Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Memphis Wants Pres. Obama in its Jail!


On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama made history…twice. On this date, thanks to the city of Memphis, Obama become the first President-elect to be assigned a Booking Number (#08725976). [Thanks to http://thadmatthews.blogspot.com/ for turning Sisterdoc on to this injustice].

It seems that one of the local campaign offices placed campaign signs in public places that are (purportedly) to be free from such signage.

Instead of citing the local office (which, frankly seems like harassment), Memphis Public Works employee Gene Soucy cited Barack Obama. When Obama, who knew nothing of this sour-grapes hater’ation, did not show up to court this week, they ISSUED A BENCH WARRANT FOR HIS ARREST! Fortunately, an attorney who also happens to be a Democrat, was around the courthouse and rushed in to get a delay for December 8, 2008 until things can get straightened out. To see the case entry, go to http://jssi.co.shelby.tn.us/ and click the “GS Case History” tab. From there, type in our President’s first and last name, and you will see his “criminal court case information.” Note that they list his race as “U” for “unknown.” They also don’t know his birth date.

As the above image (taken this summer) of McKellar Lake near the Jack Carley Causeway in Memphis shows, campaign signs which were posted and then removed should not be on the Public Works’ radar.

Some of you will recognize the irony of Memphis doing this. Yes, it is the place where Dr. King, Jr. was assassinated. What is more shocking is that Dr. King was in Memphis fighting for the civil and labor rights of the city’s public works employees. And now this group has conspired, even against their supervisor’s and mayor’s knowledge, to criminalize the President, denying him of his own rights.

Wow, it is really going to get crazy in our country. Brace yourself…

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The End of the SAT exam?


Wake Forest (North Carolina) is a highly ranked, highly selective university. Earlier this year, the institution took a bold step by no longer requiring the SAT as part of its admissions process. The University believes that the SAT is a “weak measure of academic ability” and that it “misevaluates [their] students’ academic strengths” as well as undercuts their diversity and talent pools.

Sisterdoc remembers all too well her introduction to standardized tests. While in elementary school, I was evaluated for the Pittsburgh Public School’s gifted students program. I recall one of the warm-up questions, “your mother goes to the store to purchase bananas, what color are the bananas that she brings home?” My answer: green. Some of my friends answered “brown.” The correct answer was yellow. [I knew almost immediately things weren’t going to go well for me]. An actual exam question asked, “you are watching television, but you cannot hear it clearly. You want to make the broadcast louder. What is the name of the button you use to make the broadcast louder?” My answer: sound. One of my friends answered: “we don’t have a TV.” Another friend said, “up.” Correct answer: volume (up).

When my parents shopped, they needed to make sure groceries lasted. They purchased green bananas to provide us access to inexpensive, but fresh fruit for a longer period of time. On the other hand, my friend’s folks purchased bananas off the “day old” (or older) clearance table. Theirs was a similar mission—access to a healthy, inexpensive, albeit less fresh snack. This isn’t just a Black thing; rather, it reveals a cultural bias in the exams based on class status. The same goes for the TV question. Our TV, such as it was, was so tiny it didn’t have room for a bunch of labels. VHS, UHF, a knob marked sound was about all we got. Common sense told us to turn the knob to the left to turn the sound down, or to the right to turn it up. I wasn’t accepted to the gifted program.

In California, a recent SAT study revealed that high SAT scores correlate with family income, but not necessarily with good grades. That means the test may speak to rich peoples’ experiences, but may not be a good predictor of their intellectual chops. If I am rich, I stand a better chance of getting a question right that asks me about my motor boat simply because I have one versus a kid who only knows the shoe leather express.

To be sure, if the contours of my life had continued to rise and fall on my performance on such tests, there would be no Sisterdoc. I’ve written books, articles, and book chapters. I am a professor at a pretty impressive university. Even today my creative energy is fueled by bananas that are more green than yellow.

I also bring racial and class diversity to the ivory-tower. Policy-makers are often White (or non-Black) and upper-middle class, but make decisions about Blacks and the lower-class. People like me are needed to give policy-makers a reality check, as well as to create policy for a populace they know best.

What do you think about Wake Forest’s decision to get rid of the SAT requirement?

Black men ask if they'll be seen in a different light

Sunday, November 16, 2008
By Carla Hall and Marjorie Miller, The Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES -- Hakeem Holloway may be a classically trained musician who has played with orchestras around the world, but when he crosses a Los Angeles city street wearing his typical uniform of jeans and a hoodie, white women have been known to eye him, a black man, and clutch their purses more tightly to their sides.

Frank Gilliam, the dean of the University of California, Los Angeles' School of Public Affairs, sometimes flies first class. When he does, white passengers often ask Dr. Gilliam, who is black, if he's a record producer -- if they talk to him at all.

Even as millions of black Americans revel in Barack Obama's victory, some still wonder if this transformative moment in American politics truly will transform perceptions of black men. How much, if at all, they ask, will Mr. Obama's victory shatter that glass ceiling?

The country may have become accustomed to seeing and hearing minorities populating numerous levels of power in almost all professions, but many people still cling to images that can be stubborn to erase.

Mr. Holloway, a 31-year-old double bassist with a master's degree in music performance from the University of Southern California, says one problem for blacks is that success often blinds people to color -- in the wrong way.

"We have plenty of black comedians, actors, athletes," Holloway said. "And plenty of time, everybody regards those people as not black. Michael Jordan? 'He's not black. He's Michael Jordan.' Barack Obama? 'He's not black. He's Barack Obama.' "

Murrell Garr Jr., associate pastor of the Friendship Baptist Church in Yorba Linda, expresses the hope that many feel: "As black men, we feel we have a voice now. We've been crying out in the wilderness. We have skills, qualities. Now people will give an ear to what we're saying."

In the past, some whites often did not listen, instead projecting their racial anxieties. "The image of the black man is fear," said Damian Thompson, 35, a self-employed graphic designer. "I think Barack changes that and brings us the respect we deserve.."

Others couple hopefulness with skepticism about the ability of an Obama presidency to change ingrained racial perceptions.

Some black men worry that an Obama presidency could foster the perception among some whites that racism no longer exists, dispelled magically.

Warner Bros. executive Chaz Fitzhugh, 53, who is black, earned undergraduate and master's degrees from Harvard and has counted conservative and liberal whites among his friends.
"The message I've heard from my conservative friends loud and clear is, 'OK, you guys got what you want so stop your whining,' " said Mr. Fitzhugh, who managed a good-natured chuckle even though he admitted the comments annoy him.

"The perception will be that racism is essentially over and done -- and that if you screw up, it's all on you," Mr. Fitzhugh said. "It's true in some ways but naive in a lot more."

First published on November 16, 2008 at 12:00 am

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Kudos to Pres. Bush-Emmett Till Act Passed



Giving props when props are due…Kudos to President Bush for, on October 7th, signing into law the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act. The “Till Bill” gives the Justice Department more resources to investigate unsolved murders from the civil rights era.

The bill commemorates Emmett Till, the 14-year-old who was murdered in Mississippi in 1955.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Ralph Nader asks if President Obama is an 'Uncle Tom'

Ralph Nader had to get 'checked' by Shepard Smith of Fox News (of all people, of all networks) for calling Obama an "Uncle Tom." Just moments after Obama was named President-Elect, Nader repeated and defiantly asked if Obama was going to be a Tom to corporations. Smith was appalled by Nader's hate, and rightly so. Nader has shown his true racist colors. See it all here.

