A picture is worth a thousand words.
Enough said, and that’s my thought provoking perspective…
A picture is worth a thousand words.
Enough said, and that’s my thought provoking perspective…
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Guest Blogger: George Cook of the AfricanAmericanmReports.com
When I first started blogging I had a blog titled Let’s Talk Honestly, and I think it’s time to talk honestly about the town of Ferguson Missouri. First I want to give my condolences to the young man’s family and to voice my support for those who are PEACEFULLY protesting.
But now back to talking honestly. How is it possible that a town that is predominantly black only have one black elected black official? There is an answer, and it’s one some may not like but I think it’s a sad truth.
In light of the Michael Brown shooting, we are hearing a lot about the town of Ferguson Missouri. It is a town of about 20,000 people that is 70% black. It is also a town with only ONE elected black official.
During an interview on NPR the town’s democratic chair Patricia Bynes made the following statement when asked why there was only one black elected official.
…Well, anything other than a presidential election there is low voter turnout. And the African-American community has been disenfranchised for a very long time. When you have people who are worrying about can I get a job – can I get to work – can I put food on the table – when election day on Tuesday comes around, that is the furthest thing from their minds. And the whites that live in the community – they participate. And so they vote for who they want for council and mayor, and they don’t always put practices in place that are best for the majority population there.
While Bynes made what some may consider some valid excuses they are just that, excuses. Our ancestors faced death, and some did die get us the right to vote and if nothing else we should repay that sacrifice by voting. How can you have tremendous power and cede it to someone else?
The only way a town that is 70% black can only have one black elected official is a complete lack of political involvement and engagement in the black community.
We know that black voters are there because in the chairs statement she says that they come out for presidential elections. But they obviously don’t understand that local elections are the ones that impact your daily life.
Some will say that because of racism or the gold boys network it’s hard for people to get involved politically. I’m not going to deny that, but the low voter turnout in Ferguson shows that racist don’t have to hold blacks back because they are not trying to move forward.
Because of that low voter turnout they have a police force that doesn’t reflect the diversity of the community it serves and a local government that seemingly is not worried about the black communities concerns.
The people in Ferguson have to do better; if they want better and stop with the damn excuses on election day. I sincerely hope that the tragic death of Michael Brown spurs more political involvement in Ferguson and other communities. I also it becomes an example of what happens when African Americans don’t participate politically.
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I want to preface this writing by saying I have been one of the most-ardent supporters of the First Black President. I happen to believe that no event in history was more significant than the election of a black man to the office of “President of these United States.” Having said that, I, like many people of color are losing faith in you! You came to office telling us that we have entered an era of “post-racial” America and preached hope. But Mr. President, we see no hope and now feel more hopeless than on your first day as the most-powerful man in the world.
You held a news conference after the Trayvon Martin’s tragedy and told us you know what it’s like to be black; being followed around like a criminal in stores, and that before you got secret service protection women clinched their purses when you came near. We understood and know this to be true because it still happens to most black men, and you statement came from a man raised by a white family. You told us, vociferously, not to worry and that you were the president of all Americans. With all due respect, you do know we are also American people!
We see every other group, particularly those not brown and black, having benefited from your power. Not to mention, people around the world; why not us? As we have witnessed the horrifying atrocities of racism escalate and the blatant killings at the hands of authorities – black people have yet to see this power you hold. If I am wrong sir, I apologize! But African Americans are in the worst position, living or health wise, than any other cultural group in America.
The people in Iraq stuck on that mountain, or anyone anywhere in the world, get your help within hours. In Detroit, the government deprives its citizens of the second most-important commodity needed to live –“water.” You sent million of gallons to the mountain half-way around the world, while you sent no relief to Detroit. Every week, you witness, like the rest of us, murders by the police around the country of unarmed black men. Is this hope we can believe?
I am not expressing my grievance without a solution. With respect to the brutal police actions that are blatantly inflicted upon people living in black communities, and all too often, where people live who look like you. It is this simple: “Instead of sending billions of dollars to Iraq and other places, or sending tanks and armaments from the war to these police forces to occupy these communities. Use your power and that of the Justice Department to order that every police office wear a camera to record their activities and to have every police car equipped with a dashboard camera.”
On the issue of race, I can only recall you talking about it a few times and it saddens me to say, you have done nothing for us and that is troubling. The African American community is only asking that you pay attention to their needs, and these needs are worsening. Policing or the occupation of black communities, when you have the power to intervene is not the legacy of how you should be remembered.
