Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Chess Vs. Checkers: How Obama Plays the Game

     Sorry for the break, but this Hooligan spent the last week or so being extremely Scholarly. But we have our periscopes up, and torpedoes loaded, so we are back in action. This weeks topic, Chess Vs Checkers. both are board games, the similarity ends there. When playing Chess you have to look long term, imagine what's going to happen 4,5,6 turns later. You have to try to imagine your opponents counters, and how to counter his counters and hey ...did he just put me in check? Checkers, not so much, it only gets compicated when you have a bunch of kings on the board flying around trying to do their own thing.

     If you haven't realized it by now, the President plays chess. He's been at it for years now, every time we think he is on the brink of disaster he proves that he in this game for the long term, for the long gain. He is not interested in wasting time with small change, he is after the mother load. And that takes a bit more planning. And every time he looks like he has painted himself into a corner, and people start weeping and wailing, yelling they wished he were tougher, and stronger ect. ect. ect.  Just the other day Bill Maher said:

"I thought by this time in his presidency I'd be making joke about how President Obama was (death row records co-founder) Suge Knight."

      Really, why? What led you to believe that this President was as clumsy and obvious and thuggish as Suge Knight? Because he's black he has to be a off brand thug, who bullies his way through his presidency? What part of "Harvard educated Senator", screams Suge Knight to you?

     Let do a bit of back tracking, back to the Democratic Primaries, when Hillary Clinton won New Hampshire, and Obama supports were scared, and worried  and then Obama came out with one of the best political speeches of all time. As she was going momentum and people were wondering about the Michigan and Florida primaries, Obama was calm and he won that battle as well. When the Jeremiah Wright "scandal" dropped, everyone was up in arms, "how is he going to handle this?", "what is he going to do now?" Well he delivers a keynote address on race, and slowly that scandal faded away as well. Then there was McCain who jumped up in the polls after he plucked Sarah Palin from Wahsilla, the media went crazy, and his supporters went mad with worry about the President. He won that race  by one of the biggest margins since Regan beat Mondale. After that, there was the big fuss about Health Care, oh wait that ended up passing, even after it received 4 or 5 death knells on a weekly basis. Health Care, which every democratic president in memory tried to pass, got passed by President Obama. Then the midterm elections, and once again everyone is up in arms, everyone is worried. Fox news is posting poll after poll saying Obama could be beaten by any republican in a shirt, tea parties are walking around carrying racist signs and touting rifles to political rallies, Glen Beck is frothing at the mouth and John Bohner is crying every chance he gets. Everyone goes politically insane. Except for the comedian who takes a day off  from his comedy show to ask for calm. The media, the pundits, and even some democrats declared the President done, finished, a virtual lame duck to go with this lame duck congress. Then out of nowhere he pushes through the Don't Ask Don't Tell Repeal, and he gets the START Treaty passed. BOOM! Just like that a source no less than CONSERVATIVE commentator Charles Krauthammer declares Obama the new "comeback kid" 

     Anyone remember the story of the tortoise and the hare.... slow and steady may not look flashy and exciting, but it gets the job done. We had a fast, reactive President before, I'm glad Obama isn't like that. For his enemies: keep underestimating him, he stands in the brink and snatches victory from the jaws of defeat more often than not. 

     To his supporters:I think he has earned a bit of good will and faith. If he doesn't pass every leftist, liberal item by next Friday, it doesn't mean he is no longer an ally. It doesn't mean he's weak, it means he has a plan of implementation that is not quite ready. It means he's in the laboratory cooking up some new stuff, it means he's working diligently to get his agenda passed. Have faith, and patience, I think he's earned that much at least. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

No Pat Downs, No Peace

Hey America, your privilege is showing.

     For about a week now, I have been trying to figure out why I am not outraged about the TSA "Enhanced Pat downs" taking place across the airports of America. Had I bought the propaganda about terrorism? Had I put to much faith in our government since the executive was someone I voted for? Was I just desensitized by the 24 hour news cycle and was waiting for the CNN's of the world to move on to the next topic?

     While reading today, I realized what it was, I've been getting patted down for years. Clubs, Airports, Random Stops, I've been frisked when given a traffic ticket. It's business as usual for a large portion of the population. Take New York City Police department's "Stop and Frisk" policy. They stopped and frisked about half a million Blacks and Latinos last year (490,000), in that same time period they stopped about 50,000 whites. The arrest rate was just above 6% for people of color and white Americans, even though there was large disparity in the number of people stopped.

     What that tells us is a big, largeenormous part of the POC population that was "Stopped and Frisked" were ordinary law abiding citizens who got stopped and groped for no reason other than they "fit a profile". At least in the airport you are aware of the possibility, there is an element of risk involved. I shouldn't have to be worried about being groped on my way to the store for a gallon of milk. So while these Americans are complaining about these new "intrusive" TSA pat downs, another group of Americans said welcome to the club.

