Archive for June, 2011

Independence Day

Posted in Black Interests, Black Men, Guest Columnists with tags on June 30, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Raynard Jackson

More than 40 years ago, both political parties (Democratic and Republicans) made strategic decisions that are still being felt today.

In the 1960s, the Republican Party formally adopted the “Southern Strategy.”  The Southern Strategy was a deliberate strategy by the Republican Party of the 1960s concocted to win elections in Southern states by exploiting anti-Black racism among southern white voters.  These voters were previously loyal to the Democratic Party because the Democrats defended slavery and segregation.

These same voters left the Democratic Party in droves after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

During this same time period, Democrats created all types of government programs with the not so subtle goal of controlling the daily lives of Blacks.  Programs such as welfare, the Great Society Programs, and the War on Poverty are but a few examples of these insidious programs.

So, all the racist southern white voters aligned themselves with the Republican Party and the white moderate and liberal Republicans became independents.  This paradigm exists to this day.  Now we see the great grandchildren of the Southern Strategy in leadership roles in the Republican Party; and the same in Democratic leadership (ultra liberals like Nancy Pelosi).

So, both parties are controlled by their respective extreme elements, but the country is more in the middle on the political spectrum.  Therein lies the problem.  You have to be from the far right or far left to have a leadership voice, but have to be more centrist to get anything done.

Independence Day is celebrated in the U.S. as a time to reflect upon our freedom from Great Britain during the 1700s.

So, for this Independence Day, wouldn’t it be nice for both parties to renounce their respective perverted strategies that have set our country back for many years?

A few years ago, Ken Mehlman, then head of the Republican Party stated to a Black audience:  “Republican candidates often have prospered by ignoring black voters and even by exploiting racial tensions…by the ’70s and into the ’80s and ’90s, the Democratic Party solidified its gains in the African-American community, and we Republicans did not effectively reach out. Some Republicans gave up on winning the African-American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization. I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong.”

Unfortunately, Democrats haven’t shown the courage to admit that liberalism has failed; but also, devastated the Black community.

As a political operative, I am all about winning.  But, sometimes you can win, but yet lose; and sometimes you can lose and yet win.  Republicans won the White House as a direct result of the Southern Strategy in 1968, 1972, 1980, 1984, 1988, 2000, and 2004; but they lost the Black vote for a generation.  The Democrats lost these elections, but yet, were able to put a stranglehold on the Black vote for a generation.

Republicans played on white fears to drive whites from the Democratic Party.  This is the single most dominant reason for Republican victories during the past generation.  Democrats played on the pernicious idea of low expectations to create perverse government programs to keep the Black community dependent on the government for all that ails them.

So, on this Independence Day, wouldn’t it be nice if both parties would agree to free themselves of the baggage of the past and engage in campaigns that lay out a clearly articulated vision for their respective parties?

Republicans should not have to use fear if they truly believed in the power of their ideas.  Democrats should not have to create cycles of dependency if they truly believed that everyone is created equal.

If both parties truly believed in the power of their rhetoric, shouldn’t they be willing to allow the market place of ideas to determine the winners and losers?  Then and only, can we Americans celebrate Independence Day.

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm.  He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine (www.excellstyle.com) & USAfrica Magazine (www.USAfricaonline.com

The Bridge: Blacks & The Fourth of July

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, The Bridge - Darryl James with tags , on June 29, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Darryl James

On July 4, 1776, when the United States of America gained its independence from Great Britain, Africans in America were still in slavery.  The nation talked about independence, but there was none for the African.

The major celebrated events which led up to the bloody battle between the former colonies and the former mother nation have been drilled into our heads in school, but they should mean as little to us now as they must have meant to us then.

Why should the African in America give one hot damn about the Boston Tea Party, when we enjoyed no more freedom than the very tea dumped into the Boston Harbor at the time?

Why should we celebrate the bombs bursting in air, when the nation had already declared war on us?

Why should we celebrate the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, when we were making midnight rides for our own freedom?

And, why should we hold any endearment to the 4th of July when it took another hundred years for the new nation to abolish its peculiar institution?

Frederick Douglass, a former slave turned Abolitionist Movement leader, perhaps the most recognizable African in America during the Civil War era, asked America the very same question in 1852 in a speech entitled “What to the Slave Is The 4th of July?”

