White Defenders



racist16_400

copyright © 2010 Forgiven.  The Disputed Truth

Originally Published on Sunday, January 10, 2010

In a private conversation reported in a new book, Reid described Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign as a “light-skinned” African-American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”

I have to be honest that I am always a bit skeptical when white folks feel compelled to step up and defend black folks from other white folks. I am even more cynical when it is white Republicans doing the defending. This would be the same Republican party who has since the 60’s run on the southern strategy, whose conventions look more like all-white country clubs, and who have from his election sought to de-legitimize this President. Now we are to believe that they are so concerned with the delicate psyche of African-Americans that Senator Reid’s remarks rises to the level of Trent Lott?

For those who don’t remember Trent Lott was the Republican majority leader who stated that the country would have been better off if unrepentant segregationist Strom Thurmond had won the presidency in 1948.

For the sake of argument, let’s look at Senator Reid’s reported statement concerning then Senator Obama. He stated that he was a light-skinned black man which as far as I can tell would be a true statement. My guess is that Senator Reid was alluding to the fact that historically lighter skinned blacks have fared better in American society than darker skinned blacks so that would be a positive in his bid to become president. On the surface this would appear to be a callous statement however if we look at not only the history of blacks within the majority society but also within the black community the statement tends to stand on its own merits. Now does this excuse the fact that darker-skinned blacks tend to be discriminated more than light-skinned blacks? Of course not, but the truth is still the truth.

Let’s face it folks whites tend to be more comfortable with light-skinned blacks. If you were to poll blacks and say does the fact that President Obama is light-skinned does that diminish his status as an African-American I think the answer would be a resounding no based on the fact that he received almost 100% of the black vote.

The second part of Senator Reid’s remarks could be more problematic in the sense that he stated that Obama had no Negro dialect which could be offensive to some blacks. The question then becomes do blacks, as a group, speak differently from whites and can those differences be readily apparent to the listener? I think Senator Reid was stating that Barack Obama could choose to speak black or white depending on his audience. The problem here is that we are talking about politicians who often craft their message depending on their audience and for a politician to be able to speak to multiple groups is an asset. I think I remember during the campaign how Hillary and Bill changed dialects when they were speaking in black churches or to primarily black audiences. Does that make them racists? I think not, it makes them politicians.

As every successful black man knows who is not in the entertainment business or a professional athlete knows, we live in two different worlds we have to adept in the white world as well as the black world. I have to be able to speak to white businessmen as well as black community folks and they are not the same.

The biggest problem I have with this faux Republican outrage is that in order to determine Reid’s remarks one has to look at his intent. Was his intent to racially disparage Barack Obama? No, in fact in his mind he was giving a list of the positives for then candidate Obama. We must remember this was the beginning of a historical campaign and who amongst us did not consider these if not other positives and negatives of the candidates. The problem for Senator Reid is that his remarks were recorded. To me this just demonstrates the problem with the current Republican strategy and that is it shows their total lack of principles. When you attack everything you find yourself defending some former positions that you once opposed, by doing this you appear hypocritical at best and insane at worse. Republicans defending Medicare?

So what we have is Senator Reid stating that Barack Obama was a light-skinned black man who could speak to both black and white audiences. Yeah, that’s grounds for his immediate dismissal. Speaking as a black man I’m still missing the outrage no matter who had made the statement.

For Michael Steele to go on television and equate what Senator Reid reportedly said to what Trent Lott said is beyond me. Are we to believe that saying the country would be better off today if in 1948 an avowed racist had won the Presidential election is comparable to saying that Barack Obama was more electable because he was light-skinned and he spoke to both blacks and whites? I don’t think so. Have we become so racially sensitive that stating the obvious is now considered racist? The reason Mr. Steele will never be able to accomplish what he was elected to do which I think was to reach out to African-American voters is because in order to defend his task masters he losses any credibility with the very voters he is charged with attracting. Mr. Steele’s remarks may appeal to whites but if that is his core audience then the Republicans would have better served if they had elected another white man who would not have brought the baggage Mr. Steele has obviously brought. Do Republicans believe that blacks are that gullible? I hope not for their sakes.

“Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.”

~ Elbert Hubbard  

Bush/Obama Administration?

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copyright © 2009 Forgiven.  The Disputed Truth

The average American looks up, they distrust politicians in general and they don’t think they’ve been told the truth, and I think they got good reason. They’ve watched a Bush/Obama spending cycle that began with a stimulus package last year which failed at $180 billion, a housing package in August which fail–or July which failed at $345 billion, a Wall Street bailout at $700 billion, a Federal Reserve guarantee of $4 trillion; a stimulus package of $787 billion, which we’re now being told weeks later isn’t big enough, but which had to be passed so quickly no one could read it, because we had to get it out there immediately.

~ Newt Gingrich

I saw the new, old face of the Republican Party this weekend on a Sunday talk show and I was shocked at the new tact of the Republicans. According to Newt Gingrich the last eight years has been the Bush/Obama administration. Who knew? In an effort to once again fasten President Obama to the current economic meltdown the new strategy appears to be to unite him to the failed policies of the Bush administration. The once revered George W. has now been turned into a tax and spend liberal by the very same people who heralded his accent to power. These people have no shame. They are willing to throw Bush under the bus for the sake of some political advantage that doesn’t exist. Do they think that the public is so incompetent that they don’t know the difference between Bush and Obama for the last eight years? Here’s a hint Obama is the tall, dark one.

