Tag Archives: George Fraser

The Aftermath Of Integration

1I recently had a conversation with a group of young people, none of which lived during the age of government segregation. Each had strongly convoluted opinions about the era that were not based in fact. This made me think about how much the current world view has changed the reality of black life, as it relates to a historical perspective.

First, white folk never wanted it and chatted go back to Africa at the time. It was never intended to be fair or equal! I am not suggesting that integration should not have happened, but it did have a negative impact on black life and the future of African Americans in many ways. Two prominent ways were in the areas of family and black business.

One thing that happened, for sure was that the black community stopped supporting the businesses in their own communities. After segregation, African Americans flocked to support businesses owned by whites and other groups, causing black restaurants, theaters, insurance companies, banks, etc. to almost disappear. Today, black people spend 95 percent of their income at white-owned businesses. Even though the number of black firms has grown 60.5 percent between 2002 and 2007, they only make up 7 percent of all U.S firms and less than .005 percent of all U.S business receipts.

I took the opportunity to educate these young people that in 1865, just after Emancipation, 476,748 free blacks – 1.5 percent of U.S. population– owned .005 percent of the total wealth of the United States. Today, a full 135 years after the abolition of slavery, 44.5 million African Americans – 14.2 percent of the population — possess a meager 1 percent of the national wealth.

If we look at relationships from 1890 to 1950, black women married at higher rates than white women, despite a consistent shortage of black males due to their higher mortality rate. According to a report released by the Washington DC-based think tank the Urban Institute, the state of the African American family is worse today than it was in the 1960s, four years before President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act.

In 1965, only 8 percent of childbirths in the black community occurred out of wedlock. In 2010, out-of-wedlock childbirths in the black community are at an astonishing 72 percent. Researchers Heather Ross and Isabel Sawhill argue that the marital stability is directly related to the husband’s relative socio-economic standing and the size of the earnings difference between men and women.

Instead of focusing on maintaining black male employment to allow them to provide for their families, Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act with full affirmative action for women. The act benefited mostly white women and created a welfare system that encouraged the removal of the black male from the home. Many black men were also dislodged from their families and pushed into the rapidly expanding prison industrial complex that developed in the wake of rising unemployment.

Since integration, the unemployment rate of black men has been spiraling out of control. In 1954, white men had a zero percent unemployment rate, while African-American men experienced a 4 percent rate. By 2010, it was at 16.7 percent for Black men compared to 7.7 percent for white men. The workforce in 1954 was 79 percent African American. By 2011, that number had decreased to 57 percent. The number of employed black women, however, has increased. In 1954, 43 percent of African American women had jobs. By 2011, 54 percent of black women are job holders.

The Civil Rights Movement pushed for laws that would create a colorblind society, where people would not be restricted from access to education, jobs, voting, travel, public accommodations, or housing because of race. However, the legislation did nothing to eradicate white privilege. Michael K. Brown, professor of politics at University of California Santa Cruz, and co-author of“Whitewashing Race: The Myth of a Color-Blind Society” says in the U.S., “The color of one’s skin still determines success or failure, poverty or affluence, illness or health, prison or college.”

Two percent of all working African Americans work for another African American’s within their own neighborhood. Because of this, professionally trained Black people provide very little economic benefit to the black community. Whereas, prior to integration that number was significantly higher because of segregation people in the black community supported each other to sustain their lives and families.

The Black median household income is about 64 percent that of whites, while the Black median wealth is about 16 percent that of whites. Millions of Black children are being miseducated by people who don’t care about them, and they are unable to compete academically with their peers. At the same time, the criminal justice system has declared war on young Black men with policies such as “stop and frisk” and “three strikes.”

Marcus Garvey warned about this saying:

“Lagging behind in the van of civilization will not prove our higher abilities. Being subservient to the will and caprice of progressive races will not prove anything superior in us. Being satisfied to drink of the dregs from the cup of human progress will not demonstrate our fitness as a people to exist alongside of others, but when of our own initiative we strike out to build industries, governments, and ultimately empires, then and only then will we as a race prove to our Creator and to man in general that we are fit to survive and capable of shaping our own destiny.”

Maybe this proves that once past truths are forgotten, and the myths that are lies are born with an unfounded reality detrimental to all, but those who seek to benefit. As I have often said, “I firmly believe education is the single most important ingredient necessary to neutralize those forces that breed poverty and despair. We can change the world but first, we must change ourselves.” And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

Twitter @JohnTWills

Source: Black Atlanta Star


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…


Peace, Love, and Soul

2I wonder how many people realize how much Soul Train meant to our community and what it did for the African American pride. Let’s remember the show appeared less than a decade after society barred “collared music” from being heard on must media through a segregated program called “Race Music”.