     And least we forget, in the past there have been very specific threats regarding airplanes and airports and BOMBS IN UNDERWEAR! So there is at least, a specific, reasonable, good faith justification in some of these "intrusive patdowns". There is also a part of me that believes that airports are businesses, and if that's what they feel they need to do to protect their business you can opt with the full body scan, or vote with your wallet.

     Compare that with many of these "Stop and Frisk" procedures where there is no rhyme or reason. When an police officer does engage in said procedure, they has to fill out a form stating the reason. Approximatively 19% of the officers involved listed no reason and simply stated "other". That's about 93,000 people that we know of whom were possible stopped for illegitimate reasoning. Where is the outrage at this unconstitutional show of government force and power, where is the anger at Americans being subjected to this draconian rule of law.

     It's absent, because in America whats happens to THEM is sad, but as long as it only happens to THEM it's okay. America has told THEM to calm down, these places are high crime areas and the police need to have the tools necessary to stop crime. The police are keeping the streets safe, THEY have nothing to worry about if THEY are not criminals. And to the few people who's lives get disrupted, it's an acceptable price to pay to keep our streets safe.

     So to my fellow Americans annoyed by the intrusive patdowns, who are acting like this is some new procedure in America, and some new attack on our rights and civil liberties I say this: Calm down, the TSA needs the necessary tools to keep our planes safe, you have nothing to worry about if you are not a terrorist. And to the few passengers who's lives are disrupted it's a acceptable price to pay to keep our skies safe.


edit: 11/25/10 2:34am

I'm not going to change any of the original text, because I feel that it is important to see words as they were originally written, but due to this blog traveling to various parts of these hollowed "inter-webs", I will clear up a few things, with a 3 part addendum:

1.      The "bombs in underwear" paragraph is not an endorsement of the police, but an example of how there is at least some semblance of logical reasoning behind the intrusive patdowns (regardless of how horrible), as opposed to the sometimes utter lack of reasoning when the government engages in "stop and frisk". Additionally it was meant to imply that flying (for most, but not all) is a convenience, not a necessity and it can be avoided, while people walking to and from their own houses in their own neighborhoods have no chance to avoid "stop and frisk" policies. 
2.      The final paragraph is not an endorsement of the argument of these policies, but rather as some of you saw a tongue in cheek attempt to mirror the same argument meant to pacify POC communities in the face of this outrage, it was meant sarcastically. But the outrage that many of you felt at seeing someone attempt to justify these procedures with a weak argument mirrors the same outrage the POC communities have felt in the face of these "stop & frisk" policies for years.
3.      Those that didn't get those 2 points from this article , I can see how they were overlooked, and I will do a better job in the future to clarify my points in a more effective manner. Thanks for the criticism, it keeps me sharp.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Destroy Ignorance.

      When I was in middle school I got into a fight. I did not win. But I fought because I was being bullied, and when I went to the vice principles office he said I should …instead of fighting employ a tactic of ignoring. He told me that if I ignored the bullies and the bulling that it would just go away. Needless to say, that I in my belief that adults, and more importantly teachers were generally right utilized these tactics next time I got bullied. I wanted to see if they would work, and more importantly my mother had told me not to get sent to the office again. Needless to say, this tactic did …not….work.

     What I know now, but what what I did not know then was, history has shown us, that the tactic of ignoring does not work. Whenever a people has ignored an annoying evil, it grew into a small evil. From a small evil it grew into a large evil, and transformed into full blown out EVIL. Stalin did not start off his career as a dictator. Hitler did not wake up one morning and invade France, the Ku Klux Klan began as a group of old men trading old war stories.  How would our world, country, communities be different if people had acted in a  pro-active fashion and met these threats in their infancy, in their beginnings. How would of history been different if instead of ignoring these issues someone had directly confronted these groups and through a combination of norms, customs, laws and direct action we had phased these groups out of existence.

     There are reasons that ignoring doesn’t work, in this day and age of 24 hour media coverage and due to the rise of non-traditional  media such as webpages, social media and blogging;  ignoring a group or a message does not invalidate that group, it gives it a vacuum in which it can define itself. This applies to organizations as well as messages. For example, in 2007 Newsweek conducted a poll that said 41% of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9-11. A 2010 Washington Post article stated that at least 20% of the population believed that President Obama is Muslim. Ignoring these issues will not cause them to go away, or vanish but rather will give them room to grow, to evolve, to thrive. It is in that same vacuum that hateful individuals and groups wish to flourish.