So are we to assume that the last eight years were not Republican run as we were led to believe by their policies and their utter failure? So Republicans were not the ones who put the economy and our nation on the road to a “China Syndrome”. You have to hand it to them though that is innovative. You attach the incoming administration not only from another Party but another galaxy to the previous failed administration which happened to have been from your Party. My guess is that the goal of this strategy is to try and reduce the amount of patience the American people will have with the new President since he has been in office for the past eight years and hasn’t done anything.

Now for those following at home here is the latest. Not only did President Obama not inherit this economy he actually caused the economy to crash as a member of the Bush administration. Theoretically he has not been in office for only two months after all so his policies don’t deserve anytime to work. After all they are the same big spending, big government policies of that other liberal stalwart George W. Bush. How Mr. Gingrich can expect any national political aspirations to be taken seriously following comments like these are beyond me. But considering no one on the panel gave them a second look maybe he knows something I don’t. The problem with Mr. Gingrich and all of his new and old GOP faces is not that they are new or old; it is that their ideas are old. The GOP continues to repackage their “new” faces with the same failed ideas. I mean to try and pretend that the Republicans outside of George Bush had nothing to do with what is happening in the country today is ludicrous.

Mr. Gingrich would rather join his other political cohorts and fiddle while the empire burns and continue to be apologists for the wealthy than pitch in and help. For anyone to say it is unfair for the taxes of the wealthy to be raised after decades of tax-breaks and inequitable distribution of wealth is completely out of step with the mood of the country. For anyone to argue against giving 95% of working Americans a tax-break they are out of step with the mood of the country and the polls attest to this fact. While Mr. Gingrich and the other ignore the polls munchkins continue to try and deny his popularity the President’s numbers continue to rise. Now the new line is that the President has popularity but doesn’t have credibility with the people. Let’s be clear it is not the President that doesn’t have credibility it is the bankers, politicians, and talking heads that have no credibility. The public is tired of hearing about bankers and wall-streeters who continue to take bail-out money and hoard it or continue to live in a culture of a by-gone era. The public is tired of politicians who refuse to understand that they are hurting and “Just say no” is not an option. The public is tired of media-types who live in a bubble telling them who is at fault and who to trust.

Mr. Gingrich there was no Bush/Obama White House and until the Republicans can acknowledge their role in this economic melt-down and begin to articulate a new strategy that addresses these problems they have no credibility with the public. The public is not willing to ignore the last eight years or pretend they never happened. Until the Republicans can acknowledge their failures they are doomed to repeat them, but not at the expense of this nation. You can’t start a fire and then charge the firefighters with arson. The best thing the Republicans can do to avoid another 50 years in the wilderness is to begin to help craft real legislation that will turn this economy around at least then the Democrats won’t be able to take full credit for the salvation of our country.

“If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.”

~ Albert Einstein

Our Best And Our Brightest

copyright © 2009 Forgiven. The Disputed Truth

For years, many blacks have just come to accept that integration was the path to success in America. Blacks who have been able to have deftly navigated the integration maze either through employment, education, or athletic achievement. And once reaching the pinnacle of their success they have chosen to leave their neighborhoods, friends, and communities to relocate into white America where they take on mythical status as being more than black. To whites they become not like those other blacks and therefore become more acceptable to their white sensibilities. And in some cases blacks believe they have some mythical characteristics that separate them from other blacks. In their wake they leave behind a community that is devoid of role models and success stories. They leave behind a community that is becoming more financially and morally bankrupt.

Before integration and the black man’s desertion of the black neighborhood the only place for successful black men was within the black community. They didn’t have the option of leaving and joining the majority population so their influence and their example were there for all to see and emulate. With the exodus of these heroes the black community has been left with smoke hounds, drunks, and prison gang leaders for masculine role models. And people wonder why young black men are doing so well? When you remove the presence of successful men in a community a vacuum is created and as with any vacuum something or someone is always there to fill it. In the case of the black community it has been filled by despair, hopelessness, and this penitentiary mentality. The heroes we have been left with are those who exploit and pander to violence, criminality, and gangsterism.

I remember when I was growing up we had professional athletes, doctors, and professional men as neighbors. We interacted with them daily and got to see that a black man could be successful without resorting to dealing drugs, robbing people, and killing their brothers. These men provided hope just by their very presence to many young black men who otherwise would have been consumed by their circumstances. Even children who did not have fathers at home still could go out into the community and see that there had been others who were able to overcome their surroundings and reach to another level. As blacks have been able to wrestle success from the clutches of an economic system that for so long had ignored and marginalized them they began to seek the safety and comfort of the suburbs. While I have no problem with anyone who wants to make a better life for their families in the suburbs, I do believe that we all have to be cognizant of the consequences of our actions. As more and more successful blacks have migrated to the suburbs in their wake they have left a more engrained and intransigent form of poverty, a poverty that feeds on itself and creates more poverty.

