Archive for February, 2012

The Bridge: Celebrating Black History Includes Protecting The Black Image

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Links, Black Men, Black Men In America, The Bridge - Darryl James with tags , on February 28, 2012 by Gary Johnson

By Darryl James

At the start of the film industry, Blacks were relegated to disparaging roles, including the roles of overweight, ignorant maid, such as the one portrayed by Hattie McDaniel.

To this day, many African Americans continue to celebrate the awarding of an Oscar to McDaniel as though the taking of that role was groundbreaking and opened doors for other Blacks.

If that role were so groundbreaking and door-opening, then why are confused Blacks celebrating the Academy Award of another overweight Black maid in 2012?

At some point, we need to be serious about the business of protecting our image.

But instead of pressing Hollywood to make more movies with dignified Black roles, or pressing ourselves to make and support such movies, many confused knee-grows will rage against me for even discussing this issue.

The Black image has been and still is, under assault.

Unfortunately, some of the most vicious assaults on the Black image have come from our own community.

And, when those assaults become popular, we celebrate them and defend them.

In the movie Hollywood Shuffle, film maker Robert Townsend attempted to deal with Blacks who play demeaning roles in films just to get paid.  Townsend’s character admonished the “sellouts” with the tagline: “There is always work at the post office.”

That statement is very true indeed.  The defending line for every demeaning role in the history of film, from Hattie McDaniel all the way to the new “Blaxploitation” era of today is that for many Black actors, these are the only roles available. Yet, no one has ever been forced to take a demeaning role in film, or to work for wages not to scale and in fact, there have been Blacks participating in the independent side of film for a very long time.

The difference between African Americans and nearly every other ethnic group in America is that we have done a poor job of controlling our own image. We can take control of our own image by taking control of the image that is bought and sold in modern film.

It is weak to claim that demeaning roles are all that is available, and it is particularly weak when the option of making our own films has been available for a long time.

It is nearly insane to self-denigrate our image today, when there are a plethora of us making power moves in front of and behind the camera.

For all the ranting and raving I do about Black-owned businesses and how integration hurt us in many ways, I always get confused looks and questions from the people who have no idea that we were making things happen in a real way when we had real Black communities with real Black commerce.

One such shining example was a Black man from Metropolis, Illinois named Oscar Micheaux, who in 1919, made his own full-length feature film from his novel called “The Homesteader.” He was the first African-American to do so, and served as inspiration for Townsend, as well as Spike Lee, Tim Reid and Carl Franklin, among other filmmakers.

The son of former slaves, Micheaux worked in Chicago as a shoe shine boy while pursuing his dream of being a writer, moving to South Dakota, where he penned several novels, formed his own publishing company and sold copies of his books door to door.

Please read carefully, because while this story is nearly obscure, it should serve as inspiration for every Black person in America today with a dream.

During Micheaux’s era, most of the films made were silent, and for the most part, Blacks were silent as well as invisible, save for the buck-dancing, shuffling, demeaning images of self-effacing actors such as Hattie McDaniel and Lincoln Perry, also known as Stepin’ Fetchit.

Our very relationship with film was initiated with the early “classic,” Birth Of A Nation. The “talkies” ushered in the era of Blacks as weak buffoons and idiots or manly mammies when most of the actors were dark-skinned Negroes who continuously bucked their eyes for outlandish comedic and demeaning effect.

Actor Ving Rhames, Keenan Ivory Wayans and other confused Negroes have been outspoken about calling Stepin’ Fetchit a hero, claiming that the shuffling, foolish actor from the early days of film opened doors for today’s Black actors.  What doors were opened by an embarrassment who claimed his fame by bucking his eyes out of his head in childlike fear, by poking his bottom lip out, by stooping his head, or by speaking in a slow, dull-witted cartoonish voice, designed to provide comedy relief to racists?

There were real doors opened for Blacks, but they came in the form of high quality films with Blacks as protagonists in respectable roles, written by a Black man named Oscar Micheaux.

Micheaux understood the film game and as an entrepreneur, knew that he would have to start his own film company in order to get his stories to the silver screen.  He did just that and launched a successful film business with more than forty-three movies to his credit.

Micheaux’s film business was just that–a business. He hired all of the actors, made the movies and even handled his own distribution to the seven hundred-plus Black theatres in existence in the nation at that time.  Do I have to repeat that there were more than seven hundred Black theatres in existence before integration?

Currently, Earvin “Magic” Johnson is a revolutionary for attempting to rebuild what once was, taking theatres into parts of Black America which haven’t held first-run theatres in decades.  His revolution is to build the future by revisiting the past.

In the late Eighties, Spike Lee set off a new Black Renaissance in film by regenerating interest in Black-themed films with Black actors that weren’t pandering to America’s beloved Negro stereotypes.

There are a number of actors and actresses who are doing very good work on television and in film, holding the line and refusing to denigrate our image for a paycheck and fifteen minutes of fame.

