('76 Contributor) What does that mean? What does that have to do with the election or the price of fish in France for that matter? I'll lay all of this out and illustrate one of the reasons why black-Americans are supporting Barack Obama and why we need to reassess that.
Jackie Robinson of course was the first black-American to play professionally in Major League Baseball. He played in the Negro leagues then was drafted to MLB farm teams in Montreal & Florida until April 15, 1947 when he played his first game as a Brooklyn Dodger. He wound up being named "Rookie of the Year", "National League MVP" and leading the National League in stolen bases all within his first couple seasons as a major leaguer. He also became the highest paid player in Brooklyn Dodger history & had many fans both black and white throughout his career.
The above is just a brief synopsis of Jackie Robinson's storied career in the MLB. He was also a decent man who exercised enormous restraint and courage in the face of truly ugly and vicious racial discrimination, prejudice and adversity. He carried himself like a man & a professional at all times. He left the MLB and became an executive and fought in the civil rights movement. Jackie Robinson gave Black Americans a role model and an example of what can happen when you work hard. In the face of overwhelming malice and prejudice - a true example of grace under pressure.
Now, what if Jackie Robinson had gotten into the MLB as a result of good intentions by Branch Rickey and the MLB but wound up whiffing 8 out of 10 times at bat, dropping balls and over throwing bases? What would that have done to the future opportunities of other black ballplayers in the Negro Leagues looking to follow in Jackie's footsteps?
There certainly would have been plenty of whites in the league and in the stands who would have crowed loudly and proudly "See, they just can't cut it, they really are inferior to whites." Would it have also had a similar effect on the psyche of some in the Negro Leagues. What if, 5 days before Jackie played his first MLB game he said "We are 5 days away from fundamentally transforming Major League Baseball"? What if, after 1 year of poor performance in the MLB Jackie said, "I inherited a horrible situation and that is why I need more time"? What if, after 4 years of poor performance & on the verge of being released from the team, Jackie had said, "If you're successful in the major leagues, you didn't hit those balls, someone else did that"?
Of course none of this happened and Jackie Robinson had a stellar career as a major league ballplayer. Jackie was fully aware of how historic his situation was and he met the challenge as a man. He blamed no one else for his mistakes and he was gracious and honest in his successes. We as black-Americans had a lot invested in Jackie Robinson and cheered with pride at his exploits on the field. He overcame so much and achieved even more.
Let's contrast this now with the election of our first black (technically "mixed race" but let's not quibble) President of the United States of America, Barack Hussein Obama. I contend that 80-85% of the 95% of Black Americans who voted for him in 2008 are only voting for him again out of "Jackie Robinson Syndrome". That is the fear that if Obama loses the election after such a horrible first term, we will be hard pressed to have another black-American ascend to the White House again. This is a false assumption.
Barack Obama is not our Jackie Robinson. Yes, he is the first non-white to be elected President but he has not conducted himself with the honor or dignity that Jackie had. Jackie , through his tenacity, dignity, athletic ability & grace, elevated the Major Leagues in the face of enormous obstacles. Obama has not done the same in his role as President. Forget his race for a moment and pretend he was a blond haired, blue eyed democrat. Perhaps, named Barry O'Brien from Schaumberg, IL (an upper-middle class Chicago suburb). Would you still support him? If Obama was truly who we were told he was, (a uniter who was "post-racial") as opposed to the class warrior he has shown himself to be - he would be truly historic. Even with the difficult economic circumstances he "inherited" and has not yet improved, Obama would likely be seen with more charity and grace by those who didn't vote for him.
Barack Obama's historic election to Presidency could have been the shining example of America's immense progress toward realizing Dr King's dream. It wasn't because he was elected more for historic hype than content of character. Cult of personality over substance of accomplishment. Racism is a human condition and therefore since human's are imperfect we can never have a perfect country or world. We can however live by our founding principles of "All men are created equal". But, all men cannot have equal outcomes and be free. Recognize the good we have in common and celebrate it while remembering we are a nation of laws and not men. The bad in common will have blind and not social justice rendered.
