Sunday, July 11, 2010

Africans Cheer for former Colonial Master in Cup

Despite the South African soccer team getting bounced out of the World Cup as this years' host nation there are Black South Africans who feel they have a home team in today's finale.

As I write the Dutch are lacing up to face off with Spain in Johannesburg. If you know your African colonial history you will recall that the Netherlands ruled portions of South Africa. Now many Black South Africans are rooting for their former colonial master to take home the highest prize soccer has to offer on the global stage.

This shows that followers of the only worldwide sport, where fans' national pride is stronger than the calf muscles of No. 10 on you favorite soccer team, can look beyond racism, segregation and generational mistreatment. Black South Africans have united with Dutch fans be the 12th player on the field as Holland fights for the Cup.

Now, let's not oversimplify this contest and it's circumstances. Not all Black South Africans are draped in the of equal-part red, white and blue stripes of the Holland flag. And they shouldn't. Few things are more of a personal choice than your sport fanhood. Certainly some Black South Africans are rooting for Spain, or are indifferent.

But grabbing on to our cultural connections more than the stereotypes and ugly history has become a theme of the 2010 World Cup finale. The tourney that brings the world together every four years has added another chapter this year. As we read the book on this finale, whether the Dutch win or lose, Black South Africans will remember this match for how the felt (and their choice to forgive and/or forget...or not) about their sense of national pride that was born out of colonialism.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Fabric of Our Lives: The New-Age Political Quilt

In the wake of the passing of Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) American politics has hit another checkpoint on the racetrack of evolution in leadership. The longest serving US Senator had a storied career bringing thousands of projects to his state, holding almost every high-ranking Senate post and mentoring scores of upstart Senators. But the other side of the coin is less stellar -- Byrd was a kard karrying member of the Ku Klux Klan and an early opponent to the Civil Rights Movement.

During the Byrd memorial in Charleston, West Virginia President Barack Obama recalled some of the first words Byrd spoke to him.

"There are things I regretted in my youth, you may know that," Byrd said to Obama. The President said he responded that we all have had regrets.

President Bill Clinton spoke about Byrd too, painting the character of Byrd from how he helped now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to aiding the "little man" in West Virginia. Yet, Clinton mentioned the KKK too.

"[Byrd] was trying to get elected," Clinton said, regarding his potential reason for joining the Klan. "He spent the rest of his life trying to make it up. We are all alike, that is the real education the Senator Byrd got."

While Byrd continued to make his mark in the Senate legislating for the Mountain State just a few 100 miles away, hailing from another Charleston was a South Carolina State Senator Tim Scott. Now Scott is the republican nominee for South Carolina’s first Congressional district, who just beat out long-time segregationist Strom Thurmond’s son the primary. That is a feat in itself, but Scott would also be only the fifth black republican US Congressman in American History. In his 20's Scott was mentored on the virtues of the Republican Party by a white man in South Carolina who was only a couple years his senior. Scott's mentor passed away before reaching 35 and that has inspired Scott to continue the dear friend’s message and work.

Scott has said he is also inspired to become a public servant like Strom Thurmond. That raises eyebrows even higher. A black politician that models himself after a proponent of "Separate but Equal," how does that fly? But like Byrd, Thurmond changed over time.

In Scott's lifetime (he is 44) Thurmond became better known, at least in South Carolina, for his outstanding level of constituent service. Scott has said he wants to be cut from that same cloth.

Personally, I know that Strom Thurmond was great with constituents. When my grandmother, Lillian Whack, was seeking nursing home care for her mother in Charleston she wrote to nearly every politician in South Carolina asking for help. The one-time segregationist was the only leader that responded. Thurmond helped coordinate an agreeable arrangement for my great grandmother's final years. South Carolina voters seem to have seen more of this side of Thurmond in Scott than they did in Thurmond's own son.

