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Posts Tagged ‘African Americans’

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On the movie Soul Food, the grandmother made a brilliant point about fingers coming together to form a fist that could strike a mighty blow.  Of course, the five fingers are the members of the family.  As southerners, we should consider five points that could greatly improve our region by changing how all of us “carry ourselves.”

Some of us are living smarter than others but we can’t sink while others float because we are all in the same big boat.  The actions and shortcomings of some prove costly to the taxpaying others.  In the Black community, we are transitioning from the civil rights era “marched with MLK” leaders to new leaders who recognized that personal development and financial planning are as vital as social justice.

The defining image of Project Logic Ga blog is a rural bridge that takes us from one place to a better place.  I think two rural bridges could be Senator Rand Paul and my former boss Sanford D. Bishop.   While Senator Paul’s international isolationism is questionable, he is the conservative/libertarian who is most open to dialoging with everyone about public policy.  I still feel that Republicans treat everyone else like children—making laws and policies without opposition input.

Rep. Bishop has had a nice political career but it has been in many ways too safe.  The guy is a brain and was an eagle scout.  I don’t think Sanford Bishop and President Barrack Obama have don’t enough hard talking to Americans about their personal growth and what young people can learn from their proper development.  I am one moderate/centrist who thinks the government has a limited role in everyday living and that leaders should say that.  As Justice Clarence Thomas’s grandfather said, you don’t need to government coming into your house asking if you fed your children today.

Bishop reads a page of text in 10 to 15 seconds.  So, he should take an afternoon to read this entire blog—all 500 plus post.  He could then singlehandedly craft the knowledge-based message about how we are wrong and what should be done about it.  Of course, he has always known what was wrong but Democrats are about the business of giving poor folks the impression that government can help them.  Liberals helping regular folks by pouring money into problems isn’t helping.  Actually, kids have kids far too early because they feel that the government will provide.  Mark my word, the Obamas post-presidential efforts on personal living of Americans will be as significant as their historic time in the White House.

I have always thought that candidate Obama learned more about rural America from watching Rep. Bishop than he learned from any other member of the Congressional Black Caucus.  The crowning achievement of Bishop’s career, his legacy, should be the bridge he builds to our southern future with his book and speaking tour.  You know Rep. Bishop will mention one of his favorite Bible scriptures, Luke 12: 48, For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.  That passage expresses Bishop’s public service and the best could be yet to come because a mighty blow must be struck first.

I want to outline the mighty blow mentioned earlier in bullet form.  In a discussion, I wonder if I could hit five points with five minutes each.  I bet I could do five points in five minutes total.

  1. Education: learn 24/7; education is formal and informal; informal involves good grammar at home, educational TV channels and life lessons from elders. Hard to unlearn bad habits.  All legal work is good; continue to learn on the job.

 

  1. Faith: You must believe in something or you will fall for anything. Life is God’s gift to you and what you do with your life is your gift to God.  Church kids know how to sit, listen and learn.  Bible is a manual for living.  Respect others’ faith.  Try to faith walk 24/7.

 

  1. Nature: Can’t break the rules of nature. Being free is natural; no jail.  Illegal drugs are unnatural and legal drugs should be limited if possible.  Committed relationships are natural…husband/wife.  Grow old together.  Free milk and the cow.  Avoid the struggle but adversity builds character.  Appreciate natural resources and wonders.

 

  1. Health: Eating right, exercise and rest. Much water.  Burn all of your calories.  Cut “To Die For” Foods.  Adjust soul food: Low fat, fatback.  Don’t self-medicate.  Respect emotional and mental health also. Bullets hurt.

 

  1. Loyalty: Mean what you say and say what you mean. Keep your vows or don’t make them.  Actions honor faith, family, nation, region, race and self.  Surround yourself with positive likeminded people.  Be loyalty to yourself with positive actions; don’t be your own worst enemy.