Barack Obama is in many ways a tragic figure in American history. He had a confusing and unorthodox upbringing. But in spite of that he ascended to become the leader of the greatest country in the world. His tragedy is not really his but ours. He will be just fine. His children will continue to live a wealthy and privileged life. Even if he is not re-elected, he won't be working the drive-thru window at KFC anytime soon. The tragedy is that after so many of us, black, white, brown, etc., pinned so much of our dreams to him in our noble and overwhelming desire to shake off the shackles of our complicated racial history - we bet on the wrong horse. Even those of us who did not vote for him still held a flicker of hope in our hearts. We internally hoped he was the real deal, the political version of Jackie Robinson.
Strike 1: Obamacare, instead of jobs and fixing the economy
Strike 2: Fast and Furious cover up with a dead US Border patrol
Strike 3: Benghazi cover up, with a dead US Ambassador and 3 dead American heroes.
Barack Obama is a designated campaigner, not a President.
America swung. He struck out. Vote wisely.
Mike Jones wrote this article for Rocky Mountain Black Conservatives, on whose leadership team he serves.
('76 Contributor) Harry Reid is not racist and Republican calls for his resignation are misguided. There I said it.
The senate majority leader has recently come under fire for remarks attributed to him in the new book “Game Change.” Authors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann say that in 2008 Reid described then candidate Obama as a " 'light-skinned' African American 'with no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one.'” The comments have been seen by some as being racially insensitive.
Reid’s defenders argue that he was merely making the point that Americans were ready to elect a black president (or at least a light- skinned black president. Baby steps.) DNC chair Tim Kaine insisted that Reid’s remarks were offered in the context of saying something positive about the Obama candidacy and why his candidacy would be strong.
What remains unclear is why we weren’t treated to an equal amount of gushing about Obama’s vast executive experience and his readiness to lead. Instead, these titans of liberalism were most impressed that Obama was Black but not too black and well spoken enough not to offend the racial sensibilities of voters. It was also a plus that he was able to turn on a “negro dialect” when speaking to Black audiences. (Actually the same could have been said of Hillary Clinton. She is also light skinned with a habit of turning on a “Black dialect” when speaking before black audiences. Recall her chicken necking as she quoted lyrics from an old “negro” spiritual: “I ain’t no ways tired.” Really Hillary? But I digress.)
I would be remiss if I failed to point out that the racial sensibilities Reid and company were concerned with offending were those of liberals. Reid was not mentally tallying the votes of Republicans, but Democrats!
Certainly Senator Reid is behind the times. Who uses the word “negro” anymore? The accepted term is “people of color,” which, for what it’s worth, sounds way to close too colored people for my tastes. But do Reid’s comments really rise to occasion GOP outrage, which, let’s be honest is a bit contrived?
Is there a double standard? Absolutely! There is also a growing sensitivity to public speech that has corrupted our sense of proportion. If one must resign for speaking the truth – Obama is light skinned, well spoken and does have a habit of turning on the “flava” when he speaks before Black audiences – what is the penalty for saying something truly outrageous? Calling for the head of Harry Reid only succeeds in making legitimate liberal outrage over the similarly innocuous uttering’s by others. If we continue down this path I fear we will end up a nation unable to govern itself because we will be unable to speak lest we offend someone…somewhere.
Moreover, these displays of outrage miss the real substance of Reid’s intimations.
What is now clear for all to see is the new left's political calculation vis a vis race. For the left there can be no post racial America because for the new left race is a chief weapon in their arsenal. Their use of race and racism is premeditated; it is a commodity to be traded in the political market. THAT should be the focus of GOP outrage; that should be what the media is talking about; that should be the cause of our national indignation.
There was another interesting bit of “dish” found in “Game Change.” In an effort to gain the endorsement of Massachusetts senator Edward Kennedy for his wife, former President Bill Clinton reportedly said to the liberal icon about Obama, "A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee.” According to the book, Kennedy was offended by the remarks and ultimately gave his support to Obama. In a subsequent conversation Clinton griped, “The only reason you are endorsing him is because he is black. Let’s just be clear.”
According to Harry Reid and Tim Kaine Clinton was quite correct; were it not for his light skin and his ability to speak like a “negro” when he has to he would still be a junior senator from Illinois and not the President of the United States. 2+2=4.
Denver native Joseph C. Phillips is a veteran TV and film actor, national columnist, campus lecturer for Young America's Foundation, and the author of He Talk Like a White Boy.
