April 30, 2007

Manic Monday: Silence

The Electronic Village is participating in the Manic Monday meme. This week's word is "silence".

A moment of silence. A day of silence. What if you had to endure a lifetime of silence. Today, the Electronic Village will provide some information on African Americans who are deaf. What does it mean to be African American and deaf? Have you considered the difficulty faced by a person who is both African American and deaf?

Whatever difficulty exists in 2007 was multiplied exponentially in the Jim Crow days during the middle of the last century. Segregation was also prevalent within the deaf community. In 1952 Miller vs. Board of Education was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia forcing the integration of Kendall Elementary School for the deaf located on Gallaudet University campus. There are a number of challenges faced by African American deaf children.

Perhaps it is not surprising that the son of the plaintiff in that 1952 case is Gerald Miller. Mr. Miller serves as the treasurer of the National Black Deaf Advocates (NBDA).

The mission of the National Black Deaf Advocate is to promote the leadership development, economic and educational opportunities, social equality, and to safeguard the general health and welfare of Black deaf and hard of hearing people.

The National Black Deaf Advocates (NBDA) is the oldest and largest consumer organization of deaf and hard of hearing Black deaf people in the United States. Black deaf leaders were concerned that deaf and hard of hearing African Americans are not adequately represented in leadership and policy decision-making activities affecting their lives so they established NBDA in 1982. NBDA is a growing organization with 30 chapters.

NBDA deals with the silence in their minds with excellent programs such as their annual conference, youth empowerment summit, senior citizens network, family support network, Miss. Black Deaf America pageant, Black deaf history archives and much more. Some villagers may see NBDA president Thomas Samuels starring in a television commercial as part of Disney’s efforts to attract diverse groups of people to experience Disney Parks. The commercial runs through May 9, 2007.

There are other notable African American deaf people who live in silence. Curtis Pride is a deaf African American athlete known in both the deaf and hearing worlds. Connie Briscoe, former managing editor of American Annals of the Deaf, wrote two novels. C.J. Jones is a deaf male African American performer; Michelle Banks is a deaf female African American performer. Kenny Walker was a professional deaf football player. One well-known deaf African American in history is Andrew Foster.

Villagers, try to sit in silence right now. Just sit. Close your eyes. Silence. See how impossible it is to truly live in a silent world by choice. Imagine if you lost your hearing. Silence wouldn't be a choice ... it would be a lifetime challenge.

Sometimes, we truly forget how much we have to be thankful for in this life. I encourage you to respect silence ... and respect those who live in it on a daily basis. Click here to learn more about being Black and Deaf in America.

April 27, 2007

Race vs. Skin Color - Guest Blogger

Francis L. Holland wrote a substantial and thought-provoking comment in my earlier post on Juneteenth. I thought it was fitting to make a separate blog entry for it. It turns out that PlezWorld had similiar experience earlier this week.

Francis pointed out an article in a recent issue of The Washington Post which said,
The contest for black support in South Carolina mirrors the national struggle Democratic candidates are waging to win black elected officials' support. Many have long-standing ties to the Clintons or Edwardses or others but are nonetheless tugged by racial solidarity with Obama and the excitement they see his campaign generating among their constituents. Moreover, Obama's early fundraising prowess has convinced observers that his campaign will be formidable to the end.
I'm not going to address Hillary v. Obama, because that's something everyone will decide for themselves. Here's my biggest gripe with that paragraph and with the whole article from which it's excerpted: the word "racial." The word race is a synonym for "species" and the Washington Post is saying that we will vote for Obama because he is the same species as us, just like dogs hang out in packs with other dogs because they are from the same species.

I'm not buying that. I'm not going to let anyone say that I am from any species other than the human species. Let's face it: There's no way we will ever win equality in America for so long as we concede that we are not even from the same species as whites. I don't think "separate but equal species" is our best argument for equality.

Let's face it: What we have in common with Barack Obama but that separates us from whites is not our "racial" species, but simply our skin color. Is that so hard to say and accept?

Of course whites like to exaggerate our difference so they can rationalize the exaggerated differences in the way we are treated. That's why the word "race," that appears no where else in the biological sciences, is applied to the difference in SKIN COLOR between Blacks and whites.
Now, someone will insist that the word "race" is essential to our efforts to gain equality and fight racism. That's like saying that the "N" word is essential to our efforts to fight against epithets! The word "race" is itself a badge and mark of inferiority and the word "racism" unless you accept that concept of "race."

I am never going to use the word "race" again without referring to it as "the disproved pseudo-scientific theory of race."

Nor will I use the word "racism," which is a word whose definition is premised upon the existence of the disproven pseudo-scientific concept of race.

Let's look at this linguistically and decode the word racism: Any argument about Marxism implicity accepts the fact that there was a man named "Marx," which is true. Any argument about "capitalism" implicity excepts as a premise the fact that "capital" exists, which is true. Likewise, any argument about "racism" - pro or con - is based on the premise that "race" exists, which is false. NO ONE anywhere can offer me even a half-baked argument that there is more than one species of human beings! Only "racists" believe in the color-animus motivated pseudo-scientific concept of "race." And so the literal meaning of the word "racist" has to be someone who believes in the concept of "race." To avoid being taken for a "racist," I'm not going to use the word "race" anymore, claiming or conceding to be from a different "race" from white people.

Just as black cats and spotted cats from the same family are all from one species - "cats," likewise, Black people and white people who all came from Africa originally, who interbreed, who have transfuseable blood, who organs can be transplanted one to the other, we are all from the same species. If the word race is superfluous in discussing differences between animal species, it is also superfluous in discussing differences between humans.

The word "race" serves only one purpose: to gloss over the fact that there is no evidence that we and whites are from different species and to gloss over the fact that we and whites MUST, by all evidence, be of the SAME species, that our only difference is skin-color.

So, what term will we use instead of "race"? How about simply "skin-color"? And what term will we use instead of "racism"? How about "skin-color aroused antagonistic behaviors of individuals, groups, organizations and societies." Yeah, it's a little longer than "racism" but has the advantage that it doesn't concede that we are, like dogs, being from a different species from whites.

If there is inherently, innately something more to the difference between Blacks and whites than skin-color, then what is that "something more"? "Inherently inferior intelligence?" "Inherently inferior values?" "Innately superior bongo playing?" "Genetically superior sexual drive and potency, but with less impulse control?"

All of the possibilities are both unproven, improvable and absurd as a matter of science but also profoundly insulting to us as a people, and intentionally so. The word "race" (and every word derived from it)is inherently and irremediably an insult wherever and whenever it is used. Unless you can tell me what innate characteristics make us inherently different from whites, you have to admit that the concept of "race" adds nothing that the phrase "skin-color" of "phenotype" doesn't. All "race" add is baggage and highly negatively charged linguistic discrimination.

