15 Minutes of Shame

 

I’m all for Pastors being involved in politics. Especially Black ones. Their congregations are the ones typically affected by unfair laws or policies and the church has historically led the way in fighting injustice. It is only natural that individual Pastors would hold some views that differ from mine. Some might belong to a different political party. Some might vote for Trump. I’m okay with all of that. It is those that have gone an extra mile and become Trump surrogates that I’m calling out for their embarrassing rhetoric and yes their lies.

a shameful moment

 

Pastor Mark Burns is an Evangelical Christian televangelist and Pastor of The Harvest Praise and Worship Center in Easley, SC. Dr. Darrell Scott is head of the New Spirit Revival Center in ClevelandHeights, Oh. Pastor Burns sent out a tweet picturing Hillary Clinton in blackface, defended the tweet for a whole day and suddenly partially apologized. Dr. Scott was part of the infamous “100 Pastor’s for Donald Trump” that never became a thing but he grabbed the mantle as the leader of a failed movement. These two have traded their integrity for the opportunity to shill for a man who has a history of discrimination against Black people and is guilty of making several racist comments for which he has never specifically apologized (not that an apology would wipe them away).

a 15 minutes of shame

Being a Trump surrogate can’t be an easy job. He contradicts himself and changes positions, sometimes multiple times within a day. He advocates unconstitutional policies, attacks minorities, exaggerates greatly, and lies. You then are sent out to various media outlets to try to make him appear coherent, practical and sane. It’s a hard job, impossible some would say. Nobody made you do it.

Note to Pastor Burns: Check the usage of “do” vs “does” when speaking. It makes a difference.

When you do find yourself trying to explain away his positions and statements. You apparently don’t have the option of saying, “He was wrong.” So you do your best to characterize him in a positive light, change the subject, and when that doesn’t work you make knowingly false attacks and lie too. When you go forth with the title of Pastor or Minister or Bishop, you are asking for credibility because of your title and your association with God. What you are doing is not of God but far more earthly. I hate to assign motives to people I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s for fame, or money, or a misguided belief that the ends justify the means, and integrity means nothing.

In November, the election will be over and you go back from whence you came, hoping the Trump stench doesn’t remain with you. You are getting your 15 minutes of fame, enjoy it now for you will be judged later. I amend that, you’re being judged now and found wanting. May God have mercy on your souls.

America Has a Big Race Problem: It Can’t Acknowledge It Has One

 

Not only is America incapable of admitting to its race problems. It has developed a whole new language of discussing race in a kindler gentler way so as not to offend those who would prefer not to think of themselves as racist. America used to at least recognize it had horrible history regarding race. That too is changing as history books in some cases refer to “immigrant labor” as opposed to slavery. Bill O’Reilly, an alleged historian refers to how “well-fed” the slaves were that built the White House. Slavery itself is being rewritten as a mere labor arrangement where the “workers” were provided free housing, food, and health-care. America is finding it harder to admit it even had a race problem.

For those willing to concede America once “had” a race problem. They consider it a thing of the past. Solved by the Emancipation Proclamation, or Brown vs The Board of Education, or this Civil Rights Act or that Voting Rights Bill. America has never solved its race problem or rid itself of systemic racism. It has only given it different names.Slavery was replaced by “The Black Codes”, which was replaced by “Jim Crow” which was replaced by redistricting and gerrymandering and voter suppression.

History meanwhile has ignored or forgotten the most heinous acts committed against people of color. We all know about “Custer’s Last Stand”.How many know about the “Devil’s Punch Bowl” in Natchez, MS where 20,000 Black men, women, and children died. Imprisoned by Union troops in a concentration camp after the Civil War ended. History doesn’t mention “Black Wall Street” in Tulsa, Oklahoma  where a thriving community was attacked on the ground and from the air. Over 35 blocks of property were burned and destroyed. Over 300 Black citizens killed and 800 hospitalized. 10,000 Black people were left homeless. Over 6,000 were arrested for up to 8 days. Despite the carnage, the official death toll was listed as “39” by the Oklahoma Bureau of Vital Statistics.