Today, generations after Oscar Micheaux’s revolution in film making, it makes no sense for anyone to say that they are taking a demeaning role because there is nothing else, or that they have to avoid their dream because it is simply unavailable.  Micheaux was not a rich man, but he was able to accomplish his dreams by relying on resources found within his own community.

In order to generate funding for his films, Micheaux began shopping the concept of an all-Black film to the Black theatres and asking for payment in advance, which he would use to make the film.

Micheaux wanted to make Black films with positive roles for Black actors.  Think about that the next time you are in front of the television when the new House Niggers make everyone laugh on television or when the latest film featuring Blacks over-exaggerating their own behavior for a punchline rolls through Hollywood for a bellylaugh at us.

If we were controlling our own images, we would not have to worry about what anyone thinks about us.  We would be the heroes as well as the villains, the lovers as well as the thieves and defining those roles ourselves.  Further, the good roles wouldn’t be relegated to a handful of shining Black princes and princesses who refuse to clown their race for a punchline and a paycheck.

If we wish to move beyond our present, we have only to revisit our past. Let’s make Black history a part of the Black future.

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles in 2011and will be running throughout 2012. View previous installments of this column at http://www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at djames@theblackgendergap.com.

 

 

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American University Finally Remembers Dickie Wells

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America with tags , , on February 24, 2012 by Gary Johnson

By Harold Bell

On Saturday February 25, 2012 the last weekend in Black History Month American University will welcome a native son back to its campus.  The late Richard “Dickie” Wells will be finally inducted into the school’s basketball hall of fame.   Fifty-six years ago he was a trailblazer and pioneer on the basketball court. The school is located in the far northwest corridor of Washington, DC, at the intersection of Nebraska and Massachusetts Avenues NW.

It was the last outpost of higher education in the Nation’s Capitol.   Westmoreland Circle was minutes away from the Maryland suburbs that could lead you to all points south.

When a student/athlete talked about going out of state to attend college he could have easily been talking about American University!

Dickie grew up on Benning Road a corridor located in the far Northeast section of Washington, DC.

Benning Road was minutes away from Kenilworth Avenue.  This road led you to the Baltimore/Washington Parkway leading you to all points north (New York City, etc).

He was an all-around athlete at Spingarn High School where he was a starter and star on the football and basketball teams.

In basketball he was a tenacious rebounder and defender, according to his teammate Andrew Johnson who grew up in the same neighborhood.

Andrew also remembers other qualities and characteristics that made Dickie the ideal candidate for his pioneering role at American University, he said, “He was unselfish and coachable!”  Dickie would often take younger guys under his wing and help them improve their athletic skills.

I remember I was one of those young athletes who benefited from Dickie’s unselfish behavior.  When I arrived at Spingarn I was going to hell in a hurry and he became my mentor.

Dickie was a starter on the 1956 Spingarn football team that beat the legendary QB Willie Wood and his Armstrong teammates 13-7 to win the East Division Championship.  The win earned Spingarn the right to meet Cardozo HS for the DC Public High School Championship.

Spingarn tied the Clerks 0-0 but Cardozo was awarded the championship on a little used and never heard of before tie breaker system called Penetration.  The rule stated the winner in a tied game is the team that crosses the other team’s 50 yard more frequently—winner Cardozo.

The burning question is how did Dickie Wells find his way on to a campus on the other side the city using only public transportation (bus)?  It was a two and a half hour ride each way going and coming to the school’s campus and back home.

Enter, American University Coach Dave Carasco.   He could have easily played the leading role in the Sidney Poitier movie classic “Guess Who is Coming to Dinner!”

Evidently, Coach Carasco had been watching Dickie’s exploits as a DC Public High School athlete and after graduation he found his way to his home on Oklahoma Avenue, NE.  Dickie lived directly across the street from Spingarn.

When Dickie graduated from Spingarn it was still a time of “Civil Uncertainty” recalls his big brother Ed Wells, a basketball legend in his own right.  He was a star player at Armstrong and North Carolina A & T in Greensboro, North Carolina.

It was just a couple years (1954) removed from Brown vs Board of Education decision that outlawed segregation in the public schools in America.

Dickie’s teammate the late Spotswood Bolling was the lead plaintiff for the DC Public School system it was Bolling vs DC Board of Education.

The DC Public Schools for example; were still wrestling with the process of integrating or desegregating their schools.

-There had been no march on Washington

-No Million Man March.

-No I had a dream speech—by Dr. King

Big brother Ed remembers that several of his classmates at North Carolina A & T were holding meetings to discuss the possibility of the now historical “Sit-ins” at the lunch counter of the downtown Kreslers Five & Dime store in Greensboro.

It was during these times within this social climate that Coach Carasco came to dinner.

He sat at the Wells’ dinner table and spoke passionately of his vision of a racially integrated basketball program at American University.  After several home visits and fried chicken dinners he was able to convince Mrs. Wells that Dickie was the right man to join him in his quest.

Ed said he found it kind of strange that the coach never talked about a “letter of intent” or basketball in general.

