Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Will the St. Louis Mayoral Race be Divisive?

November 29, 2012   
BH 426

Lewis Reed, president of the city's Board of Aldermen last month announced his candidacy for St. Louis mayor. He is challenging incumbent Francis Slay who is seeking his fourth consecutive term in office.  Slay was first elected in 2001, defeating incumbent Clarence Harmon and was easily re-elected in 2005 and 2009. My question is will next year’s race reflect the bitterness of some of the past struggles for control?
Some analysts believe this could become one of the hottest contested races in recent St. Louis history. Will race and ethnicity be relevant to the determination of who will occupy room 200 in City Hall?

The role of ethnic identity and how it frames the formulation of policies related to education, employment, housing, and public policy should not play a part in the upcoming contest, but it will.

Racism is always beneath the surface of political life in St. Louis and the fact that another African American is today a serious contender for the mayor’s office will undoubtedly bring out many African American politicians and longtime activists citing the legacy of hundreds of years of slavery, racism and oppression.
Some will bring to mind that Mayor Richard Hatcher hosted The National Black Political Convention in Gary, Ind., on March 10-12, 1972. It marked the first major gathering of diverse minds and agendas in Black politics, and inspired countless numbers to participate in the electoral process, and many will make the argument that it is again time for a positive change, while others will stress they will not allow the city’s race-based policies to be put in the spotlight.

Will the voters ask, while taking on the city's toughest challenges, which will be the most passionate about effective government? Will past contests have an influence in 2013?

From the archives of The St. Louis American, let us review some of the city’s most important elections involving and relating to the city as a whole and particularly African Americans.

In the March 17, 1977 edition, Farley Wilson wrote of “The Three-Ring Political Circus Has Race for Mayor in Turmoil”. It referred to Congressman William Clay Sr. entering the race for mayor as a write-in candidate supporting comptroller John Bass after his primary loss to Jim Conway. A peace deal was brokered by the late State Senator J.B. ‘Jet’ Banks.

In the Feb. 2-8, 1989 edition Sharon Green reported that Zaki Baruti and Clifford Wilson persuaded Ron Gregory to withdraw from the mayor’s race to allow Mike Roberts to challenge incumbent mayor Vincent Schoemehl.  This edition also told of the withdrawal of Clifford Wilson from the comptrollers race to allow Virvus Jones to seek the office held by Paul Berra. 

The Jan. 23-29, 1997 edition of The American featured Alvin Reid’s headline ‘Bosley and Harmon Talk-the Talk as campaign heats up’. The story described the tension between the two campaigns and centered some objections by Harmon of Mayor Freeman Bosley, Jr. using the MLK Celebration as a political forum.
Will Slay become the first mayor to be elected to a fourth full four year term? He has the support of County Executive Charlie Dooley and Congressman Lacy Clay.

As an African-American and former member of the aldermanic black caucus, will Reed prevail in the city's predominantly black North Side and recapture the support he held in some white and middle-class wards south St. Louis?

Voters must decide between two men with fairly similar political viewpoints, but different leadership styles and faults.

Whether or not a controversy affects voter turnout will be evident after the election in March.  In the meantime, it only adds to the growing cynicism surrounding political views locally.

The city is facing economic, crime, health and labor problems and it is important that whoever wins, they must come up with an agenda on how to unite the people and face these challenges. I can’t wait for March.
Please listen the Bernie Hayes radio program Monday through Friday at 7am and 4 pm on WGNU-920 AM, or live on the Web @ www.wgnu920am.com.

And please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24.
I can be reached by fax at (314) 837-3369 or e-mail at: berhay@swbell.net.

Be Ever Wonderful!

Hotep!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Tuskegee, Alabama! What a Great City!

October 25, 2012
BH 425

I hope this column presents an absorbing, yet a disturbing and timely glimpse into the history of African Americans in and around Tuskegee, Alabama.

Tuskegee was the name of a tribal town of the Creek Indians. It was also the name of at least two Indian tribes, one living in central Alabama and the other in Tennessee.

In the early part of the past century, Tuskegee was a city where whites passed laws that segregated, divested and disfranchised African-Americans. Laws that were enforced with violence and terror.

Nevertheless the city produced and established a momentous measure of pioneering achievement in American history, and a defining role in the growth of the country.

Our African American ancestors have suffered many unfortunate events such as The Tuskegee Experiment, where   between 1932 and 1972, the U.S. Public Health Service conducted an experiment on 399 black men in the late stages of syphilis. These men, for the most part uneducated sharecroppers from one of the poorest counties in Alabama, were never told what disease they were suffering from or of its seriousness. They were told that they were being treated for “bad blood.”

By the end of the experiment, 28 of the men had died directly of syphilis, 100 were dead of related complications, 40 of their wives had been infected, and 19 of their children had been born with congenital syphilis. The Tuskegee Experiment shows the impact of government propaganda and lies.  Its impact lingers on society in general, and its influence on African American culture both in years past and today creating doubt as to who can be trusted.

Despite the discovery of penicillin in the 1940s and the civil rights movement that engulfed the Tuskegee area, and in the face of debates over questions of morality of this research raised in the 1950s, the study continued until 1972.

Tuskegee has been an important site in various stages of African American history. It is where, in 1881, Dr. Booker T. Washington, one of the foremost African-American leaders of the late 19th and early 20th centuries founded what is now Tuskegee University.

As a young man in 1872, Booker T. left home and walked 500 miles to Hampton Normal Agricultural Institute in Virginia. Along the way he took odd jobs to support himself. He convinced administrators to let him attend the school and took a job as a janitor to help pay his tuition.

