Clarence Thomas – I still don’t like him.

I remember , 20 years ago, rushing home to see the senate hearing on the confirmation of Clarence Thomas, a Black man, being considered for one of our nation’s highest offices, supreme court judge in 1991 after the retirement of Thurgood Marshall the first Black supreme court judge.  George W. Bush nominated Clarence Thomas to replace Thurgood Marshall who was nominated by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1967.   Marshall was chief counselor for the NAACP and his most famous case was the “Brown vs. the Board Of Education” that he successful argued before the Supreme Court.  Thurgood Marshall is on my list of heroes.  Unfortunately, Clarence Thomas is another story.

Thomas’ confirmation hearing was like a soap opera with the revelation that he had sexual harassed a fellow employee, Anita Hill, while he was her supervisor at the Department of Education and the EEOC.  Anita stated he, “”spoke about … such matters as women having sex with animals and films showing group sex or rape scenes …. On several occasions, Thomas told me graphically of his own sexual prowess …. Thomas was drinking a Coke in his office, he got up from the table at which we were working, went over to his desk to get the Coke, looked at the can and asked, “Who has put pubic hair on my Coke?”  She took a lie detector test and passed but Thomas refused to take the lie detector test.  Thomas was narrowly confirmed by a vote of 52 to 48.

At the time, stories were being told about how he talked bad about his sister because she was on welfare and how angry she would get if the check wasn’t in the mail as she expected it to be.  She was only unemployed and on welfare a short time and during that time she was taking care of an ailing elderly aunt.  Yes, there are those who dependent on the entitlement programs more than they should but to condemn your sister publicly is appalling.   Why couldn’t he step up and provide financial support.  In my opinion he has no sense of family.  When your mother abandons you or chooses her husband over you and send you a way to live with your grandparents then Clarence was bound to have issues going forward.

But, what I take offense to is the fact he has chosen to climb the ladder of “affirmative action” himself but remove the ladder for others.  Yes, this Black man feels that you should pull yourself up by your own bootstraps like he did.  Unfortunately, he has blinders on if he believes he got where he is today without special consideration.  He is considered a strong conservative on the court in his voting and decisions along with Justice Antonin Scalia.  A recent article by Juan Williams suggests Thomas is misunderstood and some things need clarified.

Williams proclaims that Clarence Thomas read the autobiography of Malcolm X and came to the belief of Black self-reliance, self-determination and self-sufficiency.  And, Thomas often quotes from Malcolm X:

“The American black man should be focusing his every effort toward building his own businesses and decent homes for himself. As other ethnic groups have done, let the black people, wherever possible, however possible, patronize their own kind and start in those ways to build up the black race’s ability to do for itself. That’s the only way the American black man is ever going to get respect.”

After reading Juan Williams article, “Clarence Thomas: Black Nationalist” in The Root last week, I came to the conclusion that it was a article written by someone that is not near and dear to my heart after the NPR-Fox News situation Juan found himself in a few years back.  So, now Juan wants us to believe that his friend Clarence Thomas is considered a Black trail-blazer like Booker T Washington or Malcolm X.  The one big difference is these men are respected icons of Black history.  Williams makes Clarence Thomas appear to be accepted by 48% of Americans but how many Black Americans accept him?

During the confirmation hearings, Representative John Lewis (D-Ga.), who was dedicated to the civil rights movement and protested with MLK, confided that he had been “advised by some that [he] should not testify against [Thomas] because he is black.” Repudiating that advice, Lewis contended that while “the color of [the nominee’s] skin is not relevant … his views and his qualifications are.” Convinced that Thomas wanted to “pull down the ladder that he climbed up,” Lewis begged his senatorial colleagues to nullify the nomination.   And, there were others who did not support his nomination for Supreme Court Justice.

Juan Williams paints Thomas as an independent thinker with this quote from Thomas:

“It pains me deeply — more deeply than any of you can imagine — to be perceived by so many members of my race as doing them harm … I have come here not in anger or to anger, though my mere presence has been sufficient, obviously, to anger some, nor have I come to defend my views, but rather to assert my right to think for myself, to refuse to have my ideas assigned to me, as though I was an intellectual slave.” 

