Archive for the ‘Black Issues’ Category

After 10 years on air, The Michael Baisden Show is coming to an end.

The tenth anniversary of the Michael Baisden Show was abruptly cut short on Wednesday. Baisden announced via his Facebook page not only was his show being taken off the air, he says he and his crew were “locked out” of their studio, owned by media company Cumulus. Apparently, the two sides couldn’t agree on a deal, and when Baisden went public with that info, they decided they would use pre-recorded material to fill his 3-4 pm timeslot until March 29.

I remember listening to Baisden in the car with my mother my senior year of high school and laughing at some of the discussions he engaged in with his guests. As time when on, he evolved from talking about dating, relationships and sex to confronting issues such as domestic abuse, bullying and sexual assault. He has also been vocal on social and political issues such as the Jenna Six, the election (and re-election) of Barack Obama, and the Trayvon Martin Case. He also organized a campaign to get more people involved with mentoring young people and has invested time and attention to small business owners.

Baisden is one of those figures in Black America that folks either love or hate. Whatever you think about him and his opinions,  you have to admit he has a powerful voice. By no means am I a Michael Baisden Stan. I disagreed with his views on more than one subject. But I appreciate his willingness to talk about politically sensitive, potentially explosive topics. He was one of the few minority voices in mainstream talk radio with a sizable audience, and that number is steadily shrinking.

Baisden will be okay. He’ll land a gig on satellite radio or end up on MSNBC with Al Sharpton every day.  My larger concern is that we still need shows like the MB Show, if not that show itself. The Rush Limbaughs of the world aren’t going anywhere, but how many mainstream radio shows featuring minorities are there out there that actually address substantive issues at least on a semi-regular basis?

One less more than we started with this week.

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The front page of today’s Statesville Record & Landmark.

This is the front page story from my hometown newspaper, The Statesville Record and Landmark. As you can imagine, it’s elicited quite a response in the community and on social media. This “White Unity” event is ironically set to take place in a small town called Harmony. I guess they forgot to poll the Black folks.

Growing up in that part of the country in the 1990s and 2000s, I can’t say that I ever saw any explicit Klan activity. Every now and then the old folks would talk about the Klan marching downtown or something, but it seemed like something from the history books. But as they say, history repeats itself.

Some are angry at the paper for placing the story on the front page, above the fold. They say it’s as if the paper is endorsing the rally. I can see how someone would look at this on the front page and think that, but inside the paper there is an editorial titled “Evil in our midst can’t be ignored,” which states the editorial opinion that people need to see what hate looks like in 2012. I totally agree.

For those who think with an African-American president in the White House we are in a post-racial society, this may come as a shock. For others, this is sad confirmation of the fact that we have a long way to go before all people are truly equal in this nation. For those who only now feel compelled to speak out about , it’s about damn time! But we must realize that the regressive policies currently being instituted by conservatives on the local, state and federal levels are more destructive than any gathering of backyard bigot barbeque could ever be. We progressives cannot fall asleep at the wheel like we did during the 2010 election cycle this year. Not with so much at stake. Stay vigilant and stay up. I’m out…

A new poll by The Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation reveals African-American women put less of an emphasis on the importance of marriage then their White Counterparts.

We’ve all read the news features attempting to illuminate the reason as to why there are so many single African-American women.  A recent survey by The Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation  suggests that African-American women place less of a value on marriage than their White female counterparts and both Black and White men.

In an article titled Survey Paints Portrait of Black Women, the Post revealed that just 40 percent of Black women polled viewed getting married as “very important” compared to 55 percent of White women, 47 percent of Black men and 54 percent of White men. They were also the most likely to think that marriage was not important at all. Very interesting stuff. The study also showed that Black women place a higher value on free time, being religious and being attractive than the other three demographic groups polled.

This very revealing study leads me to question whether the reason for the marriage gap in the black community is the cause for these attitudes or whether these attitudes are the reason for the marriage gap? Have three hundred plus years of attacks on the Black family structure, by both internal and external forces, made African-American women give up on the idea of marriage as a real possibility for themselves? Listen to the analysis of Towan Isom, a 39 year-old who owns a public relations firm in D.C.

“I can go to school. I can be successful. I can make money. I can have a career. That is in my power to control,” she said. “Finding a husband — that would be great, but that’s not in my power to control.”

Certainly one can live a good, fulfilling life without being married. But I would argue that out of all the ethnic groups in America, African-Americans would benefit the most from a two-parent family structure. The two parent structure not only provides children with the best change for success, it also allows the pooling of financial resources which is especially critical in times of financial crisis such as these. Just look at the chart on this page.

