15 December, 2006

A memorial service for Sudanese Lost Boy, Majok Thiik Madut

This is such a sad story. Majok Thiik Madut was shot and killed while waiting for a bus on a street corner in Cleveland. Madut was one of The Lost Boys.

In 1987, a civil war drove an estimated twenty thousand young boys from their families and villages in Southern Sudan. Most no more than six or seven years old, they fled to Ethiopia to escape death or induction into slavery and the northern army. They walked a thousand miles through lion and crocodile country, eating mud to stave off thirst and starvation. Wandering for years, half of them died before reaching the Kenyan refugee camp, Kakuma. The survivors of this tragic exodus became known to the world as the “Lost Boys of Sudan.”

Yes, He survived war, wild animals, thirst, and has come thousands of miles from what he knew of home, just to be shot down on a street corner. Some random, senseless horror visited upon someone just trying to find their way in the world.

He made it out of Darfur.

I worry about the people of the Darfur Region.

I wonder what is it that I can do.

I was proud to know that there were young men here in Cleveland making a way for themselves. Having a 'good life', a 'better life'.

Bitter pill knowing that he was less safe in our city than he was in Darfur.

Telling it like it is

OK, here is the synopsis of the story as I currently understand it.

Mom was ill and left her daughter in the care of a Deacon from her church. The
daughter finally let her mother know that the Deacon began molesting
her at the age of seven and continued molesting her for four years. Mom went to
the Pastor. Pastor said let me handle this, and that he'd keep Deacon away from
other children. As time goes by, Mom sees that Pastor has not kept his word so
she goes to the police.

Got that.

Where do I begin?

Well, the Deacon is a piece of crap child rapist. The Pastor is enabling the Deacon by giving him free reign of the church.

But, the Mom is really the most puzzling piece.

Let me try to work this out.

Your baby came to you and told you that she had been violated by someone you trusted and rather than get her to the doctor, call the police, and get her some counseling; you go to the Pastor?!?

Is there a jail under the church? An electric chair?

When you get to Pastor, you buy his song and dance and don't go any further.

You trusted the Pastor to resolve internally within the church what was a criminal issue?

You brushed aside the trauma your daughter had endured for four years in deference to what your Pastor said he would do.

I wonder if she dared to ask if any other children had been molested at the church? I wonder if she even thought she should do anything further? Sought reliable counsel?

It is not until you see that the Deacon can get to other children that you decide you should go to the police about the matter.



Oh, really now. The well-being of your child took a back seat to the reputation of the Church, Pastor and Deacon.

I wonder how long she went back to church after she talked to Pastor.

Did she tithe?

Did she sit and offer her prayers and follow the leadership of this Pastor while looking at her baby EVERYDAY?

How could she still see this man as her spiritual leader?

Did she subject her baby to returning to that church to see her molester every week?

The way I see it, this woman was more concerned for the other children than she was her own.

Why not go straight to the police? She could have dropped by to give Pastor a heads up after the fact, if she thought it appropriate.

What is wrong with our people being brainwashed by these churches?

Where is the public outrage?

I want to know why the African-American community is not protesting at this church the same way they would protest at a school if you substituted Principal and Teacher, for Pastor and Deacon, and if they were white.

No, really. I have to tell it like it is.

You know there would be so much outrage if this were a white molester.

Deacon has been indicted, but what about Pastor?

And what the hell about Mom? Oh, really, I want a minute of her time.

I have something to put on her mind.

Imagine you are that 11 year old child. You have had to process for yourself what is inappropriate behavior from an adult.

You finally get the courage to tell your mother that someone you are supposed to trust really is not a good man.

Imagine being eleven and trying to find words for the unspeakable.

Most of you would not know this so I will share from my personal experience, molesters frighten their victims into silence with several different 'tools', some of the more common: they threaten to hurt the child or someone the child loves, they tell the child that no one will believe them, they convince the child victim that it is happening because of the child's actions, and/or they make the child feel guilty because the child may feel some pleasure at their stimulation and there again blaming the victim.

So, at eleven after enduring four years of abuse you get the courage to tell even though you are terrified that you will be called a liar, blamed, or are afraid that it's your fault. You tell even though you are afraid that he will kill you or someone you love.

Bravo to that baby for, apparently, having more sense than any of the adults around her.

And, after mustering up your courage what happens. Mom goes to church tells Pastor and says it's all taken care of.

But it isn't.

Mom is still at church and Deacon is moving around, business as usual.

Mom did not go to the police for you.

Mom went to the police because Pastor did not do what he said and keep Deacon from the other children.

How many other mothers from that church will talk to their children, girls AND boys, and try to find out if their children have also been molested?

I wish I could talk to that baby the way I wish someone would have talked to me.

I wish I could hug her and reassure her that she did not deserve this. She did not cause this. It is not her fault.

I wish I could make this go away for all young girls.

