Tag Archives: experience

RACISM: Perception Or Reality

faceHave you asked yourself “What is Racism?” Webster says it is a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities, and racial differences that produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. This does not adequately explain or represent the reality of what we’re witnessing in today’s political and social environments.

I believe racism is a misunderstood psychology and yes there is a psychology to racism, which is where the confusion exists. Therefore, it appears that racial prejudice or discrimination, which is a prejudicial outlook, action, or treatment is somehow believed to be directed toward the people of the dominate race.

The legacy of dependency, apathy, and entrenchment of the American social order from the beginning provides clear evidence of its diabolical intent to bankrupt the souls of African Americans based on an ideology of supremacy. We are the descendants of the stolen souls who bear the burden of a system that perpetrated, in the name of God, the greatest crime known to man. Hence, from the beginning, people of African descent were intended to be a nation of people living within a nation without a nationality.

~ “Law and Order” theme music plays ~

I read an article sometime ago, “When Racists Speak Their Unspoken Truths” by Anthony Asadullah Samad, Ph.D., who made a statement that speaks loudly to this issue.

“It’s what racists claimed for 235 years that American society is about rights (mainly theirs, everybody else’s can be stepped on) and not about race. It’s why racists wore hoods and sheets in public, and why their powerful societies that controlled political and economic affairs were always secret. The less you know about what they think, the less you can respond to how they think, even though the social, political and economic outcomes will tell you what they think.” It seems that those who claim racism are active participants in the continuance of this ideology and (in their minds) think they are now subjected to it.

I think we should understand the sub-text of what we are seeing today, at least from a power and political perspective. It is a strategic effort to contain and marginalize a black President, which is consistent with the Republican Party’s objective of marginalizing minorities and women. Now just like back in the days of segregation, its staunchest supporters were Southerners, Mid-Westerners and poor whites, and people now of that mindset remain.

This intolerance or behavior was never unlearned and have been passed down from generation to generation. Over my relatively short lifetime, I have been referred to as Colored, Negro, Afro-American, Black, African American, and worst. All were polite terms assigned to make known that people of color were not American citizens. Remember the statement etched in the country’s blueprint that says clearly people of color are “3/5 a man” and did not mention women at all.

The concept of African Americans being slaves, physically or mentally, is as old as the nation itself, designed to deprive a people of its culture and knowledge through sustained policies of control. This is to include the age old practice that has been very effective, “divide and conquer” because this form of thinking has one purpose. Therefore, when you look at what we have experienced and what they imply relating to this new phenomenon is as far apart as the vastness of the universe. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Please Mr. President

1549544_10201525536561628_1876359458_nI 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…

#IfTheyGunnedMeDown


Tricky Dick

3There has been a lot of talk about Richard M. Nixon, AKA Tricky Dick, as we remember the upcoming anniversary of his resignation for crimes committed during his presidency. I remember that time well and thought his six years in the White House was pivotal in American military, diplomatic, and political history. Let me be clear, based upon my recollection of that time and the tremendous amount of information released since he resigned to avoid impeachment and possibly prison was that he was a crook. Plain and simple!

Nixon’s presidency was for Nixon – not America, which is why it was cut short by Watergate and his many crimes. Nixon was no doubt “complex” and often “contradictory”. Some scholars view him as liberal, others as moderate, and many more say conservative; all can find ample evidence for each label and conclusive evidence for none of them. As President, Nixon was only as conservative as he could be and only as liberal as he had to be. This was a President, who meant to move the country to the right, and he did. Maybe this is why his personality caused him to be a transitional political figure.

Nixon’s most-celebrated achievements as President was the nuclear arms control agreements with the Soviet Union and the diplomatic opening to China that set the stage for the arms reduction pacts and careful diplomacy that brought about the end of the Cold War. Likewise, the Nixon Doctrine of furnishing aid to allies while expecting them to provide the soldiers to fight in their own defense paved the way for the Reagan Doctrine of supporting proxy armies and the Weinberger Doctrine of sending U.S. armed forces into combat only as a last resort when vital national interests are at stake and objectives clearly defined.

While his slow withdrawal from Vietnam appeared to be a practical application of the Nixon Doctrine, his secretly recorded White House tapes reveal that he expected South Vietnam to collapse after he brought American troops home and prolonged the war to postpone that collapse until after his reelection in 1972.

