Monthly Archives: April 2007

HIATUS

I am going to be offline for the next week or two.

My computer has crashed and I will have to take it in for repairs.

Until then, everyone please feel free to browse the archives and catch up on some reading of my posts.

See ya.

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A STORE IN AFRICA CALLED “NIGGERS”, AND A WOMAN CALLED “HO”

(Post updated on April 4, 2009)

Editorial
What’s in a Name? Hip-hop’s African Influence

By David Sylvester

Thursday, August 18, 2005.
I recently completed a charitable bicycle trip in Africa, riding over 7000 miles from Cairo, Egypt to Cape Town, South Africa. The trip made me the first and only African American to cross two continents on a bicycle.I have plenty of great and fascinating stories. Many are funny, others bittersweet, some are poignant, but all are entertaining. Surprisingly one story has stood out and if it was not for the fact that I have a picture of it, many would never believe it. It is for that reason that I am sharing it with you.

I have traveled all over the world and have never seen a store by the name of “Jew Devils,” “Spic Bastards,” “Muff Divin’ Dykes” or anything like that- only the store “Niggers.”

While in Lilongwe, Malawi, I came across a store by the name of “Niggers.” That’s right “Niggers!” The other riders, who were all White, could not wait to inform me of this to see my reaction. Initially, I thought that it was a very bad joke but when the other riders were adamant about the existence of the store, I had to see it for myself.

What I found was a store selling what the owner called ‘hip hop’ style clothing. It was manned by two gentlemen – one of them asleep! (Talk about living up to or in this case down to a stereotype). I asked the guys what was up with the store name. After hearing my obvious non – Malawian accent and figuring out that I was from America, the man

thumped his chest proudly and said “P-Diddy New York City! We are the niggers!”

My first reaction was to laugh because many things when isolated can be very funny, but it quickly dawned on me that this was so not funny at all. It was pathetic. I did these bicycle trips across the USA and through the ‘Mother -Land’ in honor of one of my good friends, mentors and fellow African Americans, Kevin Bowser, who died on 9/11.

Here I am, a Black man riding across the world on his bicycle in honor of another Black man, riding ‘home’, and what do I see? Some Africans calling themselves Niggers. They were even so proud of it they put it on their store front to sell stuff. When I relay the story to folks back home in Philadelphia, most of them laugh too and rationalize it by saying ‘well, we can say it to each other’ or ‘there is a difference’ or even ‘they just spelled it wrong. It should have been ‘niggas’ or ‘niggah’s’. Gee, like that would make a difference.

The issue is not the spelling. I was wrong. We are wrong. There is no justification for an infraction of this magnitude. The word and the sentiment behind it are flat out wrong. We have denigrated and degraded ourselves to the point that our backwards mindset has spread like a cancer and infected our source, our brothers, our sisters, our Mother Land.

I have traveled all over the world and have never seen a store by the name of “Jew Devils,” “Spic Bastards,” “Muff Divin’ Dykes” or anything like that- only the store “Niggers.”

I am to blame for this. Every time I said the word, I condoned it. By not correcting others or by rationalizing it, I gave it respectability. By looking the other way when others said ‘hey nigga what’s up’, and when I purchased CDs, DVDs, T-shirts and other stuff, I enriched it. I now see the error in my ways and I am so sorry Black men and women.

The flame that we called entertainment, that was only to warm and entertain us, now engulfs us and scorches our own self esteem. If a child only knows to refer to men and women as niggers, bitches, pimps and hoes, then what is he/she to grow up thinking of themselves?

The bottom line is this: I rode over 12,000 miles on two continents through 15 states and 13 countries and broke two bikes in the process to get to a store in Africa called Niggers. I am willing to step up and admit my part in the havoc that we have wrought on our mindset but I think that we all are to blame.

I will finish with 4 things: if you don’t like being called a Nigger, Bitch, Faggot, Dyke, Spic, Jew Dog, Wop, Towel Head or anything of that ilk, then think. Think before you speak those words, write those lyrics, support that rhetoric. And most of all think before you purchase! Purchasing is akin to compliance. I may like the beats and rhythms of some songs but I can not support it any more. You rappers are intelligent. Find another word to describe yourselves.

A picture is worth a thousand words. For larger view click onto http://playahata.com/images/gallery/hiphopafricaninfluence.jpg.

David Sylvester is a personal trainer, who teaches health to adults in Philadelphia. He e-mailed this story initially to 35 friends. They forwarded the e-mails, and Sylvester has received more than 300 responses, including responses from Japan since the initial e-mail on July 20. See: http://www.contribute2.org/images/david.jpg> for more.

