and not everyone lives the same life as they do, among other things. If you send your children out into the world with a tool box full of the right tools, they will be able to screw, hammer and saw their way through this construction site we call life. I know that analogy was probably the worst you’ve ever heard, and you are now ridiculing me with all of your being, but I thought I’d add some levity to the post. You get my drift anyway…..

 

PEACE…

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This video has been circulating around the cyber world through e-mail and I came across it today. It’s a really touching video that sent chills through my body as I watched and listened. Not to mention the footage is set to one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE songs, “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke. This song was brought to my attention as the fitting, yet erie sounds that filled the theater during the famous scene in Spike Lee’s classic film, Malcolm X. As Malcolm drives to The Audubon Ballroom to speak, he stares ahead with a blank gaze, realizing his impending demise. From that point on, this song has made such a powerful impact on me every time I hear it.  The words fit well with this video and are quite appropriate for what may soon come to past in the oncoming election.  Anyway, check out the video and be inspired. 

PEACE

Dr. Phil did a whole show on the controversial term late last week and quite honestly, I am tired of the “let’s talk about it and make it all better” approach to the eradication of this word. Although bringing certain issues to the forefront and making problems known, in order to drum up a solution for said problem, works sometimes, this is one of those times that talking isn’t going to cut it. To get rid of a word, or stop people from using it, is something extremely personal. The individual must take it upon themselves to remove it from their vocabulary. On Nas’s latest album, Untitled, a member of ‘The Last Poets’ makes a bold and undoubtedly spot-on statement during the song, Project Roach. He says…

“It is absolutely silly and unproductive to have a funeral for the word NIGGER when the actions continue. We need to have a movement to resurrect brothers and sisters, not a funeral for NIGGERS, cause NIGGERS don’t die.”

The quote is referencing the recent attempt of the NAACP to bury the derogatory word and ban it’s use with a mock funeral. Rev. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton were both at the forefront of this movement, being the most prominent “leaders” of our people, these days, and they put a challenge forth to the record industry and the people in general to stop using the “N” word.  Just a short while after the racial slur was six feet under, Rev. Jesse “Hypocrite” Jackson resurrected the dead in the same interview where he spoke of Barack Obama saying he wanted to “cut his nuts off”. He didn’t call Barack the “N” word but he used it, nonetheless. Great example your setting REVEREND. 

Anyway, during the Dr. Phil show, Hill Harper, who was a guest on the show along with comedians, Sheryl Underwood, and Paul Mooney and Radio Host Michael Graham, said something that made sense to me. He said that history has shown us that African Americans have turned a lot of negatives into positives and gave the example of soul food. Hog Maws, (the stomach of a pig) Chitterlings, yes that is how you spell it (the intestine of a pig), and pig’s feet are the scraps that were thrown to slaves after their owners consumed the actual meat. These items are still enjoyed today by many black families, and as we all know, food brings a lot of black families together, for many reasons. He uses this fact to suggest that blacks are trying to turn the extremely offensive word into something less toxic, but then goes on to say that there is no way to change the poisonousness of the word, which I agree with. It’s hard for me to accept the whole “term of endearment” excuse because a term of endearment holds absolutely no negative connotation. The “N” word originated from hate, forced superiority, degradation and oppression among many other negative means. I don’t see how anyone can see the “N” word as a loving, affectionate word.  

Within the hour of the show, Dr. Phil asked, ‘is it a double standard when it comes to who can and who cannot use the word.’ A white woman in the audience said, ‘if I can say that word and not have any racism in my heart, it should be alright.’ Uhhmmm, Not so much, lady. Regardless of how any white person may utter the word, or in what context, it will NEVER be acceptable. Personally, I don’t like it when it’s used by blacks either, but I have no control over neither. Oh yeah, who told certain members of the Latin community that they could throw the word around? I’m just as offended when they use it. 

All-in-all, absolutely nothing was solved by the discussion, as usual, and I don’t think it brought us any closer to a solution. Nor do I believe that the controversy will ever come to an end. Few things in this world are constant and I strongly think that racism is one of them. 

PEACE…

Greetings!!!! I don’t want you all to get too aroused at the expected political commentary to come in this blog, because I am far from a connoisseur of Politics. I just wanted to talk about the most important program that has graced the boob tube in recent history, The Democratic National Convention.  I was watching Senator Obama’s running mate for the 08 Election, Senator Joe Biden’s speech, and after he was finished, my Grandmother turned to me and in the ‘on the edge of tears voice’ uttered, “I am so grateful that I’m still alive to see this happen.”  Although I hate to hear the elderly folks in my life speak of their pending demise, these words touched me in a different way. It made me realize the magnitude of this election for those who never even imagined the possibility of such an event.  

My grandmother grew up in a “separate but equal” south, and was the youngest child to an illiterate, widowed mother. She would hear her mother crying herself to sleep each night because all of her sons were in the Military, serving a country that barely cared for them. What added to her heartache, and brought great irony to her life, was the fact that the allotment checks the government sent to her for her sons service, afforded her the much needed opportunity to support her family.

My father, raised in New Jersey, expressed the same sentiments as to the perceived unlikeliness of this monumental event in our history. He recollected anecdotes as to what lead his mind to believe that something like this would never happen and a few stuck in my mind. He would visit the south each summer and stay with my aforementioned Great-Grandmother, and once, he joined her on trip to the local store. After she gathered the items she desired to purchase, she removed a handkerchief containing money from her pocket, and placed it on the counter, for the cashier to take what he pleased and return to her what he saw fit, if anything. My father witnessed this, and being educated and able to count, he snatched it back and gave the store owner the proper amount. Another story went like this, my dad, again while in the south, went to a tobacco market with my grandfather and trailed off by himself to get a little something to eat and drink. Once he arrived at the counter, he was told to “go around the back”, to the “Colored” area. My father didn’t realize what he had experienced until he returned to school in the fall and was going through a lesson on racism. As recent as the 70’s, another trip below the Mason Dixon line brought my dad upon a sign that read, “POSITIVELY NO BLACKS!!! WHITES ONLY” as he almost entered a blatantly racist town. 

