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Troy

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Posted on Tuesday, April 22, 2003 - 08:05 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The Myth of Race
PBS Program- Race: the Power of an Illusion

Even in the 21st century, many still believe that certain innate human characteristics and behavior are based n race. But a new three-part documentary airing this spring on PBS "Race: The Power of an Illusion" explains that there is no scientific basis for assumptions about racial difference Yet race continues to be a defining and divisive subject.


The film traces the evolution of the idea of race in the United States. The first episode. "The Difference Between Us, "explores the biology of race to show that racial biological differences are extremely minimal and have no genetic basis. In the second hour, "The Story We Tell", race is examined historically from a legal and social perspective. The final hour, "the House We Live In," analyzes the role race still plays in contemporary life, from public housing to access to financial assets. As America continues to debate affirmative action, "Race: The Power of an Illusion"reveals the direct link between past racism and contemporary society.


"Race: The Power of an Illusion"will be broadcast on April 24, May 1st, and May 8th. Log on to www.pbs.com for more information on the film and broadcast times.
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Troy

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Posted on Thursday, May 08, 2003 - 05:52 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I did not catch the program, but I did manage to check out the companion web site:

http://www.pbs.org/race/000_General/000_00-Home.htm

It is defintely worth visiting, informative and a very well designed.
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Kola

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Posted on Thursday, May 08, 2003 - 10:03 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Troy,

The information in this program has been TRUE for a million years.

The real question is--what does this information change? And what does it mean to even the most educated among us?

I hate to say it--but the overwhelming majority of the people I notice being interested in this program are "black folks", the oppressed and downtrodden...and the pro-multiculturalists. Very few others. Certainly very few people from the dominant human groups.

I would say that the fact that we are all "human beings" remains...irrelevant. Just as the fact that all humans come (originally) from black Africans...is irrelevant.

Tomorrow morning...70% of black children will still reside in single parent homes and FEW BLACKS will feel like discussing what to do about it. In fact, since we no longer have a race--we can just be individuals and not care. Which is so much easier, and in that way, this special comes in handy.





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Troy

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Posted on Friday, May 09, 2003 - 06:13 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Agreed. The information has been true, but the how many people know the truth? How many white racists lived and died not knowing their beliefs, fears and hatred were born of lies? How many Brothers and Sisters are running around here beliving they are innately inferior?

What does this information change?
Nothing and everything. I guess it depends upon who you are and your influence. For example, one of the conclusions drawn from the compainion web site (again I completely missed the broadcast) was that the government needs to keep track of race, otherwise how can we measure how poorly black folks are doing? Despite that I still believe it would be a better use of the goverment to resources and my money to ensure I have equal access to public resources. I still fail to understand why I have to pay for counting the number of Pacific Islanders in the US. I thought the facts were englightening, even though I may have differed with the conclusions.

70% of the so called Black children waking up in a single parent household has little do with race and more to do with the mentaility of the people involved.

Kola there are many Blacks who discuss and write books about these issues on both sides of the political spectrum. Is seems most people are not interested in reading about it.

By the way, we do have a race, the human race.

Peace
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Kola

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Posted on Friday, May 09, 2003 - 08:19 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Troy,

I agree with much you have to say here. And I have always referred to us as "a human race"--where such a distinction was needed.

But in speaking on "the mentality of the people"...you have to remember that MUCH of the people's mentality is informed by what skin color they have.

Education and resources are denied to millions of "mentality irresponsible" people--based on skin color.

On that one issue, whole self-esteems are either reinforced by society...or shattered.

In fact...the most successful, educated, monied BLACK people in America...are often times the ones I despise and respect the LEAST. Because instead of changing "society" to benefit black people...they sell themselves as "individuals" (God is NOT an individual--that's some mess these Caucasoids taught you all), fail to reproduce their own image and then FEED the dominant culture's children, institutions and societies instead of their own.

What good does it do "certain mentalities of people", Troy...if you become a millionaire and then spend all your money in Europe and on "materialistic golddigging" white women and investing in companies that built their empires off the backs of your ancestors? It would be better to give your money to a materialistic, golddigging BLACK woman who can atleast give birth to a son who might continue and perpetuate your rich legacy.

That's HUMAN thinking right there. White men think this way..and rightly so. Now why can't my sons think that way?

And as for the K.K.K.--they wouldn't give a care if they had that information. EVERYONE has always had that information....but "human nature" requires hierachy Troy.

It is also true that people feel more and more secure around people who LOOK like them. Just look at the Black Americans, who are now starting to come in SO MANY shades and ethnicities--that they find it IMPOSSIBLE to breach unity. It's because people feel "kinship" with people who look and act and talk like themselves.

These are FACTS that no amount of "human race theory" will ever change...because it's HUMAN.




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yukio

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Posted on Sunday, May 11, 2003 - 08:08 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Happy Mothers' Day to the mothers out there!

If there are black people that believed that they were inferior because of their phenotype and culture then black people haven't been doing their job!

The issue, it seems to me, has never been about race, anyway. It has been about RACISM, not race, which was supposed to identify differences that constituted different racial groups. Now that we know race is an illusion, hopefully we can move to the issue of contemporary inequality and the legacy of old inequality.


