Sunday, July 30, 2006

Crashing Into Each Other

One of the more popular movies over the past couple of years was a flick called "Crash". It's a movie where different racial groups come in direct contact and conflict with each other due to a series of unfortunate events. The movie's backdrop is Los Angeles, California-aren't they all- and had enough good acting, and was so well written, that it garnered quite a few film making awards.

Now I liked the movie for obvious reasons. To me, stereotypes, and hidden racism, are too of the biggest things holding back America. So I enjoyed watching the fears and ignorance of different racial groups played out on the big screen. I also liked the entire concept of the movie. People confronting their various racial issues quite when they least expect it, and literally crashing into a person of another race or culture. This movie took place in Los Angeles, but it could have been in any major city in America. (Well, except maybe Salt Lake City, or Boise, Idaho)

For most African Americans living in America, I suspect, that our crash moments come a little more often than those of our fellow citizens in the majority population. And it really doesn't matter who you are, or how rich you are. (See Oprah Winfrey's recent dust up at an upscale Chicago department store, or the actress, Monique's dust up on a recent United Airlines flight) But make no mistake, given the cultural and racial make up of America, we all will at some point experience a crash moment.

The thing is, that every human being no matter what our race or culture, has our demons or problems that must be dealt with on a daily basis. And when the things around us take on a sameness and familiarity that we have grown accustomed to, it makes our problems and demons a little more tolerable and easier to deal with. The problem occurs when things happen suddenly and unexpectedly. This is when the crash takes on a more ominous tone and tends to shatter our day- to- day psyche. This, along with the obvious senselessness and horror of it, is what made 911 such a traumatic and unforgettable experience. So on a smaller scale, when we are forced to confront someone of a different race or culture , and it's not on our terms, it makes us uncomfortable and tends to magnify whatever problems and prejudices we might have been dealing with in the first place.

For the typical white -or black- suburban dweller, the crash is rare. Although every now and then, he or she might venture outside of the cocoon that is mcmansions, shopping malls, and manicured lawns. They might have to head into the city for a play, a fine restaurant, or to catch a ball game. And for the truly brave, they might even hold down a job in the city . For them, the crash is an almost daily happening, and it tends not to be as dramatic when they are confronted with it because they can see it coming . They live with a type of controlled crash, always leary, and always taking the necessary steps to soften the blow when it comes. The city worker, or dweller, knows how to make the crash less frightening and has learned to develop a certain comfort level with the possibility that the next crash moment might be just around the corner.

Poor Mr. Suburbia on the other hand, will always have a harder time of it, and when it happens to him it's a little harder for him to deal with. But make no mistake, having crash moments is not limited to just Mr. Surburbia, and as the movie and real life clearly illustrates, it does not only happen to people of one particular race or religion. In the movie, the black young punk car jackers, the white racist cop, the hard working Indian immigrants-always suspicious of every body regardless of their race- and the successful suburban black couple, all fall victim to it. We all experience it at some point ourselves. And Just like in the movie, no one is immune. I posted about a mild crash moment I experienced recently in the supermarket, and I am sure most of us could do the same.

So what do you do when the reality of it hits you? What should the black guy who finds himself lost in a poor white ethnic neighborhood, looking for directions only to find himself in the Irish corner bar do? What should the city dwelling white guy who finds himself at a Disney movie with his wife and five year old daughter, and behind him, a group of young black guys are dropping the "F" bomb for all to hear throughout the entire movie do? Should the old white guy who was just cut off by a young black guy in traffic blow his horn? Would he have blown it if it had been some other old white guy that cut him off? What happens if a black stripper is asked to strip at an all white frat party, and after the show, they all drop the "N" word on her because they didn't feel like they got their money's worth? (Wait, that did happen) What should she do?

So what do you do when confronted with these crash moments? I will tell you what you do. Consider this a PFA from the field-negro: Close your eyes, count to three, and pretend that the person involved with the potential crash looks just like you. Once you get that out of the way, consider all of the other factors in play. The environment, their age, their income level, the circumstances leading up to the moment etc. In other words, don't go creating a crash moment where there doesn't have to be one.

Once you do these things, you will be well on your way to making your crash moments a little easier to absorb, and all the crash moments you experience in the future, will just be in the movies.

Before I forget:

I would like to thank my man and fellow field-negro Atiba, for turning me on this project called the blackstar . I checked into their site and these brothers seem really positive.

On their site, were some stats and figures that blew my mind as well.
Stuff like: A white male with a high school diploma, is just as likely to have a job and earn the same amount as a black male with a college degree.
Blacks are 12% of the population yet make up 30% of America's poor.
45% of black children live below the poverty level, as opposed to 12% of white children.
Now this one is scary. The net worth of the average black family in America is $6,700 while the net worth of the average white family is closer to $67,000.
In New York City, only 51.8% of black males between the ages of 16-64 are employed, compared to 75.7% of white males and 65.7% of Latino males in the same age group. This stat. was taken in 2003.
According to the Justice Department, 1 out of 21 black males will be murdered in the United States. This is a death rate that is double that of American soldiers who served in World War II.
(Yes folks this is a war)

You can e-mail these brothers at;, or call them at; 312-842-3527.
I am sure they will be glad to hear form you.