The Nixon years witnessed the first large-scale integration of public schools in the South. Nixon sought a middle way between the segregationist Wallace and liberal Democrats, whose support of integration was alienating some Southern whites. His hope in doing this was doing well in the South in 1972; he sought to dispose of desegregation as a political issue before then. Soon after his inauguration, he appointed Vice President Agnew to lead a task force, which worked with local leaders, both white and black, to determine how to integrate local schools. This became known of his “Southern Strategy.”

By September 1970, less than ten percent of black children were attending segregated schools. By 1971, however, tensions over desegregation surfaced in Northern cities, with angry protests over the busing of children to schools outside their neighborhood to achieve racial balance. Nixon opposed busing personally but enforced court orders requiring its use. In addition to desegregating public schools, Nixon implemented the Philadelphia Plan in 1970; the first significant federal affirmative action program. He also endorsed the Equal Rights after it passed both houses of Congress in 1972 and went to the states for ratification.

In light of his loss of political support and the near-certainty of impeachment, Nixon resigned the office of the presidency on August 9, 1974, after addressing the nation on television the previous evening. The resignation speech was delivered from the Oval Office and was carried live on radio and television. Nixon stated that he was resigning for the good of the country and asked the nation to support the new president, Gerald Ford. Ford was conveniently chosen as his replacement to pardon him for his crimes, meaning “he got away” with all crimes.

His downfall was the result of the Watergate break-in and the tapes recorded by Trick Dick himself. He said, I have succeeded and sometimes I have failed, while famously saying “I am not a crook.” Nixon’s speech received, generally, favorable initial responses. However, it was an unprecedented humiliation as he was the first American president to resign the office.

Ultimately, the White House tapes did shape the assessment of Nixon’s impact and legacy. They ended his presidency by furnishing proof of his involvement in the Watergate cover-up, fueled a generation’s skepticism about political leaders, and today provide ample evidence of the political calculation behind the most important decisions of his presidency. They make his presidency an object lesson in the difference between image and reality, a lesson that each generation must learn anew.

In my opinion, his worst crime and shameful legacy was his initiation of the “War on Drugs” that was the beginning of the mass incarceration of black people. Frankly, his presidency is responsible for the prison industrial complex that has destroyed millions of lives and families. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Brownsville: Georgetown In Washington DC

2As you travel with me on this journey exploring the rich history of those African American communities that have become little more than footnotes in the annals of time. These segregated communities were the result of an unholy system imposed upon people of color commonly referred to as “Jim Crow” and every city or town in America had such a place.

This leads me to the next examination of a “Brownsville” – Georgetown in Washington DC. The entire world knows that DC is the capital of the free world with its avenues of grand marble structures that are more or less a crystallization of magnificence for tourist to admire. These magnificent architectural marvels are symbols of the power associated with America’s wealth. This area downtown is known as the Federal Triangle because it is an area established for federal government entities.

However, there is a hidden Washington that some have called a tale of two cities. Just blocks for these symbols of opulence live the disenfranchised, downtrodden, and neighborhoods of the forgotten. Prior to 1967, the city was run by and under federal control, which is why it is called a District – i.e., the District of Columbia. It was President Johnson who appointed Walter Washington, an African American, as the city’s first ever Mayor-Commissioner in an effort that came to be known as home rule.

The city has always been predominately African American with no real authority over its direction. The “District” as many locals call it was at that time a sleepy southern town not much different from any town in South Carolina or Mississippi as far as African Americans were concern. It was run by Dixiecrats to this point, and the Dixiecrats were worst than what we know today a Conservatives or Republicans. What you may not know, even today Washington has no voting representing in Congress making the capital of the free world, which is basically a plantation.

Washington has many African American enclaves that have long storied histories, but did you know Georgetown, one of Washington’s most renowned upscale communities, was once one of them. It is probably best known today as the home of Georgetown University and its championship basketball teams coached by the legendary John Thompson, and now by his son, or the many luminous sports figures produced by the institution. You may also know Georgetown because of its world-renowned nightlife, shopping or maybe a place home to famous people. One of its most famous residents was a young John Kennedy and his new bride Jackie, who called Georgetown home prior to moving into the White House.

