The Same Ole Monsters Remain: Antoine Dodson and LGBTQ Youth

For the last month or so, I have been trying to wrap my mind around how Antoine Dodson’s instant celebrity fame helps his sister, Kelly Dodson. Yes, I know Antoine’s internet fame allowed him to move his family from a less safe neighborhood context to a safer residential area. But, the reasons why a man could easily climb through Kelly’s window without the fear of being accosted intending to rape her and the reasons for Antoine individual solution—“We will find you . . .”—have yet to be answered or addressed. However, what has transpired is that the Bed Intruder Song has gone viral to point that both Verizon (yes, the phone company) and Tea Party Candidate, Christine O’Donnell, have used the song to show the need for net neutrality (i.e. digital stratification and no FCC regulation of price) and how Chris Coons is a Democratic Bed Intruder so, “Hide your wills, hide your lights  . . . ‘Cause he’s taxing everything out here.” Honestly, as a black woman/advocate/feminist, I find Christine O’Donnell’s comparison of rape and taxing as what my grandmother would call, “dumb as bricks talking out the side of your neck” talk.

Obama tries to recapture his youth vote

Obama tries to recapture his youth vote
Christopher Nelson, The Grio, October 15, 2010

It may be 2010 but President Obama is trying to do what both his predecessors, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, tried to do before him, which is get young voters to “Rock the Vote”. The phrase often used during the early 1990s described the initiative which found singers, rappers, actors and other entertainers trying to bridge the gap between popular culture and politics, and such efforts may have been reinvigorated with Thursday’s youth town hall.

During the televised event hosted by BET, CMT, and MTV, the president took questions before an audience of 250 young people from diverse backgrounds. There were also an untold number of young people watching on television, via live stream over the Internet, or keeping up with the discussion on Twitter. The president’s hope in reaching out is that young voters will show up on Election Day, and choose between the candidates, hopefully casting a vote for the embattled Democrats.

Given the hardships faced by young African-Americans including near 50 percent teen unemployment, many political observers are unsure if young black voters will be willing to help Democrats hold onto control of Congress.

A new Pew Research poll says that 27 percent of young voters who identify as a Democrat have given a significant amount of thought to this year’s midterm election, down 20 points from the last midterm election four years ago.  (Read the full article)

The Cotton-Deep Rebel Era

The black hipster: a sneaker pimp wearing nothing other than Levi skinnies below the waist and a vintage Public Enemy snap back above the forehead, selects weapons of change from an arsenal of flannels and graphic tees. In the local boutique shelves, such as Leaders 1354 in Chicago, lie images of Huey P. Newton, Rosa Parks, Malcolm Little (Malcom X) and Martin Luther King Jr. on pieces on cotton. The people that rock these shirts continue to enunciate our message to the world, the world that only wants us to conform within the ideals of whiteness quietly. Although our struggle survives through style, it sounds like gibberish if it stays cotton-deep.

Civil Rights Complaints Against Schools Spike to Record High

Civil Rights Complaints Against Schools Spike to Record High
Julianne Hing, Colorlines, October 14, 2010

The Department of Education’s complaint box is filling up. The AP reported Tuesday that the DOE’s Office of Civil Rights is receiving a record number of complaints—7,000 this fiscal year—from people who say that students’ civil rights have been violated.

The complaints mark an 11 percent increase from the previous year, the largest jump in at least a decade.

What are folks complaining about? Harsh discipline and zero-tolerance policies that are meted out in unequal measures for black, Latino and white students. Kids with special needs who aren’t getting the right services. English language-learners who either languish in segregated classes for too long, or aren’t getting the help they need.