He never mentioned SAT scores, but he thought that he already knew that Dickie was academically endowed.  Mrs. Wells was a DC Public School Administrator and Ed would follow in his mother’s footsteps as a Principal.  Coach knew that an apple does not fall too far from the tree!  Dickie was truly a student/athlete in every sense of the word.

When Mrs. Wells inquired about the duration of Dickie’s scholarship, Coach Carasco simply said, “He can stay as long as I stay.”  American University had already made a commitment to integration, Coach Carasco was Mexican American.

The thing that I think impressed Mrs. Wells was Coach Carasco’s honesty, he said repeatedly “This undertaking was not going to be easy and could be very, very unpleasant at times.”

Coach made it clear to Dickie, there was to be no fighting, no matter what the score of the game.  He said, “If we fight we lose everything.”

The conditions for this unlikely union still puzzles Ed to this day, he says, “My brother was not one to turn the other cheek.  I still can’t understand why he would commit to such an undertaking.  Plus, I thought I knew my brother far better than anyone.  This was not the Dickie Wells I knew.”

“There was nothing in his DNA, nothing in his day to day persona that would lead anyone to select him for this Jackie Robinson role,” according to Ed.

He had several scholarships more prestigious than American University.

Dickie grew up on the playgrounds of Washington, DC and was most at home on the basketball courts of Henry Blow, Kelly Miller, Brown, Bannecker and Park View recreation centers.

Dickie held more than his own on playgrounds like Park View in NW DC where they played hard core basketball—-it was NFL style without the helmets and shoulder pads.  It was truly Bump and Run basketball.

In these vineyards—you asked for no quarter and no quarter was given!  It was protecting yourself at all times and at all cost.

Dickie was 6 feet 4 inches and 220 pounds of muscle and grit, and when provoked he could be as mean as a snake.

George “Dee” Williams was his Spingarn teammate, best friend and confidant.  He said “Dickie was a greater human being than he was an athlete.  Dickie was a man of integrity and of high character and he could be brutal with the truth!”

American University Coach Carasco was a visionary and he saw something in Dickie that far exceeded rebounds and jump shots.  He hugged Mrs. Wells and shook Dickies hand and the two stepped into the history sport pages of American University.

Mrs. Wells cried when she first saw Dickie run out of the dressing room with no. 24 stitched on his white jersey across his chest, but they were tears of joy.

Ed asked his mother “Why are you crying at a basketball game?” 

Her response, “I am so proud of Dickie and overjoyed to see him do something significant with his life.”  American won its first game.

But the tears of joy were short were lived they became tears of anger.  The team went on the road to play its first road game in the Mason/Dixon Conference.  The experience was surreal!

The host was Mt. St. Mary’s and its student made it perfectly clear that they resented the distinction of being the first college in the conference to host a rival team with a minority coach and a minority starting player.

There were hundreds of disgusting placards reading N—– go home with vile epitaphs and vulgar language directed at Dickie and Coach Carasco.  Ed remembers there were several black cats released upon the floor delaying the game for what seemed like a life time!

The name calling and verbal abuse went on throughout the game and only subsided when Dickie fouled out early in the fourth quarter.  It was than the student body stood in unison and locked hands.  They rocked back and forth with eyes closed as the band played “Bye Bye Black Bird.”

The song was sung with such furor and enthusiasm as if they had practice this ritual many times in anticipation of the moment.

His mother cried tears of anger and rage and asked “How could anyone do this to another human being?”

American University lost the game but won the battle, there were no fights and no physical confrontations.

After the game Mrs. Wells asked Coach Carasco, “Are you expecting all the remaining away games to be this volatile?”

His response was “I certainly hope not, but I am proud of the fact that we maintained our composure.  I think we are going to be okay and we will be back, we will be back!”

The American University basketball team was like General Douglas McArthur when he promised during World War ll “We shall return.”

The next time they returned they had playground legend and the pride of Dunbar HS, Willie Jones!  He was the jump shooting and trash talking guard who would eventually take the conference by storm.  On the team’s next return Willie would help reduce the “Bye Bye Black Bird Choir” to only two choruses and the next year they added several other “Black Birds” that now included Dickie, Willie, John Carroll HS standout Jim ‘Beanie’ Howell and Spingarn’s jumping jack, Gene Johnson.

The student body choir was now faintly heard singing only one chorus in the far, far corners of the gym.

Dickie’s senior year they were operating on all cyclers.  The brash talking and jump shooting Willie Jones and Dickie’s rebounding made the school a “Show time” experience.  You would have thought the offending school had changed its name to Gallaudet.  The silence was deafening.

There were no more Bye Bye Black Bird songs, before, during or after the game.

Ed now says, “I doubted if they would ever sing Bye Bye Black Bird songs again anywhere, at any college or university and in any conference.”

Dickie Wells’ impact on American University men’s basketball is still apparent when you look through the record books.  He is second all-time at American University with 1,184 career rebounds and sixth and eighth with 433 and 412 rebounds in a single season, respectively.  He also ranks third with 16 free throws made in a single game at Towson State.

