Thursday, May 25, 2006
The good Reverend Herb H. Lusk II, a conservative preacher here in Philly who has pretty much sold his church to the Bush White House, had this to say back in January.
"My friends, don't fool with the church because the church has buried a million critics."
Really Reverend ? Well, you are going to have to make that a million and one, because I have some things to say about the church, and well, let's just say it aint all flattering.
Now before I start, let me get this out of the way in the spirit of true disclosure. I am a PK (preachers kid). My father was a preacher and a church administrator for as long as I can remember. And, he has probably ministered to, and baptized, more people than the population of most small towns within a hundred mile radius of here. Ergo, I know a thing or two about the church. While this doesn't make me an expert on religion, I believe the fact that I was born and raised in the church gives me some credibility on this issue.
Now back to what I have to say..... Recently I drove through North Philadelphia--one of Philadelphia's most depressed areas. As I drove pass boarded-up store fronts, torn down, dilapidated, decrepit homes, and burnt out cars, I started to notice an innumerable amount of churches on every block. FAITH DELIVERANCE, HOPE AND FAITH, THE FAITH HOUSE, THE DELIVERANCE HOUSE, THE HOLY TABERNACLE OF JESUS, THE HOUSE OF PRAYER, FAITH TABERNACLE, DIVINE TEMPLE, ........... well , you get the picture. On one block-no lie- I counted SIX, yes, SIX churches on both sides of the street. And while I am driving, I see junkies fidgeting to find their next high, unemployed youth pushing their dope on the corner, and mother's with messed up strollers pushing their babies to who knows where. I am not blaming the Church for all of this-- at some point black folks have to take personal responsibility for our actions. The church and the government, alone, can't help us. But I gotta think, that if I am a preacher driving past this every Sunday morning to get to work.... Wouldn't I say to myself, that there is something wrong with this picture? Shouldn't I feel some sense of guilt and shame for not doing more? If I am that preacher, I would have to look in my soul and ask myself, "what would Jesus do?"
I have nothing against religion, as without religion I honestly think that the souls of men would be even more depraved than they are now. Even gnostic writers such as Timothy Freke has had to admit that "Religion...has answered the profound human yearning to understand the mysteries of life and death. It has inspired peoples of all cultures to create sublime works of art, glorious cathedrals and temples, transcendental music and songs". On a personal level, my faith and church has made me healthier, given me a sound base, and given me lifelong friendships and a sense of being and moral clarity that I could not have gotten anywhere else. The church was instrumental with the Civil Rights Movement of the '50s and '60s, as well. Some of our great leaders, such as MLK and Malcolm X were men of the cloth. So, please don't view this post as a church bashing exercise on my part. But while driving through North Philly, and looking at the hopelessness all around me, I still have to ask myself: Just what's the point of all these churches if they can't do anything for the communities in which they sit? Is it just me, or does it seem like a lot of people are being called by God to lead congregations lately? I always like to joke with my friends, that if I ever want to make some real money I would quit practicing law and open a store front church in the hood. I know, I know, it's not right to make fun of God's chosen or the church. But are the so-called ministers of all these churches really chosen? Or, are they just taking advantage of black folks yearning for something, anything, to take their pain away? I guess only these men and their God would know the answer for such a question.
Readers of this blog know that I like to view things in a historical context. So let's look at the church for a minute. Except for the Quakers, every church in America during slavery, and I mean everyone, supported that institution. Blacks were not allowed to go to church in the south and when they did, they had to go to segregated churches. It's an old adage but a true one, that Sunday mornings is still the most segregated time in America. There is a reason for this, it's because religion is a very personal thing, and black and white folks tend to stick together or with those with whom they are more comfortable when things get personal. As slaves, we brought our own forms of religion and belief systems to America when we were brought over here. Africans, like the Indians believed in the force of nature and all sorts of magical spirits and powers. We believed in a supreme being and we were deeply spiritual. There were no distinctions between what was spiritual and secular, life was a continuum with both the living and the dead. But whites were afraid of the African religions like obeah, and the mystical nature of what came with them. So for many plantation owners, teaching the slaves the more passive acceptable Christian form of European religion, became a way to prevent insurrections on the plantations. The smart plantation owners used this to their advantage, to keep their slaves in check. They built huge chapels on the plantations so that their slaves could worship and take their minds off freedom and escaping.
Now let's fast forward to 2006, and the many churches on the streets of North Philly. Is it a coincidence that the areas with the most churches are the most financially depressed? I don't think so. I am sorry, but when I see million dollar structures fronting as the house of God in the midst of abject poverty and despair, I can't help but think of the pastors leaving every Sunday morning in their European sedans and thousand dollar suits. This, while some poor old lady living on her husband's pension and her social security gives her last in the offering plate. I think that preacher should reach in the offering plate and give it right back. He should realize that she needs it a lot more than he does, and that the brand new church building and organ can wait. Now there are a lot of those little old ladies- and young ones too, in many of these churches all over our communities. And I guarantee you that they are faithfully giving to the Reverend every Sunday morning; and guess what, the Reverend aint giving back. Not to them, or to the community.
Now of course, not all pastors and churches are bad. There are many churches that are doing good things in the hood; offering pre-school programs, jobs, after school programs, and funding to many community groups. But far too many churches are sitting in communities which they don't give back to. They are too busy selling a dream of the future, when stuff needs to get done right now. Salvation is nice, but how about a little heaven right here on earth before it's time to go? I am afraid many of our so called preachers have taken a book from the old plantation owners, and are creating churches for their own benefit and not to save souls. The result is a kind of passive surrender to all the bad things happening in our neighborhoods. Let's just go to church and pray and hope that it gets better, have a faith in God and those wonderful sermons we hear every Sunday morning, and things will just kind of work its way out. Meanwhile, we are losing the battle for our communities one by one. Some of these preachers are selling out to the politicians (See the good Reverend. I quoted from above) on both sides of the political stripes. Here in Philly, our church leaders organize and line up with their hands out every election cycle, before they decide who to endorse for the next race. So their support is not based on Christian principles and what's best for us, it's based on who gave the most to the building fund or who did the most to line the good Reverend's pocket. Of course, us black folks are used to a certain amount of pimping from our preachers,- see the two Jessies, and Al- so we just kind of let it all go as par for the course. But at some point we have to step back and say enough. We have to hold the churches accountable and demand that they either help our community or go sell their salvation somewhere else. Someplace, where at least the congregation in the church can afford it, and the dream of salvation won't be quite as expensive.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Hi everyone, it's Sunday morning but unfortunately the field-negro can't give you his take on the news. It seems massa didn't throw out his paper, so no reading today for the field-negro.