We know the GOP, the right-wing, and for that matter many whites are against you, and they are against us too. But, we have never left you. Don’t leave us! I must respectively ask, is the genocide of the Iraqi people more serious than the genocide of your own black citizens? And that’s my thought provoking perspective…
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Let me first say to all who follow THOUGHT PROVOKING PERSPECTIVES that I am indeed honored that you read my words. I try to provided and add a prospective to reality whereby you may be empowered and maybe, just maybe, see the world through new eyes. If you knew me personally, you would know that I rarely ask for anything, maybe that is a fault, but I am a benevolent spirit and this is my way of giving.
I WILL HOWEVER, TODAY, ASK EACH OF YOU FOR SOMETHING. PLEASE SHARE SOMETHING ABOUT THIS MURDER, ASK FOR JUSTICE, AND RAISE YOUR VOICES IN PROTEST OF THIS INJUSTICE!!!
I have lived long enough to have witnessed many vial and unspeakable things done under the auspices of RACISM. I remember the first time I saw the brutally beaten corpse of little Emmitt Till, which was done because of a way of life. I can recall crying that day and I cry today for the murder of Trayvon Martin. As I see it, these two horrible events are strangely similar and equally frightening.
It shows that we, as African Americans, are still a nation of people living in a nation without a nationality. Translated – no justice!
Of course, we don’t yet know every detail of the encounter between Martin and the monster who murdered this unarmed 17-year-old high school student. But, we know enough to conclude that this is an old familiar story with the same tenets rooted in RACISM. Emmitt’s murderer got away with it and so far so has this guy.
Now let me ask, how many guys named George are out there cruising the streets? How many guys with chips on their shoulders and itchy triggers fingers with loaded handguns? How many self-imagined guardians or more aptly put vigilantes who say the words “black male” with a sneer? You do know that was the Klan’s mantra!
Whether Zimmerman can or should be prosecuted, given Florida’s “stand your ground” law providing broad latitude to claim self-defense, is an important question. But, the more important question is: “we should stand up to repeal these deadly laws designed to give license to “Kill Black People”. This often happens because this bull’s-eye that black men wear throughout their lives, and in many cases, just caught on the wrong street at the wrong time.
Protect, teach your children, and may this child’s soul rest in peace. I have lost a child through tragedy and I know this pain. My heart and prays go out to the Martin family.
If you never took a stand for anything – now is the time. And that is my Thought Provoking Prospective…
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We as African Americans understand, as Richard Pryor famously said, when it comes to justice what we find is JUST-US! This statement could not be more profound today as it relates to some of the news stories that involve African Americans, namely the recent murder of the young child Trayvon Martin.
Frankly, this case takes me back nearly sixty-years when another young black child was murdered where the culprits did not receive due justice. I wonder if the story would be different if the victim was white and the shooter was black. I think we know the answer to that!!!
But I read a piece today written by Mr. Jonathan Capehart and like him I had the same questions that he asked in this article. First, he asked, what was Zimmerman’s relationship with the Sanford, Fla., police department? Then he asked why was Zimmerman portrayed as a volunteer neighborhood watch captain when he was not part of a registered neighborhood watch program? Further he asked, did the Sanford Police Department ever warn him about his activities in this unofficial capacity?
When you consider that Zimmerman was known to have placed, as it was reported, 46 calls to that department between Jan. 1, 2011, and the Feb. 26 shooting; did the Sanford police have specific orders on how to deal with him? Did they have a file on him? Did they have him on any kind of special watch list?
To these questions, the Police Chief said, “we don’t have the grounds to arrest him.” Yet, Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense was sufficient justification to not arrest him. My next question was why did Chief Lee accept Zimmerman’s self-defense plea on its face? Did the police run a background check on Zimmerman? Did his previous arrest, for resisting arrest without violence, raise any red flags with police? Did Lee attempt to establish probable cause? How did he go about it? Was Zimmerman tested for drugs or alcohol? If not, why not? Was Zimmerman’s gun confiscated? Was it tested? Where is that gun now?
These are all valid questions that demand answers.
Now, here are a few questions that come to mind with respect to the crime scene. What did police do with Trayvon’s body at the scene? What did police do with Trayvon’s body once taken from the scene? Why was it tested for drugs and alcohol? What did police do with Trayvon’s personal effects? Where is his cell phone? Did police try to contact Trayvon’s 16-year-old girlfriend, who was talking to him during the initial moments of the confrontation with Zimmerman and who tried several times to call him back? Hmmmm!
