Archive for March, 2011

John Thompson Stand Up For Jason Whitlock

Posted in Black Men, Guest Columnists, Sports News with tags , , , , on March 31, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Harold Bell

Quotes from the Fox Sports web site as it relates to Jason Whitlock on John Thompson!

“The Fab Five are taking credit for the real accomplishments of John Thompson’s and Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown Hoyas.

It was Thompson’s all-black, Ewing-led teams a decade before the Fab Five that shook the foundation of college basketball, changed the complexion of starting lineups across the country, opened coaching doors that had previously been closed to blacks and paved the way for black sportswriters at major newspapers.”

Dear Jason,

You got it all wrong have you forgotten the March 19, 1966 NCAA title game between all white and number one ranked Kentucky faced an all black Texas Western team?

The game took place at the University of Maryland’s Cole Field House.  I was there when the all black Texas Western team pulled the biggest upset in college basketball history.  They changed the face of college basketball forever and not John Thompson Jr.

John Thompson and Georgetown University did absolutely nothing to pave the way for black sportswriters at major newspapers.  He in fact did much like Don King did in boxing he stunted the growth of blacks in media by refusing excess to his players.  He has since become a know it all so-called major media.

The Washington Post, Sports Editor George Solomon and his staff were treated like sports media step-children.  Former Washington Post sports writers Dave Dupree, Michael Wilbon and David Aldridge had front row seats to his sports’ media charade.

When he could not win a game and had no one in so-called major media to promote Georgetown Basketball he turned to a little black oriented radio station W-O-O-K  and “The Original Inside Sports” hosted by yours truly.

When he finally had some winning success he hired a white man as his play by play announcer for Georgetown basketball at W-O-O-K Radio.

Jason, I was also puzzled by your quote saying, “It’s easy to forgive Jalen Rose for his lack of self awareness.  It’s America.  In this country self awareness and common sense are our most rare commodities.”

Jason, were you asleep under a rock when Kentucky played Texas Western, where were you and your awareness?

This observation by you was really over the top, “his players were the inner-city black kids who left a legacy of jobs and playing opportunities for other impoverished minorities that exposes the lack of substance in the fads popularized by the Fab Five.”

You must be dreaming! Then you go to put your foot in your mouth by saying, “Hoya Paranoia is the story that deserves celebration and should serve as a teaching tool.  Fab Five is a safe, harmless story celebrating black kids for choosing style over substance.”

You really think that the John Thompson and Hoya Paranoia deserves a celebration?  If you interviewed 100 former Georgetown players off the record 90 will say John Thompson was a fraud!

He betrayed his life time friend, protector and assistant coach Bob Grier (aka Bat Man) by stealing the affections of his girlfriend GT academic advisor Mary Finley.  He also kicked Mike Riley his former player and assistant coach for over 3 decades to the curve and under the bus.

I have known John Thompson since he attended my alma mater Brown Middle School in NE Washington, DC.  I was there to watch him develop as a player and a coach and he was overrated in both.

John’s NBA career was a bigger fraud as his college coaching  career.  His NBA claim to fame “I backed up Bill Russell.”

The late Boston Celtic coach the legendary Red Auerbach was a dear friend and mentor to me.  I know how much backing up Russell he did.  It was like sending a sailboat to back-up the sinking of the Titanic, one of the same!

Red threw John into the expansion draft because he was too soft.  Check out how many 7 footers were put in the expansion draft during the Red Auerbach and Bill Russell era.

The “Big Bad John” you see and hear today saw the handwriting on the wall and retired from the NBA.

I already knew what Red had known all the time,  you can’t dictate heart.

John Thompson could have played the lead role of The Tin Man in the movie “The Wizard of Oz.”  He had no heart!

Back in the day on the playground when he and to play  like a point guard, I would banish him from the court and make him sit on the hill.  He sit there until Sandy Freeman and Bob Grier his protectors shown up.

On the playground he would dare not raise his voice and use the type of profanity he used as the coach on the Georgetown bench.  I have no idea where he picked up that part of his coaching personality (Bobby Knight).

John Thompson’s secret to success, he was big and black and he used profanity and “The Race Card” to successfully intimidate his players and white folks!

He gained world wide recognition when he hugged Hoya player Freddy Brown after he mistakenly threw a pass intended for one of his teammates to North Carolina’s James Worthy.

The outcome of the game was still hanging in the balance when Brown  in the closing seconds of the NCAA Championship final inadvertently pass the ball to Worthy.

John Thompson was seen hugging Brown in a picture that went around the world.  Today Freddy Brown’s  feelings about his old coach are x-rated.

In a Washington Post magazine article John said, “My mother better not get in my way when a dollar is on the line.”  In that same story he claimed money could overcome racism in America!

Early in his second season at Georgetown when his job was on the line,  in the wee hours of the morning someone hung a banner in the Georgetown Gym that read “John Thompson the nigger coach must go!”

I was his first media line of defense.  When he called my home at 3 am in the morning explaining what had happen I was pissed off.

I must admit he played me like a beaten drum.  I later discovered he hung the banner himself.

It  helped him keep his job.  The University President Father Henley was scared of the institution being seen in the national spotlinght as racist.  He assured media at a hastily called press conference that John Thompson’s job was safe.  Mission accomplished and the rest is tainted college basketball history.

This is the same college coach who took money under the table from his Georgetown designated player sports agent David Falk.  The player transactions and kickbacks made him a millionaire before he left the University.

Falk also short changed NBA Hall of Fame player Adrian Dantley out of several million dollars.

I don’t even want to think about how much money he misused in the bank accounts of Michael Jordan, Pat Ewing, Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo.

In a conversation with Adrian on his last visit to DC as an assistant coach with the Denver Nuggets he said, “David was not alone when it comes to laying the blame for misusing my money, Donald Dell the CEO and founder of the company ProServe must share some of the responsibility.”

Adrian learned of the fraud when I called his mother and informed her of the missing monies from his account.

In the meantime John Thompson financial empire continued to grow, there were the slot machines, real-estate deals and the home he shared with his white mistress Mary Finley in Las Vegas.  Please excuse “The Race Card!”

This proves that everything that happens in Las Vegas does not stay in Las Vegas.

The Washington Post published part one of a two part series investigation of these undercover discrepancies but part two never appeared.  The investigated journalist was Richard Justice.

According to my newsroom sources at the Washington Post all said Sports Editor George Solomon killed part two of the series without explanation.

The Washington Post investigation was inspired by my commentary in the Afro-American Newspaper titled “The Two Faces of John Thompson.”

John Thompson also lied about how he stared down and backed drug dealer Rayful Edmonds into a corner when he met with him to talk about his involvement with Georgetown players!