Anyway, while doing some chores on the plantation, I heard a commotion coming from one of massa's cabins hidden way in the back. So I did what any curious field-negro would do, and went and checked it out. The first thing that I noticed was a big red and white sign hanging over the door. It had five big bold letters on it which spelled NAFPA, and underneath those letters in smaller writing, were the words: National Association For A Pure America. It seemed interesting, so the field-negro decided to get a closer look.
I snuck over to the window and took a peek inside There was a big American flag partially blocking my view, but I could cleary see a lot of white people gathered in the room. There were a lot of bibles and a lot of smaller American flags too. At first I was thinking maybe it's a church service, but I have never heard of a denomination by that name [NAFPA] Mmmm...and there isn't any singing, no praying, no collection plate; so no, it couldn't be a church. Wait, there is someone going to the podium, he looks like he might be the leader of this group of white people. He is going to speak; shhhhh let's listen:
My fellow Americans and members of NAFPA, we have called this emergency meeting to discuss the immigration issue. An issue that is threatening the very fabric of this great nation of ours. I for one, would like to say, that this crap has gone on long enough. What is it going to take for us to stand up for our democracy? This is not what our founding fathers envisioned when they framed the declaration of independence. A nation full of brown people, taking us down the path of so many other dirty third world countries.
It was bad enough when we gave our former second class citizens and slaves all these civil rights they now enjoy. We allowed them to vote, to own homes, to get educated, and to even marry into our race; and yet, we are supposed to be the racist. I mean the nerve of these people. Well I say enough , [Loud cheers] it's time to take back our country, it's time to let all these brown and black people know that this is our country. It aint Africa, it aint Mexico, it's America. And the only thing we have in common with them there people are some of the letters in the name of our countries. It's time to go back to true white rule, we have beant over backwards long enough, we already lost one battle with the blacks, let's not lose this one to the browns. [Loud cheers]
Heck, soon they will want Spanish to be the official language of our country. Like the blacks, they already have their own T.V. stations, magazines, and newspapers. They even have an organization like the NAACP that they call La Raza for crying out loud! My friends, it won't be long before they want Cinco De Mayo to be a national holiday. Well I say enough; my fellow pure Americans, it's time to stand up for our country and defend our borders. It's time to mobilize the army and our various brotherhood organizations, it's time to take things into our own hands if the government won't do it for us. I refuse to be a minority in my own country. Our fore fathers built this country for us, not for them, and we were here first. Now are there any questions or suggestions? Yes brother O Rourke I saw your hand.
Well sir, we could get those blacks who are sympathetic to our cause to openly come out against the immigrants and brown people. We could use some of the same ones that we used in the past who tried to help us with the affirmative action debate.
Not a bad idea O Rourke, I like where your head is on this thing. But why would these blacks do that for us?
They hate themselves sir, and besides, they are doing alright now for themselves, they might have as much to lose as we do if the brown people get too much power.
You know what O Rourke, that just might work, we would be weakening the black and brown coalition from within, fracture them, so that they won't ever unite. Because as we all know, that would be potentially devastating to us if they did. If these people were to combine as a common group and vote and organize for common causes , we would be the minorities in many instances and would lose so much of the power we took years to build and now enjoy.
Exactly sir, this way we can at least keep them at each other's throats for awhile until we can rope in some of our rogue groups like the Aryan Nation, and the Nationalist Socialist Movement (NSM) . We have the numbers sir, we just have to get these people to tone down the rhetoric a little. If they don't, race traitors like Moris Dees, and those senators that voted for that terrible bill [Secure Americans and Orderly Immigrant Act of 2005" (S.1033/H.R.2330)] John McCain,and Edward Kennedy will convince some Americans in the middle that we are too extreme.
Good point; just the other day one of our heroes, Laine Lawless was sending emails to our people all over telling them how to get rid of the immigrants by scaring their children, and stealing their money. That can't help our cause. They have to learn to rope in their passion. That Hal Turner was even calling for their mass murder, and the assassination of any U.S. sanator who supports guest worker programs. I mean they are killing me, the PR part of this is hard enough as it is.
Yes sir, but you have to love people like Roy Warden, who confronted those brown people and told them this to their faces: "We will not permit you the ignorant, the savages, the unwashed to overthrow us.." Now that took courage.
Yes, yes, and listen, I admire all these people and groups like Mr. Sweeney from the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and Jeff Schoep from the NSM. But we can't be openly associated with them right now because of the backlash we might get. That's why I like your idea O Rourke, about using some main stream people and even some of their own to attack them. Who else do we have? Yes brother Vizzi I saw your hand up.
Well we could use that brown person Michelle Malkin, she really gives it to them.
But is she Mexican or black? I can't tell anymore with all this race mixing going on.
No sir, I think she is from the Phillipines, but she looks brown; and an attack from her will help. We also have old reliables like Thomas Sowell, Ward Connerly, Larry Elder, and Walter Williams; they have been paid and they are ready to weigh in. Not to mention all our conservative blacks bloggers on the internet sir, they have been paid too, and are ready to go.
Well why did it take them so long?
I think they were just waiting for the checks to clear sir.
I don't know about the blog thing, does it really work?
Sir, as long as we pay them, they will say what we want.
What about some of the main stream white people and congressmen?
