Showing posts from 2010

The Repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell: What it Means for Diversity

I know its been a while since I have written. Sometimes life comes in the way but I am back and in full effect. There has been so much to write about but I feel this is the perfect time to come back on the scene.

Yesterday President Obama signed legislation banning the military policy historically known as Don't Ask, Don't Tell. I could not be more happy for this development, not only for those in the LGBT community but for this country as a whole. I was a child when President Bill Clinton passed this legislation. As a young kid I didn't know what it really meant at the time. As I got older and began to make my own opinions about things in life, this was one of the most blatantly hyprocritical pieces of legislation that America had on its books. There is something very wrong with a country that is supposed to be founded on the premise of men and women being created equal having a law on its books that didn't allow for members of its armed services to participate fully a…

Glenn Beck and his Disingenuous Rally

Let me be clear from the onset. I do not believe that the Tea Party is intrinsically racist. Nor do I believe that Glenn Beck is intrinsically racist. But I do believe that there are elements of the Tea Party and elements of things Glenn Beck has said in the past that could lead one down the path to assume that both are racist.

With that said I have a problem with Glenn Beck's rally in Washington DC today. I fully support his right to have a rally and march, much in the same way that I would support any organization wanting to do the same. I have supported the Nation of Islam's Million Man March and have even supported the rights of KKK members to hold rallies as well. But what concerns me the most is the clear co-opting and usage of Martin Luther King Jr. as a central image in Glen Beck's rally today. The reason I feel that the use of King is in poor taste is because much of what the rally claims to be simply is a perversion of everything King stood for.

Glenn Beck stated t…

My personal apology to Shirley Sherrod: A Teachable Moment

I would like to apologize to Shirley Sherrod. Not on behalf of this country that is so obsessed with race that we don't take the moment to look at the larger context of what a person says. Instead once we hear slightly offensive commentary we take it at face value and not look at the entirety of a person's statement or being. I don't apologize for an Obama administration that is so race sensitive that they were willing to fire a woman who did nothing wrong except for showing the true nature of humanity by learning from her past experiences and letting it shape her future. I don't apologize for the conservative media that has tried since the beginning of this presidency to use race as a prevailing factor in attempting to undermine not only the Obama agenda but Obama himself by using Jeremiah Wright, Henry Louis Gates, the New Black Panther Party, The Tea Party and now Shirley Sherrod to appeal to the inner racial stereotypes that we all tackle and fight each day. I apol…

Jesse Jackson and The Merits of the Slave-Owner Sports Analogy

Jesse Jackson sure has hit a nerve with his most recent press release about the open letter that Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert released criticizing Lebron James. On the surface Jesse Jackson may seem to be a bit far-flung in saying that Gilbert is acting as if Lebron James is a runaway slave and he is a slave master. But digging deeper reveals a level of uneasiness with the way the situation has been handled that has even left me wondering about a lot of things.

I have always believed that modern day sports has clear similarities to slavery. While athletes, more often than not black and brown ones, make exorbitant amounts of money, their livelihoods are often inextricably tied to the whim and fancy of owners, almost all white, who are making considerably more money. If athletes fall out of favor with ownership they are often shipped out without any consideration of how that may impact their lives. I see no difference in this sort of ownership and what occurred during slavery wh…

The Rise in Interracial Marriage: What It Means for America

There was a recent study that surveyed the number of interracial marriages in the United States. Not surprisingly the numbers of interracial marriages have increased dramatically. According to the data 13% of new marriages are between people of opposite races. This trend seems to be increasing across all racial lines, even amongst racial groups that historically have been more hesitant than others to marry outside of their race. On its own this is great. Looking at the much bigger picture is crucial.

Amazingly it has not been that long since interracial marriage was illegal in the United States. Miscegenation laws as they were called many years ago were in place in parts of the United States until 1967. Before then it was illegal to be in an interracial marriage and often times people were thrown in jail or forced to move to places where it was legal. In just 43 years things have changed quite a bit.

