God Help Us!

462_160They call today earth day but they elected the worst person to lead the charge to save the planet – 45. However, what we have seen in the first 100 days is not only a disgrace to America but to humanity! This guy claims Obama left him a mess but I would say you have made a mess of things! We saw riots at the swearing-in for the new president and minimal crowds attending the event. To which the liar in chief claim was the biggest crowd ever – millions – not true! This man cannot tell the true nor the same story from one moment to the next.

He might soon be known as the most hated man on earth as people came out Saturday by the millions to protest what he represents. I agree with John Lewis in that he is the illegitimate president and in fact, he conned the white folk who elected him. Most of us believed that Bush was the least intelligent president ever but after this guy Bush must have felt like a rocket scientist and Obama must have been embarrassed!

Bush could not make money in oil and Trump went bankrupt running a casino – these are the people they elected to run the country! After living with and through eight years when we have had the smartest president in history and now we got this – very painful. The shame and disgrace that Bush brought on the country; I would suggest for all of the people who pray, now is the time to start – Heaven help us! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Damn White People

001They, white folk, blame black people for everything and take every opportunity to use “black on black crime” for all of America’s ills. For example, take the former Mayor of New York city who recently said that black people should do a better job of raising their children and they might not get killed. I remind him that they, white people, hung black men in their Sunday bests and in suits! This remark is coming from a man that has had three wives and his own children hate him. I don’t know if he or most white folk are in any position to speak on the subject of black lives, particularly, when they have done everything to destroy black lives. What happens is that black people have more laws imposed on them than created for them.

But now, like in the Wizard of Oz, the curtain has been removed to expose the ilk hiding behind the scenes at Fox News. For example, Bill O has been fired and they paid him 25 million dollars to leave. Now we can see the real bigotry behind the GOP and clearly the new president who seems like the leader of the KKK! At his rallies you hardly see a black face in the crowd let alone working at the event. Those folks cheered their fascist standard bearer who is more like a Hitler figure than a president, but the bigot’s praise this guy with great fervor. If there was any doubt about white folk, they are clearly on display and the world is laughing!

These folks have been on the wrong side of every issue; voting rights, health care, and their favorite target was the black president. Trump and others seem to have selective memory and have forgotten the mess that the last Republican president left the country in 2006; yes Bush and company was the biggest disaster the nation has ever seen – until now. Of course, their bigotry cannot give credit to President Obama for saving the nation from financial ruin for what Bush created. So they hate him and his family. Trump has been in office about a month and his has taken a weekly vacation, signed dozens executive orders, they think he is doing great because he is white!

The Republicans found fault in everything president Obama did in spite of the fact that he has done remarkable things that no other president has done and by the way with not had a hint of scandal during his entire presidency. This new guy has a new scandal every day! Let be mindful of the past several Republican presidents; one resigned in disgrace along with his Vice President; Reagan had half of his senior leadership going to prison (26 in all); Reagan was caught bringing drugs into black communities; Bush Sr. started a needless war and so did Bush Jr. who was a disgrace from his neglect of Katrina to lying about taking the country to war in the Middle East. All were disgraceful concerning their duties by any reasonable measure.

Now let’s take about the present where the GOP’s propaganda machine, Fox News, that has been revealed as an operation that turns out to be what amounts to a “pimp and hoes” operation. Yet, there is not a word from them about Trump’s predatory behavior. These folks champion all the wrong things while calling themselves patriots. Pick the topic they are wrong on the issue. I thought they reach deep and hit the bottom of the barrel when they picked Palin, but no I was wrong they have now picked Trump. Damn white people!!!

However, the most despicable behavior, in my opinion, is their denial of the countless murders of unarmed black people at the hands of the police. They see the killing on video and claim we did not see what we thought we saw. This talking point goes back to the Rodney King beating saying that nobody saw what happened before the killing. Like the kid in Cleveland who was a threat to the police, when he was shot in 2 seconds by the police. Of course Chicago is their battle cry and a reason they say, they should send in federal troops. Worse yet, there was a Fox News guy who said the slaves who built the White House were fed and had sheltered. Despicable!

The best they can come up with is a racist like Trump and his Klan gang! The only truth Trump has told was the system is rigged and rigged to benefit crooks like him. The fact is black people have been saying that since 1619. No wonder slavery happened and it was very real – it’s in their DNA as evident by their candidate for president! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Happy Birthday Luther Vandross

2It is with great pride and pleasure I take in resurrecting the ghost of the greats that enriched my life, and dare I say made the world a better place.  I’ve highlighted and spotlighted many enormous champions of the African American experience, along with many who, regardless of their station, changed the world and made tremendous contributions. This was to also include the monumental musical giants of our time. In fact, I would be remissed if I did not acknowledge the spirits of those artists and entertainers whose presence will live within us for eternity.