In my opinion there are two ways to be successful. One is to migrate to the suburbs and integrate into an established system of success. This of course is the easy route to take because the only work involved is assimilation into the larger culture. The second and by far the more difficult way is to stay where you are and rebuild the institutions that you have. By doing this you create and enforce your own definition of success which may be different from the larger culture. The key question in all of this I guess is do successful black men owe any loyalty to their communities besides trying to sell them sneakers or an occasional drive through the hood? Each person must answer this question within themselves, but as a Christian I am not only judged on what I do but also on the opportunities I have to do the right thing and do not.

Our black youth in our communities are at a crisis point. They are angry and for good reason. When they needed a black man to protect them and to lead them there was no one positive there. Instead what was there was gangs, criminals, and disengaged fathers. No longer were there positive role models to emulate and find a communal sense of pride in. As more and more black kids are growing up without fathers the need for hope has never been greater. These kids need to know that they matter in a world that has basically ignored, shunned, and made them feel invisible. They continue to cry out in dysfunctional ways, but it is the only way they know how to say we are hurting and no one seems to care. It is time for all of us to come together not as a white community or a black community but as one community to rebuild and restore our promise to one another. Yes, I am my brother’s keeper.

The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy ~ Charles de Montesquieu

I Told You So – Sort Of

copyright © 2009 Forgiven. The Disputed Truth

After watching the Republican responses to the passing and signing of the Presidents stimulus package it is becoming abundantly clear what their strategy will be for the next few years. They will stage these phony displays of public outrage and then at the same time take credit for any benefits from the stimulus package. First let’s be clear about whether this bill was bi-partisan. In order to do this you have to separate the Republican Party from the Washington Republicans many of whom represent solid Republican base districts that were gerrymandered by Tom Delay and his cohorts from the Republicans who represent statewide constituencies like governors.

Most Republican governors who are not seeking future national office are in strong favor of the stimulus bill. So far the ones who have spoken out against it are Texas Governor Rick Perry, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. It will be interesting to see how many of these governors will be lining up for a 2012 presidential bid.

Many Republicans are strategically placing themselves to have the best of both worlds. If the Obama economic plans do not work they will say we told you so, if they do work they will say it was our opposition and not the economic plans of the President that turned the economy around. The Republicans are gambling that they will be able to steal the credit for the economic turnaround hoping that by the time the economy does turn around the voters will have forgotten their opposition to all of the President’s economic policies.

This strategy really exposes the Republicans deep-seated hostility towards the American electorate. They are willing to be seen as rooting for the economy to crash and taking concrete steps to bring it about while at the same time believing that the American public won’t remember their opposition to the economic policies that succeeded. Basically they are saying the American public is so stupid that they can be easily duped by sound bites and imagery. Granted there was a day in American politics when these strategies were successful, however what the Republicans and many Washington pundits have failed to realize is that a new bell has rung and once rung it cannot be un-rung.

American voters are becoming even more engaged not less engaged in the political process. There are more outlets for information than there ever has been so the nightly sound bite and sweeping political imagery has lost its effectiveness. The Republicans may think this is 1984, but they are going to be in for a rude awakening. The American public is not looking for a return to past failed policies and phony cultural wars. The Republicans are pinning their hopes in 2010 on the fact that the economic crisis they helped to engineer is so deep that there will be little change by election time and they can tout the President’s economic policies as failures. They are already laying the groundwork for this strategy by claiming that the economic policies of FDR were ineffectual during the Great Depression because there wasn’t instant success.

What they fail to mention and what many Americans who survived during that period often state is that while those FDR policies did not completely turn the economy around they did help to stem the hardships of the depression and gave the public hope and confidence that their government was trying to help them. Imagine how much worst the situation would have been if the Republicans had been successful in curtailing the programs of the New Deal.

In similar fashion the Republicans of today are trying to reduce the size and scope of the President’s economic policies so they can claim that they were right. These so called “principled” men who took a budget surplus and created the largest deficits in history are now claiming to be budget and deficit hawks. During the debate concerning the President’s stimulus package many Republicans stated that their opposition to the bill was that it did not address the underlying problem of our economic problems, which according to them was the housing market. So one would think that when the President announced his plan to help shore up the housing market and try to keep families in their homes that the Republicans would be ready to support it; right? Wrong. Almost to a man as with the Stimulus Bill the Republicans are lining up to denounce the plan. The Republicans are not only the “Party of no” they are also the Party of no ideas.

The economy at some point will rebound we all know this. Our economy is now and always has been cyclical. The question then becomes is the government responsible for setting in place safety nets to help reduce the suffering of its citizenry while at the same time instituting policies that will reduce the likelihood of similar catastrophes or is it the governments job to sit and watch as its citizenry suffers the hardships and horrors of a system many have no direct control over and receive only minimal benefit from?

The Republicans are betting that by the time the economy turns around that they can tell Americans that the Republican’s magic economic fairy was responsible and not the policies of this administration, that it was their opposition that made the recovery possible. So either way they were right. When all you have to do is sit and watch you are afforded the luxury of saying I told you so, but when you are responsible for the welfare of a nation that luxury is no longer available. Only a child sits and waits to say I told you so while adults work to solve problems. Our country does not have the time for children’s games, we need adults.

