BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2017: Just A Few Thoughts

celebrating-black-history-month

A great shot of some extremely well known people; I had the pleasure of meeting the guy with the boxing gloves in the upper left hand corner. Photo courtesy of 1966mag.com

 

MUSINGS FROM A MIDDLE AGED AFRICAN AMERICAN MALE

 

It’s my regret that I’m giving homage to Black History Month on this blog with just a few days to go in the month.

But as they say, no use crying over spilled milk.

Or better late than never; take your pick.

 

Having said that…

In light of our new President-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’s regime, who’s celebrating one month in office and – as we all know – has attacked every group of people not white, male, Christian, conservative, gay, wealthy, or a combination of those six attributes,

It seems like we need events such as Black History Month more than ever.

Particularly since it seems to be a bad time to be black – or any person of color who’s not named Clarence Thomas,  Ben Carson, Omarosa Manigault, Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz – right now, what with the increased racist/sexist/homophobic/Islamophobic attacks across America.

Living in California, the deepest of blue states, I’m honestly a tiny bit scared to go east of the Colorado River as while I refuse to say that every white person, or white Republican for that matter, is a bigot who feels that people who look like me are naturally inferior and  need to stay “in their place”,  it seems that too many whites have that mentality in the red states.

The comments I read from every article that talks about racial issues are an illustration of this thought, as you would think some of those folks writing such comments are carrying their Ku Klux Klan cards in their back pockets with white sheets hanging in their closets.

I feel thankful that I live in a relatively liberal area and subsequently have not seen or experienced any real, hardcore ideological or racial animosity.

At least not so far, thank God and knock wood.

 

black-history-month

A really good message that needs to always be remembered. Image courtesy of wesleyunited.org

 

Personally, I feel Black History Month is sorely needed to remind Americans of how without Black people of African descent, there wouldn’t be an America.

And not just due to the 246 years of chattel slavery as so many things that we use and take for granted, from peanut butter to potato chips to the stoplight to open heart surgery, was invented by an African-American.

Imagine if blacks – as well as women, gays, and other people of color – were celebrated every month of the year rather than merely the one designated for them (the shortest month in the case of African-Americans).

Then perhaps a guy like our new Commander-In-Chief (my personal refusal to mention his name on this blog remains in effect) would never have been elected.

And there wouldn’t be a need for groups such as Black Lives Matter.

 

The irony of all of this, from a personal standpoint:

I won’t go into any details now, but in my book describing my experiences with having Asperger’s Syndrome, “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS”, which I’m in the final stages of editing and will begin the self-publishing process soon, there’s a chapter detailing my experiences of being black on the Autism Spectrum.

Unfortunately it hasn’t been the most fun experience, but that’s all I’m going to say at this time; you’ll just have to read chapter four of the book.

All right, I said I had just a few thoughts about this year’s Black History Month.

And I’m going to stick to that as I don’t want to ramble or go on and on save for this…

All I can do is as far as the extremely fragmented situation that this country is in is two things:

1. Hold good, optimistic thoughts,

and…

2. Be the best person I can be.

Which I reckon is all anyone could or should do.

 

 

full_pkn_20v13-064

Being the longtime baseball and softball guy that I am, this is perhaps the part of the African-American experience that I’m most proud of: The (so-called) Negro Leagues, with its two greatest stars, Satchel Paige (left) and Josh Gibson (right) featured here. I’ll be writing an article about these and the great black players from that era soon on this blog. Photo courtesy of pechakucha.org

 

Advertisements

Why I’m NOT Voting For Trump: My Thoughts Regarding This Presidential Election

election-5-1024x682

Image courtesy of hamodia.com

 

HOW I SEE THIS COUNTRY UNDER TRUMP AND CONSERVATIVE RULE, AND WHY I’M AFRAID OF THAT.

I’ll get right to the point:

I am NOT a big fan of Hillary Clinton.

