Archive for African American

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

“Hoodwinked,” “Black People Don’t Read” and The World According To Janks Morton

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Links, Black Men In America, Movie and DVD News, Racism with tags , , , on August 18, 2012 by Gary Johnson

By Gary A. Johnson, Black Men In

My main man Janks Morton and I will be getting the band back together next week to promote his new movie “Hoodwinked,” the much anticipated and long awaited sequel to the movie “WHAT BLACK MEN THINK.”  Janks Morton is one of the best storytellers in the business.  He is to many, the voice of the unheard.  Janks is part of a growing underground that is beginning to surface and gain more attention.  He’s his own man and is deserving of wider recognition.

This is where guys like me come in.  People who own and control their own media who work together with other media owners to collectively educate our community and facilitate a constructive dialogue.  Black Men In has a wide reach in the Black community.  Janks and I living proof that black folks can come together and work toward a common goal.  We’ve done it for years.  Do we agree on everything?  No!  However, we agree on the IMPORTANT things.  Actually, we agree on most things.  Janks Morton is a “submarine deep” thinker who works tirelessly doing the work of others to help dispel myths and stereotypes about Black people.  He is not to be taken lightly.

For those of you who don’t know about Janks Morton read the information below from his official web site and watch the movie trailer for “Hoodwinked.”

Here’s some of the thoughts and logic that drive the behavior of my friend Janks, who I affectionately call, “The Man from Mars.”

For over four-hundred years, the majority white society has used many tools to reinforce a message that the peoples of African descent are less-than, not-equal-too or not-good enough. In this modern era of information, the media, government and special interests use statistics to further promote the message of Black inferiority. What troubles me most, is that we as a people have internalized the misinformation, embraced the myths, and perpetuated the stereotypes, sadly reinforcing a collective misperception of our own identities.

Here’s a quick test of how we perceive ourselves – Excluding athletics, entertainment or religion, name a positive stereotype about African Americans. I’ll wait…

Most African-Americans have a challenging, if not impossible time summarizing our collective experience into one positive statement of group-worth. Sadly if I were to ask you the same question about other racial groups, you would rattle off quickly “smart,” “hard-working,” “and “good with money.” This is a testament to how we have allowed Black identity to be twisted and maligned, while also adopting this societal defamation of character as our own belief set.


Hoodwinked will be an exploration of the most recent data being released by the US Census, DOJ, DOE, DOC and the CDC to highlight strides and achievements in the African American community. It will feature expert contributors, man on the street interviews, anchor desk headline reporting, and the return of Janks Morton and his “Board of Education” to examine further the symbiotic relationship between media, government and special interest, as they exploit imagery, statistics and data that too often presents a skewed perspective of the modern era African American experience.

BLACK PEOPLE DON’T READ is a comprehensive summary of Data and Statistics from the most recent US Census Bureau, Department of Justice, Department of Education and other agencies around the state Blacks in America. BLACK PEOPLE DON’T READ is a tool to not only refute the plethora of misinformation that exists about Black Identity, but also as a conversation starter around many positive data points, too often missed by the media and seldom discussed at the barbershop.

Click here to learn more.

The Bridge: Gays, Fear & Ignorance

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Health & Fitness, Women's Interests with tags , , on May 29, 2012 by Gary Johnson

By Darryl James

Gays, just like any other group of people taunted by bigots, have always found a modicum of comfort and relative acceptance in the Black community.

While there are hateful people in the Black community, Blacks haven’t been running out to form angry mobs to chase down gay people and harm or kill them.

Even some of the most religious African Americans who are opposed to homosexuality as a lifestyle have gay friends.  And one has only to take a cursory look at the Black church to see that there is a strong gay presence, particularly in the choirs. There is a wink and a nod when the preacher speaks fire and brimstone against homosexuality, because there is rarely a hateful word against the homosexuals themselves as individuals.

When a Black person says “I don’t hate gay people, I have gay friends,” it’s not the same as a racist claiming the one token Black to deny his/her hatred of Blacks. Most African Americans actually do have gay friends and gay family members. And they would protect those loved ones with tooth and nail.

