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Hillary, Rachel, Bruce, Barack: I don’t feel too Americanish today….

June 15, 2015

HOPE

With all this talk about Rachel Dolezal, you know, the NAACP chapter president who posed as black even though she is white. Rachel fell into the trap of, not just fighting for black rights, but also trying to be one. Let’s dissect this for a minute. She did the opposite of Ellen Craft. Craft is deemed an American hero and now Dolezal is seen as evil. What is it really about? Is it about changing your race, who you are or is it so critical because she wanted to be accepted by blacks by being black? Bruce Jenner is brave for his change to Caitlyn but Rachel Dolezal is a coward for hers.

Riding home from the gym this morning, I was listening to a clip of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s weekend speech. To validate her position as the best presidential candidate, she spoke on all of her championing of women’s rights. Because of her speech, we woke up to a normal morning with the birds chirping and the dew on car rooftops. Why? It’s because she did nothing out of political protocol. You’re allowed to speak about women, which I support, especially seeing that she shares the same demographic as them. However, we have a sitting president in the oval office who is restricted from speaking about his.

President Obama was allowed to speak about the rights of immigrants, the rights of the LGBT community and even animal rights just as long as he doesn’t speak about black men. If he dare does that, he is forgetting that he is the president of the United States. When I hear people say that, in response to anyone urging him to push more black agendas, it makes me feel as if I am not American. It makes me feel as if he is being asked to speak on citizens on Mars because he is “only” the president of the United States. So what am I?

I would almost bet that Hillary Clinton will speak on her demographic throughout her entire campaign without feeling retribution. I would even go as far as to say that if she gets elected she will be allowed to make public statements and steps towards the equality of women without criticism. I am sure it would be well-needed because there are areas women can be empowered in. But women aren’t the only group that is being discriminated against and held back. They are not the ones being locked up in record numbers, facing enormous unemployment and they are not the ones being innocently shot down by police officers.

It seems like the unwritten rules of the American culture is you when you march for animal rights, you’re a pet lover. When you speak highly of homosexuals, you’re inclusive. When you speak on veterans you’re a patriot. Pro woman is feminist, pro man is chauvinist and pro black is racist. So since I am not an animal, a woman or homosexual, it seems as if there is nowhere I can fit in with pride. So when Senator Barack Obama decided to campaign, he had no options except to talk about “hope”, meanwhile my hope goes out the window.

Mo’ne Davis got it wrong. Taraji Henson got it right!

March 25, 2015

mone
by: Professor Devin Robinson

I get it. We want to be seen as easy to work with. We want to be accepted. We don’t want to be viewed as sensitive or angry. We don’t want to be troublemakers as we ascend to the ranks of prominence; well, at least some of us don’t.

Last Friday, Bloomberg University’s first baseman and university Joey Casselberry, posted a tweet to his 500 followers challenging Disney’s decision to produce a movie on 13 year-old black female Little League player and phenomenon, Mo’ne Davis, which was also insulting to her and all females as a matter of fact. Now if you’ve never heard of her, she is the Little League baseball player who pitches a 70 mile per hour fastball and strikes out anyone; including male players. She recently pitched a shutout game and made the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine.

The tweet sent by this, to me, ignorant, insensitive, reckless, predator said “Disney is making a movie about Mo’ne Davis? WHAT A JOKE. That slut got rocked by Nevada.” Slut? Really??? One of our young girls? REALLY? This is obviously how this 20 year-old young man was raised. Like millions of his counterparts, this is how their rearing spills over into misogynistic acts. One of the reasons I say “never let your haters be your raters…” moving along.

Over the weekend, the coach dismissed him from their team. I am with them. Their actions were swift and appropriate. However, on Monday, young Mo’ne wrote a letter to the team asking them to give him another chance and reinstate him. This is where it goes wrong for me. I guess, this is Mo’ne’s parents’ way of showing that they aren’t trouble seekers. But I disagree with their nobility at this juncture. Why do we rush to let offenders off the hook when we are violated? Punishment is warranted here. Let him face it. When we remove punishment, the message is not sent and the teachable moment is lost.

