- Created on 16 May 2013
I have traveled all over the world and have spent many years of my life studying the history of the world and can’t recall any instance of a surviving civilization without an intact family structure—mother, father, and children.
I fully understand that the march towards modernity waits for no one. In communications, we went from teletype to telephones; from newspapers to radio; from radio to TV; from TV to mobile devices.
In transportation, we went from walking to horses; from stagecoach to automobiles; from buses to trains; from turbo props to jets.
None of these transformations changed the structure of the family unit. One could argue that they changed roles within the family unit, but not the fabric of the family unit.
There was a time when the family had one radio or TV for the whole family; and the father would decide what would be listened to or watched, thus it became an opportunity for the family to spend intimate time together.
There was a time that a family had one car for the whole family. During the week, typically the father used the car to go back and forth to work. On the weekends there would be family outings and of course, church on Sunday. Again, since there was only one car, this was another opportunity for family time.
In these instances, modernity changed the type and quality of time spent with the family, but not the composition of the family.
That all began to change with the rise of liberalism of the 1960s. President Johnson and the Democratic Congress began passing laws that would soon devastate the Black family and ultimately families in general.
Liberals in the 60s established what we now call welfare for girls who got pregnant without the benefit of being married. The only stipulations for receiving these government benefits was that you could not be married or have a male living in the same home. The government literally had social workers randomly showing up at your house to see if a male was present in the house. If they found a male living there or even male clothing in the closet, you would be immediately cut off from the programs. But, as long as you remained single you could stay on the programs for life. You would be given an apartment, healthcare, and babysitting services—all for free, as long as you remained single, unemployed, and kept having babies.
The rise of the welfare state coincided with the rise of feminism, which basically said that a woman didn’t need a man—once they got a man’s sperm, he was totally irrelevant. The convergence of the welfare state and feminism, has led to a prolonged assault on men and the traditional family unit.
Tyler Perry has made hundreds of millions of dollars from dressing like a woman in his movies; so has Martin Larwrence, Jaime Foxx, etc.
My critics will say that this is just “acting.” Oh really? Allow me to shed more light on the subject.
Two years ago, Morehouse College, one of the most esteemed Historically Black Colleges in the U.S (Martin Luther King attended), the president of the school had to send out a notice to the student body that the students were not allowed to were dresses or carry purses to class. You might be wondering what is so unusual about this. Well, Morehouse College is an all-male institution.
Now you have primary aged students being told that they have two mommies or two daddies; that is biologically impossible. You can only have one mother and one father.
This whole radical move to redefine the family will have disastrous results for the U.S. Name me one civilization or society that has thrived and prospered without an intact family structure. There are none.
The family unit is the DNA of a society. When you play around with a person’s DNA, it leads to deformed children and in most cases, it is very expensive to medically treat people with genetic deformities.
It is not a coincidence that since the early 60s, the out of wedlock birthrate for Blacks is currently around 74 percent, Hispanics around 60 percent, and Whites over 50 percent. There is direct causation between welfare, feminism and the destruction of or the marginalization of men and the family unit.
Men are the stabilizing influence in a boy’s life and without that influence (that a woman cannot provide), you will see teenage pregnancy, crime, drug abuse, and every other negative pathology increase to epidemic proportions. When you have a man teaching a young boy how to be responsible and provide for his family; and the women teaching a young boy how to be nurturing; then and only then can you have a complete man.
But, this foolish notion that Tommy can have two dads or Susie can have two moms is akin to altering one’s DNA; and all these societal problems we see are a direct result of this social engineering and attempted redefining of the family unit.
America had better put the brakes on this insidious experiment that is altering the DNA of America and the family.
Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm. He can be reached through his Web site, www.raynardjackson.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at raynard1223
- Created on 16 May 2013
(NNPA) – When a Baltimore grocery store employee fingered 26-year-old Michael Austin for the murder of a security guard in the spring of 1974, Austin didn’t even match the police sketch. The wanted suspect was less 6 feet tall and Austin was the size of a small forward in the NBA. The only other evidence linking him to the crime was a business card with the name of an alleged accomplice, a man who was never found.
The store owner, who was positive Austin wasn’t the shooter, was never called to testify during the original trial and Austin’s defense attorney never called a single witness to back up Austin’s alibi that he was at work across town when the crimes were committed. A year later, Austin was convicted of first-degree murder and robbery and sentenced to life in prison on the eyewitness account of the grocery store employee, a college student, according to the prosecution, and a drug addict and high school dropout.
Austin spent half of his life behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit, only gaining freedom through a New Jersey-based lawyers’ group that works to free the wrongfully convicted. The grocery store employee died of an overdose in 1997, but not before he told family members that he lied about what he saw during the murder and sent an innocent man to prison. In December 2001, Austin was granted his freedom. Three years later, Austin won a $1.4 million settlement from the state of Maryland.
Michael Austin’s story was chronicled in The National Registry of Exonerations, a collaborative effort between the University of Michigan law school at Ann Arbor and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at the School of Law at Northwestern University in Chicago. An updated registry of features stories of the wrongfully convicted and was recently released.
According to the report, Blacks account for nearly half (47 percent) of all known exonerees in 1989, and Whites made up nearly 39 percent of all known exonerees. When the updated exoneration report was released in April, 57 percent of the known cases that occurred in 2012 involved Blacks.
Samuel Gross, a law professor at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and the editor of The National Registry of Exonerations said the 10 percent increase for Blacks was striking, but it’s too early to draw any firm conclusions. Gross said that he continues to learn about new cases that occurred in 2012. In last year’s report released in June 2012, the registry found that 50 percent of the all known exonerees were Black.
“It’s striking and if it stands up and it repeats in another year or two it will be an important trend,” said Gross.
According to the registry report, 52 percent of the wrongful conviction cases involved perjury or false accusation, 43 percent involved official misconduct and 41 percent involved mistaken eyewitness identification.
The majority (57 percent) of all known exonerations were in homicide cases and 47 percent of those cases involved Black defendants and 37 percent involved Whites. Blacks accounted for 63 percent and Whites 18 percent of those wrongfully convicted of committed robberies.
“Homicide and robbery, sadly to say, are crimes that African Americans are heavily overrepresented in the prison population,” said Gross.
The report found that “African Americans constitute 25% of prisoners incarcerated for rape, but 62% of those exonerated for such crimes.”
Faulty eyewitness identification continues to drive the high rate of Blacks involved in adult sexual assault exoneration cases. Gross said that this is likely because of problems associated with cross-racial identification.
“White people don’t have the type of experience living with and distinguishing members of other races as minorities do,” said Gross. “There is also a long terrible history of racial discrimination in the prosecution of African Americans for rape when they are accused of raping White women and that may be a factor here, too.”
According to the National Registry of Exonerations, a majority of the cases (52 percent) involve witness making a false accusation or committing perjury. Forty-one percent of the cases involve faulty eyewitness identification.
“As a group, the defendants had spent nearly 11,000 years in prison for crimes for which they should not have been convicted – an average of more than 10 years each,” stated a report by The National Registry of Exonerations released in April.
These are often the most productive years of a person’s life and the reason why many criminal justice advocates say that seeking compensation for wrongful convictions is the only chance that exonerees have in regaining a foothold in a world that is often much different than how they left it.
“Unfortunately, many of our clients have been in jail for decades and often these were the best years of their life; the years where you can go to school and get an education, years where you can build a career and learn how to do a job,” said Paul Cates, communications director for the Innocence Project. “When they get out after 15 or 20 or 25 years, it’s very difficult to enter the job market without an education and without any marginal skills.”
Cates said that, when the government confines someone for those lengths of time, they definitely deserve to be compensated. Cates added: “It’s particularly true when you consider that they have no way of making a living once they’ve been released.”
Despite the proliferation of crime shows depicting the use of DNA in solving murders and proving innocence or guilt of a suspect, DNA testing is becoming less of a factor in wrongful conviction cases, because it is often initiated before cases go to trial.
“DNA evidence can be very persuasive to courts and to judges and to prosecutors, because it’s a very definitive proof of innocence,” said Cates. “But in all these other cases where this evidence is not available, it’s really hard to prove when someone has been wrongfully convicted and the court system doesn’t make that easy.”
That could be changing. According to the registry report, for the first time, law enforcement officials cooperated in the majority of the known cases that freed the wrongfully convicted in 2012.
Revisions to state policies involving post-conviction DNA testing, greater oversight of convictions in prosecutorial offices, and the evolution of law enforcement practices could have contributed to the increase, according to the study.
“It’s pretty clear that we make mistakes as you would expect from any human system and we should acknowledge that and that’s becoming more widely understood and accepted,” said Gross. “The more realistic we are in understanding that we do mistakes the better we’ll be at identifying them and preventing them.”
- Created on 15 May 2013
I’ve often debated with myself over the obvious ramifications the Hip Hop lifestyle imposes on society. Still, I proudly raise my flag and declare: I Am a Citizen of Hip Hop. But what does that mean? Does it mean I’m going to wear my pants low, love my hood and support the RAP artist who is No. 1 on the charts?
No, it means I embody the five elements of Hip Hop: the art of MCing, DJing, Graffiti Writing, Break Dancing and my favorite Knowledge. As a citizen, I represent the betterment of the Hip Hop community. I listen to and for authentic skills mixed with sensible lyrics over a complimenting beat. I dress to the occasion; OutKast describes the attitude best, “Ain’t Nobody Dope As Me, I’m Just So Fresh, So Clean.”