I first came across this article over two years ago, and its impact still hurts. The black men and women, the rappers, the people who have spewed forth this hated word in videos and music have done more harm than they will ever know. The word “nigger” was created by white racists to demean and destroy black people, mentally, and spiritually. That some black people have taken this word and used it as a so-called term of endearment is self-hatred of the worst kind. How can anyone consider taking a word so vile as the word nigger and embrace it, is akin to reaching down and picking up a handful of feces and hugging it to one’s chest.

The history of this word was to hurt and tear to pieces black people. There was never anything good about a word that is one of the worst racial slurs ever created.

Now because of the years of constant barragement of rap videos, this insulting word has been beamed around the world, giving the world an image of a black America that has no respect or dignity for itself.

Such is the legacy that those black people who use this word have created.

And it has not stopped with the word nigger.

The word “ho” (a corruption of the word “whore” first used by white males to disparage black women, to justify the white male rape and sexual abuse of black women and girls) has been inserted into the lexicon of so-called black vernacular speech, from the young black on the street who uses it, to the rap videos that glorify its usage.

On a recent two-part “Town Hall Meeting” episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show during a discussion of the Don Imus comment, “Nappy-Headed Hos”, some black women were discussing how the word ho has been used by black men in rap videos to degrade and defile black women.

One young black woman had visited a city in Europe on a tour, and she was approached by a man of European descent who called out to her,  “Hey, Ho!”

Needless to say, she was shocked.

This does not just happen outside of America; it happens in many cities across America. And many black people, many of whom use the words nigger and ho, wonder why people of other races have no respect for black people.

Those people in that African nation of Malawi, and that European man knew no better. They had learned the use of these hated words because that is what black America has taught the world:    that black people have no respect nor regard for themselves, that they would stoop to calling each other such disparaging words that tell the whole world that black people must be alright with calling each other such nasty, horrible words, so therefore, it can be alright with them to call black people words that they have convinced the rest of the world are all terms of endearment:

Bitch

Ho

Nigger

And it should not surprise black people who use these words to hear non-blacks use them.

Non-black people learned from black people that the taking of words that the white race used to insult and harm us, are now looked upon as okay for black people to have hurled back into our faces as normal forms of greetings.

Once it was the white race that screamed the epithets nigger to destroy, wound and maim the bodies and souls of black people. Once upon a time it the words nigger, bitch, whore and slut that were the domain of white racists. Racists who uttered the word nigger while raping and impregnating black women. Racists who castrated, burned, and tore to pieces black men lynch victims, while those racists yelled the word nigger. Racists who stormed into black communities, burned, looted and destroyed the homes and property of black people, all the while screaming the word nigger. And white people still use these hated words against black people, albeit, in private.

With black people using these words to describe and greet each other, black people do not have to worry about the white race attacking us with words that hurt and tear apart.

Black people have done a good job of telling the rest of the world that they think very little of themselves, by some of them calling each other “nigger” and “ho”, and that all that the black men and women who came before them who have suffered unspeakable horrors from slavery and segregation, have fought and died in  vain. Some young black women even call each other “Bitch”,  that soon it won’t be long before they will be calling each other “Nigger Bitch” as a term of endearment.

Black ancestors who gave their lives, only to have today’s blacks turn around and spit into the faces, and stomp on the graves, of  black people who really lived through the hells of the word  “NIGGER” and “HO” (WHORE), words that were first uttered by white racists, and are now used by blacks in destroying their own image, their own integrity, their own posterity.

 
I have pissed off many a black person because of my stance against the venomous word “Nigger”. often the first comment out of their mouths or on the Internet is the following statement:   “Whites will not respect us less, if we stop using the word nigger”. I consider that response from black people as a lame, cheap, cop-out excuse.
 
NO ONE can make you disrespect yourself more than you are willing to do to yourself.
 
There is a reason why the Staples Singers wrote the song, “Respect Yourself”. I know that I am not a bitch, nigger, ho, or even a nigger bitch, no matter what anyone wants to think of me (white men, black men, or anyone else).
 
That someone else refuses to show me respect says a lot about THEM, not me. That they suffer from such inferiority (whites/blacks/anyone who uses the word nigger) and such self-hatred is something that corrodes them…not me.
 
I look at in this sense that if blacks waited on whites/others for respect, blacks would still be living in slavery/and post-Reconstruction cruelties, and legalized Jane Crow segregation.
 
