Monday, July 28, 2008

Quotes for the Week (28JUL-01AUG2008)

"The successful revolutionary is a statesman, the unsuccessful one a criminal."
----Erich Fromm ("Escape From Freedom" 1941- Book on how totalitarianism exploits loneliness, which is freedom's downside.)

"Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness...If any one will not work, let him not eat."
---- Paul, in his second letter to the Thessalonians

"Well, Chilern, whar dar is so much racket dar must be something out o'kilter. I tink dat twixt de n****rs of de souf and de women at de Norf all a talkin' bout rights, de white men will be in a fix pretty soon"
---- Sojourner Truth (at the Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio-1851)

"All we ask is to be let alone."
---- Jefferson Davis (Inaugural Address to the First Confederate Congress-Feb 18, 1861)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Feline War On Pests Continues

From the Desk of the Colonel
From: Colonel Beauregard Sterling Lovell

Fellow Felines And Our Pet Humans:

I come today with grave news. After taking a policy of containment in our War on Pests, things have once again taken a turn for the worse. We have already waged a great offensive over the last year, having eliminated the majority of the enemy flea insurgents, we felt confident in the containment of other likely terrorist entities.

Unfortunately, last week saw a resurgence of this terrorist group. Intelligence has concluded that radical teachings of the "reproduction against repression" variety have been taught to young underlings who found themselves subservient to the messages of the terrorist flea masters, hidden deep within hidden realms of the Feline Territory. With mass proliferation of these insurgents to all sectors, Mookist Brigades were taken by surprise while out on holiday leave. No casualties were reported on our side, but all leaves have been cancelled, and battlestations manned on full alert until further notice.

On Wednesday 23JUN2008 at 2130HRS, I, Colonel Beauregard Sterling Lovell, have submitted myself to alternate self-waterboarding, complete with full submersion and chemical bathing. While harsh on my system and psyche, I have committed myself to this harsh anti-terrorist tactic in an effort to flush out the extreme radical leadership. A second mission has been tentatively scheduled for a time TBA this upcoming weekend. We will also be looking to follow up with a Hartz UltraGuard Collar system with organophosphates (an anti-scouting internalized bio-weapons agent), along with potential use of high tech Advantage chemical weapons ordinances.

We know you all are looking to my leadership and the efforts of my army, to see if reinstituionalized tactics will be successful in quickly subduing terrorist activities entirely. We promise, upon success of our mission, we will quickly disseminate our plans for anti-insurgency throughout the feline world, to rapidly deploy forces and eradicate our world of the evil which infests our everyday lives.

Please keep us in your prayers, as we take the fight to the enemy. Upon success, our forces will be drawn down to the most minimal numbers, as we are a peaceful species, content in our lives of luxury supported by our pet humans in peace and tranquility.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Why Do Kids Cuss (and then cover it up)?

Lately, I have noticed a problem amongst my two sons and the neighbor kids.
One neighbor kid, a girl of about 12, I don't even know how to approach the subject, because honestly, I don't think her parents care.
The other neighbor kid, a year older than my 9 year old, seems to repeatedly drop the swear words. Last week, I caught him swearing while out playing with my boys in the yard. He of course wouldn't cop to it, and my son, Josh tried not to rat out his friend. I can appreciate loyalty to one's friend, but not at the cost of lying to me over something so meaningless. I mean, in its sense of meaningless, that it isn't a matter of life or death importance.
Now, them being the only white boys amongst a group of hispanics and a couple of girls, I knew that it was one of the two of them.
I asked one simple question: "Were one of the two of you swearing?" This seems to be a pretty cut and dry "yes or no" type of question. At least to me. Josh looks at me, shrugs his shoulders and states, "I didn't say it." This may be true, but it fails to answer the question as to IF one of them had cussed. The neighbor kid, Ryan, tried to deny it, but Josh, under pressure, broke down and gave me the truth.
Both boys received the soap in the mouth treatment from Ryan's mom. Ryan for cussing, and Josh for lying about it.
Fast forward to today. Those two, and my youngest are inside our apartment playing and running around a bit like boys do so often. And then suddenly I hear the words "holy s---" come from the back bedroom. When called out, noone was talking. I got from Ryan that he "heard" the words "holy shOOt". Okay, I'm old, I'm half deaf. But do they really think I've gone stupid?
Since noone would talk, Ryan was sent home, Josh to his bed for a nap. As Ryan left he felt compelled to tell me that Corwyn (my 4 1/2 year old) had been dropping the f-bomb. After he left, I asked Corwyn, who admitted to cussing.
Now, honestly, I know us adults aren't entirely innocent here. We cuss from time to time, and Ryan's parents I think do it even more so than my wife and I do. But guilty is guilty, regardless of whether the kids are within earshot or not.
When I grew up, my parents cussed. Especially when I was really young, but I think that was a direct result of the havoc I wreaked upon my parents. And yet, I still didn't even begin cussing much at all until I was close to the teenage years. And nowadays, I hear pre-teens, and single-digit aged kids dropping cuss words left and right as though its as normal as asking someone how things are going. I guess I just don't get it. And I'm not even sure how to deal with the cussing by my kids, let alone other people's kids who are out in the yard playing with my kids. We live in an apartment building in a section of town that is almost exclusively apartments, so we get kids of all walks of life coming through, and they all play together.
A lot of the foreigners, seem to be the most adept and most "fine with" the kids cussing, but it pervades all spectrums. We live in a lower socio-economic environment, but it just seems to me that isn't a valid reason to let it go.
I am contemplating keeping my kids separate from playing with the neighbors, but is that really teaching them anything?