We have them too sir, we have congressman Kyl of Arizona, and Cornyn of Texas working on a bill right now. It's called the Comprehensive Enforcement & Immigration Reform Act, (CEIRA,S.1438) and it's much tougher than that other weak bill congress is trying to pass. It offers more enforcement and it calls for the deputization of local law enforcement. It's not much, but it's a start.
Alright everyone, so we kind of have everything in place, and I like our message, but how are we going to get our message to millions of American homes? Yes Pozlowski I see your hand.
Sir, what about FOX News?
Brilliant! Ok everybody, lets turn our attention to the flag and pledge our allegiance before we adjourn our meeting.... hey, what's that over there by the window? Is that one of them nigras from the field?
Oh s*#%! Sorry folks I gotta go they made me. The field-negro is ghost like casper....see ya next time.
Monday, May 15, 2006
Everyone is wondering what happened on that faithful night on March 13, 2006, in that house on 610 N. Buchanan Street. One of those notable moments in American life, when race, sex, poverty, and wealth, all intersect to create a one for the ages media circus and fodder for the water coolers. Well, actually not everyone, because a lot of people --dependng on their race or political persuasion- have already made up their minds about what happened that night. For that reason alone, I have tried to stay away from this issue at least until it went to trial, or more facts came out. But I have bit my toungue long enough, and although I am still reserving judgment about guilt or innocence, there are many aspects of this case that has compelled me to say something.
First, let me say for the record, that I am one of those black folks who thinks O.J. killed Nicole, and therefore his black ass should not be walking around as a free man. Having said that, I also think that Kobe was innocent and Mike Tyson was set up. So there, I put my cards on the table as to what I think of the justice system in some of these high profile cases. Now in this case, I really don't care about guilt or innocence as much as I care about all the happenings sorrounding it. Well actually, that might not be so true. I do care about guilt or innocence, in that I care if innocent lives are being destroyed because of a lie, or if a bunch of rapist walk free because of their privilege and wealth. I guess what I am trying to say is that this toxic mix that I mentioned earlier, has made for an interesting study of human behavior, prejudices, and stereotypes. It has exposed raw emotions on both sides, and revealed people's true feelings about race and class.
For instance, the wall to wall coverage on FAUX news and the insistence by most of the hosts on that network that the youg men are not guilty.---I actually heard one commentator say that he is friends with one of the boy's parents and thus, couldn't really comment. Then he went into a long loquacious diatribe about how cruel District Attorney Mike Nifong was. The conservative blogs are even worse, and in their minds, given the accusers background, race, and income level she has to be lying. -Rush Limbaugh called the accuser a "ho" for crying out loud- And Mark Fuhrman of all people,- that self acknowledged racist who has been given new life by FAUX News- has even weighed in on this issue; proclaiming that the poor boys are innocent. Now the other side is not much better. Jessie Jackson went as far as to offer the accuser a college scholarship. Nothing wrong with that, but shouldn't he have waited? I mean what if she is lying, is this the type of young lady that Operation PUSH wants to sponsor and be associated with? An individual who just destroyed the lives of forty seven young men? I would hope not; because if she is knowingly lying, she doesn't deserve a college scholarship, she deserves a jail cell. I have even heard some black pundits get caught up with the fact that some in the news media are calling her a "black stripper." Well yeah, that's what she was doing when all this took place; stripping. So sorry, that doesn't bother me like say, the media calling Katrina evacuees refugees. Now that bothered me. I was also bothered by the Democratic District Attorney holding a news conference and declaring guilt from the very outset; the fact that he was in a political race made it even worse, and reeked of opportunism.
But then some of the players in this lamentable tragedy have come up fairly large . Duke University, never one of my favorite institutions ---maybe it's the name, I lived in Louisiana when a certain Republican by the name of David ran for President--- made all the right moves. Firing the Lacrosse coach, suspending the season, and launching an in house investigation. They even reached out to Durham's African American mayor and the black community. Good for them, but it doesn't change the fact that Duke is a bastion of privilege and wealth in the middle of tobacco road. And just across the railroad tracks are people who could only dream of ever having that type of access or opulents. So there is a built in resentment among the populace against Duke, and that has hurt them from the very beginning in certain sectors, both from a public relations and a credibility standpoint.
Just today, District Attorney Nifong indicted yet another player (the third) and declared that there will be no more. That player, David Evans, who the media referred to as "clean cut" (I am bald does that make me clean cut? Mmmm) gave a brief press conference before he was arrested on rape, kidnapping, and various other charges. In his statement Evans said: "I am innocent." He called the accusations "fantastic lies," and went on to say; "I look forward to watching them [the lies] unravel in the days to come." Then he closed with this: "I am innocent, Reade Seligman is innocent, and Collin Finnerty is innocent."
Yeah David, but America isn't so innocent now is it? Your lawyer, Joseph Chesire, said "this is one of the saddest days for justice in the state of North Carolina." It might be counselor, but it will have a long way to go before it can compare to another faithful day in 1900; when a poor African American named Avery Mills, was lynched for killing Mills H. Hack--- a state legislator-- in self defense in Rutherford County. Now that was a sad day, at least these boys will get a trial, that's something poor old Avery did not have the luxury of requesting.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Good morning and happy Mother's Day everybody. Well it's Sunday morning, and massa has just thrown out his Sunday paper. It's a good time for the field-negro to sneak a peak at the latest news, and reflect on what's happening in my city and the world.
Tavis Smiley Draws Full Crowd:
I am not sure what to think of this brother. His book tour just came to my city and it was a sellout. His book, "The Covenant With Black America" is doing really well on the NYT best sellor's list, thanks to the incredible support it has received from us black folks. I like that, I like the fact that we are supporting a book by one of our own and -although I haven't read it yet-it's a book that seems to be all about positives with some plans for improving our plight.
But Tavis... mmmm. I gotta think about this some more. Hey, maybe now that the book is doing so well Oprah will put him on her show....ahhh scratch that, he isn't white, so he isn't getting on Oprah's book club anytime soon.
