Archive for the Guest Columnists Category

Black Consciousness in 21st Century America

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Men In America, Guest Columnists on September 5, 2014 by Gary Johnson

 

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By H. Lewis Smith

In the aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting, concerned Black/African-Americans from all-over America converged on Ferguson, Missouri simultaneously presenting an intangible mirror reflecting Black consciousness in 21st century America. Whenever, there is a seemingly unjustified killing done by a white person to a black person, Black America historically since the 1960s will rise up in virtual rebellion. The sentiment being that Black America has low tolerance for police brutality towards blacks.

The reflection from the mirror however, presents an imbalanced and disconcerting image of Black America. It’s admirable of African-Americans to display unity in the face of what’s conceived as police brutally towards fellow Black Americans, but where is the same concern for the out of control killing of blacks by other blacks?

From Oakland to Chicago, Detroit, Kansas City, Philadelphia and Newark gun violence takes a heavy toll on the black community where young black men are routinely killed at the hands of other blacks. The grief shouldered by black women, black families, black churches and the black community is enormous, but yet where is the internal concern, the outrage?
In my book, Undressing the N-word: Revealing the Naked Truth About Lies, Deceit and Mind Games I present how the road towards freedom, equality and justice is a two-way street and how we as Black African-Americans must hold ourselves equally accountable and responsible in the same light as we do others to achieve racial harmony and equality; which can only be accomplished via a healthy, liberated mindset.

Contemporary Black/African-Americans are presently traveling on a path of self-destruction and need to wake up to this reality post haste. For the past 30 years, the prowess spirit of Black America have been replaced or diluted with messages of self-destruction, inferiority, and insignificance mostly due to the creation and acceptability of gangsta rap and its associated lifestyle.

Where is the outrage, the strong rhetoric denouncing the actions of these predators? To the contrary—financially successful black rappers and businessmen—are held in high esteem throughout the Black community. The products from which they have gained their wealth contribute to the corruption and pollution of the minds of many black youth, crippling the minds of the impoverished even further.

The building of character and the positive molding of young minds have taken a back seat to cultural genocide and menticide. The memories, sacrifices and struggles of African-American ancestors too have been urinated, defecated and trampled upon at the expense of bestowing high applause upon those who have financially benefited by selling out their race.

Fifty years removed from 1964, and the state of affairs throughout the Black community is on life support. Black-on-Black crime, gangs, rampant drug selling and addictions; a high volume of incarcerations, probations, paroles; and problems in schools such as suspensions, expulsions and poor performances are not just externally caused conditions. In fact, the primary causes of these concerns stem from internal influences within the Black community.

Such acceptance and promotion of the glorification of violence, sex, drugs, and profanity as a lifestyle leads to an unhealthy, broken and unproductive environment. This same acceptance and rationalizing with defiling behaviors and attitudes serves as a breeding ground for trouble, despair, discord, discontent and afflictions of grave consequences.
When Black/African-Americans support rappers and entertainers that humiliate and degrade their own race, those supporters are participating in cultural, mental genocide and the sanctioning of every whiplash and other atrocities felt by enslaved ancestors. These same fans are contributing to the emotional, psychological, spiritual, and cultural extermination of the Black race as the entire world watches in amazement at such abnormal behavior. Some rappers were present at Ferguson lending their support and kudos to them, but it doesn’t nullify the fact that they are part of the problem.

Rather than promoting positive images; encouraging black youth not to take the same violent or negative routes that they took to stardom; stressing the importance of education, self-awareness, and self-dignity (having some class and sophistication); and truly being accessible to youths to serve as impressionistic mentors, they only continue to suck the life from the Black community in terms of asking citizens to buy their immoral records and empty labels with no positive messaging.

Use and tolerance of the n-word is not indicative of a free liberated mind nor the desire or effort to achieve greatness. Rather, embracing the n-word, violence, denigration of women is reflective of a bonded mind or mental illness.
Blacks must begin to teach and show by example future generations a new way of thinking. African-Americans must also realize that with freedom, education and independence, comes the requirement to be accountable and responsible for one’s own acts; in other words there is a crying need for the Black community to hold one another accountable and responsible for the welfare and well-being of the community which isn’t presently being done in this 21st century.

h-lewis-smith H. Lewis Smith is the founder and president of UVCC, the United Voices for a Common Cause, Inc., http://www.theunitedvoices.com author of Bury that Sucka: A Scandalous Love Affair with the N-Word, and the recently released book Undressing the N-word: Revealing the Naked Truth, Lies, Deceit and Mind Games https://www.createspace.com/4655015.

