Thursday, December 28, 2006

Bye Godfather!

So the Godfather of soul is gone; damn this one hurts too. He dropped so much good sh**, that I can't even begin to name them. More importantly, he helped change the way us black folks view ourselves. "Say it loud I am black and I am proud..." Did I have some issues with him? Sure I did. Like the whole corny "Living In America" thing he did for that "Rocky" movie. And some of the personal issues that he had was way too public. But hey, who among us is perfect? And if anyone deserves a pass for some of the sh** he did, it was JB.

So go on with your bad self James, you left us with lots and lots of great memories, and all of us will be moving our feet to your sh** for years to come.
Folks, I am blogging from the road, so this post, as you can see, was very brief. But I had to comment on the passing of JB.
I can't wait to get back to Philly to start really posting again. There is so much sh** that I want to talk about and share with you. Anyway, just three days and counting, and I will be home sweet home.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Some White Folks Get It

"Unconventional Wisdom Listen up, white folks: Your racism cuts deeper
By Alfred Lubrano
Inquirer Columnist

Two weeks ago, I wrote a column about white racism. What about black racism?, dozens of you wrote me.
How come I didn't mention the inappropriateness of ESPN analyst Michael Irvin's opining that Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (of Mexican descent) must have had an ancestor who copulated with a black man to account for his superior skills?
Irvin, who is African American, is foolish , but that's hardly the point. I didn't think I had to say this because it's so obvious:
America is a white-majority country. When one group has substantially more power than all others, its biases, prejudices, and mouth filth matter more.
And if whites possess the keys to the White House, the executive suite, the law firm, the construction company - not to mention the gun lockers in the police stations - then what they think about black people has greater weight and consequence than what black people think about them.
Of course, black people can be as prejudiced as whites. I've lived it. On a day I thought would be my last, a group of black guys beat me down on a New York subway train; years later, black demonstrators spit on me and opened my head with rocks. In both cases, my only sin was skin color.
But lots more black people than whites have endured systemic, organized violence in this country. And my ancestors walked off the boats that brought them here unchained.
From when I was a kid, the croaks of racists slimed my ears. Today, neighbors in rural South Jersey take me for a coconspirator, referring to "them people" and identifying certain farm weeds as N-word-heads. In white neighborhoods everywhere, you can hear far worse.
Crime. Unwed mothers. Dope. Black problems, right? When I tell people that the white Appalachian neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio, I once covered had the precise same pathologies, they stare at me dumbly.
It's poverty, not melanin. It's class-based misery. It's watching your kids crawl around without Pampers or hope. It's sucking down Ho Hos and malt liquor because the sugar and the buzz feel better than the boredom and terror of each day.
White working-class people I know erroneously believe that government programs such as affirmative action give African Americans unfair advantages.
If they had a genie's wish, I ask white folks, would they beg for their kids to turn black so they could enjoy all those goodies?
I lived below the poverty line for four years in New York and I still had it better than lots of black people.
It is true that working-class white people live tough American lives.
But store owners don't automatically think they're criminals, and their kids don't have to be warned not to mouth off to cops for fear of getting tortured with a plunger.
Some psychologists of race will go so far as to say that white prejudice is proactive, while black prejudice is reactive. America began with whites thinking of blacks as animals and property. U.S. history then moved to cross burnings.
We've since progressed, but if your people get lynched and shot enough times, you might develop suspicion of all the guys with the ropes and guns.
Today, lots of people are learning to interact. But racism is a hard-to-kill bacterium. How do I know? Many of you readers told me so, with acid e-mails and racist phone messages.
You hate that a white guy is saying this. White people have to say this. Or we're not getting anywhere."

Folks, whenever I read a column like the one above, I realize that there is hope for our country, and that there are white folks in this country who really do get it. I almost never lift an entire article but this one from my home town paper, The Philadelphia Inquirer, was too good not to share with the rest of you. Yes, I loved the article, and I also loved this letter to the editor from a lady by the name of Laura Modon from Havertown, Pennsylvania:

"Your article gave me hope for the future of this country and the world.

In my estimation, you are one of a minute group of men with white skin who 'get it' and who have the courage to say so. (The others who come to mind: former President Jimmy Carter;Bono; former President Bill Clinton; professor and author Jared Diamond.)

In everyday life, there are fewer still whom I have met; my own father was one. You constitute a tiny minority of pale skinned males who acknowledge the understand that the poisons of hatred and bigotry- ignited by greed and ignorance, and initially released over 400 years ago in the forms of conquest and slavery-still permeate this land.

Talk about toxic waste. But their exists a cure; the necessary 'superfund cleanup' is very simple. It is truth, and its vaccine is education."

Damn that was deep. Right on Ms. Mondon, how soon can you open a school to bring others to that place where you are? Your sh** was profound!

The field is heading out of town for a few days for a little R&R and of course the Christmas holiday. I will bring my laptop of course. Hopefully, I will be able to do the whole mobile blogging thing while I am on the road. We will see.

Enjoy your Christmas, and go Eagles!!!!!

