Archive for April, 2012

The Courage to be Different

Posted in African Americans, Black Interests, Black Men, Relationship Advice, Women's Interests with tags , , , on April 29, 2012 by Gary Johnson

By Nicholas Maurice Young, Ph. D.

Recently, I watched the movie Act Like A Man.  It chronicles the lives of five men, and their dealings with women.  The movie is based on a best-selling How-To manual for women in dealing with, and dating men.  The book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man attempts to provide a philosophical blueprint for women that want to understand the thinking and behavior of men.

The movie follows the lives of the five men and the women that each man desires.  It shows the inherent fallacy of many male-female relationships: Men pursue women with the hope that they will have sex with her; Women pursue men to connect with “Mr. Right,” or the guy that has the right bank account, and social status.   Or, so the story goes.

Why are men and women engaging in this destructive dance of indiscretion?—an exercise that leaves both parties emotionally deficient and intellectually insecure to see the error of their ways?.  I believe that many men and a growing number of women behave this way because many of them lack the courage to be different.

For me, the courage to be different comes in at least three forms. The first form involves being able too see differently about the object of your affection.  For me, the primary problem in this area involves around seeing a women as nothing more than a sexual object.  When I was six or seven years old, I often admired the girls I was around.  While I was initially attracted to a girl’s personality, I almost always was more attracted to her physical features—her breast and ass.  Especially her ass.  Much like the other boys I was around, I always found a woman’s ass the object of my sexual fantasy.  As I got older, my friends and I always measured a girl’s sexual readiness by the circumference of her ass, and the size of the “gap” that we believed existed between her thighs, below her vagina.  For us, having sex with a girl was the primary measure of our maturity and our readiness for manhood.

The second area of courage that I believe is lacking among some Black men involves the ability to think differently about women.  As I suggested above, not being about to think differently about women has led many of us to think that women can be viewed as sexual objects, instead of objects of our genuine affection.  The thinking behind the development of this opinion can be located, I think, in the conversations that many men have with their uncles and fellow young men.  Personally, I do not know many, or any fathers that give their sons this kind of advice.  This possibility is due in large part to the absence of fathers in the lives of young Black boys and men.  I believe that the perpetual paucity of Black fathers in the lives of young Black boys creates a void in the hearts of young Black men about the proper way to think about and see the beauty of a woman.  Hence, the ability of many men to do the third, and final component of courage: acting differently.

I see the ability to act differently as the most important aspect to finding and or locating the courage to be different; however, it is a skill that is dependant on the first two phases of courage.  Acting differently first requires the ability to see a woman and admire her intelligence, kindness, beauty, and recognize that she is the most beautiful creature on the planet.  Second, a man must recognize that he does not have to be like other men.  He must recognize that he can be his own person.  Thus, in doing so, he must see that calling a woman a “Ho” or “Bitch;’ stepping out on his woman; believing that making love to his woman is the same as fucking her (although some women like to be treated this way) is usually the wrong way to show her affection.

In short, I believe that the inability of some men to recognize that some of our problems with women can be found in our inability to recognize that some of us lack the courage to see, think, and act differently about ourselves, women, children, and other people around us.

Your thoughts?



Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Guest Columnists with tags , , , on April 22, 2012 by Gary Johnson

A Mother’s Determined Fight to Keep Kennedy Krieger Honest and Protect the Future of Her Autistic Son

— Best Friends Donte and Desi


Published:  April 17, 2012

Are autistic children becoming a numbers phenomenon for counters and a financial opportunity for Autism authorities? Autistic student Donte Reeves being unceremoniously dropped from the 2012 diploma rolls at Baltimore’s Kennedy Krieger is proof that the near future will demand much more than early identification of these disabilities. Donte’s unfortunate plight is evidence that there is urgent need for more quality institutions for Autism in America.

The new numbers for Autism issued by the Centers for Disease Control are alarming. The bean-counters estimate that 1 in every 88 children has been identified with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. According to the CDC, numbers represent a 23% increase since its last report in 2009.

“The largest increases over time were among Hispanic children (110%) and black children (91%). We suspect that some of this increase is due to greater awareness and better identification among these groups. However, this finding explains only part of the increase over time, as more children are being identified in all groups.”

Childhood cancer, a fearsome scourge, has more encouraging numbers. Should we be afraid? There are roughly 48 million children in the 0-14 age bracket in the US. The American Cancer Society estimates that roughly 1 child out of every 4,000 in that age group will be diagnosed with cancer in 2012. Furthermore, despite the unpredictability and the fearsome nature of the disease, treatment will improve the odds and the quality of life for more than half of those diagnosed. Autism outstrips these numbers hands down.

While this new data raises a red flag for Maryland mothers I talked to, the more alarming realization is that the country has a long way to go to transform its advocacy for this growing population. For Autism parent and advocate Miriam Machado-Luces, the increased numbers bring up a far greater problem for children with this disorder.

