Tag Archives: African-Americans

The Contract That Broke The Color Line

3 Jun

Jackie Robinson’s history making contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers is on display at the National Constitution Center until June 5.

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Jackie Robinson’s Contract on display at the National Constitution Center. Photo by Chris Murray

 

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

When the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, they did so without taking the rights and freedoms of African-Americans into consideration.

The tumultuous journey of African-Americans from slavery to the Civil Rights Movement to the current cries of Black Lives Matter has been about making America live up to the lofty ideals of freedom and equality those documents imply.

When Jackie Robinson signed a contract to play Major League Baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers, that contract became an influential document not only for sports fans, but also for the nation as a whole.

Even the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King took notice. In a conversation he had with Hall of Famer Don Newcomb, King expressed his appreciation for Robinson’s willingness to lead the charge.

“You’ll never know how easy you and Jackie and (Larry) Doby and Campy (Roy Campanella) made it for me to do my job by what you did on the baseball field,” King said.

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Robinson’s signature on this contract changed the face of sports and American back in 1947. Photo by Chris Murray.

From now until June 5, you can see the original contract that Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers at the National Constitution Center.

While there are a lot of important documents on display at the Constitution Center, the Robinson contract is equally as compelling as all the others. Robinson’s contract symbolized the first major confrontation with a segregated America and was part of the ongoing battle to make the country live up to it’s ideas of equality and justice.

Robinson’s entry into major league baseball was met with violent hostility both on and off the field. He was spiked by his opponents and jeered by hostile white fans who were offended by the mere presence of African-Americans in what was supposed to be the American game.

In his first two years with the Dodgers, Robinson had to take affronts to his personal dignity for a cause that went beyond the box score. Eight years later, ordinary African-Americans from students to janitors were peacefully sitting in at lunch counters, boycotting segregated public transportation and education facilities.

When you think about it, Robinson striking down baseball’s color barrier preceded President Harry S. Truman’s executive order to integrate the military, Brown versus Board of Education, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Freedom Rides, lunch counter sit-ins, Birmingham movement, the March from Selma to Montgomery and the March on Washington. Dr. King described what Robinson went through:

“A pilgrim that walked in the lonesome byways toward the high road of Freedom. He was a sit-inner before sit-ins, a freedom rider before freedom rides.”

It’s actually kind of fitting that Robinson’s contract is hanging out here in the City of Brotherly Love. Philadelphia didn’t live up to that name when it came to him. Robinson had to deal with racism and hatred, he couldn’t stay in the same hotels as his teammates, and that’s on top of having to deal with a hostile Phillies squad led by manager Ben Chapman.

Black folks didn’t forget that hostility. An entire generation of African-American baseball fans refused to root for the Phillies even when they started signing Black players to the team and Black players, including free agency pioneer Curt Flood, didn’t want to play here either.

Recently, the Philadelphia City Council issued a resolution apologizing to Robinson and his family for the harsh treatment he received here as a baseball player.

So like the Constitution, Robinson’s contract is a piece of paper that symbolizes how far we’ve come and how far we’ve got to go in race relations in America.

The National Constitution Center is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $14.50 for adults, $13 for seniors, students and youngsters 13-18, and $8 for children aged 4-12.

Black Voters Must Demand Accountability Beyond Election Day

10 May

African-American Voters Need to  Hold Clinton’s Feet to the Fire and Make Sure Delivers on her Promises 

By Chris Murray 

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun 

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Black leaders like Congressman John Lewis, D-Ga, (left) have endorsed Democratic Presidential candidate Hilary Clinton, but will she deliver on her promises to African Americans? Photo by ajc.com.

Now that the barrage of debates and campaign stump speeches of the 2016 President Election primary season is almost over, we all kind of know that the general election is going to come down to the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee, businessman Donald Trump, and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who appears to be the eventual Democratic nominee.

As it stands right now, Clinton has 2,205 of the 2,383 she needs to secure the Democratic nomination. Her opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders has just 1,362 delegates and doesn’t have a mathematical shot to win.

