Tag Archives: african american

O.J. Simpson, Rodman, RuPaul: Black History Role Models?

LA Times – In a letter addressed to parents and community members, a South Los Angeles elementary school principal apologized Thursday for “questionable decisions” about which prominent African Americans to highlight in a parade marking the culmination of Black History Month.

Lorraine Abner’s letter did not name the individuals. But her apology came after three teachers at Wadsworth Avenue Elementary School were suspended while the Los Angeles Unified School District investigates allegations that they had their first-, second- and fourth-grade students carry pictures of O.J. Simpson, Dennis Rodman and RuPaul at last Friday’s event.

“Unfortunately, questionable decisions were made in the selection of noteworthy African American role models,” the letter said. “As the principal, I offer my apology for these errors in judgment.”

I don’t know about you, but for me Black History is Black History. If we remove one part of it, we are not telling the whole story. It is the whole story that makes history. We as African-Americans have had to fight to have our history included.   Now it would be a little hypocritical for us to start excluding people. To now start removing people or making apologies is unacceptable.

RuPaul represents a portion of our community.  We can’t celebrate our LGBTQ brothers and sisters?  There was a time in history before the trial and acquittal when O.J Simpson was a hero.  You remember those commercials.  Dennis Rodman was one hell of a basketball player. I think that Michael Jordan could give you a list of reasons why he should not be discarded.

I’d also like to note that the tale of O.J is not equal to the stories of Rodman and Rupaul.  Come on, people.  LA, I thought you guys were more progressive than this.  Oh no, I forgot…Prop 8.    Ok, but yall do like basketball so Rodman is ok, right.  Oh no, Yall only like the Lakers!  SMH

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Filed under african american, black history, black men, celebrity, community, hollywood, news, opinion, race, sports

Happy “I’ze Married Now!” Day to All My Black DC Gays and Lesbians

I’m straight, but i’m no hater.  I want to give a congratulations shout out to all of the gay and lesbian folks in Washington, DC who can now get married.  The Washington Post reports that couples lined up beginning at 6 a.m. at the D.C. district courthouse, vying to be among the first same-sex couples to apply for marriage licenses.  Good for them. Whether it’s mixed race couples, couples from different sides of the tracks, or people who get married and everyone knows they shouldn’t…we all deserve to choose who we walk down the isle with.

When we start picking and chosing who gets what rights and who deserves what freedoms, we get onto a slippery slope.  There was a time when African Americans were not free to live where they wanted to live, marry who they loved, or just go have a burger at the local diner just because of the social norms and stereotypes that helped shape American law.  Discrimination was  the law.  Treating one group as lesser than another was the law.  I’m so glad to say that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation when it comes to marriage is no longer the law here in the District.

PS: You better make sure that marriage comes with same-sex divorce too.  I’m just saying.  LOL

Photo: Michael K. Cole & Jamil Smith Cole. The two jumped over the broom Atlanta Georgia in 2009.

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Walmart Chooses “Gangsta” Rap and Strippers Over Patriots for Black History Month

I really, really wanted to be surprised by this story, but I know better. Walmart is about business, the business of selling stuff.  They want $$.  I think this is a case of capitalism…not racism.  Let’s be honest, if you wanted to promote a product that would appeal to the largest number of Black people would you choose “Chappelle’s Show — Season 2 Uncensored” or For Love of Liberty: The Story of America’s Black Patriots,” a four-hour documentary?  I’m going with Chappelle.  I’m not saying that Black folk aren’t interested in this type of documentary.  I saw it on TV last week on PBS and it was great.  However, I’m not interested in buying it.  I’m a Netflix person anyway, so maybe I shouldn’t comment.

I have more of a problem the choice of subject matter they are associating with Black History Month in their advertising [The Players’s Club?].  Then again, WE let companies sell us everything from DVDs to cars to chicken nuggets when their theme is Black History.  Sigh.

SunTimes.com: Vietnam veteran Ronald Price considers himself snubbed by Wal-Mart.Wal-Mart Stores Inc. rejected for inclusion in its Black History Month displays “For Love of Liberty: The Story of America’s Black Patriots,” a four-hour documentary in which a Who’s Who of Hollywood is enlisted to document the history of blacks in the military.