In 1896 Dr. Washington invited Dr. George Washington Carver to head its Agriculture Department. Carver taught there for 47 years.

Dr. George Washington Carver, developed techniques to improve soils depleted by repeated plantings of cotton, and became legendary for researching and experimenting with new uses for peanuts, sweet potatoes, soybeans, pecans, and other crops.

Carver headed Tuskegee’s agriculture department, and conducted most of his research at Tuskegee from 1896 until his death in 1943.

He once said “how far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong because someday in your life you will have been all of these."

Many contributions of Black Americans from in and around Tuskegee have influenced our culture, enriched our society with their achievements, and shaped the history of the United States, such as, The Tuskegee Airmen.

Tuskegee is where nearly 1,000 Black military aviators were trained at a remote compound near the city of Tuskegee, and at Tuskegee Institute. As a result of this “Tuskegee Experiment” 450 Black fighter pilots were trained under the command of Col. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.

Their squadrons flew more than 15,000 raids on 1,500 missions and shot down 112 German aircrafts. Together, they earned one Legion of Merit, one Silver Star, several Distinguished Unit Citations, 96 Distinguished Flying Crosses, many Purple Heart medals, 14 Bronze Stars and 744 Air Medals. They fought for a country that classified them as second class citizens, or at times, denied they were citizens. They fought to prepare a new generation to live in a diverse, free world.

In 2007, as a group they received a Congressional Gold Medal for their service during World War II. Like many all-black units, their excellence was not officially recognized until years later.
We often hear that we are all equal, but action speaks louder than words, particularly when a white person’s death is referred to as a tragedy, while the death of a black person is a statistic.

From the book The History of Black Achievement in America, it states ‘against all odds, American blacks have created great art and science. They have fought heroically in every American war. Against all odds, black men and women have worked endlessly to secure their own freedom and equality. The untold Story of blacks in America is a 350-year saga of incredible achievements. This is that story.’

Dr. Carver gave us another quote saying “since new developments are the products of a creative mind, we must therefore stimulate and encourage that type of mind in every way possible’.

Please listen the Bernie Hayes radio program Monday through Friday at 7am and 4 pm on WGNU-920 AM, or live on the Web @ www.wgnu920am.com.

And please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24.

I can be reached by fax at (314) 837-3369 or e-mail at: berhay@swbell.net.
Be Ever Wonderful!
Hotep!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dr. Woodson's Nightmare


BH 424
September 27, 2012

Recently on my daily radio program I noted that three of the seven African American students in the media classes that I teach at Webster University were disruptive and inattentive. While four are brilliant, attentive and anxious to learn, these three are completely opposite. One of the troubling episodes we discussed on the program occurred on a day that it was announced in the daily newspaper that another predominantly black school district will probably lose state accreditation.

This is disturbing because of the long term implications not only for the students, but for their families, the region as well as the impact on local and national politics, for uniformed students are usually not forward-looking about how their actions will influence their future and perhaps yours and mine.

I have many times in my columns used quotes from Dr. Carter G. Woodsons’1933 publication “The Miseducation of the Negro”, but what is even more profound and intricately more informative is the introduction in the book.

A portion read: ‘The most imperative and crucial element in Woodson's concept of mis-education hinged on the education system's failure to present authentic Negro History in schools and the bitter knowledge that there was a scarcity of literature available for such a purpose, because most history books gave little or no space to the black man's presence in America.

Some of them contained casual references to Negroes but these generally depicted them in menial, subordinate roles, more or less sub-human. Such books stressed their good fortune at having been exposed, through slavery, to the higher or white man's civilization. There were included derogatory statements relating to the primitive, heathenish quality of the African background, but nothing denoting skills, abilities, contributions or potential in the image of the Blacks, in Africa or America.

Woodson considered this state of affairs deplorable, an American tragedy, dooming the Negro to a brain-washed acceptance of the inferior role assigned to him by the dominant race, and absorbed by him through his schooling’.

The youths of the race were Woodson's particular concern because he recognized that it was with, the boys and girls that Mis-education began, later crystallizing into deep-seated insecurities, intra-racial cleavages, and interracial antagonisms. All of these factors have been discussed over and over in the immediate past, by historians, sociologists, psychiatrists, and laymen, but Dr. Woodson, and a pitifully small number of others, had pointed the way a full generation earlier.

What is frightening to me is that I am certain the three students I mentioned earlier will have no desire for self improvement, to help others, or even to register to vote or participate in the electoral process. Their minds, their future and their votes will be wasted. And that is a critical problem. In the forthcoming elections, every vote counts. 

From the Web Page “Your Vote Counts” it verify ‘voting in any type of election, from local elections to Presidential primaries, provides an important way to voice your opinions regarding elected leaders and overall policies; voting also helps you decide your own future by electing a person who might reflect your own views. The ability to vote exists as one of the most cherished Constitutional Rights that many fought for, marched for, and died for over the centuries.’

Could these three students make a difference in the November elections? Would their votes support the candidate that will help them survive? How and when will they be convinced that education is the key to their survival, and their opportunity to fulfill their dreams and ambitions?

I am convinced Mitt Romney was referring to them and maybe their parents when he stated “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what these are people who pay no income tax. My job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

I do not know what high school my students graduated from but I think they are from one of the unaccredited institutions that I mentioned earlier. 

In 1935 W.E.B.DuBois wrote: ‘ race prejudice in the United States today is such that most Negroes cannot receive proper education in white institutions. Many public school systems in the North where Negroes are admitted and tolerated but they are not educated, they are crucified.

These three young people did not have to endure what Dr. Dubois described, but somehow their conditions are worse. They do not appear to have a dream or a vision of success. Are they spoiled or misguided?

