Quotable Quote of the Month

What does it take for Republicans to take off the flag pin and say, 'I am just too embarrassed to be on this team'?".- Bill Maher

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

George Lopez Show Cast Reunion On Lopez Tonight

On the December 15th episode of his new TBS late night talk show, George Lopez was reunited with the cast of his self-titled sitcom. It was cool to see them all together because The George Lopez Show is one of my favorite sitcoms. Not only did I watch it regularly when it aired on ABC, I still catch it on Nick At Nite.

In addition to The George Lopez Show being hilarious, I liked that it showed how the situations Hispanic families face are no different from anyone else. During the course of the series, episodes dealt with such storylines as George's complex relationship with his mother Benny (Belita Moreno), George struggling to accept that Angie (Constance Marie) was the breadwinner after he was laid off, the academic problems faced by youngest child Max (Luis Armand Garcia), and oldest child Carmen (Masiela Lusha) feeling that George favored Max over her.

During the reunion, a comment made by Constance Marie (who played George's wife Angie) stood out. Constance said she wished there was a program like The George Lopez Show when she was a kid, adding that there were no brown people on TV. She has a point. Outside of such performers as Rita Moreno, Gregory Sierra, and Liz Torres, the consistent presence of Hispanic faces was sorely lacking on American TV back in the day. Even with the three I previously mentioned, there was no show on American TV back then where a Hispanic family was the main focus. Hopefully, the continued success of The George Lopez Show (it's gained a whole new audience in reruns) will cause network execs to put on more series that reflect the Hispanic experience. Like Constance said, "brown people are cool too!"

In case you missed it, here is the clip from the cast reunion of The George Lopez Show where Constance Marie talks about the lack of Hispanic images on TV when she was growing up. If you click here, you can watch segments of the entire episode.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Turner Gill Breaks Through the NCAA Football Glass Ceiling

On December 13, the University of Kansas announced that it had hired Turner Gill as the head coach of their football team. The 47 year old Gill replaces Mark Mangino, whose controversial run as the Kansas head coach came to an end when he resigned on December 3rd.

Gill's impressive coaching résumé includes:
  • Serving as the quarterback coach at the University of Nebraska from 1992-2003 and their wide receivers coach in 2004. During his tenure as the QB coach, he helped Eric Crouch earn the Heisman Trophy in 2001 and Nebraska win 3 national championships (1994, 1995, and 1997)
  • MAC Coach of the Year in 2007 and 2008 at the University of Buffalo
  • 2008 MAC Championship
In addition to his coaching career, Gill was highly successful as a player. During his 3-year stint as the starting QB for Nebraska, Gill had a 28-2 record (including a 20-0 record in conference play and 3 straight Big Eight championships).

For those who follow college football, you probably know that the NCAA's track record of hiring qualified minority head football coaches is awful. With Gill's hiring, that increases the number of black head coaches to 11 (with 13 minority coaches overall) among the 120 Division I-A schools.

If you'd like to read an excellent post on this topic, please visit the following link:

Lack of Minority Coaches In NCAA Football

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tiger and O.J. Are Connected How?!

And the buffoonery continues! During the December 8 edition of his radio program, Glenn Beck (in regards to the medical emergency that happened at the home of Tiger Woods earlier that morning) does a bit of schtick where he compares the troubled golfer to O.J. Simpson! I'm sure the Glenn Beck lovers will defend him by saying it was just a joke. Whatever. Since Beck is fond of telling his fan base to ask questions, I have one for him. Why make the Tiger/O.J. comparison?! Whether or not it's a joke, his linking of the two athletes may provide a window into how Beck's mind works. Could he be implying that a black man in a relationship with a white woman= violence? Let's say that all of the events surrounding the Tiger Woods controversy were the same... but instead of Tiger Woods being at the center, it was white golfer Phil Mickelson. Do you think Beck would have compared Phil to O.J. Simpson?



The next thing you know, Beck will have his followers believing that Tiger Woods was behind the wheel of that white Ford Bronco during the infamous low-speed chase back in 1994. I can see the crazy chalkboard conspiracy now...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Does Being A Sarah Palin Supporter Make One A Racist?


The answer to the question posed in the title of this post is no, but that hasn't stopped some conservatives from crying foul against a few members of the so-called "state controlled media". On the 11/18/09 edition of Hardball, host Chris Matthews did a segment on Sarah Palin's appearance in Grand Rapids, MI for a signing of her bestselling book "Going Rogue: An American Life". The segment also included MSNBC correspondent Norah O'Donnell and Salon.com's Joan Walsh. During the segment, Norah (who was at the location of the book signing) made note that the crowd who showed up to see Ms. Palin was mostly white. Chris agreed with Norah's assessment and added the Seinfeldian disclaimer that there's nothing wrong with that. Later in the segment, Chris suggested that Sarah Palin's rabid fan base has a tribal aspect to it. He went on to use the term "white people vs. other people" in regards to his belief that some of Palin's supporters harbor racist feelings and that she panders to this portion of her base.

Below is the segment from Hardball:





Predictably, this segment didn't sit well with some members of the right. They've taken it over the top by accusing Chris and Co. of calling all Palin supporters racist! I don't see anything wrong with either talking about the lack of minorities present at the Palin signing or commenting on how a segment of her base may feel about non-whites. The Hardball segment addressed those two points, but didn't lump all Palin supporters in the racist trash heap like some are claiming. As for the lack of support Palin has from non-whites, this has to be a concern for her if she plans to make a run at the Presidency of the United States. She might want to consider giving Tom Joyner and the folks at Univision a call.

Although I see nothing wrong with the Hardball segment, if people want to question why Norah and Chris made references to the racial makeup of the crowd, that's a valid debate. One could even be critical of the fact that neither of them mentioned the racial demographics of Grand Rapids as a possible reason for the lack of minorities at the signing (as of the 2000 census, over 67% of the population was white). But to say Chris and his guests called all Palin supporters racist is ridiculous! Some people are just sitting around waiting to be offended and I think that's the case with some conservatives in regards to the Hardball piece.

The footage below is from The Young Turks in which host Cenk Uygur airs and later discusses footage of Palin supporters being interviewed at another book signing of hers in Columbus, OH. All I can say is, "Yikes!!"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

TCM To Air Interracial Romance Triple Feature


On Friday, November 20th starting at 8 PM EST, Turner Classic Movies is airing a triple feature spotlighting interracial romance on film involving blacks and whites.

First up is the 1964 drama One Potato, Two Potato starring Barbara Barrie ("Nana" on Suddenly Susan), Bernie Hamilton (Capt. Dobey in the series Starsky and Hutch), and Richard Mulligan (Soap and Empty Nest). One of the earliest to deal with interracial marriage, the movie tells the story of a white divorcée (Barrie) with a young daughter who marries a black co-worker (Hamilton). Things are fine until her ex-husband (Mulligan) returns and sues for full custody of their daughter, claiming that a mixed racial household is an improper environment to raise the child.





