Tavis Smiley Is Right. This Time





 

Photo credit: Center for American Progress Action Fund (Creative Commons)

Last week, Tavis Smiley garnered attention for what he said on Sean Hannity’s television program.  Specifically, Hannity asked Smiley if black Americans were better off after five years of the presidency of Barack Obama.

Smiley’s answer- which should have been a shock and surprise to exactly no one — was that blacks aren’t better off and that eventually, the socio-economic data would demonstrate that blacks will have certainly lost ground in all economic categories when the Obama administration culminates.

Again, what he said isn’t a shock.  Conservatives- particularly black conservatives- have been saying this for years.

The so-called shock is that Smiley, a black liberal, broke taboo and said it publicly. And he said it on FOX News, no less.

Since January 2009, blacks have suffered economically- be it consistently high unemployment numbers, the statistical drops in income and wealth, and a drop in homeownership- in comparison to their own numbers prior to Obama’s inauguration and in comparison to their white peers.

Look at the unemployment rate that has devastated the economic potential of blacks as the first indicator.  Since Obama was elected, black unemployment has been below thirteen percent only twice- January of ’09 and July ’13. Twice. It’s been at or above fourteen percent, forty times; it’s been at or above sixteen percent, eleven times.

Black teens have fared much worse.  During this same period, black teen unemployment has never been below thirty percent. Not once. It has been at or above forty percent, thirty times.

That black teen unemployment has maintained such a high level isn’t a bad economic indicator for black America’s current reality; it is disastrous for the future of black America.  Diminishing the opportunities for black teens to enter the workforce delays their exposure to- and development of- the necessary skill sets that create prospects of economic ascendancy, which comes as a result of increased wages and/or promotions into employment accompanied by salaries rather than wages.

This situation is compounded because many of these same black teens are subjected to substandard public education (dominated by teachers unions that fund the party blacks vote overwhelmingly for). Coupling that substandard education with the lack of economic opportunity and prosperity and a (permanent?) underclass is intentionally being created that will be forced to seek financial support and economic stability from government provisions. Or worse, the underclass will seek economic prosperity through the black market and other violent and gang-related activities.

But is Obama to blame for this sorry state of affairs?  Yes, he’s partially responsible. And as Smiley said, he should be held responsible- he won’t, but he should.  He is the president after all.

But more important to note and understand is that it isn’t necessarily Obama who’s the problem; it’s the party and the policies of his party that are ultimately to blame.  Whether Obama, Hillary Clinton, or Joe Biden is president, these folks are simply emblematic figureheads and are ultimately interchangeable. It’s the economic policies that are the cause of so much economic destruction concentrated in black America.  (That, and the overwhelming need for spiritual redemption.)

This is what Tavis Smiley and his ilk intentionally and continually ignore.

Remember what the Congressional Black Caucus acknowledged- those wayward, black sheep who continue to embarrass themselves, Congress, and black America?  They see and give lip service to the oppressive economic difficulty that blacks are subjected to.  But for them- and according to their own admission- racial solidarity and party policies are much more important than the economic well-being of their constituents.

According to Sentier Research reported by the New York Times- between June 2009 and June 2012, median annual household income for blacks fell 11.1 percent to $32,498 (from $36,567). The drop for whites was 5.2 percent; for Hispanics, it dropped 4.1 percent.

According to Census Bureau reports (2010) as reported by CNN Money, whites ($110,729) had twenty-two times more wealth than their black counterparts ($4,995).

Also, according to the same report, of all the homes that report receiving food stamps, 26.4 percent are black; yet blacks are only 13 percent of the total population.

And this year, black homeownership has hit an eighteen-year low.

With these kinds of stats, it’s no surprise that the black poverty rate now stands at twenty-eight percent, compared to just ten percent for whites.

Yet, exit polls from both the 2008 and 2012 election saw blacks give Obama and the Democrat party ninety-five and ninety-three percent of their votes, respectively.  In 2008, it was (emotionally) understandable; in 2012, it was neither understandable nor justifiable.