The four who are studying, conscientious and dutiful may look forward to an industrious and creative life with many monetary rewards. The three that I focused on I am sad to say, I am not so sure.

I hope all of my students will have a productive future and I hope they will get involved in the electoral process and register to vote, and personally I hope if they do not vote for Mr. Obama, they will cast a vote against Mr. Romney. It’s my personal opinion and desire.

I sincerely hope the inattentive three will stop wasting my time, their time and their parents’ money and become the great leaders they are able to become.

Please listen the Bernie Hayes radio program Monday through Friday at 7am and 4 pm on WGNU-920 AM, or live on the Web @ www.wgnu920am.com.

And please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24.

I can be reached by fax at (314) 837-3369 or e-mail at: berhay@swbell.net.

Be Ever Wonderful!

Resurrecting Community Pride

August 23, 2012
BH 423  

During the modern day civil rights movement African Americans were proud and energized. We encouraged our family and friends to pick up trash while walking in their neighborhood.  We were also asked to report any suspicious activity along their route, sidewalk problems that would affect pedestrians, missing or damaged street signs, pot holes in streets, and any other issues that made our streets unsafe and unattractive.

We were full of pride.

We were especially uplifted walking or driving on streets, boulevards and avenues that reflected the names of our heroes and heroines. It was a movement that produced a new black cultural identity and were strutted black and proud.  After 1968 we were particularly pleased with thoroughfares bearing the name of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

But that was then.

It is hard to believe that on April 4, 2012, forty-four years after Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis, the city finally dedicated a street named in his honor.

More than 900 U.S. cities have streets named after King. The largest concentration is in the South, led by Georgia which, according to an article by Derek H. Alderman of East Carolina University in the New Georgia Encyclopedia, has more than 70 roads named after the Atlanta native. History is often bound up in street names and when the majority of these dedications were made the streets and neighborhoods had a vision of perpetual care with immaculate interest. But what happened? How did the dream of honoring the civil rights idol deteriorate? What happened to the pride of honoring Dr. King? How did these places in so many communities decline to conditions that have become the foundation of jokes and disrespect?

The comedian Chris Rock famously advised, 'If a friend calls you on the telephone and says they're lost on Martin Luther King Boulevard and they want to know what they should do, the best response is ‘Run!’. Is that funny or pathetic?

One magazine defined streets named for the martyr as: ‘A street in every major American city, commonly inhabited with large amounts of unemployed African Americans. In most cities among the top ten streets involved in gang shootings, drug busts, car thefts, and older white women and blacks of all ages’. How dismal is that?

But there is a movement to restore the streets and roads bearing Dr. King’s name. It is called ‘Beloved Streets of America’.

Headed locally by Melvin White, Kawana Williams and Barry Jarmon, the organizations missions is “bound by a united vision, Beloved Streets of America fosters collaboration among individuals, groups, and organizations and generates resources to revitalize and conserve streets bearing the honorable name of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”.

White said ‘we envision a future wherein every street within the United States of America bearing the name of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is vibrant, beautiful, and prosperous.”.

Melvin White in a guest column in the American wrote : ‘A fight in the parking lot on 3100 MLK ends in the shooting of a 17-year-old boy in Cleveland, Ohio. Police in Oakland, CA are looking for suspects as shots were fired in the 2900 block of MLK; one person wounded and taken to the hospital. In Milwaukee, WI, at the corner of MLK and North Avenue, a victim, 28, is killed in apparent robbery attempt'.

These are so familiar stories of violence and poverty that echo across St. Louis and across America. Another familiar story is that these crimes all happened on streets named after our hero, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Why is it that a legendary figure like Dr. King is associated with so many crime-ridden, poverty-stricken areas that plague our nation? This is not fitting for a man who devoted his life to uplifting people and building community partnerships

Beloved Streets of America is out to change the perception of these MLK streets from being unsafe and dilapidated to beautiful and prosperous.

Beloved streets of America is a St. Louis-based non-profit organization that fosters collaborations among individuals, groups and organizations and generates resources to revitalize and conserve streets bearing the honorable name of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It is sponsoring Race to Revitalize: The National MLK Street Initiative. We aim to bring investors back to the community, start educational programs for youth, promote safety on the streets, bring culture back to these neighborhoods, create jobs, educate about the importance of green technology and more.

That’s why August 25 is so important. That’s when the inaugural MLK Legacy Walk will take place. We will meet at the St. Charles Rock Road Metrolink station at 8 a.m. this Saturday. The intention of the event is to bring city, county and all races together to bring these streets and King’s legacy the respect and honor they deserve. Help support this very important National movement. Let us all join the race!’

There is hope and perhaps again when we venture in any city or village or town that has a road, street or any path bearing the name MLK or Martin Luther King, we will feel good and swell up with glee and delight.

Let’s make it happen.

Please listen the Bernie Hayes radio program Monday through Friday at 7am and 4 pm on WGNU-920 AM, or live on the Web @ www.wgnu920am.com.

And please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24.

I can be reached by fax at (314) 837-3369 or e-mail at: berhay@swbell.net.

Be Ever Wonderful!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Pride or Shame?


July 19, 20112
BH 422

Recently there has been a lot of discussion with reference to a six year old child rapper from Florida named Albert Roundtree, Jr. who is featured in a sexually explicit video called “Booty Pop”.  The video recording portrays the youngster as a pimp surrounded by scantily clad females shaking their buttocks in Albert’s face.