I wish we lived in a society that valued young African-American girls.

African-American women period.

I wish people would get away from the secretive bullshit that blames the victim for telling.

I wish people did not value the reputations of men and churches above the lives of children.

I wish we lived in a society where we could all just tell it like it is.

I wish we could all speak our truths, even to power, like that eleven year old did.

I wish I could let her know how proud I am of her for having the courage to tell the truth even though she was terrified to do so.

I wish I could let her know that she is an example for others who may be going through the same thing.

I wish I could let her know that by being brave and breaking her silence she will encourage others to do the same.

Lord, bless her for being able to say it. Lord, keep her and always help her find her way.

So, to encourage us all to speak our truth to power, I offer the lyrics to Tracy Chapman's Tell It Like It Is

"Tell It Like It Is"

Say it, say it, say it, tell it like it is
Say it, say it, say it, tell it like it is
What breaks your heart
What keeps you awake at night
What makes you want to breakdown and cry
But say you’ll never turn your back
Say you’ll never harden to the world
Say you’ll never try to still the rhythms in your breast
Say you’ll never look at the evil among us and try to forget
Say you’ll tell it like it is

Say it say it say it so everyone can hear
Say it say it say it tell it like it is
What breaks your heart
What keeps you awake at night
How your anger and grief
Make you want to cry out
And tell it like it is
But say you’ll never close your eyes
Or pretend that it’s a rosy world
Say you’ll never try to paint
What is rotten with a sugarcoat
Say you’ll talk about the horrors you’ve seen and the torment you know
And tell it like it is

Say it say it say it
So no one can forget
Say it say it say it tell it like it is
What breaks your heart
What keeps you awake at night
What makes you want to break the ties that silence and bind
And tell it like it is
Say you’ll never cover your ears and close your mouth
And live in a silent world
Say you’ll only run as far or as fast as you need to be secure
Say that then you’ll tell the truth
When a lie could cross your lips
And tell it like it is

Say it, say it, say it - say it, say it, say it
Say it, say it, say it - say it, say it, say it
Say it, say it, say it - say it, say it, say it
Say it, say it, say it - say it, say it, say it

14 December, 2006

The N-word

I got this article from BlackNews.com. In following the fallout from Michael Richards, of all people, I thought this was interesting. I HATE to be called nigger in any form by ANYONE. It is always an insult, and if I dare utter it, it is meant as an insult. There is no embracing the word for me. I do not allow it used in my home, would not allow my daughter or step-daughter (or any of their friends) to use it. I have always felt that there are plenty of other, more succinct, less incendiary words in the English language. And truth be told, I could give you a few in Spanish and Korean as well...

Introducing The Benedict Arnold List

Inaugural Nominees: John Ridley, Daman Wayans

By. H. Lewis Smith

Los Angeles, CA (BlackNews.com) - H. Lewis Smith, Founder/CEO of United Voices for a Common Cause, Inc. announces UVCC’s Benedict Arnold list as follows:

PURPOSE: No longer is it acceptable to trample upon the memories and honor of those who were tarred and feathered, burnt alive, castrated, hung, boiled alive, sodomized and tortured with hot pokers, disemboweled, unmercifully tortured in countless numbers of other ways, all in the name of the n-word simply because since the victims were considered to be a nigger it was okay to perform such atrocious, despicable acts. And yet as evil and heinous as these acts were there is something that transcends it and that is descendants of these canonized victims taking the word nigger and embracing it with tender loving care and using it endearingly and affectionately among them. How idiotic and moronic can this possibly be?

Acceptance of the usage of the word nigga is not a rejection of its historical image...but indeed a confirmation and condoning...of what it has stood for in the past. Better late than never...but the time has come for a change in the mindset of the African American and to stop buying into this stereotype 300 year old mindset of "I am a nigga".

Therefore let it be known that those who blatantly chooses to disrespect the sovereignty of the African American community, past and present, with usage of the n-word (and yes, it is that serious) shall hereby be considered to be a treasonable act...though a community is not a government...it is intended for the mindset of said community to be raised to that of a respective nature as that of a government in terms of respectability. Know and recognize that the Benedict Arnold list is being created to shine light on those who henceforth will be considered as an enemy and detrimental to the welfare of the African American community. It is in our valued judgment that the mindset of the African American...should not and will no longer...be trampled upon as it has been for the past 300 years. Usage of the n-word is counter-productive to the welfare of the black community and...should not and will not...be taking lightly.

Let it hereby be known that NO blacks are niggers, (niggaz) irrespective of behavior, income, ambition, clothing, ability, morals, or skin color. It is the ultimate expression of white racism and white superiority, irrespective of the way it is pronounced or spelled. It is a linguistic corruption, a corruption of civility.

