Tag Archives: Michael Brown

How an American Journalist Polluted the Political Arena by Attacking Michael Brown’s Mother and What Should Have Been Done About It

There used to be a line that no one would cross in their interactions with others, including those that they deplored. As you well know, Michael Brownthat America is long gone as many of the rudest, crudest, and ignorant individuals in the world champion their right to pollute the public with what can only be termed ‘uncivilized behavior’ via a flimsy argument that invariably rests upon ‘freedom of speech’. It is in these ‘freedom of speech’ moments that one’s true “nature” is revealed for all to see.

There is no other place that reveals one’s true “nature” than that uncomfortable place where politics and Race intersect. Case in point are the recent comments of St. Louis, Missouri’s, KTVI (Fox News Affiliate) ‘journalist’ Bobby Hughes who reacted to reports that Lesley McSpadden would be included on the roster of speakers for the Democratic National Convention with the following quip on Facebook.

She’s going to talk about the new lead diet she’s endorsed. Five servings and you can lose 200 lbs in two years easily.”

Although Hughes has been relieved of his duties with KTVI, the damage has already been done.

What those on both sides of a Presidential race that has devolved into a political inferno filled with unprecedented unfettered racial animosity fail to realize is that words are actually living things filled with unbelievable power and influence. The reckless and irresponsible use of harmful language only stokes the fires of a raging inferno that promises to still be a wildfire after the next President is selected by what can only be termed a dissatisfied and divided nation.

In the words of one of my most beloved mentors, “Some people make it hard to be a Christian.” Meaning that there are some statements and actions that can be put into the public sphere that is unforgivable, Bobby Hughes’ rhetoric falls into such a category.

Unfortunately for civility’s sake, the aforementioned comments were not widely denounced by a hate-filled American populace. It is that failure which causes those harmed by such rhetoric to deduce that their opponents agree with such filth. As a nation who considers ‘freedom of speech’ as one of its fundamental building blocs, it is important that we always stand on the side of right even if it is a sparsely populated area. Because if we know nothing else, it is that the sage words of Edmund Burke hold true to this very day. Burke penned the following admonishment for all to hear, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” It is that observation that not only rings true across time, but also should call all ‘civilized’ people to confront the ‘uncivilized’ at each and every turn.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016.

#BlackLivesMatter……Sometimes

Nigga feelin’ hopeless

Starin’ at the idiot box, riddle me this

If a killer was a nigga would niggas still really care?

Cause niggas worser than Zimmerman livin’ life everywhere

-Wale

These lyrics are from Washington, D.C.,  based hip hop artist Wale’s song “The Pessimist” . This song tackles a few of the most pressing issues threatening African-American’s existence. The song’s most thought provoking moment occurs when Wale openly questions the actions of his indigenous community. Wale inquires if some even care about the pressing issue of murder as they only react when a Black Life is lost at the hands of whites. Considering the consistent occurrence of black-on-black violence, I believe this to be a particularly notable query.

With the recent murder of unarmed  Walter Scott Jr., at the hands of white police officer Michael Slager, the “Black Lives Matter” movement has been Black 4reinvigorated. While the African American community is well within its right to express righteous indignation when Black life falls unjustifiably at the hands of a white police officer, however, what bothers me is the reality that during the same weekend that Mr. Scott was murdered by a white police officer, there were 5 Blacks in Chicago who fell at the hand of a fellow African-American; bringing the Windy City’s 2015 murder count to 99.  Last year, 420 murders occurred in Chicago, the vast majority of the victims, and perpetrators were African-American. Unfortunately for Black Chicagoan’s, there was no national outcry. Most troubling is the reality that indifference to black-on-black homicide is relatively standard for today’s African-American community.

According to the FBI, over 90 percent of African-American homicides were committed by black offenders. In contrast, only 6 percent of black murder victims were slain by Whites. It is perfectly reasonable, understandable, and justified for the  African American community to rally against white officers senselessly murdering black citizens behind the banner of Black Lives Matter. However, it is unconscionably hypocritical for the same individuals to ignore much more frequent occurrences of black-on-black homicides.

Black activists and community leaders appear foolish when they express unfiltered outrage at the death’s of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, and Michael Brown, Black 2while remaining silent in regards to the murder of Black men, women, and children by African-American offenders at a rate that would make George Zimmerman, Michael Dunn, and Darren Wilson shake their heads in disbelief. If the African-American community is not careful, it runs the risk of endorsing the belief that Black Lives ONLY Matter when they are extinguished by whites.

Put simply, African Americans lackadaisical  reaction to  black-on-black crime must cease immediately. I am of the opinion that we should oppose all crime regardless of the perpetrators race/ethnicity. In the end, unnecessary death is unnecessary death, regardless of the culprit’s race/ethnicity. It is only by vigilantly opposing every manifestation of murder that I will ever be convinced that Black Lives Matter. Until that occurs, I will hold fast to my fervent belief that Black Lives Matter, Sometimes.