But first, some of you may ask:  Who to America was Frederick Douglass, that he was invited to make an Independence Day Speech on July 5, 1852 in Rochester, New York?

It is important to highlight the fact that Douglass was a leader in the Abolitionist Movement, because modern history books mention his activities or the activities of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad in passing.  Abolitionists were painted as largely benevolent whites who stole frightened darkies away in the night.

It is important to celebrate Frederick Douglass because of what he represented and what the righteous historians revealed to us, which is that many of Douglass’ anti-slavery speeches were delivered to conventions of Blacks—free and enslaved alike.

Douglass’ weekly newspaper, The North Star (founded in 1847) was a crucial anti-slavery instrument and Douglass’ position as a “Station Master” of the Rochester, New York terminal of the Underground Railroad must be underscored, because these activities took place as early as 1851.

In 1858, the Freedom Fighter John Brown was given quarters for safety and secrecy in Douglass’ home, while planning one of the few slave revolts documented by mainstream American history—the Raid on Harper’s Ferry.

Yes, while America had begun celebrating “Independence Day” on the 4th of July, Africans in America were still fighting for their independence from the most brutal form of slavery in the history of man.

While America was fighting against itself to remain a sovereign nation, Douglass was speaking out against slavery in England, Scotland and Ireland.

Frederick Douglass understood that the African in America would be crucial to the war to mend the nation and urged the Union to use Black Troops in 1861—before the abolition of slavery, before the Emancipation Proclamation was issued and before the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was made.  In addition to becoming a recruiter for the Army, Douglass’ own sons, Lewis and Charles Douglass joined and Frederick Douglass, Jr. became an Army recruiter.

Recognizing the promise of the Union to deliver freedom for Blacks in all of its states, some 180,000 Africans in America served in the Civil War, fighting against the Confederacy.

In 1852, Frederick Douglass spoke of America’s hypocrisy when dealing with the issue of slavery.

He mused: “What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim.

“To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass-fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation of savages.

“There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States at this very hour.”

Douglass did not speak with an apologetic or covert tongue that day.  No, this noble man of princely mien and grace spoke with dignity and righteous indignation, as he outlined the emptiness of the Independence Day celebration for the African in America.

“I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary,” he exclaimed. “Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence bequeathed by your fathers is shared by you, not by me.

“The sunlight that brought light and healing to you has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me by asking me to speak today?”

Douglass mocked the nerve of America to at once invoke the Bible and the Constitution in hypocrisy.

He queried: “How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?  Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the Constitution and the Bible which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery-the great sin and shame of America!

Douglass made a clear speech that day, which left no question as to where he stood, even in the midst of whites who would have gladly received a weaker speech, which they certainly expected.

“I will not equivocate, I will not excuse,” he delivered. “I will use the severest language I can command; and yet not one word shall escape me that any man, whose judgment is not blinded by prejudice, shall not confess to be right and just….”

Douglass made the audience aware that he was not there on their agenda, even if on their invite.

He articulated with strength: “What–am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relations to their fellow men, to beat them with sticks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at auction, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to burn their flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their masters? Must I argue that a system thus marked with blood, and stained with pollution, is wrong? No! I will not. I have better employment for my time and strength than such arguments would imply.”

Douglass’s speech should be learned and recited by America’s school children each year.  He made it clear that there is no rival to America for the legacy of its peculiar institution.

“Go where you may, search where you will…lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival,” said Douglass.

So, on the 4th of July each and every year, we should celebrate the life of Freedom Fighters such as Frederick Douglass.  And in doing so, we are to illustrate the duality and hypocrisy of America, which reigns covertly still, even as liars let fall from their lips: “Let Freedom Ring!”

Happy Birthday, America, you dirty old bitch!

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles this Spring and will be running all Summer. View previous installments of this column at http://www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at djames@theblackgendergap.com.

“Ray Leonard, Jr.: “I Am Not My Father!”

Posted in African Americans, Black Interests, Black Men, Sports News with tags , , on June 29, 2011 by Gary Johnson


By Harold Bell – HB Sports Legends

In the 1980’s Sugar Ray Leonard, Jr., also known as “Little Ray” was the cute little kid appearing in soft drink commercials with his father and boxing rival Roberto Duran and his son. 

It is now 2011 and “Little Ray” is all grown up and speaking out as Ray Leonard, Jr.