Oh What an Election Night-Can You Feel A Brand New Day!!!













Let's get some sleep shall we, because now the real work toward change begins.

44th President Barack Obama "Oh Happy Day!"



Excerpts from the Victory Speech delivered by our next President:

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer…

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America…
It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America…

This is our moment. This is our time - to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Soulja Boy & Orlando Jones Thank Slave Masters







According to BET and Eurweb.com, 18-year-old rapper Soulja Boy thought slavery was a very, very good thing. BET’s Toure interviewed (Stupid) Soulja Boy at BET’s “The Black Carpet” event. He asked the artist to name an historical figure he hates the most. Toure provide a few hints for the young’un: Hitler, Bin Laden, or the slave master.

According to Toure, (Stupid) Boy responded, "Oh wait! Hold up! Shout out to the slave masters! Without them we'd still be in Africa. We wouldn't be here to get this ice and tattoos."

If this is true, I wish I could chalk this up to youthful ignorance. But 40-year-old actor/comedian Orlando Jones offered a similar sentiment as the character Steven in the film Primeval. He said (paraphrasing)—'thank goodness for slavery because it got Black folks out of Godforsaken Africa.' In either forum, these are outrageously racist things to say.

Both Soulja Boy and Orlando Jones need a visit from the Drop Squad.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"Dumb Nigger" Receipt from Journeys


A young, college-attending Brother named Keith Slater purchased a pair of shoes at a store called “Journeys” in Overland Park, Kansas (Oak Park Mall). After doing some additional comparison-shopping, he found the shoes for a much cheaper price at another store. So Brother Keith went back to Journeys to return his shoes. He got his money back, and with it a receipt that identified him as “Dumb Nigger.”

Here is video of KMBC-TV’s new report. http://www.kmbc.com/video/17768384/index.html

It seems that the store programmed in the option “Dumb Nigger” into its computer and that employees must select that option to appear on receipts. As you can see, employee #355 made that selection by scrolling through a number of other codes to opt for this hateful statement to be printed on Keith’s receipt.

Sisterdoc says start a campaign to SHUT ‘EM DOWN!!!!

Oak Park Mall
11683 West 95th #126
Overland Park, KS 66214
(913) 859-9418

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Blame a Black Man: Ashley “the mugger/carver hoax” Todd




Charles Stuart (Boston), Susan Smith (South Carolina), Bob Allen (Florida), Brian Wells (Erie)…they all blamed a big Black man for their nasty, criminal deeds. Add to this list the bizarre case of Ashley Todd.

Taking the hate-mongering coming out of the McCain-Palin campaign to its race-bating, expected end, Todd (a McCain campaign volunteer) claimed last week that a big Black man (bBm) rolled up on her at an ATM in my beloved Pittsburgh to rob her: “a six foot four African American of medium build, dressed in dark clothes wearing shiny shoes." [Shiny shoes? WTF?] She said that the bBm was just about to run off with her coin when he noticed her John McCain bumper sticker on her hooptie. The bBm, Todd claimed, return to beat her up and carve a “B” on her cheek—as in “B” for Barack.

It was all a lie (the backward “B” was a clue). The ‘blame a big Black man’ fiction strikes again. Most are writing Todd off as mentally ill. But that didn’t keep her, like so many others, from exploiting the brutal buck stereotype. The danger is that it sets up innocent Black men for a modern-day public and/or prison system “lynching.”

Thanks to Todd, we came THIS close to seeing real violence. She riled up all sorts of hate…far right-wingers Andy McCarthy, Dan Riehl, Noel Sheppard, Josh Painter all stirred up the venom, as did FOX News.

Police Chief Maurita Bryant has placed Todd under arrest and is charging her, for now, with filing a false police report. Bryant said, "We don't feel she should be able to walk out onto the street….We wouldn't want any further harm to come to her."

And…I don’t want to see her out on the street perpetuating stereotypes and thereby bringing harm to those in my community.

(Image: Keith Srakocic/AP)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Songs of Change (A List)- What are your favorites?



Without exception, “change” has been accompanied by soundtrack. While snatching control of the White House from the Republicans, Bill Clinton paraded in to Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.” And, on his inauguration day, Clinton was serenaded by Aretha “The Queen of Soul” Franklin with a rousing rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream.”

Barack Obama took Stevie Wonder with him on the campaign trail to get folks rallying ‘round to the funky change anthem “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.”

Social and political protests and movements can’t get started until the music is settled on: “We Shall Overcome”…. “Say it Loud [I’m Black and I’m Proud]”… “War [What is it Good For].”

So, let’s get the conversation started. When Obama takes the White House, what should his song be? And, what are some of your favorite songs of change? Here are a few classic songs of change (in no particular order) to get you thinking:

Black Am I (Junior Kelly)
War (Edwin Starr)
War (Bob Marley)
Free Nelson Mandela (Special AKA)
The Message (Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five)
Sign ‘O’ the Times (Prince)
We are the World (USA for Africa)
Strange Fruit (Billie Holiday)
Mississippi Goddamn (Nina Simone)
Fight the Power Pts. 1 & 2 (The Isley Brothers)
Fight the Power (Public Enemy)
Say it Loud-I’m Black and I’m Proud (James Brown)
A Change is Gonna Come (Sam Cooke)
We Shall Overcome (Rev. Charles Tindley)
To Be Young, Gifted, and Black (Nina Simone)
Happy Birthday [Martin Luther King, Jr.] (Stevie Wonder)
Lift Every Voice and Sing (James Weldon Johnson)
911 is a Joke (Public Enemy)
Fuck the Police (NWA)
You Must Learn (KRS-One)

Honorable mention: X-Clan

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Pittsburgh's Slavery Shame


I saw this incredible story in today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by Anya Sostek. Note how slave-holding Pittsburghers "got around" laws which would free Black slaves.

The year was 1825, and though a 6-year-old girl named Sally couldn't sign her name, she could sign away the next 22 years of her life.

With the mark of an "X," Sally promised to serve Pittsburgh attorney John McKee in exchange for food, clothing and lessons in the "art and mystery of a house Servant and Cook." At age 28, she'd be granted her freedom, as well as "two suits of women's apparel ... one of which shall be new."

Sally's story -- and the stories of dozens of other slaves, indentured servants and free blacks in the earliest days of Western Pennsylvania -- was unknown until last year, when an employee in the Allegheny County Recorder of Deeds office stumbled upon the word "Negro" in an 1816 property record.

Upon further investigation, the office found 56 records involving the status of blacks in Pittsburgh prior to 1865, all detailed in scrolling handwriting along with mundane matters of land ownership and property transfer.

The records -- fleshed out in the context of other newly discovered and little known historical information -- are the focus of an exhibit, "Free At Last? Slavery in Pittsburgh in the 18th and 19th Centuries" that opens Saturday at the Sen. John Heinz History Center. The exhibit, created by the University of Pittsburgh, runs through April 5.

"When we talk about the existence of slavery here, people are surprised," said Laurence Glasco, an associate professor of history at Pitt and history director for the exhibit. "We usually think of Pennsylvania as the land of the Quakers and the Liberty Bell, and it doesn't quite go with that image. Bringing the original documents close to a visitor has a powerful effect of really, emotionally, transporting the person back to that era and making it real."

Visitors to the exhibit can learn about Robert Mason, who traveled to Virginia in 1851 to buy and free his wife, Julia, for the sum of $600. Or about 24-year-old William Johnston, who filed a paper certifying that he was born of free parents because he was "about to descend the Ohio River in the capacity of a fireman on a Steamboat."