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Gun Control

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Guest Columnists with tags , , , on March 12, 2014 by Gary Johnson

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By John Kirksey

Issues concerning gun control and the Black community and Black people in general have commanded a lot of media attention in the last few years. I have had an interest in firearms since I was four years old. In the middle to late 1960’s there were numerous Westerns and military shows on TV, and of course they further fueled my interest. Some of my childhood favorites were Combat, The Cisco Kid, The Rifleman, and The Rat Patrol. My favorite Western of all time is “The Good the Bad and the Ugly.” While thumbing through an old family photo album I found a picture of myself sitting on my grandparent’s bed, with about 10 toy guns in front of me. I looked forward to the hunting trips with my father, grandfather, cousins and uncles. Of course until the age of about six all I could carry were “cap” pistols. By my seventh birthday I had a BB rifle. I spent many hours with this rifle. I even still have it, but of course it is well worn out. By the time I was in sixth grade my father bought me my first shotgun so we that together could hunt rabbits and squirrels.

Fast-forwarding into my college years, I still had an insatiable urge to shoot and become proficient with firearms. Because there are not many opportunities to shoot when hunting, I took up the sport of shooting clay targets. My favorite game was trapshooting. After winning several state Trapshooting championships I become interested in shooting rifle competitions. This is when I realized that there is a problem in this country related to the ownership of firearms. Most recently I tried to purchase a rifle to shoot service rifle competitions. These are military rifles used to shoot paper targets at distances from 200 to 600 yards. When I went to the gun shop to purchase my rifle of choice, I was informed that I could not purchase it in my state of Maryland. The reason is that my desired rifle is on a gun ban list. All I want to do with the rifle is to shoot at paper targets. This led me to consider, what is gun-control really all about? First, a little history.

Gun-control and gun-rights regulations share a long history in the United States. Adult White men in the American colonies had the right to own firearms for hunting and self-defense. In many instances they were required to use them in the service of local militias, often in battles with Native Americans. But the colonies also placed restrictions on gun ownership.

Colonies forbade Roman Catholics, slaves, free blacks and people of mixed race, who in some states far outnumbered whites, from owning firearms, fearing they might revolt. After the American Revolution in 1776, the Founding Fathers addressed gun rights in the Second Amendment, part of the Bill of Rights attached to the U.S. Constitution in 1791.

In 1813, Kentucky and Louisiana became the first states to ban the carrying of concealed weapons. Indiana did so in 1820, followed by Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia and Alabama. Most of this legislation came about due to the “culture of honor” and dueling matches.

Federal Gun Control

The NRA was not initially a gun-rights organization. Its primary goal was to “promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis.” The NRA held target-shooting competitions and sponsored gun clubs and shooting ranges. The NRA also helped write model state gun-control legislation containing some provisions similar to those opposed by the association today.  For example, the NRA recommended that states require individuals to apply for a license to carry a concealed gun in public and that states issue such licenses with discretion.

Congress later entered the gun control controversy. The federal government’s first major attempt occurred in the 1930s as Prohibition-era gangsters with compact machine guns out gunned city police. The National Firearms Act of 1934, signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, imposed a $200 tax on the manufacture, sale or transfer of machine guns and “sawed off” shotguns and rifles with barrels less than 18 inches long. Anyone possessing such guns had to register them with the U.S. Treasury Department.

The National Firearms Act of 1938 requires gun dealers to be licensed and to record sales; prohibits gun sales to convicted felons and carrying concealed handguns is either prohibited or permitted only with a license in every state but two.

By the 1960s America witnessed a turning point in the cultural war over guns. Rising crime, racial tensions and a loss of public confidence in the police “led millions of Americans to buy weapons for personal protection.”

Congress took no action on guns after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas in 1963. But opinion shifted a few years later, as race riots engulfed the nation’s cities and members of the Black Panther Party displayed their guns in public to attract media attention.

After the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and senator Robert F. Kennedy in 1968 President L.B. Johnson pleaded with Congress to pass gun-control legislation. In October, LBJ signed into law the Gun Control Act of 1968.

The Gun Control Act of 1968 requires:

  • All persons manufacturing, importing or selling firearms as a business to be federally licensed.
  • Prohibits the interstate sale of firearms through the mail.
  • Lists categories of people to whom firearms may not be sold, including convicted felons and the seriously mentally ill.
  • Dealers must maintain records of gun sales.

