Archive for the ‘Race’ Category

The time away from the blog has done me well in terms of refocusing and re-aligning my priorities as an entrepreneur, author, husband, father and a minister.  Deep introspective reflection has brought about a new zest and zeal for the small things in life: Basketball.

As the season of spring emerges, so comes the ascent of vegetation, fruit and flowers.  Typically, this season sheds new light on debris, dirt and trash that was the result of the winter.

It is also during this time that sports junkies prepare for March Madness – the NCAA basketball tournament that crowns a national champion at its completion.  It is fitting, at this particular time, that ESPN airs the famous Fab Five on its 30-for-30 series.

Aside from the fact that the Fab Five represent a cultural phenomenon that impacted and changed the game of basketball, they also accomplished the incredulous feat all while donning jerseys bearing the name of an elitist institution.

Never before, or since, has a team of underclassmen led a Division 1 institution to two back-to-back NCAA finals.  With the increase of “one-and-done” college players, we can be certain to never experience this again.

Being a native Detroiter (45 miles east of University of Michigan), I grew up around the game of basketball where my peers included Terry Mills, Derrick Coleman and teammate Willie Burton.  As did Jalen Rose and Chris Webber, I too spent countless summers at St. Cecilia’s and other popular basketball venues.  However, it was not until I went to college that I learned the true value of education and the respect for those who attained the same.

During the 30-for-30 episode, Jalen Rose referred to Grant Hill and other Black Duke University recruits as “Uncle Tom’s.”  Jalen’s comments about Grant (and his family) were, in my opinion, very ill-stated.  We must remember that not only did Grant inherit the infamous tag of being the next “Jordan,” to this day, he continues to epitomize class, grace, humility and leadership.  Born of a famous football player and professional mother, Grant was afforded and ensured an advantage that many of us strongly seek for our children today.

To suggest that all Black Duke players were “Uncle Toms” is a gross generalization, in my estimation.  For those of you who may be unaware, being labeled an Uncle Tom is nothing short of a compliment (See The Uncle Tom In Me).

I applaud, Jalen, Chris and Grant for their feats on and off the court.  I also appreciate their perspectives on life and the game of basketball.  Each one of them, in their way, has helped to shape Black culture and the game of basketball as we know it today.

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genocide [jen-uh-sayhd] – noun: the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group.

These infamous words were yelled just seconds prior the assassination the man known to us asMalcolm Malcolm X.  Black-on-black violence is nothing new.  Even during the Black Power movement of the 60’s, one of our greatest black leaders died at the hands of another brother.

A Detroit native and current resident of Atlanta, I have always loved visiting the city of Chicago.  Chicago is a robust city with a thriving commerce.  However, not unlike Detroit, Chicago can be a nightmare for black urban youth.

It’s ironic that just a few short weeks ago, Chicago, still basking in the afterglow of electing our first Black President, took center stage as it campaigned and awaited its bid to be the host city for the 2016 Olympics.  The irony is not the Olympic bid but rather the fact that Chicago has arguably become the nation’s most violent city for urban youth.  By summer of 2009, nearly 40 youth had been murdered.  Just 12 months prior the world gasped as famed singer Jennifer Hudson’s family buried her mother and nephew, both allegedly murdered at the hands of her sister’s ex-boyfriend.  More recently, in September of 2009, a Chicago youth and honors student, Derrion Albert was fatally beaten and videotaped.

My heart goes out to any person or family who has endured the tragedy of genocide.  Although I have opted to use Chicago to point out recent activities; the truth of the matter is that Chicago is merely a microcosm of a profound issue across ALL American urban cities.

All statistics aside; I am confident that the dawn of a new era in black men taking their rightful place in their homes and communities is evidenced by the recent historical election of Barack Obama.  I’m not looking for Obama to save our people; I’m looking for our people to regain the faith and confidence in themselves, thereby enabling them to be leaders and examples for their children to follow.Obama peace

On October 8, 2009, President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize after just 10 months in office.  It is my hope that the prize fosters and facilitates peace not only throughout the world, but also here in America.  The president’s home town would be a great place to start.

D’s 2 cents,

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Copyright © 2009

sister and white manOur faithful readers know that they can count on substantive content with the FathersFootprints’ blog.  We hope to continue to meet that expectation with today’s column.