Robert Hill, vice chancellor for public affairs at Pitt and an amateur history buff, first read about the discovery of the documents in a Post-Gazette article last November. He requested copies of them and started to read through their cryptic cursive script, only to find the documents raising far more questions than they answered.

How widespread was slavery in Pittsburgh, he wondered, and how long did it last? What were all these references to Negro "indentures" in the documents? And how many of Pittsburgh's most prominent citizens -- those with names such as Neville, Craig and McKee that today adorn city streets -- were slaveholders?

After months of digging, he and his team turned up answers that "are rewriting history," said Mr. Hill, who is also executive-in-charge of the exhibit. "We've pulled together little known and unknown facts to tell the story of this town as it relates to slavery in a way that had not been done before."

The overarching theme, he said, was that despite Pennsylvania's much-celebrated 1780 Gradual Abolition of Slavery Act -- the first legislative action by any state to end slavery -- the process of actually moving from slavery to freedom was slow, murky and convoluted.

What the 1780 law did was to mandate that no one born in Pennsylvania after March 1 of that year would be born a slave.

But because slaveholders had balked at the cost of feeding, clothing and caring for the children of slaves in their possession, the law allowed for a 28-year period of indentured servitude for the children of slaves -- under the logic that a slave owner essentially loses money feeding and clothing slave children until they become sufficiently productive around age 14, and the owners need an equal amount of time to recoup their investment.

"I thought either you were a slave or you were free," said Mr. Hill, remarking on the indentured status of children like 6-year-old Sally, who signed legal contracts binding themselves to their owners.

Because Sally had no parents in the state of Pennsylvania, two attorneys -- one of whom, Magnus M. Murray, would go on to become mayor of Pittsburgh -- also approved the contract on her behalf.

Initially, at least, some slaveholders also skirted the law by taking their pregnant slaves to Virginia to give birth (thus, getting to keep the children as slaves), not registering slaves under the law and illegally indenturing the children of indentures.

"What we're seeing is this transition period where it's changing, but it isn't there yet," said Dr. Glasco, noting that indentured blacks did not exist in other states in significant numbers during that time period. "It's a shocking combination of freedom and un-freedom side by side."

That combination included blacks who enjoyed freedom and even prosperity from the very inception of the city of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. Free blacks accompanied Gens. Edward Braddock, John Forbes and George Washington on their initial forays into Pittsburgh.

Several of those blacks become wealthy business owners, living side by side with whites in Downtown Pittsburgh. Benjamin "Big Daddy" Richards, a butcher who became rich selling to military posts, and his son, Charles, were two of four blacks who signed the Petition of 1787 that resulted in the creation of Allegheny County.

One of Pittsburgh's early wealthy blacks was a doctor, Martin Delany, who also went on to edit Frederick Douglass' North Star newspaper. Another, George Vashon, became the first black graduate at Oberlin College, the first black lawyer in New York State and the first black professor at Howard University.

At the same time, many -- though by no means all -- of Pittsburgh's most prominent white citizens owned slaves. Of the 21 original trustees of the University of Pittsburgh at its founding in 1787, eight were slave owners, said Mr. Hill.

The names of those slave owners read like an Oakland street map -- from Presley Neville to John McKee to Isaac Craig, said Mr. Hill from his fourth-floor office in Craig Hall on Craig Street.

The exhibit also includes a display of an early 19th century George Beck painting of Pittsburgh, a simulated slave ship and wax figures dramatizing slave escapes.

"When you read biographies, history books, autobiographies -- there are millions of words, and this stuff isn't in there," said Mr. Hill. "We fill in the puzzle of what early life in Pittsburgh was like related to slavery and racial matters."

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Will Obama Lose Because of the "Bradley Effect"



100,000 people of all races and hues showed up to see (soon to be POTUS) Obama in St. Louis this weekend…But, will they all actually VOTE for him?

With just over two weeks until the election, some are beginning to fret over the “Bradley Effect.” The Bradley Effect is a theory which describes when White voters tells pollsters that they will vote for a Black candidate—to appear liberal, progressive, and non-racist—but really, they are going to vote White.

Obama is five to six points ahead in the polls, however it is unknown how many of those “points” reflect the reports of, well, liars.

In 1982, Tom Bradley (for whom the theory is named) was thought to be a run-away favorite, but on election day he lost to his trailing White, Republican opponent George Deukmejian. In 1989, Douglas Wilder went in with a nine-point lead, but scraped a win by less than one percentage point. David Dinkins secured a helluva big 18-point lead in 1989’s mayoral race, but just narrowly won over Rudy Giuliani.

Obama supporters cannot be complacent at this important time. The election isn’t won. Obama could fall victim to another cheat in Florida…or in Ohio…or, still yet, the Bradley Effect. VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!!!

(Images: Tom Bradley [Time]; St. Louis [NYT])

Monday, September 15, 2008

How to Spot a Criminal--They'll Blame a Black Man




On August 23, 2003 a White dude named Brian Wells walked into the Pittsburgh National Bank in Erie, PA with a real, live bomb locked around his neck. Brian passed a note to tellers saying he was being forced to rob the bank. If they didn’t give him cash, he and they would blow up. Petrified, bank employees gave him $8,700. A pizza deliveryman, Brian claimed that a “group of Black men” had taken him hostage after duping him to make a delivery to a bogus address. These Black men purportedly fitted Brian with a collar bomb, one so intricate, that it could not be removed from Brian’s neck. As Brian fled the bank, police caught up with him and while police watched, the bomb blew Brian to bits.

Five years later the FBI confirmed what Sisterdoc knew then—no Black people were involved in the odd, poorly planned crime whatsoever.

According to law officials, here’s how it really went down. Some guy named Ken Barnes and some woman named Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong met up with another guy named William Rothstein at a gas station. William called Mama Mia’s Pizza asking Brian to deliver a pizza to a fake location. They were all part of the robbery gang. When Brian showed up at the location, he discovered his buddies wanted him to wear a real bomb, not a fake one, to scare the tellers and to rob the bank. That’s how Brian ended up with a bomb around his neck. According to police, the robbery was supposed to finance the hiring of a hitman, for $200,000, to kill Marjorie’s father. Oddly, Ken was the hitman looking to get paid.

Marjorie is in a mental hospital for the criminally insane because, in addition to all of this, she killed her boyfriend James Roden because he was going to tell police about the robbery plot. Oh, and William died of cancer. With Brian dead, that only leaves Ken to go to jail. Wow.

What gets me is how readily and easily the ‘scary Black man’ is invoked by the real criminals. When Charles Stuart shot his pregnant wife in the head, killing her and their baby, he blamed a Black man, claiming the Brother was trying to rob them. Susan Smith strapped her two kids into her Mazda Protégé and rolled the car into a lake, drowning them. She blamed the disappearance of her kids on a carjacking Black man. Then there was Rep. Bob Allen of Florida. He propositioned an undercover Black police officer in a park’s public bathroom, offering $20 for oral sex. Allen’s defense—he was afraid of the “stocky Black guy” and rather than become a “statistic” and get robbed in the park, he offered sex. Yep. That was his story, and he stuck to it.

The problem is, as what occurred in the Stuart and Smith cases, police actually find innocent Black people to arrest. Still, racists keep invoking the scary Black man stereotype because they assume the public will buy in to it. And, sadly the public does…at great risk to Black lives.