The 2nd film is the 1970 comedy-drama The Landlord starring Beau Bridges as the son of a wealthy landlady who takes over managing a building in a black Brooklyn ghetto. Bridges gets involved in the lives of some of his tenants, including the wife (Diana Sands) of a radical (Louis Gossett Jr.). The cast also features Pearl Bailey, Lee Grant, and Robert Klein.




Wrapping up the triple feature is another film from 1970, the boxing drama The Great White Hope. A fictionalized account of the life of early 20th century heavyweight champion Jack Johnson , the movie stars a lean, mean James Earl Jones as Jack Jefferson and Jane Alexander as his wife Eleanor Backman. Rounding out the cast are Hal Holbrook, Beah Richards, and Moses Gunn.




For more background on the films airing during the triple feature, please visit the link below.

Interracial Romance On TCM


You can also click here for an interview from last year featuring TCM host Robert Osbourne and film historian Donald Bogle discussing interracial romance on film.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Controversial Photo Shoot On America's Next Top Model

On the October 28th episode of the CW reality series America's Next Top Model, host Tyra Banks conducted a photo shoot in which the six surviving runway wannabes (4 Caucasian, an Asian, and an African-American) were made up to represent women of mixed heritage. The breakdown is as follows:


Contestant Ethnicities
Brittany East Indian & Native American
Erin Tibetan & Egyptian
Jennifer Batswana & Polynesian
Laura Mexican & Greek
Nicole Japanese & Malagasy
Sundai Russian & Moroccan


The ANTM photo shoot has stirred up controversy, with many deeming it racially offensive. Various posts have stated that the models appeared in blackface, which I think is very misleading. I don't know about you, but when I hear the term "blackface" I have visions of Al Jolson down on one knee belting out "Mammy". I saw the photo shoot as a celebration of multi-culturalism. It wasn't as if the models were transformed into offensive caricatures like the aforementioned Jolson or Mickey Rooney's embarrassing portrayal of an Asian in the 1961 film Breakfast At Tiffany's.

Due to my schedule, I didn't get a chance to post about the ANTM controversy when I read about it late last month. Although the episode has already aired, I think the topic is still worthy of discussion.

Below is a clip from the ANTM episode:




Do you think the photo shoot was offensive?


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Putney Swope Airs On TCM

As part of its cult movie showcase "TCM Underground", Turner Classic Movies is airing the 1969 satire Putney Swope late Friday/early Saturday (Nov. 6th/Nov. 7th) at 2:30 am EST. Directed by Robert Downey, Sr. (yes, Iron Man's dad), the film details what happens when Swope (the only black man on the executive board at an advertising firm) is accidentally put in charge after the chairman of the board dies. Once at the helm, Swope (played by Arnold Johnson) makes some drastic changes which cause the firm to be not only successful, but the target of the U.S. government.

Because I've heard so much about Putney Swope, I've been wanting to see it for awhile. Along with Arnold Johnson, the cast also includes Antonio Fargas ("Huggy Bear" of Starsky & Hutch), Allan Arbus (Dr. Sidney Freedman on M*A*S*H), and Shelley Plimpton (mother of actress Martha).

To watch a clip of Putney Swope, you can click here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

ESPN Benches Bob Griese Over His Montoya Remark

Current NCAA college football color commentator and former Miami Dolphin great Bob Griese has been suspended for one game by ESPN over an off-color remark he made Saturday. During ESPN's telecast of the Minnesota-Ohio State game, a promo for the NASCAR Sprint Cup ran with a graphic showing the top 5 drivers in the points race. When fellow ESPN analyst Chris Spielman asked where was Colombian driver Juan Pablo Montoya, Griese replied, "He's out having a taco." Hmm... I didn't realize the taco was a Colombian food, I guess that's because it's not. At the end of the game, Griese apologized for his comments (he offered a 2nd apology later).

A one-game suspension is sufficient. It'll give Griese time to reflect on his offensive remark and maybe brush up on Colombian cuisine.

The clip below includes Griese's remarks during the game and his apology:


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Costco Produces the Lil Monkey Doll

I haven't been posting lately, but I received this email about the Lil Monkey doll that is for sale at your local Costco. Sometimes I need to do a reality check to determine if anyone else is offended or am I just trippin'. Monkey, ape, baboon, etc. are derogatory terms used to humiliate people of African Descent and for Costco to be so insensitive makes me very angry. Here is a little black baby, with a monkey, banana and all!

I hear that Costco, after being besieged by complaints has began the arduous task of pulling the dolls off the shelves in their Greensboro store, but the dolls are most likely on sale in other location. Even if and when they pull the dolls off from all of the stores the damage has been done. What would possess the powers that be at Costco to think this would be alright?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bum Rushed!

It's official... Rush Limbaugh has been dropped by the Checketts group, the individuals attempting to purchase the St. Louis Rams of the NFL. It's funny how karma can quickly bite you in the ass. Less than 2 weeks ago, Limbaugh and scores of others on the right put on a disgusting display by laughing and cheering over Chicago's failed bid to land the 2016 Summer Olympics. Do you think Rush and the rest of them are laughing now?

Update: Here is a clip from the talk show "The Young Turks" which includes segments from "The Rush Limbaugh Show". In it, he discusses being denied by the NFL and attempts to explain the 2007 "Bloods and Crips" comment he made about NFL players. As I said in the previous post about Limbaugh's bid to purchase the Rams, part of me hoped he did get rejected because it would show that being a race-baiting, sexist scumbag has its consequences. The Young Turks do an excellent job of elaborating on this point.




For more on Limbaugh getting drop kicked from the Checketts group, click here.

Limbaugh's NFL Bid In Limbo

As many of you know, Rush Limbaugh is part of a group attempting to purchase the St. Louis Rams of the NFL. If the bid is approved, it appears that Rush would be a limited partner who wouldn't be actually running the team. However, due to the fact that Rush is such a polarizing figure who's made several controversial statements, many people are opposing his bid to buy the Rams. Over the past few days, there have been racist quotes attributed to Rush that many (including him) are deeming false. Since there appears to be no way to prove their validity, I'm not including them here. If someone has planted racist quotes and falsely pinned them to Rush in an effort to smear him, that's flat out wrong and unfortunate because there are plenty of statements made by him over the years that can't be denied. Below are just a few of the gems that have come from the mouth of Limbaugh on his radio show:

Limbaugh's 2003 comments about Philadelphia Eagles QB Donovan McNabb:

"I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve. The defense carried this team."

On the recent beating of a white kid by two black kids aboard a school bus:

"It's Obama's America is it not? Obama's America white kids getting beat up on school buses now. You put your kids on a school bus you expect safety but in Obama's America the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering 'yeah, right on, right on, right on right on.' And of course everybody said the white kid deserved it he was born a racist, he's white.