If it walks like a duck, talk like a duck it’s probably a duck.  Same goes for those we call Uncle Toms.  Definition of an Uncle Tom: A Black man who will do anything to stay in good standing with “the white man” including betray his own people.

A year ago Mrs. Clarence Thomas left a voicemail message for Anita Hill: “Good morning, Anita Hill, it’s Ginny Thomas,” said the message. “I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband.” (She did conclude with “have a good day.”)

And the answer is no Mrs. Clarence Thomas Anita Hill has nothing to apologize for. In closing, I still don’t like him 20 years later!

Occupy Wall Street – The New Movement

We have all heard the term the” the haves” and “the have nots.”  Unfortunately, the wealth and power in America is held by 1% of the population and the rest of us fall in the 99% that are not wealthy and have no power.  The following statement from an article titled “The Economic Elite Have Engineered an Extraordinary Coup, Threatening the Very Existence of the Middle Class” by David DeGraw states, “It has now become evident to a critical mass that the Republican and Democratic parties, along with all three branches of our government, have been bought off by a well-organized Economic Elite who are tactically destroying our way of life. The harsh truth is that 99 percent of the U.S. population no longer has political representation. The U.S. economy, government and tax system is now blatantly rigged against us.”  We are in trouble.

America is the riches country in the world but we have 46.2 million people living in poverty and 16.4 million children living in poverty and the younger the child the poorer the child. Martin Luther King Jr. stated, “America is going to hell if we don’t use her vast resources to end poverty and make it possible for all of God’s children to have the basic necessities of life.”  And, now we have a revolutionary movement of the people called Occupy Wall Street.  How did it get started? Below is a timeline of Occupy Wall Street from an article on NPR that states it started from a blog.

Timeline: Tracking Occupy Wall Street’s Growth

July 13: Adbusters publishes a blog post calling for “a shift in revolutionary tactics” and urging tens of thousands of people to converge on lower Manhattan. The plan: “set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades a

nd occupy Wall Street for a few months. Once there, we shall incessantly repeat one simple demand in a plurality of voices.”

The protest will have no leadership, the post notes. And its sole demand will not be determined until the gathered mass of protesters agree on what it should be.

But the post’s authors can’t resist offering a candidate: “[We] demand that Barack Obama ordain a Presidential Commission tasked with ending the influence money has over our representatives in Washington. It’s time for Democracy Not Corporatocracy, we’re doomed without it.”

The post, signed “Culture Jammers HQ,” also introduces the #occupywallstreet hashtag.

July 26: The Occupy Wall Street website is launched; the group also uses Twitter and

Facebook to promote the Sept. 17 demonstration. Adbusters calls for similar protests to be held in central financial districts in Germany, Japan, Britain, and around the world.

Aug. 23: The activist hacking group Anonymous releases a video supporting Occupy Wall Street and uses its Twitter feed to promote the demonstration.

Sept. 17: The rally and march take place, and the protesters set up a temporary city in lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park. Soon it will have its own newspaper, food supply chain and WiFi. Reports of arrests and clashes with police emerge almost daily. Many of the incidents are filmed and posted on YouTube.

Sept. 24: New York police officers arrest more than 80 protesters as they march to Union Square. The conflict brings fresh charges that the police were overly zealous in using force and pepper spray.

Oct. 1: More than 700 demonstrators are arrested during a march across the Brooklyn Bridge. Police officials say they targeted only those protesters who clogged traffic lanes instead of taking the pedestrian walkway.

Oct. 5: Many of America’s largest unions announce their support for Occupy Wall Street, as the movement holds a large march in Manhattan. In a poll, the group’s approval rating is measured at 33 percent — 19 points higher than that of Congress.

Oct. 6: Demonstrations spread to more cities, including Washington, D.C., where protesters pledge to remain in place for weeks to come.Oct. 11: Reports spread about a group seeking to counter Occupy Wall Street by claiming to be “the 53% of Americans subsidizing these people so they can go hang out on Wall Street to complain.” Inspired by conservative blo

gger Erick Eric
kson’s blog post on Oct. 5, the group’s slogan is a play on “the 99 Percent.”

Oct. 12: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg visits the protesters’ camp in Zuccotti Park, telling them they have two days to vacate the park, so that its owners, Brookfield Office Properties, can clean it. His office cites “unsanitary conditions.” Protesters begin cleaning the park themselves.