It is also worth mentioning that many notable African American figures resided in communities around town such as the great orator Fredrick Douglass, who owned a home in Anacostia. Carter G. Woodson the creator of the concept “Black History Month” also owned a home in the city. These great men and all prominent African American politicians, artists, entrepreneurs, scholars, athletes and socialites were relegated to live in a town divided by the harsh separate but equal laws of the day.

Georgetown began as a Maryland tobacco port on the banks of the Potomac River in 1751. When Congress created the District of Columbia to be the nation’s capital in 1791, its 10-mile square boundaries were drawn to include this port town, as well as a very similar Virginia tobacco port of Alexandria just across the river. Alexandria was given back to Virginia in 1846, but Georgetown remains as one of Washington’s most lively urban neighborhoods.

Georgetown historically had a large African American population, including both slaves and free blacks. Slave labor was widely used in the construction of new buildings in Washington just as they were used to provide labor on tobacco plantations in Maryland and Virginia. Let me be very clear, slaves and their labor was the workforce that built the White House, Capital, and most of the grand marble structures of opulence.

Georgetown was also a major slave trading depot that dates back as early as 1760, when John Beattie established his business on O Street and conducted business at other locations called “pens” around Wisconsin Avenue and M Street; with both locations being just a short distance from the White House. Slave trading continued until the mid-19th century, when it was ended on April 16, 1862. Many former slaves moved to Georgetown following their freedom establishing this thriving community.

When African American’s settled in Georgetown the free men established the Mount Zion United Methodist Church that remains today, which is the oldest African American congregation in Washington. This feat due to their strong religious convictions was a testament to their fortitude after experiencing the horrors of slavery. Mount Zion also provided a cemetery for free burials to Washington’s earlier African American population. Prior to establishing the church, free blacks and slaves went to the Dumbarton Methodist Church where they were restricted to hot, overcrowded balcony.

I’m sure a sense of extreme prided was evident in Washington at the time because it became the home of Howard University. Although not in Georgetown, this preeminent university was established for Blacks in 1867 with the aid of the Freedmen’s Bureau. It was named for the commissioner of the Freedmen’s Bureau, General Oliver Otis Howard. The Freedmen’s Bureau was intended to help solve everyday problems of the newly freed slaves, but its most widely recognized achievement was its accomplishments in the area of education. Prior to the Civil War, no southern state had a system of universal, state-supported public education for “Coloreds” but Washington now had an advanced school of learning.

In the early twentieth century, new construction of large apartment buildings began on the edge of Georgetown. The eyes of the elite became trained on the area. John Ihlder led efforts to take advantage of new zoning laws to get restrictions enacted on construction in Georgetown. However, legislators largely ignored concerns about the historic preservation of Georgetown until 1950, when Public Law 808 was passed establishing the historic district of “Old Georgetown.” The law required the United States Commission of Fine Arts to be consulted on any alteration, demolition, or building construction within the historic district. As you can imagine, this proper and official sounding solution was not designed to benefit the African American citizens living in Georgetown.

Georgetown began to emerge as a fashion and cultural center of the newly identified community. While many “old families” stayed in Georgetown, the neighborhood’s population became poorer and more racially diverse; its demographics started to shift as a wave of new post-war residents arrived, many politically savvy, well-educated, and people from elite backgrounds took a keen interest in the neighborhood’s historic nature for their own benefit. It was during this time that the Citizens Association of Georgetown was formed. It is my understanding that the Old Georgetown Act was really a polite, or maybe not so polite, way of saying gentrification.

I am not implying nor suggesting that the Act was designed to remove African American’s and poor residences from the community (wink), but it did create an environment where people of low to moderate income could no longer afford to live there. High-end developments and gentrification have revitalized the formally African American neighborhood and what was viewed as a blighted industrial waterfront.

Some say what happened in simple terms, according to the thinking of the day; someone decided to trade a penny for a pound, and very effectively. In other words gentrification!!! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Watergate: Government Exposed

Its been over forty-years since the crime of the century. So much time has passed and like most of America’s faults are removed from the minds of its people. Most have forgotten the word “Watergate”, let alone know what the significant importance of it. I will admit after my return from war and living through that horrible ordeal I was disenchanted with our government’s policies. I suffered wounds from that conflict that was unjust on so many levels. First, the war began under false pretenses, it was a killing field for black and poor soldiers, and caused the slaughter of millions needlessly.