On why blacks have failed to progress in the U.S.:

"We thought that it was just liberal welfare policies and all that that kept blacks from progressing while other minorities grew and prospered, but no, it is these wackos from Bill Ayers to Jeremiah Wright to other anti-American Afrocentric black liberation theologists with ACORN, and Barack Obama is smack dab in the middle of it, they have been training young black kids to hate, hate, hate this country, and they trained their parents before that to hate, hate, hate this country."

On feminism and Hillary Clinton's 2008 Presidential bid:

And if they -- you know, if Hillary doesn't get it -- you have to understand the mindset of a lot of these feminists and women. They think they're owed this -- just like Obama supporters think they're owed this. These women have paid their dues. They've been married two or three times; they've had two or three abortions; they've done everything that feminism asked them to do. They have cut men out of their lives; they have devoted themselves to causes and careers. And this -- the candidacy of Hillary Clinton -- is the culmination of all of these women's efforts. And if it gets stolen from them, in their minds -- not actually stolen, but if the country or if the Democrat [sic] Party rejects this wonderfully great, lying woman in exchange for a rookie, radical black guy who can't tell the time of day, they are going to be so miffed.

On Michael J. Fox's 2006 appearance in a political ad:

Now, this is Michael J. Fox. He's got Parkinson's disease. And in this commercial, he is exaggerating the effects of the disease. He is moving all around and shaking. And it's purely an act. This is the only time I have ever seen Michael J. Fox portray any of the symptoms of the disease he has. I know he's got it and he's raising money for it, but when I've seen him in public, I've never seen him betray any of the symptoms. But this commercial, he -- he's just all over the place. He can barely control himself.

Here are a couple of quotes from NFL players on the prospect of Limbaugh becoming an NFL team owner.

New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott:

I know I wouldn't want to play for him. He's a jerk. He's an ---. What he said (about Donovan McNabb) was inappropriate and insensitive, totally off-base. He could offer me whatever he wanted, I wouldn't play for him. ... I wouldn't play for Rush Limbaugh. My principles are greater and I can't be bought."

New York Giants defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka:

All I know is from the last comment I heard, he said in (President) Obama's America, white kids are getting beat up on the bus while black kids are chanting 'right on. I mean, I don't want anything to do with a team that he has any part of. He can do whatever he wants, it is a free country. But if it goes through, I can tell you where I am not going to play."

"I am not going to draw a conclusion from a person off of one comment, but when it is time after time after time and there's a consistent pattern of disrespect and just a complete misunderstanding of an entire culture that I am a part of, I can't respect him as a man."

To the best of my knowledge, none of the St. Louis Rams have come forward with their thoughts on the possibility of Limbaugh purchasing the team.

Of course, Rush has the right to purchase the team. Having said that, the NFL also has the right to block his bid. Part of me hopes the NFL does reject Rush because it would show him and the world that being a race baiting, sexist scumbag has its consequences. On the other hand, there are a couple of reasons why I hope he is allowed to buy the Rams. For one thing, we'd see whether or not any current or future St. Louis Rams who are anti-Limbaugh are willing to put money aside and stand up for their principles. Secondly, if the NFL does block his bid, it would allow Rush to pull the victim card out of his stacked deck and starting ranting about how he was done such a great injustice. The bottom line is that however this story plays out, Rush wins.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mattel Introduces the "So In Style" Line of Black Barbies


'Barbie So In Style' designer Stacey McBride-Irby. Photo courtesty of AP

In an effort to inspire young black girls and promote their self-images, Mattel launched its "So In Style" line of black Barbies last month. The dolls come in varying skin tones, have fuller lips, a wider nose and more pronounced cheek bones and two of them (Trichelle and Kianna) have curlier hair. This is a vast improvement over Mattel's previous attempts at creating a black Barbie (Francie and Christie were basically white Barbies painted brown). The designer of the dolls, Stacey McBride-Irby, said her goal was to address the needs of the African-American community.

While many black women have praised Mattel for the "So In Style" line, the dolls aren't without their detractors. There are some who have expressed concern over the fact that none of the dolls have shorter, natural hair. The thin frames of the dolls have also raised eyebrows (the unrealistic body image issue has been an ongoing criticism of Barbie, regardless of skin color).

Although the criticisms leveled at the "So In Style" line are valid, Ms. McBride-Irby did get many things right. In addition to the varying skin tones and facial characteristics, the line also stresses the importance of education/career aspirations and promotes mentoring among females.

The dolls are experiencing success already and there are plans to expand the line. Hopefully, the concerns raised will be addressed and we'll see "So In Style" dolls that look like this:


and this:



For more on the "So In Style Line", please click here to read the story by Megan K. Scott.

If you'd like to hear Barbie designer Stacey McBride-Irby discuss the "So In Style" line, you can do so by watching the following videos:

So In Style 1

So In Style 2

Monday, September 28, 2009

You Make The Call.........

KUMBAYA / Sir Ivan / I AM PEACEMAN



I couldn't make the decision on if I should be mad at the condescending nature of this video, or laugh my butt off at the out right tackiness of the whole thing including the song.

What it looked like to me was some one with good intentions just making a mess of things, like a little kid who tries to cook breakfast for mom but burns the house down, kind of like liberal racism.

Hell, the truth is I was more pissed with the blacks in the video than the "musician" Sir Ivan.

I wanted to hit them over the head with a history book and say wake your ignorant butts up, or are y'all that hard up for some chump change?

As for Sir Ivan I am going to say that he might have been innocently trying send a peaceful message out their, unfortunately he failed miserably.

If anything he is guilty of making the "Soul Plane" of music video, and I got to question his future in music after this.

But than again I might be more sensitive to this type of stuff, might be seeing things that are not there.......maybe.........doubt it though.

What say you?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Guest Post by RKL: How To End Racism In America

One of the goals of Diversity Ink is to have differing viewpoints on the issue of race relations. Earlier this month, I came across the following post on the blog RKL Writes. I contacted the blogger (RKL) and asked him if he'd be interested in letting me use it as a guest post at Diversity Ink; he gave me the thumbs up. The following post was written by RKL on July 30, 2009:

If you ask me the simple question, "How can we end racism in America?" I'll give you a simple but true answer. "Stop making an issue of it." Think about it for a minute. Do you really know anyone who is driven by racism? I don't mean an off the cuff remark now and again. I mean do you know someone who defines their life based upon hatred of others due to race? I don't know anyone like that, and I never have even growing up in the south. The truth is, the largest majority of the people in the United States are long past racial issues. Whites especially. And yet if you were to believe the media or some activists you'd think that we were still living in segregation.