In our quest to be easy to work with, we must also send the message that we are not to be offended. But I know. That in itself is a fine line. When you demand respect, you instantly become a diva, right? But when people feel we’re not easily offended, powerless, voiceless and contained, then they increase their offense on us. But let me move off of that point for brief moment.

Why is it that we have no problem being difficult and confrontational with other blacks?

Back to Mo’ne…

Many have applauded her for having class and character in writing the email but since when did class become synonymous with giving evil a free pass? I’ve always said that we are, at times, too accommodating. Not forgiving. We should forgive but not accommodate the atmosphere for toxicity to persist. It’s almost like we don’t believe we are worthy of respect because we feel we are incapable of creating our own subsistent group.

Look, I can’t even speak towards Mo’ne and none of this is really directed at her. Of course, it is directed at her handlers and her parents. Mo’ne is poised to become a great example for women and a breakthrough for young black girls. But we must ensure that cultural accountability is not lost in the process. I always say that every time we run away from problems, those problems remain problems. In order to make something “routine”, you must have already, in the past, faced it and conquered it; reducing it to now a mundane, routine situation. It is the same approach for racial, discriminatory, misogynistic barriers. We must face them and reduce them to nothing.

Mo’ne can’t view this as an isolated incident that other young black girls should also accept. The next time around the offender may go further than calling her a slut. He may commit a violent act if his behavior isn’t reprimanded; as if traumatizing this young girl wasn’t enough.

This is why we must shutdown people like Amber Rose who has glorified the term slut and stated that she would like to organize a slut walk to empower women who are viewed as sluts. (See any connection here?)

Take actress Taraji Henson, whom I’ve had the pleasure of bumping into while traveling. She stated in the latest issue of Uptown magazine that she is transferring her son to Howard University from USC (University of Southern California) because he was racially profiled for having his hands in his pockets while they were both on campus. She said her money wasn’t going into an institution that didn’t respect him. The Chief of Campus Police, John Thomas, said he was profiled because he was a teenager, not because he was black. (It’s always some explanation for acts on us but there is rarely an act taking on others to even warrant an explanation. I digress…) Nonetheless, she got it right.

We can’t be so fearful of demanding respect and inflicting punishment on people that offends us. As a man, I’ve accepted the responsibility that all men should, which is, to protect our women and children; not just their physical well-being, but also their virtue and mental well-being. As a black man, that duty becomes double duty… my children, my women, my race and I would only hope that there are other men in the trenches who are willing to fight that same fight.

There is a silver lining, however. Mo’ne was able to get a taste vile treatment early. So now when she becomes the modern day Jackie Robinson, hate speech towards her won’t be so shocking because she would have already dealt with it at the age of 13 and able to reduce it to another routine day in her quest to making history.

The Vicious Cycle of America…that continuously affects Black America

August 25, 2014

angry policeRacial tension in America isn’t a new thing. It is reoccurring. It happens ever so often. It simply reveals what is in the hearts of many. Prejudice. It’s not a fluctuating feeling. It remains. Blacks have been on the painful side of the stick of race relations for as long as the United States have existed. This isn’t an emotional opinion, it is a fact.

More facts include, Blacks have good reason to be angry. The anger isn’t unwarranted. The anger has become generational. It is brought on from trauma or the witness of trauma. Though a few Blacks escape the grips of racism, discrimination and bigotry, the fact is, they are a very small minority.

Blacks have yet to be seen as equal, even if at isolated times we may be treated as equal. What many people don’t understand is that what Blacks go through, especially Black men, is the constant fear of being mistreated, dismissed, slighted or murdered. The same constant knowledge that a Black person has that our ancestors were slaves, Whites carry a regular memory that their ancestors were “Masters”. This knowledge affects the way we interact. We walk on eggshells with each other until we know it is safe to somewhat be ourselves.

So what has happened is Black men have created a defense mechanism. This defense mechanism looks like “thug”. This “thug” getup helps young Black men feel safe and survive. It is a proactive stance at deterring aggressive behaviors towards them. It feeds the esteem of some young Black men who feel like failures. It helps them gain respect from their peers. No one is born a thug. It is learned and adopted.