     The Westboro Baptist "Church" recently "brought their talents" to East Lansing, Michigan. They were protesting at East Lansing High School, supposedly because "God Hates Fags" and "God Hates East Lansing", who whatever other dilapidated logic made them think East Lansing would be a good place to go protest. An article in Michigan State University's student paper covered the event, and some students in the "on-line" version of the paper suggested that a good course of action would be to ignore the group, some were quoted as saying

       "The Westboro Baptist Church gets the win today.
I told everyone to ignore the event; however,
you went and watched 
the Westboro Baptist Church get their point accross.
Whenever you are protesting something you always want a large crowd. 
Westboro you got your large crowd. "

"If they don’t show up, they don’t show up.
If they do, maybe enough people will “not attend” that it will be a non-event."
"NOOOOO! Do not bring attention to any events these people go to! 
That’s what they want! They want people to come and fight them
and bring media with them. 
No one should ever cover(or go to) 
any story or event this group does or attends. BAD NEWS!"

These are the same "non-confrontational" strategies people wanted to employ when the skinheads come marching through town. And while I understand this way of thinking, I believe it's outdated, wrong, and never works. It's based upon an "Ostrich Strategy". If i put my head in the sand and ignore it, it will pass me by. And while you put your head in the sand, the groups feeds, lives and grows. Ignorance and evil must be checked, parried, and destroyed. It must be confronted directly, history has shown that to do less, is to invite travesty. I leave you with a pair of quotes: 

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
-Edmund Burke 

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it. 
-Martin Luther King Jr.  

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Plea to Police Officers

So, often when you hear the right talk about Muslims in relation to terrorism, they state that their biggest problem is that "Moderate Muslims" are not standing up. "Moderate Muslims" are not letting their voices be heard, "Moderate Muslims" are letting a few rogue members of their faith warp the public's perception. In that same vein I ask, in the wake of the Oscar Grant murder and the subsequent slap on the wrist for former BART Officer Johannes Mehserle, where are the voices of the Righteous Police Officers? Johannes Mehserle shot, and killed a detained, unarmed man from point blank range, and he will be eligible for release in less than 7 months. Where are the Moderate police officers? Where are their voices, their cries of outrage?

Now before we go on, this is not an anti-cop rant. I do not believe all cops are bad, or all cops are racists, anymore than I believe that all black people like watermelon, or anymore than I believe that all Muslims are terrorists. In effort to promote full disclosure, my family bleeds blue. I have cousins, friends and fraternity brothers "on the job". My father was a state trooper murdered in the line of duty. My godfather was a police officer in Detroit, I empathize with and understand the plight of  Police Officers. Which is why rogue cops enrage me, which is why racist cops drive me insane. These felons in cops clothing make it harder on the rest of the law abiding, upstanding officers who are trying to Serve and Protect.

But for you officers out there on the fence, hiding behind the shield, know this. When your voices are not heard, you make communities believe the worst. When your cries of outrage are non-existent, a community  turns it back and looses hope. When the price of a black man's life is 7 months in jail, a community start to do the math. They add things up and realize that Plaxico Buress got more time for shooting himself, that Micheal Vick got more time for killing dogs. To the moderate police officers, this Johannes Mehserle is not one of you, he perverts your teachings, he does violence in your name, he cloaks himself in symbols and murders the innocent. Yeah, he knows your language, and goes where you gather, but he is not one of you, he and his kind are extremists, and when you do not speak against him, you make communities believe he is the norm, he is the constant, he is the control, and the rest of us are the experiment. It is times like these when the "big blue wall of silence" and the "stop snitching" campaign seem to be different sides of the same coin.

Oscar Grant was shot in the back, while detained and he was unarmed. The convicted criminal Johannes Mehserle will probably get about 7 months in jail. A mother has lost her son, a daughter has lost her father, a community has lost it's faith. And your voices, the voices that could help convince us that this man was indeed a rogue; Your voices, the voices that could show us that you understand our anger, Your voices, the voices that could help us see you are indeed here to Serve and Protect, are quiet. And your silence is DEAFENING.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Get out and Vote...

So, if you don't plan on voting... whatever the reason, no matter how noble or revolutionary, or principled you think you are. If you are too busy, too tired, or forgot to pick up the dog food on your way home. If the kids are getting on your nerves, if you're trying to catch BET's replay of the Hip-Hop Awards. If you had planned on going to the movies, going out to eat, or even better yet going on a first date. No matter what the excuse is..if you don't get out and vote, you are pretty much an asshole.

Now I'm not a fan of gratuitous profanity, but I really thought buffoon and knave were just lacking a certain urgency here. Sean Combs "Vote or Die" campaign had a nice slogan, and was helping in raising voting awareness, but I propose we change it to "Vote...or you're an Asshole". I mean there has to be a public shaming/severe mocking reserved for those who are "too busy" to vote. We have to treat those who do not actively participate in the voting process the same way we treat those who do not wash their hand after they use the bathroom, they need to be pariahs, outcasts, the Bully's need new targets, instead of focusing your rage and impotent anger on those of different: race/weight/sexual nature focus your bullying on those who do not vote.