For so long as we agree that we are from a separate species from whites, we will never, ever convince them that we are from an equal species. As the Supreme Court said in 1954, "separate but equal" is an unconstitutional fallacy that simply never, ever works.

If someone asks me, "Are you equal to whites?" it does require more letters for me to write "yes," (3 letters) than it requires to write the word "no," (2 letters) but I think it's worth the extra effort, considering how important it is. Likewise, I think it's worth taking the extra time to write "skin-color" instead of "race," because "skin color" preserves our humanness and equality while using the words "race" (and logically therefore also "racism") negates our humanness and equality.

Villager Note - Usually I turn my attention elsewhere when someone begins to discount the issue of 'race'. I'm a grown-azzed man ... and I figure that I've lived life long enough with 'race' as a defining factor here in America that I didn't need to hear some crackpot notion of 'race' being non-existent. However, Francis was kind enough to share his thesis on 'race' versus 'skin color' here on the Electronic Village ... so I couldn't ignore it. And I must admit -- there is some compelling logic in his message. Methinks that I will try to use "skin-color" instead of "race" when appropriate. I'll have to work harder to remember to use "skin-colored aroused antaganistic behaviors of individuals, groups, organizations and societies" in lieu of "racism" [smile].

In any case, Francis is an example of the powerful thought and opinions being expressed throughtout the AfroSphere. I list the AfroSphere blogs over on the left-hand side navigation bar. Check them out as you have time or inclination.

For now, I invite all 'villagers' of all skin colors to share your thoughts on Francis' message. What say u?

April 26, 2007

New & Improved BDPA Career Center

I have been a member of BDPA for 20 years. BDPA advances the careers of African Americans in the Information Technology (IT) industry from the 'classroom to the boardroom'. I'll be coming to Washington DC on August 15-18, 2007 to participate in the 29th annual National BDPA Technology Conference.

Anyhow, I wanted to share with villagers information about the new & improved BDPA Career Center. Some of the features of the new BDPA Career Center are:
  • Brand new look, feel, and easier navigation
  • Professional search-and-apply functionality
  • A private, hosted resume database
  • Powerful tools including job search agents, email options, skills highlighting and more
  • Import (cut and paste) resume into the system
  • Search jobs by keyword, location, or category to find the right position for you!
Click here to add your resume to the database or search for IT jobs nationally. BDPA can help you advance your career in the IT profession through their career center, education, mentoring, and business networking, BDPA promotes innovation, technical skills, business savvy and personal growth. Personally, I encourage villagers to join BDPA!

BDPA corporate sponsors value diversity and are looking for top notch IT talent within BDPA membership. If you know someone who is unemployed or under-employed in the IT industry ... you should point them to the BDPA Career Center.

There are 54 BDPA chapters around the country ... perhaps there is one near you? Out of curiousity ... have you heard of BDPA prior to seeing this post?

April 24, 2007

Deacons for Defense and Justice

The Electronic Village shares a quote in the top-left hand corner of our blog each day. A recent quote note, "Until the lion has his or her own storyteller, the hunter will always have the best part of the story." As such, I admire when little-known aspects of the African American experience are shared in public venues.

It turns out that an little-known part of our history as a nation has been dramatized and is available on DVD. I watched it for the first time last week. The show stars Academy Award winner Forrest Whitaker and the great Ossie Davis and is directed by Bill Duke. The story of the Deacons is deftly told through the eyes of Marcus Clay played by Whitaker.

Marcus Clay is a mill worker at the highly segregated plant that owns the town of Bogalusa. Owing his livelihood to the white folks at the plant, Marcus is no friend to the efforts that are erupting throughout the deep South to end segregation. He has grown up with white violence and wishes to keep it away from his family. But Marcus' dream of living alongside of white violence is shattered when a friend is beaten for placing his name on a list reserved for white men at the plant where he works and when his daughter suffers the same fate during a civil rights march to desegregate the town. The final straw comes when, after attempting to save his daughter from her beating, he find himself taken out and beaten by the local police. Marcus Clay's answer to the violence visited upon friend and family is to form the Deacons for Defense.

Deacons for Defense and Justice, a black organization established to protect civil rights workers against the Ku Klux Klan, was a group of African American men who were mostly veterans of World War II and the Korean War. Charles Sims was the DDJ founder (The character played in the movie by Whitaker is a composite of three different men, including Sims). Anyhow, Sims formed the DDJ after local police escorted a Klan march through a Black neighborhood in Jonesboro, Louisiana. Based in local churches, the DDJ set up armed patrol car systems in cities such as Bogalusa and Jonesboro, Louisiana on July 10, 1964. The DDJ expanded to over 50 chapters throughout the South and a chapter in Chicago.

Their goal was to combat Ku Klux Klan violence against Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) volunteers who were participating in voter registration activities.

Disciplined and secretive, the Deacons generally limited their activities to patrolling black neighborhoods and protecting mass meetings, CORE headquarters, and civil rights workers who were entering and leaving town. In addition, the Deacons accompanied marchers from Memphis, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi, in the summer of 1966, during which the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) leader Stokley Carmichael popularized the phrase Black Power.

J. Edgar Hoover worried enough about the DDJ to have over 1600 pages on the organization.

The Deacons were as mysterious as they were legendary for their courage. For they did in the Deep South what the Black Panther Party would later attempt in the West. The Deacons -- Black men -- had armed themselves against the terror of white racism. One must remember what these men were up against to understand what they did. In the Deep South, a Black man could be lynched for not stepping into the gutter as a white man, woman or child passed him in the street.

The Jim Crow of the South held the entire Black population hostage to the whims of any white person. And then there was the Klan or the Nightriders, as some called them, dressed in sheets and gowns always ready to defend "white honor" by murder and terror. For a Black man to raise a hand to a white man under these conditions was an automatic death sentence. For a Black man to point a gun at a white man was an act of insanity.

Ironically, as nonviolent civil rights activities were eclipsed in the later 1960s by the Black Power Movement, with its militant rhetoric and insinuations of racial violence, the Deacons' presence declined. By 1968 the Deacons for Defense and Justice had all but disappeared.

Villagers, you can read more about this group in book called The Deacons for Defense: Armed Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement by Lance Hill.

April 23, 2007

Manic Monday: Sun

The Electronic Village is participating in the Manic Monday meme. This week's word is "sun".

