Archive for April, 2008

Like Him or Not, Rev. Wright Is Here To Stay

Posted in Barack Obama, Black Interests, Gary A. Johnson with tags , , on April 28, 2008 by Gary Johnson

Commentary by Gary A. Johnson

Rev. Jeremiah Wright has decided to speak for himself and in effect defend himself. People will debate whether Rev. Wright’s “coming out” is helpful or hurtful to presidential candidate Barack Obama, however, I don’t think Rev. Wright cares.

It is clear to me that the Rev. has decided to define himself and defend what he believes is his good name. I can’t say that I blame him. Who wouldn’t want to defend their hard earned name and reputation?

While speaking today at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, the Rev. was asked about his patriotism. Wright replied as follows: “I served six years in the military. How many years did Cheney serve?”

Rev. Wright has made it clear during his string of recent public appearances that he is a pastor and not a politician. He reminded the audience that Sen. Barack Obama is a politician and that he and Obama will do what they have to do in their perspective roles. This is a very important point of distinction and clarification. The role of a pastor and politician are different and Rev. Wright seems to be clear about his role.

“I’m not here for political reasons,” Wright said to a packed house last night of about 10,000 people at a NAACP gathering in Detroit. “I’m not a politician,” he told the crowd. He went on to say, “I’m not here for political reasons.” “I am not running for the Oval Office. I’ve been running for Jesus a long, long time, and I’m not tired yet.”

Perhaps the lines have become blurred for others. Wright seems to be clear, confident and at peace with his role as a pastor.

What Rev. Wright is doing is allowing the world to see him as he “really” is. Rev. Wright is not the character and YouTube phenomenon that he has been portrayed over the past several weeks. This is a very smart and worldly black leader. Wright also told the audience at the NAACP dinner that despite what his critics say, he is descriptive, not divisive, when he speaks about racial injustices.

In the view of Rev. Wright he is speaking out because of the media attacks on the black church. He stated his belief that the media attacks are about him.

Many in the mainstream media as well as Hillary Clinton and others will continue to link Rev. Wright to Barack Obama in the most negative ways. If I’m a strategist in the Obama camp, I probably would not be happy right now. Why? Watch the media coverage of Rev. Wright over the next several weeks. Rather than focus on the positive truths in his message, many in the media will actively look for negatives or attempt to twist his words to make him a negative force and deflect from the good that he’s done.

Commentators will focus on his body language, his gestures and his “attitude” instead of what he’s actually saying. That’s called distortion. The office phone lines here at Black Men In America are blowing up with calls from black folks who are mad at Rev. Wright for coming out now. One caller said, “Wright is giving Hillary and the Republicans more ammunition to deflect from the issues.” Whether you like him or not, Rev. Wright is here to stay.

Susan Rice, a spokesperson for the Obama campaign commented on MSNBC this morning after Rev. Wright’s speech at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. She described Rev. Wright as a “sideshow.” She went on to say the Rev. Wright was more concerned about redeeming his legacy. I see this as a problem. Outside forces both black and white will be calling for Obama to distance himself further from Rev. Wright and essentially pit these two black men against each other. The Clinton campaign will be in full attack mode about Obama’s judgment. This is politics folks. Obama campaigned that he has better judgment than his opponents.

Barack Obama said that he believes that Rev. Wright is a legitimate political issue. That’s the equivalent of a “green light” for Senators Clinton, McCain and others to deflect from other legitimate issues that should be discussed in this campaign.

You can watch Rev. Wright’s speech at the NAACP and his interview with Bill Moyer in our video section in the right-hand column on this blog.

What do you think?

Gary Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In Blog.  Gary is also the author of the new book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life.”

Former Congressman J.C. Watts Behind BLACK TELEVISION NEWS CHANNEL (BTNC)

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Men with tags , , , on April 22, 2008 by Gary Johnson

Commentary by Gary A. Johnson

Last week it was announced that a black news network was coming our way next year. Black Television News Channel (BTNC), the nation’s only African-American news network, scheduled to launch in 2009. The firm also announced a multi-year carriage agreement with Comcast, the country’s leading provider of cable, entertainment and communications products and services. Comcast is also a major partner with TV One. Under the agreement, BTNC expects that it will be added to Comcast systems in Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Baltimore.

In terms of media, our needs are great. The black community desperately needs a serious news channel. Lord knows we don’t need another sitcom. Last week’s debut sitcom starring William Jonathan Drayton, Jr., was a disaster. I’m sorry. Forgive me, you probably know Mr. Drayton by his stage name Flav Flavor. Flav stars in a MyNetworkTV sitcom, “Under One Roof” also starring Kelly Perine. This show is an embarrassing stereotypical show that marginalizes us before the world. I got sidetracked, let me get back on point. Where was I? Black Television News Channel.