I just truly wonder what it is that I can do to cut down on the rather offensive language. I can't always be cut in dry in everyday life, as it isn't PC, and yet I'm supposed to accept this foul-mouthed language? And what about the lying to cover it up?
I would appreciate any help I can get on this one, to help nip it in the bud as fast as possible before it grows beyond my ability to control it.
What's a young father to do??

Here is a semi-related article by Chuck Norris:

Jesse Jackson (on an off-air mic before "Fox & Friends") and Whoopi Goldberg (and another host on "The View") have raised the cultural language debate to a new level: Who has the right to say the N-word? Their answer: Blacks can, but whites can't. Unfortunately, this derogatory debate has degraded into Don Imus on steroids.

I agree with a lot that Whoopi had to say about the imbalances between the races. But I disagree with her for going off on an intentional N-word marathon, which was bleeped out repeatedly in order to demonstrate her point. There's a reason her diatribe was bleeped and our society still veils our full expression of the N-word: because it still is regarded by most as derogatory and demeaning. (Even among blacks, the N-word obviously can be defamatory, as Jesse Jackson proved when he used it in the same breath he used to describe how he would like to cut off Barack Obama's genitalia.)

This is more than a race issue and far more than a debate over freedom of speech. When will we learn that just because we can say something doesn't mean that we should? Once again, we're confusing liberty for licentiousness. It is a classic example of what happens when a society leaves its moral absolutes: Everything becomes culturally relative, with each deciding what's right in his own eyes. Language is one more infected arena in America's societal degradation.

Think about it. What word is nasty or unwholesome anymore? There are no "bad words." Words once considered evil are now terms of endearment. There's the B-word, the D-word, the A-word, the F-word, etc. Even bleeps are mere blips on America's moral radar screens. When ministers use G-- d--- in their sermons and moral activists threaten to cut off a presidential candidate's genitals and call him the N-word, can't we see the signs that we're heading in the wrong direction? We have become desensitized to everything, from profanity to pornography.

Today's America is certainly not the one in which I grew up during the '40s and '50s. Profanity of any sort was wrong back then and frowned upon by most in private or public use. Today profanity has become a positive form of expression, with studies even showing that it releases stress and boosts morale at the workplace!

I genuinely believe we can do better. I believe we must do better. We need to leave a better legacy of decency, civility and respect for future generations. I believe we need to give them our best, and our best must be more than justifying the use of derogatory language based upon cultural or racial relativity or even freedom of speech. If we're going to reverse negative trends among our youth, it's going to begin with us establishing a better model for them of how we treat and speak about others.

Whoopi proposed that we must find a "new way to move forward." I propose that that new way is not new at all, but an old way that has been discarded and forgotten. It is a way that simultaneously addresses equality, respect and decency. It is a way that was promoted by America's Founders and eventually resulted in increased unity and civility across the land. And it is also a way that I devote an entire chapter to in my upcoming book, "Black Belt Patriotism." The chapter's titled "Reclaim the value of human life." Here's a little of what I say in it:

"The Founders believed equality would give legs to freedom. As John Adams said, 'We should begin by setting conscience free. When all men of all religions … shall enjoy equal liberty, property, and an equal chance for honors and power … we may expect that improvements will be made in the human character and the state of society.'

"The Founders knew that America was not perfect. Slavery, in particular, troubled the consciences of many of them. … Nevertheless, our Founders believed there was something inherent in humanity that called it to a higher purpose. For all the shortcomings of early American society, the remedy was always there -- expressed in the founding documents of our nation. The Declaration of Independence set America's course. Though we have sometimes drifted from its highest principles, all Americans have ever had to do was steer by its compass to acknowledge or rediscover the inherent equality of slaves, women, the poor, Indians, and the unborn. All were -- and are -- children of God, endowed by their creator with 'certain unalienable rights.' …

"The Founders could not immediately abolish slavery. It was too entrenched in the economy of the South, but the Declaration eroded its foundations in a way that made its end inevitable. That 'all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights' is one of the most powerful principles ever enunciated in the history of politics."

And that power can be unleashed again to help us in our day. The sooner we get back to our Founders' words, our country's original calling, the sooner we will start treating one another (red, yellow, black and white) as our Founders' prescribed and the sooner we will get beyond these slanderous debates about language and humanity. It's time to grow up, America -- to move beyond the arguments of yesteryear. You're older than 200 now. It's time to act your age.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Quotes for the Week (21Jun-25Jun)

"To those who call yourselves men of peace, I say: You are not safe unless you have men of action by your side"

"Laws, properly enacted, should define the issue of all cases as far as possible, and leave as little as possible to the discretion of judges..."

"The world's great men have not commonly been great scholars, nor its great scholars great men."
----Oliver Wendell Holmes

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Apparently I'm a Republican?

So yesterday I get the mail (well tehnically I grabbed it this morning, but it was yesterday's delivery). In it I receive 2 letters from the John McCain campaign. One let's me know that they have enclosed a John McCain bumper sticker just for me.
The other let's me know I have a registered survey enclosed. A resoundingly unenthusiastic "Yay!" from me.

We'll address the bumper sticker issue first. Even if I find myself supporting and voting for McCain, do I really want to slap this bumper sticker on my car. My car isn't anything special (A Buick Regal), yet somehow... You ever notice that the cars with al the bumper stickers are generally pieces of crap? And that maybe the bumper stickers are hiding body damage and/or holding pieces of the car together?... yeah, so do I really want to cheapen my car with a bumper sticker that likely will never be peeled off, and for as long as I own the car, I'll be sporting a McCain '08 sticker? I think I'll go slap it on someone else's car. In a metropolitan area of roughly 400,000 total residents, I'm sure I can find someone who needs a freebie job to hold their car together.

