Archive for July, 2009

Gates Update: The Professor Reflects On Meeting with Crowley and the President

Posted in Barack Obama, Black Interests, Gary A. Johnson with tags , on July 31, 2009 by Gary Johnson


By Gary A. Johnson

July 31, 2009

Yesterday Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. had a meeting with Sgt. James Crowley and President Obama at the White House.  In a telephone interview after leaving the White House, Gates indicated that he and Crowley would get together soon at a pub in Cambridge.

The professor and the police sergeant have been in the news since Gates was arrested by Crowley at his Cambridge home.  Many people across the country have talked about a “teachable moment.”  The most obvious “teachable moment” is that a number of white people and an equal number of black people can see the exact same patterns of fact and see two very different scenarios.

That’s not news to me, it may not be news to you, however, my unofficial findings (conversations and observations with diverse of people, most of whom are educators) reflect that more than a few people are shocked that many Americans of color see this situation differently than white Americans.

That’s not a bad thing.  It’s a “different” think that is a basis for honest dialogue about issues that have historically been emotionally charged when discussed.  That should not stop people from talking and engaging.

After reading several accounts of the meeting from Gates’ perspective, the professor proved to be serious and have a sense of humor.  Gates was quoted as saying:  “When he’s not arresting you, Sergeant Crowley is a really likable guy.”

In his interview Professor Gates noted that President Obama had “allowed us to begin to bridge our divide and make a larger contribution to American society.” “Only he could have done that.”  Professor Gates said he had spent a lot of time in the last week thinking about “the contributions the police make” and had come to appreciate them more.

“The most important thing I learned, I learned about police officers the stresses and realities of the excellent job the police do every day,” he said. “At the same time, racial profiling is a very dangerous thing with a long history, and we have to make Americans more sensitive to the realities of racial profiling.”

In an apparent gesture of goodwill Professor Gates Sergeant Crowley a signed copy of his book “Colored People,” with the inscription, “Linked together forever in history.”

“Through an accident of fate this guy and I are linked together,” he said, “and the question is how can he help end racial profiling and how can I help members of my community be sensitive to the concerns of the police? If we can do that, then James Crowley and I will have taken control of our lives and our peculiar experience together and move it out of a Tom Wolfe novel and into a positive impact.”

Professor Gates also sent a bouquet of flowers and a note to Lucia Whalen, the woman whose 911 call led to his arrest as an expression of gratitude.

Photo Credit:  Souza/The White House

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.”

Michael Is A “Vick-tim”

Posted in Black Interests, Black Men, Sports News with tags , , on July 30, 2009 by Gary Johnson

Michael Vick

By Raynard Jackson

Michael Vick has become the “Vick-tim” of his own choices and at the same time a victim of America’s hypocrisy.

Vick (the Vick-tim) put himself in the position where he had to do time in prison.  He was always made to feel above the law from his days at Virginia Tech.  This led to his arrogance to the point where he felt he did not have to listen to anyone.

But at the same time, Vick has become the victim of our hypocrisy.  Putting aside all legal considerations, I am appalled at how people are outraged that he killed a few dogs.  But these same people don’t lift a voice at all the teenagers who have been killed in Chicago this year alone!

Even those who feel Vick has served his time feel compelled to preface their statements with, “I love dogs or what Vick did was wrong.”  I am tired of everyone trying to be politically correct (PC).

Let me make my point CLEAR, I don’t give a damn about these dogs!  What does this say about our country that we get more upset over dogs than we do over human life?

Roger Goodell has conditionally reinstated Vick to the N.F.L. (with all kinds of stipulations), but it seems like everyone is piling on.  Vick served nearly two years in jail, lost multiple millions of dollars in endorsement deals, and filed for bankruptcy.  How much more should one person have to pay back to society?

Now, juxtapose that with Dante Stallworth, a receiver with the Cleveland Browns.  Earlier this year he pleaded guilty to DUI and second degree manslaughter.  He was sentenced to 30 days in jail (only served 24 because of good behavior), 1,000 hours of community service, 8 years of probation, 2 years of house arrest, and life-time suspension of his driver’s license.  And he killed a human!

There were no protests in the street, no picketing of N.F.L. headquarters, or no boycotting of advertisers.  So, do you honestly think a damn dog is more valuable than a human life?

