Posts Tagged ‘African American Community’

air-jordan-1-original-black-red-2_thumb

Michael Jordan doesn’t care about Black People. Like Kanye West courageously shouted on national television, about how he felt then president George W. Bush felt about Black people during the Hurricane Katrina disaster and the screw up that followed.  I personally feel the same way about Mr. Jordan and other athletes but, this is about MJ. He is in a position, a well paid position; that allows an exploitative condition to be created for some of our less informed Brothers and Sisters to fall into. One of the highest paid and greatest athletes of ALL time, shackled by his surname to a product, an expensive brand that creates death and drama in poor Black communities.

Death. Violence. Capitalism.

How is MJ to be blamed? He knows exactly what’s going on outside of the sneaker stores – mothers and fathers fighting, kids dying, police being called in to control the ravenous crowds that come out in droves to purchase these shoes. The majority of these people can barely pay their rents, live check to check, neglect their children but, still find a way to spend over $300 on his sneakers. That’s not his fault but, his marketers control the euphoria that draws people to it.  On the flip-side, is it fair to completely blame him?

For 30 Years, we have chosen to be enslaved to a product. Materialism has been likened to psychosis; this is a sickness of consumption…

I’ve always wondered, what is more important to African-Americans? Do we really NOT care about the future, about our lives, the lives of our children and the lives of others? Are we that broken, that we refuse to try to do the slightest things to fix the problems that plague us and our communities.  I think of the hair industry – Black women spend billions (b) of dollars a year on someone else’s hair.  I can only imagine, if MJ or MJB put their name on a wig it would sell like hot combs!  I’m also reminded of a quote, “Rich people stay rich by living like they are poor and poor people stay poor by living like they’re rich.” True right?

Our priorities are all jacked up and it adds to our Slave Narrative of 2014 and possibly beyond.

In light of the glorification of Slavery in dramatic and cinematic exhibition, I wanted to start a conversation about our current condition. Let’s talk about our current Slave status.  Not in a speculative sense; let’s literally discuss where we are when it comes to accepting the fact that we are mainstream Slaves.  Slaves to materialism and consumerism. We get caught up in the razzle-dazzle of “buying things” and line dance our way into the money-grubbing hands of capitalists that make you think you need to spend money that you don’t have on products you don’t need.

The amount of money we spend during holidays is sickening. Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day to name a few; on these days, the African-American dollar is looooong….However, we are the bottom of the list again, when it comes to charitable contributions and circulating money in our communities.

I feel this way about all Americans but, African Americans must do better. We have fewer resources but, expend up to 3 times as much as our European counterparts.

Now,  I’m not trying to be right or wrong; that will be decided by you, the readers but, this obsession over Jordans is crazy and it has to stop! Period. Point. Blank!

Michael Jordan and other “High Society”, Blacks do not care about the plights of poor Black people. They are somehow immune from issues that affect the “little people” due to their economic statuses.  These are people that are trying coming up from the bottomless pits, trying to get out of the same dark places that many of them came from.

We have to send them a message that they will not continue to profit from our suffering.

Stop feeding the machine. Stop buying Jordans!

 

CT

Ugh.

It’s so hard to stay away from controversy when controversy refuses to stay away. Hey everyone, the dragon is back and I’m fired up. Let me make a disclaimer; I am not a fan of Dr. Boyce Watkins however, he wrote an interesting piece on the Donald Sterling situation and for once I agree with a lot of what he says well, at least 81% (to avoid full compliance with him).

Anyway, this controversy over in Clipper Land has really agitated me and I just can’t keep calm and keep my mouth shut, I have to write, Bloggers, blog. So, that being said, my engraved fume into this digital soil will focus on the NAACP and its coon leadership over in Los Angeles. How disturbingly fitting, a male by the name of Leon Jenkins, a name that couldn’t speak to the volumes of coon-ism any louder than Stepin Fetchit, is conducting the coon train into an embarrassing media minstrel show.

