Collateral Damage

I don’t know if Eddie Long is gay; I don’t know if these allegations of sexual abuse are true.  I suspect, however, that on some level they are, and that Eddie Long, again  on some level, probably enjoys the (sexual) company of men.  As a rule, I think just about everybody is a little bit gay, especially those who shout their homophobia the loudest.  That said, there are plenty of internet sites and Twitter accounts blabbing on and on about either issue, so I won’t belabor either point here.  Yet I would like to make–or perhaps simply echo–something that may or may not be receiving as much attention as the speculation about Long’s sexuality and the validity of the claims made in the lawsuits against him.

Nuance: Are “Liberals/Radicals/Progressives” to blame for Eddie Long’s Misuse of Power?

It’s six in the morning and I am asking myself the question, “How do you have a more nuanced conversation about Eddie Long’s sexual indiscretions and misuse of power without demonizing the Black Church or silencing the three young men’s stories by wholeheartedly denying the acts ever happened?” Honestly, it appears as if the conversation is either two extremes.

The first being: “[Most scholarly tone] See, Eddie Long is why I left the church . . . I told you the Black Church was homophobic . . . I don’t do organized religion,” and the second conversation being: “[the voice of my grandmother] We all have our Crosses to bare and just like Brother Paul thorns in our flesh . . . we will pray for Eddie Long.” On a whole, I am trying to figure out what is gained by such a conversation besides hurt feelings and thrown liberal and fundamentalist daggers of self-righteousness.

How do we have a more nuanced conversation

Black Tongues Get Bombs

Would someone please walk with me and ease my fears of fighting giants amused by the sight of my teeth eating dirt? My first experience of Philly left my legs in a sprint running away from a specific street intersection because it occurred to me that there stands land that will never be mine, that will never be ours. Hell burns where one of Philly’s most famous attraction, Geno’s, yells “go back home, this is my country” from its steel belly. How can this be? People with power still think that there’s something wrong with shackles not grabbing my ankles. You are still a nigger, politically.

Internetting while black

My friend and I have a joke (and I’m sure tons of other people) that the worst thing to happen to black people was integration. However, I’ve been distancing myself from that joke and not because I live in multi-culti New York and not because I love the good part of gentrification (the little intimate grocery stores, stop signs, rapid police response, quiet nights) but because there is a new number one worst thing: the Internet!

Of course, there’s no disputing the role the Internet plays in our culture. Over a very small period of time, the World Wide Web has evolved from this place used to send mail and watch porn to a place where once can make phone calls, complete college applications, find a job, read the news, and unfortunately show your ass, both literally and figuratively. And everyone can do these things. I won’t go as far as to say equally, but according to Thomas L. Friedman, author of The World is Flat, the playing field has been greatly leveled. Let’s not confuse this universal access to technology with equality. I’m cautious about referring to it as some great equalizer, even when most of us (sorry China) can Google anything. It is probably fair to say, whether you are blogging about politics or uploading a filmed fight, there is risk. And that risk may be greater given the color of your skin.

Nowadays, a job interview is not simply about going in with the best resume and the best references, but about having the most clean public image. “Clean” of course, being a relative term. Whatever, the case, it is probably not the smartest move in an economy with a 10% unemployment rate, and still in an era of “Why Jamal can’t get a job” to be online railing against the white man. Beyond the job market, there are the fat girls singing on tables, the mothers teaching babies how to roll blunts, the homemade sex tapes, and every other type of trifling exposure of black people. Every time I log onto Bossip (love this site) or see some other random colored story, I think of how much the internet is responsible for making linked fate a modern day curse.

September 13, 2010 – September 19, 2010

Jobless youth ‘a time bomb
Caiphus Kgosana, Times Lives, September 19, 2010

Empowerment Program Offers Youths a Second Chance
Ronnie Figueroa, South Florida Times, September 18, 2010

Youth unemployment affects mental health and wellbeing new report shows
Ruth Dayspring, Black Mental Health, September 17, 2010

City Takes on Youth Violence Prevention
Jonathan Friedman, The Lookout, September 17, 2010

Youth Violence Linked to Unsupervised Socializing
Staff Writer, Ozarks First, September 17, 2010

Jersey City church hosting crusade against youth violence
Staff Writer, The Jersey Journal, September 17, 2010

Arrest made in Facebook threats
Staff Writer, The Advocate, September 16, 2010

Affirmative Action and law school
James Studdard, Fayette Daily, September 16, 2010

Black college reps recruit in Oakland
Wendi Jonasson, Laney Tower, September 16, 2010

Struggling students + best teachers = success
David Perlmutt, Charlotte Observer, September 16, 2010

New Palm Beach County schools task force on black male student suspensions, achievement
Marc Freeman, Sun Sentinel, September 15, 2010

Minority SAT scores surge as participation drops in Montgomery
Lisa Gartner, Washington Examiner, September 15, 2010

President Obama Talks to the Youth of America
Michael Covin, Newark Independent Examiner, September 15, 2010

