Archive for January, 2009

A Rant Against African American Tribalism

Posted in Black America, Black Interests with tags , on January 28, 2009 by Gary Johnson

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By Brandon Whitney

The Black Artist Association’s leader, Amnau Eele, condemned Michelle Obama, saying that she should have worn a Black Designers dress during the presidential inauguration. Normally, I like to comment on how we have to pick and choose our battles, and we shouldn’t worry about such minor things as dresses but in this particular case I think it is important to call a spade a spade. The Black Artist Association’s comments speak to a sort of tribalism that has developed among some African Americans and has affected their expectations of Obama.

The person who designed the dress the Michelle Obama wore is Asian. I am going to venture a guess that the reason Michelle Obama wore the dress is because she liked the way it looked. For Amanu Eele to demand that Michelle pick a Black designer’s dress to the inauguration is not an example of racial or cultural solidarity, it’s racist. Having a Black president is not an opportunity for the African American people to grab as much as we can like some dictator’s ethnic group in a failed third world nation. It is an opportunity to live in an America where we are unrestrained by racism and inequality. Barack is not “ours”. He is of us, he was molded in many ways by the African American community, but we do not own him. President Obama belongs to America in all of its shades and colors. American’s of every ethnic group and background have a claim on him just as we do. Barack is the President of the United States, not of Black America.

Finally, two hundred years ago the best job Barack could have gotten in Washington D.C. is field hand. He would have been a slave. Last week he became president, a position that not even a poor White could aspire to at the inception of our Republic. For Amanu to cheapen that day with race baiting is not only in poor taste, but it is insulting to the spirit of our ancestors who sacrificed so that a day like this could arrive.

To learn more about Brandon Whitney visit his column on the main Black Men In America.com page at www.blackmeninamerica.com/politics.htm.


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President Obama

Posted in Barack Obama, Black America, Gary A. Johnson with tags , , on January 20, 2009 by Gary Johnson

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Commentary by Gary A. Johnson

Change has come to America!  With a sea of humanity as his witness, Barack Hussein Obama took the oath of office becoming the 44th president of the United States of America on Tuesday afternoon, January 20th, 2009.

A federal security official told NBC News close to 2 million packed the Mall area, which would shatter the record for an inauguration, 1.2 million for Lyndon B. Johnson’s oath of office in 1965, the largest crowd the National Park Service has on record.

As former President George W. Bush departed the city via helicopter, you can hear many in the crowd chanting, “Na, Na, Na, Na.  Na, Na, Na.  Hey, hey, hey, goodbye.”

I was born and raised in Washington, DC and still live in the area.  This city is electric with hope and a new spirit of cooperation.  Have you ever seen anything like this in your lifetime?  I know I haven’t.  Barack Obama is the right man at the right time to lead this country.

In a “giving it to you straight” speech, President Obama told the world that the America that embraces differences and embodies hope and equality is back.  He reached out to every corner of this nation and the world.  It was more than inspiring.  It was indeed a historic moment in history and a brand new day.

We now have a black First Lady and from all appearances a wonderful and loving First Family in The White House.

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You can stay up-to-date and learn about President Barack Obama’s policies, the history of The White House and read entries on The White House blog by visiting our Barack Obama page.

What are your thoughts?

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.”

Played in Full – The Marketing Exploitation of Black America

Posted in Black America, Money/Economics with tags , , , on January 17, 2009 by Gary Johnson

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By Robert L. Gatewood, MBA

Overview

We’ve all heard the exclamations about how much money flows through the Black community. One day I was driving down the street and I was simply overcome by curiosity (If there had been a cat in the road, he would have certainly been run over on this day). I asked myself, “Why is it that Black America, which has a larger Gross National Product than many sovereign nations, can’t quite seem to get a grip on its financial security.

If you have ever seen one of those B movies where the guy is doing something dastardly and catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror then you can relate to what happened to me. As I set out to solve the financial conundrum of Black America, I was parking my luxury automobile and happened to get a glimpse of myself. What I saw was “exhibit A” looking right back at me. But I didn’t just see one me, I saw three me’s; me the executive archetype (someone who knows better than most how to connect the dots between and someone’s wallet and a cash register.) I saw me the individual (not the Black American monolith), and it was the last me that scared me … I saw me the consumer (someone who himself has often spent beyond his means, and is now wearing a big bull’s eye right between his eyes.). Now that’s a revelation for you.

