Tag Archives: Nelson Mandela

The Loss Of A Giant

09We received the heartbreaking news today that we’ve lost a giant. Amiri Baraka whose government name was Everett LeRoi Jones a native of Newark, New Jersey died today at the age of 79. After developing an interest in poetry and jazz in high school, Baraka attended Howard University, where he changed his name to LeRoi James. He earned his degree in English in 1954, and then joined the United States Air Force. After three years of service, Baraka received a dishonorable discharge for owning inappropriate texts.

In 1965, he became involved in the Black Nationalist poetry and literature scenes. Baraka then moved to Manhattan, where, in addition to attending Columbia University and The New School, he became a prominent artist in the Greenwich Village scene and befriended Beat poets such as Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. He published their and other poets’ work in the newly founded Totem Press.

In 1961, Baraka published his first major collection of poetry, Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note. His 1964 play, The Dutchman, which addressed racial tensions and American blacks’ repressed hostility toward whites, gained him fame and acclaim.

09After a trip to Cuba, Baraka disassociated with the apolitical Beat movement in favor of addressing racial politics. The assassination of Malcolm X was a turning point in his life. Afterward, he disavowed his old life, including his marriage to Hettie Cohen and changed his name to Amiri Baraka. He became a black nationalist, moved to Harlem and founded the Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School. The company dissolved after a few months, however, and Bakara moved back to Newark and founded the Spirit House Players.

Baraka fully immersed himself in Newark, becoming a leader of the city’s African-American community. In 1968, Baraka became a Muslim and added the prefix Imamu, meaning “spiritual leader,” to his name. In 1974, however, he dropped the prefix, identifying as a Marxist.

Baraka is known for his aggressive, incendiary style. His writing is controversial and has often polarized readers. His poem “Somebody Blew up America,” a response to the attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001, was criticized for being anti-Semitic. His position as New Jersey’s poet laureate was stripped as a result of public outcry against the poem.

2A prolific writer, Baraka has penned more than 50 books, including fiction, music criticism, essays, short stories, poetry and plays. In 1984, he published The Autobiography of LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka. He’s taught at many universities, including the New School for Social Research, San Francisco State University and Yale University. Before retirement, he served as professor emeritus of Africana Studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook for 20 years. Baraka lives in Newark, New Jersey, with his wife, Amina.

It is said that we are judged by the work we do – Dear Brother your work speaks for you. Thank you for your commitment in the struggle. Your voice for the voiceless, even if they could not understand your words; you voice was heard and you will be sorely missed. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

“Sweet Destiny” Bernadette Watkins

About The Book

2It’s been nine years since the death of her father and Arianna wants to make sure that her mother is well.  Catherine Waters have two children, Sarina and Arianna, both are as different as night and day.  Arianna, a newspaper editor, is never satisfied.  Sarina, a dance teacher, cares for the happiness of others. Catherine raised both of her children to be upright citizens and taught them right from wrong.  She is the successful owner of Sweet Things Bakery.

It’s been a long time since Sarina has been in the coma, but Catherine and Arianna will not give up on her.  Nine years and she still lies there looking so peaceful and content.  The doctor asked Catherine before to let him know what she wanted to do, but never would she let go.  She always believed that Sarina would return home to this world as if nothing had ever happened.

Arianna and Catherine face many challenges with their loved one lying comatose for such a period of time.  Nevertheless, giving up was not an option.  They pray every day for Sarina to awaken.  No one knows what the future holds and no one knows what tomorrow brings.  Sarina’s family will move your heart and shine light for those in the dark.  There will be times when you’ll want to laugh and cry, but most of all this story will make you appreciate the gift of life.  This is a remarkable story and a great adventure for those who love to read fiction novels.  Catherine and Arianna remember to never let the waters run dry.

About The Author

09Bernadette Watkins is the author of “Sweet Destiny” and believes inspiration is the Key to Living Your Dreams! Sweet Destiny is a fairytale love story that everyone who loves to be inspired through words of love and poetry filled with inspiration and valuable information for everyone. She has also authored “Release The Ink” her first inspirational poetry book inspired by Mya Angelou.