Orange County, Florida including Orlando, was claimed to have suffered the “largest mass shooting in American history” at the Pulse Nightclub shooting with 49 innocent people killed. As horrible as that was, it wasn’t even the worst mass shooting in the County as hundreds of Black people were killed and the rest of the Black population driven out of Ocoee, FL when some tried to vote in the 1920 Presidential Election. Ocoee stayed all-white for over 40 years afterward. America omits the inconvenient mass shootings in Elaine, Arkansas or E. St. Louis, Missouri or Mountain Meadows, Utah where Mormon’s dressed as Indians and killed 140 unarmed men and women. This is the history America doesn’t teach you when the victims are of color. It has redefined mass shooting to exclude more than a couple shooters or apparently, race-motivated murder.  It allows them to forget it had a race problem.

The problem that continues today stems from demographics. Those that wish to, “Make America Great Again” really mean to re-establish White control which is quickly fading. The reason they forcefully claim “Barack Obama is the worst President in history” is not based on empirical data. They ignore the fact he saved an economy that was hemorrhaging jobs when  he took office. He saved the auto industry. He serves in grace despite the hate leveled against him. He established health care benefits for over 20 Million additional Americans. They conspired against him on his first day in office. For those who hate him, he has one inherent flaw. He is Black.

The secret to maintaining White control, even as White’s will soon be a minority in this country, is to control the vote. The tactics now closely resemble those used after reconstruction. Impose voter restrictions, enact poll taxes (although we now give them another name). Position polling places where it will be harder for some to vote than others. Provide limited access to minority voters hoping to dissuade them with long lines. America can deny the inherent racism in policies designed to disparately affect minorities; as long as we can claim it’s for another reason. We all know the almost non-existent voter fraud isn’t the real reason for these laws. What America can’t acknowledge is, that it’s all about race.

America has long not wanted to appear racist. Now I find that it no longer cares about keeping up the facade. Putting aside for a moment the racist background of Presidential candidate Donald J Trump, and his father Fred who was once arrested at a Klan rally. His Campaign CEO Steve Bannon, former head of Breitbart News, is proof that racism has gone mainstream. That he is racist is beyond dispute. His personal comments and those he approved of in the media outlet he controlled; showed his hatred of Jews, Blacks, Hispanics, Catholics, Women and more. When Hillary Clinton discussed the specifics in a nationally televised speech, surely America would say this was too much. A man with his background cannot stand. After a couple days of being a story, the storm faded as the media preferred to chase Trump’s evolving immigration policy and Hillary’s Emails. One Trump campaign manager was lambasted for an assault on a woman, another ousted because of his close ties to Putin. These apparently were terrible offenses. A racist heading up the Trump campaign, not a problem.

The list of things America won’t address because it can’t acknowledge its race problem is long. Unequal funding for schools. Disproportionate suspensions and expulsions of minority students. Voter suppression. Mass incarceration. Inequitable policing. The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. America, you have a race problem and it’s time you acknowledge it.

CHI-RAQ THE VOTE

 

African-American women vote at a higher percentage rate than any other demographic in America. We ask so much of Black women and to suggest there is more they could be doing is wrong on so many levels but I ask anyway. The mere possibility of a Trump Presidency requires that no stone be left unturned. I ask that in order to increase the voting percentage of African-American men, you Chi-Raq the vote.

a-chi-raq poster

Spike Lee’s recent movie Chi-Raq was based on the premise that the women associated with the members of two gangs were able to stop senseless violence by abstaining from sexual relations. In this case; no vote means no sex. Find out when early voting starts in your community. Research absentee balloting. Consider work schedules and other conflicts and determine the first day your man can vote. Set that day as the start date for abstention until he votes.