It is depressing and heartbreaking that many problems in our community that I and other journalists and bloggers continually write about do not go away and often the crisis does not get any better. Who would think that as much dialogue and debate the public has held relating to   indecent and lewd videos that someone would have the audacity to exploit a six year old child and turn him into a porn star? Is this artistry or could it be considered child abuse?

Rap music has been at the center of the controversy, and while some argue First Amendment rights, artistic license and music reflecting the reality of life, others argue crass commercialism by "artists" and the music industry, and a total disregard for social responsibility. At a Senate hearing on "The Social Impact of Music Violence" the late Dr. C. Delores Tucker, founder and chair of the National Political Congress of Black Women stated "no corporation should be allowed to exist if engaged in activities that contaminates, poisons and infects the minds of children".

The website Helpguide.org   indicates child abuse as more than bruises and broken bones. While physical abuse might be the most visible, other types of abuse, such as emotional abuse and neglect, also leave deep, lasting scars. The earlier abused children get help, the greater chance they have to heal and break the cycle rather than perpetuating it. By learning about common signs of abuse and what you can do to intervene, you can make a huge difference in a child’s life.

I have brought his matter to our attention many times before. A few years ago in this column I asked has mass media such as rap music videos and so-called gangsta’ movies eroded our ideas of privacy and dignity in a way that makes self-respect more difficult to attain? Are students today more at risk because of self-destructive behavior, such as promiscuous sexual expression, drug use and violence?

A review of child welfare research by The American Psychological Association suggests that children of color and their families experience poorer outcomes and receive fewer services than their Caucasian counterparts.

Pediatricians with a specialty in adolescent medicine are keenly aware of how crucial music is to a teen’s identity and how it helps them define important social and sub-cultural boundaries. One study found that teens listened to music an average of 40 hours per week. I would assume six year olds would listen to nearly as much.

During the past four decades rap lyrics have elicited the greatest concern, as they compound the environment in which some young people increasingly are confronted with pregnancy, drug use, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and other sexually transmitted diseases, injuries, homicide and suicide although proponents of free expression through the arts, maintain it is certainly not clear that this type of presentation of violence and sex leads to risky or copy cat behavior.

But there is hope. What do we know of little Albert’s parents or guardians? Are they aware of the consequences of their actions? Do they the history and struggle our people? Do they care? Is this exploitation or an expression of their child’s talent?

African American fourth graders with higher levels of racial and ethnic pride were found also to have higher academic achievement measured by reading and math grades in school and standardized tests, says the Penn State researcher who led the study.

Dr. Emilie Phillips Smith, associate professor of human development and family studies, says, "Parental racial and ethnic pride was also related to children's achievement in the study. In addition, children, whose teachers exhibited higher levels of racial-ethnic trust and perceived fewer barriers due to race and ethnicity, showed more trust and optimism. Children living in communities with higher proportions of college-educated residents also exhibited more positive racial-ethnic attitudes."

Do you have an opinion? Will little Albert grow up to emulate the denigrating behavior of Snoop Dogg, Lil Wayne and T-Streets?  Might he appear in their videos such as “Money-Cars –Clothes and Hoes” or in a film with Serious Pimp and Kush Kingdom? Or maybe he wants to be in Kokanes’ video ‘U Hear Me”.

Or will his role model be President Barack Obama, or maybe attorney general Eric Holder, or Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King or the man who was known as Malcolm X? Does he or other young black innocent youths have a chance? Please express your opinion.

Please listen the Bernie Hayes radio program Monday through Friday at 7am and 4 pm on WGNU-920 AM, or live on the Web @ www.wgnu920am.com.

And please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24.

I can be reached by fax at (314) 837-3369 or e-mail at: berhay@swbell.net.

Be Ever Wonderful!

Hotep!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Respect for Mr. Obama!

June 21, 2012  
BH 421

The late Rodney King asked the question ‘can’t we all just get along’? It’s a great question, especially in this season of political unrest.

As the Romney and Obama campaigns advance, lies and defamatory material continue to spill from the Mitt Romney camp and infiltrate the campaign in order to gain attention of the electorate and discredit the president.

Mr. Obama recently opened his ‘African American’s For Obama’ campaign offices and released his operations first national radio spot targeting African Americans. The advertisement features the sung refrain, “We’ve got your back. Mr. President, we’ve got your back.” An Obama campaign official said that the campaign has gone up with ads on urban radio stations on matters such as Obama’s jobs plan, but that the new round of ads is the first specifically focused on African Americans, and within moments, the hate mongers and his enemies pounced on the president and his campaign.

Immediately the dirty tricks, the unethical, duplicitous and slanderous fabrications began oozing from the Fox Television Network and right wing radio and television talk show hosts. As you must know, in my opinion, the Republican Party, and Mitt Romney in particular, manufacture irrelevant, cruel and incorrect rumors or outright falsehoods designed to damage or destroy the president and his re-election efforts. The Republican parties’ negative ads used against Mr. Obama contribute to voter cynicism and apathy and are manipulative.

The Human Rights Education Association tells us “Freedom of expression is a cornerstone of democratic rights and freedoms. In its very first session in 1946, before any human rights declarations or treaties had been adopted, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 59(I) stating "Freedom of information is a fundamental human right and  the touchstone of all the freedoms to which the United Nations is consecrated."

Freedom of expression is essential in enabling democracy to work and public participation in decision-making. Citizens cannot exercise their right to vote effectively or take part in public decision-making if they do not have free access to information and ideas and are not able to express their views freely. Freedom of expression is thus not only important for individual dignity but also to participation, accountability and democracy. Violations of freedom of expression often go hand in hand with other violations, in particular the right to freedom of association and assembly.