I do not wait on white men/women for respect, I do not wait on black men for respect, I do not wait on black women for respect, nor any one of another race.
 
I consider myself as worthy of respect…whether the other humans feel that way or not. I do not demand respect…I command respect because I know that I have a right to it.
 
Just as I step aside slightly for a man (black, white, whatever) to open the door for me, I feel that as a woman, and as a human being I shall be respected as having a right to be in this world. Yes, there will be those who will not respect me, and I will not sink to their low-life behaviour, no matter what their race/gender.
 
I do know, when one becomes so angry with clueless people, especially about the nasty, filthy hatred behind the word “Nigger”, that sometimes even profanity is warranted when you either lose your temper OR WORSE…do something that will land you in prison.
 
But there have been many times when I have walked away from a volatile situation (even once, while armed with a handgun on my person) because the man (black, white, etc. or woman assailed me verbally).  It is not always what you can do with your mouth or hands that you can resolve the situation. Sometimes, not resorting to verbal violence/physical violence keeps an already bad situation escalating into mayhem or worse. There are times for anger at people’s stupidity; there are times to calmly educate people about their arrogance and ignorance, in their callous disregard in throwing the word “Nigger” around so cavalierly.
Yes, strength comes in being able to not let someone bring you down to their level, but, sometimes, you can and will use words to tear a person apart when they bring that on themselves.
The blow of a whip raises welts; the blow of a tongue, crushes bones.
 
I know of the origins of the word niggardly (“stingy”); how anyone can get the two words mixed up is beyond me, but, then again, to me reading the dictionary is like reading a good novel.
The word nigger has traveled the globe and come to this:  “niggers” and “hos”. That so many black people think so little of themselves is sick and pathetic.
Lots of blacks accuse me of being harsh in my retorts against asinine self-hate behaviour of some  blacks, but, gentleness has never been my forte when taking on behaviour of some blacks who think they can claim a word like “Nigger” as some delusional term of endearment.
As for “harshness”, hey, I am very caustic with black people around me, in my family, on the job, who lower themselves with the belief that all black people can aspire to is the lowest common denominator:
 
 
-Some black men who think they can shit on black women because they can (when those same black men would not have the balls to do some of the garbage to white women/women of other races, that they so cavalierly do to black women;
-Black women who continue to believe in the “Strong Black Woman” lie which has been killing black women for generations, because the so-called black community cares very little for black women the way it so steadfastly looks out for black men;
-The high illegitimate rates among blacks because of the devaluation of marriage, and CHILDREN;
-The greed and hypocrisy of homophobic/black-woman-hating-so-called-black men by the name of Snoopy Dog and Fitty Cent who got rich off the “bitch-ho” hate on black women because they wanted money so bad;
-Blacks disregard for the importance of an education when so many black people lost their lives to learn how to read and sought out an education;
-Many blacks who do not consider the overall impact the SCOTUS has on black people’s lives (moreso than any president ever can have)
And comments such as the following that I have met across the Internet:
“Why not focus those energies to get upset over real problems like public school funding? Just my thoughts….and thank yall again for the workday distraction “
I already do address such issues, and I am not afraid to challenge blacks, whites or other humans for their complacency and apathy:
 
 
 
 
So. . . .
. . . .harshness with people comes to me from the desire to tell people they do not have to seek a  low-level of themselves, especially in this day and age.
 
So, I already get “upset” over concerns that are of great importance to the black community.
 
 
And I shall continue.
 
People hunger for the truth more than many people realize.
 
People desire standards of decency more that many people realize.
 
I have tremendous respect for my black ancestors (yes, I worship and respect their sacrifices and legacy),  so I will not shit on their memory.
 
And it is definitely not about what white people think or do not do.
 
It is about what black people as a race should wish to elevate in themselves.
 
Never underestimate the power of words.
 
They can cut, they can hurt….they can kill.
 
And it is not “being on black people’s backs” when some black people already address the dire issues that plague the black community of today. That includes the use of the word “Nigger” by blacks who care nothing for the violent malicious history of this hated word.

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A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE

N.Y. MINISTER COMBATS NEGATIVE RAP LYRICS  –  REV. CALVIN BUTTS, III

NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER, MAY 21, 1993  by PAT LEFEVERE

TENAFLY, N.J. – Reaction has been swift and supportive to a New York minister’s charge that certain rap artists negatively influence black youth by glamorizing sex, misogyny and violence.

