Tuesday, June 22, 2010

White Students Hang Bananas in Stairwell Called 'The Jungle" and Frequented by Black Students

Two white teens thought it would be funny to hang bananas in the stairwell most often used by black students in their high school. They refer to the stairwell as ‘the jungle.” When asked why, the teen couldn’t explain without resorting to “the blacks call it that too…” In the accompanying video, a white mother chastises the boys saying “it’s not okay to treat people like that.” One boys reaction was, “Well we wouldn’t have said it to people who…” as the mother chastised him some more. I truly wish that the mother would not have interrupted so that we could have heard what type of people would’ve been exempt from this sort of prank.
I get the feeling that the kids really had no idea that it would have caused such a commotion… Therein lies the problem. To them, this is just a prank, a few harmless laughs at the expense of the dignity of their black classmates. Where is the harm in that? The entire incident is actually quite telling; the fact that the area is called ”the jungle,” the fact that no one seemed to see the kids hanging the bananas and thought it needed to be addressed, that a black student was removed from the ensuing confrontation—rather than a white student—and subsequently arrested for assault, the fact that in the video footage, the parking lot has several cars with words like “Let Andrew and Kyle Walk” written on the windows in support of the pranksters who were scheduled to graduate the day following the incident, but feared that disciplinary action might prevent them from taking part in the ceremony.
The school principal decided to suspend the boys for a few days, which would mean that they won’t walk with their classmates at graduation, although they will still receive diplomas. The other boy involved offered as an excuse, “Well, we’re teenagers.” Yes, they are. In a society and media cycle where we are being told time and again that things are changing with this new generation and that race relations are improving because of the current young people, they are teenagers; the hope and promise of a better tomorrow.
Another news report quoted Carel as saying that he still hopes to join his friends at the graduation ceremony, "Walking to my graduation is like once in a lifetime thing, and it just hurts not to be able to walk." Well, Andrew, being the butt of cruel racist jokes should be a never in a lifetime thing and it just hurts not to be able to walk with our heads held high and be considered valuable, viable, worthy and equal.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Impact of Imagery on Racial Preferences and Biases

      This video speaks volumes about the impact of imagery we see daily on our subconscious minds regarding race and bias. It reminds me so much of a story my mother has more than once recounted to me, of my oldest brother in the early 70s when the other two of us were mere infants. It was time to go to church or some other function that called for dress slacks and a button down shirt with a tie. My brother, who as a toddler had learned to dress himself, had properly dressed himself with the exception of the white tube socks with a bold blue stripe that he had donned with his dress shoes.
   Mother praised him for the bulk of his ensemble, then explained that he needed a pair of dark socks, either black or brown, and sent him back to his dresser to retrieve and put on the correct socks. My brother returned with different socks as instructed, but this time they were white with a red stripe. Mother was busy putting the finishing touches on her own outfit, so again, explained his error and sent him back to his room for the correct socks.
   When my brother returned for the third time with white socks, Mother was perplexed. She began to think that perhaps my brother was color-blind or had some other disorder that prevented him from getting the correct socks. She picked up various items —a comb, a lipstick, a scarf, etc.—and asked him to name each item and its color, which he did without problem or error. Mother then asked my brother to point out something brown and something black in the room, and again, he was able to do both.
   Finally, Mother asked him, "If you know what brown looks like and what black looks like, why won't you put on a pair of dark socks?" Without hesitation my brother replied, "I don't like black or brown! They are ugly!" My brother went on to explain that he didn't like black people and he, himself was not black, but white. He had arrived at his disdain for all things black by watching his favorite television show, Starsky & Hutch and noting that all of the "good guys" were white and all of the pimps, thugs, pushers and other sundry "bad guys" were black or brown.
   What makes this incident even more profound is that this was during the whole "black is beautiful" movement and that our parents were both well-educated professionals who sent us to private schools and took us to Fire Island or The Hamptons for the summer. Regardless of what my brother saw and experienced in his world, the imagery from the television permeated his mind and changed his perception regarding race and racial stereotypes.
   I think about that story and then look at what images persist in the media today and sincerely shudder to think about the effect that imagery has on children today of all races. Studies have proven that "the doll test" still garners the same results more than 60 years later of children (both black and white) showing a preference for white dolls. Recent studies show that law enforcement officers are more likely to shoot a black suspect than a white suspect, and recent "conservative" and "real American" commentary shows an alarming and disturbing resurgence of racist speech and imagery in our country. Couple that with the ridiculous songs and music videos by too many African American artists that glorify violence, materialism and ignorance, and it s no wonder that so many people (both black and white) have a generally negative opinion of black people and culture. If they are never exposed to anything else, can you honestly blame them?
   This is where you and I come into play... We know that all things black are not bad nor are all things white wonderful. We know that each person is an individual and that judging someone's abilities, experiences or values based upon their ethnicity is just plain wrong. We all know or have encountered at least one white person in life who was an absolute pain and an annoyance to tolerate. We also each know at least one intelligent, friendly, hard-working, family-oriented, educated, well-spoken black person. When next you are confronted with stereotypical imagery or have the racist views of an ignoramus inflicted upon you, please, please remember that one great person. Or hopefully, remember the several great and non-stereotypical people you know and make sure that your children, friends and relatives know at least one too. Combat the ignorance with whatever you can, but preferrably with love.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Re: The Police Officer Who Punched the Black, Female Teen