NRA Split

1968 saw a dispute within the NRA leadership over the Gun Control Act of 1968. Their objections didn’t necessarily stem from opposition to any specific sections of the legislation; it was over the concept of gun control itself that younger members disliked, while older members believed the NRA should focus on teaching gun safety, organizing shooting competitions and sponsoring hunting clinics.

The National Rifle Association opposed gun laws that restricted African-American gun ownership and in some instances offered support to Black Americans seeking to defend themselves with firearms.  In 1958, retired Marine Robert Williams opened a chapter of the NAACP in Monroe, North Carolina. Monroe was also Klan country, and the KKK mounted several vicious assaults against African-Americans in Monroe.   In 1960, Williams applied for and was granted a charter to establish an NRA chapter in Monroe; the association also provided firearms training materials. Mr. Williams and other black NRA members in Monroe subsequently successfully defended themselves with firearms against an attack coordinated between the KKK and the local police.

At the NRA’s 1976 convention in Cincinnati, OH, the young “hard-liners” took control and changed the face of the NRA. It becomes more than a rifle club. It became the Gun Lobby.”

In 1986 the NRA scored a victory when President Ronald Reagan signed into law the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act which prohibits the federal government from maintaining a registry of guns and  their owners; and mandates that the BATF inspect licensed gun dealers no more than once a year.

By December 1993 President Bill Clinton signed the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act instituting background checks for gun purchases through licensed dealers.

In 1994 Clinton signed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act which was a measure banning what it defined as assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines for 10 years.  Magazines holding 11 rounds or more are considered “large capacity”.

In 2005 President George W. Bush signs the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act granting gun manufacturers immunity from civil lawsuits involving crimes committed with guns.

In 2008 the Supreme Court held that Americans have an individual right under the Second Amendment to possess firearms for self-defense within the home, thus, nullifying Washington, D.C.’s ban on handgun ownership.

New York was the first state to pass gun-control legislation after the 2012 Newtown, CT shooting. The legislation makes New York’s regulations some of the strictest in the nation. It essentially:

  • Broadens the definition of banned assault weapons.
  • Requires the owners of existing assault weapons to register them with the NY State Police.
  • Reduces the limit on magazine capacity from 10 rounds to 7.
  • Requires background checks of not only gun purchasers but also ammunition buyers.
  • Expands background checks to private sales, and establishes tougher penalties for the use of illegal guns.

In response, 34 of 62 NY counties have passed resolutions demanding that lawmakers repeal the act. In reality many believe the chances of the Congress banning assault weapons are close to zero. The Republican-controlled House is waiting to see what the Senate does before it takes up the issue of gun violence; so the debate continues.

So, the question remains, how does the issue of gun control affect Black people? The answer is simple. Black people primarily need to arm themselves as history has shown from a tyrannical government, the Ku Klux Klan, and gang violence in certain neighborhoods. In order for citizenry to attain proficiency in firearms I believe that black people should acquire arms, take lessons and join organizations such as the NRA and their local gun clubs. Most if not all of these organizations will provide training.  Some municipalities sponsor gun buyback programs. Usually they give people pennies on the dollar for what their guns are actually worth. The means chosen to purchase a firearm is up to the individual. The right to purchase is constitutional. The reason to purchase purchase a firearm is determined by the specific environmental situations of an individual. Familiarity with firearms and their use makes all of the above easier. Why bother with being armed as a regular citizen? Well, the world is a dangerous place; criminal elements in the community, political government excesses, home safety in an increasingly dangerous society. These kinds of things speak for themselves. For it is better to be prepared than victimized.

The United States of Excuses

Posted in Black Men, Black Men In America, Guest Columnists, Ramey Commentaries with tags on March 11, 2014 by Gary Johnson

Ramey

By Mike Ramey

With the cries of: “Hike the Minimum Wage!” making the rounds of the nation’s capital, a report released late in February, 2014 by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is worthy of mention. The report concerned the ‘real’ cost of such a move.

It seems that, IF the Minimum Wage is raised–again–the economy would lose yet another 500,000 jobs. President Obama has already ‘issued’ his decision to hike the wage to $10.10 per hour as it impacts those working under federal contracts. Members of Congress, spurred on by Democrats in the Senate, are putting forth legislation to expand the hike. Since teens are the most impacted by Minimum Wage hikes, I’ll leave it to you parents who read my column. Would you advise your son/daughter to give up their part-time, Minimum Wage job ‘for the common good’?

I didn’t think so.

THE HEAT IS ON!

 When it comes right down to it, many Americans ‘love’ the appearance of acting charitable in public. When the issue of charity starts to impact their children and a future shot at a job and college, it’s amazing how ‘stingy’ they become.