There is a BIG lie on the Internet that claims Big Bad John told Rayful that “If you don’t stay away from my players (Alonzo Morning and John Turner) I will have you killed.”  If you believe John Thompson said that, you also believe Jason Whitlock’s story of how Big John changed the face of college basketball!

I spoke with the late DC Police Chief Maurice Turner who said that was not the case.  He said, “When John was meeting with Edmonds he called me every hour on the hour to make sure I would have a police present to protect him.  He was scared to death.”

I have not forgotten the Nike deal that he carved out at my expense.

I was the first ever Nike Sports and Marketing Representative hired here in the DC metro area.  As a rep my role was to outfit the different athletes, media, entertainers and politicians with the Nike brand.  In other words I gave away Nike apparel.

Once I became established as the Nike rep I contacted my college coach the legendary Clarence Bighouse Gaines of Winston-Salem State about wearing the Nike brand.   But he had an on-going deal with the great and legendary coach John McLendon.  Coach McLendon was a rep for Converse.

I then took the same proposal to the campus of Georgetown for my good friend John Thompson to look over.  Remember this is the same brother I gave 5 minutes to promote Georgetown basketball every Monday on Inside Sports.

He looked over the proposal and said he would get back to me.  I left the campus and started the walk back to the Nike store which was just a few minutes from the campus.  When I arrived at the store I had received a telephone call from my Nike boss John Phillips.

I returned his call to the home office in Portland, Oregon only to discover my friend John Thompson had called to cut his own deal!

John Thompson is truly a backstabber in every sense of the word.  His loyalty is only to himself!

The changes that he put me through are nothing compared to the changes he put his family though.  You will never see or hear “The Real Warrior” his ex-wife Gwen who is responsible for holding the family together.  I was in attendance at their wedding.

Gwen is the real “Undercover Boss” of the family and she is totally responsible for the three children turning out to be decent human beings.

When she filed for divorce “Big John” became a stalker hiding behind trees outside of her resident trying to intimidate her.  It got so bad one of her close friends had her lawyer call me to advise her on how to proceed against his bullying tactics.

The last thing he wanted to do was go to court where all his skeletons would come out his closet.

My advice was to stay the course and keep the courthouse as a vehicle for an out of court settlement.  He settled out of court.

Ronnie Thompson his youngest son a Comcast Sportscaster is named after his father’s former “Best friend” Ronnie Watts.  Ronnie is a native Washintonian and played basketball at Wilson High School and Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC.

He played several years in the NBA with the Boston Celtics.  Ronnie and Bill Russell were great friends and were often seen in television commercials together.  He disappeared without a trace, it was  rumored that John put him in a financial trick bag.

You will never hear or see his “Bagman” James Wiggins  who served as John’s right hand man for the Urban Coalition Basketball Summer League.   Wiggin’s hands are just as dirty as John’s.

Rumor has it that these two parted ways because one of the bags of cash came up missing.

David Falk is still operating out of Georgetown for John Thompson III so that means little has change—Son like Father!  The more things change the more they remain the same.

John’s old friend Sandy Freeman at a recent high school alumni picnic told me he had a recent conversation with John and he said, “Harold Bell holds a grudge too long.”

My response, “I have forgiven but I have not forgotten!”


*A journey, rather than an event

*A form of remembering

*An act of empowerment

* The result of a conscious decision

more than an emotion

*A denouncing of the wrongful act

*Making right what can be fixed and

letting go what cannot

*An acknowledgement of the intrinsic

worth of the offender

* A gift, rather than a burden


*Excusing what happen

* Forgetting

* Tolerating continue wrongdoing

*Denying our anger

*Letting people off the hook

* Saying “It does not matter”

*Feeling an emotional “Love” for the


* Something that can be willed

Note Worthy:

Jason Whitlock and Grant Hill both over re-acted to the Fab Five documentary if they had listen closely to Jalen Rose they would have heard him say “I was jealous.”  Case closed.

Dez Bryant: Fool or Victim?

Posted in Black Interests, Black Men, Gary A. Johnson, Guest Columnists, Sports News with tags , , on March 25, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Gary A. Johnson

Dallas Cowboy wide receiver Dez Bryant is the talk of Big D and that is not a good thing.  Bryant is beginning to become more famous for his off the field activities than for his moves on the football field.  Earlier this week it was reported that Bryant was kicked out of a Dallas area mall for having his pant sag so low that you could see his underwear.  You would think that a grown man would know better, but age nor the money you make is no guarantee for common sense.  Bryant is walking proof that common sense, “ain’t that common.”

Bryant was also given a criminal trespass warning and told to leave the mall.  Reportedly Dez and his boys got a little rowdy and started to argue with the police and were issued warnings by the police.  Dez and crew decided to launch a series of profanity lace tirades in a public mall for being asked to pull their pants up.  Bryant has alleged that he was a victim of “profiling.”  Unbelievable.

What the hell is wrong with these “man-child” breed of men who just don’t get it?  Chris Brown doesn’t get it.  Dez Bryant doesn’t get it.  I could go on and make a long list of brothers who just don’t seem to get it.  And I’m not just talking about young brothers.  Lawrence Taylor doesn’t get it either.

Back to Bryant. columnist Stephen A. Smith has an interesting perspective on this situation.  Never short of an opinion, Smith says Bryant is a fool.  Some blogger have criticized Stephen A. saying the columnist is being too hard on the Cowboys Wide Receiver.

Read Stephen A. Smith’s commentary below.

Ignorance is ignorance. It’s never bliss. Whether you’re with your honey, or driving a nice ride, living in affluence or, in the latest case, being a member of the Dallas Cowboys, it is simply never, ever a good idea to become conspicuous for being clueless. Naturally, most of us have better things to do with our time than to develop the insatiable need to tell this to Dez Bryant. But since his evident stupidity seems to be a bit contagious, perhaps it’s time to tell it like it is.

Bryant’s not an idiot. He just appears to be one. And if he continues to behave the way he reportedly behaved at the NorthPark Center mall in Dallas this past weekend, that stigma will be the kind of permanent fixture on his profile destined to cost him big-time dollars, and possibly his burgeoning career with the Cowboys.

And rightfully so.

You do not get into arguments with a police officer. Especially when it appears that police officer actually had a point and, quite honestly, you don’t. While we’re still unsure as to whether it may have been a crime for Bryant or his friends to be walking around a public mall with their pants hanging below their backsides, being asked to pull his pants up doesn’t fall under the category of “profiling.”

There would be no need to even address subjects like this, of course, had it not been for Bryant getting flagged with a criminal trespass warning by off-duty officers after exposing his underwear and buttocks to patrons at the mall over the weekend, according to police.

