Sunday, August 5, 2007

Why Not Barack?

Of course, the question refers to Obama's 2008 campaign for President of these United States but there's a larger question that relates to our society of the new millenium which is, has the state of "race relations" evolved far enough that this immensely charismatic young African American in the truest sense of the word with the refreshing candor actually can become the leader of the free world?

It's quite a quandary due to the mixed bag of conflicting signals that speaks loudly about the quality of life and justice for Black America. As I write this, it's nearly two years after from the onslaught of devastation that hurricanes Katrina and Rita wrought on the Gulf region, and yet for the Black and underprivileged residents of the area, it might as well be last week. It's not enough that the government entities that are supposed to be the lifeline for these as well as all American citizens has failed them greatly but this same government, infested with bush-cheney cronies, continues to allow the Halliburtons and Kellogg Brown Roots to further abuse these people under the auspices of enriching the corporate coiffers. Just last week, the so-called justice system overruled a previous ruling in favor of the insurance companies and against the Gulf residents seeking relief via their existing policies. Without going into hair-hurting details, suffice it to say they split hairs over the definition of "flood"!

Or there's the case of the Jena 6. In Jena, Louisiana, six youth are jailed for having what has been effectively seen as a case of a pretty common high school fight between a two groups of teenagers, one white and one Black, but resulting in the prosecution of the Black teens only. A white prosecutor who bragged to the youth about his prospective power, has overzealously committed to seeking the maximum penalties on exagerated charges of attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit second degree murder. And in June, the first of the six teens who came to trial was found guilty of the suddenly reduced charges of second-degree battery and conspiracy by an all-white jury.

So what does all of this have to do with Barack Obama's presidential hopes? Everything! The real question is will a country that allows the type of the outrages mentioned here to occur without shouts of indignation raining from the highest mountaintops, have the ability to look beyond ethnicity at the man? It remains to be seen...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Another Take on Bill Cosby...

Recently, a good friend sent me a copy of the Bill Cosby speech that addressed his views on the plight of Black America back in 2004. Here's alink to the speech text: This was a white hot topic then, and everyday it appears to be more relevant for discussion but like everything else in the MTV/SportsCenter age, our attention span just isn't long enough to retain it as a subject of conversation much less importance, especially when the media is exceptionally busy keeping our focus away from salient issues like this by feeding us a steady diet of Anna Nicole Smith and Paris Hilton. But it is a vitally important, critical matter worthy of our devoted energy that should be at the forefront of our thinking and actions everyday.
This is an ongoing debate that doesn't have any really clear answers other than trust in the LORD to Make it right because there aren't any absolutes as in our society because as human beings we rarely are either totally good or totally evil all the time. Therefore it's impossible to identify the single good or bad source of the problem. Bill Cosby is right when he says that we are the problem but he's dead wrong when and if he says that we're the only problem or that white folks aren't to blame for the problem. This is an issue with more than enough culpability to go around. Yes, we should and could be doing more to redeem our kids, our homes, and our communities but the sad reality is that this country has been designed and is run by white powers that 1) aren't interested in a system in which everybody can succeed because a truly capitalist system relies on the need to have a distinction between groups/classes of people based on wealth; and 2) this leads the white power structure to dis-incent, place obstacles in the path of, and cut off access to both educational outlets and good-paying jobs while simultaneously creating and funding the motivational tools (hip hop, street cred, gangs, drugs, crime, and sex) that keep us from seeing the real problem and that is that this power base continues to enrich itself at the expense of us and everyone else...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Am I Missing Something...

Has the USA lost its collective mind? george w bush has and continues to commit such grievous wrongs against both the world and this country that I'm simply at a loss to understand why there isn't more being done by those in the electorate who are charged with establishing the rule of law. The list of criminal actions and morally bereft activities done by this administration and therefore laid at the foot of this very obviously least learned, and unwise, of our modern presidents (i.e. 20th century) has become too long to easily recollect. Just try it, and I'm guessing your hair will begin to hurt before you can name them all. Some have actually almost faded into seemingly distant memory. Remember Hurricane Katrina and his attempts to suspend the Davis Bacon Act that permitted construction workers to receive the prevailing labor union rates following a natural disaster? By the way, that rate was a whopping $9/hr. And what about the implications of his declaration that the law concerning the FISA Court provision for obtaining wiretaps i.e. a special court set up to grant the govt wide-ranging authority to obtain warrants for wiretaps, didn't apply to him? Or maybe you remember his suspension of many provisions of the Geneva Convention governing the treatment of wartime prisoners and specifically prohibiting the use torture against them? Yep, that's right, okaying torture against non-white "enemy combatants" while of course even the idea of torture against the British sailors detained by Iran was totally discounted by both the USA and Britain. Are your follicles tingling yet?
So what am I missing that we aren't holding our elected representatives' collective feet to the fire and demanding that they do more than simply posture for the camera or posit empty gestures and rhetoric like the recently completed "non-binding resolution". Why isn't impeachment on the table, and not only on the table but the centerpiece of conversation around the actions of a responsible electorate? Especially, when even the right wing press can't bring themselves to fudge his approval rate at any more than 38%! Don't believe it? Check it out for your self