Despite the rumblings of the “Bernie or Bust” crowd, a group of Sanders supporters who have said that they’ll either write Sanders in, vote for Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party’s presidential candidate, or in some extreme cases, vote for Trump in hopes of fomenting a “revolution” that would sweep Sanders to power, Sanders and his supporters will most likely unite behind Clinton at some point.

One of the main reasons that Clinton nearly has the Democratic nomination in her grasp is because of the Black vote. Whether we’re talking South Carolina, Pennsylvania or Maryland, Clinton seems to resonate with Black voters in a way that Sanders hasn’t been able to despite having prominent Blacks like rapper Killer Mike, Cornel West, Spike Lee and Harry Belafonte in his corner.

According to Jonathan Capehart, a political columnist for the Washington Post, Clinton has won the heart of Black voters by tying herself to the legacy of President Barack Obama, talking about the way that income inequality is impacted by race and how that hurts the Black community, and putting some of the onus on Whites for healing the country’s racial divide.

Clinton has also been on Black radio stations, attended social events, played dominoes with the brothers and has even admitted to carrying a bottle of hot sauce in her bag, something that we’ve all done from time to time whether or not we want to admit it.

But while some in the Black community are happy to give Clinton their votes because she’s hobnobbed with them, the brothas and sistuhs need to make sure that she remembers us if she wins the presidency. The Black voters who cast their lot with Clinton need to hold her feet to the fire and insist that she keeps her promises to them.

It’s something we haven’t been all that good at of late. Despite having the power to elect mayors, congressmen, state representatives governors and even a President, the Black community hasn’t figured out how to hold those politicians we got elected accountable to carry out the promises they made at our local church or community fish fry. Unemployment among Blacks is still high, inner city schools are underfunded and our communities are beset by violence in the form of both crime and police brutality.

We’ll be at the polls to pull down the lever or press the button on Election Day. But what happens after that?  From my own perspective, we look at our politicians, especially those who look like us, as if they were some kind of Messiah who will take away all of our problems with one stroke of the pen or a magic wand.

Even worse is that once the folks we elect are sworn in, we stop paying attention until we see them again during the next election.

The next great movement for Blacks is to become more engaged in the political process. We have to be more informed citizens, starting with something as a basic as being active in local community organizations, using social media for something other than posting fight videos, bombarding your local councilman’s office with email on a particular topic, or showing up at his or her headquarters with protesters to demand change.

But no matter what method we choose to engage with, the Black community has got to make politicians accountable to our issues. That old Frederick Douglass adage about power conceding nothing without demand is in play here and it’s time for Blacks to make that demand of all of our public officials, no matter what race or party affiliation.

We’ve done it before.

In 1960, the Black vote swept John F. Kennedy into the Oval Office after he visited the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther Jr. in jail and subsequently helped him get released. On the campaign trail, Kennedy promised to end discrimination in public housing with an executive order, but once he got into office, he dragged his feet.

Blacks forced President Kennedy to pay attention and do as he promised by taking to the streets, conducting sit-ins, and boycotting. The end result was Civil Rights legislation.

That’s what we have to do now.

We have to be vigilant about this even when we lose a few battles along the way. When I hear Black Sanders supporters say they’re not going to vote in the general election, I shake my head because they don’t realize that they can fight for their issues even if it their candidate is not on the ballot.

The tactics will probably be different from those that were used during the Civil Rights movement, but we have to sit down and figure out a way to make it work for us. Saying that the game is rigged or we shouldn’t participate in voting is a cop out.

The most important that Dr. King left us is the realization that we have to vigilant in our fight to make those in power accountable to us.

“We have to give ourselves to this struggle until the end,” King said, “We’ve got to see it through.”

And seeing it through begins at the Ballot Box, but it doesn’t end there.

 

 

 

 

You’re Men and Women, Not the N-word

5 Dec

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zv7Js0HK7s

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

schooldazekfcPHILADELPHIA—One of my favorite scenes in Spike Lee’s School Daze is when the brothers from Mission College, led by Vaughn “Dap”  Dunlap (played by Laurence Fishburne) get into argument with the brothers from the “hood” with their leader, played by Samuel L. Jackson.