This is a fight for the heart and soul of this country. And to those dissatisfied with Obama's presidency so far I say...simply.. there is a huge difference between having an ally who is not moving as fast as you want him to, and having an enemy who is actively plotting your downfall. As Americans we have a problem with patience. America is the biggest ship in this ocean we call the world & this ship has been steadily sailing in the wrong direction for about 8 years. Now we have a new captain, and we are turning, albeit slowly, but we are turning, but because he hasn't been able to turn this ship on a dime people have questioned his resolve, and ability. You do understand that this country is not a unicycle, it is an Executor Class Dreadnought Star Destroyer (excuse me, minor Star Wars nerd over here) and it will take some time to dig out of this hole.

Now the enemies of this President are not going to give him that time. They are too busy calling him a Muslim/Communist/Illegal alien to be worried about giving him the time he needs to restore this county to a level field. But those of us who are allies of democracy, allies of a progressive movement, those of us who rallied in 2008, who knocked on doors, who dragged friends to the polls. Those of us who think Glen Beck is disturbed,  Michele Bachman is scary and Fox News is neither fair, nor balanced. Doesn't the President deserve our support, doesn't he deserve our trust? Doesn't he need our votes?

Are you willing to stay home, and hope that everything works out? Are you willing to hand the House back to the Republicans without a fight, surrender the Senate? Are we willing to see the small progress we've made in these last 2 years take backwards steps? I'm not, I'm going to go to the polls and vote, I am going to drag a friend or loved one with me. I am going to bug, and mercilessly mock those who don't plan on voting, and I am going to do my part to keep this country turning until we get on the right path. Because I know that 2 years of hard work, is not enough to overcome 8 years of a Bush Presidency, we need more time, the President needs allies in congress and we need to get out and vote.

Don't be an asshole..... get out and vote.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Right Vs. The Left (How We Treat Our Heroes)

Say what you want about the Republicans, the Right Wing and the Conservatives. But they take care of thier own, and they make sure that others in the movement know what these people did for the movement. It rarely matters what the crime/scandal/embarrassing moment was it doesn't matter:
  •  If you are G. Gordon Liddy and were an integral part of the Watergate scandal, and went to jail.
  •  If you are Lt. Col. Oliver North and you took a proverbial bullet for Ronald Reagan for the Iran Contra scandal. 
  • If you  Scooter Libby, and you work for the Vice President, and you lie under oath about outing a CIA operative.
  •  If you are the Governor of Alaska and quit your job halfway through, 
  • or if you are the Governor of Arkansas and you fail at your bid to become your parties nominee for the President of the United States. 
  • Or if you were Newt Gingrich  Speaker of the House, and led the attempt to impeach Bill Clinton for cheating on his wife, while you were at the time ..CHEATING ON YOUR WIFE
It  does not matter, the right wing will take care of you. They will put you on the lecture circuit, or give you a talk show on Fox, or make you a Fox News contributer. They will find some way to repay your years of service to the cause, no matter how repugnant that cause may be, how much death it caused, or  who's lives it ruined.

But on the left, we often let our standard bearers fall on their swords and leave them to bleed on the battle field. There are countless number of heroes, and activists, who's families ended up penniless, who's names were tarnished and drug through the mud and whose lives were ruined. I bring this up because I look at the case of Tommie Smith. When I first saw Tommie Smith, it was at a poster shop in Maryland, I was 15 it was a picture of him & Juan Carlos, at the Mexico City Olympics in 1968. I had to have that poster, it stirred something in me, I saw two black men in a foreign land, representing their country, and then showing the world that they wanted their country to be something better, in an extraordinary show of solidarity and power.

Then a couple of year ago I saw an HBO special called "Fists of Freedom", which chronicled the story of both these men, gave some interesting back story, and talked about what happened once they came home. They were largely blackballed, and shunned, it was hard for them to get jobs and be productive, because of the backlash. Then I read an article last week saying that Tommie Smith was selling his gold medal, now I'm sure the day he won is burning into his memory, and that the medal is just a small representation of that day for him. But a part of me was extremely sad, that he needed to do this. That people and  organizations, that benefits/honored his sacrifice had not stepped up to help "take care of one of their own". I would love to see a group of grass roots, professional athletes, and organizations get together, and make sure that medal gets to the Schomburg, Moorland-Springard Research Center, or the Smithsonian, somewhere where it would get the proper respect it deserves, and at the same time give some financial support to someone whose image is burned into the national consciousness.