Now, i have said before that there isn't a such thing as a black race, but their is an African continent, and we are direct descendants from the continent, hence African American, an national identity as well as a cultural group, makes some sense. We don't have to be confused about race, but we need to talk about our heritage, and it is African. There is a such thing as culture, and may black Americans do not have one. There is a such a thing as self-determination, and as a continental group and a national one, African Americans have a culture of struggle, of resistance, which is stronger than passivity. This is clear! So we begin again. Still, where we began before this program. Nothing has changed. Africans were racialized, made into a race through the transatlantic slave trade and slavery in the Americas. This doesn't change the fact of racism, the perpetuation of discrimination on an alleged racial group. Again, we know that racism, from the vine to the wine, from the alpha of creation, was economic..., as it is today, so lets not confuse race with the real issue racism and general injustice, lets not place full responsible on individuals. Lets place the blame and act on the culprits: ourselves, parents, family extended family, the government, our politicians, principals, educators, etc...

Are we so assimilated that we believe that individualism really works...it still takes a village. Insides of the homes of wealth, there is laughter...Why, you ask? Because, some of us think that wealth is accrued from individual effort. They know it is a family affair...and we know it too, but we afraid to say.....

"70% of the so called Black children waking up in a single parent household has little do with race and more to do with the mentaility of the people involved."

If there are black people that believed that they were inferior because of their phenotype and culture then black people haven't been doing their job!

I'm sorry. This statement is problematic. It assumes that life is solely the product of individual effort. Whether someone is rich or poor, they had help, both from individuals and the larger society in some shape or form.

Poverty is a systemic problem and a personal problem, which means that poverty can not be limited to what our parents do, although it definitely plays a large part.

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Troy

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Posted on Monday, May 12, 2003 - 01:19 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Yukio:

I'm not sure how you made the leap from my statement "70% of the so called Black children waking up in a single parent household has little do with race and more to do with the mentaility of the people involved." to the conclusion: "It assumes that life is solely the product of individual effort.

No one achieves solely on their own effort. This is axiomatic.

No one achieves without exherting some our there own (individual) effort. This too should be obvious.

Perhaps my failure to state the obvious lead to this misunderstanding.

I think where we really disagree is on how much the acitivies of individuals effect their current situation and more imnportantly their future condition.

Many of us make decisions and do things which severly hamper our ability to escape poverty or cause us to go into poverty. Decisions which are a much more serious predictor than our called "race", or society.

If a teenager decides to have a child out of wedlock, or a 21 year old decides to comit a felony, or an adult becides to start using drugs, or one fails to graduate high school, or never develops a skill someone else is willing to pay for in the open market, we know they increase their chances for entering into or remaining in poverty.

Life is not fair, some of us are born with trust funds, and some of us are born into poverty -- clearly individuals can not control the family into which they are born. However, we do know most inidivudals do not spend their entire lives in poverty.

Many climb out of or avoid poverty by avoiding some of the above activity. Even for those that do make mistakes, can recover becuase there are so many avenues of assitance both private and goverment based which offer to help; but they (the individual) has to initiate and maintain the effort required.

We already know we people behave in a fashion which benefits themsleves and society we are all better off.

Poverty, today, is more often than not a consequence of what action individuals take or don't take. A married couple with no children earning each earning minimum wage would not be in poverty. They would not be rich, but they would not be in poverty. Lets say they decided to work two miminum wage jobs or could work 50% overtime on their existing jobs. This couples income would be almost equal to the medium family income in this country.

Of course these people would be busting the humps -- initially. Overtime however, people get promotions, start their own businesses, etc.

Seems to me some people don't want to work two jobs or are too "good" to work for minimum wage.

Do you disagree with what I worte? Do you think there is something else at work here which is a greater contributor to poverty? If so, what is it? This question is open to anyone.

Peace
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Yukio

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Posted on Monday, May 12, 2003 - 04:47 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Troy:

"I think where we really disagree is on how much the acitivies of individuals effect their current situation and more imnportantly their future condition."

I disagree with you in degrees, not completely. The examples that you give all involve more than the individual. The teenager having a child out of wedlock, the 21 yr. old committing the felony, the adult using drugs, all are responsible for their actions. Yet, and here is the central point that i'm making, racism and general injustice are also responsible for poverty. In other words, both fronts are responsible, as i've said before....

The other elements that contribute to poverty is the obvious unequal distribution of wealth and power. And this power and wealth is clearly distributed along racial line, in both the US and internationally.

I'm just saying that our individual efforts are not operationalized in a vacuum. The economy, foreign policy, racial politics, imperialism, are all embedded in our everyday lives--through the exchange and distribution of ideas, values, technology and monies.

Lets be clear. I'm not saying that people shouldn't complete their degrees, etc...but i'm also saying that police brutality, imperialism, and economic exploitation should not occur either, which means we have to be responsible to ourselves and our group...the allusion of race doesn't change that we are a cultural group.


Again, you are "prioritize" decisions from an individual level, and that is fine. This is necessary. Mandatory! Yet, i submit, the Freedom Movement,Anti- Colonialism, and cultural survival and self-determination are about group decisions. Although some of us can gain wealth, and procure degrees, as a group we need to do more. This is mandatory too..."Race" is an illusion, but history has produced a people, which shares a culture that is worth preserving.


There are no absolute disagreements, here. Just a disagreement in focus.