In that scene outside of a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant, Jackson’s character questioned the Blackness of the college kids and said: “College don’t mean shit. Y’all niggas and you gonna be niggas forever, just like us, Niggas.”

And that moment, Dap looks Jackson’s character in the eye and says: “You’re NOT niggas.”

It was a tactical retreat for the college kids and at the same time, Dap restored the dignity and humanity of Jackson’s character and his cohorts. Even as they were telling the Mission kids to get away from them, the brothers from the community were stunned because Dap saw something good in those broken men that they could not see in themselves.

Given all the noise surrounding the gratuitous use of the N-word by a white Miami Dolphins offensive lineman who was considered to be a “brother” by his misguided African-American teammates, the Fritz Pollard Alliance, a group that promotes diversity in pro football, recently called for NFL players to stop using the word and for the league to impose a penalty if it’s used during the course of a game.

“Men like Kenny Washington, Woody Strode, Bill Willis, and Marion Motley bravely withstood the indignity of the ‘N’ word during a time when black men were beaten and even hung simply because of the color of their skin,” according to a statement released by the Alliance. “Indeed, the ‘N’ word was the last word that countless blacks across the country — in large cities and small towns — heard before being killed in racist attacks. To use it so loosely now is a disgrace.”

And they’re absolutely right.

Quite frankly, I think it is time that we, as African-Americans, stop using the “N” word, under any circumstances. In fact, I think it’s time that we stop using language in our music or any other venue to dehumanize each other—which means you can also stop using terms that denigrate women such as “bitches” and “hoes.”

As the late comedian Richard Pryor so eloquently stated back in the early 1980s, “We never was no niggers. That’s a word to describe our own wretchedness. We perpetuate it. That word is dead because we’re men and women.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hULhZqhw9yU

It was a word that was constantly whipped and beaten into our ancestors by the white slave owners to remind them that they were nothing more than chattel. The N-word was a word that terrorized Black people though lynchings and other acts of violence when Jim Crow laws were imposed on African-Americans in the South.

It was the word that Jackie Robinson heard as he integrated baseball.

It was the word that the Little Rock Nine heard on their way to Central High School.

It was how George Zimmerman saw Trayvon Martin before he shot and killed him.

The N-word is that constant lie that has given Black people in America the impression that we are inferior because of our skin color. What’s sad to me is that we buy into that lie to the point where white people don’t have to use the word anymore to knock us down—we do it for them.

It’s a word that young Black men utter as they kill each other in places like Chicago and Philadelphia. It’s a word that right-wing politicians use when it supports policies that defund public schools, send jobs overseas and cut programs designed to help poor people.

I do not subscribe to the notion that we have somehow de-fanged the N-word’s by using it in casual conversation or music. There’s nothing affectionate about it. There is no “hood pass” that you should ever give to a White person that allows them to use this word.

And if you’re still tossing it around Black people, you’re subconsciously buying into the white supremacist notion that deems Black as less than human.

Brothers and sisters when you see me in public, I am not your “nigga.” You can call me brother, man, sir, Mr. Murray or Chris if I give you permission.

The best way to lessen the effect of the N-word is to not use it. It is not an accurate description of who we are and yet we continue to use it because we hate ourselves.

To me, the use of the N-word, whether it ends with an “a” or “er” is a lie that imprisons our minds and cuts us off from our humanity. It reminds me of the character Dr. Mannette in Charles Dickens, “A Tale of Two Cities.”

As a prisoner in the Bastille, Mannette was beaten and degraded so much that he went insane and forgot that he was a brilliant doctor instead of the shoemaker he was forced to become. That has been the Black experience in America.

And so to repeat what Dap said in School Daze: “You’re not Niggas!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

McNabb Admits ‘Not Black Enough’ Comments Bothered Him During His Days in Philly

19 Sep

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Donovan McNabb will be inducted into the Eagles Hall of Honor Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field. Photo by Chris Murray

Donovan McNabb will be inducted into the Eagles Hall of Honor Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field. Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—For all of the slings and arrows that Donovan McNabb endured during his tumultuous 11-year tenure in Philadelphia, the one thing that seemed to stick in his crawl the most was the idea that he wasn’t “Black enough.”