Here is the way I look at it. I would be willing to bet that a huge percentage (90% or more) of Americans live their daily lives with no thoughts of racism. If you go along with that, then who benefits from racial divisions in this country? When you look at it that way, it's easy to pick them out. I heard the term "Race Hustlers" a while back and I think it hits the mark perfectly. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, John Wiley Price, and many others build their entire careers off of just one issue, Race. And because Race Hustling works for them they keep churning up the same tired, false, hate-filled ideas and in reality, they do more damage to the people they are supposedly trying to help than does "the man."

So when I see our President who during his campaign styled himself as a person who could break down racial boundaries drinking a beer with an seemingly honest white cop and a black race hustler professor, it makes me sick. The truth is that Obama got caught trying to tow the line for the race hustlers. That's the kind of "racial healing" he gives, and he knew he had to backtrack. But honestly would you expect anything less from a man who spent time in Jeremiah Wright's pews?

RKL

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Breaking Point


I believe that I've told you that I live in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri. I love living here and have never felt like an outsider. It is a friendly, welcoming neighborhood where the people are helpful and actually smile at you when you are in the store. I moved here for the schools, so my son would not be set up for failure, as I felt he was in the school district of Kansas City. So far, I've been very happy here.

Until I got that e-mail last week.

You see, I, along with every other parent in our school district, received an e-mail outlining the details of President Obama's speech today. As parents, we were told that participating in the speech was not a mandatory assignment, and any relating assignments were not mandatory either. The teacher emphasized that the discussions would not include any of his/her own political views, and if parents did not want their child to participate, they would be given an alternate assignment to complete in the Library.

I call bullshit.

I really cannot fault the school district or the teacher...they are simply trying to cover their asses. This whole situation, however, is weighing heavily on me. Why does it have to be like this? Why so much furor over the President addressing our students to stay focused on their school work and strive to be better?

All of this talk about President Obama trying to push his agenda on the children is a bunch of bullshit. These are just excuses to mask what the true issue is. It has been 8 months since President Obama took office and the opposition still cannot grasp the fact that the President does not look like his predecessors. I never thought that I would give in to the "racism" theory, but I have no other answer at this point. All of the socialism, Marxism, whatever-ism talk is code for the fact that there are some folks out there that cannot accept the fact that we have a biracial President.

And that saddens me to no end.

But the school thing? I have taken the stand that my son will be there, front and center. And he will not only complete the main assignment, but turn in the extra credit assignment as well.

The best way to fight ignorance is with education. It is my job to ensure that my son has that education. It is too bad that the parents who decide that their children shouldn't listen to this speech don't feel that way.

originally posted @ Conversations With Marva

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Edward (The Lion) Kennedy

Senator Teddy Kennedy passed away last night and the disenfranchised lost a hero and champion. His leadership, his vision, and his passion will never be forgotten. As we grieve, we must honor his memory and continue his fight for equality for all.

This is the cause of my life. It is a key reason that I defied my illness last summer to speak at the Democratic convention in Denver—to support Barack Obama, but also to make sure, as I said, "that we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American...will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not just a privilege." For four decades I have carried this cause—from the floor of the United States Senate to every part of this country. It has never been merely a question of policy; it goes to the heart of my belief in a just society. Now the issue has more meaning for me—and more urgency—than ever before. But it's always been deeply personal, because the importance of health care has been a recurrent lesson throughout most of my 77 years.

— Ted Kennedy

Let's listen to his words at last year's Democrat Convention.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Over 30 and Counting

It appears that Glenn Beck's comments in which he called President Obama a racist have caused some concerns on Madison Avenue. To date, over 30 companies have directed that their commercials not run on Beck's Fox program. Below is a partial list of the companies that have pulled out:

Progressive Insurance
Walmart
Proctor & Gamble
Best Buy
CVS Caremark
Sprint
Clorox
GEICO


When I received a forwarded email earlier this month from a dear family friend about the actions the organization Color of Change was taking to urge advertisers to pull their commercials from Beck's show, I was down for the cause without a pause. I am all for constructive political debate, but the fear mongering/race baiting antics of Glenn Beck only serve to further fracture our country along racial lines.

One of my favorite bloggers (Field Negro) wrote an outstanding post about the Glenn Beck vs. Color of Change showdown and how Beck and some of his fans are fighting back. No matter what side of the fence you stand on in regards to Beck, I hope you make an effort to check out Field Negro's post and share your thoughts on the matter.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Our First Award

Judi, the author of the blog Judi's Mind Over Matter, has given Diversity Ink its first award. According to the creator of this award, being a recipient affirms that this blog invests and believes in the Proximity – nearness in space, time and relationships.

Recipients are asked to bestow this award to eight other worthy blogs. Although there are many blogs that I feel are worthy, I am a bit of a rule breaker when it comes to award memes. However, if any of the other contributors to Diversity Ink would like to get into the award giving act, please feel free to do so.

Thank you again Judi!

Sonia Sotomayor Becomes the Supreme Court's First Hispanic Justicela

Sotomayor takes the oath from Chief Justice John Roberts (right). Also pictured are her brother Juan Luis Sotomayor and her mother Celina Sotomayor.

On Saturday August 8th, Sonia Sotomayor was sworn in as the first Hispanic and only the third woman Supreme Court Justice in the court's 220-year history. Two days earlier, the Senate confirmed Sotomayor's nomination by a 68-31 vote. No matter what your political viewpoints are, it's hard to deny that history has been made.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Forgiveness vs Forgetting.

I was trying to put this into words and get all intellectual with it but.....hell see for your self.



The question here is do you forgive some one for saying something like this?

That of course is if you really believe he is sorry for what he says.

And if you do forgive do you forget?

Just cause you forgive a bigot who asked for it doesn't mean that his views have changed.

It means he now knows to keep his mouth shut.

Bottom line is that he wouldn't be saying sorry if he didn't get caught.

Why should this man keep his job knowing he has to interact with the same community he has so colorfully described?

Does forgiving him mean that we start fresh and let it go like water under the bridge, cause that would mean forgetting too.

I think if I believed he was sorry I could accept an apology, but I sure wouldn't be forgetting, let alone letting him keep his job.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Happy Birthday President Barack Obama

Happy 48th birthday to our 44th President of the United States. Since this is just a simple birthday post, those who like to sharpen their daggers at the mere mention of the name President Barack Obama can keep pushing and save their digs for another post.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Professor Henry Louis Gates: My Projections

By Lorena

Imagine, if you will, that like Professor Henry Louis Gates, you were born of a looked-down upon race. In addition, you were always shorter than the other kids, needed a cane to walk, and were not exactly the best looking of all your peers.

But you were smart, and this was a blessing and a curse. It was a blessing, because it earned you the favour of some teachers in school, as well as scholarships and awards.

It was also a curse, however. Your co-racial peers, out of jealousy, may have thought you were a snob who thought yourself superior because of your brains. So they bullied you and misinterpreted your geeky idiosyncrasies and desire to improve yourself as a wish to separate yourself from the riffraff.