But that has little to do with gay politics, including the gay marriage movement.

While some African Americans are staunchly against gay marriage, many, like myself, simply don’t care.

I don’t care who marries whom.

But I do care that you pretend it is the same as slavery.

Damn you for that.

Blacks who oppose gay marriage are neither hateful nor ignorant and every time a gay person speaks such stupidity, such tactical hatred, there is far less tolerance and far less openness to gay politics.

I don’t know why the Gay Mafia (GLAAD) pretends not to understand this.

Their politics get so much blowback because they keep trying to force people to embrace politics and beliefs that are counter to the core beliefs of many African Americans, which is neither anti-gay, gay hatred nor ignorance. But if they keep up their gangster tactics, they will find more opposition to more of their positions.

For example, I was once friendly to gays and the gay rights movement, but now I’m angry. I am no longer friendly to their politics.

Do I hate gays?

No, but I hate people who claim that I do.

Do I condone violence against gays?

Hell no! But I want to beat the hell out of people who pretend that somehow, opposition to their politics is equivalent to hatred of the people.

I have loved ones who have lifestyles which could be defined as gay. But none of them has ever come up to me to tell me that they are gay or to discuss what they do as gay people. They simply live their lives as good, loving human beings, just as I do.

Honestly, for some, it’s not as simple as fear or ignorance.

For some, there is no opposition to or hatred of gay people.

And honestly, there is no real difficulty with gay rights.

The problem, which the Gay Mafia does not want to admit, is that some people are offended by the gangster politics of the movement and its supporters. We are told: “Support gay marriage or you hate gays. Support gay marriage or you are ignorant.”

How about this: Some of us just don’t care.

But when we see the gay marriage movement compared to slavery and when we see gays demand that Blacks support them (based on what?), and when we see that the gay community has no concern for the racism it seeps out, then we either say: “I don’t care, or I stand against your movement because your politics deeply offend me.”

I don’t hate gay people. I have no fear of gays or the gay lifestyle.

I am not anti-gay. I’m too busy being pro-me.

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles in 2001 and will become a feature film in 2012. View previous installments of this column at Reach James at


Posted in Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America with tags , , , on January 11, 2012 by Gary Johnson

By Mike Ramey

With the arrival of yet another ‘Black History Month’, I wanted to provide a column with some meat! African-Americans truly have been blessed by our forefathers; those men who have ‘gone before us’ in America. Our forefathers did exploits, braved challenges, and suffered in the face of adversity. Some of them were whipped to death; some were hung or shot, and others incarcerated. However, many of them MARRIED, thrived and gave their lives–if need be–to raise successful families.

I aptly call our forefathers ‘Mighty Men’.

Our forefathers were ‘Mighty Men’ in the face of long odds. They had a firm relationship with God through Jesus Christ–without apology.

I warn you up front; I’m going to cover some ‘forgotten’ REAL Black History. 


Over the past twenty or so years, the social engineers (eagerly aided by the feminists in their ranks) attempted to ‘mold’ boys into girls. They have systematically programmed our schools, government, and even the sports/entertainment kabal (pink at a football game? Really?) for male failure, turning our young men into ‘metrosexuals’, baby daddies, thugs and pimps–anything BUT potential husbands. The experiment has worked; so well in fact that the Bible is seen as a joke, marriage is believed to be in decline, adultery AND illegitimacy have increased and gang memberships continue to skyrocket (1.5 million in 2011). Many modern young men have grown confused and isolated. Some seem to be glad of the fact that they have been programmed to be more interested in being consumers rather than producers and providers. Young men seem to be OK with the fact that society has become feminized (often with a late night route through Cougarhood), and that women demand to ‘call the shots’ about sex, dating and–maybe–marriage. To further darken the horizon, young Black men are eager to accept the programming to ‘go along to get paid’ for performing without developing an eye towards their OWN history. A whole generation is failing to realize that slavery is still slavery, whether it involves working in a field under an Overseer’s whip; or in a Rap/Hip Hop studio sweat shop, spitting and flowing lyrics 10 hours a night (without holding the copyright to their OWN songs). 