Dickie was the first African-American player at American University and in the Mason Dixon Conference.  His presence paved the way for Washingtonians like, Willie Jones, Jim Howell, Gene Johnson and all the other black athletes who have followed in his footsteps.

He was also the school’s first Afro-American to receive All-American honors when he was named a Little College All-American Honorable Mention in 1958.  He was also named an NCAA college Division Honorable Mention in 1960.

The pioneering efforts didn’t occur by accident it took American University and men of grit and courage to silence the Bye, Bye Black Bird songs sung across this nation.  Dave Caraso was such a man, Willie Jones is such a man and 56 years later American University has finally remembered and realized Richard “Dickie” Wells was such a man!

Harold Bell is the Godfather of Sports Talk radio and television in Washington, DC.  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. Harold has been an active force fighting for the rights of children for over 40 years with the help of his wife through their charity Kids In Trouble, Inc.   To learn more about Harold Bell visit his official web site H. B. Sports Legends.com.

THE RAMEY QUICK CHECKLIST OF MENTORING

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men with tags , on February 20, 2012 by Gary Johnson

By Mike Ramey

*A mentor is NOT a personal or verbal punching bag.

*A mentor is NOT a person to be disrespected.

*A mentor is NOT a person whom YOU seek–they seek YOU!

*A mentor is NOT an ATM that you may tap at will.

*A mentor is NOT a person who will always tell you that you are right.

WHAT A MENTOR CAN & CAN NOT DO:

*A mentor CAN NOT undo your past, but CAN point you in the right direction.

*Mentors CAN NOT fight your battles, but CAN teach you how to fight your OWN battles.

*Mentors CAN NOT change your attitude, but CAN give you the tools to check yourself out!

*A mentor CAN NOT tell you only the good things, but CAN share the good and the bad about your abilities to help you correct shortcomings.

*An effective Mentor SHOULD NOT be of the opposite sex, but SHOULD BE a born again, Bible believing Christian who has been where the one being mentored IS going to go.

THE DUTY OF A MENTOR:

*A willingness to let the person being mentored GO. Meaning that the mentor’s job ends when it is time to let that individual go out and DO what they have been trained to do.

*A willingness to provide Biblical TRUTH. Sure, war stories are nice…but training someone else to fight life’s battles on their own is the main objective. The person is NOT a carbon copy of the mentor; but have been taught the truths of life–good and bad.

*One CAN NOT mentor via long distance. A mentor has to let individuals IN CLOSE for not only instruction, but also up-close observation. It is one thing to tell someone how to handle something. It is another to let them SEE how YOU handle the matter you are trying to convey.

*A willingness to INVEST in the person being mentored. This means coming out of the pocket of the mentor. Books, magazine articles, newspapers…even a new Bible if needed. Bottom line–the spoken word is effective; but giving someone something to take home with them–for homework and future study–is great!

*Modeling of character in the face of adversity. This is where the rubber meets the road. How the mentor handles disappointment, tragedy, loss, reversal, and loneliness is the fuel that gives the one being mentored the strength to go on.

*A Mentor NEEDS to be involved for the LONG HAUL. It may take weeks, months or even years of effort to teach the one being mentored the ropes of the business or discipline that one is entering.

THE DUTY OF ONE BEING MENTORED:

*Loyalty: A person being mentored cannot afford to harbor a spirit of ingratitude towards their mentor. They also cannot give in to ‘gossip’ or ‘innuendo’ that happens to surface about their mentor.

*Patience: A person being mentored MUST be patient with their mentor AND themselves.

*Professionalism: A person being mentored must keep the relationship above board.

*Punctuality and Observation: Be on time, or have the flexibility of time.

*Respect: At all times, respect your elders who are taking the time to train you.

*Reflection: Take the time to ‘chew on’ what you have been taught. It may come in large chunks, or small portions. The biblical admonition: Write it down and make it plain!

*Gratitude: Always take the time to thank those who have helped you ‘grow up’ and mature.

*Becoming a mentor: Eventually, you will have the opportunity to ‘pass on’ what you have learned to another individual or small, select group of individuals. After all–someone took a chance on you!

*If you can live to be forgotten and possibly re-forgotten, you have a great life ahead of you as a Mentor.

The Ramey definition of a mentor: An older person–oftentimes of the same sex– who will serve to guide, to teach, and to equip you to succeed at a particular stage in your life–and will let you go on to be successful. This may not be a ‘by the book’ definition, but one based upon my personal reflection, observation and experience.

The Art of The Steal

Posted in Black America, Black Links, Black Men with tags , on February 18, 2012 by Gary Johnson

By Mike Ramey

A few years back, there was a school teacher who was finding it hard to make ends meet. Of course, she made too much money to qualify for Section 8 housing OR the buffet line of welfare services available to the poor in her city. On a whim, she sat down and added up all of the services that she COULD get, IF she met the poverty guidelines. To her amazement, the teacher found that she would be able to receive a full six to eight thousand dollars a year MORE if she would NOT work and go on public assistance.