Hypocrite: the man who murdered both his parents… pleaded for mercy on the grounds that he was an orphan.  ~ Abraham Lincoln

250 Million

copyright © 2009 Forgiven. The Disputed Truth

I recently heard that there are an estimated 250 million guns in the United States. There are an estimated 111 million households in America. Using these numbers that would mean there are 2.2 guns for every household in America. That seems like a lot of guns to me. As I began to ponder these numbers I wondered with all of these guns are we a safer nation? Have all of these guns provided us with the security many of us are seeking?

??I began researching the facts concerning gun violence in America in relation to the rest of the industrialized world. What I found was shocking not in what it said about guns but what it said about our culture. With or without guns we live in a violent culture. Confrontation and violence seems to be ingrained in our national psyche. In America, violence appears to be the first remedy to situations both by the government and its people. Do I believe there are too many guns in America? Yes I do, but I don’t believe that the problem for all the violence in America is guns.  

I believe in trying to reduce the number of guns not because I believe it will make us less violent of a society but because guns make killing and violence too easy. Guns make killing too quick and too efficient. People kill today without thinking and without remorse and with guns you can do that. Imagine if there were fewer guns killing would become more difficult. Guns make killing too detached. Without guns you would have to face down your intended target and it would be messier.

I want to provide some figures to illustrate but the problem with the NRA and other gun lobbyists is that any talk of restricting guns is immediately met with hyperbole and demagoguery. The problem with not considering the arguments and opinions of others is that you begin to seem irrational and foolish. By the way the armed militia argument being necessary to prevent tyranny is wrong on many levels. We aren’t providing arms to minutemen soldiers but to any idiot that can get one.

Also an armed society has proven to be no safer a democracy than a non armed society. The US has 90 guns for every 100 people making it the most heavily armed country in the world. (1) The second most armed nation is Yemen, that bastion of democracy. Are the people in England, Canada, or Greece more in danger of losing their democracies because they are not as armed as the US?

On the list of murders per capita in the world the United States ranks 24th. We rank higher than any of the industrialized nations except Russia. We trail countries like Columbia, Mexico, and Zimbabwe; not bad company for the richest nation on earth.??· In 2005 there were 30,694 gun deaths in the US. (2) In 1998 gun homicides in the rest of the industrialized world were as follows (3)

  • 373 – Germany?
  • 51 – Canada?
  • 57 – Australia?
  • 19 – Japan?
  • 54 – England?
  • 11,789 – US??

More guns have obviously not made us safer. However guns alone are not the problem. We must begin to adopt ways to reduce the level of violence in our culture and in our society at large. This will be extremely difficult in a society that glamorizes violence and disseminates it through all forms of media. The economic crisis and the election of Barack Obama have led to an increase in the number of requests for background checks for gun purchases. In November they were up 40% over the previous year and in December they were up by 25%. People are feeling less secure about the future and showing this unease by purchasing more guns.

We have made killing too easy in our country and have not addressed the underlying culture of violence. You cannot glorify violence and then have easy access to guns. Somehow we must tone down the aggression and teach our children that violence is not the answer to all of life’s challenges and difficulties.

We must develop a responsible and comprehensive way of reducing the number of guns or none of us will be safe. Just as the drug kingpin Carlos Escobar was held responsible for flooding our streets with dangerous drugs so the gun manufacturers must be held accountable for flooding our streets with guns. We can no longer decide arbitrarily which dangers we seek to address and which ones we don’t. Where there is arbitrary power, there is tyranny.??

Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people.

~  John Adams

References . . .

1.  U.S. most armed country with 90 guns per 100 people, By Laura MacInnis.  Reuters. August 28, 2007 1:57pm EDT

2.  CDC Mortality Report 2008

3.  Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Responsibility Or The Loss Of Credibility

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One of the many things that trouble me about the wealthy in particular and the Republicans in general is their apparent lack of shame for their blatant hypocrisy. For decades the mantra of the wealthy and their Republican mouthpieces has been the lack of personal responsibility of the poor. According to these people the problem with liberalism is that they have tried to use the government to “bail-out” the bad choices made by these unfortunate individuals and if they would only exercise some personal responsibility they would be alright. It is not the business of the taxpayers to support the bad lifestyle choices of individuals.

While this analysis is wrong on so many levels, it is important with the current bail-out plans being discussed and enacted in Washington to discuss it on its face value. My question is, “If it has been bad policy in the past to “bail-out” bad personal choices and decisions for individuals why is it now good policy to “bail-out” these same bad decisions now being made by CEO’s and financiers?” It is precisely this type of hypocrisy that has helped to fuel the largest transfer of wealth from the public coffers to the wealthy in our history. Government payouts only seem to be in the interest of the country when they are being given to the wealthiest amongst us. There is something wrong with a system that takes the wealth of the middle and lower classes and gives it to the richest in the faint hope that they will not be greedy and will provide some return on those funds.