Since the Rev. Calvin Butts III, pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church, Harlem, launched his drive against rap artists 2 Live Crew, Apache, Scarface and N.W.A on May 7, he has been flooded with telephone calls offering support.

Many callers intend to bring tapes, videos and compact discs of the above-named artists to his church at 10 a.m. on June 1. Butts has promised to have a steamroller outside for a “symbolic crushing-out of these negative words and images that are eroding the moral fabric of our community.”

Butts sees a “direct relationship” between sexually explicit rap lyrics and teen pregnancies. The minister, who has previously protested cigarette and liquor marketing strategies in African-American areas of the city, said that gun-toting black youths have taken their cue from rap videos, believing that they are combating oppression when they have no real understanding of what constitutes “revolution.”

Blacks must not permit their children’s values to be corroded by other blacks who often call one another “niggers,” refer to women as “bitches” and glorify problem-solving with guns, he said.

Rosalyn Ferguson, who directs youth services for the Brooklyn diocese, backs Butts’ objective, saying that many Catholic are concerned by the negative messages propagated by certain rappers. “The lyrics go against our Afro-centrist principles,” she said, noting that they convey that “life, women and children are unimportant.”

Ferguson, an African-American and mother of teenage children, likes rap in general and called its creative, speak-song poetry a complex, cultural expression. However, she noted that groups like those cited by Butts “perpetuate wrong notions” and “confuse” black youths by their audacious gestures and “sensationalizing of taboo words.” Many youths use these “maladoptive cultural attributes” to express their own rage – the most common way being the use of threatening behavior around other youths.

“Butts is on the right track” in trying to point out the negativity and “false sense of power” conveyed by some rap music, she said. “His is not a censorship agenda; it’s an effort to get people to think.”

Does good rap exist? “Absolutely,” Ferguson said, pointing to a special tape composed by a former Brooklyn Catholic Charities worker that has been used by the diocese to promote racial harmony. She also cited Arrested Development’s rap song about a homeless man, which she said delivers a positive message and also devotes a percentage of its earnings to aid the homeless.

COPYRIGHT 1993 National Catholic Reporter
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

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CONGRESSWOMAN MILLENDER-McDONALD DIES

Story Highlights

• Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald died of cancer early Sunday
• President Bush: We hold her family in our prayers
• The 68-year old was in her 7th term representing a southern California district
• Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has 14 days to set a date for a special election

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) — Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, a seven-term congresswoman from southern California, died late Saturday of cancer.

Millender-McDonald, who was 68, died at her home in Carson, California, said her chief of staff, Bandele McQueen.

McQueen could provide no details on what form of cancer Millender-McDonald had. He said she had been receiving hospice care.

The congresswoman had asked for a four- to six-week leave of absence from the House last week to deal with her illness.

“Juanita Millender-McDonald was a trailblazer, always advocating for the full participation of all Americans in the success and prosperity of our country,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “The dignity with which she faced her illness was an indication of the determination with which she always served the people of her district.”

Millender-McDonald was in her seventh term representing a heavily Democratic Southern California district that includes Compton, Long Beach and parts of Los Angeles.

“She was a dedicated public servant who tirelessly and honorably served her country for many years,” President Bush said in a statement. “We hold Rep. Millender-McDonald’s family, friends, staff, and constituents in our thoughts and prayers.”

Millender-McDonald is the second member of Congress to die this year of cancer. Republican Rep. Charles Norwood Jr. of Georgia died in February after battling cancer and lung disease.

“She was a champion for the consumer and fought injustice wherever she saw it. She always valued public service and served her state and nation with grace and honor,” said California Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres, who served with her in the California state Legislature.

The congresswoman’s son, R. Keith McDonald, had received “temporary emergency release” from a 41-month prison term after his mother had surgery in May 2005, according to the Los Angeles Times. The former Los Angeles water district official was convicted of extortion in a contracts case. Millender-McDonald was never implicated.

The congresswoman, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, worked on former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley’s unsuccessful 1982 gubernatorial campaign and other local races as a volunteer before getting elected to the Carson City Council in 1990.

She went on to serve in the California state Assembly, and in 1996 sought a U.S. House seat during a special election to replace Rep. Walter Tucker III, who had been convicted of taking bribes while mayor of Compton, California, and of cheating on his taxes.

She won the special election, and in March beat out Tucker’s wife, Robin, in a primary that featured nine Democrats. She won a full House term in November 1996 and has subsequently won re-election easily.