Needless to say, this teacher had her eyes opened to the poverty ‘industry’.

Recently, the Heritage Foundation provided its “2012 Index of Dependence on Government” report. Some of the immediate findings showed that more and more of the middle class are ALSO receiving ‘government bennies’ ranging from housing assistance to Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid. The percentage number of those who pay NO taxes in the USA has risen to nearly 50% of the taxpaying population. Lastly, spending on aid to those pursuing higher education continues to skyrocket, from Pell Grants to other forms of student loans.

No longer is the issue of the ‘have nots’ limited to the so-called poor and infirmed. In a New York Times article released in February, 2012, more and more ‘safety net aid’ has snaked its way into the middle class, artificially pumping prosperity into its ranks. The main conclusion of the article is that those who often complain about the ‘safety net’ don’t often mind if someone else gets their ‘bennies’ cut; just leave ‘theirs’ alone.

It’s the new game in town: The Art of the Steal.

POVERTY…THE LATEST INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX?

Let’s explore more truths about the poverty ‘industry’ in the USA.

First, MOST of the people who are recipients of welfare, food stamps, EBT cards and a host of other bennies are of the Caucasian persuasion. Back in the day, when the poverty ‘industry’ went under the name of ‘relief’, the popular culture had little problem with good humored portraying of able-bodied poor whites as recipients of government relief or ‘assistance’.

Anyone remember Dogpatch, USA?

The poverty industry is also a place of insulation from economic reality. It was announced earlier this year in New York City–in the midst of our national depression, coupled with a rapid exodus of young workers anxious to escape higher taxes–that NYC authorities were going have to hire MORE welfare caseworkers, because of the exploding need for services for ‘the poor.’

The poverty/industrial complex is WELL supplied with providers and receivers, just like our prisons. We have social workers, case workers, shelter granters, lawyers–and even cops–serving as providers, dedicated to making sure that welfare services are distributed to ‘the poor’. Each of those who are employed in the provider pipeline get paychecks. Each of those who provide goods to ‘the poor’ gets paid handsomely to provide those goods. We taxpayers are told little about what we are paying for…just that we have to ‘pay’ for this industry with our hard-earned dollars.

Accountability? That’s someone else’s problem.

After all…nobody in the pipeline works, or provides ‘relief’ for free.

BACK IN THE DAY:

The Christian worldview about poverty and aid is the following: ‘…if a man will not work, he shall not eat…’. Thus, when the church provided for the poor, the view is to help those in need to get back on their feet (when possible) so that they may be restored and help others to get on their feet.

The government worldview is to keep as many ‘on’ the public dole as possible.

Lest you think that I’m cruel, I do support LEGITIMATE assistance and aid for those who NEED it. However, let me hasten to add that the average taxpayer has been ‘conned’ more than a few times; seeing able-bodied people marching in and out of the same grocers and merchants with their EBT cards glowing from constant use (NOT to mention the fact that poor relief–as I have mentioned–is supposed to be temporary, not extended to generation after generation of families and turning into an entitlement).

But, I digress…which is a good segue into the school house.

SIMPLY–THE ART OF THE STEAL:

Remember all of the static we taxpayers get whenever someone ‘mentions’ cutting school lunch programs? The programs have been expanded in some cities. Those children who meet the right family income guidelines can get breakfast, lunch and–in a few areas of the country–dinner. Now, with all of the money being poured into public schools to ‘help’ those students who come from low income families, one would ‘think’ that these children would be making gains in the classroom.

Not happening.

According to the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP)–the nation’s report card–for my state for the year 2011, children who qualify for the federal free/reduced price school lunch program were reading an average of 22 points LOWER than those children who WERE NOT eligible for the program.

What are the students doing with their free/reduced price lunches provided by Uncle Sam (via the taxpayer)? One needs only to take a trip to the local school house during mealtime and see how much food is thrown away, wasted, or simply destroyed because the children ‘didn’t like it’. Vegetables–of course–are right near the top of the ‘frequent throw-away list’.

In my travels, I have found a number of young people who have ‘mastered’ the verbal art of the ‘industry’ and are fluent in ‘government-ese’. In some cases, some of our young people are more fluent in what they can ‘get’ from the government than what they can learn from their school books. Some of our teens have learned early from their parents about the EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit), to when the monthly ‘crazy check’ comes from SSI (Social Security Insurance), and further still when the Food Stamps come in and the family can go out and ‘hustle’ and STILL approach churches, social service agencies (mainly faith based, of course), and anyone ‘giving away’ something for nothing. It’s the ‘Art of the Steal’. The tragedy? The stealing has gotten worse, and more players are now in the game. The game, unfortunately, is the only one in town–with taxpayer funds consistently up for grabs.

RAMEY, lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. THE RAMEY COMMENTARIES appears on fine websites and gracious blogs around the world. To correspond, email manhoodline@yahoo.com. © 2012 Mike Ramey/Barnstorm Communications.