Friday, December 22, 2006

"It's A Part Of Us"

"If I knew then what I know now I would have picked my own damn cotton"

~~Observed by the field on a bumper sticker~~~ The field does not know the author~~

I bet a few people in the little town of Pikeville Kentucky might be thinking about that quote right about now. Yes my friends, it seems our ugly little problem of race in this country has risen its pesky little head again. This time, it's yet another bru ha ha over the confederate flag. The stainless banner, formerly known as the stars and bars. That symbol of the Southern past that so many Northerners love to hate, and so many Southerners declare is a part of their heritage. "Our fore fathers died for that dere flag...heritage not hate....and on and on"

So let's take a look at the latest little racial problem shall we: It seems that a Kentucky High School actually uses the flag as a part of their mascot, and the" stainless banners" are all over the place. Oh, did I mention that the school is 99% white and the school board, the parents, and all concerned in the little town of Pikeville Kentucky, are just fine with the way things are? "I have colored friends around here and they never say anything". So says 18 year old cheerleader, Tiffany Owens. Well of course Tiffany, what do you expect them to say? "If you cracker mother fu***rs don't take that flag down, me and my three homeys are going to burn this school down". And make no mistake, the kids know that they have a problem. If they didn't before, they certainly became aware of it when a rival team , the David School, refused to play them in a state high school basket ball playoff game. Why you say? Well it seems the David School has one (yes I said one) black basketball player, and he happens to be the only one in all of Floyd County. So when they play this particular school, he gets the full southern hospitality treatment when he steps to the free throw line. Seems like there is a clause in the Kentucky Athletic Association rules against taunting. Yep, I guess a gym full of white people waiving the confederate flag ,and some lone black seventeen year old at the free throw line would f*****g qualify as taunting. Let's just wait and see how the Association rules on this one, it should be interesting.

But I gotta give it to the good people of this little Kentucky District, they sure are sticking to their guns. When one school board member, Mickey McGuire, had the audacity to question the practice; Lorena Hall, the schools principal, said basically that every few years someone like McGuire will "stir the pot", but after it blows over, I am sure it will be business as usual. Ahh... whatever that business happens to be. Gee, we sure hate to "stir the pot" in Kentucky, don't want to interrupt that little Shangrila tucked away in dem dere hills. Hey, it's as if time stood still right? Those niggers are still colored, still know their place, and you are still proud of your confederate symbols. The war of Northern aggression rages on; they might have won some battles, but they have yet to win the war. How can they win, when there are still people tucked away in little enclaves and homes just like the ones in Pikeville Kentucky.

And speaking of Kentucky, just when the f**k did they become a real member of the confederacy anyway? Hey, it's not like you people are in Georgia, or Alabama some damn place. You guys along with Missouri just got added as an afterthought to make up the thirteen states, so what makes you think that you share this great confederacy heritage? Well at least you all do share one thing in common, you hate niggers, and you wish you had won that damn war, because then, at least they would have know their place.

Instead, you are left with this. All this national scrutiny, all this political correctness, telling you people how to live your lives. It must be hard. If you only had your own coloreds to deal with it wouldn't be so bad, but now, because of this mouthy school board member, and this damn basketball game, you have the national spotlight on you. I don't know Mrs. Principal, maybe this one won't blow over so quick. You might just have to pull down those symbols after all. Remember what happened to Ole Miss? They had to suck it up, and hide allot of their outward images of the confederacy too. Seems they couldn't recruit dem niggers to come and play ball for them, and they were sick of getting their asses kicked by the other schools in the SEC, who had no such OPEN symbols on display. Of course, they won't have that problem in Floyd County, after all, they are a high school team, and they don't have to go recruiting niggers from all over the South to play ball for then. Still, they do have to deal with the ones from the the other schools' basketball teams. Like that little uppity one, Ken Honaker, who said: "It really makes me brings back slavery and what happened to my ancestors"
Now boy don't you know this ain't about your ancestors, this is about Southern pride, it wasn't about all that slavery stuff. Didn't you hear what principal Hall said: "It has nothing to do with racism... it's a part of us".

Ms. Hall, I think I am going to agree with you on this one, it is a part of us, all of us, and it ain't going away anytime soon.

Oh, before I go, it seems I was tagged by my dear sister Mahndisa. Something about the six weirdest things about yourself. Mahndisa I will have to think about that one and get back to you. Although I think I can give you two right off the top of my head: I had a pet rooster named Oliver once, and I drink my coffee with sweetened condensed milk....Just give me some time, I will come up with four more.

The field is out.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

(Court) House Negro

I rarely blog about real sh** that goes on in my day to day existence, but I am compelled to put down some thoughts on what transpired with yours truly and a sister today in the course of doing my law hustle.

So here I was rushing into the court room to defend a client who was allegedly openly selling her...ahh body for money on a public street. She was charged with obstructing a public highway which is basically a glorified loitering charge here in Philly. Girlfriend had some priors so it wasn't just an in and out kind of deal. Still, given the nature of the charges, the field planned to plead out. Try to get non-supervised probation, and maybe community service, and be on my way. If I am really lucky, the arresting officer doesn't show up-hey, it's almost Christmas, cops have families too- and the Judge happens to be in one of those moods and throws out this bad boy.

So I go over to the Assistant District Attorneys' table, and as is customary, ask who is handling my case. Well low and behold it was a sister. I had never seen her before, and I am guessing she was just out of law school. Probably some Ivy League hook up like Penn, or Columbia. Folks, our District Attorney here in Philly loves Ivy league law school grads, especially of the Penn Law persuasion. Although Lord knows I don't know why. They get their asses kicked on a daily basis, and I am guessing some street smart kid that went to some state law school or an HBC would do a much better job out here in the real world. But I seriously digress. So here is this sister giving me the fuzzy eye ball treatment, just because.... I don't know, I wish someone could tell me. But I am guessing just because she...well f**k it, she is a house negro.

"Hi I am the field, and I represent Mrs. Brown (Not her real name), you must be new, what's your name?" Now folks, this is exactly what I said, and how the conversation went down. She then looks me up and down, and says something like: "I am A-D-A- Jones" (Not her real last name) So this is where it really went down hill, because I think I said something like: "I am sorry is your name Ada and you were spelling it for me?" She was not amused, nor did she see just how stupid and pretentious she was coming off. She literally threw the discovery file at me without saying another word, and proceeded to engage someone else in conversation.