Then something happened that caused me to believe true that “Tricky Dick” was a crook. It happened on June 16, 1972, when Frank Wills was working as a security guard at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. The astute security guard discovered a piece of tape on the lock of the door that led to the National Democratic Headquarters. Assuming something was amiss, he alerted the police.

This foiled a break-in attempt at the Watergate Hotel resulting in the scandal that was part of a larger campaign by Nixon supporters to tarnish the reputation of Democratic candidates and the Democratic Party. At the time, Democratic candidates were harassed, subject to negative campaign ads, and on two separate occasions the National Democratic Headquarters were broken into.

As soon as the attempted break-in at Watergate Hotel became known, President Richard Nixon, AKA “Trick Dick”, ordered the entire affair covered up. It became clear that the Nixon presidency had been involved in serious manipulation and abuses of power for years. Millions of dollars coming from Nixon supporters were used to pay for the cover-up in an attempt to hide the truth from Congress and the American people.

The investigation would introduce the American people to such people as John Ehrlichman and Bob Haldeman. Ehrlichman was the President and Chief of the Domestic Council and Haldeman was the Chief of Staff. Both would be fired in a desperate attempt to save Nixon presidency. The investigation would ask two questions which would forever live in political infamy. The questions were, “What did the president know?” and “When did he know it?”

The investigation into Watergate scandal revealed that Nixon knew about the break-in from the beginning and that he was involved in the cover-up as it progressed. In the early stages of the Watergate scandal most of the media reported the break-in as a minor story with little national significance. This was until two young reporters, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward who were working for the Washington Post began to dig deeper into the mystery.

Aided by an informant identified as “Deep Throat”, Woodward and Bernstein uncovered one of the most significant stories of the twentieth century. They became the catalyst in forcing the first presidential resignation in American history. As the Watergate scandal investigation began testimony revealed that there was a taping system which was installed to record conversations in the Oval Office, Camp David, the Cabinet rooms, and Nixon’s hideaway office.

Nixon argued that the tapes contained only private conversations between the president and his advisors. The Supreme Court did not agree. The court ordered the president to release the tapes. The Nixon tapes were released in the 1970’s and contained 18 minutes of silence that have never been explained. In mid-1974, the House of Representatives approved the articles of impeachment against President Nixon.

Article I: Obstruction of justice;

Article II: Abuse of power; 

Article III: Defiance of committee subpoena.

On August 8, 1974, Richard Nixon announced to the American people that he no longer had a political base strong enough to support his remaining time in office and resigned the presidency. We will all remember Nixon’s famous words “I am not a Crook”!

In 1996, 200 new hours of tape were released in the lawsuit of historian Stanley I. Kutler. The new tapes revealed that Nixon was intimately involved both before and after Watergate in abuses of power. A taped conversation on June 23, 1972, proved that Nixon and Haldeman talked about using the CIA to thwart the FBI investigation into the Watergate scandal cover-up.

Once Nixon resigned his Vice President Gerald Ford pardoned him and the crook never was charge or paid for his crime. Money and power is a very dangerous mixture. As you know power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, particularly when you are a crook to start with. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…


The Insanity Of WAR

11I can recall not too long ago, there was a tiny little place in Southeast Asia called Vietnam. When I was there we called it the land of the little people. They were not much more than poor rice farmers, not a mighty army or even a strong political force to any degree. Yet, they were able to defeat the mightiest nation on the planet. America told the American people we need to go there to support then to save democracy, because we had to fight Communism! Well, history tells us how well that worked out.

Millions of people died and were maimed; trillions of dollars were spent in this effort constructed on false pretences. They said this little nation attacked an American ship in the Gulf of Tonkin, which never happened but it was used to get America involved. This war lasted for more than a decade and left with no accolades. In fact, it was not a victory! We saw a similar action in the fifties in a little place called Korea!