This so-called president of the Los Angeles branch of the NAACP allegedly is calling for Donald Sterling’s forgiveness for a “fee”, while hiding behind God, religion and apparent greed.

“This week, the Los Angeles Times has reported that Leon Jenkins, president of the Los Angeles branch of the NAACP, is willing to forgive Sterling for his latest set of racial sins, all for a modest fee. Using God, Christianity and the bible as cover, Jenkins goes back to the foundations of why black people were fed religious beliefs that teach us to bend in fear in the midst of battle, even if others have declared war on us.  “God teaches us to forgive, and the way I look at it, after a sustained period of proof to the African American community that those words don’t reflect his heart, I think there’s room for forgiveness. I wouldn’t be a Christian if I said there wasn’t,” Jenkins said. “We are negotiating with him about giving more moneys to African American students at UCLA, and so we are in preliminary discussions,” he also said. – Boyce Watkins

The NBA has shown its strength while the NAACP has shown its weakness.

The NBA has shown its strength while the NAACP has shown its weakness.

I fully agree with Boyce that, “The NAACP’s national office should step up and admonish the Los Angeles chapter for exhibiting behavior that is in direct contradiction to the sentiments and desires of millions of people who are offended by Sterling’s record of racist behavior.”

I call for his resignation.

This Jenkins character is indisputably a villain and an enemy of the people. We are not and should not support the NAACP nationally until they demand his resignation. Our community can’t continue to foot the bill when it comes to building up these organizations and empowering these puppets that claim to be for us but, only end up hurting us and making us look like a tribe of fools. Now the world knows that the NAACP will take money from racist whites looking to be forgiven for transgressions against Black people. It’s like going into a confession booth and silently sliding the pastor an envelope of cash and all sins are magically forgiven.

We pretend that because of the size of the NAACP that we can’t and shouldn’t hold them accountable for their actions and the way they practice business. We never come out and say this but, our actions speak louder than words. Everything they do is at our expense; the little people, the poor, the inopportune and the weak, how can any right-thinking person accept this without questioning the intents and purposes of the organization and sleep comfortably at night?

How many more Donald Sterling’s are we going to have to forgive? How many more degrading remarks about our people are we going to sweep under the rug? How much more can a people take; being torn down day after day, by law enforcement, millionaires, billionaires, white supremacists, racists, institutionalized racism and the media. When will the string that is holding us complacent out of fear of death, break and unleash upon the world the collective anger of Black people?

When are we going to stop following the lamb to the slaughterhouse?

The LA NAACP’s failure to act appropriately, is another notch in the whipping belt of white supremacy; proving that the almighty white dollar can buy black sentiment from institutions that are supposed to work for us, not against us. Working on behalf to end discrimination and hatred towards Black people well, colored people, whatever that means but, you get my point. African-Americans, Blacks, Coloreds, Negroes will never be taken seriously if we don’t get serious about how we take care of each other.

In my openly-personal opinion, this is clearly making the NAACP look like the laughing stock of the non-profit world. Yes, other organizations may take dirty money but, it’s not in the open and they don’t have the archetypal stereotype posturing around on television trying to justify the handout!

Leon Jenkins is a coon, a minstrel, a sell-out, selling-into the white supremacy machine and using our foolishness, our money and our misguided loyalty to grease the engine.

 

The end result of all of this is unbalanced, like Elephants and Ants on see-saws. The NBA has shown its strength while the NAACP has shown its weakness.  Showing lenience and compassion to Donald Sterling, while the NBA does the right thing and rids themselves of him for life.

KEEPCALMEND

CT

????????????????????????????????????????

OMG! You’re Brack?

I was recently told a story about an African-American male who’d been discriminated against but, not really.

Let me explain.