Now here is my question: Just why does it have to be like this between us? Girlfriend clearly wanted me to know from the door that she was not my friend and she was not going to cut a deal. The irony is, that there are a number of white ADA's in her office who I consider friends, and who would have thought nothing of giving me a deal with this bu** sh*t case. But no, not the house negro, not black Marsha Clark. And there she was cheesing with an older white defense lawyer in the room, and totally ignoring the field. (I bet she gives him a deal) Now before you go thinking, oh field you are just being petty because girlfriend ignored you, so she bruised your male ego while just doing her job, get over it already. No, I can't get over it, because first of all it wasn't even about my ego. Yes girlfriend wasn't hard on the eyes, but it's not like she was a certifiable dime piece or anything. Hey, unless the Larkster herself disses the field, no diss is personal, not on a boy girl tip. Besides, this was a totally professional environment, and trust me, the last thing I was looking for was love.

But back to my question. Why do the house Negroes among us have to behave this way? From the white collar lawyer to the blue collar security guard. We uphold Mr. Charlies rules and we are his gate keepers. We do that sh*t with stronger passion, and with more energy than even Mr. Charlie does. We defend his store and all his things as if our lives depended on it, and we give no quarter, especially when it comes to other black people when a little give and take is all that's needed. And don't tell me that you haven't experienced it. You know what I am talking about; the lady at the customer service desk who won't let you scratch your ass without a picture I.D., the security guard who is all too willing to shade you while you browse through Massa's store-meanwhile the white haired old lady is robbing the place blind-and the cop-remember that scene in Boyz N the Hood?-who will let you have it a little harder just because you look like him, and you embarrass him because you are out doing the sh** you do. So this was ADA Jones, the "gate keeper", but only for other n****rs not Mr. Charlie, after all, she is working for him. Or so she thinks. So she has to impress him, and show him that just because she is one of them doesn't mean that she can't be tougher stricter in her actions, even if it means bending over backwards to f**k them. It's why I am never surprised when a black police officer is involved with the questionable shooting of another black man. The Negro must protect the house at any cost.

"Mr. Field are you prepared with your case?" " Yes I am your honor." "Is the Commonwealth ready?" " No your Honor, we are not, it seems Officer Kelly (Not his real last name) is unavailable, he might be on vacation your honor." " You honor, the defense is going to ask that this matter be dismissed as this is the second listing, and they weren't ready the last time." "Defense request granted, this matter is dismissed!" I am looking at ADA Jones, and I think her makeup is starting to run. I wonder if she knew that this was the second listing?

Sorry black Marsha Clark, you should have taken the deal.

"Thank you your Honor, may I be excused?" " You may field, and have a nice day." You too your honor, and have a happy holiday."

The look on a house Negro's face as my client switches out of the court room. Priceless!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Letter To Santa.

The field just got home from yet another trip to the mall, and I must say that it's still amazing just how this particular holiday can transform people. I know, it's just eight days before Christmas, so what else should I expect. Anyway, what I remember about this particular trip was that Santa Claus himself was in the middle of the mall. He was taking pictures and Christmas wishes from all the little ones who were all more than delighted to have their pics taken, and to have the ear of the jolly one himself, if even for just a couple of minutes.

So I was thinking, since I didn't have time to get in line, and because people would laugh at me anyway-field get out of there you are way too old to be visiting Santa-I thought I would pen the big guy a letter in the privacy of my own home. No pressure,no screaming kids, and no crowds to mess up my train of thoughts.

So here goes:

Mr. Santa Claus-AKA Jolly St. Nicholas
Santa's Workshop
North Pole, Alaska 99705

Dear Santa:

I hope this letter finds you in your usual good spirits as you get ready for your big day. Or should I say, big evening. First, I would like to apologize for my fellow Philadelphians booing you and throwing snow balls at you during that football game back in the day. I know it was a long time ago, but I had to clear the air, just in case you see where I am from and decide to hold it against me.

How is Mrs. Claus? Say hello to her for me please, she seems like such a nice lady, and I am sure she has her hands full taking care of you and all those reindeer and little helper elves. It must be really hard for you two given the fact that you only work once a year, and she is a stay at home wife. How do you survive on just one salary, I mean don't you have to meet pay roll for all those little helpers? I know they don't work for free. And just how the heck do you afford all those toys that you give away every year? Do you get donations from very rich people and toy companies, does the government just give you a stipend because of all the good cheer that you bring, or does someone else buy the gifts and you have been taking credit for them all these years? Ahh heck, I am sorry for saying that Santa, I couldn't believe that about you, you are way too nice of a guy to perpetuate that type of a hoax on all these little children.

I know some years are tougher than some, but I bet this will be an easy year for you with the toy deliveries. Because quite frankly, so many more people have been naughty than nice. As a result, I bet this year you saved a ton in fuel cost because your sleigh is so much lighter for your trip.

So anyway, I was wondering; since you might have some extra toys laying around, could you deliver them to some children in a place called Darfur for me? I know you have probably never heard of it. It's in Africa, there are children there too, and they would love nothing more than a little Christmas cheer and joy from you. I bet none of them have been naughty either Santa, because frankly, they are barely alive, and I am sure they don't even have the energy to be naughty. In fact, now that I think about it; do you think you could get them some food? I mean toys would be nice, but they can't eat toys and I think staying alive is more important to them right about now.

Now it's warm in Africa Santa, so you might want to lose some of that clothes before you go. And there really is no chimney's there either, so you might want to watch that desert landing. Oh, and watch out for the Jamjaweed fighters, they happen to be Muslims, and I don't think they believe in you or the whole Christmas spirit thing, so please be careful. Keep those reindeer and that sleigh jacked up in case you have to make a clean get way. Trust me, I know these people, they will have no problem killing you and taking all the toys and food meant for the children. So you better take Dancer, Prancer,and Comet, and leave the slow pokes like Rudolph and Cupid at home. There will be no love in the desert, and besides, Rudolph's bright red nose might give you away. Trust me, there is nothing bright in Darfur, so they will spot you from a mile away.