In the meantime Sugar Ray Leonard, Sr., shows up in his hometown of Washington, DC to promote his new book titled, “Sugar Ray Leonard: The Big Fight in and out of the Ring.”

Sugar Ray Leonard kicked off the tour in New York City and then moved on to the ESPN studios in Bristol, Conn. where all of his charm was on display.

Ray Sr. was first seen earlier in the studio giving dance lessons to one of the ESPN female reporters.  During the interview with a different female reporter there was little or no conversation about the book. The interviewer touched briefly on the sexual abuse issue.

The 10 minute interview was spent talking about his performance on “Dancing with the Stars” and if the eventual winner of the contest Pittsburg Steelers’ WR Hines Ward and whether Ward could beat him in a street fight!

When he made it to DC the media cheerleaders were in rare form.  The first stop was the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Radio Show.

When I listen to morning talk radio (rarely) I listen to The Tom Joyner Show.  I try not to ever miss the Huggy Bear segments of the show.  Huggy can usually start my day with a smile.

I have been honored on the show during Black History Month as a “Little Known Black History Fact” and there was a story written on my community exploits.  But there is talk in the black community that Tom and his crew take the black community as a joke and seldom discuss the issues that are important to them, everything is always a joke!

The departure of Tavis Smiley caused many listeners to think of him as a selfish ego tripping personality that took him self too serious.  That school of thought has since changed.

I made sure I e-mailed Tom my blog on Sugar Ray Leonard and the lies Ray has been living throughout his boxing career.  He continues to live those same lies in and out of the ring.  http://hbsportslegends.com/?p=1716

This was the opportunity to prove whether Harold Bell was a liar or was Sugar Ray Leonard perpetrating a fraud!

Tom starts the interview by asking “Ray why did you put in the book the part about the sexual molestation by one of your boxing trainers?  I could have lived with just knowing of your success as a boxer!”

The response was pure B. S.  Ray claimed he didn’t fight the sexual advances off because one of the perpetrators was giving him money and the other held his Olympic future in his hands.  His response proved he was involved in homosexual acts before the 1976 Olympics.  Tom never pressed the issue of who the perpetrators were!

A good reporter or interviewer would have to know or should have known there were more than two trainers/ boxing coaches involved in Sugar Ray Leonard’s early career.  Ray’s cop-out by not naming the perpetrators leaves his other coaches/trainers with question marks as it relates to their sexual preference!

There are those who were in the inner-circle who remember one of Ray’s trainer/coach picking him up late at night and they would go for long rides not to return until the wee hours of the morning??

The two trainers/coaches Pappy Gault (House of Champions) and Jim Merritt (Hillcrest Boxing Club) are both dead.

Tom Joyner asked Ray to respond to Atlanta Pastor Eddie Long’s homosexual charade, he paused and said “No comment.”  I thought he was going to apologize for asking the question.

Tom sheepishly replied, ‘okay’ and moved on to the next non-enlightening question, ‘How is little Ray?’

Ray: “little Ray is 37 years old and has given me 4 grandchildren. He is a sharp and smart young man and doing real well.”

Tom: What about Juanita?

Ray: Tom this book has given me the opportunity to make amends and apologize to her because I was not a good husband or a good father (talking about an understatement).

Tom: What is happening with your boxing promotions?

Ray: It is on the back burner for the time being but I am going to get back into it and I am thinking about bringing you in!

Tom: I am ready lets do it, Ray Leonard’s new book it is in the stores!

Sad commentary, but that is par for black news in the black community.  It is either one or two things, you are either getting it a week late or when you get it LIVE it is filtered.  Sounds all too familiar!

Next stop is Fox 5 Morning News and they open up the Ray Leonard segment with him dancing with the female reporter who just happens to be doing the interview.

Ray puts his foot in his mouth several times, once he claims he didn’t have a girlfriend until he was 20 years old but the fact remains that Little Ray was born when he was 17!  What was Juanita lunch meat?

It gets worst at W-U-S-A TV 9 where the interviewer is sports anchor Bret Haber who is so infatuated with Ray I thought he was going to lean over and kiss him.  He is definitely no Warner Wolf or Glenn Brenner!

The weatherman Topper Shutt was heard on set saying, “I wanted to ask Ray to sit in for me but I was scared he might be too good.”  The only thing missing from the set was anchorman Derrick McGenty wearing a short skirt and waving pom-poms.