Stallworth has been indefinitely suspended from football, but probably will be allowed to play after one year if he stays clear of further legal issues.

Again, Vick put himself in the position he is in and has no one to blame but himself.  But, he has become the poster child and a convenient target for America’s hypocrisy.  Even the murder of the couple in Florida who adopted all the handicapped kids, didn’t cause the level of outrage as Vick killing a few dogs.

Vick has suffered enough and deserves a second chance.  Whether you agree with his actions are not, he has paid his debt to society and should not be required to work with the Humane Society or any other group unless he chooses to.  He is doing all these things strictly to get back into football.  Martha Stewart is back on TV (insider trading), Oliver North (lying to Congress about Iran Contra) is back on the radio, and Marv Albert (rape) is back in broadcasting.  You never hear any mention of their crimes anymore.  They have been allowed to get back into their professional fields and make lots of money without the public being constantly reminded of their past transgressions.  I think Vick deserves the same treatment.

My whole point is proportionality and fairness.  Again, legal considerations aside, how do you justify putting Vick through all the BS he is going through over a few dogs?  The justice view is that Vick put himself in this situation; the fairness view is that he is a victim of America’s hypocrisy!

RaynardJackson Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-based political consulting/government affairs firm.   You can listen to his radio show every Saturday evening from 7-9:00 p.m.  Go to to register and then click on host, and then click on his photo to join his group.


Posted in Barack Obama, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men with tags , , on July 27, 2009 by Gary Johnson

Barack HeadShotH. Louis Gates, Jr.

By Harold Bell

Some of the Worlds’ greatest playground basketball players have come out of New York City. Hoop stars like Connie Hawkins, Nate “Tiny” Archibald, Pop Gates, Jack DeFares, John Isaacs, Carl Green, etc. There was another playground basketball player visiting their city recently.

President Barack Obama was there to address the NAACP on their 100th Anniversary. He didn’t bring back memories of those great players. The left-handed jump shooter’s cross-over move to the podium in the ‘Big Apple’ made Earl Monroe’s move look mediocre.

President Obama made it clear from the very beginning of his 37 minute speech, that his recent historical move into the White House proves there have been some improvements in race relations in America. He also reminded us there is still plenty of work to be done.

He clearly understands in 2009 that when “White America” catches a cold, ‘Black America catches pneumonia.’

We are the most murdered; most incarcerated and suffer more unemployment then any other group of people in America.  We are the victims of all of these things in a country that we help build.

The day after his speech a front page story in the Washington Post read, “Obama addresses the Race Issue in America for the first time.”  Where is a better time and place to address race relations then in front of an organization that has spent the last 100 years fighting racism?  Maybe he should have waited until his next trip to Ben’s Chili Bowl and discussed the race issue while eating a hamburger.

It was in 1947 in New York City that the great Jackie Robinson kicked racism in the butt. He kicked in doors of America’s number one past time, Major League Baseball. Brooklyn Dodger owner Branch Rickey pleaded with Jackie to “Turn the other cheek” until white folks were comfortable seeing him on their ‘Field of Dreams.’”

He had baseballs thrown at his head, players would slide into second base with spikes high, fans yelled “Nigger go home,” they spit on him, and released black cats on the field to dishonor him and Black America.  Some of his teammates got into the act.

He kept his word and held his temper and made all of us proud.  He died at the young age of 53 of a broken heart. He held in his anger too long.

The Jackie Robinson Foundation recently held an awards ceremony at George Washington University in Washington, DC. They presented Washington Post sports writer Michael Wilbon and WJLA TV 7 anchorwoman Maureen Bunyan awards in his name. I wondered how and why?  Jackie Robinson was a man of integrity and kept his word!

Jackie must be turning over in his grave to see the state of Major League Baseball in 2009. Black Americans on the field play have become an “Endangered Species.”  Their numbers have dwindled to a precious few.

He would not recognize the billion-dollar stadiums. Where there were once signs reading “Whites only” water fountains, a bottle of water would now cost him $5.00 and a cup of beer $8.00.

With his salary in the 1950s he could not afford to buy a beer and bag of peanuts in today’s ball parks. Today Major League Baseball players are the highest paid professional athletes in American sports.

Fifty-two years after Jackie Robinson, there are still no Black owners in Major League Baseball.