“Here’s where the tire hits the road. These children are growing up. We need to place laser-like focus on the quality of the systems we are putting in place to prepare our loved ones to function in society when we are gone. Do we really understand their uniqueness? Are we serving them?”

Machado-Luces seems to believe the system is failing too many students. She points to the case of Donte Reeves, a student at the respected Kennedy Krieger Institute. The Baltimore Institute is celebrated as a bastion of training for children with special needs and is one of a handful of nationally recognized schools for autistic children. According to Machado-Luces, Kennedy Krieger has decided at the 11th hour to disallow Donte’s graduation in 2012. She, along with education advocate, Rt. Reverend Vernon Keith Jones, has joined Minnie Reeves, Donte’s grandmother and caretaker, to raise a hue and cry on his behalf with the campaign – Donte Deserves a Diploma.

Kennedy Krieger has as its mandate “unlocking the potential of individuals with developmental abilities.” But is it a level playing field for students across the board? Experts, conferring with parents, design an Individual Education Plan or IEP tuned to the students’ unique learning style for the duration of high school life. The team also decides which track (diploma or certificate) best suit their children. The diploma students sit for the High School Assessments (HSAs). Donte is on the diploma track and doing well. Minnie Reeves lists his achievements.

“They can’t say he isn’t socialized. He was unanimously elected class president in his junior year. He fulfilled all but one course for the state’s COMAR requirements for the diploma to be awarded. He passed Algebra with flying colors. He is on track to pass that final course of English. At the level he’s working from, he will be ready to sit the HSAs for the Bridge by deadline.”

Kennedy Krieger’s decision has come as a shock. Is America’s leading Autism authority railroading Donte? Does Kennedy Krieger have nefarious intentions despite the evidence that Donte is ready to graduate? Minnie Reeves thinks so. “The school’s mission to unlock potential is just words. They have already decided that Donte is not going to pass the HSAs.” A recent letter from the school’s transition specialist advised her that Donte would be switched from English 12 and Environmental Science to Financial Literacy and Keyboarding.

“Donte doesn’t need these subjects. He already does an efficient job shopping on his own and like the children born in this computer age, he is technology savvy. He mastered the keyboard in kindergarten. When I have difficulty with my computer at home, he solves it!”  Others in the community agree that Kennedy Krieger’s refusal to graduate Donte without the deserved diploma is a setback to him achieving career and college readiness.

The experts haven’t gotten it quite right yet. Research shows there are students on the Autism spectrum currently in college who have chosen to remain anonymous due to an inadequate support system at school. A strong support system at home picks up the slack in some cases. Even with this burden, autistic children have gone on to lead fulfilling lives in society.

Minnie Reeves believes Donte, like his peers, has the potential to take on the demands of college. Though there is honor in all jobs, not all autistic children have to work in the hospitality industry. If he has the ability to stay on the academic track then he should be allowed to exercise that choice. Some students with far more complex problems than Donte Reeves have been nurtured and celebrated for their skills. Jazz prodigy Matt Savage and other notables with autism prove that the frontiers are boundless.

“Donte is a bright young man, who has overcome some amazing odds, and has worked hard for an education at Kennedy Krieger the past 4 years. It is unconscionable how in the 11th hour we are given unacceptable excuses on why he will not be able to graduate.”

“You should hear Donte read Beowulf and analyze the poem. For a young man with those capabilities to be told to drop English 12 for financial planning is bewildering.” With quiet dignity she reiterates, “my son deserves better, he deserves his diploma.”

If it’s a question of Ethics, Kennedy Krieger has a bit of a dark past. At the very least, the school has certainly missed an opportunity to build on Donte’s strengths in English Language Arts. From the evidence, it is clear that not only is he academically literate, he is technologically literate as well. This is a gross injustice as the school’s negligence now forces him into a potential situation where he can be assessed as needing a remedial course. This would undermine his ability to take on the rigor of a first year college English course. Education researchers are identifying the need for remedial English as national problem. Kennedy Krieger is, knowingly or unknowingly, manufacturing a problem.

Reverend Vernon Keith Jones, himself is an advocate with extensive experience in some of the nation’s top notch schools and programs, has evaluated Donte. He sees where Kennedy Kreiger, despite its perceived stature, may be guilty of neglect and arrogance. His own informed assessment reveals Donte Reeves to be quite intelligent and compassionate despite the challenge of autism, something atypical of students at that age.

“Donte reports that he’s been called “Slow Pokey Reeves” by one of his teachers. This educator has been entrusted with the task to facilitate his academic, social and emotional maturity. Imagine what this ridicule by this advocate does to a child’s self–esteem. The problem is deeper than it appears. It is the tendency of the American collective to categorize young Black males in destructive ways. It is far worse when some young men, especially those with disabilities are unable to articulate their feelings, hopes and dreams in a way the mainstream expects. Then the tendency is for the power structure to confine those valuable persons to a pre-constructed box instead of allowing them to thrive.”