Back in 2005, J. Whyatt Mondesire, president of the Philadelphia NAACP and publisher of the Philadelphia Sunday SUN suggested that McNabb was playing the race card by moving away from being a running quarterback and turning into a drop-back passer.

Other local celebrities including boxer Bernard Hopkins also jumped on the “Are you Black enough?” bandwagon, questioning not only McNabb’s Blackness, but also his street cred and his toughness.

While he is the quarterback with the most wins in Eagles history, and went to five NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl, the lack of support from some verbal elements of Philadelphia’s African American community took some of the shine from those achievements, McNabb admitted.

“It was hilarious to me that you would be criticized not only by the masses, but by your own people. That right there is still funny to this day,” McNabb said to a group of reporters at Lincoln Financial Field on Wednesday. “That pissed me off more because of the struggles that [Blacks have] been through trying to play the position. To have a guy come out and say I’m not running because I’m trying to prove a point or you know, I’m not Black enough…. Well, I guess we have a lot more quarterbacks who aren’t Black enough.”

McNabb, who now works as a commentator on Fox Sports News, was in town to be inducted into the Eagles’ Ring Of Honor. The ceremony will take place tonight during the Eagles/Kansas City Chiefs game.

There are currently nine African Americans taking signals from center in the National Football League, which is the most in league history. Like former Eagles great Randall Cunningham and Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon, McNabb, and his era of signal callers including Daunte Culpepper, Byron Leftwich, David Garrard and Aaron Brooks, made things a little easier for players like Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, Colin Kapernick and E.J. Manuel to shine in a league that sometimes still has problems knowing how to best utilize their skills.

“What you’re seeing with nine African-American quarterbacks that are playing the quarterback position that people are truly looking into having a strong-armed, athletic, intelligent guy at the position who can not only make plays with their arm, but with their legs.”

But while the athleticism of this new breed of African American signal caller gets a lot of the attention, it’s often at the expense of acknowledging their intelligence, McNabb said. The West Coast offense comes from a playbook that could rival any encyclopedia. You have to be more than just a strong arm to master it, he said.

“Stop looking at the outer shell and focus on who the kid really is,” McNabb said. “What’s the difference between an RGIII, a Russell Wilson, a Colin Kaepernick or an Andrew Luck? Is it skin color or is one smarter than the other? I think if you look at the overall big picture of it all, they’re quarterbacks if they’re Black or White. They’re ask to do what quarterbacks are asked to do—protect the football, read the defense, dissect it and be able to get the ball to the open man and win football games.”

McNabb left his mark on the current Eagles squad by convincing former coach Andy Reid to bring current Eagles quarterback Michael Vick in 2009 after Vick was released from jail after serving time for his part in a dog fighting ring. Reid, who will be leading the Kansas City Chiefs into the Linc tonight, eventually followed his signal caller’s advice and gave the former Virginia Tech star a chance for resurgence.

Connecting Vick with the Eagles was about trying to help a friend, said McNabb, who has known Vick since he was a high school student and had tried to recruit him for his alma mater Syracuse.

“Mike and I had that tie together where I felt like bringing a brother in,” McNabb said. “Bringing a friend in to get back on his feet and continue to fulfill a dream.”

McNabb said he’s proud of Vick’s success, especially during these first two weeks of this season.

“I think he’s progressed and matured,” McNabb said. “I think the steps that he’s made is because Chip Kelly challenged him. The team saw the work ethic that he put forth. I think it showed on the football field. What you’re seeing is a guy who is a lot older than the guys on the football field and in the locker room, but he’s willing to do what it takes to win.”

Because Philadelphia was tough on him at times, one might think that McNabb would tell his friend Vick to rent, not buy, while he’s playing for the Eagles.

But as he looks back at his career as an Eagle, and the honor he’ll be receiving tonight, there are no hard feelings, McNabb said.

“I just dismiss it,” he said. “My Mom always told me that if somebody brings your name up, that means they’re thinking about you. It doesn’t affect me. It didn’t affect me when I played. I enjoyed playing here in Philadelphia. To see some of the fans that say they miss when I was playing and still wish that I was out there….”