Frank Robinson, the one player who had all the fire, skills and characteristics of Jackie has been banished to the front office of Major League Baseball. The reason, he refused to “Turn the other cheek.”  The same cheek Jackie Robinson turned 52 years ago.

The Washington Nationals are now the laughing stock and worst team in Major League Baseball since his departure.

I applaud Frank for not allowing the Washington Nationals team owners to throw him a bone after firing him. They wanted to give him a day in his honor at the stadium. He politely told them to stick their day where the sun didn’t shine.

There are still no “Even Playing Fields” in Major League Baseball.  Baseball’s “Field of Dreams” has become the nightmares of Black Americans.

Black men were the first professional athletes in America. They carried the colors on the plantations during slavery. The slave owners became fat, rich and bored. Some decided they needed some leisure time and felt there was a need to be entertained.

The slave owners organized competition between the plantations. There were boxing matches (fights to death), track and field events, horse racing, etc. Money and sometimes plantations and slaves were a part of the wager process.  Some outstanding performances won some slaves their freedom and cost others their lives.

The Kentucky Derby is the showcase of the racing world, a former slave Isaac Murphy won the first three. He is now in the Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

Black jockeys once dominated the sport, much like baseball an American black jockey is a rare sight in the saddle in the world of racing today. There are no “Even Playing Fields or race tracks.”

Thanks to the late Red Auerbach and Boston Celtic owner Walter Brown, the NBA is the most integrated team sports’ franchise in America. Despite that fact, the “Plantation Mentality” still exists among the owners and Commissioner David Stern.

This is the pro sports league that came up with the slogan “The NBA Cares.”  They can’t prove it by me.

Last month I had a group of children located here in Prince George’s County who earned the right to travel to Florida to play in the Regional Basketball Finals. The lack of finances put their travel plans on hold.

I encountered their coach, Felix Wood in a Safeway Food Store parking lot in Bowie, Maryland. Felix was once a Kid In Trouble and was a benefactor of my community youth programs. We had not seen each other in at least 30 years.

He told me he was now working with youth as I once did with young men like him. He made feel proud when he said “Mr. Bell I am only following your lead.”

I called on several organizations (NBA) and associates (benefactors of Kids In Trouble, Inc. and Inside Sports) hoping they would help finance the trip for the youth.

I was not surprised by the response that came from the NBA, what really surprised me was the feeble excuse they gave for not helping.

The e-mail response came from the office of Brian McIntyre. He is the Vice-President of Media Relations for the NBA. Brian is not a bad guy in his role as the PR man but it has made him a part of the problem. He is just a product of his time. There are times when white folks don’t know that they are being racist. It is often an honest mistake, the simple fact and reason, they have never been black. So how can they know?

For example; the NBA pick and choose who “The Good Guys and Bad Guys” are in our community is based on information they receive from there ‘In House Negroes.’

Brian does not know me and neither does David Stern know me. He based his decision on not helping those kids on “He says, she says.”  That is the system and I understand it, but I don’t agree with it.

The NBA for example; is a multi-billion dollar corporation, Brian’s e-mail response said, “Harold I hate to be the bearer of bad news but the recession has hit us to. I am sorry we can’t be of some help. I will contact the Wizards’ and see if they can help out.”

I didn’t hold my breath waiting for a response. The kids would have had a better opportunity for success if he had contacted David Duke.

He did even try to fake it by writing his own check for $2.00 to help a child. He has the mind set of most he thinks he is helping Harold Bell.

The NFL is also misguided, American dog lovers want to continue to punish QB Michael Vick for being stupid.  His conviction on cruelty to animals (dogs) was little over the top (NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell re-instates Vick).

Black men in America are being murdered by rogue policemen every day and they never see the inside of a jail.  Guess who brought dog fighting to America and the sports has not missed a beat?  White men in America!

Back to the NFL, the Colts WR Marvin Harrison was once a suspect in using a firearm in an assault in his hometown of Philadelphia. You would have thought he was “The Son of Sam” the way the media and the NFL came down on him. The gun case of Giant WR Plaxico Burress was also overkill and now they are trying to black ball him out of the league.

Ben Roethlisberger a two time Super Bowl winning QB was recently accused of rape by a 31 year old VIP casino host at Lake Tahoe, Nevada in July 2008. The big story here is that ESPN the leader in sports in America tried to suppress the story. I wonder why? I hope it had nothing to do with his blue eyes and blond hair.