One of his customers whom he’d only had phone relationships with said Merry Christmas to him last month, in which he replied that he doesn’t really get into Christmas, because he celebrates Kwanzaa.  Then she said, “Kwanzaa is for the Black people, wait, you’re Black?”  Yes, was his reply and from there she went on and on about how she didn’t know that and that she was amazed that he spoke so well.  Now oddly, she is Chinese and from what I was told her “Engrish” wasn’t all that up to par.  However, her amazement stemmed from the fact that she’d only been exposed to “difficult” Blacks that frequent her store and constantly gave her a hard time.  Every time that they talk now, she continues to listen in amazement as he speaks and conducts his business, always complimenting him at the end of the phone calls for being the professional that he always was before she knew what color he was.

How does that make you feel?  I know it makes me feel good and bad at the same time.  Good to know that this young man is well spoken, polite and handles his business, the bad/unfortunate part is that her expectation of all Blacks is likely in the negative.  It doesn’t take anyone outside of our race to define us.  Not by how we speak, dress or wear our hair, her prejudice and dim-witted thinking is the modus operandi of lots of Americans.  Guilty until proven innocent and it’s not until it’s been proven that we are safe enough to be included in certain professional and educational circles, that we get a proverbial pass.

33969593bf2ced05335030954480cc4b8b3f9c13f7fb59a4412a02e8d682f2d5

Yeah, what you thinking?

If you are too Black too Strong, you will have a mark on you other than the skin you are in.  You’re labeled, categorized, placed into a funnel that continuously sucks you down.  Why?  Isn’t being who you are a part of what we were taught as children; your individualism is what makes you special right?  Now, as adults many of us or “you” have to conform to someone else’s standards to fit in.  How many stories have we heard about people of color being turned away from jobs that they were worthy and well qualified for?  Only to be passed over by an equally or under qualified white person.  This happens in every aspect of life; from business to the arts, if you Black you have a strike against you and it’s not a matter of fairness, it just is.

A man or woman can’t be who they want to be when they’re being something or someone else that they are not.  We put on masks at work or out on the streets, come home and we are different people.  Conformity is not normal.  It’s a quick fix to the problem of you being you and they love it.  Is that success?

Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. ~ Booker T. Washington

A lot of us like to blame the “Man” for our failures.  Blaming whites for keeping the Black man down, is a poor excuse that is used to distract others from our own individual failures. Pathetic self-lies that we tell ourselves to talk ourselves out of reaching for our dreams.  “Oh, I can’t do this.  I can’t do that.  No one is going to do anything for me.”  Then do for self, is what I say.

The young man recently received an email from his boss saying that his customer service was great and that the “customers” really enjoy working with him.  It was the same company and the same lady that took her story of the “Amazing Brack Man” to the very top and is now throwing all kinds of praise and rewards at his feet because he’s an “exceptional nigger.”  Where have we heard that term before?  I think it was in 12 Years a Slave, how Solomon Northup, the free man turned slave was somewhat special.  He could read, he could play music and was a carpenter; is this a fair analogy of the young man? I don’t know but, it wasn’t until his race became a highlight, that he received “exceptional” attention that wasn’t necessarily the attention that he wanted or was working for.

He never questioned his Asian colleague about her culture or why her accent was so bad, he just did his job.  Her ethnicity was never under review, he knew who she was and that was it, a colleague, now he’s the Black colleague that speaks very well.

Until the colour of a man's skin Is of no more significance than the color of his eyes -

Until the color of a man’s skin
Is of no more significance than the color of his eyes –

How does this play in the rest of our society?  There are millions of us that speak articulately, work like professionals and are dedicated-educated, is it possible that America doesn’t know that we exist or does America fail to believe that good Blacks can still exist in this torn up culture of ours?  Where images of our men are bordered by white chalk lines or saggin jeans and our women are naked, single, pregnant and poor?  That’s how Chinese media views African-Americans in this country.  Asian media is ripe with caricatures and sambo-esque pictures that mock and belittle the existence of Black people all over the globe.  Just like newspapers and comics in the US a little more than a century ago, other countries have taken up the art of showing us to their part of the world in a racist negative light.

Chinese racism

Dis is some bull….

