Talk show host Rock Newman leads a very insightful conversation with Tim Wise, a man who has spent much of his adult life fighting racism and educating others about white privilege.
Talk show host Rock Newman leads a very insightful conversation with Tim Wise, a man who has spent much of his adult life fighting racism and educating others about white privilege.
By Raynard Jackson
Last week’s midterm elections were historic. Republicans regained control of the U.S. Senate, increased their majority in the House, and expanded their majority among governors. While these gains were historic and impressive, there was a bigger story that no one is talking about.
According to early polling figures, Black participation in this year’s midterm was 12 percent, down slightly from 13 percent in 2010. Eighty-nine percent of Blacks voted for Democratic congressional candidates and 10 percent voted for Republicans. This year’s figures match the 2010 midterm figures for Democrats and represents a slight increase in support for Republicans, up from 9 percent in 2010 to 10 percent in 2014.
In Illinois, incoming Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner received 6 percent of the Black vote. He actively courted the Black vote, but did it the wrong way. For example, how many people in Illinois know that Rauner has endowed a full professor’s chair at historically Black Morehouse College in Atlanta? There was no reason why he should not have earned upwards of 25 percent of the Black vote with his history in the Black community. But, as with many White Republicans, his White consultants and staff thought they knew more about the Black community than Blacks.
By William Reed
As he winds through his second term with high “disapproval” numbers, Blacks are the only people President Barack Obama can turn to. As we enter August, a third of America’s voters think Obama is the worst president since World War II. Except for Blacks providing an upside, the first African-American president of the United States’ image is one of inexperience and ineptness. With his domestic and foreign policy portfolios both in tatters, Obama has turned to Blacks for support. This time it’s leaders from African nations that are “in good standing” with America. As he holds history’s first U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, Obama is hosting 50 African heads of state and more than 100 of their ministers.
Recent domestic polls have Obama being viewed as “less competent” and “more dishonest” than George W. Bush. Obama’s approval rating among American registered voters stands at 45 percent, but among Blacks, his job approval soars to 86 percent. Almost nine out of every 10 African American would support Obama no matter what, no matter how far America sinks under his leadership, even if they have no jobs and their own lives are in shambles. Seventy percent of Africans say pretty much the same about Obama.
The three-day Summit is the largest event any U.S. president has held with African heads of state and government. Those Africans coming to America for the Summit will be displaying the latest fashions, prints and styles of the continent. But, not much of substance is expected. It’s a “photo-op” to help Blacks, from here and there, feel good and in charge. Truth is, China, which devotes half of its $14.41 billion aid budget to its projects on the continent, regularly hosts individual African heads of state and has far outpaced the U.S. in trade and everything economic, in Africa. The structure of today’s trade relations between the U.S. and Africa is primarily dominated by fuel and fuel-related products.
Colonialist countries exploited Africa for centuries. As “the Black President,” Obama gets a “pass” for America’s colonial practices, but little else. These days China is the “most dominate” foreign country in Africa. The Africans are being very polite in coming to America because little else will come of the occasion other than a “Polaroid moment.” Obama has a long way to go to put America on economic par with China among Africans.
The African continent is home to more than a billion people that speak more than 2,000 languages. Only a few of Africa’s 54 leaders – Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, who is still the target of U.S. sanctions and the Sudanese whom the U.S. bombed and assisted in the separation of South Sudan – were not invited to the Summit.
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman is hosting the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Ministerial at the World Bank. Obama’s Power Africa initiative is a key Summit issue item. “Power” is one of Africa’s most pressing challenges. According to the World Bank, only a quarter of sub-Saharan Africa has access to electricity and 10 percent per-year capacity growth is needed to meet electricity demand.
A Summit Business Forum will be presented by the Department of Commerce and Bloomberg Philanthropies. The Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs Committees will host a Capitol Hill welcoming reception. The key Blacks on African issues there are U.S. Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), the Ranking Member on the U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Africa and the Republican majority’s Gregory Simpkins the Subcommittee staff director, who says his main focus is: “increasing economic linkages between the U.S. and Africa.”
Summit planners say the discussions will encourage progress in areas that Africans define as critical for the continent’s future: “expanding trade and investment ties, engaging young African leaders, promoting inclusive sustainable development, expanding cooperation on peace and security, and gaining better futures for Africa’s next generation.”
“Everyone must understand that Africans aren’t looking for people to save them, but for people to partner with,” says Melvin Foote, head of the U.S.-based Constituency for Africa.
By Nicholas M. Young, Ph.D.