Minnie Reeves is afraid that the school doesn’t care about her son’s well-being and wants to keep Donte for the 2012-2013 school year for the sole purpose of earning more government funding. It’s double the cost of a public school to go to Kennedy Krieger. She has cause to worry. Kennedy Krieger doesn’t publish its fees. But ten years ago, it cost the state and the county roughly $54,000.00 per year to send each student to the school. Imagine the costs now.

Armed with the facts, Minnie Reeves has decided to free Donte from the confines in which he’s been placed by Kennedy Krieger’s action. The launch of the Donte Deserves a Diploma campaign is just the beginning of her battle and with a mother’s surety she is fighting to win.

Photo Credit: Miriam Machado-Luces

Online Book Reviews by Mike Ramey

Posted in Black Interests, Black Men, Book Reviews and More with tags , , on April 22, 2012 by Gary Johnson

The Management Methods Of Jesus:  Ancient Wisdom For Modern Business by Bob Briner

Tired of the reams that have been written on business success that have left you empty? Surprisingly, you may not have to look any farther than the Bible on your bookshelf for the best wisdom available on achievement.

On Line Book Reviews stumbled across this mid-nineties treasure at a local bookstore. This is one of those books that is great for not only the person who is starting up their own business, but those who have been bitten by the unemployment bug as the bad times continue in the job market. It forces one to ‘re focus’ upon that which is important as either an employee–or employer.

“The Management Methods Of Jesus: Ancient Wisdom For Modern Business” by Bob Briner has more than a snappy title…it has practical advice within its covers, and is not apologetic when it comes to how Jesus Christ was able to rock this world with a leadership style that more could benefit from in our modern era. In light of a host of recent scandals from the White House to Wall Street, a return to honesty, integrity and humility will do wonders for many levels of American public life.

One of the central criticisms of our day about the use of religion in the business realm is that “…it doesn’t belong…”. Yet, the same critics who disregard biblical wisdom will eagerly lap up the ‘flavor of the month’ offerings of a variety of business publications–and wonder why they don’t have much depth. Briner gets biblical without being preachy in this 115 page book. Some of the more noteworthy chapters from Briner’s work are: “Choose Your Own Associates” and “Handle Corruption Immediately,”

The methods of Jesus when relating to disappointment, and on paying one’s taxes are worth studying and modeling, according to Briner. The chapters are short, the book is compact, and one can spend an afternoon–or a weekend–‘freshening up’ their game. IF you are thinking about starting your own business, are employed at an existing firm, or getting back into the swing of the job hunt, this book has some great material for your study! One can find this work at, and several other on line sites, as well as checking your local Christian bookstore, or Thomas Nelson Publishers. A great return…for a small investment.

Mike Ramey is a freelance media, movie and book reviewer/commentator who lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. He can be reached at Used with permission. © 2012 Barnstorm Communications International.

Think Like A Man

Posted in African Americans, Black Interests, Black Links, Black Men, Comedy, Movie and DVD News with tags , , , , on April 18, 2012 by Gary Johnson

Do you seek relationship advice? “Think Like A Man,” in theaters April 20th, dons a plethora of complex characters that match their brains and wit with stellar advice, based on Steve Harvey’s bestselling book to navigate relationships. Top black actors- Michael Ealy, Meagan Good, Regina Hall, Kevin Hart, Taraji P. Henson, Terrence J. and Gabrielle Union take to the silver screen on April 20th, bringing the novel to life.

Advice…a necessary evil. Traditionally men are known for avoiding advice, especially when they need it. Gain the advantage by seeking out mentors and friends that can act as solid soundboards. Why not? Women do it everyday, especially when it comes to relationships. “Think Like A Man” is a classic example- in theaters April 20th.

Family to help your everyday life challenges? Check! Mentors that help you navigate the workforce? Check! Who helps you with relationships? Some try to manage on their own, others ask friends, but have you ever turned to a book for guidance? A classic example is in the new movie, “Think Like A Man,” hitting theaters on April 20th.

About the Movie

Based on Steve Harvey’s best-selling book, “Think Like A Man,” follows four interconnected and diverse men whose love lives are shaken up after the ladies they are pursuing buy Harvey’s book and start taking his advice to heart.  When the band of brothers realize they have been betrayed by one of their own, they conspire using the book’s insider information to turn the tables and teach the women a lesson of their own.  The movie is directed by Tim Story and written by Keith Merryman and David A. Newman.

The movie is in theaters this Friday, April 20thClick here to visit the official “Think Like a Man,” web site.

The Bridge: Home Training

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Links, Black Men with tags , , , on April 18, 2012 by Gary Johnson

By Darryl James

There was once a time when we freely and openly talked about who had home training and who did not.

We held those conversations because most of us had home training.

Unfortunately, today, many of us do not.

Home training would make it clear to us that when someone does something for us that they did not have to do, a simple “thank you” is in order.