The field-negro has to run now, the Deltas are still in town :)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Whose Reality?

OK so it's still hot and sticky and the field-negro is still pissed off. Pissed at having to live through the worst heat wave in, I don't know, maybe a hundred years. -Al Gore is right!- I mean this is crazy, I live in Philadelphia on the freaking East Coast of the United States, not the rain forest of Brazil for crying out loud!

So why has it been one hundred degrees with one hundred percent humidity for the past two. weeks? Mmmm, global warming you say. And this is not only Philly, all over the country there have been record heat waves. From the Pacific Northwest -My poor sister and brother in law are sleepless in Seatle right about now- and there have been power outages in Queens, and St Louis. -Yes I blame frat boy and deregulation for that too, but that's for another time.

Anyway, it's the middle of the week, and I am not having one of my best days. I am thinking about all the sh#@t that's going on in the Middle East-I just saw the image of a beautiful Lebanese child who was blown to smitherines by an IDF bomb-all the people dying unnecessarily on both sides, and all the senseless destruction and displacement of poor innocent people. I am thinking about my brother in law sitting somewhere in Texas in an army hospital still trying to get his body-not to mention his mind- working again. And he can thank frat boy and his war for that. Oh, a war where a full scale civil war is about to break out between the Sunnis and the Sheeites, and they are killing each other at a rate of 100 per day. Speaking of killing each other. I am thinking about the 220 murders here in Philly so far this year. All the people marching-including Will and Jada- all the community groups coming out against the violence, all the preachers praying, all the city officials coming up with all these new so called crime initiatives. And tomorrow morning, just like clock work, I will hear about one or two more murders on the news. I am thinking, why the f#@% did ESPN kick off fellow field-negro and the best baseball analyst on T.V., Harold Reynolds? They say sexual harrassment of an employee, he says he didn't do it. But yet, he is gone. I still see Bill Oliely's ignorant behind on the air over at FAUX NEWS, even though he was accused of the exact same thing. Then I just learned that Philly lost the Olympics to either San Fransico, Chicago, or L.A., that pisses me off. Bring the damn thing to the East Coast for once.- Sorry, Atlanta is south- Didn't L.A. have one in 1984. And Chicago? Nice city, but it aint Philly. Susan Yates walks because down in the good ole state of Texas they think she is insane for drowning her five little kids one by one. Geez! And to think that there are brothers doing major time for having a bag of crack cocaine. But don't get me started, its too hot to get really pissed off. "Postpartum Psychosis" my ass!

So you see why I am pissed folks? All this sh#@ going on, throw in the heat and humidity, and what you have is one unhappy field-negro.

So anyway, I head home and decide to catch up on some T.V., just to escape from all the crap that's going on around me, and all the negative thoughts. After all, between blogging, my work for the good folks of Philly, and my work for myself, I can hardly find down time to watch the "telly" anymore. So tonight, I tell myself, it will be different, I will make a conscious effort to catch a show or two.

Flick channel....Survivor, flick channel, Extreme Makeover, flick channel, Pimp My Ride, flick channel, Simple Life, flick channel, Surreal Life, flick channel, Cops ... so what the F#@$. Is there anything besides reality T.V. on television anymore? I mean it's everywhere. America haven't you had enough of this crap? And what's with the America before the name of all of these shows? American Idol, America's Next Top Model, American Inventor, American Casino ... and so it goes. It's not even reality; it's, according to Wikipedia "highly influenced" programming. Get that? It means it's all well scripted for you. So why the facination with the Apprentice, and Survivor, and Project Greenlight, and Real World, and Beauty and the Geek, and...I give up. But I think I know what it is, it's average Americans -that's code speak for white folks- trying to find an escape; something to get the old adrenaline up. After all, how else do you escape from the normal, suburban, ho hum existence that you have become so accustomed to? Black folks, on the other hand, don't need reality shows to get us pumped up. Life is a f##%@c reality show for us. You think the board room is tough? Try living in the projects of North Philly for a week Donald? Your ass is "fired" for real. It could be literal or figurative, but you get the point. Yeah, I think I can survive on an exotic Island. Somehow the thought of a five course meal at a resort just a boat ride away, after I get kicked off, doesn't make the Island seem so intimidating to me. But could the contestants live on $149 a month worth of food stamps, dodging bullets to get to their next job interview? And praying that when they come home -if you want to call it that- the neighborhood crack addict didn't clean them out of everything they have? Now survive that for a week, and you will not have to go to tribal council, of course you might want to, and while you are there, you will be begging to leave that little urban Island called the "hood". Survivor Hood Island. Now that has a nice ring to it.

But I am being unfair to white folks, because black folks are caught up in this reality crap too. Yes, I have caught all the tokens on shows like Big Brother- like a black person can survive in that house- Survivor, Amazing Race, etc. Heck, black folks have even won some of them. Because I told you, we know how to survive, it comes natural. We even have some of these shows as our own. Tyra Banks is the face and host of America's Next Top Model; you gotta love it. I love your hustle Tyra, you pimp those white folks girl. And even dumb ass BET tried to cash in on this crap with the forgettable duo of College Hill, and Fatty Koo. Talk about embarrassing. But this is what happens, when black folks try to be followers and not leaders. You get disasters like the two flops I just mentioned. Not to mention, kids making absolute fools of themselves for the entertainment of the rest of America. That's what Jerry Springer, and Ricky Lake was for, and I thought we were past those bafooning days. Isn't Jerry running for office somewhere? But I digress.

