Archive for August, 2013

The March on Washington at 50

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Guest Columnists, Politics with tags , , , , on August 27, 2013 by Gary Johnson

William Reed

Business Exchange by William Reed

Fifty years to the day that Martin Luther King Jr., delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, President Barack Obama will take to the same steps to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement’s March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

The march is one of Black American’s greatest achievements. Tourism officials in the Nation’s Capital are hoping that a quarter-million people will assemble in Washington, August 21-28, 2013, for events hosted by the King children, the remaining four of the original “Big Six” organizations and the march’s last living organizer, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), and other organizations such as the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.

The main events will include a commemorative march and rally along the historic 1963 route and a “Global Freedom Festival.”  The rally will be held at the Lincoln Memorial and the festival on the National Mall. Among the featured speakers and groups are: Sharpton, Martin Luther King III, the families of Trayvon Martin and Emmett Till; Lewis, and a host of Democratic officeholders and union officials.

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom 50 years ago remains one of the most successful mobilizations ever created by the American Left. Organized by a coalition of trade unionists, civil rights activists, and feminists of the day, most of them African American and nearly all of them Socialists – the protest drew nearly a quarter-million people to the Nation’s Capital. It was the largest such demonstration in the history of the United States and set the stage for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Unfortunately, many of the issues that gave rise to the March on Washington 50 years ago remain unfulfilled or under siege today. African Americans are still nearly twice as likely to be unemployed as Whites, a rate unchanged in the past 50 years. Actually, “March 2013” serves as bitter reminders of not only how far we still are from realizing “the vision for jobs and freedom”, it also underscores how ephemeral the gains made by the civil rights movement currently are in today’s society.

As Black Americans assemble in Washington D.C. again, it’s important that Blacks remember the role the late Bayard Rustin played in the march and subsequent movements. A proud Black gay man, Rustin served as an indispensable architect of the civil rights movement. His most noteworthy achievements include serving as chief organizer of the historic 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, mentoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and helping to form the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the A. Philip Randolph Institute.

Quiet and dignified throughout his career, Rustin probably would view with disdain the drama that D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities wrought when they allowed local gay activists to summarily dismiss gospel singer and Pastor Donnie McClurkin from performing at a concert, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

A spokesperson for Gray said that: “The Arts and Humanities Commission and Donnie McClurkin’s management decided that it would be best for him to withdraw because the purpose of the event is to bring people together,” said Doxie McCoy. “Mayor Gray said the purpose of the event is to promote peace and harmony… that King was all about.”

Whether MLK “was all about” deference to gay lifestyles is questionable. However, McClurkin said he was “asked not to attend,” and cites the article he penned on a Christian website in 2002 that said that he struggled with homosexuality. “I’ve been through this and have experienced God’s power to change my lifestyle,” McClurkin wrote. “I am delivered and I know God can deliver others, too.” A longtime gay rights activist, Phil Pannell, raised objections with the mayor’s office because he said McClurkin’s comments on homosexuality were not in keeping with the spirit of the “beloved community” about which King spoke. Surely, the Gray administration cut a check to McClurkin, his management and musicians.

William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via the BaileyGroup.org

Nick Cannon, Honda and the Best Yourself Campaign Sends A Positive Message

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Diversity, Events and Annoucements with tags , , on August 25, 2013 by Gary Johnson

Nick Cannon

Honda launched a new television and digital advertising campaign this week in support of the 2013 Civic. Targeting millennials, the ‘Best Yourself’ campaign celebrates diversity and the drive to achieve success through non-traditional paths.

“We believe that things can always be better and this sentiment can be seen in the numerous improvements we made to the 2013 Civic. Honda made the best-selling compact car in the U.S. even better,” said Mike Accavitti, senior vice president of auto operations at American Honda Motor Co., Inc., “The emotionally compelling and multi-layered ‘Best Yourself’ campaign is built on this foundation of continuous improvement by celebrating individual’s achievements towards personal greatness. We look forward to seeing how consumers exemplify this through the #BestYourself social community.”

The campaign’s message is incorporated across digital platforms and initiatives that include a ‘Best Yourself’ social campaign that encourages audiences to share their hopes and plans for taking their lives to the next level using the hashtag #BestYourself on Honda Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

For more information about the ‘Best Yourself’ Campaign, please visit:http://access.honda.com.