a chi-raq poster no peace

Now if your man has a history of voting and can be depended on to vote there’s no need to take such action. If there is the slightest wavering or you hear statements like, “My vote won’t matter anyway.” He get’s nothing until he votes. What do you suppose is the chance he values not voting over sex for the duration? This goes not only for Presidential elections but for off-year elections, Mayoral elections, elections for Dog Catcher. If any of you have grown children staying at home, prepare no meals for them. If they aren’t paying rent, start charging them. And add a no-voter surcharge.

a group of chi-raq women

I don’t suggest using this tactic lightly. This is not to be used generally to get something you want as that would be sexual blackmail which cannot be condoned. This is about the lives and future of your children. This is not doing it for the cause.

The Sound Of Silence

The Sound of Silence

 

Hillary Clinton gave a speech yesterday in which she not only called out Donald Trump for his personal history of discrimination. The racist nature of many of his policies. And the takeover of his campaign and the infiltration of the Republican Party by the Alt Right. She made clear who the Alt Right are; White Nationalists, White Supremacists, the Klan. She read a few headlines from Breitbart.com that was headed by the man that is now the Trump Campaign CEO:

  1. “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy.”
  2. “Would You Rather Your Child Have Feminism or Cancer?”
  3. “Gabby Giffords: The Gun Control Movement’s Human Shield.”
  4. “Hoist it High And Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims a Glorious Heritage.”

Hillary Clinton cited the many times Trump directly re-tweeted Neo-Nazi and White Nationalist meme’s to his millions of followers.

Previously, Republican leaders have distanced themselves from Trump when he made racist statements about a Judge born in Indiana whose parents were from Mexico. They chastised him for attacking a Gold-Star Family whose son died a hero in Afghanistan. They looked away when he called for poll-watchers and inferred American elections are rigged. They said nothing when Trump appointed Steve Bannon to lead his campaign. They knew who Bannon was. They knew what Bannon was. They know who Trump is. And they said nothing.

The Republican leadership was in a tough place. They watched in horror as Trump dismissed all the candidates they could have lived with. The “Never-Trump” movement fizzled away after never gaining traction. Almost all of them decided to support Trump despite having earlier condemned him an unqualified, totally unprepared and a con man. They worried how they could go against the will of the Republican voters. They worry about how to save their party.

And now, the Republican Leadership has to choose. The secret about the deep penetration from the Alt Right is discussed openly on every form of media. And the leadership has said nothing.

You have a choice Republicans. Proclaim you hate Hillary more that Neo-Nazi’s and White Nationalists and White Supremacists, or take back your Party. It will be tough. You’re likely to lose this election anyway with the question being will you also lose the Senate and possibly even the House. To quote Donald Trump, “What the hell do you have to lose?”

Smiling Faces… Sometimes… Pretend To Be Your Friend

I posted this four years ago and as we enter a new election season it’s a good time to take a closer look as some who claim to be friends. You may have known them all your life, but they are telling you who they are. Believe them!

 

I have (had?) a friend that is a staunch Republican, gun enthusiast, right-wing conspiracy theorist and who spreads every negative “joke” about Obama no matter how insensitive without consideration of whether it crosses a line. You might wonder given my political leanings how we became friends. We worked together as managers of different sales groups within the same firm and when I started a company, he and his entire family worked for me part time over a period of about 15 years in Orlando and some of his family ran an operation for me in Richmond when they moved there. Although I was technically his employer for several years, there was trust, loyalty, and respect. His daughter and grandson stayed at my home when visiting Orlando and when he was once hospitalized in Orlando, I visited more than once.  Distance has taken its toll and I haven’t seen him in person for several years but we reconnected on Facebook and have engaged in multiple “debates” on political issues and while we each may be passionate about our opposing views, we were always agreeable while disagreeing.

