Showing posts from July, 2009

My Take on The Henry Louis Gates situation

Now I am sure many people have been wondering when I was going to dive into the debate that is brewing around this country. Truthfully I wanted to leave my opinion out of it. But after seeing some of the recent developments, I believe I may have some valuable insight into the matter.

I attended Boston College and have spent many evenings over in Cambridge visiting friends at Harvard, MIT or in the neighborhood. It is simply one of my favorite towns. The diversity, culture and overall vibe is amazing. It has a Greenwich Village feels that is quite enjoyable. But that doesn't mean that everything is smooth under the sun. I admit that I have heard from many of my Harvard friends of color that they don't feel comfortable with the police departments of either Cambridge or Harvard University. I must believe that they have valid reasons that many people of color around this country have about other police agencies. There is a sense by many that even in one of the bastions of American …

President Obama's NAACP Speech and What It Says for The Larger Goal of Equality

In what I can only describe as an historic speech f0r not only African-Americans, but America as a whole, President Obama delivered the keynote speech at the 100th NAACP Convention this past Thursday in New York City. While his speech was ubiquitously black in its message and approach, there was major universality in his message.

In much of his speech President Obama described the ills of racism and segregation that have plagued the African-American community for generations. But in a shift that no U.S. President before him has done, he described the "structural inequalities" that affect so many.
"make no mistake: the pain of discrimination is still felt in America. By African-American women paid less for doing the same work as colleagues of a different color and gender. By Latinos made to feel unwelcome in their own country. By Muslim Americans viewed with suspicion for simply kneeling down to pray. By our gay brothers and sisters, still taunted, still attacked, still de…

Attacking Malia Obama?: What has the world come to!

I guess racism isn't dead after all. The ubiquitous "Kumbaya" moment that many of us felt after the election of Barack Obama has clearly worn off. And now people feel that it is perfectly fair to attack his children.

Malia Obama, who just turned eleven, was in Italy last week. She wore a tee-shirt that had a peace-sign on it. This picture was posted in many different publications and on many different blogs (mine included). What occurred on one blog (Free Republic) was simply some of the most blatant, in your face, racist vile I have seen since Obama got elected. I won't reprint many of them here, out of respect for the First Family, but the posters used every negative stereotype one could use to describe black women and black families. What was really shocking about these posts is that apparently the website and its posts were supposed to be moderated. This means that someone allowed the posts to go on and did not do anything about it until someone started to complai…

Obama's pick for Surgeon General: Dr. Regina Benjamin

As I was sitting home watching the confirmation hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor, I saw that President Obama chose a person to be the new Surgeon General. I was very impressed with Dr. Regina Benjamin's story. What really impressed me with her story was how connected she was both professionally and personally to the medical field in which she works.

During her speech Dr. Benjamin mentioned that she lost her mother to lung cancer, her father to diabetes, her brother to complications from HIV and currently had an uncle who was suffering from emphysema due to his years of smoking. I believe that having been impacted personally by all of the major diseases that affect Americans, she brings to the table a level of empathy and real-life understanding that should drive her to do well.

I also was impressed with her level of perseverance. She started her own clinic in a very poor town in Alabama. Hurricane Georges in 1999 destroyed it. Dr. Benjamin rebuilt it. When Hurricane Katrina destro…

What Michael Jackson meant to diversity

Having had the chance to sit down and process the life and tribulations of Michael Jackson, I believe that there is one thing that the media has not truly addressed. One of the only people who addressed it correctly was Al Sharpton. I fully admit that I am not the biggest fan of Sharpton, but he was dead-on with his assessment of Michael Jackson. "Michael Jackson made culture accept a person of color way before Tiger Woods, way before Oprah Winfrey, way before Barack Obama." I will detail my feelings about this in the following.

When Michael Jackson came out with the Jackson Five long ago the prevailing thought was that the young men were awesome. They were performing music that was classified by the "Motown Sound" which defined their sound as black music. Even at this time the Jackson Five clearly had the crossover appeal. And the one that made that appeal greater was Michael himself. The Jackson Five stands as one the most important musical groups that set standar…