Movie producer and actor Tyler Perry was right on the money with his anger in a letter directed at a swim club outside of Philadelphia. The incident in Philly involving inner-city black youth at the all white Valley Swimming Club plays out in cities all over America each and everyday (National media made them changed their position).

We all need to put ourselves in a position to do what Tyler Perry did recently for those children from “The City of Brotherly Love.”  Show some REAL love!

He stepped up to the plate when he heard the racist news reports and actions taken by the all- white Valley Swim Club barring black children from the swimming pool. The decision was made after the swim club signed a contract to accommodate the group.

Tyler grabbed the bull by the horn and contacted the inner-city organization and gave all involved an all expenses paid trip to Disney World.

Unlike some black men in America Tyler understands that when you help others you help yourself and he understands there is no such thing as an “Even Playing Field.”

Swimming is much like golf and tennis a country club sport. The country club scene in America has always catered to a predominantly white clientele. These clubs are use to develop the Michael Phelps of the swimming World.

The fathers of Venus and Serena Williams (Tennis) and Tiger Woods (Golf) are a clear indication of the type of athletes that are waiting in the wings in the black community. The Williams sisters and Tiger dominate their sports and never belonged to a country club. All they needed was an opportunity.  Their fathers saw that they got it.

The Valley Swim Club was just making sure that the children from Philadelphia were not given an opportunity on their watch. There are no “Even Playing fields.”

President Obama was right on the money as it related to the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This was “Racial Profiling” at its worst.

There are some folks up in arms because the President used the word “Stupid” in describing the racist re-actions of Sgt. James Crowley the cop. The act was stupid and beyond.

Please don’t get President Obama mixed up with Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Michael Wilbon, Sugar Ray Leonard, John Thompson, James Brown, etc. You will never hear President Obama deny that he is anything other then black.  He understands the unwritten rule of one drop of black blood makes you a full blooded Negro in America.  No one has mentioned any rule changes since he took over the White House.

The others are the ones who share complimentary tickets with other black folks to Wizards and Mystic basketball games and Nationals and Orioles baseball games. This is their claim to community service.  There are intelligent black folks who are accepting their misguided and safe acts as community involvement.

They have a built in excuse when you ask them why they don’t get actively involved in the community, “I don’t think there is a need to let everyone know what I am doing.”  Translation; ‘I don’t want white folks to know I am helping to pull my brothers and sisters up by their bootstraps.'”

I recently saw Sugar Ray Leonard on the Fox television show “Are You Smarter then a Fifth Grader?”  I knew immediately he was in over his head and he didn’t disappoint me. I was there up close and personal during his boxing career and watched his financial transactions with his agent Mike Trainer.

Trainer took him to the bank and the cleaners (his own).  He walked away just before the Hector Camacho fight never to look back.  I knew Sugar Ray was definitely not smarter then a fifth grader. The good news is, Sugar Ray made so much money Trainer could not steal it all.

James Brown (CBS Sports) says, “I am no longer friends with Clifford Alexander (former Secretary of the Army) because he tried to tell me how to spend my money.”  Cliff remembered when he didn’t have any money.

Clifford Alexander was responsible for getting him into Harvard and the business he is in now.  How soon we forget!

Back to Professor Gates had and “Stupid” in Cambridge.  He had every right to be agitated and upset after he identified who he was (my house).  The Public Servant Sgt. Crowley should have removed himself from the property owed by Mr. Gates.  It made no difference whether Mr. Gates talked about his mommy and grandma and screamed from the top of his lungs.

I think I need to mail Sgt. Crowley a recording of Oscar Brown’s music classic “Signifying Monkey.”  He would then better understand Mr. Gates and exactly where he was coming from!

All that was required of The Public Servant was to walk away, but his gun and badge gave him a false sense of security and power. Plus, his “Gang” was only a cell phone call away.  This type of Plantation Mentally is still prevalent in black communities all over America. Sgt. Crowley’s act of racism undermines all the great works and sacrifices made by both black and white Americans in the Civil Rights Movement.