What will it take to get young men to wake up from their confusion? Well, short of another world war or terrorist attack (both have a great way of growing up young men), we older brothers will have to continue to spell out the realities of life to them:

*The ‘reality’ that the Bible is the foundation for true manhood.

*The ‘reality’ that every ‘stretch’ in jail CUTS future earning power by 25%.

*The ‘reality’ of needing to value a diploma or degree OVER a GED.

*The ‘reality’ of spending time away from mixtapes and involved in reading.

*The ‘reality’ of working to ‘create’ their own job, when jobs are limited.

*The ‘reality’ of few feeling sorry for those who won’t seek honest work.

Yes, it takes time and effort to reach young men. However, when you get past all their bluster and bravado, you find that the young man of today is scared, scarred and facing a lot more pressure to ‘grow up’ fast, without a clue as to what it takes to be a MAN. Be warned my older brothers–not everyone wants young men to become successful. Keep the following statement in your mind: The toughest roadblock to successful young men most often flows through many a young man’s…HOME!

We’ve seen the results from ‘You Tube’ to OUR laptops.

Too many young brothers are proud to be consumers, and not striving to be providers because their parent (single or otherwise) have ‘blocked’ the spiritual, social and/or academic development of a son! They have ‘robbed’ him of his opportunity; his destiny to be a protector and provider in our village…THEN expect the village to correct their home-grown foolishness! Hear me clearly on this one: Any parent who deliberately sets out to destroy a son’s desire to BE a provider–for a crazy check or any other reason– will destroy a daughter’s future chances of having a providing husband find them!

As one pastor told me, years ago: “God don’t like ugly.”


At this point, you may be asking yourself: “What IS a ‘Mighty Man’”?

In the Old Testament, King David surrounded himself with a group of exceptional brothers, known as the ‘Mighty Men’. These were men who were ‘trained up’ by their fathers to be excellent in their own vocations. These young men were so advanced in their respective fields that they came to the attention of the king, and were selected for royal service. One of the interesting facets of being a ‘Mighty Man’, was that the training and service continued after selection. These men became MORE skilled in warfare, work, and loyalty–plus were ‘sought out’ as mentors by other young men who wanted to rise to the top. Excuses did not fit the code of a ‘Mighty Man’. As a matter of fact, NONE of the men selected as a ‘Mighty Man’ in the scriptures were EVER thought of as being a coward, lazy or of poor moral standing.

Here’s where the grass starts to get tall.

It would be easy for us to lament the fact that there are sooooo many fatherless families. We could cry that it is ‘nearly impossible’ for our young men to be mentored in the ‘manly arts’ of spiritual growth, educational training and hard work. Well, excuses are not welcomed, nor acceptable anymore. If the problem hasn’t changed, then we need to be about changing the problem. Our young men don’t need further ‘understanding’ or more therapy sessions! They need to be pulled over to the side by older men in our communities–block by block if need be–and told what is expected of them and challenged to seek after those skills leading them towards excellence.

Here’s a hearty Black History Month truth: Reentry programs AFTER young brothers come out of prison can be avoided in the future, IF parents and guardians agree to put their foot down in their homes in the present and see to train their young men to make the move from being mediocre…to ‘Mighty’. Mama may have; Poppa may have; but God will bless the child who’s smart enough to learn how to be willing to work and to carve out his own. 

THE RAMEY COMMENTARIES appears on fine websites/blogs around the world. To correspond, email © 2012 Mike Ramey/Barnstorm Communications.

First There Was Tavis, Then There Was Tom

Posted in African Americans, Barack Obama, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Gary A. Johnson, Politics, President Barack Obama, Racism with tags , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Gary A. Johnson

I don’t know what to make of nationally syndicated radio show personality Tom Joyner.  I don’t consider Joyner an intellectual lightning rod, however, the morning deejay also known as “The Fly Jock,” reportedly has approximately 8 million listeners to his radio show.  If those numbers are correct, then Joyner’s radio show reaches one in four black American adults.  This commentary is about Joyner’s blog post a few months ago that has recently been getting mainstream media attention.

