Friday, June 27, 2008

Black Athlete Power: Top Ballers May Take European Money vs. College


A year ago, there was speculation that former shoe company czar Sonny Vaccaro was set to go barnstorming over in Europe with a group that would include O.J. Mayo, Bill Walker and a few other elite players coming out of high school. At the time, it seemed pretty far-fetched that an American-born player would bypass the college experience to play in anonymity outside his home country.


It didn't end up happening, but now it appears as though Brandon Jennings, arguably the top incoming freshman in the country, could become a trendsetter of sorts and opt for overseas money over a one-year college experience at Arizona.


"He's definitely considering it," said Kelly Williams, the father of New Jersey Nets point guard Marcus Williams and also a close advisor to the Jennings family. "Why wouldn't he?"


"If it's a sweet enough deal, why wouldn't he look into it?" Williams added. "But there's nothing definitive right now. They are in the process of investigating it, but he's not going to go just to become the first kid to go overseas. We're not going to put him in a bad situation. We'd try and put him in a situation where he can grow and develop."


Jennings first hatched the idea from Vaccaro, who is on a personal crusade against the NCAA and NBA because of the restrictions that those organizations impose on young basketball players.


Jennings' camp said that whether or not he achieves the SAT score (he's expected to get the results of his latest test any day now) that will make him eligible to play college ball at Arizona is irrelevant with regards to his decision to play overseas.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Leading African American Scholar, Peniel Joseph On Black/Brown Issues

Interview with Harvard fellow, Peniel E. Joseph, by Tolu Olorunda.

Peniel E. Joseph is one of the nation’s leading scholars of African American history. Although Joseph’s formal expertise includes the Black Radical Tradition, Pan-Africanism, Black Social Movements, and African American feminism, he is currently embarking on a re-evaluation of the Black Power Movement. Professor Joseph is associate professor of African and Afro-American Studies and affiliate faculty in history at Brandeis University. Joseph is the founder of a growing subfield of historical and Africana Studies scholarship that he has named “Black Power Studies.” Joseph's dynamic presentation style and innovative scholarship, place him on the cutting edge of a new generation of public intellectuals. Joseph’s book “Waiting 'Til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America,” was a “Washington Post Book World” Best Nonfiction Book for 2006. It was also a finalist for the Mark Lynton History Prize. It received honorable mention for the 2007 Gustavas Myers Center Outstanding Book Award; and received the inaugural W.E.B. Du Bois Book Award from the Northeastern Black Studies Alliance. It was also a Boston Globe paperback bestseller in 2008. Joseph is currently working on a biography of Civil Rights and Black Power activist, Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael), and a study of postwar African American history. For the 2008-2009 academic year, Dr. Joseph will be a fellow at Harvard University’s Warren Center.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Joseph on a wide array of issues. With topics ranging from politics to culture, and education to sports, he was insightfully-enlightening in his observations:

Thanks for joining us. Can you tell us about your background, and the journey leading up to Harvard?

I’m from New York City, born and raised, and I’m just raised by a single mom. My mom was a trade unionist for 40 yrs in New York City – just retired. So, I was always into social and political activism; I was on my first picket line by the time I was 9 yrs old, so I was always active. I was always interested in Black history, Caribbean history, Asian history and African history, so after college I got my PhD from Temple University. At the same time, I was still involved in community and social activism. I wound up teaching at Arizona State University for a couple of years; then I taught at University of Rhode Island and Stony Brooks University in New York -- which is my alma mater. And now at Brandeis University, but this year, I’m a fellow at Harvard University.

Is the continued presence of Black and Brown intellectuals in Ivy League schools emblematic of any substantive progress for us?

Yes, I think it’s an example of progress, but I also think it that -- well, I’ll do the ‘positives’ first. I think it’s a tremendous example of progress, given the fact that when we think about higher education and academe, especially predominantly white institutions; these we’re set up as spaces for the white, elite and the rich. So as soon as you get any kind of African Americans in there, it’s very positive. And, obviously we owe a lot of these to people like Carter G. Woodson, W.E.B Du Bois and Ida B. Wells; the generation of the 19th and early 20th century intellectuals. Some we’re PhDs and others we’re just organic intellectuals in that degree, such as Marcus Garvey and Hubert Harrison. By the time you get to the 1960s, there’s really a second wave of Black Studies, vis-à-vis the Black Power movement that forces some of these predominantly white institutions to open up their doors, through the implementation of Black Studies majors in programs across the country. So that’s the positive. But the negative is the fact that I think most of these spaces are still overwhelmingly white and racist. So, having Cornel West, Michael Eric Dyson and Manning Marable is great, but at the same time, it provides cover for some of these racist institutions as well. So, you have this representative-nature of Blackness, but you don’t have enough Black Undergraduates, or Graduates, let alone Faculty and Administration; because we are sorely underrepresented in all those categories. It’s the same thing with Senator Obama. You might have a black president, but you might also see a lack of Blackness in the federal judges or the news-media. So, there’s the good and bad to the process.