So as you can see there are many more questions than answers and frankly a thorough investigation would have answered these questions. Thankfully, the Department of Justice has decided to review the case to ensure that some of these questions are answered – maybe. There is such a thing as right and wrong; some things are right and some things are wrong. When you look at the aforementioned questions in this case that are unanswered – it stinks of wrong. Oh, and for sure racism!!!
There are so many more questions than answers and I pray we get them answered, and justice is served. With that said, I would suggest that you compare this to little Emmitt Till and recall the Peril’s Of Justice.
And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective!
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Mitt Romney, who the Republicans call “Him”, has a past that speaks to a matter of his soul, which I believe is the foundation of his core beliefs. Mitt spent 32 years in a religious organization that indoctrinated the idea that blacks were fundamentally cursed — by God — and that by virtue of their birth were unworthy of the highest spiritual affirmation. Being an African America and someone who believes in God this ideology is a huge problem for me.
Let me give just a brief historical background of his faith. The word Mormon most often refers to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because of their belief in the Book of Mormon, though members often refer to themselves as “Latter-day Saints” or sometimes just “Saints.”
The term has been embraced by most adherents of Mormonism, most notably the fundamentalists, while other Saints denominations, such as the Community of Christ, have rejected it. The term Latter-day Saints (LDS) was given to its founder Joseph Smith during an 1838 revelation mentioned in Doctrine and Covenants. The term “saint” was used by Paul the Apostle to refer to early members of the Christian church with “later-day” being added to differentiate the modern church from the early church.
Most people associate the Mormon religion with polygamy or sex with young girl through marriage which was a distinguishing practice of many early Mormons. However, it was renounced by the LDS Church in 1890, and now they say is discontinued. Today, polygamy is practiced only by fundamentalist groups that have broken with the LDS Church.
From the start, Mormons have tried to establish what they call Zion, a utopian society of the righteous. Mormon history can be divided into three broad time periods: (1) the early history during the lifetime of Joseph Smith, (2) a “pioneer era” under the leadership of Brigham Young and his successors, and (3) a modern era beginning around the turn of the 20th century.
Now back to the cult’s racial views. Romney was confronted during a NBC’s Meet the Press (12/07) appearance when the late Tim Russert brought up the ban on blacks and the fact that Romney was an adult before the ban was lifted. Russert pointedly asked if Romney had a problem with associating himself with an organization that was seen as racist. Romney answered, “I’m not going to distance myself in any way from my faith.”
Russert asked if Romney was willing to disavow the Church’s earlier teachings, and Romney refused — choosing instead to cite examples of how his father supported civil rights. Mitt even claimed that his father, George Romney, marched with Martin Luther King, Jr.; a statement that was later proven false and that Romney recanted.
There is “no religious test” for holding political office, but there is a moral one. As a leader in his church, a young Romney would have been compelled to teach the racist Mormon ideology to others. His curious answer to Russert affirms the belief that the church was infallible in its teachings. Romney cannot be excused of his own affiliation with an explicitly discriminatory organization without, at the very least, providing an acceptable answer.
Barack Obama was forced to disavow controversial statements by his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, during the 2008 campaign culminating in his now famous race speech. Romney cannot be given a pass especially when, unlike Obama’s situation, Romney remains in a church whose codified beliefs are sketched in proverbial stone. The priesthood ban may be gone, but the cursed text remains and is still taught as divinely inspired doctrine.
The former governor rarely discusses religion. But the recent controversy over the contraception clause of the new healthcare law and the Catholic Church’s public disagreement with the Obama administration precipitated comments from Romney that Obama was attacking freedom of religion. Romney spoke while campaigning ahead of the Michigan and Arizona primaries that he “knows a lot about being persecuted” for one’s faith.
There is a cognitive dissonance inherent in the idea that one can be a victim of religious persecution, while simultaneously adhering to a faith which does the same based on race.
It’s a complicated subject, with an equally complicated history, and though Romney may not now, or ever have held racist feelings or beliefs on a personal level, it is a public office that he seeks. And, as such, he must be compelled to offer an open and honest explanation. Frankly, with his well documented history of flip-flopping (lying) – is this the guy any American would want to be the next president of the United States.
And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…
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If you follow my blog, Thought Provoking Perspectives, and I hope you do, you know that I often write about issues concerning and pertaining to the African American Diaspora. I do so, hopefully, to empower those who either don’t know our history or have forgotten it. Therefore, in honor of Black History Month I will write a post each day on this topic that I hold dear. Let me say that I believe our history is American History and as I have said many times; “It is the Greatest Story Ever Told”.