And the ACLU declared “Freedom of speech, of the press, of association, of assembly and petition; this set of guarantees, protected by the First Amendment, comprises what we refer to as freedom of expression. The Supreme Court has written that this freedom is "the matrix, the indispensable condition of nearly every other form of freedom." Without it, other fundamental rights like the right to vote, would wither and die.” But does this give Romney, the Republican Party and antagonists of the president license to deliberately lie?

And how can anyone justify repeatedly disrespecting the President of the United States?
The St. Louis American and other news outlets reported that President Obama was interrupted by a reporter shouting questions during his statement on immigration policy changes in the White House Rose Garden , and  Barbara Espinosa, radio host of Arizona’s “Hair on Fire” called President Barack Obama the nation’s “first monkey president” live on the air.

It’s no secret that Mitt Romney’s campaign team has been making an effort to reach out to black voters but does Romney actually thinks he is able to turn African Americans against President Obama?

His latest attempt at reaching African American voters is the hiring of Tara Wall, a former newscaster, Republican National Committee senior adviser, George W. Bush appointee, and conservative columnist and deputy editorial page editor for the Washington Times. She was hired recently as a senior communications adviser to the Mitt Romney campaign to handle outreach to African Americans.

Romney also recently visited a poor black eighborhood to hear the concerns of local educators and community leaders in the streets of West Philadelphia but dozens of neighborhood residents shouted, “Get out, Romney, get out!”

The president’s radio ad emphasize “now, it’s time to move forward and finish what we started together. We have to show the president we have his back.”The spot also includes clips of Obama pledging to voters on the campaign trail not to cut back on health insurance for the poor or elderly or on programs such as Head Start to pay for upper-income tax cuts.
Do we have the president’s back?

Please listen the Bernie Hayes radio program Monday through Friday at 7am and 4 pm on WGNU-920 AM, or live on the Web at www.wgnu920am.com.

And please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24.

I can be reached by fax at (314) 837-3369 or e-mail at:  HYPERLINK "mailto:berhay@swbell.net" berhay@swbell.net.

Be Ever Wonderful!

Hotep!

Monday, May 21, 2012

The President!

May 24, 2012  
BH 420

I have been troubled by the recent debate because President Obama made his public announcement of his approval for same-sex marriage. Should it have created feelings of alienation or social isolation? Even though Obama's endorsement of gay marriage has placed some black pastors in an awkward position perhaps they should adopt a policy of “don’t ask-don’t tell” in the black church and end the argument. 

Some Black voters and many black churches have long opposed gay marriage but they must realize that same sex marriage is not the issue, but marriage rights are the issue. As I discussed with Bob Law recently, African Americans must understand that it is alright to disagree with the president on certain issues, and yet support him.

A disturbing matter for me is some African Americans will say ‘the president is taking us for granted’. Don’t you understand we must be taken for granted? Romney takes white people and the Tea Party for granted.
It is distressing that president Obama will be criticized if he supports Black people and black agendas other than speaking at the NAACP and Urban League dinners and conventions. If he created a program designed specifically for the African American community, he will be accused of ‘playing the race card’, although Mitt Romney, Herman Cain and others opposing Mr. Obama inject some form of racism in their every word and action. It is a race thing and we should be truthful and honest. Why handicap the president?

‘Racial and Ethnic Identity and Development’ by Alicia Fedelina Ch├ívez, Florence Guido-DiBrito state: Individuals often must filter ethnic identity through negative treatment and media messages received from others because of their race and ethnicity. These messages make it clear that people with minority status have a different ethnic make-up and one that is less than desirable within mainstream society.

Ebonya Washington noted white Republicans and Democrats are less likely to vote for their parties' candidate when she or he is Black, so who is really playing the race card?

Do you recall the president’s speech about race on March 18, 2008? He said “unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction – towards a better future for our children and our grandchildren.

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton’s Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I’ve gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world’s poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slave-owners – an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.”

It's time for black Americans to set aside our differences and prioritize our goals and agendas, and support the president. Mr. Obama will understand. Do you think Romney cares about you?

Please listen the Bernie Hayes radio program Monday through Friday at 7am and 4 pm on WGNU-920 AM, or live on the Web @ www.wgnu920am.com.

And please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24.

I can be reached by fax at (314) 837-3369 or e-mail at: berhay@swbell.net.

Be Ever Wonderful!
Hotep!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Silent Tom-Justice Clarence Thomas!

April 19, 2012
BH 419

Critics of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas fault the court's most conservative member for not asking a single question of lawyers over the last few years. Timothy R. Johnson, a professor of political science at the University of Minnesota noted that in the past 40 years, no other justice has gone an entire term, much less six, without speaking at least once during oral arguments before the Supreme Court. What does this say about the only Negro member of this esteemed body? Do we expect too much of Mr. Thomas because his skin is dark?

The question has been asked if Clarence Thomas should disqualify himself from any ruling on the Affordable Care Act because of his wife’s work as a conservative activist and lobbyist, where she explicitly fought for the repeal of “Obamacare.”

In my opinion, he has forgotten his roots and wavered in his belief that government governs best when closest to the people. Has not been at the forefront of civil rights issues, and he is not known for his colorful floor speeches and legal expertise. He is not recognized for his effectiveness, his knowledge or his hard work.

Because he has consistently voted against human rights and civil rights, a New York Times editorial called him the “cruelest” justice on the court. In five major cases involving civil rights and liberties, he voted against minorities every time, including rulings against job discrimination and voting rights. He’s only 63 years old and could conceivably spend another many more years on the Supreme Court.