(Images: Brian's final moments)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Gentrification Blocks Black Folks' Blessings



Sisterdoc hates gentrification. Here’s why:

I was born and raised in the Homewood section of Pittsburgh. Homewood is one of the ‘Burgh’s predominately Black neighborhoods housing the (hard) working-class. Black influx and White flight began as early as 1860. By the 1950s, any lingering Italians (as well as a few Irish and German immigrants) were packing their bags for all-White communities like Bloomfield and Polish Hill.

Homewood has the best homes (huge and brick with wide porches) and the best streets (wide, many are brick and pothole free) and the best location (easily accessible to all parts of the city). So, I guess it was us Black folks that weren’t liked.

Given its wonderful structural qualities, it is no surprise that Homewood is being transformed again, this time by gentrification. The predominately White, middle-class gentrifiers have done a land-grab and renamed their little slice of Homewood heaven “North Point Breeze”—thereby associating themselves with the neighboring, wealthy, predominately White neighborhood “Point Breeze.” And, disassociating themselves with the poorer, predominately Black “Homewood.”

Of course, home prices have skyrocketed in “North Point Breeze.”

The North Point Breezers don’t interact much with folks who live in Homewood proper. Rather, they like to call the cops on Homewood denizens to complain of drugs and drunkenness.

Interestingly, these gentrifiers did nothing when a 22,000 square-foot Beer World (rather than a desperately needed grocery store) opened up on the border between Homewood and the newly defined North Point Breeze. Instead, they made Beer World their one-stop shop for booze and snacks. Oh, and they called the cops even more to complain of (Black) drunkenness.

With Homewood light on medical/social services to improve the lives of Black folks, and subsequently to improve the neighborhood, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center decided to take over the Beer World building. In it, they want to open up a health and mental health crisis center. Yeah! Homewood is finally getting some help! Or are they….

The North Point Breeze folks are protesting, picketing, and suing to stop the deal. They don’t want their “property values jeopardized.” They don’t want their kids who are enrolled in the pricey Shady Lane private preschool to have to see—what, Black folks getting care and treatment??? Perhaps they don’t want 135 to 150 jobs being made available to the Homewood community.

For their part, UPMC is trying to convince these gentrifiers to stop thinking about Homewooders as “thems” and start thinking about Homewood/North Point Breeze as a community of “us.”

Sisterdoc can only hope.

(Image: Gentrifiers' beloved Beer World)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Racist Murder Goes Free


BBC News is reporting that a US appeals court has overturned the conviction of a former Ku Klux Klansman jailed last year over the deaths of two black teenagers in Mississippi in 1964. Here is a synopsis of the BBC's report:

Charles Eddie Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee were both aged 19 when they were killed.

They were said to have been kidnapped and forced into a vehicle owned by James Ford Seale before being tied up and drowned in the Mississippi river.

Their bodies were found months later during a search for three well-known civil rights activists - Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney - who had disappeared in the area.

Seale, 72, was serving three life terms on charges of kidnapping and conspiracy over the deaths. The court agreed with arguments by Seale's lawyer that a legal time limit for prosecuting the case had lapsed.

The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the lower court had failed to recognize a statute of limitations applied to the case.

Seale was first arrested in 1964 but authorities freed him, citing lack of evidence.

The charges were dropped at the time because local police were colluding with the Ku Klux Klan, federal prosecutors have said.

He was rearrested in January 2007 after he was found to be very much alive - despite his relatives' claims that he had died.

The key witness in his trial, confessed Klansman Charles Marcus Edwards, said during the trial that Seale attached heavy weights to the teenagers and dumped them alive into the river.

JUSTICE FOR CHARLES EDDIE MOORE and HENRY HEZEKIAH DEE!!!

(Image: That Murdering *#@^# Seale)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Who is Ben Jealous?


The NAACP has chosen its 17th president--Benjamin Jealous. He hadn't come up on my radar before (not like Bruce Gordon, Kweisi Mfume, Myrlie Evers-Williams, or Ben Chavis), and perhaps he is unknown to you. So, here is what the NAACP is circulating:

Dear Sisterdoc,

Next week a new chapter will begin at the NAACP when Benjamin Todd
Jealous, 35, becomes only the 17th President of the NAACP in its 99-year
history. Mr. Jealous has spent his professional life working for the
very social justice concerns for which the NAACP advocates. We believe
that he is a perfect match, and I think you will agree.

A life-long community activist, Mr. Jealous organized his first voter
registration drive at age 14, with a determination that stemmed from
being raised in a family that has actively supported the NAACP for five
generations.

He began his career as a community organizer with the NAACP Legal
Defense Fund working on issues of healthcare access in Harlem. At age
21, Jealous moved to Mississippi to work as a field organizer as part of
a successful campaign to stop the state's plan to close two of its three
public historically black universities, and convert one of them into a
prison.

During that time, he took a job at Mississippi's Jackson Advocate
newspaper investigating human rights abuses. His reporting for the
frequently firebombed weekly paper was credited with exposing corruption
amongst high-ranking officials at notorious Parchman State Prison. His
investigations also helped to acquit a black small farmer who had been
wrongfully and maliciously accused of arson.

He soon became Managing Editor at the Advocate, and eventually went on
to serve as Executive Director of the National Newspaper Publishers
Association (NNPA), a federation of more than 200 black community
newspapers. While at the NNPA, he rebuilt its 90-year old national news
service and launched a web-based initiative that more than doubled the
number of black newspapers publishing online.

His career path has also included leadership positions at Amnesty
International, where he directed the U.S. Domestic Human Rights Program
and published their widely acclaimed 2004 report, Threat and
Humiliation: Racial Profiling, Domestic Security, and Human Rights in
the United States, leading efforts to rebuild public support against
racial profiling post 9/11.

Most recently, Mr. Jealous served as President of the Rosenberg
Foundation, an independent institution that supports civil and human
rights advocacy related to the economic interests of working people.

A Rhodes Scholar as well as an accomplished activist, Mr. Jealous is one
of the best and brightest of his generation; and he represents a new
generation for the NAACP. To learn more about him, visit the NAACP
website.
[http://www.naacp.org/about/leadership/executive/jealous/index.htm]

I hope you will join me in welcoming Benjamin Todd Jealous to our
organization. I know we can expect great things from his leadership.

Sincerely,

Julian Bond
Chairman of the Board, NAACP

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Apology for Slavery and Jim Crow


Sisterdoc spied this on the NAACP website. It is interesting because the call is for an apology for slavery AND for Jim Crow practices. The Jim Crow part is key because is serves as a reminder of how Jim Crow was a legalized, modern form of slavery-era rules and practices. Think: Black codes, Sunset Laws, Segregation, Bans on interracial marriage... So, for those folks who often say that slavery was long ago, and why don't Blacks leave the past in the past. This call for an apology serves as a reminder that racist practices did not end a century and a half ago. Jim Crow was of our and our parents' generation and its effects still remain (Jena 6 anybody?).

On Tuesday, July 29 2008 the United States House of Representatives passed,
by a unanimous vote, H. Res. 194, a resolution apologizing for the enslavement
and racial segregation of African Americans. This resolution was significant for
several reasons, including the fact that it addressed not only slavery but the
“separate but equal” Jim Crow era as well.

