Category Archives: Protest

Colin Kaepernick Is Not Alone Anymore – Fellow Athletes Join His Protest

Colin Kaepernick is the latest athlete following the example of Muhammad Ali and others using their celebrity status to bring attention to injustice and oppression to bring about change. Many Black people had become so accustomed or comfortable with the status quo, that many of us were not speaking out when we should. Others have remained silent because of fear of lossing their job or being criticized. However, there comes a point at which a person must ask themself, how much disrespect, humiliation, injustice and oppression are they willing to accept and ignore. 

Unfortunately, at least one black high profile former 49ers great, Jerry Rice, has been critical when he said, 'All Lives Matter,' Kaepernick should 'respect the flag'. During last year's debate about the Confederate Battle Flag, we pointed out similarities between the history of oppression and injustice that occurred under the U.S. Flag. 

Victims of their own ignorance

Jerry Rice and others are victims of their own ignorance. Rice obviously doesn't know the racist history behind the "National Anthem". “The Star-Spangled Banner,” was written by Francis Scott Key, a slave owner, about the Battle of Fort McHenry in Baltimore during the War of 1812. One of the key British tactics during the war was active recruitment of American slaves. 

The "Star-Spangled Banner" as originally written contained four verses, however, only the first verse is associated with our National Anthem. The third verse, celebrating the death of slaves who’d freed themselves, contains:  "No refuge could save the hireling and slave from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave". 

Francis Scott Key was Washington D.C.'s District Attorney from 1833-1840 and he used his office and its influence to vehemently defend slavery. Key prosecuted a doctor who lived in Georgetown for possessing abolitionist pamphlets. In the case of U.S. v. Reuben Crandall, Key sought to have the defendant hanged, asserting the property rights of slave owners carried more weight than the free speech rights of those arguing to abolish slavery. Key conspired with pro-slavery Congressmen to pass a series of "gag rules"  in 1836 to quash all anti-slavery petitions and prevent them from being read or discussed.

Meritorious manumission was the legal act of freeing a slave because of some distinguished service to his white master, including snitching on or some other betrayal of fellow slaves. A legacy of meritorious manumission is the "House Negro" where some in the Black community are still willing to sell out others within the community in order to increase their own level of comfort or wealth at the expense of others. Some are so brainwashed by a lifetime of propaganda that they don't even realize that they are participants in a racialized process.

Colin Kaepernick has been taking a whole lot of heat since he made the decision to sit during the national anthem in protest of the way people of color are treated in the United States. On Thursday night, Kaepernick once again refused to stand while the Star Spangled Banner was sung, but this time, he wasn’t the only one.

Kaepernick was joined in his protest Thursday night by fellow 49er Eric Reid, a safety, who knelt beside the quarterback as the national anthem rang out through the stadium before they played the San Diego Chargers. Reid also serves as the representative for the player’s union and has been supportive of Kaepernick all week, despite the uproar over his protest.

"I believe in what [Kaepernick] is doing," Reid told ESPN. "I believe that there are issues in this country—many issues, too many to name. It's not one particular issue. But there are people out there that feel there are injustices being made and happening in our country on a daily basis. I just wanted to show him I support him. I know there are other people in this country that feel the same way."

When the song ended, the two players stood and embraced. "It was amazing," Kaepernick told ESPN. "Me and Eric had many conversations and he approached me and said 'I support what you're doing, I support what your message is, let's think about how we can do this together.' We talked about it at length and we wanted to make sure the message that we're trying to send isn't lost with the actions that come along with it."

Those actions have now expanded, as Kaepernick on Thursday pledged to donate $1 million of his salary to community organizations focused on social justice causes.

"I've been very blessed to be in this position and make the kind of money I do, and I have to help these people. I have to help these communities," he said. "It's not right that they're not put in the position to succeed, or given the opportunities to succeed."

"The message is that we have a lot of issues in this country that we have to deal with. We have a lot of people that are oppressed, we have a lot of people that aren't treated equally, aren't given equal opportunities. Police brutality is a huge thing that needs to be addressed," he added.

However, it is not only his teammates who are joining Kaepernick’s protest. Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane also sat while the national anthem was sung on Thursday night before the start of their game against the Oakland Raiders. In Oakland, Lane was the only member of either team to sit down during the anthem. He said he didn't know Kaepernick personally, but was "standing behind" him. After the game, he said, "It's something I plan to keep doing until I feel like justice is being served."

As of Saturday afternoon, Kaepernick's has become the top-selling jersey overall in the team shop, ahead of Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, NaVorro Bowman, and the customizable jerseys. We're excited to see the support people are demonstrating. When entertainers and athletes speak up for us, we must stand with them.

The 49ers have played four exhibition games this year and Kaepernick has not stood for the national anthem at any of these games. Nobody seemed to notice until  his first game in uniform, which was last Friday. Kaepernick explained that he wasn’t standing as a protest of the way the lives of minorities are continually snuffed out by those who are sworn to serve and protect them. He noted that the only consequence for these “murders” is a paid vacation.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

It is good to see other teammates and professional football players standing beside Kaepernick and standing up for all African American lives in America. Hopefully, their numbers will grow and they will continue to use the national platform at their disposal to help bring awareness to the systemic racism plaguing not only the country in general but the criminal justice system in particular. 

Active Duty Military Members and Veterans Stand in Support of Kaepernick

U.S. military veterans are speaking out in support of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, whose protest against the national anthem prompted a wave of criticism claiming he had disrespected veterans by not paying tribute to the American flag.

The hashtag #VeteransForKaepernick took off on Twitter this week in response to the right-wing outrage, and as Kaepernick himself clarified that his sit-down protest was only meant to critique state violence and oppression against people of color.

"I have great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country," he said Sunday. "I have family, I have friends that have gone and fought for this country. And they fight for freedom, they fight for the people, they fight for liberty and justice, for everyone. [But] people are dying in vain because this country isn't holding their end of the bargain up, as far as giving freedom and justice, liberty to everybody."

The hashtag began trending Tuesday night as veterans posted photos of themselves in their military gear and noted the hypocrisy of the backlash against Kaepernick.

"I'd never try to shame someone with 'patriotism' in order to silence their 1st amend Right,"one wrote.

"Don't use my service—or that of any veteran—to justify the silencing of black Americans. Not on my watch," said another.

Meanwhile, others pointed out that even the national anthem itself has a racist undertone, with one verse ending in a celebration of slavery. And as Oakland, California-based writer Elizabeth Ann Thompson wrote for The Progressive on Tuesday, "instead of being offended and reacting to Kap's protest, we should emulate his teammates in trying to understand where he is coming from. He is giving voice to the voiceless. He is speaking for Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray and the countless other black and brown folks who are killed by the police every year."

Kudos to you Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid and Jeremy Lane, and Kudos to all the others speaking out in support.


Complete version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" showing spelling and punctuation from Francis Scott Key's manuscript in the Maryland Historical Society collection

O say can you see, by the dawn's early light, What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming, Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight O'er the ramparts we watch'd were so gallantly streaming? And the rocket's red glare, the bomb bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there, O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes, What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep, As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses? Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam, In full glory reflected now shines in the stream, 'Tis the star-spangled banner – O long may it wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore, That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion A home and a Country should leave us no more? Their blood has wash'd out their foul footstep's pollution. No refuge could save the hireling and slave From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave, And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand Between their lov'd home and the war's desolation! Blest with vict'ry and peace may the heav'n rescued land Praise the power that hath made and preserv'd us a nation! Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto – "In God is our trust," And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.


Some of the material in this post was republished with permission under license from Addicting Info and Common Dreams

Where protest fails, violence prevails

Yesterday, I came across the following news article, "Atlanta police shooting of unarmed black man leads to rare murder charge".

Some people have commented that "after police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge were killed, police are now being charged with murder." This is what should have been happening even before the protests or violence occurred.

However, there is another glaring issue that many people have overlooked. White prosecutors almost never bring charges against white police officers who kill African-Americans. In Baltimore where six officers were charged and in Atlanta where this officer was charged, the decision was made by a black prosecutor. This is why we need more black prosecutors. See the Washington Post article, "Thousands dead, few prosecuted" and the Daily Beast article, "95% of Prosecutors Are White and They Treat Blacks Worse".

White supremacist wearing blue

White supremacist groups know police are rarely charged criminally for on-duty shootings. According to the FBI, some of the same guys who used to wear white robes and hoods now wear blue and carry a badge. Police effectively enjoy immunity and we pay their salaries. Murder shouldn't be rewarded with an extended paid vacation.

As a black female police officer, Nakia Jones recently stated, “If you are that officer that knows good and well you’ve got a god complex; you are afraid of people who don’t look like you — you have no business in that uniform. Take it off,” “Because there’s many of us who would give our life for anybody. And we took this oath and we meant it. If you are that officer that’s prejudice, take that uniform off and put a KKK hoodie on because I will not stand for that.”

Additionally, many of this country's police officers are soldiers returning from the war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan and some may not have been properly screened for mental illnesses. Soldiers during war are often conditioned to treat people like animals with little respect for human life or basic human rights. Everyone on the ground is a potential enemy.

Police brutality has always been an issue in black communities. "Power tends to corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Factor in white supremacy and mental illness and the tensions build up until it explodes into a national protest movement where some see no other choice but to resort to violent retaliation. 

It doesn't take a grand jury to determine if charges should be brought. Bringing charges against a police officer in questionable deaths should be common sense. Like everyone else, this police officer will be considered innocent until proven guilty and will have an opportunity to discredit evidence against him, present evidence and testify if he so chooses.

Hands Up, Don't Shot, Laying on the Ground

The video that surfaced a few days ago of an unarmed black man, Charles Kinsey, laying in the street with his hands up in the air, demonstrates . Mr. Kinsey explained to police that he was a behavioral therapist at a group home trying to calm down an autistic patient who had wandered away from the facility. As Kinsey explained that neither he nor the mentally ill patient was armed and posed no threat, he was shot.  

“When I went to the ground, I went to the ground with my hands up,” he said. “And I am laying there just like this, telling them again there is no need for firearms.”

What more could this man have done? 

It's already unreasonable that any innocent person should feel they must lay on the ground and hold their hands up to ensure the police won't shoot you. I can't think of anything more Mr. Kinsey could have done. 

There is a false narrative or propaganda campaign to convince people that the "Black Lives Matter" Movement and Blacks, in general, are over reacting. What more could Mr. Kinsey have done to convince the cop that shot him that he wasn't a threat? The irony is that the white looking autistic patient who actually had something in his hands and was agitated, because of his mental condition, wasn't the one who was shot. 

Even Charle Kinsey mentioned how he feared more for his patient than himself, because he was on his back with his hands up, a position no one could possibly interpret as threatening, but he was still shot. 

I have begun two personal  boycotts, one against soft drink beverage manufacturers and the other against the WNBA. We need to inflict economic pressure, a sort of consumer violence to get the companies we support to start supporting us back.

The NBA announce a boycott against North Caroline where it is moving it's All-Star game from Charlotte, NC in protest of HB2, a law that requires people to use bathrooms and changing facilities, such as locker rooms which are designated for people based on their "biological sex" stated on their birth certificate. Under that law, transgender people can use the bathrooms and changing facilities that correspond to their gender identity if they get the biological sex on their birth certificate changed.

The NBA said, "While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state, and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2." Hopefully, the NBA will not choose a location that moves too slowly or refuses to hold police accountable when they violate the rights of black citizens.

The NBA has a clear majority of black players, certainly, the causes that affect the majority of players and their families should be receiving equal attention and protection. Police brutality is of major concern to most African-Americans. All athletes should remember the example set by the Mizzou football players and recognize your combined power. United we stand, divided we fall. See related, "WNBA, If you want our support, you need to support us!"

I'm not recommending physical violence, however, . Violence, through revolution, created this country, violence ended slavery, violence stopped Hitler, and violence is the technique being used against terrorism. 

The shooters in both the Dallas and Baton Rouge ambushes are dead. Other people who have shot and kill police officers met similar fates or ended up in jail. When cops are kill, there is almost always justice or at least vengeance. 

The police officers who used excessive force and murdered an untold number of people remain free and many are still police officers. Law enforcement officers are the only category of people where criminals are expected to get away with their crimes. This is why people protest and this is why some have and others will resort to violence if things don't change quickly. 

WNBA, If you want our support, you need to support us!

The WNBA fined the Indiana Fever, New York Liberty and Phoenix Mercury $5000 each and their players $500 each for wearing black warm-up shirts that violated the league's uniform policy. The players wore the t-shirts in acknowledgment of recent shootings by and against police officers.

We must support those who take a stand for us. When athletes and celebrities speak up against injustice, they often become targets. The WNBA is trying to silence these women by fining them. If we don't stand up for them, why would they take a stand the next time? We can't expect people to put their career in jeopardy for us if we remain silent. Show these women you appreciate their gesture and support them by putting pressure on the WNBA to reverse the fines. 

Today, I left the following message using the WNBA's contact page.

As a black basketball fan, I was offended to hear that your organization fined players for wearing t-shirt honoring black shooting victims. As mentioned by one of the player's representatives, "You have a league that is 90 — if not above 90 percent African American — and you have an issue that is directly affecting them and the people they know and you have a league that isn't willing to side with them." Until you reverse the player fines, I will be boycotting the WNBA and asking others to join me on my blog, court.rchp.com, a sited dedicated to providing free legal information. If you want our support, you need to support us! 

Just as the league allowed players to wear stand with Orlando t-shirts, to honor the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting, I expect the same consideration when the victims are black instead of LGBT.

I urge our readers to share this page with others and stand in support of these players that same way they stood in support of those shooting victims and their families. Send a message to the WNBA and any other organization that believes it's okay to disrespect our causes and issues while at the same time expecting us to support them with our attention and dollars.

If you believe as I do that it was wrong for the league to allow players to wear t-shirts showing support for some shooting victims but not others, boycott the WNBA until they reverse those fines. Don't watch the games or purchase any WNBA merchandise. Change truly does start with us!

Dallas Police Memorial

Thousands of law enforcement officials and political leaders attended a memorial service at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center for the five police officers killed in last week's shootings. President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush spoke.

Dallas Police Chief, David Brown, gave a moving speech using the lyrics of Stevie Wonder's song "As" before introducing President Obama. President Obama then delivered great, poignant speech like he always does, that not only brought out the humanity of the police officers killed, but touch on the killings of of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile that led to the protest that was going on when the shooting occurred. President Obama's speech starts at about 5:01 in the timeline.

Former President George Bush, spoke at the Dallas Police Memorial.

The Full Interfaith Memorial Service including choir selections and speakers is below.


Stevie Wonder's "As" (with lyrics), from the Album, "Songs in the Key of Life".

Black entertainers taking a stand against oppression and injustice

I am happy to see a new generation of black artists and entertainers finally stepping up and speaking out against injustice and oppression. In the spirit of Muhammad Ali, these entertainers are now using their celebrity status to speak out against police brutality, racism, and other social ills. The latest example was shown at the 2016 BET Awards

Jessie Williams

The highlight of the evening was the moving Humanitarian Award acceptance speech delivered by Jessie Williams. Williams is a former teacher who plays the role of Dr. Jackson Avery on  "Grey's Anatomy and his speech emphasized racial injustice, police brutality, and cultural appropriation. Watch and listen to Williams full acceptance speech below.

Williams is on the board of The Advancement Project, civil rights think tank and advocacy group. Williams participate in Ferguson October in 2014 to protest the killing of Michael Brown. He is also the executive producer of Question Bridge: Black Males, a multifaceted media project, art exhibition, student, and teacher curriculum and website, focused on the black male identity and the diversity within the demographic. He has written articles for CNN and The Huffington Post and has been a guest on Wolf Blitzer's The Situation Room.

Full text of Williams Speech

“This award, this is not for me. This is for the real organizers all over the country. The activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students, that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do.

All right? It’s kind of basic mathematics:, the more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize. Now this is also in particular for the black women, in particular, who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves. We can and will do better for you.

Now, what we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to de-escalate, disarm and not kill white people every day. So what’s going to happen is we are going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours.

Now — I’ve got more, y’all. Yesterday would’ve been young Tamir Rice’s 14th birthday, so I don’t want to hear any more about how far we’ve come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on a 12-year-old playing alone in a park in broad daylight, killing him on television and then going home to make a sandwich. Tell Rekia Boyd how it’s so much better to live in 2012 than 1612 or 1712. Tell that to Eric Garner. Tell that to Sandra Bland. Tell that to Darrien Hunt.

Now the thing is, though, all of us in here getting money, that alone isn’t going to stop this. All right? Now dedicating our lives to get money just to give it right back for someone’s brand on our body, when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies and now we pray to get paid for brands on our bodies.

There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the front lines of. There has been no job we haven’t done, there’s been no tax they haven’t levied against us, and we’ve paid all of them. But freedom is somehow always conditional here. “You’re free,” they keep telling us. But she would’ve been alive if she hadn’t acted so… “free.”

Now, freedom is always coming in the hereafter. But, you know what, though? The hereafter is a hustle. We want it now. And let’s get a couple of things straight, just a little side note: The burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander. That’s not our job, all right, stop with all that. If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest in equal rights for black people then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.

We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries, yo, and we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind, while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil, black gold. Ghettoizing and demeaning our creations then stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit. The thing is, though, the thing is that just because we’re magic, doesn’t mean we’re not real.”

Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar

Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar gave an outstanding opening performance at the BET Awards that set the tone for the rest of the evening. The video is below.

Many entertainers want to speak out, but some are afraid of the repercussions, that's why your support is important and needed more than ever. As these artists become more vocal about the injustice and oppression in our community, there will be backlash and allegations lodged against them, maybe similar to the media attack of Bill Cosby. In the future, if some of our more vocal entertainers are targeted by negative propaganda, allegations, and comments, use your critical thinking skills before automatically believing allegations simply because they appear in mass media.

When our artists are unfairly targeted, we need to not only support them but we need to stand up against and boycott those companies and institutions involved. My eyes were further opened this spring when companies spoke out and some were threatening to boycott Georgia and North Caroline because of proposed religious freedom laws that would have impacted the LGBT communities. Those companies did the right thing, but that's when I realized they did the wrong thing when they didn't speak up about stop and frisk, police killings of unarmed people and other injustice. In the future when businesses the black community supports doesn't support us back, stop supporting them. You don't need a formal boycott or movement. When a company isn't doing what you think they should do,  just stop doing business with that company and send them a note stating why you stopped doing business with them, otherwise, they'll never know.

 

The True Ferguson Effect

After four years, Jason Stockley,  a former St. Louis police officer has finally been arrested and charged with the murder of Anthony Lamar Smith, a 24-year-old black father of an infant and unborn child, who was unarmed and pleading for his life.

The "Ferguson Effect" is a term coined by Sam Dotson, the chief of the St. Louis Police Department referring to a link between protests of the use of excessive force by police, especially those in Ferguson, Missouri, and increases in crime rates in a number of major U.S. cities. However, the true Ferguson Effect is that police are finally beginning to be held accountable for their wrong actions; at least when video evidence exist. 

Prior to the Ferguson Protest, it was rare for police officers to be charged with a crime or even held accountable for abuse or wrongful death. As long as the magic catchphrase was used, "I feared for my life", police officers were consistently given a pass no matter how ridiculous their story was. 

Seemingly, no amount of witness testimony is enough to bring charges against police officers or convict, even when those witnesses are extremely credible. A video must exist of the exact moment of the incident for prosecutors to even consider charges. Ferguson was a game changer and increased the attention and scrutiny of police shootings. More people became aware of their right to record police actions in public, especially questionable actions. Police shootings of unarmed black men started gaining increasing press coverage. People who were skeptical that police brutality was a real finally started to realize there was a problem.

Ferguson and other protest are not responsible for increased crime. It's easy to blame the victim or those least able to respond. The decline of the middle class and increasing poverty is responsible for increased criminal activity. Unemployment and other social welfare benefits have been reduced or cut. Yesterday, a St. Louis shoplifter was shot for stealing steaks and toilet paper. I suspect a declining economy is one reason why heroin addiction is rising, especially among white people. Naturally, as drug use increases, so does crime. Addicts need to find some way to finance their drug habit. 

If it had not been for the Ferguson Protesters, it's doubtful that the recent arrest of police officers across the country including St. Louis would have taken place. Instead of vilifying the "Ferguson Effect", we should celebrate it.

Why the Oregon Terrorist May Go Free

A Washington Post headline says it all; "Why aren’t we calling the Oregon occupiers ‘terrorists’?"

The FBI definition of terrorism certainly applies to this Oregon group, however, I doubt if they are charged under the terrorism statutes, including 18 U.S.C. § 2332b. We have a double standard in this country that is not only obvious but sickening!

The Washington Post article raised many of the same questions I had about this group of armed men who took over a federal building at a national wildlife refuge in Oregon. Instead of 'terrorist', this group was called "occupiers", "armed activists", "militia men" and "even protesters".

Ammon Bundy (R), talks with Wes Kjar in an office at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon, January 6, 2016.

I heard harsher terms hurled at the Ferguson Protesters than the media seems to be using for the Oregon Terrorist. These terrorist weren't demonstrating the loss of life or civil rights, they were making a claim to land owned by the government.

I can't imagine any situation where a group of armed black men taking over anything for any reason wouldn't be called terrorist.

Even with these type of examples, many would argue 'white privilege' does not exist.

Ammon Bundy, the terrorist's leader, and another 15 defendants pleaded not guilty Wednesday, February 24, 2016, to federal conspiracy charges related to the 41-day occupation of an Oregon wildlife refuge. Several of the accused, however, expressed doubt that they enjoy the presumption of innocence.

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These terrorists seemingly had support from others in their community, so if they request jury trials, which they most likely will, and just one person on that jury votes not guilty, they walk.

The world knows these guys broke the law, they've made statements admitting their actions, however, this is one of those instances where jury nullification may overrule the law.

Unfortunately, black folks don't often get the benefit of jury nullification. Far too many bargain away their freedom through plea agreements.  Many people are unaware of jury nullification. Others fail to exercise their right to participate on juries and get out of jury duty. When black people don't serve on juries, we allow the biases of others to decide the fate of black defendants. Black jury participation may have had some impact on mass incarceration of nonviolent drug offenders.

Slave Mentality

I'm not a very religious person, but my father told me about a recent Joel Osteen sermon about the mental attitudes of Israelites while they were slaves in Egypt.