Re: A possible path to Reparations for African Americans? Housing grants as the unfinished path of American Democracy
“To have given each one of the million Negro free families a forty-acre freehold would have made a basis of real democracy in the United States that might easily have transformed the modern world.” W.E.B. DuBois, Black Reconstruction in America, p. 602.
Greetings Mr. President. I hope that you and your family are well. It has been many years since I ran into, and chatted with you at the Hyde Park Hair Salon on E. 53rd St. in Chicago. It has been much longer since my last encounter with your great wife, Michelle. Please know that while it is still a little surreal for me to see you both in The White House, I have accepted the fact that a guy that I used to play ball with at The University of Chicago (The U of C) holds the most powerful position in the world, and his wife is the brilliant, First Lady of The United States.
But, I digress.
I write this editorial to share with you, the country, and the rest of the world my thoughts on how you, The President of The United States, can bring to conclusion the case of Reparations for African Americans. A conclusion that, journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates states recently in his impressive article in The Atlantic, would be just compensation for the “250 years of slavery, ninety years of Jim Crow, sixty years of separate but equal, and thirty-five years of racist housing policy” at the hands of The United States.
While there may be no widely accepted starting point for when the question of Reparations was first raised, the issue of compensating contemporary African Americans from whom originate from families whose ancestors were enslaved actors in the U.S., has never really gone away. Nor should it. To be sure, the question of Reparations became an issue of serious import for U.S. lawmakers after, if not before, the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation—the legislation that “freed” millions of enslaved “Americans” of African descent.
To be sure, while the Emancipation Proclamation (A Civil War measure that proclaimed the freedom of slaves in the ten states that were still in rebellion with the U.S. Government) did not “free” anyone, what the legislation did do was give Lincoln and his political allies in Congress the breathing room that they needed to craft the legislation that would eventually become the following Amendments of the U.S. Constitution: 13th (Abolishing Slavery), 14th (Granted U.S. Citizenship to Blacks, former slaves, and those born or naturalized in the U.S.), and 15th (Prohibits the federal or state governments from denying a U.S. citizen the right to vote).
As Kerry T. Burch points out in his book, Democratic Transformations: Eight Conflicts In The Negotiation of American Identity, the project of compensating the newly freed “Americans” involved promising over one million people of African descent that they would be given land (Forty Acres and a Mule) to help ease their transition from enslaved actors into a self-sustainable agricultural entrepreneurial class, dependent upon only themselves to live and become capable members of society. As Dr. Burch states, “The origin of the phrase is traced to January 1865, when General William Tecumseh Sherman, having just finished the devastating ‘march to the sea,’ issued Special Field Order 15. It set aside ‘forty acres and a mule’ for the newly freed along the coastal areas of South Carolina and Georgia, a swath extending some 100 miles in length and 30 miles inland” (p. 56).
Unfortunately, after Lincoln’s Assassination, this “…officially stated promise…was ‘taken back’ by President Andrew Johnson when he began rescinding these federal lands in late 1865. Thus began the process of returning the federal lands (my emphasis) to the confederate aristocracy…For the newly freed, despite their eventual status as formal citizens, the consequences of enforced landlessness—economic and political dependency—crippled their ability to actually be citizens” (my emphasis; p. 56).
Thus, for the newly freed former enslaved actors, the ability to create independent and prosperous lives was taken away from many of them before they had the chance enjoy the fruits of their own labor from living in and on their own property.
However, President Johnson’s reversal of General Sherman’s action also had another effect: Johnson’s policy reversal removed from African Americans the possibility of forming a new middle class that would be built on their own labor. Unfortunately, the plantation sharecropping system put the planter class back on top of the economic arrangement, and hence, back on top of the political system, as well.
Therefore, because of the failure of Reconstruction, African Americans were forced to fend for themselves, and manage their economic and social lives without the benefit of a managed social structure to navigate them from the grips of Jim Crow policies.
Unfortunately, as many African Americans made their way to Northern cities to avoid the aggressive grip of Jim Crow, their happiness was short-lived because, as Mr. Coates states in his article, The Case for Reparations (2014): “In Chicago and across the country, whites looking to achieve the American dream could rely on a legitimate credit system backed by the government. Blacks were herded into the sights of unscrupulous lenders who took them for money and for sport.”
Thus, with this background in mind, I should like to propose the following limited remedy to the Reparations problem: awarding housing grants to needy African American families, to be used for creating new homes or improving existing residential properties.
Mr. President, the creation of these properties, built on federal lands, would provide African Americans with a legitimate chance to form a sustainable black middle class; one built on the basis of their own ethnic heritage, struggle, success, sweat, and tears.