But now we need to address it because Bryant, essentially, asked us to by getting into yet another incident at a public mall.

“The outcome could have been avoided if the parties involved had simply complied with instructions given by the involved officers,” Dallas Police said via a statement.

The statement almost comes across as sounding sensitive toward what was not Bryant’s first incident at the mall where police said he had previously been involved in a “major disturbance” at a restaurant involving a woman, a parking violation and also cutting a line in a store. Perhaps, however, it’s time that we leave sensitivity out of the equation.

Nobody wants to see someone walking around in their drawers in a mall. Since when does education need to be provided on this issue?

Two-year-olds kick their legs up for their parents to put their pants on over their diapers. Kids learn to pull up their pants before they can speak in full sentences. Children can’t go out in public without being dressed, yet suddenly grown adults don’t know the difference?

Dez Bryant’s latest foray wasn’t a venture into lawlessness, just continued prancing toward rebelliousness and belligerence. There’s no excuse for it so there shouldn’t be any explanation for it, either. But since he tried, the rest of us might as well stop avoiding doing so ourselves.

“It really wasn’t me in the wrong,” Bryant told, evidently, diming out his boys.

What Bryant doesn’t realize is that by saying so, he’s basically acknowledging they were wrong. Which means he knew it was the wrong thing to do. Which explains why he’s distancing himself.

So much for justifying his mouthing off to law-enforcement officials.

What there is absolutely no justification for is Bryant, his boys or anyone else wearing their pants below their backsides. Nobody needed President Barack Obama to say so over a year ago. We all knew it anyway.

This need to create fashion statements, using prison garb, tendencies, etc., to do it, is not just an act of stupidity but futility.

What do you think?

Grant Hill’s Unedited Response to the Fab Five’s Documentary

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Sports News with tags , , , on March 17, 2011 by Gary Johnson

Due to space constraints, the editorial posted in the New York Times was shortened.  Read Grant’s full, unedited response to the Fab Five’s comments and follow other people’s responses on his official web site

I am a fan, friend and long time competitor of the Fab Five.  This should not be a surprise because I am a contemporary of every member of that iconic team.   I have competed against Jalen and Chris since the age of 13.  Jalen, Chris, and Juwan are my friends and have been for 25 years.  At Michigan, they represented a cultural phenomenon that impacted the country in a permanent and positive way.  The very idea of the Fab Five elicited pride and promise in much the same way the Georgetown teams did in the mid-80s when I was in high school and idolized them.   Their journey from youthful icons to successful men today is a road map for so many young, black men (and women) who saw their journey through the powerful documentary, Fab Five.

It was a sad and somewhat pathetic turn of events, therefore, to see friends narrating this interesting documentary about their moment in time and calling me a bitch and worse, calling all black players at Duke “Uncle Toms” and, to some degree, disparaging my parents for their education, work ethic and commitment to each other and to me.  I should have guessed there was something regrettable in the documentary when Jay Williams and I received a Twitter apology from Jalen before its airing.  And, I am aware Jalen has gone to some length to explain his remarks about my family in numerous interviews, so I believe he has some admiration for them.

In his garbled but sweeping comment that “Duke only recruits black Uncle Toms,” Jalen seems to change the usual meaning of those very vitriolic words into his own meaning, i.e., blacks from two-parent, middle class families.  He leaves us all guessing exactly what he believes today.   And, I wonder if I would have suggested to former Detroit Pistons GM Rick Sund to keep Jimmy King on the team if I had known, back then in the mid-90s, that he would call me a bitch on a nationally televised show in 2011.

I am beyond fortunate to have two parents who are still working well into their 60s.  They received great educations and use them every day.   My parents taught me a personal ethic I try to live by and pass on to my children.  They remain committed to each other after more than 40 years and to my wife, Tamia, our children, and me.  They are my role models and always will be.

I come from a strong legacy of black Americans.  My namesake, Henry Hill, my father’s father, was a day laborer in Baltimore.  He could not read or write until he was taught to do so by my grandmother.   His first present to my dad was a set of encyclopedias, which I now have to remind me of the importance of education.  He wanted his only child, my father, to have a good education, so he made numerous sacrifices to see that he got an education, including attending Yale.   This is part of our great tradition as black Americans.  We aspire for the best or better for our children and work hard to make that happen for them.  Jalen’s mother is part of our great, black tradition and made the same sacrifices for him.

It is unbeknownst to me what Jalen meant by his convoluted reference to black players at Duke considering how little he knows about any of them.  My teammates—all of them, black and white—were a band of brothers who came together to play at the highest level for the best coach in basketball.   I know most of the black players who preceded and followed me at Duke.  They all contribute to our tradition of excellence on the court. It is insulting and ignorant to suggest that men such as Johnny Dawkins (coach at Stanford), Tommy Amaker (coach at Harvard), Billy King (GM at the Nets), Tony Lang (coach of the Mitsubishi Diamond Dolphins in Japan ), Thomas Hill (small business owner in Texas), Jeff Capel (former coach at Oklahoma), Kenny Blakeley (assistant coach at Harvard), Jay Williams (ESPN analyst), Shane Battier (Memphis Grizzlies) or Chris Duhon (Orlando Magic) now or ever sold out their race.   To hint that those who grew up in a household with a mother and father are somehow less black than those who did not is beyond ridiculous.  All of us are extremely proud of the current team, especially Nolan Smith. He was raised by his mother, plays in memory of his late father and carries himself with the pride and confidence that they instilled in him.  He is the quintessential young Dukie.

The sacrifice, the effort, the education and the friendships I experienced in my four years are priceless and cherished.  The many Duke graduates I have met around the world are also my “family,” and they are a special group of people.    A good education is a privilege.   At Duke, the expectations are high for all of us.   Just as Jalen has founded a charter school in Michigan, we are expected to use our education to help others, to improve life for those who need our assistance and to use the excellent education we have received to better the world.   The total experience at Duke taught us to think before we act, to pause before we speak and to realize that as adults we have a responsibility to do good, not just do well.   A highlight of my time at Duke was getting to know the late, great John Hope Franklin, James B. Duke Professor of History and the leading scholar of the last century on the total history of African Americans in this country.  His insights and perspectives contributed significantly to my overall development and helped me understand myself, my forefathers, and my place in the world.

Ad ingenium faciendum, toward the building of character, is a phrase I recently heard.  To me, it is the essence of an educational experience.  Struggling, succeeding, trying again and having fun within a nurturing but competitive environment built character in all of us, including every black graduate of Duke.

