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 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 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, 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.