Youth violence prevention gets council’s support
Nick Taborek, Santa Monica Daily Press, September 15, 2010

Black Expo event focuses on addressing youth violence
Vic Ryckaert, Indiana Star, September 15, 2010

Youth funding questioned
Tim Louis Macaluso, Rochester City News Paper, September 15, 2010

Two youth make a living from painting
Oaitse Mathala, The Gazette, September 15, 2010

Middle Schools Are Disciplining Kids by Throwing Them Away
Michelle Chen, ColorLines, September 14, 2010

All-Campus’ Approach to Black College Fund Raising
Staff Writer, Inside Higher Ed, September 14, 2010

SAT scores show widening achievement gap
Denise Smith Amos, Cincinnati News, September 13, 2010

Going Beyond for Black Boys
Staff Writer, Hip Hop Press, September 13, 2010

Black Student Success Committee gives students access to resources
Michael Needham, The Accent, September 13, 2010

More Washoe County minority students take ACT
Michael Martinez, RGJ News, September 13, 2010

Black Student Union sets AIDS Rally
Staff Writer, UD Daily, September 13, 2010

Young voters should vote with responsibility, not brashly
Judith Schomp, Skiff Daily, September 13, 2010

100 Black Men of Syracuse offers role models to city youths
Maureen Nolan, The Post Standard, September 13, 2010

A Review: Waiting for Superman

Tonight I got the opportunity to watch a private viewing of the new critically acclaimed documentary film titled Waiting for Superman, made by director Davis Guggenheim (who won a 2006 Academy Award for An Inconvenient Truth). It is being released this Friday (A must see). The film delves through the various facets of the failing education system and the cultural and social aspects of our society that create “drop out factories, academic sinkholes”, and ultimately shape a country that has not been able to reform the school system after attempting for multiple decades.

Overall the film was amazing, while following the lives of 5 students and their families it displayed an authentic and heartwarming view of the struggles and sacrifices made to find a good education in the 21st century. The film breaks down the negative realities of the incoherent and inconsistent academic standards that exist around country and through Geoffery Canada (Founder of the Harlem Children’s Promise Zone), it also sheds light on how to architect a school that believes it takes a “village to raise a child.”

Girls Have To Do What They Can

The pressure is on for Afghani women to predict the gender of the children they give birth to and the pressure is on for those children to be boys.  An Afghani custom that seems to have gone on for years is to dress one young girl in the family as a boy, cut her hair short and have her act like a boy in public. The name for this is bacha posh which means literally ‘dressed up as a boy.’

The Devil Wears Populism On His Sleeve

If one were to just read the preamble of the United States Constitution it would be reasonable for them to believe that this country is a system based on pluralistic values and populism: “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” The glowing language would conjure up images of people working in a concerted effort to provide the best quality of life for its citizenry. Too bad that’s not the case. We are living in an age where politics is superseding policy. We are living in the days where candidates are posturing themselves as down-to-Earth (because the opposite party is always “out of touch”) populists who are trying to protect the American proletariat from the shamefully corrupt and selfish Leviathan-like government. Candidates galore claim to be speaking up for the voiceless working-class Americans who are struggling to make ends meat. While this narrative may sound good for television ads and might even win them a few speaking gigs at some swanky political fundraisers (which are all raising money for the “people” of course) it has not materialized into real change for the American people. We as Americans have been hit in the face with lies so much that we are punch drunk and if we are not careful, misleading politicians may bite our ears off. Let’s separate fact from fiction.

The Fantasy of Football

A few years ago during a trip to Las Vegas, NV (the only place not named Fort Wayne, Indiana where my father willingly spends the night), I spied Doug Williams in the food court of an outlet mall.  My father, sister, and I were sitting at a table eating crappy fast food when I spotted a really big black guy I knew I wasn’t related to heading in our direction.  I told my dad, and as Doug Williams walked by, my dad said his name and Doug Williams waved.  My dad seemed really excited, so I convinced my sister to go ask Mr. Williams to take a picture with him; he was kind enough to oblige.  I remember two things about that day: 1. My father calling everybody he knew and telling them how he took a picture with Doug Williams, and 2. How Doug Williams shuffled through the food court.

For those of you not at all invested in American football, Doug Williams is known for being the first black man to quarterback an NFL team, the Washington Redskins, to a Super Bowl win; he’s still the only black man to do so.  I know that doesn’t seem like a big deal with Donovan McNabb, Jason Campbell, and Michael Vick having all stood under center as starting quarterbacks just yesterday, but  a black quarterback circa 87-88 was the equivalent to a married black woman in 2010 (I kid, I kid).  Doug Williams was the man.  Cheering for him (and Warren Moon) was a bazillion times more intense than rooting for the black person on Jeopardy! And leading the Redskins over John Elway and the Denver Broncos earned him a spot as a minor deity in the pantheon of black American heroes.  Seriously, he sits right next to Tupac and Richard Roundtree.