GOP's Risky Ploy: Scary Democrats:
It seems like the repubs have found a new Willie Horton. It's John Conyers, the Chairman in waiting to take over the House Judiciary Committee, if the dems should happen to win the most seats in November. With frat boy's approval ratings at about 30% there is no way the repubs will be able to win on his record. So the plan is; scare the hell out of the base with the specter of Conyers looming over them. The repubs are hoping that the thought of him flooding the white house and Haliburton with subpoenas for the years that the dems are in power, will be enough to scare their base to the polls.
The rallying cry will be: Would you want this man over the Judiciary committee? And of course, right below those words, will be pictures of the black bogeyman Conyers in waiting. And it just might work, given the make up of the repub base. So dems, don't go counting your chickens just yet, the repubs have a race and fear card or two up their sleeves just waiting to be pulled.
Bush To Call On National Guard For Border Duty:
That's right frat boy, and not a moment too soon. Just when your base was about to cut you loose---if they haven't already--- the Rove master comes up with this brilliant strategy to bring them back. Many hard core red state repubs have been carping for something like this for months, so now frat boy-tanking in the polls- decides to deliver. And not a moment too soon I mght add.
The question is, will it work? And the answer is, of course it won't. But let's not let that get in the way of a good political move.
You go get those illegals frat boy, after all, they are evil doers too.
Cheyney Mentioned In Leak Case:
Dic...oh why bother, every time I see this guy I think of those old Hogan's Heroes television shows. I am not going to waste any more time with him. We move on.
McCain Gives Speach At Falwell's University:
"If the United States and the West can be criticized for our role in this catastrophe, it is becuase we have waited too long to intervene to protect the multitudes who are suffering, dying because of it. Twelve years ago, we turned a blind eye to another genocide, in Rawanda...Now, belatedly, we have recovered our moral sense of duty..."
Now a lot of people criticized McCain for giving the commencement address at Liberty University. I say, as long as he is talking like that, he could have given that bad boy at a David Duke fund raiser and I would not have cared.
And speaking of Republicans coming up large; I have to give a shot out to Republican Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas. This guy has visited Darfur more times than many of our black leaders, and has raised funds and led tours of impoverished regions of Africa on a regular basis. Bottom line, the guy walks the walk regardless of what you think of his politics.
Government Has Long History Of Abusing Individual Rights:
I see where there was a poll that said 62% of Americans have no problems with what the government did, when it data mined the phone calls of private individuals within the United States. All I can say is, shame on them. The talking point goes like this: I have nothing to hide, if the government wants to listen in on my call to aunt Agnes then they can go right ahead. In other words, if you don't have anything to hide, what are you afraid of? I will tell you what I am afraid of: I am afraid of my rights as a citizen being slowly taken away, I am afraid that the checks and balances on the executive branch is weakening, I am afraid of a repeat of J "Cross Dresser" Hoover and his wire taps of MLK in the FBI's attempt to get him to commit suicide. ---Wiretaps, which by the way, Robert Kennedy approved. I am afraid of the 1920's red scare all over again, and the abuse of power by the likes of Richard Nixon, and LBJ.
"Let's talk about this in a rational way. We're in a war with terror, and there are people out there who want to kill us..." So says Senator Jeff Sessions, from that bastion of civil rights, the great state of Alabama. No Senator, we are in a war with those who want to tear down the Constitution and abrade our individual rights. Now I am kind of wishing I lived out west, then I could drop my phone provider (Verizon) and get Qwest. Yeah thanks Verizon, for giving up my records to the government. Oh, and you might want to pass this on to your lawyers. Have you ever heard of the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act? Well, I think section 2702 of that law says something like: -And I am paraphrasing here- The providers of electronic communications companies shall not knowingly divulge a record or other information pertaining to a customer or subscriber.
Yep, I will be waiting for my check, along with the millions of other citizens whose privacy you violated.
Violence Surges Police Face Manpower Shortage:
In local news in my hometown of Philly; yet another young black male shot to death while riding his bicycle in Southwest. Another body found shot execution style in East Oak Lane, and a nineteen year old black male shot to death while waiting at a gas station. All this, while 610 police officers are on leave for various reasons such as injuries, and being assigned to desk duty.
Of course, I can't blame the police. -Even though the chief is incompetent- There are just too many guns on the street, and the state legislators will do nothing about it. Why? I will tell you why. To them, Philadelphia is not really a part of Pennsylvania. ---Which is just a northern version of Alabama to begin with. As far as they are concerned, those n*****s might as well just keep killing each other, no sweat off of their backs, those n*****s are savages anyway. People in the western part of the state want to hunt, and any law that even comes close to violating their second amendment rights is evil. So all you gun sellors, just keep selling those automatic weapons to those straw buyers, so that they can keep flooding the streets of Philly with their weapons. Hey, as long as the money keeps pouring in from the NRA, those whores in Harrisburg will be right there to collect it, and they will continue to sit on their asses while the killings continue.
Has anybody ever heard of Winston McCuen? Well if you haven't it's a shame, because Winston is a high school Latin teacher in South Carolina. Winston has openly said in his class room that blacks are intellectually inferior to whites. He has also said that Andrew Jackson is his hero and he agrees with the old confederate vice president that slavery was a positive thing for America.
Now I have no problem with Winston and his right to express his views. This is America, and he is entitled to them. Besides, any regular reader to this blog knows that I support racist that come out of the closet one hundred percent, I just wish more would do it.
Having said that, my problem is the double standard on the right. I guarantee you that if old Winston was in a class room talking about what a bad President frat boy is he would have been all over Faux news, conservative talk radio, and the right wing blogs. ---See Ward Churchhill. Yep, Winston McCuen could have been a household name by now, but of course the right won't talk about him, because his lecture does not involve political ideology or spin. I guess it's alright to indoctrinate young high schoolers with racist rants, as long as you don't try to make them liberals. And Republicans wonder why only ten percent of black people support them. Geeez!
