“A man with the Bible in one hand and a whip in the other will use the Bible to justify the whip.”
There will be no seventh trial for Curtis Flowers. If the Supreme Court of the United States doesn’t vacate the 2010 conviction in the Flowers case, jaws across America will hit the floor. Mine will be one of them. Curtis is almost sure to get … Continue reading Why there will be no trial seven for Curtis Flowers
By Alan Bean
Joseph Mathews is a writer and public speaker who is currently working on his doctorate in urban youth culture and education at Columbia University. I met Joseph at an organizing meeting at Friendship West Baptist Church in Dallas in 2007. When he learned that I had been the first outsider to organize in Jena, Louisiana, he asked if he could visit the community with me. He was interested in shooting a documentary. When he met some of the Jena 6 defendants it took him about ten seconds to get them rapping. In the picture to the left, Joseph is filming their impromptu performance.
My response to the Richard Sherman post-game rant differs from Joseph’s. For one thing, I have followed Michael Crabtree’s career since he played at Texas Tech and didn’t like hearing his talents impugned. To me, Sherman sounded more like a professional wrestler than a football player. Moreover, he was giving full, uncut expression to the hyper-competitive aspect of American athletics that has always repelled me.
But my first thought was, “Oh, no, the haters are going to have a field day with this.” Which, of course, they did.
Joseph identifies with Sherman at a much deeper level than I do because he shares so much of Sherman’s experience. Growing up as a gifted athlete who initially struggled academically, Joseph has experienced prejudice and rejection firsthand.
When we were driving out of Jena after the big rally in September of 2007, Joseph kept saying, “Doc, could you slow down just a little bit?”
When I explained that we were just a couple of ticks over the speed limit, he said, “Doc, how many times have you been pulled over by the police?”
“Two or three times,” I replied.
“And why did they pull you over?” he asked
“Because I was way over the speed limit,” I admitted. “How many times have you been pulled over?”
“Thirty three times,” Joseph stated flatly, “and it is almost always for nothing.”
This deeply divergent life experience influences perception at a basic level.
Joseph Mathews is right: in the vernacular lexicon, “thug” has replaced the n-word. No one is going to call you a racist for characterizing Richard Sherman as a thug. As this interview clearly demonstrates, Sherman is a well-spoken, highly educated young man. He also grew up on the mean streets of Compton, New Jersey, and those streets will be with him to the day he dies.
Man! Richard I wish you would have told them that you graduated 2nd in your class from a high school in Compton and went to Stanford where you graduated with a 3.9 GPA! I wish you would have told them you were working on your Masters Degree! I wish you would have told them that you were not a thug but a hero to your hood because despite the odds, you accomplished your dreams! This is what I was thinking they should have had him saying as I sat in front of my TV and watched the Beats by Dre Head Phones commercial that set the stage for what was about to transpire around the country. During the NFC championship game between the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers, as the reporter on the commercial said to him “what do you think of being known as a thug around the league?” I shook my head as he just put his head phones on, because I knew what was coming. NFL defensive back Richard Sherman’s character was about to be assassinated, he was about to become the latest victim of the dreaded New N-Word “Thug”.
The indiscriminate labeling of black males as thugs has created an atmosphere of disdain and insensitivity and has made them targets of crime with very slim chances that they will get justice, compassion and least of all protection under the law. In the name of neutralizing so-called thugs, police have been allowed to shoot and kill unarmed black men like Oscar Grant and trigger happy citizens have been allowed to get away with with murdering unarmed children like Trayvon Martin.
The reality is that most people who subscribe to this white supremacist ideology don’t believe that Richard Sherman is a thug, but they do want him to be guilty of something because that would reinforce the negative raciest stereotypes of young black males that they hold onto to feel better about themselves. Richard Sherman is not guilty of being a thug. He is guilty of being something much more dangerous. He’s guilty of making certain white people uncomfortable. He is young, black, rich, educated, and cocky, feels he is the best, and is the best at what he does. But worst of all he is not afraid to let the world know. That is why in many ways Richard Sherman simultaneously represents the American dream and the American nightmare. He has the bravado, drive, and leadership abilities that are often touted as quintessentially American, BUT one of America’s greatest fears is for one of its black athlete’s (i.e. Mohamed Ali, Jim Brown, Paul Robeson ) to use their influence and platform to speak out against injustice and inequality. Richard Sherman has the potential to be that athlete. If they neutralize him with the “T” word before he recognizes his true potential then their fears will be put to rest — for now. So be careful not to think too much of yourself or you might be the next “N” Word, I mean thug.
