I Cried Last Night . . .

November 5, 2008

When Senator Obama surpassed the 270 electoral vote mark, I shed a tear. There were tears of joy, jubilation, exuberance . . . of love. I cried as I thought about my father, my oldest brother and youngest sister, my two nephews I grew up with, my grandparents and all of my relatives and friends who were smiling from Up Above. I wished so much that they could have been here to witness and share this moment with loved ones. I thanked God that my Moms was still living to see this historical day. I cried last night . . .

I shed a tear because the Revolution was finally televised. And it was beautiful! It embraced Blacks, Whites, Hispanics, Asians, Africans, young, old, various lifestyles, etc . . . it embraced America, the diversity of a country. I cried as the world celebrated and realized that America had turned a corner. The Revolution was televised!

I cried for every Black parent who had ever told their son(s) or daughter(s) that they could be anything they wanted to be. It was encouragement. My father and mother were two of those parents. I have known many others and often wonder, did they really believe that. I, like so many of us, saw my parents bust their butts to just put food on our table and keep a roof over our heads. I remember my mother working two or three jobs, cleaning houses and toilets, and still raising ten kids. But they kept encouraging, they kept believing. That encouragement has a face today. I cried last night . . .

I cried as I thought about August 28, 1963. The day Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said from the Mall on Washington that he had a dream! And that dream arrived on November 4, 2008. My thoughts go to April 3, 1968 when I listen to the radio with my mother. It was Dr. King’s “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech. I can visualize last night with him, Coretta, Malcolm X, A. Phillip Randolph and many others, including Barack’s mother and grandparents, looking down from the Promised Land with an approving and effervescent smile on their faces and a tear in their eye. Yeah Martin, you reached and brought us to the Promised Land. I cried for April 4, 1968, when Dr. King died for a people. How he and many others must be so proud today.

I cried last night for Jesse Jackson. His tears were real and tears of happiness, tears of memories not forgotten. Many may disagree, but last night Jesse Jackson came home. He knew he was one of the many conduits to last night’s moment.

I cried last night as I looked at the college kids at Howard University and Spelman. They screamed, yelled and cried . . . and on all of their faces, I saw “Hope and Determination” and not despair or gloom. I saw the future! I saw my kids one day making a difference!

I cried last night . . . for American, for History, for Change, for A Better Day!

I cried last night . . .

The Coming Civil War

September 18, 2008

Guest Blogger – Shelley Martinez

 

I am scared for this country because we are headed for a civil war centered on abortion. The Right and especially the Religious Right wants this war. They are especially energized with the selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate. Sarah Palin is a theocrat, meaning she and many Evangelicals do not believe in separation of Church and State. They want to implement a biblical form of government; and create a truly Christian nation modeled after ancient Israel, where there is no secular government. Evangelicals and hard right people are absolutely giddy about Sarah Palin. She is their “Moses.” Many had planned on sitting out this election, but not anymore. John McCain may think he is in charge of his party but he is not. The Religious Right doesn’t care about McCain. They are tolerating him until Sarah, their “chosen” one, is rightfully installed as President. McCain is neither that healthy nor hardy. If I were McCain, I would be very scared that the theocrats weren’t trying to hasten his demise.

 

For the Evangelical Right, the anti-abortion issue is the seminal cultural/political/social issue of this time. They liken this issue to the anti-slavery movement of the early 19th century. They see themselves as modern day abolitionists. The Left and many in the press are not sufficiently aware of how volatile this issue is and how ardent the Religious Right is to wage a war on this issue. They are making traction on this issue within the Republican Party. Many of the moderates are being pushed out or being marginalized. Before Sarah Palin was selected, the Republican brand was seriously in jeopardy. Many, including the Religious Right, were disillusioned with George W. Bush. He had the Supreme Court, the Executive and Legislative branches and yet, still did not overturn Roe v. Wade. The Neo-cons have always been much more interested in waging war and making obscene amounts of money in oil and defense contracting rather than pushing a cultural agenda. They pay lip service to pro-life positions but frankly they aren’t particularly vested in the issue. They dangle the issue out there to keep the Religious Right in their pocket but they never had any intention of changing the status quo. Sarah Palin changes the game. The Religious Right will no longer patiently wait for abolition. Those in the pro-choice crowd who don’t recognize the danger are doomed to be drawn into a war. 