The point is, we need less reality on T.V. and more escape. I mean, isn't that what T.V. is supposed to offer? I know to white folks, reality T.V. is escape, but to me, reality T.V. is what I see every day. Try having a camera following me around every day at my job, I guarantee you, the ratings will be higher than some of the shows on the air now. You white folks -especially in middle America- will love it. It will offer a real escape for you from your every day mundane existence. A real live look into inner city and urban life. No scripts, no prefabricated locations, no "highly influenced" format. Just you and the field-negro enjoying life in the fields.

Anyway, screw the television, there is nothing on, and I feel like posting on the Internet now. I have some venting to do.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Falling Down

Does anyone remember the Michael Douglas movie titled "Falling Down"? The tag line to the movie describes the lead character as: "An ordinary man at war with the ever changing world" I suspect that there was a little political correctness at play with the tag line here. Because the truth of the matter is, Douglas plays your typical angry white male, who has to endure an ever changing demographic in 1993 Los Angeles. To William D-Fens' Foster- The Douglas character in the film-, the city has become the demographic equivalent to a Third World country. And poor William has to endure various perceived slights and acts of ignorance at the hands of these minorities and "others" in his beloved country. These everyday problems, coupled with the goings on in his personal life, finally takes him over the edge, and to the point of no return. Now I always knew that their was and still is, certain amount of white male anger in America, -After all, I do have white friends. Yes I really do- and that for the most part, the white man still thinks he is losing his country to God knows what. All you have to do is watch cable news every night or listen to conservative talk radio. The cry of; "we are losing the culture war" is just code speak for; we are becoming the minorities in our own country, and now that the table is turning we don't like it. But I didn't realize until I started debating a white blogger from a conservative website-Wizbang- just how serious this angry white male stuff still is. Now you must understand, that although I knew this guy was white and conservative, I nevertheless considered him to be somewhat well reasoned, and intellectual in his thinking. So you can imagine my surprise when he went on a rant about being the victim in a society that often attacks white males. We were debating the merits of "hate crime laws" and he thought, -and I am paraphrasing- that the hate crime laws were just another tool given to minorities to attack the white male.

He conveyed the impression to me, that he was feeling left out because the country had gone to hell in a minority hand basket. So this is why the white man is still angry, and he is still on the defensive. Make no mistake, this is why frat boy's job approval rating is at 38% and not 18%. They want a President who can kick butt, any butt, and if it's a bunch of Iraqis, so be it. Foreign policy and all that other diplomatic crap be damned. Those appeasers and peace lovers just don't get it, we are sick of being pushed around and now we are pushing back. Now we are going to go Michael Douglas on those Arabs, those immigrants, and whoever else thinks that the white man is going to take it laying down. So this is where my "falling down" analysis comes in. Hollywood doesn't always get it right, but every now and then they plug in to a particular social phenomenon and nail the exact mood of the country. And although "Falling Down" was made some sixteen years ago, it was right on then, and my argument is that it is still relevant over a decade later . Anyone who has taken Psychology 101 will tell you that the Rush Limpboughs of the world are popular, because a segment of America's population is glad to have someone who will publicly push back and say what they really feel. In a way, this also explains the popularity of the Michael Savages and, Bill Olielys as well. Angry white men, pushing back, not afraid to take their rants to the airwaves. They will even accept minorities and women who echo the same rhetoric on their behalf; and will glorify them and make them famous, -or in the case of Leshawn Barber, pseudo famous- when they do. (See Michelle Malkn, Thomas Sowell, etc.) But make no mistake, this is a white male issue, which effects primarily white males. This is what makes the actions and writings of those like the aforementioned Malkiin, and Sowell, so disingenuous, and phony. They are not writing for themselves, nor the people the should be representing. Instead, they are writing for the collection of angry white men in this country who are at their tipping point and are about to fall down.

Right here in Philadelphia, I hear it from my white colleagues every day. " We are fed up with being the minorities in our own city. Our mayor is black, our police chief is black, most of city council is black, we are only 45% of the population... and so it goes, the poor white man can't buy a break. Is it any wonder that so many are moving to the suburbs and taking their families with them? My white friends all tell me that they are soon to follow. -Will the last white man to leave Philly please turn the lights out- They can't take it anymore living in a city where they are the minority and where they are losing all of their rights. I suspect that the same sentiment is being echoed by angry white men all over America. Who represents or speaks for them? Where is their cable news network, newspaper, white men's association for the advancement of white causes etc.? Poor angry white man. Doesn't he realize that he does not need these things because he does already control the country? He is the only one to have ever been President, he controls 90% of the wealth, he makes up pretty much all of the CEO's, millionaires, newspaper editors, producers, generals, senators, governors, lawyers, doctors, Indian Chiefs, you name it. It's his America, and he makes damn near every decision that effects our every day lives. From fed. reserve chairman to FEMA director. So you have to wonder, what the hell is he so afraid of, and where is all this stress and anxiety coming from?