John Lennon’s 1971 lyrics to “Imagine” reflected the head Beatle's lofty idealism -- which was embraced by many, while others attacked the song's brazen, impudent, hardened, and bold promotion of socialism.
Imagine there's no Heaven , It's easy if you try No hell below us, Above us only sky Imagine all the people, Living for today
Imagine there's no countries, It isn't hard to do Nothing to kill or die for, And no religion too Imagine all the people, Living life in peace
You may say that I'm a dreamer, But I'm not the only one I hope someday you'll join us, And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can No need for greed or hunger, A brotherhood of man Imagine all the people, Sharing all the world
You may say that I'm a dreamer, But I'm not the only one I hope someday you'll join us, And the world will live as one
Lyric highlights (or lowlights, depending on your perspective): IMAGINE THERE’S NO HEAVEN…IMAGINE THERE’S NO COUNTRIES…AND NO RELIGION TOO…IMAGINE NO POSSESSIONS…IMAGINE ALL THE PEOPLE, SHARING ALL THE WORLD…I HOPE SOMEDAY YOU’LL JOIN US, AND THE WORLD WILL LIVE AS ONE.
Weren’t statements like "imagine no possessions" characterized as un-American in 1971? How about no religion, no countries, and his vision for a one world society? John Lennon expressed his world vision to a rebellious and sympathetic post-Vietnam war America. Was his agenda idealistic, therefore, unrealistic? Was he promoting Communism or Socialism, therefore, a radical agenda? Most assuredly.
According to Wiktionary “What goes around comes around” is an English Proverb which means the status eventually returns to its original value after completing some sort of cycle. That can be a frightening thought, but, unfortunately, it is true. Fast forward 38 years…
Can you IMAGINE a police officer in Cambridge, Massachusetts arresting a hostile and unruly Harvard University professor late one night after which the President of the United States, shooting from the hip, hastily and irrationally jumps into the fray offering “I don’t have all the facts, but the police acted stupidly.” After several days of hectic damage control meetings and frantic back peddling by his minions our “beloved” President spoke again saying “I should have chosen my words more carefully.” No, Mr. President, you should have stayed out if it. But I am thrilled you have alienated every policeman and policewoman in America. And to cap off several days of irresponsible remarks our #1 hothead-in-chief offered “it might have been better if cooler heads had prevailed.”
Don’t you have anything else to do Mr. President? How about dealing with the unprecedented debt, reckless spending, massive unemployment and the economic crisis you and your cronies in Congress foisted upon an unwilling America? Or yet another “Obamnation” due to your ill-advised and disastrous cap & trade plan which is nothing more than a new tax on the working class? How about the health care program you are forcing down our collective throats despite our repeated protestations? And all you can do is resort to name calling for those who oppose your plans (“obstructionists”). That doesn’t sound like really mature leadership and the change we need, Mr. President.
To add fuel to the fire Massachusetts “beloved” African-American Governor Deval Patrick chimed in with this ill-advised remark, “A policeman coming to your front door is every black man’s worst nightmare.” What? Oh, did I mention Cambridge police sergeant James Crowley is white and the unruly Harvard professor is an African-American and the neighbor who called the police to report the apparent home break-in was also African-American? It should all be irrelevant.
While others may say President Obama is arrogant I cannot agree. He is more than arrogant...perhaps elitist. It has been said his arrogance is exceeded only by his lack of integrity. Shame on President Obama and Governor Patrick for their racially divisive and uninformed remarks.
EPILOGUE: My personal response to the very talented Mr. Lennon whose life was cut way too short and the perhaps well-meaning but certainly inexperienced Mr. Obama regarding your shared agenda for socialism in America… no, I cannot IMAGINE that!
In the age of Obama, the arrest of a prominent Black Harvard professor on the steps of his own home was sure to ignite a discussion about the state of race relations in America.
Upon his return from an overseas trip Henry Louis Gates and his driver were attempting to open the front door, which was jammed shut. A passer-by noticed the men forcing the door open and phoned the police. By the time Sergeant James Crowley, the responding police officer, arrived Gates was inside his home. Crowley asked Gates to step out of his home and show some identification, which according to Crowley, the professor produced only after accusing the police of hassling him because he is a “Black man living in America” and saying something about Crowley’s mamma. The situation continued to escalate until finally Gates was arrested for creating a public disturbance.