 

Apart from preventing John McCain and Sarah Palin from reaching the White House, the only way to stave off this war is to compromise. Both sides will need to make big concessions. Neither side will win because both are operating from a zero-sum game but compromise will happen at some point – before or after the war. What will the Left have to concede? 

 

1. Partial birth abortion – gone. Completely.

2. No more abortions unless in cases of rape and incest or the life of the mother is in jeopardy. No more abortions even if the fetus has genetic abnormalities.

3. Finally, ban embryonic stem cell research. There are advances in stem cell research that will negate the need for the use of embryos.

 

What will the Right have to concede?

 

1. Abortion will only be allowed in cases of rape and incest or the life of the mother is in jeopardy.

2. A real commitment in terms of legislation and funding will have to provide a cushion for women who are in poverty or near poverty. The major reason for most women who seek abortion is immediate and long-term finances.

2a. Universal healthcare for all US children.

2b. Free childcare and/or pre-school for all children until they reach elementary school age.

2c. Provide 24 months of paid maternity leave from the Federal Government. This burden cannot be put on employers because childbearing women would never be employed. Of course, most people on the Right will cry about the massive spending this will require but if we are to believe they care about more than the fetus, then they need to put their money where their mouth is.

3. Abandon Abstinence-Only education. I know the Right would like to believe that all modern teen-agers will forego sexual relations if they receive abstinence-only education, but the statistics show that this approach has been a big failure. Frankly, I find this head-in-the-sand approach bewildering considering the amount of extramarital, premarital and unmarried co-habitation that occurs among adults. If the adults can’t control themselves, what makes them think that hormonal, impulsive teens are going to be paragons of virtue? If abortion is severely curtailed, young people need to understand how to prevent unwanted pregnancy.

4. Finally, this last concession is not a clear Right vs. Left fight. The death penalty should not be allowed to be consistent with a pro-life position. If the unborn cannot be aborted, then the living, no matter how reprehensible, should not be executed. 

 

The compromise will be difficult for those invested on both sides, but I dare say we are approaching the time where this issue will have to be dealt with. Our country will not be able to dodge this bullet. 

 

The Prospect of Acceptance

September 9, 2008

Guest Blogger – Ricky D.

John (et. Al.),


Let me first thank you for the opportunity to write a few words (this time few will be used as the operative term – lol). With so much happening in the political world and so much focus on Sarah Palin, it is hard for me not to write about politics. I want to focus on something else but I simply find it hard to do – at least until I realized that my heart was not in politics, but in community . . . and my heart always moves me to write. I suppose what encouraged me initially about the prospect of Barack Obama becoming President was the same thing that compelled most people – hope. However, I soon realized that what compelled my unflinching and total support was not hope, but the prospect of being accepted by the communities that I have lived in since I was 14 years old.


“My friends” (sorry, couldn’t resist at least one poke at the Republican Party – between that and the POW story, don’t you want to just say – ENOUGH ALREADY?!!!), my district in Texas represented the last of the Texas school districts to execute federal and state desegregation laws. My district fought hard to prevent “mixing” and the old money in my small white town (mine was just slightly larger and more diverse (18% black) than Sarah’s . . . I don’t think she represents my small town values!).  Anyway, in the third grade we begin school busing of African Americans to schools with facilities that were leaps-and-bounds above the black elementary school my wife of 28 years and I attended. I took a placement test immediately upon entry (guess they wanted to know which special education course I needed to attend) and the school decided that I needed to actually be in the fifth grade and proposed the same to my Mom and Dad, who wisely opted for me to remain where my age said I belonged. My parents had “vision” and understood that if I was ahead of my fellow third grade students, I would remain so and would secure a scholarship for college; they were right and wise. I am grateful for their decision, but I do remember the anguish that came with being in all white advance classes for all but 2 years in a segregated school and one semester out of 10 years in a desegregated one. It was hard to fit in with white students during academics and black friends during athletics. I fought a lot in those days . . . first, the white kids who dared call me anything but Mr. Clay and then the black kids in track and basketball who dared call me an Oreo! I never truly fit into any community . . . I know so many kids of color who felt/feel the same.