So much of what is written on the pages of time is skewed or simply altered to fit His-Story. I have said many times “our story is the greatest story ever told”. We, as a people, have had the fortitude to make something out of nothing. Yes, and I know that is an understatement – but it is true. Through this writing, I want to pay homage to Don Cornelius who made something possible at a time when it was impossible.

I left for Vietnam in 1969. At that time, representation on television as it related to African American’s was basically nonexistent. Of course, there was the baboonery and unrealistic representations of who they wanted us to be or appear to the world. When I returned, a year and a half later, changed as a young man as well as the world I left behind. Thanks in large part to Mr. Soul Train. From the time of my return until the show ended, I devoted nearly every Saturday afternoon to viewing “Soul Train”.

The host of this groundbreaking show was a tall always stylishly dress host in the latest fashion; at least for the time. That man was Don Cornelius an enigmatic mélange of ambition, vision and begrudging affection, who like most old school show biz impresarios. African American’s knew that his rival American Bandstand did very little for the artist or our community at that time. Mr. Cornelius had the vision to create the hippest trip on television and dare I say in America.

Sadly the Soul Train creator ended his own life on February 1, 2012 with a single self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head that I would reverberated around the world. Mr. Soul Train was not just a great American story of triumph over travail; he was a hallowed symbol to the African American community.

He used his platform to change the world through its outstanding reflections of our pride and talent. The news of his suicide on the first day of Black History Month was a jarring way to enter a month-long celebration of the contributions of African Americas to the vitality and veracity of this nation and the world.

His mission was to shine a light, a bright light, on the African American culture through great music and to showcase the performers who in many cases had no other national platform. This included the known, unknown, and obscure literally making stars of them overnight. Soul Train was the powerful vehicle, and it became the longest running syndicated show on television, a black history fact to remember.

Watching Soul Train made you instantly cool, no matter if you were black, white or otherwise. Where else could you learn the latest dances, hippest fashions, and the next best way to rock that Afro and what products you had to have to keep it looking good? The legendary Soul Train Line was essential viewing. Can you remember those parties you attend on Saturday night’s after watching the show where you used the moves to do your own Soul Train line? It could be said that it raised your “Cool IQ”. Soul Train was a window into a world rarely seen by the world.

Mr. Cornelius stepped down as the host of Soul Train in 1993, but the show continued with a series of new hosts who continued his vision, inculcating a new generation of Soul Train devotees. Soul Train remained the hippest trip in American until it went off the air in 2006.

When Mr. Cornelius signed off on February 1, 2012, it was a tragic end to a long running iconic figure in American music. His contributions will never be forgotten or matched and his legacy will last – I wish him love, peace and soul. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Take Care Of Home

22Every now and then, I have something to say about politics. This political opinion is about something that caused me to want rant a little. Let me say from “jump” that I don’t know much about everything, maybe a little about some things, or not much about a lot of things, but I think I do have some common sense.

African American’s have experienced suffering and the most extreme torment of any people in this country’s sorted history. Even our president has been maligned, compared to Hitler, and recently called a “sub-human Mongrel”, which tell you that, as the Constitution says, Negro’s continue to be viewed as 3/5th human or less than.

Aside from the so-called patriot’s vitriol directed at our president, over the past week or so, we have been told that America is in ‘Crisis”. Yes, and America’s approach to solving it is to send a billion dollars to help the people in Kiev, Ukraine to save the people of that nation. I am no longer dismayed when America can find any amount of money in an instant to send anywhere on earth but not places like Detroit, the Bronx, South Central, Houston, Chicago, or any other place minorities reside often called a “hood”. Maybe it’s because a hood, as the word indicate, is a place that is hidden view.

It’s sorta like that word “Recession” in the sense that as long as I can remember black people were in such a depleted state of economics. Then someone gave it a gentler sounding name when people other than us endure our kind of economic hardships. With that being said, the Republicans, in particular, want to take away all of the safety net programs designed to help the American people. Yet, there is a billion dollars laying around just waiting to help someone somewhere, but it’s just not us!

This speaks to how hypocritical the position America has taken. Frankly, it’s an Oxymoron. Kerry said the Russians are crossing the borders of a sovereign nation to invade this country. He went to say his mission was to protect the ethnic minorities of that country. What would they call African Americans and the poor who live in America?

“LAW AND ORDER THEME”!

Does anybody remember what the Bush Administration did a decade ago in the Middle East? What America did there was based on a lie, cost more than a trillion dollars, thousands of lives, and we are still in those countries. Isn’t that like invading a another country. Actually, two countries! So it begs the question, why is the government involved in this situation? The next question, why are the Neo-Con’s beating the drum for another war?

A Senator said of this crisis that America is no longer feared as the most powerful military in the world. If it was so feared, it seems to me that China and Russia never thought so. If what the senator said was true about America being so feared; please tell me who the military has defeated? Let’s see, hmmm, Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea; need I continue!