Btw, i wasn't talking about "race." I was talking about racism, which the allusion of "race" never prevented this country or Europe and Japan from discriminating against alleged "racial groups."

In this coutry, as a group we are marked...let us not forget....let us not confuse a scientific fact for what happens within society.

Good Day!
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Troy

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Posted on Tuesday, May 13, 2003 - 07:35 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yukio:

Sure when the klansman is slipping the noose around your neck a scientific discussion about race is likely to hasten the process. On this issue we agree.

However our progress is not hampered significantly by the Klansman today. I'm more concerned about the mentality of our Brothers and Sisters and what factors contribute to their remaining or entering into poverty.

One factor you mentioned was the "obvious unequal distribution of wealth and power". This is something that is commonly mentioned as a cause of poverty. Can you help me understand why this causes poverty?

But first, lets agree on terms and make a distinction between "Distribution of wealth" and earned wealth. When you or I get up in the morning to go to work, we are earning that money. It is not being distrbuted. The only distribution is when the government confiscates some of our income in distributes it to others in the form of farm subsidies, earned income credits, etc. (but that is another story). Most of the differences in earned income are due to a willingness and ablity to earn that money.

How does these differences in individual earnings, and accumulated wealth as a result of those earnings, cause poverty?

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Chris Hayden

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Posted on Tuesday, May 13, 2003 - 03:50 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Troy:

Your point of view is very New York Centric. There are areas of the country where Klansmen, Nazis and other white supremecists are on police forces, sit on town councils and in state legislatures. They don't broadcast it but they are there. Many politicians from our southern states have to kowtow to these people.
There are areas in my state that are controlled by these people and the county sheriffs and state highway patrol have to get their permission before they can come in and execute warrants. Imagine if you were innocently sightseeing in that area with your family and got lost one night.

The whole country is not New York City--then again I have been advised that there are areas of New York City where there could be problems--such as if I decided to go over in Bensonhurst after dark to buy a car.

When you bring these things up, some folks automatically think one is advocating one stay up nights worrying about them. Not that. But that is no excuse not to think about them at all.
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Troy

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Posted on Tuesday, May 13, 2003 - 05:08 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Chris:

My ideas are not supported solely by my personal experiences. I do read occasionally, listen to various speakser, talk to people and even participate in discussion baord sometimes. Furture, I've visited almost every state in the union. I've lived in Syracuse NY, FL, PA. NC is like a second home.

What have I written to give you the impression my point of veiw is NY centric?


Peace
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ABM

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Posted on Wednesday, May 14, 2003 - 03:02 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Troy

I want to address the question you had asked Yukio (I hope you don't mind): "One factor you mentioned was the "obvious unequal distribution of wealth and power". This is something that is commonly mentioned as a cause of poverty. Can you help me understand why this causes poverty? "

The uneven "Distribution of wealth" ("UDOW" for short) occurs when school systems are funded via real estate taxes where wealthier, mostly white schools systems are afforded superior instructor, resource and materials, which result in inferior schooling and life prospects for AA's. The UDOW can also be witnessed when certain white-owned companies/organizations are awarded multi-billion dollar no-bid defense contracts while the poor; disproportionately blacks/Hispanics are made to fight/die for trumped up causes for which they receive little recompense. UDOW is evident when white-owned companies are exempted from real estate taxes (taking $ from schools) in black urban errors then hired all of it best-paid staff from the suburbs. The UDOW occurs when banks, savings/loans, mortgage companies, car co, insurance co., realtors, etc. either refuse to do business with AA's or charge them exorbitant rates. The UDOW exists with white politicians assigning all of their friends/family to high paying positions and generously doling out contracts to political cronies. And the UDOW is manifest in white owned farms obtaining subsidies that are routinely denied black farmers.

All of these, and a myriad other things, depress the wealth earning capacity of AA's.

See, not all wealth is "earned", as you might like to believe it should be. In fact, great wealth is usually the result of privileged relationships and circumstances, many of which are passed along generations (e.g., Bill Gate's and Donald Trump's fathers were very rich/successful in their own right). And if you have never been privy to such advantage, you may still lag behind others regardless of the most earnest efforts. That is why, for example, scores of AA's fail on Wall Street, in spite of possessing hard-earned degrees from the most esteemed schools.

And consider wealth is not just a function of what you earn. It's getting equal value for what you do, having clear/definable goals/timeframes, keeping what you earn, effectively investing, having timely access to adequate information and funding, maintaining stability in your personal/familial affairs, etc. Though we can control these factors to some degree via acquisition of knowledge, prudent/provident decision making, earnest exertions of energy and cultivation of valuable relationships; we AA's are often borne/placed in precarious situations that derail our ability to effectively counteract UDOW.

All of those inequities disable AA's from being able to effectively compete with white counterparts. I'm not saying we should be too discouraged to try to compete. But we'd better be clear/honest about what we and folks coming up behind us are up against if we are to finally nab our fair share of the American Pie.
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Chris Hayden

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Posted on Wednesday, May 14, 2003 - 10:35 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Troy:

"However our progress is not significantly hindered by Klansmen today."

Remarks like these that I don't hear blacks in some section of this country saying. You do live in New York now, right? You cannot help basing your remarks on the area where you live any more than I can.

I remember one time I was up at Wellesley in Massachusetts. Me and two brothers that went to Harvard Law School at the time. I was from St. Louis, the other brother was from Atlanta, the third was from NYC. A campus cop came and hassled us--three brothers on a woman's campus. We didn't look like thugs, but hey, that was what we thought.