Not because of any dishonesty she may have exuded over Benghazi or because of some emails – to be honest, I really don’t care about how she may have lied about those; who cares about a bunch of emails?

I’m not a big fan of Clinton because I see her as a retread, someone who has been around a long time and whose time has passed.

I wanted someone new and relatively unknown to take over for Barack Obama, which is one reason why I voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary as the fact that Obama wasn’t really known outside of Chicago and Hawaii was one factor in his becoming President and staying in the White House for eight years.

Though I still see Clinton as a retread, since this election season began I always said that if Clinton’s the nominee, I’d vote for her because an America under Donald Trump – or any Republican for that matter – scares me personally.

Here’s why…

First, the slogan “Make America Great Again” in the hearts of conservatives should more accurately say: “Make America White, Male, and Straight Again” , and any conservative who denies this is lying to themselves.

The instances of Trump bad mouthing, insulting, and demeaning anyone and everyone not white and male has been too well documented throughout this campaign.

Which of course is one reason why I’m not voting for him.

However, besides the obvious issues regarding Trump being a less than scrupulous businessman, having filed for bankruptcy more than once and failing to pay those who built his hotels and other buildings; you should see how so many people in his hometown New York City talk about him, they loathe him so much,

I’ve never voted for any conservative in the 31 years that I’ve been eligible to vote, for these reasons:

  1. Conservatives don’t care about people of color, as I fear that the clock would be turned back on African-Americans, Latinos, and anyone else not white. The crusade against Civil Rights will be turned up several notches, and I see the open warfare against black males in particular in the form of racial profiling and shootings by the police quadrupled under a Trump administration. Not to mention a much bigger open hunt against Latinos and Muslims in the form of that “build a wall” pledge; that should go without saying. In other words, conservatives feel that anyone not white is somehow lesser and should be put “in their place”, which is precisely what will be attempted if Trump is elected. In fact, I wouldn’t rule out an attempt to return to the “Jim Crow” segregation laws that were a big part of the American landscape for decades.
  2. Conservatives don’t care about the poor or those who have fallen on hard times. If they did, they would leave social programs such as welfare and social security alone rather than try to defund them, as I’m sure Trump will try to do as President. The rampant homeless problem would explode out of control due to cuts to programs that help the downtrodden.
  3. Conservatives don’t care about the true equality of women.  I don’t have to remind anyone about all the nasty things Trump has said regarding the female gender, but besides that, it has been evident to me that conservatives feel that like gays, blacks, Latinos and other people of color, women are somehow lesser and should be kept “in their place”. Not to mention not having the right to decide what to do with their own body.
  4. Conservatives don’t care about the environment.  Their convictions about climate change being a hoax has been well documented and is certainly a prime example of this. Under conservative rule, American will see the green movement die and the environment devastated beyond repair through deregulation, all for the sake of profits.
  5. Conservatives don’t care about education for those who aren’t affluent.  Public school budgets have been more or less destroyed by budget cuts under Republican administrations, and a Trump presidency would see a return to that.

As someone who’s an African-American male and not wealthy by any means, any government under conservative control would hurt me.

That’s why I’ve always taken major elections like this one personally.

Whenever I read comments to online articles regarding racial or gender issues, the nasty things that folks have said, even to the point of using the “N” word,  particularly scares me as those are the people who are conservative and have supported Trump.

A Trump presidency would be a tragedy for anyone not white, male, rich, conservative, or straight.

Since I’m black, liberal and definitely not rich, I would be devastated.

Which is why though I would rather see someone else in the White House, someone new and fresh like Obama was, I’ve already voted for Clinton.

And I’m fervently hoping and praying that our first woman president will be giving her first speech as President-Elect on the evening of November 8th.

 

i-voted-sticker

Image courtesy of robingorsline.com

 

IF JESUS WERE IN AMERICA TODAY

 

0df7a2e4bb87d35a469d5a1961ef4e0a

The best (classic) rendition of Jesus Christ: Robert Powell as our Lord and Savior in 1977’s “Jesus of Nazareth”. Photo courtesy of pinterest.com

 

WHAT WOULD OUR LORD AND SAVIOR DO?