The sun demands our respect. It shows itself without hesitation throughout the African continent. In fact, the physical nature of Black men and women over the centuries adjusted to the beating of the sun in a variety of ways. The sun is now causing concerns all over the world as a result of the Global Warming situation. Those are issues for a future day. Today, I've decided to share information here on the Electronic Village about a brother that is doing some remarkable things by his study of the sun.

Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi, astrophysicist and professor of physics at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, is currently researching the soft X-ray area of the sun's atmosphere. "This is one of the most difficult areas to work with because of the nature of this light and its interaction with matter," he explains. Soft X-ray light is extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light, part of the electromagnetic light spectrum that cannot be seen by the naked eye due to its short wavelength. Because it's at the extreme end of the light spectrum, it's very difficult to detect even with scientific instruments. Dr. Oluseyi has developed a special detector that he plans to send in a rocket to the sun. It will be able to send back new information about this region of the sun's atmosphere.

Oluseyi is also collaborating with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratoryin Berkeley, Calif., on a project called the Supernova Acceleration Probe (SNAP) mission. They plan to launch a space-based telescope in 2010. It will be able to observe thousands of supernovae a year. Supernovae are dying stars that collapse in on themselves and then explode, sending huge amounts of their material into space. He hopes this new data will shed light on the existence and makeup of "dark matter" (invisible matter).

As a child living with his single mom, "I moved every year growing up," Oluseyi says. "We didn't live in the best neighborhoods, so I'd stay inside, reading a lot." He also watched science shows on PBS. "I always thought scientists were really cool," he says. "Albert Einstein was my original inspiration. I read about Einstein and relativity, and the weirdness of it all captured my attention from [ages] 10 to 16." In high school, Oluseyi won a prize at the state science fair for his computer program that did relativity calculations.

He attended Tougaloo College, a black college in Mississippi, where he was one of only two students to major in physics. "It never occurred to me that I'd never seen a black physicist," Oluseyi says. He just always believed he could do it. He received B.S. degrees in Physics & Mathematics from Tougaloo College (1991). He received a M.S. degree in physics from Stanford University in 1995 and completed his Ph.D. in Physics at Stanford University in 1999. His award winning dissertation was entitled, Development of a Global Model of the Solar Atmosphere with an Emphasis on the Solar Transition Region.

Oluseyi's advice to young people is: "Pursue your dreams without hesitation and always believe in yourself." He has been able to live his dream and now holds eight patents in the technology field.

I hope to encourage Dr. Oluseyi to get involved with the students that I work with as part of the BDPA Education & Technology Foundation. And I'm grateful to Keely Parrack and Manic Monday meme for encouraging me to think about today's word of the day ---> Sun!

April 22, 2007

Rest In Peace: Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-CA)

There are so few African Americans serving in Congress that it is a national tragedy whenever we lose one. I imagine that I am more alert to the work of these brothers and sisters because my grandfather once represented the city of Detroit as their congressman. Therefore, it is with sadness that I learned that Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, a seven-term congresswoman from southern California, died early today of cancer. She was 68.
The congresswoman had asked for a four- to six-week leave of absence from the House last week to deal with her illness. She represented a heavily Democratic southern California district that includes Compton, Long Beach and parts of Los Angeles.

"She was a champion for the consumer and fought injustice wherever she saw it. She always valued public service and served her state and nation with grace and honor," said California Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres, who served with her in the California state Legislature.

Millender-McDonald is the second member of Congress to die this year of cancer. Republican Rep. Charles Norwood Jr. of Georgia died in February after battling cancer and lung disease.

"Many of us are very saddened by her death, and in some respects stunned by it," said state Sen. Mark Ridley-Thomas, who has worked with Millender-McDonald in different capacities for over two decades. "She knew about the issues of justice and injustice, and carried that banner wherever she went."

The congresswoman, a native of Birmingham, Ala., worked on former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley's unsuccessful 1982 gubernatorial campaign and other local races as a volunteer before getting elected to the Carson City Council in 1990. She went on to serve in the California state Assembly, and in 1996 sought a U.S. House seat during a special election. She won a full House term in November 1996 and has subsequently won re-election easily.

Millender-McDonald has recently worked on issues including election reform and opposing the genocide in Darfur. She drew national attention in 1996 when she took then-CIA director John Deutch to Watts to address the community following a newspaper report alleging that profits from domestic sales of crack-cocaine were funneled to the CIA-backed Contras in Nicaragua.

This year, Millender-McDonald became chair of the Committee on House Administration, which oversees operations of the House and federal election procedures.

She is survived by her husband, James McDonald, Jr., and five adult children. At the end of the day, all of the accolades and honors don't matter much. It all comes down to family. I urge all villagers to keep her family in our prayers this week.

April 21, 2007

We are 98,648 and rising!

The Electronic Village reached a milestone today. Technorati ranks our blog as one of the top 100,000 in the world. Today (4/21/07) we ranked: 98,648. Only another 98,639 blogs to pass in order to reach the Top 10! Doesn't seem like much until you realize that we were at about 2.3 million a few weeks ago!

Our rise in rankings on Technorati is result of a number of factors including the increased focus that we place on information that is uplifting for African Americans. My observation is that the traditional media is not fair and balanced when it comes to reporting on issues that impact the Black community. As such, our Electronic Village provides a welcome outlet for positive, proactive and honest dialogue on these issues. We will continue to move in that direction over the coming weeks.

The number of visitors to the Electronic Village continues to grow. Our decision to join social networking communities such as MyBlogLog led to increasing number of bloggers and blog readers coming to visit our village. We have never been a 'hot community' in the MyBlogLog family, however, we do consistency reach out to a growing number of 'contacts' in that venue. Currently, we have over 540 'contacts' from MyBlogLog community ... including most of the African American bloggers that we could locate based on their blog content or avatar photo. MyBlogLog has some useful widgets and statistics as well.

AfroSpear is a new afrocentric community of bloggers. The first AfroSpear action alert came out earlier this week as a result of a tragic police shooting down in the metro Atlanta area. I am interested to see how the focused energy of the AfroSpear is used over the coming weeks and months. I've added a distinct blogroll on the left-hand navigation bar showing those other blogs that participate in the AfroSpear. Of course, you can also tell from the AfroSpear logo when you have landed on a blog that supports the AfroSpear mission.

There are a number of bloggers that support the Electronic Village.

  1. Danielle (Modern Musings) - I nominated Danielle for the Thinking Bloggers Award in the past. Most recently, she made me aware of the Wordless Wednesday meme. She took some extra time to walk me through some of the widget set-up for that weekly meme.