Alexander Goodwin

#ManhoodRaceCulture

©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2015.

The Ballad of Craig Hodges: How Black NBA Stars have betrayed the Jordan Rules and Begun Resisting the Implicit Expectations and Demands of NBA Ownership

For those who have watched the National Basketball Association over the past four decades they can attest that the league has grown by leaps and bounds. Although many believe that the NBA has always been on dr jsolid footing from the moment of its creation, that belief is simply not true. In fact, the league was struggling until the ABA folded and Julius Irving, or as we like to call him Dr. J, arrived. However, it was not until ‘Magic’ Johnson and Larry Bird arrived that interest in the NBA reached unprecedented levels.

I feel sorry for those who are too young to remember the titanic battles between the Lakers, Black folks team, and the Celtics, white folk’s team. Most thought that things could not get any better in regards to the NBA’s popularity, however, they were wrong, and I do mean very wrong. What we thought was the apex of NBA popularity would appear mundane when Michael jordan 1Jordan arrived and took the NBA brand around the globe and placed a basketball in the hands of children in India, Iraq, Ghana, Britain, Brazil, Ice Land, Jamaica, and any other nation with cable television. Although we failed to recognize it, Jordan’s fame destroyed one of African-American athletes, regardless of the sport, greatest traditions; social activism and the ability to speak out on racial injustice. Athletes learned that their foremost job, even before their on-court performance was that they were never to damage the NBA’s image with any form, shape, or fashion of political commentary or social activism.

For those who doubt the veracity of this unspoken arrangement, they need to consider the case of Craig Hodges, a member of many of those NBA Championship teams that built the legend of Michael Jordan. hodges and jordanHodges was unrivaled at the time as a three-point specialist. It was what he did, and truthfully it was all that he needed to do. Hodges holds the distinction of being one of two NBA players to win three consecutive 3-point shooting contest during the NBA All Star weekend, the other, Larry Bird; whom Hodges defeated. Hodges’ streak ended not after being defeated by another NBA player; rather he was inexplicably cut from the Bulls roster for non-basketball related reasons. Hodges’ run with the Bulls was unceremoniously cut short after he attempted to politicize his teammates via a growing relationship with Nation of Islam leader, The Honorable Louis Farrakhan. NBA owners were apparently aghast that Hodges had the unmitigated gall to challenge Black athletes to do more work within the African-American community that had raised each of them.

From the perspective of the all-white owners collective, Hodges violated the first rule of being extended the privilege of playing in the NBA, he publicly damaged the leagues image when he traveled to the White House to be honored for yet another Championship season and not only stood before President Bush wearing a dashiki, but also capitalized upon the moment and passed the President a letter urging him to address the worsening socioeconomic issues plaguing the Black community. A short time later, Hodges was released by the Bulls. Hodges remembers, “I was outspoken, but I wasn’t disrespectful. I was never in trouble for drugs, or guns or raping women or anything like that. I just wanted to help my community, and that made me a troublemaker. What I did at the White House embarrassed the league, and it made a lot of people uncomfortable, and they did something about it.”

”It’s well known through the league that there may be repercussions if you speak out too strongly on some sensitive issues,” said Buck Williams, a forward player and head of the players association. ”I don’t know if Hodges lost his job because of it, but it is a burden when you carry the militant label he has.”

Hodges told LZ Granderson, a senior writer for ESPN the Magazine, “I went from making $600,000 a year to making nothing. No one would take my calls, no one would give me a chance. I went from helping a team win it all, to all of a sudden not being good enough to play for the worst team in the league. Do I think the league had it out for me? You tell me.”

So it is with great interest that I watch today’s NBA stars issue political commentary regarding the Eric Garner case before a majority white audience. In case you missed it, NBA athletes such as Lebron James, nets i cant breatheDerrick Rose, Kevin Garnett, and Kyrie Irving have all worn black t-shirts with the statement “I Can’t Breathe” written across the front.

Most surprising is Lebron James, the NBA’s greatest asset in regards to publicizing the league, boldness in leading the players into what can best be termed a post-Jordan period of political commentary and social activism. It appears now that NBA players, many of whom possess the same feelings as Craig Hodges in regards to helping their rose i can't breatheindigenous community, are only allowed to speak on social issues when the league’s most prominent figure leads the way; such a development provides yet another reason for us to cast a disparaging eye upon Michael Jordan’s lack of social activism. One must remember that it was Michael Jordan who refused to publicly endorse a political party, let alone a particular candidate, and explained his refusal by stating that “Republicans buy tennis shoes as well.” However, it appears that under the King James Reign the NBA players’ tongues have been loosened and they will boldly and stridently speak truth to power.