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Some Americans actually feel that they are more American than others.  When those other Americans get wind of that notion, they often blow off being productive, engaged members of society and live as part of a sub or counter culture.  In these subcultures, the people are at war with the government and particular the police.  Really?  You hate local, state and federal government as the enemy.  Some of that distrust fuels what we are seeing in Ferguson, Missouri.

First, we must still teach young Black men to “come home to night and wake up in the morning.”  Yes, you have the right to not be attacked unlawful by the police or a Stand Your Ground zealot.  But, you should consider defusing the situation while mentally recording the injustice so big lawsuits can be filed in the future.

I am going to ask a risky question: how does someone who is benefiting from “temporary” government assistance not voting?  They should be the first people to vote. Secondly, voting out the elected officials who make bad laws and oversee the police is one of the best forms of protest—mess with their power and paychecks.

Conservatives have some good points about the limited role of government but they turnoff everyday people by allowing the nuttiest in their ranks to run the show.  The worst method of the far Right involves discouraging elected officials’ dialog with the other side.

While we are in this election season, we should watch the Democrats botch the opportunity to get our community voting and engaged.  If they listened to (and funded) my political friends and me, the face of the electorate would change for the better and more Americans would be at the discussion table.

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Rep. Jack Kingston could have won the primary runoff easily in the Black community but the wrong cats must have been in his ear.  We are talking about the same Jack who has frequently visited and represented Savannah State University for years.

Military bases and the agriculture industry are the economic backbones of non-Atlanta parts of Georgia but no one had the idea to get 6,000 or so votes from Democrats who Jack has helped time and time again.  Look, I live in little Worth County and Kingston got 605 votes here but in huge Albany with a Marine base, Jack only received 655 votes.  Say what?

It’s the proverbial two-edged sword.  The consultants around the Kingston campaign knew that he needed  Tea Party support to win the primary and the Tea Party will not vote for anyone who gets any votes from moderates.

Was anyone in the Kingston camp watching the Thad Cochran Senate primary in Mississippi?  Cochran turned to the Black community for enough support to get over the top; he sought his old friends.  Jack Kingston has more old friends on the Democrat side than any House Republican from Georgia.

I just talked with Georgia Secretary of State’s office and they confirmed that people who didn’t vote in the primary election could have voted for either side in the runoff.  The right Black community leaders in Savannah alone could have gotten out 6,000 Black votes on the strength of Jack’s closeness to our community and long history of hiring Black staffers in key position. But, they decided to leave that on the table.

To be honest, Democrats wanted to see Kingston vs. Michelle Nunn because Jack has a long history of statement about President Obama.  Nunn will not say it nor think it but Black folks coming out to vote in November will be as much about helping the Obama administration have a Democrat-controlled Senate as much as it is about her….and that is okay.

When David Perdue’s cousin took the governor’s office from Roy Barnes, some people vote for Sonny Perdue but many people voted against Barnes over the confederate flag and a teachers issue.  You win how you can.  David Perdue shouldn’t say the word “Obama” until Christmas but he will…the far Right will require that he does.  The attacks on Obama will drive Obama supporters to the polls and if Nunn can secure a few percentage points from suburban GOP women, she wins and helps the Dems hold the U.S. Senate.

Mrs. Nunn must know that Get Out the Vote and street operations will be as important as T.V. ads.  Remember, if Jack had half the street operations that Thad Cochran had, he would have won.

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Immigration reform or what have you should start with a frank and honest discussion about Blacks in America.  While President Obama is still one of my favorite presidents, his push for a path to citizenship for those who came here illegal is perplexing.  We would have a huge influx of new citizens from just south of the border rather than a balance blend of people from all around the world.  Before we bring anyone into the American family we should consider those who toiled to make this great nation; those who were stolen from the land and those whose land was stolen.

I understand that many Mexicans feel free to ignore the southern border because they think that Texas, Arizona, parts of California and of course New Mexico was stolen from them.  Native Americans can say that two continents were inexplicably taken from them.  Historians will tell you that America jumped passed older nations from the Old World economically in part because of the cheap and free labor provided by African slaves.  And folks have the nerve to say “go back to Africa” like we wanted to come here in the first place.  Heaven knows that resources-rich Africa would have done well if respected and if her nations were considered normal members of the global community.