The Bro from New York reacted in a very New York manner--no cursing, no loud talk or threats, just reasonable questions, "What is this about, etc". Me and the other brother managed to shut him up and do all the talking.

Afterward we talked about it. He wondered why we had put up with this unconstitutional harassment--he was right. It was. We stated it was because of our experience with southern police (and, St. Louis is the South) wherein you handled such matters with the dude's superiors later on--if at all. In New York City the right wing and I mean your lumpen right wing, is not strong. True if you are talking your classic, sheet wearing cross burning Klansman he is not significant because he has gotten smart, taken off the sheets and put on business suits. He may not advocate bombing and lynching and bullwhipping but he (or she) remains just as committed to the cause of White Supremecy. Who do you think Trent Lott was talking to when he made those comments at the old geezer's birthday? Who do you think John Ashcroft and others kowtow to? Why do you think these people go to Bob Jones University and speak? It nets them votes, support and money. The party that is control of Congress and the White House gets major support from these folks. They are seeing that judicial appointments, government policy, committee chairmanships and assignments, spending bills go their way.

It has become a false premise among our more naive brothers and sisters, white and black, that the maintainence of a system of unearned privilege has become irrelevant or uneconomical in a global economy--if I am a beneficiary of that system I get quite a lot of benefit from it.
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ABM

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Posted on Wednesday, May 14, 2003 - 01:22 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Troy

I don't think your view is strickly NY-based. I do, however, think NY'er frequently view all issues via the prism of Metropolis. (If you don't mind, Chris.) I think those of us AA's who reside in the cities typically forget or are unacquainted with how blacks live in less populated areas. And since NY is the de facto business/social/cultural Capitol of the US, NY'ers, black/white, are often especially prone to see all things as they relate to its five boroughs.

There are still areas of the country where voting for black people is not at all a given (see the Florida Ballot of for the 2000 Presidental Election). Yet, I think you would agree the mere notion of a good/upstanding Harlem resident being denied suffrage is wholly unconscionable (Al Sharpton would whump some a$$e$$.). And there are still areas where a white person will call grown people "boy's" and "gals" without batting an eye. But you/I know that a white NY'er would have to high on "crack" to refer to blacks as such.

Do I even have to answer the following questions:

Could white NY teenagers get away with staging a whites-only prom as what recently occurred (like in GA)?

Does the Flag atop the NY State Capitol include Confederate insignia (like in SC)?

Does the NY State proudly display heroic likeness of Generals Lee and Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis (like in VA)

And when was the last time the Klan marched down Time Square?


Although all blacks face some forms of racism, the stuff that happens in rural American is often so acute, it can make even the "nappiest" hair stand on end.
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Cynique

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Posted on Wednesday, May 14, 2003 - 05:57 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

America is so dysfunctional it's hard to generalize about it anymore. Cities and towns all over the south have black mayors and black police chiefs, but as we all know, there are areas in the big cities of the North where blacks fear to tread. And, to me, even 911 hasn't seemed to heal the racial rift.


And that rich white guy serving as President is a prime example of the entitlement that accrues to those who lead a privileged life. It's been said that it never occurred to Bush that he was out of line in initiating a pre-emptive strike on Iraq. He and his cronies carried out their war simply because they felt like it, and they are so inured in their arrogance that they aren't even aware of it. Bush has had everything handed to him. He's never done without or worked hard a day in his life. That along with the fact that he has no intellectual prowess accounts for the reason that he is little more than a shallow man, used to getting what he wants. In contrast, Colin Powell "earned his stripes" and is a self-made person. But only because he learned to play by the rules. For wealthy white men, however, there are no rules.
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yasmin

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Posted on Thursday, May 15, 2003 - 08:55 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Cynique you are so right. I was just having this conversation with my husband last night as we sat and discussed the latest incident in the journalism world with the young AA brotha. Folks are now attacking affirmative action and of course it might be more difficult for other AAs to walk through the doors after this incident. But why should it be? Look at Enron...the folks that took that company under were non-AAs who will probably go somewhere else and do the same thing...but more importantly it WILL NOT stop other non-AAs from advancing. So why does one bad apple in the AA race have to stop a show for others.
And as far ase racism/hate crimes live and well in Northern States...you don't have to look any further than PA. Next to Florida we have more Senior Citizens, we're in the top 3 for states where folks are born/raised/stay, we're 49th as far as minority businesses (ties with South Dakota and only higher than North Dakota)and while I've lived all ova the country (including Texas, Florida and North Carolina) I was never a victim (not once but twice) of a hate crime until I moved to PA. So the only difference between PA and AL is that one is above the Mason-Dixon line and was never forced/required to change. Major cities in AL have more going on for AAs than Philly, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, Pa.
'r
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Chris Hayden

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Posted on Thursday, May 15, 2003 - 12:14 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

ABM:

Couldn't have put that better
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Troy

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Posted on Friday, May 16, 2003 - 12:56 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

ABM, It is an open discussion baord your thoughts are welcomed.

All of the adversity, which Blacks must face, that you so eloquently pointed out is true.

However all of that has very little do do with teenage pregnancy, kids failing to attend school, or drug use. You are going to have to draw the connection for me. I'm not just talking about people not trying I'm talking about people who engage in behavior that is determintal to themselves and society in general.