Ray was last seen at a book store on Connecticut Ave NW it was here the Usual Suspects showed up to pay homage and kiss his ring.  Boxing/trainer Janks Morton was the first in line followed by his two brothers, Kenny and Roger and long time friend Claude Boger.

Missing in action were Team Leonard members, Dave Jacobs, Irving Millard and Julius “Juice” Gathling.

The young child whose picture Sugar Ray Leonard worn on his socks in the 1976 Olympics is now a 37 year old independent young man raising a family of his own.

On Wednesday June 8, 2011 Ray Leonard Jr. read my blog account of his mother Juanita and he allegedly pulling a gun on his father and this was his response:

“I have never pulled a gun on my father.  I am a great father and husband to my wife and I have not followed the same path.  Please do not slander my name by saying something that is far from the truth.

Thanks,

Ray Jr.

My follow-up response / Wednesday June 8, 2011

Dear Ray Jr.,

I am happy to know that you did not pull a gun on your father and you have not traveled in his path of self-destruction.

It was also great to hear that unlike Sugar Ray Leonard Sr., Sugar Ray Leonard Jr., is a great father to his children and a great husband to his wife.

The pulled gun story came from a family member who should have known.  I will not ID that person because to exasperate another problem in the family serves no purpose.

A son should not be blamed for the ill-will that was perpetrated by his father!  I promise to drop the gun story line upon any further oral or written conversation as it relates to you and your father.

I know first-hand the uneasy feeling of seeing your name in print (Sporting News, Washington Star, Washington Post and LA Times newspapers) and being accused of something that was never said or acted upon.

Your father’s bogus book gave me an opportunity to re-visit those lies that were planted by him and Mike Trainer and read around the World.

It cuts deep when the one telling the lie is the one who turned to you when he could not turn to anyone else.

Janks Morton, Dave Jacobs and Ollie Dunlop didn’t have a clue on how to help him in 1976 and Mike Trainer and Charlie Brotman where nowhere to be found.

Ray Jr., when you tell one lie it leads to another and another lie.  A LIE will change a thousand times but the TRUTH never changes.  Your father has told so many lies he has no idea where one lie ends and the truth begins.

The next time you talk with your father face to face ask him “Did Harold Bell ever ask you for a job or for money during your pro career?”

It was your father who called me on my radio talk show “Inside Sports” in December 1979 after he had won the Welterweight Championship of the World by beating Wilfred Benitez.  He said, “Harold I am the Welterweight Champion of the World today because you were there when no one else was.”

When I took your father under my wing as his mentor in 1976 he was a “Kid in trouble.”  He didn’t have two-dollars or a pocket to piss in or a window to throw out!

It was HAROLD BELL who kept hope alive and jump-started his professional career but according to his book I never existed.

Today your father is considered to be of the greatest boxers of all-time, according to Mike Trainer he has earned over 100 million dollars but that does not count what Trainer took to the bank.  Ray is now a member of the Boxing Hall of Fame.

My question to you and your father—where is the beef?

Ray Jr. I am hoping that when you decide to write the book to clear your name, suggested title “Sugar Ray Leonard, Jr. I am not my father.”  It is either that or change your name.  Peace of mind is not for sale!

In closing, I thank you for wanting to set the record straight.  I wish you nothing but the best in your endeavors and may God continue to bless you and your family.

As Always,

Harold Bell

Ray Jr.’s Response / Wednesday June 8, 2011

Thanks My Brother,

I can not go back and change the transgressions of my father, but I can stop the cycle and not put this burden on my kids.  My father is still a deeply troubled man, and the scars from what I went through as a kid, and still deal with as a grown man will stay with me forever.  We all have a responsibility to be good people and produce better people.  My entire family is a mess, and I moved way out to where I live to get away from it all.

I was going in that same destructive path for some time, with the women, drinking, and since of entitlement, I woke up and decided to stop the cycle anyway possible.  I have been married for almost 9 years and have been with my wife for 13 years.  I have 4 wonderful children, 2 girls and 2 boys.  My oldest will be headed to UCLA or Stanford in a year and I couldn’t be happier.

I am actually in the process of meeting with a writer to write my own book, because I am the only one not under contract to never be able to write anything negative about SRL.  Even though I have enough things to say that would shock many people, I will not be airing my family’s dirty laundry in the book.  I will speak the truth on the things that have already been said and hopefully give a road map to others that end up following in the path of their destructive parents.