The Bridge: An Open Letter To The Gay Mafia—GLAAD

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, The Bridge - Darryl James with tags , , on February 18, 2012 by Gary Johnson

By Darryl James

Dear GLAAD:

As a heterosexual man, I’ve been a supporter of gay rights for a long time.

Frankly, I believe that the rights of all are as important as the rights of any.

I also believe that the sexual activities between two consenting adults is solely the business of those two consenting adults.

But lately, your organization’s positions and politics stink to high hell and I no longer support anything you hateful idiots stand for.

Your organization’s recent attack of Black journalist Roland Martin was unwarranted, without veracity, hamfisted and empty. He said nothing negative about gays, nothing negative about the gay lifestyle and didn’t even use the words “gay” or “homosexual.”

You lied.

But you knew it would get you publicity.

And that what stinks so badly.

You see, I watched you assheads use the Black community to garner media attention by claiming that your cause was the same as the former slave’s quest for freedom.

If you do not understand why that is so disrespectful as to be deserving of a severe beating, then you won’t understand anything else.

But for the record, being discriminated against because of your sexuality is NOT THE SAME as being violently torn from your homeland, forced into servitude, beaten and being given a centuries-long legacy of abuse and mistreatment.

But I also watched your crew use the Black community for media attention by demanding that we support your cause for legalizing gay marriage.

In case you do not understand this issue, I will explain its complexity shortly.

And I have watched, time after time, your misquoting of African American celebrities, from Isaiah Washington to Tracy Morgan, so that you could cry foul and beat the drum of injustice in the public forum.

If and when your rights were in intrinsic jeopardy, I, like many heterosexual Blacks would have stood with you.

But I will not stand with you while you lie and defame any of my people to further your cause.

Also for the record, not supporting your organization’s cause is not the same as hating gays.

Although I’m beginning to hate the gangster in you.

You see, not only does the Black community not owe you anything, but we do not fear you. And most importantly, many of us are starting to see that the most extreme of you are mercenary about whatever your mission of the day is, which does not represent the majority of gays, particularly Black gays.

Coming after Roland Martin because he made jokes about a man in underwear and about the sport of soccer is not only a reach, it’s ignorant and deplorable.

By doing so, you are highlighting one of the problems the gay movement faces not only within the Black community, but within the entire human race.

Insensitivity is not the same as hatred.

I’m not saying that Martin’s jokes were insensitive to the gay community, because they were not, but I am saying that your pursuit of him is based on the empty quest to garner complete mindless acceptance of your organization’s mission and messages.

Sorry to tell you, but that will never happen.

Allow me to use a parable:

A white gay man employed by one of my former business partners was maligned and taunted by co-workers because of his sexuality. One of the employees found a letter he had written to his parents to “come out,” and read the letter to other employees for kicks and giggles. I retrieved the letter, promised a couple of beatdowns and returned it to the white gay man.

You will see in a moment why I highlight his whiteness and gayness simultaneously.

The white gay man was grateful and we were cordial in the office after that. He even claimed that we had a natural alliance as oppressed groups.

But flash forward to the OJ Simpson verdict when I was explaining that Blacks weren’t rejoicing in a guilty man going free, but in the corrupt system allowing a Black man to go free with flimsy evidence in the same manner as whites do frequently.

The white gay man’s response? “Blacks will use any excuse to have one of their criminals go free and that’s why their community is overrun with crime and criminals.”

Get my point? He was cool when I was defending him, but insensitive when it came to my issues. His racism “came out.”

I used this example because the Gay Mafia is infamous for claiming to be about the freedom of the gay community, urging the Black community to support that goal, while ignoring the blatant racism within the gay community, including racist propaganda that stems from that community and directly from GLAAD.

Here is a crucial divergence between the two communities: Being Black is not a lifestyle. Our goal was never acceptance of the way we live and how we live, but acceptance of us as human beings.

Unfortunately, it appears that the Gay Mafia wants more than the acceptance of gays as human beings, but the complete and mindless acceptance of the gay lifestyle and any confusing prevarication GLAAD issues.

The essential problem with a pursuit of acceptance of a lifestyle is that the effort seeks to force a collision of values and a collision of belief sets. No law can enforce such a collision and no good result can come from such a collision.

To be clear, I believe in the acceptance of homosexuals as human beings.

I believe the pursuit of acceptance of the gay lifestyle to be rife with difficulties that can not be resolved, particularly with the Gay Mafia’s hamfisted methods, including half-truths and outright lies.

To the point of gay marriage and its complexity, I first had absolutely no problem with the pursuit and questioned the opposition to the cause. But I began to listen to the religious opposition and frankly, there is merit in their position. And their position(s) is not necessarily based on hatred of gays in every instance.

For some, the efforts to legalize gay marriage would alter the definition of marriage within the confines of their religion. For others, the notion is simply repulsive. While I find no repulsion, I find it difficult to see forcing a religion to alter the definition of any of its basic tenets.