Sadly, blacks will continue to give whatever charlatan who receives the Democrat nomination for president in 2016 the majority of their support, continuing the humiliating pattern of reflexively voting against their own self-interest without a moment’s pause.

So yes, Tavis Smiley is absolutely correct.  Blacks have been- and will continue to be- worse off under the first black president; and the president should be held responsible.

But blacks aren’t absolved from their contributions to these problems and should also be held responsible. Blacks actively underwrite their own socio-economic demise, particularly in favor of racial solidarity by continuing to demonstrate political loyalty without demanding anything of substance in return.

It’s far past time for blacks to understand that it’s increasingly difficult to generate sympathy for problems they’ve actively helped create.

Blacks aren’t victims; they’re co-contributors to their fate- in more ways than they care to admit.

 

Photo credit: Center for American Progress Action Fund (Creative Commons)

The Real Black-on-Black Crime: The Racial Grievance Industry

RACE BLUDGEON The Real Black on Black Crime: The Racial Grievance Industry

It’s been a week since the jury found George Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder for the killing of Trayvon Martin.  And it’s been that long since America has been unmercifully subjected to non –stop coverage of false indignation manifesting itself in “demonstrations,” self-righteous laments about the verdict’s implication, continued emotional manipulation of black Americans for political gain ($harpton, Jack$on, M$NBC, the NAACP, the president, Eric Holder, etc.) and so-called discussions about race and what it means to be “a black man in America.”

As a parenthetical, president Obama injecting himself- again- on Friday was particularly and expectedly disappointing.  Rather than saying something constructive, seeking to extend a sense of calm regarding the situation, he did the exact opposite.  But what else can one expect from a community organizer.

Now to be honest, all this talk about race is intentionally shortsighted, disingenuous to those who actually need to hear the tough talk surrounding race- namely black Americans, and self-serving of those who would benefit most- specifically the dishonest and soulless profiteers of the racial grievance industry.

And because of the proliferation of media attention regarding the “discussions about race” and its implications- especially in such a short period of time, I’m suffering from a diagnosed case of acute racial fatigue.

I’m sick and tired of hearing superficial “discussions” about race.  Especially when that talk implicates whites and infantilizes blacks.

Actually I’m sick of “race,” period.

I’m tired of Trayvon Martin being compared to Emmett Till- which by extension projects upon contemporary America a racial ethos similar to that of 1955. Martin was no Till, period.

I’m tired of hearing that Martin sacrificed his life or that he was some kind of martyr.  Please, already. Those making these comments deserved to be slapped and or openly ridiculed.

I’m tired of seeing the Rev. Martin Luther King photoshopped into a hoodie.  This is nothing short of repulsive and it denigrates the memory of Rev. King’s contribution to racial justice.  Our country shall forever be in debt to Rev. King; the same cannot and should not be said nor insinuated about Trayvon Martin.

I’m especially exhausted of hearing talk from condescending white progressives who enable and encourage blacks into maintaining their embrace (revelry) of the false narrative of victimization at the hands of “the system,” the amorphous, undefinable organism whose sole purpose is keeping blacks from “getting ahead.”

These embarrassing “demonstrations” happening across the county increase racial fatigue because those engaging in them do so at the expense of their dignity and credibility.  These people have willingly ignored the facts and evidence of this case in a grandstanding attempt to keep whites responsible (guilty) for perpetuating racial discrimination and at the same time obligated to perform penance of indeterminate length- defined by the racial grievance industry- with no assurance of absolution.

And they do all of this in light of the black-on-black crime that is much more destructive and prevalent in America than a “white Hispanic” killing a black male.

The whole charade is disgusting.

And I’m tired of it.

This trial wasn’t about race. Martin’s family and attorney admitted it; so did the defense.  The FBI’s investigation of this incident last year, which saw at least forty-five people interviewed, found absolutely no evidence of racial bias, further reinforcing the fact that Zimmerman’s actions- and this case- weren’t about race.

Martin wasn’t racially profiled; he was criminally profiled.  In the previous fourteen months prior to Zimmerman’s confrontation with Martin, the Retreat at Twin Lakes apartment complex had been burglarized eight times with all suspects being roughly the same height, build and color as Trayvon Martin.