I am far from a perfect man, but I can look my self in the mirror and face my family everyday with no regrets.

I appreciate your contribution to sports journalism and hope you continue to speak on what you feel is right.

I have attached a picture of me and my family, which is the reason I strive to be a better man every day.

God bless.

Ray Leonard Jr.

I had heard years ago that Sugar Ray Leonard Sr. had made each family member sign agreements not to ever write anything negative about him with the threat of cutting off the dollars!  I commend Ray Jr. for having the courage and strength to write this response to me.  It proves that a good apple can fall far away from a bad tree!

Note Worthy:

There is an annual contest at Duke University for the most appropriate definition of a contemporary term.

This year’s term was: “Political Correctness”

The winner wrote:

“Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of shit by the clean end.” 

Sounds like the winner knew Sugar Ray Leonard, Sr. 

Harold Bell is the Godfather of Sports Talk radio and television. Throughout the mid-sixties, seventies and eighties, Harold embarked upon a relatively new medium–sports talk radio with classic interviews with athletes and sports celebrities.  The show and format became wildly popular. Who better than Harold Bell to put together classic interviews with his legendary celebrity friends.

US Airways Dress Code: Is Race A Factor?

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Racism with tags , , on June 22, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Black Men In America.com Staff

You remember we wrote about University of New Mexico football player Deshon Marman who was removed from a US Airways flight last week for wearing sagging sweatpants that exposed his underwear. Well US Airways has acknowledged that less than a week before having Marman arrested for refusing to pull his pants up, the airline allowed a man known as “Howard the Cross-Dresser” wearing women’s underwear, black thigh-high stockings and heels to fly.

This raises the question of a blatant double standard.  Was race a factor in the removal of Marman who is black?  The man in women’s underwear who was allowed to fly, even after passengers complained is white.  When asked why Marman was kicked off the plane and the man in women’s underwear was allowed to fly, US Airways spokesperson Valerie Wunder did not offer a comment on the Marman incident, but did say US Airways employees had been correct to let the man in women’s panties fly in spite of numerous passenger complaints.  Wunder said:  “We don’t have a dress code policy for passengers.  Obviously, if their private parts are exposed, that’s not appropriate.  So, if they’re not exposing their private parts, they’re allowed to fly.” 

Wunder, when shown a picture of the Howard the Cross-Dresser said:  He wasn’t exposing his private parts. Therefore employees had been correct in not asking the man to cover himself.”

Let’s get real.  US Airways has a public relations problem.  A Black man with sagging pants is removed from the plane for refusing to follow a crew member’s orders to pull his pants up.  A white man is wearing women’s underwear and high heels is allowed to fly despite passenger complaints.  The question of whether race is a factor is legitimate.

Marman’s removal from the plane appears to be the result of an overzealous pilot.  At first glance it would appear that the cross-dressing man was revealing far more skin and presenting more visual distractions than a pair of sagging pants.  Neither man exposed private parts.

Passengers complained about the man in women’s underwear, yet there was no incident.  US Airways is sticking by its decision to kick Marman off the plane and let the cross-dressing passenger fly.

U.S. Airways has not commented on the June 15th arrest of Deshon Marman.  San Francisco Police say only Marman’s boxer shorts were shown.  Marman’s lawyer says security footage will prove that his client did not show any skin.  “A white man is allowed to fly in underwear without question, but my client was asked to pull up his pajama pants because they hung below his waist”, said Marman’s attorney Joe O’Sullivan.

Click here to read our post on the removal of Marman for his sagging pants.

What do you think is going on with US Airways and their dress code or lack thereof?

Winston Salem State Graduates Bamboozled: Stephen A. Smith Talking Out of Both Sides of His Mouth

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Sports News with tags , on June 20, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Harold Bell

In a story written in The Winston-Salem Journal on Sunday May 15, 2011, by Annette Fuller, Stephen A. Smith, an ESPN commentator and sports journalist, told the graduating students at Winston-Salem State University that they could party that night, rest on Sunday and then go out and find a job on Monday morning.

He said, “If you want to be somebody, you’ve got to annihilate the competition.”  Smith, graduated from WSSU in 1991.

He went on to say “Anything less is a waste of your time and a waste for the people who believe in you.  And once you give the world your all, “you have to do it over and over and over again,” he said. “I’m in no mood to mince words,” he said in the commencement speech from the podium.