I have decided to separate Joyner’s philanthropic and fundraising efforts for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) from this commentary.  His work in that area is unparalleled.

Joyner’s syndicated radio show is part news and a lot more entertainment in my view.  That being said, Joyner continues to make news headlines with an old blog posting (July 2011) where he essentially told Black America to vote for President Obama simply because he is black.  Whoa!  Joyner’s position does raise some political and philosophical issues.

In 2008, the election of a black President of the United States of America changed the political landscape.  What happened to evaluating a candidate based on his or her record of performance and how the issues outlined in the campaign impact you and your family?  To his credit, Joyner stated that we are all not “like-minded,” but went to write that we need to have a common goal in this election and that goal is to make sure that President Obama is re-elected.  Joyner understands that we have the right to vote for whomever we want; he just thinks that not voting for President Obama is not a good use of your vote.

There is something about Joyner’s stance that doesn’t sit well with me.  Joyner is not alone.  Former syndicated radio host Bev Smith, reportedly has urged listeners to vote for President Obama based on his race.

Does Joyner and company realize that President Obama did not win the 2008 election based on the black vote alone?  Blacks voted in record numbers, but a whole lot of independent voters of all races, cast their vote for him too.  Voting for President Obama just because he is black is a very dangerous and slippery slope.  Some of my colleagues are ready to throw Joyner under the bus for this position.  I have him resting comfortably in front of the rear wheels of the bus while the the motor is running.  My foot is on the brake and the transmission in 1st gear.

What would the Freedom Riders and the hundreds of other black and white civil rights leaders of the past have to say to Joyner if they had the chance?  I wonder if they would agree with his position.

The reality is President Obama was able to win the historic election in 2008, not solely because blacks turned out in huge numbers, but because many whites, Latinos and other races supported him as well. To suggest that blacks support him just because of the color of his skin is just wrong. It’s dangerous. Tom Joyner has done a lot for the black community and I won’t throw him under a bus, but I am very disappointed by his comments rallying blacks to support President Obama on the basis of his race. Blacks should support Obama because they agree with his stance on the issues and that he best personifies their needs. I would urge each voter to take the time to do some research on where all the candidates stand on the issues that affect you the most. If President Obama is the one whose views are similar to yours, then vote for him come November 2012.

If you look down the proverbial “re-election bench” you will see the Rev. Al Sharpton (who has a television show on the MSNBC network) suited up and echoing the same message.  During the dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial in Washington, DC in October 2011, Joyner and Sharpton were saying that President Obama should be judged not on the content of his character and policies but rather on the color of his skin.  WTF?  When you vote for President Obama because he is black, doesn’t that fly in the face of those in the civil rights movement who marched and died for us to have choices and the right to vote?

My very unscientific poll reflects that not everyone is on the Tom Joyner bandwagon.  If you injected President Obama with truth serum I’m not sure he would say, “Vote for me just because I’m Black.”

In his blog Joyner writes:  “Let’s not even deal with the facts right now.  Let’s deal with just our blackness and pride – and loyalty.  We have the chance to re-elect the first African-American president, and that’s what we ought to be doing. And I’m not afraid or ashamed to say that as black people, we should do it because he’s a black man. There are a great number of people who are against him because he’s a black man. That should be enough motivation for us to band together and get it done. We have the chance to re-elect the first African-American president, and that’s what we ought to be doing. And I’m not afraid or ashamed to say that as black people, we should do it because he’s a black man. There are a great number of people who are against him because he’s a black man. That should be enough motivation for us to band together and get it done.”

How about assessing this President based on what he inherited coming into office and how he has performed for example in the areas of foreign policy, the economy, health care, managing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while in office?  As adults our assessments will differ but at least we have the chance to consider a number of situations.  I would suggest that all citizens ask themselves the following question:  “Am I better off now than when President Barack Obama took office?”  Some will say, “Yes” and others will say “No.”  If you answered, “No” to this question, and you believe that President Obama has underperformed, there is nothing wrong with evaluating the President’s performance and deciding that in order to improve your circumstances you might vote for someone else.