Both of her novels can be found online at Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Borders and more. In addition to her excellent writing Bernadette can be found on Blog Talk Radio where she interviews authors, poets, musicians, singers, entreprenuers and more. You may visit the site to listen to the archived shows: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/pro-motions . Her goal is to encourage many to live their dreams.

Release The Ink

     Inspiration is the Key
     My words and rhymes are all a part of me
     Isn’t about the color of my skin
     Doesn’t matter if I have any friends
     My words and rhymes is where it all begins
    3 Inspiration is the key
     To live more abundantly
     To focus on your dreams
     And make them a reality
     Words so bold and clear
     Written and spoken for
     The entire world to hear
     Inspiration is the key
     My poetry is a part of me
     We can’t breathe without the air
     What’s life without poetry there
     Poetic words simple yet influential
     Ready to inspire and full of potential
     So I grab the pen and release the ink
     Giving life to words within a blink
     Inspiration is the Key
     To writing great poetry 
 Visit Bernadette Watkins website:
John T. Wills

Happy New Year!!!

From the heart and soul of the author
of Thought Provoking Perspectives
I send a heartfelt prayer
to my friends, followers,
and each of you
the following:


I have never been one to understand forgiveness and dare I say did not do so on too many occasions. Frankly, I am not sure why I am going to start now! But as we enter into the year of our Lord 2014, I have made a conscience decision and a New Year’s resolution to forgive those who trust pasted against me. With that said, I will not forget the error of their ways but I will release the burden of the pain caused and let your conscience carry the load. Therefore, my goal is to walk in faith and not by sight. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

Watch Night’s Origin

2I love history because it’s like a clock that tells the story of the time that has past. However, history and the truth, is very different from HisStory. What we have been told is not, in most cases, true or fact. For example, most people have no idea where or why we celebrate most traditions. This is to include most of the “great stories ever told” – Christmas and Easter! The construction of religion drives our thinking as it relates to the direction of our lives.

So, regardless of what we are told, our faith causes us to believe. Let me just add that faith is believing true that which is unseen. I only need to remind you of the representation of the deity we worship because, in our heart of hearts, we know that this person in that picture could not have come out of that region of the world where Christ was born. Yet, our faith tells us to believe and most do not question what we are told. I know that made you go hmmm!

Here is another example: This year Americans will celebrate another anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, which is another one of those misconceptions of history. The fact of the matter, Lincoln, did not free anyone with this proclamation. It was issued for and to the Negro’s held in bondage in the Confederacy and not the slaves of the northern states under his authority. Coming out of this came what has become known as “Watch Night” on New Year’s Eve, following an African American tradition dating back a hundred and fifty plus years.

The first Watch Night occurred on Dec. 31, 1862, as abolitionists and others waited for word via telegraph, newspaper or word of mouth that the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued. “A lot of it, at least the initial Watch Night, was really many of the free black communities… Yet for a people largely held in bondage, freedom is a powerful idea, and that’s what the Watch Night tradition embodies” says Lonnie Bunch, director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Most of us don’t know that part of the historical tradition. It has somehow been connected to religion and not its original origin which was the hope of freedom for African Americans held in bondage. So at midnight, many congregations will pray the old year out and the New Year in asking for God’s blessings. The truth is Watch Night is deeply rooted in the history of blacks in America; it is especially relevant at a time when the community is still struggling with sermons that should be designed to address the progressive and regressive moves we have been through as a people.

I will again remind you that the proclamation did not free anyone. The document that actually freed the slaves was the 13th Amendment. However, Lincoln’s goal was accomplished as the proclamation did change the character of the conflict from a war to preserve the union to a war for human liberation. In reality, it was a way to obtain the manpower by using black in what to that point was a losing effort. The cultural bandits have rewritten the truth. You are the holders of the light, and the light is the truth.