Reasons an Emerging Black Middle Class Can Fail

Posted in African Americans, Black Men, Guest Columnists, Money/Economics with tags on August 25, 2013 by Gary Johnson

Thomas Duffy

By Thomas Duffy

The strange and tranquil response about the so-called one percent controlling all the wealth, which seemed to have tried to take hold of how politics are played also, should have brought the worst out in most people. But I realize there’s a segment of the white social structure that’s more distinct by middle class status and locale that seem not to care, so they usually help to give rise to those types. Their ignorance is the failure to understand there are usually no rewards for compliance. Regardless if it’s done because of race, [which I believe is more likely] or any other underline reason, it always affect people who need some support and even when their people end up on the short end of the stick, their justification is to fight against big government. Strange but few are careful to not totally agree to change what some believe are entitlements, primarily because it sounds like it would be their Social Security and Medicare. Adding to this is the rhetoric of politicians that some believe gives it more credence, yet few would believe the alter interest for these politicians, could take them back to more difficult times also. Of course it shouldn’t be surprising why they’re supportive to dump what they have adapted to be Obama-care, but again few would believe it would have any effect on them or their people. Furthermore to their ignorance, they fail to understand all politicians have government jobs, besides some of these same guys who really care more about the one percent, receive federal money from the government they said they despise, to not grow crops on farms they purchased just for that purpose. So maybe their hardships should get little government help if and when tragedies occur, because “fools are as fools do.”

For the first time in many years blacks were involved in something as a group without conflict, and that was helping to elect this president, I say helping because others voted for him also. The exhilaration and tears of happiness leading up to when we believed our chance had finally come, only festered in the demeanor of political diehard’s who lost their vision of how they would restore old traditions back to their favor. Only the most depressing for them suddenly became a gift, with the midterm elections being the catalysts.

So surprisingly their first step took little effort, because it was the old tradition of some of us not showing up to vote on important matters that gave it a push. Although there were political watchdogs, keeping an eye and ear on things, they still didn’t detect what was really taking place early on. The sudden negative rhetoric in town hall meetings and street rally’s from a new formed group took us away from discovery, so more of us concentrated on what seemed to have always pushed our buttons, [taunts of bigotry]. We grumbled with anger, disgusted about the way it was disrespecting the new president. But those who needed someone to blame, pointed the finger at that new group [tea party], with some belief it could change its frequency. But it only allowed it to spring up from everywhere, which helped to produce the distorted claims from white politicians in many states about alleged voting frauds, that was really a cover up towards changing voter’s rights.

Anyway, I believe the ability to rise to the equivalent of our antagonist is to only recognize reality as a motivator, not probability, which should warn the naive to limit any belief that they’re [really free] to do whatever they choose if they work hard and follow the rules.

We may feel proud of the few that have jumped the broom so to speak, but since it’s a small number compared to time and population growth giving that notion some validation, it has in no way completely turned things around for us. Remember, institutional bias and limited opportunity, still cause many of us to end up on the short list. Furthermore most of us have seen over the years if we do anything that’s positive, but to them is threatening, it’s referred to a certain group of white guys with the [supreme power] to change the rules. Oddly enough the push towards complicating our lives more than it is already, started to emerge in certain parts of the country soon after these same guys rulings on voting rights.

Looking at something as serious, or what I call a different brand of black person, they with little forethought showed they had become our weakest link. They are individuals who said things weren’t as bad as the rest of us knew it was. They are individuals who defend the status-quo regardless how it affects them. The surprising side of their character fails to accept that the Constitution, Bill of Rights as other earlier national documents written by white men, has never included them. But the real hard-sell is convincing them, the self-style founding fathers of this country weren’t African. So when they speak about them, it should be “those founding fathers”, “not our founding fathers” as some often declare.

Maybe this seems petty to some, but when whites who know the truth hears this, they feel we are less threatening, because we’ll say and do anything to be included. Yes it may not matter to most whites, but there’s still enough of a chunk of white males out there, to keep a mental note, to use it in their commentary.

Anyway, if I were a deeply religious person, I could say what has kept the black middle class from being an independently sound group, is nothing more than karma, just by showing the area where I worked, the institutions, agencies and positions of many in those settings, who misinformed, mistreated and lacked showing a genuine concern for their people. The success of a growing black middle class should be measured not only by their efforts, but the positive changes of the poor and elder blacks which seems to remain stagnant. Even with multitudes of success under duress, these deficiencies are a portion of what has helped to keep the vision of us still shuffling aimlessly around to be saved by a charitable federal government.

Changing the focused on this for a moment, to reveal how employees of certain banks have recently declared to have chosen to lower their integrity by lying to customers about loans. This information could lessen blacks input, but since there are other self-inflicted reasons, they must take a portion of the blame, since it was they who seem to take their usefulness for granted; believing anything that would happen in favor of whites [who many often focused their lives on] would also include them.

On the other side of the coin, the decline of what we know to be the more notable black middle class may not have resulted from most of the same circumstances, but it was destined because of ignorance, poor perception regarding risks, where most were too conciliatory with financial choices that were self-indulging and wasteful.