Oct. 14: Brookfield Properties announces that it will not force Occupy Wall Street to leave Zuccotti Park. On his radio show, Bloomberg says the company bowed to pressure from elected officials.

Oct. 15: Loosely coordinated demonstrations inspired by Occupy Wall Street take place in 951 cities in some 82 countries, according to organizers.

Oct. 17: Adbusters proposes an Oct. 29 “#RobinHood Global March” — and a candidate for the group’s unifying demand: “On October 29, on the eve of the G20 Leaders Summit in France, let’s the people of the world rise up and demand that our G20 leaders immediately impose a 1% #ROBINHOOD tax on all financial transactions and currency trades.”

Oct. 19: The New York City Police Department says that one its officers — who famously pepper-sprayed women during a Sept. 24 protest — will be disciplined and is likely to lose vacation days.
Power to the people!!

MLK Memorial Dedication – DC

I’m so spiritually full today.  I had the privilege and honor to attend the dedication ceremony of Martin Luther King Jr. statue on the Mall in Washington, DC.  My heart is so full today of pride and awesome wonder that MLK is the only Black man there among the great presidents.  What a historic event.  And, what really made the day was knowing this project was started by a Black fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha.  A 1911 established fraternity that Martin had membership to as well as other historically great Black men like W.E.B. Dubois, Frederick Douglass and Thurgood Marshall to name a few.  The day was full of buses from different states merging on DC for this historical event.  I took my granddaughters along because I’m the grandma that want them to know that our ancestors were slaves and this is the road they walked, stumbled and ran down that allows us the freedoms we have today.  But the struggles or journey is not over yet.
We have new struggles ahead and there were those who spoke about them from the podium.  Like Al Sharpeton and Marian Wright Edelmen.  I found Marian’s short speech echoing in my heart.  Yes, I agree too many of our young Black males are in prison.  Often, I wonder what conspiracy is this that leads are sons down the road to prison.  And the light bulb went off with the Edelmen’s speech.  She used the term “from cradle to prison” and the age 10.  I have long suspected that 10 year old little Black boys were targeted by law enforcement.  My nephew at 10 years old was considered loitering by sitting on a curb.  Was his mother called?  Yes, after he was put in a police car and was on his way downtown to be fingerprinted.  What the hell is going on.  If he was white, I don’t believe such action would have take place.  Unfortunately, my sister isn’t a complainer and went along with them taking her son downtown for fingerprinting.

Mothers someone has declared war on our boys!  In my Sofia voice(Color Purple), “What is we gonna do???

HERMAN CAIN- Say What??

Politics and Politicians

 

Just when I was starting to like Herman Cain, Black republic, he goes and says something stupid like, he doesn’t believe racism holds African Americans back.

What world is he living in because it ain’t my world?  Walk in my shoes or better yet walk in my grandson’s shoes.  Jobs don’t come easy when you are Black and there is an economic down-turn and whites are only hiring other whites.  This is another case of “I got mine now you get yours” attitude of those who have made it to the level playing field.  As the former CEO of  Godfather’s Pizza, I would say he was blessed with a good home growing up; college education and the motivation that is need to succeed.  But, did he ever reach back to bring someone else along or mentor anyone? We know favor aint fair.

They said he used the “race card” when Rick Perry was insensitive to Blacks because he vacations at a place named “Niggerhead” that makes me wonder what they were doing. We know them Texans ain’t shy about dragging a brother for sport. Any way, I started listening to this republic brother, Herman Cain, who has thrown his hat in the ring as a serious contender in the race for president of the United States.  Now, I’m sure I will not listen to anything he has to say after a statement that minimizes the racial injustice that still occur in this country daily to those less fortunate than himself.  Power to the people!

Legacy of Heroes

I was ignorantly bliss in not knowing them until I’m informed that these men lives were significant enough to have effected mine. Now I need to know who they are.