Onto the survey letter. Not only do I get a survey to fill out, but I get a special letter from the chair of the Republican Party's "Victory 2008" Committee, Carly Fiorina (you might remember her as the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard).

She goes on to explainthat my registered survey is one of a select few being mailed by the Republican National Committee in my area. Apparently my input is valued because of my "high level of political involvement and steadfast commitment to the Republican Party."

Let's get one thing straight. This blog and a few offhand remarks to people around me (oh, and my future faux Presidential aspirations, I almost forgot about that) is the extent of my political involvement. As for my steadfast commitment to the Republican, I vote for some Democrats, and as of the midterm elections in 2006, my vote didn't count because I wasn't "on their list of registered voters", despite showing them my voter registration, a million or so forms of identification, and had no status changes since voting in 2004. Oh, did I mention that I am not, and have never been registered as a Republican??? I just love their assumptions. I guess signing up for the Conservative Book Club, the NRA, and Human Events Publishing, that makes me a proxy-Republican?
As she ends her little letter, with the standard solicitation of money toward the campaign coffers, she assures me (because I really need such assurance about these things) that the "dedication of outstanding Republicans like you is certain to help our Party...blah blah blah"
(Again..Republicans like me??? Where DO they get this kind of information??)
Naturaly, since the postage is paid, I'll fill out the survey, since MY opinion is so darn important for them to understand voters in my area (primarily democratic county, as most urban areas are). But the question is, do I send them a little extra note asking them where I can find out how I became a Republican wthout registering? Maybe they stamped a "R" on my butt when I was born, and I just haven't seen it as of yet...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Quotes for the Week (14JUL-18JUL,2008)

"Security is the mother of danger and the grandmother of destruction"
---Thomas Fuller

"A stumble may prevent a fall"
---Thomas Fuller

"When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic"
--- Benjamin Franklin (from Poor Richard's Almanac)

"Such seems to be the disposition of man, that whatever makes a distinction produces rivalry."
--- Dr Samuel Johnson

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Du Bois vs. Washington

Du Bois vs. Washington
Old Lessons Black People Have Not Learned
By Ellis Washington
Part 1

We claim for ourselves every single right that belongs to a free American, political, civil and social, and until we get these rights we will never cease to protest and assail the ears of America.
-- W.E.B. Du Bois

The wisest among my race understand that the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremist folly, and that progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather than of artificial forcing.
-- Booker T. Washington

W. E. B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington were the two dominant Black leaders of American history during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Both men had the same goals--eradicating racism, segregation, and discrimination against their race. However, the means to achieve such ends were vastly different, thus the paradox of these Promethean figures have been revisited 100 years later as Black people seek to grapple with their ideas even in the midst of a 40-year, largely self-inflicted genocide.

As America crossed into the twenty-first century, race relations between Blacks and Whites are steadily deteriorating. How could this be? After all, we have had over 35 years of civil rights laws passed by Congress including the Voting Rights Act of 1964, 1968, the Civil Rights Act of 1965, as well as federal law mandating affirmative action programs. These programs have in part helped create the viable Black middle class we have today. Why then, in the midst of the greatest increase of Black affluence in American history, has poverty and crime exploded to such an extent in our major cities that sociologists have coined a new term to describe the intractable Black poor?--"the Underclass".

Before we attempt to answer this question, people should ask the question: How should Blacks have responded to White racism, segregation, discrimination suffered by them in the early twentieth century? And upon which philosophy should Black people have relied to help them overcome these problems? The conventional wisdom espoused by the Black elite of the liberal left would have you believe that the civil rights movement grew out of a philosophical war between Du Bois and Washington.

These two men whose diametrically opposing strategies, sought to help Blacks receive equal treatment under the law. To Black liberals, Du Bois's philosophy was said to have prevailed over Washington's as being a more feasible and effective way to combat racism. It must be noted however, that Du Bois's philosophy was born and developed not in the minds of Blacks, but by White liberals of the academy (mostly Jewish) and systematically fashioned to comply with a cultural relativist mind set then dominating most academic disciplines at that time.

The grass-roots people who are imperative to any social movement, had little to do with the origins of the modern civil rights movement. As we shall later see, this fissure between the Black elite and the common people would prove to be a devastating mistake that severely impeded the socio-economic progress of Black people in America, even until this present time.

The dichotomy between Du Bois and Washington would be that of expediency versus patience; political protest verses self-help; overt activism in the streets verses the quiet assiduousness of personal and moral development in the home; seeking redress of rights in the courts of America for better jobs, schools and educational opportunities versus seeking knowledge in the libraries of America and creating our own jobs, schools, and educational opportunities; forcing Whites to accept us as equals verses showing Whites that we can first treat each other as equals. Such were (and presently are) the choices Black America must choose.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, by choosing Du Bois (the seemingly easy choice; requiring less personal capital) Black people entered a Faustian bargain with the devil which has led them down the road of frustration and pathology. Ninety years after Du Bois and other Whites founded the NAACP in 1909, Blacks are still paying for the sins of their forefathers by following the leadership of Du Bois over that of Washington.

The civil rights movement, with its well-known lineage of civil rights groups--National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) (founded by Martin Luther King, Jr.), Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Black Urban League, et al.--enthusiastically embraced the Du Bois model of activism, overt protest, and redress of civil rights violations in the courts.