I am rarely at a loss for words, but the voice of Luther Ronzoni Vandross was so passionate and powerful that I have no words; other than to say the day Luther Vandross transitioned to the great beyond was a mighty loss. We will never hear a voice of such quality, sweetness, or grace every again. So on this day I want to put you in a mellow mood with these attached videos of the legacy Luther left for use to enjoy. Rest In Peace. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Black Codes

6White Supremacist established code to keep that system alive. I say that because after all the oppression and abuse inflicted upon people of African descent and Africans, maybe it is time black people have codes or a code of conduct to combat their aggression! This is how they did it and although the system does it milder in today’s world, but they still do it nonetheless!

There have always been ways to suppress people over time; unfortunately, black people have endured the brunt of these sanctions rules, and laws. Of course, as you know, the history of America reports that it was not only our race subjected or affected by these laws. What I can report is that it was always a minority and usually, African Americans specifically, that were the most affected by these laws to ensure that black people would remain a permanent underclass whereas others moved out of their station – all but the Indians. The roots of this ideology began as indentured servants, then slavery, segregation, and now could it be conservatism.

Black Codes were laws passed designed specifically to take away civil rights and civil liberties of African American on the state and local levels. This is the reason Conservatives desire a return to “States Rights” and speak of taking back their country because at the state level they can be unimpeded in turning back the hands of time.

Although, most of the discriminatory legislation, regarding Black Codes, were used more often by Southern states to control the labor, movements and activities of newly freed slaves at the end of the Civil War. But as Malcolm X once said, “Anywhere south of Canada was south” meaning wherever you were in America you were subjected to discrimination in terms of the “separate but equal” laws of the land.

The Black Codes of the 1860’s are not the same as the Jim Crow laws. The Black Codes were in reaction to the abolition of slavery and the South’s defeat in the Civil War. Southern legislatures enacted them during Reconstruction. The Jim Crow era began later, nearer to the end of the 19th century after Reconstruction, with its unwritten laws. Then there were sundown laws, which meant Blacks, could not live or be caught in certain towns after dark.

In some cases, signs were placed at the town’s borders with statements similar to the one posted in Hawthorne California that read “Nigger, Don’t Let The Sun Set On YOU In Hawthorne” in the 1930’s. In some cases, exclusions were official town policy, restrictive covenants, or the policy was enforced through intimidation.

After the abolition of slavery by the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states that African Americans were considered 3/5’s human. Therefore, all former slave states adopted Black Codes. During 1865 every Southern state passed Black Codes that restricted the Freemen, who were emancipated but not yet full citizens. While they pursued re-admission to the Union, the Southern states provided freedmen with limited second-class civil rights and no voting rights. Southern plantation owners feared that they would lose their land. Having convinced themselves that slavery was justified, planters feared African Americans wouldn’t work without coercion. The Black Codes were an attempt to control them and to ensure they did not claim social equality.

The Black Codes outraged public opinion in the North because it seemed the South was creating a form of quasi-slavery to evade the results of the war. After winning large majorities in the 1866 elections, the Republicans put the South under military rule. They held new elections in which the Freedmen could vote. Suffrage was also expanded to poor whites. The new governments repealed all the Black Codes; they were never reenacted – OFFICIALLY.

Many of these things are unknown to the generations of today because these injustices have been erased from our history, and very little of it is taught in today’s classroom. For example, a sundown town was a town that was all white on purpose. The term was widely used in the United States and Canada in areas from Ohio to Oregon and well into the South. Even in Canada many towns in Southern Ontario, Alberta, and Quebec were sundown towns prior to 1982 when it was outlawed. The term came from signs that were allegedly posted stating that people of color had to leave the town by sundown. They were also sometimes known as “sunset towns” or “gray towns”. Let me ask if you have ever been to a million dollar community – sound familiar.

The black codes that were enacted immediately after the Civil War, though varying from state to state, were all intended to secure a steady supply of cheap labor and all continued to assume the inferiority of the freed slaves. The black codes had their roots in the slave codes that had formerly been in effect. The premise behind chattel slavery in America was that slaves were property, and, as such, they had few or no legal rights. The slave codes, in their many loosely defined forms, were seen as effective tools against slave unrest, particularly as a hedge against uprisings and runaways. Enforcement of slave codes also varied, but corporal punishment was widely and harshly employed.