My mother always says, “You can live without Chaucer and you can live without calculus, but you cannot make it in the wide, wide world without common sense.” As we get older, we understand the importance of these words.  Adulthood is nothing but a series of choices:  you can say yes or no, but you cannot avoid saying one or the other.  In the end, those who are successful are those who adjust and adapt to the decisions they have made and make the best of them.   I only hope I can instill in my children the same work ethic, the same values, the same common sense approach to life and the same pursuit of excellence my parents, Coach K and Duke gave me.

I caution my fabulous five friends to avoid stereotyping me and others they do not know in much the same way so many people stereotyped you back then for your appearance and swagger.  I wish for you the restoration of the bond that made you friends, brothers and icons.  I hope you reach closure with your university so you will enjoy all the privileges of its greatness.

I try to live my life as a good husband and father.  I am proud of my family.  I am proud of my Duke championships and all my Duke teammates.  And, I am proud I never lost a game against the Fab Five.

Grant Henry Hill
Phoenix Suns
Duke ‘94

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 16th, 2011 at 11:27 am and is filed under HillTop. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

The Bridge: All The Way In Or All The Way Out, Part 1

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Links, Black Men on March 17, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Darryl James

African Americans are on the way out.

We are out of style, out of line and many of us are out of our minds.

And I suggest that we go further out. Until there is nowhere left to go.

It’s like learning to swim the hard way. You get thrown into the deep end of the pool and you learn that once you touch bottom, there is nowhere else to go but up.

We are almost at the bottom.

We are confused and harried, turning in circles because we have no real direction.

We are without a compass, without a consistent methodology and without our own true North. We have no center.

We appear to be rebelling against the dark and the light, the cold and the hot, against motion and inactivity.  Many of us are rebelling against the revolution and revolting against nothing, yet many of us claim to be revolutionaries.

None of us can be either Malcolm or Martin or Huey Newton.  There is nothing else.  There is Jesse and Al Sharpton, and there is President Barack Obama, but the former two are charlatans and the latter is maligned by the confused who want to chastise him, but fail to have a Plan B.

And we don’t even want a Plan B. Our true thinkers and doers are so few and far between that we can’t even coalesce around any real movement. The confused angry morons try to chastise the thinkers for thinking.

We have so little faith, trust and love for each other that we are not only unable to do business with each other, we are having difficulty establishing and maintaining relationships and we are even having difficulty having conversations.

Look at some of the Internet tomfoolery, where at the end of reason, morons hurl insults to pretend to be “edgy,” when really they are just mean idiots with no checks and balances. And then those of us with reason are pressed to play nice.

Things are ugly and no matter how we couch them, there is not much beauty in our plight or our direction.

Other people have a theological center, a cultural center and something from which discipline and world view are constructed, which in turn, enables them to create a future by laying down a blue print.

Our problem is that we have none of that, but we pretend that we do.

Individuals pretend to be “warriors,” “kings,” “queens,” and “revolutionaries,” but do nothing warlike, revolutionary, royal, noble or worthy of being followed.  We refer to what once was, yet pay little respect to what it took to exist that way.  It’s like trying to build a house of cards on sand or building a sandcastle with manure.

Many cheered when Bill Cosby told poor Blacks that they were horrible human beings.  They said “Amen” when he told those poor Blacks about their poor behavior that lead them to poor conditions.  But what he didn’t do, and what none of those who cheered him will do is to talk about real solutions from the ground up.

Kwame Toure, formerly known as Stokely Carmichael said “Capitalism will come to confuse us, causing us to concentrate on the form and so miss the essence.”

Black Americans are concentrating on the form–focusing on what it looks like:  Blacks with decent jobs, laughing Negroes on television, Oprah and Bob Johnson with billions, and shiny things.  Yes, shiny things.  Blacks get five dollars and spend four on a truck, some cheap jewelry and some “nice clothes,” and Cosby is a fool for saying that it is only poor Blacks because even Puffy wants to be ‘hood rich, which is why the confused jackass just changed his name to Diddy Dirty Money, when it should be Diddy Damned Dumbass.

The boy needs Jesus.

We all need him, or someone to save our souls.

But we know it won’t be the churches.

They are too busy building megachurches while still employing mini solutions for the communities they suck dry.

We are so focused on what we look like that we have missed what we could be.  We talk about “us” making more money, but “we” do very little by way of long term empowerment for “us.”

Magic Johnson should be the norm, not a media marvel and not one more Black woman should claim to be looking for a man on her financial level, unless she has one million in the bank. Liquid. Unless you have one million, you don’t have a level, you have a job and you talk too damned much and take too much pride in what you are probably about to lose anyway.

There is no infrastructure and no nucleus to our community. We are like dandelions after you blow the tendrils away, blowing through the wind without being connected to anything.

That which we claim as our culture is a bastardization with the most diseased aspects of our mis-socialization substituting for culture.  The waste product of our heritage has become the new legacy.  Rap artists who claim to be revolutionary by calling each other “Nigger” in public and tacitly urging other races to use the word are clear examples of this.

You can’t even have collective intelligence if you don’t have a base from which to move forward.

The Asian paradigm is excelling at technology.  There is a default setting to excel in math and science. It’s a stereotype, but they roll with it, and make the best of it for themselves.

Jews are about making money and being thrifty with the dollar.  You’ve heard the expression:  “’Jew’ him down to a better deal.”  A stereotype, but a paradigm that keeps that community in the Black (pun intended).

The deal is that they go all the way in.

We are on our way out.

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.” James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opens in Los Angeles this Spring. View previous installments of this column at Reach James at

The Bridge: Going Blackwards

Posted in Black Interests, Black Links, Guest Columnists, The Bridge - Darryl James with tags on March 8, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Darryl James

Sometimes the greatest step forward is made while looking back.

In America, Black people imagine that they have made progress.

The truth is that in many ways, we have gone backwards, but not on purpose. We have gone back to a place in time that was dark indeed, and if we are to go backwards, we should at lest go back to a place and time that made sense for us and take some things with us.

Our problem is that we are going in circles seemingly without direction, in desperate need of a new and consistent direction.  The best one that we could embrace is the one that existed previously.  We should simply revisit the actions, state of mind and state of community that brought us through slavery, Jim Crow and a revolution that should still be moving.

We should go back in order to carve out the best possible future.

Our shining Black future should be to reverse integration, so that we can once again accustom ourselves to living with each other.  When we begin to reverse integration, we must return to our communities with renewed and focused political power resulting in more police protection (from a police force which reflects the community);  more services (schools, after-school programs, parks, street re-paving, etc.); and more self-sustaining commerce (Black-owned businesses supported by the community, while supporting the community).

A new future for Black America would be to discuss forward movement for all of us—not just the rich, not just the males or just the females and not just the famous, but ALL of us.

Our future should follow groups such as the Jews, making a commitment to our own preservation as a group, not to individuals we hope will become “leaders.”