And while we are on the subject of giving to little children. Can you make sure that whatever you give the little children in the hood,-whoops, sorry Santa, I meant in the inner city- they will have some educational value. Please, no toy guns, or PlayStations, or any toy that they will spend hours with in idle play. They need things like toy computers, books, and calculators. I know it might not be what they are wishing for, but just this once, I am asking you not to listen to their wishes, and do what will be better for them in the long run. Believe me, their parents (or parent) will be happy too, because a lot of the things they are wishing for will be too expensive for them to get if you can't deliver it for them. Now this is only for the little kids in the inner city Santa, you can give the little kids in the suburbs whatever they want, because if you can't deliver, I am sure their parents will find a way to get it for them.

As for gifts for me, I don't want any, and I don't have any personal wishes for you. I know you specialize in toys and good cheer around Christmas, so my wish would be a little too deep for you to handle. Number one, it would be a year round request, and not something for just this time of year. And, it involves a much more complex problem or problems, than even you could take on. I mean I could give you the whole corny I want peace on earth good will to man spiel, but unless you know how to get guns off the streets, and erase years and years of self hatred indoctrinated into the minds of our children, it won't work. Unless you know how to find a way to minimize the ego greed and selfishness of our politricksters and so called community leaders, then I am afraid I would be just wasting my breath. And unless you know how to stop a cowboy from taking an entire country of over 300 million people farther into a war that has no end in sight, and can have no positive conclusion; then asking you would be pointless. I mean it would just depress you so much if I asked for what I really wanted, that quite frankly, you would simply close the Santa shop and take Ms. Claus down to Florida with you to retire.

So instead, I will just ask for other people, like the children of Darfur, and the children of Iraq, and I will just hope that you can deliver for me and for them. If you could do that, in spite of all the dangers, I would really appreciate it, and I would stop being so cynical about all your powers and the good that you supposedly do.

Oh, before I go, Santa, you really need to start watching your weight, I know it's all a part of your image to be the chubby jolly guy. But if you are not careful, you might have some serious health issues down the line; and if you check out, think of all the disappointed children we will have next Christmas, not to mention poor Mrs. Clause, who will have to live out the rest of her life as a widow.

Well, bye for now Santa, and be careful out there this holiday season. The world isn't what it used to be, and quite frankly, not as many kids believe in you anymore. So lock up your sleigh when you leave it, watch your back, and be careful in certain neighborhoods. Some of these kids don't want to wait until you give them the gifts, they will take it from you, and they don't give a damn whether you think they were naughty or nice. I swear Santa, they are growing up way too fast.


The Field Negro

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dear Lord, Please Let Mr. Johnson Be Alright!

I don't know about you folks, but the field is heading to church right about now, to send up a few calls to the big guy. Why you say? Well it seems that Senator Tim Johnson, a Democrat from South Dakota suffered what seems to be a stroke earlier today, and was taken to George Washington University where he is currently being diagnosed.

Now I know that not everyone is a political junkie like yours truly, so I will attempt to explain in a nutshell just how significant this little development is: First, you must understand, that the make up of the United States senate currently stands at 49 Republicans and 51 Democrats. A tie in this venerable body, and the deciding vote would go to the sitting Vice President, who in this case, happens to be a man with some health issues of his own. Yes folks, that would be the brown shirted one, "Dead Eye" Dick Cheney.

So that loud music you hear-sounds like Celebrate Good Times by KC & The Sunshine Band to me-is coming from the studios of FAKE NEWS, and the White House. Because if this poor man were to...well lets just say not be able to serve out his full term. The Republican Governor of South Dakota would appoint his replacement; and just what party to you think that white male would come from?

Now folks, and I really shouldn't be saying this....ahhh f*** it , I am going to say it anyway, I smell a rat! Yeah I said it, something ain't right. "Field what are you saying? Surely you are not implying that there was some nefarious things going on with the good senators illness are you?"
Well let's just say that most people hear about this poor man falling ill, and immediately they think about his family and well being, and they pray that he gets well, not for political reasons, but so that he can lead a normal life. Some people-the political junkies among us- hear this and wonder about the political ramifications in Washington, what it could mean for the make up of the senate etc.? But not the field, and not the other low down conspiracy buffs and cynics among us who think just like the field does.

Because honestly, I must confess, that when I first heard about this, I immediately thought of that poor former Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko. This poor man was given a healthy serving of a radioactive isotope called Polonium 210, which ate away at all of his vital organs until he died a slow painful death. Of course every one immediately thought that the "evil" Russian Premier Putin and the people running the Kremlin were behind it. So now the field is field say it ain't so, you are not thinking what I am thinking you are thinking are you? Hey, all I am saying is that I sure hope Karl Rove can give an accounting of himself over the past 24 hours. Because if not......

Look, I wonder if people realize how much is at stake here. We are talking about billions of dollars in military contracts, supreme court Justices to be nominated, billions of more dollars to be approved to fund this war effort, and important political appointments to be made. You don't think that there are certain types of poisons that could easily be slipped in a senator's glass while he was giving say a press briefing to a bunch of reporters? Hey, I am just thinking out loud here, there of course is no basis in fact for what I am saying, but it sure makes you wonder doesn't it?

" Yeah we need one, just one. How about the Specter guy he is old? Yeah but he is in pretty good shape, plays squash in Philly damn near every day. Besides, he just had that cancer thing, they will have a pretty good medical report on him" Mmmm how about that black one? Barack Osama or whatever his name is? No, too young, and too high profile, it would be too much of a story, too much scrutiny, we can't afford that. Well how about Hilary? No, there goes that high profile thing again, it would be too much of a big story. Yeah but we could kill two birds with one stone. A presidential candidate and a senator. Mmmmm, no, still too risky. How about Menendez in Jersey? Not bad, but they have a Democratic Governor they would just put another one of their own in. We need an obscure state with a Republican Governor, and the guy has to be kind of old. Mmmmmm...Hey, I have just the guy!"