And, home training would make it clear to us that

But home training would also make it clear that there are certain ways to behave in public and certain things that are simply appropriate public decorum.

For example, where customer service was once the goal of every business, tipping customer servants has gone off kilter with it. Some of us tip well even when the service is poor, while some of us tip poorly or not at all, even if the service is great.

The age old stereotype is that African Americans are among the worst tippers, and whatever the case may be, we need not enforce the stereotype by showing poor social graces when dining out or otherwise receiving service in public. If there is a problem with service, let the person providing the service know, or inform the management.  Otherwise, a decent tip should be added to the bill if the service is good.

I realize that some of us refuse to tip because we are opposed to shelling out extra money in addition to paying for the service provided. But even if you don’t agree with the concept, you must understand that refusing to tip will only make it difficult for social venues to be interested in hosting African American-oriented events.

Tipping is a gracious way of letting the establishment providing service know that you appreciate good service.  We need to consistently send the message that African Americans appreciate good service too.

Good home training would take care of this issue.

You see, good old fashioned home training helps to keep up from reverting to chaos and anarchy.

For example, why would anyone expect to attend an event and eat for free, drink for free and not show some kind of appreciation?  No one is obligated to wine and dine you for no reason.  Therefore, if you are invited to a friend’s home for dinner and show up without even a bottle of wine, or if you are invited to a birthday party and show up with no gift, you should not be hurt when the invitations stop.

It’s not ass-kissing to take a small gift to the boss’s home when invited for holiday dinners or a minimum of flowers for the in-laws when meeting at their home for the first time. It’s good home training.

In a perfect world, people who sneak into wedding receptions would be beaten and tossed out. The families are already burdened with enormous expenses without having the added financial burden of last minute meals for people who either didn’t RSVP or worse, weren’t even invited.

And, ladies, how much sense does it make to go out for a night on the town with expectations that men will buy you drinks?  Such an expectation is one thing, but to ask men, or even demand that they buy drinks for you, or worse, for your friends as well is just poor social behavior.

Let’s say it together:  Nothing in life is free.

Some of us are confused on the concept of supporting our friends who are in business.  Your presence is not always enough. A business is shooting for profit, therefore, stop asking your friends if you can get in the club for free, if you can read a “spare” copy of a book, bring a few friends to eat for free at your friend’s restaurant or otherwise mooching instead of showing support.

If my friend or family member is in business, it is my esteemed pleasure to show up early and pay the full price.  It is also good grace to invite others who will do the same.

While some may argue that chivalry is dead, few want to admit that the lack of two simple words have ushered chivalry into its current ill state:  “Thank you.” From city to city, I have conducted a simple social experiment which I urge any of you to conduct or to observe–I hold the door for ten or more women and examine how many say “thank you,” or even bother to acknowledge the courtesy. I also observe how many men bother to hold doors–the numbers in both categories are few.

Drivers won’t let each other pass and they fail to thank each other; people go straight to assumption and insult before understanding; people curse at others while expecting that everyone else will take the high road; and everyone wants something without giving up anything in return.

Honestly, it’s not that complicated.

Some good old fashioned home training would make the world work a lot better.

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 2011 and will be running throughout 2012. View previous installments of this column at Reach James at

Q & A with Lisa K. Winkler: Author of “A Black Cowboy’s Ride Across America”

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men with tags , , on April 11, 2012 by Gary Johnson

Lisa K. Winkler is the author of A Black Cowboy’s Ride Across America. She’s also a journalist and an educator who has written numerous essays for book anthologies and magazine articles.  Lisa contacted us to see if we would be interested in learning more about her book.  After some quick research on our part, the decision was a “no-brainer,” as Lisa has written a great book.

Question:  Why did you writeOn the Trail of the Ancestors: A Black Cowboy’s Ride Across America?”

Lisa Winkler (LW):  As a teacher, I’ve witnessed how young people know little of history. In urban areas, youth learn about slavery and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and a few more facts during February, Black History Month. Yet they have little if any connection with these historical figures. When I began my own reading after meeting Miles, I became fascinated with these people whose contributions to the development of the US are largely unknown. Most adults haven’t heard of these people. American history needs to include all races and genders to truly demonstrate who built this nation, their struggles and sacrifices and stories.  From my research, I couldn’t find any records of other African Americans who have ridden a horse across the country in modern day, with this purpose in mind. A cross country journey in itself is a story. I loved the idea of this young boy growing up watching western movies and television shows and dreaming that he too could become a cowboy. 

What is your background? What qualified you to write this book? 

LW:  I worked as a newspaper reporter and freelance journalist before becoming a teacher. While teaching, I earned my Masters degree and wrote for several professional journals. I interviewed authors of children’s and young adult literature, reviewed books, and had teaching units published. I’ve written study guides for three books published by Penguin Books.  After I met Miles, I received an assignment to write about the history of the black jockeys for Smithsonian magazine’s website.  This article was published in April, 2009. (

How did the ideas for the book originate? What happened in your life that specifically connects to the book?  