I stand on the principle that knowledge reigns supreme over nearly everyone. The most significant jewel I received from Hip Hop was when KRS-ONE’s “You Must Learn” video debuted. It spoke to my soul. He changed the way I looked at education. There is power in that.
Industry veteran DJ Sir Charles Dixon says “Hip Hop did not explode until it hit the Suburbs and it was the demand from the Suburbs that completely changed the game.” Today, more than two-thirds of all Hip Hop recordings are purchased by Whites. It is not an exaggeration to say that Hip Hop might have brought down more racial barriers than some of the famous Civil Rights marches of the 1960s.
For many like me, belonging to Nation of Hip Hop instills deep pride. It makes us believe that we can ourselves and live out our dreams. I had to have the latest, the newest, the first, the best, whatever was better than all the rest. It was motivation to be the greatest Jineea I could be with no disrespect towards or dislike of anyone else.
You had so many different types of artists speaking to different aspect of your personality. “Ladies First,” “Lean on Me,” “I Left my Wallet in El Segundo,, “Sally.” From the outside looking in, I thought if these people can will their way out of the ‘hood, dream about and live an elaborate life, so could I.
Unfortunately, anybody can be an MC. Like Charles said, once the demand for Hip Hop music was coming from the suburbs, the record labels responded to the demand with what they thought would earn them a percentage of this economic cash cow.
Consequently, the message was no longer important – they began creating stories and gimmicks to compete in the market. Everybody wanted in and would do whatever it took to get in. Major brands began budgeting for big paydays from Hip Hop endorsements in the songs and directly from the artists. Where it was once admirable to hear about a rags to riches story, the same story manufactured just to sell records is/was an appetite for destruction.
The stories and gimmicks began to backfire when the desire for money outweighed the desire to deliver a message. For instance, the media created an illusion that there was East Coast/West Coast beef and it resulted in the deaths of two iconic figures: Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur. In this context, fantasy met real life; some people were simply playing a character and some people were dead serious. I call this the Biggie/Tupac Bait and Switch because after their deaths, no record labels wanted to take a chance. We didn’t hear a variety of artists with empowering personalities. Instead, we heard diluted messages that basically made no sense. How are you going to be a correction officer that brags about living like Larry Hoover? How does a guy kiss a guy and say he is not gay? How could you talk about the cell blocks but never been to jail?
These discrepancies caused a dilemma because Hip Hop once taught us how to strive to be better no matter what your circumstances. Now, no matter what your circumstances, you can strive to be a character in Hip Hop. The people who were once avid Hip Hop fans gave up on the music. They disappeared into the ranks and took the foundation and principles with them. The momentum that created honest millionaires was replaced with nursery rhymes and class clowns. To become a millionaire now, you have to be a 21st century minstral show. The system that empowered us is now set up with mixed messages that stagnate us.
Everybody can’t be an MC. Everybody can’t be trusted with the power to speak and lead responsibly, especially when most people are willing to compromise their souls for success. Hip Hop is a culture of people controlled by the another culture of people. The Citizens of Hip Hop need to reclaim our role. We can’t sit by and watch greatness be destroyed by greed. We need to re-build, re-package and re-sell the dream.
- Created on 15 May 2013
The sequester is but a bump on the road to America’s real ruin. For those who don’t know, the U.S. is no longer “the greatest nation.” Nor does it even make the list of the 10 most prosperous countries in the world.
Whether Black or White, middle to upper class, urban, rural or suburban, most Americans operate under the assumption that the U.S. still ranks as No. 1 in the world. Yes, the U.S. remains the world’s largest economy, and we have the largest military by far, the most dynamic technology companies and a highly entrepreneurial climate.
However, Blacks who still preen at the thought of Obama being the “commander in chief” are going to have a rude awakening when it’s all over. A sobering 2012 index analyzed 142 countries in eight categories: economy, education, entrepreneurship and opportunity, governance, health, personal freedom, safety and security and social capital. The index shows that the U.S. is no longer the top dog. Rather, 12th in prosperity; 3rd in oil production; 7th in literacy; 27th in math; 22nd in science; 49th in life expectancy; 178th in infant mortality; 3rd in median household income; 4th in exports and 39th in income inequality.
The first step in solving any problem is to recognize there is one. As we move toward the future, it’s important that we note that the decisions that created today’s growth – decisions about education, infrastructure and the like – were made decades ago. What we see today is an American economy that has boomed because of policies and developments of the 1950s and ’60s: the interstate-highway system, massive funding for science and technology, a public-education system that was once the envy of the world and generous immigration policies.