People choose to commit crimes and have babies out of wedlock. These are more likely to harmper ones life chances than the Klan or government subsdies for the rich.

I'm tired hearing about "the white man this" and "the white man that". What we have to deal with is today NOTHING compared to what our grandparents had to deal with -- I'm sure any of them would trade places with one of us in a heart beat.

I don't see any white man stopping little Dante from doing his homework. I don't see the white man forcing Shaniqua to give birth before she is old enough to get working papers. All of this is just an excuse. Using these excuses are getting us no where.

There will always be adversity, that is the human condition. Even white people are using similiar bullshit excuses to explain away their failures. Reverse descrimination, Affirmative action, welfare, immigration using evenything but themselves as an the cause of their problems.


Northern states don't care about Jefferson Davis 'cuase he was part of the confederacy -- Remember the war was the North vs the South. Of course I would not expect to see the confederate flag flying here (NY) for the same reason.

If the South was so bad why are som many Northern Blacks moving to places Charlotte and Atlanta? There is a reverse migration happenning as we speak. As ar as the Klan Marching in Time Square, no one marches in Times Square. Statistically I have a greater chance of being dropped by a terrorist or a twisted little school kid than I do from being harmed by the Klansman. That is true whether I'm in southern Florida or NY City. Besides many people say Northern Racisim is worst 'cause the rascist you can know is desireable to the racist you don't know.

Again, Chris I've lived in other places besides NY, so I don't know what else to say. I did have similair conversations with Brothers in the south who also recognized that too many of us was buying into the HYPE of white oppression.

There are plenty of Black families that owened business one, two generations out of slavery. When we could not use the White man's school we built our own -- today we complain the school he provides are poor so what do we do -- nothing (except complain).



Yasmin why do you think " So why does one bad apple in the AA race have to stop a show for others. "? Do you sriously believe the Times and other nespapers will stop hiring Black journalists? Do you think anyone other than the most ingnorant are incapable of distinqusting the actions of a single individual from a group? Seems to me this is a common type complaints as well. One Black missed up now they are going to believe we are all bad.


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Cynique

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Posted on Friday, May 16, 2003 - 12:19 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Troy, you know I've always agreed with you about this teen-aged pregnancy thing. It is an epidemic which is at the root of most black problems because it triggers a whole set of negative ramifications. And, yes, the arguments you offer to support your others views are very valid. But as is often said, black spokesmen have a vested interest in embracing black victimization because it perpetuates a need for their leadership. By the same token, stacking the deck against black folks is the way the white power structure maintains its control. So, it's an ongoing dilemma. It all boils down to the individual being ready to capitalize on the opportunities which do present themselves. As you imply, any person can better his or her lot in life by making wise choices.
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Yukio

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Posted on Friday, May 16, 2003 - 01:16 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Troy,

Sorry for engaging a discussion, and not following through. I've been a little busy(as you all have been), and i still am, but i will brief address the questions u asked.

Now, again, i don't disagree with you focusing on the individual, but I think that the picture you're painting is necessarily limited.

In addition, I am not advocated an either/or analysis. I agree with what you say about people not completing their education, teenage pregnancy, etc...but the concern for me is this, when we encounter people who have dropped out of school or had children out of wedlock, do we say, "Oh, you should've been more responible" or "Well, I know it's hard for you, but you can still get improve your life!" Again, there is not doubt that not getting caught up is a better route to take. I just believe that these people need to continue to receive encouragement. Again, if white folk are responsible for something then i'm gonna call the white man out...if i'm responsible then i'm gonna check myself... This is what i have been saying from the beginning...not an either/or perspective...

"However our progress is not hampered significantly by the Klansman today. I'm more concerned about the mentality of our Brothers and Sisters and what factors contribute to their remaining or entering into poverty."

From the beginning, i've addressed, or at least tried to, that black americans' and blacks' in the world destiny is determined by their individual effort AND their group effort. In this sense, what the individuals does makes sense(ie complete their education v. not completing their education). Simultaneously, what we do as a group is as important because we are being racialized as a group. Hence, ABM's reply to your question to me is imperative: the unequal distribution of wealth is racialized, and it is not limited to "earned wealth." It is not a question of salary and wealth, but group power, which is constituted and reproduced through internal exploitation of people of color, and internationally, again people of color(or what some call the brown third world).

Our main disagreement is really about how we see or understand how the world operates. You seem to base your analysis from the stand point of the individual, while mine is embedded in an analysis of the individual in a world-system--a geo-political and capitalistic enterprise.

A discussion of poverty of a group can not be understood from the perspective of the behavior of the individual. In other words, the world can not be understood w/o engaging what the individual does nor can the individual be understood w/o engaging how the world operates(ie in the connections between the individual, their community, the city, county, state, interstate, region, nation, international community).
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Troy

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Posted on Friday, May 16, 2003 - 04:23 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Cynique,
True I generally agree with your most of your postions. You are a little better at expressing them than I.

Yukio
No need to apologize there were three days between posts for me as well -- that is one benefit from this format you can pick up where you left off very easily.

Now I'm not so naive as not to appreciate that we are all connected and that our actions as a group, family, community, nation can ultimately impact the world. Your last two paragraph pretty much sums it up our two positions.