Black unemployment is 16.7 percent, the highest it’s been in almost 30 years.  You may determine that voting for President Obama is in the best interest of you and your family and cast your vote for him in 2012.  The point I’m trying to make is that all of us should take the time to think and evaluate all the factors that matter to us and cast your vote accordingly.

Click here to read Tom Joyner’s commentary.

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

Get The Latest Health News and Information From Black (BDO)

Posted in African Americans, Health & Fitness with tags , , , on October 19, 2011 by Gary Johnson

Black Men In has been in partnership with Black (BDO) for years in an effort to bring you live a happier and healthier life.  Black is the world’s largest and most comprehensive online health resource specifically targeted to African Americans. As much as we’d love for healthcare to be one-size-fits-all, the reality is that this is not the case – today’s Black community has higher incidences of just about every major disease and condition out there, as well as shorter life spans.  BDO understands that the uniqueness of Black culture – our heritage and our traditions – plays a role in our health.  BDO also understand that there’s a lot of mistrust of the healthcare system. That mistrust, combined with all the contradictory information in the media today, makes it difficult to truly feel in control of your health, and your life.

Together with BDO let us you see how good it feels to be in control of living a healthier, happier life!

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• Culturally Specific Advertisements. Key treatment and drug offerings that cater to the specific needs of the Black community.

• BDO Find-A-Doctor Search Tool. A searchable directory of qualified black doctors, including primary care physicians, specialists, even dentists.

• Community Blogs. Today’s most thought-provoking information from health writers and doctors, all in a fun and engaging format.

Click here to read the latest articles from Black

Black News Agency Wire

Posted in Black America, Black Interests with tags , , on December 9, 2008 by Gary Johnson


Black News Agency Wire Launches as the Largest African American News Aggregator on the Internet

As a veteran columnist and writer, attorney A. Renée West, President of IEBB Media recently announced the launch of Black News Agency Wire, ( the largest African American news aggregator on the web.  More than the average news site, presents under one banner, the voices, thoughts and perspectives of hundreds of African American newspapers, editors, columnists, pundits, writers, bloggers and commentators.

“Politics, business, sports, entertainment, technology, lifestyle, reviews, hip hop, and more, Black News Agency Wire is unlike anything else on the web for Black folks at this time,” explains West.  “As an aggregator, we don’t compete with the other sites, we drive traffic to them.  At you quickly find and source all your news, mainstream and African American, in one compact location; then click and read at the originator’s location.  Imagine waking up every morning to the USA Today, New York Times, or Wall Street Journal, and it’s expanded to include YOUR Black news, in a depth Google, Yahoo and Topix don’t, under one concise banner!”

Click here for more.

Common Sense vs. Intelligence

Posted in Black America, Black Interests with tags , on September 8, 2008 by Gary Johnson

By H. Lewis Smith

In a three-way conversation between Tavis Smiley, Dr. Michael Dyson and Dr. Cornel West on the justification of blacks using the n-word, the following ideas were exchanged during the discourse:

Tavis Smiley: “With all due respect to the power of your persuasive argument, your big mama and my big mama would stand here in front of you with all of your education and say you still ain’t got no business, under no circumstances whatsoever, ever uttering that word white folks put on us to demean us—period.”

Dr. Dyson: “There’s no question about that…but my pastor and others who would say [it]—referring to their congregation and their flocks who are highly learned, deeply erudite, profoundly scholarly, and who are able to understand both the folk and the vernacular tradition on one hand and the high learning foremost tradition on the other, [said] the word in an endearing fashion.”

It appears as though an attempt is being made to soften the use and encourage acceptance of the n-word because more affluent, educated, and outwardly intelligent African American audiences claim to understand and accept the word. Thus, since these intelligentsias have placed their blessing on using the word, referring to one another as the n-word should be an acceptable practice by all African Americans—regardless of socioeconomic status.