Kids of other races envied you, too. They wanted to have your grades and your awards, but didn’t have your intelligence and your dedication. So they bullied you, too. They used your skin colour to insult you, said you were ugly, stole your lunch money, and kicked you around at pleasure.

But you endured everything. With the support of your parents and some teachers you came to believe that if you silently took the abuse and single-mindedly moved ahead, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. You would conquer. You would make it. You would prove everybody that regardless of your height, your looks, and your skin colour, you would make the major leagues. So you worked hard and kept at it.

Never forgetting who you were, you grew up watching others of your race wrongly profiled as “all criminals.” Sometimes when you went to the mall, you noticed that, in certain stores, security guards followed you around thinking that surely you were going to shoplift. Also, when you went out for dinner with your parents you consistently noticed that the best seats in the house were given to folks of another skin colour—never your family. You grew up quite aware that in this world, if you were going to be recognized as a decent, intelligent, law-abiding, worthy of respect individual, you had to outperform all those other folks with pale faces.

And you did it. After years of silent suffering, after years and years of put-downs, you made it. Just to find out that those other people respected you only in public and as a professional. You heard in the office that someone was having a house warming party or a Super Bowl gathering, but you weren’t invited. They were nice to you, but in their heart of hearts they didn’t want you in their inner circle of friends. But if anyone called them racists, they said, “Oh, no, I have friends of all races,” and they name-dropped you.

Knowing that a person of your race needs to keep a clean rap sheet to be respected, you were always law-abiding and did everything by the book. But one day, after a tiresome business trip, you come back home hoping for your bed, thinking you’ll make yourself a cup of coffee and sit on your favourite chair to catch up with the local news.

But there is a problem with the door locks and you can’t get in. You’re tired and thinking, “Oh, for crying out loud. I never thought this day could get any worse.”

When you finally manage to get in via the backdoor, you see a white policeman making demands of you, in your own home. And you don’t really see the man in front of you. You see the bullies from high school, the security guards from the malls, the admissions officer from the schools that rejected you, the country club directors who told you there was no room for new members. And you over-react.

The police officer arrests you in your own home and you spend the night in jail. For having misbehaved ONCE in your entire life.

The police officer says he isn’t a racist—maybe he isn’t. But he can’t understand that when people of certain races and walks of life make it to the top, they get there wounded and scarred. Their sensitivity level is so high after so much crap taking that they have no room for even a minor misunderstanding. It just hurts too much.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fox News Pundit Glenn Beck Calls President Obama A Racist

During an appearance Tuesday morning on Fox and Friends in which the topic was the "beer summit" scheduled to take place on Thursday, July 30th at the White House, Glenn Beck called President Obama a racist. The tired old right-wing talking point about the Rev. Wright and Obama's criticism of the police were two of the reasons Beck listed for why he feels the way he does about the president. As I said in my previous post about the Henry Louis Gates incident, Obama's criticism of the police wasn't race related. It would be different if he called Sgt. James Crowley a "stupid, white cop". Unfortunately, Beck and several others jumped on the "stupidly" remark and are automatically assuming that the reason for Obama using the term is because Gates is black and Crowley is white.

I do give credit to Fox and Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade because he did call Beck out for his nonsensical theories. I wonder if Glenn listens to himself when he speaks because when Kilmeade defended Obama, Glenn said that he's not saying that President Obama doesn't like white people... then he turns around and calls Obama a racist again!

There has been speculation that Glenn Beck is nothing more than the Fox News Channel's version of Stephen Colbert, meaning that his on-air persona is a character spouting off things that the "real" Glenn Beck couldn't possibly believe. When I've watched Beck in the past, sometimes I wasn't sure if he was for a real or if it was all a joke. After viewing his recent appearance on Fox and Friends, I'm convinced that he does believe what he says. If I am wrong, Glenn needs to take his show to Comedy Central and let everyone in on the joke because his recent comments about President Obama are irresponsible and potentially dangerous.

Below is a clip of Glenn making his comments about President Obama on Fox and Friends:






Wednesday, July 22, 2009

President Obama Weighs In On the Henry Louis Gates Incident


When Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States, some pointed to this as proof that racism in America no longer exists. Tell that to Harvard professor/author Henry Louis Gates, Jr. As you probably know, Gates was arrested in his Cambridge, MA home last week on charges of disorderly conduct. The charges have since been dropped. If you aren't familiar with the story, you can read it here.

I was surprised to see the man (President Obama) who caused some to say that racism ceased to exist in America be asked about the Henry Louis Gates incident during his press conference on Wednesday night. I give props to the president for not sidestepping our country's history of racial profiling when it comes to African-Americans and Latinos. He has already touched off a firestorm by saying during his answer to the question about the Gates incident that "the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home". Some of those pissed off about the comments don't need much reason to get riled up when it comes to President Obama. Just the fact that a black man is president is reason enough for them. The way I'm reading President Obama's comments, he wasn't saying that the police reacted based on race and that therefore their actions were stupid. He said they were stupid for arresting a man who showed ID in his own house. I feel he would have said the same thing regardless of Gates' race.



Whether race played a factor in the arrest of Henry Louis Gates is something that's up for debate. As unfortunate as this incident is, it has brought the subject of racial profiling back to the national spotlight. It's even caused Gates to announce his plans to make a PBS documentary about racial profiling.

What are your thoughts on the Henry Louis Gates incident and President Obama's comments about it?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Black In America 2 Airs On CNN

Following last year's successful multi-part series "Black In America", CNN continues its investigation of the most challenging issues facing African-Americans with "Black in America 2." Soledad O'Brien is once again the host of this series of profiles detailing various issues facing blacks in this country. The special debuts on Wednesday July 22nd at 8 pm EST and concludes on Thursday July 23rd at 8 pm EST. If you happen to catch "Black In America 2", please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section of this post.

Below is a preview of "Black In America 2". The segment profiles Steve Perry, principal of Capital Prep in Hartford, CT.

Link: Capital Prep on CNN Black In America 2

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Racist E-Mail: Sent to the "Wrong People"

Remember the old adage, you are only as good as the company you keep? Now I have to question the veracity of Tenesssee State Senator Diana Black, whose administrative assistant an e-mail on May 28 with the title "Historical Keepsake Photo". The e-mail featured a a collage containing the portraits of all 44 U.S. presidents with an image of President Barack Obama in the last square as two cartoonish white eyes peering from a black background. The e-mail, which was sent to other GOP staff members, was posted on the Internet on Monday.

Sherri Goforth, an administrative assistant in questions excuse was that she mistakenly sent it "to the wrong list of people". DUH! Gorforth was apparently "reprimanded" but according to Black, will not receive further punishment... unless of course she accidentally sends another racist e-mail "to the wrong list of people." Should Ms. Goforth be fired?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Juneteeth!