Have you ever heard the D.L. Hugley comedy routine, where the white man loses his job and, well, loses it? "You did what, you fired me? I will be right back!" But the black man on the other hand, so accustomed to adversity, takes it all in stride. "Why didn't you tell me I was fired before I came to work? I would have saved myself a trip and not bothered to have come in today" It's comedy, but it's so true. Just like in Hollywood, comedians have their fingers on this phenomenon too, and Hugley's take on the white man's reaction to being fired is right on. He captures the angst and the anxiety that is the angry white man today. And at the same time tells the world a joke that have been going around among us black folks for years. The joke is that it doesn't take much to break the white man, and he could not begin to endure what we, as a people, have endured over the years. And on the rare occasion that he has to deal with our type of adversity, you get William D-Fens' Foster allover again.

So if you are a white man in modern day America what do you do? It seems every thing is against you, and you are losing your country. Well I am here to give you some words of encouragement. Believe me, it only seems that way now "Charlie"but it' s really not that bad. You still have it pretty damn good. You still have most of the power, and the wealth. And it's only your hand that can push that little red button that's so close to the leader of the free world at all times.

I will never forget the way I felt when I saw my first white bum. I had just moved to Philly, and I had never witnessed alot of homelessness until I started living in a major Northeastern city. I had started to see bums here and there, but they were all black. Then, one day, there he was, sitting on a park bench in love park, not far from the "LOVE statute". I remember actually stopping and staring at him to make sure he was really down, and out, and homeless. And he was. It freaked me out, because I kept thinking, he had to have been a bum by choice because there is no way America would allow a white man to become so down on his luck. Turns out he was a bum of choice, and to be fair, many of the black bums in my city are bums of choice too. The point is, that just seeing a white bum freaked me out, and even though I have since seen a few more, I still pause and think to myself~~~how could this be~~~ every time I see one. Because in spite of what angry white males may think, white men just don't go falling down too often, and alot of the perceived threats to their Shangri-la, is just all in their minds.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

House Guest

Folks, it has been seriously hot in the fields for the past few days. The East Coast is experiencing a heat wave, and the field-negro has been catching it out here. So I figured, what the heck, this is a good time to find a way to the house with the rest of the house negroes. At least I will be in the shade for awhile.

Now I was wondering just how I was going to get into the house; when my old friend, fra..I mean President Bush came through for me. He invited me to write the speech he will be giving at the NAACP convention. I guess he figured, and rightfully so, that the field-negro would be plugged in to the oldest civil rights organization in the United States. And who better to write the speech that he will be giving to this venerable organization -one that he has snubbed since the start of his Presidency-but the field-negro.

OK, so I am in the house, and I must admit, it's really tempting to live in here as opposed to the fields. As I tip down the grand hallways, and pass the fabulous sculptures and original paintings, I find myself officially in awe of the house. Hey, there is Clarence Thomas, studying in the law library. Hi Clarence, what's up bro? Mmmm, Clarence doesn't look to happy to see the field-negro, he barely acknowledged a brother. Oh well. Hey, there is Oprah, and Gayle King! What the heck are they doing?.....Ahh sorry Oprah, I didn't mean to interrupt anything. I will be just on my way now. What's that music coming from the powder room? Oh, it's Wayne Brady playing the baby grand; he sounds good too. What's up Wayne? Can you play some Luther for a brother? Sorry man, I didn't know that they don't allow that type of music in here. Mmmm, something smells good, looks like it's coming from the kitchen. Hey, it's Leshawn Barber. Girl I didn't know you could cook? No need for the evil eye girl friend, I wont go in your pot. Geez! I think I will just go down the hall and start writing the speech for the President now, these negroes in here are no fun. They all seem so... scared.

Well it's speech writing time; I gotta drag this out a little, because as soon as I am finished, they will be sending my black ass back to the fields. OK let's see; I gotta start with a nice ice breaker.
Frat boy was, after all, the only sitting President since Herbert Hoover to snub the NAACP. So I have to lighten the mood a little from the jump. Lets see; I know the NAACP was started February 12, 1909 just two days before Valentine's Day. Now that's ironinc, cause I can feel the love already....Naw that aint gonna do it. Now I want to say a few words to my friend Bruce S. Gordon, your most able President. Bruce, thank you for inviting me. Frankly, I was mad at you guys for a little while. After that James Byrd ad. you ran against me, heck, I was more than mad, let's just say that little slip of the tongue I had at the G8 summit pales in comparrison to what I was saying about you guys.....Naw can't use that either. Bruce, I like your honesty, I like the fact that you admitted that the NAACP has closer to 180,000 members and not the 500,000 that your predecessors like to claim. After all, honesty is the best policy ....Naw better scratch that too. I was wondering, why do you people still refer to yourselves as colored people? I mean shouldn't you be the NAABP or somthing?.....I just wan't you peopple to kow that I had nothing to do with the IRS investigating your tax exempt status.... You know what, screw this, I am heading back to the fields. It's hot out there, but it's nothing compared to the heat I am feeling trying to write this stupid speech for frat boy. Besides, he has Tony Snow, let him write it.