Let me say up front that this is going to be one of ‘those’ columns that should be shown to a teen you may know. Their future is–literally–hanging in the balance.

A few months back, I had a conversation with a friend of mine about the criminal justice system. I can remember a time when one who drew prison time was called a ‘convict’. When that person served their time, and was released, they were called an ‘ex-convict’ or an ‘ex-con’. Many of them who returned to society were humble, because they KNEW that they had done wrong in committing crime(s). They also knew and accepted the fact that they had a long way to go in order to ‘climb the mountain’ to successful employment. My how the times have changed. In the continuing social quest to ‘negate’ individual responsibility, we have seen men and women emerge from prison–unrepentant. In fact, the attitude among many ex-cons today is that ‘society’ is at fault for putting them behind bars in the first place.

Say ‘Amen’, somebody!

Furthermore, the term ‘ex-con’ has undergone urban renewal as it has been translated to ‘ex-offender’; then translated again into the ‘PC’ term ‘reclaimed citizens’. Even US Attorney General Eric Holder has been heard making comments to further ‘pacify’ the egos of those who have done prison time by urging that society quickly restore their right to vote–ahead of their ‘right’ to getting a job, paying restitution and becoming upright citizens by paying their taxes.

 CAN WE TELL THE TRUTH?

 A few years back I addressed this issue in several columns. I never thought that I would have to bring up this matter of individual responsibility again, but there are some who are new riders of the ‘short bus’ and have to be re-taught the basics of common sense and proper social behavior.

Can we get back to telling the truth?

It seems to be worthy of noting that there are some–repeat, ‘some’–in our society who fly to trouble, innuendo and wrong doing like a moth flies to a flame, and demand the hard-working, regular people of society to wink at, overlook and cover the damages and consequences of their antics.

‘Rebels’ fail to understand the racial implications of their abuse of other cultures. They fail to understand the sexual implications of STDs and OOW births. They fail to understand the damage to their family name by going to juvie, jail and/or prison. They fail to understand the damage to their community by living deliberately destructive lifestyles: BUT…they want to have the ‘freedom’ to ‘do their own thing’ without consequences, while active citizens of “The United States of Excuses”.

There was a time in American history when our fore parents told us–in no uncertain terms–that we needed to be a ‘credit to our race’. Those words are still true, but have lost their luster and power, thanks to our becoming a nation of card-carrying excuse makers. In short, we have backslidden to social adolescence; demanding full rights and restoration after spending years of putting our churches, families, friends and communities through a very real hell on earth.

A SIMPLE CHALLENGE TO THE EXCUSERS: Years ago, a veteran homicide detective appeared on a local radio talk show fielding a call from person who was against capital punishment. The detective, with a great sense of cool, listened to his opponent rant and rave about the ‘rights’ of the criminal. Then, the detective spoke. “Sir, if you will come with me to the scene of my crime victims, I would be more than happy to honestly listen to your point of view.” What the detective was saying–if I may put it in a nutshell–is that there are too many do-gooders who have not seen the end product of a criminal’s inhumanity to the person on the receiving end of his/her crime spree.

To those of you who are ‘anxious’ to place ex-cons back into the workforce AHEAD of those young men and women who have taken the time to live crime-free lives, I offer you a challenge. Let me see YOU do it, with your own family as the sacrifice. Tell your son or daughter who are going for that first job, or continuing their education, that they must ‘give up’ their dreams for someone who has been to jail or prison. I’ll wait for word of your sacrifice…but not for too long.

Think that my challenge is a little bit too harsh? Well, let’s take this one step further: For those who write hour after hour about the ‘need’ for companies to hire ex-cons ahead of those who don’t have criminal records, try this one: I have yet to see a study of businesses–owned/run by ex-cons–citing how many of their behind bars brothers (and sisters) they have exclusively hired.

Do you see where I’m going on our excursion?

LET’S WRAP THIS UP:It’s always easier to be ‘charitable’ with someone else’s money or livelihood. It’s hard to be as generous or magnanimous when it comes to the economic security of those who live in our own homes. If I may get personal for a moment, if more homes did THEIR jobs, the ‘excuse’ community would dry up overnight, and the prisons would close!

Want to see our country get back on the right track? Let’s start shucking the excuses. A criminal lifestyle is MEANT to have a downside, no matter how many movies and TV shows may glorify the opposite.

Remember the Bible basics: A good name is worth more than diamonds, rubies–or excuses. The rebellious must change; NOT the righteous.