The video has gone viral over the past few days across the country. It is difficult for me to watch on more than one level. I am appalled by the disrespectful behavior of the two girls in question and disheartened and saddened by the sight of a grown man in a police uniform punching a teenage girl in the face. I am not condoning her actions, nor do I support his; but I do understand that the officer had to to do something to gain control of the situation.

   More than watching the actual video, I was terribly frightened, saddened, disillusioned and angered by the comments that popped up on various news and blog sites in reaction to the story. Rather than adding my words for you to read, I give you just a few of the words posted in comments. For those who say race relations have improved in this country, you might want to think again. I constantly get so frustrated when people say, "black people always pull the race card." We've talked about stereotypes and biases, and a recent study has shown that police officers are more likely to use force or even shoot an unarmed black person than they are an armed white person. Read a few of the comments and please notice that the mention of race comes from an anti-black perspective rather than an anti-white perspective. It reminds me of the movie, A Time to Kill, when in his summation, the white lawyer asks jurors to imagine a little girl being beaten, raped and dragged and then instructs them: "Now imagine she  is white," and the jurors are moved to tears, as well as an acquittal. Ask yourself honestly, would this have happened if these girls were white? Would it have happened in the same manner? Food for thought, folks.

Random comments from Yahoo News:

FIGURES, 2 black females assault a cop and when he calms one down the only way he could now hes the bad guy. what about charging these women with assault? if they would have acted normally which most black women dont you see in this video how they act and go to Atlanta, Ga you will see the same but if they acted normally and took the ticket none of this would have happened. im SO TIRED of people acting like animals and when the law does something about it everyone wants the cop to lose his job, why not lock up these animals. sorry if this is offensive but i have to call it like i see it.

Cant say the cop was in the wrong because I dont know the situation. Although it was a white cop in what looked to be a black area. And we all know how black people are, when you fight one you fight them all. So i would guess it was a tense situation.

That was one of the best videos Ive seen in a long time. 2 black upity young dummys got what was coming. If it was me, I would have zapped both of them. Then you have old man black boo saying it was excessive force?? He should habe been apologizing for his race acting like a couple of dumb%$#%.