This just in, this just in! Spokesperson for Johnson says it wasn't a heart attack or stroke that he suffered. And according to spokeswoman Juliane Fisher, whatever he had "it was caught very early"

Thank you big guy thank you! The field promises to pray more often, and I will go to church this Saturday.

Now can we please get a 24 hour guard on that man? I will go down there myself and help take care of him if I have to, send in the FOI, send in the Guardian Angels. Hey, our Republic is at stake.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Weapons Of Multiple Directions

There was the frat boy and great "Decider" announcing yet another new plan for his war in Iraq. Flanked by the bad perm lady, and the human hunter himself, our favorite frat boy was explaining once again, his plan for a "new direction" in Iraq. Gee, I can't even begin to imagine what this "new direction" will look like. Let's just hope it's better than the last directions we took. Let's see now, almost 3,000 of our brave young men killed (4 more today), a half a trillion dollars and counting in our tax dollars, not to mention a region in absolute chaos. So yeah, I would say that it just might be time for a "new direction".

But do you want to know what's really scary? The fact that according to a new AP Ipsos poll, a little over 28% of our fellow American believe that we are heading in the right direction in Iraq. Gee, I wish I know where those people were. Rrrrrring: "Hello", "Yes is this Mrs. Jones?" " Yes this is her, how may I help you?" "Yes Mrs. Jones, this is the Field-Negro, and I have this wonderful idea to cure cancer, would you like to invest your life savings with me?" "Sure Mr. Field Negro where do I send the check?" Seriously, who the f*&% are these people, and why are they even living among us, and not locked away in an asylum some damn where? I mean, do these people really believe that the frat boy's plan for a stable democracy in the Middle East can work? My question to them would be this: Just how much f*****g longer would you have us stay there, and will that vat of Kool Aide ever dry up?

"Like most Americans this administration wants to succeed in Iraq because we understand success in Iraq would help protect the U.S. in the long run". This was our President today, still lying to the American people, and still spinning this travesty of a war. "...because we understand that success in Iraq would help protect the U.S. in the long run"? No it wouldn't, success in Iraq has absolutely nothing to do with protecting us here in the U.S. All success in Iraq would do is protect your sorry ass legacy Mr. President, so stop it already. I mean really now George, this has gone on long enough. For the 71% of us in this country who realize just how absurd this sounds and how absurd this war is, this kind of rhetoric makes us all want to...well, move to Canada or some damn place. I mean to follow your insane logic to its conclusion, this would be like someone raping a woman and after she gets pregnant saying: "gee I sure hope this pregnancy goes well, because if there are complications it could jeopardize her life and that of the child."

As I watched the bad perm lady and the VP standing there today, I couldn't help but think to myself just how pathetic a bunch these clowns are, and for a minute there, I almost felt sorry for them. Almost. Let's face it, these guys are in way over their heads, and now they are calling in Tom, Dick, and Harry, or, should I say, James, Lee, and Vernon, to bail them out. And this was Tony Snowjob today, talking about the President's ...ahhh "new direction": "It's important that the American people (Boy they love that line don't they? 'The American people') be aware both of his consultation and his level of concern about getting it right". Well Tony Snow Job, this will be the first time he cares about getting it right, cause he sure didn't care for these past few years. A little late for some 2,800 Americans and an untold number of Iraqis don't you think?

The frat boy meets tomorrow with Tariq al-Hashemi (Doesn't he play wide receiver for the Bengals?) the Iraqi Vice President. Lets hope he has more luck with this Sunni than he did with the Shiite con artist he propped up as President. Somehow, I get the feeling that my man is going to say to the frat boy: " Look, you f****d up our country, things weren't too bad under Saddam, especially for me, (A Sunni remember?) so the least you could do is hang around until we get this democracy thing right". To which I am sure the frat boy will reply:"Don't worry Tariq, the American people are behind you 100%, don't you watch FOX NEWS?"

Friday, December 08, 2006

Truancy In My Village

I am afraid that many of my people won't like this post that I am about to drop, but it has to be said. Now first, let me say this right off the top, in the spirit of true disclosure: I don't have children, so I can't imagine how hard it must be to raise a child; especially in this day and age with all the negative influences and distractions all around them. But-you knew there was a but coming right-a recent incident in my hometown-Philadelphia- really pissed me off, and made me realize just how a sleep at the wheel some of us black folks are when it comes to this parenting thing.

Folks, it's like this: Here in Philly, we have had damn near 400 murders this year. Most of the crimes have been committed by young African American males, and most of the victims have been young African American males as well. Our Mayor, and all of our city officials, have been pulling their collective hairs out trying to come up with solutions and answers for this wave of violence and bloodshed that has been sweeping our city.

One solution they came up with was to try and cut back on the truancy in our public school system. And why not? In any given year at least 44% of our districts 180,000 public school kids are truant. (8 absences or more) Yes, you heard right, I said 44% or 80,000. And on any given day, and average of 32,000 kids are absent from school. According to a study by Ruth Curran Neild of Johns Hopkins University, 8,000 kids will drop out this year, and another 5,000 will miss so much school, that they might as well be considered dropouts. Now folks, that's a damn shame, and we all know it. And frankly, given the fact that a vast majority of these children look like me, it's particularly troubling to the field.

So our Mayor, in collaboration with the School Board, sent out letters to about 6,000 parents, stating something to the effect that: "Your child has had eight (8) unexcused absences during the 2005-2006 school year". (The operative word hear being YOUR child)Te letter goes on to say that parents must attend the meeting or face possible fines or jail time. So what do you think happened? Yep, only about half of the parents showed up at Temple University's basketball arena for this meeting. Now call me crazy, but if I get a letter from my child's school or worse, the city, telling me that little Jamal has missed 44% of his classes, and my black ass will be fined or face possible jail time; what do you think the field is going to do? Well, after jumping all over little Jamal's little black ass, I am going to be front and center at that meeting. "Mr. Mayor, I am Jamal's father, and I would personally like to pledge, that if little Jamal is not in school more than 44% of the time next school year, it will be because he is either dead or in jail".