What is your overall perspective on the Senator from Illinois -- especially being that he hails from your very Harvard?

Well, I’m a critical supporter of Mr. Obama, and what I mean by that is that I support Obama’s candidacy; and at the same time, I think that if he is elected, we have to be very vigilant and very critical. So that we force ‘President Obama’ to publicly confront things like, the Prison Industrial Complex and the pervasiveness/viciousness of institutional racism – locally nationally and internationally. But again, I think that trying to run for president is a hard thing to do.

Do you believe that Cynthia McKinney from the Green Party can help in exerting some ‘progressive-pressure’ upon the political landscape?

I think that Cynthia McKinney is obviously a very progressive person -– whom I admire. I think that when we talk of Cynthia McKinney, a lot of activists get confused with Third-Party runs and Community Organizing. Nowadays, some people think that ‘trying’ a Third-Party run - in and of itself - is community organizing, and there’s a problem there. I think that the bankruptcy of that strategy is shown when you have a candidate like Barack Obama, who’s actually energizing millions of people. The Third-Parties don’t seem to have a parallel-outreach and success. When people like Malcolm X and Kwame Ture would say, “We got to follow the people, because the people are ahead of us;” how come they’re following Obama? Masses of the American people are following Obama.

Do you think Senator Obama’s struggle for the White-House is one which we must all embrace?

I think we should be critically supportive of Barack Obama’s candidacy. We’ve seen a lot of debates over this. We saw Tavis Smiley come out and catch a lot of flak for it. But, I do like the idea of holding Barack Obama accountable, but I also feel that he’s in a very difficult position, because he is the first black man that could actually become president. I think the African American community should embrace his candidacy - but critically - and then really watch what’s going on, and try to influence it within the next four years. And then if our needs aren’t being addressed, we can begin making intelligent calculations on what to do next.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the Father’s Day Speech that he gave last Sunday. Did you have a problem with it, or did you feel that it was indeed a legitimate critique?

Well, certainly the speech was pandering, but if you’re from that background, where you’re raised by a single parent, you realize that you do need to speak to Black Men about this. And I thought Obama did it in a way that wasn’t quite as condescending as the way in which Bill Cosby did it in 2004. You have to talk about the politics of self-responsibility vis-à-vis our failures, and also the system that is perpetuating that failure, and that’s a dialogue that we haven’t had in a really complex way. If you’re speaking of the politics of self-determination, whether it’s Marcus Garvey or the Nation of Islam, you’re supposed take personal responsibility. But, one big issue with a Barack Obama presidency is that he might not be able to preach responsibility all across the board.

In matters of education, how does the next president rehabilitate the dilapidated public school system?

To be honest with you, all the president can do is propose laws to the Congress for passage. Certainly, he can give more money to public schools and have further accountability by putting more ‘teeth’ behind “No Child Left Behind;” but it’s really based on spending bills.

As an expert on issues pertinent to race, what are the major obstacles threatening our progress?

I think the biggest things are probably lack of access to higher education, the Prison Industrial complex and the Criminal Justice System. Unemployment, Violence and drugs also are power-brokers in our stagnancy. And we’re talking of Black Americans who happen to be part of the so-called “underclass.”

Do the recent victories of Tiger Woods and the Boston Celtic (being overwhelmingly black) have any substantial impact upon the lives of everyday black folk?

I think they might be an inspiration to some, but a Barack Obama presidency would be even bigger. You know, sports is different from politics, and I think if you have a black President, it will transform the way a lot of young people look at themselves. And, I think Obama’s presidency would bring about reverberations in other aspects of American society. I think that newspapers and television and media would be forced to re-examine aspects of how they’re made up vis-à-vis the shock of having a Black President.

What is your advice for the average brother and sister trying to gain access to higher education?