I would like the Left, to start taking care of it's icons, as much as the Right does. And we have a long history of letting those who mean so much to us fall by the wayside, or we stuff them in corners dust covered and forgotten. There's the story of Jesse Owens resorting to racing horses at the end of his career because "you can't eat gold medals", or Rosa Parks almost getting evicted from her apartment in her old age, or letting others control the images, and legacy of the Black Panther Party, Malcolm X, and so many others.

If you cannot protect your heroes, your legends, if you cannot control how their story will be told, what does that say about us. Now these heroes do not do what they do in order to get rich, in order to make a buck. They do it because they have a calling, a feeling, a reason to rise above. And thats to be commended, thats to be treasured, and like they do on the Right, it should be rewarded, with more than empty accolades.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Homosexual Minstrel Shows at Morehouse

     First off, DISCLAIMER: this is not a blog post about all homosexuality. Nor is it a blog post about men dressing as women. I do not care about either of these topics per say because, what you do in the privacy of your bedroom, (as long as it doesn't directly effect me) is not my business. Men that dress as women or visa versa, in and of themselves, is inconsequential to me for a variety of reasons but in short, what constitutes acceptable "mens" clothing and "womens' clothing changes with culture and time period. For example British men in the 1700's wore wigs and enough make-up that it would make Dolly Parton blush. Scottish men wore kilts, I know many black women in the south that couldn't wear jeans to church, the Romans wore blouses and there are plenty of  current models that wear "boy shorts." So fashion is best a topic left to the fashionable, and I am not. What does concern me is the image of black men and women, because that effects me on an everyday basis. So this is an article with image in mind, it is a response to one isolated phenomenon. So while all responses are welcome, keep in mind my focus is extremely narrow here. This is me using a felt tip marker as opposed to a paint roller.

     Recently there was an article in VIBE magazine entitled "The Mean Girls of Morehouse". This article, in a nutshell talked about a specific group of homosexual cross dressers in Georgia  (they identified themselves as "gender benders") who felt like they were being discriminated against by Morehouse's new dress policy, which stated that men on campus could not wear dresses, carry purses or wear pumps. Now they also included on that list sagging pants, sunglasses, "doo rags" and caps, so it is clear that Morehouse was addressing the "erosion" of dress standards as they saw it on a broad scale. This group called themselves the Plastics and the "leader's" name was Diamond (which in and of itself is problematic with its stereotypical representations) Regardless, what bothered me about the article is that it failed to mention, or address what I feel was Morehouse's concerns ala the image of black men and women. Morehouse, in my eyes has earned the right (historically and culturally) to have a vested interest in how black men and women are perceived, and the article ignores that.

    Getting down to brass tacks, there is a segment of the cross dressing community that essentionally lampoons black women. Lets not pretend they do not exist, there is a certain sub-culture within the cross dressing community as well as the black homosexual community who dress, and act in the mannerisms of the worst stereotypes of black women. Blackface is blackface, and a minstral show by any other name remains the same. Why do we accept this behavior from our community? If any other community were involved there would be talks of gathering the NAACP, boycotts, protests and demands for apologies. If a white man dressed in blackface, affected a "blackcent" and utilized over the top sterotypical theatrics that he saw as indicitive of the mannerisms of black women, the community would (justifiably ) be in an uproar. Oh wait, that already happened...Anyone remember  Shirley Q. Liquor? Many of these representations of black women are similar in deed to white fraternities and sororities dressing in black face and wearing afro wigs on Halloween. They are both examples of misrepresentations based on racial stereotypes.

      This does nothing but reinforce negative sterotypes about black men,and women, and further degrade our image. We would not accept this behavior from straight white men, black women (as well as many African-American homosexuals) did not accept it from Shirley Q. Liquor. There is a small but growing segment of the community that refuses to accept it, and is steadily growing critical of Tyler Perry. So why then do we turn a blind eye when it is enacted from inside the black homosexual community? Do we not have a vested interest in how we are perceved by all aspects of society? Is it too much to ask that we maintain dignity in whatever walk of life we choose?  Malcolm X once said that you can judge men by how they allow people to treat their women. As we are attacking the Don Imus's for their words, and attacking "gangsta" rappers for their music, do we not have the right to demand that our sister's images be protected from ridicule from all forces external and internal regardless of sexual orientation?
     While we are collectively cleaning house and demanding better treatment and respect for black women in all aspects of life, be it music, popular culture or politics. I see it as subversive and dangerous that black men can dress up in the most offensive charactertures of black women and portray those in real life as if they were accurate depictions of those women. It feeds stereotypes, and further show the world that we are unable or unwilling to manage our own images.

Monday, October 4, 2010

What Obama Means To America

I, like millions of African-Americans was quite surprised and happy that Senator Barack Obama became President Barack Obama. I was always worried that there would be some last minute snafu, some last minute "rule change", some silly law from 1921 that they would find that would make electing someone named Barack illegal. But he won both the primary and the general elections becoming our 44th President.

