The Cop, the Prof and The Prez

There’s this joke: You see, a cop, a professor, and the President walked into a bar.

On second thought, fuhgeddaboutit. It’s not really that funny. Or maybe it is. That’s because race is at the center of the story.

In real life recently, a White cop and a Black professor went to the White House for beer and conversation with POTUS, the President of the United States, who is Black.

What’s funny about that meeting is that the professor, Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr.: is a mild-mannered scholar who has bridged racial differences; is married to a White woman; and has joked about his genealogical discovery that he was part Irish, part Jewish and more White than Black.

“I don’t have a profile of being an angry black man,” Dr. Gates said after he was arrested for disorderly conduct at his own home on the Harvard University campus by Sgt. James Crowley of the Cambridge, Mass. Police. Continue reading

Farrakhan on Michael Jackson

Minister Louis Farrakhan, July 26, 2009

CHICAGO–Minister Louis Farrakhan preached a sermon July 26 about “The Crucifixion of Michael Jackson.”

That’s a curious subject.

As I awaited the Minister’s entrance, three sisters came forward offering a singing tribute to Michael Jackson. It was thrilling! It was almost too good to be something you’d expect at a religious service.

But then again, what would choirs of angels look and sound like anyway?

At your typical Nation of Islam meeting, you always hear shouts and cheers, from the faithful–they call it “Bearing Witness to The Truth.” Their enthusiasm adds an exciting element to his lecture. “Teach us!” “Wake us up!” it’s almost like being at a live concert or a sports event.

Min. Farrakhan’s subject: “Crucifixion of Michael Jackson.” Why compare MJ to crucifixion of Jesus, the Minister asked. Continue reading

Henry Louis Gates: meet Carl Rowan

Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., the “Dean” of American “Public Intellectuals,” was humiliated in his own home when he was arrested recently by Cambridge police investigating a possible break-in.

Some White person just couldn’t believe that a Black man could be the resident of his beautiful home on the university grounds, so they called the police to report an obviously suspicious Black man trying to force his way into the house. It’s a bad enough social disgrace that the neighbor did not know who his or her neighbor was.

What makes things worse in this case is that it appears that all the way up the chain of responsibility and all the way back down, the White folks involved behaved badly, like White folks, like out of control White folks, and yet it is the Black man who got locked up in the deal. Continue reading

Cynthia McKinney’s no martyr

Cynthia McKinney back in Washington, July 8, 2009

Former six-term Congress member Cynthia McKinney is no martyr. Although the political establishment gives her “no respect,” she is no Rodney Dangerfield. Her plight is identical to that of millions of people around the world.

Snakebit, is an accurate way of describing the scorn in which she is held throughout the corporate-owned media.

For an entire week she languished in an Israeli jail, with only e-mail notices reporting on her whereabouts and her well being. No helicopter gun-ships were sent off the offending country’s coast. No warships. Not even any threatening diplomatic language.

On June 28 out on the open seas, a boat on which she was a passenger was hijacked by Israeli Defense Forces and the 21 persons on board–including Ms. McKinney and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire were arrested. The boat was carrying humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip and it was captured on the open seas!

“This is Cynthia McKinney and I’m speaking from an Israeli prison cellblock in Ramle. [I am one of] the Free Gaza 21, human rights activists currently imprisoned for trying to take medical supplies to Gaza, building supplies – and even crayons for children, I had a suitcase full of crayons for children,” Ms. McKinney said in a statement released by the Green Party July 4. Continue reading

Remembering why, I Like Mike

Good. Michael Jackson, Jan. 16, 2004

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t “Like Mike.”

Even though men aren’t quick to confess it, there was probably a time in every boy’s life when that boy still believed in Santa Claus, when he thought he’d like to fly like Peter Pan (or some other fantasy-land character) and when he thought fairies (or some other fantasy-land characters) would make fine friends.

That’s the substance of the worst thing you can say about 50-year-old Michael Jackson: he lived in a fantasy world, where he never grew up.

I like mike.

I once compared the Million Man March to Michael Jackson.

I unsuccessfully argued to an executive producer of a network news broadcast, that just as Michael Jackson was the first American Superstar who sang Black Music in a Black body; the Million Man March was the first grassroots movement expressing the “body” of Black discontent, which had a Black “head” on the body.

The editor wasn’t buying it. While conceding that American vocal superstars Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley both arguably sang Black Music, and that Michael Jackson’s accomplishments had certainly equaled or surpassed those two Original, Old School American Idols, that was as far as I was permitted to go with my metaphor. Continue reading

Holocaust murder: where is the shame?

It was an ugly scenario. A White racist killed a Black man at a Jewish shrine. At a shrine intended to remind the world of an unthinkable horror, the murder, the extermination of millions of people simply because they were Jewish. Where is the shame?

It happened here at the Holocaust Memorial Museum June 10, an 88-year-old avowed White supremacist and neo-Nazi, an ardent denier that the Holocaust even took place, allegedly took a gun so old to the museum that it could not even be traced, where it is alleged, he shot Stephen Johns, a 39-year-old security police officer in the chest, mortally wounding the innocent man.

The shooter, James von Brunn was shot in the face when other guards returned fire. He has been charged with first-degree murder, which seems to kind because of the depth of hate which fueled his alleged crime. Authorities believe he will survive his wounds.