Unfortunately, rather than using this incident as an opportunity to have an honest and substantive conversation about stereotypes and race, racialists of every stripe have high-jacked the discussion in order to continue a one-sided discussion focusing on Black victim-hood. One such racialist is our post-racial President Barack Obama.
During his Wednesday evening press conference the President claimed that Gates was the victim of racial profiling and that the Cambridge Police “acted stupidly” in arresting Gates for breaking into his own home. Alas, the president was tall on rhetoric, but short on facts, which was surprising (or perhaps not) given that the conference questions were pre-approved and he knew to expect it. Contrary to the President’s assertion- Gates was not profiled. The police were responding to a report of a possible break-in at Gates home. Nor was Gates arrested for breaking into his own home. He was arrested for disorderly conduct.
And lest anyone assume I am deaf to Gates's complaint- make no mistake, I have walked in his shoes and understand his outrage completely.
At the time I was living in West Orange, New Jersey, a quiet, middle class community west of Newark. I was walking about two or three blocks from my home one morning when I was stopped by a white police officer. He informed me that there had been a report of an attempted break in and that the description was that of a woman and a well dressed Black man. I thought it odd that he stopped me in that I was by myself and wearing a raggedy sweater and a pair of shorts. The officer then asked if I had any identification. I did not. I was walking in my own neighborhood! Further this same officer had answered a call at my home when my home security system had gone off not one week prior. It burned me up that he didn’t recognize me.
Clearly, I was being hassled because I was a Black man living in America. How else to explain my inability to walk through my own neighborhood without being questioned? Other patrol cars soon arrived. I continued to protest; my voice rising. As the situation escalated one of the other officers threatened to arrest me for disorderly conduct, which of course only increased my outrage. Just when things were going to get really ugly something happened; it could have only been the hand of God slapping me in the head. I shut my mouth. I bit my tongue till it bled. The officers let me go. I poked out my lips and stalked off home, cursing the concrete beneath my feet.
Two weeks later I was driving down the street in my fancy sports car (those were the days) and who should pull up alongside me at the red light? The same officer. He did a double take and commented, “Nice car.”
“Oh you recognize me now?” I replied.
He smiled and asked if I wanted to talk. We pulled into a parking lot and had a friendly conversation. He understood my anger, he said, but asked me to understand that he was simply doing his job and could never remember every person he encountered on the job in a town of more than 50K people.
Fair enough. However, as a Black man I want him to understand that I am/was, (like Gates), conditioned to suspect such interactions with the police as being motivated by latent or overt racism. Would the cop have recognized my white neighbor? Would a neighbor have called the Cambridge police if two white men were forcing the door to a home open? I have no idea. And it is only wise for Police departments and the officers that man them to recognize that the history of this country places serious doubt in the minds of most black folks.
That said every interaction with the police is not tinted with racism and Black folk are just as guilty of stereo-typing white cops as is true in the reverse. Moreover, we are often guilty of appeals to being victims of profiling when it is clear the police had legitimate reasons for detaining us or asking us questions. Like Gates I was stopped because there had been a legitimate report made to the police and like Gates I didn’t like it one bit. Like Gates I became irate and loud when legitimately pressed by the police officer to produce identification. Like Gates my outrage was based not in any real transgression by the police, but in a perception – a stereotype -- of a white racist cop working in league with my racist neighbors. (Do we really want our neighbors to ignore suspicious behavior and for police not to follow up on those reports? As much as we may dream it to be so, criminals of every color tend not to be down for the cause. Indeed, Gates front door was jammed because it had been damaged during a burglary at his home. But I digress.) Like Gates I protested the perceived injustice. Unlike Gates I had the benefit of God's huge hand on my mouth before I got into trouble.
The interaction between blue uniforms and black skin is the final hurdle to overcome in our nations striving to become truly post-racial. Once we conquer it there will be little to stop us or slow us down. However, in order to succeed we need to have an honest, two sided conversation about race in America. We certainly aren’t ever going to overcome if we view the arrest of Harvard professors engaged in boorish behavior as evidence of racial profiling as opposed to proof of the desperate need for mutual respect and better communication.
Joseph C. Phillips is the author of “He Talk Like A White Boy” available wherever books are sold.