No more “window dressing.”  We can no longer be satisfied with a Black face at the front door, or even the sole dark face in the CEO’s office. One of us can show up and attempt to assimilate, but having one dark face in the company has failed to open the door for others.

Our new future should be about getting our own, as opposed to building the commerce of others who sell us shiny things.  Yes, shiny things.  Blacks get five dollars and spend four on a truck, some cheap jewelry and some “nice clothes.”

The late Black publisher, John H. Sengstacke said “If we take care of our community first, the community will take care of us.”

Our future should be to follow Magic Johnson into urban America, rebuilding our commerce. Prior to integration, we had our own commerce, which sustained generations.

In addition to Black-owned businesses, we must return our services to the community.  Our doctors understand our particular health issues and our lawyers understand our particular legal issues.  Dentists, contractors, car dealers and hardware stores are vital parts of our commerce and they need to be in our communities, serving us and being supported by us intentionally.

Part of taking back our commerce means following the lead of people like Will Smith, in controlling our own music and film.  We will no longer have to worry about our image in front of the world in entertainment, if we are making the movies and television shows and controlling the music.

We have to also take part in our own sports ventures.  Who cares if Kobe and LeBron make millions, if they are still high-priced slaves?

Our return to Black commerce can only be achieved when we return to living next door to each other, socializing with each other and talking to each other about the issues we face in common, so that we can work together toward resolution.

We must focus on us as a people who survived the horrors of the years and still know how to party, look good and work hard.  We must party, look good and work together for our coming generations.

Our future must involve us loving each other again.  It must involve us showing up to be seen and to see what is going on in our own communities.  Black women will stop saying that there are no good Black men when we return to community events, where Black men and Black women can find each other.

For Black women who complain about not being able to find a man on their level, the Black future should be about working together to build, as opposed to looking for someone who can afford to vacation with us.  If you have twelve and I have eight, I am not beneath you, I am with you and we now have twenty.  That’s empowerment and community building.

Black men have to stand up for the women and children in the community who need the presence and influence of men.

Yes, there are single parents, but at what point in time were there not?  Our future must focus on our emerging adults, because for nearly two generations, we have focused on grown folks, while ignoring the diminishing conditions of our youth.  Mentoring must be the order of the day for those of us without children, so that single parent households can still provide nurturing from male and female adults to foster healthy young men and women.

Our Black future should involve rebuilding the schools in our communities, instead of fleeing those schools to take our brainpower and our dollars to other communities.  No vouchers for private schools, but a commitment to chastise local government to improve educational facilities in our own communities until they adequately prepare our children for college.

We can rebuild our schools and other services for our community when we become politically active in ways beyond party allegiances.  We must make demands based on what we need and deliver our support to the party or candidates who make intrinsic overtures to us.

But first, we need to re-unify ourselves.  Any future for African Americans must include changing our minds about each other, to paraphrase Malcolm X.

We must return to the t-shirts with powerful messages of “Black Is Beautiful,” “I Love Being Black,” and “Black Power.”  They never should have gone out of style.  While wearing those t-shirts, we have to re-embrace the things that are truly beautiful about us.

Our Black future must include real braintrusts, where our best minds meet to discuss the issues and deliver recommendations to the masses.

The Black future I’ve outlined here is not from some wistful dream conjured and ensconced in my head.  This future state of existence is from a real Black America prior to integration.

The future of which I speak is directly from our past.

Yes, I am advocating re-integration.

The best part of integration can not be taken away, especially if we recollect ourselves.  That part includes the right to eat, walk and live anywhere and the right to be left the hell alone.  We now have to build upon the movement that halted at the end of the Sixties.

We need a Black future.  To find the best one, we have only to go “Blackwards.”

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.” James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opens in Los Angeles this Spring. View previous installments of this column at Reach James at


Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Men with tags on March 8, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Harold Bell

It has been said “Don’t ever look back because someone might be gaining on you.”  In the case of Black people in America there was never a need for White folks to look back.”  We have yet to gain on them!

For example; in 1969 the income for White households doubled that of Black households.  In 2011 when people measure the progress of blacks in America

The first thing they point to is a Black President in the White House.

The real measure of success in America has always been financial success.  In 2011 the average White household still doubles that of a Black house hold (1969 and 2009 Census).

In February 2011, I coordinated and hosted a series of Black History Moments in Sports at the historical and world famous Ben’s Chili Bowl in Washington, DC.  Much of the series was spend honoring unsung heroes in the Black Community.

The honorees and guest included, Maggie Linton (pioneer in sports media radio and television), Jackie Jones (Washington Post and Black America writer), Lacey O’Neal (hurdler 1968 Olympics), Lucille Hester (1st female President of the Washington Pigskin Club) Elease and Hattie Thomas (Pioneering Civil Rights Advocates), Joseph Daniel Clipper (Portrait Artist), Gary “One Arm Bandit” Mays (pioneering athlete), Dan Droze and Dave Harris (pioneering high school athletes), Clayton LeBouef (actor, writer and producer), Furman Marshall (Martial Arts Hall of Fame), Chris Thomas (comedian), David Aldridge (TNT Sports), Butch McAdams (ESPN Radio), Michael Wilbon (ESPN/PTI) and Willie Jolley (motivational speaker, poet, singer and entrepreneur).

In February 1926 the legendary and great writer/poet Carter G. Woodson gave us Black History Week and in 1976 Black History Week evolved into Black History Month.  This disproves the myth of White folks giving us the shortest month of the year.  The month of February and the annual tribute was a Black man’s idea!

The most popular tribute at Ben’s Chili Bowl was the one paid to Gary Mays who as a young child had his left arm blown off by an accidental blast from a shotgun, he was 5 years old.

Gary moved to Washington, DC from West Virginia at the age of twelve.  His story of growing up on the tough streets and playgrounds of Washington, DC should be on a movie screen.

He had a double whammy growing up he was a black male child and had one arm.  Gary grew up in the northwest section of Washington, DC in a neighborhood where it would have been a challenge for a two armed kid.

The bullies that he encountered would make today’s bullies look like choir boys.  Thanks to a knockout punch in his powerful right arm and hand allowed him to take names and kicked ass.

The powerful punch was developed early thanks to his uncle Charles Aubrey who was a semi-pro baseball catcher in West Virginia.  During backyard catch games Gary was on the receiving end of his uncle’s many fast balls thrown high and sometimes low and in the dirt.  This daily drill helped to prepare him as young kid to be a one of a kind athlete.

When Gary left for D.C. to live with his mother, one of his Uncle Charles’ teammates gave him a parting gift, it was a baseball glove.  The rest is baseball history and what legends are made of today.

Once he had arrived in DC he started playing organized baseball at the age of thirteen with young men years older on a team called the Georgetown Panthers.

