Archive for May, 2008

Is It Time for A Black Men’s Movement?

Posted in Black America, Black Men with tags , , on May 25, 2008 by Gary Johnson

By Phillip Jackson

When we talk about the violence in our communities, we have to ask, “Where are the Black men?” When it is time to take responsibility for the education of Black children, we have to ask, “Where are the Black men?” When it is time to raise little boys into strong, positive men, we must ask, “Where are the Black men?” And when it is time to prepare our communities for the globalization that threatens to eliminate our communities from cities across the country, our children scream out to us, “Where are the Black Men?”

There are some great Black fathers, husbands, community leaders, mentors, businessmen, men of God and generally good guys in the Black community. But my question is this: When the blood of Black children is literally running in the streets, where are those Black men? Where is the Black men’s movement that can revitalize the Black community? The answer: It is nowhere!

Black men must re-define what it means to be a Black man.

  • Real men nurture their children
  • Real men educate their children
  • Real men mentor children not their own
  • Real men provide security for their families
  • Real men build their community
  • Real men create jobs and control the economic destiny of their community
  • Real men ensure the safety of their community
  • Real men organize to solve problems in their community
  • Real men take care of the elders in their community

The Three Essential and Dynamic Principles for Black Men:

1) Black men must become the catalytic force in rebuilding the Black family. By rebuilding the Black family, you rebuild the Black community. Everything that is important to life flows through the Black family – education, economics, spiritual values, resistance to violence, character, reverence for our elders and more. In fact, it flows through all families, through any family. That is how nature and society is made.

2) Black men must take control of the education of Black children – formal and informal. They must set high standards and become the teachers of the knowledge and principles that will cause the Black community to survive and thrive into the 21st century. There is absolutely a place for government, Black women and people of other races in this effort, but Black men must take the lead for it to impress Black boys.

3) Black men must create and control a new sub-economy in the Black community. In 2008, the whole world is hustling except the Black community. Sure, there are a few Black billionaires, but they do not teach young Black boys how to get off of corners selling drugs or how to hustle goods and services legitimately in our communities. They don’t teach them to open up stores, to start business or to hire their relatives. The Black community is a community that has forgotten how to hustle legit! The Black community is being hustled. Black people beg for others to give Black children jobs but for the most part, we do not work to create jobs for our children.

In the Black community, the harvest of young Black boys is plentiful but the laborers of Black men committed to working with them are few.

We need black men! Women! Please pass this on to a strong, positive Black man.

Phillip Jackson
Executive Director
The Black Star Project
773.285.9600
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The Bridge Double Play: Two Articles by Darryl James

Posted in Black America, Black Interests with tags , on May 23, 2008 by Gary Johnson

“Sellout” and “Looking For Daddy”

Darryl James

There are people in every corner of society who are willing to sell their very souls for personal gain, for wealth and fame, or for nothing at all.

Amongst African Americans, we often see soul-selling in exchange for acceptance by the dominant group.

And, since these are typically Negroes who hate themselves, they go so much farther than white racists that their extremity is nearly insane.

They look silly and peculiar to many of us, because they allow the real racists to seem innocuous unless they are overt and extreme themselves.

That’s why we see racists today delivering covert racism and then pretending that they didn’t know or understand that their comments or actions were racist.

Simultaneously, we see Negroes taking the baton and going to the next level.

Take Bob Johnson of BET infamy, for example.

Not only did he create an entertainment venue which continues to provide demeaning images long after he sold it, but in his support of Hillary Clinton, Johnson attacked Barack Obama in a way that whites only danced around.

It’s one thing to support a white candidate. Not every Black person has to stand behind every Black candidate. However, Johnson’s attack on Obama was a glaring example of self-hatred and selling out.

Johnson went to the extreme with his soul-selling.

But such high-tech soul-selling can only occur in an environment where our very identity is in question.

We are at such a loss of cultural identity, that nearly anything can be celebrated as beautiful, even if it really isn’t.

This includes things that harm us.