Thus Martin wasn’t stalked or “hunted down like a rabid dog” because he was black.  Suspicion was raised because of his questionable behavior and because he fit a very specific criminal profile, evidenced by testimony given under oath.

The verdict isn’t an indictment of America being racist toward blacks in general or black males specifically.  All insinuations or outright declarations made by “demonstrators,” the media, so-called public intellectuals or the president himself are bull$#!t.

Blacks aren’t helpless victims abused by “the system” and the facts point that out.  The reason that blacks-specifically black males- are disproportionally represented in the criminal justice system is because we commit a disproportionate amount of violent crime.  Period.

According to FBI statistics in 2011, of the 2,938 murder offenders counted that year, 1803 were black.

The total number of black murders regardless of age in 2011 was 2695. Of that number, 2447 were committed by blacks.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, of all homicides committed between 1980 and 2008, 47.4 percent of the victims were black while 52.5 percent of all offenders were black. Of all felony murders during the same time period, blacks accounted for 44.1 percent of those murdered while accounting for 59.9 percent of the offenders.  Blacks accounted for 56.9 percent of all gun homicides.

Blacks are complicit in their own demise.  The “system” that blacks “fear” which they claim is out to get them are in reality, blacks themselves.

Not whites.

In other words, there are too many black and progressive fingers pointed out and not enough pointed inward.

But you won’t hear any of this mentioned by the proprietors of the racial grievance industry because there’s no political capital to be gained, no emotions to be exploited and no whites to morally indict as racists.

And it’s a damn shame.

Does racism exist?  Yes, of course.  Especially among blacks.

Does racial discrimination exist?  Yes and both will continue to do so on this side of heaven.

But for blacks and their enablers to continue to foment this notion that racism is America’s number one problem is self-defeating, it’s immoral and it’s a lie.

Especially in light of a recent Gallup poll that says otherwise.

Blacks have no idea how irresponsible and embarrassing they look in regards to their behavior.  And I fear very soon, they will be called on their Dream-killing, commodification and idolization of race.

By then, I hope I’ve recovered from race fatigue.

Photo: Standard Compliant

Immigration, Capitulation, And The GOP’s Self-Destruction

The Republicans in Congress are eagerly intent in participating in their own demise.  Since November, when the Republicans lost an election that was theirs for the taking, the so-called Grand Old Party has been listening to- and taking advice from- their political adversaries on how to make themselves more appealing to Hispanics.

Yes, the Republican party needs to employ a new generation of messengers to deliver their message if they’re to be successful in expanding the political influence of their party.  These messengers are preferably admitted and unashamed conservatives and under the age of 50; they don’t wear check pants or wingtips, they’re not members of country clubs, and aren’t pasty white fellows who reek condescension for the “other”- meaning minorities, conservatives (of all shades), and the status quo.

And though the Republican party has a number of people who fit that exact description, they purposely neglect to use them.

Instead, they’ve chosen- beyond comprehension- to listen to Democrats to formulate their strategy in expanding their appeal and influence to minorities (specifically Hispanics) and young people. What sense does it make to listen to one’s political opposition when creating and implementing a plan to expand political influence?  Only a party that lacks common sense, credible leadership, and who would rather play ‘not to lose’ than to actually win does something as noticeably and embarrassingly stupid as this.

How stupid?

Motivated by a combination of Democrat deception and the lack of testicular fortitude to practically engage this serious issue, Republicans in both houses are intent on passing a so-called comprehensive immigration bill that would have the effect of normalizing and legalizing more than eleven million illegal immigrants- and that’s just a start.  Everyone knows that this number will exponentially increase (which is the plan). Though the devil lay in the details- in tandem with Democrat party credibility- the bill amounts to what many consider to be nothing short of amnesty prior to closing the borders, which would thwart more would-be illegals from taking advantage of congressional stupidity.

And increasing the numbers of Democrat voters.