He told the graduates to look up in the stands and wave to their parents and family.  “They’re not happy for you,” he said. “They’re happy for them. They don’t want you anymore. They’re happy because now you get to pay your own phone bill,” he said to laughter and applause.

In the spring of 2011, “entering the world is as serious as it gets,” Smithsaid. “We have over 13 million unemployed.”  The question is: “What is waiting for you?” he asked the graduates.

“For those who are lazy: nothing. For those looking for shortcuts: nothing,” he said. “It’s every man for himself out there.”

He said he has no use for those who constantly say, “It’s not fair.”

“One of my bosses once told me, ‘Fair is a place where they judge pigs,'” he said. “Nobody cares about fairness. Everybody is out there trying to get theirs,” and you’ve got to compete against them, keeping morals and ethics always in mind, he said.

Nobody wants to hear excuses, he said. Nobody wants to hear, “They’re keeping me down.”  “No, you’re keeping yourself down,” he said. “Saying that is an excuse to accept mediocrity. You’re looking for people to blame instead of looking in the mirror.”

Also, nobody wants to hear about your suffering, he said.  “With the budget deficit and with all the unemployment, we’re all suffering,” he said.  Consider yourself full-fledged Winston-Salem StateRams, he said.  “You are now officially trained, educated, armed and dangerous,” he said. “Go forth now and steamroll over the competition.”

In the November 2010 issue of Essence Magazine in a far reaching panel discussion titled “Race In America” Stephen A. Smith was on a panel that included the Rev. Al Sharpton (National Action Network), Soledad O’Brien (CNN), Ben Jealous (NAACP) Tricia Rose (Brown University), Sheryl Underwood (Comedian) and several other noted community advocates.

The discussion took a turn for the worst for Stephen A. Smith when the moderator, Bob Evans (Deputy Editor of Essence) asked the question to know one in particular “Does the heighten racism surprise you or disappoint you?

Ben Jealous: It was disappointing but not surprising.  Racism so infects our national discourse that we still think the majority of crack users in this country are Black.  White people are 65% of crack users.

Stephen A. Smith:  If I went on my radio show and said that, we’d have a problem.

Tricia Rose: Why?

Stephen A. Smith: I’m in 207 markets across the country and most of it is Middle America, which is a termn for white America.  They don’t want to hear that.

Tricia Rose: How do you know?

Stephen A. Smith: Because the White folks who make the decisions, who show you the numbers (he forgot to say, “And sign my check”), will point out that White America does not want to hear it.  It is like pulling teeth to get them to engage in a dialogue about race (I am going along to get along).

Stephen A. Smith: “You should have your own show on CNN”, he says to Soledad O’Brien!

Sheryl Underwood: Tell me why?

Stephen A. Smith: If you give her that platform, what is the likelihood of her addressing the very issues we are discussing?  She is not going to hesitate.

My Interpretation of Stephen A. Smith’s response; “I work for a white radio station that is heard in 207 markets in Klu Klux Klan territory and they don’t want to hear that shit!  I am getting paid Top Dollar and I am not about jeopardized my good J-O-B! 

“Soledad, you should have your own show on CNN in prime time because you are not afraid to discuss these types of issues.  I don’t have the balls to discuss racial issues on my show.”

 My question to Stephen A. Smith; How can you deliver the commencement address to grads telling them “If you want to be somebody, you have got to annihilate the competition” when you are running scare?  Something is wrong with this picture!   

This type of dialogue goes back to us owning our own media outlets and stop fronting for “The Man.”

Harold Bell is the Godfather of Sports Talk radio and television. Throughout the mid-sixties, seventies and eighties, Harold embarked upon a relatively new medium–sports talk radio with classic interviews with athletes and sports celebrities. The show and format became wildly popular. Who better than Harold Bell to put together classic interviews with his legendary celebrity friends.

The Bridge: Devaluing Men

Posted in Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Fatherhood, The Bridge - Darryl James with tags , on June 20, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Darryl James

Close to 40% of Americans grow up without a father.

This explains why so many people are bitter, angry and sometimes even hostile towards men. It explains it, with the caveat of complete blame for men, which is becoming an American pastime.

Who knows how many of those fathers have been pushed out of the children’s lives? I ask this because at some point, folks need to seek resolution instead of holding on to pain and anger, which only helps to continue the cycle.