For clarification and comparison, Black historians and scholars never sought to force the legalization of Jesus’ lifestyle as a Black man, which he was.

That has nothing to do with hatred, even though you want to force people to think so.

For the record, I am and have been supportive of legalized unions between gay people that provide all the benefits of marriage without actually using the term “marriage.” This is a bridge that many heterosexuals can support because it provides the legal benefits that gays seek, without forcing a religion to alter the meaning of one of it’s basic tenets, which is already under siege for myriad other reasons.

But you gangsters care not one whit about what anyone thinks or believes. You care only about your politrix and anyone who does not accept everything you issue is painted as a hater.

I don’t hate gays.

I do hate your organization.

In closing, I already know that you will pretend that I hate gays and you will pretend that I am the enemy, but frankly, I believe that GLAAD is ultimately an enemy of truth and justice, an enemy of the Black community and an enemy of gays, particularly Black gays.

The more you pursue your hateful public mission, the more you will gain opposition to everything that GLAAD claims to stand for.

That can’t make anyone glad.

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles in 2011and returns to the stage in March of 2012. View previous installments of this column at http://www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at djames@theblackgendergap.com.

 

Why Tom Joyner is GLAAD

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Links, Black Men with tags , on February 14, 2012 by Gary Johnson

By Raynard Jackson

Last week I wrote a column entitled, “Roland Martin Is Not GLAAD.”  In that column, I discussed the unfair treatment of TV personality, Roland Martin.

I thought I was finished writing about this issue and was prepared to move on.  But, after receiving tons of phone calls, voicemails, and emails about Tom Joyner’s “Letter to Roland:  Make It Right,” I feel compelled to make another comment about the Martin affair                                                              (http://www.blackamericaweb.com/?q=blog_inner/37029/1573138/The%20Fly%20Jock).

There are so many more important things we should be discussing, but I can’t let Roland be thrown under the bus alone.

In his letter to Roland, Joyner states in part, “his radio show’s goal is to entertain and empower black people.”

Oh, really?  Joyner is the same person who wrote in his blog on July 1. 2011, “About a month ago, I wrote a blog about Tavis Smiley and decided to table it because I said some things I didn’t want to publish. You’re probably thinking I went too hard on him, but no. In reality, I hadn’t gone hard enough – and I knew it. I said I’d wait until something pissed me off so bad that I would have the words harsh enough to express what I was really feeling about him and his side piece[emphasis added]- I mean side kick – Cornel West.  Let me explain this to my non Black readers.

Remember, in my column last week I quoted linguist, S.I. Hayakaw as saying, “meanings are in people, not in words.”

When Joyner called Cornel West Tavis’ “side piece,” it meant they were sexual partners, in other words, they were gay!  GLAAD didn’t utter one word when Joyner made this statement.  Joyner was implying that there was something wrong with this.  Where was the gay outrage at this insinuation?

Let’s cut through all the clutter and get to what this debate is really all about.  This has little to do with Roland Martin—he is just a convenient punching bag.  This is about gays trying to force their views on society.  They have not been able to do it through the law, so they just use good ole fashioned extortion and fear.

They have snookered Black ministers like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton into equating gay rights with civil rights.  They have groups like the NAACP spending more time fighting for gay rights than they do for civil rights.

If this is about understanding, why do we hear so much silence?  Liberal groups like the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) went so far as to issue a press release asking CNN to hire one of their members while Roland is on suspension!  Yes, you heard right!  Roland is a two time national board member and a life member of the group and as opposed to trying to support one of their own, they seek to replace Roland with one of their other members.  According to NABJ’s press release, “In lieu of his presence on CNN, until this matter is resolved, we encourage the network to continue to present a diverse offering of voices in its programming.”  Roland, with friends like these, you definitely don’t need any enemies.

So, in the spirit of understanding, I have a few questions for Joyner and CNN.

Tom, in your letter, you said you were “head of the family.”  So, as head of the family, have you had a direct conversation with Roland since this issue surfaced?  Why would you put out your statement on Friday, when Roland had already apologized and agreed to meet with GLAAD?  What was the purpose of the letter after 5 days of silence?  Did it really take you that long to think of a statement, or did GLAAD force your hand like the rest of the liberal Black community?  You further state that Roland should make “a sincere apology.”  Can you tell me what that looks like?  Who will decide if Roland is “sincere?”  I am having a difficult time finding your apology to Tavis and Cornel for calling them gay.  Can you post that on your site for us to read?  Remember, you said in your letter to Roland, “the job of the offender is simply to apologize and learn a lesson about what to say or do going forward.”

CNN, especially Mark Whitaker I have a few questions for you also.  Whitaker is Executive Vice President and managing editor for CNN Worldwide (and is also the highest ranking Black in the network).  In your statement you say, “language that demeans is inconsistent with the values and culture of our organization.”  Can you tell me exactly who Roland demeaned and how?  Can you define for me what the values and culture of your organization is?  Have you given Roland the courtesy of a direct conversation with you before the suspension?  Now that Roland has agreed to meet with GLAAD, can you tell me what will determine when you put Roland back on the air?