Folks, this is not rocket science, there is a direct correlation between an education and where you end up in life. It's that simple: Drop out of high school with no skills, and you get no job, or if you get one, you get one that pays minimum wage. And who wants to work for minimum wage? Not little Jamal. He can't buy "tims", or put Dayton rims ("throw some "D"'s on that bitch") on that new "whip" with minimum wage pay. Hell, he can't get a new "whip" with minimum wage pay. So what's left for little Jamal to do but sling. Yeah he could make a real nice living doing that. But he has to be careful, because more than likely he will end up in jail or dead, like some of the almost 400 who were inside the chalk lines on these mean streets of killadelphia so far this year. Or, he could get some girl or girls pregnant, but then, no job, so how is he going to support his child? Well, there is always the state. After all, that's how his mother made it, and he really didn't know his real father. See what happens? We are back to that same old vicious cycle that just won't go away. Think about it, just days after the Mayor's meeting, it was business as usual, because our little villagers were missing school again.

So make no mistake, schooling is important, but you could never tell that to the almost 3,000 parents who blew off the meeting with the Mayor. Poor Mayor Street, there he was quoting that old African proverb, you know the one, the one Queen Hillary used for her book: "It takes a village to raise a child". No Mr. Mayor, it takes a parent to raise a child. The village, and the resources that the village has can only help with the process. The village produced the infrastructure of the school, the books, the teachers, and the tools to support little Jamal getting an education. The village can't wake Jamal up and make sure he goes to f*****g school! That's Mr. and Mrs. Jamal's job. And if there is no Mr. Jamal, oh well, that's Mommy Jamal's job. Oh field, stop being so tough, Mommy Jamal works two jobs, and she has three other children, and she is not getting any support from their fathers, and the old man she has now is cheating on her, and he abuses drugs, and.....yeah OK, well I have two words for Mommy Jamal: Birth Control. Yep, that will take care of all those problems in the future. And since little Jamal is already here-yeah that sp..ahem,ahem, horse already left the barn- can we just make sure little Jamal gets a shot? Would it be too much to ask that you go to a f*****g meeting? I don't know, even if you don't care what happens to little Jamal in school, maybe so that you won't get fined, or worse, arrested.

Now the village is hiring more truancy officers, from 100-500, and the Philadelphia Family Court is also working some special projects and hiring more people to help tackle the problem.-They heard 8,820 cases in truancy court so far this year alone. But somehow I don't think this will be enough. Because until parents in the homes start caring what happens to their children, the school board and the city will be caught in that vicious cycle with these dysfunctional families.

"We are here to send a clear message to the children and parents of this city, truancy will not be tolerated"

I hear you Mr. Mayor, I just wish more parents could have been there to hear you as well.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Jimmy's Dad.

I really wasn't going to post tonight, but I just got home from the viewing of a very dear friend's father, who was suddenly taken away from him compliments of a massive heart attack.

So for this post, I guess I am going to be blogging in a traditional sense.

Anyway, the viewing was in this rough working class Irish neighborhood here in Philly, and I was literally the only black guy in the funeral home. Now before you go thinking; oh oh, here comes the field with another one of his racial rants and observations, you are wrong. Everyone there could not have been nicer and more cordial to the field, and other than the fact that I don't like funerals, I did not feel the slightest bit uncomfortable.

But before I tell you about the funeral, let me give you some background:-There goes the traditional blogging, I knew it couldn't last- When I heard that Ji....f**k it, I am going to use his real name-I don't think he would mind, besides, he doesn't read this blog anyway-Jimmy's dad had passed, at first I didn't know what to think. I knew how close Jimmy and his dad were, and I knew he would be devastated. After all, the man was just in his mid sixties for crying out loud, and had just retired from his government job with the city of Philadelphia. The poor guy was just starting to enjoy his retirement with his wife and grand children, when the grim reaper came knocking.

So I really felt bad for my good friend Jimmy when I heard the news. And yes, half German half Irish Jimmy, is my good friend. Many of my previous posts about having white friends who tell you what white people really think are based on my relationship with Jim. He is probably the most honest friend-black or white-that I have. I say this because he told me how he has struggled with his own racism, how growing up with his dad, an open racist, he would often hear the "N" word dropped in his home, not to mention the disparaging comments about people like Martin Luther King and other black leaders when they would appear on the family television. Jimmy credits going away to college and being able to escape his typical working class neighborhood for his enlightenment on matters of race. That, and meeting black people in both his college and professional life. People, who made him realize that the things he heard from his father growing up weren't true, and certainly didn't apply to all black people. Still, it was, and I suspect, still is, a struggle for him. Yet, when I first came to Philly some fifteen years ago, all alone and knowing no one, he was the first person -black or white- to reach out to me, and invite me into his home. I played outside with his kids and hung out and crashed on his sofa, and never thought anything of it. So I will always have nothing but love for my man Jimmy. And in those reflective moments when he felt like talking, he would open up to me about his struggle to truly trying to become a better person, and looking past the race of an individual. He has no idea how much I respected and appreciated that, because his honesty made me realize that he was sincere. And sincerity is always a good jumping off point to a good friendship. I have always thought that the main problem with race relations in America is the lack of honesty, and sincerity-especially from the majority side- The other stuff due to our similarities made it easy for us to get along. We are both, I guess you could say, your typical testosterone filled alpha males, who played college sports, and love hanging out every now and then. We share a lot of crass jokes and talk about the silly nonsensical things that guys tend to talk about amongst each other. But don't get it twisted, at the end of the day, I do understand who American values more, and I suspect that Jimmy does too. Remember that old Chris Rock joke? No one in the audience would trade places with him "...and I am rich". Unfortunately for Chris, he was still black, and everyone in the audience was kind of just sticking that "white thing" out. But I digress-damn field, can't you post just once without preaching about race? Hey, I almost made it-

Now as I leaned over and looked at Jim's dad in his coffin, I said a little prayer for him. And looking at him all made up, and wearing I suspect his favorite suit, eyes closed in eternal sleep, the irony wasn't lost on me. Here I was, praying over a man who spent all his life hating- for whatever reason -people who looked like me, and hoping that he would find peace in wherever the after life took him. Our only connection was his son, and our inextricable link to a city that I love and I suspect he loved as well. Jimmy, standing in the reception line with his wife and the rest of his family was watching me intently, and I am sure that the irony wasn't lost on him either. So I prayed for the old guy. Prayed that he would somehow make it up to heaven, -even though I suspect that if there is one, he won't. But hey, it's worth a shot- and prayed for his poor wife and his family, and all those who will have to carry on without him.