Juneteenth celebrates the freedom of over 250,000 slaves at the close of the Civil War. The holiday is based on events that occurred in Texas but is now celebrated nationwide. The celebration takes its name from June 19, 1865, the day federal troops arrived in Galveston to inform people of the Emancipation Proclamation made by President Lincoln. The proclamation declared "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and hence forward shall be free."

Although, the Emancipation Proclamation was limited in many ways. It applied only to states that had seceded from the Union, leaving slavery untouched in the loyal border states. It also expressly exempted parts of the Confederacy that had already come under Northern control. Most important, the freedom it promised depended upon Union military victory.
News of the war's end did not reach Texas until well after the Confederate surrender at Appomattox.

The Proclamation had taken effect on January 1, 1863 and freed few, if any, slaves. Many speculate that the news was deliberately withheld so that slave owners could bring in one last crop. Others believe that the news was delayed because the messenger traveled by mule while some believe the original messenger was murdered in route.
When the news was finally delivered, it was celebrated in great fashion.


"But, if this part of our history could be told in such a way that those chains of the past, those shackles that physically bound us together against our wills could, in the telling, become spiritual links that willingly bind us together now and into the future - then that painful Middle Passage could become, ironically, a positive connecting line to all of us whether living inside or outside the continent of Africa..."

Tom Feelings

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Attacks On Sonia Sotomayor By the Right: Make the Bad People Stop!

When President Barack Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court, I knew that members of the right would go on the attack. Still, even I was a little surprised (although I shouldn't have been) at the depth that some have stooped to in their criticism. It's like they are hell bent on taking part in a political version of "The Limbo Rock". Below are just a few of the choice nuggets directed at Sotomayor by members of the right:

* If you belong to an organization called La Raza, in this case, which is, from my point of view anyway, nothing more than a Latino — it’s a counterpart — a Latino KKK without the hoods or the nooses. If you belong to something like that in a way that’s going to convince me and a lot of other people that it’s got nothing to do with race. Even though the logo of La Raza is “All for the race. Nothing for the rest.” What does that tell you?- former Congressman Tom Tancredo during an appearance on CNN.

* Let's hope that the key conferences aren't when she's menstruating or something, or just before she's going to menstruate. That would really be bad. Lord knows what we would get then- G. Gordon Liddy on his radio program

* "They're just like, 'Hey!' Hispanic chick lady. You're empathetic?' She says 'Yup!' They say, you're in'" "That's the way it really works."- Glenn Beck on his radio program

I could go into Ronco commercial mode and say, "but wait, there's more!", but you get the idea.

The hypocrisy, false information, and nastiness by members of the right is disgusting. Regarding Tancredo's comments, he's wrong on all counts. Not only did he get their name wrong (they go by either the National Council of La Raza or NCLR), but they also aren't anything like the KKK. Furthermore, Tancredo misrepresented their "logo". On the NCLR website is an open letter to the public which states that "we are an American institution committed to strengthening this great nation by promoting the advancement of Latino families." Ironically, while Tancredo has denounced Sotomayor, Marcus Epstein still serves as the executive director of Team America PAC (the political action committee founded by Tancredo). As some of you may know, Epstein recently pled guilty to a 2007 incident in which he karate chopped a black woman in the head while also directing a racial slur at her. As for G. Gordon Liddy, before he made the menstrual remarks, he accused Sotomayor of making several racist comments and mistakenly said that "La Raza" means "the race". According to the NCLR website's FAQ page, the term “La Raza” has its origins in early 20th century Latin American literature and translates into English most closely as “the people,” or, according to some scholars, “the Hispanic people of the New World.” Oh and by the way, in the same segment where Liddy accuses Sotomayor of making racist comments, he referred to the Spanish language as "illegal alien". You just can't make this stuff up!

Let's not forget (how can we?) the 2001 Berkeley law lecture in which Sotomayor made the now infamous statement "Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." The way I read that sentence, Sotomayor was not referring to all white men, only those who didn't have experiences similar to a wise Latina woman. Of course, some members of the right took that one sentence and distorted it so that Sotomayor would come out in the worst possible light. What they failed to comment on was that Sotomayor followed up the "wise Latina" sentence with this:

Let us not forget that wise men like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Justice Cardozo voted on cases which upheld both sex and race discrimination in our society. Until 1972, no Supreme Court case ever upheld the claim of a woman in a gender discrimination case. I, like Professor Carter, believe that we should not be so myopic as to believe that others of different experiences or backgrounds are incapable of understanding the values and needs of people from a different group. Many are so capable. As Judge Cedarbaum pointed out to me, nine white men on the Supreme Court in the past have done so on many occasions and on many issues including Brown.

You can read the text of the lecture in its entirety by clicking here.

The outrage that some Republicans have over Sotomayor's empathy and what role it might play in her decisions on the bench has also provided unintentional humor. Amazingly, Republicans didn't seem to have a problem when Justice Samuel Alito (who was nominated/appointed by then President George W. Bush ) made the following statements during his confirmation hearing in 2006:

But when I look at those cases, I have to say to myself, and I do say to myself, "You know, this could be your grandfather, this could be your grandmother. They were not citizens at one time, and they were people who came to this country."

When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender. And I do take that into account.

Those statements by Alito sound empathetic to me and I have no issue with a judge who has that trait. People have to realize that judges are people too, not robots cranked out on an assembly line.

Just like any Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor should go through a thorough nomination process. If, during the confirmation hearings, the Senate Judiciary Committee asks Sotomayor to clarify the comments she made in her 2001 Berkeley law lecture (even though it shouldn't be necessary) or about the case involving the New Haven city firefighters, I think that's fair game. For the Republicans who continue aiming below the belt with their criticism of Sotomayor, they run the risk of alienating not only Hispanics (the largest ethnic minority in the country) and women, but anyone else tired of the lies and hypocrisy by some members of the right. Recent polls show that barely 20% self-identify themselves as Republicans, the lowest number in over 25 years. With tactics such as the down and dirty attacks on Sonia Sotomayor, their ranks will likely continue to shrink. If the Republicans are not careful, they will have to rename themselves the Salingers because they will literally be a "Party of Five".

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Multiracial People Are the Fastest Growing Group In the U.S.

According to a recent AP story, multiracial Americans have become the fastest growing group in the country. The story attributed the growth to the following:

* Increase in social acceptance

* Slowing immigration

* High profiles of public figures such as President Barack Obama and Tiger Woods who are having a positive effect on those who might identify themselves as multiracial

If you would like to read the complete article, click here.

The part of the article that I found most educational was learning about the non-profit organization called Project RACE. Founded by Susan Graham and Chris Ashe in 1991, the organization's main goal is for a multiracial classification on all school, employment, state, federal, local, census and medical forms requiring racial data. Although some may consider this goal superficial, I beg to differ. For one thing, if I were multiracial, I wouldn't want to fill out a job application and have the "Other" classification be my only option for identifying my ethnicity. Most importantly, the lack of accurate racial designations increases the chance of health risks for multiracial people. In addition to running the risk of improper medical screening for diseases that affect certain racial groups, their is also the matter of bone marrow transplantation. As many of you know, when it comes to blood-related diseases, a patient's best chance of a bone marrow match is within the same genetic pool of potential donors.