James, having witnessed Chicago Bulls superstar Derrick Rose wear an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt during warm-ups the night before, donned his own T-shirt prior to a game with the Brooklyn Nets the following night. James, one of the few players to by-pass a collegiate experience by making the leap from high school to the NBA, displays an uncanny understanding of his personal responsibility to the larger society. James stated that the shirts were a simple, relatively non-disruptive, way to issue political commentary regarding a prominent social issue. James expounded upon his intentions,

“I’ve been quoted over and over about what’s going on as far as it’s more of a notion lebron breatheto the family, more than anything. Obviously, as a society we have to do better. We have to be better for one another. It doesn’t matter what race you are. It’s more of a shout out to the family more than anything, because they’re the ones that should be getting all the energy and effort.”

The saying goes that there is strength in numbers, the blatant injustice of the Eric Garner murder has caused many voices to rise that are normally muted. Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams is one such individual. Williams related to ESPN that

“I try to kinda distance myself from [social issues]…but this is one where I kinda really paid attention and saw what was going on…I mean, you can see the [Garner] video and you know what happened. It’s not one of those things where people are saying this and the cops are saying that. It’s there for you to see. You just feel bad that a man lost his life because of that.”

Making this moment particularly ironic is that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was in attendance. Predictably, the league kyrie i cant breatheCommissioner walked a fine line and simply remarked that he respected the rights of “…our players for voicing their personal views on important issues but my preference would be for players to abide by our on-court attire rules.” Players are required to wear Adidas attire, the league’s official apparel provider, while on a NBA court.

Brooklyn Nets coach Lionel Hollins, an African-American, summed up this important moment by stating that the players,

“…should be political. They should be about social awareness. Basketball is just a small part of life. If they don’t think that there is justice or they feel like there is something that they should protest…That is their right as citizens of America…I have no problem with it at all.”

Although it took decades to occur, it appears that the pendulum regarding African-American athletes and politicization has come full circle. Their tongues have been at least partially loosened and their political consciousness slightly awakened. The Jordan years, years that produced a deafening silence on racial matters, are apparently no more. Too bad that Craig Hodges’ playing days are long behind him, it now appears that he was truly a man born way before his time.

James Thomas Jones III, Ph.D., M.A., M.A., M.A.

#ManhoodRaceCulture

Have we not learned?: A Message to the violent protesters in Ferguson

After prosecutor Bob McCullough announced that a grand jury decided against indicting Darren Wilson for murdering unarmed black teenager Michael ferguson2Brown Jr., immediately thereafter, widespread violence and looting began in Ferguson Missouri.  Several businesses, police cars, and other commercial buildings in the area were burned. This is sad and disheartening.

I ask the people of Ferguson in particular, and African-Americans in general, have we not learned from the Watts Riots, the L.A. Riots, and the nationwide riots following the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.? Put simply, rioting gets nothing done? We have MLKrepeatedly seen that destroying our own neighborhoods only hurts us. When the fires are put out and the dust settles little change results.

Though the anger and disappointment felt by the Ferguson community is not only justified, but also understood by the majority of Americans, the decision, made by a vocal minority, to burn buildings, loot stores, and destroy local businesses is disturbing as the vandalizing of local homes and businesses, the backbones of our community, irrationally cripples the Black collective. How in God’s name is breaking into a shoe store and stealing 50 pairs of Air Jordan sneakers honoring the life of Michael Brown? Simply put, it does not!

So I beg the people of Ferguson, Missouri, and the surrounding areas, if you must protest the grand jury’s decision, please do so peacefully. There are constructive ways to come about making a change. And to be quite honest ferguson4rioting, looting, disorder and anarchy is a distance from being constructive. Instead of responding in an emotional fashion, we as a black community need to move toward developing mechanism to preclude this issue from occurring again.

Instead of just screaming to the high heavens about problems, lets become solution oriented and work towards eliminating and neutralizing the issues that disproportionately affect the African-American community. Michael Brown ParentsLet’s all join the family of Michael Brown Jr. family and petition tour local lawmakers and legislatures to make it mandatory that all police officers were body cameras. Let’s not just make noise, let’s make a notable tangible difference. Such action is the only way of both honoring Michael Brown and preventing this tragedy, including the decision to not indict a rogue police officer, from ever occurring again.

Alexander Goodwin

#ManhoodRaceCulture

The Black Panther Party’s Huey P. Newton Addresses Rioting

Divided, confused, fighting amongst ourselves, we are still in the elementary stage of throwing rocks, sticks, empty wine bottles and beer cans at racist police who lie in wait Hueyfor a chance to murder unarmed Black people. The racist police have worked out a system for suppressing these spontaneous rebellions that flare up from the anger, frustration, and desperation of the masses of Black people. We can no longer afford the dubious luxury of the terrible casualties wantonly inflicted upon us by the police during these rebellions.

Huey P. Newton (1967)