... and get back to me so that maybe you can help me see what I'm missing...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Who's Mad?

A while back, Mike Jackson had a platinum album called Bad, in which he asked in the title song, "Who's Bad?" In the run up to deal with all things evil about the Virginia Tech massacre, there's just a simple question to be answered. As the talking heads and security chiefs and safety consultants fill the airwaves with what-ifs and why's, there just one simple question. As the world ponders the senselessness of a depraved mind that exploded into uncontrolled rage and hostility, there's just one question. As psychologists, psychiatrists, and other purveyors of the science of mental health, look to peel back the layers of a final psychotic episode in the life of another wanton killer, there's just one question. How will the rational ever explain the irrational? Who's mad?

I'm feelin' these two...

April 13, 2007 2:47 PM
innarae said...
Hey Rod Will...You bring out some interesting alternatives regarding how things could be handled...

Honestly, I cringed when I heard those disparaging words fall off of Imus' tongue. But I have to agree with Mr. Whitlock, since, when I overcame my initial shock; I sadly recalled some of the first words I've ever heard out of the mouths of my own black brothers and sisters.

All of my life, my brown-skinned peers, hailed the terms "Ho, Nappy-head, Blackie..." around like a banner of pride. They were used to hurt or exploit something about me that they had already learned to hate within themselves. Like a rite of passage, these words marked the onset of our self-expression, overwhelmed by self-loathing and a strong desire to identify with the mainstream of American Culture.

Clearly, it hasn't ended. Some spectators have considered that perhaps Imus felt comfortable coming in on the flipside of our double standard…taking the risk of calling out what he undeniably hears us calling each other. I am angry with that. But nothing compares to the despair I feel when healing the souls of our young girls and boys seems almost hopeless. And I can’t help but wonder...Is it because he is a white man that his words have sparked a national debate? Is it because we can’t deal with our own bitter name-calling and criticisms that we wish ill upon him? Why haven't we given the thousands of women who have been fighting to redefine ourselves this public platform?

I refuse to chime in against Imus without first looking at myself. And, when I look in the mirror I do not see a "HO" and as a matter of fact, I have nappy hair and I really do love it. I am content to hold my definition of self against the testimony of the inner creativity and strength exhibited through our people over the years. I'd rather bathe my mind in the myriad of accomplishments that are not often communicated over the airwaves. And when I look in the mirror neither Imus or anyone else's words can move me from those truths. But that's not painful, that’s not self-deprecating, that’s not needy, that’s not news. Is it?

Posted on Wed, Apr. 11, 2007
Imus isn’t the real bad guy
Instead of wasting time on irrelevant shock jock, black leaders need to be fighting a growing gangster culture.

Thank you, Don Imus. You’ve given us (black people) an excuse to avoid our real problem.

You’ve given Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson another opportunity to pretend that the old fight, which is now the safe and lucrative fight, is still the most important fight in our push for true economic and social equality.

You’ve given Vivian Stringer and Rutgers the chance to hold a nationally televised recruiting celebration expertly disguised as a news conference to respond to your poor attempt at humor.

Thank you, Don Imus. You extended Black History Month to April, and we can once again wallow in victimhood, protest like it’s 1965 and delude ourselves into believing that fixing your hatred is more necessary than eradicating our self-hatred.

The bigots win again.

While we’re fixated on a bad joke cracked by an irrelevant, bad shock jock, I’m sure at least one of the marvelous young women on the Rutgers basketball team is somewhere snapping her fingers to the beat of 50 Cent’s or Snoop Dogg’s or Young Jeezy’s latest ode glorifying nappy-headed pimps and hos.
(see the rest?)