But as serious and perhaps more provocative were politics and social viewpoints coming from middle class whites that were usually contrary or bias for any chance of unification for support, because there’s no true diversified middle class. This is where the success of a definitive middle class faces a quandary, since these measures have hampered any chance to build an essential grouping to address more than circumstances relating to labor. When I listen to the president talking about restoring the middle class, I usually believe it would be fragmented, because it would probably elevate whites as blacks remain stagnant.

Why is this important? When proceedings of various factions within the black middle class who’s in a position and savvy enough to address some of the problems thrust upon the most vulnerable, probing and often critical white observers usually claim some need of assistance will be affixed, that will outweigh their ability to tackle the matter for positive results. Of course it’s stereotypical in content, but it has become the way so-called white social pundits write books and downplay our abilities regardless of status to do most things without first pointing the finger at the establishment as a lead in to ask or expect a handout. Remember regardless of the intelligence or real political agenda of this president, or what he has done to improve the condition and lives of whites also, he’s still labeled the food stamp president by some.

But I will end this with another social impediment; they are blacks [mostly men] who help add more negatives to the most critical of whites who are determined to keep us from settling into a life of normality because of their narcissistic pointless rhetoric. I’ve read articles and heard commentary from them who’s suppose to be educated, who should keep silent. They know the difficulty this president has been going through, yet they have even lashed out to the point of personal resentment, because they somehow felt it’s his responsibility to extend himself primarily to blacks to help improve their lives. Ironically their public display of showmanship is often a disgrace because they are really individuals who wanted to be deemed important as others who have shown their only real effort to help things to get better for blacks, are in their complaints.

Former Democrat Elbert Guillory Launches PAC for Black Conservatives

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Links, Black Men, Black Men In America, Politics, President Barack Obama with tags , , on August 21, 2013 by Gary Johnson

Elbert Guillory

Sen. Elbert Guillory

Earlier this summer former Louisiana State Senator Elbert Guillory, a former Democrat, made a YouTube video explaining why he was a Republican.  That video has become very popular on YouTube and other social media (see below).

In early August 2013, Guillory announced that he will be serving as honorary chairman of the Free at Last PAC, which describes itself as being “formed by several leaders as an effort to support Black Republicans who run for federal office and also to educate Blacks about the values of the Republican Party.”

“Liberalism has nearly destroyed black America, and now it’s time for black America to return the favor,” Guillory says with a smile in his video.

To learn more about Sen. Guillory, click here to visit his official website.

Laugh and Learn (Classic Comedy Videos)

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Comedy with tags , , , , , , on August 13, 2013 by Gary Johnson

Dick Gregory

Laugh and Learn with us watching classic comedy videos from including Dick Gregory, Timmie Rogers, Redd Foxx, Flip Wilson featuring The Temptations, Paul Mooney, Dave Chappelle, George Lopez and Richard Pryor in a classic comedy sketch as the 1st Black President.

Thanks to Brother Mike Ramey for pushing us on this idea of expanding our comedy videos.

Classic Dick Gregory (1965)

Timmie Rogers

Redd Foxx

Flip Wilson featuring The Temptations

Richard Pryor (1st Black President)

Paul Mooney

Dave Chappelle

George Lopez

Double Standard On Using The N-Word

Posted in African Americans, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Guest Columnists, Racism with tags , , , on August 8, 2013 by Gary Johnson

RaynardJackson

By Raynard Jackson

I typically don’t write about professional athletes doing stupid things because I have absolutely no interest and it serves no purpose.  But Riley Cooper’s actions from last month can be very instructive and deserves my attention.

Riley Cooper is about to begin his fourth season as a wide receiver with Philadelphia Eagles of the N.F.L. The 25-year-old was born in Oklahoma City and raised in Clearwater, Fla. He played football for the University of Florida.   By all accounts, he is a very good receiver and has been a model teammate during his years in the league.

Last month, he attended a Kenny Chesney concert in Philadelphia.  He was denied backstage access before the concert and became visibly angry based on the video that has gone viral.  In the video, Riley can be seen and heard telling security (who cannot be seen in the video and is said to be Black), “I will jump that fence and fight every nigger here, bro.”
After the video went viral, Riley issued a series of tweets apologizing for his actions and words, “I am so ashamed and disgusted with myself. I want to apologize. I have been offensive. I have apologized to my coach, Jeffrey Lurie, and Howie Roseman and to my teammates. I owe an apology to the fans and to this community. I am so ashamed, but there are no excuses. What I did…Was wrong and I will accept the consequences.”

The chairman and CEO of the team, Jeffrey Lurie issued this statement on behalf of the team, saying: “We are shocked and appalled by Riley Cooper’s words. This sort of behavior or attitude from anyone has no role in a civil society. He has accepted responsibility for his words and his actions. He has been fined for this incident.”

The team then posted a statement on their website: “In meeting with Riley yesterday, we decided together that his next step will be to seek outside assistance to help him fully understand the impact of his words and actions.  He needs to reflect. As an organization, we will provide the resources he needs to do so.”