BTNC is the endeavor of J.C. Watts, Jr., former U.S. congressman from Oklahoma and celebrated athlete, and broadcast and cable news veterans. “Our unique and vast content partnerships with African American newsmakers will provide our viewers LIVE access to the stories and people in whom our viewers have a special interest,” said Watts. “With this agreement, Comcast continues to demonstrate its commitment to working with independent programmers with diverse points of view.”

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Fatherhood: Thank You For Taking Me To Court by Joel Austin

Posted in Black Men, Fatherhood with tags , on April 10, 2008 by Gary Johnson

Joel Austin

On April 7, 2008, I heard the Archbishop Desmond Tutu speak at St Joseph’s University. He quoted: “God has always created existence out of chaos.”  Hence my life and reason for the appreciation of being taken to court.


I have more than one child’s mother, both have taken me to custody and support court. Both have called the police on me. You would think from this simple description that I am a horrible person, not at all. Actually it is the opposite; I experienced the most turmoil while becoming a better father. Puzzled?  Read on.


There was a time when you were taken to court because of your refusal to care for your children, this is not true today.  Support court was created to care for children in a day and age long ago yet the laws have not changed. While Dr. Martin Luther King fought for equality and the poor, family court was missed by the civil rights bills. Women who had children out of wedlock, usually by a married man, were cast away as trash in America. These men who had this child did not acknowledge this child because of the culture of the society. Women were chastised as it being their fault for opening their legs and having a child before marriage. The burden of the child’s welfare landed on the lap of the government. The government did not like paying for the mistakes of its sailors, military men, and traveling salesmen, so out of care for the children Support Court was created.


Today it needs to be reformed. There are more cases of dead broke dads than there are of dead beat dads. The support for our children has never been this difficult. Children and families are not getting rich from support, they are merely surviving. The simple solution is for two parents to decide what is best for their child. The solution is for the two parents who made the child to decide the well being and proper development for the child. What a crazy idea, but what keeps this from happening. The fact that is that in America” It is money we trust, not people.” So children can be worth money if you use them correctly. Children can also cost a lot of money if you let them.


So some mothers take the money over the responsibility of communication, marriage, and faith in their partner. Some fathers walk away from the responsibility because how closely it is related to life-long financial, social, and psychological burden.


It is the gray that is causing harm to our children in the end. Only 15% of all fathers that pay support are deadbeat dads. This is a man or woman that refuses to pay support that can! Most are dead broke, which means they have orders that say what they must pay, and have no way of paying it or very limited funds.


What will it take to get child support reform?  When will we stop hurting children by damaging one or more parents?   I say the solution is joint/shared custody.  This makes both parents liable and accountable for their children’s well being.  What do you think?  Please leave your comments and opinions below.

About The Author


Joel Austin and his organizatin Daddy UniverCity is dedicated to helping all fathers appreciate themselves and the responsibility of fatherhood.  To put this complex situation in simple terms, Austin would like to to heal the world one father and child at a time.

Together with Black Men In, Joel will bring you a fresh, practical and relevant perspective to the issue of fatherhood.  Helping fathers understand the importance their role has on the future of children throughout the world is a major task, however, it can be done and for many that task will start here on this web site and blog. 

Be sure and check out Joel and his articles on the Fatherhood page at Black Men In


Posted in Black America, Black Men on April 10, 2008 by Gary Johnson

Harold Bell By Harold Bell 

Four hundred years after we were kidnapped and brought to America against our will, we are still not good enough.  Through slave labor America has become the greatest country on the face of the earth but black folks are still seen as the last, the least and the less.   

First, we were sold out by our brothers and sisters for what would add up to today as pennies on a dollar.  In 2008 there are some who are still selling us out for pennies on a dollar. 

Yes, there was “Spooks Who Sit by the Door” in Africa.  Little has changed since we were brought here by boats and ships from the most beautiful Continent in the World.  Instead of second-class citizens we are now third class citizens behind America’s “New Negro”—Hispanics.    

Many of our ancestors were among thousands and thousands who never made it to the shores of America.  On the high seas an illness or a defiant look from a slave could mean a watery grave on the bottom of the ocean.  It is by far the worst lost of life in American history, there are no comparisons.  

The Powers-To-Be in America are often heard asking the question, why can’t American blacks pull themselves up by their boot straps like the Jews?  How can we pull ourselves up by our bootstraps if you don’t have boots?  Or many can be heard saying “Black folks need to get over slavery and reparations.” 

I am getting over slavery and reparations but I can’t get over the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King, President John Kennedy and his brother Robert Kennedy and forty years later we are still singing “We Shall Over Come.”  I can’t get over the lynching of Emmit Till, or four little girls blown up while attending church, Medgar Evers gunned down in his driveway by cowards, black and white civil rights marchers in Selma and Birmingham, protestors in Alabama bitten by dogs and fire hosed by Jim Clark and Bull Connor while their redneck cops beat on human heads as if they were drums. 

Click here to read the full story on the “Guest Columnist” page on Black Men In

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