It was so weired in that packed room with all those people and family members coming to pay their respects. Respects to a man who had stayed with his wife, raised his family, and kept his roots in his community and contributed to the well being of his city. This is one reason I suspect that he disliked my people, because he thought that we were the very antithesis of what he represented. But if the poor guy had taken the time to try, he would have seen that there are many black grandfathers all over the city who are just like him. Who, if he had reached out like his son had, he probably would have been able to change his thinking and his heart. Then, maybe the field's prayers to whoever was listening to spare his soul, wouldn't fall on deaf ears.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Trivialization Of Black Suffering

With all the hoopla over racial comments made by the two Michaels recently-Richards and Irvin-everyone seems to be overlooking the comments that was recently made by one Bernard Goldberg. A contributor on HBO's "Real Time" with Bryant Gumbel, and the author of books, such as "Bias", and "The 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America". Mr. Goldberg is a former CBS reporter who has turned his wrath on the liberal press for what he calls liberal bias. Ever since he wrote an oped piece in the Wall Street Journal in 1996, he has been a darling of the right for his willingness to speak out against the, ahem, liberal media empire that is supposedly poisoning America. In truth, he is no more than a hustler and opportunist who has found a way to pimp the conservative discontent with what they perceive as a prevalent main stream media bias.

So anyway, this charlatan is on Bill O'Rielly's FAKE NEWS television program, discussing the Danny DeVito meltdown on "The View". Of course, they were upset at not at his alcoholic induced meltdown, and lack of decorum, but of his rant against their beloved President Bush. So after some discussion about the issue, Goldberg makes what I think is probably as outrageous a comment as the ones made even by Richards: He says, and I am paraphrasing here, that he, DeVito, being on the "View" was like being at a Klan rally-I guess he should know-because every one on the show was agreeing with him-DeVito- about the President,and it was all these like minded people gathered in one place. So what the f**k!!! Are you serious? Comparing an appearance on a television show to being at a Klan rally. Maybe Mr. Goldberg doesn't realize how serious the sh** is that he is saying. Klan rallies were where plans were made to lynch my people and burn out and scare hard working families from the South off of their property and their land. Klan rallies are where groups were organized-and still are- to terrorize my people and keep us oppressed and in fear for years. And Klan rallies were held in secret with many prominent towns people and citizens taking part in the conspiracy of hate. The last time I checked, "The View" actually had black people on it.-Yeah I know Star Jones is gone, but they have had a token on damn near every day since- So how dare Mr. Goldberg makes that comparison? And why isn't America talking about it except on maybe a few left wing blogs like News Hounds?

Well, I think I know why. It's this new trivialization of black suffering that America is so fund of doing these days. It's why you hear racist and ignorant rants from Michael Richards about stringing us up, in a public place like a comedy club. It's why my Irish and Italian immigrant friends tell me they don't want to hear about how blacks suffered, because when their ancestors came here they couldn't get municipal jobs, or they had to work in the mines of Western Pennsylvania, and the Irish were discriminated against because they were poor and they were different, and the Italians were discriminated against because of the stigma of being Italian....give me a f*****g break! With all due respect to my ethnic friends, they have no idea what discrimination is. When you are beaten beyond recognition for looking at a white woman, when one of your churches is bombed on a Sunday morning and four of your little girls killed, or when state troopers, and local police are given the green light to fire hose your ass, and beat you within an inch of your life, then get back to me. It's why I get so pissed when I hear conservatives quote all of a sudden their favorite line from MLK's I have a dream speech. You know the one, about "not being judged by the color of your skin but by the content of your character.." yeah that one. It's easy for you to say, the Klan wasn't plotting your destruction on a daily basis.

But this is what's happening in America now. The hurt and past suffering of black folks being minimized and trivialized in order for us to move forward. It's why that house Negro de jure, Ward Cooonerly, can push for, and get passed, his bogus anti affirmative action amendments. Who needs affirmative action when we are all equal now? When the past suffering wasn't as bad as we think it is. When, if you think about it, all ethnic groups suffered, and we all have moved past all that now. Yeah right, unless you are a Native American, don't even tell me about all suffering being equal in this f*****g country. And no, we haven't moved past it, because the sh** is still happening.

Which brings me to another point. Goldberg is Jewish. And I am not even going to get into that old argument about which one was worse, the holocaust or slavery. In my humble opinion, both rank up there as man's greatest inhumanity to man in modern history. You can argue 1 and 1A it doesn't matter to me. From the birth of the Gestapo in 1933 to the atrocities at places like Auschwitz after Hitler's "final solution" plan, where Zyklon-B was used to gas-with all due respect to Mel Gibson's daddy-millions of Jews, there is no doubt that the holocaust was a horrible time in world history. But so was slavery. The "Middle Passage" was no picnic in the park either, and if 20% of the slave cargo was lost at sea, and historians generally agree that about six millions slaves were taken across the middle passage to the West; well then you do the math. And I won't even get into the conditions on those slave ships because like the conditions in the concentration camps, it has been well documented. My point is, as a Jew, Goldberg should know better. But it was so easy for him to throw out the Klan reference, and so easy for America to over look it that it bothers the sh** out of me. If a non-Jew had made a reference like that about the Holocaust , the press would have be all over him.-and rightfully so- But because it's black folks, and black suffering is no big deal anymore, Goldberg gets a pass.