The field-negro is outta here, I am just going to sneak out the back way so that frat boy doesn't notice that I am bailng out on him. Hey field what's up? Oh hi Colin, you scared me man. What are you doing in here, I thought you were back in the fields? No field it's too hot out there, I just figured I would hang out here in the back hallways and hopefully no one will notice me. Well, good luck, and be careful, I just saw Condi down the hall . Thanks for the tip field, be careful out there. No brother, you be careful in here.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Musings From The Fields.

Good morning everybody, and I do mean good morning. Yes, inspite of the book of Revelation being played out before our very eyes-more on that in a minute-the field-negro is feeling pretty good these days. This is because a few of my best friends are here in town for the Southern University Alumni conference, and I am having a ball just hanging with the old crew, and seeing so many people from the "Jaguar Nation" in the City Of Brotherly Love.

I feel good about the University and the direction it's taking. President Slaughter has some good ideas and wants to raise the Universitie's profile nationally. He is even thinking of bringing an East Coast Version of the Bayou Classic right here to Philadelphia. The Jags would play, maybe Howard or Hampton University here at the "Linc". Now that would be a beautiful thing; the battle of the bands at half time, the "Dancing Dolls", some serious blue and gold football, and a full scale invasion of "Jaguar Nation" -SU averages damn near 30,000 at away games- That's tops among all division 1-AA programs in the country.

So it's been nothing but good vibrations for the field-negro all week. Our Mayor, John -I really need to cut my hair- Street, welcomed Southern to our fair city. My man Harold Carmichal -a Philly icon for the Iggles and SU grad- has been making the rounds hanging with his old classmates. ( I hear they had quite the party in South Jersey Friday night. The real players ball :) ), and I chilled in "Zanzibar Blue" while Marla Gibbs (227, and the Jeffersons) serenaded us, and I swear I thought it was Nancy Wilson when I walked in the joint. Ms. Thing can really sing, and she still looks good.

So SU, this is a message for you: You have a great opportunity here to get this thing right, don't f@#% it up. Southern is not some small time regional University tucked away in Southwest Louisiana. It is the largest black University in America, has the only black University system, has more black generals in the Army than any other college or University,-One of them is Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, Commander of the gulf coast Katrina relief effort- produced the most and finest black engineers in the country, was the first historically black college to be visited by a first lady-Eleanor Roosevelt 1943- and has a fully accredited law school that has sent numerous Judges, politicians, prosecutors all over the country to practice. In the area of entertainment, Randy Jackson from "American Idol" is an SU grad, as is Avery Johnson, who almost coached Dallas to an NBA championship, and NFL, NBA, and MLB icons like Mel Blount, Lou Brock, and Bob Love are Jags as well. And speaking of Avery Johnson. I would like to take this opportunity to speak to him directly; Jag to Jag. I heard some bad things about you Avery, and if what I am hearing is true, I am really dissapointed. You better start returning your phone calls negro and don't forget where you came from. So you had some problems on "The Yard", get over that s@#& , and represent.

But enough of my beloved Southern. It's time to talk news:

Crisis In The Middle East:

Seems like Isreal, Iran, and Syria are about to get it on. I am not going to get into who is right or wrong in this war, - I might as well call it a war- but I have said this many times on this blog, and I am saying it again. George Bush aka "frat boy" and the neo cons who serve in his administration, have put a disastrous foreign policy apparatus in place, and we will be feeling the effects of it for a long time to come. I am not blaming him 100% for this latest escalation of problems in that region, because, quite frankly, if you know anything about the Middle East, you know it was just a matter of time before Israel went after Hezbollah. - Although I said I wouldn't put the blame squarely on one side, I do have to question some of Israel's actions as it relates to Lebanon . I am not sure if a full scale assault on another sovereign nation is how you go about ridding you country of terrorist threats. But wait, isn't that exactly what frat boy did? Oh well, I guess we have no other choice but to support Israel given that we did the exact same thing in Iraq. Not that we wouldn't have supported them anyway, but it would have nice to be able to come to the table with some options. Is it me, or does it seem more and more like we are in the last days? It would have been nice to give Condi and the diplomatic branch of our government some options, but we have none, and don't think for a minute that Israel didn't know it, they have been watching frat boy too, apparently they watch real news and not only Fox. Again, the war in Iraq is having disastrous effects, and not only in Iraq itself, but on everyone in the region. Oh, and let's not forget about what's been happening on the ground there. This past week alone, over 250 people have been killed in mosques attacks , gumen attacked an Iraqi army checkpoint and killed 11 soldiers and wounded 3, gunmen in Bagdad opened filre on a minivan which was carrying passengers to the Shite holy city of Karbala, and killed 5, a body....oh what's the point. Sectarian violence is out of control again, we are still losing an average of one soldier a day, and this war is going no where. That's all you need to know. Worse, it's effecting our foreign policy all over the world -Do you really think that little weasel with the funny hair cut in North Korea would have fired off his version of 4th of July fireworks, if it had not been for frat boy's failed policies? I don't think so. And now we can't even get the Russians or the Chinese to talk some sense into him because we have zero credibility with them as well. Do you want to know what other leaders think when frat boy gives them the old we cannot allow rogue nations to possess these types of weapons speech? I will tell you what they are thinking; ~~F#@% you cowboy, who the F@#% do you think you are, they have a right to possess those weapons just as much as you do. The last time we checked they did not invade a country that was not a threat to their sovereignty.~~~~~ That's what they are thinking.