Let’s look at today’s industrial military projects. Bush and company took put American in two wars about a decade or so. They told American people it was necessary to defend the “homeland” against terrorism. The Bush wars were also sold based on false pretenses, some say a downright lie. Wars have traditionally been fought for religion reasons in the name of God and of course land has been a reason. It is hard to determine if either of these reasons were the cause of these current wars. Yes, religion is part of it – land, not so much but this war is about what’s in the ground. So I suppose, it is not too far from the script.

In Vietnam, when American left; the enemy took over the entire country in about a week. In Iraq, about 800 ISIS forces took nearly half the country in a week. Not only that but these same 800 men caused 30,000 Iraqis troops to surrender and run away. Does this sound similar?

What is lost, however, is that the Politicians have yet to learn two things: [1] you cannot impose freedom upon people who don’t want it or know what it is and [2] they have not learned to mind their own business and stay out of the affairs of others. Particularly, when American has more than its share of problems here at home!

During the Vietnam War there was a draft, where you were force to go off to your death. This time we have what’s called an all volunteer army, which mean they convince men and women to volunteer to go off to be maimed and die. In Vietnam, most of the soldiers were black and poor. In this war, they are still poor, by and large, however, they are mostly white. Vietnam was about money and so is this war.

Bottom line is this: war is about money and has nothing to do with freedom! If you ask, what is war good for; the answer is nothing – absolutely nothing! What I think we can conclude is that these people who involve America in such conflicts cannot walk a chew gum at the same time because history has shown their way has not worked because not one war has been won in a half a century. Now, they got rich.

It is also important to note that most often these men who start wars have never been to war, which makes it easy to start one. Also, their loved ones and children never fight or die. Maybe a fair draft system might cause the war hawks to think more carefully if the new their children might suffer as a result. This is just a short reflection into the realm of sanity, or at least common sense. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Body Found May Be Teleka Patrick

122Police have not yet officially identified the body pulled Sunday morning from Lake Charles near the town of Porter, according to a release from the Indiana State Police. However, Patrick’s mother told 24 Hour News 8 over the phone on Sunday afternoon that it was Patrick’s body.

After Patrick’s mother’s call, another family member called back and said they were waiting for confirmation of the body’s identity, which they had not yet received. They then sent this statement:

“Our family was informed that a body was found that may be our daughter Teleka Patrick. We are waiting for official confirmation from the Kalamazoo Sheriff’s Department and have no comment at this time. Thank you for your continued prayers-we ask that you respect our privacy at this difficult time.”

Chuck Harris, the Porter County coroner, told 24 Hour News 8 Sunday that no positive identity had been made on the body, which he confirmed was that of an African-American female. Harris said he’s not certain how long the body has been in the lake. Due to its decomposition, he said, fingerprints or dental records will have to be used to confirm an identity. He said there were not any obvious signs of trauma to the body. An autopsy is scheduled for the beginning of the week, he said, possibly on Tuesday.

A man fishing on Lake Charles noticed something suspicious floating in the water around 7:10 a.m. Sunday, the release from Indiana State Police says. He called police. Area residents said they woke Sunday morning to find a fleet of emergency vehicles around the lake. The Indiana State police SCUBA team and Porter Fire and Rescue responded to the scene and pulled the body of a female dressed in dark clothing from the water, the release said.

Harris, the coroner, said he was called to the scene at 9:21 a.m. He also said the woman was wearing dark pants and a dark top. Patrick, 30, was last seen the evening of Dec. 5, 2013 in the parking lot of Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo. Her car was found later that night off I-94 near Porter, less than a mile away from Lake Charles. Lake Charles is separated from the highway by a waist-high barbed wire fence.

Authorities searched Lake Charles in January when it was still frozen over, but that search did not reveal anything related to Patrick’s case. Last week, authorities also conducted a land search near where Patrick’s car was found. That search was also fruitless. Besides those searches, Harris said, there is nothing at this time to link the body to Patrick.

In a Sunday release, the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department said it would not immediately have any comment.

Western Michigan University’s medical school released this statement Sunday evening:

“Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine was notified earlier today that a body matching the description of Dr. Teleka Patrick, a first year resident in our psychiatry residency program, has been found.  We are awaiting the results of an official confirmation from authorities and offer our sincerest condolences and prayers to Teleka’s family during this difficult time.”


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