In other words, Republicans- led by the Gang of Eight- foolishly believe that offering a relaxed path toward legality or citizenship to a group of people who willingly and knowingly broke the law will endear them to Hispanics and increase Hispanic support come midterm elections in ’14 and in the presidential election in 2016.

Morons.

How breathtakingly naive is the GOP in their foolish attempt at courting Hispanics?  According to Census Bureau data, Hispanics only accounted for 8.4 percent of the electorate in the 2012 election.  8.4 percent.

As a parenthetical, blacks accounted for 13.4 percent of the electorate. The fact that Republicans are willing to fall on their political swords for Hispanic amor when blacks represent a greater percentage of the electorate is indicative of the lack of political capital blacks have as a result of their unquestioning loyalty to Democrats (even at the expense of  their own self-interest).  It’s a major reason why Republicans won’t take the time to create a credible strategy to improve their messaging among black Americans.  The GOP will simply continue their half-assed attempts in appealing to blacks, which many will argue is a justified course of action, considering.

Returning to the incompetency of congressional Republicans: they are willing to commit political suicide for 8.4 percent of the electorate.

One of the captains of the sinking ship Republicans refuse to abandon is Marco Rubio.  At one point, Rubio was seen by many as the potential (conservative) savior of the Republican party.  He’s bright, articulate, an effective communicator, and seemed to possess the necessary qualities of leadership.

Not anymore.

Rubio, either through political naivete’ or an inflated sense of importance from reading his own press, has allowed himself to be irrevocably attached to- and politically cornered by- this sham of an immigration bill.  As information began to leak regarding how bad this bill was becoming, Rubio chose to double down on his support for the bill rather than take a stand against the detrimental changes.

When more information became known regarding the infinitely flawed bill, rather than admitting the error of his ways and dropping his support for the bill- potentially salvaging his political future, Rubio has confusingly maintained his support for the bill, further souring his name in the mouths of many of his previous supporters.

Whatever the case, Republicans are engaging in their party’s self-destruction by attempting to legitimize this bill.  I’m not sure if they’re bright enough or care enough to know that this bill isn’t meant to pass.  It’s simply a political tactic used by Democrats to expose their vulnerability (toward Hispanics) and politically neutralize them in the upcoming elections.

Since Republicans are complicit in their own self-destruction, I created a video to celebrate their achievement.

The Absence Of The Black Church

Evangelical Church SC The Absence Of The Black Church

The increasing problems that have infected and affected the black community need to be addressed in a serious and sincere manner.  Most of these problems have at their center a morality that was once readily present in black America, but is becoming increasingly rare.  There should be a focused and concentrated effort- originating from the black church- that renews the minds and hearts of black Americans.  This renewal should focus on Christian moral values as the corrective to the pervading values that now afflict black America.

That blacks are in need of spiritual (and social and economic) renewal is no secret.  Certain segments of black America have given themselves over to behaviors that most people label counterproductive, destructive, and undignified- from the astronomically high numbers of black children born outside of wedlock to black-on-black violence to what has been termed “flash robs.”  Frankly, these behaviors are embarrassing and morally disturbing. We know that the black church has failed its moral and spiritual obligation of leadership because the effects of the cultural degradation are too abundant to ignore or claim otherwise.  Of course, not all black churches have failed.  But collectively, they have.

What’s worse is that many of these behaviors are now accepted and referred to as “culturally authentic.”

Because of the postmodern trappings of “tolerance,” “diversity,” and relativism, blacks have willingly relinquished the painful process of self-critiquing their own community.  The moral and spiritual deficiency has led black culture to define “authenticity” as comporting oneself with behaviors and stereotypes that the generations of many black grandparents and great grandparents sought to avoid and overcome.  In other condescending terms, this “authenticity” has been equated with “acting black.”

Many well-meaning white people- Christian and non-Christian alike- are almost equally complicit in this destructive form of “tolerance”.  For out of fear of verbal- and potentially, physical- reprisals such as being labeled “racist,” “insensitive,” or worse, they refuse to speak out and condemn these unacceptable behaviors, passively accepting and legitimizing a form of conduct that they would never accept from anyone in their own family. The soft bigotry of low expectations comes to mind here.