Only time will tell how he will vote on the health care issue, although everyone is sure, but his silence before his peers on the High Court reminds me of Ralph Ellison’s book, ‘Invisible Man’.
A synopsis of Ralph Ellison’s book ‘Invisible Man’ state: In the beginning of the novel, the Invisible Man reflects back to his roots and what has come to define him over the years. This is the first mention of him as a traitor in society and he takes it in with many questions. As the book begins, the Invisible Man does not understand what is so 'wrong' about being the white man's favorite until he realizes at the end, that he has given up things in himself to just attempt to get to that point. At the close of the novel, the Invisible Man recognizes that by not being true to his heritage, race, and himself he is being a traitor and appeasing to the white men who had appeared to want something from him, when in reality they were only looking for their own personal gain.

"What is a traitor, Brother?" I asked, feeling an angry amusement as I counted on my fingers. "He was a man and a Negro; a man and a brother; a man and a traitor, as you say; then he was a dead man, and alive or dead he was a jam-full of contradictions. So full that he attracted half of Harlem to come out and stand in the sun in answer to our call. So what is a traitor?"

In the July 13, 2000 issue of the American, I wrote: I have not written much about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas because he is berated and scolded quite sufficiently in the African-American press and the community at large. I haven’t thought it necessary until now. I actually was silent because I remember in 1979-81, when he was a Legislative assistant to Missouri Senator John Danforth, Justice Thomas was a regular guest on my radio talk show on KATZ-AM.

I was proud to know the man who went on to become the Chairman of the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission. He used to call me regularly to give the community reports on the good things that he was doing in Washington for the citizens of Missouri and the nation. During his controversial Senate hearing for his Supreme Court nomination I became a little suspicious during the Anita Hill fiasco, but still sympathetic at what he described as a public lynching.

Since those times I have been repeatedly disappointed with his actions and decisions. His stand on affirmative action was what I thought was the last straw. I was wrong. Justice Clarence Thomas had the opportunity to stay the execution of Texas inmate Gary Graham, also known as Shaka Sankofa. His one vote could have saved the life of Graham for a few days, perhaps months or who knows. With another trial or hearing, maybe Graham would have been exonerated. It’s too late now. The vote was 5 to 4 against and Justice Thomas was one of the dissenters. I think I have said enough. What do you think?

And what about the Troy Anthony Davis case when the attorneys for Troy Davis filed an emergency appeal for a stay of execution at the Supreme Court at the 11th hour the entire world watched with baited breath for hours until we learned the fate of Mr. Davis in a case that has dominated the headlines.
Just after 10:20pm, the announcement came. The Supreme Court had denied a stay which could have saved Mr. Davis' life and the official Court order was just one sentence "The application for stay of execution of sentence of death presented to Justice Thomas and by him referred to the Court is denied."

On June 22, 2009 in an 8-1 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Justice Clarence Thomas cast the lone vote against a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. In his dissent, Thomas seemed to argue that the Voting Rights Act is no longer necessary because the explicit racial segregation of the Jim Crow era is gone. Thomas wrote. ''The violence, intimidation and subterfuge that led Congress to pass Section 5 and this court to uphold it no longer remain.''

I wonder if Justice Thomas has an opinion on the Voter ID controversy. I am certain that he has, and I know what it is. I think I have said enough about the silent and invisible Clarence Thomas.
Please listen the Bernie Hayes radio program Monday through Friday at 7am and 4 pm on WGNU-920 AM, or live on the Web @ www.wgnu920am.com.

And please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24.

I can be reached by fax at (314) 837-3369 or e-mail at: berhay@swbell.net.

Be Ever Wonderful!
Hotep!

Have Black Conservatives infiltrated progressive Black liberal Organizations?

March 22, 2012
BH 418

With the general elections approaching in November, the race for the presidency will be most volatile, in part because of the number of so called Black Conservatives in the mix in an attempt to defeat President Obama. The infiltration has already begun with right wing voices coming from some of the most unforeseen and unanticipated places, including some traditional and long established black organizations, unions and societies.

The reason some of the most vocal African American Republicans give is “we are the party of Lincoln”. But they make me wonder if they mean Abraham Lincoln or George Lincoln Rockwell, the founder of the American Nazi party. George Lincoln Rockwell was one of the most significant extremist strategists and ideologists of the postwar period and his strategy is unmistakable a guidebook for some members of the Tea Party, The Republican party, a number of black newspaper columnists and some Black radio talk show hosts.

Black Republicans lately have reminded us that Frederick Douglas and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were Republicans, as well as Booker T. Washington, and Zora Neale Hurston, but they fail to mention that Dr. King campaigned and demonstrated with others to get the 1964 and 1965 Civil Rights legislation signed by a Democratic administration.

I realize and understand everyone has a right to belong to and support any political party they choose, but I was astonished at the almost hate dialogue and in some occasions downright blatant deceptions, falsehoods and dishonesty they publish on the National Black Republican Association website. And let us not overlook the explosive and fiery rhetoric espoused by Lloyd Marcus of the Tea Party, and elected officials like Florida Rep. Allen West, former Oklahoma Rep. J.C. Watts, Herman Cain and Florida's Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll.

A few of the stories from the National Black Republican Association home page are: “The True Unemployment Rate:36 %” by John Hayward; “$5 Trillion and Change-Obama’s four years have seen the highest deficits since 1946”; ‘The Fairness Fraud’ by Thomas Sowell, and “Obama’s Racial Politics” by Walter E. Williams. There are really too many to print here, but please check them out yourself. Some you will find disgusting.

Also on the site you will find: ‘The GOP-The Key to American Prosperity’ and an article by Chidike Okeem titled “Barack Obama and the Betrayal of Black America.’ The website stress “To defeat Barack Obama and the Democrat Party, we Republicans must accomplish this one very important goal – win just 25% of the black vote. That's it. Win 25% of the black vote and we'll beat the Democrats and put an end to Obama's job killing agenda FOREVER.”