Millender-McDonald has recently worked on issues including election reform and opposing the genocide in Darfur.

She drew national attention in 1996 when she took then-CIA director John Deutch to Watts to address the community following a newspaper report alleging that profits from domestic sales of crack-cocaine were funneled to the CIA-backed Contras in Nicaragua.

This year Millender-McDonald became chair of the Committee on House Administration, which oversees operations of the House and federal election procedures.

She is survived by her husband, James McDonald, Jr., and five adult children.

Under California election procedures, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has 14 days to set a date for a special election to fill the seat.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald is survived by her husband and five adult children.

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STAND

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might,

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Wherefore, take unto to you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to

STAND.

EPHESIANS, CHAPTER 6:10-13

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NICE NEIGHBORHOODS, AND BAD NEIGHBORHOODS

Over at Rachel’s Tavern (http://www.rachelstavern.com ), I responded to a comment someone said about “nice” neighborhoods. I gave my point of view, and was attacked for telling the truth about so-called “nice” neighborhoods, and so-called “bad” neighborhoods which are disparaged as if the people who live there are non-human inhabitants. The topic of discussion,  “Untitled Virgina Tech Post”, concerned how this crime occured in an upper-income part of town where the university is located.

The link of the discussion is found here:

http://www.rachelstavern.com/?p=508

The following is my response:

PART ONE:

On the issue of “bad’ neighborhoods and “nice”neighborhoods.

Since my comments were entirely taken out of context I will speak again on the effect this young man’s actions have left in his wake. I am aware of the history of gun violence in America. It is a very long and painful history. And I am aware that what this young man did is not something that happens once in a while, nor that what he did exists in some vacuum.

People who live in so-called bad neighborhoods/high crime/low-income areas, live in what I consider war-zones. That no state militia troops are called out to police these neighborhoods does not make them any less safe, nor in any way to be written off by the rest of society. There are people who live outside of high-crime areas who do not give much concern to the lives of the many people who live there. People who have to combat crime as best they can, often not with much help from the city. Yes, there is the beefing up of police sent into the neighborhood to control crime, especially in the so-called war on drugs, but, sometimes this show of force to curtail crime can lead to near deadly consequences, if the police go to the wrong house and confront the occupants, especially if the information obtained is not correct. This can occur when some drug busts are done.

People who live in so-called bad neighborhoods survive many types of crime that people who live in so-called nice neighborhoods do not have to contend with on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly basis:

-Drugs
-Prostitution
-Rape
-Murder

People who live in high-crime areas do organize and fight the crime in their neighborhoods, but, where the news sources are mostly concerned, these people are rarely, if ever, mentioned at all on the nightly news. But, let some crime occur (especially if it is drug-related), then you can rest assure that the TV news will broadcast it to the high heavens. And there is another aspect of so-called crime reporting as done by the media. In some cases the TV news stations have done special reports on which are the most crime-ridden neighborhoods (i.e., the “worst crime part of town”). Certain parts of town are highlighted as if they are some bombed-out no-man’s land where the people who live there are less than human. Nevermind that their part of town has been branded as a place where nothing of decency happens. As if everyone who lives in that neighborhood is some savage criminal with no regard for human life.

The people who live in high-crime areas suffer, and survive many “Virginia Techs” on a daily basis. They have to contend with the possiblity of losing a son or daughter to murder, rape or getting caught in a drug-pusher war because that child got too close to some drug seller’s turf. The numbers of people who have lost their lives from crime in high-crime areas would boggle the mind. But, many people could care less. Afterall, people who live in poor areas are mostly black, latino and poor white, and so long as the crime is kept contained in that particular area, as long as the denizens of that area take out their rage on each other, as long as they do not cross over into upper-middle/high-income areas, as long as they do not pick up a gun and go into a store, a school campus and kill a large group of people, not many people care, nor want to see what happens in poor areas for what it is—-a massive loss of life that takes its toll on so many people who have to live in those areas if only because they cannot leave those areas, but, instead do what they can to make life as safe as they can for their families.

Yes, crime does indeed occur in poorer areas. And some people do give a wide berth to these areas.

Crime occurs in upper-income areas.

But, people who live in high-crime areas face catching a bullet just while waking up, or stepping out of their home. They face a bullet when shots are fired because someone said the wrong thing to someone, and many times, an innocent person gets caught in the crossfire, and pays for someone’s moment of rage.