You NIGS and scumbags are defending a piece of thrash that didn't listen to the police officer. She grabbed his arm first and it says so. She should've been arrested for obstruction and assaulting a police officer. Of course it was a BLACK lady. They're worse than black men when it comes to respecting the law or respecting anything for that matter. Of course, the Dems., LIbs and Blacks and all the other IGNORANT groups that have ruined this country are up in arms. I'm glad he punched her in the face. Hopefully, she'll try it again and next time they'll shoot her black @ss. Shoot all blacks now! they're all criminals anyways!

most white people would not have resisted but rather try to talk out of a ticket but black scum always try to start@#$% using the race card. If they cant act like respectable ladies treat them like the scum they are. They want to act like tuff @#$%es they need to be treated that way. They broke the law and resisted arrest in a violent way so tuff @#$% they deserve what they got

the blacks love this stuff. the girl probably did it on purpose to bait the white cop. somebody was sure ready with the camera. You seldom see whites acting like this.

That's what you get when you don't obey the law! and stop acting like you people still live in the jungle.!. and please be more civillized.. so we can all live peaceful in this country..! and it was not a racist thing.

Good for the cop. That @#$% desrerved it. Waaahhh! Another white cop beating a black person. Boo hoo. Those stupid girls deserved it. Why can't they just be quiet and cooperate? Because young black @#$%es are dumb.
Those two young black girls are crying racism huh, and police brutality. Those two young black girls are future democrat voters. Those two black girls are future wards of the state. Those two black girls are contributing to the down fall of our great country. There lives are @#$% and there lives will always be @#$%. It's a mentality most minorities have. It's self destructive.

Planet of the apes part 10 - Ape cop killers

Monday, May 24, 2010

Everything Old Is New Again

I found myself watching an old movie last night and being struck by the fact that much of the dialogue seemed exactly like many of the things we are hearing today from the "Teabaggers" regarding America. The movie was Betrayed, starring Debra Winger and Tom Berenger, from 1988. It is the story of an undercover FBI agent (Winger) sent in to gain the trust of and investigate a suspected white supremacist/militia sect in the Midwest and its leader (Berenger).

Berenger's character and his friends uses phrases like, "our America," "they're taking it all away," and "before they take over..." They lament a lost time when "things were different" and harbor resentment for immigrants and minorities. They teach their children that Affirmative Action is punishing white people and rewarding minorities. They refer to Jews and African-Americans as "dirty" and Arabs as "Abba Dabbas."

In one particularly disturbing scene, Berenger's six-year-old daughter is relieved to no longer have to "keep secrets" from Winger and proudly recites racist propaganda about "dirty rabbis and niggers" to a shocked and horrified Winger. My skin literally crawled as the words effortlessly rolled off of the tongue of a seemingly innocent little girl. In another scene, the family attends a camping weekend with hundreds of white supremacists where the children are taught more hatred, as well as how to use firearms. The targets at which they aim are derogatory, cartoonish depictions of Jewish and African American people.

I felt angry and hurt that children were and are being taught to hate people because of the color of their skin or their religious beliefs. It reminded me of a personal experience at around 12 years old when a girl who was new in my neighborhood and had quickly become my friend, was surprised when invited to my house for dinner and my two brown-skinned brothers sat down at the table. She looked confused and uncomfortable as she asked me, "Who are they?" Upon learning that they were my brothers, she became quiet and silently ate the dinner my mother (who looks much like me) had prepared, then politely asked to be excused from the table and retreated to my bedroom. Once I joined her in my room, she sheepishly asked me, "Are they really your brothers?" before expressing both confusion and disapproval and saying, "but they're black." Upon my confirmation of their and my own blackness she didn't speak another word to me, she simply gathered her belongings and unceremoniously walked downstairs, out the front door, down the street and out of my life. She never again spoke to me. Ever.

