Posts Tagged ‘africa’

Someone emailed me the link from a Black beauty pageant and basically said they knew that the day would come when “those names” would be everywhere.  Wait just a second Uppity Conservative: America is a complex and intricate tapestry woven from many different fibers; we have various subcultures.  While I am a moderate and wouldn’t wear sagging pants if I were in school today, I do remember wearing boxer shorts with gators on them as short pants (of course we wore briefs under them.) 

Excessive tattoos and sagging pants concern me but so does middle age women with too much cleavage.  What’s up with the women at church yard sales with short shorts so their leg can tan evenly.  Ultra short shorts on mothers and young daughters are as inappropriate as Ray Ray’s sag.  

Like Don Henley sang, “the more I know, the less I understand” and I have been trying to get to “the heart of the matter” but I give up.  I don’t understand the thug culture or “the confederacy was right” culture.  The R&B singer Jaheim helped me make peace with the new culture (I prefer agri—culture) with his hood anthem “Fabulous.”  The lyrics included the line “name our kids them funny names” but more important Jaheim sincerely said, “we got love for you’ll but you’ll not love us.”  When this song came out, I would have considered you nuts if you told me that a funny name person would be president in 2009.  Don’t sleep, it could have been our sister from the South….Condoleezza. 



Remember William Shakespeare’s Juliet saying, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” As we say in the South, “it’s not what they call you; it’s what you answer to.” 

Since this post started about a beauty pageant, may I say that the recent Miss. Universe pageant featured some of the most strikingly beautiful women of color I have ever seen.  While the other contestants were nice and I generally prefer the nerdy librarian type, my DNA double helix turns me toward ladies who look like me: Miss Ethiopia, Miss. Jamaica, Miss. Dominican Republic, Miss. Tanzania, Miss. Curacao and even Miss. India.  I could trip all day at a cookout with Jaheim and the guys over which sister got robbed of her crown at this pageant (but Miss. Venezuela is not exactly chopped liver.) 

“Check this out, Son. Miss. Ethiopia, Son..great day in the morning, Son. As we said back in school…she is the one who makes Black so beautiful.”  Those young guys need to pull up their pants and read that Steve Harvey book “Act like a Lady, Think Like a Man’ and they will be ready for that African or African American princess.  



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Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson, a member of the Senate subcommittee on Africa, is visiting the troubled Dafur region of Sudan.  I am still surprised that Isakson is one of the most conservative members of the Senate yet serves with a cool listening ear and compassion mindset rather than the vibe of some of his colleagues.  And people wonder which leader the GOP should model the next generation of policy makers after.

I hope he comes back with the idea of getting more peanut-based food paste from Georgia and dry pasta to help than staving region in the short-term while get a market opportunity for our farmers and producers.  In the long-term, exporting farming techniques and equipment developed at Fort Valley State and U.G.A. to that suffering part of the world could assist in our antiterrorism efforts—bread rather than bullets.  But, we still have the bullets—don’t sleep on the eagle with the olive branch in one talon and the arrows in the other.

Isakson should be briefing Agriculture Secretary Sanford Bishop about the opportunities for southern agriculture to help heal the world while creating jobs here but the Obama White House passed on Georgia.  (For those who thing the current president won’t be criticized by moderates or African American would not condemn African genocide and support of terrorism.)   


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My sister is an engineer with IBM and last week became the first member of my family to step foot on African soil since we arrived in the New World in the hulls of ships. Being a Georgia Tech grad as a proposed to a Black college product like me, she did not know the vibe she would get from being there until she was there—told her so.  I feel guilty for not taking the ferry from southern Spain to Africa when I had a chance but my friend Jerry, who did the Peace Corps, says North Africa is not really Africa.  

Her email from Africa: 

Greetings Family…..from South Africa!!  

It has been an interesting few days here.  I am staying at the Hilton in the Sandton area of Johannesburg.  I have visited Soweto, been on a safari/tour at Pilanesberg and Sun City……and shopped at Nelson Mandella Square.  We were so close to a couple of rhinos that one started to charge our vehicle.  I was disappointed that we didn’t see any lions or leopards….but will try again on the next trip in about four weeks.  The food here is great.  I have had ostrich and springbok…….still looking to try some kudu.  On my birthday, I had a lonely dinner at Brown’s restaurant (although they tried to make me feel special — the band played New York New York and Georgia On My Mind)…then a superb meal later Saturday night at Auberge Michel’s (one of the top restaurants in the area). I found out that most business (including restaurants and malls) close on holidays (like Friday — Workers Day). 

 Yesterday I went to an awesome worship service at Rhema Bible Church…..with seating capacity for thousands, it was packed….and this did not include children as they were in special training classes during worship!  The congregation is 95% black and the senior pastor is white (unusual for the US right?).  The senior pastor and wife were on vacation and there was a black guest pastor who spoke about “Things Do Happen”….Eccl 9:2, II Cor 11:23, Isaiah 43:2, Isaiah 41:10…..When (not if) you pass through the fire….remember, God is your source….a very present help in time of need….and don’t forget those fellows following you — Goodness and Mercy!!!   Amen, amen!!  About 40 people gave their lives to Christ….it was a wonderful experience.  The church is celebrating it’s 30th anniversary this year.  Joel and Victoria Osteen will be here in October.  The people here have been very warm and friendly. 

Right now (a little after noon), I’m at the IBM site and my official meetings start tomorrow through Thursday.  Just wanted to take a moment to say hello….from the mother land.  I should be back in the States late Friday afternoon.  Love you all……B.P.K.