I hope you can find the time to visit Project RACE. In addition to containing a wealth of news and information, there is also a Racial Experiences Study put together by a fourth year doctoral student of clinical-community psychology at the University of La Verne in California.

Monday, May 4, 2009

TCM Presents Latino Images In Film During May

As part of its annual "Race & Hollywood" series, Turner Classic Movies presents Latino Images in Film every Tuesday and Thursday nights in May starting at 8 PM EST. Hosted by TCM's own Robert Osborne and film historian Chon Noriega, the 32 film retrospective traces the evolution of how Latinos have been portrayed (both positively and negatively) on the big screen. Some of the highlights include:

Tortilla Flat (1942)- An adaptation of the John Steinbeck novel about a group of paisanos (fellows/countrmen) who live on the California coast, this movie stars John Garfield, Spencer Tracy, and Hedy Lamarr.

Giant (1956)- Starring Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, and in his final big screen role, James Dean, a major subplot of this epic is the racism against Mexican-Americans in Texas.

Blackboard Jungle (1955)- One of the earliest films about juvenile delinquency, this movie features Raphael Campos as student Pete Morales.

Stand and Deliver (1988)- This fact-based story stars Edward James Olmos as Jaime Escalante, a dedicated high school math instructor who successfully teaches his underachieving students calculus.

My Family (1995)- Tracing three generations of a Mexican-American family, this drama features Jimmy Smits, Esai Morales, and Jennifer Lopez.

For a complete list of movies that TCM will feature in the Latino Images in Film festival, as well as other information on the retrospective, please click here.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

TCM Airs One Potato, Two Potato

On Saturday May 2nd/Sunday May 3rd at 1 am EST, Turner Classic Movies airs the 1964 drama One Potato, Two Potato. Starring Barbara Barrie ("Nana" on Suddenly Susan), Bernie Hamilton (Capt. Dobey in the series Starsky and Hutch), and Richard Mulligan (Soap and Empty Nest), the film is one of the earliest to deal with interracial marriage. Barrie stars as a white divorcée with a young daughter who marries a black co-worker (Hamilton). Things are fine until her ex-husband (Mulligan) returns and sues for full custody of their daughter, claiming that a mixed racial household is an improper environment to raise the child.

I saw this film years ago on cable and really enjoyed it. If you've seen One Potato, Two Potato already or check it out tonight, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.

Radio Host Suspended Over Anti-Mexican Comments

On Thursday April 30th, Boston radio station WTKK-FM announced that it had suspended right-wing talk show host Jay Severin indefinitely over derogatory comments he made on the air against Mexicans, Mexican-Americans, and Mexico in general. In a discussion about illegal immigration, Severin referred to Mexicans as “the world's lowest of primitives”, accused them of bringing the Swine flu to the U.S., and stated that "they are ruining the schools, the hospitals, and a lot of life in America" among other things. You can read the story, as reported in the Boston Globe, by clicking the WTKK Suspends Jay Severin link.

Severin's comments feed into that "they are trying to take what belongs to us" mentality that can be very dangerous. It'll be interesting to see if WTKK brings Severin back after the suspension or decides to fire him instead. Unless they want people to say they should take out the "T" in their call letters and replace it with a "K", I have a feeling that Severin won't be returning to the station except to clean out his office.

The You Tube player below contains Jay Severin's racist comments followed by a lively and insightful discussion by Cenk Uygur and Ben Mankiewicz on the liberal talk show The Young Turks.



Update: Jay Severin returned to the airwaves of WTKK on Tuesday June 2, 2009. Here is a clip of him offering an on-air apology for the anti-Mexican remarks he made which earned him the suspension:

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Black and Blue

I consider my family exceptionally fortunate to be living in an area right outside of Chicago that is considered one of the most racially and culturally diverse areas in the country. The teens attending our local high school were born in 72 different countries and 75% of them speak one of over 50 different languages, other than English, in their homes. 

Adding to the mix of cultural and racial diversity are the financial differences between the families in the immediate area. While the majority are considered middle class, I would say that 1 in 5 students would probably be considered wealthy by most people’s assessment, while another 20% are from low-income families living considerably below the poverty level. If you stand still in the school’s parking lot and look to the south, you see huge homes...mansions, really, with an address located in one of Chicago’s most affluent suburbs. These homes are meticulously maintained by maids and landscapers and luxury automobiles adorn the driveways.

If you look to the north, you see slumlord apartment buildings and government assisted housing located up and down the blocks of several streets. This area is not part of the affluent suburb. It is owned by Cook County and it is run down, filthy and unfortunately, chock full of drugs, gangs on the street corners, violence and an almost constant police presence. 

These two neighborhoods do have something in common, though. When school gets out for the day, you see children of all races and ethnicities crossing the street to the north, as well as the south. Just like my own middle class street, the neighborhoods themselves are diverse.

A rather lengthy intro, but I felt that it needed to be described. If there’s one thing I have learned growing up and living in this area is that it is ridiculous to “stereotype” anyone based on race, their name, where they live, where they came from or what religion they may or may not practice. It just can’t be done and anyone who believes it can really is quite shortsighted.

I also bring with me a perspective from working at a police department in this same area. I hold an Associate’s in Law Enforcement and a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice. I worked for ten years as a Police and Fire Dispatcher and 911 Operator. My husband has been a police officer for 20 years and is not an ass, a racist or unkind, nor are any of our police officer friends. This certainly doesn’t mean that these types of people don’t exist in police departments.  There are racist people everywhere, but to say that all people who wear blue are “like this or that” is no different than putting any common stereotype onto anybody else. It just can’t be done. 

I’m leading up to something here, I swear.

What led me to ask Malcolm if I could contribute to Diversity Ink was the previous post entitled “Police Detains NFL Player Whose Mother-In-Law is Dying” written by Pjazzypar. Pjazzypar and I are bloggy buddies. We are frequent visitors to each other’s blogs and, in a lot of ways, share similar ideas, likes, senses of humor and I’m crazy about her, even though she always knocks me off the podium at Malcolm’s weekly trivia games. 

Pjazzy ends her post with the following question: “Was the officer just being difficult or is this incident racially motivated?” I have to say, based on what I see on that tape, neither

We have to remember these tapes are seen with a gift of knowing the outcome of the story before seeing the video. This hindsight is something that the officers and the people involved in exchanges like this do not have as it is happening. 