Compounding the insult and injury of the movie, the Teabaggers and my recollection of that long-ago-but-still-painful memory is the recent news that a study reveals that today's kindergartner's still exhibit a preference for lighter skin. Watching a video clip where young children exhibit colorism by attributing positive qualities to lighter-skinned children and negative qualities to darker-skinned children simply broke my heart. Hearing a singsong child's voice explain that this other child was ugly, mean or stupid "because he has dark skin" seemed so antiquated and unbelievable. But nonetheless, it is happening in 2010, in America...Not just in rural towns, but in places like New York City and Atlanta.
Video: 'Show me the dumb child'

It stings even more to think that these children are not being overtly "taught" these things. The majority of the children who took part in the studies are not children of white supremacists and militia members who are indoctrinating them with these ideas. No, they are drawing these conclusions and perpetuating racism, colorism and stereotypes simply by observing what goes on around them and in the media. They are picking up on subtle and not-so-subtle social cues that teach them that light is right and dark is bad. Like the old 1970's saying went: "If you're black, get back,  if you're brown, stick around and if you're white, you're alright." It is 40 years later, so these children need not ever know such a saying or such a thought process.

What it all boils down to is simple... Even in 2010, it is not enough to "not teach" hatred and racism to our children; we need to actively teach them tolerance, equality and brotherhood. I sometimes find myself thinking back to that girl who shunned my friendship upon realizing that I was black. I wonder if today her children would be allowed to play with mine. We have to break the cycle.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

If A 'Teabagger' Uses the ' N Word' on Capitol Hill and Nobody Records It, Does It Make A Sound?

    Ah, one of the great unanswered questions of the universe... I am, of course, referring to an incident that took place in Washington, D.C. in March during the contentious health care debates. Representatives John Lewis, AndrĂ© Carson and Emanuel Cleaver (all African American) claim that as they walked from one building to another, passionately protesting 'teabaggers' yelled at them, and rather than keeping the rhetoric to the subject at hand, the protesters hurled 'the N word' at them.

    One of the gentlemen claims he was also spat upon and interestingly enough, video captured from the protest shows a policeman handcuffing an aggressive protester. Footage is being studied to determine if it shows the man actually spitting. Meanwhile, Andrew Brietbart (the web entrepreneur who released the video of ACORN workers counseling actors posing as a pimp and prostitute) claims that the protest was peaceful and that there was absolutely no spitting and nary an 'N word' was uttered by any of the people carrying signs depicting President Obama as Adolph Hitler, a primate or in black face. To up the ante, Brietbart has pledged $100,000 to the United Negro College Fund if anyone provides proof of the epithets, adding, "It didn't happen," despite the fact that he was not there personally. He even continued to say,"This is 2010. Even a racist is media-savvy enough not to yell the N-word."

    Did you catch that? Yes, Brietbart is "offering" $100,000 for any proof that the epithets were actually spewed, but in practically the same breath, he basically told his teabagger compadres to destroy or hide any audio or video evidence that might be in their possession, lest he have to give the UNCF money and help any more 'N words' get an education. After all, isn't the UNCF in some way responsible for the ivy league education that produced President Barack Obama, the bain of the conservative racist movement's existence?

   The other thing that I find appalling about this entire thing is the fact that the word of three black Congressmen—one of whom is a Civil Rights legend—is being questioned. It's not as if they are accusing the teabaggers of arriving in spaceships and commencing to anal probe all black people. It is not an outlandish claim nor is it difficult to believe that a mob of angry, bitter people who blame all of the ills of American society on the lone black man who had the audacity to run for and be elected president, would in a heated moment amid the mob mentality yell "Nigger!" at a black politician, is it?

   It saddens me that we are urged not to believe that this incident happened, yet time after time, a crime is committed and a white face claims "a black man did it" and that claim is believed and all too often avenged before a few hours or days go by and it is proven that it is not the case. For more information on the "a black man did it" phenomenon, Google "Susan Smith," "Ashley Todd" and "Bonnie Sweeten" and then see if you feel a little saddened, angered or otherwise regarding this debacle.