We see this with rap music and comedy that pokes fun at us in an ignorant and image-damaging manner, yet, many of us not only support it, but vehemently defend it.

For proof, say anything against Tyler Perry and watch throngs of souled out Negroes come to his defense, even though the antics of his show House of Payne are indefensible to any Black person with self-pride.

It’s not about Black supremacy, but what was once good about us and got us through the trials and tribulations of the past.

We have to be careful or we may not survive what is in store for us in the future.

It’s no secret that whites are still willing to toss us under the bus when it comes to achieving their own desired goals.

We see Hillary praising her Republican rival over her Democratic Party rival, not just to win, but to keep ahead of the Black candidate at all costs.

She’s selling us out, even as some confused Negroes still pledge allegiance to Big Bill Clinton, thinking that he was ever a friend.

In every group in the nation, there are people who are far too willing to sell themselves or to sell their group or another group out for personal gain.

It seems that we’ve diminished the usage of words such as “Sellout,” but since the behavior is still in vogue, why not bring back the label?

For example, conservative commentator and national bootlicker, Armstrong Williams took nearly a quarter of a million dollars in government funds to promote the sick and sorry program from a sick and sorry president, No Child Left Behind. When it came to the Black community, it was known as “Your Child Left Behind,” but Williams got paid to bring it to us.

Sellout.

When defending himself, Williams wrote: “Sellout is just a term that people use to enslave us and keep us distracted from real problems.”

No Armstrong, Sellout is a term that people use for lackeys who sell out their own people for cash, glory and/or political favors. You went for all three.

I think that in many ways, we’ve stopped calling people on the carpet when they are out of line, which has lead to weakness and a lack of accountability.

I don’t have a problem with the Republican Party and Conservatives simply out of some blind loyalty to the Democratic Party. I have a problem with the Republican Party for the same reasons I have problems with the Democratic Party–they are both tools for rich white men to remain rich white men.

Both parties are also problematic because they present alarmist views, which are presented as being diametrically opposed.

Just as I view Williams and other extremist Conservatives as Sellouts, I also view Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton as Sellouts.

The reality is that many Blacks have become polarized when it comes to politics and political parties, frequently missing out on intrinsic issues in order to toe the party line.

As opposed to blind party loyalty, we should be more focused on inducing politicians to improve the lot of our poorest and worst off. Such a program would benefit all of us.

When the worst of us rises, the best of us shines greater.

However, what both sides of the party line end up doing is pandering to the broadest pool of the people from those who are already aware, and therefore, ahead of the game. The poor are typically manipulated with emotional rhetoric as opposed to informative reports.

Although I was raised in a family of Democrats, one of my favorite presidents was Richard Nixon. His program of converting Welfare families into working citizens through Workfare made the most sense for pulling up the people at the bottom.

And, while the truth about Bill Clinton should have turned us away from the Democrats, the truth about the retarded man currently in office should turn us away from pure politics and toward goals based on improvement of the worst of us, which will improve the best of us.

For a working program that buoyed an entire population, take a look at Hispanic Americans, specifically the Mexican Americans who protested by the millions for the worst of them, so that the best of them could shine brighter.

They knew their plan would work, because they studied our history and it once worked for us.

Yes, Black people, when we protested so that the worst of us could improve, the best of us also improved.

But once the best of us began to improve, we abandoned the worst of us and began to point the finger at them to place blame for all of the race’s problems at their feet.

And we do this from both sides of the political line.

Today, we have become so self-centered and so eager to blame the powerless, that we barely pay attention to the worst of us. Many of us only pay lip service to community service, yet are quick to talk about how they only have to “go to college and get a job,” which is just some tired and stupid propaganda.

So, who’s selling us out?

Too many of us.

Bill Cosby, America’s shameful drunken uncle is leading a Sellout movement by blaming impoverished Blacks without really trying to improve their lot. He’s selling us out for glory, because his ignorant rants appear to make him relevant again.

Negro Conservatives are selling out by excelling on the backs of poor people’s movements of the past while blaming poor people of the present for not getting ahead and assailing programs designed to improve their lot.