Deborah Toler in 1993 wrote in The Public Eye: “the majority of African Americans, Black conservatives generally oppose affirmative action and government minority business set-aside programs, oppose minimum wage laws and rent control laws, oppose any increase in social welfare spending, and oppose vigorous enforcement of voting rights and desegregation regulations. Black conservatives favor the death penalty, privatization of government services, deregulation of business, and voucher systems for public housing and for education.”

Little has changed in eighteen years, and it is important that you keep your eyes on the prize. Don’t let your enemies infiltrate The A. Phillip Randolph Institute, National Black United Front, Blacks In Government, National alliance of Postal and Federal Employees, The Black Women’s Forum, The Black Women’s Network, Africare, Inc., National Black United Fund, One Hundred Black Men, Associated Black Charities, Association of Black Psychologists, Association of Black Sociologists and others who are working for our survival.

We must support organizations like The Organization for Black Struggle, United African People’s Organization, Better Family Life, Inc., PATOY (Paying Attention To Our Youth) , Nation of Islam, Congressional Black Caucus, !00 Black Men, 100 Black Women, Ladies of Distinction, the Urban League, the NAACP, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, African American Historical and Genealogical Society and others that have shown their love and concern for our community. It is not a joke anymore. The suppression of voting rights is already on the battlefield. It is later than you think.

Please listen the Bernie Hayes radio program Monday through Friday at 7am and 4 pm on WGNU-920 AM, or live on the Web @ www.wgnu920am.com.

And please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24.

I can be reached by fax at (314) 837-3369 or e-mail at: berhay@swbell.net.

Be Ever Wonderful!
Hotep!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Third American Revolution

February 23, 2012
BH 417

In my column of July 2010 I asked “are the black radio and television stations today forward-thinking and positive? Black media outlets can provide valuable input and should be realistic, operational, inspirational, motivational, informative, and even emotional, and should be reassessed on a regular basis by the public that it serves.”

After an assessment I am regretful to say that nothing has changed. And the emergence and resurgence of hate radio and right-wing show hosts such as Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, who has tirelessly worked to undermine the accomplishments of the Obama administrations, will continue to play a crucial role in the way white Americans perceive African-Americans.

As a result of the overwhelming media focus on crime, drug use, gang violence, and other forms of anti-social behavior among African-Americans, right wing and mass media have fostered a distorted and malicious public perception of African-Americans and Black radio is doing nothing to correct these images.

The Bush administration plunged us into the worst economic crisis in the history of the United States yet the right wing’s flawed understandings of the Constitution and how its foundational values should be applied is relentless in their attacks on President Obama and the Black radio stations are sitting idly by and continue to amuse.

In 1963 Martin Luther King Jr wrote from the Birmingham Jail: I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” so how can Black radio stations continue to entertain and not be a voice for transformation?

The Right has perfected the habit of giving unto themselves the title of being the “only true patriots”. And having done so they embark on carrying out attacks on Black People and the president with an air of impunity from law and accepted norms of human rights, while we boogie and tell jokes.

Black people must agree to increase the pressure on hate radio mongers as well as our leaders, elected representatives, government officials and broadcasters to take clear stands on the issue of fairness and truth. Black radio station owners and personalities too needs to be told in no uncertain terms that it has to give up its growing weakness for good times and become a vehicle for positive change.

We need independent, full-service radio outlets, offering news and formats that incorporate thought-provoking talk and music programming, and recognize and address the needs of the communities and families they serve.

We need a nationwide outreach campaign, with leaders who are concerned about the truths that still influence life in Black America and understand that race has become an institutional part of American society.

We need announcers and talk show hosts that understand that we must find opportunities and provide for African-Americans in the areas of education, science, engineering, and the arts. The accomplishments of African-Americans should be at the forefront of popular culture in America’s battle for racial equality and our media outlets should reflect the history of African-Americans struggle against oppression and discrimination. The media have played a key role in perpetuating the effects of this historical oppression and in contributing to our continuing status as second-class citizens, and it is time for a change.

We must make our media outlets accountable. We must strengthen diversity among the leadership of our community with meaningful programming, digital formats, news and information services, to reach millions of listeners around the country. It is not about having fun anymore. It is a matter of survival.

Please listen the Bernie Hayes radio program Monday through Friday at 7am and 4 pm on WGNU-920 AM, or live on the Web @ www.wgnu920am.com.

And please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24.

I can be reached by fax at (314) 837-3369 or e-mail at: berhay@swbell.net.

Be Ever Wonderful!

Hotep!

Monday, January 16, 2012

My People, My People!

BH 416
January 19, 2012

How do you define African American culture? According to Wikipedia, African-American culture, also known as black culture, in the United States refers to the cultural contributions of African Americans to culture of the United States, either as part of or distinct from American culture. The distinct identity of African-American culture is rooted in the historical experience of the African-American people, including the Middle Passage. The culture is both distinct and enormously influential to American culture as a whole.

Are you proud of your culture? Many sociologists allege humans are born without culture. For virtually anyone, culture begins with the family and continues through other social agents such as school, peer groups and mass media. This lesson follows the general process by which people develop their personalities and learn about the world around them, a process referred to as "socialization."

Socialization is the lifelong process by which people develop their personalities and learn about their culture. For virtually everyone, that process begins within the family, during the earliest days of life.