What did make it to the prominent displays at the world’s largest retailer? “Thug Angel — Tupac Shakur,” a documentary of the slain rapper; the strip club-set flick “The Players Club,” and Dave Chappelle’s sketch comedy series “Chappelle’s Show — Season 2 Uncensored” were among 50 titles approved for the special promotion in entertainment sections.

“I think it was a slap in our face, as far as being war veterans,” said Price, an African-American South Holland resident. “I would never buy anything out of Wal-Mart anymore.” [Full Article]

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Rep. Trent Franks: African-Americans were better off under slavery

Oh Wow.  RACIST!!   I want to thank Think Progress for posting this.  This is some straight BS!  If you are a black person living in AZ you need to campaign really, really hard to get this man out of office.  Here’s the info:

Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) — one of the most conservative member of Congress, according to a new National Journal ranking — decried the strained state of political discourse in an interview today with blogger-activist Mike Stark. While defending hate radio host Rush Limbaugh, Franks said bipartisanship and “true tolerance” is about “being halfway decent to each other in spite of the differences.” But when the conversation turned to abortion, Franks made a clearly indecent comment, claiming that African-Americans were probably better off under slavery than they are today:

FRANK: In this country, we had slavery for God knows how long. And now we look back on it and we say “How brave were they? What was the matter with them? You know, I can’t believe, you know, four million slaves. This is incredible.” And we’re right, we’re right. We should look back on that with criticism. It is a crushing mark on America’s soul. And yet today, half of all black children are aborted. Half of all black children are aborted. Far more of the African-American community is being devastated by the policies of today than were being devastated by policies of slavery. And I think, What does it take to get us to wake up?

What?  Huh?  Don’t believe me?  Watch it (beginning 6:20):

Franks continued by saying, “[S]ometimes we get angry and say things that we shouldn’t say, and I apologize…[for saying things] that are intemperate. But I don’t want to hide from the truth.”

Truth? Readers, is this the truth? AZ, is this the truth that you want your Representatives to believe in?

Update: Salon.com has picked up the story.  They report this: Abortion-rights opponents like to compare abortion and slavery; the Dred Scott vs. Sandford case is often seen on the right as the 19th century equivalent of Roe v. Wade. Still, the comments caught the attention of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“To compare the horrors and inhumane treatment of millions of African Americans during slavery as a better way of life for African Americans today is beyond repulsive,” said Stephanie Young, a DCCC spokeswoman. “In 2010, during the 2nd year of our first African American president, it is astonishing that a thought such as this would come to mind, let alone be shared. The next time Congressman Franks wants to make assumptions about what policies are ‘best’ for the African American community, he should keep them to himself.” [Full Article]

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Send Mother Dear a Check: AARP Survey Says Older Blacks Hit Hard By Recession

It’s time to dig into your pockets.  Dig like you’re in a church pew (I once heard in a church…from a pastor…”We like the money that jingles, but we love the money that folds”.  Sigh)  Time to send Mommy, “Mother Dear” and “Pop Pop” a check, brothers and sisters!

Kansas City Star:  The economic recession has had a “devastating impact” on African Americans age 45 and up, according to a new survey by AARP.

The survey, which is part of AARP’s continued look at how African Americans age 45 and older are faring in this economy, found that over the last year:

— 33 percent of African Americans age 45 and older had problems paying rent or mortgage.

— 44 percent had problems paying for essential items, such as food and utilities.

— 18 percent lost a job, nearly twice the rate of the general population.

— 23 percent lost their employer-sponsored health care.

If people who are of working age are doing pretty bad, I can’t imagine how the retirees and those on Social Security are managing. I’m reminded of those heating old and electric bill subsidy commercials that come on in the winter that always have some “assumed” poor, elderly African American in them. The person is always sitting at home by an old school electric heater, wrapped up in a blanket and wearing a hat. Those commercials remind me to call and check on my mom and my grandmother. This information makes me think I should cast my net of concern a little wider this time of year. Maybe we all should.