It was recorded that an enslaved person had a wonderful reminiscence of the event by saying, “I was on Master Johnson’s plantation and a soldier came, and he took out a little piece of paper and suddenly said we were free”. Now I ask whose plantation are you on! So I suggest that know what it is you believe to be true. So this year pay homage to the ghost of the greats that came before you in their honor. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective as I wish you and yours all the best in the coming year…

The Year’s Biggest Losers

2There has been a lot of talk about who had the worst you in 2013. Some say it was Hillary Clinton, others say President Obama, but most seems to think this distinction goes to either, depending on your political point of view, the Republicans or Democrats. For what it’s worth, in my view the real losers were you and I. It was the least of thee! Our government’s political process has failed the people who fund it to work for them.

The people commonly referred to as the middle class has now become what black people have traditionally been in this country. Let say it more clearly, second class citizens or to be more succinct – we’re all N-Words now! You heard it straight from the horse mouth during the presidential campaign when the GOP candidate was caught on video tape saying 47% of the people in this country were unimportant.

There has not been anything done to benefit the least of thee resulting from the political process. Of course, this is not new. For eighty- years during the last administration the gap between rich and poor widened more significantly that at anything since the 1930s. Yet, the persons in charge started two wars that we will probably never finish paying for but they, and their cohorts were paid in full. I only mention this because that is the main reason we are in this predicament today.

It is not the rich who fight the wars nor do they make any appreciable sacrifice to that end. It is the poor! Unemployment has not been adequately addressed while our leaders ended the help that 1.3 million Americans need to survive.  Yet, monies are available to be sent anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice for anything from a fabricated crisis to dropping bombs on countries where we have no business interfering in their affairs.

The children of this nation suffer in nearly every imaginable way be it from hunger or educations. The old, our elders, suffer. The mentally challenged suffer. Benefits for the people who have paid taxes are refused. Food stamps and alike are cut. What kind of country neglects its own in such an amoral manner?

So it is from my vantage point the biggest losers of 2013 was the least of thee and it was caused by government did not work for us. I pray that the year 2014 will produce a regard for “We the People”. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

Incarceration Nation

09One of the most pervasive problems facing America today, other than racism, is the explosive incarceration rates that only benefit the subsidized private interests. This injustice is as old as the country’s government sanctioned “Jim Crow” system. The incarcerate rate in the United States of America is the highest in the entire world. We have lived and been taught that America is the land of the free and the place that respect the human rights of it people.

Those who follow and read Thought Provoking Perspective understand that I use this blog as a potent source of empowering knowledge to broaden the information base on issues that affect mankind. This particular issue is one that is much like slavery in that the perpetrators of this injustice believe, like the slave master, that there is nothing to see here, and it’s not a problem.

Numbers don’t lie, as of 2009; the incarceration rate in America was 743 per 100,000 of the national population (0.743%). In comparison, Russia had the second highest, at 577 per 100,000, Canada was 123rd in the world at 117 per 100,000, and China had 120 per 100,000. While Americans represent about 5 percent of the world’s population, nearly one-quarter of the entire world’s inmates are incarcerated in its prison system.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), 2,266,800 adults were incarcerated in U.S. federal and state prisons, and county jails at year-end 201, which is about 0.7% of the adult resident population. Additionally, 4,814,200 adults at the end of 2011 were on probation or on parole. In total, 6,977,700 adults were under correctional supervision be it Probation, parole, jail, or prison in 2011amounting to 2.9% of adults the resident population. The report also states that there were 70,792 juveniles in juvenile detention in 2010.

The BJS has released a study which finds that, despite the total number of prisoners incarcerated for drug-related offenses increased by 57,000 between 1997 and 2004, the proportion of drug offenders to total prisoners in State prison populations stayed steady at 21%. The percentage of Federal prisoners serving time for drug offenses declined from 63% in 1997 to 55% in that same period. In the twenty-five years since the passage of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, the United States penal population rose from around 300,000 to more than two million.

In 2009, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that U.S. State prison population growth rate had fallen to its lowest since 2006, but it still had a 0.2% growth-rate compared to the total U.S. prison population. When looking at specific populations within the criminal justice system, the growth rates are vastly different. In 1977, there were just slightly more than eleven thousand incarcerated females. By 2004,,, the number of women under state or federal prison had increased by 757 percent, to more than 111,000, and the percentage of women in prison has increased every year, at roughly double the rate of men, since 2000. The rate of incarcerated females has expanded at about 4.6% annually between 1995 and 2005 with women now accounting for 7% of the population in state and federal prisons.