To reach Jason Whitlock, call (816) 234-4869 or send e-mail to For previous columns, go to

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Duke Lacrosse: At Least They've Got Their Health...

Today, there is joy in Durham for the flower of white male youth has been preserved! The NY Post-er has even revealed the name of the unfortunate and apparently criminal young woman who seemingly made false charges against the bright white upstanding young men of the Duke University lacrosse team. Now, never do two wrong anythings ever equal a right, and as sure as the evidence points to the shameful actions of this sister, certainly the entire matter could and would have been avoided had these young men of means not deigned to hire the two young Black women for the unauthorized and unsupervised party!

But be that as it may, the point of this message is to consider the number of lynchings that took place throughout the history of this country because a white woman wrongfully accused a black male, teens and children included (witness Emmett Till! As a youth, I remember my grandfather telling me of relations between Blacks and whites in the South, and what stood out was his emphasis on the fact that white men would regularly "cross the tracks" to enter the "colored" neighborhoods to play cards and baseball, to drink and hang out, and even to fight! That's right, fight! They were indeed like men everywhere who during competitive events when testosterone was flowing freely would have disagreements that would lead to knockdown, dragout fights that many times a white man would get his behind whipped and then go or be taken home with nothing more than the embarrassment of his lumps. However, and this has been thoroughly documented by the likes of Ida B. Wells-Barnett, as soon as there was an accusation by any white female, no matter how untrustworthy, whorish or disrepectable she might be, then the real trouble began. The mobs/klan made up of the same white men who earlier had been hangin' out, now went on killing sprees. (witness Rosewood So, again I say that no one should suffer injustice at the hands of false accusations and for that we should all be grateful for due process for the Duke lacrosse players but I wonder if at any time during their ordeal, did they or their families even once consider what it must have been like for the Emmett Tills, Sam Carters, Lexie Gordons, Mingo Williams', James Carriers and countless others who faced the same charges with much more dire consequences. Like I said, "At least they've got their health..."

Firing Imus... another take...

Brothers and Sisters, while I certainly share the outrage at the overtly racist comments and the call to action, and I'm extremely pleased by the galvanizing effect that it has had on our community as well as our place in the larger context of society, I'm not so sure that we might not look for a more productive solution. Should he and his entire program be summarily yanked off the air today, that would indeed be a good thing that would send a powerful message. However, what would we gain from it. Seems like we'd be pretty much back where this started which is the realization that racism is still the third rail that we've seen demonstrated time and again when Imus or some other widely aclaimed idiot(s) temporarily loses sight of that fact and makes one of these comments like Jimmy "the Greek" Snyder, Howard Cosell, Al Campanis, Trent Lott, Rush Limbaugh, Bill Walsh, Texaco, Colgate-Palmolive, et al. So usually what we have is a very public furor that runs its course and if anything, Jesse or Al or one their ilk makes a deal "for us" that only serves to line their pockets...Where am I going? Well, what if instead of calling for his immediate ouster, we recognized the following facts: 1) Right now, Imus, is desparate to repair his image with the only group that can offer him even a chance at forgiveness (us) and 2) Imus is a very, very rich and well-connected man. In my eyes that could make him the best white friend that Black America has. In short, pardon the expression but as the colloquialism says, we've got him by the short curlies. So why don't we use that to our collective advantage. Why not have him and his cronies who represent the poitical and business elite fund dozens, if not hundreds, of scholarships at Rutgers and through the UNCF for our kids in the name of the Rutgers Women's Basketball team? Why not require them to support and fund Candidate events for the Barack Obamas, Deval Patricks, and Cory Bookers? Why not build professional development centers in inner cities to benefit our socio-economically disadvantaged communities? I'm sure we all know that it can be done because it has been done recently and very well by every other ethnic group except us. Witness the ongoing clout that Jews, Asians, Asian Indians, and today even the Native American tribes are wielding when it comes to eco-political power. Bottom line for me is that we've done this dance before and effectively all of the individuals and organizations that I mentioned earlier paid the penalty of losing their standing temporarily due to their egregious statements but they all resurfaced at some point and all we had was the satisfaction of knowing that at least for awhile we had knocked them off their perches. Shouldn't we get wiser over time especially since these opportunities don't come along that frequently or do we follow the sage definition of insanity, "doing the same thing expecting a different result"? Just my thoughts. Yours...