The fabric of America's politics is evolving -- in all political parties, in all races, among men, among women, all across the nation. From Byrd and Thurmond, to Scott and Nikki Haley (Indian-American GOP nominee for Governor of South Carolina) the quilt is being woven with swatches of red and blue. The difference is the fabric is starting to come from new manufacturers now more than ever.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Beware of the Black Guy

A Washington Post writer opened a can of racial worms about two weeks back when he theorized that President Barack Obama couldn’t show what some consider “enough rage” over the BP oil spill _ or over anything, for that matter _ lest he conjure the image of the “Angry Black Man.”

See columnist Jonathon Capeheart’s article here:

With all this petro in our oceans and washing onto our shores, this was the LAST story line I was thinking about, but now that it’s out there, let’s consider the question: Do black men have to be careful _ maybe even more careful _ than the rest of society when it comes to expressing anger?

As a black man, I am obviously biased, but I would say yes. I feel many black men today can be revered but are still feared, especially by non-blacks. This isn’t to suggest that all non-blacks fear black men, but I do think this is probably the group of which they are most likely afraid.

I have also had some experience with the issue. From a young age, I recognized my distinction from non-blacks and even from black girls in terms of how I was treated by members of the majority race.

When I was about 11 years old, I was riding my bike with four of my boys (who happened to be black) and we stopped in a neighbor’s driveway. The police were called and came to our homes. As an intern at a major newspaper, I can remember standing up too quickly from my cubicle and drawing a startled, anxious response from my non-black co-workers.

For those of you reading this post who aren’t black men, this might seem a silly topic to you, and I’d hardly expect you to understand. Capehart’s point, however, is not unique to black men. All kinds of people draw looks of discrimination and cause a chain reaction of bad body language simply in this country for being who they are: the disabled, interracial couples, homosexuals, Arab-Americans.

Clearly, not all people feel the same way about these folks and others. But there is enough prejudice and stereotyping to go around. Black men face their challenges and will probably always be the target of certain misconceptions. But in 2010, that is a minor challenge considering from whence we have come. Still, it is worth understanding, mentioning and discussing.

So let’s do that here, and then move on.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Majority Mind: "Get Rid of the Bad Blood"

Below is a link to an article by Fareed Zakaria in the June 7 edition of Newsweek. It takes a similar line of logic to our "Get Rid of the Bad Blood" post, but tackles a different topic. It addresses President Obama's foreign policy and his critics. Check it out and post a comment here on Majority Mind.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

"Get Rid of the Bad Blood"

RT @lwhack 4 IL Dems #blagotrial is like the "war" after Michael Corleone's 1st murder in The Godfather, but less honorable, hope 4 #freshstart #change

Yes, it is today. Disgraced Former Illinois Governor goes to trial for numerous corruption charges. The outcome is uncertain. Pundits, lawyers, jury members, judges and residents will all have opinions on what will happen.

But the outcome of the trial is NOT what I want to talk about. You see, we know the Illinois political reputation well enough by now. And at this point the nation and the world know there is "Bad Blood."

There is a laundry list of convicted and accused Illinois politicians. You know it, our you can Google it. Point is maybe, just maybe, this Blago Trial will lead to a "war." Like in "The Godfather" when Michael Corleone offed that mob boss and the police captain at the Italian restaurant. After that there was an all out "war" between the "five families." Things could have gotten better, many would say with "The Godfather II" that conditions worsened.

With the contentious fall election with anti-incumbent sentiments, with a dismal economic forecast hitting Illinois especially hard and with people being sick of "politics as usual" maybe some of the "Bad Blood" can be washed away.

But political change of this magnitude arrives like the slowest glacier, instead of at the speed of hurricane waves, but maybe this new low can rechart the course of Illinois. But it is up Illinois citizens of all backgrounds to rise up and get politically active in this non-presidential election year (in HIGH numbers). It is up to incumbents and "New Blood" politicians alike, to wash their hands of any "Bad Blood" and move forward with real solutions, that help real people as their core motivation. If Illinois makes this type of investment years from now we can be looking at a better state. If not, the "war" might just give birth to another. Or worse, there will be little or nothing to fight for.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Matter with the Media: TV edition

An election year TV series has come to a close on our screens. And this year someone on TV always seemed to be talking about the impact of the media. Too harsh on Sarah Palin, some claimed. Too soft on Barack Obama others accused. Sexist toward Hillary Clinton others shouted. Not friendly to John McCain others insisted. Free passes to Joe Biden chided others.