Democrats are selling out by taking Blacks for granted, while using them as pawns against the Republican Party.

The fake middle class is selling us out by pretending that more of us are doing better because they are doing better and don’t want to look at the reality.

Take a close look at the actions of these groups. They are polarizing both sides of the lines in order for their own gains. It’s clear that they are selling out their followers for glory, for cash and/or for political favors.

At some point, they will have to pay with their very own souls.

Darryl James is an award-winning author who is now a filmmaker. He released his first mini-movie, “Crack,” and this year, will release his first full-length documentary. James appears in the film “What Black Men Think,” an in-depth view of misrepresentations, myths and stereotypes about Black men. View previous installments of this column at http://www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at djames@theblackgendergap.com.

The Bridge: Looking For Daddy

By Darryl James

In America, far too many people have “Daddy” issues.

There are myriad reasons, even though some people have no idea what their own are.

Some of the nation’s men grow up without knowing how to be men themselves. They need strong models while in their formative years. Without those strong models, issues will arise whenever it is time to man up.

Even into adulthood, many of America’s men hold onto blaming the absentee father, or the father who didn’t do the things they “should” have done.

And, some of the nation’s women grow up without knowing how to interact with men. Humans tend to form their ideas and interactions with the opposite sex based on the first opposite sex relationship, which is the parent of the opposite sex.

Even into adulthood, many of America’s women hold onto blaming the absentee father, or the father who didn’t do the things they “should” have done.

For some adults, the absence of Daddy leaves them with open wounds that they may not know how to heal. Therapy or at least the forgiveness of Daddy would do wonders, but sadly, this nation has created an environment of blame, such that many people manufacture issues with Daddy, even if there is no real basis.

In such an environment of blame, many Americans avoid looking to any source that may have either removed Daddy, or contributed to Daddy’s failure to properly parent children.

But any of us with working brains realize that there are other elements, including the government and some single mothers who contribute to Daddy issues.

We know the all too familiar stories of single mothers who have “adult” conversations with their children about the absentee father, leading to otherwise avoidable resentment and larger Daddy issues.

But we all know that many people have real bases for having Daddy issues.

We know that far too many fathers are absent from the lives of their children.

We also know that many of the fathers who are present are inappropriate.

And, we know that the community father is largely missing in action.

We’ve all witnessed a young boy gone bad, shaking our heads, wondering where the child’s father could be and whether the father’s absence could be the cause of the child’s difficulties. But we should give that same focus to the difficulties experienced by young Black girls as well.

Our community father is missing in action.

For many young Black boys in previous generations who were growing up without fathers, there were Black fathers in the neighborhoods who were unafraid to tell them what they needed to be doing and standing up to them when they were acting like damned fools. They, along with teachers and coaches, could discipline children without fear of reprisal from a permissive society gone mad.

Our community father was not only in the community and in the schools, but his presence was felt in many fatherless homes.

There were community fathers represented in the politicians, activists, religious icons and average working men who stood as shining examples for all to see and embrace.

If we say that our fathers are not in the homes, then where is our community father today?

Bill Cosby is not our community father. He was once America’s favorite father and sent the “lower economic people” the message that he didn’t like them very much. Like a deadbeat absentee father, he was not present when the child was growing and struggling, yet he stepped in after the fact to criticize the grown son, while still failing to offer any real assistance to balance the criticizing.

Jesse Jackson is not our community father. A bastard of the Civil Rights Movement, Jackson has no idea what he is supposed to be, and the end result is foolishness and obsolescence.

Neither athlete nor entertainer are community fathers. Magic Johnson has recently been putting in good effort, but he is no Muhammed Ali and Russell Simmons looks silly acting like a community activist after harming and/or ignoring the community for decades.

For some silly Negroes, the white man is the community father.

The mannerisms, speech and elitist thought patterns of racist whites govern these Negroes who may as well call George Bush, Jerry Falwell or the Pope “Daddy.” Adopting the thinking of the most racist white man who pretends not to be racist, these deluded Negroes believe they are progressive simply because they are divergent from the masses of Blacks who either recall or still feel a heavy racist boot on their asses. Black sons and daughters of the white community father see no racism and believe that those who call racism out are “whining” and employing excuses for weakness, even though the children of the white community father often move ahead on the backs of generations of “whiners.”