I love the fact that President U.S. Grant wanted to buy the island of Hispaniola (current Haiti and the Dominican Republic) to create a nation in this region for former slaves.  The web is buzzing with a rare video of Dr. Martin Luther King going off about the land that was given to Europeans who arrived after the Civil War but no land for those former slaves who worked by force for over 150 years before 1776.

To be honest, the use of Mexican labor over the last few decades was based on replacing the recently freed African Americans—yes, we were freed around 1970.  Dr. Hollis at my Black college had the vision to tell her pol sci majors that America’s relationship with African Americans wasn’t based on our being minorities because in time we wouldn’t be the top minority group.  It was based on our labor and oppression in the making of this great nation.

The Japanese Americans were placed  in internment camps during World II and that was wrong (where were the Italian and Germany internment camps.)  In the 1990s, the U.S. Congress compensated them for this wrong but if they were owed an inch, Black America would be owed a freaking mile.  It will never happen but keep that in the back of your mind, Mr. Go Back To Africa.  And we shouldn’t act as if current people and companies are still benefiting from the cheap labor that continue with Jim Crow and sharecropping until the 1970s.

Moderates shouldn’t be lumped together with liberals on immigration reform because we often feel that the country should slow it’s roll on this matter.  The decisions about what to do with African and Native Americans usually didn’t include those two groups.  So, we should address some lingering issues before opening the doors any wider.

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The Democrat Party can’t be mostly Black nor should the GOP be all White.  This blog has been saying that for years.  First, I really don’t care too much for political parties because they are about power and control over good governing.  If we must have parties, the best ones look like America—they are comprised of a cross-section of peoples and groups or the leaders communicate with everyone.

The “All In With Chris Hayes” show on MSNBC is starting a new segment on race.  The promo for the segment features Georgian Julian Bond telling Hayes that Black elected officials need to give up some Black areas to neighboring districts to get White Democrats elected.  I love it because you don’t necessarily need Black politicians to serve Black folks (and a few Black Republicans might not be bad for understanding and informative purposes.)

If you take race off the table, congressional districts should be draw in a way where candidates from either major party can win—that keeps them on their toes.  The scary fact is that the GOP turned in the early 1990s into a party that often demands that its elected officials not listen to those with other points of view.  Look here, officials are paid by all taxpayers—not just the people that voted for them.  If you listen to a constant diet of vitriol from left or right zealots, you too would swear that the other side is the devil.

Let’s look that two congressional districts that makeup southwest Georgia.  For most of his time in the Georgia state house and the U.S. Congress, Sanford Bishop didn’t have a majority Black district.  He won by serving a cross section of people well.  Former Rep. Jim Marshall was one of the last southern White Democrats and his seat was important until he started slamming Obama and Speaker Pelosi to keep rural voters.  He had to go and he was replaced with a reasonable GOP candidate, Austin Scott.  Who knew that Scott would be one of the most conservative members of the House?

In theory during redistricting, members of congress don’t own districts but the General Assembly had no problem lumping more and more Blacks into Bishop’s district because that action made the three contiguous districts more and more GOP.  Bishop is a fighter and a true representative; he could represent anyone.  But, the Tea Party, Fox News and the far right talk radio has rural Georgia White twisted and negatively brainwashed so can you blame him for accepting more safety.  In southeast Georgia, Rep. Jack Kingston took all of Black Savannah to increase the GOP chances of taking Rep. John Barrow’s seat—Barrow is the last White Democrat in the U.S. House from the deep South.