But sometimes this “thug” culture backfires. It puts people, especially those not in our community, at such fear that they shoot first and ask questions later; the police in particular. When this happens, the Black community’s anger reignites and the cycle starts all over again. This anger isn’t a figment of our imagination. It is brought on by generations of disparaging treatment. The lives of Black men are not understood, while people are busy trying to get Black men to understand.

Black people continue to feel hopeful when issues like Michael Brown arise. We assume that the harsh reality of what publicly took place, gives Whites, police and politicians some level of solace to grow a conscience. This is why we went back to life as usual after Sean Bell, after Eric Garner, after Troy Davis, after John Crawford, after Ezell Ford, and I can even go as far back as Emmett Till. We believe the conscience and compassion will emerge after these cases so we give Whites, police and politicians the benefit of the doubt that they now understand our pain, our aggression, our doubt…but future reveals, new situations of the same demographics reveals, that their conscience and compassion was never birthed. This makes us start all over again.

I employ my Black family to turn on the engines of love for each other, for educational advancement, the suppression and disdain for thuggery/intra-hood crimes, and collective economic behavior, economic discipline, ownership, economic prosperity and movement towards being a sovereign group. I ask our Black women to be considerate and compassionate towards Black men who are trying, who are doing their best and who may not be communicating his fears and vulnerabilities to you. He is being beat-up daily in ways he doesn’t share with you.

Black people, we have a duty to be strategic, consistent and accountable. We have a duty to not choose money over morality. We have a duty to not only be angry but to take unified action. Protesting is not enough, being proactive and consistent is. We must use our influence responsibly. We must use our access to technologies progressively. We must use our intelligence positively. We can’t wait for the conscience of others to grow while the progress of our community is being impeded. What are your children saying about the society you create and the actions and inactions you have taken? It is time…#MikeBrown #OwnABusiness #SpendWisely #NoMoreLameNegroes

How do I feel about President Obama asking Congress for $3.5 billion for immigration?

July 10, 2014

Prof DevinI believe President Obama has a vested interest in the black community though many would say, based on his policies, he doesn’t. The truth is, he doesn’t have to have PDA for the black community. You know PDA, Public Display of Affection. The reason is, whether we want to agree or not, the black community has an inferior, defeated tone. Many of us believe we can only go so far in this country, and in life, whether we want to admit it or not. This has made us become the willing mistress in America. You know, the willing mistress who knowingly sleeps with the married man and stays in her lane. Every time he needs her, she is there, no matter the time or place, she is there. It is often because he takes care of her. He takes care of those “low standard” needs that are often short-term in solution. It may be sex, money, gifts, bills. But he refuses to obligate to any long-term, life altering commitments like, marriage, life insurance, children, property deeds, car titles, etc. She remains okay with that; for the most part. She may complain ostensively (outloud) but also non-instrumentally (not expecting anything to change).

All that being said, we have to accept politics as it is. It’s about managing public resources for private citizens with special causes. There will always be someone to challenge the way a politician elect to allocate funds. There is always an opposing side. Quite frankly, black is no longer fashionable. We had our run. We had our chance. We didn’t catapult from it. It was all about “Black Power” in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. It was okay to support a specific black cause. However, it no longer is. Now, the rhetoric is “it’s no longer about race”. So doing something specifically for blacks now seem divisive. If you look at the branding of our civic groups, they have also moved into using the word “minority”. The acceptable issues are animal rights, women, gays, and poverty. Just as long as black isn’t tied to it. Again, we had our chance. We divorced the wife and she is now the mistress. I know, “It’s Complicated”. It’s the Asians and Hispanics turn.

Now, I am not even saying this to say we need to accept it. What we need to do is insist we get remarried. Our ostensive, non-instrumental complaints (speaking out on radio, marching, not voting) doesn’t do the trick. If we are not willing to walk away from the Democratic party, chastise a black politician or vote Republican, Independent, or for whomever would give us the PDA we feel we deserve, then we must simply accept what the cheating husband decides to do.