HOW WOULD HE REACT TO ALL THE NEGATIVE MADNESS THAT’S CURRENTLY GOING ON IN THIS COUNTRY?

 

Although I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, asking him to forgive my sins and come into my life a few years ago, I don’t regard myself as overly religious.

I have never been a pushy salesman (and I never intend to be one), getting into strangers’ faces and forcefully telling them, “You’re going to go to hell unless you accept Jesus right now!” like some folks do, which has happened to me on college campuses and elsewhere.

And I have definitely not gone around knocking on people’s doors like the Jehovah’s Witnesses are famous for doing.

In fact, what I’ve always liked to say was…

“I’ve accepted and believe that Jesus Christ is my personal Lord and Savior.”

“I also believe in religious freedom, and that it’s neither my place nor my business to tell people how to worship God, or to force others to believe what I believe.”

Having said that…

I’ve often wondered what our Lord would do and say if He visited these United States of America today, how He would react to all the negativity that’s been going on.

Here are my guesses; of course there are merely my opinions:

 

9520-teens_jesus-tshirts-630w-tn

I like this pic, young folks paying homage to our Savior. Photo courtesy of christianity.com

 

For starters, I have a very good idea about what Jesus would say to guys like Donald Trump and all of the other billionaires who earned their riches off of the backs of the poor and working class,

“Go and sell everything you have, and give the money to the poor, and you shall have treasure in Heaven.” (Matthew 19:21)

And after Trump and the rest of the billionaires walked away after giving Jesus an incredulous look that said, “I can’t do that!”, our Lord would comment:

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24)

This is proof that Jesus is the Original Socialist as His creed was, in a nutshell – besides believe in Him and that He is the Son of God who rose from the dead for our sins,

SHARE THE WEALTH AND HELP THE POOR.

Which was what Karl Marx would later advocate in the 19th century.

Speaking of the poor, Jesus would also spend much of not all of his time among the homeless and others who are so-called “down and out”, comforting them and doing whatever was necessary to ease their suffering.

I’m also convinced that He would say this to those ministers and others from the religious right, those who have displayed their animosity and extreme lack of compassion for gays, people of color, and anyone else who doesn’t think exactly like them, as well as anyone who is among the less fortunate, those who have lost their jobs and homes through no fault of their own who are basically told by these far right folks to shove it and pull themselves up by their own bootstraps when their boots have been taken away:

“I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:23)

I know there’s a lot of other stuff that our Lord would be doing if He was in this country today, but to list them all would take several hours.

Hopefully I have provided a tiny bit of comfort to those who aren’t having it so good.

 

742d492c43c437b936a67946efa63fc0

A quote from one of the greatest women – people, really – who ever lived. Photo courtesy of pinterest.com

The One Thing I Wish For Regarding Race and Racial Issues

 

 

hrzgal.race

 

Getting right to the point, as there have been SO much stuff on this issue, what with the recent police killings of unarmed Black men in South Carolina and Ferguson, MO and that racist song sung by that fraternity at the University of Oklahoma…

I can sum up what I wish for as far as this centuries-long cancer in three words:

RAW, NAKED HONESTY

I am sick and tired of conservative whites proclaiming how they are not racist, but then spout views and opinions that show them to be otherwise.

To illustrate what I am wishing for not only whites, but for all Americans regardless of color…

Remember the movie 42, which detailed Jackie Robinson’s struggle to break the color line in Major League Baseball with the Brooklyn Dodgers and starred Chadwick Bozeman as the pioneering legend and Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey, Jackie’s mentor and the one who signed him?

Remember the scene where during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Philadelphia manager Ben Chapman, a native Alabaman (played by Alan Tudyk), stepped out of the dugout every time Jackie came to bat and screamed some blatantly vile, bigoted things such as (besides the n-word, which he repeatedly shouted at the top of his lungs)…

“Hey, porch monkey!”