 Derrick Bell, NYU law school professor, was a man of integrity, community dedication, and someone who was in the trenches of the civil rights movement, died at the age of 80 years old on October 5th.  I never heard of him but his contributions were admirable.  He was born in the Hill district of Pittsburgh, PA and earned his degrees from the universities in the area like a BA fromDuquesneUniversityand a law degree fromUniversityofPittsburgh. Derrick was the first Black in the Justice Department in 1959 and gave it up when he was asked by the department to give up his membership in the NAACP.  He resigned and worked for the Legal Defense Fund of the NAACP.

He worked alongside such attorney greats as Thurgood Marshall (my hero), Robert L Carter and Constance Baker Motley. While working for the LDF he was assigned toMississippiwhere racism was in full effect.  I have heard horror stories come fromMississippiwhere still to this day I have no desire to ever visit the states ofMississippiandAlabama. We all know what happened in Money,Mississippiin August 1955, Emmett Till. Then in 1959 Derrick headed the legal team in the case of James Meredith to enter theUniversityofMississippiagainst the desires of the Governor. I take my hat off to anyone brave enough to travel from the north to the south during the civil rights movement. I have no words to describe those times for Black folks.  When I went south in the early 1970’s, I received the advice from my mother to mind my matters.  At the time, I couldn’t figure out what she was talking about but by the time I got toSouth Carolina, I knew.

Then we loss Fred Shuttlesworth, co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference a well established organization known for their involvement in the civil rights movement whose founders are such men as Rev Dr Martin Luther King, Rev Ralph Abernathy among others.  Fred passed away on October 5th, at 89 years old.  Fred was a minister atBethelBaptistChurch inBirmingham,Alabama in 1950’s.  He fought against segregation during the most recorded violent of time inAlabama.  His wife was stabbed and he was beaten with chains by the Klan for trying to enroll his children in an all white public school. Another governor was against segregation.  We can’t forget about Governor George Wallace ofAlabama, who pledged,

In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and  toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.

These men were brave to go up against governors in such racist states. 

 It was Fred Shuttlesworth church who gave the Freedom Riders shelter when they were attacked and beaten in Birmingham and Anniston and when there was no one willing to drive them on, even Attorney General Robert Kennedy couldn’t find anyone willing to drive the bus, it was Shuttlesworth who got them to the airport to fly in Louisiana because it was just to dangerous to continue on by bus.

Yes we must sing their accolades because we are standing on their shoulders today and must never forget and remind each other often how hard life  was for our people and how our heroes should be those who came before us because they suffered for all of us. They are not going to tell the hard truths in our basic education systems. So its up to us to tell those coming up behind what we had to do to be free.

He so crazy… Dave Chappelle

Have you ever wondered what happen with Dave Chappelle the Comedian?  You know the Black man who turned down $50 million dollars from Comedy Central and rushed toAfrica. 

You know, if the network offered him $50 million dollars it makes you wonder what they would want next from Dave.  His skits were often on the racy side.  The kind of skits that I would hear young Black teens laughing so hard they can hardly breathe. I had to watch out of curiosity.  Some skits were so close to the line of insultingly stereo-typical that I had to wonder if he was turning into someone who wants to constantly shock you until someone says they had enough and held a public protest.  But, it turns out that Chappelle himself stopped the madness.

I am a bit confused about what happened next.  I assumed as a skilled comedian, he would continue to provide entertainment.   So, when I heard he was performing stand up comedy, I wasn’t surprised.  The show July 23rd in Seminole Hard Rock Café in Hollywood, FL, where Chappelle stood on stage for the entire show, texting on his phone and sighing the whole time.  Then the following Monday,  he went on a San Francisco radio show and explained he was in shock at the audience filming him with their phones and hurling obscenities.  Is this a sensitive Chappelle or plain bipolar?

That’s what I’m thinking, Dave has issues.  Some folks in the entertainment industry have or been know to have mental health issues.  As Ned Beatty, the actor, once said, “I’ve had this problem since I was in my 20s. They don’t call it manic depression anymore. They call it a bipolar disorder, and I’m a Type 2” (1998).  He explained how it didn’t interfere with his career but there are those who didn’t fair so well. Lois Lanefor one, Margo Kidder, of Superman fame suffered from bipolar.  Her odd behavior has been documented.  And, we can’t forget Martin Lawrence strange behavior that had everyone whispering about his mental health state.  The term “that nigga so crazy” may mean just that!!  We still love ya.