BET: Turning its backside on its people

What with the unmitigated success of Oprah Winfrey, Gwen Ifill, Tiger Woods, Barack Obama, and the Williams Sisters in the “Free Market,” White folks in America must wonder aloud, quite often: “Why are Black people still complaining?”

Well the fact of the matter is that the vast, vast majority of us are still wallowing in the mud of civilization, believing wrongly that the answer to all our problems will be solved if we “get rich or die trying.”

There are others among us whose very access to some of the delights of their lives today, come as a direct result of the Civil Rights Movement. Sadly, some such persons have turned their backs on the very souls on whose shoulders they literally stand.

One such individual is Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who expresses total disdain for the Movement and its goals, in everything he says and does on the High Court, despite the fact that in Pin Point, Georgia where he was born, Black men and boys like him were beaten (if not lynched) for committing “Eyeball Rape (just looking),” of the White woman to whom he is now married. So much for “progress.”

Not to be overlooked is the ritzy Cleveland Park neighborhood where Debra Lee, the President of Black Entertainment Television (BET), now lives in Washington. Such addresses were once sold with covenants legally prohibiting them from being sold to Black folks like her parents and grandparents. There was a time when the money of prosperous Black folks was not good enough to buy the home where she now lives.

While Justice Thomas has yet to be reckoned with by the fickle finger of fate, Debra Lee has been getting hers, right in her home stomping ground. Continue reading

Uncommon Valor from the Mississippi Mud

If there ever was an unsung symbol of courage, bravery–valor–then Lawrence Guyot is just such a symbol, who deserves the accolades and praise of an entire generation. He’s just that special.

It’s not often that you will hear these words together in a sentence: “I am a native of the Mississippi Delta who grew up in South Central Los Angeles, and I lived in the best of both worlds.”

I came to learn two things about my home state that pertain to our honoree, Lawrence Guyot, both of which make me admire him that much more.

The first is that Mississippi is really three states, not one. There are the lush hills of Central Mississippi. There is the Tropical Paradise of the Mississippi Gulf. And there is the flat, hot agricultural Delta region in the north of the state.

But truth be told, everywhere in Mississippi is still Mississippi. There are ghosts of martyred Black men and boys in every pond, in every creek. Continue reading

It takes a thug to know a thug

I can fully understand anyone’s frustration with the inaction of the police most anywhere to solve petty thefts. I had a bicycle stolen more than a year ago, and called the police to report it. The bike has not been seen or heard from since.

But the police did give me a difficult bit of advice to follow. “If you see your bicycle, don’t try to confiscate it yourself. Call the police,” the officer who took my report told me. Good advice.

Still, for months, until I bought a new bicycle, I looked at every bike I saw, straining to see an identifying mark or sign that it was mine. I carried a copy of my police report and two locks with me as I rode around town, thinking that if I saw my bike parked somewhere, I could put a lock on it so it could not be removed while I waited on the slow-as-molasses police response.

I never saw it. Eventually the compelling need to get my old bike back left me.

If that is good advice for me, a civilian, then a 22-year-veteran police officer should know that lesson better than me. In particular to Officer James Haskel.

But I suspect that Officer Haskel and a buddy of his, another veteran officer and instructor at the Police Academy, had something else in mind, when they went patrolling his neighborhood in Southeast D.C. on Sept. 17. I suspect they intended to “roll out” in his big SUV, not just to find the mini-bike which had been stolen from his garage in a gated community, but to also teach some neighborhood thugs a lesson. Continue reading

‘Blame your own leaders’

Back in 1986 when President Ronald Reagan ordered the bombing of Libya, I heard a news report and then did some reporting on my own about an interesting development at the Voice of America (VOA). It seems that as soon as the aircraft were launched from a base near London–a full eight hours before the bombs started landing, including the one which killed the adopted daughter of Libyan leader Muamar Qaddafi–the VOA’s Arabic language announcer was sequestered.

Then as the horror was unfolding and grief began to spread among the unsuspecting victims, the announcer’s voice was broadcast so that listeners in Libya could hear it telling anyone who might have been listening, that the reason they were suffering from the fire raining down from the American F-16 aircraft was “the fault of your leaders.”

At that very hour, a minor uprising (which was clearly planned to coincide with the bombing which may have been intended to kill the Libyan leader) took place in a remote Army barracks, but it was quickly put down.

The entire scenario was clearly an attempt at fomenting a rebellion, a la “Mission Impossible.” Unfortunately, the luckless conspirators who rose up on cue, were disposed of, and were never heard from again.

“Blame your own leaders,” was the U.S. message. Continue reading

Race hatred’s ugly head

Funny thing about racial perceptions: Black folks perceive the ongoing insult of racial bigotry within the American Criminal Just-Us System instantly, and will often be quick to excuse guilty perpetrators, just because they are Black. O.J. Simpson, Michael Vick, Clarence Thomas are classic examples of scoundrels who had a lot of un-deserved sympathy in the Black community, simply because they are members of what the Hon. Marcus Garvey called our “co-fraternity of race.”

But that goes both ways. Just look at the Duke lacrosse players. You’d think they were the Rutgers women’s basketball players for all the sympathy they’ve got in the land of the Blue Devils. Excuse me.