Rioting Erupts in Pakistan After Cleric Is Slain:

Read what I just said above. It applies to this headline as well. And I will say this, if we are not careful with Pakistan, we will have another Iran on our hands, at a time when we can ill afford to. There is also the potential for some serious sectarian violence breaking out. Like Iraq, Pakistan is made up of Sunnis and Shiites. The difference is, that in Pakistan, 80% of the population is made of of Sunni Muslims while in Iraq, it's the other way around.

India's Leader: Bombers Had Pakistani Help:

Speaking of Pakistan; the leader of India, Manmohan Singh, is blaming Pakistan for the latest bombings in his country. Pakistan of course denies it, but that means nothing. That horse has also left the barn a long time ago, and that region is also seriously f@#% up. And unlike North Korea, India has nukes, and they work!

And somewhere, deep in a cave in the mountains of Afghanistan; a six foot seven inch bearded man is smiling.

Wilsons Say Betrayal Prompted Leak Lawsuit:

I see where Valarie Plame Wilson and her husband have sued Dick Cheney. Now assuming he doesn't shoot both of them first, it should be interesting to watch how this plays out. Of course it wont bring down "Dead Eye" Dick, but at least it will keep this story alive, and bring some more scrutiny to a very ugly chapter in frat boy's presidency.

Heatwave Grips City:

Yes it's still hot here in the City Of Brotherly Love-expecting 100 degrees and oppressive humidity on Monday- I don't care if you call me a tree hugging weanie, Al Gore is right. This global warming stuff is real. But somehow we as Americans don't want to believe it, because it would mean that we would have to change how we live our precious American way of life. Besides, people on the right have politicized this issue because it's coming frm Al. Gore. I bet if that drug addict in Florida-I Need A Rush Limpbaugh- was screaming about global warmiing, all the conservatives would be selling their third and fourth vehicles tomorrow. But such is life in The United Red & Blue States Of America; everything is political these days, even somthing as important as the environment.


Let me talk some quick sports with you.

I see the Sixers are still trying to shop AI. Now I love AI, I think he is the third best Sixer of all time. But I also think it will be best for him, -not the Sixers- if he were traded right now. He will never get a championship here, because the Sixers are capped out with no immediate help in sight. So for Allan's sake, trade him to a contender. This will help my man at least get a shot at a ring, and be able to show America on the grand stage of a championship series, how serious his game still is.

Seems they are going to indict my man Barry Bonds for tax evasion.
All I can say is, I told you Barry, I told you the man was going to get you. And you thought I was kidding huh.

"T.O. said his book miquotes him on his comeback" T.O. are you insane? Now I love your game and everything, and as I stated earlier, you will probably do at least two or three end zone dances at the "Linc" when your "Boys" play the "Iggles" this year. But how in heaven's name can someone misquote you in your own freaking book? Here is a little hint for you my man, the next time someone writes a book for you, do like my man Tony Clayton, make sure you are both on the same page. -No pun intended- And if you are not, just shut the f#@%# up!

Oh, and one more thing. This is for all my white friends out there. BARBARO is a f#@&&## horse! I know you love your animals, but I think I speak for 90% of the black people in this country when I say: We really don't care whether he lives or dies. Got it? So please, no more front page stories in the sports section, no lead in news coverage about his condition on the nightly news, and no more talk shows discussing the type of surgery he had etc. There are CHILDREN being murdered in your cities on a daily basis, and you do not care. But this freaking horse.... I just can't figure you all out.

Anyway, that's it for today folks, I gotta run, my boys are still in town and the field-negro has got to go paint the fields red :)

I'm out.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Who Is Sterotyping Who. My Shirly Temple Moment

Thanks to my man Atiba, I received an excellent article via e-mai from the Associated Press. It was written by Erin Texeira and it had to do with the sterotypes that black men face on a daily basis and the different coping mechanisms that we use to get by. There was also a post about this issue on the moderate to conservative blog known as Booker Rising . The article focused on a lawyer from Ohio-I think his name is Keith Borders- and according to the article, he is a garrulous, 6"7", and talks with his hands. He says he has a keen sense of his size, and how he communicates. "I end up putting my hands in my pockets or behind me. I stand with my feet closer and speak in a softer voice" All this , he says, so as not to seem as intimidating to the people he deals with. The article goes on to say that each day African American men consciously work to offset stereotyes about them that they are dangerous, aggresive, and angry. They are mindful of their bodies, careful not to dart into closing elevators, or stand too close in grocery stores. Of course, I can totally relate, and I know for some brothers it's harder than others. The article quoted brothers who work in a very corporate culture and who have to play games with turning on and off certain behavior patterns so as not to offend their white colleagues.