With all this ruckus about the media flipping channels has been like navigating through a conservative vs. liberal pass-fail course. But do any of these programs really pass? It seems like most shows have political leanings. In this environment how do you get non-bias, engaging news anymore?

According to a poll on this Majority Mind blog 66 percent of you said that the "mainstream media could do a better job," reporting on the news. (Please vote in the poll if you have not already)

With this being the case many people ages 18 to 34 get their TV news from sources like "The Daily Show" or "The Colbert Report" on Comedy Central. These programs hosted by Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert seem to have a humorous liberal slant. The Comedy Central duo is even held their own election night coverage in a program entitled "Indecision 2008."

On the other end of the spectrum Mike Huckabee, Republican Arkansas governor and former Republican presidential nominee, has a show on FOX with a more conservative vibe. After dropping out of race Huckabee has stayed in the news reel by becoming part of it. He has recently published a book that he will be surely cross promoting on his show.

And now CNN has a show, "D.L. Hughley Breaks the News" on which the comedian host a late night style show on socio-political issues. He is openly an Obama supporter.

Pundit and partisan press as news is becoming more prevalent, not just on these shows, but in media outlets in general. And there seem to be more analysts (who are normally permitted to lean left or right) filling segments with their partisan opinions. That seems cool, but then anchors and reporters on major networks seem to tilt too far off center that's not so cool.
That's just crooked.

Part of the solution is that since opinion seems here to stay in the media viewers should insert their voice into the discussion in order to heard. Ever been watching TV and started talking back to the anchor or reporter, disputing or agreeing with what they are saying?

Now TV show Web sites host blogs related to their programs and viewers can log on a post comments. One example is CNN anchor Rich Sanchez who uses Twitter, Facebook and MySpace as a conduit for dialogue with viewers. In the current media landscape, when viewers are going to get opinion with most stories, at least there are opportunities to share your stance.

In later posts we will address media bias in web content, newspapers and radio.
But in TV do you think news programs are turning bias? Why? And what would you like to see done differently?

Post a comment below

Thursday, October 30, 2008

High schools for gay students a positive alternative?

Walking down the hallway or stopping in the bathroom countless students that identify themselves as gay have probably been harassed and ridiculed. Other gay students may feel scared to express their developing or developed sexual identity because they fear being judged by their peers. In years to come these students may have another option in Chicago.

The Chicago School Board will vote on the proposed School for Social Justice Pride Campus Nov. 19. Initially, this vote was to have occurred Oct. 22, but a decision was postponed because of the large number of other school proposals that the Board of Education must decide on.

What makes this vote significant is that this proposed school is being created to cater to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students. Officials say that the high school will not be a “gay high school” but rather an institution for students who find traditional schools non-conducive to learning because of their sexual orientation.

This would make Chicago the third city in the nation to have this type of school. The first two high school are New York's Harvey Milk and Milwaukee's Alliance.

The proposed Chicago school would enroll 600 students and would be open for anyone to attend. Officials are hoping the school would be open for the beginning of the 2010 school year.

Research and surveys have found that students who are bullied because of their sexual orientation are more apt to miss class, drop out and not graduate. Enormous percentages of students surveyed also report being harassed and physically assaulted at school.

Supporters believe that the creation of these schools would help tremendously in the academic and social development of high school students who choose to live an alternative lifestyle.

However, the creation of these proposed schools leads to other issues and more questions. By sending students to these alternative high schools, we as a society are not completely addressing the core issues.

Instead of teaching tolerance in our schools, maybe this implies view separation as a better solution. This may send a message to “normal” students that there is something wrong with their fellow classmates who live an alternative lifestyle and that separation is the only solution.

Majority Mind Question
Do you agree or disagree with creating high schools for gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender youth? Why or Why not?
Do you think this will further stigmatize gay students? On the whole will it lead to more or less prejudice?
Post a comment below