From JoelOsteen.com

When the Israelites were in slavery, they were forced to make bricks all day long. They were given quotas that were almost impossible to meet. And at one point, Pharaoh got upset and had the supervisors take away all the straw they needed for bricks. They had the same quota, but they had to go find their own straw.

No doubt they prayed, “God, please give us straw. God, You know these supervisors are going to get upset. We’re not going to make our quotas.”

They had been pushed down for so long. They had such a limited vision when they were praying for more straw. In effect, they were praying to become a better slave. God said, “That’s too small. I don’t want to make you a better slave. I want to take you totally out of that bondage. I created you as the head and not the tail, the victor and not the victim.”

Today, don’t just pray for improvement in your difficult situation, pray for deliverance from it! See beyond your circumstances and let Him lead you out into the place of victory and abundance!

Joel Osteen starts speaking about abundance at 1:25 and mentions the Israelites near the 2:30 time mark.

Break Free of Mental Slavery

Black folks in America had a similar mental conditioning. After 350 years of slavery and 90 years of Jim Crow and another 50 plus years of institutionalized racism, as a group, many of us still suffer from post traumatic slave syndrome.

All our rights and privileges are defined within the law. You owe it to yourself to learn how to exercise your rights and the rights of your children. Use this site to educate yourself more about the principles of the law, participate in the jury system and political process and fight back against oppression for yourself and your children.

Stop accepting double standards! Until we fight back against double standards that criminalize certain behaviors to mass incarcerate and hold us back economically, we are doomed.

Why I Won’t Be Boycotting the Oscars

Most people reading this don't know me and have most likely never heard of me. Weather I watch or boycott the Oscars won't matter to most people, especially those within the industry. I am not rich, at least not yet, and that fact alone, for many will disqualify my statement.

I do not normally watch the Oscars, because it is usually boring and does not usually include many movies that I'm interested in. I am more interested in movies that include major black characters. The movies I would pick to win are often not nominated. For example, I would have nominated Denzel for John Q instead of Training Day, however, I did enjoy Training Day.

I am curious how Chris Rock will handle this issue and will most likely tune in briefly, but as usual, I probably won't watch the majority of the show. The Oscar controversy will probably result in record-breaking ratings numbers, because people who would not have normally watched, like me, will now watch to see what Chris Rock will say.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is the trade organization that produces the Oscars. Since 1939 the Academy has presented Oscars to those members nominated and voted the best. The Oscars for 87 years have been awarded mostly to white actors and only 15 black actors have received Oscar awards. The entertainment world in general is overwhelmingly white in the United States. Watch any award show and the vast majority of those in attendance will be white and the majority of winners will be white, it's always been that way.

The View guest host Sunny Hostin, a lawyer and tv personality, pointed out that the Academy is 94% Caucasian, and misstated 46% of movie tickets last year were purchased by African-Americans. I'm sure Ms. Hostin was referring to the MPAA Report (pg. 13), that Caucasians purchased 54% of all movies tickets while non-Caucasians (Hispanics 23%, African-Americans 12% and Asians 11%), purchased the other 46%. However, she did make a very strong point about the power of the African-American Dollar.

The Academy has only had five black Oscar hosts in its 87 year history: Sammy Davis Jr. 1972, 1975; Diana Ross 1974; Richard Pryor 1977, 1983; Whoopi Goldberg 1994, 1996, 1999, 2002; Chris Rock 2005, 2016. Whoopi Goldberg and Chris Rock are the only black solo host, Davis, Ross and Pryor were all part of a team of hosts.

The Academy also has its first black female president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who was instrumental in removing the restriction of the number of members and initiated a drive to invite over 400 new members, many of whom were young and came from diverse backgrounds. First black producer ever to win Best Picture, Steve McQueen, occurred during Isaacs' first year as president in 2013.

If there was going to be a boycott of the Oscars, it should have happened a long time ago instead of now. The two main voices used to justify a boycott, Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee most likely would not have complained if their movies (Concussion or Chi-Raq would have been the only black movie nominated. However, Will Smith has said even if he was nominated, he would feel the same way. Although I have enjoyed many of Will Smith's movies and consider myself a fan, I'm not sure I believe his statement.

Will Smith has been nominated twice (Ali & The Pursuit of Happiness), and in both instances he lost out to another Black actor, Denzel Washington for Training Day and Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland.

The majority of jobs in the entertainment industry are behind the scenes and many of those positions are good paying jobs, however, blacks are underrepresented. Blacks in front of the camera should be just as upset that people who look like them are not behind the camera, in the graphics department, lighting, editing and a number of other positions.

There are an estimated 45.6 million black people in the United States. If we were a separate country, we would be the 31st most populist country in the world, just behind Spain, Columbia and Kenya. There should be a concerted effort to develop our own information and entertainment companies and institutions.