I consider myself a rather smart fellow. Graduated with honors everywhere I went to school, high school, college, MBA you name it. It dawned on me, that if a smart guy like me has a hole in his wallet, this problem just might be bigger than the failure to learn the three R’s. So as I tackled this problem, I also found myself introspecting.

All of us can’t be marchers or prolific speakers. But as I say in my book, everybody’s good at something. I happen to be an expert marketer, and I have decided to use it to use my skills to right some wrongs. Hopefully my book will inspire other like-minded people to become fellow wrong-righters, but, in their respective areas of influence.

So I encourage everybody to do what they do best in general for the overall welfare of fellow Blacks but for the purposes of this book and my mission, I’d like to target some those energies on a specific objective. Let’s coalesce around a common goal of plugging the seemingly ceaseless hole in the pocketbook of Black America. If for no other reason, let’s do it so that our children, like so many of the other races, will have some kind of a future when its there turn at bat.

Many of Us Make Enough Money – We could always use some more but…. If we just put what we already have to better use, you’d be amazed how well-off most of us actually are.

YOU Have Been Trained to Spend Your Money, THE PLAYERS Have Been Trained to Take It

I couldn’t create a less fair fight if I tried. It’s like going fishing where the fish have been trained to jump in your boat.

Nobody Wants to Admit He’s Been Marketed – Reminds of me of what drove Harriet Tubman nuts. She said she could have freed more people if only more people realized they were slaves.

Everybody Plays the Fool, Sometimes – Just like the group Main Ingredient use to sing in their hey-day, we are all game. Some tell-tale signs include: Smoking – Tithing more than saving – Car note as high as house note –Still paying for last year’s Xmas – And more!

Enlightenment is not retroactive – I used to smoke. It wasn’t the health aspects of it that made me stop. The more familiar I became with marketing, the more I realized that I myself had been marketed… I had been downright played. In fact I remember the time and place the light bulb went off. It was about 12 years ago when I was leaving Tucker Road Park over in Oxon Hill. I just pulled to the side of the road, threw the cigarettes in a trash can and haven’t picked up another one since.

It’s a War on the Wallets of Blacks – It’s an economic struggle that’s not just fought in the store aisles on Christmas Eve. It’s a generational battle that’s fought in the head. The heads of Black consumers are on one side; the heads of institutional forces on the other. In a one-on-one contest, chances for Black America are not the best, but winnable. But over the generations, the Players have coalesced into a virtually invincible foe. It’s not the individual efforts of the Players that are the threat; it’s the synergistic application of all of them that provides the knockout punch.

The Secret Weapon – Sleeping with the Enemy – The Players employ a secret weapon that makes your chances of winning virtually impossible. This stealth squad does a better job than the Players themselves ever could. It includes General Grandma, Captain Co-worker, Sergeant Spouse, First Lieutenant Father, Major Mom, and an infinite number of Foot-Soldiering Friends.

Like Lambs to the Slaughter – The Players employ some effective tactics that are very difficult to combat. When applied together they provide the perfect storm.

Social Proof – also known as herd mentality, desire to belong or by its common name of “keeping up with the Joneses.”

Mental Externalism – a mindset where you believe that you have little or no control over the events in your life

Fear – the trump card that surfaces s when all else fails.

All Players Are Not Created Equal – The Players don’t the wear a big “P” on their foreheads. Anyone can be a player. There are basically 4 types of Players:

– Pathological Incorrigible Malevolent Player (PIMP)

– Passive Opportunistic Player (POP)

– Philanthropic Accidental Player (PAP)

– Positive Enlightened Player (PEP)

Who Are the Players?

Who are these people who are adept at parting Black Americans from their hard-earned money?

Man or woman – Any race, culture or nationality – Person, institution or government – Needs someone to play – And more!

Specific Players: The Government, Politicians, Military, the Courts, Schools, Employers, Schools,Santa Claus, the Church and Others!

You Already Have the Answer!

Is the fate of Black America resigned to that of being fodder for the Players of the world? Is the purse of Black America an irreparable sieve? The answer lies within. Breaking the grip of economic dependency and derelict spending takes an individual effort.

Our Children Are Watching – I’m doing this for the next generation. I’ve wasted enough money for a three lifetimes. So this is no longer about me. I’m gladly throwing myself on the grenade for our Black children who are on deck to be played by the next generation of Players … if we fail to act now!