They are not choirboys who should be given the keys to the city. These White “Good Old Boys” who are dyed-in-the-wool beneficiaries of the Jesse Helms White Supremacy System down there…those racist hypocrites hired two Black female exotic dancers for a team party of debauchery, and more than likely under-age alcohol consumption, and yet the prevailing White gentry down there want them to be paid millions of dollars because the now disgraced District Attorney unjustly prosecuted these young White lads when the exotic dancer falsely accused them of rape. Excuse me.

For crying out loud! More than 200 inmates have been freed FROM DEATH ROW after DNA evidence confirmed their innocence, and they haven’t been compensated that much altogether for all their hundreds of collective years spent on death row! And these debauched, young White lechers, should get millions of dollars because they did not rape the Black stripper they hired for a bacchanal! Hey, mister. I may have been born at night, but it was not last night. Continue reading

The Sad, Anti-Semitic Truth

“The canard that a powerful Jewish lobby controls the media is a well known anti-Semitic staple,” writes Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Colbert I. King in The Washington Post. But.

The canard that a powerful Jewish lobby controls the media…is true!

First, the Mea Culpa. I regret having to repeat this out loud, but I must say what has been on my heart for a long time. I am not a hater of Jewish people. I know that I may have already crossed a line. But I am not a hater of Jewish people.

Good column Colby.

Colbert King’s column takes Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) to task for telling the September-October issue of Tikkun, an interfaith, progressive Jewish magazine, “…If you cross AIPAC, AIPAC is unforgiving and will destroy you politically. Their means of communication, their ties to certain newspapers and magazines, and to individuals in the media are substantial and intimidating.”

That’s a mouthful, also true. Continue reading

Re-defining ‘victory’ in Iraq: Permanent Occupation.

Now that The Troops have Won The Surge. The Troops are making President George W. (for Worst-in-history) Bush look good. Gen. Patraeus, Princeton Ph.D., …shaken, not stirred. A Man’s Man. General of the Army. A Fighting Man. Everybody saluting the troops and all their brass and all their medals.

America’s. No. 1. Man Law.

Now that the U.S. has Won The Surge, why don’t we just go ahead and Win The War in Iraq!? Yeah! Who’s with me?

How do we win in Iraq?

Permanent U.S. military occupation! Yeah. Let’s fight ‘em!

I’ll hold your coat.

Permanent U.S. military occupation!

This is not rocket science! Let’s do the math. The promise of The Surge last January, bought some time to wait for The Surge to get started in June. From the moments when the public voted overwhelmingly against the war, back in January, the promise of the surge bought the time up until now, Gen. Patraeus’s testimony to Congress. What can the Democrats do besides capitulate?

Guess what he said? The Surge is working. Continue reading

9/11: Terrorism, Muslim-profiling and the “enemy”

Written Sept. 20, 2001.

A “funny thing” happened to me on the way back from the U.N. World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa. Only nobody’s laughing.

The world, as I’ve known it, was turned upside-down, by two airplanes which were deliberately crashed into the Twin Towers of New York’s World Trade Center, and a third which was crashed into the very symbol of American military authority—the Pentagon.

More than a week later, thousands of people are still missing and presumed dead. It’s no laughing matter. Quite the opposite is true. There has been much gnashing of teeth, as Americans come to grips with their enormous losses.

Continue reading

After the surge…Robo-Cop

To see pictures of President George W. Bush in Iraq this week belies the reality of what life is like in that war-ravaged country.

The fact that Air Force One was able to land at Al Asad Airbase in Anbar Province, a no-man’s land for Americans just one year ago is hailed as a sign of progress that Mr. Bush’s “troop surge” is making the country more secure. No one in any of the pictures with the President is wearing flak jackets or any other kind of body armor.

Well, duh…soldiers and marines and sailors, just clear a swath of land for a photo opportunity, like the “Mission Accomplished” aircraft carrier landing in 2003 with Mr. Bush piloting a fighter plane, like the kind he avoided flying by going AWOL for most of his time in the National Guard during the Vietnam War.

At virtually every other time and place, Americans, press people, diplomats–even commanding General David Petraeus–all wear helmets, all the time, even inside the supposedly “secure” Green Zone, where the Iraqi Parliament and some U.S. civilian installations are located. It’s a war zone. A real, untamed, uncontained war.

In fact, the entire region is so hostile to the immoral U.S. aggression in Iraq, there is nowhere within 1,000 miles where an American soldier can just walk the streets and pick up souvenirs for the folks back home…or pick up prostitutes like they did during the immoral war of aggression in Vietnam 40 years ago. Continue reading

No ‘Thanks, ‘till you’re better paid’

My mother, Nola Mae Canteberry, was a dear woman. She was hard of hearing, but she was full of charming sayings, which were always just right for every occasion.

“Thanks, ‘till you’re better paid.” she’d respond to a special kindness. The kind person would always smile. “Thanks, ‘till you’re better paid.”

The hint that the reward might even be better than the payment. Sometimes, that’s all we have to hope for, and it’s rarely negotiable.

But it shouldn’t be like that in the workplace. If you’re being underpaid, you’re being ripped-off…and unfortunately, most of us are.

Face it. “Living Wage,” “Living Stage,” it doesn’t matter: if you are being paid less than $12.87 per hour, you are being way, way, underpaid, and that is in “Y2K Dollars.” This year is Y2K-7. Continue reading