The pursuit of literacy would allow you to really excel; because, a lot of us are woefully unprepared after graduation from High School. The way it is now, so many of our people have a star-crossed relationship with school, and it is not perceived as something which would impact their lives. I think that what the older folks have to do is educate the younger ones about our history and the struggle that took place to get to this point. And, I think that can provide a context for a way to move forward in the present.

Once again, thanks for speaking with us Dr. Joseph.

This interview was conducted by Tolu Olorunda, Staff Writer for

Friday, June 20, 2008

Study: Barack Obama was Wrong about Black Fathers

Presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama thundered to long, loud and vigorous applause from a Father's Day Chicago church crowd that black fathers don't engage with their children. A month before Obama made this stereotypical and plainly false assertion, Boston University professor Rebekah Levine Coley, in a comprehensive study on the black family, found that black fathers who aren't in the home are much more likely to sustain regular contact with their children than absentee white fathers, or for that matter, fathers of any other ethnic group. The study is not an obscure study buried in the thick pages of a musty academic journal. It was widely cited in a feature article on black fathers in the May 19, 2008 issue of Newsweek. There was no excuse then to spout this myth. The facts are totally contrary to Obama's knock.

But then again this kind of over the top, sweeping talk about alleged black father irresponsibility from Obama isn't new. In stump speeches, he's pounded black men for their alleged father dereliction, irresponsibility and negligence. Whether Obama is trying to shore up his family values credentials with conservatives, or feels the need to vent personal anger from the pain and longing from being raised without a father is anybodys guess. (Note: his absentee father was not an African-American male but a Kenyan National who never intended to stay in this country). Or maybe he criticizes black men out of a genuine concern about the much media touted black family breakup. But Obama clearly is fixated on the ever media popular notion of the absentee black father. And that fixation for whatever reason is fed by a mix of truth, half truths and outright distortion.

Obama commits the cardinal error that every critic from the legions of sociologists, family experts, politicians and morals crusader Bill Cosby who have hectored black men for being father derelict have made. He omits the words "some," "those," or "the offenders" before black fathers. Instead, he makes, or at least gives the impression, that all, or most, black men aren't in the home, and are irresponsible. That being the case ipso facto they are the cause for the much fingered crime-drugs-violence-gross underachievement syndrome that young black males are supposedly eternally locked into.

Obama presents absolutely no evidence to back up this devastating indictment. The worst case estimate is that slightly less than half of black children live in fatherless homes. But that's only a paper figure. When income, education, individual background, and middle-class status are factored in the gap between black and white children who live in intact two parent households is much narrower.

This points to the single greatest reason for the higher number of black children who live in one parent households. That reason is poverty. A 2007 study noted that a black father's ability to financially contribute the majoor support in the home is the major determinant of whether he remains in the home. That's no surprise considering that despite changing gender values and emphasis society still dumps the expectation and burden on men to be the principal breadwinner and financial provider. Put bluntly, men and the notion of manhood are still mainly defined by their ability to bring home the bacon. A man who falls short of that standard is considered a failure and loser.

The chronic near Great Depression levels of unemployment, not to mention rampant job discrimination, endemic failing public schools, and stigma of a criminal record virtually condemn many young black men to wear the tag of societal failures as men and fathers. Obama in his rap against black men as fathers says nothing about the economic devasation that drives many black men from the home or prevents them from being in the home in the first place.

Obama, undoubtedly is well intentioned in his criticism of black family problems and certainly doesn't mean to slander all, or even most black men, as derelict, laggards and slackers as fathers. Obama, as Cosby and others who beat up on black males for alleged father dereliction, would almost certainly publicly bristle at criticism that he takes the worst of the worst behavior of some black men and publicly hurls that out as the warped standard of black America.

Yet that's precisely what he's done. And since every utterance by him is instant news and is taken as fact by legions of supporters and admirers, that makes his fan of stereotypes about black men even more painful.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His new book is The Ethnic Presidency: How Race Decides the Race to the White House (Middle Passage Press, February 2008).

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Juan Williams: The Silliest Black Man in America

I just heard from a friend that the "great" Juan Williams, the eternal happy negro on Fox News, has done a couple of interesting things. First, he wrote an article in The Wall Street Journal of all places, about disappearing black dads on Father's Day. I am not 100% sure where a black man feels he is making his point by writing in a predominantly white publication about the problems of the black community. Obviously, the only benefit of such a column would be to get the old "Yeah boss, these black people sho is messed up" brownie points. For that, I congratulate you Juan, you have continued to earn your paycheck at Fox News.