“Tar baby’s skin gonna melt!”

“Which one of the white boys’ wives are you gonna climb on tonight?”

(When Jackie’s hat flew off) “Why don’t you leave it on the ground and do a little dance; put some money in it?”

Of course what Chapman did was absolutely despicable, and I think at least 99% of those who saw 42 would agree, no matter what race or political ideology they were.

As much of an evil person as he was, there is one thing that I will say in Chapman’s behalf:

HE WAS HONEST IN HIS VIEWS.

Which Malcolm X discussed at length in his classic autobiography when he stated this about Southern whites like Chapman:

“The white Southerner was always given his due by Mr. (Elijah) Muhammad (former leader of the Nation of Islam). The white Southerner, you can say one thing – he is honest. He bares his teeth to the black man; he tells the black man, to his face, that Southern whites will never accept phony ‘integration’. The Southern white goes further, to tell the black man that he means to fight him every inch of the way, even against the so-called ‘tokenism’. The advantage of this is the Southern black man never has been under any illusions about the opposition he is dealing with.”

I will add to what Malcolm said and state that this paragraph from his book can apply to anyone who makes known his or her true feelings on how they negatively regard races or ethnic groups that are different from his or hers, as opposed to what’s the norm today; people – predominantly conservatives and conservative politicians – who disguise their racism in the policies that they enact and support that hurt African-Americans, Latinos (re: immigration), gays, and others who are not conservative and (mostly) white.

Not to mention folks who deny jobs to people of color when they are far and away the most qualified person for that job, as what happened to me when I was passed over for a softball coaching position because someone else had “asked first” when the prospective employer took one look at me, after she was clearly impressed with my resume and what I was telling her about my experiences over the phone.

As well as those who follow blacks and Latinos around in stores because they are convinced that they might steal something.

And let’s not even talk about all the racial profiling (which I was also a victim of in the past) and “Driving While Black” incidents that continue to be quite common; I could elaborate on the recent episodes that have been all over the news lately, but that issue has been done to death in the media and will result in an entirely different article if I was to go there.

Crispin Sartwell (who happens to be white), in an opinion article he wrote a few years ago called “White America Needs Its Bigotry”, puts things in perfect perspective when he made these different points:

*  “Most white people think that racism today is limited to a few crazy extremists…We still associate racism with the Ku Klux Klan (and) bigots in the Deep South.”

*  “Average white people don’t think they are racists. Because they would never utter the “n-word” or eat in segregated restaurants or teach their children explicitly that black people are inferior, they believe they cannot be prejudiced.”

*  “There continues to be a huge disparity between the incomes and employment prospects of the races. And white Americans continue to harbor the attitudes that preserve these conditions.”

*  “With a bigot, you know where you stand. But what do you do when someone smiles in your face and doesn’t hire you? Or denies their racism, then follows you around their store because they think you are a shoplifter (or, I may add, stops you in the street because you “fit the description” of some criminal)?”

That last point is the kind of bigotry – a gentler, more subtle kind of bigotry but bigotry nonetheless – that people of color, mostly African-Americans and Latinos, deal with today.

Which personally upsets me more than if someone told me flat-out: “I don’t like n*****s”, because like that Phillies manager of so long ago, that person using the n-word would be proving that he or she is honest.

And it’s that raw, naked honesty that’s SO needed if this country is to truly deal with this issue and these cultural tensions that currently permeate – and always have permeated – this landscape.

Do I think that all whites are like this or have these views?

Of course not! And I don’t think Sartwell feels that way either.

But far too many folks feel this way.

And in my view, one is too many.

I didn’t mean to take this long on this subject, so I’ll end by saying this:

As far as I’m concerned, I honestly don’t know what else is there to say.

 

 

Perfect Sign

This sign expresses these current race issues perfectly