Now, I for one was not surprised at the vehemence of the extreme right, (and some of the moderate right that became extreme) after some of them realized that there was a black man in charge of the free world. There is going to be some angst that comes along with such a change from the norm. Nor was I one of these people that believed Obama would magically usher in a new consciousness about race, and that we would all stop hating one another. While, I do agree that his election means that the tide is turning, especially among the Millennials and the rest of the youth, all you really have to do is read anything in the "comments" section of  a Yahoo news article about the  President, or play any Xbox/PlayStation games with a headset to know we are not in a "post-racial" society...(whatever that is).

     That bit of sobering, but unsurprising news aside there is an item some have overlooked, one part of the story that fascinates me, and makes me feel good to be an American. The story of Barack Obama's ascension to the Presidency of the United States of America may be one of the only cases where a member of the minority culture, (especially a culture that has been victimized by state sponsored discrimination) had been elected to the highest office in the land. That is something to be proud of, from a nation building point of view. Now, there have been cases where members of the minority in a country took over, and subjugated the people through torture and force of arms, (South Africa and Iraq) there have been cases where the minority in a country ran the country through imperialism, (India under British rule)

     But I cannot think of many cases where the minority in any country has been allowed, through democratic means to rise to the most powerful position in that country, and historically never has a country done that when they were a World Power. You think a Palestinian will ever be Prime Minister of Israel, or a Irishman presiding over British Parliament (let alone have a West Indian or Pakistani Prime Minister) , or a Muslim President of India. This phenomenon is not common, it should be acknowledged and celebrated.

     And while we as Americans have a long way to go when it comes to matters of diversity, let alone race. While it is true that there are people out there claiming Obama is a secret: Muslim, Communist, Nazi Kenyen. And it is very true that there is a lot of work to be done to get us anywhere close to a society that Dr. King would be proud of. It behooves us, that while we are on this journey that we don't overlook the milestones. And I believe it was a major milestone, that in a country that embraced, Jim Crow, slavery & segregation, in 2008, 66 million Americans voted for a minority to be leader of the free world, defender of the Constitution, and President of these United States of America. That included three former confederate states, Florida, North Carolina and Virginia. And regardless of the backlash we are seeing now, the fact that we as a nation were able to even make it to the point where such a backlash was possible gives me HOPE for the future of my county..... and to quote a man I admire.

"In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope."
-President Barack Obama

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What if they don't want to be saved? (Cypher Syndrome)

    The Cypher Syndrome Conundrum: Can you save those who refuse do be saved? 

     This is not an easy blog to write, mostly because I am still dealing with my positions on this matter. That is to say, I have not yet figured out, where I stand, so I am still feeling my way through these arguments and attempting to find a platform on which to stand. The basic idea is....You can't save them all. There are times in an emergency when you have to decide: who is worth saving, who wants to be saved, and who can be saved. When there are limited resources you have to decide what is the best way to utilize those resources to get the results you want to achieve. 
     Will there ever come a point where we say that we've attempted to get all our brothers and sisters on board, but we've gotten all we can get, and it's time to move out of the station, to the next destination. I'm talking about people, right now in 2010. I'm torn, there is a part of me that says someone reached out to a two-bit hood and brought us Malcolm X, , someone reached out to an unwed welfare mother, and brought us Oprah. Our history is full of examples where we pulled each other up, helping each other survive towards a common goal, creating leaders, and powerful organizations that helped to reshape this country. And I wonder, while we still have a ways to go, at what point do we start to think about the fact that even 747's have weight limits. Carring dead weight will not only slow you down, but it can keep you from your destination all together. 
      So here I am torn between two truths as I see them. Truth number one...none of us would be where we are were it not for the struggles, and sacrifices made by those of us who were able to pave the way. Truth Number Two...If you weigh down the boat with enough baggage it will sink. At what point do we stop trying to focus our energies on the: Stepin Fetchits, those involved in blatant Coonery, the super uber thugs. We've already pretty much given up on Micheal Steele and Clarence Thomas, who else gets added to the list?
      Or do we continue to fight and claw for every lost soul. I guess this is a question to the activists, the nationalists, the culturalists, the talented tenth, and those on the front, middle and back lines of "the struggle". Do we focus limited resources on everyone, trying to cast the net far and wide trying to catch every soul we can, or do we narrow our focus. Helping to reach out to those who want more for themselves, at the expense of the whole. 
     And there also lies the question, what if they are happy with their lot in life. It's hard to save the complacent, it's hard to move the anchored. It's like the guy in the Matrix Movie (the first one) Cypher, who wanted back in the Matrix, who was happy being a part of the system even if it was literally sucking the life out of him. Who sold out his friends and beliefs to get back to the system. How do you reach those people? Do you reach those people? Can we afford to try to reach those people.... Can we afford not to? I don't have the answers right now, but I hope to have them soon, I think one day we will have to decide...whether or not we need to keep trying to save Cypher. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The New Niggers.