Of course, even though Juan Williams speaks to a predominantly white audience, he often fails to mention the growing divorce rates in the white community. I would love to see him attacking the millions of white men who have left the homes of their children. But then again, putting out White America's dirty laundry would surely get Juan fired.

Secondly, I read that Juan has actually asked Senator Barack Obama to apologize for being a part of The Trinity United Church of Christ. My man Roland Martin had him on his radio show, and I am sure Roland handled Juan. Juan Williams is not very intelligent, so he's an easy person to wear down in a debate. What is most ironic is that although Juan Williams seems to jock Bill Cosby like a bright eyed school girl (in his book), my inside indication is that Cosby doesn't have much respect for Juan.

You see folks, that's the difference between Juan Williams and Bill Cosby. Cosby says what he says (although I don't agree with him all the time) because he actually LOVES black people. He is like the father who loves his son so much that he beats him with a stick to make him act right. So, rather than getting better behavior, his child ends up with brain damage. Juan Williams is the person who goes across the street to his son's enemy, and then helps the enemy break into the house to shoot his son in the head. Juan Williams, in my opinion, does NOT care about black people and he is not a friend to African Americans. As a Finance Professor, I can say that Juan Williams is what I would call a sell-out. Cosby, on the other hand, at least deserves respect for being willing to take a major beating from the black community to say what he truly feels.

The most heated thing I've ever said on national television is when I explained on CNN why Juan Williams is Bill O'Reilly's Happy Little Negro (which I explained in detail later, since many of my non-black colleagues were appalled that I used such terminology (I am not sure if they've ever heard the word "negro" used in public before. I had to explain the history of racism to help them understand why these were the most appropriate words for that scenario). Any black man who spends most of his time defending Bill O'Reilly from black people is truly an enemy of African Americans and a reminder that black images on television, from 50 Cent and Flavor Flav to Juan Williams and Jesse Lee Peterson, are reflective of where our society stands when it comes to racial misrepresentation in media.

I think that Juan Williams must be going senile, for his desire to disgrace the black community grows more and more every day. I am glad that no one in the black community pays much attention to him anymore. Well, then again, there are people who listen to Flavor Flav, so perhaps I am wrong on that point.

I actually feel sorry for Juan Williams, I am sure he has a hard time sleeping at night. It's hard out there for a pimp, and even harder for a black journalist seeking to get pimped by the highest bidder.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Brothers Aren't Looking For Sisters Anymore?


“We Like Black D***, Just Not Black Men”

Let’s be honest- who wouldn’t want a Morris Chestnut, Will Smith, Denzel Washington, or Taye Diggs type of man?

As black women, we’ve watched our brothers be romantically involved with white women for as long as we’ve been in this country. Just when we thought we were accepting it, Asian and Hispanic women picked up on the trend, and Black men started to choose them first. In a day and age where interracial dating is more or less accepted, we have to redirect our anger.

Now, black women are upset because we’ve taken home the bronze medal in comparison to the other races that seek out Black men. For the most part, young Black men are not choosing their Black women, while everyone else is choosing the brothers.

First, look at the music videos you see on BET, MTV or anything else. No longer are “video girls” really black. Hispanic and mixed women seem to be getting closer and closer to the camera. The Vida Guerra’s of the world have taken the front seat, and more brothers want long REAL hair, fair skin and another language to go along with the urban style.

Some people say Black and Hispanics are one in the same, but I think to put us in the same boat is to ignore the many differences that the two races have, especially historically and politically (for the most part, Hispanics picked Hillary over Barack. Does that say anything significant? I think so.)

Next, let’s look at white women- from whom I got the title of this article. It’s not the preferred conversation to overhear during a study break snack, but that statement is exactly what I heard one day while sitting in the student center.

“ Oh my god, I hooked up with a black guy last night…no, I don’t like black men, but I do like black d***!”

…Was this girl serious?

It just goes to show that the physical attraction is- in some cases- the only reason why these unions happen. Okay brothers, I’ll give you that. Some men enjoy having gorgeous exotic looking women of different backgrounds and ethnicities to trophy around with…but ask yourselves, are your parents going to approve of your relationship?

Maybe so, but what about her parents? Are they really as open-minded as she is? The truth is, not all parents are as accepting and open minded as their children.

Do not misinterpret what I’m saying, I do have a lot of white, Asian and Hispanic female friends who date Black men. They are girls with good heads on their shoulders, who are usually friendly, more reserved, smart and very genuine. They have no problem being my friend, and I have no problem being theirs.