This legislation is an important first step in recognizing a very important aspect
of American’s history and recommitting ourselves to bringing about an end to
the disparities and injustices that continue to plague our Nation as a result of
the dehumanization of an entire race. In passing this resolution, the House of
Representatives has sent a message to all of the American people and others
that the most powerful nation in the world is willing to look honestly at some of
the most shameful parts of its history, accept responsibility, and apologize for its actions.

The NAACP Washington Bureau has been in negotiations with Senator Tom
Harkin (Iowa) to author a companion resolution in the Senate; we are hoping it
will be introduced in the near future. The NAACP also strongly supports H.R.
40, legislation introduced by Congressman John Conyers (MI) to take the next
step toward healing our Nation by addressing and seeking remedy for the
lingering effects if this deplorable institution.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Peace and Blessings Imam W.D. Mohammed-R.I.P.


Imam W. D. Mohammed passed away yesterday. He cared deeply about the spiritual and political health of African-Americans. His vision of cross-cultural cooperation was unmatched. Rest in Peace Imam.

From the Detroit Free Press by NIRAJ WARIKOO

Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, a major Islamic leader in the U.S. who led thousands of African-American Muslims to orthodox Islam, died today [Sept. 9] at his Illinois home, his family said in a statement confirming earlier reports. He was 74.

Born and raised in Hamtramck, Mohammed, also known as Imam W.D. Mohammed, was the son of Nation of Islam leader and Michigan native Elijah Muhammad. After his father’s death, Mohammed transformed the Nation from a black nationalist organization into a group that embraced a more mainstream Islam that rejected racial and ethnic divisions.



He was considered to be the biggest Muslim leader in the U.S. among African-Americans and probably had more followers than any other Muslim leader in the U.S., say Muslims. 



In metro Detroit, Muslims were stunned to hear of his death. He had spoken 10 days ago at a Detroit convention of his followers. During his Friday sermon, he repeatedly praised Jesus and stressed the importance of living a moral life.



“To us, he was more than just an imam and a teacher. He was a father figure for us,” said Dawud Walid, an assistant imam at Masjid Wali Muhammad, which was named by Mohammed after he left the Nation of Islam. “History will show that he has been thus far the greatest Muslim leader in the history of America.”



Walid was a student of Mohammed and was shocked to hear of his death. 



“From God we come, and to him we return,” said Mohammed’s nephew, Sultan Muhammad. “Imam W.D. Mohammed’s passing is a great loss not only to Muslims in America and around the world, but in particular to his family. We would ask for prayers for him.”



“He was a reviver of the religion,” said Imam Abdullah El-Amin, head of the Muslim Center in Detroit. “He saved a lot of lives, including mine…He brought a whole lot of people to the correct worship of Islam, almost with just a wave of his hand.”



Kyle Ismail, 35, a Muslim leader from Chicago, said he spoke today with Mohammed’s daughter, Laila Mohammed, who told him that her father had died.



“He gave us everything,” said Ismail, who just saw Mohammed on Saturday.

 After Mohammed broke from the racial teachings of the Nation of Islam, Minister Louis Farrakhan then later broke away from Mohammed and formed his own separate group. While Farrakhan often got more media attention, Mohammed attracted a greater number followers, according to his supporters.



On Aug. 29, Mohammed spoke to thousands inside a hall in Cobo Center.



“He's a superb leader," said Nadir Ahmad, 58, of Detroit, before his lecture. "He has a sober message of good morals, but also a commonsense approach to life and religion." 



In his talk, Mohammed urged personal responsibility and praised Jesus and Muhammad, Islam's founder, saying both were great teachers.

 He stood on the podium slightly hunched over, a compact man with glasses and a modest brown suit who spoke in measured tones.

"

We all ... should be trying to be Christlike," he said.

Ahmad said Mohammed "has always called for cooperation between faiths."


Image: David P. Gilkey/Detroit Free Press

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Post-Kwame Drama in Detroit


Now that the (‘Yalls Boy)King Kwame has resigned and is going off to jail, Sisterdoc is realizing just how sadly entertaining Detroit drama has been. Not since The Wire have I been so riveted by television. However, Detroit politicians are like a gift that keeps on giving.

For example, I will be watching the nightly news for Councilwoman Barbara Rose Collins. She is worth a few laughs thanks to her affinity to show up for work in “Miss America” tiaras...there she is in the photo.

Then there is Martha Reeves, Councilwoman (see photo). Yep, she is the scratchy-voiced lead singer of the Vandellas. You can count on her to have little idea what is going on in the “D.” Like when she didn’t notice Tiger Stadium was largely a big pile of rubble. Reeves might be living her anthem “no where to run, no where to hide” if the FBI get her on some Synagro bribery mess.

And lets not forget about Monica Conyers (that's her in the center). She gets to lead City Council because the current Council president Ken Cockrel moves up to acting-Mayor. Monica called Cockrel “Shrek” in a laughable outburst during a Council meeting…and later got schooled by a 13-year old for her immaturity. Ms. Moni in the Middle may also be in the FBI’s crosshairs for Synagro payoffs. When things get hot for Monica she has a habit of disappearing for weeks at a time. When she reemerges, she always brings mess…like when she had the cops called on her at the Democratic National Convention because she tried to jump bad over a hotel room.

Still, we aren’t done with Kwame yet. Let’s not forget funds purportedly funneled to him via his father thanks to his daddy’s 10K per month “consulting” fee…he charges it to those who want to do business in the D. And, let’s not forget the women: Carmen Slowsky- mystery woman he had an affair with. Strawberry- was she killed on the Mayors orders? Christine Beatty- lost her job, husband, and soon, her freedom. Sharon McPhail and Ella Bully-Cummings- both lost their jobs. I have a feeling there is more to come from these sistahs.

Oh, and hardly funny…but the Detroit school system is 45 MILLION dollars in debt.

Wow!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Sarah Palin...That's Nasty! (A Hoax)


UPDATE: Apparently the journalists got this one wrong, and the bikini photo is a fake. As for my feeling about this pick...well, that is still really, real.

Ick... I just threw up in my mouth.

Palin continues to set women-- and just about anybody else with a lick of sense-- back.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Staycation in Detroit- Eat at Cozy House


Pittsburgh isn’t too far from the “D”-- just around six hours. So, with economic times being what they are, a staycation in Detroit seemed like a good idea. Afterall, Kwame Kilpatrick is on a court ordered staycation, with a tether. So, what’s good enough for the Hip Hop Mayor should be good enough for lowly old Sisterdoc and Brotherdoc. And it was…generally. Let’s start with the fabulous.

This year was the (free) 26th annual African World Festival in Detroit at Hart Plaza. We breezed through on a steamy Saturday, August 16. I am so glad we did. There were vendors galore selling all things Black…”soul” mixtapes, DVDs (poor Tyler Perry…if you only knew), shea butter, black soap, textiles from across the continent of Africa, jewelry, clothes, all manner of Obama wear, carvings, art, bags (poor Coach…if you only knew)…wow! Sisterdoc picked up: a nice workbag made from a patchwork of African cloths, loc jewelry, shea butter, and a Barack and Michelle “Yes We Can” pin. Then we took in a double-dutch demonstration and a step-show. We got a kick out of the stilt-walkers—jammin’ up high! Sisterdoc got a little line-dance instruction. Music filled the air. And food filled the ole’ belly. Ethopian, Caribbean, soul food, and even a little Greek and seafood. We had to get back on the road, so we missed Mo’Nique and the OJays. But, we’ll catch the event again next year…fabulous, for sure.