The United States has a higher percent of imprisoned minorities than any other country in the world. In Washington D.C., three out of every four young black men are expected to serve some time in prison. In major cities across the country, 80% of young African Americans now have criminal records.

This brings me to the “unspoken truth” or the elephant in the room – RACE!  According to the BJS non-Hispanic blacks accounted for 39.4% of the total prison and jail population. In 2009 841,000 black males and 64,800 black females out of a total of 2,096,300 males and 201,200 females were incarcerated. According to the 2010 US Census Bureau blacks, including Hispanic blacks comprised 13.6% of the US population.

Hispanics (of all races) were 20.6% of the total jail and prison population in 2009. Hispanics comprised 16.3% of the US population according to the 2010 US census. The Northeast has the highest incarceration rates of Hispanics in the nation. Connecticut has the highest Hispanic-to-White ratio with 6.6 Hispanic males for every white male. The National Average Hispanic-to-White ratio is 1.8. Other states with high Hispanic-to-White ratios include Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New York.

As the Hispanic community is not monolithic, variations are seen in incarceration rates. Among the Hispanic community, Puerto Ricans have the highest incarceration rate. Located primarily in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states, they are up to six times more likely to be incarcerated than whites, which may explain the higher incarceration rates for Hispanics overall in the Northeast region. Illegal immigrants, usually Mexican nationals, also make up a substantial number of Hispanics incarcerated.

Black majority cities have similar crime statistics for blacks as do cities where majority of the population is white. For example, white-majority San Diego has a slightly lower crime rate for blacks than does Atlanta, a city which has a black majority in population and city government. During the 1980s and 1990s drug and non-violent crimes filled Americans prison with “Three Strike Laws” and mandatory minimum sentences of 25 to life lead to the prison population explosion for all minorities groups.

So how free are we or does that only apply to those of privilege? It is well-known in the minority community that justice is unjust, the police do not protect or serve, and often times what we find when it comes to justice is JUST US! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


A Look Back MMXIII (2013)

2Life dictates that nothing lasts forever and as it is with all things 2013 has come and gone. If we look back at what we’ve witnessed over the past year it shows the good, the bad, and now that 2014 is upon us we will most likely see more of the same in the coming year. Let’s take a look at some of the more significant events of the year that was, and maybe I’ll offer a prediction as to what may lay ahead in the New Year.

The year began on a high note with President Barack Obama being re-inaugurated for his second term as president of the United Sates. The widow of slain Mississippi Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers, Myrlie Evers-Williams, was invited to offer the invocation and it was a proud moment. Of course, this was the worst thing that could happen from the conservatives, GOP, and the Klan-wing of the party commonly known as the Tea Party, point of view.

We witnessed an event that had not happened in more than six-hundred years. Eighty-five year old Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation citing health concerns claiming it made international travel impossible. My question is how does the Pope send a resignation letter to God, but with all of the difficulties the church have endured of late – his time had come. The white smoke appeared, and Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected the new Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. He took the name Pope Francis and the new bishop of Rome was the first Latin American ever selected for the office, as well as the first Jesuit.

In what might be described as a miracle, the Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers to win Super Bowl 47. Ok, I digress! The year was full of extreme weather events all over the world causing trillions in damages. Detroit filed for bankruptcy. The voting rights act was gutted ushering in an era of voting rights discrimination – officially sanctioned by the Supreme Court. This is also to include a multitude of shootings and tragic events across the nation.

The most horrific event was the horrible bombing that took place during the Boston Marathon where two bombs were detonated near the finish line killing three people and injuring 183. Two brothers, the alleged terrorist, planned the event under the nose of everyone. One was killed, and the younger of the two was caught days later after a massive manhunt.

The Boy Scouts of America voted to change its current policy, allowing openly homosexual youth to become members. The decision was controversial among evangelical Christians, and the Southern Baptist Convention at its 2013 annual meeting encouraged Southern Baptist Church members to explore scouting alternatives to the BSA. The Gay Rights movement became huge in the national debate over gay marriage and gay rights. Exodus International, the world’s oldest Christian ministry, reached out to individuals with same-sex attractions and announced in June that it would be closing.