Gary picked Armstrong Technical High School to take his athletic skills to the next level.  He was already a playground legend and still his baseball coach Major Robinson was a skeptic.  He didn’t think Gary could make his team.  But it didn’t take him long to make a believer out of Coach Robinson.

He was not only a feared catch but was a power hitter his bat was just as feared as his throwing arm.

I first heard of Gary through my older brother the late Robert Alfred Bell better known as Bobby.  My brother played second-base on the Armstrong team.

We grew up with my grandmother and Bobby would come home and tell stories about the feats of his one armed teammate.  I thought he was making these stories up until I saw “The One Arm Bandit” with my own eyes.

I was a student at Brown Middle school in the early 50s when Gary and Elgin Baylor were the talk of the town.

Brown Middle School is located at 24th and Benning Road in NE DC.  It sits on a hill like no other school system in America.  There are three other schools located within a stone’s throw of each other.  First there is Spingarn High School the home of NBA Hall of Famers Elgin Baylor and Dave Bing, next is Charles Young Elementary, and directly behind it sits Phelps Vocational High School and at the end of the street there is Brown Middle School.  It was here my Middle School Principle William B. Stinson told my mother I would not live to get out of high school.

The basketball court that sits directly across from Brown is the site of some memorable playground basketball games that included the likes of Gary, Elgin, Bing, John Thompson, Willie Wood, Willie Jones, etc.  Elgin and Dave are in the NBA Hall of Fame and Willie Wood is in the NFL Hall of Fame.  The late Len Ford of Armstrong is the other student/athlete in the NFL Hall of Fame.

The DC Public School system is the only public school system in America that can lay claim of having four student/athletes in the NFL and NBA Hall of Fames.

Directly across the street from Spingarn is historical Langston Golf Course where I got to see Heavyweight Boxing Champion Joe Louis and legendary golfer Charlie Sifford up close and personal.

This unique school setting allowed me to watch my brother and Gary play at least twice a year.

This historical hill and school system are an endangered species.  In the near future this hill will be the home of the rich and famous with million dollar homes and condoms replacing the schools.

The golf course will become a country club for the residents who will definitely not look like us.  They will dock their boats on the Anacostia River and travel by streetcar on Benning Road to work and back home.

There is no way in hell the city is building street car tracks for Black and poor high school students to share with rich White folks!  “The Educational Hill” will disappear right before our very eyes and become the “Residential Hill.”

Gary told me this has been in the plans for decades.

When he became a high school senior he was built like a linebacker at 5-foot-11, 185-pound with an arm and wrist so powerful he threw would be base stealers out with ease.

The Washington Star, Daily News and the Times Herald ignored his great feats on the field of play.  Despite the non-recognition he was still named as one of three finalists for the Paris Trophy, given to the city’s top prep baseball player.  This was a statement in itself since the only thing preppy about Gary was he sometimes wore a sweater to school.

Gary won the sportsmanship award, but he didn’t win the city’s MVP award.  He was not chosen for the MVP or selected to play at the whites-only, season-ending All-High, All-Prep Game at Griffith Stadium.  Since he played in Division II athletics in the DC Public High Schools he was not eligible.

He was definitely worthy, according to the Washington Daily News, Gary batted .375, yielded zero stolen bases and didn’t make a single error. The paper noted that the recognition was earned and not based on “sympathy” it was his pure talent that got their attention.

In June 1954, the Washington Senators baseball team held their annual tryout camp, home to hundreds of hopeful young men and more than a dozen major league scouts.  During those three days Gary was the best player in Griffith Stadium.

This is the same ballpark where he once wasn’t allowed to compete in a prep all-star game.  In a camp-closing scrimmage, Gary threw out a base runner and hit the only home run, a 350-foot drive over the center-field fence. He was unanimously voted camp MVP.

He dominated a group of players that included future Washington Senator outfielder Chuck Hinton.  Chuck went on to have a 11-year major league career. Gary did not receive a contract offer.

A major league scout explained to the Daily News that Gary could never be an effective catcher because “he’s at a disadvantage on a ball thrown in the dirt.”  This statement was just a smoke screen and use to cover up his racist and bias attitude for not offering Gary a contract.

Gary dismissed the racial overtones as, “That is the way it was and no one ever said Life was fair.”

It was Gary’s basketball coach Charlie Baltimore that gave him the tag “The One Arm Bandit.”

One day in practice Coach Baltimore got pissed off after Gary had stolen the ball for about the sixth time he screamed at no one in particular, “How in the hell do you guys keep letting that “One Arm Bandit steal the ball?”  The name has been with him ever since.

In 1954, months before desegregation was outlawed in all public schools in America by the Supreme Court, Armstrong and Spingarn High School played each other for the Division II basketball title.

Gary and his teammates would face the greatest basketball player to ever touch a ball in the annals of DC basketball—Elgin “Rabbit” Baylor.

In one of the biggest games in Division II basketball history and against all odds Armstrong would meet undefeated Spingarn and “Basketball God,” Elgin Baylor for the title.  The two teams had met twice during the regular season and Baylor had averaged close to 50 points in the two victories.

Armstrong Coach Charlie Baltimore knew he had no chance of beating Spingarn if he didn’t find a way to stop Elgin Baylor.  Just before tip-off he called his Captain Gary Mays and teammates together.

He instructed everyone on the floor to play a zone defense with the exception of Gary.  He was told to play Elgin “Man-to-Man” defense.  Coach Baltimore said “I want you to stay with Elgin regardless of where he decides to go including the bathroom and once he gets there, you sit on the toilet paper!”

The final score Armstrong 50 Spingarn 47.  Gary held Elgin to 18 points, half of his regular season average on his home court, talking about against all odds!

The defense Coach Baltimore devised was called a “Box In One” the same exact defense my high school Coach the late Dr. William Roundtree had asked me to play my senior year at Spingarn.  Until I heard Gary’s story on why he was able to hold Elgin to 18 points I was walking around thinking I was the first high school basketball player to play in a “Box In One!”

There were three other things that Gary and I had in common we were both raised by our grandmothers (early years) we worn the number 23 as high school athletes and we were both were piss poor students.

I was in the same boat with Pittsburg Steeler’s QB Terry Bradshaw you could spot me the letters “C” and “A” and I still could not spell the word “CAT.”

The similarities end there he was easily the greatest all-around athlete in the city.  He could swim like a fish, played pool and held his own with the sharks and hustlers.

Gary was due to graduate in June 1954 but he had to return to Armstrong to get credits for English and a piano class.  He passed both courses and graduated in January 1955.