Be it the lack of education a vast majority of our ancestors possessed, the overt racism they suffered for centuries, or the progress America has made since the ending of slavery, an innumerable amount of African Americans never saw this day coming. To witness tears run down the cheeks of my grandmother, someone who has experienced outright racism, something the youth of today know ABSOLUTELY nothing of, and undoubtedly take for granted, gave me a greater sense of just how grand a black presidential nominee, not to mention a Black President is.  Or in the case of my Great-Grandmother, Grandmother and Father, just the thought of such is a awesome achievement for blacks that will indefinitely be etched into the minds and lives of ALL BLACK AMERICANS……..

                                                      

I know I’m a couple of weeks late but I really wanted to comment on the two part documentary that aired on CNN, produced by Soledad O’Brien, Black in America. A significant portion of the documentary was centered on the Rand family and showcased a sort of juxtaposition within their family and people connected to them. It exhibited some members who were anomalies of the black community and went on to have great successes, as well as presented those who became a product of their negative environment. I feel the documentary tried to close the gap between the two groups by showcasing the fact that the more affluent, educated blacks still incurred racism no matter where they lived, what title they held and/or how much money they made.  Some issues that were covered included; struggling single mothers, drug addiction, college, interracial relationships, success, racism, the AIDS epidemic, etc., all things that have a profound effect on our community be it negative or positive. What I was puzzled about was the fact that I, as well as the other blacks that I talked to about the documentaries, already knew a great majority of what was being presented to us. This lead me to think that the target demographic wasn’t those in the Black Community. My thoughts were absolutely confirmed when Soledad defined the term, “baby daddy”, during a segment where she spoke to a woman who created a website called, “Marry your baby Daddy”. Then I thought, ‘Do those who aren’t minorities really care about the state of the black community? Was this documentary made to garner sympathy for Blacks in America?’ I know this may sound a little closed minded, but that was my honest thought.  I also noticed that, at times, Soledad would present a problem in our community, then give some excuse for it. For example, just because the statistics say that black men are on the same playing field as a white criminal, when it comes to getting a job, that is not the sole reason why the unemployment rate is much higher for Blacks than for our white counterparts. We don’t need others to feel sorry for us, so they might want to help. We need to feel sorry for ourselves. If we want the Black Community to change, we have to start from within. Just like if you want to change as an individual, a simple change of your hair color or a new wardrobe is not going to do it. You have to start from within and work outward. 

Now there were a few thins that I was pleased with concerning the documentary. The Emergency Room Doctor in Baltimore, Maryland, who started the V.I.P. program (Violence Intervention Program) is doing a great thing. Dr. Carnell Cooper takes the young men who come into his trauma center as a result of violence and offer them a way off of the streets. He gives them the opportunity to take advantage of a GED program if they aren’t in school and if they are, offers to help them finish high school. He also assist the young victims with finding a job. Although the situation that brings the young people to him is greatly unfortunate, he is performing a much-needed service in one of the most crime stricken black communities in America.

“Marry Your Baby Daddy Day” is an attempt to curb the plague of fatherless homes in the black community, as well as other communities, by Maryann Reid who hopes to “bring black love back in style.” This initiative offers an “All expense paid, Wedding Extravaganza” for couples with children who are living together and want to tie the knot. The idea is great, although the name has a slightly negative connotation due to it’s containment of the phrase, “baby daddy”. 

Overall, the documentary did a good job at revealing negative and positive aspects of the black community. To those who don’t live through them everyday, that is.  From the media outlets that I heard advertisements and promotions for this documentary, it seemed to me they were targeting blacks, but once I viewed it, I was convinced their target wasn’t the audience in which they showcased.

“My Producer is Black and my two Co-Hosts are Black.” says Don Imus after another blatantly racist comment rolled off his untamed tongue.  Sound familiar? In my experiences, the people who are most racist against blacks, or hold some sort of animosity toward us, must go out of their way to tell us how many of their “friends are black”, how many black people “they hang out with” or how much they “LOOOVE Rap Music”.  Imus explained his comments made on Monday morning saying, “I was making a sarcastic point.”  For those of you who haven’t heard, Imus was chatting with Warner Wolf, a well known sportscaster, on his nationally syndicated morning radio show, about Dallas Cowboys Cornerback, Adam “Packman” Jones. They spoke about his numerous run-ins with the law, and Imus’s retort included the following,  “What color is he?” After Wolf alerted Imus to the fact that Mr. Jones was an African American Imus continues with this, “There you go. Now we know.” How much more blatant can you get? In Imus’s statement released on Tuesday, the former COCAINE ADDICT and ALCOHOLIC said,  “What people should be outraged about is that they arrest blacks for no reason, and I mean there’s no reason to arrest this kid six times,” he said. “They shoot blacks for no reason.” Come on Imus, even an intelligent racist like yourself could come up with something better than that.  Maybe the after effects of those drugs and liquor are kicking in, along with senility, of course. I’m sure you all remember the “Nappy head hoes” comment, where he offended the women’s basketball team of my Alma Mater, Rutgers University, as they played for the National Championship. In light of your track record Mr. “My friends are black”, there is no doubt in my mind that racism runs through you. Or as us black people say, “You got hate in your blood!!”

Below is a video of  Warner Wolf. Click play. It’s pretty funny.

PEACE…