I never met the POTUS but I would go out on a limb and say I believe he truly does care for all people, including blacks. But I also know that in his world he is forced to make politically friendly moves. And if blacks will be loyal to him and his party regardless of what decisions he makes, then why risk losing the immigrant or gay vote, who, by the way, would take their vote elsewhere in a heartbeat. And on a final note, as the first black POTUS and a black man, no matter what he does for blacks, if it is actually called “black”, everyone else will call it nepotism. So I guess, he is stuck between a rock and a hard place while blacks are forced to remain frustrated.

How do I feel about ex-Mayor Ray Nagin being convicted and sentenced?

July 9, 2014

Prof DevinSo the news just came out that ex-New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/10/us/ray-nagin-former-new-orleans-mayor.html?_r=0). Remember, he was the mayor who publicly criticized other politicians for being racist against his city during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and 2006. He vowed that he would be the catalyst behind the city’s comeback!

It’s like this. The cloud that continues to hang over black politicians’ head continues to be about our integrity in regards to money. It’s not a secret either. But what bothers me most about this repeating issue mostly is our lack of outrage in the black community when it happens, and the narcissism out of the politicians who keep committing these offenses. They act like the black drug dealer on the street corner who KNOWS the end result of the people that came before him but has a belief that it won’t happen to him. It’s like we ignore facts and act on emotions.

In our communities we constantly complain about not having enough money. Yet, immigrants come to this country with less resources, language barriers and are rarely short on money. The real issue isn’t that our politicians are so bad. It is that they are a product of the black culture which no longer really places a lot of emphasis on discipline. The lack of discipline creates overconsumption, overindulgence, conspicuous spending and ultimately reckless behavior. Economics is a simple study. It’s about managing limited resources against unlimited “wants”. Satisfying those things cost money; which is a limited resource no matter how hard someone works. We keep wanting more and more and rarely internally say “no” to spending.

So yeah, Nagin promised to make New Orleans a Chocolate City again. He promised to bring commerce back to the city. But a person who doesn’t have strong economic discipline will fall sooner or later. They can be bought. They become tempted. They develop a rabid insatiable appetite for spending. Naygin eventually fell to racketeering and bribery. He is not alone though. Those of us who would criticize him are possibly prone to do the same thing if we are the typical products of our community. So instead of ignoring this; instead of justifying our community’s recklessness, we must be angry that this lack of insight, foresight and hindsight has become rooted in our publicly displayed culture that many others exploit.

Why do black men cheat? More of them cheat than we even realize…

March 31, 2014

blackmen

by: Josiah Jenkins
Men cheat because of a void. Plain and simple. This is why women do too. However, men don’t always cheat in the form of infidelity with another female. It’s just that “infidelity” is what women are hurt by the most. The fact of the matter is, men deflect to a variety of things to help them fill that “void” they feel they are missing. Men get involved with gambling, alcohol, sports, socializing, drug abuse, money spending, infidelity, prostitution, pornography, strip clubs, extreme activities, career and more to pacify this void. But here again, women typically only make a big deal over infidelity, and only feel pain or adjust their behavior when their man gives his attention to another woman. If women would recognize a “voided” man through the above, seemingly normal, extra-curricular activities, they would not encounter as much abandonment and hurt by their man. They would see that it really isn’t “extra”. It’s part of their way of life and what makes them appear to be dealing with what you are not offering.

Okay. So we got that part straight. The next question is where does the void come from? Oddly, this part is the easy part for women. Men are seekers of peace and respect. They want to feel respected by those they serve. I truly believe a man should serve his woman but not where he receives the respect of a servant. He serves and should feel respected. Women, being the emotional creatures, want to feel loved. I also believe women should serve their man, but while they are serving they should get that feeling of love and appreciation from him. I’ve told females that a man would easier settle down with a less attractive woman that gives him peace and respect, than a gorgeous woman who causes him strife. He may have sex with strife, but best believe he will quicker settle down with peace.