But Americans do hold on to pain and anger and African Americans more so than anyone else—particularly when it comes to daddy issues.

The pain and anger from not having a father, or from having to raise children without the help of a father festers and morphs into deep resentment for the absent father, and for many, resentment of men in general.

That resentment has become devaluation. Psychology 101 reveals that a basic human response to being unable to have something is to begin to reject the desire to have it. This is why we hear so many women state proudly that they neither need nor want a man in their lives. They are in pain and they are angry because they did not have it, and they attempt to convince themselves that they no longer want it.

In dating and relationships, it has become man repellent.

In the homes, it has manifested as something more destructive.

Devaluing men has resulted in throngs of adult males who are anything but men, having been raised by women who placed no value on men—including the ones they were raising. This only adds to the number of fathers who have no idea how to stand up and be men or fathers.

Some women have become so comfortable devaluing men that many now celebrate Father’s Day by claiming that they are holding both the male and female role in parenting. The subtext is screaming that men are so unnecessary that women can fill in their role and nothing will be missing.

The problem is that a great deal will still be missing. For example, a woman cannot provide a child with male modeling, something crucial to the development of a child’s social coping skills.

Without male modeling, boys will be unable to interact with men and so will struggle to fully develop as men. Girls will be unable to understand interactions with men and so will struggle in relationships, dating and subsequent motherhood. Both will grow up believing that men are unnecessary.

How is a boy or young man supposed to become a fully functioning member of society if he has no idea how to interact with other men and worse, if he believes that his very existence is unnecessary?

Many women find themselves in the untenable situation of raising children alone. And while some of them may do the very best they can as single mothers, they cannot function as fathers.

Previous generations understood this and sought to fill the father’s role with older brothers, uncles, grandparents, coaches and other community members.

Many of today’s single mothers have convinced themselves that they can step in and fill the role of the father themselves.

It’s creating a cycle, since these women who grew up without fathers themselves need to be validated because they won’t get therapy. Their abject need for validation ruins their own children who won’t be able to become men or hold men. What man would stay with a woman who is constantly competing with him, challenging him and devaluing him?

When we speak of modeling, much of what a father teaches a child comes from the child’s observation.

For example, everything I do, my son wants to do. He watches the way I talk, dress, chew, sit, stand and pee, and tries to duplicate it all. I watched my Father and now, I’m watching my son watch me. He doesn’t watch his mother with the same intensity and he is watching me instinctively. He also understands, instinctively, that Daddy will protect him. This is the baseline and will be valuable, in addition to the discussions that we have now and will continue to have over the years.

The ignorant women who claim to be both mother and father need to think about this when they wish each other Happy Father’s Day, devaluing men. They should ask themselves: “What are you modeling for your son without a man? What kind of man will he be if he grows up celebrating you in a male role as a father? What kind of man will your daughter select if she grows up believing men have no value?”

And we have to ask ourselves as a people, why do we establish and support such wretched behavior? While others may do the same ignorant things, we have gone to great lengths with it. So much so that corporations are marketing products that pander to our own pain, anger, confusion and abject ignorance.

Hallmark’s Mahogany line of greeting cards now makes a card for mothers who want to celebrate each other on Father’s Day. There is no “Happy Father’s Day” card for females in any other race.

Something is very dangerous about that.

It crosses a line that hasn’t been crossed before. Father’s Day was created by the child of a man who had become a widower and raised his six children alone. Mother’s Day was already a holiday and instead of celebrating him on that day with “Happy Mother’s Day”, his daughter wanted him to have his own day. When women find themselves raising children alone, why do they feel the need to have both Mother’s Day AND Father’s Day?

We know that there are some men who dodge their responsibility as fathers. And that has to be addressed. That has to be improved.

There are men who are stepping in as mentors. There are also organizations emerging to address the issue, including the National Fatherhood Initiative and Real Dads Network.

It is understood that there are reasons on both sides of the gender divide that find mothers raising children alone.

Some of them are on the male side, with shiftless men who refuse to own up to their responsibility and do everything in their power to avoid fatherhood.

Some of those reasons are on the female side, with vindictive women who do everything they can to force the men out of their children’s lives, since they want the men out of their own lives.

But whatever the case, we cannot pretend that a female can fill the role of father.