  2. Keith (The 'D' Spot) - Keith is one of the most creative bloggers that I've come across. His writing skills are outstanding. He paints a picture with his words that is compelling and humorous. He mixes serious topics with not-so-serious topics. I try to visit his blog on a daily basis.

  3. Paula (Paula Neal Mooney Blog) - Paula causes me to dream that I can monetize the Electronic Village. I haven't realized any success in making money from my blogging efforts yet! However, I regularly add ideas to this blog based on 'best practices' that I see on Paula's blog. Plus, she willingly shares the details on her efforts to make money.

  4. field (The Field Negro) - field is a brother with an intense perspective on life that is forcefully displayed in his blog postings. We recently added Village Hero and Village Movie features that are direct result of 'best practices' that I found on The Field Negro blog. field is also part of the AfroSpear network.
There are many others. I plan to share updates on other blogs and bloggers regularly. In the meantime, you can see my various blogrolls over on the left-side of our village ... each of the bloggers listed in my blogrolls brings something special to the party.

At the end of the day, it comes down to you. You are the villagers that make this place worthwhile. Your village voices on our postings are important part of the flava that we are trying to create. I encourage you to subscribe to the Electronic Village so that you don't miss out on any of the vibe from our village!

I work to keep the Electronic Village relevant and timely. Please let me know if there are features that you've observed on other blogs that you think would work here in our village. Our success is directly tied to your insights, comments and voices. What say u?

April 20, 2007

Black Spending Power

According to data compiled recently by essayist and retired patent attorney Richard Everett, African Americans are projected to have spending power of approximately $1 trillion a year by 2010. That will be a significant increase over the roughly $800 billion Blacks are believed to have spent in 2006.

The projection was part of a collection of data Everett compiled to showcase Black progress in America over the last 40 years. His essay concludes that Black accomplishments during the 40-year-period "are absolutely remarkable considering the handicaps imposed on African Americans by the preceding 340 years of racism." Among his other findings were that revenues for Black-owned businesses reached $88.6 billion in 2002 - up 24 percent from 1997 and median Black household income rose to $30,858 in 2005 - up from $25,642 in 1985.

$1 trillion seems like a number to celebrate. However, if we focus on "spending power" then we will be bamboozled and flim-flammed. Spending power ain't realy POWER because it does not translate into the power to have a sustained impact on our own destiny. Black folks spend too much time puffing out our chest about this so-called "spending power" ... when actually all that the $1 trillion dollars equals is our "disposable income" ... and Black folks surely know how to dispose of our income. We give away our money faster than any other ethnic group in the country. Only 5% of our disposable income stays in our community. We only spend 5% of our income with Black-owned businesses.

It’s not what you earn; it’s what you keep.
Poor people pay interest; rich people earn interest.

If you have a dollar and the otherman has a dollar. You give 95 cents of your dollar to the otherman. Are you surprised when the otherman's roads are better; the otherman's public schools are better; the otherman's homes and cars are better? When you only keep a nickel out of your dollar in your own community ... can we be surprised when the police don't respect us; when our children don't respect us; when our school systems are bankrupt; when our public services from the local government are substandard. Spending power doesn't equal POWER.

You shouldn’t work for money; money should work for you.
Don’t have champagne tastes with a beer budget.

$1 trillion seems like a number to celebrate. Nevertheless, a whopping 24.9 percent of all Blacks are still officially classified as poor and critics complain that despite its absolute size, Black income is failing to create Black wealth because it tends to flow into Black communities and right back out.

Villagers, don't be bamboozled. the difference between income and wealth when it comes to power is simple --> wealth flows from your net worth. What happens to you if you missed two paychecks? Many of us would be homeless if that happened.

Check out a person’s net worth and you can see how wealthy he or she is. The government tells us that the typical white household had over 10 times as much accumulated wealth (or net worth) as the typical Black household. The median net worth (assets minus liabilities) for the typical white family was $88,651 compared to $7,932 for Hispanics and $5,998 for Blacks. Do you begin to see the trick bag that is placed over our head when we focus on "spending power"?

Credit is a good servant but a poor master.
Stop ending each month with more month than money.

Villagers, the next time you see the statistics on Black Buying Power, stop and think about the word “power” and what it means in that particular context. Power for whom? Yes, it’s Black Buying Power, but it’s power for those who receive some 95% of our $1 trillion everyday. It is power for others to purchase fine homes and cars. It is power for others to build their own communities. It is power for others to send their children to college. It is power that allows the otherman to maintain their collective hold on the economic system of this country.

Jim Clingman uses the term “Black Buying Weakness.” If we continue to give our power to someone else through our conspicuous consumption of their products and services, we will continue to have billions of dollars in aggregate income and only thousands of dollars in individual family wealth. Additionally, we will continue to have the power of income rather than the power of wealth, which only allows us to our pay bills, continue to work on the proverbial plantations, purchase all of our needs and wants from the proverbial company store, and create the power of wealth for others.

Do you remember the systems of sharecropping and dependence upon the company store shown in the final episodes of the Roots miniseries? It seems like we are repeating that same history today as we convert our $1 trillion of spending power into relative miniscule amount of wealth that Blacks have. We could never catch up then, and we will never catch up now, if we continue to depend upon income rather than wealth.

The power of wealth manifests itself in ownership and control of income-producing assets and infrastructure such as banks, hotels, manufacturing facilities, real estate, distribution channels, and other wealth-builders and wealth-retainers. The power of income manifests itself, via the transfer of that income to others, in ownership and control of assets by others from whom Black folks must purchase our very sustenance. If we allow that system to continue, by pouring the vast majority of our income into the vast pools of wealth owned by others, we will always be on the bottom of the economic heap. Yes, some of us will still have the latest cars, fine homes, stock portfolios, and high positions (jobs) in corporate America, but collectively we will remain an income-rich and wealth-poor group of Africans in America.

We must take stock of our economic position in this country by understanding that income is not wealth. Villagers, you are encouraged to redirect more of your income toward your own people, just like other groups do. And, the next time they count how much money we have collectively, they will add a footnote that says, “Black spending among Black owned businesses has increased significantly, the result of which is an increase in the net worth of Black families as well as an aggregate increase in Black wealth.

The power of income or the power of wealth. Which would you prefer for our people?

April 19, 2007

We are Virginia Tech

Less than a week ago a disturbed young man created havoc on the campus of Virginia Tech. I wrote about it here on the Electronic Village. Frankly, the incident riveted our nation for a variety of reasons.

I thought the most healing words coming out of the tragic aftermath of this violence came from noted poet and educator, Nikki Giovanni, when she gave closing remarks at the convocation held in Blackburg, VA earlier this week.

You can click here to see the video of her remarks. Village drumbeats to Professor Kim for pointing out the transcript to us.