Let me highlight this example: In Texas, the Eleventh Legislature produced these codes in 1866. The intent of the legislation was to reaffirm the inferior position that slaves and free blacks had held in antebellum Texas and to regulate black labor. The codes reflected the unwillingness of white Texans to accept blacks as equals. You do remember “Juneteenth”? Also, the Texans also feared that freedmen would not work unless coerced. Thus, the codes continued legal discrimination between whites and blacks. The legislature, when it amended the 1856 penal code, emphasized the continuing line between whites and blacks by defining all individuals with one-eighth or more African blood as persons of color, subject to special provisions in the law.

Minorities were systematically excluded from living in or sometimes even passing through these communities after the sun went down. This allowed maids and workmen to provide unskilled labor during the day. Sociologists have described this as the nadir of American race relations. Sundown towns existed throughout the nation, but most often were located in the northern states that were not pre-Civil War slave states. There have not been any de jure sundown towns in the country since legislation in the 1960’s was inspired by the Civil Rights Movement, although de facto sundown towns and counties, where no black family lives – still exist.

Therefore, we see hints of it in the racism that has raised its ugly head and risen to the surface of society’s consciousness, particularly in this political climate.

Since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, and especially since the Civil Rights Act of 1968 prohibited racial discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing, the number of sundown towns has decreased.

However, as sociologist suggest it is impossible to count precisely the number of sundown towns at any given time because most towns have not kept records of the ordinances or signs that marked the town’s sundown status. It is important to note that sundown status meant more than just African Americans not being able to live in these towns. Essentially any African Americans or other groups who came into sundown towns after sundown were subject to harassment, threats, and violent acts; up to and including lynching.

As one historian has noted, “Racial segregation was hardly a new phenomenon because slavery had fixed the status of most blacks, no need was felt for statutory measures segregating the races. These restrictive Black Codes have morphed in one form or another to achieve its desired effect to maintain a superior status by those powers – whites. I am only suggesting that we know and understand history for it will open the mind to what the future may present. Frankly, if you don’t know where you came from you will never get to where you are going. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

 


A Message For Easter

7Easter is the most important day Christian observe the world over because it is a celebration of deliverance, with Easter Week providing powerful imagery of faith. I have always been moved by this presentation of Jesus from a Catholic Eucharistic prayer: “To the poor he proclaimed the good news of salvation to prisoners, freedom, and to those in sorrow, joy.”

Holy Thursday and the Last Supper have an ominous feel because they are in preparation of Good Friday and the story of Jesus’ crucifixion. Yet two days later, the tale ends in triumph and resurrection. Whatever questions Christians may have about the meaning of that empty tomb, most of us have experienced a sense of joy when we hear the words “He is risen!” The basis of Christianity is inextricably linked to and rooted in the idea of liberation.

I have long seen the Exodus and Easter as twin narratives involving a release from oppression and the victory of freedom. These promises have left a permanent mark on the culture outside the traditions from which they sprang. Yet even in the Easter season, it’s hard not to notice that most people of faith like it has been with Christmas, have lost much of its message. What I mean is that it has been hijacked by man in the commercial sense and Christianity’s, many, do not project the true meaning of this day or present their faith in the best light.

For example, with the assassination of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Michael Brown, Eric Gardner, and other criminal acts that mankind seems to have lost the understanding of the symbolic subordination of a rich tradition of social justice. What is more concerning is that popular Christianity often seems to denigrate rather than celebrate intellectual life or critical inquiry into injustices within our society.

What I would like to suggest, as with the civil rights movement, is that the church or at least Christians must not be disengaged from politics. In fact, the early Christian movement was born in politics. If you can recall, Jesus died in opposition of injustice for the least of Thee. Rome in Jesus’ day was the state and had the power, which they used to kill him. We see today, the state killing people at will, forgetting that commandment that says “Thou shalt not kill”.

I know there is great debate over how to understand the relationship between Jesus’ spirituality and his approach to politics, but his preaching clearly challenged the powers-that-be. He was, after all, crucified by the state. Now, if we truly claim the life of Jesus Christ and if true. We should be among the most active, most serious and most open minded advocates for justice. So if Easter is about liberation, this liberation must include intellectual freedom and the right to fair and equal justice. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspectives…

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Picture In Black

2I don’t want to confuse anyone because I tell our story, which is very different from His-Story and, by the way, is the greatest story ever told! I am often accused of not letting the horrors of our past go. The problem with that position is people of African descent cannot because it is ever present. They want us to believe that this white man died to save our sins and every white me we see are acting in sin against us.

It is not that people of African descent were and are the only people who were cruelly treated or enslaved, but we are the people held in bondage the longest. Therefore, my position is just as sure as, they say, things change they remain the same! Take note that black people are the only people whose history was erased and stolen. No other race of people does this happen too and told to not respect their history or denies their heritage. White folk regardless of where they come from are taught to be proud of theirs. So should black folk!