   It has been said that the greatest trick The Devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he does not exist. Okay angry, teabagger, white racist devil— try as you might to pull a Jedi mind trick and convince us of the same, but we know that you do exist and that the N word can and does roll off of your tongue with ease. Here's hoping that just one person who was among you that day in March has a heart and a conscience and comes forward with that video or audio evidence and that when it happens, Brietbart will keep his word.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Jail-Themed Playground in NYC Public Housing & It's Potential Effect on Children

From the files of "we cannot make this stuff up" comes the story about a playground in the Tompkins Houses housing project in Bedford-Stuyvesant (BedStuy) Brooklyn. A picture is truly worth a thousand words, so I give you the photo in all of it's unadulterated shame...

While some will say that it is just an homage to kids playing "Cops & Robbers" as they have done for decades, I wholeheartedly disagree. Number one, kids don't really play that game on playgrounds anymore, and most black parents teach their pre-school aged boys not even make a gun out of their fingers for fear that some over-zealous officer will shoot first and ask questions later citing, "He had a weapon! It looked like a weapon and I was in fear for my life" and beat both the criminal and civil cases.

I live in a suburban area (code for mostly white) and the playgrounds in my neighborhood have jungle gyms (as we used to call them) fashioned after castles, airplanes, cars and even a stagecoach. Naturally, these structures are designed to nurture a child's imagination while they climb, swing and jump or simply turn the steering wheel, spin the propeller, etc. So, it would seem that while little Molly and Jake are inspired to imagine being a princess or a pilot, little Imani and DeShawn are encouraged to imagine being in jail.

It got me thinking about how other toys and games might have a similarly insidious effect on black and hispanic children, so I pondered some of the toys and games from my youth in the 1970s:

The Easy Bake Oven would now be the "Easy Crack Oven." Complete with measuring spoons for just-the-right-cut of baking soda, syringes and even the handy-handle to eliminate those pesky burns on the kids' hands that too often spark annoying visits from CPS/DYFS and cause entire batches to be flushed down toilets or swallowed to avoid mandatory jail time.

Hot Wheels cars will still be known as Hot Wheels, but now come with one tire that is slightly less inflated than the others so it warrants being pulled over repeatedly. Also included is a choice of a bag of incriminating evidence such as drug paraphernalia or a "slim jim" and various warrants for minority children who play with the cars.
CHiPs Action Figures still feature "Ponch" and "Jon," but their uniforms will be updated to include Tasers as well as more durable "billy clubs" for use during prolonged beatdowns of minority men who have been pulled over with the aforementioned Hot Wheels. Collectible packages will also include flashlights and plungers to be used at the officers' discretion to sodomize any innocent-until-proven-guilty suspects they might harass, torment or arrest. 
Slinky toys will continue to walk down stairs alone or in pairs and make a slinkity sound in white neighborhoods. They will, however, be used in lieu of "flexi-cuffs" for use in subduing minority suspects. They can be used to secure hands and feet and also are useful in implementing illegal chokeholds. They are currently being tested for use in sodomizing suspects as well.

Interconnecting LEGO blocks, designed to foster imagination and creativity in future architects and engineers, will be used in the ghetto to inspire young black children to adopt threatening facial expressions and attach guns to their hands. It seems that the only black LEGO character to be found was this one (I never really thought about it as a child, but ALL of our LEGO sets came with yellow people with detachable hair that emulated a "bowl cut" for men and a flip, bob or ponytail for women). Law enforcement officers will study the LEGO figure and carry a copy of a photo of it at all times so that black men will always "fit the description" of one suspect or another.

Finally, the Game of Life will add brown pegs and the game will include technology that allows any cars carrying the brown pegs to bypass college and marriage and head directly to the welfare or unemployment office. After a few lost turns there, brown pieces will proceed to jail where the Game of Life will either end in physical death or the death of their spirit and hope. Any brown pegs released from jail will be doomed to continue playing with Hot Wheels, CHiPS dolls and Slinkys and repeat the incarceration portion of Life as there is plenty of funding for incarceration, but very little for education and rehabilitation.
*Note: Life will also detect when two pink or two blue pegs occupy the same car and detour them away from church and marriage, while allowing them access to education.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Devil Made Pat Do It

By now you’ve seen the video clip, read the text or heard about Pat Robertson’s comments about the devastating earthquake in Haiti and his take on why it happened.