LW:  In addition to my teaching experience, I had the good fortune to travel across the country a few times as a child. My father, a poultry farmer from Connecticut, had a blood clot that forced him to take some time off from our farm. He bought a mobile home and took the family – I’m the oldest of four children- on trips every summer and school vacation. I grew up riding horses, riding until I reached high school, so understood what it’s like to be around horses, the passion of riding and the bonds that develop between horse and rider. Furthermore, I grew up in the 1960’s. My parents were always involved politically in local campaigns and Civil Rights. They participated in the March on Washington in 1963. I remember clearly their reaction when they heard that King had been assassinated. (They cried.)

When I met Miles, I was hooked. His passion for his subject and determination to accomplish something that few would undertake awed me.

What special research was involved in the writing of your book?

LW:  I read a lot of books that I found in libraries or bought. These included biographies, geography and books about horses.  I consulted maps and also interviewed some of scholars Miles met on his journey. I poured through the Internet. I read Miles’ website and transcribed his podcasts he arranged with the Star-Ledger and interviews he conducted with people he met.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 

LW:  There are many messages. Overall, I want readers to be educated and entertained. There’s the message of having a dream, and not giving up, even if it takes years or decades to fulfill. There’s the message that our history is a shared history- all ethnicities, men and women, contributed to the growth of this great nation.

Why should people buy your book? 

LW:  It’s a story about an ordinary man who accomplished something extraordinary. I think there’s a romantic aspect of the cross-country journey, no matter what form of transportation that many people don’t really grasp.  Reading my book, readers learn some history they might not know, understand what it’s like to ride a horse every day for 6 months, about five to six hours a day, and what it’s like to be in a new place practically every night. The geography and people of the US are fascinating.  

Do you have any advice for other writers? 

LW:  Never give up. It takes tons of patience, fortitude and sometimes luck to get published. With self-publishing there are many options to get your work out, but it’s a very tough (and can be expensive) road. Believing in your story is paramount. If you have passion for it, others will too. Also, there’s no “quick fix.” While an occasional book might sell hundreds of copies the first week, thousands the first month and so on, most don’t.  I believe marketing really becomes a personal adventure: why would someone want to read my book? I view it as my journey: one sale, one reader, one book at a time.

What are you working on now? 

LW:  I try to keep up with my blog, accessed through my web site,  I enrolled in a memoir writing class online to keep the “writing” juices flowing, and am completing the Educators Guide to accompany the book.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

LW:  I love yoga, road cycling, reading, cooking, knitting and theater. I have three grandchildren under 3 years old so that keeps me busy too.

How can readers find you? Are you available to give talks? 

LW:  Yes! I’d love to talk about the book to any groups, bookstores and libraries that will have me. I’m available to present the book to all ages, and especially to educators who will use the book in their classrooms.

About the Author

Lisa K. Winkler’s other writing includes two essays published in book anthologies; one in “I’m Going to College – Not You! Surviving the College Search with Your Child.” (St. Martin’s Press, 2010), and the other in Wisdom of our Mothers. (Familia Press, 2010).  She also writes for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. Her interviewees include authors, college presidents, scientists, and artists, among others, including Miles Dean in February 2009. Lisa is an avid reader, knitter, yogi, cyclist, and grandmother.  You can learn more about Lisa and contact her through her official web site at

Tiger Woods: A Club Kicking, F-Bomb Dropping Role Model

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Gary A. Johnson, Sports News with tags , on April 9, 2012 by Gary Johnson

By Gary A. Johnson

April 9, 2012

For the record, I have never played golf.  This may be helpful to those of you reading who want to dismiss my opinions in this article, which you have every right to do.

I have friends who live and breathe golf.  Like millions of others, I started following golf when Tiger Woods turned pro and was the most dominant golfer on the planet.  If anything, Eldrick TontTigerWoods, the self-proclaimed, “Cablinasion” dominated the golf course and intimidated the competition for years while at the same time behaving badly.

Part of me admires Tiger for not allowing anyone to define him.  He is a defiant competitor and that’s part of what made him great and compelling as an athlete for years.

Thirty months ago, Tiger Woods wrecked his Escalade and apparently wrecked his life.  Dude has never been the same.  Before the accident Tiger was a beast on the golf course juggling his touring schedule, various business demands, marriage, family life and a harem of barmaids and cocktail waitresses.  Tiger Woods was the greatest golfer on the planet.

After that Escalade incident I wrote a commentary and stated that Tiger would NOT win another major golf tournament and would probably NOT pass Jack Nicklaus who has 18 major golf victories to his credit.  People wrote that I was crazy.  They said, Tiger Woods would get it together and win.  OK, it’s been almost 3 years.  Does Tiger look any better?  Does he look like he is ready for prime time?  He’s not invincible anymore.  The other pro golfers aren’t scared of him.