Let’s be clear, it has nothing to do with physical fear but everything to do with the “who, what, when, where, and how much” can be gained by a select few.  The last thing I want to say, people talk about revolution. Remember that the revolution must first take place in the mind not in the man.

This is a call to consciousnesses! Right now might be a good time to stand up and say to the elected officials that they MUST take care of home! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Beaten for Being Black: A Reward For His Service

Keith pic 2Ladies and Gentlemen, there are times when one of my friends makes me aware of a cause or injustice they’d like to share on Thought Provoking Perspective. This case/situation/event happens all too often to people of color but when it happens to a service man in the military for no apparent reason and by law enforcement it should make us just as concerned as the deaths of Martin and Davis, because it can happen to you too.

Beaten for Being Black: A Reward For Service To His Country
As Reported by Nicole Fa’Lon Garrett

“Serve and protect” seems to have become the new “Catch a Nigger, Lynch a Nigger” as was the case in the years we’d hope was long past. From coast to coast, in this “great land” it is ALWAYS open season on Black men. The days may be gone where whites castrated and hung Black men from trees. But whites will shoot an unarmed Black man and not even plant a gun on him. Whites will tie a Black man to the back of a truck and drag him for miles. Or they’ll just beat the Black man until he stops moving hoping that he never rises again.

Keith Wood is a 25 year old father of two who has dedicated his service to this country by joining the army in order to ensure that all of our God given liberties are preserved.

At approximately 2 am on February 23, 2014, Wood, along with 3 other friends, was walking to the parking structure after leaving a concert at Club Chaos in El Paso, Texas. A group of 12-15 El Paso police officers began following them and one of the officers noticed Wood’s Chicago hat and commented, “You’re from Chicago? I hear you Chicago boys think you’re tough.”

Wood respectfully informed the police officers that he was from Chicago, in Texas serving in the military, and was simply trying to go home to his family. Sensing that the officers were obviously out for blood, Wood dialed 911 for assistance. That was when he received the first blow to the back.

At this point, the officers began viciously kicking and beating him with their nightsticks. Wood loss consciousness three times while being repeatedly hit in the head, face, and back by punches and night sticks.

The officers snatched his earrings out of his ears, his chain off his neck, and dragged his Chicago hat through the dirt. Can you imaging being beaten by several officers with nightsticks? How many other young Black men have already suffered this fate?

Wood was not being disrespectful, loud and ignorant, or obnoxious. As a matter of fact, he wasn’t even facing the officers when they struck him. Wood was taken into custody for public intoxication although he was not drunk. He was released without any charges. But he was left to live with the scars of the injustices that Black men must endure in America. Viciously beaten for being born Black.

Keith pic 1Wood has bruises all over his face and body, has chronic headaches, and a contusion. He has been treated by the military doctors three times and has missed work due to the pain. But his biggest wound is to his spirit. Even as he serves his country to secure our liberties, white men in America still see him as just another nigger. Looks like we need to create a task force to protect the liberties of the Black man in America because their liberties are at the floor of the Atlantic Ocean.

Wood has requested a copy of the police report, but has not received it yet, so he does not know the officers names who were involved in this brutal, unprovoked attack.  The officer who struck the first blow to the back was Badge Number xxxx. Another officer wore Badge Number xxxx.

Emmett Till was lynched almost 60 years ago in 1955. But the more things change, the more they stay the same. From the Jordan Davis’ to the Trayvon Martin’s, Black males in America are fair game for anyone who wants to “serve and protect” which is only the new version of “catch a nigger, lynch a nigger.”

How old will your son be before he gets his first blow with a night stick or pistol whipped with a gun? And will your Black male child live to tell about it?

2

The information was provided by Nicole Fa’Lon Garrett, author of Double Dippin’, born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s in English from the University of Iowa and Chicago State University respectively. She currently lives in Los Angeles, California where she is a high school English teacher.


Look Into Your Heart

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I had a conversation with a friend over the weekend, where in its conclusion I asked her “to look into a mirror and ask yourself: “Who am I?” This is important because she had no clue as to what life is all about. I suggested that if she were honest she might see a person that is the representative of her life. Let me explain, she was telling me that she loves God, who she has never seen, yet she do not love the man before her who you she can see. All the while, like any good Christian, claims and said she loves God. So I ask how?

I began to think about some, we all have prejudices that you were either taught or came to know they exist within us base upon our experiences. White people in most cases are prejudice against blacks and everyone else. Blacks are prejudice against whites, and blacks. Moreover, every nation on the face of the earth had a prejudice against someone mainly because they are different in some form. I am going to suggest that religion may well cause some of this.