What Cooper said was stupid.  But, what I am having a problem reconciling is the reaction of the public in general and the team and N.F.L. in particular.

I have had many professional athletes as clients and friends and spend a considerable amount of time with them both in public and in private.  I am appalled at how freely the word ‘nigger’ is used by these athletes in mixed crowds.  Riley is White, but I can assure you that his Black teammates use the word nigger around him — on the field, in the locker room, and when they are together privately.

I am not making a judgment as to whether it is right or wrong; I am simply sharing my personal interactions with professional athletes in various settings.  This is the dilemma the Black community has created for the broader public.  We give rappers, entertainers, and other Blacks a pass when they use the word nigger, but then want to hold a White person to a different standard.  There must be one standard when it comes to the usage of this word — it is not acceptable for anyone, under any circumstance to use it. Period.

Team management and N.F.L. officials hear the word used on the sidelines every Sunday during the games and every now and then league microphones picks up the word being used on the field during live games.  Coarse language is part and parcel of the N.F.L., but is not for public consumption.

So, why is there no outrage by team and league officials when they hear these words on the sideline?  Oh, I forgot, this feigned outrage over Cooper’s comments were caught on camera and the outrage is more of a public relations response — to protect their sport’s brand.

My point is very simple: If we in the Black community didn’t use the word nigger, then others wouldn’t feel comfortable using it, either.  Cooper is totally responsible for what came out of his mouth; but the Black community is responsible for making him feel comfortable saying it.

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm. He can be reached through his Web site,  www.raynardjackson.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at raynard1223.

The Economics of Race in America

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Guest Columnists with tags , , , , , , , on August 5, 2013 by Gary Johnson

William Reed

By William Reed

If we talk about what ails us that will make it better. When will Black Americans stop getting short shrift? Here lately the Supreme Court’s invalidation of valuable parts of the Voting Rights Act, to which  Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) called “a central pillar of the civil rights laws that helped bring America’s ideals closer to reality for all” … and “feared the ruling would jeopardize the rights of racial minorities.”

“Black life is valued less than White life” and has become a familiar activist chant. From the very beginning, there was no more powerful theme in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin than the issue of race. Now, the national conversation is about “race in America.”  What we really need across America is “a conversation on race” that helps Blacks to rearrange some priorities.

As President Barack Obama said after the Zimmerman verdict “we should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our communities. What Americans need are a series of race dialogues toward garnering ongoing commitments to combat prejudice and strengthening understanding among all.”

Republican Sen. John McCain should be recognized as an ally saying America has “a long way to go” before racial disparities end. The senior senator from Arizona said that Obama’s impromptu speech about being a Black in America, “…proved there needs to be more conversation about the issue of race. We cannot become complacent when we still have a dramatic disparity in Black youth unemployment,” said McCain.

It wouldn’t be as ironic as some Blacks think that Republicans follow McCain’s lead to bring about a conversation on race in America. Race and racism are the most challenging issues confronting America.  Yet, polite society refuses to discuss it. Racial inequality in the United State underlies a wide range of societal issues that affect different groups disproportionately. The total wealth gap between White and African-American families increased from $85,000 in 1984 to $236,500 in 2009.  The biggest drivers of the racial wealth gap are: years of home ownership; household income; employment; inheritance; financial support from families or friends; and pre-existing family wealth. Whites have 22 times more wealth than Blacks.

The story of race in America has been at the center of some of our greatest national traumas, as well as serving as the yardstick by which progress toward a more equal and fair society is measured. It’s apparent both from the varied reactions to Obama’s presidency and events beyond it, that race still serves as a critical stumbling block in American society.

Times of challenge provide the opportunity to create change.  There has never been a better time to re-examine and correct racial inequalities in American society. Instead of allowing the taboo on the subject to continue, the nation needs to start an honest discussion about race. We all need to pay more attention to the growing wealth inequality and expanding racial wealth. There needs to be some systematic, organizational commitment to making policy that helps Blacks to gain grants, and investment in our communities and businesses.  Let no one tell you “all is equal” with demonstrated disparities in health care, education, housing and criminal justice continuing.

Don’t let the “talking heads” that regularly represent the country’s wealth interest to have you believe “all things are equal.” White Americans have continued to enjoy material advantages based on past racially exclusionary practices and current institutionalized discrimination. However, this long history of racism has created social costs in terms of social instability and loss of economic productivity. African Americans bear costs of low self-esteem, high unemployment, low socioeconomic status, and limited opportunities.

As we march from one unemployment line to another, don’t let American politicians and media weasel out on this one. A dialogue on the role race currently plays in the economy from the workplace to the criminal justice system is needed. Politicians should be encouraged to expedite a series of conversations on race across the country.

William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via the BaileyGroup.org

%d bloggers like this: