Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Black on Black crime

I watched a video on CNN today and learned that about half of the homicide victims in America are Black and 93% of those victims where killed by other Black people. This fact is astounding. There are many factors contributing to this, education (or lack there of) even economics. Until the mentality changes things will inevitable stay the same. We should try to reach out to our people and show them things are not hopeless. I wanted to share this fact with you. Spread the word.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Use black history to empower

February 13, 2007
It's great that there's at least one month when black history is celebrated in our schools, communities and even on television.
But one African-American educator, Carmen N'Namdi, offers this cautionary note: What children are learning during Black History Month may actually be the opposite of what we think we're teaching.
Words for the wise
"What if I said that George Washington was the first white president?" said N'Namdi, who's been an educator for 28 years.
First, she said, it would imply that it was a rare white person who could qualify to be president. And second, it would imply that most presidents are black.
"Language has the power to make you a victim," said N'Namdi. "Especially during Black History Month, when we focus upon all the 'first' and 'only' African Americans who broke color barriers."
N'Namdi has been teaching what she calls the "psychology of the norm" to her students at her own charter school, Nataki Talibah Schoolhouse of Detroit. Named after her daughter who passed away at 14 months, the school was founded in 1978 to form a "normalized" learning environment for children of African ancestry.
According to N'Namdi, African Americans are the only people who refer to their own ancestors simply as "the slaves."
"They were more than an enslaved people; they were herbalists, artists and craftsmen," she said. "By defining black history as the history of slavery, we're losing sight of the fact that they were people with rich lives and customs."
She also warns about the pitfalls of teaching about racism to young children.
"Little ones are into superheroes," she said. "They like power, and they like to know that things can be fixed. So if you talk about the Jim Crow laws in the South, they want to know who had so much power that they could boss around their parents and grandparents?"
Instead, stories like the Rosa Parks story should be couched in terms of justice, not race, she said.
"Unless the man who asked for Parks' seat was older or carrying a child, he had no reason to ask her to get up," she said. "Then we talk about what she did to address the injustice -- she boycotted. That engages their creativity: 'How do I fix things that are wrong?' "
Liberating language
I agree with N'Namdi, who taught both of my children in elementary school. At 8, my son was at an indoor park when he and his classmates -- all African American -- were refused service by a white sales clerk. The children were outraged and demanded service. When I asked him why he thought he was snubbed, my son answered: "Because she was rude."
I'd perceived a racial incident. How much more liberating for my son to perceive rudeness detached from his own skin color.
"Seeing yourself as the norm can make a difference in whether you can transcend racism," N'Namdi said. "It's empowering."
That may be the best history lesson of all.
Contact DESIREE COOPER at or 313-222-6625.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Doll Baby Test

Kiri Davis is a young filmmaker whose high school documentary has left audiences at film festivals across the country stunned -- and has re-ignited a powerful debate over race.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

We are in mourning.... A Great African American has passed

James Joseph Brown (May 3, 1933 – December 25, 2006), commonly referred to as "The Godfather of Soul", was an American entertainer recognized as one of the most influential figures in 20th-century popular music.

As a prolific singer, songwriter, bandleader, and record producer, Brown was a seminal force in the evolution of gospel and rhythm and blues into soul and funk. He left his mark on numerous other musical genres, including rock, jazz, reggae, disco, dance and electronic music, afrobeat, and hip hop music.

Brown began his professional music career in 1953 and skyrocketed to fame in the late 1950s and early 1960s on the strength of his thrilling live performances and a string of smash hits. In spite of various personal problems and setbacks, he continued to score hits in every decade through the 1980s. In the 1960s and 1970s Brown was a presence in American political affairs, noted especially for his activism on behalf of African Americans and the poor.

Brown was recognized by a plethora of (mostly self-bestowed) titles, including Soul Brother Number One, Mr. Dynamite, the Hardest-Working Man in Show Business, Minister of The New New Super Heavy Funk, Mr. Please Please Please, The Boss, and the best-known, the Godfather of Soul. He was renowned for his shouting vocals, feverish dancing and unique rhythmic style.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Racism Research

CNN's published research

(CNN) -- Most Americans, white and black, see racism as a lingering problem in the United States, and many say they know people who are racist, according to a new poll.
But few Americans of either race -- just one out of eight -- consider themselves racist.
And experts say racism has evolved from the days of Jim Crow to the point that people may not even recognize it in themselves. (Watch people in a Texas town where blacks are still afraid to stop )

A poll conducted last week by Opinion Research Corp. for CNN indicates that whites and blacks disagree on how serious a problem racial bias is in the United States.

Almost half of black respondents to the poll -- 49 percent -- said racism is a "very serious" problem, while 18 percent of whites shared that view. Forty-eight percent of whites and 35 percent of blacks chose the description "somewhat serious."

Asked if they know someone they consider racist, 43 percent of whites and 48 percent of blacks said yes.

But just 13 percent of whites and 12 percent of blacks consider themselves racially biased.

Professor Jack Dovidio of the University of Connecticut, who has researched racism for more than 30 years, estimates up to 80 percent of white Americans have racist feelings they may not even recognize.

"We've reached a point that racism is like a virus that has mutated into a new form that we don't recognize," Dovidio said.

He added that 21st-century racism is different from that of the past.
"Contemporary racism is not conscious, and it is not accompanied by dislike, so it gets expressed in indirect, subtle ways," he said.

That "stealth" discrimination reveals itself in many different situations.
A three-year undercover investigation by the National Fair Housing Alliance found that real estate agents steered whites away from integrated neighborhoods and steered blacks in to predominantly black neighborhoods.

Racism also can be a factor in getting a job.

Candidates named Emily O'Brien or Neil McCarthy were much more likely to get calls back from potential employers than applicants named Tamika Williams and Jamal Jackson, even though they had the same credentials, according to a study by the University of Chicago.

Racial bias may even determine whether you can flag a cab.

New York Times writer Calvin Sims wrote a recent article about all the cabdrivers that refused to stop for him.

"If a cab passes you by, obviously it is frustrating, it's degrading and it's just really confusing, because this is akin to being in the South and being refused service at a lunch counter, which is what happened in the 60s and 70s," he said.


The Opinion Research poll shows that blacks and whites disagree on how each race feels about the other.

Asked how many whites dislike blacks, 40 percent of black respondents said "all" or "many." Twenty-six percent of whites chose one of those replies.

On the question of how many blacks dislike whites, 33 percent of blacks said "all" or "many," while 38 percent of whites agreed -- a wash because of the poll's 5 percent margin of error.
About half of black respondents said they had been a victim of discrimination because of their race. A little more than a quarter of whites said they had been victims of racial discrimination.
The poll was based on phone interviews conducted December 5 through Thursday with 1,207 Americans, including 328 blacks and 703 non-Hispanic whites.