Hey, Democrats would be fine if the people they helped legislatively would simply vote.  A surprisingly large number of GOP members of the state legislature have 25% or more Blacks in their districts but folks don’t vote.  The deciding factor for the elections in November might be the effectiveness of the Get Out the Voter efforts and that requires money—more cash should be put on the streets than on the airwaves.

http://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/all-in-america-behind-the-color-line-285576771633

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keep-calm-and-love-boondocks

The Boondocks T.V. show theme song starts with a righteous Bible quote.  Who knew?  People who paid better attention in church knew. Psalm 118:22 says “The stone that the builder refused (rejected) has become the corner stone.”   In Matthew 21:42 “Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.”

Of course, Jesus was referring to the world’s coming rejection of him.  The Boondocks rapper is referring to  Blacks treatment in America.  I love these verses because we all have people in our families who favor some and reject others.  I would be sitting in a glass corner office of an Atlanta law firm today if college money was divided fairly among kids in my family but why cry over spilled milk.

We still have family members who turn their noses up at blood…at kids mind you.  In Matthew 20:16, Christ said “So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called but few chosen.”  Of course, you need to cut family and old friends off when they are bringing everyone around them down and they refuse to hear and act on wise counsel.  I want to live long enough to see which kids will be wildly successful.  It might be the ones whose characters was tempered by adversity like the “niggers’  of old and not like the modern day “niggas.”

I am 50 years old and the America of my youth isn’t the America of today.  The N-word is used constantly on Boondocks but liberals on MSNBC can’t tell me what to say and hear.  The lovely actress Regina King voices both kids on the show and if she is cool with the context I am too because she has a gold-plated hood pass from being on 227 and Boyz In the Hood.

Boondocks Theme Song – Asheru

I am the stone that builder refused

I am the visual

The inspiration

That made lady sing the blues

 

I’m the spark that makes your idea bright

The same spark

that lights the dark

So that you can know your left from your right

 

I am the ballot in your box

The bullet in your gun

The inner glow that lets you know

To call your brother son

The story that just begun

 

The promise of what’s to come

And I’m ‘a remain a soldier till the war is won

 

Wow, this educated lyricist hit hard with “I am the ballot in your box…the bullet in your gun.”  On some level, Black youth seem like the rejected stone that could be the cornerstone.  In politics and policy, leaders make decision with little consideration of large segments of the population.  We can’t grow as a nation if the troubled 20% continue to be a drain of resources and counterproductive.  In reality, everyone can’t be on top—someone has to lose.  But, the playing field must be fair so every kid has an equal shot.

The geniuses behind Boondocks design the show to provoke thoughts about the Black man in America.  The grandfather is a veteran of the civil rights movement who moved his grandsons to the Boondocks for a better quality of life.  Of course, suburbia has problems also.  It’s the same old story about Blacks struggling to get our slice of the American pie.

So, I am watching a documentary on corn on the History Channel and I couldn’t stop thinking about the development of this crop compared to the development of people.  Corn is genetically engineered to improve; it’s a hybrid.  Heterosis, hybrid vigor or outbreeding enhancement is the improved or increased function of any biological quality in a hybrid offspring.  An offspring exhibits heterosis if its traits are enhanced as a result of mixing the genetic contributions of its parents.

On Boondocks, Riley and Huey are brothers but they are heading in different life directions—one intellectual progressive and one thug.   Inside Black America, am I the only person concerned that we are breeding the worst elements with each other and therefore creating a hybrid screw-up?  How many Black professionals have only one child or none and how many troublemakers have a house full of future troublemakers.  In a free society, we can’t stop people from breeding with whomever they chose but still…dam.

Republicans can say this and Democrats can say that but improving Black America starts with listening to people like Colin Powell as he softy pushes the West Indian sensibility of his upbringing.  Yea, many of the Blacks from the Caribbean are more success than other Black Americans because they don’t play with education, family association and generational development. You just don’t come into their families and get teens pregnant with careless disregard.

On the documentary about corn, they state that heterosis creates hybrids that are better than they parents.  With people, I call that moving forward.  Are we looking at a generation of Black Americans who are inferior to their parents?    As the last line in the Boondocks theme says, I am going to remain a soldier until the war is won.  The question is where the battlefield is and who the real enemy is.