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Robert Gatewood at www.playedinfull.com/25 or 866-292-4800.

In Response To An Anonymous Comment On The Site

Posted in Uncategorized on January 12, 2009 by Gary Johnson

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By Brandon Whitney

I’m writing this under the assumption that you read what I have written honestly, and while you may have bias’s as we all do, you are open minded and genuinely want to understand my mindset. I believe that to be the case, even though I was taken aback by your interpretation of my writings.

The African American community has a disproportionally large number of impoverished, murdered, and high school failure rates. Rather than ask for charity I act and encourage others to do so as well that is where the resolutions came from. It is not out of a sense of Black separatism or superiority, but rather a belief that one should fix one’s own problems to the extent that one is able. This is, keep in mind, me viewing the African American community as a culture unique to the United States rather than as just a “race” which I think cheapens the community that developed within the United States as a result of being separated by Jim Crow and slavery. Now one could argue that African Americans should aggressively assimilate so that differences between them and mainstream society evaporate, but as both the majority culture of the United States and African American culture evolved simultaneously, to automatically try and eliminate African American culture for expediency would be admitting that I thought the culture of my parents and grandparents is inferior, which I do not.

Secondly, the aggressive deregulation of our economy did not begin with Bush, but it was intensified under his administration. The current economic crisis is the result of the change in bankruptcy laws which were passed by a Republican congress and Bush. Alan Greenspan’s hand off policy towards the economy was embraced by Bush which is a part of the current crisis. Bush chose to place industry insiders over the SEC whose job it was to regulate the industry. Bush, and the Republican congress, cut funding to environmental and regulating agencies. Bush regularly passed executive orders that assisted him in deregulation. These are just a few of the problems with his approach to the economy. I won’t even bother going into Guantanamo, Iraq, and Bush’s foreign policy as it would be redundant considering how much material exists on his failings, that even his party admits to.

As for being a racist, I don’t hate White people. Most humans are good people, regardless of race. I’m as proud to be African American as an Irish-American is of his heritage, and a Italian-American is of their heritage, and I won’t apologize for that. I see problems in my community, and I see many positive aspects as well. I think the problem is that you may be seeing this as a zero-sum game, either African Americans do well or Whites do, this is not the case. The improvement of the African American community is good for all Americans regardless of race and ethnicity. If African American businesses do well, than the American economy does well. In addition, as an African American, it bothers me when the false choice between success and culture presents itself. The existence of African American culture is not a detriment to the nation, it is a benefit. The music of our nation, including country music, is rooted in the African American community. Much of the language that is used is rooted in the community as well. Many inventions and innovations originate in the African American community and we are over represented in the nation’s military. We are a net benefit to the nation, and our success is the success of America. So no, I am not racist. I am not a Black supremacist either, we aren’t better than any other group of humans. We are human however, and I won’t’ apologize for working towards greater success in the community.

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 can read more of Brandon’s work at Homeland Colors.

Coming To D.C. For The Inaugural?

Posted in Barack Obama, Events and Annoucements with tags , on January 9, 2009 by Gary Johnson

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If you are coming to Washington, DC for the Inaugural Celebration navigating throughout the city will be a challenge. The city is expecting an unprecedented amount of visitors in the city during the Inauguration of Barack Obama. This historic event marks an exciting new chapter in our nation’s history.

Click here to visit a web site that will facilitate your movement around the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

Barackonomics – Are You Cashing In?

Posted in Barack Obama, Money/Economics with tags , , , on January 2, 2009 by Gary Johnson

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Blackonomics

By:  James Clingman

There was Reaganomics in the 1980’s, and some of us had the Reaganomic Blues during that time.  Old Ronnie ushered in a period of economic empowerment, for some, that is still remembered, by some, as the best ever.  To this day, the “Conservatives” are making every attempt to reincarnate the Great Communicator, by holding séances otherwise known as political debates, like the one we saw held at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, during the Republican primary.  Those folks love themselves some Ronald Reagan – and they loved Reagonomics.

Now we have Barackonomics.  No, we have not seen the result of Obama’s economic policies yet, but the current environment is rife with excitement, anticipation, and “hope” for the “change” millions voted to see.  We will soon find out what the big picture holds, but even prior to the election, Obamania ushered in a new language, a new zeal for politics, and a new economic arrangement for Black folks, the likes of which I have never seen.