Recognizing the silence and impotence of the black church, we must assume that black ministers have been evasive regarding the discussion of personal and communal sin.  The sermons regarding the guilt and shame of socially self-destructive and damaging behaviors don’t contain the condemnation they once did.  Again, this truth is self-evident, predicated upon the preponderance of detrimental activity that proliferates within black culture. This behavior is troubling, and the unbecoming conduct represents moral and spiritual captivity, which is very much in need of redemption.  The first slavery was obvious- it was an existential reality recognized by blacks; and though an accepted reality, it was challenged as a moral evil and was eventually abolished.   This second slavery, however, is much more reprehensible than the first because although blacks are physically free, spiritually, they’re very much still bound while being the freest blacks, ever, in the history of the world.

I’m angry and sad that a community whose heritage and dignity once coalesced around the lordship of Jesus and His church has allowed itself to come to this. The timidity of the black pulpit in not properly teaching the gospel of truth regarding spiritual liberation along with the kind of character that’s centered on the fruit of the Spirit, as well as not holding their congregations to a higher standard of personal and communal morality.  The black church is a storied and hollowed institution in American history, and we’ve seen the power of the black church as evidenced by its historical stands against slavery and Jim Crow, as well as its morally-influential presence during the era of civil rights.  During these times, the black church truly was a moral beacon of light and hope. It spiritually sustained generations of blacks during periods of time in our country’s history when America was much more racist and unbecoming than it is now.  It fostered an elevated level of moral character that included “blessing one’s enemy” while “turning the other cheek” when circumstances made it exceptionally difficult to do so.

Many argue that because of the Church’s spiritual complacency, its influence on American culture is fading; some of these arguments have merit.  The voice of the American church has been morally compromised when it comes to religious and ethical positions on abortion, same-sex marriage, high rates of adultery and divorce affecting natural marriage, justice and righteousness when dealing with immigration, and poverty (to name a few.)  But the lack of effect that the black church has had on America in general over the past forty years is nothing short of disheartening.

Blacks must realize that cultural and spiritual redemption won’t come at the tip of a pen from a liberal politician; if so, it would’ve happened by now.  It will only come by repenting and returning (metanoia) to the biblical values contained in the Christian faith of their fathers, facilitated by a church that steadfastly bears witness to that reality in the pulpit by holding their congregations accountable.

Photo credit: NatalieMaynor (Creative Commons)

Emotional Embrace Of Same-Sex Marriage

obama gay marriage sc Emotional Embrace Of Same Sex Marriage

This has been another eventful month regarding the national conversation surrounding same-sex marriage (SSM).  Last week, Ohio senator Rob Portman had a “change of heart,” coming out in support of SSM as a result of his son’s recent confession of being gay.

This week, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and famed, former mega-pastor Rob Bell both came out in support of gay marriage. Clinton, preparing for a presidential run in 2016, justified her position by saying that “gay rights are human rights” and adding “I believe America is at its best when we champion the freedom and dignity of every human being.” For her, this includes marriage.

Bell, who is in the midst of his book tour said on Sunday at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral: “I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it’s a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed and I think the church needs — I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.”

And let’s not forget the Justice Department’s amicus curia brief asking the Supreme Court to strike down Proposition 8, California’s ban on SSM.

Though I don’t support SSM, I think that SSM advocates will see the legal affirmation of the gay lifestyle, and marriage will be redefined. I believe this because the case against SSM hasn’t been made consistently enough to turn the tide.

In all the back and forth on the topic, there are several issues that seem to be purposely overlooked and not discussed when the topic is raised.

At the outset, most agree that the topic of SSM is an emotional one.  It’s emotional for those who happen to be gay and who desire to be married.  It’s emotional for those who have friends or loved ones who are gay and want them to be “accepted”- part of that acceptance is having the opportunity to be married.  It’s also emotional for those who, though they may have friends and loved ones who are gay, still hold to the understanding that marriage is a union between a man and a woman.  Further still, it’s emotional for those who struggle to remain faithful to their religious worldview that impacts their understanding of marriage.