If done correctly, this Presidential program could take the form of a new Presidential Proclamation; a policy that acknowledges the previous mistakes and failures of past Presidential administrations to compensate African Americans for what was promised to them. Further, such a program could redress the problem of land ownership for African Americans seeking to build wealth through home ownership. Such a policy could also help improve the U.S. jobless rate by hiring Americans from different social and economic groups to build and or improve these homes.
In short, I believe that you, Mr. President, represent the last chance for the United States government to fulfill the promise that it made to newly freed Americans of African descent to become property owners in this country. Sir, you are on record for saying that the United States keeps its commitments, not just abroad, but also to our fellow Americans. Therefore, your Proclamation could transform the United States into the democracy that Du Bois imagined. Please know that I, for one, hope that you will use your executive power to help grant home ownership to African Americans; American citizens, after all, whose ability to be landowners was systematically denied to them after the Civil War. I believe that such a proclamation could help establish a sustainable African American middle class. I hope that you will see the importance of creating such a program for African American families that seek this form of redress. All of them.
Sources cited: Coates, Ta-Nehisi. “The Case for Reparations.” The Atlantic. May 2014.
Burch, Kerry T. Democratic Transformations. New York: Continuum Books.
Nicholas Maurice Young, Ph. D., is a Sociologist, writer, screenwriter, Community Activist, and Independent Scholar. He is a former Fellow with the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University.
Music legend Bobby Womack whose career spanned almost 7 decades is dead at age 70 according to his sister. Last year in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Womack announced that he was diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. In the interview the singer-songwriter said, “The doctor said, ‘You have signs of Alzheimer’s.’ He said it’s not bad yet, but it’s going to get worse.”
Womack wrote numerous hits, including the Rolling Stones’ “It’s All Over Now.” He also wrote “If You Think You’re Lonely Now,” “That’s the Way I Feel About Cha” and “Lookin’ for a Love.”
Despite recent health struggles, Womack performed earlier this month at Annette Strauss Square in Dallas. He had recorded 17 songs that charted in Billboard’s Hot 100. Forty of his songs made it to Billboard’s top R&B chart.
Womack, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009 had reportedly been experiencing difficulty remembering the names of his collaborators while performing, in addition to his own song lyrics. ”How can I not remember songs I wrote? That’s frustrating,” Womack admitted.
Three months after the death of Sam Cooke in 1964, Womack married Cooke’s widow, Barbara Campbell. His group, the Valentinos disbanded and Womack became a session musician, playing guitar on several albums, including Aretha Franklin’s landmark Lady Soul, before releasing his debut album, Fly Me to the Moon, in 1968. A string of successful R&B albums would follow, including Understanding and Across 110th Street, both released in 1972, 1973’s Facts of Life and 1974’s Lookin for a Love Again.
After the death of his brother, Harry, in 1974, Womack’s career stalled, but was revived in 1981 with the R&B hit “If You Think You’re Lonely Now.” Throughout most of the 1980’s, Womack struggled with drug addiction, eventually checking himself into a rehabilitation center for treatment. A series of health problems would follow, including diabetes, pneumonia, colon cancer and the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, though it was unclear if any of these ailments contributed to his death. Womack was declared cancer-free in 2012.
Upon his death, Womack was in the process of recording his next album, tentatively titled The Best Is Yet to Come and reportedly featuring contributions by Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart and Snoop Dogg.
Womack was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. “My very first thought was — I wish I could call Sam Cooke and share this moment with him,” Womack said. “This is just about as exciting to me as being able to see Barack Obama become the first black President of the United States of America! It proves that, if you’re blessed to be able to wait on what’s important to you, a lot of things will change in life.”
Click here to read “2012 Facts and Figures Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures.” According to the study, “older African-Americans and Hispanics are proportionately more likely than older whites to have Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.”
Multiple press reports were included in this article.
By Mike Ramey
Had a great time off, and am tanned, rested and ready for another go-round! To my friends, supporters, as well as my haters and trolls…wake the neighbors, get out the torches and brew the coffee ‘cause Mike Ramey is back–and still Black–on the funky electronic frontier.
A GREAT STARTING POINT:
Let’s start off with one of my favorite stories. In Daniel, Chapter 3 (KJV), we see the three Hebrew men: Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), and Azariah (Abednego). They were originally kidnapped as teenagers from their homeland (along with their friend Daniel), had their names changed, and over the course of time were promoted to leadership positions under King Nebuchadnezzar. One fine day, the king decides to erect a huge golden statue of himself. When it was finished, it was decreed that ALL the officers and officials under his reign would bow their knee to worship the golden image of the king–or face the death penalty.