As I stated earlier, in the field-negroes world it's no different. And it's funny that the article should specifically mention grocery stores, because my most recent moment came in one such establishment.

Last Thursday I found myself grocery shopping in a very lilly white suburb of Philadelphia. And as I am going through the store, feeling my vegetables, and checkling my fruits, I soon became aware of the fact that I was the only ink spot probably within miles of the establishment. Of course, I am getting the looks, the ones which I know every brother can relate to . - I don't mean brothers in a Harold Ford, or Terrence Howard sense. I mean brothers in a Michael Clarke Duncan, Ving Rhames, Djimon Hounsou sense. In my case, black, baldheaded, and big. The type of brother the article was referring to, that well, scares white people. The smiles always seem to come too often, and are oh so nervous, a little too much deference, and overly polite posture as to not give the impression of being, well, intimidated or scared. So what do you do, you just go through the motions; smiling back, being overly polite in return, and wishing it all wasn't necessary.

So I finished with my shopping and I am waiting in line. Waiting in front of me, is a somewhat middle aged white woman and her daughter who seemed to be no more than six or seven. She looked like Shirly Temple when she played in those old black and whites from the thirties. I am sitting there looking at her thinking how good she must have it; this little white girl, in her lilly white world. I must have been smiling to myself, because the little girl smiled at the field-negro. Of course, not wanting to be rude, and cognizant of all the eyes on me, I smiled back. She was playing with a little blond doll-of course, only black people give their kids white dolls-while sitting in her mother's grocery cart. Just a thought, why the f#@* do people let their grown ass kids ride in grocery carts when they are in the grocery store? But I digress. So while she is playing with her doll she keeps looking at the field-negro. Now you have to understand this scene. There are white folks all around me, and it's a Thursday evening right after a big holiday, so the store is pretty crowded. And so it goes, the little white girl continues playing with the doll and staring at the field-negro, obviously wanting to draw him into her world. She waves, and I smile and wave back. Now her mother, previously engrossed with unloading her shopping cart takes a look back. For a moment, I detect it; the fear, the apprehension, the what the hell do I say to this big bald black man playing with my daughter look. "Is she bothering you?" She says to me, managing a nervous smile. "Of course not" I reply. "She is fine". Mommy continues what she was doing, but her movement are quicker now, and I suspect I know why. But of course, now her daughter is in full play mode, and she holds her little doll up to the field negro to see it. At this point I am hoping mom will take charge of the situation, tell her daughter to leave the nice man alone and rush out with her groceries. But no, she is paying for her groceries now, and it seems like it's taking forever. "What's your doll's name?" I manage to say. "It's Rose" She is all smiles now, and is giving me her total attention. "Well that's a nice name, did you name her?" "Yes, because her cheeks are red". By now it seems that the entire store had grown more quiet, and everone in my line, in the line next to me, and every where else within earshot, is hanging on our every word. I am dying for this Shirly Temple, Bill Bojangles Robinson moment to pass, but it seems like it's taking forever. "What's your name?" I asked, not really caring but wanting to leave a lasting pleasant impression on all the white folks listening, so that maybe the next field-negro will get the benefit of the doubt in their world. She looks at her mother as if to get her approval before she tells the big black stranger her name. Mom nods as if to say it's alright. "It's Sarah"she says. "What's your name?" Ok, she got me there, I am totally caught off guard, remember that old EF Huttun commercial? That's what it felt like at that moment. But I tell her my name, and she smiles. "You have a nice name too" "Come on sweetie, we have to go, tell the nice man bye" Finally, saved by Mom. "Bye" She says, as her mom wheels her away in the shopping cart. "Bye bye" I say, glad my little Shirly Temple moment is over. The chatter goes up again in the store, and it seems everyone is smiling now, more at ease, everyone liked the field-negro's answers and demeanor during the little encounter. No more threatening, no more aggressive, just a big bald headed black man who can communitcate with the smallest and most precious among us. "Wasn't she adorable?" The lady behind me in line was talking to me about my recent playmate. "Yes she was" I manage to say. "Do you have any chidlren?" What is it with white people, once they think it's safe to talk to you, watch out; they will talk you to death. "No I don't", I muttered, not wanting to be engaged and hoping she would take the hint by the tone of my voice. "That will be $55 sir. " Saved by the cashier. I paid, said goodbye to my chatty line mate, and made a dash for the parking lot.

Now I am driving away on this hot humid day in July. Glad the grocery shopping thing is behind me, trying to get back to Philly and away from lilly whiteville as soon as possible. As I head on to the main thoroughfare away from the store, I spot my little friend from inside with her mother waiting at the bus stop. Mom looks uncomfortable, and my little friend is clutching her doll like her life depends on it. I start to think that maybe my little friend doesn't have it so great after all, and all of my assumptions about her before our little encounter might have been incorrect. Now it's hot and miserable outside, and I am probably going in their direction; the air in my car is on full blast, it feels good and I feel guilty. For a minute I think of offering them a ride, but I don't; I pass them, careful not to look, and hoping they didn't see me. I feel bad about prejudging little Shirly Temple, just like her people are always prejudging me. And for a minute, I really feel bad about not offering her and her mother a ride. But just for a minute. Because I start to think of all the things that could go wrong. For instance, what if mom is startled-who is this black man stalking us from the store-calls 911 in liily white ville, the field-negro is pulled over... yeah I am glad I didn't stop. Driving away from lilly whiteville, I start to think of the little Shirly Temple look alike again. And of all things I am trying to remember the name of her stupid doll. At the bus stop she was clutching that doll like it would protect her from all the evils of the world. Don't you worry little girl, you are female and you are white, you don't need your doll to protect you. As long as you are in America, you will have all the protection you need.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Birthday America!