I have read about the hope that Barack brings to the young black child; truly his achievement will say we can do anything, despite the fact we make up less than 2% of CEOs, never had a black VP, black Senate majority leader, black chief justice. I could go on, but you get my point, right? His achievement will make those others possible . . . but I digress. I know the hope he brings to that cause, but I choose to think about how he would have helped me fit in where I never seemed to. I choose to think that the neighborhood he moves into will help ease the scars of the neighborhood treatment from both communities of my youth – black and white.


You see, Barack represents those youth who have been victimized because they wanted good grades but lived in a community that did not understand why or felt that goal was not of the right “persuasion.” Barack’s elevation represents those small town youth who were educated in a community that despised the intrusion of the wrong “persuasion” into their community. He represents an educational bridge to show the former that there was a reason and the goal is sound and to show the latter that opportunity transcends color. He represents healing for so many of us who wanted to be more but were suggested as much less. Like Vitamin E, his ascension will help to erase my community scars and provide hope that where I am educated, where I live and even where I might reside after life, will be measured by more than the melanin in my skin.


I know this sentiment seems simplistic but look beyond the words to the semantics and beyond the semantics to heart where hope is born and where it creates. It is here you will find my true message – we have a chance to heal the divisions of communities and accept ALL issues (black, white or otherwise) as American issues! It is here that I find the message of hope that Barack brings, and where I find the hope of community. For the first time in my life, I can see my house on the hill in the middle of the “houses on the hill” with no regard for the color that resides within. Maybe if we can get a Black man in the community of the White House, we can get black and white communities beyond the sum of their colors and outside the division of race and politics.

 

In this hope, I reminisce on my past and look to the future. Perhaps my sons will find their place, some place, beyond the same place.


Rickey D.

Desire, Determination and Aspiration

August 23, 2008

Father: Son, you can be whatever you want to be when you grow up. Sky is the limit!

Son: Really, daddy.

Father: Sure boy, with hard work, motivation and determination, you can do anything you set your heart to be.

Son: Daddy, I want to be the first Black president in America.

Father: (After a smile and slight grin) Well boy, you can almost be anything you want to be.

 

That was an abbreviated conversation I heard between a father and son when I was stationed at Shaw AFB, South Carolina (1988 – 90). Of course, I didn’t think much of the conversation at the time. I loved the fact that this father, this black man, was encouraging his son to be somebody, to do something positive with his life.

But I was more impressed with the son. He had to be all of ten years old and the excitement and enthusiasm in his dancing eyes were refreshing to see. I didn’t see much of that in Sumter, SC during my two plus years there. So it was nice to see this young man with so much eagerness to be somebody at such an early age. I loved their father-son relationship and I wonder sometimes if that young kid is still pursuing his dream of being president one day.

No, that young man was not Barack Obama. Barack and I are the same age. God-willing, Barack Obama will be the first Black president in American history. And in doing so, I hope many young Black kids who don’t have encouraging parents or role-models use his achievement as a stepping stone, a motivator to succeed and achieve as well.

I can envision an Obama victory giving young Black kids the desire to achieve, the determination to succeed and the aspiration to do what others doubt they can do. Too often, the picture painted in America for young people of color is dismal, gloomy and discouraging, at best. Newspapers, news shows, blogs and magazine articles constantly beat us up with the daunting and disheartening reports and commentaries on the grim future of young minorities. Of course, how can we expect a person of color to thrive in America when they constantly hear about the bleak expectations placed on them by their fellow Americans.

I viewed CNN’s Black in America and to me it was lukewarm and missed the mark. But quite frankly, in CNN’s defense, the only way to truly do a great piece that hit all facets of Black life in America is to do a two-hour show every day for 30 days. Sixty hours of TV and that still may only scratch the surface.