On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage was released. In a 5-4 vote, the Court struck down portions of the Defense of Marriage Act mandating that homosexual couples are entitled to federal benefits. The Court also refused to weigh in on California’s Proposition 8 debate, which means that, for the time being, same-sex marriage will be legal in California, despite two voter referendums that defined marriage as between a man and woman.

On the legal front, Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife were sentenced to prison for political crimes. Kwame Kilpatrick was also convicted and given a long prison term. Yet, the killer in Florida was acquitted in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. While Kilpatrick received nearly thirty-years in prison the guy in Florida got away with murder and given his guns back, to possibly bring more harm to the citizenry. In fact, this man has been arrested and has had several encounters with law enforcement with guns involved since he got away with murder. This case, in my view, is strikingly similar to what happened to Emmitt Till in 1955. However, the accused became the poster boy for Stand Your Ground Laws by the gun rights nuts.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and her husband, Prince William welcomed a baby boy, Prince George of Cambridge born to be the future King of England. Here in American there was a war taking place over the Affordable Care Act as the new government healthcare legislation, nicknamed Obamacare began to take effect. This coincided with a temporary government shutdown, resulting from Democratic and Republican elected officials failing to agree on a budget. This was a sad state of affairs just as Unemployment Benefits were cut for 1.5 million Americans out of work.

November and December will be remembered as a time when many notable people died. On November 30, Paul Crouch, famous for being the co-founder of Trinity Broadcasting Network, died at age 79. Nelson Mandela, the Former South African President described by the Chicago Tribune as a “civil rights giant”, passed away on December 5 at age 95. Mandela, elected in 1994, was South Africa’s first black president. On December 14, Peter O’Toole, best known for his role in Lawrence of Arabia, passed away at age 81. Joan Fontaine, a classic movie actress, best-known for her roles in Alfred Hitchcock films such as Rebecca and Suspicion, died on December 15 at age 96. Fontaine is survived by her older sister, actress Olivia de Havilland, who is 97. On December 16, classic country artist, Ray Price passed away at age 87. Price is known for his hits such as “For the Good Times” and “Heartaches by the Number”.

I only named a few of the greats we lost but it was not to neglect the memory’s of all those that transition during the year. My prayers go out to the families of all that we lost. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

The Backward Duck

2I have watched the sad commentary of Phil Robertson, star of A&E’s backwoods reality TV show, “Duck Dynasty” evolve and sadly play out. I don’t know why anyone should be surprised because bigots have always disguised racism around Christianity. Since it seems this lunacy is not going to die and “conservatives” have made him a hero, I thought I would jump into the controversy.

I am old enough to remember what it was like in the Apartheid southern states of America. Frankly, during this period, anywhere south of Canada was “South”. Let me remind you more specifically of a “little case” called Plessy v Ferguson that ushered state sanctioned discrimination across America. In fact, it was there in Louisiana where it was born. So the Duck saw, and he claims nothing, was the law of the land. Frankly, those who owned slaves said the same kinds of thing – “My Darkies are happy!”

A lot of “good boys” have rallied to support the Duck making him the face of their views. One politician went so far as to compare him to Mrs. Rosa Parks. WOW! Now, I will be honest and tell you that I rarely agree with Jesse Jackson but in this instance, he said something that was on the mark; he likened the “Ducks” words to what the driver of Rosa Parks’ bus more likely said.

Jackson states in a release, “At least the bus driver, who ordered Rosa Parks to surrender her seat to a white person, was following state law… Robertson’s statements were uttered freely and openly without cover of the law, within a context of what he seemed to believe was ‘white privilege’…   It is unacceptable that a personality who has been given such a large platform would benefit from racist and anti-gay comments.

I’m sure we remember the famous Klan’s Man David Duke, a Louisiana native, and other extremist from this so-called wonderful land in the Deep South, who are well known for bigotry. Mr. Duck I can tell you with certainty “black people were not as happy as you profess. In fact, they were singing the blues and if memory serves me correctly; it was there that the blues was born, and there was a reason for it.