I find it very disheartening when women feel that marriage is less important than men. Not because I’m a chauvinist, but simply because I think women under-estimate their impact on men. I’m convinced that when it comes to relationships, a male’s standards are largely determined by the demands put on him by the pool of females he interacts with.  If women up their standards and expectations, men will follow suit.

But that’s my two cents. How important is marriage to you in the year 2012? Does this poll accurately reflect the views of yourself or African-American women you know.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past five years or so, you’ve probably read or heard dozens of news stories and features on marriage and African-Americans. To me, they all pretty much read the same…They give some horrible statistics and talk about how hard it is for Black women to find “good black men. (You know, since we’re all either in jail, gay or dating outside of our race.)

Adding fuel to the fire is a new book by a Black Stanford Professor named Ralph Richard Banks. His book, Is Marriage For White People?  is getting a lot of attention, both in the black community as well as in the mainstream media. In an interview with Time, Banks said educated and successful black women are more apt to look “down” (for black men in blue collar jobs) than “out” (as in out of their race). The conclusion Banks comes to is that it is time for Black Women to start looking outside of their race for potential husbands.

It’s a theory that I’ve heard expressed plenty of times, but usually within the confines of the Black Community. It’s not so much the thought of masses of black women dating outside their race that bothers me as it is an uneasiness with the mainstream media’s interest in a book with this type of editorial slant. There just seems to be something very condescending about it, like they are embracing the idea that dating White people is the solution to the problems for the Blacks. It smacks of paternalism to me. Why no coverage of books about Black Love?

In almost every story, I see all these pictures of beautiful, smiling sisters snuggling up with white men while reading that it’s damn near impossible to find a black man who can read and keep his ass out of prison. I know that as a group, African-American men have alot of areas to improve on, but is there anything positive has ever come from these types of stories?All they do is divide black men and women and continue driving a wedge between us instead of bringing us together.

The problem with stories like this is that they play out like some type of dark, adult Fairy Tale. In order to be saved from the brutish Black man, Black women must lay aside their natural preference and submit to the White Knight, who will wisk them away to a beautiful castle where good credit and children with “good hair” await them.

It’s not only the media who portray this falsity, it’s also black women themselves. After decades of choosing the wrong Black men, they date outside their race, find a white man who meets their requirements and then suddenly become the “expert” on these matters. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard a frustrated black woman threaten to “go to the other side.” The truth of the matter is that men are men and all of us are capable of being equally trifling.

Let me leave you with this scenario: There are two equally attractive, educated female black accountants. One steps outside her social circle and falls in love with a black carpenter. The other decides that since she can’t find a black man that meets her requirements, so she marries a white man she hopes she can learn to love…Who settled more?

 

So I was watching CNN a few minutes ago when I came across this video. Last Saturday, a couple dozen kids walked into a convenient store in Montgomery County, Maryland at 1:47 a.m. These overgrown BeBe’s Kids proceeded to grab candy, drinks and other items from the store’s shelves and walked off without paying for it.

I wish I could say that I’m shocked, but I’m not. First of all, what kind of parent doesn’t know where their teenager is at damn near two o’clock in the morning? There’s just no excuse for that.

What did catch my eye was the use of the term, “Flash Mob.”  Basically, it’s a large group of people, usually connected via social networking sites, in a public place to do something silly and then haul ass. Apparently police in Philadelphia and other major cities have been dealing with it for a while, but this is the first time authorities have had this type of activity was caught on tape.

Call it what you want, I think it’s a damn shame that even if parents don’t know where their children are, they haven’t instilled enough of a sense of right and wrong for them to know that behavior like this is unacceptable. My grandmother used to say there was something very different about kids born after 1990…I used to think this was just talk, but the older I get I see she was right. But I think what’s changed most about children in the last 20 years is their parents.

Of course, there are the parents that just don’t give a damn. These apathetic-types have always been around, but seem to be increasing in numbers. Then there are those who neglect their children in the pursuit of a better life for them. Parents spend so much time working to give their children the things that their parents  that they were denied as children, they deny them the things that they were given-ideas like work ethic and a sense of concern for the world outside themselves.

Moral of the story: RAISE YOUR KIDS!