By Alan Bean
Stephen Spielberg’s “Lincoln” pulled in $34 million over the Thanksgiving weekend, third best behind the new Twilight and James Bond movies. When I saw the film over the weekend, the audience applauded as the credits rolled–something you don’t see very often.
The film, loosely based on Doris Kearns-Goodwin’s book Team of Rivals, is relentlessly historical. Lincoln is portrayed as a bucolic Christ figure, but Spielberg stops short of turning The Great Emancipator into a comfortable citizen of the 21st Century. Constitutional equality applied to Negroes, said Lincoln; that meant abolishing the slave trade in every corner of the Union and little else. (more…)
Posted by Pierre Berastain
Meet Matthew Fogg, a former U.S. Marshal whose exploits led him to be nicknamed “Batman.” When he noticed that all of his team’s drug raids were in black areas, he suggested doing the same in the suburbs.
“If we were locking up everybody, white and black, for doing the same drugs they would’ve done the same thing with prohibition, they would’ve outlawed it,” Fogg says in the video produced by Brave New Films. “If it were an equal enforcement opportunity we wouldn’t be sitting here anyway.”
By Alan Bean
Like they say, you can prove anything with statistics. I got an email this morning pointing out the ten American cities with the highest rates of poverty all have Democratic mayors.
Here’s the list:
1. Detroit , MI 32.5%
2. Buffalo , NY 29.9% poverty rate
3. Cincinnati , OH 27.8%
4. Cleveland , OH 27.0%
5. Miami , FL 26.9%
6. St. Louis , MO 26.8%
7. El Paso , TX 26.4%
8. Milwaukee , WI 26.2%
9. Philadelphia , PA 25.1%
10. Newark , NJ 24.2%
And the moral of that is:
It is the poor who habitually elect Democrats yet they are still POOR!
You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away people’s initiative and independence.
You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.”
I have seen similar lists of American cities on racist websites. There, the moral is that many poor cities have black mayors which shows that black people are incompetent.
Now let’s consider the opposite indicator: the ten American cities with the largest concentration of high net worth individuals. These happen to be:
- New York (currently the mayor is independent, but NY historically favors Democrats)
- Los Angeles (Democratic mayor)
- Chicago (Democrat)
- Washington, D.C. (Democrat)
- San Francisco (Democrat)
- Philadelphia (Democrat)
- Boston (Democrat)
- Houston (Democrat)
- Detroit (Democrat)
- San Jose (Democrat)
How do we account for the fact that the American cities with the highest rates of poverty and the highest net worth individuals tend to have Democratic mayors? (Detroit, by the way, makes both lists because it’s economy, after several years of free fall, recovered remarkably last year with the rebirth of the auto industry.)
There are two reasons. (more…)
By Pierre R. Berastain
“I understand why people hung people from trees…[I] want to go home and put on my white pointy hat.” Those are the alleged words Denton County felony Prosecutor Cary Piel told his black co-worker Nadiya Williams-Boldware who sued in federal court and was awarded over half million dollars for the discriminatory incident.
After being called a troublemaker by a co-worker, dismissed by her boss—the supervisor happened to be Cary Piel’s wife— and turned away by the Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division, Boldware took her complaints to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The story can be found here.
After the verdict—on Monday, June 22, 2012—Denton County District Attorney Paul Johnson fired the four prosecutors who cost the county the hefty $510,000 penalty: Susan Peil, Cary Peil, John Renz, and Ryan Calvert. Calvert is Cary Peil’s brother-in-law, and Renza was Peil’s partner in court. Read more about the firings here.