Has this strategy proved most beneficial to Blacks? What have Black people gained after fifty years of civil rights activism? What have Black people lost from the time wasted marching in the streets and litigating in the courts? How much further socially, politically, economically, intellectually, spiritually, would Blacks have gotten had they marched, shouted, and protested less and studied, self-examined, and self-denied more? Wouldn't the short-term symbolic victories achieved by the NAACP, Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X be eclipsed by the growing of their own institutional structures over the long-term? The true substantive benefits achieved of, by and through your own efforts could not be later taken away by legislative fiat. This is the exact dilemma of government dependency Black people are witnessing today regarding affirmative action and welfare benefits. Our leaders are not telling their people--what the government giveth, the government can taketh away.

Today, the name of Booker T. Washington, where it is even mentioned at all, is venerated only by two groups of African Americans: conservative Blacks (i.e., Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell, Justice Clarence Thomas, et al.,) and Black Nationalists (i.e., Louis Farrakan and his "Nation of Islam"). Afrocentrist, Molefi Asante, one of the few leftist crediting Washington's positive influence stated: "I'm not one of those people who is down on Washington," he continues, "I remind you that Washington was a hero for Marcus Garvey."

Unfortunately, Booker T. Washington today is viewed as miscarriage of history by the mainstream liberal civil rights groups and Black scholars. He is summarily dismissed and disdained as a caricature figure--a buffoon, not respected as a serious Black leader. Historian Alphonso Pinkney views him as a traitor and "collaborator"; for Martin Kilson, he is a "client or puppet figure." Washington biographer, Louis Harlan is contemptuous and severely critical of his subject, while Du Bois's mythical status is preserved in a recent book by biographer, David Levering.

Why does Washington receive such acrimony by Black historians while his contemporary, Du Bois, is raised to legendary status? One reason for this biased assessment is that the majority of the so-called "Black elite" (i.e., the civil rights leaders, politicians, ministers, teachers, professors, lawyers, et al.,) are generally, philosophically egalitarian and politically liberal. Du Bois, who was one of the founding members of one of the first civil rights group-- the NAACP, mirrored the intellectual assumptions of contemporary Black liberals, which as we shall later see, are thoroughly rooted in a philosophy of cultural relativism.

1895 was a notable year for both men. While Du Bois was the first Black person to receive a graduate degree from Harvard, Washington was delineating his vision of race relations at the Atlanta Exposition in Georgia. Whites from the North and South received Washington's words on racial reconciliation with fortes of ovations, as the press noted that White audiences had not been so moved by a Black orator since the great speeches of Frederick Douglass a generation earlier.

And never in American history, in over three centuries, had a Black man attracted such public admiration from White Southerners. Although born a slave, Booker T. Washington triumphed against an overwhelming set of circumstances to become one of the great Black educators, speakers and university builders in American history. Perhaps even more amazing is that Washington was of such high moral character as to not have any hatred or animosity toward Whites. Neither did he manifest any psychological debilitation from suffering what had to be a traumatic childhood as a slave. One of the many maxims Washington followed was that, "It is a hard matter to convert an individual by abusing him." He believed that racial reconciliation could only be gained through compromise and finding common ground even among the most radical White segregationists in the South. Washington further stated in his Atlanta speech:

The wisest among my race understand that the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremist folly, and that progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather than of artificial forcing.

Washington's approach to combating White racism was sublime in its simplicity. His starting point was always with the individual: to improve the moral character, personal development and intellectual enhancement of the victims of racism, instead of concentrating on White racism. By focusing the attention away from a negative (White racism) to a positive (Black personal improvement) his philosophy of self-help through industrial education, personal discipline, hard work, would foster racial unity as Blacks, working with each other in their self-contained, racially segregated environments, improved their own lot in life apart from any help from Whites and the federal government. This he found to be the most feasible and comprehensive way to end racism. Washington states further:

The Negro should not be deprived by unfair means of the franchise, but political agitation alone will not save him. Back of the ballot, he must have property, industry, skill, economy, intelligence and character. No race without these elements can permanently succeed. . . . We have a right to enter our complaints, but we shall make a fatal error if we yield to the temptation of believing that mere opposition to our wrongs will take the place of progressive, constructive action. . . . Whether he will or not, a white man respects a Negro who owns a two-story brick house.

Unlike the humble beginnings of Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois was born a free man in the North, of Black, French, Dutch, and American Indian ancestry. "Thank God, no Anglo-Saxon," he often liked to add. However, Du Bois's White pedigree cannot be denied. Educated in the best schools of Europe and the United States, he studied with such great minds as George Santayana and William James. In 1895, he became the first Black person to receive a doctorate degree from Harvard. Interestingly, Du Bois represented a privileged group within the Black community coming from a generation of mixed-blooded mulattoes in the North, whose parents were the first generation to reap the fruits of the abolition of slavery. Such people had gained much more in material benefits in comparison to those ex-slaves from the South, who knew well the strictures the color line had on their lives in preventing them from achieving full citizenship rights.

To Du Bois and his contemporaries, Washington's approach to race relations was viewed as embarrassingly accommodationist to White racism. Du Bois, in many of his writings, like his magnum opus, The Souls of Black Folk, articles in Crisis Magazine, and in numerous speeches, mercilessly ridiculed Washington as the first Uncle Tom, who passively tolerated maltreatment from Whites, in exchange for a pat on the head and the hypocritical embrace of their paternalistic benevolence. Washington's self-help programs of general industrial education was disdained by Du Bois as humiliating and servile work.