We are Virginia Tech.
We are sad today, and we will be sad for quite a while. We are not moving on, we are embracing our mourning.
We are Virginia Tech.
We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly, we are brave enough to bend to cry, and we are sad enough to know that we must laugh again.
We are Virginia Tech.
We do not understand this tragedy. We know we did nothing to deserve it, but neither does a child in Africa dying of AIDS, neither do the invisible children walking the night away to avoid being captured by the rogue army, neither does the baby elephant watching his community being devastated for ivory, neither does the Mexican child looking for fresh water, neither does the Appalachian infant killed in the middle of the night in his crib in the home his father built with his own hands being run over by a boulder because the land was destabilized. No one deserves a tragedy.
We are Virginia Tech.
The Hokie Nation embraces our own and reaches out with open heart and hands to those who offer their hearts and minds. We are strong, and brave, and innocent, and unafraid. We are better than we think and not quite what we want to be. We are alive to the imaginations and the possibilities. We will continue to invent the future through our blood and tears and through all our sadness.
We are the Hokies.
We will prevail. We will prevail. We will prevail.
We are Virginia Tech.
Nikkie Giovanni is truly a remarkable woman who grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. Since 1987, she has been on the faculty at Virginia Tech, where she is a University Distinguished Professor. I encourage all villagers to visit her website if you haven't heard of her before.

April 18, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Respect the Rhino

What caption would you give this week's Wordless Wednesday photo?

Top Companies for African Americans

I do some consulting work for a growing number of BDPA chapters in Austin, Charlotte, Dallas and New York. BDPA is a national organization that works for the career advancement of African Americans in the IT industry 'from the classroom to the boardroom'. The work that my company does with BDPA involves corporate sales, membership growth and fundraising. As such, I was interested in the Top 10 Companies for African Americans as determined by Diversity Inc.

The list was compiled after looking at demographics including work force, new hires, management in total and broken down by three levels—CEO and direct reports, direct reports to those direct reports, and all other managers—management promotions, and top 10 percent highest-paid employees. Other factors included retention rates for African Americans compared with other groups. Finally, supplier diversity and the percentage of procurement budget going to minority-owned companies, as well as mentoring programs and financial assistance for diverse suppliers were rolled into the mix.

It turns out that these 10 companies are in seven different industries (telecommunications, banking, insurance, hospitality, auto, consumer products and media). A few of them have done business with the non-profits that I'm working with:

  • No. 2: Wachovia - This company is very active with our BDPA Charlotte chapter. The company CIO is a well-connected brother. Thirty percent of its new hires are African American and 19 percent of management promotions went to African Americans.
  • No. 3: Verizon - This company supports our BDPA Greater Tampa Bay chapter. The company reports that 20% of its board of directors are Black, as well as 20 percent of its total management.
  • No. 4: JPMorgan Chase - Last year was the first time that BDPA actively engaged with JPMC. Strong presence in Columbus, New Jersey and Philadelphia. This banking giant has a work force that is 18.5 percent African American and a female work force that is 23 percent African American. Twenty-two percent of new hires are Black.
  • No. 8: Cox Communications - Last year was the first time that BDPA engaged with Cox Communications. I'm hopeful to see them more engaged with our BDPA Atlanta chapter. Anyhow, the media company notes that 33 percent of its female new hires are African American and 17 percent of promotions in management went to African Americans.
  • No. 10: Allstate - Frankly, this company has invested more in BDPA over the past decade than any other in the country. The largest BDPA chapter in the nation is led by an Allstate executive. The company has a work force that's 17 percent Black and reports 21 percent of new hires are African American. In addition, 15 percent of promotions in management went to Blacks.
I haven't had any success with the other five companies that make up the Top 10 Companies for African Americans. These companies are AT&T (#1), General Motors (#5), PNC Financial Services Group (#6), Pepsi Bottling Group (#7) and Sodexho (#9). I guess that I'll figure out a way to talk with 'em since they are evidently amenable to supporting Black folks.

I get a kick out of these Top 10 lists whenever they are published. When I was growing up in Los Angeles the local paper (LA Times) used to have a weekly featured called the Bottom 10 in the sports page. I wonder what companies would make the list as the Bottom 10 for African Americans?

April 17, 2007

Unarmed Blackman Killed by Police

4/20/07 - Updated information for those able to attend the march or funeral services.

This has been a violent week. Hundreds died in Iraq. Hundreds more died in Darfur. 32 were killed on the Virginia Tech campus. As such, you may not have heard. Another unarmed Blackman was shot in the back and killed by the police. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into the shooting of two brothers by Fulton County police officers that left one dead and the other seriously injured outside a nightclub early Sunday. Neither of the brothers were armed.

Fulton and state officers are looking for evidence and talking to people who witnessed the shooting of Roy Pettaway III, 27, and his brother, Ron Pettaway, 26. The incident happened on a sidewalk outside the Frozen Palace nightclub in south Fulton County. Shots were fired after the brothers allegedly got into an altercation with the two officers who arrived to break up a fight at the nightclub. I'm fairly certain that barroom fights don't carry a death penalty in America. Yet, one brother is dead and the other had a bullet removed by doctors in the emergency room.

The officers, each of whom has fewer than two years on the force, are on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. Their names have not been released.

Services will be held for Ron on Saturday at Liveoak Baptist Church, 2601 Flat Shoals Road, in College Park on what would have been his 27th birthday. The Rev. Markel Hutchins, a civil rights activist and Pettaway family spokesman, said there will be a march from the Frozen Palace to the church for the funeral. The funeral itself will be held on Saturday, April 21 at 10:00 am, on what would have been Ron's 27th birthday.

We encourage any villagers who live in the Atlanta area, or anywhere in Georgia, to attend the march. A special section in Liveoak's sanctuary will be set aside for families of other metro Atlantans allegedly victimized by police, Hutchins said. Hutchins and the victims' relatives have been vocal in their outrage over the shooting that they have described as nothing short of murder and a violation of the brothers' civil rights.

You can learn more about this situation from other AfroSpear bloggers here, here and here. Also, I see where the Pettaway family posted relevant news and video on the case.

I live in Cincinnati, OH. We had similar issues with our police department that came to a head in April 2001 when the 15th Black man was killed by the local police. The Cincinnati uprising made international news. The city is still dealing with the real and perceived problems in community-police relations.

I understand that DeKalb police had a dozen fatal shootings in 2006 and Atlanta officers shot an elderly woman to death during a botched police raid on her home. My hope is that folks will learn from the past and deal proactively with this situation in Fulton County before it blows up into a similiar situation.