Nigger is more than just a word it is an image...a created image...that was meant to cripple and zombilize the minds of a race of people. This image portrays black men as lazy, ignorant, and obsessively self-indulgent; as angry, physically strong, animalistic, and prone to wanton violence, as intellectually childlike, physically unattractive, and neglectful of their biological families. A creation whose humanity, identity, heritage and sense of being was taken and replaced with ignorance, dependence, greed, jealousy, false hope, despair, apathy and excuses. And therein lays the danger in the continual self applied usage of this word. Continual usage of this word reinforces a mindset that has been in place for more than three centuries.

Consider the song lyrics of rappers that denigrates women, the promotion of violence and glorification of a gangster image along with their delirious usage of the n-word; evidence of a reinforced psychological intent of this word. The n-word persists because it is used over and over by the people it defames. In the CD Get Rich or Die Trying the n-word is used more than 180 times.

The irony between 1706 and 2006 is that in 1706 it was imbedded into the minds of the slaves...to know their place in society...to look upon their selves as being inferior and to identify with the word nigger by being forced to admit "I am a nigger." Today, 2006 this mindset for the African American of "I am a nigger" still prevails. The only difference is that in 1706 and for three centuries hence it was an institutionalized racist system keeping this word alive and forcing it upon the subjugated to accept same definition. Today, 2006 it is African Americans trying to con other African Americans to stay in that so-called place of being "I am a nigger". Misery loves company and those who do not have the strength or willpower to overcome identification with this word want as many tag-a-longs as possible.

Eligibility Requirements: Consideration to be placed on the Benedict Arnold list is as follows: Blatantly showing by act and deeds a determination to undermine the African American community with a defiant public display and intent to use and promote usage of a word that is disrespectful, dishonorable to the memories of those who suffered physically, mentally and emotionally...the n-word. Refusing to recognize that negative lyrics, scripts, dialog and scenes which enter the human ears and sight has a negative effect on the human mind and in of itself lends to a debilitating, self-defeating image is hereby considered an act of treason to the over all welfare of the African American community.

Qualifiers of the Benedict Arnold list shall henceforth be looked upon as the village idiots of the community. To further clarify the criteria distinguishing who makes the list and who doesn't among the proponents in favor of the word. It is not intended to try and nail everyone to the cross. It's only when someone like a John Ridley or Daman Wayans who publicly...in a defiant, determined and perverse manner supports undermining the Black community by pledging allegiance to the n-word, then and only then will those names be added to the Benedict Arnold list. Listed names can be removed at any time when public actions of these individuals show that they do indeed have the mindset welfare of their community in mind and at heart and that they do understand the nature and the harm that the usage of the n-word possesses.

In accordance with the aforementioned eligibility requirements the following have been found to be eligible to have their names placed on this list and why it is so moved.

John Ridley as result of his verbal public defiance and insistence on referring to African Americans as the n-word and his writing of "Manifesto of Ascendancy of the Modern American Nigger " is hereby placed on the Benedict Arnold list.

Daman Wayans as a result of his verbal public defiance and insistence on referring to African Americans as the n-word and his attempts in trying and still trying, though he has been turned down time and time again to register the name nigga as a trademark to be used as a marketable item for a clothesline and other marketable items, is hereby placed on the Benedict Arnold list.

Stoicism and excuses are not substitutes for self-respect, pride and dignity. Nowhere on the face of the earth--other than the African American--does a race of people let anybody and everybody call them out of their name, and then get indignant about trying to address it. There is nothing chic, cool or...cerebral...about Blacks referring to one another as niggas. Any self-respecting African American should find this practice to be appalling, disturbing and totally unacceptable. Enough of this traditional 300 year old mindset of "Ya suh" master "I am a nigga."

To learn more about United Voices for a Common Cause and to see how Paul Mooney is being recognized in a more positive fashion (he is the first inductee into the RICHARD PRYOR ROOM) please go to www.theunitedvoices.org

H. Lewis Smith

12 December, 2006

President Asks For Input

I have been a bit..confused by this lately. It's a bit late in the day for Dubya to consider what others think.

He did not want opinions when he decided to go to war without the backing of any other nation that did not need their arms twisted.

It wasn't important when he sent Colin Powell to the UN with that pack of lies wrapped up tightly for US consumption. No, really, who else bought it?

But, now, in the waning hours of his presidency, when he finally has to acknowledge that most of the citizens of this nation do not want this war.

Oh, did it take the mid-term elections for him to see the writing on the wall?

Is this just a way of having others to blame when it blows up in our faces?

Funny how Dubya can ask opinions once the tides have changed in D.C.

It's too sad for me to even make fun of it.

May God bless and keep our armed forces.


01 December, 2006

NYPD Shoots Again

Please read this posting, by Angry Black Bitch about the groom shot and killed by New York Police just hours before his wedding.

The sinking sadness in my heart as I listened to the news, and these thoughts are so perfectly expressed.


(Yes, I am an unabashed fan of ABB!)