Tom’s letter to Roland was signed, “Tom Joyner.”  I wonder if he left the word uncle off on purpose, or maybe he just thought it would be redundant!

In many ways, Joyner and GLAAD are very similar.  Both claim to seek understanding and promote equality among people, but, neither gave it to Roland Martin.  So, in a way, Tom Joyner is GLAAD.

If you want to show your love and support for Roland, I encourage each of you to make three calls and send three emails.  Tom Joyner’s phone number is:  972-789-1058; Mark Whitaker’s number and email are:  212-275-7800 (markwhitaker@turner.com); Jim Walton (president of CNN world wide) 404-827-1500 (jim.walton@turner.com).

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 (www.excellstyle.com), Freedom’s Journal Magazine (www.freedomsjournal.net), and U.S. Africa Magazine (www.usafricaonline.com).

The Bridge: Placing The Horse Before The Cart

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, The Bridge - Darryl James with tags , on February 14, 2012 by Gary Johnson

By Darryl James

We are now in the middle of Black History Month.  Some of us are also in the middle of silly arguments over whether or not the tradition of celebrating Black history during one month each year should continue.

On one side of the argument are people who realize that if not for the February celebration, Black History would continue on it’s ride at the back of the education bus, relegated to three or four pages in the American History books and a brief discussion, if at all.

On the other side of the argument are people with incomplete lines of thinking, who only go as far as the assertion that Black History should not be relegated to one month a year.  Their thoughts are that Black History is an integral portion of American History and that it should be taught alongside every other portion of the nation’s past.

Good argument, but incomplete.

The problem is that Black History was never celebrated alongside every other portion of this country’s history and is not now.  Instead, Black History was obfuscated and when touched on, revealed in fragmented and sometimes false context, if at all.  And, there are no immediate plans to integrate Black History into the rest of American history.

The argument for the abolition of Black History Month is incomplete because it calls for the destruction of the celebration, but pursues no real plan for creating a real method of delivery of Black History into American history.

The incomplete argument is similar to the boneheads who want to destroy Affirmative Action, but have no plan to address the lack of parity in our society.

Such incomplete arguments place the cart before the horse.

To this day, very little Black History is taught in our schools.  Now, if in fact, American educational institutions had begun to correct this mistake, then perhaps it would make sense to no longer assign Black History to one month a year.  However, the curriculum of elementary and high schools is still sorely lacking when it comes to teaching the achievements and contributions of African Americans to this society.

The argument to abolish Black History month is incomplete and silly because it includes the inane assumption that Black History Month is the actual reason for our history not being recognized as an intrinsic portion of American History.  The reality that is ignored in pursuit of the abolition argument is that Black History Month (originally established as Negro History Week by historian Carter G. Woodson), was established because our history was being overlooked.

And there are two crucial problems with the abolition argument.

First, ignorant Negroes are at the helm of the push to abolish the celebration.  Who asked them to wake up and decide that the entire race of African Americans no longer desire or need the celebration?  That would be no one.

Second, these ignorant Negroes with dubious intentions are suggesting that Black History be taught all year, but are making absolutely no movement towards bringing such into being.

Morgan Freeman, a Negro who drove Miss Daisy with pride, woke up one day after realizing that he was Black and mused on 60 Minutes:  “You’re going to relegate my history to a month?”  In all of his fake outrage, I heard nothing about establishing a method for taking our history into any of the places it belongs.

Quite frankly, I am not offended by having my history celebrated during one month each year.  I know that no matter what, that month comes around each year.  I also know that during the month, not only do more non-Black Americans pay attention to my history, but many Black Americans take the time to pay attention to it, when they may not do so otherwise.

I also know that until this nation erases more of its racism and ignorance to it’s own diversity, having one month each year really isn’t a harmful event.

Joyce King, a freelance writer who supports Morgan Freeman’s empty charge against proverbial windmills, recently wrote in USA Today: “There are two ways to make Black history more accessible—teach it every month and stop calling it that.  US History is who we all are, what shaped us.”

That sounds cute, but until we get to the point where Black History really is taught every month and recognized as a crucial part of U.S. History, then eradicating Black History Month is tantamount to throwing the baby out with the bathwater or putting the cart before the horse.

Let’s put the cart after the horse where it belongs.  All of the people who think that we should abolish Black History Month should work together to establish Black History curriculum in the schools.  When that is firmly ensconced, then and only then, should we put an end to Black History Month.

So, to the Negroes like Morgan Freeman, who believe they are doing or saying something revolutionary, my suggestion is just this: Pick up a book next month and learn something about Black History you didn’t know and then share that with someone who isn’t Black or doesn’t know.

That’s really what the month is all about.

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles in 2011and returns to the stage in March of 2012. View previous installments of this column at http://www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at djames@theblackgendergap.com.

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