“VT’s” happen every so often for the many people who live in high-crime areas. They just don’t happen on a massive scale as what happened at VT. Just because it is not a man or woman who pulled out a gun and kills 15,- 20-, or 30+ people does not make what poor people experience any less.

But, when a VT happens in a “nice” area, then everyone throws up their hands and laments over “What could have caused this to happen? What led to this? Why do these events (Virginia Tech, Columbine, etc.) occur?”

This country is a violence-filled, violence-loving, solve-as-many-of-your-problems-with-violence-culture America. That such incidents, that such “massacres” happen should not surprise people.

Incidents like this have happened before:

-Wounded Knee
-Wilmington, N.C.
-Rosewood, FLA.
-Greenwood (Tulsa), OK.
-University of Texas (Whitman shooting spree)

And they will continue to happen. America’s history of “massacres” is as old as this country’s existence. Whether it is one person, ten people, or one hundred people picking up the gun(s), America’s culture of violence is endemic. As a nation we’ve been in this situation before, again, and again. At the bottom of every report and every debate is the desire for everyone to be safe all the time. Is that possible? And what are we willing to give up in order to make that possible?

On some news reports there is talk of giving gun permits for students and faculty on college campuses to enable them to carry handguns. Nothing but terrible consequences can come of that. And even if a student is armed, and sees a crime going down, and she or he opens fire, they may be able to take the bad person out, but, in the process, they may also unintentionally kill an innocent bystander. No. Giving guns to the students and faculty only opens up a new and more terrfiying Pandora’s Box. And if these students and faculty are given guns, who is to assess who should or should not have a gun? How will the colleges decide on what student or faculty member should have a gun?

How safe can someone be on a high school, college campus, job? Just this past Saturday, an employee took a hostage at the Johnson Space Center, Houston, Tx. After a long stand-off with SWAT, two shots were fired during the time the police were waiting the situation out. It turned out that the gunman had shot a boss, then turned the gun on himself.

So what are people to do? Lock up in your home, never to come out? Send your children to school in flak jackets? Put metal detectors up on every jobsite? Cordone off and install metal detectors on EACH AND EVERY BUILDING on college and university campuses? Do strip/body-scanning searches of each and every person entering onto college campuses?

Of course it would be impossible to draw a huge safety net around an entire college campus. And no parent wants to have a phone call in the night, or in the early hours of the morning, telling them of a daughter or son they have lost to violence.

We all walk with death as we go about our daily lives. Every day is a day where we are all just a hair-breadth brush away from death; just a minute, an hour, where death can take us at any time.

And that’s just from going about our daily lives.

Getting up, going to work, going to school, going about our “normal” routine.

That’s what those students and their teachers were doing.

Now they are no longer among the living, and their parents and love ones grieve for them.

The nation grieves and mourns with them.

Young people who will never be able to live their lives of promise. Teachers who will never be able to impart their wisdom and knowledge to another generation.

But, as one student was asked on a news program this morning, “Are you going to school tomorrow? [Monday, April 23, 2007, VT re-opens for classes.], the young man answered, “Yes, I will be there.”

He and many others will be there: students presently attending classes; faculty; students who had signed up to attend VT before the taking of lives occured; parents will be there to bravely , and prayerfully, put their children into the hands of the schools administrators.

They will go on. Because that’s what life is all about. Going on. Suffering a terrible tragedy. Picking yourself up takes strength and the will to live and go on.

No matter how hard and painful the loss may be.

Getting through this. Living through this.

Prevailing.

On the subject of mental health.

This young man was crying out for help.

He fell through the cracks.

That he saw in some way that he was suffering from demons that were tearing him apart, caused him to seek out mental health treatment. But, in the end the internal torment overwhelmed and conquered him.

And now we have lost 33 lives out of the world.

Yes, I’m even going to include the young man who took their lives.

And that this young man was not able to get more treatment for his mental health is a tragedy.

And he is not the only person going through this.

All across the country, many people who are in serious need of mental help, are being turned out on the streets, with just a few pills and a subscription to tide them over. People who still are in need of help. People still suffering from their illnesses.

And to add more fuel to the fire, many mental health organizations are in threat of having to shut down.

One such place is here in the city where I live. This mental health center is being threatened with shutdown by the city. People who work there, and relatives of the patients, took to the streets to protests the closure. They know that if this much needed place is shutdown, there will be one less place, one less haven for the mentally ill to find help and treatment.

The domino efftect of shafting the mentally ill who are in need of help is starting to come back and bite America in the face. And this will continue. Mental health issues are more than serious. They are nothing to play with. The danger to the persons suffering, and those who may be harmed by them, can, and does, cost lives.