Distance has taken its toll and I haven’t seen him in person for several years but we reconnected on Facebook and have engaged in multiple “debates” on political issues and while we each may be passionate about our opposing views, we were always agreeable while disagreeing. In a recent discussion, he said something which I interpreted to be pretty vile and long after that discussion was ended I was disturbed by his words. I’m allowing for the possibility that I misinterpreted what he said so I’m soliciting input and if anyone thinks I jumped to a wrong conclusion please let me know. Although out

In a recent discussion, he said something which I interpreted to be pretty vile and long after that discussion was ended I was disturbed by his words. I’m allowing for the possibility that I misinterpreted what he said so I’m soliciting input and if anyone thinks I jumped to a wrong conclusion please let me know. Although our discussion wasn’t about abortion, he injected his views about abortion which is what I found disturbing.I read the words over a few times and rather than have an open discussion on Facebook, I sent a private message and said this:

“Something you posted regarding abortion was a little unsettling to me and I wanted to check if my interpretation was sound before responding. Here’s what you posted: “ I actually believe there should be more abortion clinics and they should be government funded. They should be placed in areas of cities where poverty is the worst. This would help women and girls get abortions from an unwanted or unneeded pregnancy which could doom them to a future of further poverty or could infringe on their lifestyle. To take it one step further the government could give a monetary stipend to the female when an abortion is performed. Maybe $1,000 or so. This could give the female an opportunity to better herself, or just make the decision easier.”

The way I interpreted that was that the government should provide poor people incentives to have abortions because you’d like them to reduce breeding and dragging down the rest of the country. Please let me know if I’m wrong? Take care!

I waited two days (which has now become four years) and never received a reply. Somebody tell me I’m wrong in reading that my friend wants to encourage poor people, primarily minorities, to readily have abortions which he tries to pass off as compassion. I went to his page and really looked at his posts, most of which don’t appear in my feed and was shocked at what I saw. Among many other things, he shared an article about a murder committed by Black teenagers and in his comments stated, “They are raised like animals”. I truly wish he were a stranger because then he could be easily dismissed. I am rarely surprised and even less often disappointed by human behavior. This time, I am both. Tell me I’m wrong?

 

 

Nate Parker: Victim?

 

 

I recently posted an article on my Facebook page by Morgan Jenkins, a Black woman on Why the Debate Over Nate Parker Is So Complex?  I posted it without comment of my own but was perplexed at the comments of others. Some of whom I am typically in agreement on many other issues.

There are many legitimate questions as to whether the timing of the attacks on Nate Parker’s character are designed to limit the impact of an important film, “The Birth of a Nation” that will make some people uncomfortable? The original article discusses the unique position Black women find themselves in being torn between supporting the Black men involved and ignoring the situation that this time involves a White woman but could easily have been them.

Nate Parker was acquitted of rape charges in 2001, reportedly because he and the woman had sex the day before. His writing partner on The Birth of a Nation, Jean Celestin, was initially found guilty of sexual assault but the case was dismissed on appeal because the alleged victim refused to testify again. In the film, there is a scene where we are supposed to feel some kind of way about the vicious rape of Nat Turner’s wife by a group of white men. We are apparently supposed to feel a different kind of way about this situation where much of what we do know is not in dispute. This discussion comes at the same time when some of the same people defending Parker, are lambasting Ryan Lochte as the beneficiary of White Privilege, Athlete Privilege (Parker and Celestin were on the Penn State wrestling team) and a patriarchal system where “boys will be boys.”

Despite the acquittal of Nate Parker and the dismissal of charges against Jean Celestin. There is much about their behavior that seems not to be in dispute:

  1. Parker had sex with the woman the day before
  2. Parker invited Celestin and another man (who declined) to participate in a sex act with the woman whose level of impairment is in dispute.
  3. After being charged, Parker and Celestin publicly named the alleged victim.
  4. For years afterward, Parker and Celestin harassed the alleged victim.
  5. The woman committed suicide in 2012 at the age of 30.