Interracial marriages still have quite a huge level of taboo. Even though many more peo…

Rand Paul, The Negative Side of Conservative Extremism and What it Means for the Republican Party

In one of the more shocking moments of recent political theater, Rand Paul, current candidate for Senate from Kentucky has went from the darling of the Tea Party Movement and is now the albatross hanging from the neck of the Republican Party in less than 24 hours.

Rand Paul who is an ardent Libertarian much like his father Ron Paul was supported by the Tea Party Movement during his run for the Republican nomination for Senator. His views are very radical. The Tea Party Movement decided to align themselves with his candidacy for clear reasons. His viewpoints were on the fringe of what is expected, especially when it comes to government and its limitations or lack thereof on citizens and private businesses. He was able to make a huge push and win the nomination due to much of the anti-incumbent fervor that exists in the nation, as well as the push for more extreme candidates and views to come to the forefront. This is especially true for the conservative segment of the electorate. But a …

Black Unemployment So Bad The UN Investigating: What This Really Means

In a recent article on the United Nations may investigate the incredibly low numbers for black employment in the U.S. The United Nations governing body is making the claim that the U.S. government is not living up to its commitment set up under previous human rights agreements. Among other absolutely sobering statistics listed in the article, the rate of unemployment for black men is at 20.2% in comparison to 9.6% for white men. These rates may be worse because the percentage does not include the numbers of people who simply stopped looking for employment. The rate of pay for black men is also lower than white men. The rate of unemployment is not monolithic. It goes across the spectrum of black life from the young, old, college educated, high school educated, urban or rural.

If the facts in this report are true, there are some serious things that need to be addressed. Systematically and socially blacks have been at the bottom of the employment ladder since Slavery…

Arizona Strikes Again: Now Education is Under Attack

What is really going on in Arizona? As if creating an immigration law that can be perceived as racist wasn't enough, now the Arizona Legislature has decided that schools that teach courses about various races will lose state funding.

The exact wording of the document states that schools will lose funding if they "promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, promote resentment of a particular race or class of people, are designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group or advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals."

Now there are some major issues with this policy. Of course I fully agree that if there are teachers and schools that are promoting overthrowing the American government they should lose funding. What American wouldn't agree with a policy like that? But I believe that comparing acts of treason to courses that "advocate ethnic solidarity" is completely ridiculous and frankly racist. Under this law if sc…

Blacks Running as GOP Candidates: Is this good or bad?

While I was sitting down watching Hardball with Chris Matthews, he had a segment on the resurgence of black people running for congressional seats as Republicans. There are currently 32 black people running for Congressional office as Republicans. This number is the most since Reconstruction. I believe that this resurgence has both good and bad aspects to it.

On one hand its a great thing that blacks feel comfortable to run as Republicans. It shows that we have come a long way in our history that while it is a story that this many are running, its not as big a story as it would have been a few years or decades ago. I believe that the election of Barack Obama as President and the selection of Michael Steele to head the Republican National Committee both have played a huge role in blacks wanting to win political office, and believing that they can. While blacks have run for political office in the past and have done well, especially in regions that have a solid black population, the elec…

Arizona Immigration Policy: What Have We Come To?

Imagine this scenario: You are walking down the street and a police officer asks you for your identification and proof of citizenship. You are unable to prove that on the spot. You are then arrested for being illegally in the country and thrown in jail. This may sound like Nazi Gernamy in World War II. Unfortunately if Arizona passes the new anti-immigration policy, this will be the new America that we live in.

The new Arizona Immigration policy is one of the most blatant examples of racial profiling I have ever seen. For those of you who may not know, this past week Arizona lawmakers legalized the strictest anti-immigration ever passed in America. If signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer, police officers would have the right to stop people and ask them to show documents proving that they are in America legally. If they are not, then they can be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor. Furthermore it makes it a crime for anyone to willingly harbor an illegal immigrant.

I believe that …

Bigotry In Washington: What Does it Mean and What Must We Do

This weekend was a throwback to the days of the 1960s that we often have seen on television and could not have imagined we would ever see again. I suppose we have traveled back in time to the days when being racist, bigoted, and anti-semitic have returned. As a young black male I have read stories of behavior like this. Never in my wildest dreams would I expect this to occur in 2010. And its not because I don't believe that racism and bigoted feelings do not still exist, but because I assumed people had more decency to do it behind closed doors. I guess I was wrong.