The show of force by the Cambridge Chief of Police and the Police Union should have never influenced the President’s decision to even give a half-ass apologize to one of the worst organized “Gangs” in the United States of America. The history of police departments around the country proves they have been nothing but ‘Bully Pits for racist and power hungry cops.’

They have waged war on the black community through out our history.  I live in one of the worst police jurisdictions in the history of law enforcement (Prince George’s County).

President Obama’s about-face and diplomatic invitation to Mr. Gates and Sgt. Crowley to meet at the White House for a beer is really rewarding the officer’s racist act.

They claimed that Sgt. Crowley is one of the cities’ most decorated officers and had taught a class on “Police Profiling” for the past five years.  This proves that President Obama’s assessment was right on the ONE.  He never learned anything from his own class.  This proves you can take the hood and robe from the Klansman, but you can’t take the Klan out of the man.

The 911 tapes prove that the Cambridge police have big racial problems.  The dispatcher is heard asking the caller who reports the alleged break-in “Are they Hispanic or black?”  The caller response was ‘I can’t really tell, but one looks Hispanic and the other one I can’t see clearly.’

My question is:   “Why would the Cambridge dispatcher ask “Are they Hispanic or black?”  Why couldn’t the intruders be white?

Sgt. Crowley is heard telling the dispatcher, “This guy is being uncooperative, keep the cars rolling.”

This conversation takes place after Professor Gates identifies himself as the house owner.

I am familiar with his kind I have worked with and around his type for over 40 years in the inner-city. I had two brothers in law-enforcement (DC MPD and U.S. Marshall Service). I have been there and done that!

I made sure my brothers understood they were Public Servants and not Overseers!

In Chicago President Barack Obama’s hometown, 40+ young people have been gunned down in the streets this summer—all black. We need to be apologizing to those parents and inviting them to the White House.

A white child and a black child born on the same day in the same hospital, the white child will outlive the black child by 8 years.  A black child is five times as likely to see the inside of a jail then a white child his age.  I said earlier, we are the most unemployed, murdered and incarcerated people in America.  Professor Henry Louis Gates and President Barack Obama are angry and I understand exactly why.

I recently, reminded an Attorney associate, the reason for my anger and why he needs to take a look in the mirror. I told him in so many words “Brother if you are not angry about the state of Black America, you need to see a psychiatrist.”  He is another one of those fake brothers who think he has it made in America and all is well.

With the cop in Cambridge and brothers like the ones mentioned above, there will never be an even playing field in “The Game Called Life” in our lifetime. Black life will always be an uphill battle.

We are often asked by misguided white folks “When are you going to get over slavery?” Thanks to Sgt. Crowley and his kind, we are finding it very difficult.

Barack Obama’s historical move to the White House proves “That every black face you see is not your brother and every white you see is not your enemy.”  Despite that fact, there is a lot of work to be done in race relations in America.

The Gates Arrest Proves There’s Still Much Work To Be Done

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Men with tags , , , on July 21, 2009 by Gary Johnson

H. Louis Gates

By Gary A. Johnson

Question:  How do you get arrested in your own house?

Answer:  Be a black man in America.

The arrest last week of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., on a charge of disorderly conduct is a sobering and chilling reminder that it really doesn’t matter where you live or what position you’ve obtained in life.  If you’re a black man in America, your risk of being arrested and not being trusted is greater than most.

The charges against Henry Louis Gates, Jr. were dropped five days later.  Gates who is Director of Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research have been dropped, and the city of Cambridge, Mass., has apologized for the “regrettable and unfortunate” arrest.

Regrettable and unfortunate?  Wow!  I’m speechless.  This episode is resonating all over America and not just with black people.  Right minded people are looking at this incident, many in disbelief.  Every time I hear about an incident like this, I’m momentarily stunned but never surprised.  This incident is reality.  It is a sad part of the American experience.

Let’s review what we know about Professor Gates’ side of the story:

    • On July 16, 2009, Cambridge police responded to a call that two black males with backpacks were breaking in to a two-story home near the Harvard campus.
    • Gates was returning from a trip from China.
    • Upon trying to enter his home he discovered his front door was jammed.
    • Gates successfully opened his back door with his key and tried unsuccessfully from inside his home to open the front door.
    • After some effort Gates and his driver eventually forced the door open from the outside.
    • Gates was comfortably inside his home for several minutes when a police officer, Sgt. James Crowley, appeared at his steps and asked him to step outside.
    • Gates told the officer he lived in the home and showed him his Massachusetts driver’s license and Harvard University identification card.
    • The officer followed Gates into the house and explained that he had received a report of a possible break-in.
    • Gates grew frustrated that the officer was continuing to question him in his home and asked for the officer’s name and badge number.
    • Gates was handcuffed and led away.