In a world mired with reality TV, sports scandals and raunchy music, it is refreshing to meet people who share our values of providing uplifting and informative written content.  Today’s FathersFootprints’ guest is author/entrepreneur – Cicely J.

Cicely is best known for her politically incorrect approach and her controversial subject matters. But at the same time she wants her audience and her peers to know that she is not another “tell-all author.” With the market flooded with celebrity scandal and gossip blogs, Cicely decided to bring something different, fresh, and new to the market. She does not write about fantasy or romance. She brings you the good, the bad, the ugly and the truth. It may make you mad, it may make you repent, but at the end of the day what she writes will certainly make you think. 

We recently caught up with the talented sister and had just a few questions to help our readers get to know her on a deeper level.

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Name: Cicely Johnson

Vital Stats: 30-ish, single, 1 child

Hometown: Vacaville, CA

Profession: Author, publisher, entrepreneur

Quote: If you give your woman some groceries she will make you a meal; if you give her a house she will make it a home; if you give her hell she will give it right back…

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1. You made the comment “I am not a tell-all author.”  Can you tell us what that means?Cecily J

People look at me and the fact that I use to model and have been around the industry for a while and (they) automatically assume that I am another tell-all author. I haven’t had any affairs with famous ball players or rappers. I am just a writer.  I studied English Literature in college and have been writing since I was a little girl.  I don’t want to be jumbled in the pile with all the gossip writers. That market is fully saturated. (Cicely pictured rt)

 

2. You currently reside on the West Coast and will soon be relocating to Atlanta to launch your publishing company.  Why not launch it in L.A.?

Actually I live in Northern California. I am in a small town called Vacaville (near Sacramento) and exposure is minimal. If I was still focusing on modeling or movies, LA would be a good place for me to be; but I am a writer and I want to be in the center of where it is all happening. I have better access to the literary market on the East Coast if I relocate. An opportunity presented itself so I am gonna roll with it. Plus it is my dream to work with Tyler Perry so I need to be as close to his studio as possible when I get that phone call you know, LOL. 

 

3. Your new book “Black Men vs. White Men – The Black Woman’s Choice” is sure to be controversial.  Without giving away too much of the book; what can we look forward to in this work?

Well it is not a bash all black men book. It really is a wake-up call. People seem to think that just because Obama made it to office that our work is done. Our work has just begun and as the original leader of the family, black men need to stand up and play his role. I have a lot of single friends who are college educated, beautiful, home owners, etc. but can’t find a decent man. I tell them to stop sitting around waiting on Mr. Right and stop focusing on just black men. Love comes in so many different colors and I encourage women to date abroad.

 

4. We don’t know much about the history of your personal relationship with dating. What is impetus behind such a book?

Cicely 3The fact of the matter is we outnumber you guys. There are good men out there but not enough to choose from. A lot of successful black men choose Caucasian or Latina woman over us. Then we have the ones who are on the “DL”. As single black women what are we expected to do. I hear the frustration, I see the tears, and I have experienced the loneliness myself.

 

5. As you know we are near completion of our first book entitled Daddy, Am I Pretty? in which you will be featured.  How has your relationship with your father or (lack thereof) helped to make you the woman you are today?

My father and I had an awesome relationship. He was my Daddy. He passed away 6 months ago and I was there with him until he took his last breath. My dad always put us first. He bought me flowers, he combed my hair when I was a little girl, he opened the doors for me and he loved and respected my mother. I guess that is why I am so hard on men; because I had such a great example of how a man is supposed to be. They don’t make ‘em like my daddy anymore.

 black men vs. white men book

6. There are currently 1,200 people on your pre-order waiting list for the release of your book.  When will it be available and how can mere mortals obtain a copy?

I have been going back and forth with the publishing company to secure a definite date. One of the other authors has a book releasing around the same time and we all try to support each other. The last date agreed upon was September 26 but I really don’t want to rush the release. This is my first project and I want to do it big. I am leaning towards an October release. But pre-orders will be available next week and they can go to my site: www.crjpublishing.com

I am a networker and I am on just about every site you can think of. If people have questions about the book or questions about publishing (we are looking for writers now) they can find me on myspace, twitter, and facebook.

Well brothers, there you have it.  As I sign off I end this blog with a question a young man had of his mother.  He asked ‘How can I find the right woman for me?’ His mother answered, ‘Don’t worry about finding the right woman- concentrate on becoming the right man.’  Let’s tighten up brothers.

