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

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