Recently, while in my hometown of Memphis, TN, there were five shootings within minutes of each other. Four of the shootings occurred in the ‘hood I grew up in. The same ‘hood my mom has lived for the past 70 years. In the center of this carnage was a 16 year old African-American boy. I don’t know his involvement, but that was too wild to me. Additionally, in Jacksonville, FL, they endured 10 shootings in a 4 day period. How do we reconcile this type of behavior?

Life will always be about surviving, but surviving the rat race should never be the major desire of any person. That’s why I believe a Barack win is important. If he wins, it’s not about grooming the next Black president; it’s about providing that needed desire, determination and aspiration to succeed in the land of opportunity. Maybe his victory doesn’t groom the next minority president, women included, but maybe it will produce more young minorities to seek political office, to become doctors, attorneys, CEOs, educators, etc.

I, like many others, have always believed the time is now. I have never bought into the concept that America is not ready. More than anything, I personally think it’s the worst time in American history to be president. But I would love to see someone who looks like me to sit in that office. And I hope and pray his selection will create a movement of positivity amongst America’s young minorities.

And yes, I do care about the issues. But I also care about the future of America and the future of young minorities who will help shape this country.

An Obama win represents the America of today and the America of tomorrow.

Can one person make a difference? I wonder, where would be without Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gracing our presence.

Black in America, Part I

July 24, 2008

Disclaimer: This article is about the Education segment of CNN’s Black in America. I think the whole show was important and speak volumes to a small part of the challenges that face us as African-Americans.

 

Did you watch Black in America? If not, why not? I joke, but it’s an important question. I’m an education freak, to a fault. My nieces and nephews, cousins, great nieces and nephews, and my own two kids hate when I get on my “soapbox” about education being the key to the future. And yes, I will be the first to say I do over do it sometimes.

But I’m the biggest advocate of shows that enforce the importance of education to African-Americans. Why? If change is truly the key to success today, we need to start somewhere. I have never bought into the theory that everyone is not cut out for college. No, it’s not a cop out, but when we constantly buy into the negative or the reason why we can’t do something, I think it’s a defeatist attitude . . . an attitude that prematurely drains the hope from our youth. Sometimes I think positive enforcement for us is hard because it is different. The negative is something we are used to, the norm. A norm that needs to be broken.

I wholeheartedly love what Harvard professor, Roland Fryar, is doing to help the kids in Brooklyn latch on to education. He is investing both time and money into the future in the hopes these kids will forever love education and testing and hope it leads to success.

A brain is a terrible thing to waste! The United Negro College Fund used to repeatedly show that commercial. So much so it became a cliché, a running joke. Maybe that’s why it disappeared from TV. It would have been nice to see commercials that said, “What does education do for you? Create opportunities, open more doors and broadened your horizons.”

That’s what I think of Mr. Fryar and many like him. They are making sure those brains are not wasted. I hope his experiment works. I’m still hoping for money to fall from the sky so I can start the John Wooden Educational Fund. Its coming one day, hopefully soon J. Mr. Fryar, please keep doing what you are doing and God Bless.

Another disclaimer: I, like everyone else, know many brothas and sistahs who are successful without a college education. I applaud them! I take my hat off, salute, hug and praise them! But each and every one of them will tell you it wasn’t easy. And a college education doesn’t make it easy. It creates Opportunities—maybe I should say more opportunities. But we want to preach everything that kids can do, but the one ingredient we frequently forget to mention is education.

Let me share a tale of two stories. Two enlisted Airmen with over twenty years of military experience retiring at the same time. One with bachelor’s and master’s degrees and a job waiting for him with a starting salary of $105k per year. The other, equally knowledgeable and skillful, but with no degrees, not even an associate’s degree, and unfortunately, very limited job opportunities. Where once over twenty years of military experience guaranteed a retiree a job. Now, for many companies, military experience is not enough; it’s expected, especially for a twenty years or more retiree, to have some type of degree.

The above example proves that the world is changing, expectations are changing and no one is immune to the changes. We can jump on the boat and see where it sails, or we can let it float by. But we can’t afford to sit down and complain about the proverbial man or anyone else. The kids are our future. We as parents have to share the blame if we don’t try to encourage our kids to better prepare themselves through education. I know this is only one facet of the many tangibles our kids need, but it’s an important facet. For some, this is the beginning of the barriers and obstacles falling down.