Now as far south into the realm of negativity this could go, as a blogger I’m supposed to be subjective but, this time I’ll remain on the objective side of the scale and try to end this blog peacefully. (*@&%$#)

In order to change the perception of the world and America (yes, it’s in its own little world) we as African-Americans need to stop giving these people excuses and material to use against us.  We are the ones that are holding ourselves back from competing with everyone else for jobs, education, home-ownership and the realization of the American Dream, which isn’t really bad if you think about it.

I don’t think the color of your skin disqualifies you instantly from success; it may also hinge on your individual definition of success.  Personally, I’m successful does that mean that I drive fancy cars and live high up on the hog? No, but it means to me that I’ve reached a certain level where I feel I’ve achieved a sense of accomplishment, doing the work that I love to do.

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

The implication that your skin color impedes success can affect you if you want to conform and assimilate.  If you are an against the grain person, you’ll likely have less stress and less heartache and pain when you are not accepted to certain circles, clubs or corporations.  Nevertheless, we do deserve a fair share.  We do deserve to be heard and not just seen.  Perception is the epicenter of our innermost thinking.  We conceive and conceptualize our realities through our eyes and ears and are sometimes fooled terribly by them.

I wonder what kind of revolution it would take to free these close-minded people from the realities they’ve created for themselves.  A revolution of the mind comes to mind and it won’t be televised or digitized, it will be an awaking of the masses to fight against the prejudiced precursors that lead to institutionalized racism and its ugly way of blocking Black success.

In the end, success shouldn’t be pre-determined by social or racial allusions, it should be a reflection of your indomitable spirit that works hard for the rewards that you receive.  Success is more than a euphoric feeling of accomplishment; it’s a way of life that was once guaranteed in our pledges of allegiance, where liberty and justice for all, paved the way for everyone to be successful.

130905-pledge-allegiance-630a.photoblog600

CT

CASH FOR TRASH
Do you really know what you’re eating

CASH 4 TRASH

CASH 4 TRASH

SMH (Scratching My Head)  I saw a very disturbing and disgusting thing the other night at a local gas station.  As you can see from the image above, there is: McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and Dunkin Donuts all in one oily overflowing trash heap.  Looking at this festering mountain of grease laden paper bags got me thinking about the health and wellness of the Black community.  Yes, the Black or African American community.  That’s where I was, that’s where I saw it and that’s where I’ll be talking about.

Seeing this sort of affirms why childhood and adult obesity cases are up in inner city communities, while suburban community obesity rates are dropping every year?  Is there too much access, are there not enough options, and is convenience the biggest downfall of African Americans?

If you travel outside of the city, say Newton, you will not find half of the crappy food joints you will find in say, Roxbury.  Roxbury is filled with fast food, check cashing places, liquor stores and churches.  In Newton, you will find, sports apparel stores, ski stores, fitness clubs, massage parlors, more fitness stores and yoga studios.  There are two McDonalds in Newton.  What does this say about the citizens of Newton?   It’s about controlling what you allow or don’t allow in your neighborhood.  That’s power, that’s control, that’s smart.

There’s no reason why Roxbury or Dorchester residents can’t raise their voices in opposition to allowing these eateries to run us down near our homes and schools with unhealthy chow.

Did you know that Burger King has a delivery service?  Just how much Nuclear Radiation do you think they put in the containers that guarantee that your meal will be “Hot & Fresh”?

Now You’ll Never Have To Leave Your Couch

We like to have what we want and what we like when we want it.

How’s that working for you?

Can’t be doing that well when African Americans are still dying at young ages due to heart attacks and strokes.  Black women lead the nation and all races in heart disease and illnesses related to stress.  Black people in general are at the bottom of the best health lists and at the top of the worst health lists.

How can we change these statistics?

First it involves, completely abandoning (boycotting) all fast foods and the establishments that carry them.  Convenience, is great but so is living; Healthy Living.  Of course it’s easier said than done and this blog by no means is a judgment of those people that frequent fast food restaurants, I’m only expressing my views with a little dash of salt-flavored truth.