The Bible says, “There will be wars and rumors of wars”. This is very interesting because this speaks to the interest of those who have a vested interest in things they may not understand. I am going to be more specific and relate this to Pharaoh in the sense that he was the entity that was in control of man; then came Mosses with a mission to set his people free with the pledge of leading them to the Promised Land, by the way, has yet to be achieved.

If you think about this and understand that your enemies have invested in your soul, which is a tried and true principle of divide and conquer. I say this specifically to address the issues that exist between the African American male and female. God created us (man and woman) to join in a union to live and to create life in order to continue the species. Now, how is it that we have lost this simple understanding designed by our creator? The war against us is against all of us and the reality of life.

Our hope rests within us – not in what is inserted into us by the enemy. So black women, you’ve been had, hoodwinked, when you distance yourself for the black man. There is a biblical passage that says “you will reap what you sow”. You have a covenant with the black man by virtue of your birth – your children need him and so do you.

Black men, you too must be that man you were created to be. The children you create – need you and their mothers need you. Being black means nothing to anyone but us – I say it’s time to mean something to each other. I will not judge – just saying! While I will remind you that scripture says, “Judge not lest you be in danger of being judged”. The ghosts of the greats who sacrificed their lives for you are watching!

It is time for you/me/us to think differently and make a change – and the time is now! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective on this day of resurrection…

http://johntwills.com


Tis’ The Season

rip

I have re-posted this piece every year for the past ten years to share my pain for the loss of my son. I know we are born to die but as each Christmas comes and goes I miss his presence. During this season, we rejoice with great celebration for Christmas is the day Christ our savior was born. Rarely do I share much of my personal being but in this post I want to pour my heart out because this is neither my favorite season nor one that I look forward to anymore. It is not due to a lack of faith or my strong conviction and belief in someone greater than I; whom I call chose to call God. Rather, it is due to this event that will forever pain my heart.

Every year as the holiday season comes upon us I have to relive a dreadful horror. So I ask that you please forgive any tears that may stain the pages as I write. If you have experienced the greatest love of all and lost it. I know you feel my pain. Therefore, I will use this writing to express my feelings and pay homage to my late son – who I miss very much. I am blessed in that he left me a wonderful grandson who I cherish more than life itself.

It’s been some time since God called my only son home to be with him, and the pain of his absence does not go away. No parent should have to bury a child, let alone the only child they’ve been blessed to have. It just doesn’t seem right for a child to go before a parent, but this is not something that is unique to me. I know from scripture that others have endured such pain since time began. Able died before Adam and Eve and John the Baptist died preceding his parents. We also know for certain that Jesus died before Mary because she witnessed his crucifixion, and how painful that must have been.

It was a dreadful dreary cold day about ten years ago, early in the morning, when I lost my Rashad due to a tragic automobile accident. It was without question the worst thing imaginable and most certainly my darkest hour. This pain never seems to subside, and I will tell you during each Christmas season it is still painful. Adding to the sadness of this situation his death occurred on New Year’s Eve and on the morning of his son’s first birthday as we were preparing a birthday party for my grandson.

This brings to mind words from scripture. Actually, it is a question I was asked a long time ago. “Why Jesus wept?” As the story goes, Jesus was so moved as he witnessed the pain of Mary and Martha weeping for the loss of his dear friend, Lazarus, that he also wept. Today, I understand that emotion because I have felt such pain. I wrote a few books which might very well explain why I was chosen as the vehicle to share such a powerful story within those pages that will surely live far beyond the season I’ve been given.

From this nightmare, I have come to understand that adversity can either destroy or develop you. Unless and until you have suffered enough pain, then and only then, will you reach deep inside and feel the breath that God has breathed into your soul coming eye to eye with your destiny. Now, having said that, my salvation was to take this lemon (for lack of a better word) and make lemonade. What I have learned from this tragedy is that there is a definition of service that is not written in Webster’s Dictionary that says “I can heal by giving of myself to the benefit of others.”

In spite of this never before known pain that resides permanently within my soul I am very grateful God saw fit to bless me with a wonderful grandson whose name is Elijah. So as each year passes and Elijah resembles my son more and more the pain eases and the season becomes more bearable. I pray that my son is rejoicing in the bosom of our Lord knowing that I am here for his son in his stead. I am looking forward to the day when I see him again so we can walk around haven all day reveling in wonders of God’s kingdom.

The tears are flowing uncontrollably now. So I will close by saying to anyone experiencing adversity whether it is from health, financial issues or the pain of missing a loved one. I offer my deepest sympathy to you, particularly those who have joined this unwelcomed fraternity of losing a child. The Christmas holiday season and welcoming the New Year will never be the same.

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever… believes in me will never die.” John 11:25-26

And that is my Thought Provoking Perspective…

 R.I.P.

“RASHAD ALI WILLS”

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