Until next time,

 Damon signature

 

 

If you’d like to opine on this issue of Black Men vs. White Men by all means be my guest.  Simply click the comment link in the lower right hand corner of this feature.

Copyright © 2009

FathersFootprints is known for generating content that some applaud and others resent.  I expect this entry to be no different.

It’s been over 20 years since Spike Lee’s film School Daze coined the terms Wanna-bees and Jigga-boos.  For those of you who may not be aware of the aforementioned colloquialisms: a Wanna-be is either a lightskinned or bi-racial person and a Jigga-bo is considered to be a non bi-racial person of darker skin tones.  Although both check the box African-American on employment applications, many consider themselves to be as different as night is from day.

As I journey through the process of interviewing men and women …………………….

This is available in hard copy at http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/ds-2-cents/7806521

The recent discovery at the Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois was yet another unfortunate circumstance during what has been a crazy three week span.  First, we lost Michael Jackson; then Steven McNair; and now we discover that four cemetery workers have been accused of digging up bodies to resell plots.

As if this atrocity wasn’t enough, we learn that the Burr Oak Cemetery is the resting place of the late Emmitt Till.  Apparently Till’s grave was not disturbed, but Cook County investigators found his original, iconic glass-topped casket rusting in a shack on the cemetery grounds. The casket was supposed to be kept for a memorial.

Who was Emmitt Till?Emmit Till

Emmett Louis “Bobo” Till (July 25, 1941 – August 28, 1955) was an African American boy from Chicago, Illinois, who was lynched at the age of 14 in Money, Mississippi, a small town in the state’s Delta region, after allegedly whistling at a white woman. The murder of Emmett Till was noted as one of the leading events that motivated the American Civil Rights Movement. The main suspects were acquitted, but later admitted to committing the crime.

Till’s mother insisted on a public funeral service, with an open casket to show the world the brutality of the killing: Till had been beaten up and his eye had been gouged out, before he was shot through the head and thrown into the Tallahatchie River with a 70-pound cotton gin fan tied to his body with barbed wire. His body was in the river for three days before it was discovered and retrieved by two fishermen.

With the brief history lesson behind us, the recent discovery at Burr Cemetery has literally summoned skeletons of our nation’s dark past.  Fifty-plus years doesnt’ seem like a very long time considering I’m 41 myself.   It was during my parent’s lifetime that such a travesty was allowed to be committed against a person of color.

Like Emmitt, many young black boys were snuffed out before they even got a chance to live.  This seems to be a characteristic or condition that is consistent even 54 years later.  Although lynching has somewhat subsided, many our boys live a life of “psychological” limitations.

black youthThis is noticeably evident to me as I challenge my boys and other adult men to read, write, and then read what you’ve written.  There is an old cliché that suggests, “if you want to hide something from blacks, put it in a book.”  I need to share with you that what has been hidden in those books is our illustrious history.

As I conclude this blog I challenge each reader to find a creative way of keeping our history alive.  Instead of spending countless hours on Facebook playing Mafia Wars and sending Ghetto Snacks, take a minute to send us some little known black history fact.  Social networks are powerful tools if used masterfully.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.  Hosea 4:6

D’s 2cents

Damon signature

rachel ghost

Ms. Rachel Araya  (pictured right) is a guest columnist sharing her skills and talents with the FathersFootprints’ readers. For a topic that was considered by many to be either too “taboo” to debate or simply too irrelevant to discuss, Rachel has convinced us there is more to be said about the Black Panther Party’s 10-point program.  Consider this part 2 of a 3 part series on this subject. 

 

During the Black Power Movement, racism presented many dangers which were both   stark and terrifying. We should not be surprised that a society that once legalized slavery was and is faced with race rage. In a long continuum of risks faced and survived, we have internalized this rage (aimed at everyone) with dire consequences. While the ten point program seems very desirable, the attainability of all ten points seems very bleak right now even with a black president. It has been proven in the past that universal black militance cannot get us what we want for our people. The goal should be to eliminate racism altogether so that President Obama can make it possible to reach all ten goals on the list and add more goals as well. Unfortunately, due to the length constraint of this blog, I can only touch on 4 of the 10 demands from the Black Panther Party.