Twelve Richest Black Celebrities

The top twelve richest African-Americans created their wealth  mostly from the entertainment industry. Source:  http://www.richestlifestyle.com/richest-african-americans/

Bill Cosby ($380 million)
Tyler Perry ($400 million)
Beyonce ($450 million)
Majic Johnson ($500 million)
Mariah Carey ($520 million)
Jay Z ($520 million)
Robert Johnson ($550 million)
Tiger Woods ($600 million)
Diddy ($700 million)
Dr. Dre ($780 million)
Michael Jordan ($1 billion)
Oprah ($3 Billion)

The twelve people above have a combined wealth of $9.4 billion, however, there is not one major black movie studio, record company, broadcast television or distribution network. Years ago Bill Cosby tried to purchase NBC and some believe that ambition led to being crucified in the media. Blacks own just 10 U.S. television stations; less than one percent of all television properties, and less than 2 percent of radio.

Tyler Perry Studios may be on track to becoming a major studio and he has partnered with the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) to produce programming. It’s hard to overstate the influence of filmmaker Tyler Perry on the recent mainstream success of African American movies. From 2005 to 2013, Perry had at least one film in the top 100; in six of those years he had at least two. Tyler Perry’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman, his first feature film, cost less than $6 million to make and grossed more than $50 million domestically.

However, since Discovery and Harpo each own 50% of Oprah Winfrey Network, and Oprah gave at least 10% ownership of Harpo to Jeff Jacobs when he became president of OWN, Oprah can not be considered majority owner of the OWN Network.

Black Celebrities Should Pool Their Resources

The richest black celebrities have enough combined wealth to finance just about any project imaginable. However, the richest celebrities are not the only ones who can collaborate on projects. Many successful black movies have been made on relatively low budgets by Hollywood standard. For example:

I'm not a Hollywood insider, but I suspect that booking the talent, especially "A" list stars add significantly to movie budgets. Celebrity partners could draw a percentage of the profits instead of a salary off the projects they create.

Celebrities who did not make it into the top twelve include:

Shaquille O'Neal ($350 million)
Russell Simmons ($325 million)
Quincy Jones ($310 million)
Floyd Mayweather ($280 million)
LeBron James ($270 million)
50 Cents ($270 million)
Kobe Bryant ($260 million)
Will Smith ($250 million)
Samuel Jackson ($150 million)
R. Kelly ($150 million)
Denzel Washington ($150 million)
Lil Wayne ($135 million)
Rihanna ($120 million)
Snoop Dogg  ($120 million)
Ice Cube ($120 million)
Usher ($110 million)
Martin Lawrence ($110 million)
Serena Williams ($100 million)
LL Cool J ($100 million)
Morgan Freeman ($90 million)
Kanye West ($90 million)
Tyra Banks ($90 million)
Jamie Foxx ($85 million)
Pharrell Williams ($80 million)
Venus Williams ($75 million)
Eddie Murphy ($75 million)
Chris Rock ($70 million)
Halle Berry ($70 million)
Sidney Poitier ($65 million)
Queen Latifah ($60 million)
Raven Symone ($53 million)
Alicia Keys ($50 million)
T.I. ($50 million)
John Singleton ($50 million)
Kimora Lee Simmons ($50 million)
Naomi Campbell ($48 million)
Nicki Minaj ($45 million)
Andre 3000 ($45 million)
Dennis Haysbert  ($42 million)
Spike Lee ($40 million)
Shonda Rhimes ($40 million)
Eriq La Salle ($40 million)
Don Cheadle ($35 million)
Kandi Burrus ($35 million)
Terrence Howard ($30 million)
Ice T ($30 million)
Vanessa Williams ($28 million)
Kevin Hart ($25 million)

Source for net worth figures:

The total combine wealth of the celebrities above is close to $15 billion dollars. Consider the projects that could be created, if some of the black celebrities pooled their talent and a fraction of their resources. Instead of relying on white studios executives to approve projects, they could collaborate and create whatever they want.

United Artists, which became a major movie studio was formed when four white film stars began to talk of forming their own company to better control their own work as well as their futures. There's nothing preventing black celebrities from doing the same thing.

The are a number of "A" list celebrities not included in either list above. Black celebrities with a net worth of less than $25 million we're excluded from the list, but there are many other black celebrities who are worth 5, 10, 15 or 20 million who could just as easily partner with others to get projects off the ground.

Mizzou Protesters, Great Job!

It was refreshing to witness the moral courage displayed by Mizzou football players as they supported Jonathan Butler's hunger strike and the other peaceful protesters standing up against racial discrimination. Their example is having ripple effects on college campuses all around the country.