Well, it's America's Birthday, and the field-negro would like to say a few words in honor of the Birthday girl.

Happy Birthday America. How old are you now? Is it two hundred and thirty one already? Wow, it's been that long. It seems like only yesterday some of your great thinkers were preparing the Declaration of Independence, to free you from the tyranny of that King in England. You know the one, no not the King, the declaration; "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal.." Yeah that one. We know it wasn't meant for every body, but it turned out to be a beautiful document after all. It is still so relevant today, and that's where its beauty lies, it has stood the test of time, just like you.

Hey, I know the first few years were rough on you, and I know what you did to the Indians just to get to this point. The massacre of women and children at Wounded Knee and the "Indian Removal Act" sanctioned by President Andrew Jackson, which basically insured the removal of them from your shores. Hey, at least you gave them casinos. The irony is, that everyone wants to claim that they are Indian now, because they can become wealthy just by proving that they have a drop of Indian blood. My people, on the other hand, weren't so lucky, no casinos for us. But on the other hand, maybe we were lucky, because we didn't get all the European deceases that were brought to your shores that wiped out so many of the Indians before a single shot was fired.

But we did do a lot of hard work, and we were brought to your shores against our will. Because of the hard work we did, I think we contributed so much to making this the greatest economy on earth. Of course I know we won't get credit for it, because you think we want some form of pay back or something. But we don't, we just want to be treated equally, and given the same opportunities that our fellow citizens who don't happen to look like us have. Hey, I think we have been really good considering how this issue of race could have turned out. Of course, the irony is, that the one man who advocated peace and doing things peacefully was killed by one of your own. We kept our calm after that too. But this is about you today, I wont go into one of these field-negro rants. Besides, you did eventually give us our freedom and even fought a war among yourselves to insure it. So for that, we are forever grateful.

Speaking of wars, there has been twelve of them fought under "old glory"-wow, you must be tired-some were noble and necessary-like when you stopped that evil man in Germany-and some were not so noble-like the one we are bogged down with now. But you fought them nevertheless, so I guess they don't call this the land of the brave for nothing. You fought for your principals and ideals, and you fought for your interest, and your freedom. And for that, I can't blame you for going to war when you did . But your people are split on what we are fighting for now, and it's tearing you apart. We are no more united as Americans, who happen to support different political ideas and beliefs. We are now red staters and blue staters who despise each other, and who scream at each other all day, on television, on the Internet, and in print. I know, because I am guilty of it myself.

You have had forty three men leading you as Presidents, from George Washington to George Bush; some of them left too soon, some of them can't leave soon enough. You have assassinated a couple of really good ones, which makes me wonder about you sometimes, and you kicked one out for lying to you and doing nefarious things while you entrusted him to lead you.
That was good. But then you tried to kick one out for having sex and lying about it. That was bad. All the people that have led you have been white and have been men. I guess that's not really your fault, I mean it takes so much to get elected to lead you. Although I can't help but think, that no matter how qualified or how much money a woman or a person of color had they could not get elected. Maybe I am wrong, but I think you have quite a few more years to go before we can get to that point. That hurts you, because you like to think of yourself as way past that stage, but believe me, you are not. Now I know it's your birthday, and I should only be telling you the good stuff, but hey, what are friends for, I care so I am being honest with you.

So let me give you some good stuff, because it isn't all bad with you. This is the greatest democracy on earth, and your system of laws has been unmatched throughout human history. The constitution is a brilliant document, and the amendments pertaining to the bill of rights are great equalizers in a society that could have had so much more inequities. Of course, while the laws are almost perfect, throughout your history, many of the men charged to interpret and uphold them have been flawed. If they were not, we would not have gotten "JimCrow", Plessy v. Ferguson, or Oliver Brown et al. v. Board of Education of Topeka et al. would not have been necessary. We would not have gotten the many white men who walked free after lynching people of color, and burning their land and raping their wives and daughters. Still, I can't blame you for all of that. You cannot control what is in the heart of your citizens. All you can do is create the frame work and put the things in place for men to live just and virtuous lives.

But you are a contradiction. You are the most violent industrial nation on earth, yet many yearn to come to your shores. You still discriminate against many of your own citizens,yet other countries seek you out to show them the way when it comes to morality and fair and proper treatment of their own. You are a country of immigrants, and welcome your immigrants with these comforting words: "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..." But lately, we have learned that not all the huddled masses are welcome. Not if they happen to come from a certain country south of you. A country, by the way, who you happened to take some territory from when you were a lot younger.

So Happy Birthday America, you are one heck of a gal, and in spite of some not too flattering things I might have said about you; I wouldn't trade you for anyone else in the world.