Always watching for the economic advantages available to Black people, during the campaign I saw hordes of brothers and sisters making money.  Although it was reported that the lion’s share of the $650 million or so raised by the campaign flowed into the dominant media outlets, Black owned media receiving very few of those party favors, some of our more enterprising Black entrepreneurs managed to hitch a ride on the Obama gravy train.

I attended one of the Obama rallies held at the University of Cincinnati, during which I saw Black vendors – as matter of fact, I saw only Black vendors selling everything from Obama Action Figures, to Obama Bobble-Head Dolls, to glow-in-the-dark thingamabobs, to placards, buttons, glasses, cups, banners, and T-shirts of all designs and themes.  Barack should have copyrighted his name and image.

My old friend and world renowned painter, Gilbert Young, called me to announce his latest creation: a painting of Barack Obama that Obama himself signed and endorsed.  The painting is titled, “History + Hope = Change” (www.historyhopechange.com).  Now you know there will be bushels of money made from that painting.  And, as they say, “It’s all good!”

I can’t recall seeing Black vendors selling Reagan items, or those of the other 42 Presidents for that matter; no, not even Clinton and Kennedy.  (I wonder if Gilbert Young did a painting of Reagan; just kidding, Gilbert.)  So I was encouraged to see so many Black folks cashing in on Barackonomics, at least as long as the phenomenon lasts.  It’s about time.

It’s good to see Black folks finally getting in on the economic side of politics, especially the folks at the bottom of the heap.  Yes, big business got its share, as it always does; the television companies and their affiliates, newspapers, radio stations, and the major marketing and advertising firms received a windfall from the Obama campaign.  But, finally, thousands and maybe even millions of brothers and sisters got in on the act as well.

My advice is for them to stay with Barackonomics as long as they can.  Come up with new ideas, new products, and new services to sell.  The ICE Supreme Man (www.icesupreme.com), Ashiki Taylor, in Atlanta, has created a new flavor “Obama Medley;” Farley’s Coffee (www.farleyscoffeeinc.com) Executives, Raymond Wilford and Ricky Tillman have developed an The 1st Family House Blend gourmet coffee featuring coffee from Kenya.  I am sure there are hundreds of other enterprising Black folks across the country who are making money via Barackonomics, and I see no problem with that.

I do see a problem with Black folks just settling for the moment, however. We had better get a good understanding of the fact that economics runs politics, and this time is no different from all the other presidential elections when it comes to economics.  Let’s not merely live for the moment and then go back to sleep in the next couple of months.  Let’s take the small lessons of Barackonomics and do big things with them.  Let’s support one another with the knowledge that there is enough, more than enough, to go around.

Don’t back off now; raise the bar even higher.  Be creative and innovative; devise new entrepreneurial ventures and strategies to capitalize on Barackonomics.  You can’t pay your bills with hope, history, or hysteria.  Emotional investments do not pay dividends.  Euphoria is not bankable.  Inspiration that is not followed by perspiration – taking some action, doing some work – will be as fleeting as a shooting star.  If we don’t turn, “Yes we can!” into, “Yes we did!” beyond the election, beyond the inauguration, and beyond the parties, then shame on us.

Allow your inspiration to catapult you to collective economic empowerment by establishing equity funds, bartering groups, urban gardens, food cooperatives, rotating credit associations, small business associations, cooperative purchasing programs, youth entrepreneurial training programs, and all of the entities we need to survive and thrive in this dire economic environment.  If we do these things, and more, we will have justified our emotional euphoric response to Barack Obama being the 44th President of the Untied States.  If we fail to do these things, we will miss out on the economic benefits that always find their way to the “special interests.”  Aren’t we special?  Don’t we have our own interests?

You had better believe the “big guys” will capitalize on their investment in Barack Obama.  Question is: “Will we?”  Let’s understand that part of the “change” we voted for is grounded in economics, at least I “hope” it was.  And let’s commit that the “change” we receive will be much more than mere “chump change.”

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COLLECT A PIECE OF HISTORY! Order your EXCLUSIVE OBAMA “1st FAMILY HOUSE BLEND.”  Farley’s Coffee, Inc., The Coffee With a Classic Taste is proud to offer this special gourmet Kenyan blend in honor of the new future President of the United States of America. Help celebrate this historical moment in welcoming the new first family to The White House.  LIMITED TIME OFFER!

You can learn more about James Clingman and buy his books by visiting his web site Blackonomic$Click here to go there now.

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