Mental health illness is not something to be taken lightly nor brushed off as inconsequential. It harms just as much as physical pain, and when the mental pain does become unbearable, then we have situations like this happen.

On a final note.

A word to Koreans and Korean-Americans.

I have noticed on a few blogs, and on one nightly news report, that some Koreans, and some Korean-Americans are expressing regret over what this young man did, asking for forgiveness for this young man’s actions, asking the world not to let what this young man did reflect on all Koreans, as if they, Koreans, are to blame for what he did.

This I have to say to you:

Don’t.

Please, don’t do that to yourselves.

You are not to blame for what this young man did.

What Cho Seung-Hui did are his actions, and his actions alone.

So, please do not feel as if you have to take on the whole weight of what Cho did.

We all have enough crosses to bear in this world.

We are all praying for the comfort of those of Virginia Tech who lost loved ones in this tragedy.

And we have all suffered a loss.

Virginia Tech.

The family of Cho.

All of America.

PART TWO:

April 25, 2007 @ 7:31 pm

ExpatJane.

“What you did however was take my comment on face value only. You burdened it with your bias and took it as an invite to discuss a point that I wasn’t making rather than maybe asking what I meant. Therefore, you implicated me and assumed that I didn’t have the good sense to know that crime happens everywhere.”

Biases.

Yes, we all have them.

You brought yours to this topic, I brought mine to it as well.

And it was not my intent to implicate you as assuming that you did not know that crime happens everywhere. And I should have asked you to clarify your comments on what you stated. Crime as I stated in my last post does happen everywhere. Poorer neighborhoods, unlike upper income neighborhoods, are unable to hide their crime as well as high-income neighborhoods can.

Prostitution in poor neighborhoods is more blatant, and often out in the open.

In more upscale neighborhoods, be it in the home (some women in the suburbs have operated prostitution rings out of their homes), tony hotels, or so-called “escort services”, the crime of prostitution can be hidden more than it would be in a poorer neighborhood. That is what I meant by poorer neighborhoods receiving more scrutiny than richer/nicer neighborhoods.

On the issue of drugs, whether it be crack or cocaine, drug sales of dope are the same way. There would be more of street corner drug-selling in the poor area, with the buyers of drugs who live in well-to-do neighborhoods going to the poor area to buy drugs, as one example.

Rich people/nice neighborhoods are often more able to conceal their crime much more than poor people/bad neighborhoods can. Also, police drug sweeps, and other crime control sweeps, do concentrate more on poor areas, than they do rich areas of town.

“You’re preaching to the choir here. What’s funny is you just assumed you needed to inform me of something I already know and, maybe more importantly, lived.”

Not necessarily.

You and I are not the only ones reading this blog. In addition to the regular posters who come here, there are also readers of this blog who “lurk”, and they do not always post comments on every topic put up for discussion. They may read what I state, they may agree with me, they may not. What I write is meant for community discussion, and I know that I take my chances with what I put out for discussion. It comes with the territory when posting on a blog. And, I have stepped on toes in my posts. It does happen. That is to be expected.

Once again, it was not my intent to preach to you. But, there are other people who do read what is posted on this blog. Someone will read what I write, and may see that I am stating something they’ve always believed; someone may not, and in the process may disagree with me.

That’s a part of being on the internet. You will not convert everyone, but, in the process, you will not drive everyone away, either.

So, neither one of us should always think that we are preaching to the choir.

You never know who is reading what we state. You never know who may come away from what is discussed with a different outlook.

“My point was that in the neighborhood where I grew up the type of crime I’m watching for does differ from the type of crime I’m watching for on the nice side of town. The point I was making was that at my alma mater on the other side of town, while I am worried that a rapist will jump out at me from a corner, in the neighborhood where I grew up I’m worried about the guy who is standing on the corner dealing drugs because he might get shot or start shooting.
The folks on my alma mater’s side of town aren’t worried about white on white crime. They’re not worried that they might walk into a convenience store at the wrong time and be victim of a robbery gone wrong. In fact, the last time I went home, I stopped by a convenience store and saw this poor woman doing business behind a bullet proof barrier. I decided to speak to her in her native language just to set her at ease a bit. . I’ve never seen that on the nice side of town.”