No, “Uncle Pat” is not a seismologist to my knowledge, but he has a theory and was happy to share it with the world. For those who are unaware, here is the text and the video:

And you know, Kristi, something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon the third, or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to The Devil. They said, we will serve you if you will get us free from the French. True story. And so, the devil said, okay it's a deal. And they kicked the French out. You know, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since they have been cursed by one thing after the other.

Mmkay, so all that I really have to say here is that “Uncle Pat” is ca-ra-zy! Well, that’s not nice, and my mother did teach me better than that so suffice to say that Mr. Robertson is citing a supposed 1791 conversation between a group of Haitians, a voodoo priest and The Devil. Robertson goes so far as to say, “True story” to reassure us that he knows whereof he speaks.

After a bit of consternation and pondering the likelihood of this having taken place, I decided to use logic and deductive reasoning to determine Robertson’s sincerity and the accuracy of his words:

  • The supposed pact took place in 1791
  • In order to prove this story true, there would have to have been a witness or witnesses
  • Pat Robertson seems to be in the know about exactly what was said and what transpired
  • Hence, Pat Robertson is either a 219-year-old Haitian, a voodoo priest or The Devil.

I’m putting my money on him being The Devil.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What's Said in Here Does Not Stay in Here: I Hear White People

"A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee…" —Former President Bill Clinton

“Obama is light-skinned” and has “no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."— Senator Harry Reid (D-NV)

These quotes are from a new political book, Game Change. Many people are up in arms about the comments, calling Clinton and Reid racists and demanding that Reid step down as Senate Majority Leader. White women are clutching their pearls while old white Republican males rush to remind people that the Republicans freed the slaves, while black/African American and even a few Negroes feign shock and disgust at the comments.

First off, the only people who could possibly be shocked by comments like these are white people. Yeah, I said it. Let’s face it, any black/African American or even Negro person in America knows that white people (not all, but many) interact quite differently when they are or believe that they are no longer in mixed company. The race jokes abound, white males feel free to mimic the speech patterns and walks of black men they see on television, they might even sing along with an MC Hammer or Will Smith record. If enough alcohol is imbibed and there are no blacks/African Americans or Negroes on the wait staff, they might even try to kick something by 50 Cent, Jay-Z or Kanye. This particular scene is always worth far more than the price of admission.

It reminds me a little bit of an old Eddie Murphy clip from Saturday Night Live that my family affectionately calls “Mr. White.” Murphy undergoes an extreme makeover to appear white and adjusts his speech and mannerisms to go “undercover” in society as a white man. Much to his surprise, he is offered cocktails on a city bus once the minority passengers have exited, a free newspaper at a store and even free money at a bank—all due to the fact that he is white.

While this is a send-up and goes a bit far, the bit does have merit. White people tend to behave differently when in white-only situations, just as black people, Hispanics and everyone else do. It is much the same in the way that I might walk around the house with my hair in rollers amongst family, but I certainly wouldn’t do it in public (I know, plenty of other folks would, but that’s a whole different topic). Many black/African American /Negro people will use a different cadence when in homogenous company, just as many Latinos/Hispanics or other foreign language-speaking people might speak in their native tongues.
As for Mr. Reid’s and Mr. Clinton’s comments, did they lie? Sadly, they did not. Forty, thirty or even twenty years ago—the only thing Barack Obama could have done at the White House was bring coffee, shine a few shoes and smile while saying “Yassir” to every white face in the building. And though no one wants to admit it, if Barack Obama had the complexion of Yaphet Koto, Wesley Snipes or Djimon Hounsou and used “dem, dat, dose and dese” in his regular speech, they wouldn’t even let him shine shoes. America is still quite color conscious, regardless of what people say or would like others to believe. As for the use of the word "Negro," hell I am black/African American/Negro and I use the words interchangeably myself.