The root of racism is money! Exploitation based on racial oppression is very profitable. Threat of economic reprisal is an effective tool, often used to further oppress those who would dare complain about their conditions.  Many people who disagreed with the protest commented that the football players should have lost their "free ride" scholarships.

Mizzou's football program earns $31 million per year in revenue. Players bring years of developed talent, endure grueling practice sessions, and risk serious injury during each game. Since Mizzou earns almost 344K per player after scholarships; "free ride" is the wrong term, "exploitation" is the better description. Those football players understood their collective power.

Oppressed people can be easily exploited and the oppressor will reap enormous economic benefits and advantages. Oppressors will not voluntarily stop, the oppressed must take action!  The oppressor will use any resource at their disposal to continue the status quo. They will hire spies, spread rumors and attempt to discredit protest leaders to divide and conquer.

Historically, just about every effective protest has  been economically disruptive or violent. When football players joined forces with protesters, it threatened to inflict serious financial harm to Mizzou and resulted in immediate action. Similarly, the Ferguson protest resulted in rapid policing and court reforms because the City of Ferguson, St. Louis County and the State of Missouri faced serious economic threats of property damage and other astronomical cost.

People are rediscovering their sense of community and hopefully that will continue. United we stand, divided we fall; and the strategy is always to keep us divided.

 

St. Louis Arch’s Golden Anniversary

Today, October 28, 2015, marks the 50th anniversary, that the capstone, which was the last triangular section of the St. Louis Arch, was set in place. The building of the Arch was a monumental feat of engineering. Speeches will be given about the great spirit, engineering and effort that went into the building of the Arch.

The history of the building of the Arch will be retold. The first stainless steel sections of the Arch arrived at the site where the foundation had already been prepared on February 12, 1963, construction began, and the final steel section of the Gateway Arch was placed on October 28, 1965.

Percy Green and Richard Daley on the St. Louis Arch, July 14, 1964

There is a part of that history that is often overlooked or excluded. Civil rights activists at the time regarded the construction of the Arch as a token of racial discrimination.  The Construction Company building the Arch, MacDonald Construction Co. of St. Louis, employed about 1,000 workers. MacDonald Construction did not use any black contractors and none of their employees were black. The writers of history often removed portions they prefer forgotten.

The February 2013 video below , an episode of City Corner, discusses St Louis Civil Rights Activities with Percy Green. His involvement in with the Arch protest is shown at the 17:34 mark.

On July 14, 1964, during the Arch workers' lunchtime, civil rights protesters Percy Green and Richard Daly, both members of Congress of Racial Equality (C.O.R.E.), climbed up 125-feet on the north leg of the arch to "expose the fact that federal funds were being used to build a national monument that was racially discriminating against black contractors and skilled black workers." As the pair disregarded demands to get off, protesters on the ground demanded that at least 10% of the skilled jobs belong to African Americans.


Percy Green and the McDonnell Douglass Test

Some of the same exclusionary tactics used during the construction of the St. Louis Arch, unfortunately, still seem very familiar today. During Percy Green's reflection upon those days prior to the Arch protest, he mentioned how bright students were reduced to criminal activity because of the lack of opportunity. That same lack of opportunity results in higher crime rates today.

His actions at the Arch set in motion events that would result in a Landmark Supreme Court decision affecting the entire nation.

 

Percy Green was a black mechanic and laboratory technician, and was laid off by McDonnell Douglas in 1964 shortly after the Arch protest, during a reduction in force at the company. Percy Green protested that his discharge was racially motivated. He and others, used cars to block roads to McDonnell Douglas factories. On one occasion, someone used a chain to lock the front door of a McDonnell Douglas downtown business office, preventing employees from leaving, though it was not certain whether Green was responsible.

McDonnell Douglas advertised for vacant mechanic positions, for which Green was qualified. Green applied, but was not hired, with McDonnell Douglas citing his participation in blocking traffic and chaining the building.

Green filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which resulted in a unanimous (9-0) Supreme Court's decision in Mr. Green's favor.

The case: McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 US 792 – Supreme Court 1973, created of a framework or ("test") for Title VII cases where there is only relatively indirect evidence as to whether an employment action was discriminatory in nature.

Mcdonnell Douglas test requires an employer to prove with evidence showing that the employment action complained was taken for nondiscriminatory reasons. However, the employee must show the following conditions are satisfied:

1.The plaintiff (employee) must establish a prima facie case of discrimination;

2.The defendant (employer) must produce evidence of a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for its actions. If this occurs, then the presumption of discrimination becomes invalid;

3.The plaintiff (employee) must present facts to show an inference of discrimination.