Here, Du Bois's belies his upper class pedigree as an unabashed elitist who spoke German and French. Dapper and a model of haberdashery refinement, he was rarely seen in public without a cane and gloves. In an article titled, "The Talented Tenth", Du Bois urges the best, brightest, and educated of the Black community to shepherd the masses (which he generally viewed as miserably ordinary and doleful) into the benefits full American citizenship. "The Negro race," he said, "is going to be saved by its exceptional men."

If the philosophy of Du Bois and Washington can be reduced to one word it would be rights vs. duty. To Du Bois, Black civil rights were preeminent, thus he considered segregationists like Washington to be the greatest hindrance to Black freedom. He instead believed in a frontal assault against White racism via overt political activism through every institutional structure available--whether through the courts with lawsuits, or by boycotting segregated stores, or through marching and demonstrating in the streets. Agitate! Agitate! Agitate! was the rallying cry of Du Bois to force concessions and equal opportunities from Whites. For Du Bois, Blacks' singular enemy was White racism: "We claim for ourselves every single right that belongs to a free American, political, civil and social, and until we get these rights we will never cease to protest and assail the ears of America."

On the other hand, Washington agreed with Du Bois that White racism was a major obstacle to Black achievement, but emphasized the crucial factor Du Bois and the civil rights movement fought so vociferously against, namely, what Dinesh D'Souza in his book, The End of Racism, calls "black civilizational backwardness." It was this lack of developed ability and demonstrated performance levels among Blacks which gave life and legitimacy to White racism and trapped Blacks in the muck and mire of promiscuity, ignorance, and crime.

In response, the liberal Black elite purposely ignored the moral, social, and intellectual short-comings of their own people, thus aborting the chances of the majority of Blacks to fully participate in reaping the fruits of the American dream--even to this day. Unlike Du Bois, Washington, because of his Christian training and through grounding in biblical theism, was keenly aware that the problems of Black people were not unilateral (i.e., White racism).

Blacks had a greater burden to rid themselves of, eg., civilizational backwardness and predatory behavior towards each other, before they could presume Whites to do the same. Washington demanded that Blacks first systematically address their own demons of profligacy, laziness, criminality, excessive complaining, idleness and promiscuity, pick themselves up by their bootstraps and systematically and methodically develop and utilize the abilities they possess to make a better life for themselves and their people. Washington, in response to Du Bois's cry of Agitate! Agitate! Agitate! extolled, Discipline! Discipline! Discipline!

A race or an individual which has no fixed habits, no fixed place of abode, no time for going to bed, or getting up in the morning, for going to work; no arrangement, order or system in all the ordinary business of life--such a race and such individuals are lacking in self-control, lacking in some of the fundamentals of civilization.

Washington's blunt and grave tidings irritated Du Bois to no end. He retorted that Washington was excusing White America for the centuries of slavery and unspeakable horrors heaped upon their people while unduly blaming the victims of these atrocities for not competing with Whites on an equal level. Du Bois ranted:

If they accuse Negro women of lewdness, what are they doing but advertising to the world the shameless lewdness of those Southern men who brought millions of mulattoes into the world? Suppose today Negroes do steal; who was it that for centuries made stealing a virtue by stealing their labor?

This nihilistic rhetoric sounds chillingly similar to the remonstrations of contemporary Black leaders like Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakan, Al Sharpton, Marion Wright Edelman, John Lewis, and Joseph Lowery. Washington, contrary to the clattering of the liberal civil rights race merchants, was well aware that centuries of slavery in America contributed to the pathologies presently afflicting the Black community--this was self-evident. Remember, Washington's childhood was spent in slavery.

The critical issue for Washington indeed was that Black people had allowed themselves to believe that they were morally, spiritually, intellectually, economically and socially inferior to Whites, as evidenced by their daily behavior of idleness, ignorance, sexual irresponsibility, and crime. Blacks being entangled in these pathologies have neglected to redeem the time by being all they could be and fulfilling their God-ordained destiny. Thus, Washington held that Du Bois's prescription of activism and agitation to liberate Black people from the bonds of racism, segregation and discrimination was feasible but premature. Washington stated:

In spite of all that may be said in palliation, there is too much crime committed by our people in all parts of the country. We should let the world understand that we are not going to hide crime simply because it is committed by black people.

As Washington partly agreed with Du Bois's thesis that White racism was a major problem hindering Black achievement. And, later in his life, Du Bois was forced to agree with Washington that the seemingly endemic civilizational backwardness of Black America would negate any civil rights bestowed upon them. In an almost prophetic passage, Du Bois insisted that, "A little less complaint and whining, and a little more dogged work and manly striving, would do us more credit than a thousand civil rights bills."

However, until his dying day, Du Bois argued that Washington's self-help philosophy for economic and civilizational development was extremely untenable unless White racism is vigorously addressed. Its not that Du Bois didn't appreciate the value of personal development--his entire life was a veritable textbook for high intellectual achievement. He held a stronger belief that, in order for Blacks to develop economic opportunities and achieve social equality, they needed legal rights (secured through aggressive litigation and activism). Only then could they make use of economic opportunities to develop their capacities and realize their cultural potential. Du Bois remarked:

So to those people who are saying to the black man today, "Do your duties first and then clamor for rights," we have a right to answer and to answer insistently, that the rights we are clamoring for are those that will enable us to do our duties.