The economic bottom is falling out while the Black middle class waddles down discount aisles at Walmart. We are the group at the highest risk of economic downturns, but over the past 50 years, Blacks have bought into a mindset of dependency. Ninety-three percent of Black Americans recently voted for a continuation of that dependency on government for handouts from food stamps to welfare. Democratic leadership has caused Blacks to collectively accept the fact that America has become a debtor nation.
Suck it up. Let’s acknowledge that the big government agenda the Democrats have pursued over past years has stunted economic growth and led to staggering levels of wealth decline among Blacks. Cartoon character Pogo provides great insight: “We’ve met the enemy and they is us.” Our plight today is based on our past practices to “go along to get along.”
Much of America’s forward growth depends on the results of the 2014 congressional elections and 2016 presidential campaign. What kind of decisions will the masses of Blacks make about being open to the messages of Republicans? In his book, America the Beautiful, fiscally and socially conservative figure, Dr. Benjamin Solomon “Ben” Carson, Sr., an African-American neurosurgeon and director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, pushed himself into the forefront of the public’s attention. In his book, Carson provides new perspectives on our educational system, capitalism versus socialism and our moral fabric, to which people should be attentive. America the Beautiful is an incisive manifesto of the values that shaped America’s past and must shape her future, the book calls upon us all to use our God-given talents to lead and improve our lives, communities, nation, and our world.
America can be great again. Good leadership is what we need. All that’s required is leadership that will fight for moral values, stand up for what is right, and strike down the wrong laws for the right reasons. Maybe it’s “mainstream” Blacks have adopted that cause them to accept leadership that has followed the same path of profligate spending and reckless disregard of the long-term economic drain for short-term economic gains. We have opted for mediocrity and self-indulgence and we have reaped the harvest that we have sown.
We become great again by becoming an informed and educated electorate, making the right decisions to go forward.
William Reed is head of the Business Exchange Network and available for speaking/seminar projects through the Bailey Group.org.
- Created on 15 May 2013
President Obama recently nominated Melvin (Mel) Watt, a long-time North Carolina Congressman, to direct the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). While major news media reported on the development, few mentioned exactly what the new job would entail or the significance of an African-American potentially leading a key financial office.
At a news conference announcing the nomination, President Obama said, “Mel understands as well as anybody what caused the housing crisis. He knows what it’s going to take to help responsible homeowners fully recover. And he’s committed to helping folks just like his mom – Americans who work really hard, play by the rules day in and day out to provide for their families.”
When our nation faced the worst financial crisis since that of the Great Depression, the House Financial Services Committee faced dealing with the nation’s financial solvency on one hand and millions of homeowners who were in or approaching foreclosure on the other. Through a lengthy series of discussions and hearings, Rep. Watt emerged as a voice of reason, consistently fair and balanced in crafting solutions to complex problems.
Following the Watt nomination, the Center for Responsible Lending said of the nominee, “He was one of the first elected officials to recognize and warn about the dangers of subprime lending, offering legislation to nip predatory lending in the bud and tirelessly advocating for ways to prevent needless home foreclosures…The Senate should move quickly to confirm him.”
Created by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, the FHFA oversees the nation’s secondary mortgage markets: 12 Federal Home Loan Banks, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. FHFA is also empowered to make policy, implement rules, and regularly report to Congress. In 2010, the combined debt and obligations of these 14 government-sponsored enterprises totaled $6.7 trillion.
Watt’s nomination is reminiscent of an earlier one in 1966. The late Andrew Brimmer, nominated by President Lyndon Johnson, became the first African-American member of the Federal Reserve Board. A Louisiana native, Brimmer attended segregated elementary and high schools but went on to earn in a Ph.D. in economics in 1957 from Harvard.
Watt, another son of the South raised from modest beginnings, became a 1967 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a result of having the highest academic average in its business school, he also became president of the business honors fraternity. Three years later, he earned a JD degree from Yale University Law School and was a published member of the Yale Law Journal.
Both men’s lives are proof that difficulty need not defeat a person’s dreams or goals. And further, what may appear improbable is not the same thing as being impossible.
On learning of Rep. Watt’s nomination, North Carolina U.S. Senator Richard Burr reached across the chamber’s partisan divide to offer his hopes for confirmation saying, “Having served with Mel, I know of his commitment to sustainable federal housing programs and am confident he will work hard to protect taxpayers from future exposure to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I look forward to working with Rep. Watt in his new role to find new ways to facilitate more private sector involvement in the housing and mortgage markets.”
Another U.S. Senator and chair of the chamber’s banking committee, South Dakota’s Sen. Tim Johnson, said, “Mel possesses the intelligence, temperament and depth of knowledge on housing finance policy necessary to succeed as Director.”
For communities of color that lost a trillion dollars in wealth during the housing crisis, we share an important stake in Rep. Watt’s nomination. It is an opportunity for an accomplished African-American to develop consumer-focused policy and implement rules to better serve all of America’s people.