 

What I find unacceptable in the discussion I’ve witnessed is the view that he’s not guilty, end of story. Parker was found not guilty of the criminal charge but I find much with which I find fault. I also find it disturbing (despite historical abuse) that the race of the victim is an excuse to ignore what we do know which is an argument more likely to be used against Black people than in support of them. There are those unwilling to examine the thought process that would have a man invite his friends to have sex with a woman? I understand there are possible consensual situations, I get that. I’m still able to have the discussion when some of my friends are not.

I deviate now to what I believe to be true. I think Nate Parker and Jean Celestin don’t consider themselves rapists or believe themselves to have done anything wrong. I think the combination of male privilege and their status as athletes along with their limited respect for the female body made them think this was okay. I can remember once in high school being invited to join in when some of my friends were “pulling a train” on a female student. Another time in college, a fellow basketball player invited me to have sex with a woman he had in his room indicating “she was ready.” I refused both times, much more because I was scared than being morally offended at the prospect. The outcome I’d like to see from the Nate Parker discussion is that we teach our boys what is acceptable in the same way we tell our girls what not to do. I encourage those who defend these men 100%, to explain to their daughters the basis for their feelings. There is wrong here which should not be ignored.

Lastly, is it possible to support the movie and it’s message without consideration of the acts of its creators? I personally plan to see the movie but completely understand any that choose not to. I also plan to keep alive the discussion and hope there are lessons that can be learned, as long as we don’t refuse to talk about it. I agree with Morgan Jenkins, it is complex.

The Party of Lincoln

“I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861.

 

The Party of Lincoln

 

I often hear Republican’s these days calling themselves “The Party of Lincoln.” It is a defense I think, against charges that their party is racist. Despite the number of policies they promote that are racist in effect without regard to intent. The claim while historically correct is quite misleading in that a total upheaval in the party has made it far less the Party of Lincoln than it is the Party of Trump or even David Duke.

One thing I’d like to get straight is that even Lincoln was ambivalent about slavery. I don’t doubt his claim that he was personally opposed to it but he had no intention of ending it. Even saying specifically in his 1861 Inauguration Speech that he didn’t intend to interfere with slavery, thought he had no right to do so nor the inclination. The Party of Lincoln.

A second thing is that the Emancipation Proclamation itself was less about freeing slaves than it was about weakening the Southern economy which with slavery had some inherent advantages and to keep Britain and France from siding with the Confederacy. It only freed slaves in the states in conflict with the Union and left slavery intact in several states including Kentucky and Missouri.

At war’s end, the Republicans did lead the South into the Reconstruction Era which led to many Black elected officials. Reconstruction was highly dependent on the Federal troops still located throughout the South that kept the peace. This lasted until 1877 where Republicans agreed to withdraw the troops to resolve a dispute over the 1876 Presidential election. In other words, Republicans sold out the former slaves for political expediency. This opened the door to the era of Jim Crow. The Party of Lincoln.

In 1920 a Republican-controlled Senate refused to pass an anti-lynching bill that had already passed the House. Midwestern and Western Republican Senators joined with Southern Democrats to kill the bill. In the 1960’s. Democrats passed Civil Rights and Voting Right’sbillswhich sent the most racist Southern Democrats (Dixiecrats) scurrying to the Republican Party. The Party began to look then as it does today. The Party ofLincoln.

We got from Republicans after that the “Southern Strategy” courtesy of Lee Atwater. All you need to know is “Willie Horton” to understand what that strategy was/is.We next got the “Tea Party” and now we have Trump. The Party of Lincoln.

Even with Lincoln, the Republican Party was no panacea for Black people. Since Lincoln, the Party has gotten progressively worse and they would rather suppress your vote than earn it. Last week Trump began his alleged appeal to African-American voters by speaking to 95% White audiences and refraining from his comments of the week before calling for “more police”in the inner-cities.

So when Republicans call themselves “The Party of Lincoln.” It was never that great an honor to begin with. It serves only as a response to those who point out their racist behavior, while they steadfastly engage in it.