Because the Black community father is missing, many of us overcompensate, undercompensate, decompensate or simply fail to grow.

We can see the results of the missing community father when we see today’s younger generation enamored with an over-glamorized pimp/thug lifestyle they have never lead.

We see the results when we see women who have had only poor relationships with men, sit in circles with each other to define what a “good” man should be.

And we see those results when we see grown men avoid being too manly, afraid to toe the line because too many people will chastise a man for being a man.

The absentee community father is so elusive that many of us–men and women–have no idea what a man is supposed to be. So we act foolish and accept foolishness, often aligning ourselves with men who are nearly women–not homosexuals, but virtual asexuals–effeminate and retiring, looking for direction and needing to be controlled. These are the men who date strong women and allow themselves to be dominated and controlled, leading to bizarre relationships that can neither be duplicated nor sustained.

White society is also suffering from an abundance of fatherless homes. The difference is that they can still look around and see their community father in the White House, in the boardroom and appearing to be orchestrating all things important in society.

The Black community father is hard to find and many of us pretend that he is even harder to find than he is.

These things having been said, there are still Black fathers in our midst. In addition, there are fathering men among us who are clear about what is best for the women and children in our lives, even if they are not our wives and offspring.

My brothers and my closest friends are community fathers, going out of their way to be good examples of the best of our previous generation no matter what the cost.

Denzel Washington, Chuck D and now, Will Smith are community fathers in entertainment, standing strong and true to beautiful images of Black male strength, no matter what the cost.

Cornell West, Naim Akbar and Michael Eric Dyson are community fathers of intellect, standing strong and true to the beauty of the Black psyche, no matter what the cost.

Barack Obama is one of our shining community fathers in politics.

The millions of Black men who raise children who are not biologically theirs are community fathers, extending the African village by miles.

Brothers, if we expect our man-children to grow into productive, strong men, we have to show them what that looks like and how to grow into an example we can live out for them.

If we expect our female children of the community to grow unbound beyond the lack of influence from the community father, we have to provide that same example as fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins and community members.

It may not always feel good to be the example, but we have to exist. And it may not always feel good when community fathering is shown to us, but we have to accept it

Part of each man’s contribution to community fatherhood is to praise manly behavior and deride bad behavior–even when it appears in our own lives.

Many of us are looking for Daddy.

Some of us search for all our lives.

Really, Daddy isn’t that hard to find.

Darryl James is an award-winning author who is now a filmmaker. He released his first mini-movie, “Crack,” and this year, will release his first full-length documentary. James appears in the film “What Black Men Think,” an in-depth view of misrepresentations, myths and stereotypes about Black men. View previous installments of this column at http://www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at djames@theblackgendergap.com.

The 50/50 Rule by Brandon Whitney

Posted in Barack Obama, Black Interests, Politics with tags , on May 21, 2008 by Gary Johnson

Half of where you end up in life is based on your environment. The opportunities that are presented to you are going to be a big factor in how successful you are. For African Americans this has meant that oppressive governments and racism have put us at a disadvantage. The other half of where one ends up in life is dependent on one’s own actions. We are the captains of our own fate. That being the case, an Obama presidency or a change in the leadership in the NAACP will have an impact on Africa America, but it will be individuals in the community that determine their own, and their peoples, success.

Political officials are not as important, or unimportant, as we make them. Too often we pretend that the government is either an all encompassing force that rules every aspect of our lives, or an unimportant outlier that can be completely ignored. If African Americans are to succeed, it will be because individuals begin to understand their duty to the whole and make choices in their everyday lives that will benefit themselves and others. It means that African Americans who complain the loudest must be the ones who vote the most often. It means that African Americans who wish young people would vote must actively seek them out and sell them on voting in language that they understand. It means that we must save money to protect ourselves from economic emergencies and invest in African American financial and educational institutions.