So the final logical question would be, “Why do men opt for these superficially gratifying and external activities? It’s simple. Culture. Let’s be real for a minute. When a woman is in distress a support system rallies around her to ensure she does not slip further into detriment and is brought back whole. This is expected AND accepted. Men, on the other hand, are taught to be a warrior and help himself through whatever he is going through. He is not even encouraged to discuss intimate or vulnerable issues with his closest friends. To be quite honest, because men are raised that way, his male friends aren’t prepared to maturely handle sentimental issues anyway. So instead of reaching out, we recoil. We go into depression. We become listless and homeless at alarmingly higher rates than women. While women have a band of warriors and friends healing them, we are left alone to self-medicate. This self-medication comes out in the form of many activities. Some of what I mentioned in the first paragraph.

There are a lot of micro-inequities that happen to men almost on a daily basis that makes us feel like they are alone. If they get a flat tire, no one immediately stops to help. If their hands are full, no one holds the door open for them. If they approach a stranger to ask a routine question, that stranger subconsciously becomes guarded.

If we were to count the number of deflecting men who feel a void and begin self-medicating we would actually realize that there are many more cheaters than we can count. Men aren’t machines. We are humans with emotions just like women and children. What seems different is how we respond to what happens to us or what is not happening for us. It’s culture. It looks apathetic. It looks unemotional. It looks rational. But if you take a closer look you would actually see our emotions are at work. They just come out in ways that make us seem aloof and barbaric and not compassionate and monogamous.

One of the best relationship counselors I’ve ever encountered is Leroy Scott, MDiv. If you are suffering in silence because of your relationship, whether man or woman, he is a person I am sure can shed even more light on your situation that my column did!

Paula Deen raises $75 million, meanwhile we can’t raise $7,500

February 13, 2014

paula

The title of this piece says it all. Paula Deen was able to raise $75 million to go towards the rebound of her television career. But what can we say? She has earning power. As a matter of fact, the private equity firm that made the investment in her will have businesses among the group that will also advertise on her program. What does this even mean?

We have to understand the enormous importance in black business ownership. The fact remains that the black community truly is bankable. No. Seriously. We are! We aren’t bankable to other blacks. Actually, there probably aren’t enough large black-owned businesses to stage a comeback for someone in Paula Deen’s shoes. We would’ve had to make a plea to a group of people outside of the black community to make that happen and that is the real deal! But it would be a struggle to get a private equity firm to even give us $7,500.

Blacks do attract other blacks but it’s often for the purpose of networking, recreation, worship or friendship. When it comes to commerce, we, for some odd reason, view it as evil. Here again, we can’t fault Paula Deen for having this ability. It is applauded. Who I can blame are the talented 10th among the black community who don’t challenge the listless falling-short occupants of our community. We, scholars-professionals-intellects-entrepreneurs, don’t allocate enough of our time towards intra-activism; activism within our community that holds our own people accountable for abhorrent behavior.

We are watched, judged and sized-up to determine our true value and power. Ironically, we have spending power but little economic power. You heard about that teenage black kid, Jordan Davis, who was killed in Florida by middle-aged white man, Michael Dunn, for playing his music too loudly? Well, the prosecutor arguing that case said it right. He said, “Jordan was only guilty for having a loud mouth…” Jordan back-talked to Dunn, but that is where we are. Black people are frustrated, so we cuss and carry on, while some Whites have superegos so they shoot at the sign of disrespect. They know that the chance of one of them killing one of our children and getting away with it is likely. It is likely because we have few businesses and poor education; little economic power. We don’t control campaigns, which mean we don’t influence laws. We have a high level of felons, which mean we don’t influence elections without non-blacks’ help.

Back to Deen. America tells its citizens to play fair. Get rid of racism. Color means nothing. It has become the politically correct and right thing to say but if we closely examine it, only blacks are following what the American government says we should do in regards to race relations.

Paula Deen is making her comeback, and with a weak economic fan-base, there is very little Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton can do about it besides pray for us. I mean, Don Imus came back didn’t he? Dog the Bounty Hunter came back didn’t he? You see, Deen is merely a victim herself. She didn’t understand what she did wrong. She didn’t understand why she couldn’t call blacks niggers and get away with it. She didn’t understand why she should be punished and lose her lucrative television career. Well, she is not alone and based on the $75 million she was able to raise, quite a few people see it her way too.