Put that on your fish!

singing-fish-singing

WHAT!?

Here are some disturbing statistics.  Based on (American) spending.

In 1970, Americans spent about $6 billion on fast food; in 2000, they spent more than $110 billion. Americans now spend more money on fast food than on higher education, personal computers, computer software, or new cars. They spend more on fast food than on movies, books, magazines, newspapers, videos, and recorded music – combined.

I’m sure that in 2013 it’s even higher.  One stat that is staggeringly upsetting is that the fast food industry in 2013 spent $4.6 billion to advertise and promote unhealthy processed products while only $116 million was spent to advertise fruits and vegetables.  What is wrong with this picture?

The majority of the “junk food marketing” was directed at children, teens and low income families.  As hard as I researched, I couldn’t find any particular stats that would show how much money from the Black community went into the $110 billion however, I’m sure it’s significant.

In urban areas, you can find: Burger King, McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts, Crown Fried Chicken, dozens of Chinese Food places and variety stores or Bodegas.  These multi-purpose corner stores are where you can get your sugary snacks and a screwdriver, go figure but, they don’t always or never offer much of anything that can be considered healthy.  Yes, I know there may be a bunch of bananas by the “Take a Penny, Give a Penny” box but, it would be a lot more encouraging if local neighborhood stores sold fresher fruit and less processed fruits in candies and in drinks.

So, the question remains, what do we do about it?  How big is the issue?  I mean, kids are dying from obesity related illnesses at alarming rates.  Parents are allowing this and are suffering from it as well.  Fast life + Fast food = a Fast Death.  Short life spans are accepted in the Black Community and sadly many of us take it as, “We all gotta die someday”, which to me is morbid and self-defeating and it leaves room to make excuses for all of the unhealthy things we conscientiously do to ourselves.

We have to get back to gardening, urban farming, home cooking and balancing our diets with good foods.  We have to ask our single mothers and fathers to stop using McDonalds as meal replacements.  Yes, we understand you are busy and are tired but, is it worth the health of your children and of yourself.

Of course it’s easier said than done but, it all begins with a choice, do or do not, there is no trying to stop, it’s either you stop or you don’t and if you don’t, look at the consequences.

Imagine a world like this: Neighborhoods covered in trash – fast food wrappers from Burger King, Wendy’s, McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts.  The streets are never cleaned; and our homes become live-in junkyards because we are lazy.  We become too unhealthy to want to change our condition, to want to clean up the garbage.  We are no longer able bodied citizens in the communities; we are tired, lethargic and overweight.  Burger boxes blow down the streets like cardboard tumbleweeds.  Our kids no longer play; they sit around eating and complaining about how they feel.  We have become very nonproductive people and useless members of society and the only time you see us is when the new Air Jordans come out.

Consumerism aids and abets our bad food and life choices.

Consuming in excess can breed violent and irrational behavior in those that are cut off from consuming.  Take Air Jordan’s for example, deprived people claw and scratch and maim and kill for a pair of the $300-$500 shoe.  People sleep in the streets and crowd the sidewalks just to get their hands on the latest pairs.  If the stores run out – there’s a riot.  If someone cuts the line – there’s a fight.  These capitalists, fueled by corporate greed are banking on poor people to spend their small savings on their products.  Michael Jordan and Ronald McDonald don’t care that their products are getting people sick, hurt or killed.

However, the objective blogger in me can’t lay all the blame on the corporations.  People need to stop with the foolishness.  We don’t have to buy the sneakers, we don’t have to eat fast food, and we can fight the urges to fit into the collective norm, where superficial judgment is more important than internal health and happiness.  I’m sure that some shrink somewhere recognizes this as a social disorder that can diagnosed and in some form compared to excessive fast food consumption and the insensible desires to fill our stomachs and our children’s stomachs with quick and fast fare in order to save time.

In closing, eat better, live better, BE BETTER!

CT