Yesterday, activists asked the governor to get engaged in the issue.

It was a violent week. However, we cannot afford to let the shooting of unarmed Blackmen be swept under the rug. The African American Online Network, known as the AfroSpear, must ask the major newspapers and mass media, why they have not come out with editorials condemning this shooting. What justification can there be for not speaking out?

April 15, 2007

Virginia Tech, Deadly but not Deadliest

The Electronic Village joins others in prayer for the family, friends and classmates of the people shot to death at Virginia Tech. We pray that no villagers lost loved ones in this terrible tragedy. AP reports that the 32 people massacred in this episode is the "deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history". MSNBC reports that this is the "deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history." I imagine you can look at the first paragraph in most of the reporting being done in your local area and find the same verbiage being used to describe the carnage in Blacksberg, VA.

I wish that AP, MSNBC and other news outlets would be intellectually accurate and honest. The "deadliest mass shooting" or "deadliest shooting rampage" in our nation's history occurred on June 1, 1921 in the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Tulsa Race Riot, also known as the 1921 Race Riot, the Tulsa Race War, or the Greenwood Riot, was a large-scale civil disorder. During the 16 hours of rioting, over 800 people were admitted to local hospitals with injuries, an estimated 10,000 were left homeless, 35 city blocks composed of 1,256 residences were destroyed by fire, and $1.8 million (nearly $17 million after adjustment for inflation) in property damage.

Our glorious Black Wall Street was destroyed in the carnage of that day.

39 people were officially reported killed, although most experts agree that the actual number of Black citizens killed during the riot to be around 300. You can read about it yourself here, here, or here.

This isn't an effort to compare horrendous situations. Rather, it is part of the continuing effort in the Electronic Village and elsewhere to ensure that OURstory isn't ignored or forgotten as others write his-story. National columnist Jim Clingman recently wrote about his experience with eight of the survivors of the Black Wall Street murders.

While we mourn for those murdered this week in Virginia, we ask you not allow the Tulsa Race War murders to be swept under the rug of distorted, revised, and repressed history. We must never forget, and we must not allow others to forget either.

April 14, 2007

Roots, 30 Years Later...

TV One brought back LeVar Burton, Ben Vereen, Lou Gossett, Leslie Uggams and Richard Roundtree as hosts for a showing of 'Roots'. Roots, the television miniseries, run from January 23 to January 30, 1977, and attracted some 130 million viewers - it is still the top-rated miniseries of all time. That's pretty astounding when you think about it since the amount of media programming and number of television stations have increased dramatically since 1977. The powerful television series earned an Emmy, Golden Globe and Peabody award.

Where were you when Roots was on TV back in the day? It was shown on eight consecutive nights, an hour or two each night. Each episode was complete within itself, ending in positive, hopeful note, except the sixth and seventh.

Roots, produced by ABC, starred Ed Asner, Chuck Connors, Carolyn Jones, O.J. Simpson, Ralph Waite, Lou Gossett, Lorne Greene, Robert Reed, LeVar Burton (as Kunta Kinte), Ben Veeren (as Chicken Geroge), Lynda Day George, Vic Morrow, Raymond St Jacques, Sandy Duncan, John Amos, Leslie Uggams, MacDonald Carey, George Hamilton, Ian MacShane, Richard Roundtree, Lloyd Bridges, Doug McClure, Burl Ives. It is striking that most of the Black stars in the miniseries were not able to parlay their visibility into strong movie or television roles afterwards.

I didn't go into this past weekend with the intention of watching the miniseries again. I was channel-surfing and came across the first episode, set in the African village with LeVar Burton hanging out with his friends tending goats. Oddly enough, one of his village buddies was Raj ... the guy who wore the glasses in 'What's Happening' sitcom. There were many powerful images from Roots that still resonated with me this weekend. Watching Kunta Kinte growing up as an enslaved man in America ... and watching the constant tearing down of his spirit. At one point, the adult Kunta (played by John Amos) says, "they won't even let us have us."

Obviously, one of the most powerful images was when the overseer beat Kunta again and again until he was forced to say, "My name is Toby". Fiddler (played by Lou Gossett) holds Kunta in his arms and consoles him with the knowledge that it doesn't matter what they called him ... in his heart he would always be Kunta Kinte. He ended the scene by looking into the camera and saying "there will be another day". Sometimes, I wonder when that day will come.

Many years after Roots I began to research my genealogy. I have not uncovered my roots in Africa as of yet. Perhaps I'll do this DNA testing that is becoming all the rage. Anyhow, I ended up watching most of the miniseries over again this weekend. I may end up rejuvenating my genealogy research as well.

Where were you 30 years ago when this miniseries was shown on ABC? What are the scenes or actors that had the most impact on you from 'Roots'? Do you think that you will ever sit down and watch the miniseries with your children? Let your village voice be heard!

April 12, 2007

Imus Fired, Is Hip Hop Next?

Don Imus is off the air as a result of his ignorant comments. He apologized for his comments. The Rutgers basketball team accepted his apology. Case closed.

Or is it?

The infamous syllables that caused Imus to lose his $10 million a year gig was 'nappy-headed ho'. We wouldn't be engaged in this analysis of race relations, rap lyrics and impact of demeaning words if Imus hadn't watched that clip of the NCAA championship game and denigrated into his racist and sexist rant.

Some say the reaction by MSNBC and CBS was too harsh. This side of the argument reminds us that the the H-word, N-word and B-word are heard every day in the lyrics of many hip hop songs broadcast on BET, VH-1 and other mainstream radio shows. Heck, all of these words were loud and proud in the lyrics of the 2006 Oscar-winning song, It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp.

The flip side of the argument is best laid out by father of the genre, Russell Simmons,
"Hip-hop is a worldwide cultural phenomena that transcends race and doesn't engage in racial slurs. Don Imus' racially motivated diatribe toward the Rutgers women's basketball team was in no way connected to hip-hop culture. ... Don Imus is not a hip-hop artist or a poet. Hip-hop artists rap about what they see, hear and feel around them, their experience of the world. Like the artists throughout history, their messages are a mirror of what is right and wrong with society. Sometimes their observations or the way in which they choose to express their art may be uncomfortable for some to hear, but our job is not to silence or censor that expression. Our job is to be an inclusive voice for the hip-hop community and to help create an environment that encourages the positive growth of hip-hop."
Anyhow, it appears that the energy and passion unleashed in reaction to the comments by Imus will move on to the hip-hop and gangsta rap culture. Reverend Al Sharpton says, "I want to meet with people like Snoop Dogg ... see where we can come to common ground."

Even Senator Barack Obama compares rappers to Imus.