Obama will be a great president. But he can only change so much by himself. Benjamin Jealous may be a great president of the NAACP but he will not be able to fix every problem that affects people of color. People like Obama and Jealous have control of only half of what changes the world. Individuals like you and I are responsible for the other half. Improving the lives of African Americans is as simple as sending twenty-five dollars to an HBCU or investing in a mutual fund or IRA, preferably an African American one, or making sure your own financial house is in order so you can help others. The 50/50 rule means you have to do what you can with what you have for your own good and for the good of your people. The failure or success of politicians is not an excuse for us to slack on our part in the progress of our people.

Brandon Whitney is the creator of Homelandcolors.blogspot.com a blog that focuses on issues that affect the African American community. He is also a frequent guest on News and Notes’ Blogger Roundtable. Brandon has political experience as an Outreach Director for the Democratic party and is passionate about being a positive force in his community regarding African American issues. He is also a frequent guest on News and Notes’ Blogger Roundtable. You read more of Brandon’s work at Homeland Colors.

Hillary the Well Poisoner by Brandon Whitney

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on May 13, 2008 by Gary Johnson

All is fair in love and war and what is politics but warfare. However, there are certain actions that a person can take that are seen as unacceptable even in combat. In politics, especially when both candidates are in the same party, there are rules that one follows. There are things that one just doesn’t do because it ruins things for all parties involved. Hillary is breaking those rules. One of the worst things you can do in a desert society is poison a well because everybody is dependent on this scarce source of water. Hillary is poisoning the Democratic well and it can have devastating consequences.

The nomination fight is over. Hillary cannot win mathematically. All of the ways to victory for her in the nomination mean defeat for the Democrats in November. She can only win by corrupting the process. That is why many are confused as to the reason she would continue to stay in the race. Had the tactics she used been more honorable, many would have understood her staying in until she had negotiated an advantage from Obama. But considering the damage that she has already done to the party it is now believed that she may be waiting in order to get the opportunity to run in 2012.

The Democratic Party is in real danger of ruining their advantage in November. Hillary, who at one time was a standard bearer for the Democratic Party, has become a millstone around the neck of progressives. Let’s hope she remembers the goal of becoming president is not to achieve glory for oneself but to improve the lives of everyday people and steps aside for the inevitable nominee.


Brandon Whitney is the creator of Homelandcolors.blogspot.com a blog that focuses on issues that affect the African American community. He is also a frequent guest on News and Notes’ Blogger Roundtable. Brandon has political experience as an Outreach Director for the Democratic party and is passionate about being a positive force in his community regarding African American issues. He is also a frequent guest on News and Notes’ Blogger Roundtable. You read more of Brandon’s work at Homeland Colors.

Hillary Clinton–Loser? Sore Loser? Or Both?

Posted in Barack Obama, Black Interests, Gary A. Johnson, Politics with tags , , , on May 12, 2008 by Gary Johnson

By Gary A. Johnson

This past week has not been good for Hillary Clinton. Let’s recap. She made a statement that Obama cannot win the white vote in the general election. She had a double digit primary loss in North Carolina, a narrow victory in Indiana and more superdelegates shifted to Sen. Obama.

Barring an act of God or some catastrophe in the Obama camp, Sen. Hillary Clinton cannot win the democratic party’s nomination for president of the United States of America.

Sen. Clinton and her husband, former president Bill Clinton and some of their supporters look like sore losers as they continue to “move the goal post” to define victory. Remember Bob Johnson’s negative remarks about Obama? How about Bill Clinton’s numerous comments that offended many black voters in South Carolina? Or Hillary’s insistence that the votes in Florida and Michigan be counted even though those primaries were held against Democratic Party rules. Rules that all of the candidates agreed to abide by last year.