I’m tired of seeing stats about the disparities between whites with a college degree and blacks with a degree or even the disparities between educated black women versus educated black men. I’m tired of having conversations with people who look like me who can think of a thousand and one reasons why we can’t do something, but can’t think of one reason why we should do something. I’m tired of Black folks being surprised another Black person is a CEO, COO, CFO, mayor, governor, senator, head coach, doctor, nurse, attorney and the list goes on. Yes, many of us have succeeded in a chosen profession. Yes, many of us have graduated college and chose a “career path.”

Right now, I have partners, relatives, associates and so many others saying one thing, “Damn, doesn’t John know it’s not all about education!” Truthfully, I do know this, but I also know it tears down fences, knocks down walls and shatters glass ceilings that we continue to face and will continue to face for years to come.

And no, this is not a band-aid, it’s a solution. How great a solution? Only time will tell. Each one, teach one! Continue to encourage the next generations.

 

Please share your opinions and thoughts!

 

John A. Wooden

An Eye for a Deadly Eye

http://www.jwooden.com

Welcome Home…

February 25, 2008

My father once told me the only thing he didn’t like about growing older was seeing the people he loved fade or die away. I was young at the time and truly didn’t understand. His father, my grandfather, had just died, a year after my grandmother had died. It was the only time I ever saw my father shed a tear.

Years later, I would understand fully what my father meant. As I have grown older and have dealt with the deaths of my father, oldest brother, youngest sister, two nephews I grew up with and many other relatives too numerous to count, I have come to appreciate relationships, life and those who have made a difference in my life.

We all try our best to show our appreciation to those we love and those who have influenced our lives. Sometimes that task is easy, often times, over years, its the hardest thing in the world to do. Writing has been one of those mechanisms for me to show that appreciation.

When I was writing my first mystery novel, A Moment of Justice, it didn’t take me much deliberating to know who I wanted to portray the FBI Deputy Director in my novel. I didn’t want to use a made-up name, so I called a good friend. A retired Chief Master Sergeant from the Air Force named Elliot Lucas.

Elliot and I had met in 1990 at Clark Air Base, the Philippines, several years before his retirement. Though I was a Captain and almost 20 years younger, and he was the Chief, we had a rapport and formed a friendship. I had respect for Elliot, the “E” man. And though he would retire several years later, he still made it a point to share his military and life experiences with me. I became a better officer and person thanks to the Chief.

The life he lived was to be envious of. He loved life and loved living, never stressed and was the epitome of calmness. I used to wonder if he really had a pulse. When I would visit or see him after his retirement, I would always ask him when he planned on getting a job. And he would always say, I’m get a job soon. I would always smile and shake my head at the “E” man. Soon turned into five or six years after he retired from the Air Force.

Elliot was flattered when I asked him to use his name as my Deputy Director. He told me I didn’t have to and I let him know it was my honor and prestige . . . and it was. E liked the book and the character “Elliot Lucas.” That pleased me. And though Deputy Director Lucas was described as six foot five and 260 pounds to the real Elliot’s slightly five ten or eleven foot frame, the cool and calm, never stress persona was transformed to the character in the novel. I actually smile when I think of the real Elliot and the make believe Deputy Director.

E and I lost contact a couple of years ago. I shot him an email every six months or so and never heard back. A couple of weeks ago I received an email from a very good friend of Elliot’s and she informed me the “E” man had died.

The news caught me by surprise. Ironically, my heart was already heavy because my children were dealing with the pending death of their great aunt, their grandmother’s twin sister, in Georgia. I sat at my desk after I heard the news and my mind wandered to what my father had told me years before . . . the only thing I dislike about getting older is seeing the people I love and respect fade or die away.

Retired US Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Elliot Lucas will be buried on 28 February 2008 at Arlington National Cemetery. A fitting place of rest for my friend, the Quiet Warrior, the “E” man.

And as I write this, I was informed by my children that their great aunt, Willene Bivins, was called home.

May you both rest in peace and thanks . . . for the love, mentorship and friendship.