I can tell that many of you have heard this one…if you’ve ever been to church or read the Bible. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to bow. Of course the rival leaders (who didn’t like them anyway because they were Hebrews) ‘snitched’ to the king about their refusal to bow to the king’s image. “Now, men,” said the king, “I’ve been good to you; I’ve set you up in fine positions and paid you a good wage. I’m gonna give you another chance. Please…bow…now!”
The three men didn’t miss a beat…because they knew God had their back. They refused. “Oh King, we won’t bow. We serve God. He can choose to deliver us, or not to deliver us…but we won’t bow!” Their refusal was made before a packed house of other officials. The king flipped out. “Bow…or burn!” The Hebrew men refused again!
Nebuchadnezzar ordered immediate execution. “Heat the furnace seven times hotter; tie these men up, and have the strongest men in my employ throw them in, and that will be that!” The heat killed the strong men, but did nothing to the three Hebrew men. Somehow, the king got a look into the furnace and saw Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego lose, walking around, and conversing with the pre-incarnation of Jesus Christ.
While the three Hebrew men were later freed and promoted, the story didn’t end well for Nebuchadnezzar. Eventually, for his lifting himself up against God–and God’s people–the Babylonian king lost his mind (sanity), lost his family, and lost his kingdom.
There is always a high price for a nation and its leaders to pay, when they follow the same track. The Bible records a host of other public officials–from kings on down to governors–who exalted themselves ‘above’ God, and sought to abuse His people.
WHO IS ‘CAESAR’?
Let’s have a brief history lesson as to why I use the term ‘Caesar’ when I refer to the government or government systems. The Caesars were the leaders of ancient Rome, the world power that was in place when Christ walked the earth. While the Bible urges Christians to pay their taxes, pray for government leaders and others in authority and support the established systems of government, where government ‘crosses the line’ and; 1) disregards the teachings of the scriptures, 2) passes laws that are in direct conflict with biblical teachings, 3) deny the rights of the righteous by setting limits on the freedom to worship, or; 4) in any other way oppresses those who identify themselves as Christians, then it is the Christian’s duty to obey God, rather than the government.
The Caesars were arrogant, for the most part. Nero was the most ruthless of the Caesar class. His sins were many and mighty. Nero also had mental health problems. Not only did he persecute Christians, history teaches us that he set fire to Rome…and laid the blame at the feet of the Lord’s people, leading to widespread torture and persecution.
Of course, it didn’t end well for Nero…or Roman society. Do you see a pattern?
WHEN CAESAR GO MAD AND MOCKS GOD‘S LAW:
There have been more than a few examples popping up in the Mainstream Press (MSM) and the Internet of ‘Caesar’s kin’ going mad.
Let’s begin in California.
It’s no secret that Californians voted by more than two-to-one against sodomite (homosexual) marriage with Proposition Eight. While the people expressed their will at the polls, those who were on the losing side of the measure ran eagerly to the federal courts–where the will of the people was overturned for sake of immorality. Yes, this same tactic has taken place in other states of late, but let’s look at the result of the overturning of Proposition Eight in California through the eyes of Scripture.
A drought began in 2010 in California–and is still going on as I pen this column.
Allow me to continue. The drought is sooooo bad that Gov. Jerry Brown, in January, 2014 urged Californians to ‘pray’ for rain! You read that right! A governor of a state which has allowed God’s ideal of marriage to be mocked, is asking for prayer to break a drought!
In Oregon, a court ruled that a Christian-owned business could NOT stand on its principles and REFUSE to back a wedding cake for a homosexual couple’s ‘wedding’. This is not the first time that this has happened to Christian-owned businesses in the USA. On the large side, remember the venom pushed against the Chick-Fil-A chain? At the small business level, I recall that a Christian couple who owned a Bed and Breakfast Inn were hauled into court by a sodomite ‘couple’ for being refused service. That case was also long and messy, and socked the business with legal fees.
Make no mistake about it. Caesar is willing to take the tax money generated by Christians and Christian-owned companies. However, when Christians are being forced out of business, or out of state by the ungodly, God is not pleased, nor do the offending parties get away with their antics. I have yet to see a state prosper where laws have been passed and oppressive tactics used against God’s people.
Remember what happened to Pharaoh–and Egypt–when God intervened.
NOT ANY BETTER IN HIGH PLACES:
In the White House, President Barack Obama has–since his first term–sided with homosexual marriage, abortion, and turning America’s back on the nation of Israel in favor of Iran, Syria and other enemies of the Jewish state. The particularly troubling note in those decisions is that President Obama and his family spent some 20 years in Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s Chicago church, sitting under his pastorate and preaching. Even a ‘casual’ scan of the KJV Bible will reveal that God’s hand of blessing is not on a nation that turns its back on Israel, let alone additional types of national immorality.