Now lets see what's up with the sports page:
Barry still stuck on 713. Come on Barry just two more.
I see those fly balls aren't going quite as far now, so maybe you did use roids. But guess what, I don't care. Ruth didn't play against the negro leaguers, so his record is tainted too.
I know you are a jerk, but that doesn't excuse all the racist hate mail and death treats you have been getting. It doesn't excuse white America pointing you out when golden boy Mark McGwire did the same thing. And it certainly doesn't excuse white sports writers for trying to take away all that you accomplished before there was even talk of steroids. So please hurry up and break this record before they think of some ingenious way to stop you.
Looks like my man Avery Johnson is doing some serious coaching for the Mavs. The previously heartless but talented Mavs, are finally playing some D - at least for them- and it looks like, thanks to their coach, they have a chance now. Good job Avery. Oh by the way, did I mention that he is a part of Jaguar nation? (That would be Southern Jaguars to all you house negroes)
The Phillies are winning at a serious pace. (12 of 13) Good for them, but I must confess, even though they are my hometown team, I am not really feeling the Phillies. (They were the last National League team to integrate, and they were rough on my man Richie Allen, and were brutal to Jackie Robinson when he came here.) But hey, I guess any ring will do at this point, so a very weak go Phillies from me.
I see my home town is trying to get the 2016 olympics. It could be done, certainly all the facilities are here, and as much as I get on Philly, it's still a beautiful city. Great parks, great venues, and beautiful historic buildings and landmarks all around. So I am keeping my fingers crossed in anticipation of welcoming the world to some brotherly love in 2016.
I gotta go now, I hear massa coming.
Hapy Mother's Day!
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
I wrote the following article for the Philadelphia Daily News back in 1996.
Scary as it seems, and as much as I hate to admit it; it's still relevant today almost ten years later.
"If Our American way of life fails the child, it fails us all" ~Pearl S. Buck
"Forty dollars a week?" The young man sitting before me seemed stupefied. "But how can I Live if you take $40 a week out of my check?"
I wanted to grab him and shake the Tommy Hilfiger shirt, and Karl Kani boots right off of his body. I wasn't negotiating the terms of paying back a loan, nor was I talking about a delinquent parking ticket. What I had just explained to the young man was the terms of his child suppport order and his obligation that came with it.
As a hearing officer who presided over support hearings, I always wondered when I would reach my breaking point. As I sat there looking at the young man, with his natty designer clothes, his fresh $20 dollar haircut and his overall vainglorious attitude, I couldn't help but think that this was it, I had finally reached that point.
Rather than give in to my emotions, I tried to reason with the young man. I tried to explain to him that his child support obligation is the most important responsibility he would ever have. That $6 a day would never be enough for his child's needs, and the emotional support that it takes to raise a child could never be measured in dollars and cents. I might as well have been talking to the wall. Clearly I wasn't going to change years of negative indoctrination, and a cycle of single parenthood in twenty minutes. In this young man's world, wearing the right clothes and looking fresh was more important than spending the money needed to raise his child.
I thought of all the problems facing American cities----crime, drugs, high unemployment, and the lack of proper schools- and it was easy for me to come up with a common denominator for all of them. Most, if not all of these problems started with the break down of the family structure. I thought of all the unanswered questions that come when a society is faced with such problems. How can you love your child if your father never loved you? How can you respect another human being (a total stranger) if you can't respect the one you created? It dawned on me right then and there, that until we can start reaching young men like the one that was sitting in my court room, we would continue to have these problems in our society. The urban violence and senseless killings will continue, until we find a way to reach these lost souls.
I have never been a big supporter of the republican party. Like most people of color I have often seen them as being too uncaring and insensitive to the underclass. But I must confess, that I agreed more with Bob Dole than Hillary Clinton on this issue. A village cannot raise our children. What it takes is not a village, but individual responsibility, a strong sense of family, and the proper support system from those who brought them here. We have depended on the village and the institutions of the village --- such as our schools, the welfare system, and our police departments - to raise and look out for our children far too long. What we need now is less dead beats in our villages bringing precious children into the world. Children, who at the end of the day, will have no shot at the type of life they deserve. For this, they can thank the uncaring actions of someone who should have been a parent to them from the very outset, but who chose to take the selfish way out.
Now all of this is really starting to piss me off, because these deadbeats are making my village harder and harder to live in.
Sunday, May 07, 2006
OK so I am back in the barber shop listening to the brothers go back and forth about the latest news and happenings of the day. As usual, my mind is racing and I am trying to digest all the friendly banter and talking that's going on between the regulars.
I am cozied up in my favorite barber chair while my man does his thing to get my dome nice and clean. Sitting there lathered up, halfway between dreaming and reality, I start to think:
I am thinking Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton are hypocrites. Does any body in these entire United States think that if Patrick Kennedy were not a democratic senator, Jessie and Al would not be all over this latest incident with the capitol police? I mean give me a break; the guy did get preferential treatment, and it's exactly what a black female---like Cynthia McKinney would not have gotten.
The fact that Patrick Kennedy happens to be a white democratic senator should make no difference. I mean I hope the guy gets help and gets himself together, but he was flat out wrong to drive in his condition. And please, don't give me the Ambian-- I didn't know where I was defense. The field-negro wasn't born yesterday.
I am thinking the people who interpret the second amendment literally and think the right to bear arms includes; tech nines, uzies, and M-16's, are absolute morons. I am sick of picking up the paper and seeing more senseless killings because it was so easy for some young knuckle head to get an automatic or semi automatic weapon to settle his beef.
I am thinking I owe one of my best friends an apology. His book, "I've Been Watching You, The South Louisiana Serial Killer" is actually pretty good. I picked it up and I couldn't put it down.
Readng that book has thought me a couple of things: First, racism is alive and well in south Louisiana -not to excuse what this animal did, but who knows how he would have turned out had his circumstances growing up been different - And second, it ought to debunk the myth that black people can't be dispassionate, sociopathic killers. Derrick Todd Lee is a sick human being, and like another recent black serial killer -the east coast sniper-is an animal that needed to be taken off the streets.