Here are some of the reasons the individual is important. Weak individuals make for weak families and weak communities, etc. Weak leadership is an out growth of this. Leaders like Jesse Jackson can liertally make a baby with a women other than his wife and it is no bing deal! How insensitive and stupid can you be? This is a so called leader. Recently I heard (someone please confirm this is true) that I Kwesi Mfume has 5 children by 5 baby mommas -- if this is 1/2 true, this is outrageous and the "man" should be dismissed.

We seek the opinions of rap stars and actors for their opinions on public policy over individuals who have studied the subject. We call people like Conde Rice race traitors and sellouts while kissing Hillary Clinton's butt.

We literally workshop people like Tupac while individuals like Dr. John Henik Clarke never make it out of relative obsurity.

If we waiting around for our governemnt, or our leadership to do what needs be be done we are lost. Some of us are waiting for the government to fix the ailing school systems -- they are going to be waiting a long time. It will never happen. It will be up to the "individual" familes to compensate. They can do what it takes to make it happen or they can just let their children languish in substandard schools.

Some will hire tutors, home school or send their kids to private schools, still others will build their own schools. Either way complaining about something that will never happen (governemnt fixing the schools) is fruitless and using it as an excuse for failure, is simply that -- an excuse and failure.


Another digression
Too many people are running around saying Bush is dumb. That is simply not truew. Bush may look dumb. His family connections may have gotten him into those schools which give out inflated grades, he may have had more advantages than 99.99999% of everyone else on the planet, he made support policies we do not agree with but to say that his is dumb is just plan silly. But more to the point; Black folks would rather believe that even dumb white people can get into the white house while smart Black people can't.

Colin Powell had as good a change as any white person to be president. He choose not to run. I honestly believe many Black people would not have supported him in the misguided notion that his is dumb too. "Individuals" can be easily manipulated to believe almost anything -- whether it suits their interest or not.

Once the individual has their act together then we can begin to progress. Just like in a marriage it takes both parties having their act toegther independent of the union for the thing to make it over the long haul. The same applies to organizations, and nations.

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Cynique

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Posted on Saturday, May 17, 2003 - 07:08 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Well, Troy, as far as "Dubya" goes, reliable sources claim that Bush really is an intellectual lightweight, but does have enough sense to surround himself with smart people.
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Snake Girl Poisonous

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Posted on Saturday, May 17, 2003 - 11:28 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yes, Kweisi Mfume has 5 different kids with 5 different women.

That is true.

And R. Kelly is selling into multi-platinum status, overwhelming with Black record buyers...although for years he filmed himself having sex with underage girls. Another truth that our community takes in stride.

We have, as a group, focused on racial unfairness for so very long...that we forgot to have "ideals of responsibility" for our men folk. Our community remains one of the most sexist and "boys will be boys" mentality groups outside Africa. We baby and forgive our sons anything, because "they suffer so much just being black".

Poor, poor R. Kelly...a BLACK MAN having to be held accountable for his actions. HOW COULD WE LET a black man be treated this way!?

So the Pimp mentality--even with a man like Kweisi Mfume--is "acceptable" to us.

We've always pissed on our children. We just believed it was raining.



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Cynique

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Posted on Sunday, May 18, 2003 - 01:01 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

That's a lot of venom your spitting, Snake Girl Poisonous. But what you're hissing is true. And depressing, because it's a problem that doesn't show signs of resolving itself.
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Troy

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Posted on Sunday, May 18, 2003 - 05:10 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Cynique: Dumb people are not smart enough to surround themsleves with bright people. Did you ever notice that many of the people calling Bush dumb are not rock scientists themselves. Perhaps Bush is "relatively" dumb for all of his education, wealth and political power.

Snake Girl:
This exactly what I'm talking about. While I don't believe we have always pissed on our children. I believe we are doing so now, and have been for sometime, without even realizing it.

We are way too focused on racial unfairness (actual and imaged).

Too bad about Mfume. Is he still spreading his seed with wreckless abandon or were these the actions of a woefully missguided adolescent?

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Susan

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Posted on Sunday, May 18, 2003 - 05:18 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi all, it could be said that no matter what you have done in your past you can still make meaningful contributions to society. We want saints as leaders, and it's not going be and yet most of us can't live up the standards we want measure others by.

If Mfume is taking care of all his children regardless how many mothers there may be, then that's a good thing. I haven't read his autobiography so I don't know the circumstances in which the children were conceived, so until I do or learn more about his situation, I'll reserve judgement. I may not agree with others personal decisions but I do give them credit when they are trying to do the right thing.

And, it's not just those whose politics are left leaning in which morals are lacking. Bennett was out beating the morality drum and lo and behold, he's a gambling addict. He's lost $8 million on the slots and his retort, least I didn't lost the milk money. And, J C Watts first child was born out of wedlock.

Concerning R. Kelley, what I find more ironic is that he's all over The Isley Brother new top selling CD. Where is the outcry against them? I haven't heard one person say, let's not buy their CD because we don't like what R. Kelley is being accused of.

Bush is only in the top office because of the voting/ballot fiasco in Fla, which by chance his brother just happened to be the Governor. And, how does one determine if he's really that smart if he's been coddle and carried along the way from kindergarten to the White House.

Troy, I am really curious, what black do you think qualifies to have the title of "leader"?