What has been the ‘blow-back’ of President Obama’s decisions to the American landscape? Well, according to the latest news, some 20 percent of American households are on food stamps. There is a 40 percent rate of OOW births, while the US has recorded some 55 million abortions since the Roe v. Wade case from 1973. Traditional marriage has declined, along with the birth rate. According to one financial analyst, the REAL unemployment rate is 37.4 percent–IF you add in those who are no longer looking for work! Black unemployment and Black Teen unemployment are BOTH in the double digits and are NOT expecting to go down anytime soon. Throw in one of the worst winters in recent memory, and you have a mess of major proportions.
When Caesar goes mad, the righteous aren’t the only ones who suffer. Those outside of Jesus Christ also suffer, though they won’t admit it. It rains on the just and the unjust. The cries of ‘tolerance’ and ‘peaceful coexistence’ that we see plastered on bumper stickers and in newspaper headlines are really buzzwords for open hostility against godly morality and those who believe in it. The only prayerful stance against those who have ‘gone over’ to a reprobate mind is a simple one: Deliverance from evil.
Many of us have come too far, to bow our knee to the Caesars now.
MIKE RAMEY is a syndicated columnist, book reviewer and Minister who lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. Emails always welcomed to firstname.lastname@example.org. ©2014 Barnstorm Communications.
By William Reed
The Obama White House continues a pattern of attacking symptoms instead of the underlying disease, one rehashed progressive ploy at a time. President Barack Obama’s Promise Zones initiative is aimed at lifting up some of the America’s poorest communities. At a White House press conference Obama told the story of his time organizing in Chicago and highlighted the work local communities do to support their neighbors and prepare them to be contributors to the economy. In his Promise Zones program, Obama proposes to invest more than $750 million in hard-hit communities to provide a tax incentive to help build homes and create jobs. The first five are: San Antonio, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Southeastern Kentucky and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.
“There are communities in this country where no matter how hard you work, it is virtually impossible to get ahead,” Obama said in his speech. “America is not a place where the chance of birth or circumstance should decide our destiny. And that’s why we need to build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class for all who are willing to climb them.”
The Obama administration is designating “promise zones” by looking for areas where local officials can make strategic, targeted investments. For instance, a “promise zone” may be interested in reducing violent crime with increased Justice Department funding for local law enforcement. Alternatively, a region may want to leverage Housing and Urban Development grants to attract private real estate investors to high-poverty neighborhoods. The president’s plan also includes tax credits for hiring workers and tax write-offs for capital investments within the “promise zones.”
President Obama has called income inequality, “the defining challenge of our time”, and is pushing to raise the minimum wage and “find new ways to help poor children break out of the cycle of poverty.” Obama says the “Promise” programs are part of his pledge to narrow the gap between rich and poor in America. The White House says the programs “will target job creation, housing, law enforcement and education.”
This latest big-government stimulus initiative is going to formulate yet another front for Democrats’ big “income inequality” campaign. The Democrats are full of expensive and ultimately unsustainable ideas for helping people temporarily cope with poverty (i.e., the welfare state), but are pretty much intellectually bankrupt when it comes to actually creating opportunities for people to lift themselves out of that poverty (i.e., economic growth and job creation). Income inequality is one way the White House seeks to address the larger problem of economic mobility. The problem is that this “promise zone” initiative actually doesn’t address economic mobility in any real, lasting, or widespread way. The Obama administration is once again using more bureaucracy – via the Departments of Education, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, and Commerce – to create top-down faux-collaboration in which the feds will decide upon “targeted investments” with “free money” the U.S. Treasury does not have.
The ineffectiveness of the Congress in the 50 years since Lyndon Baines Johnson introduced the “War on Poverty” makes the probability of sane and soon federal legislation to address income inequality a pipe dream. Shifting responsibility for economic development away from the dysfunctional legislative branch and toward local communities could evolve into a good thing.
Obama’s presidency never became the “Promise Land” many Blacks had hoped. Instead of the “prosperity” most of the nation realized, large populations of Blacks have struggled economically under Obama. Overall, 25.6 percent of Blacks in urban areas live in poverty. Recent estimates put the figures at 17.9 percent in Atlanta, 19.3 percent in Charlotte and Los Angeles and 26.5 percent in Chicago. Two-thirds of Black children who were raised in the poorest of U.S. neighborhoods a generation ago now raise their own children in similarly poor neighborhoods.
What the whole of the country really needs to fight poverty are streamlined regulations, less red tape, fewer taxes, less prohibitive labor laws, less government spending, and less national debt at the macro level.
William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via the BaileyGroup.org