However, the basis of this argument stands on a couple of fallacies: Many other equally affluent, educated and intelligent African Americans despise the term, disallow themselves to be referred to as such, and have eradicated the idiom from their vocabulary. As well, during the conversation of these highly esteemed gentlemen, those arguing for the n-word failed to consider an extremely significant factor that greatly affects the soundness of their argument: common sense.

Given the past history of African Americans and the n-word, plain old common sense, which is defined as sound or practical judgment, suggests that it is not intuitively sensible for an African American to accept this word, drenched in ignorance, evil, immorality and corruption. Even with a high level of intelligence—the capacity for thought especially to a high degree, common sense must factor into the equation because it is the essential, instinctual element in developing one’s first thought about a subject.

Intelligence soon follows this initial thought, serves only as support to the common knowledge and should help individuals reason with why the n-word is unacceptable: The n-word was bestowed upon African Americas by slave masters, and represents every devious plot meant to destroy the black race; thus, is unacceptable. It is bewildering how individuals of such high levels of thought are blind to the insult that lies in the term. And even more perplexing is the fact that they argue in favor of using the term—and in an affectionate manner!

African Americans are so quick to shun other races for using the term, and demand total equality and respect. But how can one demand respect when they have no respect for themselves? One of the most prevalent drawbacks regarding the supposed desensitizing of the n-word among African Americans is that it is not a global or cross-cultural movement; the rest of human civilization recognizes the true purpose in and foundation of the word. The rest of the world indeed respects Black America for its musical, entertainment, and athletic abilities, but have absolutely no respect for our cerebral mindset.

This is due in part to the fact that African Americans continue to refer to themselves as a thing that was and is meant to dehumanize the race. Although many proponents of the n-word feel that their use and definition of the term differs from other races’ application and understanding, outside races only see the stigma attached to the term and, thus, perpetuate any thoughts of African Americans with that particular perception. Their thinking is such that if a person refers to themselves as a certain thing, they will embody that image and act as such. And because a “n**ger” was viewed as a sub-human, bestial and savage, other races neglect to respect and treat African American as equals, immediately become defensive toward African Americans, and continually ridicule the race—the true persona of the n-word.

Consider most recently Beijing, China, where attempts were made to ban blacks from Beijing bars in a pre-Olympic crackdown. In addition, Milo Bryant of the “Colorado Springs Gazette,” a black reporter, was all but ignored during press conferences by Chinese officials who refused to acknowledge his presence and would only solicit questions from white reporters.

Another put down of Blacks occurred in 2005 when Mexico had the audacity to print caricatures of Blacks on their postage stamps.

Countless incidences of condescending Blacks occur around the world—even in America. However, the most catastrophic and mind boggling of these incidences occurs right here in America by Black America. The Black community has proven to be very tolerable of anything destructive, degrading and demeaning from within. The poisonous lyrics of misogyny, crime, drugs; the glorification of ‘gangsta’ life and violence perpetuated by black rappers; and the use of the n-word are all self-destructive acts that contribute greatly to the demise and unfavorable image of the black community. The rest of the civilized world looks on in amazement, taking note, and heeding the messages sent about Black America from Black America—“straight out of the horse’s mouth.” No one takes the African American seriously. No wonder!

Dr. Dyson emphasized the linguistic creativeness of the younger generations’ use of the word, changing the suffix from “-er” to “-a”; however, changing the suffix does not transform the meaning of the term. (Pronouncing the word with an “-a” at the end is quite frankly nothing more than plain, old-fashion ghetto vernacular.) Where else in the world does a race of people take a word—that embodied mental genocide and perpetuated physical brutality upon their ancestors—and embrace it affectionately and endearingly? What other race of people devises justification after justification to continue to remain shackled, confined to a certain realm, and proudly flaunts the mark of oppression, degradation?

It is definitely the black community’s prerogative to demand respect, but good luck getting it collectively! In the end, African Americans are still referring to themselves as “n**ger”—or in more modern terms, “n**ga,” deafening others’ ears to Black America’s cry for respect.