Barack Obama's selection of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court is par for the course with this president, a man who ascended the presidency on the basis of a compelling personal story and a bag full of bromides about post-partisan hope and change. Those who bought the Obama schtick may not have known it then, but they elected a hyper-partisan pol with big dreams of remaking America into a social justice utopia where the ends always justify the means. Rules -- and indeed the rule of law -- mean little in this world where grievance politics dominate, and the playing field shifts regularly to protect those suffering all manner of "discrimination" at the hands of the (white) power structure. Its typical class warfare, only this time it is practiced with extreme efficiency and on the backs of a huge Congressional left-wing majority. For those who believe that America is a meritocracy and should be truly "color-blind", the country is now being run by those who see everything through race-colored glasses.The nomination of Sotomayor is a perfect example of this. Obama picked her not because she has the finest legal mind in the country (she does not), but because of she is an Hispanic woman who has a personal history that is appealing. She grew up poor in the Bronx and worked hard, and made something of herself. She also satisfies two check boxes on the identity politics checklist -- being a woman and a minority -- which brings Obama praise from NOW and other interest groups.Ironically, Sotomayor's story is little different than that of conservative Justice Clarence Thomas -- a point eloquently made by Kim Strassel in today's Wall Street Journal. But whereas Thomas' personal struggles led him to embrace the lesson that if "I can do it, so can others" -- Sotomayor fell firmly into victimization's clutches, where she joins a legion of other minorities in the belief that the system is arrayed against them. The irony, of course, is that the evidence of their own success from hard-scrabble beginnings has done nothing to dissuade them from their hardened belief that somehow "the man" is out to get them. This is yet another example of how facts have little bearing on the "feeling" politics practiced by the left.Sotomayor has made it clear that her view of the world -- and the law -- is based principally on her gender and background. It is something that she feels makes her better positioned to "come to a wise decision" than is a white man who hasn't been subjected to the devastating discrimination that people like Sotomayor see lurking behind every tree. If you view America as a mean place where Hispanics, women and other minorities need protection, then I suppose this is a reasonable position to take. But is this what a Justice of the United States Supreme Court should believe? Someone appointed to intepret the Constitution for all Americans -- white, black or other? A process that, by definition, must be impartial and based on legal fact and analysis?As it happens, a famous case of Sotomayor's from her tenure on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals is now being reviewed by the current Supreme Court -- as the WSJ outlines today in the case of the New Haven Fire Department. With a single paragraph, Judge Sonia Sotomayor and two colleagues dashed the hopes of firefighters here who believed they'd scored high enough on exams to win a promotion.
The three federal appeals judges said last year the city had the right to reject the results of two tests because no black firefighters scored high enough. The ruling is now turning into perhaps the most contentious of the 4,000 Judge Sotomayor made in 17 years on the federal bench, and it is likely to come up in her Supreme Court confirmation hearings. The justices whom she may soon join on the high court are expected to rule within weeks on the case, which they took on an appeal by white firefighters.
The facts of the case are as follows:
A total of 118 applicants took the two tests for promotion to lieutenant or captain in late 2003, and 59 earned passing scores. Because there were limited vacancies, only the top scorers were eligible for promotion -- a group of 17 whites, and two Hispanics. None of the 27 black firefighters with passing scores was eligible. New Haven city lawyers advised the city's Civil Service Board to reject the results, warning the city could be exposed to a race-discrimination lawsuit by minority firefighters if it let the exam stand. The board heard conflicting views on whether the test could have been re-engineered to have a less disparate impact. It split 2-2, which meant the exam wasn't certified.
This is classic liberal social engineering at work: you give a merit based test to determine promotions and tell firefighters to study hard for it. They take the test and when the results come back in a way that you don't like, you throw the results out and say "nevermind". If no blacks and only two Hispanics scored high enough, it must be because of some discrimination at work. Let's not reward those who passed -- let's reengineer the test so more blacks and Hispanics will pass.
Sotomayor was at the heart of this decision -- stating that it was in the "state's interest" to throw out the results so that the outcome was more to her liking. And what about the white firefighters who have now been discriminated against? To Sotomayor, it doesn't matter, because she lives in a world where color matters more than principle. This is a woman who values outcomes over equality -- even if it results in a decision that is reverse discrimination.
We can take some solace that her decision in New Haven is almost certainly going to be reversed by the current Supreme Court. But it leaves little comfort that we are now poised to put this very same judge on the highest court in the land for a generation to come.