MIKE RAMEY is a syndicated columnist, book reviewer and Minister who lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. Emails always welcomed to manhoodline@yahoo.com  (C)2014 Barnstorm Communications

Real Black Men Step Up

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Men In America, Guest Columnists with tags , , , on March 7, 2014 by Gary Johnson

David Caruth

By Dr. David Caruth

For five years, Black men in America have waited for President Obama to address the unique set of challenges we face year after year.  We all know the statistics: high unemployment rates, high dropout rates, and high incarceration rates.  Even worse, vigilante killers who murder young Black males walk free because we receive unequal treatment under the law.

Recently, President Obama launched a new initiative, “My Brothers Keeper” in a belated attempt to show concern for the pain Black men and our families feel and experience everyday of our lives.  While I applaud any effort the President of the United States takes to address our concerns, I am more impressed by leaders in the Black community who have taken matters into their own hands.

Last year, Pastor Eugene Sheppard of Living Word Church in South West Washington, DC put out a call for a Black Men Roundtable.  Nearly 40 pastors, ministers, and concerned members of our community showed up.  We discussed ways the Black Church could reach out to Black men in the community to repair brokenness in our families, provide guidance for our youth, and solutions for families who were negatively impacted from failed drug and welfare policies of the Clinton Administration.

In addition to pastors and ministers, Purnell Pinkney and John Kirksey, representing the American Renaissance Movement Inc. made passionate presentations concerning our need to act independently of party politics.  From their perspectives, we need to avoid secular liberal policies and support leaders who share our core values.

We identified 10 areas for concern that we want addressed:

1.               Absentee Fathers in the home

2.               Early education and intervention for our young men

3.               Employment

4.               Adult Education and Vocational Training

5.               Business and Entrepreneur training

6.               Preventive negative behavior intervention

7.               Transformational Change

8.               Mentoring

9.               Substance Abuse Counseling

10.            Job Fairs with on-the-spot interview and hiring

In a recent New York Times article by Michael Shear, “Obama Starts Initiative for Young Black Men, Noting His Own Experience,” Mr. Shear made it plain that President Obama’s belated concern with the plight of young Black males appears to be window dressing to shore up his legacy on race relations in America.

“Mr. Obama’s remarks come as the end of his time in office is in sight, with the president mindful of the legacy that his administration will leave behind on race and other civil rights issues like same-sex marriage and immigration. Mr. Obama has embraced the right of gay men and lesbians to marry, and Eric H. Holder Jr., his attorney general, has aggressively sought to ensure that all eligible Americans have access to the ballot box.” Shear, February 27, 2014.

From where I stand, President Obama’s choices to lead Cabinet-level executive agencies have failed to address the concerns that we identified. In fact, former HUD Secretary Jack Kemp did more to address the needs of the Black community than any of President Obama’s choices to lead domestic policies.

Secretary Kemp made grant funds available to eliminate drug use and fight the violence that comes with it.  We are still waiting for President Obama’s HUD Secretary, Shaun Donovan, to provide leadership that will positively impact the lives of young black males who find themselves surrounded by poverty, drugs, and gun toting vigilantes.  While we wait, I stand with progressive Black men who are not waiting for government to provide solutions to our problems.

Black men should take every opportunity to work directly with foundations and other private entities that understand what one nation under God, means.  Real Black Men need to Step up and provide the kind of leadership that is necessary to help transform our country, protect our youth, and strengthen our families.

As the President of God’s Perfect Timing Ministries, I invite you to join our efforts to eliminate poverty.  Together, we can begin the healing process and live out the true meaning our creed, “one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and Justice for all.”

5 Entrepreneurship Lessons from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Guest Columnists with tags , , , , on January 20, 2014 by Gary Johnson

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By Black Men In America.com Staff

On this day where the nation honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a national holiday, we ran across an article in Forbes.com magazine written by Joseph SteinbergSteinberg is noted for writing about entrepreneurship and cybersecurity.  He’s done a great job of connecting Dr. King’s message to what is relevant to us 45 years after his death.  In his article, Steinberg writes that entrepreneurs should take note of five important business lessons that can be learned from Dr. King, and his role in the Civil Rights movement.  The 5 lessons are:

1. Make Your Dream A Reality

The phrase people most often associate with Dr. King – excerpted from his landmark 1963 speech — is “I have a dream.” Of course, many people have dreams. Some even have great dreams. But most people don’t work to make their dreams a reality as did Dr. King. Great ideas for new products, businesses, and works of science and art die every day with their inventors. To be an entrepreneur is to dream – but is even more to do.