I’m unsure of the context in which these comments were made, but I will not purchase the book and add fuel to the fire in order to find out. One can likely pretty accurately assume that Reid’s comment was made in a context of “Hey look, if ever there was a black/African American/Negro candidate for the presidency, Obama is it. He is light-skinned—and hence less ‘threatening’ to most whites than a darker skinned black male. And, to hear him speak, most people wouldn’t perceive him as black/African American/Negro since most white people think all black people sound like the crackheads, gang-bangers, rappers and buffoons they see in television shows and movies…”

As for Clinton’s comment, as a standalone fragment it seems pretty bad. But what if it went something like this: “Wow! Barack Obama is the first black president! It’s hard to believe—I mean, a few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee—unable to be recognized as a viable candidate despite being qualified…” Not quite so condemning now, huh?

The moral of the story is that we no longer live in a country or a time where the media reports the news—now they create, cook and spin it into a ready-made opinion to save you the trouble of forming one of your own. Some modern conveniences like the refrigerator, microwave, washing machine, dishwasher, cell phone, internet and the like are great. But falling into the trap of mainstream media and believing what they want you to believe without digging deeper and finding the truth is in no way convenient. It is actually quite dangerous. The leader of the free world has better things with which to worry himself, so please, check the sources, do some research and handle this type of your stuff for yourself.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

White Writer's Take on Black Black vs. Barack Black, Featuring Jay-Z

I find my fingers striking the keyboard with gale force. I know I shouldn't allow myself to be annoyed or offended by this stuff but nonetheless, I am. In an Esquire magazine piece on Jay-Z, writer Lisa Taddeo

anoints Jay-Z as "the first black-black guy to cross over into Oprah-land and Bill Clintonworld without making the Oprah-sized no-look-back forward flip that means you're selling not necessarily your soul but perhaps something fleshier, a little more external."

She takes it a bit further with the assertion that "Jay-Z is black black. He is old-school double-dark-chocolate-chunk black. He is black the way Labatt is blue. He is not white black, Barack black, like our president. Or the kind of black that doesn't curse and deplores the n-word, the genteel black, like Oprah."

I guess Ms. Taddeo (like most of the world) has yet  to read this blog, hence she is one of what seems to be the majority of white Americans who have been brainwashed by mainstream media to believe that "black black" (real, average, everyday) black people grow up in poverty, sell drugs and own guns; whereas "Barack black" black people who speak proper English, get an education, marry before having children and have good credit and no criminal record are somehow less authentic, less everyday and more of the exception than the rule.

I wholeheartedly concede that neither Oprah Winfrey or Barack Obama are average everyday people. But that has nothing to do with their race and everything to do with their tenacity, business/media savvy and a heaping dose of being in the right place at the right time. Neither Obama nor Winfrey could have achieved what they have 30 years ago—no black American could have.

But where did the writer get the idea that Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey are less than authentic black people? Because they appeal to white people and can conjugate a verb means they are being less than true to themselves? I cringe and become enraged as I revisit the myriad instances when I've been accused of being exactly that for precisely the same reasons. Sadly, not only do misinformed and small-mind white people harbor such beliefs, but also black Americans who either choose to live in  a state of self-pity or have drunk enough Kool-Aid that they actually believe and insist upon living down to the general negative stereotypes.

As my stomach begins to settle and my fingers once again begin typing rather than assaulting the keys, a realization begins to form in my mind, perhaps a partial epiphany. The years of "separate but equal" did all too good a job of not only separating but hiding the black middle class. Those grainy black and white film clips from the 60s and 70s are filled with housing projects, riots, serpentine welfare lines and downtrodden and defeated looking black people. Rarely do they depict the neatly-landscaped yards and clean streets of black middle class neighborhoods where black doctors, lawyers, teachers and the like raised their children.

I digress and suffice to say that this is yet another example of the one-sided story that mainstream media tells regarding African Americans.