In WEB Du Bois’ all-time, modernly-relevant classic The Souls of Black Folks, Du Bois notes that “[t]he opposition to Negro education in the South was at first bitter, and showed itself in ashes, insult, and blood; for the South believed an educated Negro to be dangerous.” Then Dr. Carter G. Woodson came along in 1933 and said in The Mis-Education of the Negro: Control a man’s mind and you don’t have to worry about his actions.

Although one may be highly educated in the educational system, or mis-educated according to Dr. Woodson, one can still be a dependent or controlled thinker. Obtaining an education was once thought of as the key to release African Americans from mental enslavement. Education unquestionably serves as the essential building block in unlocking one’s mind, and teaching an individual the basic fundamentals of reading and writing, but independent thought allows one to break the chains of ignorance and enter a state of heightened mind power where common sense always resides at the right side of intelligence.

At the end of the conversation, it was duly noted that the n-word was used in jest, as was also the case between Tavis and the rapper Nas in a separate conversation on the same subject. But who’s being mocked? White slave masters for embedding in African Americans a self-destructive mentality rooted so deeply that it goes unnoticed even by African Americans who continue to carryout the plight? Or are African Americans mocking the memories, struggles and sacrifices of ascendants who knew the intent of the term and literally felt its purpose through heinous acts during the “domestication” process? Certainly, no amusement was experienced in the atrocities perpetrated upon them, all in the name of the n-word.

In 1904, black sharecroppers Luther Holbert and his wife were chained to a tree. An audience of 600 white spectators enjoyed fine treats such as deviled eggs, lemonade and whiskey in a festive atmosphere while Mr. and Mrs. Holbert underwent atrocious and purely evil acts: first their fingers were chopped off one by one, then their ears, followed by a severe beating that left Mr. Holbert with one eye dangling from its fractured socket; next, “spirals…of raw, quivering flesh” were extracted from both Holberts with a corkscrew before the couple was finally burned alive. As they drew on their last breaths, the last words they heard were the jeers of “n**ger, n**ger, n**ger.”

All of these activities perpetuated upon the Holberts were done in the name of the n-word. The most ironic part of the matter, though, is that at least one person who condones, tolerates, and embraces the n-word is a descendant of Mr. and Mrs.Holbert; thus, this proponent of the n-word agrees with the malevolent acts perpetuated upon his great, great grandma and grandpa. Is that person you? Is that person your friend, family member, or acquaintance?

Perhaps one can intelligently justify acceptance of the 300-year-old African-American Holocaust, the n-word, and the supposed progress of Black America beyond allowing the n-word to negatively affect them. But, just because one is highly educated and can precisely articulate his argument does not make him right or smart by any standard—he just knows how to talk well and conduct research.

Common sense, which does not discriminate based on educational attainments, tells African Americans that embracing the n-word affectionately and endearingly “just ain’t right and don’t make no kind of sense.” The n-word should continue to be looked upon as a disfigurement to the African-American’s psyche and buried as far below the surface as those who lived to experience the true meaning of “n*gger.”

H. Lewis Smith is the founder and president of UVCC, the United Voices for a Common Cause, Inc., and author of Bury that Sucka: A Scandalous Love Affair with the N-Word. Visit UVCC online at

CNN’s Look At Black America

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Men with tags , , , on July 9, 2008 by Gary Johnson

There’s a lot of buzz about CNN Presents: Black in America. July’s two-night special is part two of three, two-hour documentaries anchored by CNN special correspondent Soledad O’Brien. CNN’s examination of Black America is part of a four-month on-air and digital initiative.

This special reportedly takes a look into the lives of Black Americans by adding some new voices and perspectives to the discussion.

“As we developed this series, it was critical to go beyond what viewers believe and already know to introduce them to the real people behind the headlines that we report every day on our assignments,’ O’Brien said.

Click here to preview the CNN television special “Black in America” (The Black Woman and Family) — June 23, 2007.

Click here to preview the CNN television special “Black In America” — (The Black Man) June24, 2007.

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