Good job of prosecuting this scum Tony, so you got one right. -inside joke- Too bad you won't be on Oprah's book of the month club though; she only takes white authors.
I am thinking the Darfur rally was off the hook, but frat boy's state department ought to be ashamed for sending some low level pencil pusher to speak on behalf of the administration.
I am thinking black people ought to be ashamed for not giving more support to the very positive movie "Akeelah and the Bee". I am not sure of the exact numbers, but I am willing to bet that the coon parade movie, "Soul Plane" had better numbers in its first week.
I don't want to hear one single black person complaining about major studios not doing any positive black movies. Why should they, when these movies get no support, and ultimately, make no money for them?
I am thinking crude oil has dropped to below $70 per barrel, yet gas is still over $3.00 per gallon here in Philly. Mmmmm.
I am thinking, Fox should be called Fox Entertainment, and not Fox News. The right wing spin over there is out of control now. Believe me, I am not knocking their hustle, because there are red staters who swear by the stuff they push and the numbers bare this out. But there ought to be a law against a station masquerading as a news station when it clearly is not.
I am thinking Lynn Swann is being exposed for the fraud he is, and as a result, his numbers are tanking in the Governor's race in Pennsylvania. And while we are on Pennsylvania political races. Is there a duller candidate out there than Robert Casey? The guy is making Rick Santorum look like a ball of charisma for crying out loud. And guess what, compared to Casey, he probably is.
I am thinking J.J. Harper of Cordea, Georgia ought to be praised today. Why? Well old J.J. is a member of the Klu Klux Klan, and J.J. appeared in a picture in my local paper attending a KKK march in Alabama against immigration. What I like about J. J. is this: At least he has the courage to come forward and wear his true colors--in this case it's white on his robe covered sleeve. Good for you J.J. now if you could just encourage more of your brothers to come forward, the field-negro could sleep a little easier.
I am thinking why is Condi single? Seriously, she aint a bad looking lady, and real smart from what they tell me. Mmmmm. Hey, maybe she is just married to her job. Anyway, I guess you could say the same thing about Hillary.
Speaking of ladies, I am thinking I want to give some props to a few in and around my home town of Philly. Congrats to my girl Carla who is a trooper in the area of helping children get the support they deserve. Her own daughter is about to graduate from Ohio Wesleyan University; girlfriend had an academic scholarship and handled her biz. Carla is a single mom and doing what so many other single females of color do every day. Work hard at a nine to five, and raise their families all by their lonesome. The same goes for MT-initials only, I didn't get girlfriends permission to use her name- who also works in the social services helping single mothers cope with being parents and raising their families.
Karen you too, and congrats on your graduation. I have seen first hand your work with Head Start and that's what's up. Philly-and every other city for that matter- needs more women like these.
Now my mind is drifting to sports, and I am thinking Barry is still stuck on 712. He is here in my hometown this weekend, and I am hoping my man cracks at least two homers off the Phillies and ties the Babe. I keep hearing white people say; it's not about race, and that is such a lie. It is about race, nothing more, nothing less. The Babe is one of the few sports icons white America has left, and to have this arrogant uppity negro break the Bambino's record is just crushing to them.
I am thinking another playoff and another Philly team goes out in the first round. (The Flyers) Folks, we are starving for a championship ring, --any ring here in the city of brotherly love.
I am thinking my man, fellow Jamaican and world record holder, Asafa Powell, just ran a 9.95 one hundred meter time. Now that's smoking!
I am thinking Steve Nash deserved to get the NBA MVP inspite of the fact that he got posterized by Kobe on that sick dunk. Nope, Kobe still didn't deserve it, Nash did. He clearly made his team better, and the bottom line is; they move on and the Lakers don't. "Oh Canada our home and native land..."
I am thinking has anybody seen or heard from Lark Vorhies?
Don't ask me where that came from.
I am thinking my shave looks pretty good. Thanks Mr Barber, I will see you next time.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Hey, welcome to the Field Negro News Network.
The field-negro is very excited today because I just landed an exclusive interview with the leader of the free world. Yep, you guessed it fraa... I mean President Bush decided to come to the fields and grant us an interview in our makeshift studios. (Stop that laughing) It's true, the President, forever the politician, realized that he might have to cut into that field-negro vote to keep both houses republican for the upcoming mid-term elections . So once the secret service vetted us, "W" himself came into our quarters and granted the field-negro a one on one.
This is the transcript from that interview:
FN: Have a seat right here Mr. President, I know it's a bit uncomfortable, but this aint CNN.
GB: Not a problem field-negro, I am used to this, remember, I have a ranch out in Crawford Texas so this is nothing.
FN: Have you ever had any field-negroes on your ranch? (Laughter)
GB: Oh no field-negro, I can pretty much do all those chores by myself. I have had a a lot of house negroes though. (Laughter)
FN: You are a funny guy Mr. President. I have always said that of all the politicians in Washington, you are the one guy I would just hang out with and share a drink or two. I mean before you gave up drinking of course.
GB: Of course.
FN: Mr. President I can't tell you how glad we are to have you here in the fields with us.
GB: Thanks field- negro. You know, my family and I always supported UNICEF, I mean nothing is more important than a proper education.
FN: Mr. President, I think you mean UNCF; UNICEF is the United Nations children's fund.
GB: Oh, well which one is the terrible mind to waste one?
FN: That would be UNCF sir.
GB: Yeah well that one. Our family has always supported negro causes. When I owned the Texas Rangers, we had a lot of very good African American and Latino players, and we were a better team for it.
FN: Yes sir, I am sure you were. Now if I may....
GB: Hold it, (Interrupting) I don't want to just leave on that point, because that's important. It's important for the American people to understand that I put the best product on the field for the people of Texas without regards to the race of my players, and I will do that for America. Look at Condi, and that Gonzales fellow.