Tiger Woods has been under a microscope for years.  He knows this.  Is it fair?  Probably not, but it comes with being Tiger Woods.  Its part of the billionaire athlete package.  You can’t use this as an excuse.

About two years ago Tiger held a press conference and a few interviews.  Having ruined his marriage as a result of a very public sex scandal, Woods promised to clean up his act and treat the game that he loves with the respect that it deserves.  For a brief period of time Tiger controlled his outbursts and even stopped to sign autographs for fans.  Could this be the “new and improved” Tiger Woods?

Let’s look at the 2012 Masters Golf Tournament which concluded yesterday.  While on the back nine at the Masters Tiger dropped his club, cursed his club and kicked his precious 9-iron club about 15 yards on the 16th tee box after badly missing a shot.  I was watching the broadcast and thought Tiger was going to grab his bag and throw all the clubs in the pond.

Now remember, I don’t play golf, but I suspect that had I exhibited that same behavior, I would have been asked to leave the course.  This was the Masters Golf Tournament.  Dude should have known better.  Guess that proves that Tiger is just like the rest of us.

Well maybe not.  If Tiger were some ordinary guy he would have been reprimanded and shown the clubhouse door, but because he’s Tiger Woods, he may not be fined.  The public has weighed in about Tiger’s behavior and they don’t like the special treatment that he gets.  Is some of the criticism of Tiger fair?  How much of the criticism is from golf’s elite that don’t like the fact that Woods is a young confident and brash golfer who happens to be black?  Maybe none of it has anything to do with his age, attitude or race.  It might just be that people don’t like to see their golf pros acting like a spoiled kid.

I understand that Tiger as flawed as he is right now as a golfer still makes people turn their television sets on to watch him.  Part of his image has been rebuilt.  He’s still a viable endorsement “cash cow” and no one wants to upset that dynamic because in the larger scheme of things, everybody benefits when Tiger Woods is in the hunt competing for a championship.

Nothing lasts forever.  At what point will Tiger lose his luster with the public?  I’m sure some of his colleagues are sick of him and his behavior but because they’re gentlemen have not publicly shared their opinions.

Tiger simply collapsed at the Masters.  He missed putt after putt after putt—all less than 5 feet.  Dude can’t play under pressure and his competitors have take advantage of this fact.  Tiger proclaimed that he was back with a new swing perfected by his coach Sean Foley.  After his performance at the Masters, I have to ask Tiger:  “How’s that new swing working out for you?”

Tiger is also acting a bit petulant these days.  He doesn’t do interviews with people who he feels will ask him hard questions.  He surrounds himself with people who shield him from the media.

I can understand why Tiger would be frustrated.  I get that.  It appears that the problem is between his ears, i.e., psychological.  Dude’s head is not right.  He’s not ready.  He can’t take pressure.

So where does that leave Tiger?  Can the greatest player of his era get it together?  Forget being a role model.  Charles Barkley told us years ago NOT to look to athletes to be role models.  Tiger is not likely to be a good role model.

I would hope that Tiger would reflect on his behavior at the Masters Golf Tournament and understand that he needs to be more aware of his behavior.  Tiger issued an apology for his foul language and kicking his golf clubs.  I hope the apology was sincere.  Whether Tiger wants to be a role model is out of his control.  He is and at times he probably shouldn’t be.

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

Are We Doing All We Can To Stop Bullying?

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Gary A. Johnson, Women's Interests with tags , , , , , on April 8, 2012 by Gary Johnson

By Gary A. Johnson

I’ve been working with children in “underserved” neighborhoods aka “the hood” for a number of years.  My company has been teaching students in elementary, middle and high school personal development, professional etiquette and STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) skills.

I’ve seen the effects of kids and adults who’ve been bullied at school and in the workplace.  One of the reasons that I believe that bullying is on the rise is because not enough people are involved in the prevention process.  School administrators seem to be paralyzed.  Teachers are bullied, families are bullied and everyone is frustrated because they can’t make it stop.

Whether it be physical (hitting, kicking, spitting), verbal (name calling, using abusive language), indirect (spreading rumors, excluding people from groups) or cyber bullying using electronic and social media, bullying must STOP!

It is estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students.*

Here are some sobering statistics about bullying:

  • 1 in 7 students in grades K-12 is either a bully or a victim of bullying
  • 15% of all school absenteeism is directly related to fears of being bullied at school
  • 71% of students report incidents of bullying as a problem at their school
  • 1 out of 20 students has seen a student with a gun at school
  • 90% of 4th through 8th graders report being victims of bullying
  • Among students, homicide perpetrators were more than twice as likely as homicide victims to have been bullied by peers
  • 87% of students said shootings are motivated by a desire to “get back at those who have hurt them.”
  • According to bullying statistics, 1 out of every 10 students who drops out of school does so because of repeated bullying
  • Harassment and bullying have been linked to 75% of school-shooting incidents

One of the “soldiers” in the fight against bullying is David C. Miller, M.Ed.  Miller is the co-founder and Chief Visionary Officer of the Urban Leadership Institute, LLC, ( a social enterprise that focuses on developing positive youth development strategies. ULI provides strategic planning, professional development, positive youth development concepts and crisis management services.  David Miller is also a former educator who spends a lot of time in the schools doing workshops/discussions with teachers, parents and children on the subject of bullying.  He’s also written several commentaries for this web site and blog on bullying.