2. The Way It Was Is Not The Way It Has To Be

At the time that Dr. King gave his famous speech at the Mall in Washington, racism had been entrenched in American culture for centuries. Dr. King challenged the status quo, and raised awareness of a different and better future that could be built from positive change. Likewise, businesses often are averse to changing long-held positions, or denying that major changes for the better can take place, with or without them. Only a few years ago, “experts” were saying that people would reject keyboard-less smartphones like the iPhone, and Blackberry would continue to dominate the smartphone market for many years to come. We know how that turned out.

3. Change Can Happen Fast

The vast majority of the members of my generation – born not that many years after it took a struggle to get the Civil Rights Act passed – consider the notion that people should be segregated based on the color of their skin to be both morally repugnant and downright ridiculous. Attitudes change quickly – especially after positive developments occur and everyone sees the correctness of the change. This is true vis-à-vis business as well. Consider how quickly Blackberry went from market leader to having less than 4% of market share, or how fast Kodak was transformed from having its film products bought by nearly every family in America to filing for bankruptcy as a firm many teenagers “had never heard of.”

4. Build A Large Following

Dr. King was an amazing speaker who inspired millions of people with his words. But, ultimately, it was those large numbers of people who organized, marched, or otherwise influenced legislators and the public. There is little doubt that the grassroots nature of the civil rights movement – and the resulting far reach of its leaders – was a key ingredient in its success. In the Internet era it is much easier than the 1960s to reach large numbers of people; if you have a great message – spread it widely.

 5. Success Takes A Lot Of Work

The civil rights struggle did not achieve its aims overnight, and its success was built upon the hard work and sacrifice of many; Dr. King and various others even lost their lives. Thankfully, entrepreneurs do not need to make such giant sacrifices, but, effectuating change and achieving success does not usually happen without hard work. Yes, there are some businesses that skyrocket to the top, and there are some people who get rich quickly. But, the vast majority of businesses are built with a lot of time and effort. Don’t expect to succeed without working hard.

Joseph Steinberg Joseph Steinberg is the C.E.O. of Green Armor Solutions, a vendor of cybersecurity technologies which he co-invented, and which specializes in applying knowledge of human dynamics so as to ensure that maximum security can be delivered with maximum convenience.  You can follow Joseph and learn more about him on Twitter at @JosephSteinbergClick here to visit Forbes.com.

Bold Predictions for 2014

Posted in African Americans, Barack Obama, Black America, Black Interests, Black Links, Black Men, Guest Columnists, President Barack Obama with tags , , , on January 7, 2014 by Gary Johnson

Raynard Jackson 2013 By Raynard Jackson

Now that a 2014 has come, I have decided to pull out my trusted crystal ball and give you some of my predictions for the year.

I think the biggest thing to watch is on the political front.  This year we will have congressional elections for the House and Senate.  Republicans will keep the House.  Even if Republicans have a total meltdown, they will still keep the House. But their margins may shrink (currently the Republicans hold a 17-vote margin over the Democrats).  The way congressional districts have been gerrymandered , that virtually guarantees minimum change in the composition of the House.

Republicans have a better than even chance to take over the Senate if they nominate the best conservative candidate that is “electable.”  The GOP should be able to pick up seats in Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina and West Virginia.  Republicans need only a net of six seats to win the Senate.

The Black vote could be the margin of victory in states such as Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina. Each has Black voters who thoroughly turned off by the Democrats and Obama.  If these Republican candidates take their message to the Black community, Republicans will take over the Senate.

I know many of my Democratic friends will laugh at me and my Republican friends will continue to want to dismiss the Black vote; but I dare my Republican leaders to call my bluff if they really want to win the Senate.

As I often say, I have been Black most of my life and I know the sentiments of my community very well.  To prove my point, what was unthinkable just a month ago is going to happen more frequently going forward.  Democrats, especially Blacks, for the first time are publicly voicing their dissatisfaction with Obama.

A group of very liberal Blacks are about to file a lawsuit against Obama for enacting policies that have decreased the number of Black students attending HBCUs. Civil Rights leaders such as Congressman John Lewis have publicly threatened to go to war with Obama over the lack of Black judges being nominated.  On Black radio, there is huge vocalization of dissatisfaction with Obama. This was unimaginable only a few weeks ago.

Blacks turning away from Obama will be one of the top news stories of the year.  The question is are Republicans prepared to take advantage of this opening within the Black community?

Gun violence and mass shootings will continue, not because of the availability of guns; but  because of the continued breakdown in our moral fabric.  By 2016, I predict that morals and values will be in the top five issues of importance to voters.  This liberal drift towards pluralism and relativism will begin to reverse itself with a lot of help from within the Black community.    Republicans, are you listening?