What bothers me is his claim: “I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person… Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them… They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’— not a word… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

Before the civil rights movement of the 1950s, Jim Crow laws enforced a system of subjugating African Americans in the South by upholding racial barriers for years after the Emancipation Proclamation. The cultural climate in the Southern states was one of “disenfranchisement, segregation and various forms of oppression, including race-inspired violence,” History.com notes.

I applaud the Human Rights Campaign and the NAACP’s joint letter to the president of A&E, expressing deep concern over Robertson’s remarks:

We want to be clear why Phil Robertson’s remarks are not just dangerous but also inaccurate. Mr. Robertson claims that, from what he saw, African Americans were happier under Jim Crow. What he didn’t see were lynching and beatings of black men and women for attempting to vote or simply walking down the street. And his offensive claims about gay people fly in the face of science. In fact, it’s important to note that every single leading medical organization in the country has said that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being [lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender] — it’s not a choice, and to suggest otherwise is dangerous.

Robertson called homosexuality a sin and juxtaposed it with bestiality. After his homophobia made news, A&E released a statement announcing Robertson’s indefinite suspension from “Duck Dynasty.” The network emphasized that his beliefs are in contrast to those of the network. Yet, they announce that he would appear in the season when it starts the next season. This was stated in spite of the Duck saying, he stands by his remarks. Hmmm!

I have never seen the television show, but it must be enjoyable to see Rednecks in their natural habitat. Lastly, it might be a good idea for all sane people to do two things. (1) Boycott Cracker Burrell and (2) turn off A&E! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


The Washington Deadskins Drama

1This is the second time I’ve delved into the sports arena via this blog and wouldn’t you know it both were about the Washington Deadskins. I will be up-front and let you know that I bleed blue [if you are a football fan you what that means]. Oh, let me also say that the teams current state of dysfunction WARMS MY HEART!!!

I might share a Thought Provoking Perspective on any topic, particularly if it relates to African American issues. I must admit; I normally reserve my comments for those subjects that are more meaningful to life’s issues. Nonetheless, as I watch what is happening to RG III I had a flashback with respect to the Redskins organization, which has a long history of mistreating African American player. In addition to that, I never like the team’s racist name.

Many Washingtonians, as well as fan in many other places, are endeared to the Redskins football team, which is their personal choice. Unfortunately, I am not of them, and not just because of the team’s name, which in my view is akin to calling African Americans the “N-Word”. I am positive this surely must be the view of Native American’s – disrespectful at best.

What I am about to say may well be painful to some but just as sure as something’s change they remain the same. Over the years, I watched what they did to Donavan McNabb BENCHED! How they humiliated him still causes the hair on the back of my neck to rise. The teams antic’s go further back in time than just these two successful Black players. The teams sorted past and there long history supports my position.

Let’s journey back to George Preston Marshall an early owner. The NFL’s color barrier was broken in 1946; it inexplicably took Marshall sixteen years amid legal threats and community pressure to bring Bobby Mitchell, their first black player, to the Redskins as a player. Former quarterback Eddie LeBaron, who knew Marshall, said he never believed he was a racist. Nonetheless, they were the last team in the NFL to sign a black player or forced to do so.

In more recent memory, do you remember Quarterback Doug Williams? He was sent packing a season after he made history winning the Super Bowl. Now, let’s look at what happened to Jason Campbell when no one in management stuck up for him while he’s getting killed behind his offensive line and was sent packing. I won’t even mention Big Albert’s treatment. See a pattern? No, then read on!

Did you know that before someone wrote the crazy “Hail to the Redskins” song they played “Dixie”? You know the one: “I wish I was in the land of cotton…” A few years ago, they brought in the man they say would resurrect the team – wrong-way Mike and his trusty sidekick – his son. Well we see how well that worked out. Published reports say RG III is not talking to either – hmmm.

In the latest episode, RG III was benched to rest him. Correct me if I am wrong but the Skins gave away their first round draft choices for, like, fifty years. Was this due diligence on the part of Wrong-way Mike or something more ominous?  Let me get to the point; is there an elephant in the room: RACE? Surely this is noticed and reverberates in the minds of those who know and remember the history of this organization, which is significantly rooted in questionable decisions concerning black players. Looking back at this history, what happens is you start to wonder.