Picture a black man of nearly thirty. Who seems twice as old with clothes torn and dirty because he has no job. How can he survive? They say, get a job but how when you won’t give him one. So you allow him to have a job that only pays $7.25 cleaning toilets with bus station crews or in a fast food joint, and they say be thankful. He’s got children with nothing to eat, who then have to scavenge for food to live on a ghetto street. What about his family? Tie an old rag around his wife’s head pregnant and lying in a bed stuffed in an urban dwelling. Then they say pray for a better day!

This is the situation of millions hidden from the consciousness of our minds. Tomorrow is Easter the day Jesus died for the sins of man and they say, “he rose from the grave. Well, I say he died in vain because the sins of man are more prevalent today than ever before. We know most of you good Christians will out Pope the Pope. Let me suggest since you are such a great believer and God fearing. Take a moment each and help your fellow man on the day, instead of on this one day, we call Easter.

Look at it this way, don’t just be Holy for this one day, as you do only on Sunday. You can feel good briefly and forget it the next day. Love your fellow man every day like each day is a special day. That is hope you can believe – Happy Easter! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

 


Remembering: The Great Satchel Paige

2It happens every summer, America’s pastime celebrate the best in the game of baseball called the All Star Game where they supposedly present us with the best baseball player of each season. It is no secret that I am one who loves history and this game too. However, in today’s Major League baseball world I see a vastly different type of stars in the sport and frankly all sports with very few worth looking up too. Actually, I call this new breed – million dollar slaves.

In my youth, there were Murray Wills, Willie Mays, Josh Gibson, and many who played in the Negro League. The Negro League had the best baseball players of all-time and perhaps the greatest man to ever play the game of baseball – the incomparable Satchel Paige.

Satchel Paige was born around July 7, 1906, I say around because no one really knows for sure. However, we know it was in Mobile, Alabama, at a time of extreme racial unrest. Paige honed his pitching talents in reform school and made his professional baseball debut in 1926, moving up through various teams in the Negro Southern League, amassing a reputation as an ace pitcher. He made his major league debut with the Cleveland Indians in July 1948, at the age of 42, and he continued playing for another 20 years.

A run-in with the law, a petty theft and truancy, got Satchel “enrolled” in reform school at age 12. But the Industrial School for Negro Children in Mount Meigs, Alabama, may have been a blessing in disguise. His baseball talent, coupled with big hands and feet on his long, lanky frame were recognized by the coach there, Edward Byrd, as assets that could be developed.

Byrd taught Paige to pull back, and then kick his foot high in the air and as he came down, bring his arm from way behind and thrust his hand forward as he released the ball. This gave the ball maximum power as it hurtled forward. Satchel later said, “You might say I traded five years of freedom to learn how to pitch.”

He played for teams all over the country, from California to Maryland to North Dakota and even outside the country—in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Mexico. In between contracts, he had quite a following through barnstorming tours, sort of orchestrated pick-up exhibition games that included a wide array of talent. In one such game, against white ball players he pitched to Joe DiMaggio, who called him “the best and fastest pitcher I’ve ever faced.”

Because Negro League records were sketchy Paige insisted that he kept his own records. Reportedly, pitching in more than 2,500 games and winning more than 2,000, played for 250 teams and thrown 250 shutouts – staggering statistics. Paige was prone to some flamboyance, but experts believe much of it can be borne out. In July 1948, on his 42nd birthday, after 22 years in the Negro leagues, Paige became the oldest man ever to debut in the major leagues.

He even pitched part of an inning when they went to the World Series that year with the Cleveland Indians. Paige was the first Negro pitcher in the American League and the seventh Negro big leaguer overall. Paige pitched for two other major league teams, the St. Louis Browns and the Kansas City Athletics, with whom he ended his career on September 25, 1965, at the age of 59. Although all during that time, he continued exhibition games and even did a baseball “skit” with the legendary basketball team, the Harlem Globetrotters.

Paige died of a heart attack in Kansas City, Missouri, on June 8, 1982—less than a month before his 75th birthday.

Paige was famous for his hard fastballs, and he also developed his signature “hesitation” pitch, but he could do anything with the ball that he wanted. He held a number of firsts, most notably the first black pitcher to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971, which he was fortunate to be able to see. He was also the oldest rookie and working player in the game.

I find it interesting that Paige rarely addressed the issue of his age, often quoting Mark Twain: “Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” Maybe that’s why he was the greatest pitcher ever to play the game and lives in the heart of a kid who thought of him as his hero. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…


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