The DOE is currently conducting 54 compliance reviews of school districts and higher education institutions. The investigations are intended to figure out whether school districts have policies in place to protect students, and whether those policies are being implemented and enforced. This May, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that he was reviving the DOE’s Office of Civil Rights to begin investigating violations in schools. He said at the time that the investigations wold focus on the higher rates of discipline of students of color, and racial disparities in college-prep courses in certain high school.  (Read the full article)

Bishop Eddie Long and Male Rape

A few weeks ago when news broke about Bishop Eddie Long’s sexual exploitation of his church’s younger male patrons, one of my favorite news sites, Bossip, suggested the number would go as high as 30. I’ll admit the main blogger is a bit homophobic but for the most part, I tend to trust their sources. Anyway, what I found most interesting about the Eddie Long debacle, beyond the black church, beyond his hair piece, is that the hoards of cheering churchgoers inevitably made it that much more difficult for those other possible 26 victims to come out. In the end, it was clear who the more than 25,000 parishioners were more likely to believe.

It is fair to say that little good will come out of the Bishop Long scandal. It is possible he may still remain at the pulpit, that he will still preach to thousands about God, and that he will continue in his denial to perpetuate dangerous stereotypes about homosexuals. In many ways, he will inevitably become the victim of the gay regime and all those pushing for equality. Those who have been victimized will be seen as willing, as gold diggers, and as treacherous gay men trying to bring down the black church. Unfortunately, it will not be about male rape, as the revelation of male rape is almost always overshadowed by other circumstances. Either you were raped in prison which suggests you did something wrong in the first place or you were raped trying to join a gang, which shows you were doing wrong already. Either way, the issue of rape gets overshadowed.

Sadly, the Eddie Long drama hasn’t deepened the conversation about male on male sexual crime. Dave Chappelle does this skit about male rape and he makes it clear that it isn’t fashionable to admit to rape. Unfortunately, he is kind of right, you got to just “brush it off.”


Let's Remember the Fans

Sophocles once said that without labor, nothing prospers. This is true of all industries, but especially important to remember in professional sports. While the players are the face and backbone of organizations, and the owners and management function as the brains, we must not forget that it is the fans who serve the heart of teams. So many aspects of a professional franchises success depend on fan support and when leagues are unable to reach labor agreements, it is the heart of organizations that suffer the most.

Teams owe it to the fans to keep the hostility to a minimum when negotiating new collective bargaining agreements. Strikes and lockouts are economic disasters waiting to happen for both labor and management and it all depends on loss of fan support.

Lauded Harlem Schools Have Their Own Problems

Lauded Harlem Schools Have Their Own Problems
Sharon Otterman, New York Times | October 12, 2010

President Obama created a grant program to copy his block-by-block approach to ending poverty. The British government praised his charter schools as a model. And a new documentary opening across the country revolves around him: Geoffrey Canada, the magnetic Harlem Children’s Zone leader with strong ideas about how American education should be fixed.

Last week, Mr. Canada was in Birmingham, England, addressing Prime Minister David Cameron and members of his Conservative Party about improving schools.

But back home and out of the spotlight, Mr. Canada and his charter schools have struggled with the same difficulties faced by other urban schools, even as they outspend them. After a rocky start several years ago typical of many new schools, Mr. Canada’s two charter schools, featured as unqualified successes in “Waiting for ‘Superman,’ ” the new documentary, again hit choppy waters this summer, when New York State made its exams harder to pass.

A drop-off occurred, in spite of private donations that keep class sizes small, allow for an extended school day and an 11-month school year, and offer students incentives for good performance like trips to the Galápagos Islands or Disney World.   (Read the full article)

It Gets Better?, LGBTQ Suicide, & Pulling-Out Stories


Love always triumphs bias, love always triumphs discrimination, and love always triumphs homophobia…or at least I would like to think so. In the past 6 weeks alone there have been nine students to commit suicide due to bullying and harassment because they were LGBTQ. This not only makes me sad, but it makes me angry. I spent this past weekend with my family, and I once again felt the reality of how it feels to be a part of a group that is naturally hated in society. So many negative and inaccurate comments about the LGBTQ community that are based on either ignorance or just plain biblical misunderstanding. Whatever the problem is, these nine people recently took their own life because of this issue. Does it get better? It does, but only if we continue to push for change and progress in our society.