They came first for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

     Well, I'm going to speak up. Muslims are the new niggers. They have become the "feared" the "scary", the "other". You know you have made it into the ranks of the oppressed when they start burning religious items and placing them on your doorstep as happened in East Lansing, Michigan. In a despicable case of the cowardly imitating the idiotic. Someone decided to commit a copycat hate crime. They burned a Quran, and laid pieces of the desecrated holy book at the doors of a local Islamic Center. 
     The perpetrator turned himself in, after a $10,000 reward was offered for information regardign the hate crime.  Today Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III announced that he will not issue charges in connection with the burning of a Quran outside the Islamic Center, and I quote the good prosecutor. 

"After reviewing the police report, I have decided there is no criminal offense that I can charge under Michigan law," Dunnings said in the statement.
     I disagree; it is clear to me that Michigan's hate laws are meant to prosecute intimidation, and harassment, while leaving for the 1st amendment to operate. This was not a 1st amendment issue, the perpetrator left the burnt Quran on the property of the Islamic center, this is a clear message of intimidation. It should be vigorously prosecuted. Dunning told the Detroit Free Press
"We don't have a hate crime. There was no threat of physical intimidation because he (the perpetrator)was the only one there (at the mosque) at the time,"
     So, if a group Klansman burn a cross on my front yard, and I'm not home, according to Stuart Dunning there was no intimidation going on. If a group of neo-Nazis burn a swastika and put it in front of a Jewish temple, no problem? Not prosecuting these hate crimes is going to have two effects. Number one, it will encourage copycats, because it says: we won’t prosecute you; we won’t even slap you on the wrist.  Number two, it tells the Muslim community “protect yourselves”, because we won’t do it for you. Is that the type of America we live in now?
     Now for the million dollar question. Where is the show of solidarity from the black community? If anyone should be attuned to the implications of burning holy objects and placing them on property it should be African-Americans. Where is the outcry from the local NAACP, the Black Student Union, and the black church? Do we not have a stake in this outcome? Do we not see the road ahead, and where this can and will lead? It was not so long ago when our grandparents, aunt and uncles faced this type of discrimination. Have we fallen so far into the American dream, that we no longer remember the nightmares? Or are we so ecstatic, that they have found new niggers, that we have become afraid to speak up, happy that the spotlight no longer shines exclusively on us. Well, I stand in solidarity, because it is the right thing to do, this is the right time to do it, and when someone does decide to come for me….I hope someone, anyone has the fortitude to speak up. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Shucking and Jiving in 2010

So, my original plan was to write about how twitter was destroying politics. or maybe even discuss the recent "mosque" controversy. But like all great plans, sometimes they get derailed. Four days ago, I saw the above image of the South Caroline Senate president, dressed as a confederate general, and two African-Americans dressed in 1800's Gullah costumes. They were at a party hosted by The National Federation for Republican Women. Now, I immediately wanted to post, write and rage, but I thought, I'll give it a few days, see if anything shakes out, see if there are any facts I'm missing.

So, it's been a few days, and I find that I still want to post, rant and rage, but the object of my scorn may surprise a few. I'm not really upset with S.C. Senate President Glenn McConnell for dressing up as a confederate naval officer, or taking a picture with people in "slave garb". He's a South Carolinian Republican, this is honestly the type of behavior I expect from him. Some good old fashion nostalgia for days of "massa" and "cotton picking" is kind par the course for South Carolinian republicans. And although I was originally enraged at the two black people who dressed up, I have come to find out they are Gullah performers who attempt to educate people about the culture of blacks in antebellum South Carolina through song, and dance. They may not of known what they were getting themselves into (personally once I got there and saw white folks dressed up as confederate officers, I would of went back home for and enjoyed an episode of Law and Order). That being said their cause is noble they want to keep alive some traditions of our past. 

Alot of my angst and anger is directed at black conservatives & black republicans. I was looking at the National Black Republican homepage, and there was no mention of this. I have seen nothing from Lashawn Barber or Armstrong Williams I even looked at Hip-Hop Republicans  (who incidentally have pictures of Fredrick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln on their page) I waited to see if any of my black conservative friends on Facebook would say anything. Pin Drop. Silence. Nothing. Nil. Many black conservatives proudly display their conservatism as a way to say that there is no one black experience, they shine their GOP badges as they proudly "march to the beat of a different drummer". And they are right there is no one black experience, we are a diverse people, with many different needs, skills and outlooks.That being said,  to my black conservatives, can you still in good conscious call this manifestation of the GOP the "Party of Lincoln?" Can you claim as the National Black Republicans do that Martin Luther King would of voted republican? Where are your outcries at such deplorable imagery, where is you chastening of your republican brethren? I'm all about diversity in political parties, and expanding the big tent of either party. There need to be black conservatives in the GOP because otherwise the republican party will always embrace their radical, racist, extreme right wing constituents. But if all you can do as a black conservative is: apologize for Obama, yell the loudest at Al Sharpton, gleefully declare Jesse Jackson a race baiter, and be the first to tell people to stop using "The Race Card". But remain silent at times when the Racists in your party raise their heads. Your silence is DEAFENING. You are proving to the world that while you may be "marching to the beat of your own drummer", it's just another shuck and jive.  