The official police report offers a different account of the incident.  According to the report:

· Gates refused to step outside to speak with the officer.

· When Officer Crowley told Gates that he was investigating a possible break-in, Gates opened the front door and exclaimed, “Why, because I’m a black man in America?”

· The report quotes Officer Crowley saying, “While I was led to believe that Gates was lawfully in the residence, I was quite surprised and confused with the behavior he exhibited toward me.”

· The report reflected that Gates initially refused to show the officer identification, but eventually produced a Harvard identification card, prompting Crowley to radio for Harvard University Police.

· Gates followed the officer outside and continued to accuse him of racial bias.

· Crowley warned the professor twice that he was becoming disorderly.

· Gates began yelling at the officer and was arrested for “loud and tumultuous behavior in a public space.”

Who do you believe is telling the truth?  There are conflicting accounts of what happened.  There is a section in the police report where the officer wrote:  While I was led to believe that Gates was lawfully in the residence, I was quite surprised and confused with the behavior he exhibited toward me. I have no doubt that Professor Gates was beyond irritated.  In fact, I bet he was pissed off to the highest level of pisstivity.  The fact that the officer was “surprised and confused” is a clear indication to me that the cultural conditioning and life experiences of these two men were miles apart.

There is a common sense element that is missing on the part of the Police Officer and a humiliating aspect to the entire incident.  To take Dr. Gates’ cane away from him and handcuff with his hands behind his back seems a bit over the top.

Below is a statement on behalf of Dr. Gates by his attorney Charles Ogletree

This brief statement is being submitted on behalf of my client, friend, and colleague, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. This is a statement concerning the arrest of Professor Gates. On July 16, 2009, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., 58, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor of Harvard University, was headed from Logan airport to his home [in] Cambridge after spending a week in China, where he was filming his new PBS documentary entitled “Faces of America.” Professor Gates was driven to his home by a driver for a local car company. Professor Gates attempted to enter his front door, but the door was damaged. Professor Gates then entered his rear door with his key, turned off his alarm, and again attempted to open the front door. With the help of his driver they were able to force the front door open, and then the driver carried Professor Gates’ luggage into his home.

Professor Gates immediately called the Harvard Real Estate office to report the damage to his door and requested that it be repaired immediately. As he was talking to the Harvard Real Estate office on his portable phone in his house, he observed a uniformed officer on his front porch. When Professor Gates opened the door, the officer immediately asked him to step outside. Professor Gates remained inside his home and asked the officer why he was there. The officer indicated that he was responding to a 911 call about a breaking and entering in progress at this address. Professor Gates informed the officer that he lived there and was a faculty member at Harvard University. The officer then asked Professor Gates whether he could prove that he lived there and taught at Harvard. Professor Gates said that he could, and turned to walk into his kitchen, where he had left his wallet. The officer followed him. Professor Gates handed both his Harvard University identification and his valid Massachusetts driver’s license to the officer. Both include Professor Gates’ photograph, and the license includes his address.

Professor Gates then asked the police officer if he would give him his name and his badge number. He made this request several times. The officer did not produce any identification nor did he respond to Professor Gates’ request for this information. After an additional request by Professor Gates for the officer’s name and badge number, the officer then turned and left the kitchen of Professor Gates’ home without ever acknowledging who he was or if there were charges against Professor Gates. As Professor Gates followed the officer to his own front door, he was astonished to see several police officers gathered on his front porch. Professor Gates asked the officer’s colleagues for his name and badge number. As Professor Gates stepped onto his front porch, the officer who had been inside and who had examined his identification, said to him, “Thank you for accommodating my earlier request,” and then placed Professor Gates under arrest. He was handcuffed on his own front porch.

Professor Gates was taken to the Cambridge Police Station where he remained for approximately 4 hours before being released that evening. Professor Gates’ counsel has been cooperating with the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, and the City of Cambridge, and is hopeful that this matter will be resolved promptly. Professor Gates will not be making any other statements concerning this matter at this time.