We are now in the third generation/cycle of American male devaluation and even some of these frail, spineless males are afraid to confront the beast. But if we don’t shout: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, then tomorrow’s children will be going straight to hell in a hand basket.

There’s enough negativity surrounding fatherhood—particularly Black Fatherhood—that more needs to be spoken either in positive or at least for pragmatic purposes.

The work of assuring that more fathers are in the lives of children is the work of us all.

And, the most important part of that work is beginning to value men.

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles this Spring and will be running all Summer. View previous installments of this column at http://www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at djames@theblackgendergap.com.

The Man In The Mirror

Posted in African Americans, Black Interests, Black Men with tags , on June 20, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Raynard Jackson

The church used to be the mirror that society looked into to see its reflection.  But, now the church has become the reflection that mirrors society.

Unfortunately, the church seems to have lost its way and can no longer be counted on to provide light in a dark world.

Last month, embattled preacher Eddie Long made an out of court settlement of the sexual charges made against him by 4 teenage parishioners.  The settlement is reported to have been for $ 15 million (to be split between the four accusers).  The accusers were:  Anthony Flagg, Maurice Robinson, Jamal Parris and Spencer LeGrande.

The suit accused Long of using his position as pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church to coerce the men into having sexual relationships with him while they were teenage members of his congregation (they were said to have been 17 years old).  The acts included massages, masturbation, and oral sex.  The age of consent in the state of Georgia is 16.  The accusers were all over the age of consent when the acts occurred, therefore law enforcement had no grounds for criminal charges.

New Birth is one of the largest churches in the Atlanta area, with a membership estimated to be around 25,000.

As to be expected, members are leaving the church in droves, including one of their assistant pastors, Bernice King, youngest daughter of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

To add salt to the wound, Creflo Dollar has shown his arrogance in his attempted defense of Long (a long time friend).  According to Dollar’s sermon from last Sunday (seen on YouTube):  “That preacher’s still anointed to do what he was called to. He just had a wreck (the sexual coercion charge)…The blood (of Jesus) will take care of his issue just like it will take care of yours. And I just can’t believe that people would leave their preacher because he had a wreck, instead of praying for him.  So he had a wreck. You’ve had some wrecks. And I’m thinking, ‘Man, the mercy of God showed on you, but you couldn’t show it to the preacher?…He had a wreck, [but] here’s the good news. He’s got insurance.  If you’re from that church that you know I’m talking about, you trying to join here, I don’t want you to join here. You need to go and join where you’re supposed to be.”

Dollar is pastor of World Changers Church in Atlanta.  They have an estimated membership of 30,000 people.

Long and Dollar are both advocates of the “prosperity gospel.”  This is basically a belief in the modern church that God wants everyone to be millionaires.  All you have to do is to obey preachers like Long and Dollar, give them your money, and God will give you a big house, an expensive car, and any other material possessions you want.

They should know.  Long drives a Bentley, has a 9 bedroom house, and has a $ 1 million salary.  Dollar (what an ironic name) has a $ 3 million house in Atlanta, $ 2.4 million condo in NY, 2 Rolls-Royces, and a private jet.

These preachers have basically made God into a personal ATM!  According to their theology, if you don’t have material riches, you must be doing something wrong!

These mega churches have become the “Wall Street” of religion (as in the movie) where “greed is good.”  These preachers depend on “the cult of personality” to expand their empires.  People tend to join these churches because of the preacher, not the message that is being preached.

These preachers are nothing but celebrities with robes on.  But, when you pull back the robes, most of them are naked—both literally and figuratively.  Like in the movie, “The Wiz,” when you go behind the curtain, you find a big ole phony!

I am a graduate of Oral Roberts University, one of the preeminent Christian schools in the country.  I have worked around many of the biggest names in the “prosperity theology” movement.

These preachers have absolutely no sense of the damage they are doing, not only to the church, but also to people’s lives.  Proverbs 14:7 states: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof the ways of death.”

Dollar’s berating of those who left Long’s church is the epitome of arrogance.  They have prostituted the church for their personal gain.  The damage these types of preachers have done is incalculable.

For every ill we see in society, from politics, business, and entertainment, we now see reflected in the church.

The church is no longer the mirror, but the reflection.  Just look at the man in the mirror!

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm.  He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine (www.excellstyle.com) & USAfrica Magazine (www.USAfricaonline.com).

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