Truthfully, I don't know where this post-Imus debate is going to lead. I'm an action-oriented Villager. I like to do what I can do from where I'm at. So, I signed a petition created by Lisa Tundy that Bronze Trinity pointed out to me earlier this week. Here is what it says:
As members & supporters of the Black community, we the undersigned wish to express our outrage against the numerous rap artists whose lyrics and videos degrade women, Black women in particular, as well as themselves. Their incessant use of the terms ‘nigger', ‘bitch, and ‘ho' degrade the Black community. We also denounce their promotion of drug dealing and the poisonous culture of violence they perpetuate.

We realize freedom of speech is a value held dearly by all in the United States of America. That same freedom of speech which allows these artists to spew their poison is the same freedom that allows us to stand up and say: "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!"

We do not advocate censorship. We are advocating responsibility. Know that this promotion of prison culture has affected our youth. We must put the future of the Black community first! As such,
  • We will no longer support artists and media outlets who promote stereotypically demeaning images of Black women!!
  • We will not purchase music that categorically insults us!!
  • We will boycott BET, MTV, VH-1, mainstream radio and any other media outlet that supports and promotes artists who malign, debase, and otherwise disrespect Black people!!
  • We are speaking out against a culture that has been hijacked and turned into a vehicle of harm and degradation of an entire people!!
In the great tradition of our ancestors who began the Montgomery bus boycott, we will not financially patronize or support any entity that discriminates against us or disrespects our people!!

The Undersigned
I encourage all visiting villagers to support this effort. I was #277 on the petition list. At a minimum, I would love you to comment about your thoughts on the 'next steps' now that the Imus issue is closed?

digg story

April 10, 2007

National Debate on Race Relations

Kia and Epiphanny and Matee and Essence. Katie and Dee Dee and Rashidat and Myia and Brittany and Heather. A bunch of teenagers from Newark, Cincinnati, Brooklyn and, yes, Ogden, Utah, defying expectations. These are the ten young women that joined Coach C. Vivian Stringer in the NCAA championship game earlier this month. An improbable story of persistence, hard work and hope. The joy of their moment in the sun was robbed by the vicious words of Don Imus.

Yesterday, Imus enjoyed his white privilege to say and do anything that he wanted with impunity. Today, Imus feels the pain of his words.

Imus now understands that there are consequences for actions.

Many are calling for a national debate on race relations. Perhaps the debate can begin with the recognition that there are always consequences for actions (or non-action). Women Walking in Wisdom blog shared a poem on her blog from a young Black girl expressing her views about Imus’ commentary in the form of a powerful poem. You can see the pain and anger in her message. I invite villagers to slow down for a moment to read this poem.

By Yvonne Espinoza

We’re violent because this is all we know
You taught us this along time ago
We’re violent because you made us this way
You beat us naked, you hung our people,
Raped our kids and stripped us of our pride
And you now wanna ask why?
Give us a reason not to be
You can’t, it’s impossible

Because to give us a reason, you’d have to right all the wrong you’ve done
But you can’t and if you could then
You’ve only just begun
You’d have to beg for mercy, plead and cry
You’d have to feel the pain we felt
The pain that took lives

You go through the hardships,
The trials and tribulations,
The suffering, the heartache, the dying babies
You sit on a boat full of hundreds of sick,
Old people living to die
How about you dance to make money
Look ignorant on t.v.
Go to jail for nothing
Harassed because others don’t like what they see

Have your people get beat to death
By those who get paid to protect
You eat trash to survive
How about you watch your people and babies die
Get sold for a dime
Kill themselves because they don’t want to live this life

We went through it then and we go through it now
And you know it’s true, and you still ask why?
How dare you have the audacity
Who made you king?

Despite common belief and despite what you think
There is only one king, one God
And he walks with me, with us
The ones who were forced to live in grief
Who were cut, killed, raped and beat
Like animals, brainwashed to think like you

You hacked away, pulled and dragged us down
Until we didn’t want to be Black or Brown
We didn’t want to be Colored or Negroes
We wanted to be High, Suddity, White Folk
We thought if we looked, smelled, and act like you
We could live a regular life, and though we tried
You still continued to beat and lay us out
To hang us from our necks, to laugh at our bodies

You could never blame us for being this way
Because you taught us violence
So how dare you think of forming any kind of alliance
Now we know that two wrongs don’t make a right
But since we have none,
Why should we spare your life?

It’s your fault for all of this
And if you didn’t teach us violence
Then who did?
It couldn’t have been us
Because, remember, we’re ignorant!

You should be careful what you say
Because your words have power
Say it enough and it’ll come true…
I know you’ve heard of karma
God have mercy on you.

Let the national debate on race relations begin. What are your comments on the poem? On a larger scale ... how do you think we can engage one another here in the blogosphere on this discussion about race relations?

April 9, 2007

5 More Blogs That Make Me Think

It hasn't been a full three months yet since my first blog post. It is wonderful to have an outlet such as this to share insights and thoughts on the issues of the day. My hope is that the Electronic Village becomes a daily destination for others in cyberspace interested in talking about Black culture, family, information technology, science fiction, small business development or any number of other topics. I ask that you imagine yourself sitting in the shade under our baobob tree ... enjoying libations and good company of other villagers ... sharing your comments, insights and thoughts.

We are pleased that our imagery appeals to a growing number of visiting villagers. One of the first people to visit with us was Jim Walton (Black in Business). Jim named the Electronic Village as one of the five blogs that make him think. Not Fearing Change did the same thing last month. It is humbling that both of these experienced bloggers feel we deserve The Thinking Blogger Award. My responsibility is to return the favor. I must abide by the rules of this award and name five blogs that make me think.

The first 5 blogs that make me think are still going strong.