 

First and foremost, the Black Panther’s two demands about wanting education that teaches us our true history and that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society for our people were very reasonable. Without a doubt, education is the key to ending racism and attaining all of the goals on the list and then some. Not only does education enlighten people but it also teaches people how to be empathetic and strong. We dismantled de jure segregation because we were a strong people who had educated leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Bobby Seale, and Huey Newton.  Since education enlightens people on the evils of racism, we need to produce more educated leaders to dismantle de facto discrimination at its institutionalized foundation. Yes, I am talking about the U.S. Constitution. How can the U.S. Constitution truly be free of discrimination when it uses legal terminology that pretends to be civilized as it obscures the racist realities penetrating America? America founded its laws with color being the sole determinant for who was able to enjoy full citizenship with all of the accompanying rights and privileges. Today, President Obama is investing billions of dollars in the educational system in order for us to regain lost ground. A great education is now available to all Americans. Hopefully, in this land of so-called freedom, our education will teach all of us how to truly be free.

constitution

Next, The Black Panther’s demand about obtaining completely free healthcare for all black and oppressed people is a very desirable goal. However, this socialist idea of completely free health care is not attainable without a cost. While I agree that free health care is a human right, I also know that nothing in life is truly free. For example, Canada’s “free” health care system has many hidden costs. The hidden costs are the poor quality of health care and the long wait for medical attention in queues along with the fact that the citizen’s taxes are really paying for health care. A sweeping socialization of the United State’s health care system may not be what America needs right now because it may very well make us a poor people, and it may turn patients into victims. For example, our loved ones can die because they were too far down on a waiting list.  Further, we are already on the right track with President Obama’s new health care reform. President Obama said on February 24, 2009: “I suffer no illusions that this will be an easy process. It will be hard. But I also know that nearly a century after Teddy Roosevelt first called for reform, the cost of our health care has weighed down our economy and the conscience of our nation long enough. So let there be no doubt: Health care reform cannot wait, it must not wait, and it will not wait another year.” Health care reform should reduce long-term growth of health care costs; protect families from bankruptcy or debt; guarantee choice of doctors and health plans; invest in prevention and wellness; improve patient safety and quality of care; assure affordable, quality health coverage; maintain coverage when you change or lose a job; and end barriers to coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions. Health care may not be completely free under the Obama Administration but health care reform sur’ sounds good to me.

 

Finally, The Black Panther’s demand about wanting an immediate end to police brutality and the murder of black people, people of color and all oppressed people in America is very important if we want to keep the peace and avoid race riots (uprisings). A scrutinizing look into the past exposes the truth: The truth is Abraham Lincoln didn’t free the slaves. The slaves freed themselves because there was always resistance, which was demonstrated by all of the uprisings in the South. Lincoln had no choice but to free the slaves with all of the bloody uprisings and the Civil War. African Americans have proven through their resilient struggles against legal sanctions such as slavery, Crop Lien Laws, and Jim Crow Laws that we needed to break away from the oppressive social order in order to thrive as human beings with full citizenship and not the deemed 3/5 human beings sanctioned in the U.S. Constitution.  Racism has systematically guided the lawmakers and law-enforcers in America. Even with the passage of the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments, the laws were designed for the majority’s benefit and to the detriment of African Americans. The idea of defending ourselves against police brutality and the murder of black people, people of color, and all oppressed people is very scary. Since the police specialize in unsolicited attacks of black people, people of color, and oppressed people, the Constitutional right to bear arms and self defense is very important in protecting us from racist police officers. However, if we protect ourselves with weapons, the violence will, undoubtedly, dramatically increase. President Obama and his Administration need to implement a more progressive and, perhaps, a more peaceful plan to end unsolicited racial attacks against our people.

 barack cool

In the end, the skin color of our president is inconsequential. What is of consequence are the Acts that Obama and a democratic Congress passes in order to eradicate racism in America. And guess what? So far so good: If it isn’t love it’s in the neighborhood. All we needed was the right leadership. I, for one, think we need more spiritual leadership. And I thank God that our president is a spiritual man. We must be careful not to let our fears (derived from our past) grow bigger than our faith. On a personal note, I’m not a “hatemonger”, and I can sleep peacefully at night knowing that we are a healthy, educated, spiritual people who know the value of self-reliance and black pride. Malcolm X once said, “You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.” There it is! Finally, I’m finished with my trite political platitude at exactly ten o’clock on a Friday night. With that said, I’m going to bed.  Thanks Damon for this opportunity.