“There are some people out there that truly respect what I’ve done…”

It’s Time to End Homophobia and Anti-Gay Bigotry in the African-American Community

2 May

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

“Civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, it’s all wrong. Call in the Cavalry to disrupt this perception of freedom gone wild. Goddammit, first one wants freedom, then the whole damned world wants freedom. Nostalgia that’s we want. The good old days when we gave them hell.”-Gil Scott-Heron’s “B” Movie

Jason Collins admission that he is gay has sent shock waves throughout the world of sports.

Jason Collins admission that he is gay has sent shock waves throughout the world of sports.

PHILADELPHIA—Unless you have been living under a rock or didn’t pay your cable or Internet bill this week, you know that NBA player and former Stanford University star Jason Collins used an article in Sports Illustrated magazine to tell the world that he is gay.

The reaction was mixed. On one hand, Collins was applauded for having the courage to come out while he is still an active player.  Considering the macho, often-times homophobic world of male sports, what Collins did took on a lot of significance.

But on the other hand, some believed that Collins would have been better off staying in the closet.

The most visceral of these reactions came from ESPN basketball writer Chris Broussard, who said that people who engage in homosexual behavior are in rebellion against God. To his credit, he mentioned fornicators and adulterers as among who are allegedly against the Almighty.

Then there was comedian Kevin Hart’s comment on Twitter:

“Tim Tebow: ‘I’m a Christian.’  Media: ‘Keep it to yourself.’ Jason Collins:  ‘I’m Gay.’ Media: “This man’s a hero.”  #justsayin.

Hey Kevin and Chris—intolerance and hatred of your fellow human being on the basis of religion is an even worse abomination against God.  Just sayin’.

But the rather judgmental views of Collins’ admission from folks like Broussard and Hart is reflective of a deep homophobia and a curious insensitivity that seems to exist in the African-American community when it comes to the issue of gay rights.

I noticed on various social media sites that most of the negative reaction to Collins has come from African-Americans. I find the hostility to gay rights or someone revealing him or herself as a gay a strange brand of bigotry from a people who should know better due to its history of experiencing hate and intolerance due to difference.

The Black community’s estranged relationship with the idea of homosexuality has its roots in the Christian church as well as the mosque. Folks are quick to tell you that it is an abomination against God and then you receive the requisite scriptural chapters and verses as to why we should frown on those “people.”

Pssst, I’ve got a news flash for ya…:  Folks have used scriptural passages to justify the enslavement of African-Americans, putting Jews in concentration camps for being “Christ killers” and to say interracial marriage among heterosexuals is against God.

Conveniently left out, of course, are those passages that refer to loving thy neighbor as thy self and judge not, lest ye be judged. In my view, the worse type of sin we have in the world today is the sin of the reasons and justifications we find to hate each other—whether it be race, religion, gender or income level.

What’s funny is that we as Black people have often been referred to as “those people.”  For all the things we have been fighting for in terms of our struggle for equality, we now have the nerve to put a “scarlet letter” on another group fighting for their rights. Really?!

In social media parlance, I am SMDH

(That means “shaking my damn head” for those of you who don’t know….)

And when you dehumanize folks as “those people,” you have to come up with your own bizarre stereotypes.

Recently, one of my friends told me that a childhood friend, also an African-American, pulled her daughter out of basketball for fear that her child would become gay, as if it was some kind of disease. They are examples of the kind of homophobia that you sometimes hear in our community.

And today you have the curious habit of guys saying stuff like, “No homo” whenever some guy expresses some sort of agape type affection for another guy to let everybody know that he’s not gay. It’s like, who are trying to convince? Are you really that unsure of your own sexuality?

In what I refer to affectionately as “Black World,” folks are quick to tell you not to compare the Civil Rights and gay rights movements, although the Civil Rights Movement is the inspiration for all the human rights movements of the 1960s.

Some African-Americans will point out the visibility of our skin color as to why this struggle is different. We can’t help that our difference is evident. After all, gay people don’t have tell anyone that they’re gay. They can cover it up. No one has to know.