At the start of the video, I see an officer attempting to stop a vehicle for (what we are told -it’s not on the tape-the taping starts when the lights are turned on) running a red light. I’m also going to say that based on the distance between the two vehicles, that the officer has no idea of the race of the driver or even how many people are in that car. For the next 60 or so seconds, all that officer knows is that the driver is ignoring his signals to stop. He does not know who they are, where they are going or why they are not stopping. It could be Mother Teresa, Ryan Moats or Ted Bundy. He can run the plate, but that doesn’t mean the registered owner is driving that car. 

Traffic stops are a dangerous thing to do even when people comply. When people refuse to stop, it puts the officer and the general public in an even more dangerous situation. Police officers are human beings, when they get stressed or perceive a threatening situation they respond with the same biological responses we all do... increased heart rate, anxiety and way more adrenaline pumped and reactive than they would normally be outside of those circumstances.   

It is a dangerous job and situations like the one we are watching on the tape can and sometimes do end in tragic situations for all parties involved. One of my police officer friends was involved in a low speed pursuit similar to this one. He had no idea why the guy wasn’t pulling over. My friend followed this vehicle through a turn and by the time he had completed his own turn, the driver of the pursuit vehicle had exited his vehicle and pumped 4 bullets through the windshield of my friend’s squad car. One had struck him in the chest but he was saved by the bullet proof vest. My friend shot back through the windshield, striking “bad guy” in the head and killing him. It turned out that this guy had just committed an armed robbery, although my friend was only pulling him over for a minor traffic violation.  

Not only did Moats run a red light, he also committed the act of fleeing by not stopping. Fleeing from police, while never a good idea, is a misdemeanor in a lot of places. I looked up Texas’ statues and there it’s a state jail felony, punishable by no less than 180 days and no more than two years in prison, as well as a fine of up to $10,000. 

There’s no doubt that Moats is ignoring the officer’s request to stop. The officer has no idea what is going on and is getting ready to make a felony stop. He should have his gun drawn under these circumstances. He’d be an idiot if he didn’t. 

The vehicle does pull up to the emergency room parking lot and all of the occupants immediately start exiting the vehicle. All of them are obviously agitated, not exactly listening to him and the officer still doesn’t know what is happening at this point. 
We then hear Ryan Moats yelling something to the officer while he is calling in the location of his traffic stop and requesting backup. The officer asks him for his driver’s license and Moats starts yelling that his mother is dying. He’s asked again for his driver’s license and his insurance and first Moat’s tells him he doesn’t have any insurance. When the officer tells him he will have to tow the car, Moats then says he does but tells the officer to “go get it” because he doesn’t know where it is. 

Moats is, what some might call, uncooperative and is setting the tone for this entire incident. 

I do understand Moats is upset, as anyone would be under similar circumstances. He is experiencing a personal emergency. A personal emergency is when an individual finds themselves in a situation that causes them to believe they are in an emergency situation when they really aren’t. It can be a tragic and emotional situation, but neither Moats nor the occupants in his vehicle are in immediate danger of losing their lives, physical health or property. A personal emergency does not give anyone the right to break laws, ignore the police and possibly endanger their own lives and those of others, nor can the police give anyone the right to do these things, even though there’s a common misconception among people that it does. 

Because the officer and Moats are different races, though, doesn’t mean that this incident has racial undertones, nor do I feel that Moats was being harassed because the officer drew his gun or detained him while he wrote the ticket based on what happened. The officer is not obligated to verify his story. Moats is obligated to obey the law. 

Monday morning quarterbacking allows us to make judgements and come to conclusions that we might not normally make while involved in a situation. We all come with our own experiences that alter how we perceive things and we’ve all been in situations where, in hindsight, we all wish that we might have acted differently. But, just because one of the parties in this incident is black and one wears blue does not automatically mean that what we see on the tape is racism or harassment.

Was Moats out of line? Very much so. Was the cop rather jerky at times he didn’t need to be? No doubt about it, but I can understand why they both behaved the way they did at the time. It doesn’t make it right.

It makes them both wrong.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Police Detains NFL Player Whose Mother-In-Law Is Dying

I live in the Dallas - Fort Worth Metroplex where a police officer has been placed on administrative leave over a traffic stop involving an NFL player Ryan Moat, whom he kept in a hospital parking lot and threatened to arrest while Moat's mother-in-law lie dying inside the building. Officer Powell also drew his gun during the March 18th incident.

Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle apologized to the family and announced that Powell would be on paid leave pending an internal investigation. "When we at the command staff reviewed the tape, we were embarrassed, disappointed," Kunkle said. "It’s hard to find the right word and still be professional in my role as the police chief. But the behavior was not appropriate". Looking at the video, I feel the player should have been given the benefit of the doubt and not been harassed by the officer. Mr. Moat's story was easy enough to check out. A couple of nurses and even a fellow police officer attempted to pursuade officer Powell to let Moat enter the hospital to no avail.

When the exchange was at its most contentious, Powell said he could tow Moats’ SUV if he didn’t have insurance and that he could arrest him for fleeing because he didn’t immediately stop when Powell turned on his sirens. The pursuit lasted a little more than a minute. To read the story in its entirety click here. Moat's mother-in-law passed away before he was able to get to her bedside. To be fair, the officer has since attempted to apologize personally to Mr. Moat and his family, claiming that he showed poor judgment (you got that right!). Was the officer just being difficult or is this incident racially motivated?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

What Do You Say?

I met David Duke once. Kind of.

It was at least a decade ago. Probably more like a decade and a half.

I was an assistant store manager for a company called Service Merchandise. We were what was called a catalog showroom. Which meant you came in, saw what you wanted, wrote down the catalog number, went to the register to pay for it and than went to the customer service counter to wait for it to come down the conveyor belt from the warehouse. I know, I know, it sounds like a lot of trouble to buy something. Which is probably why you don’t see catalog showrooms around anymore. But for awhile in the 80s they were pretty popular in the South.

Sometime during the afternoon someone said Duke was in the store shopping. I’ve heard he’d been in before to shop, but never while I was on duty. I wanted to see him for myself. I think this was after he had already been in and out of the State House as a congressman. The store I worked at was in Metairie, which was part of the area where he once represented.

I went to the back of customer service so I could hand out the items coming down the belt. I watched him stand in line and make his purchase. It was a slow day and there were no other customers in line. The cashier that waited on him was black, so I waited for some word or gesture on his part. He merely paid for his item and then walked over to wait for it.

Within minutes his purchase came from the warehouse. He had purchased an electric razor. While he stood there I watched him. I don’t know what I was looking for.

I don't know if I expected to see horns or what. Sometimes the face of evil can be mundane.

When I was younger two stories from English class in high school remain with me to this day. One was “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson and the other was “A&P” by John Updike. In the latter story the stock boy Sammy makes a heroic gesture because he thought the manager of the A&P had been rude to some girls.

I think I was hoping to see Duke do something rude or racist so that I could make my own heroic gesture. I wanted to say something to him. Something that would cut to his core.

His order came up and I handed it to him without a word and he left.
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