As the financial meltdown has unfolded around us it has revealed this strategy for what it is; another bankrupt idea of the wealthy and the Republicans being perpetrated against the American public. It was amazing to hear John McCain try to mock Senator Obama for his comments to “Joe the plumber” about “spreading the wealth”. Why wasn’t anyone mocking the rich during the many transfers of wealth to the rich by the Reagan and Bush tax-cuts? I guess it is ok to spread the wealth if it is going in an upwardly direction. This is just a further illustration of why the Republican brand has lost all of its credibility with the American public. Not only has this crisis reinforced their lack of principles and convictions but there has been a history of similar situations in the past. Here is a short list of some of the most egregious examples of their untrustworthiness.


No Nation Building – One of the first and costliest in a long string of credibility gaps was then candidate Bush’s pronouncement that he would not use the military to engage in nation building.

Weapons of Mass Destruction – Can any of us forget the infamous pronunciations of a host of Administration officials on this subject? Sorry General Powell

Trickle-Down Economics Work – Can anyone besides McCain and a diehard Republican supply-sider argue that this policy has bankrupted our economic system?

No Regulations/Let Markets Rule – Another aspect of the vaulted Conservative Republican agenda was the systematic dismantling of regulatory agency powers and budgets. Let the markets rule! How is that working out America?

What almost no one at the beginning of this process and many still have not been realized is the deep level of desire for change that is permeating through the American population. It is still my belief that I have shared for the last two months that this election will not even be close. By 10:30 on election night the winner will be known to all. This weekend has only increased my enthusiasm for the outcome of this election. On Saturday I attended the Barack Obama rally in Kansas City, Missouri and I have never witnessed a political event or any other event for that matter that carried the electricity or the enthusiasm that this event did. It was surreal to see red-necks and blacks sharing the same belief and hope in a political figure. There were about 70,000 people that showed up to just be a part of history. Maybe 5,000 people could actually see Senator Obama, so the other 70,000 were just there to hear him or to just be a part of history. One of the most often stated lines was, “We’re making history or we are witnessing a history making moment.”

The other event that has increased my enthusiasm is that I was watching the Republican mouthpieces on the Sunday talk shows talking about the Obama Presidency. There are many Republicans who feel that the current Republican Party and its focus is an abomination to what the Republican Party stands for. When have you heard Republicans hinting, let alone saying publicly that their Party needs to lose? The difference in this election will be two-fold. The first will be the influx of new voters that have been registered by the Obama campaign’s voter drives in many of the swing states. The other deciding factor will be the number of suburban Republican voters who will sit this election out. They won’t vote for Obama, but they are not going to support McCain either.

It is time for personal responsibility for all of us, not just the poor and the middle-class. Electing Barack Obama will be a major step towards that goal.

Many of us believe that wrongs aren’t wrong if it’s done by nice people like ourselves.  

~ Author Unknown

Drug Wars VIII

copyright © 2008 Forgiven. The Disputed Truth

Originally Published, May 8, 2008

Sometimes writing these essays are a chore and seem demanding, then there are other times when they seem to write themselves, this is one of the latter. I have written extensively about America’s war on drugs and all the ills and problems that it has caused. First of all let me state that I am not a conspiracy theorist. I do not believe that racism is involved in every aspect of life in America, at least it hasn’t been in my life. However, there are times when it plays a major role in how we interact with one another. The war on drugs and the death penalty are probably two of the most egregious ways in which racism does play a role in America. The recent results of a couple of studies highlight the disparity in our criminal justice system that can not be explained by any other means.??

?More than two decades after President Ronald Reagan escalated the war on drugs, arrests for drug sales or, more often, drug possession are still rising. And despite public debate and limited efforts to reduce them, large disparities persist in the rate at which blacks and whites are arrested and imprisoned for drug offenses, even though the two races use illegal drugs at roughly equal rates.

??Two new reports, issued Monday by the Sentencing Project in Washington and by Human Rights Watch in New York, both say the racial disparities reflect, in large part, an overwhelming focus of law enforcement on drug use in low-income urban areas, with arrests and incarceration the main weapon.

Ok, here is the short course of racism in America. Drug addiction has no respect of person, it affects blacks and whites in similar numbers. It is not a black issue or a white issue. The difference is in how it is prosecuted in both communities. The drug war has always been depicted by the politicians and the media as a black inner-city issue, as if there were no drug problems in white suburbia. So if we are using drugs at roughly the same numbers then how can one explain that more than 50% of all persons sent to prison for drug crimes are black? These are not traffickers and distributors, these are mostly possession cases.

?Here is how you devastate a community and destroy its future. You begin by arresting its young men for minor drug offenses in a depressed economy. Once arrested you prosecute them for felony convictions. Once they have been convicted or have pled guilty then you have sentenced that young person to a life of hopelessness. That young person has forfeited all rights to achieve any semblance of legitimate success. Once they have received a felony conviction they are no longer eligible for education grants, most government programs that target the poor, or be able to participate in the most basic form of citizenship by voting. One simple arrest by outside observation has actually removed this young person from competing in our society in any meaningful way in the future.

?

?Two-thirds of those arrested for drug violations in 2006 were white and 33 percent were black, although blacks made up 12.8 percent of the population, F.B.I. data show. National data are not collected on ethnicity, and arrests of Hispanics may be in either category.??