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.”

Barack Obama’s Speech To The 2009 NAACP Convention

Posted in Barack Obama, Black America, Black Interests on July 17, 2009 by Gary Johnson

On July 16, 2009, President Barack Obama addressed the NAACP.  His message is not a new one, however his  style seems to be more “hearable.”  Let’s be clear.  Stand up black men.  Bill Cosby has been saying this for years.  In case you missed it, we have President Barack Obama’s speech in its entirety.

What do you think about the President’s message?

Welcome Home Black Man

Posted in Barack Obama, Black Interests on July 11, 2009 by Gary Johnson


Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images

President Obama and his family arrive in Ghana’s capital, Accra, for his first visit to sub-Saharan Africa since taking office. His low-key stop there will last less than 24 hours

By Jeff The Interpreter

This week marks the first visit of what I hope will be many to the continent of Africa. Ghana is the place of his landing. Ghana is significant because it is Ghana where our people were held in the slave dungeons for months awaiting the arrival of British, Portuguese and Spanish ships carrying the raw materials and the raw emotions of a proud people.  The circumstances leading to their capture is immaterial because the tradition of bringing under submission African people for the purpose of servitude is not new in African culture. The reasons could include restitution for crimes against a family to the spoils of war between neighboring tribes.  What made the last place of freedom in the dungeons of horror significant was the indefinite sentence of a permanent removal of a people from their native land with absolutely no hope of returning.  Ghana and many other ports of call along the western coast of Africa was the beginning stage of a journey that lasted over three hundred years.  A journey that scattered African people throughout the lands of North America, South America, Central America, the Caribbean and Europe, yet when all other countries were giving up the slave trade and in some way assimilating African people in to their culture.  It was the United States that instituted social, educational, mental, cultural and legal bondage.  The United States that would sanction laws and policies that would maintain status and access based on color.

Now the son of a native born African father and a European mother, who is married to a descendant of African American slaves will touch the soil of the motherland and bring with him the authority of the highest office of the most powerful nation in the world.  Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States will represent the closure of the circle of life.  When he talks to the African people he will do so as a person with African and European Blood.  He will do so as beneficiary of the blood, sweat and tears of many who had to die for his life to be acknowledged.  When he stands on the soil of Africa, the souls of millions of Africans who choose death rather than be made a slave along the trans-Atlantic slave route will breathe a sigh of a homecoming. When President Obama shakes the hand of the Ghana President, millions of Africans and African Americans who were raped, disfigured, dismembered, castrated, mutilated and killed will be reunited with their African legacy.  When President Obama puts on the traditional Kente cloth robes, former African Kings and Queens will regain their rightful place that was stolen from them.

Welcome home Black man, breath again the air of Africa as a King. Welcome home Black man; dance the dance of our forefathers. Welcome home Black man, eat the food and drink the drink of freedom.  Welcome home Black man, welcome home!

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin—“Pallin’” Around with Incompetence

Posted in Black America on July 9, 2009 by Gary Johnson


By Raynard Jackson

July 9, 2009

During last year’s presidential election, Alaska governor Sarah Palin infamously accused Barack Obama of “pallin’ around with terrorists.”  Of course this was an outright lie.  So, after last Friday’s press announcement that she was resigning her position as governor, one might rightly conclude that she has been “pallin’ around with incompetence.”  But, in her case, this much is true.

When John McCain named her as his running-mate, the presidential campaign was effectively over.  This will go down as the worst vice presidential pick in history!  She brought absolutely nothing to the ticket.  If you are still trying to solidify your base of support in August before a November election, you are in big trouble.

A young (45 years old), somewhat decent looking female who could read a teleprompter fairly well, was supposed to help win an election?  What did that say about John McCain and the Republican Party?  It showed how desperate they were.

Palin had little experience, no vision, and was and is politically tone deaf.  From a PR perspective, she needed (and never received) voice training.  Her voice is very irritating to listen too because of it’s pitch.   She misuses the English language (folksy talking may work in Alaska, but it doesn’t come across well in a national campaign).  She also should have been told to leave her children at home.  Her using her children as props was very weird.  Dragging around her infant, downs syndrome child was bordering on abuse.  How do you justify dragging around a newborn on planes and having him on stage after 10 p.m. exposed to thousands of people?  Some people will do anything for power.