Then, on the 23rd, we took in the (free) Heidelberg Project Festival over on the East side of the D. There was plenty of spoken word, comedy, and a fashion show. There was a hair show too, but we had to hit the road, so we missed it. This Festival is unlike any I’ve ever been to. This Brother, Tyree Guyton, was raised on Heidelberg Street. He watched with dismay as his neighborhood turned into one of the worst, blighted communities—more empty lots and condemned houses than homes. Poor city services left the place trash strewn. So Tyree started picking up the trash, refashioning it into art. Vacant lots became “lots of art” (clever!) and the dilapidated homes became giant art sculptures. I liked what he did with the abandoned houses…he strung up stuffed animals, shoes, discarded appliances, and what not to create what to me looked like some seriously spooky haunted houses. He likes to mark his creations with his trademark polka dots and, of course, he makes sure to thank God on most everything. Tyree turned his neighborhood into an art project, bringing in tourists, vendors, and revenue. Fabulous, for sure.

Before hitting the road, the ‘Docs took a ride down McNichols, trolling for restaurants. Our plan was to get lots of take-out and have a little buffet when we got back home. A few places were (unexpectedly) closed. Others, too crowded given our time crunch. So we settled on two places—Rono’s Caribbean at 14001 W. McNichols and Cozy House at 7504 W. McNichols. Cozy House was wonderful! A beautiful young Sister greeted us at the door, and handed us a menu—one full of imagination. Okra… Salmon salad… Ribs… Catfish… Tempura shrimp… Crab… Smothered chicken… Meat loaf…Steak… Red beans… Black eyed peas… yams… collards… mac and cheese… cakes… pies.. Wow! We got a blackened catfish dinner and a chicken dinner with THREE sides. Yum. While we waited for our order, the “chef” sent out a little taste of muffin. When we got home, I couldn’t get enough of the cornbread stuffing with gravy, which was good-as-whew! And don’t even get me started on the sweet potato muffins! The interior of this restaurant is pristine and sprawling. I hope this joint makes it. They try really hard to please.

Rono’s Caribbean on the other hand did not. Take-out was handled through bullet-proof glass, and you had to yell your order at the waiter. You waited for your food in a tight little entryway that was so hot, I thought I was going to faint. Hello…can a Sister get a cup of water???? I ordered the curry chicken, while Brotherdoc tried the jerk chicken. We also put in an order for some curry powder and homemade gingerbeer. And then we waited… 10, 20, 30 minutes. We went to the parking lot, but no one even noticed we had left. I decided to go back about five minutes later to see if someone had missed us…they hadn’t. I tapped on the glass for someone to tell us what was up. A guy peeked out and said, “its coming.” And then he disappeared. Another five minutes, and our order was given to us through one of those bullet-proof slots that rotate open. We can’t figure out why it took 40 minutes to get our food. Nothing in our order was fresh cooked. The rice was, literally, h-a-r-d…like when you leave it out all day, uncovered. The chicken was dry, dry, dry and hard. There was no curry or jerk sauce to speak of. Just dry rice and chicken. They did give us a small spoon-full of cabbage, which was really tasty. As for the “homemade” gingerbeer, it was just a bottle of soda from the grocery store, but they charged us the special price of $2.75 instead of the regular buck-fifty for a pop. We were really disappointed, especially since Rono’s cost the same as Cozy’s, but Cozy’s gave you lots, lots more (delicious) food. Next time, we’ll try Karibbean Kitchen—sources tell me it’s the good joint. But we will be sure to hit up Cozy House again!

(Images: The Heidelberg Festival)

Friday, August 29, 2008

IN MY LIFETIME!!! A DREAM REALIZED


OHH YEA!!!! POTUS-in-67-days Barack Obama knocked it out of the park last night! Sisterdoc was nervous. She is still hating on that traitor-turned race-baiter, Bill Clinton….but Bill knows how to deliver a speech. So, I wondered if ‘Rak was going to measure up. OHHH YEA!!!! The speech worked because it toned down some of the rhetorical flourish, to focus on the substantive. He broke it all the way down: McCain doesn’t get it…tax cuts for the middle-class…eliminating capital gains taxes for small businesses…breaking away from a dependence on foreign oil…tapping natural gas reserves…he is a patriot, not a celebrity…higher salaries for teachers….affordable college education…lower health care premiums...no more homeless vets…no more AK-47s on the streets…no more Bush policies!!!

And, Barack accepted the nomination on the 45th anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream Speech.” He echoed King by imploring us to not walk alone, never turn back, and to keep marching. Folks were in tears!

Which brings me to my mother. With a lump in her throat, my mother told me that there were so many reasons that this day was the most important day of her life. But one thing she said stood out. She said that she was glad that our country was witnessing this achievement while those hateful Jim Crow era people are still alive. My mother is glad that many of those segregationists are witnessing a Black man, with a very Black name, about to enter the White House. You see, my mother’s parents (my grandparents) struggled hard for their right to vote. My mother had a bayonet pointed at her by a National Guard soldier when they stormed her neighborhood during the riots. My mother has had some tough experiences. But, she wants those people, who denied her so very much, to see it with their very own eyes---Black people will never be bowed or beaten.

Barack was speaking to my mother when he said:

“At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise, that American promise, and in the words of scripture-- hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

Mom…no more dreams deferred.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Why Hillary Fans Choose McCain over Cynthia McKinney


Last night, Hillary delivered one of her best-read speeches (certainly better than her “I don’t feel no ways tired” gaff). She spent 85% of the time reminding folks of why she is great. The reminder of the time she said she supported Obama….but she didn’t tell her fans that she was just doing campaign jousting when she said Obama was not ready to lead. She didn’t tell her fans in specific terms why Obama is the best candidate.

Lacking a clear message from Hillary on what Obama can do for them, die-hard female Hillary supporters continue to threaten that since they can’t put their woman into the White House, then they will either not vote at all, or they will vote for McCain. In voting for McCain, they eschew what Hillary believed in (women’s rights/choice, reduction of global warming, going green/ebbing global warming, a sane Supreme Court pick, ending the war…). Why would they, quite literally, sell their souls?

Suffragists Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton may give use a clue. Anthony and Stanton gave lip-service to the abolitionist movement… that is, until Black men earned the right to vote ahead of White women. Seeing Black men’s advancement as a challenge (sound familiar?), Anthony and Stanton hooked up with the notorious racist newspaper publisher George Train, and begin circulating their own (White) women ‘right to vote’ appeals while throwing Blacks under the bus. For example, Stanton pointedly declared of Blacks, "Sambo and Dinah" are not fit to share citizenship with "the Daughters of Jefferson and Washington.” Anthony, on the other hand, remained silent when asked to speak out against the lynching of Blacks.

The racial divide among feminists have been well-documented. Lani Guinier asked, “Why not come together around concrete proposals to better the lives of poor and working-class women, rather than merely championing the stepping stones to which many college-educated professional women now feel entitled? From the proliferation of HIV among black women to the double bind of work and family faced by all women, it is time for a women's agenda that enlists support from all classes, all races and from men as well as women.”

The root of resistance is obvious--the poor, working-class, and the sick are seemingly not part of the agenda for Hillary supporters.

This is all clearly about race and not really about womanhood, or else these women would not threaten to withhold their votes entirely. Because, there IS a woman running for President…Cynthia McKinney. And, McKinney has chosen as her running-mate Rosa Clemente. These Sisters are saying interesting things about women’s rights, the war, multi-racial coalitions, the Patriot Act, and even hip hop. Heck, if Hillary supporters turned their attention to McKinney/Clemente instead of McCain, then they could prove Amari Baraka wrong…their run is not an “empty gesture.”