“The race question is so entangled in the way the drug war was conceived,” said Jamie Fellner, a senior counsel at Human Rights Watch and the author of its report.

“If the drug issue is still seen as primarily a problem of the black inner city, then we’ll continue to see this enormously disparate impact,” Ms. Fellner said.

Her report cites federal data from 2003, the most recent available on this aspect, indicating that blacks constituted 53.5 percent of all who entered prison for a drug conviction.

By prosecuting the drug war in the way we are doing it, we are providing cover for racism to continue. We are spending 70% of our resources targeting inner-city and rural white neighborhoods as if these are the people importing the drugs from the foreign capitals and making the billions in profits. The people we are targeting for the most part are such major players in the drug trade most can’t even afford attorneys at trial. So where are all these drug profits going? I can tell you they are not being spent in my neighborhood, the occasional new pair of Jordan sneakers or chrome rims can hardly be presented as some large criminal enterprise.??

Are drugs devastating our inner-city neighborhoods? Of course they are, but the solution is not to destroy the village to save it. Many in the black community are tired of the drug trade with its inherent crime and violence, but the way it is being combated today only creates more strife. We must develop alternatives to incarceration and the ruining of lives. The drug war has decimated the black community and has created an atmosphere of fear and distrust of those who are paid to protect us. All of us make mistakes especially during our youth, we mustn’t compound those mistakes by ruining their lives with felony convictions. While whites are offered diversionary programs to avoid felony records blacks are continually being placed in the system. We want crime reduced, but not at the expense of our future.??

Where does it all begin and how does the ball get rolling. I read a story recently on the numbers of street stops being made by the NY city police and the numbers are staggering. There are similar numbers for traffic stops in communities across America. If we continue to target only one community then naturally the crime statistics are going to be skewed towards that group. The war on drugs has allowed this country to choose what group to prosecute and what communities to devastate under the cover of law and order. No one can argue the legality of what is being done, but what about the morality of it???

Street stops have gradually increased, to 508,540 in 2006 from 97,296 in 2002, according to departmental statistics. Because more than half of those stopped were black, the increases led some police critics to suggest that minorities were being unfairly singled out, though the police reject such claims.??

“The numbers are troubling both because of the number of people stopped and because blacks continue to be, overwhelmingly, the ones who are stopped,” Mr. Dunn said. “Someone outside the Police Department, like the mayor’s office, the City Council or the Justice Department has now got to step in and demand a public accounting of the department’s stop-and-frisk practices.”

The issue isn’t that blacks are committing more crimes despite the constant images being displayed on the nightly local news. The issue is that blacks are more likely to be stopped and searched than whites. If the police were to use the same tactics in the suburbs as they use in the inner-city I guarantee you the number of whites arrested would increase. And if they were sentenced in the same manner as blacks there would be a national outcry. Imagine if 50% of young white males were given a felony conviction in their early teens and were rendered useless from that point on. The war on drugs has allowed those with racist attitudes to institute those beliefs under the cover of legitimate crime fighting.??

References . . .

Divisive or Descriptive?

copyright © 2008 Forgiven. The Disputed Truth

The Reverend Jeremiah Wright spoke at the Detroit Chapter of the NAACP’s annual fundraising event over the weekend. The speech was carried by CNN live and allowed Reverend Wright to speak to his critics while at the same time speaking to the larger theme of the event which was, “A Change is Gonna Come.” Like so much of what occurs in American society the speech will be evaluated based on the listener’s frame of reference. For many in the black community the speech will be hailed as brilliant and will demonstrate Reverend’s Wright superior intellect and skilled articulation talents. For some in the white community it will be misconstrued and reinforce their views of him as being divisive. How is it possible that so many people can hear the same speech and yet reach so many different conclusions?

Are we so divided and so different that we can’t even acknowledge our differences. And having once acknowledged those differences can we not celebrate them or are we so tribal that anyone who is not exactly like us we view as deficient? In rhetoric and language befitting a leader in the black Church, Dr. Wright attempted to characterize the differences we share and their history to depict why there are those who are either unable or unwilling to understand his past characterizations of the country that he served. Let’s be clear, many of those who are questioning the patriotism of Reverend Wright have themselves chosen for whatever reasons not to serve their country, except as Mitt Romney so aptly described by campaigning for their fathers. Reverend Wright served this country as not only a Marine, but also as a member of the US Navy.

I am no expert in democracy or in Constitutional law, but I believe that if someone chooses to place his life on the line in defense of this nation, a nation that for a long time refused to apply equal protection for all of its citizens, has a right to criticize that same nation. I am so sick and tired of this false wing-nut narrative that anyone who criticizes America is anti-America or anyone who does not wear a flag lapel pin is giving aid and comfort to terrorists. As if to say that anything and everything that has been done in America and by America has been right. Forgive me, but my take on the Freedom of Speech clause is that as members of a democracy we have the right to criticize or to praise our nation as we see fit. Whether you agree with his views or not, Reverend Wright has every right to express them. Why is it that we have to display our war stance when it comes to surrendering our civil rights, but we do not have to display it when it comes to making actual sacrifices for the effort?