Look for a major reduction in corporate support for many of the reality TV shows that have proliferated over the past several years.  These corporations will find it increasingly more difficult to justify the expenditure of their corporate dollars from a cost/benefit analysis.

I expect to see more suicides from those who played professional football and hockey.  The issue of trauma to the brain during violent sports is a lot worse than the public is being told.  I think over the next few years, pro football will become unrecognizable as we know it today.

There will be no comprehensive immigration reform. However,  as a compromise, there will be a path to legalization, but not citizenship.  Republicans who vote for citizenship will lose their next election and some will even be recalled before their next election (on the local level).

Journalism will continue its downward spiral towards the cult of personality.  Journalists will continue down the path of becoming bigger than the story they are supposed to be covering.  They will continue to put more emphasis on being famous versus being accurate.

My final prediction is that Obamacare will be a huge albatross around the necks of the Democrats for the next three years and will make their retaining the White House very problematic.  The issue will be are the Republicans prepared to address some the major problems facing America with policy solutions?

If the answer is yes, then Republicans will win the White House. If the answer is no, we can kiss the America we know goodbye.

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,  http://www.raynardjackson.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at raynard1223.

Undressing the N-word

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

H. Lewis Smith By H. Lewis Smith

Over the past year or so, many events have been occurring in the Black Community at the hand of the Black Community that continues to bring continual shame and degradation to the honorable memories, sacred struggle and sacrifice of African-American ascendants. Some may argue against it, but these acts continue to adversely affect the growth, development, and progression of the Black community, on a whole, to this very day. For instance, in November 2013, former NBA greats Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and ESPN commentator Michael Wilborn bowed down to and pledged their allegiance to a word that dehumanized, stigmatized and objectified their ancestors on national TV. That word is the n-word (n**ga).

It is this sort of pervasive 18th century slave mentality, blindness to such behaviors, and misuse of influential power– much-made possible by the blood and sacrifices of their own ancestors, that prompted writing the book “Undressing of the N-word: Revealing the Naked Truth About Lies, Deceit and Mind Games.” It is high time that Black America stop the antics, halt the selfish mentality of “I got mines”, and really use all resources they have to demand respect for the entire race within and without the community. Ignorance is no longer acceptable or the calling card to bring attention to Black America; rather, Black America must take the time to educate themselves, and in so doing, reality will be made clear.

The following are excerpts from one of the chapters in my soon-to-be released book entitled; “Undressing The N-word: Revealing the Naked Truth About Lies, Deceit and Mind Games.”

Forbiddingly, you learn today that your mother was brutally and unmercifully bludgeoned to death with a hammer. Now close your eyes and think about this for a moment: think about the heinousness in the act; see your mother screaming for her life and doing everything in her power to defend against and fight off her unrelenting attackers; think about all of the pain and anguish she endured as blow upon blow of the hammer welled down on her, before the final bit of life was unrightfully snatched with that last thud. Can you see it? Can you see the multiple plugs imprinted into whatever part of her body the hammer unforgivingly fell upon? Can you empathize with that dreadful moment in time?

Now ask yourself this: in order to memorialize your mother’s life and honor her sacred and beautiful memory, would you start using a hammer as a symbol or in remembrance of your mother? Of course not! To the contrary, every time you saw a hammer, it would likely stir up strong feelings of sadness, disgust, and, perhaps, even anger. The hammer would symbolize the bashing murder of your mom and, because of this association, you would elect to never disgrace her memory or embrace the cruel acts carried out against her by adopting the hammer as a symbol of the love and respect you possess for your mother. As a matter of fact, even if her murder occurred over 50 years ago, your feelings would not change and no one could convince you that a hammer is just a tool that carries no real power; rather, because of your experience, you would always view it as a weapon that unjustly ripped away a core part of who you are and someone that was most significant in your world.

In parallel to the previous analogy, replace the hammer with the term n**ger”; replace the mother figure with Black/African-American ancestors and present time Black America. The word n**ger (or n**ga or n**gah in ghetto vernacular) symbolizes death, terrorism and dehumanization in the lives of untold millions of Black people. Men, women, AND children were butchered, slaughtered, severely beaten unmercifully, raped, disemboweled, and castrated all because they were considered valueless n**gers. They were murdered with the chant of “n**ger, n**ger, n**ger” ringing in their ears as they drew their last breath. Racial slurs such as coon, jungle bunny, sambo, Uncle Tom, jigaboo, or porch monkey didn’t trigger mayhem, terror and death into the lives of Black African-American ancestors; instead, it was ONE word and ONE word only: n**ger. The n-word is the most infamous and profane word in the English language. The origin, definition, and acts carried out under the guise of the term fueled the African-American Holocaust—a holocaust that, sadly, has been sanitized by American historians.