FN: Yes Mr. President, I am sure that is important. But If I may, I would like to ask you :Were you serious when you told the Washington Post that Osama bin Laden hasn't been caught because he is hiding? Or better yet, did you even make those statements?
GB: Of course I made them. Heck, have you ever played hide and seek? Was kinda hard to find you hiding behind those trees and cotton fields wasn't it? I mean, come out come out wherever you are just aint gonna get it with Osama. (Nervous laughter) If you get my drift.
FN: Yes sir I do, but you would think the most powerful nation on earth could find a six foot eight inch Arab in an area of the world that we are pretty convinced he is in.
GB: Let me go back to my baseball metaphor for a minute. Did team U.S.A. win the World Baseball Championships? No we didn't, yet it's our game, we invented it, and those little Japanese won it. Sometimes being bigger doesn't make you any better field-negro
You get my drift?
FN: ????????Ah yes sir I think I do....
GB: I hope you do field- negro because this is important.
FN: Mr. President let me ask you about another serious domestic issue; social security.
You said that the life expectancy of African Americans was a lot less than other groups, and as a result, we were being disadvantaged by the present system. Could you explain what you meant by that?
GB: Well of course I will explain. You see, if African Americans would fall in line behind my plan at least they would not be losing all the money they put into the system when they die. I mean it's a fact that the African American life expectancy is much shorter than the average white person. I mean look at that fellow who worked for my predecessor[Bill Clinton], I think he was the secretary of commerce or something, just a shame what happened to him.
FN: Sir, I think you are referring to Ron Brown, but he died in a plane crash.
GB: Well yeah, you see what I mean? Bad things just happen to you people. (Nervous laughter) And what about that other black friend of my predecessor, that Jordan fellow?
FN: Sir, if you mean Vernon Jordan he is still alive.
GB: I thought he was killed and robbed on the highway or something tragic like that?
FN: No Mr. President, that was James Jordan, Michael Jordan's father.
GB: Oh..sorry about that.
FN: Don't worry about it Mr. President. Let me ask you another serious question about a region that's very close to my heart. The story goes that early in your term as President you saw a memorandum outlining the genocide in Rawanda and America's acquiescence in it. It goes on to say that you wrote in the margins of that memo; "not on my watch." Is that true?
GB: Well yes, that is true, and as a christian I cannot in good conscience sit back and watch innocent people be killed en masse.
FN: Well sir, isn't that exactly what is happening in the Sudan region of Darfur as we speak?
GB: Well yes, but Sudan is a very small part of the world...
FN: (Interrupting) Sir Sudan is as large as the entire eastern part of the United States.
GB: Well, you know what I mean, it's not like Rawanda where thousands and thousands of innocent women and children were murdered and raped by those animals.
FN: Sir, that is exactly what is happening in Sudan.
GB: Really? well if it is true, my ace secretary of state Rice -who happens by the way to be one of your people- is going to find a way to solve that problem. I bet she is working on it right now.
FN: What exactly is she doing or going to do sir?
GB: Well Secretary Rice is letting the do nothing U.N. know that we are going to be tough on the Sudanese.
FN: But Mr. President, Secretary Rice and your delegation abstained from voting on a U.N. resolution giving the International Criminal Court (ICC) the right to try war criminals in Sudan.
GB: Well, at least we didn't vote for it. (Nervous laughter)
FN: No Mr. President you are right there, only Brazil, Algiers, and China voted for it. And China has oil interests in the Sudan region.
GB: Well, I am confident that our government's position on Sudan well help move that region towards peace soon.
FN: I don't see how sir, not when our policy towards Sudan clearly changed after you invited General Saleh Gosh to Washington, the man that is in charge of the Sudaneee secret police and intelligence organization. It is believed that he is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Sudanese. Isn't that true Mr. President?
GB: Yes but you must understand, that we are protecting American interest, this man gave us valuable information and intelligence for the war on terror.
FN: But wasn't this man Osama bin Laden's chief minder when he was in Khartoum from 1991-1996?
GB: Exactly, and that's why he is invaluable to us he can give us so much information.
FN: You mean like where to find Osama bin Laden?
GB: (Laughter) That's a good one field-negro, you are a funny guy. I like a good sense of humor.
FN: Mr. President why did your state department lift the sanctions that were put in place on Sudan by giving one company the right to do business there?
GB: Well, field-negro this firm was necessary to build schools, support our army and help build up the infra structure of that country.
FN: Mr. President we don't have an army on the ground in Sudan, and it's a PR firm sir.
GB: I thought that my VP's old firm was there?
FN: No sir, I think you are referring to Halliburten and they are in Iraq.
GB: Oh, well it's pretty close to Sudan isn't it?
FN: Sort of sir. Mr. President let me ask you another question about Sudan?
GB: Gee field- negro you sure have a thing for these Sudan people.
FN: I can't help it sir they are my people too. Now may ask you a pointed question?
GB: Sure go ahead, we are on your turf.
FN:Why did we vote to raise Sudan's status from a tier three country which is the least favorable as it relates to the slave trade, to a tier two country?
GB: Well a tier two is also bad isn't it?
FN: Sir, Switzerland is a tier two country.
GB: Well heck, I will just have to talk to Condi about that, no offense field- negro.
FN: None taken sir. Mr. President did you know that as we speak the roads to the capitol of West Darufr, el-Geneina, are now impassable leaving hundreds of thousands of refugees beyond humanitarian reach?
GB: I did not know that I really have to have a talk with Condi.
FN: Did you also know sir, that the U.N. suspended all humanitarian operations in South Darfur because of the lack of security in that region, and as a result, hundreds of thousands of people could die?
GB: All Sudan all the time huh field-negro?
FN: Mr. President, it is a very important part of the world, and there is a humanitarian crises there.
GB: Is there as much oil there as the Middle East?
FN: No sir I don't think so.
GB: Wel it ain't important; just kidding. (Laughter)
GB: What's that you said field- negro?
FN: Nothing sir.