She demanded that her family be off limits, but she constantly injected them into as many campaign activities as she could.  After the campaign it got worse.  She and her family had all manner of family issues debated in the media.  Again, this was of her choosing.  As opposed to acting like the governor of a state and a mature adult, she got into a pissing contest with the 18 year old father of her grandchild.

Last month she got into another pissing contest with comedian David Letterman.  In both cases it involved Palin’s family.  Again, she tried to use her family as pawns and in both cases it backfired on her.

So, it should be no surprise that she would make another bad, irrational decision like resigning in the middle of her first term as governor.  Last week’s press conference was the most illogical, rambling, embarrassing political event I had ever seen.

If she ever wants to be taken seriously, the first thing she needs to do is SHUT UP! Every times she talks, she continues to confuse even those who are trying to be open minded about her.  The more she talks, the dumber we get.

She looked idiotic being interviewed in fishing garb (waders).  What was she thinking, allowing herself to be interviewed in that type of attire?  She needs to stop granting interviews and just disappear for a year.  But, after last Friday, she has reached the point of no return.  She comes across as very delusional—to actually think she has any realistic chance of being a credible candidate for president.

Even if she were to get 100% of the conservative vote in a primary, that is only a third of the Republican vote (by 2012, this number will be down to about 25%).  How does she get to 50%?  She doesn’t.  She has totally repulsed women, independents, and suburban voters.  There is no viability to her at all.

If she is the future of the party, then I am the past.  What does it say about the state of the Republican Party when people continue to say she is one of the leaders in the party?  What is that based on?  Name examples of her showing leadership.

She is the personification of narcissism (totally self absorbed).  Someone in the party needs to sit her down and have a heart to heart meeting with her to let her know that she is damaged goods.

Is her political career over?  “You Betcha!”

raynard_jackson Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-based political consulting/government affairs firm.   You can listen to his radio show every Saturday evening from 7-9:00 p.m.  Go to to register and then click on host, and then click on his photo to join his group.

Hitting the Gym in Young Adulthood Preventive Measure for African-American Men

Posted in Black Interests, Health & Fitness on July 7, 2009 by Gary Johnson

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Moderate to vigorous exercise during an African-American man’s 20s may reduce his risk of developing prostate cancer, according to a National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study. Researchers found African-American men between the ages of 51 and 72 years of age were less likely to develop prostate cancer within a 7-year period if they were physically active during young adulthood. African-American men who reported at least 4 hours of exercise per week between the ages of 19 and 29 years of age were 35 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer.

These findings suggest physical fitness may be a solid prevention measure for young black men. Researchers report since tumors tend to be different in African-American men, physical activity which influences both immune function and inflammation play a larger role in these tumors.

“The results are really exciting,” said Kathleen Y. Wolin, ScD, assistant professor of surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “We don’t have a lot of data on things men can do to prevent prostate cancer, and it’s a particular concern in black men, so I think the findings will have intriguing and compelling implications for interventions in the future.”

ZEROThe Project to End Prostate Cancer recognizes that maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle helps prevent many diseases, including prostate cancer. ZERO provides several opportunities for men and their families to get active while supporting an important cause through running and endurance events.

Team ZERO is a training program for individuals who wish to participate in races across the country to raise funds for prostate cancer education, screenings and research. This training program matches runners up with the races they’d like to run while helping end prostate cancer. Participating on this team can, in some cases, guarantee you a spot for a competitive run such as a large marathon. ZERO formed its first team for the 2008 Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 26, 2008. In 2009, ZERO has joined forces with the ING New York City Marathon and the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC. Space is still available on Team ZERO for the Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 25.

ZERO rolled out its Dash for Dad Series aimed at raising awareness and funds toward ending prostate cancer in Alexandria, VA last fall with the first Dash for Dad 10K. More than 650 runners lined up along Eisenhower Avenue for the 2008 race. Help us reach our goal of 1,000 runners in 2009! The Abbot and Depend Dash for Dad 10K will take place Sept. 27, 2009 in Alexandria, VA. All proceeds from this run go to prostate cancer education, PSA testing and research.

For more information about the 2009 Abbot and Depend Dash for Dad 10K, visit

If you’re interested in learning more about ZERO’s active events, contact Tracy Amish at

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