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Michelle Obama Speech...Simply Beautiful!


Sisterdoc loves her some Michelle Obama.

I am thrilled that she was able to deliver a speech last night at the DNC. Some have wondered why she was given the time. I can think of several reasons. First, relative strangers (e.g., a ‘representative’ of the working class; a union leader) have been permitted to speak to Barack’s qualities. What’s wrong with a more intimate picture into the lives of the Obamas? “Family values” was the platform of the G.O.P….well, hey, the Obamas have got some great family values as well. Second, Michelle is just so smart! There are first ladies—LisaRaye, anybody—and then there are FIRST LADIES. Michelle’s speech on the surface was about values, but it also revealed important insight into how Barack thinks. Michelle told us that he values hard work, but also understands that sociopolitical inequities can disrupt conviction and prevent success. He gets gender inequities. He believes in parental responsibility and involvement. Who can quarrel with that?

And Michelle was just so GOOD. I love this part of the speech:
I stand here today at the crosscurrents of that history — knowing that my piece of the American dream is a blessing hard won by those who came before me. All of them driven by the same conviction that drove my dad to get up an hour early each day to painstakingly dress himself for work. The same conviction that drives the men and women I’ve met all across this country…
And Michelle is a class act. Because I can’t say “Hillary Clinton” these days without it feeling like hot, steamy poo in my mouth. But Michelle showed up the Clinton hatemongers with this line:
People like Hillary Clinton, who put those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, so that our daughters — and sons — can dream a little bigger and aim a little higher.
Michelle took some heat for her “for the first time I love this country” comment. No problem Sister, I know what you mean. But just to set the record straight, Michelle proclaimed: “I love this country.”
To see that talented, professional, giving, and loving Sister up there…heck, for the first time I am lovin’ this country too! (Um, for a minute).

I am with Michelle on this one ‘fo sure!!!:
Let us stand together to elect Barack Obama President of the United States of America.
And while we’re at it. Forget Joe Biden, put ‘Chelle on as V.P. or Secretary of State. Condi got the hook up. Let’s give one to Michelle—she’s got legal, public service, and policy experience.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

White Flight...Prison Breaks



Just over three decades ago, an interesting trend was taking place in the state of Michigan…women were escaping from prison like crazy!

In 1975, Rebecca Hatcher jumped the fence of a Michigan’s Scott Prison, walking away from her sentence for unarmed assault with intent to rob. After her escape, she moved to Tennessee, married, had a kid, and got on with her life.

In 1976, Susan LeFevre cleared a fence from Michigan’s Scott Prison, leaving behind her sentence for selling heroin to an undercover cop. After her escape, she moved to California and into a “mansion,” married, had three kids, and got on with her spendy life.

Technology and snitches caught up with these two women, and they are all now back in the “D.”

There is something interesting about all of these cases. First, the media persists in referring to these (White) women in cutesy terms such as the “Moms” and “Desperate Housewives.” Second, both women have people advocating for their release since, it is argued, they stayed out of trouble after their escapes.

Sisterdoc is getting whiffs of racial disparity here.

35 years ago, Barbara Corley, who is Black, walked away from the Detroit House of Corrections. Barbara was in prison for assault, writing bad checks, and carrying a concealed weapon. After her escape, she moved to South Carolina, married, and got on with her new life. Corley claims the state of Michigan knew exactly where she was since back in 1980, accompanied by her attorney, she turned herself in to authorities for her escape. She claims that she worked out a plea-deal. The State says they have no record of this, and believe she is lying. There are other things missing in addition to these purported legal records, there are no no pretty family pictures of Corley, no cute "Desperate Housewife" headlines, no calls for her release.

Also, take this week’s case of Robert Cooper (White) versus that of Jason Smith (Black). Cooper is a known scam artist. He is described as charming and a smooth talker. He is wanted in at least three states for ripping off the elderly—dozens of them to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Police knew of Cooper’s “trademark ruse,” as they called it, of faking chest pains and then walking away from hospitals and police custody when police leave him unguarded. And still, they left him uncuffed and unguarded in a Michigan hospital…you know the rest. Compare this to Jason Smith, a car thief and burglar, also wanted in three states. Smith is described as a “huge arrest.” Smith has real heart problems and even underwent emergency heart surgery in a Michigan hospital. In Smith’s case, police bragged it never even crossed their minds to leave him unguarded, while in Cooper’s case police said it would have been too expensive in time and resources to keep him under guard for 48 hours. Police hope technology or a snitch will locate Cooper one day. As for Smith, he has deputies posted on him around the clock while he spends the next two weeks recovering from open-heart surgery.

According to scholar Richard Culp, historically Whites have been more successful at prison escapes than Blacks. I am beginning to get a sense as to why. Sisterdoc says prisoners should be treated equitably. Stop the trend of minimum security for some, but maximum security for others. Keep our streets safe...fairly.

(Image: Susan LeFevre and fam'; Barbara Corley)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Spanish Olympics Teams' Racism



Some of Spain’s athletes and fans continue to lose their racist minds. In 2004, Luis Aragones, the coach of Spain’s men’s soccer team, told his player Jose Antonio Reyes to “tell that Black [expletive] you are better than him.” Aragones was referring to the Black French player Thierry Henry. That same year (and pretty much ever since), Spanish soccer fans shout monkey sounds at rival Black players. This year, Spanish fans showed up to a Formula One racing event in blackface to mock driver Lewis Hamilton, a Black driver from England. Today, the Spanish athletes have turned their racism toward their Chinese Olympic hosts.

The Spanish men’s basketball team posed for a sponsor’s camera advertisement by making stereotypical Asian “slant eyes.” One player, Pau Gasol, also plays for the L.A. Lakers. Another, Jose Calderon, plays for the Toronto Raptors. Gasol apologized for the portrayal indicating that he felt victimized be the team’s ad because it wasn’t particularly funny and it made him look clownish. Oh…and it wasn’t supposed to be racist or offensive Gasol said. Calderon was angry that anyone would challenge him on it: “we did it because we thought it was going to be something nice….but somebody wants to talk about it. It is too much of a big deal with you guys [the press]…” The men’s head coach of Spain’s team, Aito Garcia Reneses, made it sound like political correctness run amok—“I can’t understand anything more.”

What I understand is this ad, which is running, needs to be pulled and that the racisms coming out of Spain’s athletics has got to stop. Yuck.

Follow-up: It has just come to my attention that the Spanish tennis Olympic team posed for a similarly racist photo in February. That's them gathered around a table.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Kwame Kilpatrick…the Next Willie Horton?!!!



This morning a Detroit judge removed Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s court-ordered tether, thereby permitting Kilpatrick to travel to the Democratic National Convention. It is being speculated that the Republican judge set Kilpatrick loose so that the Mayor can be seen (and videotaped) in the proximity of Barack Obama. The Republicans are already running ads in Tennessee invoking Kilpatrick as a scary, incompetent Black man. The ads ask voters to consider whether they really want to elect another (potentially scary and incompetent Black man) to the White House. UGHHH! It is Willie Horton all over again.