Well fu** that, he won't get a pass from me, and neither will anyone else who tries to tell me that
it wasn't always that bad for black folks. Hey, look at the bright side, if it wasn't for slavery, you people would still be in Africa. Yeah I have heard conservatives make that argument too. But I think I know what my problem is; and it goes back to the whole holocaust slavery thing. The people that were responsible for that Holocaust got what they had coming to them. The Auschwitz Kommandant, Hoss, was captured and hung. Herman Goring committed suicide rather than face hanging, as did Hitler himself, and at the Nuremberg trials, sixteen of those former SS officers were found guilty, and seven of them hanged. So in essence, many of the people responsible for that horrible chapter in history faced justice, and were prosecuted for their crimes against humanity. But that never happened here. Those responsible for enslaving and terrorizing my people were never brought to justice, and are still holding rallies today. Rallies, that Mr. Goldberg feels free to mention so flippantly, and with such ease.

"By the way that was a long overdue suggestion" That quote comes from Mr. Goldberg telling Allan Colmes about what he thought of Dick Cheyney telling Patrick Leahey to "go fu*k yurself" on the floor of the senate. Mr. Goldberg, may I suggest you do the same?

Friday, December 01, 2006

"A White Woman And A Cadillac"

" Rich boy sellin crackdope niggaz wanna jack shit tight no slack just bought a Cadilac (Throw some D's on dat bitch)" ~~~Alabama Rapper Rich Boy-Throw Some D's~~~

Back in the day one of my friends had a response to that standard service question: "Is there anything else I can get you sir?" It was; "Yes, a white woman and a Cadillac". Invariably it would take the questioner aback, especially if they happened to be of the white persuasion. But it never failed, after a long night of hanging out we would go to the drive through, make our order, and after the question "Is there anything else I can get you....well, that was his cue. We all thought it was funny then, and much to my chagrin, every now and then I still find myself repeating it under my breath whenever I am asked that question.

Of course, I don't think it's so funny now. Not because I have all of a sudden outgrown sophnmorish college pranks and actions. But because I have considered the significance of what my friend was saying and its social implications. Now you have to understand, my friend is a child of the South -born and raised in Louisiana-and even though I always thought he was joking, I always kind of wondered in the back of my mind if he was serious. Of course he couldn't be could he? It was after all, just a joke, a clever answer to throw off the questioner and get a good laugh at his or her expense. But now.....I don't know. Could there have been something to that? You always wondered if growing up in the South with all the taboos and painful history that goes along with white women, he wasn't effected in some way. I would like to think not, but you never know.

Now my friend is a very successful attorney in South Louisiana, a beautiful home on the river, complete with a boat slip, and a theater room straight out of cribs. And to top it all off, a beautiful Nubian wife who bore him a beautiful son. So this particular friend did alright for himself, in spite of his long standing (I think) faux desire to have a white woman and the Cadillac. Many successful black men from the South did just the opposite. They married white, even though they could have married some of the finest sisters the good lord ever created. I will never forget, listening to some of the running jokes about Charles Barkley and his blond , not so attractive wife when he was here in Philly. Poor Charles did what so many other brothers who have "made it" do, he married white. But rather than marry a white woman that every one could agree was ...well...I hate to be sexist, fine! Charles, like so many other brothers went the "plain Jane" route. I only mention Sir Charles, because I wonder, if like my friend, a fellow son of the South, he didn't always want a white woman and a Cadillac. And when he came to the bright lights of the NBA, and Philly, the first one that looked his way became his wife.

Believe me folks Charles is not alone. I remember watching the aforementioned "cribs" once, and there was Jason Taylor of the Miami Dolphins showing off his white wife, and his Escalade. Watching it I thought to myself; damn, he got his white woman and a Cadillac. His crib has all the right accessories.

Anyway, the white woman is one thing, but the Cadillac or the black man's fascination with his cars is quite another. An old black man once told me this: "You can live in your car, but you can't drive your house". His point was, that your car is more important than your house. How pathetic is that? An object that depreciates the moment it leaves the car lot, in his mind was more valuable than real estate, something that appreciates, and is the most valuable thing most of us will ever own. But you know the old joke about all the Cadillacs and Mercedes in the ghetto, parked in front of run down apartments that are worth less than the rims on the damn rides. This fascination us black folks have with our whips is scary. And I have no idea why we are like this about our rides or all the other materialistic crap we worship. I wish I could trace it to some historical and deep rooted sociological cause. But I can't, and it's driving me crazy.

The white woman thing... yeah on a lot of levels I get it. For so long she was the forbidden fruit,-some of our brothers have been lynched and beaten to death just for looking- so now that these brothers can get with missy, they jump at the chance. Or, they parade her around to piss of the "man". So I get all that, but it doesn't make it right. Now before you go jumping all over the field, I am not saying two people-black and white- can't meet each other, and after getting to know each other fall in love. After all, "love is blind", and that type of relationship, well, the field is all for it. Now would I prefer if his black ass had gotten with a sister? Of course I would, but hey, if they are both sincere about their feelings, I say go for it. But don't hook up with missy for some of the other reasons I stated, that just says that you are seriously f****d up in the head. And honestly, if you do that, you are that same type of brother that will want the Caddy to show the world what you are rolling in. ("Just bought a Cadilac")

After I finish posting, I am going to call my buddy, and ask him if he is happy now. Because I know he didn't get the white woman; and the last time I checked he wasn't driving a Cadillac but a Ford F-150. Nahhhh, I better not, because I am scared of what he might say, and I want to remain friends.