Peace & Love,

 Rachel Araya

 

Born Rachel Diane Frederick (Araya is her Eritrean name) in Detroit in 1969. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with distinction, and the University of Wisconsin Law School in Madison. Early in her my academic career, she developed a love for writing, which is how she spends most of her time. Rachel is currently working on a book about the human condition and the spiritual (we can’t give away too much). When she is not writing, she enjoys exercising, cooking, reading, and studying for the Michigan Bar Exam.

Bobby Seale (left) and Huey Newton

Bobby Seale (left) and Huey Newton

The Ten Point Program was:

  1. We want power to determine the destiny of our black and oppressed communities’ education that teaches us our true history and our role in the present day society.
  2. We want completely free healthcare for all black and oppressed people.
  3. We want an immediate end to police brutality and murder of black people, other people of color, all oppressed people inside the United States.
  4. We want an immediate end to all wars of aggression.
  5. We want full employment for our people.
  6. We want an end to the robbery by the capitalists of our Black Community.
  7. We want decent housing, fit for the shelter of human beings.
  8. We want decent education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society.
  9. We want freedom for all black and oppressed people now held in U. S. Federal, state, county, city and military prisons and jails. We want trials by a jury of peers for all persons charged with so-called crimes under the laws of this country.
  10. We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice, peace and people’s community control of modern technology.

For those of you who may not recognize this list, it was originated by a revolutionary organization that went by the name of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense.  In case your secondary institution didn’t have the testicular fortitude to touch on this; the ensuing is a brief history lesson:

The Black Panther Party (originally the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense) was an African-American organization established to promote Black Power and self-defense. It was active in the United States from the mid-1960s into the 1970s.The Black Panther Party achieved national and international presence through their deep involvement in the local community. The Black Panther Party was an auxiliary of the greater movement, often coined the Black Power Movement. The Black Power Movement was one of the most significant social, political and cultural movements in U.S. history. “The movement [had] provocative rhetoric, militant posture, and cultural and political flourishes permanently altered the contours of American Identity.”  In September 1968, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover described the Black Panthers as, “The greatest threat to the internal security of the country.

Founded in Oakland, California, by Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton on October 15, 1966, the organization initially set forth a doctrine calling for the protection of African American neighborhoods from police brutality, in the interest of African-American justice. Its objectives and philosophy changed radically during the party’s existence. While the organization’s leaders passionately espoused socialist doctrine, the Party’s Black Nationalist reputation attracted an ideologically diverse membership. Ideological consensus within the party was difficult to achieve. Some members openly disagreed with the views of the leaders.

With the history lesson out of the way; I am left to ponder whether or not we have truly accomplished the goals set forth by the 40 year old list better known as the 10 Point Program.  I don’t doubt that many scrolled down the list while taking a mental inventory of where they personally measure against the program – because I did as well.  The question becomes, have we collectively addressed the 10 Point Program?  I’d have to answer with a resounding “NO”.

I’m sure Bobby Seale motioned Huey Newton a “fist-bump” gesture upon the election of President Barack Obama.  Even so, I’m sure that at the age of 72 he still wrestles with the lack of progress toward the 10 Point Program.  And who am I to convince him otherwise?  The state of the economy currently revolves on the axis of housing, war, healthcare, employment and education – just as it did in the 60’s.  It appears that while their methods were extreme – even for that era – the goals of the Black Panther Party still exist today.

Boondocks character Huey Freeman - name after Huey Newton

Boondocks' character Huey Freeman - named after Huey Newton

In 2009, I believe we’re more inclined to lash out and point the finger at T.I., Michael Vick, and Lil’ Wayne – rather than to focus on the things that matter most for black people.  Entertainers and athletes should not warrant more attention than the social and economic systems that keep black folks from obtaining the quality of life that civil rights leaders aspired to deliver.

I am eager to learn what the long-term effects of the stimulus-funded programs will bring.  Hopefully, we will be able to scratch some things off of our list.  While many educated and elite blacks of today dismiss the Black Panther Party era as a blip on the civil rights radar – I’d be proud to accomplish 3 of 10 during my lifetime.  Somebody once said, “A revolution is not a bed of roses.  A Revolution is a struggle between the future and the past.”  Let the Revolution begin.

Until next time,

 Damon signature

 

 

Click the link below for a full detailed explanation of the 10 point program

 http://www.blackpanther.org/TenPoint.htm