The Horton story in a nutshell: In 1974, in Massachusetts, Horton and two others robbed a gas station, and in the process murdered the attendant by stabbing him 19 times. Horton earned life in prison without parole. Just over a decade later, Horton was given a “weekend pass” from prison. The passes were given out as part of a rehabilitative furlough program Massachusetts Governor Francis Sargent first instituted in 1972. However, when in 1986 Horton received his pass, it was not Sargent who was in the Governor’s mansion, it was Michael Dukakis. And, it so happened that Dukakis was running for President against George Bush (not “W,” but his daddy).

While on his pass, Horton walked away from his confinement and kept on going until he ended up in Maryland. In Maryland, in 1987, he broke into a house and knifed the male owner. When the guy’s fiancée showed up, just back from her engagement party, Horton beat and raped her. Horton was convicted for this crime and sent to a maximum-security prison in Jessup, MD.

Bush supporters ran two political ads. One featured Horton prominently, and it accused Dukakis of being a liberal who opposed the death penalty and would let a murderer out of jail to roam the country. The second ad, the “Revolving Door” ad, again referenced the furlough program, and feature a revolving jail door in which criminals left the prison as they pleased. The association of Dukakis with a scary Black man cost Dukakis the election. The Willie Horton ads, even today, are counted as some of the most controversial racial propaganda in history.

Kilpatrick isn’t Willie Horton. But it won’t be hard to paint a similar picture given the stories and scandals surrounding him—assault on police officers, perjury, extra-martial affairs, a $8 million judgment paid by tax-payers for his lawlessness, a rumored party with strippers, the murder of a stripper after she was beaten by the Mayor’s wife, racist rants, his father under investigation by the FBI for corruption, $400 million missing from the public schools, 911 operators who curse out and then hang up on emergency callers….

Kilpatrick—STAY AWAY FROM THE DNC!!! RESIGN NOW!!! You’ve destroyed your city; don’t continue to put yourself in a position where you can be used to destroy Obama!!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Justice for Arletha! When Did We Stop Caring?


My very first blog was about four little girls in Washington, D.C. who had been killed by their mother Banita Jacks. The school-age girls had disappeared from school at least four months earlier, and had been dead for at least two weeks before anyone even noticed they were missing. Now we have the case of Arletha Hopkins, the 36 year old wife of Mobile, Alabama minister Anthony who was murdered FOUR YEARS AGO and hidden in her husband’s freezer. Her body was discovered just two weeks ago. What gets me is that no one tried to investigate what happened to her…even though she had delivered a baby just two and one half weeks before her disappearance, and that her husband was walking around with the motherless newborn.

It seems that the 37-year old Anthony had been sexually abusing one of his daughters, unbeknownst to Arletha, since the girl was at least 11 years old. In 2004, Arletha unexpectedly came home one evening to find Anthony hurting the girl, who by then was 15. Arletha put the “Rev,” as he was called by neighbors, out of the house. However, before Arletha could take any action, such as reporting the incest to the police, Anthony convinced his abused daughter to let him back into the house. Once inside, “allegedly,” Anthony killed his wife and with the help of his daughter, placed the body in the freezer.

And there Arletha stayed, with no one reporting her missing, until about two weeks ago when the abused daughter, now 19, walked into a police station seeking protection for herself and her seven other siblings. The daughter told it all. Police found a body in the family’s freezer, and arrested the “Rev” while he was preaching a sermon at a revival.

The question remains: why did no one report this woman missing? According to Arletha’s family, Arletha was “sweet and caring” and had phoned them just days before her murder to check on the condition of an ailing uncle, and to pray with him. A few days later, after her murder, Anthony phoned her family claiming she no longer wanted to have contact with them…and they didn’t seem to question this or try to reach her! They never tried to see their grandchildren?! Arletha had just given birth, but no hospital inquired when she didn’t return for follow-up care for her or the child. Anthony and Arletha were active members of a church. A church member wondered what became of Arletha when Anthony began showing up with the children, but without Arletha. The church member claims Anthony could not provide a satisfactory answer to explain her disappearance…but then nobody in the church phoned the police!! Soon after, Anthony moved to a new church, and to further protect his secret, he pulled his children out of school, claiming to home-school them. Arletha was officially ignored and forgotten about by those whom she seemingly had been so “sweet” and “caring” to in the past.

What a disgrace. Justice for Arletha!

(Image: The Rev. Hopkins)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Anton Dunn- Crazy isn't Cute


Anton Dunn is 42 years old. He likes to post videos on Youtube under the alias “The Trashman.” The Trashman claims to be waging a one-man war against Black people—starting with Black women and their newborns. Dunn is Black.

In March of this year, The Trashman appeared in a video (no, I will NOT link to it) claiming that he purposefully infected 12,000 to 15,000 Black girls in New York with HIV. His motive was two-fold. First, he sought to get revenge against some unknown Black woman who infected him. Second, he wanted to act as a sort of community mentor for young girls. Ummm hmmm. The Trashman wanted to teach little girls an important lesson about the dangers of having unprotected sex. To ensure they were infected, The “Pedophilic” Trashman claims he had sex with each child twice.

His claims are highly unlikely—no women have come forward. And, given his claims that he just recently started molesting little girls, it would have been quite impossible to have sex 30 thousand times. Still, no one raised much of an eyebrow over his threats against Black children.

The Trashman didn’t warrant the attention of local police, the FBI, and even the FDA until, on July 24th, he posted videos claiming to be doing away with Black babies by poisoning Gerber baby food products. Seven days later, Dunn had been located, arrested, arraigned, and settled into his jail cell to await trial. Apparently, threats of product tampering against “interstate commerce” (aka, a big company) can get you on a bunch of agencies hit-list and facing 10-years in prison. Threats against Black women or their babies…not such a big deal.

This real-life Uncle Ruckus has wreaked havoc and spread hate, so I am glad he was finally silenced. It’s just too bad it couldn’t have happened sooner.

Dunn says he simply wanted to “cut down on the Black population.” It looks like his antics are going to find only Dunn himself going bye-bye. Dunn is done.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Rick Ross- Just Say No to Studio Gangster'itis



Ahhh….chooo!!! Sisterdoc is allergic to gangstas, be they the real kind that shoot bullets, or the fake, studio kind that shoot their mouths off about their wanna be criminal lifestyle.

The Smoking Gun, with more than a little bit of help from the Florida Department of Corrections’ human resources office, has exposed rapper Rick Ross for what he really is, a fine upstanding citizen who was gainfully employed as a corrections officer back in the day. According to his 86-page personnel file, Ross—real name William Leonard Roberts—earned a “Certificate of Appreciation” for his perfect work attendance record while a corrections officer. It also seems that protecting our communities was a long time interest of Ross/Roberts because also back in the day he spent a year at Albany State studying criminal justice. In all, Ross would have made any mother proud….until…

Until Ross stole the real Freeway Ricky Ross’ name and persona and started talking about being a drug kingpin. Ross/Roberts said, “when I say I’m rich off cocaine it’s because I did it” and “I never ratted on a nigga, I never prosecuted a nigga, I never locked up a nigga, that is first and foremost” and this gem—“you know I’m strapped to the teeth. We got more bullets than we got dollars.”

It is a sad day when a Brotha is embarrassed to admit he did right by his people by going to going to college, getting a good job, and avoiding that narcotic. And, what does it mean when someone would rather assume the identity of a death dealing drug dealer than that of a smart, hard working man. Really???

The real Rick Ross is getting out of prison in two years, and he is none too happy about studio gangstas trying to ride on his infamous coattails. William Leonard better start putting in those job applications—I hear he is pretty good about coming in to work everyday.