I’m an American, not African-American is often times an argument advanced by many of those lost ones who have chosen to walk in identity blindness, trying hard to fit in or align with a culture not their own. Hispanics have no problem identifying with their culture, Jewish people relate to their culture, Asians to theirs, Arabs to theirs, and so on. However, some Black Americans desire no part of identifying as an African descendant because they feel some sort of shame in being associated to Africa. It matters not if your black heritage is linked to Haiti, Jamaica, West Indies, Caribbean, or India; ultimately, all roads somewhere down the line lead back to Africa, the Motherland. Everyone with a color-filled complexion has some connection to Africa; and if one chooses to learn of their past and origins, he/she will find that their truest history is indeed a remarkable marvel in which to be proud and one from which they should be more than thankful to have been born.

Black people are the only people on the face of this earth who have been detached and separated from their ancient history and culture. Their acceptance of being defined as the n-word is not the mindset of a free people. Ironically, some black people will reject the notion of being referred to as an African but will embrace the n-word without hesitation, and will fight to defend their freedom of speech to use the pejorative word.

Is it racist to refer to self as “African-American” or to celebrate Kwanzaa? Some see the celebration of Kwanzaa as a racist act. Some propose that blacks should view themselves as Americans rather than African-Americans, and, thus, should have no separate holiday. Some promote rejecting the holiday completely, using the justification that blacks would protest a white racist if they created a holiday to celebrate whiteness.

Perhaps, people should conduct their due diligence and research the origin of Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Halloween and even the Christian religion itself which serves as an advocacy for White Supremacy. Ironically, the ethnocentrism celebrations of Cinco de Mayo (Hispanic and Latino), as well as Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, and Chanukah, just a few of the numerous Jewish holidays, are not considered racism. However, any attempt by Black African-Americans to introduce, acknowledge or celebrate any form of African culture is considered racist and taboo. Black African-Americans need to stop living within the confined boundaries of the 400-year-old anesthesia and start paying attention.

Acknowledging Kwanzaa would be one of the right steps to take in helping Black African- Americans re-establish their identities—unless of course Blacks choose to remain ashamed of being black as the indoctrination process was set in place to accomplish. Thriving black civilizations maintain dates of existence to well before the Aztecs, Mayans, Greeks and Romans even came into the picture. High time has come for Black America to take back the strong cultural identity that was stolen and contorted into some dishonorable, foul worthless sense of being. Black America must stop acting victimized and no longer remain powerless to an on-going 400-year-old mind control game.

Some may have a problem with Kwanzaa’s founder Professor Maulana “Ron” Karenga and, perhaps, these concerns do not go unfounded. However, one should not lose the spirit, meaning, and intent of the holiday based on popular opinion of its founder. As well, before one chooses to immediately cast away any credibility in the holiday and founder, lest not forget that America itself initially consisted of England’s undesirables, crooks, murderers and thieves; they were shipped to America because there was no hope of their rehabilitation. Now, America is the greatest country on earth, many thanks of course to the sweat, blood and tears of African enslaved ancestors.

Black America must not jump on the train of continual sabotage; rather, Black America must find the good in efforts such as Kwanzaa to use as a tool in re-gaining the much-needed collective self-awareness.

Many opponents of Kwanzaa reject the holiday and question its significance, but will openly accept and embrace the n-word without question—even while well-knowing the history of the n-word. How preposterous is that? A word connected to the mutilating, butchering and slaughtering of countless millions of black ancestors is used with no end by those same ancestors’ black descendants. Regardless to its newness or past life of its founder, for the liberated mind, accepting Kwanzaa as a “real” holiday should be a no-brainer, and realized as a step in the direction of black unity, liberation, and progression.

The book “Undressing The N-word: Revealing the Naked Truth About Lies, Deceit and Mind Games,” will be available in book stores nation-wide and in eBook versions shortly after the first of 2014.  Also, to learn more about UVCC and its mission, visit  http://www.theunitedvoices.com/.  H. Lewis Smith is the founder and president of UVCC, the United Voices for a Common Cause, Inc. (www.theunitedvoices.com); and author of “Bury that Sucka: A Scandalous Love Affair with the N-Word“. Follow H. Lewis Smith on Twitter: www.twitter.com/thescoop1

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