God Bless and may your wings of love continue to soar

Racism and the Media

November 20, 2007

This is my unabashed version of an article I wrote for the local Black magazine in Albuquerque. A sistah and I write Opposing Views on various issues. This issue asks the question, “Is the media racist?” She took the stance that the media isn’t racist, its only African-Americans like Al Sharpton who exacerbate the issues. I disagreed and wrote the opposing view. I am hoping she will give in and let me post her views on my blog. I hope all of you weigh in and add a comment, pro or con . . . y’all know I can be radical at times J.

“The revolution will not be televised,” were the words first echoed by Gil Scott Heron in 1970. It was a poem/song that spoke of the times during that era. Mr. Heron knew then what we know today: the media is not a voice for Black America.

During a time when racism is running rampant across America, the media is consistently sidestepping the issue. The plight of the Jena 6 in a small racially divided town in Louisiana was networked throughout the nation and world via the internet and African-American radio shows such as the Michael Baisden Show, and the Tom Joyner Morning and Steve Harvey Morning Shows. The Megan Williams’ rape and brutalization by six white males and females in West Virginia received a cursory mention by major media outlets, but the internet and the same radio shows have been the catalysts in informing America.

These are just a couple of a myriad of issues the media has failed to inform. In a country where the most overused cliché is, Don’t shoot the messenger, we wish we had a messenger in the media to even consider shooting. Of course, metaphorically.

Is the media racist?

During a writers’ conference, a reporter with one of the national newspapers was asked the question, “Why does the media mention the race of a minority in the first paragraph of an article, but doesn’t mention the race at all of a white person?”

The reporter looked around the room before he answered. I’m sure checking out the makeup (nationalities) of his audience. After seconds that seemed like minutes, he finally answered. “It used to be responsible reporting,” he started. “But now it’s more majority rule. Pure numbers wise, there are more whites in America than any other race of people and when editors approve an article, that’s their take, you never need to mention the race of the majority, it’s implied.”

Other questions were asked and it was also mentioned that the race of minorities such as African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans added shock value to an article. The reporter would not say it was racist, instead preferring to say he never thought about it.

And that was something I could believe, he never thought about it. When it doesn’t affect you or your nationality, why think about it. Responsible reporting has become a thing of the past. Shock value sells and mentioning a Black man as a possible suspect in a serious crime has always instilled fear in the hearts of American citizens. See Susan Smith and a host of other crimes that Black men were falsely accused. Jeffrey Dahmer killed and cut-up over thirty men, mostly African-Americans, and was never portrayed as a menace to society by the media. However, Michael Vick and his cruelty towards dogs were often referred to as the African-American quarterback and a thug. Responsible reporting?

Don’t shoot the messenger! If only I had a viable messenger to shoot. That would mean a message was being delivered. And though I may not always like the message, at least I would be more informed. I wouldn’t have to surf the internet or hope I receive an e-mail telling me about a young Black girl’s arm being broken in California because a white security guard didn’t like her missing a few crumbs off a school cafeteria floor or hear about the Jena 6 situation via Black radio shows. Responsible reporting, if you say so.

Is the media racist?

The truth of the matter is responsible reporting has been replaced by shock value reporting and has been for the past three decades. In major cities, Black radio shows have surged and profited from the media’s lack of responsible reporting. Though this may be good for Tom Joyner and Steve Harvey, and more informative for Blacks in major cities, it also continues to add to the racial divide and harmony in America. In 2007, there should be more racial harmony, but harmony doesn’t sell newspapers or news/talk shows. Ask Bill O’Reilly about that. He’s still surprised we can eat in a restaurant like people without screaming the MF word. But O’Reilly and the likes of Rush Limbaugh are bringing you the spin on the nation’s news.

The revolution may not be televised, but thanks to the internet, e-mail, YouTube, Joyner, Harvey, Joe Madison and Michael Baisden, the revolution will be more informed.