Here are 5 more:
  1. African American ~Black~ Opinion - This is actually a repeat from last time. However, I am even more intriqued by the direction that Bro. Rock is taking his blog. He is providing a portal for other bloggers in the Afrosphere to make their voices heard. This blog is one that I read daily. You may want to check 'em out regularly as well.
  2. the field negro - I absolutely love the House Negro of the Day and Movie of the Day features that field announces every day. He recently shared his thoughts on 'patio negros' that caused some introspection on my part. I'm probably a 'patio negro' at this stage of my life. Come correct to the field negro ... or don't come at all. However, if your self-esteem is high, then I recommend the field negro blog to anyone interested in candor about race relations issues in our country.
  3. Fort Wayne African American Independent Woman - credo is the creative genius behind this blog focused on local, regional, and national politics, race relations, community affairs, economic development for small businesses. She is generous in her comments here on the Electronic Village. She was the first to introduce me to the concept of the Afro-Spear. Her blog consistently gives me reasons to sit back and ponder the state of things.
  4. The 'D' Spot - Keith is one of the best writers that I've seen in the blogosphere. He uses words to paint a picture. He takes the time to look at issues from a variety of perspectives in a humorous manner. The 'D' Spot focuses on issues related to Detroit, however, anyone that lives in any big city in America will find posts on this blog that resonate with them.
  5. Paula Mooney - Paula has a self-titled blog that moves from topic to topic. Quite a few of her posts are about entertainment issues. However, I come back to her blog most of the time to pick up tips on how to monetize my blog. She has been very candid about the money she's earned from blogging. I find her tips easier to understand than many of the other power bloggers out there. Anyhow, I do recommend Paula's blog for any of us newbie bloggers that think we want to get some nickels and dimes back from our online efforts.
These are five more blogs that make me think. Obviously, there are dozens of other blogs and bloggers out there that we enjoy here in da Village. Many of the ones that we enjoy are included in our Afrosphere, Cool and Nubian blogrolls over in the left-hand navigation bar. However, the rules of this meme limit me to handing out the award to only five blogs. It is now the responsibility of these five villagers to write a post with links to 5 blogs that make them think.

Have you visited any of the five blogs listed above? Do you have any comments on them that you would like to share?

April 5, 2007

Obama Says No to Fox Debate

Barack Obama will not participate in a presidential debate sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus scheduled to air on Fox News in September. In other words, he decided not to dance with the devil.

April 4, 2007

Imus Should be Fired

Village Update - MSNBC has canceled its "Imus in the Morning" simulcast!

I've listened to Don Imus on & off since I lived in New York back in 1996-1998. I think that he came into my consciousness because I was in New York and he broadcast his show from that town. I don't think his radio show is carried in Cincinnati. In any case, I don't listen to him on the radio. However, I do watch his MSNBC simulcast on a semi-regular basis in the morning. I watch the show more regularly during political campaign season as he brings some good guests ... including political candidates ... on his show. I enjoyed his overt campaigning on behalf of Harold Ford in his run for the U.S. Senate.

On the April 4 edition of MSNBC's Imus in the Morning, Imus referred to the Rutgers University women's basketball team, which is comprised of eight African American and two white players, as "nappy-headed hos" immediately after the show's executive producer, Bernard McGuirk, called the team "hard-core hos." Later, former Imus sports announcer Sid Rosenberg, who was filling in for sportscaster Chris Carlin, said: "The more I look at Rutgers, they look exactly like the [National Basketball Association's] Toronto Raptors."

McGuirk referred to the NCAA women's basketball championship game between Rutgers and Tennessee as a "Spike Lee thing," adding, "The Jigaboos vs. The Wannabees -- that movie that he had." McGuirk was presumably referring to Lee's 1988 film, School Daze (Sony Pictures), though co-host Charles McCord misidentified it as "Do the Right Thing" (Criterion, June 1989)."

Personally, I feel that anytime white folks try to pit us against ourselves it is in line with the message from the Willie Lynch letter many moons ago. Imus and his cronies try to pit us against each other. It won't work this time.

This isn't the first time Imus has pulled this kind of nonsense.

NBC had to apologize for Imus in 2004, after he called Palestinians "stinking animals" and referred to an Iraqi executed by a U.S. soldier as a "bobby-trapped, raghead cadaver." Imus' awful racial remarks, included calling the highly-regarded black journalist Gwen Ifill a "cleaning lady" when she was sent to cover the White House for the New York Times. Imus admitted to 60 Minutes that producer Bernard McGurk was brought on "to do nigger jokes," called Patrick Ewing "the missing link," Shaquille O'Neal "a car-jacker in shorts," and the Knicks "chest-bumping pimps."

NABJ called for us to boycott his show. But, in my view, Imus should either resign or be fired from his radio show. There is no place in the media for a bigoted jerk.

I see that MSNBC and CBS Radio suspended him for two weeks from the simulcast television show. In my view, a two-week suspension isn't enough for the repeated pattern of racist comments that come from Imus and his colleages. Methinks that Imus' career in radio and television is over. Any good that he does with causes such as autism, cancer or care for our veterans is overshadowed by his continued degradation of African Americans. Period.

- Trash Talk Radio - Gwen Ifill
- Misogyny in the Morning - Eugene Robinson
- Don Imus and Barack Obama - Joseph Palermo
- What the Media WON'T TELL YOU - Post on Highbrid Nation blog

Imus should be fired. That's my view. Apparently, Bigelow Tea, Procter & Gamble and Staples agree with me. They pulled their advertising from the show!

What are your comments on this situation?

April 1, 2007

Black Family Pledge

We are finished with the first part of 2007. Time marches on. I wonder if we are making a difference here in the Electronic Village or in other cyberplaces throughout the diaspora? I realize that bloggers are not obligated to have a socially conscious desire to 'make a difference'. Many of us come to our blogs to escape from some aspects of our real lives. However, I have a nagging belief that we can do more. I know that I can do better.

I would love to see the spirit of Umoja fill each of us. I thought it was wonderful to see Theo, YBP Guide and others fight for justice in the case of the young sister from Paris, Texas who was imprisoned on a 7-year humbug.

I think it is great that African American Opinion blog is bringing us together via his cross-posting idea.

What can we do? Whatever it is ... it begins with you and me. It begins today. I am reminded of the powerful words from Dr. Maya Angelou. I invite you to join me in taking the Black Family Pledge!

by Dr. Maya Angelou

Because we have forgotten our ancestors,
our children no longer give us honor.

Because we have lost the path our ancestors cleared, kneeling in perilous undergrowth,
our children cannot find their way.

Because we have banished the God of our ancestors,
our children cannot pray.

Because the long wails of our ancestors have faded beyond our hearing,
Our children cannot hear us crying.

Because we have abandoned our wisdom of mothering and fathering,
our befuddled children give birth to children they neither want nor understand.

Because we have forgotten how to love, the adversary is within our gates,
and holds us up to the mirror of the world, shouting, "Regard the loveless".

Therefore, we pledge to bind ourselves again to one another,
To embrace our lowliest,
To keep company with our loneliest,
To educate our illterate,
To feed our starving,
To clothe our ragged,
To do all good things,
knowing that we are more than keepers of our brothers and sisters.

We are our brothers and sisters.

In honor of those who toiled and implored God with golden tongues,
and in gratitude to the same God who brought us out of hopeless desolation,
We make this pledge.

This is no April's Fools joke. Isn't it time that each of us step up? Villagers ... do you have a comment to share on this Black Family Pledge?