What occured Saturday in Washington DC stands as one of the most disgusting forms of public behavior that this generation of Americans have ever seen. Young children, who live in a much more diverse and accepting world than any of their parents could ever dream of did not deserve to see this. Black and white kids who play with each other every day did not deserve to see this. GLBT people who have families and interact w…

Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Why it is Uniquely Unamerican

Over the past few days, the debate about the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy has come to the forefront. For those of you who do not know, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is the policy that prohibits members of the LGBT community from openly serving in the United States Armed Forces. If members of the LGBT community are found to be serving in the military, they are often kicked out because "it would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability." In my opinion this policy is one of the most offensive policies that is on the books, jeopardizes the American military and is uniquely unamerican.

Whether or not you support LBBT issues and causes, the issue of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" must be looked at in a more global sense. If the American military is supposed to be going into countries, instilling democracy and democratic ideals, while still havi…

Grading Obama One Year Later

One year ago today, many people experienced one of the most euphoric and amazing experiences ever. Being able to witness the inaguration of the first black president of the United States of America was a moving experience to say the least. Fast forward one year and the larger question of what has the Obama presidency done for diversity needs to be addressed.

Having a black president in office has had a profound impact on how people of color view themselves as active members of the American body politic. Being able to see a President that looks very different than previous presidents goes a long way to making people who have felt disenfranchised feel a little less so. It may simply be a matter of aesthetics, but do not doubt how important aesthetics are to many people both nationally and internationally.

Over the course of the year the image of the United States has improved greatly on an international front. President Obama made a duty to reach out to foreign countries, many of whom hav…

Harry Reid: Don't Kill The Messenger, Debate the Message

Senator Harry Reid has put himself in quite a political bind by stating that the electorate would vote for Obama because he is "light-skinned" and "has no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one."

I will begin by saying that there needs to be a clarification between what is true or false and what is right or wrong. While what Senator Reid may have been wrong morally, he is telling the complete truth. And that is the sad part.

Many people may want to make a big deal out of the use of the word "Negro." And there are valid reasons why people should. Nowadays the word is out of date. But in segments of society, especially among an older generation, the word still is used. In fact so many people self-identified themselves as Negro on the 2000 census that it is now a choice on the 2010 census. I agree that the term does have offensive connotations and am not a fan of its use. But I also agree that harping on that one word dillutes the larger point that Reid m…

Rod Blagojevich is blacker than Obama?

You ever have one of those moments where you hear something so outrageous and ridiculous that you look around the room thinking that you are in a bad episode of Ashton Kutcher's "Punked". That happened to me this morning when I heard former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's comments in Esquire Magazine.

For those of you who haven't heard the quote, Blagojevich stated "I'm blacker than Barack Obama. I shined shoes. I grew up in a five room apartment. My father had a little laundromat in a black community not far from where he lived. I saw it all growing up."

Excuse me?! Where do I begin? Firstly this commentary is so ignorant that I really wonder how a man like this even gets elected as governor of a state. I know Chicago politics are wild but come on. What I find extremely troubling with this commentary is not that Blagojevich would even say it, but the fact that he uses shining shoes and living in a small apartment to sum up what being black is.


An Open Letter To Gilbert Arenas

To Mr. Arenas,
As an avid fan of the NBA, I can not describe the level of anger, frustration and malaise that I currently feel in regards to your gun situation. I am deeply curious what was on your mind when you decided to bring four guns into a basketball arena (which is a clear violation of federal as well as local law), but even more curious as to your actions after bringing those guns into an arena. Do you honestly think that people would believe that you brought these weapons in order to play a joke on your teammate (please help me find the humor in this). Or that people would enjoy the image of you firing finger-pistols at your teammates while they pretended to be shot. Sorry Mr. Arenas, this is not working for any of us.

Many people are killed by guns on a daily basis. Too often they are of the black and brown variety. For you to make light of guns and gun use slaps in the face of the countless men and women whose lives have been taken by the wanton use of guns in this country. B…