Each One, Teach One

October 10, 2007

“Dad, thank you for raising me right!” Those were the words my son surprised me with recently. Living in Georgia, he was staying with his grandmother while she recovered from back surgery. One day, several doors down, two carloads of young Black females were jumping on another female. Apparently, the fight was over the affections of a boy. Wow, even today, young girls are still fighting over boys. Who would have thought? But those seven words said and meant a lot to me. My soon-to-be 21-year-old son and I haven’t always agreed, but it does my heart good to know he gets it. As parents, I think that’s all we ask for is for our kids to get it.

I look at the situation down in Jena, Louisiana, with the Jena 6; the young Black woman raped and brutalized in West Virginia; and the school security guards attacking and breaking the wrist of the sixteen-year-old female student in Palmdale, California, for not picking up all of the crumbs from a cake and I shake my head. I seriously wonder, are our children getting it or is the system seriously broken? And the answer to both questions may be seriously flawed and not as easy to answer as I or anyone else would like to think.

Many of us 35 and older grew up on phrases like each one, teach one; each one, reach one; and it takes a village to raise a child. Phrases that meant something and were more than just words.

Someone recently inferred that some of our children might deserve to be disrespected because they don’t respect themselves. I bark at this inference. I have faith in our children. I think too often we as adults forget we were once teenagers and there were adults who didn’t have faith in us, but there were others who truly believed in each one, teach one and it takes a village to raise a child.

What do I believe in? I believe the glass is half-full and not half-empty. We as a people (African-Americans) are like other nationalities. We have problems, we have issues and yes, we have challenges. The kids are our future and I still believe the future is bright. I have to and if you are a parent, you also have to believe! A race and nation without hope is a race and nation without a future.

Do your children get it? First question probably should be — do you get it?

From teen pregnancies to gang violence to youth illiteracy to fatherless homes to young men/women in jail, we have challenges. But like all challenges, they can be overcome. And to overcome any challenge, it takes a positive attitude, an ability to face the issue and the willpower to take on the world; because our children are our most valuable commodities and assets.

We can talk forever about each one, reach one, but bottom line, it starts with us — parents and believers. It’s up to us to make sure our children get it. We must have the right attitude and realize the world owes us nothing, but we do owe our kids. We owe them a good upbringing, an education, love, a positive attitude and a lesson about the Man Above.

And when you hear someone say collectively that our kids don’t respect themselves and you know they have kids, let them know that that collectively they also represents their kids.

My father once told me that struggle teaches character, and character teaches strength. Our kids have their struggles and it just may be worst than our struggle growing up. Why do I say this? At least we knew we had a struggle . . . our kids today do not know nor do they want to know.

Am I my brother’s keeper? If I truly give a damn, I am! That’s why I teach. And if you practice each one, teach one and the only one(s) you teach is your child(ren), then I say the glass is still half-full. And why not be your child’s keeper!

 B good and do something original today, hug a child!

A THOUGHT OR TWO

September 3, 2007

Needless to say, I love reading and writing. However, more than anything else, I just love life and seeing life transpires. But before I get to my thoughts, just a shout out to my homeboy, Eric Jerome Dickey. EJD has the books of the year: his two-part series, Sleeping With Strangers and Waking With Enemies was da bomb and the reads of the summer. The publishing industry is looking for another great African-American mystery writer, besides Walter Mosley, and as much as I want to be that author, EJD just might beat me to it . . . lol. To me, his best work in a while! Other writers not withstanding, of course.

Now my couple of thoughts — dogfighting and politics.

Presently, it’s fashionable to come down on Michael Vick, especially if you are an African-American. I can’t and won’t do it. I hope Vick redeems himself and gets his life back on track. I look at this whole thing and shake my head. Michael Vick has replaced O.J. Simpson and Barry Bonds as the most hated man in America. And for what? Dogfighting! What he did was despicable and I am not condoning his actions, but I’m still amazed at the simple fact he may actually get more time than real criminals who commit crimes against real people. I have listened to several interviews by members of PETA and everything they wanted Vick to say in his apology, he said. Interesting. But in 2007, don’t be misinformed, especially by the media. Dogfighting is not the new sport of Black males. Anti-dogfighting activists estimate 40,000 humans throughout the U.S. are participating in illegal dogfighting, which only 5% or less are minorities (includes Blacks and Hispanics). Though dogfighting has been around for the last four centuries or more, is it fair that a person of color is the one being used as the scapegoat?

Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as well as New Mexico’s Governor Bill Richardson are seeking the Democratic Presidential nomination. Interesting scenario: three minorities — an African-American, a female and a Hispanic. Is America ready for a minority or possibly, two minorities running the country? Ironically, I wonder if other minorities are ready to cast a vote for someone who looks like them.

Funny, a good number of females don’t think Hillary can represent them and some African-Americans do not think Obama is black enough. Sorry, Obama, can’t help you with that one, because I truly don’t know what that means myself . . . lol. But the question is, “Is America really ready for a change?” White males have always run America . . . are Americans ready to give someone besides a white male an opportunity to so-called lead the people.

My vote is not cheap, so if a candidate, regardless of party affiliation, wants to impress me and possibly other voters, then they would spend several days in Jena, Louisiana, not politicking, but actually finding out about the real story of the racial strife in the small rural Southern town. There are several stories floating around about the blacks teens jailed and whether their jailing and trials have anything to do with the school system and the hanging tree. Fact: three hangmen’s nooses dangling from a tree met African-American students who tried sitting on the white side of the schoolyard. The white school superintendent overruled the school’s principal recommendation to suspense the three white students who hung the nooses and this was followed by months of interracial violence. The town became more racially divided when the judge imposed significantly harsher charges on the black youths than white youths caught up in the violence. Tasking for the presidential nominees — do something presidential for the people you want to represent and find out the real issue in Jena.

Then, go to New Orleans and once again, find out the real story. The story we are not being told by the media. Find out why there are so many racial issues between the people who went through hell — first, Hurricane Katrina, then, the raping by the American government. Damn, did I say that . . . lol. See, told you I had a sense of humor J. Anyway, do something presidential besides playing politics . . . report to the people what’s the real story in New Orleans.

Like the title says, it’s only a thought or two. Agree to disagree, especially on the dogfighting issue. I hate to imagine my life or the lives of American GIs are less important than the life of a dog. Can anyone tell me the latest news from Iraq?

Keep smiling . . . it’s only life transpiring J!!!

Hello world!

August 22, 2007

Wow! My first blog page…lol. It’s amazing what excites people in this world, but I am always the last to jump on technology, so I’m pretty excited to finally have a blog. But the reason I have a blog is because a very good and dear friend, Shelia Goss, who is slowly becoming one of the best authors on the block, introduced me to blogging and ask me, no, told me I would be getting a blog for our upcoming collaboration, UnAuthorized.

This is a project that has me more than a little excited. The opportunity to work/write with a good friend and one of the upcoming stars of the publishing industry. Shelia’s books have exploded onto the publishing scene and where she is at, is where I want to be. No, delete that . . . where she is at, is where I am going. Not cocky or arrogant, just confident I will be apart of that crowd of great authors one day. Maybe overconfident, but only time will tell.

Needless to say, this is an opportunity for me on two levels. One, to work with Shelia. Two, to possibly showcase my talent/my work on a grander scale. Shelia is well on her way of making a bigger name for herself in the romance genre, while I am trying to carve my name on that list of great mystery/suspense authors.

So it’s fitting to name this piece, Hello world!, because this may be my introduction to the world on a bigger scale. However, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

UnAuthorized is the first of our three book project. It will introduce you to investigative reporter, Rachel Murphy, who is a woman of skills and unnerving bravery, but like most reporters, don’t know when to be afraid. And Detective Michael Henderson who has seen too much death in a short span of time and just wants it to stop. Though he has been a detective for over six years, death has never been so personal. When he learns his best friend has been murdered only hours before they supposed to be chillin’ together, he becomes obsessed with finding the killer. This sets the stage for two people from opposing worlds to combine forces and solve a crime that could change both of their lives.

Check out the blog every now and then and find out where the blog goes…lol. I don’t have a clue. I will definitely use it to promote our projects, but I might even add a tidbit or two on world events as I see it. A mind is a terrible thing to waste and my imagination overflows with waste to share with the world🙂.

Keep smiling, peace and welcome to my world!


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