Clearly a fighter and consummate campaigner, Sen. Clinton found her voice and her stride too late in the contest. The string of 11 primary loses forced her to used the now famous “kitchen sink” strategy. It was at this stage of the campaign that America saw yet another side of Hillary Clinton. No more tears. She was rough and tough. We saw Sen. Clinton drinking beer and chasing shots of hard liquor. In walks a gift-wrapped Rev. Jeremiah Wright and game on again for the Clintons. With a faint political pulse Clinton need to win North Carolina (or at least come close) and Indiana. She lost North Carolina by double-digits and barely won Indiana.

So here we are today—early May. Hillary Clinton does not have any of the 3 M’s (Math, Money and Momentum) to win the nomination. Obama’s delegate and superdelegate count is so high that all the big state victories she piled up can’t win her the nomination.

What does Hillary Clinton do now? What does Barack Obama do? Obama should do exactly what he’s doing now—focus on John McCain and allow the Clinton camp to implement an exit strategy that will allow her to close her campaign with dignity.

If Hillary Clinton wants to continue the contest, more power to her. I would advise the Clinton campaign to be aware of the consequences of such actions to her political reputation and the Democratic Party.

In my mind, her behavior over the past several days have seriously damaged her chances of being on the ticket as Vice President. I wouldn’t put her on the ticket. I don’t trust her. Yes, I said it. Hillary Clinton would not be my Vice President. I don’t believe that she is genetically capable of being Vice President Clinton to President Obama. That was a dream ticket two months ago. It is a train wreck today.

The Democratic Party needs to focus on unifying the party and get ready to battle the Republicans and John McCain.

What do you think?

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

When Will Hillary Bow Out?

Posted in Barack Obama, Politics with tags , , on May 7, 2008 by Gary Johnson

Commentary by Gary A. Johnson

Notice I didn’t say quit. Showing no signs of surrender, Hillary Clinton says she will remain in the presidential race “until there’s a nominee.”  Hillary Clinton is a fighter. However, she and her campaign have to face the reality that it is time to implement their exit strategy and work to unify the Democratic Party.

It is time for the Clinton campaign to stop moving the goal post when it comes to deciding victory.  For example, the Clinton campaign continues to bring up the votes associated with the Michigan and Florida primaries. That’s just silly. Obama’s name wasn’t even on the ballot.  The Democratic National Committee made it very clear what the rules were regarding those primaries.

Clearly, Sen. Clinton can stay in the race for as long as she wants, but for the good of the party I say it is time to bow out. I’m using a rather simple formula that I call “The 3 M’s” to come to this conclusion.

  • Math
  • Money
  • Momentum

Do the math. Obama has more votes, has won more primaries and has more money. As of today Sen. Clinton has loaned her campaign $11.4 million dollars ($6.4 million last month).  The Clinton campaign acknowledged that Sen. Clinton may lend the campaign more money.  According to the latest campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, Obama began the month of April with $42 million in the bank for the primaries to Clinton’s $9.3 million.

The Clinton campaign bus is leaking oil and dropping bolts. The Obama campaign has consistently raised more money than the Clinton campaign and after last night’s primaries in North Carolina and Indiana; the total delegate count is as follows:

  • Obama – 1844
  • Clinton – 1695.5

Once again, do the math. It is highly unlikely that Sen. Hillary Clinton can win. Obama has picked up 100 superdelegates since Super Tuesday and Clinton has picked up fewer than 15. The last two months Sen. Clinton has proven to be a tough campaigner.  She’s used the “kitchen sink” strategy and taken advantage of everything that has come her way (Rev. Wright).  However, it appears that this strategy was implemented too late in the game for her opponent.

Sen. Barack Obama has run an extraordinary campaign. Six months ago, I don’t think any of the political strategists and experts would have predicted Barack Obama as the front runner. It’s only a matter of time before folks start jumping off of the Clinton bandwagon.

As for momentum, Hillary Clinton has none. Barack Obama has string of decisive primary victories over Clinton and the Obama campaign has more momentum.  The next few weeks should be devoted to providing Sen. Clinton with a “soft landing.”  Sen. Clinton is still a key player in this race, even in defeat. She must be afforded a way to exit gracefully with her dignity intact.  Obama and the Democratic Party will need Hillary Clinton’s supporters to win the White House.

What do you think?

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

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