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UC San Diego Tries to Find Out Who Threw a “Compton Cookout” for Black History Month

The LA Times is reporting that UC San Diego administration and local civil rights activists have condemned a student party themed “Compton Cookout” in honor of Black History Month.

Campus administrators said Wednesday that they were investigating whether the off-campus party, held Monday, and its Facebook invitation violated the university’s code of conduct and whether its sponsors should be disciplined. Members of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity were identified as among the organizers, but the fraternity president has criticized the event and said his club did not sponsor it.

Promising a taste of “life in the ghetto,” the Facebook invitation contained many racist stereotypes. For example, it urged women to dress as “ghetto chicks” who “usually have gold teeth, start fights and drama, and wear cheap clothes.” It said the menu would include chicken and watermelon.

History professor Danny Widener, who directs the university’s African American studies program, said he was outraged but not surprised by the party. He said African American students comprise less than 2% of undergraduates at UC San Diego, which he described as inhospitable to them. “The campus climate is one in which you are constantly regarded as a statistical anomaly at best,” he said. [Source: LA Times | Full Article]

My Opinion: If we in the Black Community continue to allow so-called “ghetto fabulous” culture to be the predominant export from our urban sector, we will continue to see incidents like this. When one travels around the globe, you see people of all races and creeds mimicking urban culture, especially hip hop culture. If we don’t want to see young, white college students mocking this same culture, we have to be aware and accountable. If we don’t want to see black culture boiled down to clothing, bling and speech patterns, we have to stop promoting images, music, etc. that are not affirming. If “ghetto” is not balanced by a more complete pictures of African-Americans, what do we really expect to happen. There is work to do, and with a void of leadership and strong national movements, each individual has to do their part. Consider whether the movies, television show, and music you consume contribute to a positive world view of the Black community.

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Filed under african american, black, black history, blackface, ghetto, news, opinion, race, student

Question: Who is this “We” people always refer to when talking about change in the Black community?

I’m looking for WE.  You know, the “WE” that Black journalists, commentators, business people, politicians, and pundits talk about when they are interviewed on television and radio.  When they say things like…

  • We need to educate our children and take back our communities.
  • We need to harness our socioeconomic power and influence corporations.
  • We need to support “X” and “Y” legislation.
  • We need to step up and be fathers, mothers, mentors, leaders, business people, etc.

Do you know who “We” is?

In my opinion, the homogeneous black WE is a figment of the imagination.  We as African-Americans are not of one economic or social strata.  We are not all college educated or high school drop outs.  We don’t all have the Cosby family dream or come from strong single mother households.  It is this reality that is overlooked when people call on the WE.

When you call out to someone who isn’t there…they don’t hear you.  Black America is not hearing the call of some of it’s best and brightest leaders because they aren’t calling US collectively.  We are not WE…we are YOU.  You are the poor sista on welfare who is looked down upon because she needs food stamps to survive.  You are the brother who was passed along by “No child left behind” so that the graduation rates would be acceptable.  You are the child who is told they can be a great as Martin Luther King, but faces a reality in their neighborhood that says they will be lucky to secure a decent paying job after high school graduation.

When we all see our brothers and sisters as ourselves we gain the perspective that compassion and understanding brings.  Advising from a place of understanding brings context, and context makes words relevant.  You must take on the challenges, differences, issues and problems and see them on a personal level.  Seek to understand, not just provide lip service.  Then we can go from You to US.  Community.  You are then able to speak to the community at large as well as segments of the community in the ways that are most effective.  From there we can move the community to action, because as we all know, actions speak louder than words.

I don’t think that many people I hear are talking about US when they say “We need to”.  I think they are really saying that “The Talented Tenth” needs to.  They may be saying “You people” need to.  I think the appeals and advice, no matter how good and well intentioned, is falling on deaf ears.  We need action plans and road maps to the future that are formulated to appeal to our diverse community.  Black History Month is a great time to consider whether it’s time for talking or time for us to build community and effect change.

Hello, Negro family, I’d love to know your thoughts on this.

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