October 4, 2010 – October 10, 2010

Anti-gay black preachers supporting lesbian mayoral candidate in Oakland, Calif.
Staff Writer, Chicago News, October 10, 2010

NAACP holds event to address youth violence in St. Louis
Staff Writer, KMOV News, October 10, 2010

Black youth in need of mentors
Earlena Boswell, The Fam-U, October 10, 2010

Students Learn Power of the Press
Nancy Chapman, The Daily Stamford, October 9, 2010

NAACP addresses “resegregation” of N.C. schools
Jennifer Moxley, Carolina News, October 8, 2010

Young voter organizations in the United States
Sylvia Cochran, Yahoo News, October 8, 2010

Hitting the streets to end youth violence
Sharia Davis, FOX Toledo News reporter, October 8, 2010

HBCUs failing in financial aid accountability
Jabari Payne, The Fam-U, October 7, 2010

The National Black Law Students Association Hosts its 43rd Annual Convention March 9-13, 2011
Staff Writer, Free Press Release, October 7, 2010

Ignoring Race in Education Reform Will Do More Harm Than Good
Staff writer, The Atlanta Post, October 6, 2010

More MontCo students taking alternative route to diplomas
Lisa Gartner, Washington Examiner, October 6, 2010

Event spotlights HIV/AIDS and Black gay, bisexual youth
Mason Harrison, Windy City Times, October 6, 2010

Boston officials participate in national forum on youth violence prevention
Donovan Slack, Boston Globe, October 5, 2010

Young Blacks Unlikely To Rally Behind Democrats
Cathy J. Cohen, Black News, October 5, 2010

Political student groups debate midterm politics
Nick Cusack, Indiana Daily Study, October 5, 2010

Poor black students need parental support
Staff Writer, New Jersey Times, October 4, 2010

More City Students Affected by Foreclosures
Beth Fertig, WNYC, October 4, 2010

Rally targets violence as Chicago’s crime rate drops
Francine Knowles, Chicago Sun-Times, October 4, 2010

Youth Across North America Are Fighting For Their Future Climate
Subhankar Banerjee, Huffington Post, October 4, 2010

More non-black students attending historically black colleges
Samieh Shalash, Daily Press, October 4, 2010

I Like It On The Floor: Why Men Should Think Pink

As I wiped the residue from the corner of my eyes one morning I felt different. Somewhere in the depths of my soul I felt an inexplicable tingling sensation that was incessantly thumping. I drank a glass of water and peered out my window overlooking Lake Michigan. As I watched the unforgiving Chicago wind make ripples in a vast sea of blue I saw an over exaggerated reflection stare back at me. The grandeur image piercingly staring me in the eyes shared some phenotypical similarities with me. As I gazed longer at this ghastly apparition I began to see small images of women. The women were a motley crew; they were different ages and different backgrounds. I became frightened and began to frantically throw water on my face to ensure that I was not dreaming. Yet, even in my quest to get rid of these images I couldn’t help but hear these gossamers cry for help. Frightened and unsure of what was going on, I rushed from the mirror back to window to look out at Lake Michigan only to find that the water was some faint red color.  Soon I began to realize that these women were trying to tell me something. For some reason their message was unintelligible to me.  Feeling slightly delusional, I chose to return to my slumber to sleep off this strange episode that had occurred.  I thought by closing my eyes I could escape the subliminal messages that were bombarding me for attention.

Finally after a long and pleasant respite, I woke up feeling refreshed and confident that  my visions were merely a dream. So I got dressed and began to start my day. Yet, something still seemed different. I looked in my closet and all my red shirts seemed to be faded so much that they looked pink. What was going on? The amalgamtion of red and white began to consume my pupils. Scared and confused, I tried to make sense of what was going on, but still couldn’t wrap my head around it.