In my previous column I investigated the idea of Buying Black. Am I foolish, silly, and idiotic? The wealth gap between white and African-American families more than quadrupled from 1984 to 2007. Financial assets, excluding home equity, among white families grew from a median value of $22,000 to $100,000, while African-Americans had a median wealth of $5,000. The data indicate black consumers pay more than whites for accessing credit. My question is why are some of our African American youth spending $180 on gym shoes?

Most of us have long recognized the importance of peer relations in the lives of young people and Dr. Carter G. Woodson wrote in his book The Mis-education of the Negro, ‘when you control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his actions’.

I am sure you are aware that not too many days ago, across the country, the release of the Nike Retro Air Jordan basketball shoes resulted in fights, arrests, and the use of pepper spray No one anticipated the hysteria around the original Air Jordan, which spawned a subculture of collectors willing to wait hours to buy the latest pair. But the shopping frenzy over the shoe had died down in recent years.

In Seattle, Tukwila police officer Mike Murphy said more than 1,000 people lined up to buy shoes at 4 a.m. at four stores in the Westfield South center mall.

He said police used pepper spray on about 20 people who were fighting, while one man was arrested for assault after police say he pushed an officer.

These latest incidents instead seem to be part of trend of increasing acts of violence at retailers this past holiday shopping season, as police tried to calm frenzied shoppers all wanting and willing to pay more than one hundred dollars for a pair of shoes.

And don’t forget the controversy surrounding one of the most profitable and wealthiest companies on the planet. Nike was investigated for how it has exploited workers in Asia for financial gain after moving the majority of its production so far away from its headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon.

We live in the world's wealthiest nation. Yet 13 percent of people living in the United States live in poverty. Nearly one in four children lives in households that struggle to put food on the table. That's 16.7 million children. I wonder how many are wearing Nike.

Cornell and Washington University researchers report the great majority of African Americans experience poverty during adulthood. Their findings show that nine out of every 10 black Americans, or 91 percent, who reach the age of 75 spend at least one of their adult years in poverty.

Of the several thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of the Black people who bought the Air Jordon shoes or were involved in the incidents, I wonder how much did they donate to the homeless or to hungry people, or to charitable organizations such as The New Life Evangelistic Center, The Salvation Army, or The United Way, and how many are receiving benefits from the government or state, or local charitable organizations and agencies? How many is suffering from a debilitating illness?

Dr. Carter G. Woodson said, “If the Negro in the ghetto must eternally be fed by the hand that pushes him into the ghetto, he will never become strong enough to get out of the ghetto”. He wrote “it may be well to repeat here the saying that old men talk of what they have done, young men of what they are doing, and fools of what they expect to do. The Negro race has a rather large share of the last mentioned class.” I bet most of them are wearing Nike Retro’s. Is it cultural?

Please listen the Bernie Hayes radio program Monday through Friday at 7am and 4 pm on WGNU-920 AM, or live on the Web @ www.wgnu920am.com.

And please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24.

I can be reached by fax at (314) 837-3369 or e-mail at: berhay@swbell.net.

Be Ever Wonderful!

Hotep!

Every Friday Should Be Black Friday in the African American Community!

BH 415

In recent weeks on my radio program several guests have recommend that people of African Ancestry buy from businesses owned by people who look like them, or should I say look like us?
Bob Law proposes people of color should not but from companies or stores that do not employ Black people. He said if radio stations, TV stations and social media targeting the Black community supported this idea it would help not only Black businesses but the Black consumer as well.

Total spending over the four-day weekend following Thanksgiving 2011 reached a record $52.4 billion, up 16% from $45 billion last year, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. It is a busy shopping day and is a holiday in some states. How many of those dollars were yours?

The State of the African-American Consumer Report found that black buying power is projected to reach $1.1 trillion by 2015. The study, which focuses on black spending, media habits and consumer trends, reported an increase in the amount of blacks attending college or earning a degree to 44 percent for men and 53 percent for women. It also found an increase in the number of African American households earning $75,000 or higher by almost 64 percent. My question is who benefits?

According to Target Market, a company that tracks Black consumer spending, African Americans spend a significant amount of their income on depreciable products, and among the favorite purchases are cars and liquor.

We must realize also that there are many different communities of Black folks in America. We have separate and distinct religions and dissimilar ways of life. While many are Christians, numerous are practicing Muslims, Bahia and other organized beliefs and worships.

We are also separated by social customs and health practices. There is a great number of Blacks from African countries, the West Indies, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Jamaica. However the largest parts are the descendants of slaves. Should we expect them to feel the same about buying Black? Should they celebrate Christmas and Kwanzaa? Will you?

According to a Chicago Book Essay report, “Too often, companies don’t realize the inherent differences of our community, are not aware of the market size impact and have not optimized efforts to develop messages beyond those that coincide with Black History Month,” said Cloves Campbell.

Dr. Maulana Karenga, the creator of Kwanzaa was also a guest recently on my radio program. He reminds us that Kwanzaa is a weeklong celebration held in the United States honoring universal African American Heritage and culture, observed from December 26 to January 1 each year. It was first celebrated in 1966–1967.

Karenga said his goal was to "give Blacks an alternative to the existing holiday and give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and history, rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society.
Well, you now have an alternative, either to buy Christmas gifts, Kwanzaa gifts or both. But where will those profits be in January? Whose businesses will prosper and whose neighborhoods will benefit from your dollars? Will your children have a meaningful celebration? It is just a question.

Please listen the Bernie Hayes radio program Monday through Friday at 7am and 4 pm on WGNU-920 AM, or live on the Web @ www.wgnu920am.com.

And please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24.

I can be reached by fax at (314) 837-3369 or e-mail at: berhay@swbell.net.

Be Ever Wonderful!

Hotep!