 

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The construction of us in the past and our youth in the future is a combination process.  It involves nature (DNA material) and nurture (environment) with considerable influence from family, church, school and the community.  We pray that everyone has a functioning value system and/or moral compass.  There…we have it….how modern southerners should be built.

I was built back in the day during the end of Jim Crow.  Not being killed by a mob, the police or a mob that included the police was the simple goal.  Oh, our parents were built as tough as nails; I swear my father was made from iron and leather.  We are noticeably softer than they were unapologetically.  They didn’t want their kids to be “fetching water, tin tub bathing, step off the sidewalk for White folks” tough.  We were air conditioned, water in the door Negroes.

The heart-break of my life was not being a member of a Black fraternity.  But, it turns out that I was never built to take the abuse of hell week….hell naw.  Don’t get it twisted, military training like Ranger School in Columbus, SEAL School in San Diego or basic training of Marines on Parris Island is a good character building.  While that training is tough, it is doable.  Some of the pledge process for Black frats is worst is than CIA alleged “enhanced interrogation.”  Oh, I would have been on Fox News in I attemped to join certain groups back when.  My father loved his membership but he was going from a sharecroppers’ life into the middle class.  That fraternity was a big part of his polishing and development.  While I would have enjoyed the brotherly bond and community service, they would have “made” me.

This discussion is needed on a public policy/politics blog because how kids are built directly relates to what they take on in life.  In my community, kids often have a struggle mentality—struggling, it’s what we do.  Parents actually built their kids to be strong for the struggle rather than smart to avoid the struggle.  A sista in college told me that her mother raised her ready to fight well with a man about cheating.  I asked why she wasn’t raised to detect and avoid the cheating type.

Yea, I am unapologetically soft and conduct myself accordingly.  I have a “hood” theory about jail.  Lawd knows I can’t do real time behind bars.  My unfounded theory is that some kids must have grown up in small space and therefore can live in an iron closet without problems.  I love the sun, the light, the night time sky and freedom.  What are you doing that is worth jeopardizing your outside freedom?  Would you give up freedom for a few dollars?  These fools have turned the word jail into an accomplishment word.  “Man, I know how to jail.”

Another hood theory involves people being outside.  It’s funny what some people can’t see.  In some communities, people always seem to be on the porch or outside because there is limited room and privacy inside.  Again, I wasn’t built to be in small spaces and my future house might only be 1100 square feet but you can best believe that it is one big room with only the bathroom separate—windows everywhere.

So, if you aren’t built for the struggle, it’s fine.  But, you need to be very careful what situations and drama enter into your life.  My friends who grew up rough are surprisingly the ones with smooth lives today.  They wanted the rest of their lives and their kids’ lives to be worry free.

Some of those who didn’t grow up in the struggle are struggling now because they are too soft or weak.  The conservative movement doesn’t know that this point is the key to their inroads in my community.  Government assistance might have inadvertently created a segment of the population whose main interest is seeking the infamous “check.”

I don’t like struggling and wasn’t built to have the government or anyone else tell me to care for my family.  One last point: what is up with grown folks who are too cool to work an entry level job but aren’t too cool to ask someone to feed their kids.  That’s some bull.

While I am ranting, let’s talk about DNA from the first paragraph.  Young people should be careful regarding the people with whom they have children.  All of the love and nurturing in the world can’t counterbalance a bad seed.  Some of these girls can’t pick husband material men because they have never been around healthy marriages.  They are built to fail from the beginning like their brothers who don’t know how to be law-abiding, job-holding men.  Uncle Teddy wants to give some loving advice: go to the family reunion on both side of a person’s family and study how they carry themselves long before you consider MARRYING this person and later having children.

Old Uncle Teddy was raised to move the Black family forward and we simply can’t afford to have you holding us back or turning us around.  A friend says “we are one generation from poverty.”  Get it—that’s a cute way of saying we recently came from poverty and we can easily return if we are careful.

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