And there lies the problem. For fear of violence, discrimination, being shunned by friends and family, gays and lesbians have had to cover up who they are. The Gay Rights movement is about  fighting for the right to be accepted for they are, not what society says is normal.

If they are seen in the streets holding their hands of their partners, they’ve often faced violence or the same types of hostile looks that interracial heterosexual couples would get back in the day, especially in the South.

Often times, openly gay people have beaten up and killed. The torture and death of Matthew Shepard in 1998 was eerily similar to that of Emmitt Till in 1955.

The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says that all Americans born here in the U.S. deserve equal protection under the law. That’s all gays have ever asked for and that’s what we as African-Americans have been fighting for as well, the freedom from injustice.

The African-American community and the Gay Community should be allies, not enemies in this struggle.

But even if you can’t see or don’t want to see the parallels between the civil rights experience and gay rights experience, shouldn’t we as African-Americans, for all the things we have gone through, have some empathy and compassion for our gay brothers and sisters, many of whom are our family, friends, and co-workers?

During the Civil Rights movement, folks felt they were marching not just for Black rights, but for the rights of all Americans. Dr. Martin Luther King, in his famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” reminds us that everyone’s rights are important: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

We might want to remember that when the next Jason Collins decides to share his truth.

Y’all Need to Take a Chill: The Rising Tide of Bigotry and Hate

23 Feb

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Sunday Sun

One of my favorite scenes from the Spike Lee movie Do the Right Thing was what I’ll call “the Stereotype Rant”.

During this scene, Lee’s character Mookie went on a rant that featured stereotypes of Italian-Americans, Pino, portrayed by actor John Tuturro, hurled insults at African-Americans, Stevie, a Latino kid (Luis Antonio Ramos) slammed Asians, Officer Long (Rick Aiello), a white police officer, spewed stereotypes of Latinos and Sonny, an Asian store owner (Steve Park), finished the rant by spewing some anti-Semitic bile.

In what can only be described as a true cinematic irony, the voice of reason in this scene was, of all people, Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson, playing the role of DJ Mr. Senior Love Daddy, called for a halt to the invective by yelling, “Hold up, timeout! Y’all take a chill! Ya need to cool that sh—t out and that’s the double truth, Ruth.”

I’ve been feeling a lot like Mr. Senior Love Daddy over the past month due to the latest bouts of bigotry that have hit the national spotlight. From the near constant use of racist stereotypes by the Republican candidates for the presidency and other offices, to the list of homophobic tweets hurled by a prominent national pundit to the stream of racial insults hurled at rising New York Knicks star Jeremy Lin, I think that it’s time for us to take a chill on the stereotypes and racist, sexist and homophobic invective.

If nothing else, the fact that the villains in all of these cases are a multicultural group should tell you that even in a 2012 America presided over by an African American president, we still have a long way to go in terms of creating the Beloved Community that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of.

Since the sports world is where I hang out most often, let’s start there first…and with the most recent.

The rise in the popularity of Lin, point guard for the New York Knicks, has been fun to watch. The Harvard-educated journeyman who had been on two other teams and had spent time in the NBA’s Developmental League before getting his chance to play in the nation’s largest media market, has been an inspiration to all…especially the Asian American community.

But for some, Linsanity has been an excuse for unpacking some pretty heinous Asian-American stereotypes. For writing the headline “A Chink In The Armor”, after a Knicks loss, ESPN fired a copy editor. The network also suspended the SportsCenter anchor who repeated the slur during the evening’s broadcast.

Calling Asian Americans “chinks” is the same as calling an African-American the N-word and it’s just as wrong.

But not to be outdone in the Racial Stereotypes contest, boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., a man not known for his tactfulness under any circumstances, said Lin wouldn’t be getting all this publicity if he were Black and the Knicks MSG Network, the network that broadcasts Lin’s games by the way, that featured a picture of Lin coming out of a fortune cookie.

Now I understand that this is a big adjustment for some of you, having an Asian American in the NBA. I mean Yao Ming just retired a year ago, right? But how about making that adjustment without sticking your foot in your mouth during the process, okay?