It’s precisely because of emotionalism that reason hasn’t prevailed.

The one issue that’s repeatedly raised when discussing SSM is the notion of “rights.” Advocates of SSM argue that marriage is a basic “right” that is denied to gays and, as such, is illegal.  Therefore, in the interest of fairness, marriage (by law) should be extended to gays in the same way that it is extended to non-gays.

This sounds convincing.  To deny a basic right to one group of people while extending it to another group of people is wrong and discriminatory.  And if that’s what the law does, it should be rescinded.

But that isn’t what the law does.  First, marriage isn’t a “right.”  It’s a civil institution that all societies in history have used and have recognized as the best way to legitimize, protect, and raise children as well as to solidify familial and political connections.

Second, the law doesn’t deny basic “rights” to a particular group unfairly.  When the law defines and recognizes marriage as a union between a man and a woman, it doesn’t exclude any gay person from marrying. The law treats non-gay people the exact same way it treats gay people in regards to marriage: both are prohibited from marrying a person of the same sex.  This means that under the law, a gay person would have to marry the same way everyone else in society has to marry – someone of the opposite sex.  As it relates to all unmarried persons in America, the law is extended equally and doesn’t discriminate based upon sexual preference.

Furthermore, there is no “right” to marry- civil or otherwise- found in the Constitution.  Every single time a person or court claims the denial of the “right” to marry is “unconstitutional,” they’re lying.  The Constitution says exactly nothing about SSM.  When this claim is offered as a defense of SSM, as is currently being done before the Supreme Court, it’s legally unfounded.

Consequently, when gay advocates and gays assert that legal refusal to marry someone of the same sex is a denial of rights that exists for everyone else, it simply isn’t true.  What they’re actually claiming is a new “right” that doesn’t exist anywhere for anyone regardless of orientation- the right to marry someone of the same sex. The “right” for a person to marry someone of the same sex has been denied to everyone.

Another claim that’s continually offered is that people should be allowed to marry whom they love, especially if they’re consenting adults.  Unfortunately, this also isn’t credibly defensible, and here’s why.  Technically, gays can marry other gays.  These ceremonies happen all the time.  Numerous clergy members of varying religions are more than willing to perform these ceremonies.   The only thing that the newly married won’t receive is governmental and societal affirmation and recognition of being “married.”

But if SSM is legalized, how can that law be defended when society arbitrarily moves the discriminatory lines of separation, and how is it justified? If it’s okay for gays to marry other gays because of love and consent, why don’t we allow/legalize polygamy when the parties involved are in love and consenting? Why not aunts and nephews or uncles and nieces when the same requirements of love and consent are present?  If it’s discrimination against gays, why wouldn’t it be discrimination against these other parties if SSM is legalized? And if it is discrimination, how is it justified in light of the qualifications that are used in favor of homosexual marriage?  If we’re to be intellectually honest, legalizing SSM means legalizing a number of other relationships based on the same criteria used for homosexual marriage.

In the end, the law doesn’t take into consideration love when defining marriage- and rightly so. If it did, the relationships above would have to be legalized, normalized, and accepted as equal.

Yet another claim SSM advocates use for legalizing SSM is to claim it’s a “civil rights issue.”  To equate the struggle of gays to selfishly redefine marriage with the struggles that black Americans underwent to gain civil rights undermines their argument because it trivializes the misery and misfortune blacks suffered through to gain the level of acceptance that exists today.  There are no “gay only” bathrooms, drinking faucets, or entrances; gays aren’t relegated to sitting in the back of the bus or forced to say “yes sir” and “no ma’am” to their non-gay equivalents.  There is no gay equivalent to Jim Crow laws; gays aren’t having fire hoses or dogs used on them merely because they’re gay – and thank God for that.  So the similarity falls short.

Rob Portman, Hillary Clinton, and Rob Bell have compassion for gays and rightly so.  But to radically redefine an institution that has existed for all of human history and sacrificing reason for sympathy- while forfeiting responsibility for the repercussions-is cowardly and transparent.

Photo credit: khalid Albaih (Creative Commons)