Free Thinkers Are Dangerous. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How "haters" are helping to destroy black culture

So introductory post aside. Let's get into the main course of this blog-a-palooza. Question of the day is Why I think haters are helping to destroy black culture? One reason, and one reason only, THERE AREN'T ENOUGH OF US OUT THERE!!! 

"You're a hater" is one of the most over used phrases on this planet, second only behind "I love you". There is nothing wrong with critique, there is nothing wrong with constructive criticism, there is nothing wrong with intense ridicule and shame. And for years, ridicule, shame and constructive criticism have been the guards at the gates keeping the wack: boys bands, R&B wanna-bes and sucka MC's at bay. 

But now, due to the extreme overuse and misuse of these terms, even the wackest of  the sucka MC's have the nerve to make youtube videos daring anyone to criticize them. Puffy , P Diddy (or whatever he calls himself this week) made an emotional youtube video about comic Maronzio Vance who dared call puffy poisonous to hip-hop. Now he didn't dispute the guy on the merits of his argument, he just accused him of .... HATING. sigh/facepalm

Now with the critics silenced we have an infusion of Wacka Flocka Flames, Nikki Minajs and Souljah Boys. There would of been a time when the natural order of the world would of been to clown these "artists" and others like them out of existence. But now they stay on for years, infecting music and culture with their ridiculous brand of ....whatever it is they do. 

Now granted, hating does exist. I don't like Kobe Bryant, never have, never will... I tried to justify it, and pretend I have good reasons for it, but truth be told... I don't.. I just have a visceral reaction to whenever I see him. I hopes he trips down the stairs....of the Washington Monument. I hope the Dallas Cowboys get poison ivy of the genitals, I didn't want Karl Malone's phone to ring, I didn't want him to get a earring, I didn't want him to get ring around the collar..let alone a championship ring (now thats some good hate)

But not liking a horrible rapper , for rapping in a horrible fashion. Not liking a R&B "diva" who can't sing live, and  is joined at the hip with autotune. Not liking a group who always lipsynchs because they can't recreate their studio sound in real life...not liking a rapper because his name is ... wocka.....flocka.....flame...Not liking Dr. Suess MC's with thier 3rd grade lyrics is not hating. Its constructive criticism with a dash of ridicule...and it's needed. 

Finally, you know who really should be upset right now??? Vanilla Ice. Vanilla Ice was before his time, if he would of waited it out.. he could of had a great career, won a couple Grammy's, maybe an oscar or two or co-hosted The View. Think about the wonderful career Vanilla Ice would of had, if it hadn't been for.... The Haters. Long Live Hating.

Free Thinkers Are Dangerous. 
The Scholarly Hooligan

Monday, September 13, 2010

First Post.

Okay. welcome to The Scholarly Hooligan. This is for friends, foes, adversaries, enemies and others. This blog will not be for the intellectually weak of heart. It will be for the "hot and bothered", for the "does not play well with others" for the . I may will play devil's advocate. I will challenge, I will spit and claw and fight my way to my position. A wise man once said if you can't defend your belief, it must not be much of a belief. So be the words of Parliament Funkadelic to "En Guard! Defend Yourself....."

Just so you know what you're getting yourself into: MY STATS: I am a 33 year African-American Male, I vote Democratic, but I tend to lean center, and at times even fall to the right on some issues. I am a Christian, but I am navigating what that means ( I believe in God, , and try to go to church from time to time, I Love Jesus but some a lot of his followers get on my nerves). I have a pinch of libertarianism in me, but I believe in a strong central government.... go figure. I don't mind satire, but hate racism disguised as such, I'm a: poet, 1st Year Ph.D student in Education, and I'm engaged. I'm Pro-Labor, Pro-Gun Control & Pro-Life...all life so I'm anti-death penalty & anti-war (except in cases of self defense). I like Keith Olbermann but I catch snippets of Bill O'Reilly. I watch football, eat meat, and read Sci-Fi fantasy books.

So there. That's where I come from. Those are my prejudices, so you can better gauge what I have to say. Expect a new post every Monday or Tuesday. Expect some fights, expect some bad grammar. But enjoy the ride.

Free Thinkers Are Dangerous.