Most definately crime in richer areas is quite different from crime in poorer areas. Crime in poorer areas is more devastating, more likely to cause loss of life. And it was not my intention to “lecture” or school you on the facts of how horrible crime can take a toll on the people who face it on a daily basis. My apology for giving you that impression. Some people’s perception of crime is that it can only happen in poor areas, and never happen in rich areas. Economic disparity is a very major cause of most crime, especially in poor areas. The consequences of crossing paths with someone with criminal intent on their minds escalates in poorer neighborhoods.

And some of us are able to escape its deadly clutches; some of us are not.

And I would agree with you that the people on your alma mater’s side of town will not be worried about white-on-white crime that takes lives. Lack of decent education, poor job skills, little to no job opportunities do lend towards more black-on-black crime. Those who are the closest to dangerous conditions in poor neighborhoods, suffer the most from crime than those who do not live in life-and-death conditions. There is much that is not seen on the “nice side of town”. Much that is seen on the “bad side of town”, that I would say, would blow most people’s minds.

A lot.

And some of us are able to escape its deadly clutches; some of us are not.

I have had crime and death come into my family, just like many people who live in high-crime areas. The loss of a young nephew who was shot to death by two men who carjacked him. A cousin who was murdered. So, I do know what it is like to have death come to my door. As well as many people who live in high-crime areas have experienced.

“I grew up in the type of neighborhood you’re so vigorously attempting to defend.”

Yes, I defended the people who live there who do live crime-free lives as best they can. Just as there are people who live in high-crime areas who have no regard for human life can certainly exist , so too, can people who do care about the neighborhood they live in, and strive to keep their families intact, exist as well.

I guess maybe I should not be defending the people of these areas so much, having lost relatives to crime.

But, having lived in such an environment, I do know that not everyone who lives there is about doing wrong, nor harming the lives of those around them

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BANNING SEXIST, RACIST MUSIC: A RADIO STATION TAKES A STAND

This report from the Kansas City Star:

Black-owned broadcasting company bans racist and sexist music

By JIM SALTER

Associated Press Writer

A St. Louis company that operates four TV stations and a hip-hop radio station said Wednesday it is banning programming and music lyrics that it deems violent, sexist and racist.

The decision by black-owned Roberts Broadcasting Cos. LLC comes less than a week after Don Imus was fired by CBS Radio for calling members of the Rutgers women’s basketball team “nappy-headed hos.”

Fallout from the incident renewed debate about lyrics of many rap and hip-hop songs that are racially charged and derogatory toward women. The Rev. Al Sharpton has called entertainment the next battleground after Imus.

St. Louis brothers Michael and Steven Roberts operate a multifaceted business that includes an aviation company, shopping centers, hotels, construction firms and residential developments. The broadcasting unit includes four television stations – WRBU in St. Louis, WZRB in Columbia, S.C., WAZE in Evansville, Ind., and WRBJ in Jackson, Miss. The company also operates WRBJ-FM, a hip-hop station in Jackson.

“We take tremendous pride in being African-American and refuse to let anyone, white or black, strip us of that pride,” said Steven Roberts, president and chief operating officer of the company.

The decision will have an immediate impact on WRBJ-FM. Rather than censoring offensive words of songs, Roberts spokeswoman Keesha Dhaene said, “We’re going to ban them altogether, which is a hard move for a hip-hop station. If it’s offensive in any way toward women, toward African-Americans, it’s not going to be played on Hot 97.7.”

WRBJ-FM general manager Terrill Weiss said his staff faces a daunting task in sorting through song lyrics.

“There’s probably a higher incidence of derogatory language in general in hip-hop music because it’s a language of the street,” Weiss said. “It reflects life, and their art involves a lot of language that could be deemed objectionable.”

Still, Weiss applauded the move by Roberts. “I’m glad they made a decision to take a stand,” he said.

In a letter to the staff of WRBJ-FM on Wednesday, chairman and chief executive Michael Roberts wrote that the Imus case “has certainly put new fire under the need to respect ourselves first – specifically the hip-hop nation and rap music’s role in desensitizing our country to derogatory comments toward women and each other.”

The lineup on Roberts’ four TV stations could eventually be affected, but not immediately, Dhaene said. All of the stations but the one in St. Louis are affiliates of the network the CW. The St. Louis station is an affiliate of MyNetworkTV, a mini-network launched last year by News Corp.’s Fox television unit.

“We will begin screening syndicated episodes more closely,” Dhaene said. The stations will not censor network programming, but Dhaene said the company has never received complaints about content of the network shows.

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Link for this story:

http://www.kansascity.com/132/story/75093.html

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