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Africa and Jill Scott look really good in her new HBO series The Number 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.  The relationship between Africans and African Americans can be rocky because many Africans and West Indians view African Americans in a less than favorable light—weak, poor character, crazy, and no morals.


To use a term from the southern hip hop culture, I must say “naw dawg” to the idea of coming to a country we help build for free and inexplicably turning your African or Caribbean noses up at the descendants of slaves—the descendants of you.  Dr. Martin Luther King’s quote about judging a man not by the color of his skin but by the content of his character should be put into to practice.  Many African Americans think “Africans in America” reflect the whole vast continent but the only recent Africans the people in rural south Georgia have met is an occasionally pushy Nigerian businessman.  Not to say most Nigerians are pushy or to say all Nigerians in Georgia are aggressive—MLK must be really proud of me right now.


To the original point, Jill Scott is lovely and a great test of character: would you still love an intelligent, sharp and beauty person if they got big…really big.  Before the whole BBW movement, there were people who always like bigger people—more of them to love.  I am personally disappointed with young men who marry or “start a family” with round behind young women without understanding that that behind will change with time and the relationship should be based on more…like her smile…okay, I am kidding.


The relationship should be based on many factors including moral and character matters.  What about the complicity of the young lady who involves herself with a shallow guy and hopes it works out.  Maybe those Africans in America have a point.  And what about the contradiction that many bigger women would never date a successful and focused short man or the father from the projects who would never let his middle class daughter date a young man from the projects. 


Should this rambling collection of generalizations and half thoughts be on a political blog?   I think it should be because a better relationship with our African roots could help our American youth develop like a tree with roots—grounded and not fluttering in the wind.  And the political and policy concerns of our community are the results of personal responsibility or lack there of.  With skyrocketing government spending, we must find a way to reduce the cost of programs that address problems shouldn’t be problems at all.  Crime, drugs, fooling around at school and poor parenting should be addressed by deliberate actions and reestablishing our moral compass as Black southerners and Americans of African decent.   


Black, White, Yellow or Brown families should watch the whole Jill Scott series together.  In fact, Scott’s image and style is also encouraging to a growing section of the population called everyone getting big and wearing it well.  I need to run, literally.



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I just finished reading Toni Morrison’s book A Mercy and may I keep it real by saying Nobel Prize or not, I just don’t understand her writing.  The book focuses on slavery and indentured servitude in the Americas in the1680s. 


One good part of the book includes the section “You say you see slaves freer than free men.  One is a lion in the skin of an ass.  The other is an ass in the skin of a lion.  That it is the withering inside that enslaves and opens the door for what is wild.”


The last lines in the book are the best: “It was not a miracle.  Bestowed by God.  It was a mercy.  Offered by a human.  I stayed on my knees.  In the dust where my heart will remain each night and every day until you understand what I know and long to tell you: to be given dominion over another is a hard thing; to wrest dominion over another is a wrong thing: to give dominion of yourself to another is a wicked thing.”


Morrison’s writing has always been over my head and I am man enough to acknowledge my limitations.   Can you believe that some small-minded people are bracing for President-Elect Obama’s “dominion” over them; somebody did not play attention in high school government class.  Anyway, a person or system can only enslave your body; not your spirit or soul.  Obama is one good guy who will govern (not rule over) and people who have never been around good people need some new friends.


Strangely, I am writing about personnel management—I use to be in “personnel hell” while working with good people in an odd operation–“have mercy.”  Some former coworkers still complain that they were “done wrong for years.”  That statement is a contradiction in terms because no one can do you wrong for years if you are there voluntarily.  As Dr. Phil would say, you did yourself wrong for staying in that situation for such a long time.  Ms. Morrison said it best when she wrote that it is wicked to give someone dominion over you. 


Psalm 34:13-14 Keep thy tongue from evil, And thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; Seek peace, and purse it.  


(okay, I just added the free Bible to my smart phone; but I am far from righteous…yet)  http://www.olivetree.com/resources/bibles/


Rough times at home or work remind me of the quote “all that does not kill you, makes you stronger.”  Being in a tough situation can be a welcomed opportunity to grow and develop—some of us grew up soft while others were strengthen by circumstances and conditions that children should not experience.



Reading about Black and White slaves and near-slaves who arrived here in the hulls of ships made me think about Africa.  History should remember that President Bush’s policies and efforts in Africa were outstanding and I thank him for that—he actually walked the walk.  If two others were not all up in his ear with incorrect counsel, things might have been different.  (Like Ms. Morrison, I am going to be peculiarly vague about the “two others” but maybe some Rice would have been better for his Colin than a  R.C.)  






Unpopular at home, Bush basks in African praise


Banners across the route, decorated with Bush’s image against a backdrop of Tanzania’s Mt. Kilimanjaro, read: “We cherish democracy. Karibu (welcome) to President and Mrs Bush.”

Others read: “Thank you for helping fight malaria and HIV.” Dancers at the airport and at Kikwete’s state house to greet Bush on Sunday, wore skirts and shirts decorated with his face.

Although many Africans, especially Muslims, share negative perceptions of Bush’s foreign policy with other parts of the world, there is widespread recognition of his successful humanitarian and health initiatives on the continent.

Bush has spent more money on aid to Africa than his predecessor, Bill Clinton, and is popular for his personal programs to fight AIDS and malaria and to help hospitals and schools.

Bush has stressed new-style partnerships with Africa based on trade and investment and not purely on aid handouts.

His Millennium Challenge Corp. rewards countries that continue to satisfy criteria for democratic governance, anti-corruption and free-market economic policies.

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