Susan
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Troy

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Posted on Sunday, May 18, 2003 - 11:12 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Susan:

No Susan, 5 kids with 5 different mothers is not a good thing. The fact this is even a topic of debate makes my earlier points.

While I don't know the details of Mfume's circumstance. In general; unless everyone is living under the same roof, in a polygomous society. Mfuse can not possiblly give all 5 chidren and mothers the love and attention they deserve. Sure he may be able to cough up the money, but raising kids takes a lot more than money.

Does he have dinner every night with his kids? Can he make every PTA conference. Who does he spend Xmas with? Which ones get a hug and a kiss before bedtime? It is silly to even argue the point.

Besides we are not talking about 2 or 3 baby momma we are talking about 5! The best leaders lead by example. As leader of the oldest and largest civil rights organization in the country this is outrageous.

Serius question: Would you feel differently if there were 10 kids with 10 baby mommas, 20? Where do you draw the line? Assuming you draw a line at some point, how did you determine your threshold?

Look I know even Dr. King tried to commit suicide and had an extramarital encounter. But he was a far superior leader, in more difficult times, and King did not have FIVE baby momas.

As far as "what Blacks do I think qualifies to have the title of leader": Susan, there are many people I think have the moral character to be a good leader.

We have had a long history of couragous black leaders including Harriet Tubman; Fannie Lou Hamer, Dr. King and Adam Clayton Powell.

I know scores people alive today who would make great leaders most of them you would not know, because they are not famous. Some you might know include Haki Madhubuti, Adeliade Sanford, Tony Brown, Kalamu ya Salaam.

Concerning R. Kelly and the Isleys -- that is exactly the point where is the outcry.

Bush is not in office only because of FL. Lets not forget a lot of other people voted for him as well. I never said Bush was smart. I'm just saying he is not as dumb as some people make him out to be. Believe me, I'm not trying to defend this man. I'm just trying to put things in perspective. If you want you may look up Bush's SAT scores or IQ for a more objective mesaure.

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Cynique

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Posted on Sunday, May 18, 2003 - 11:59 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Troy! MLK tried to committ suicide? Really?? When??? Why???? Hummmm. As for Bush, people wouldn't be so inclined to cling to the notion that he's dense if he could at least string together 2 coherent sentences. Without a teleprompter he's rather inarticulate.

Susan: I'm inclined to shy away from casting stones at others, too. But, like Troy says, we should hold the president of the NAACP to a higher standard. Of course, all of this would be a moot point if black people would exorcise themselves of the need to have leaders and spokesmen. After all, nobody can represent a whole race, and black leaders are very often people who the white media has anointed as such.

I'm also curious as to why so many members of the black community have closed ranks behind R. Kelly. It's like they're in denial.
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Snake Honey

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Posted on Monday, May 19, 2003 - 01:31 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Troy--I would go with Tony Brown and Kalamu ya Salaam. Those are good men.

Cynique--I agree. There's an old African saying that when the "leader dies"...each person must then STAND and become a reflection of the leader.

**Still trying to settle on a name as you see.

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Chris Hayden

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Posted on Monday, May 19, 2003 - 10:45 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Moral character has nothing at all to do with being a successful leader. The things that leader can deliver for his followers is. If he is delivering they will overlook his discretions.

Many of your captains of industry, many billionaires have been moral reprobates. Many of your political leaders
Look at Jack Kennedy, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush all of them have had their "indescretions". Look at Joe Kennedy.

The problem with our so-called leaders is that they cannot deliver anything to their followers--they have no power to reward or punish.

Bush is dumb. The man is an idiot. Would he have had any of the things he got if his name wasn't George Bush? Of course not. He has no talent, no brilliance no ability. He's another empty suit like Reagan. He isn't the first. WArren G. Harding was like that--many times a group or cabal will put up some figurehead so they can excercise power. That is what the oligarchy that currently runs the country wants.

Troy, the dumbest white man in American could beat the smartest black person alive in any presidential contest at this point in history--White people ain't ready for any black to be president so there will not be none. Maybe you don't want to admit it. Look at what happened to David Dinkins in New York. You need to understand that the idea that anyone in America can do anything he or she wants is a myth. As John Edgar Wideman, no dummy or talentless slouch himself said, people do things because they are ALLOWED to do them. He acknowleges himself that he was ALLOWED to become a published writer.
Black people seem to want a leader to be a Jesus. I would not hold my breath.
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yukio

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Posted on Monday, May 19, 2003 - 09:44 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Troy and Others:

I hope everyone is in good spirits.

I will not respond to your comments addressing the importance of the individual. I have already agreed with you about that point, as you have agreed about the connection between the individual and society.

I will, however, disagree with your point about the futility of activism against the State. The point that i've been trying to make the entire time is that we have to be active(ie self-determination) as individuals and as a group. For and example of what i'm talking about read Edwidge Danticat's essay in this month's Essence Magazine.

Concerning Jackson and Others:
To be realistic, we have to understand(not like or even accept)our leaders as humans, both the good and the bad. As I argued elsewhere concerning Du Bois, I don't condone our leaders immorality, but i do understand they're fallible. Simultaneously, these leaders do good work for the community; work that needs to be done; work that effects all of us.

This is a website devoted to literature; it is in literature where we get to see and find our leaders, heroes, and heroines; all human, all mult-dimensional, all fallible.