Whether Shanahan had any understanding of the organization’s history, the city’s composition, or the feelings that linger; he should be sensitive enough to understand “this ain’t Colorado.” Particularly, when he did the same thing to McNabb!

In 1965, James Blackistone wrote a letter to the acting president of the Redskins, Edward Bennett Williams. Like most African American fans at the time, Blackistone was offended by the Confederate flags in the stands and the band’s playing of “Dixie” during games. Less than a month later, Williams wrote back to Blackistone, saying he agreed. After 1965, the Redskins band did not play “Dixie” at another game.

The history of why African Americans are so sensitive is not made up or unfounded, particularly in light of segregation, Jim Crow, and slavery. Can we assume the prevailing thought the problem is leadership, rather than a culture of teams sorted history? I say both. Let’s recap!!!

How many great African American players have come out of this organization? They were the last team to integrate with Bobby Mitchell. Then Bobby was never given a shot to be the general manager. They dismissed Doug Williams after he was the Super Bowl MVP; Art Monk and Brian Mitchell unceremoniously going to Philadelphia, and the list goes on.

There always seems to be an undertone, at the very least disrespect, with this organization that is not easily dismissed. Former team player Doc Walker once said and I agree, “Whenever anything happens involving a player of color in Washington, the bottom line is the old wounds are opened… The last two minutes of that game brought back 30 years or more of undertones. You don’t necessarily say, ‘That’s what it is,’ but you do pause and think about it… Given what’s happened here, it’s only natural.”

This is the very reason why there are so many Cowboy fans in Washington, because many black fans refused to support a team that would not employ an African American player for so many years. So they became fans of the team’s arch rival. They have kids, and they became Cowboy fans – and so on and so on – and most of them have never even been to Dallas. I agree totally because that’s why I’m a Dallas Cowboys fan.

RG III is just the latest victim of what seems to continue. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

The Child Was Left Behind

I’ve seem 3many issues related to human rights here and aboard. Let me say from the beginning that it was our Civil Rights Movement that every other group with an issue used in an attempt to address their issue. Their issue may or may not be relevant, but I will say every issue is not a human rights issue. I won’t give examples because I think you get the point. Personally, I don’t think anything was worse than then the Apartheid system of the south imposed upon African American’s.

We have heard lately that this or that is the civil rights issue of our time. Depending on the perspective those people who support a particular issue may have a point. But, let me say that the Civil Rights issue of our times is EDUCATION! Ask yourself, how do we prepare our children to be prepared to enter into a democracy that is driven by capitalism?

Before I continue, let me say clearly “Knowledge is power and power produces an understanding that education is the single most important ingredient necessary to neutralize those forces that breed poverty and despair.” This does not occur in our society as evidenced by the zip code of the student.

Since Brown v Board states have taken enormous steps to defer the education of minorities and the poor, particularly black student. Whites have moved out to what is little more than segregated communities in order to establish separate but unequal schools. We have seen that No Child Left Behind does not and did not work. Monies are stripped from most school budgets because of insane wars efforts and the all powerful military industrial complex. Let us not forget, we spend billion on the dream of space travel with no intent for us to benefit. So what is the answer?

They say Charter Schools and the privatization of schools systems – really. These options in my opinion are not the answer because there is little control or oversight by the educational system authorities in most case. The result is no accountability and corruption by management of many of these entities. Hence, the student suffers! Let me go back to the issue of segregation – did you know that New York City public schools are the most segregated schools in the country followed by Dallas and Chicago. Shocking!!!

I am not going to dissect this issue now because I am researching this for a future writing.  I know I will be challenged and want to have statistics to support my contention. However, I have put forth what I hope is enough for some to dialog and hopefully take an interest. If you live in the state of Pennsylvania, for example, they have cut ONE BILLION dollars from the state’s education budget which will result in the loss of over 3,000 teachers.

What the system is doing today is not educating, rather it has become boot camps for the other privatized entity call the PENITENTIARY!!! And that is my Thought Provoking Perspective…

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