While I agree with the basic premise of Reverend Wright’s speech which is, why must everything and everyone be placed under “the white man’s burden?” For those who are not aware the white man’s burden is to elevate the blacks, reds, browns, and yellows of this world to the grand standard of Western European culture, as if to say no other culture has brought anything to the world but them. Just because you are a bully that doesn’t make you right, it just makes you a bully. If it were not for the Native American culture, those great European settlers would have never survived in this hemisphere. There are those who expect those of us who have received the brunt of American discrimination and racism to quietly accept our fate and anyone who “describes” those atrocities are being divisive. Are we to believe that those perpetrating these atrocities are doing so with the purpose of unifying us as a Nation?

Where I take exception with Reverend Wright and any other spokesman of God, is that while it is important to speak out against injustice and all the other deficiencies in human character, one must do so in a different forum than the Church. I understand that for many years in the black community the Church was the only release for the frustration and anger many felt with their conditions; however one must separate the worldly from the spiritual.

In other words, it is a sin to steal yet there maybe extenuating circumstances to mitigate the stealing. Those mitigating circumstances cannot be a part of the message of the Church against stealing, that message must be delivered outside of the Holy proclamation. Social causes while important must not be allowed to interfere with the true message of the Church. The Apostle Paul only preached one sermon repeatedly; “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”*

Representatives of God should not use the altar to assail their brothers no matter how large their shortcomings. One can acknowledge evil and injustice in a way that does not cast aspersions on any one group. Evil and inhumanity knows no color or race. The recent blood-letting in Africa can attest to that fact. In my opinion pointing out the ills of a government should not be done from the pulpit, but from the soap box in the public square. Ministers should separate the Church from social commentary, just as we have separation of Church and state for the protection of the Church, we also need it for the protection of the Republic. While it is becoming increasingly difficult in our society to “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to give to God what is God’s, it is a distinction we must maintain at all costs.

* 1 Corinthians 2:2

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive and unrealistic ~ John F. Kennedy

Jeremiah Wright Is Not The Problem

copyright © 2008 Forgiven.  The Disputed Truth

Why is it that in America we always look for the easy and the convenient.  We always want everything to fit into a nice neat box.  That’s right, no contemplative thought, no analyzing, just give it to me in a form that will not require a lot of work or thought on my part.  It is a simple task to chalk up the Reverend Jeremiah Wright as some angry black lunatic who is going to single handedly destroy the Obamania tour.  It is amazing to me how so many people blogging will write all these prose and essays extolling the virtues of the American electorate and how badly they want policy white papers and how hungry they are for detailed plans.  When the truth of the matter, as the fall-out from Reverend Wright has once again displayed, is that the majority of voters could care less about timetables and figures.  Not when there is some juicy story floating around about some crazy black man and his relationship to the leading Democratic Presidential contender.

For those who prefer to accept the Cliffs notes version of events I would suggest you not read any further, because that is not what I will provide.  What I will provide is a provocative analysis of the real underlying problem as to why we are having this dust up about a relatively small-time pastor.  You see the real problem has nothing to do with Jeremiah Wright.  The real problem was exposed 40 years ago by Dr. Martin Luther King in an interview he gave at Western Michigan University.  In the interview, Dr. King stated that the most segregated hour in America is Sunday morning.  You see the problem is that because we do not interact not only Monday through Friday, but also on Sunday we have no concept as to what each other are thinking.  We, as blacks are given a better glimpse into white society because we are bombarded with its images on a constant basis.  Whites on the other hand have little or no conception of what is going on in the black community aside from the caricatures from television and movies.

The Church in America as a whole has done little to reconcile and heal the wounds of the past.  The modern Church instead of preaching the Gospel has instead chose to preach the world.  Just the fact that we have a black Church and a white Church should be alarming to anyone who professes to be a Christian.  Many whites have asked how could Barack Obama have remained a member of his church when the minister was making the statements he was making.  Those of you who are not prejudice how could you have remained in families where racial slurs and prejudice where present?  I have known countless whites who have confessed that they have parents, brothers, or sisters have often times used racial slurs and had racial biases.  Or that they have attended social events and parties where there were no minorities present and the racial jokes and the N-word were being cast around like lures at a bass fishing tournament.  My point is that there is enough blame to go around and if we all just look into our own lives honestly we will see it.

The question I have is this.  If you are attending a church and you look around and everyone in that church looks like you and acts like you, then why are you there?  I present this question to both black and white.  Newsflash – If you call yourself a Christian and everyone at your church looks just like you then you are in the wrong church.  How can we expect to worship the same God when we can’t even come together and worship him here and now.  It is no wonder so many people have such bad opinions of Christians.  We preach togetherness and one Church, one Lord, and one God, but where is that unity on Sunday?  We each run off to our safe little church communities and talk about all of these virtues and once the sermon is over we climb right back into our cars and go right back to our segregated worlds.  The problem is not this one preacher, no my friends the problem is the Church as a whole in America.  If we are ever to overcome the many obstacles that divide us we must begin with the One who unites us.

Martin Luther King Jr. said America’s most segregated major institution is the church.

“At 11:00 on Sunday morning when we stand and sing and Christ has no east or west, we stand at the most segregated hour in this nation,” King said in 1963.  “This is tragic.  Nobody of honesty can overlook this.”