Despite the pessimism of Du Bois about White racism (he became so disenchanted with racism and discrimination in American that he spent his twilight years in Ghana, West Africa), Washington was an enthusiastic adherent of the American dream. "Merit, no matter under what skin found, is in the long run recognized and rewarded," he said. Washington postulated that racism, like a two-edged sword, actually denigrated Whites to the same and perhaps to a greater degree as suffered by Blacks, because racial hatred seared their conscience, decimating their morality. Washington said, "No man whose vision is bounded by color can come into contact with what is highest and best in the world."

Du Bois mocked Washington's color-blind approach, both on practical and ideological grounds. He was simultaneously a believer in race and against racism, biologically and sociologically. Du Bois contended that to ignore racism as manifested by White supremacy "ignores and overrides the central thought of all history." Du Bois further noted:

The history of the world is the history, not of individuals, but of groups, not of nations, but of races. . . . While race differences have mainly followed physical lines, the deeper differences are spiritual. . . . The full complete Negro message of the whole Negro race has not yet been given to the world. . . . As a race we must strive by race organization, by race solidarity, by race unity. . . . We believe it is the duty of Americans of Negro descent, as a body, to maintain their race identity until this mission is accomplished.

Here, it is evident, that while Washington's philosophy transcended race, Du Bois's philosophy was obsessed, shackled, and ultimately transfixed by racism. The irony here is lamentably evident: after almost a 100 years of civil rights activism and 40 years of government largess, and government mandated civil rights programs, Black people are in many ways much worse off than previous generations. The genocidal statistics regarding Black pathology are legion and well documented by other scholars. My mention of only a few of the most egregious examples are cited only to underscore the vital need for Black people to save their own race before it is too late:

-The annual income of African Americans who are employed in full-time jobs amounts to about 60 percent of that of Whites.
-The Black unemployment rate is nearly double that of the whole nation.
-One third of Blacks are poor, compared with just over 10 percent of Whites.
-One half of all Black children live in poverty.
-The infant mortality rate for Blacks is more than double that of Whites.
-The proportion of Black male high school graduates who go on to college is lower today than in 1975.
-More young Black males are in prison than in college.
-Homicide is the leading cause of death for Black males between the ages of fifteen and thirty-four.
-Although African Americans make up 12 percent of the population, they account for more than 35 percent of all AIDS cases.
-The life expectancy of Black men is sixty-five years, a rate lower than any other group in America and comparable to that of some Third World countries.
-Nearly 50 percent of all African American families are headed by single women.
-More than 65 percent of Black children born each year are illegitimate.

Du Bois's belief in racialism and cultural relativism embraced race and racism, while Washington attempted to transcend any delineation of race. Du Bois's views according to Dinesh D'Souza, may have originated from his exposure to the Volk philosophy of Franz Boas and Johann Gottfried Herder, two leading proponents of social relativism.

On issues regarding race, Du Bois's cultural relativism viewed all races and cultures as equal despite obvious civilizational differences. This combination of radical egalitarianism and radical racialism provided a ready weapon he and his own organization, the NAACP, effectively used to force symbolic civil rights victories in America. While Du Bois postulated that basically Blacks and Whites were equal, thus making assimilation possible, he also recognized that group equality denoted that both races could, as unique racial and social groups, contribute significantly to American civilization.

This so-called theory of "double consciousness," as he called it, was first delivered in a notable speech. Du Bois remarked that there existed in Blacks "two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings, two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder."

Throughout his career, Du Bois spoke of this dual consciousness both negatively and positively--proving his theory by his own life. While he castigated the dual consciousness as a byproduct of racism, at other times he lauded it as a viable coping mechanism that Blacks had developed over the centuries to covertly fight racism, and to cope with their second-class status in America.


Part 2

Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois differed vastly in their approach to dealing with segregation and discrimination in America and in their philosophy on the nature of racism. Agreeing that the servile and inferior status of Blacks in America was due to nurture not nature, they were ideologically both relativist. Du Bois obsessively transfixed on White racism and followed a reactive approach, while Washington's focus on the moral and intellectual short-comings of Black culture took a proactive stance.

Idealism characterized Du Bois's ideas, which, because of his sincere belief that all races are generally equal and must be treated the same way, held that when Blacks achieved civil rights, they would be able to compete effectively with whites for educational opportunities, jobs and eventually the full benefits of American citizenship.

History has proven Du Bois woefully mistaken on this assumption, for while Blacks in America achieved civil rights, they generally do not compete well with Whites by any measure. You can't legislate competence, civility and discipline. These are intrinsic qualities that must come from within the individual, not from the race. Washington's proactive approach fought racism not from the outside in but from the inside out. Realism and pragmatism defined Washington's beliefs. While he acknowledged White civilizational superiority as a given, he allowed segregation only as a temporary means for Blacks, through self-help programs, to raise their own cultural and intellectual levels, so that they could eventually compete with Whites on an equal plane.

Du Bois held that racism was the result of irrational hatred and, through litigation, education (of Whites), and activism, Blacks would one day force Whites to give them their Constitutional rights of equal treatment under the law. Washington maintained that the road to equality lay not in antagonism and protest, but by Black people living virtuous lives and becoming productive and model citizens via their industry, by providing goods and services, first, for their own people, and eventually, for all Americans and all humanity.

In other words, Washington argued that, despite years of White brutalization, Blacks must improve their own lot in life, through discipline, industry, and hard work. Du Bois countered that White people "owe us," and that it was the sole responsibly of the White oppressor to raise Black people up as societal equals.

History, common sense, and the current state of Black America has proven Du Bois's liberal egalitarian approach to civil rights to be a colossal failure. Why then aren't Black people today forsaking Du Bois's victimization philosophy for an appeal to Washington's self-determination philosophy? Herein lies the diabolic root of all philosophies founded in relativism--by blurring, corrupting and mocking standards, distinctions, and morality, societal breakdown and anarchy will prevail.