But while sports is where the most recent example of our need to express our Inner Racist comes from, it’s not the only, nor it is the most important, place.

Perhaps the loudest noise in the body politic of American bigotry is coming from the candidates vying for the Republican Presidential nomination. If you’re Newt Gingrich, you’re behind in the polls and you’re running in a Southern primary, the one way to get votes from that good ol’ boy NASCAR crowd that’s still pissed off about the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement and having a Black Man in the White House is to conjure up negative stereotypes of Black people on food stamps.

Not only did Gingrich suggest that poor Black kids become janitors and erroneously calling President Obama the greatest “food stamps president in history,” he also verbally smacked down Black conservative pundit Juan Williams who dared to suggest during a debate that stereotyping of African-Americans as the prime recipients of food stamps was offensive.

The next day, a South Carolina woman at a campaign rally walked up to Gingrich and thanked him for putting Williams in his “place.” For Black Southerners and for African-Americans in general, “putting someone in their place” is code for admonishing any Black person who would dare to stand up to a white man.

For all that, Gingrich got a huge ovation from the mostly white crowd in South Carolina at the debate and of course, the former House speaker, who was trailing in the polls prior to the debate, eventually won the primary.

Years ago, the late Alabama Governor George Wallace said that when he ran as a moderate Southern Democrat for governor, he didn’t get elected. But when he started using racist rhetoric, the crowds and the votes multiplied exponentially and he became governor of Alabama. President Lyndon Johnson acknowledged as much when he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and lamented that he had lost the South to the Republicans (and the former Southern Democrats that now run the Republican Party) for decades.

But while the South is where we’ve come to expect such bigotry when it comes to politics or pop culture, it’s not the only place where it’s happening. A couple of Los Angeles shock jocks referred to the late Whitney Houston as a “crack ho” during a conversation about the singer’s recent death and a pundit from Fox suggested that California Congresswoman Maxine Waters “put down the crack pipe” after she referred to Republican House leaders John Boehner and Eric Cantor as demons.

The shock jocks were suspended. The Fox commentator, Eric Bolling, tried to laugh it off…and received no punishment from the network.

Race isn’t where the latest slew of intolerance stops, however. A set of Super Bowl Sunday “Tweets” from CNN pundit Roland Martin set off a firestorm of controversy due to suggestions that any man who lingered over the H&M commercial for David Beckham’s new underwear line and a New England Patriots receiver wearing pink shoes should be beaten. A few days later, a video of a bunch of Black kids beating up a Black gay male in Atlanta was posted on YouTube.

While Martin has since apologized for his remark, and the events are in no way connected, the combination of the set of “Tweets” and the beating were symbolic of the homophobia that exists within the African-American community, something that’s kind of ironic when you consider the history of African Americans in this country.

All the gay community asking is for the same equal protection under the law as any other American citizen. Wasn’t that the principle that African Americans marched for in the 1960s? The gay community and the African-American community should be allies in the fight against bigotry and hatred.

Of course, a lot of my hardcore Christian friends will quote chapter and verse about how homosexuality is frowned upon by God. But hatred for your fellow man is far worse. That this is a violation of the whole “love your neighbor as yourself” policy tends to be overlooked by those practicing bigotry…especially those doing it in the name of God.

I really do pray for the day that the better angels within us will prevail over the tyranny of our prejudices and hatred. I pray for a world that is truly post-racial and post-hatred. The way we can start is just to Stop…

……and that’s the quadruple truth, Ruth.

Special Audio Report: Rollins says more Black Fans Have Come Out to the Ball Park during his time with the Phillies

21 Oct

With the Phillies elimination from the 2011 playoffs, Rollins became a free agent. While Rollins and Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. want to see him back in red pinstripes, there is a big possibility that Rollins may not be back in Philadelphia next year.

During his Oct. 11 press conference, Chris Murray asked Rollins if he felt any personal satisfaction for bringing in a new generation of Black fans whose parents and grandparents refused to root for the Phillies because of the team’s hostile treatment of Jackie Robinson when he broke the color-line with the Brooklyn Dodgers and the organization’s treatment of Dick Allen when he was with the Phillies:

 

Rollins and Blackfans wrap