But his own son has disavowed the shameful act, saying the shooting was unforgivable and he wished his father had died instead of the guard. Erik von Brunn told ABC’s “Good Morning America,” that he and his father shared a bond of familial love, but that they didn’t like each other. The interview followed ABC’s earlier release of comments by the son that his father had long burdened their family with his white supremacist views. His is a powerful disavowal of his own father which should embarrass all his father’s right-wing ideological “fellow travelers,” who carry similar, ugly baggage.

But there are many others who think like the elder von Brunn. They reside in all levels of government, and the corporate world. They were judge’s robes. They administer programs. They are legislators. They are CEOs. They’re on TV, radio. Continue reading

When the terrorists win

The murder of security guard Stephen Johns at the U.S. Holocaust Museum June 10 by an 88-year-old racist who is a well-known neo-Nazi, coupled with the fallout from the assassination of abortion provider, Dr. George Tiller IN CHURCH recently, makes me feel we are definitely seeing the unfettered rise of White hate groups–fascists, Nazis.  The anti-abortionists are eager to send a signal to “baby killers,” by not condemning the assassination (some even claimed “victory”) while the abortion clinic was permanently closed. That leaves other abortion providers quaking in their boots. The silence of the anti-abortionists makes them as complicit in the crime as were those who aided John Wilkes Booth when he fled through the Maryland Eastern Shore after murdering Abraham Lincoln in Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC in April 1865.

Did anyone ever wonder “what happens when the terrorists win?” We’re seeing the answer to that question right before our eyes with these murders, by folks who would not otherwise be considered “terrorists,” because they are not Muslims, because their skin is White. Violence against innocent persons in order to bring about a desired political outcome is the definition of terrorism! I do not support abortion. I believe it is a disgusting form of “birth control” foisted on the poor by the rich, but it is LEGAL.

Murdering someone who provides a lawful service in order to affect the political climate is TERRORISM, pure and simple, and the Tim McVeigh-wannabes, and the rest of this murderers “fellow travelers,” the anti-government, anti-tax, Obama hatin’ extremists of the anti-abortion movement are just as guilty as this right-wing, supremacist, convicted felon who pulled the trigger.

What happens when the terrorists win? Indeed! In this country, some of them escape the law, grow old and murder security guards.

Cheney v. Powell: Chicken-Hawk v. War Hero

Well, I guess the future of the Republican Party has now been forever sealed. Chicken Hawk Dick “Lord Darth Vader” Cheney says he’d rather follow pill-popping broadcaster Rush “I Hope (Obama) Fails” Limbaugh over a cliff into an abyss rather than decorated combat veteran and former Joint Chiefs chairman Colin Powell if he has to march into political battle over the future of the Republican Party.

So this, with Mr. Limbaugh’s body slam of Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele, followed by Mr. Steele’s two apologies–one just for even being born, the other for questioning the Corpulent Radio Commentator–makes the score: Rabid-Nutty-Right-Wing Republicans 2 vs. Black Republicans -2 (would be Zero except for the apologia).

“If I had to choose in terms of being a Republican, I’d go with Rush Limbaugh. My take on it was Colin had already left the party. I didn’t know he was still a Republican,” Shoot-Friend-in-the-Face-on-Friendly-Hunting-Trip; Tell-Pat-Leahy-to-go-F***-Yourself-on-the-Senate-Floor Darth said, when asked about the verbal fisticuffs between the “Brown Bomber” and the “Pillsbury Dough Boy” on CBS’s “Face The Nation.”

Mr. Powell–secretary of state under President George W. (for Worst in History) Bush and the nation’s top soldier under his father, President George H.W. Bush–endorsed Democrat Barack Obama for president last year. Nonetheless, since the election he has described himself as a Republican and a right-of-center conservative, though “not as right as others would like.”

Mr. Powell’s remarks seem more “correct” than they are purely “right.”

A Justice like Thurgood Marshall

Now that Justice David Souter has announced his retirement from the Supreme Court, I’ve been thinking about the retirement announcement 18-years ago, of Justice Thurgood Marshall. He was salty, and he took no prisoners that day. Me, the “Race Man” in attendance, I was a little put-off by his brusque, almost bitter comments about race.

“My dad told me way back that you can’t use race,” Justice Marshall snapped when pressed as to whether or not his successor should be Black. “For example, there’s no difference between a white snake and a black snake. They’ll both bite. So I don’t want to use race as an excuse.” Ouch. Continue reading

Do we love Michelle more than Barack?

Truth veiled, Michelle Obama: Capitol Women's Power

It was a thrilling event, the unveiling of the bust of Sojourner Truth in Emancipation Hall of the new U.S. Capitol Visitor’s Center. While it was a decidedly Black affair–organized for the most part by Dr. E. Faye Williams and her troops in the National Congress of Black Women, I also detected what felt like a strong “feminist (if not Suffragist)” sentiment in the room.

First Lady Michelle Obama (whose family was the largest single private donor to the years-long project) was the really big star of the show bar none: which included three of the four most powerful women in America (Oprah was not there) Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), and Oscar-winning actress Cicely Tyson.

Now, I could be wrong about this, but it seems like the ovation for Secretary Clinton was equal to that given to the absent President Barack Obama himself. Hm-m-m.

The late Dr. C. Delores Tucker, founder of NCBW would have been ecstatic!