Recognizing the civilizational disadvantages of Southern Blacks, Washington worked hard to develop their social and economic skills. At the same time, W. E. B. Du Bois was right that it would have been disastrous for Blacks not to contest directly the depredations of White racism. So, some strategy was necessary to begin to build intellectual and political resistance to the legal structures of segregation and discrimination. However, 90 years after the birth of the civil rights movement, Black people have achieved civil rights, yet economically, morally, socially, progress has been negligible.

Enter the "Race merchants" and "Poverty Pimps," that is, Black leaders, who make a living keeping racism alive. While spouting empty rhetoric, they only feign combatting racism. Such people have woven a carefully crafted web of deceit over the past several decades to maintain their influence and power over blacks. On this topic, in The End of Racism, Dinesh D'Souza writes: "The civil rights establishment has a vested interest in the continuation of spectacular episodes of racism: these provide an important justification for continuing transfer payments to minority activists."

However, this Faustian bargain, while bringing renewed influence and money to the leaders, resulted in the Black community languishing in inner city ghettos. As frustration grew in Black America and racial violence erupted in the cities, Whites fled in droves, leaving these cities without a viable tax base, or trained Blacks to fill the newly-vacant job base. Thus, large cities all across America followed the same refrain:
Black frustration--->Black riots--->White flight--->Dwindling tax base--- >Ghettoization--->Rise of the Black Underclass

In conclusion, once again the pivotal question to be asked is, Who had the best philosophy for helping Blacks attain equal treatment under the law--Booker T. Washington or W. E. B. Du Bois? History, trillions of dollars of redistributing wealth from Whites to minorities, and 40 years of civil rights and affirmative action programs, indicate that Washington's self-help philosophy was, indeed, the better path for Blacks to take.

Other ethnic groups also have histories of discrimination, segregation, and racism directed toward them by Whites (albeit less severe than what Blacks received). Yet they overcame such circumstances--not through activism and protesting--but quietly and methodically improving their lives by building their own institutional structures, achieved through work and the maintainance of family ties. It can be no different for the Black race. Blacks need to "have an ear to hear," in order to apply Booker T. Washington's principles of self-help and to partake fully in the American Dream.


Ellis Washington is author of The Devil Is In the Details: Essays on Law, Race, Politics and Religion, available in bookstores and at, and a forthcoming work soon to be published. He received his J.D. from John Marshall Law School, is employed in the Office of the General Counsel at Ford Motor Co., and teaches Law at Davenport University (Dearborn, MI)

Jesse Jackson and the (squirrel meal?)

This is from a political forum I visit with my juvenile myspace habit. Contributed by my friend Smooter in Pittsburgh, PA:

[This is from my brother-in-laws blog, who is a political commentary, very much left leaning, but always hilarious. He and some local friends started a political satire site ’The Carbolic Smoke Ball’ which if you’re from my area and listen to WDVE you should know well. It’s essentially another version of ’The Onion’]

It’s almost too easy. But it’s so funny and so bizarre and so (more) perfect, that I can’t resist.

I thought I’d said everything I wanted to say about it over at the Carbolic Smoke Ball. And yet, the more I read the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s apology, the more it seemed to cry out, if not for a full-fledged TWM deconstruction, at least for a fairly thorough TWM decoding. There’s a lot going on there -- both in the lines and between them -- so I thought it might be fun to take a closer look and see what lies beneath its murky, slimy surface.

For any harm or hurt that this hot mic private conversation may have caused,...

But not, you know, for actually saying or thinking it...

...I apologize.

And wish, more than anything, that those bastards had cut off that mic, so no one would have heard what I really think, and so I wouldn’t have to be dealing with the indignities of all this scrutiny, my own son’s repudiation, and yet another profound, poetic reinforcement of the fact that I can be, despite my better instincts, a vindictive and self-obsessed asshole.

My support for Senator Obama’s campaign is wide, deep and unequivocal.

And I’d like to cut his nuts off.

I cherish this redemptive and historical moment.

But I’d cherish it even more if it were happening to me. Or if more people were listening to me. Or if I could just cut his nuts off.

My appeal was for the moral content of his message to not only deal with the personal and moral responsibility of black males,...

And not only to cut his nuts off...

but to deal with the collective moral responsibility of government and the public policy which would be a corrective action for the lack of good choices that often led to their irresponsibility.

...but to suggest, finally, in as vague and weaselly a sentence as possible, that government should, in some indeterminate way or ways, produce public policy that would correct, or resolve, or perhaps even absolve, the lack of good choices -- by which I mean the abundance of bad choices -- made by some young black males as a first step upon, as opposed to yet another step along, the long and terrible path of their own irresponsibility, which, rather than praising Senator Obama for speaking openly and honestly about, simply makes me want to cut his nuts off.

That was the context of my private conversation...

For which I have not actually apologized, and that, once again, I really, really wish you hadn’t heard. Because it was private. And by "private," I mean, "what I really think but don’t want you to know."

... and it does not reflect any disparagement on my part for the historic event in which we are involved...

Because, you know, in some parts of the black community, saying you want to cut someone’s nuts off is actually a wide, deep, unequivocal, non-disparaging show of respect and support.

...or my pride in Senator Barack Obama,...

Whose nuts I’d like to cut off.

...who is leading it

With those big, stupid nuts...

...whom I have supported...