David Miller has written a book that shows children how to confront bullies and how to protect themselves in a world where adults cannot always protect them.  The name of the book is Khalil’s Way.  Khalil’s Way is a funny, yet serious story about an 11 year-old boy growing up in tough community.  Khalil’s challenges include being raised by his mom, growing up without a meaningful relationship with his dad and confronting the school bully – “land mines” many young boys must navigate.  When you finish reading Khalil’s Way, you may be surprised at how the skinny kid with glasses was able to win over his bully while confronting his disappointment over growing up without his dad.

Published by the Urban Leadership Institute, Khalil’s Way is written to help youth navigate the tough days they will face in school, on the playground and even sometimes at home.  The book also helps youth deal with many of the challenges present within the community and society at large. While Khalil is gifted in math and chess, he struggles with a variety of issues including ADHD, food allergies and asthma. The book engages young readers with a gritty urban storyline and practical solutions on confronting negative peers.

Khalil’s Way, illustrated by award winning artist Jerry Craft, is ideal for teen and preteen

readers who are often reluctant to pick up books.  It has already received rave reviews from educators, parents and mental health clinicians at a time when so many children are struggling to deal with school bullies, likely because it provides children and youth with a blueprint for making healthy decisions.

Increasingly we are bombarded with media footage of children bringing guns to school to settle conflicts or, sadly, children choosing suicide as a means of escaping bullying. Khalil’s Way speaks to a generation of young readers who desperately need support and guidance to deal with life’s challenges.

Check out David Miller’s commentary on bullying for the National Education Association (NEA) at

* Source: National Education Association

Khalil’s Way

  • By David Miller, M.Ed.
  • Book Title: Khalil’s Way
  • Publisher: Urban Leadership Institute
  • Release Date: March 10, 2012
  • ISBN: 978-0-615-59706-5
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Price: $12.00

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

The Incomparable Lenny Williams

Posted in African Americans, Barack Obama, Black Interests, Black Men, Music and Video Releases, Politics with tags , , , on April 6, 2012 by Gary Johnson

You know him as one of the most distinctive voices on one of the most gut-wrenching love songs ever written (“Cause I Love You”), and as the former lead singer for the legendary group Tower of Power.  He is the legendary soul balladeer Lenny Williams.  Over the past 3 decades Lenny has had such classic hits as, “So Very Hard to Go,” “Cause I Love You” and “Don’t Make Me Wait For Love,” his top Pop and R&B hit with Kenny G.

Unlike many other singers in his era, Lenny still has his voice and sounds great on his new CD “Still In The Game,” on Bridle Ridge Records.

For those of you who have lost touch with Lenny, he has continued singing on tour throughout the U.S., Europe and South Africa sharing the stage with Aretha Franklin, Alicia Keys, K-Jon, Anthony Hamilton, The Whispers, Rick James, Boney James, Bobby Womack, Ohio Players, Al Green, Usher, Frankie Beverly and Maze.

Lenny has a new single “Still.”  You can watch the video below.  You can also check out Lenny’s classic live performance of “Cause I Love You.”  Stay up-to-date with Lenny Williams by visiting his official web site at

Note:  Check out Lenny on the Jimmy Fallon Show singing with The Roots on Thursday, April 12, 2012.  Check your local listings for the exact time and channel.

Charlie Wilson Lends His Voice to Build Prostate Cancer Awareness to Black Community

Posted in African Americans, Black Interests, Black Men, Health & Fitness with tags , , , on April 6, 2012 by Gary Johnson


Legendary R&B Musician and Prostate Cancer Survivor Lends His Voice to Build Prostate Cancer Awareness in the African-American Community

HORSHAM, Pa., April 2, 2012 – Grammy®-nominated singer, songwriter, producer and prostate cancer survivor Charlie Wilson and Janssen Biotech, Inc. are teaming up on Making Awareness a Priority: Putting Prostate Cancer on the M.A.P., a new program designed to raise awareness among African-American men and their families about prostate cancer and its disproportionate impact on the African-American community. With the highest incidence of prostate cancer of any race in the U.S., African-American men are 2.4 times more likely to die from the disease than Caucasian men. Making Awareness a Priority (M.A.P.) brings together leading voices in advocacy and health education through live events in select cities across the country.