 

MSNBC's Eugene Robinson breaks down the new reality of being Black in America

Since I started regularly watching television newscasts during my college years, MSNBC’s Eugene Robinson has been on of my favorite commentators. The Washington Post Editor and Columnist can always be relied on for a level-headed viewpoint that is both entertaining and informative. Yet somehow, I missed out on reading his book Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America upon its release in 2010.

The basis of the book is that in the 21st Century, “Black America” no longer exists as a single entity as it did in the first-half of the 20th Century. Robinson classifies Black America as four distinct groups:

  • a Mainstream middle-class majority with a full ownership stake in American society
  • a large, Abandoned minority with less hope of escaping poverty and dysfunction than at any time since Reconstruction’s crushing end
  • a small Transcendent elite with such enormous wealth, power, and influence that even white folks have to genuflect
  • two newly Emergent groups-individuals of mixed-race heritage and communities of recent black immigrants-that make us wonder what “black” is even supposed to mean

I have literally devoured this book in the last 48 hours. As the book goes along, he gives a comprehensive break down of how these divisions took place, where they currently stand and their prospects for the future. But it was an experience of my own that brought home Robinson’s theory for me personally.

After work, I stopped into a dinner party for some friends who have spent the last few months in China, working at a school to teach English. The party took place in a nice neighborhood in Cary, one of North Carolina’s most upscale cities. There was food, soft drinks and a few beers thrown in for good measure. I watched from a distance as the party-goers of all ages and races embraced the couple with hugs and kisses and mingled with each other. Between family and friends, I’d guess that the crowd was about 60 to 70 percent Black with a sizable number of  Caucasians and other races.

Thinking back to Disintegration, I marveled at the fact that a simple social event like this could not have taken place 50 or even 40 years ago anywhere in America, much less the South. I realized that I was seeing the Black Mainstream at work. I took it in with a self-satisfying pride that I was amongst that group.

About two hours into the celebration, someone tapped me on my shoulder, telling that the police were outside and that I may have to move my car, which was one of about ten or so parked curbside alongside the double culd-i-sacs. My crystalized the tenuous nature that comes along with being a part of the Black Mainstream.

“Why the hell did somebody have to call the police?”

If we were inconviencing any of the residents by parking in their allotted space, why didn’t someone just knock on the door and ask the owners of the vehicles to move them?

Later, someone pointed out the possibility that the police showed up on their own. Having lived in the area for two years now, I can say that it is very likely. They didn’t harass anyone and to my knowledge force anyone to move their vehicles. Even still, I can’t understand why they would approach the house without being prompted to by one of the local residents.

This evening’s events cemented the fact that as a self-identified member of the Black Mainstream, I live in two worlds. Thanks for the reminder, Mr. Robinson.

No matter who you are, or how hard you claim to be, admit it-you’ve got a soft spot for babies. You may not do the “goo-goo-ga-ga” type-speech, but you’ve got to be the Devil’s nephew not to at least smile back when you see one. Working on a job that is predominately female, it seems that someone is having a baby nearly every week.

One day a few weeks ago, the conversation came up about a Caucasian young lady (lets call her Julie) who’s newborn baby was fathered by an African-American father. This is how the face-cringing conversation went.

Co-worker no. 1: “Oh, you know Julie had her baby last week.”

Co-worker no. 2: “Oh, she did?”

Co-worker no. 1: “Yup. You know the baby daddy Black, right?”

Co-worker no. 2: “Uhh huh.  You know that’s a pretty baby. I can’t wait to see it.”

Making matters worse, others chimed in supporting that statement. Random comments about the little one having “good hair” and “pretty eyes.” I WANTED TO THROW UP!

Now on the surface, it may seem that I’m being petty, but understand I’m not a surface-type dude. Being a Scorpio I inherently have to anaylise and dissect everything. It just kills me to know that in 2011 Black people still have so many of the self-hating hangups we had in 1811!

Almost 150 years after being freed from physical slavery we are still baring the scars of the mental effects that white supremacy has imposed on us. Generation after generation, we continue to pass on the flawed logic that having children with White people can only enhance our beauty. No disrespect to my bi-racial folks, but Black is beautiful all by its damn self!!!

I’ll admit, when I was younger, I had a preference for mixed or light-skinned females. Hell, my first crush was Mariah Carey at age four! But as I evolved and developed a mind of my own, I began to realize that those preferences were based on the way society looked at African-based features. I don’t expect society at large to appreciate India.Arie’s beauty the way they do Alicia Keys or Beyonce, but the said thing is most of Black America doesn’t either.

Bottom line his has got to stop. We are all God’s children, created in his image. No matter your size or hue, just love yourself for being you.