Only 7 percent of America’s churches are racially mixed.  On June 29, Biggers is planning a nationwide Mission Sunday.  He hopes to organize 1,000 churches across the United States to visit churches that “look different from one another.” News OK.com

How can this be?  We talk about love, honesty, and fairness yet we don’t have a clue how to worship God together.  The problem is hypocrisy in the Church.  Jesus had His harshest criticisms against hypocrites* because of their damaging effect on the Church.  Hypocrites destroy the Church from inside as well as outside.  They destroy it from the inside by undermining the faith of others.  How can I trust the preacher when he is running around with the deacon’s wife?  They destroy it from the outside by preventing those who want to join the Church from doing so.  Why should I join the Church when they are doing the exact same things that the world is doing?  I beseech anyone who claims to be a disciple of Christ to look back at what He did.  He went out into the world; he didn’t just stay in “His” community.  Can we not also do the same?  I would ask all true Christians and non-Christians alike to step out of your comfort zone and reach out to those who appear different from you.  You may be surprised how much they may be like you.

~ Matthew 23:13-36

False history gets made all day, any day,

the truth of the new is never on the news – Adrienne Rich

I Don’t Want To Be Black Anymore

copyright © 2008. Forgiven. The Disputed Truth

Here is my question, can a person in America change their race or opt out of their racial classification? Can someone who is defined by others as black check another box on the questionnaire? The reason I ask this question is the events that happened over the last few weeks in the golf world concerning Tiger Woods. For those who don’t know there was a major controversy when a Golf Channel anchorwoman, Kelly Tilghman made the comment that the best thing young golfers could do was to take Tiger Woods out in an alley and lynch him. The anchorwoman was suspended for two weeks. Then in an effort to sensationalize the issue and sell some magazines the vice-president and editor of Golfweek, Mr. Dave Seanor decided it would be a good idea to dramatize the issue with a picture of a noose on the cover. Mr. Seanor was immediately fired.

In both cases many blacks and whites were outraged by the events and demanded swift and severe punishment. It should be noted that in both cases the offending parties apologized and stated there was no racist intent in their actions. While they may have exhibited poor judgment or poor choice of words there was no ill intent involved. Now here is where my question comes in, Tiger Woods the object of all of this attention was not offended by any of these events. Tiger stated that he knew and was friends with Ms. Tilghman and that no racist intent was involved in her comment. He stated that he spoke with her and accepted her apology. Upon hearing how Tiger responded to the incident many blacks were irate that he could so casually downplay the issue.

For his part Tiger was quick to forgive and forget, saying through his agent, Mark Steinberg, that the incident was a “nonissue” and later releasing a statement that said, “Regardless of the choice of words used, we know unequivocally that there was no ill intent in her comments.”

Golf.Com

Many have asked why wasn’t Tiger more offended, if not for himself for the millions of other blacks affected by the comment. The answer is simple. Tiger Woods does not consider himself to be black. According to Tiger he is Cablinasian, a word he himself invented that combines his Caucasian, Black, and Asian heritage. It is not unusual for prominent blacks to “transcend” race and become more than black in the minds of white Americans, it helps assuage any guilt they may have of worshipping an inferior human being. And in some cases the black person may believe that they have in fact been able to opt out of being black into a new racial category. We have witnessed this phenomenon with many black conservatives as well as sports and entertainment stars.

So since Tiger Woods is not black the racial epithets and symbols of racism do not apply to him, so why would he be offended by them? Not only is he not offended by them but he doesn’t understand why other blacks would be. This attitude is similar to whites more so than blacks, “why can’t they just get over it”. So, I guess the answer to my question is yes you can change your racial classification if you are Tiger Woods and you made over 100 million dollars last year in endorsements alone playing a game largely played, viewed and supported by white people. However, for Pookie down on the block it isn’t so easy.

When the cops roll up on him as hard as he might try to claim “Cablinasian” status the cops will see him as just another ni**er and they of course will deal with him based on those assumptions. As hard as we try to claim color-blindness the truth of the matter is we are not. We constantly make decisions about others based on their appearance and to deny that is deny our humanity.

So are other blacks upset with Tiger because he is able to overcome his “blackness”, like very light-skinned blacks in the past were able to “pass” for being white or is it something else entirely? The truth be told no one or no group wants to be dissed by a member of the group regardless of their identification with that group or not. I think it is especially painful when it is a member of that group. I remember the talk about O.J. when he was suddenly presented with the fact that he was black and how he embraced that fact when his ass was on the line. Tiger Woods can not be black if he chooses because of the world he lives in. The problem is for most other blacks that is not an option and so I think there is resentment in the fact that he can, because that means he is extremely rich but also that he would choose to do so. A similar case in point would be the infamous Michael Jackson.

So Tiger enjoy the ride and I hope you are never confronted with the ugly truth, but my experience here in America says different. But not to worry, you will always be a member of the family even if you deny us now. We have always been very forgiving, just ask OJ. Oh by the way to show how little any of this meant to him, Tiger went out last weekend and beat the brakes off everyone in the Buick Open winning by 8 strokes.

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive and unrealistic

~  John F. Kennedy