In recognition of National Minority Health Month and National Minority Cancer Awareness Week, the program kicks off on April 21 in Atlanta, Georgia with program resources available online at My Prostate Cancer Roadmap® (

Charlie Wilson was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008. “At first, I never wanted to talk about my cancer. Then I realized that after spending a lot of my life performing, it was time to start informing.

That’s why I am continuing to raise my voice to help those with prostate cancer by joining with Janssen Biotech, Inc. in the Making Awareness a Priority program – to encourage African-American men to understand their risk factors for prostate cancer and start a conversation with their loved ones and doctors about this serious and deadly disease.”

The average annual prostate cancer incidence rate in the U.S. was 60% higher in African-American men than in Caucasian men between 2003 and 2007. Factors including family history, access to medical care and relevant support networks may contribute to the disproportionate impact. In addition to being at higher risk for prostate cancer, according to research of the impact of cultural factors on African-American men’s understanding of prostate cancer, these men often believe they do not have access to information about prostate cancer that takes into account their diverse values, beliefs, behaviors and social and cultural needs.

M.A.P. will address these issues head-on through informational and wellness events offering African-American men and their loved ones the opportunity to learn about prostate cancer risks and information and support resources available to them. The three-city tour of Atlanta, New York City and Chicago is sponsored by Janssen Biotech, Inc. and held in partnership with locally-based community organizations in these markets. Real Men Charities, Inc., the national not-for-profit organization, presents Real Men Cook® Father’s Day events as a national crusade to positively change the way the world views men in relationship to their families and the community. The Abyssinian Baptist Church in the City of New York, the oldest black Baptist church in the nation, is well-known for its leadership, social activism initiatives, and community reform programs to educate and empower its members and the Harlem community at large.

“When I first learned I had prostate cancer, I thought my career was over. I thought it was a wrap for me,” said Wilson, but his wife quickly proved to be his greatest supporter. “My wife stood tall and told me we were going to get through it. You just have to have a positive heart and go on. That’s what we did and now I want others to know about the resources that are available to them.”

At each event, Wilson will share his personal experience with prostate cancer and will be joined by Stanley K. Frencher Jr., MD, MPH, who through his work encourages African-American men to proactively speak with their doctors about prostate cancer, as well as journalist and author Andrea King Collier. As a strong advocate for empowering African-American women to take an active role in managing their loved ones’ health, Collier will emcee the events and share insights from her book, The Black Woman’s Guide to Black Men’s Health. The program also includes interactive prostate cancer information, resources and a cooking demonstration with healthy, cancer-wise food choices.

“African-American men are at a greater risk for prostate cancer and it is important that we support the African-American community with information that is both relevant and compelling,” said Robert Bazemore, President, Janssen Biotech, Inc. “Janssen Biotech is pleased to join Charlie Wilson and our local community partners to provide those who are at high-risk of, or living with, prostate cancer with the resources they need to help them navigate all aspects of their cancer journey.”

To register for an event or to find out more about Making Awareness a Priority, including live event dates and locations, visit The website is a unique educational and support resource for men with advanced prostate cancer and their loved ones sponsored by Janssen Biotech, Inc. in conjunction with the non-profit organization Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education & Support Network (

About Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer occurs when cancer cells form in the tissues of the prostate gland. Normally, cells within the prostate grow, divide, and die to make sure the prostate functions properly and are then replaced by new cells. Prostate cancer occurs when the prostate cells stop functioning normally.

These cells with uncontrolled growth don’t die as they should, creating a buildup of cells known as a tumor. Prostate cancer can occur as a slow-growing tumor to a very aggressive and potentially fatal disease that spreads throughout the body.

About Janssen Biotech, Inc.

Janssen Biotech, Inc. redefines the standard of care in immunology, oncology, urology and nephrology. Built upon a rich legacy of innovative firsts, Janssen Biotech has delivered on the promise of new treatments and ways to improve the health of individuals with serious disease. Beyond its innovative medicines, Janssen Biotech is at the forefront of developing education and public policy initiatives to ensure patients and their families, caregivers, advocates and health care professionals have access to the latest treatment information, support services and quality care. For more information on Janssen Biotech, Inc. or its products, visit

Janssen Biotech, Inc. is one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies dedicated to addressing and solving some of the most important unmet medical needs in oncology, immunology, neuroscience, infectious diseases and vaccines, and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Driven by our commitment to patients, we work together to bring innovative ideas, products, services and solutions to people throughout the world. Follow us on Twitter at

* Making Awareness a Priority (M.A.P.) is brought to you by Janssen Biotech, Inc. Charlie Wilson, Andrea King Collier, Dr. Stanley K. Frencher Jr., Real Men Charities, Inc., and The Abyssinian Baptist Church in the City of New York were compensated for their time in preparing for and participating in the program and were reimbursed for travel expenses related to the program.

Grammy® is a registered trademark of The Recording Academy®.

Media contact: Lisa Vaga, – 908-218-7316/(M) 908-670-0363 /

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