...just a few hours ago I said I wanted to cut off. Because I did. And I still do. crisscrossing this nation in every level of media and audience...

Talking to people who knew how and when to turn off my microphone.

...from the beginning in absolute terms.

Except in private conversations. When I say I want to cut his nuts off. But really don’t mean it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Qoutes for the Week

"There is no use whatever trying to help people who do not help themselves. You cannot push anyone up a ladder." --Andrew Carnegie

"I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession a duty." --John D. Rockefeller

"The moment the slave resolves that he will no longer be a slave, his fetters fall. Freedom and slavery are mental states." --Mohandas K. Gandhi

"There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs- partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. [Some] do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs." --Booker T. Washington

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

8 Years of Marriage

Today, July 1, 2008 marks the 8th anniversary of marriage to my wonderful wife, Dani.
To say the time has gone by would be a lie, and yet to say the time hasn't gone fast enough would also be a lie.
Our marriage has been marked with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, in such a short history.

In the beginning, it was a rather rough transition period for us. Mostly because of me. At the age of 20, I had hit the beginning peaks of the "party stage" of my life. I went from being responsible for myself, a pocket full of money, and generally carefree. This was a year prior to getting married, and also the first year of my oldest son, Joshua. While having some responsibility to my girlfriend/fiancee and to my parents (who technically still owned me by way of permanent mailing address, I answered primarily to myself and no other. And then came Joshua. From parties everynight and sleeping half the day away, to working all day for an always way too low paycheck and sitting at home all night with my new family, it was quite the shock to my "lifestyle". Eventually I crawled back out of the shell I had surrendered to, and eventually, unfortunately swung my personality back to the "old ways". I remained in this not so great way of life for the next few years. Trying as it was, my beautiful wife put up with me and saw me through it all. Save a flatsided frying pan (luckily due to a wall and not my head), we had made it through fairly unscathed.
This 2 or 3 years, I would've liked to have seen gone by much faster, but then again, I suppose if I hadn't slow cooked my maturity I may not have learned a darn thing, or kept my wife.
I remember when we first moved in together. It was right after Joshua was born. We had originally opted to adopt him out, but after holding him, and feeling the ice melt off my heart just a little bit, I changed my mind. And Dani was right there to back me up. We had had plans of college, and financial success, followed by children. I already had a bit of college under my belt, but after the birth, I dropped out, realizing I couldn't support my family, spend time with them, spend time at or money for school. I was okay with that. Studying, which unlike high school, college actually required, was not on my top list of skills. About a month later, Dani received a letter from one of her colleges of choice that had accepted her. She was heartbroken, because photography and owning her own studio had been the big thing she wanted to do with her life. I tried to console her, and tell her everything would be okay, but emotions also don't fit into my top skill sets. So, what'd I do? Instead of spend the evening with her, I got trashed. I was there at home physically, but instead of being with her, I consoled myself over the fact that I had messed up her life. Stupid, stupid man.
And yet, she stayed with me despite my shortcomings. WE have similar interests but are essentially two entirely opposite creatures. She can be logical, but is ruled by emotion, I on the otherhand still avoid emotion in favor of logic. Anger is my main emotion, and i hate to let it out. It usually doesn't involve her, except that she ends up being the one who gets the brunt of it. How we found any sense of compatibility, or how I managed to make her love me is still a mystery to me even all these years later.
One of the high points came again, right after moving back in together after living in two separate states, our 2nd son, Corwyn, was born. I worked everyday through it all, and spent most of the off-time at the hospital with Dani and him. As much as I hate hospitals, much less trying to sleep in a chair that you find out AFTER the fact that it folds out for better comfortability, we were able to spend a lot of time together, and without any yelling.

After going through all these years, and some very deeply disturbing personal issues, I would say this time last year was one of those times that flew by, and yet I didn't want that one night to end:
After ending work for the week, I blindfolded my wife and ushered her to a local spa for a morning of pampering. We had a little ice cream with the boys in the afternoon, and then she was blinfolded again. This time, she was brought to a local upscale wine and steak house. If you're ever in the Des Moines area, try Fleming's. It's a great place. (don't forget to bring the thick wallet!)
When she was seated and the menus placed before her, she was allowed to take the blindfold off. Her face lit up like a kid in a candy store. I hadn't seen that look on her face in quite a long time, so my gift was given right there. And then again when she timidly asked, "Can I order the lobster?" Of course I assented to anything she wanted, minus buying a $400 bottle of wine off the big wine list. Great mood lighting, tableside service for her lobster, a glass or two of wine for her (I don't drink the stuff). I FINALLY did something right!!!
We could've gone home at that point, and she would've been happy, but instead I took her to a friends Wine and Cigar shop for a little live Jazz music, and then a moonlight stroll around our local city-maintained Rose Garden. I hadn't been to sleep in over 24 hours prior to the end of the night, but if I could've turned back the clock a few hours, every few hours, I would have.

This year, with the anniversay being in the middle of the week, we both are working. We get to spend 4 days together over the 4th of July weekend, starting Thursday. So in lieu of a day off and out galavanting in each others' company, I arrived home to deliver her some lillies before she left for work. She tried to test me the other day to see if I knew what special day was coming up. I didn't forget (always nice to have the day be on the 1st! Our dating anniversary was on New Year's Day!), and she saw them and cried. She didn't say, but I'm pretty sure they were tears of joy. So apparently, I'm still able to do some right things from time to time.

And 8 years later, here we are, still married despite being given bad odds from a lot of people who know us. A testament to her strong character for sure.

As the note with the flowers said, Dani- I love you more now than I did on day one!