In an earlier article someone made a comment and ask a question that, frankly, surprised me. The question was; “What do you mean when you say Jim Crow”? My first thought was, how can history so recent and one that I’ve witnessed, and know to be true, be removed from the consciousness of anyone living in America. I suppose it speaks to the indifference of what is learned today, or not, through the education system or that the system is designed to protect the system.
So in today’s post I will explain the term Jim Crow for those who don’t know! The term originated in a song performed by Daddy Rice, a white minstrel show entertainer in the 1830’s. Rice covered his face with charcoal paste or burnt cork to resemble a black man as he sang and danced a routine in the caricature of a silly black person. By the 1850’s, this cruelly belittling blackface character, one of several stereotypical images of black inferiority in America’s popular culture, was a standard act in minstrel shows of the day.
The term became synonymous with the wicked concept of segregation directed specifically toward African Americans in the late nineteenth-century. It is not clear why this term was selected. However, what is clear is that by 1900, the term was generally identified with those racist laws and actions that deprived African Americans of their civil rights by defining blacks as inferior to whites while identifying them as subordinate people.
It was around this time that its inception entered the lexicon of racial bigotry after the landmark U.S Supreme Court decision Plessy verses Ferguson in 1896 resulting from a suit brought by the New Orleans Committee of Citizens. The notion was devised as many southern states tried to thwart the efforts and gains made during Reconstruction following the Civil War.
They, the Committee of Citizens, arranged for Homer Plessy’s arrest in order to challenge Louisiana’s segregation laws. Their argument was, “We, as freemen, still believe that we were right and our cause is sacred” referring to the confederacy. The Supreme Court agreed and a policy of segregation became the law of the land lasting more than sixty years as a result of that crucial decision.
As a result of reconstruction African Americans were able to make great progress in building their own institutions, passing civil rights laws, and electing officials to public office. In response to these achievements, southern whites launched a vicious, illegal war against southern blacks and their white allies. In most places, whites carried out this war under the cover of secret organizations such as the KKK. Thousands of African Americans were killed, brutalized, and terrorized in these bloody years. I might add that anywhere south of Canada was “South” as this was the law of the land.
The federal government attempted to stop the bloodshed by sending in troops and holding investigations, but its efforts were far too limited and frankly were not intended to solve the problem. Therefore, black resistance to segregation was difficult because the system of land tenancy, known as sharecropping, left most blacks economically dependent upon planter/landlords and merchant suppliers. In addition, white terror at the hands of lynch mobs threatened all members of the black family – adults and children alike. This reality made it nearly impossible for blacks to stand up to Jim Crow laws because such actions might bring the wrath of the white mob on one’s parents, brothers, spouse, and children.
Few black families were economically well off enough to buck the local white power structure of banks, merchants, and landlords. To put it succinctly: impoverished and often illiterate southern blacks were in a weak position to confront the racist culture of Jim Crow. To enforce the new legal order of segregation, southern whites often resorted to even more brutalizing acts of mob terror, including race riots and ritualized lynchings were regularly practiced to enforce this agenda.
Some historians saw this extremely brutal and near epidemic commitment to white supremacy as breaking with the South’s more laissez-faire and paternalistic past. Others view this “new order” as a more rigid continuation of the “cult of whiteness” at work in the South since the end of the Civil War. Both perspectives agree that the 1890’s ushered in a more formally racist South and one in which white supremacists used law and mob terror to define the life and popular culture of African American people as an inferior people.
I want you to remember that words have meaning and power. Therefore, as we witness the already in progress, presidential campaign that you think about what you have heard and hear from the States Rights folks from the right-wing so-called conservatives. Those vying to become president in 2014, as well as others seeking highly placed positions, understand this tried and true principle as they speak to the so-called real Americans and those who want to take back their country because history is known and has repeated itself!
And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…
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President of JT Wills Consulting, Speaker, Author, Writer, Blogger, Professor/Teacher, Radio Host, member and past officer of several Business, Community, College Board’s, a Volunteer, and friend to many. Regardless of the worldly titles given, I prefer to be called a man.
Just a Season - A Must Read Novel © 2010
Legacy - A New Season © 2013
It’s been said that there are no words that have not been spoken and no stories that have never been told but there are some that you cannot forget! “Legacy – A New Season” is the perfect complement to that statement.
It is the sequel and the continuation of “Just a Season” and a stand-alone story rich in history on a subject rarely explained to children of this generation concerning the African American struggle.