GB: Look field negro I have to do what's right for the American people no matter what.
Heck, even if it means getting rid of that Jamaican traitor General, and scooter boy.
FN: Do you mean Colin Powell sir?
GB: Yes him. No offense field-negro.
FN: None taken Mr. President. And sir, wasn't Scooter Libby indicted on criminal charges?
GB: Yeah, but I could have still kept him if I wanted, but I will not tolerate leaks from my administration. Unless of course it's coming from me. (Laughter)
FN: Let me ask you about Iraq. What are your plans for that country sir?
GB: Well, just kinda steady as she goes field- negro, steady as she goes.
FN: But every day we are losing precious American lives and dollars in what has now become a nation building mission. Why not draw down our troops?
GB: Oh field- negro, stop with the liberal talking points. We are making great progress in Iraq. Don't you watch Fox News? Listen, Saddam was a bad man who killed thousands of his own people, and who had weapons of mass destruction; we had to do something. Besides, these colors don't run field-negro.
FN: Sir, with all due respect, I think we can all agree that there were no weapons of mass destruction, and isn't that why you told us we went there in the first place?
GB:Who is this we you keep talking about? Again, do you even watch Fox News out here in the fields?
FN: No, sir we don't.
GB: So you are in no position to make such statements are you? Look, as far as I am concerned Saddam and his sons were the weapons of mass destruction.
FN: Mr. President, Condi Rice said that we went to Iraq because there were mass graves there, and Saddam was a monsterous figure in the Middle East. And she even seems to be saying that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
GB: She said that? I gotta have a talk with Condi. No offense field negro.
FN: None taken sir. Mr. President I want to ask you a couple of final questions:
Condi Rice said that if God gave her the power to change something in the world it would be the suffering of some of the children she saw in the refugee camps of Darfur. What would it be for you sir?
GB: Well I would have to say Katrina. I really prayed that the water and wind would stay back but it didn't.
FN: Why do you think God didn't answer your prayers?
GB: Well, quite frankly; Tom DeLay.
FN: Tom DeLay?
GB: Yes, a lot of people think God was punishing our party by giving us Katrina because we listened to DeLay too much. I mean the man isn't a nice fellow, and God might have been trying to tell us something. By the way, did you know that my friend Haley Barbour is the Governor of Mississippi, and his region of the gulf coast was hit pretty hard too? I mean no offense to your people but they weren't the only ones rocked by Katrina. Heck, Trent Lott-another good friend lost a beach front home on that terrible day. Anyway, DeLay with all his mean spirited stuff, and the money, the bribes, it just wasn't christian like if you know what I mean? FN: I think so, but do you really think God cares about the inner workings of republican politics sir?
GB: Of course he does. Field- negro don't they teach you the bible out here in the fields? FN: No sir.
GB: Well then You have to come to church with me sometime. We are God's party, we are against same sex marriages, abortions on demand, Michael Moore, all these bad things that God talks about in the bible that are bad for us as Americans.
FN: I didn't know God talked about Americans in the bible sir.
GB: Well he does, and listen, I really felt bad seeing all that suffering your people went through. And when that Kenya West said I don't care about black people, well that just hurt.
FN: It's Kanye West sir.
GB: Yeah that guy. I mean did he see how I was hugging those poor people? I ask you field- negro would I have done that if I didn't care? Those were not just photo ops., that was from the heart. I mean my goodness I saw one little black child in tears and it darn near broke my heart. I vowed right then and there, that this would never happen again on my watch.
FN: I am not sure you can control the weather sir, but I suppose you could coordinate a better response the next time.
GB: There you go again, just like the rest of the main stream media, implying that our effort was not properly coordinated.
FN: But don't you think your response to Katrina could have been better?
GB: Listen, I understand the perception; because CNN, CBS, and NBC just kept showing your people on roof tops, and babies with their mothers crying etc. There is no doubt that the imagery was not good.
FN: Did you see it on television sir?
GB: Well it wasn't on Fox, so I didn't get a chance to see a lot of it. I actually didn't realize how bad it was until one of our aids told us to turn on CNN.
FN: But then it was too late?
GB: Yeah, and Brownie my man down there from FEMA was getting no help from that Mayor Niggen and that dizzy Governor in Louisiana.
FN: I think it's Nagin sir.
GB: Yeah, that guy. No offense field- negro.
FN: None taken sir.
GB: Look, the American people gave me a job to do and I am going to do it no matter what. My moves might not always be popular, but at the end of the day, I have to protect every man woman and child within these borders. Unless you are from California. (Nervous laughter) Just kidding there field- negro don't print that. Yes, I am the decider, no one else.
FN: What does that have to do with Katrina sir?
GB: Listen, I am going to let you in on a little secret: We had all those people in the Superdome and Convention Center because, quite frankly, we didn't know what types of individuals we were dealing with. I couldn't just release them to the rest of the country. No offense field- negro, but those people were from the ninth ward of New Orleans, and this is where they have the most crime and bl....huh poverty. So Brownie and I decided it was best to just kind of hold them there until we could see exactly what we were dealing with. Again, protecting the rest of the American people from unknown and hidden dangers. I mean we couldn't just say; OK people of New Orleans here are a bunch of busses just go where you want. Do you understand where I am coming from with that?
FN: Scary as it sounds, I think I do sir.
GB: Listen field- negro, I have to go now, that Jim Kong il is acting up again.
FN: That's Kim Jong il sir.
GB: Yeah the North Korean guy. The one with the real weapons of mass destruction.
He won't get a chance to use those puppies on my watch though. The people of America elected me twice to protect them and that's what I am going to do.
FN: Well that's debatable sir.
GB: What is?
FN: That you were elected twice. Some people actually believe....never mind I don't want to open old wounds.
GB: Look field- negro, you were a real class act having me down here in the fields, and I just want to thank you. But the next time we do an interview why don't you come to the White House? I think you will enjoy it in the house. Besides, no offense, but it's hot out here in the fields.
FN: None taken sir, thanks for coming.