It may just be from what I’ve seen around my campus, but the other-race girls who only go after Black men for their well-endowed features, are the ones who do not take the time to befriend black women.

Those girls stick to their own kind. They’d rather say the curiosity about the physical pleasure was the reason they did it. Those are the kind of girls I overheard saying the above statement.

Brothers, let’s not take this completely as a compliment. You should be offended by such a blatant proclamation. What does this say about you? ”I don’t like black men” means I don’t like black people, and “I just like black d***” means I don’t see you for who you are.

I’ve dated white men, Hispanic men, and even an Asian once. But ultimately and collectively, they don’t want black women either. Of course there are some exceptions to this, one of my best white male friends only dates black women.

Who you choose to date is completely up to you. This article isn’t about that- it is about the reality of human attraction. It is about why Black women in general are becoming the least desired women of all.

We’re too strong-minded, independent, practical, and unadventurous. We argue too much. We work too much. We’re not as fair skinned or pleasing to look at. We like to dress down more than dress up. We’re not always creative in bed. Our hair doesn’t always blow in the wind, and isn’t always our own. We talk too much. We don’t give oral pleasure (says who?), we don’t want to cook every day (actually I love to cook), and we won’t stay with you after you cheat on us (yea, maybe not).

But if that’s why you’d rather not have us, then by all means, as Tyler Perry would say, have your 20%.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Black Reader with Harsh Words for Cindy and John McCain

Email Sent Over from a Reader of

As some of you may be aware, Glenn Beck of CNN recently did a show entititled Michelle Obama, Asset or liability? So I sent him and his producer some suggestions for a show on Cindy McCain. Perhaps some of you could contact Mr. Beck with some of your suggestions. Dan from Dolton AKA Dancam

-------------- Forwarded Message: --------------
From: "Dannie & Camille Lee"
Cc: ,
Subject: Cindy McCain
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2008 13:16:45 +0000

Greetings Stu: In light of your recent program, Michelle Obama "Liability or Asset?" Perhaps you could do a story on Cindy Mcain. You could call it Cindy McCain "Princess of Pauper?" (Refused to disclose income tax returns). Or how about Cindy McCain "Drug addicted or Reformed?"(I'm sure she'd be willing to be drug tested). Or how about Cindy McCain "Homewrecker or Innocent Victim?" (Surely she didn't know John was married when she was dating him, and the fact that she married him shortly after his divorce was just a coincidence). The possibilties are endless. Since Michelle Obama is fair game than so is Cindy McCain. Thank You: Dannie Lee Dolton Il.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Father Michael Pfleger Deserves the Support of Black Men

Father Michael Pfleger called me on my cell phone a couple of weeks ago. I was busy, in the middle of something. But when he called, I stopped what I was doing to talk to him. I am not religious, but I know a true man of God when I see one. Michael Pfleger catches heat for being so direct, but I respect him a great deal. He stands tall and strong in the name of God and while there might be those who want to see Pfleger gone, the reality is that there is tremendous truth in what he says.

Anyone who sees Father Michael Pfleger's bio knows that he is serious about seeking fairness and justice in America. He not only pursues racial justice, he pursues AMERICAN justice. If Jesus were in the flesh today, he would be doing similar things. Again, this is a man who walks the walk and will go down in history as one of the greatest pastors ever.

Those who claim that Pfleger preaches hate don't know a damn thing about what hate really is. If they want to see hate, they only need to look at what their parents, grandparents and great grandparents have done to African Americans since our country was founded. The idea that fighting historical oppression is equivalent to maintaining oppression (i.e. Sean Hannity is the same as Jeremiah Wright) is not only silly, but it is quite revealing of how little racial education an individual has. A daughter who files a lawsuit against the family of the man who raped her mother and stole her belongings is not a thief and rapist herself. As Father Pfleger points out clearly, this government has benefitted from stealing from our ancestors, that is why black people have nothing: we don't own media, we don't own corporations, we don't own universities. That didn't happen overnight. It happened because of racism, and we are forced to deal with these effects every single day.

For those with open minds, I encourage you to listen to Father Pfleger. For those who don't want to listen, just continue bathing yourself in the ignorance inherited from your forefathers who also taught you to ignore the obvious about racism. God bless you Father Pfleger, you are truly my brother. Martin Luther King is smiling from beyond.