This reality does not preclude critique, but we need to do both: critique and embrace....
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Snake Girl Poisonous

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Posted on Monday, May 19, 2003 - 10:07 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Well, look, Yukio.

I'd go on a date with Mfume if he asked me out. He's a real cutie-pie.

You can't possibly believe we're all so young and so short for this world that we don't recognize human flaws in people?

What we're groaning about is that we expect our leaders to set certain examples. For instance...if Harriet Tubman had freed 3000 slaves...and then sold them for a higher price up in Canada--that would change my opinion of her greatly.

That's what we're saying. Sure Jackson, R. Kelly and Kweisi Mfume are human beings who make mistakes. But they're still role models for our youth, they're still straight up HO's...a phrase that our community has no problem labeling a woman with....and they're still representative of US.

The fact that they can be considered "the highest amongst us"...says a lot about us.

You make some good points that agree with...I'm all for understanding and forgiveness...but would I want my sons to look up to Mfume and Jackson? NOT REALLY. CHildren grow up and do exactly what they saw their parents do.

If your mama had a baby without a husband...then the daughter is more likely to do it; ditto the son.

Those are important distinctions you can't just coat with honey and smile away.

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yukio

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Posted on Tuesday, May 20, 2003 - 12:17 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Snake Girl Poisonious:

I agree with you. Recall:"This reality does not preclude critique, but we need to do both: critique and embrace." Role models are useful, but not to such a degree that we don't teach our children that if we or they do make mistakes, then we and they must take responsiblity and make things right. No role model can do that...only the parents, family, intimates, so at the end of the day we return our humanity and what Troy has been discussing: what the individual does....
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yukio

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Posted on Tuesday, May 20, 2003 - 09:12 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I would like to return to the issue of the illusion of race. This litmus test, who is deserved of leadership and community support within the black, is really a different matter.

Dilemma:
These "leaders" that we are discussing are often not chosen by the black community as Cynique has mentioned. And then these organizations are supposedly "representing" our interests. Yet, they do important work for the community, although the issues that they affirm may not necessarily be the ones the "community" support.


Now I put some of these terms in quotes because they are, in my mind, loaded terms. Yet, they are terms we are familar with, so i use them reluctantly. The dilemma is that since there is no black race, but only a human race, how do we raise ourselves and our children to both affirm their individuality and their "group", assuming that we still have a group(I believe that we have a group. I'm not too new to this site, so I'm assuming that ya'll know my politics..pan africanist).

Even if folk reject "blackness" as an element of their identity, most people in the world will continue to believe in RACE and phenotypically black and brown people will continue to be racialized.
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Chris Hayden

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Posted on Tuesday, May 20, 2003 - 02:36 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yukio:

We can raise ourselves and out children to affirm individuality and group by teaching them about their ancestry--African and African American origins--and to be proud and unashamed of same.
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Snake Girl Poisonous

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Posted on Tuesday, May 20, 2003 - 03:03 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Right on Chris!!

Say it again, Papa.

And Yukio, I agree with most you have to say. You seem to have thought this out for a long time. Good for you, girl.




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Susan

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Posted on Tuesday, May 20, 2003 - 04:06 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Troy, yes I know it's takes more than money to raise a child. But I can draw a line only for myself. I know exactly where my threshold would be. I don't have one baby daddy so I certainly wouldn't have 5 of them. I know many who have only 1 child and aren't providing money, time or attention. So I certain having 5 children in 5 different households is/was not ideal and would stretch anyone very thinly. And, I am not certain whether most or all polygamous situations have the husband and all wives with children living under the same roof.

You speak of being there at night to tuck in and kiss the kids at bedtime, well, if a man is divorced from the mother of his children then he isn't there at night either, so does that mean he shouldn't be deemed a leader? Or would you think differently if Mfume had married all 5 women after divorcing the previous one? Or would the 5 divorces also disqualify him as a leader? And if having a child or *excess* children outside of marriage is the sole discriminator of whose eligible to be regarded as a leader, then we need to add some other offenses to this list. Also, I don't think that Mfume was head of the NAACP when these 5 children were conceived. (I guess his autobiography will be in my TBR stack sooner than I'd planned.) So, if it's been 20 years, does that mean he should be disqualified be a leader of an organization today?

I would also think it wouldn't be good if he had 5 children and not taking care of any of them yet out preaching for others to take of their children. I deplore hypocrisy. By the leader AND the followers. If he is/was taking care of them and telling other young men don't do as I did for these are the reoccupations, then it could be said that he is leading by example. He has been there, and not I, so his words I would think may care more weight. Sometimes people lives are evidence of what to *not* do. One can learn by all examples.

I know of all of those you mentioned, except Sanford. But, perhaps when the NACCP presidency, or any other national organization, is vacant maybe their names will be tossed into the hat.

And, finally yes, I know that G. Bush isn't only in office in Fla and that a lot of people voted for Bush but it was not as many as they claimed. I think we will never know the numbers, given all those hanging and dimpled chads and purged names of qualified voters. High SAT scores or IQ scores doesn't solely make one a smart person. Besides, can a smart person do dumb things? I would never measure a person's leadership ability by "high" SAT score some 25+ years ago. What has that person done in the meantime since those high scores? What is that person doing today?

I am trying to put this all in perspective, as well.

Susan

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