He wanted to take his athletic skills to the next level by attending college and had been asked by the legendary basketball coach Johnny McLendon to play for him at Tennessee State University in Nashville.  The late Coach McLendon was a class act and he was one of the finest coaches to ever coach the game of basketball.  He was an innovator and created “The 4 Corners.”

As bad luck would have it Elgin Baylor and Dunbar High School student/athlete Warren Williams came home on a college Christmas break and asked Gary to join them at the College of Idaho.

They made him an offer he could not refuse and Gary joined them for the 54 hour ride by train where Black faces were in short supply.  They joined R. C. Owens who would later go on to be an All-Pro wide receiver for the NFL San Francisco 49ers.

During his tenure in the NFL he and NFL Hall of Fame QB John Brodie created “The Alley Oop” pass play.  The pattern consisted of Owens running straight down the field and Brodie throwing the ball as far and high as he could get it.  Owens would use his basketball skills to out jump the defender for the ball.

In the meantime at the college of Idaho, Elgin, Warren, Gary and R. C. were pioneers during the 50s.  There was an unwritten rule that no school could play more than three blacks at time, but the College of Idaho was different.

He reminded me of the great NBA legendary coach, Red Auerbach, as the basketball coach, Sam Vokes walked to his own drum beat.

He wore two hats, he coached basketball and football.  He needed players and he would not allow their color to be used to disqualify them.

The school was located in Caldwell, Idaho a small town located near the Oregon border.

The town of Caldwell took some getting use to when Gary decided to go to town he would stop the traffic and the people.  They would stare at him.  The looks he received were looks of surprise and not hate.  They had never seen blacks before.

The locals were very friendly.  Winning can do wonders and the town’s folks fell in love with the black players.  The school’s basketball team was suddenly hot and could not be stopped.

Elgin averaged 31.3 points and 18.9 rebounds a game. R.C. Owens grabbed 37 rebounds in a single game.  The team went undefeated in the Northwest Conference.  Where once you could not give tickets away the school was now turning away fans.

Gary hardly ever got any playing time but he could have cared less!  He was having so much fun.  He and Elgin would put on “Globetrotter-like” dribbling exhibitions during halftime.

The town had really embraced the players and Gary says “I had the best seat in the house, on the bench.”

Gary played baseball for the Coyotes (the team’s nick name) and worked at a Caldwell sporting goods store.  He befriended the white owner, Pat O’Connor, a well-known war hero.  The two would go hunting and Gary would borrow a shotgun from a local dentist he had befriended.

O’Connor took Gary on sales trips along the Oregon border and he would speak to the school children.  He would entertain the children by tying and untying his shoes. The kids loved it but all good things must come to an end.

In a March 7, 1955, an article was published in Sports Illustrated that said, “The College of Idaho was winning games by admitting academically unqualified athletes.”  A blind man could see where the fingers were being pointed.

The fingers were being pointed at Elgin, Warren, R. C. and Gary.  They were identified as the “Usual Suspects.”

It was reported that Elgin earned all “B’s” during his first semester.  I would guess if you checked Elgin’s high school transcript you would ask yourself how in the hell could this guy get all “B’s?”

Coach Vokes stood his ground for the Black athletes against the school administrators.  He was fired following the basketball season.

Elgin left for the University of Seattle, which he later led them to the Final Four in the NCAA basketball tournament. Warren Williams transferred to Virginia Union University in nearby Richmond, Virginia and Gary went back to Idaho in the fall, but he didn’t like the new basketball coach.  He quit school and returned to DC.

Once home he received a couple of letters from the owner of the Harlem Globetrotters, Abe Saperstein.  He offered Gary a tryout but he decided he did not want to be a part of the Globetrotter’s side show.

He started his own construction company, drove a cab, ran a numbers book in what is now known as the DC, Maryland and Virginia lotteries and had one of largest black own liquor stores in DC.

Gary was always a self starter.  It would be 50 years later before he returned to Caldwell, Idaho.  The occasion, the Coyotes were inducting the 1954-55 basketball team into its basketball Hall of Fame.

R. C. Owens and Gary were the only Black players to return for the induction ceremony.  The town folks remembered him and the weekend he spent there for the induction was a love fest.

Today Gary Mays is 75-years old and has a “Family Tree” that consists of Donna his wife of 20 years, a daughter who has her college degree in Communications and a 16-year old son who is a computer whiz.

He loves talking about his 9 year old cousin, Cameron an upcoming track and field superstar or his cousin, A’dia Mathies, who was Miss Kentucky Basketball in 2010.

The 2011 Black History Month recognition by his family and friends was great but the one thing that he enjoyed most was discovering he is the original “One Arm Bandit.”

The two men laying claim to that title are John S. Payne a rodeo rancher and Larry Alford II a golfer.  There are pictures of them using prosthesis to aid them in their pursuit of excellence.  Gary is the only one that uses the one arm that he has.  This Black History fact makes him “The Original One Arm Bandit.”

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

The Root Of The Problem Is “The Root”

Posted in Black America, Black Interests with tags , on March 6, 2011 by Gary Johnson

Raynard Jackson

In agriculture, if the root of the plant goes bad, so goes the rest of the plant.  Above the ground, the plant may be very beautiful, but internally it is dying.

This reminds me of “The Root” online magazine (  According to their website:  “The Root is a daily online magazine that provides thought-provoking commentary on today’s news from a variety of black perspectives.”  They are owned and published by the Washington Post Newsweek Interactive.

The Root was launched on January 28th, 2008.  According to media accounts, “The Root” was created by Donald Graham, Chairman of The Washington Post Company and Henry Louis Gates Jr., the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard and Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. Gates went on to say, “it will feature penetrating, lively commentary on political, social and cultural issues, and will showcase the breadth and depth of viewpoints currently shaping black culture.”

Lynette Clemetson, one of the original editors, was quoted in several newspaper articles, “The Root’ resists the notion that there is–or ever was–such a thing as a monolithic black community. The Web site will be a forum for true conversation, celebrating the rich mix of voices, issues and points of view that bring nuance and complexity to the black experience. And while the site is committed to topics of special interest to blacks, it is a destination for anyone interested in the dynamic link between history and our collective future.”

Oh, really?  Would to God that Gates and Clemetson really meant what they said above.  “The Root” was founded by liberals/Democrats (Donald Graham and the Washington Post are well known for their very liberal slant; and Gates comes from the same mold.).  Neither the founding management nor the current management has any known conservatives/Republicans in its employ.

“The Root” has done the same thing that Blacks have so often accused whites of doing—putting all liberals in management, but printing a few editorials from conservative/Republicans who are Black.  Then they say, “see, we have diversity!”

But everyone in news knows that the power lies with the editors (executive, managing, assignment), not with the writers.  These editors not only decide what subjects are written about, but also, how the final story is presented to the public.  So, if the management all comes from the same bias, where is the diversity of thought and opinion?

So Mr. Gates states, “it [The Root] will feature penetrating, lively commentary on political, social and cultural issues, and will showcase the breadth and depth of viewpoints currently shaping black culture.”  Is this what he had in mind when he and management created a section with the title, “The Blackest White Folks We Know” (  Are you kidding me?  Is this Gates’ definition of “penetrating’?  I am thoroughly embarrassed that an esteemed academic like Gates would perpetuate the foolishness that we have accused whites of doing.  What next?  The “Whitest Black Man?”

According to Ms. Clemetson, “The Root’ resists the notion that there is–or ever was–such a thing as a monolithic black community.”  Is this what management had in mind when they created a section with the title, “The Black Folks We’d Remove From Black History?” (  Who is the “we?” Who decided who would be on the list and who wouldn’t?  I find their comments about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas reprehensible.

The most painful thing is that these two sections are in the top three sections visited on the site.  Am I the only one that is embarrassed by this section of the site?  Am I the only one who is willing to publically criticize management for this hypocrisy?

Remember, these sections are not in the opinion section.   This content is solely that of management.  It is quite obvious that management is very liberal in its bias.

How can we, in the Black community, complain about how others portray us and then we do the same thing we have accused them of doing—namely, using the basest of all stereotypes, stymie content that management disagrees with, and have absolutely no diversity within management.  Shouldn’t Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton demand diversity from the Washington Post?  When will they begin the picketing?

The site looks good, it’s very appealing to the eye, and does have some very good articles and commentary.  But, like dying vegetation, when you begin to look at the roots, you find “The Root” is the problem.

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm.  He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine ( & U.S. Africa Magazine (

The Bridge: Fear & Lies

Posted in Black Interests, The Bridge - Darryl James with tags on March 3, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Darryl James

One thing I have learned well in my life is that there is no need for courage if there is nothing to fear.

I speak at high schools whenever I am called.

Sometimes, I call.

I take it as part of my duty as an educated and enlightened Black man—to stand in front of young Black boys and young Black men to show them their own possibilities, because I come from the same places from whence many of them hail.

Sometimes, I am joined by other Black men who either feel the same sense of duty, or are goaded into it by others who recognize it and refuse to allow them to escape.

And when they are goaded, sometimes, the fear and awkwardness is so apparent I nearly feel sorry for them.

I know what is occurring, because it is the same situation as when an American born citizen visits his father’s native land.  He recognizes many similarities, but not having grown up in the foreign land, he also recognizes many differences.

The biggest problem is that some of us who believe that we have “arrived,” have merely bought into the empty promise of America—the illusion of the melting pot and the reward for pretending that there are no racial barriers and that hard work and education are always rewarded for everyone.

The belief in this illusion is the intrinsic barrier between open and honest communication with the youth, because they are still wise enough to know that there is a problem.  Some of them embrace that problem as a reason to work twice as hard, while some of them embrace that problem as a reason to give up.

When adult Black men show up, it is our duty to model for them, or at least to advise them of the result of either choice.

But sadly, many of us are in derelict of duty, because frankly, we are afraid of what we escaped from, and/or whom we left behind.

Even for some of us who show up, we do the youth a disservice by lying to them.  Unwitting lies, but lies nonetheless.

Some of us lie to them by claiming that there is no real struggle based on the color of our skin.

We lie by telling them that the color of our skin never held us back and never really made a difference at all.

We lie and tell them that we excelled because we were simply hearty and smart individuals who embraced the American dream.

You see, by embracing the illusion of inclusion in America, we set up a roadblock to understanding.  Without the illusion, we could understand ourselves and others better.

Without the illusion of inclusion, we would all be forced to admit that schools in predominantly Black neighborhoods are severely underfunded.  We would have to admit that the preparation for a better life is less sturdy than in other neighborhoods. And by making these admissions, we would have to say honestly to our white counterparts over lunch, or golf, or cosmopolitans, that America is a dirty bitch, which would make us stand out, God forbid, and have to carry that damned “troublemaker” badge that our forefathers and foremothers carried, but that many of us so timidly shy away from.

But too many  are unwilling to admit that their benefits in life are the direct result of compromise, which has little to do with those people on the bottom who face welfare, gang warfare, drugs, alcohol, racial profiling and hatred from some of those above them.

The problem is that after the Civil Rights movement, some frightened Negroes were deathly afraid of  having to do any real work for the race, having become comfortable with taking the benefits earned on the backs of many, while pretending that their progress is all about the individual.

What we are dealing with is the same attitude felt by the country Blacks when intermingling with the city Blacks, which isn’t really a Black thing, but cuts across all color lines, as city whites neither have any real desire to interact with their rural brethren who they view as less civilized.  Part of the inheritance of integration is that now, many citified Negroes take on that same attitude about their brethren in impoverished areas of the same cities.

Because finally, for the first time since our arrival from slavery with the empty promise of freedom, a generation of Negroes has abdicated their responsibility of breaking through and going back to pull up others.

This abdication of responsibility is why we see gangs swell, even following concerted efforts to abate their activity, as if breathing—in with a breath of swelled membership, and out with the deflated exhalation of unsustainable efforts from those around them, but not many above them.

And, with such an abandonment of those at the bottom, why wouldn’t the newly arrived Black intelligentsia feel uncomfortable going back to a place they have been lying about never having been?

Yes, the new lie goes beyond the previous prevarication of having no connection to Africa.  The new lie claims not to have ever been connected to Harlem, Watts, Houston’s Fifth Ward or the South Side of Chicago.

And with no apparent connection, these foreigners awkwardly tiptoe through urban areas, afraid of the drive-by shootings and the violent crackheads.  They are afraid to flash their headlamps at oncoming cars with no running lights; afraid to wear red for fear of the Crips; afraid to wear blue for fear of the Bloods and afraid of the homicidal teen looking to murder someone just to get a rep.

They have no idea how much of these fears are based on reality, because the only connection they have is through biased television news reports, ignorant rap records or stupid movies.

With no connection, it is easy for silly Negroes to speak for the impoverished, claiming that they are just too lazy, or too weak, or that they only want ipods and sneakers—using these claims as excuses for refusing to assist or to even send assistance, which would be a loud and ringing admission of the true connection that they are simply ignoring for the benefit of their white friends who are really unimpressed.

Rather than doing any real work, or really, rather than admitting that they are one generation and a few paltry decades away from such an existence, today’s disconnected Negroes would rather be foreigners in a place they should be able to call home.

They would rather be afraid and lie about it.

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.” James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opens in Los Angeles this Spring. View previous installments of this column at Reach James at

%d bloggers like this: