♫ Eve of Destruction – Still Apropos ♫

I had a really nice song … a happy song … ready for tonight, but the events of the day sent me plummeting into a deep, dark place, and this song seemed more appropriate tonight.  I know that I have played it a few times before, and … unless I miss my guess … I will play it a few times in the future.  It is a song that, unfortunately, never seems to become irrelevant.


Released in 1965, this song was an anti-government protest against racism, hypocrisy and injustice at a volatile time in American history.  Sound familiar?  I’m really surprised that this song hasn’t made a huge comeback in the past year or so, for it is every bit as apropos today as it was 50+ years ago.  In some ways, the issues today are different, but in other ways … not so much.  Today, instead of Vietnam we have climate change and a clown in the Oval Office, Brexit and election manipulation.  Racism is still alive and well, but today we have no Martin Luther King.  Hypocrisy?  Oh yeah, in spades, my friends.  And Injustice is the name of the game here and around the world.  I could name 100 reasons that this song is as relevant today as it was then. Different faces, same ol’ song. 😢

Eve of Destruction
Barry McGuire

The eastern world, it is explodin’,
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’,
You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’,
You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’,
And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin’,
But you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Don’t you understand, what I’m trying to say?
And can’t you feel the fears I’m feeling today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no running away,
There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave,
Take a look around you, boy, it’s bound to scare you, boy,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Yeah, my blood’s so mad, feels like coagulatin’,
I’m sittin’ here, just contemplatin’,
I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation,
Handful of Senators don’t pass legislation,
And marches alone can’t bring integration,
When human respect is disintegratin’,
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Think of all the hate there is in Red China!
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama!
Ah, you may leave here, for four days in space,
But when your return, it’s the same old place,
The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace,
You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace,
Hate your next door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace,
And you tell me over and over and over and over again my friend,
You don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

No, no, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Songwriters: P. F. Sloan
Eve of Destruction lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management

♫ Eve of Destruction – Redux Again ♫

I give no reason for playing this song again … for the fourth time … tonight.  If you don’t know the reasons, then … go on back to sleep.


Released in 1965, this song was an anti-government protest against racism, hypocrisy and injustice at a volatile time in American history.  Sound familiar?  I’m really surprised that this song hasn’t made a huge comeback in the past year or so, for it is every bit as apropos today as it was 50+ years ago.  In some ways, the issues today are different, but in other ways … not so much.  Today, instead of Vietnam we have climate change and a clown in the Oval Office, Brexit and election manipulation.  Racism is still alive and well, but today we have no Martin Luther King.  Hypocrisy?  Oh yeah, in spades, my friends.  And Injustice is the name of the game here and around the world.  I could name 100 reasons that this song is as relevant today as it was then. Different faces, same ol’ song. 😢

Eve of Destruction
Barry McGuire

The eastern world, it is explodin’,
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’,
You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’,
You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’,
And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin’,
But you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Don’t you understand, what I’m trying to say?
And can’t you feel the fears I’m feeling today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no running away,
There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave,
Take a look around you, boy, it’s bound to scare you, boy,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Yeah, my blood’s so mad, feels like coagulatin’,
I’m sittin’ here, just contemplatin’,
I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation,
Handful of Senators don’t pass legislation,
And marches alone can’t bring integration,
When human respect is disintegratin’,
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Think of all the hate there is in Red China!
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama!
Ah, you may leave here, for four days in space,
But when your return, it’s the same old place,
The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace,
You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace,
Hate your next door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace,
And you tell me over and over and over and over again my friend,
You don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

No, no, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Songwriters: P. F. Sloan
Eve of Destruction lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management

♫ Eve of Destruction ♫

Tonight, as I write, this nation is no longer a democracy, no longer the nation it once was.  I am filled with angst, as I know many of you are.  This song that I have already played back a few months ago, speaks for me.

Released in 1965, this song was an anti-government protest against racism, hypocrisy and injustice at a volatile time in American history.  Sound familiar?  I’m really surprised that this song hasn’t made a huge comeback in the past year or so, for it is every bit as apropos today as it was 50+ years ago.  In some ways, the issues today are different, but in other ways … not so much.  Today, instead of Vietnam we have climate change and a clown in the Oval Office, Brexit and election manipulation.  Racism is still alive and well, but today we have no Martin Luther King.  Hypocrisy?  Oh yeah, in spades, my friends.  And Injustice is the name of the game here and around the world.  I could name 100 reasons that this song is as relevant today as it was then. Different faces, same ol’ song. 😢

Eve of Destruction
Barry McGuire

The eastern world, it is explodin’,
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’,
You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’,
You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’,
And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin’,
But you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Don’t you understand, what I’m trying to say?
And can’t you feel the fears I’m feeling today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no running away,
There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave,
Take a look around you, boy, it’s bound to scare you, boy,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Yeah, my blood’s so mad, feels like coagulatin’,
I’m sittin’ here, just contemplatin’,
I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation,
Handful of Senators don’t pass legislation,
And marches alone can’t bring integration,
When human respect is disintegratin’,
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Think of all the hate there is in Red China!
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama!
Ah, you may leave here, for four days in space,
But when your return, it’s the same old place,
The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace,
You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace,
Hate your next door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace,
And you tell me over and over and over and over again my friend,
You don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

No, no, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Songwriters: P. F. Sloan
Eve of Destruction lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management

I Have A Dream …

Today is a federal holiday in the United States — Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  Parts of this are from a post I wrote two years ago, for it said what I wanted to say then, as it does now.  So, while some of this post is recycled, so to speak, I have updated it and added a few things.  In honour of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. …


“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: Only love can do that.” 

“That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.”

mlk-3Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on 15 January 1929.  He would have been 90 years old last Tuesday, had he lived. On this day, we celebrate not only his life, but also his legacy. Martin Luther King Day celebrates not only Dr. King, but the movement he inspired and all those who helped move forward the notion of equal rights for ALL races, all those who worked tirelessly during the civil rights era of the 1960s, as well as those who are continuing the good fight even in this, the year 2019.

Dr. King, along with President John F. Kennedy, was the most moving speaker I have ever heard.  To this day, I cannot listen to his ‘I Have A Dream’ speech without tears filling my eyes.  If you haven’t heard it for a while, take a few minutes to watch/listen … I promise it will be worth your time.

This post is both a commemoration and a plea for us to carry on the work that was only begun, not yet finished, more than five decades ago.  Today we should remember some of the great heroes of the civil rights movement, those who worked tirelessly, some who gave their lives, that we could all live in peace and harmony someday: Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Nelson Mandela, Nina Simone, Mary McLeod Bethune, Lena Horne, Marva Collins, Rosa Parks, W.E.B. Du Bois, Malcolm X, Roy Innes, Medgar Evers, Booker T. Washington, John Lewis, Percy Julian, Marcus Garvey, Desmond Tutu, E.D. Nixon, James Meredith, and so many more.  I am willing to bet there are some on this list of whom you’ve never heard, or perhaps recognize the name but not the accomplishments. If you’re interested, you can find brief biographies of each of these and more at Biography.com .

Yet, while we celebrate the achievements of Dr. King and the others, there is still much to be done. Just look around you, read the news each day. Think about these statistics:

  • More than one in five black families live in households that are food insecure, compared to one in ten white families
  • Almost four in ten black children live in a household in poverty, nearly twice the rate of other racial groups
  • Among prime-age adults (ages 25 to 54), about one in five black men are not in the labor force, nearly twice the rate of other racial groups
  • Although blacks and whites use marijuana at approximately the same rate, blacks are over 3 and a half times more likely to get arrested for marijuana possession
  • For every dollar earned by a white worker, a black worker only makes 74 cents
  • Black families are twice as likely as whites to live in substandard housing conditions
  • Black college graduates now have twice the amount of debt as white college graduates
  • The likelihood of a black woman born in 2001 being imprisoned over the course of her lifetime is one in 18, compared to 1 in 111 for a white woman
  • Similarly, the likelihood of a black man being imprisoned is 1 in 3, compared to 1 in 17 for a white man
  • Of black children born into the bottom 20 percent of the income distribution, about half of them will still be there as adults, compared to less than one-quarter of white children

Data courtesy of the Brookings Institute – for charts and supporting details of above date, please click on link. 

And of course the above data does not even touch upon the recent spate of hate crimes, racial profiling, and police shootings against African-Americans.  There is still much of Dr. King’s work to be accomplished. But who is left to do this work?  Most of the leaders of yore are long since gone. There are still noble and courageous people out there carrying on the programs and works of Dr. King and the others, but their voices are perhaps not as loud, and there are none so charismatic as the late Dr. King.

In the current environment of racial divisiveness, we need more than ever to carry on what Dr. King only started. Instead, the past two years have found our nation backtracking on civil and human rights in a number of areas, ranging from discriminatory travel bans against Muslims to turning a federal blind eye to intentionally racially discriminatory state voter-suppression schemes, to opposing protections for transgender people, to inhumanely separating children from families seeking to enter the country.  I think Dr. King would be appalled if he returned to visit today.

In a speech on April 12th, 1850, then-Senator and future President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis said:

“This Government was not founded by negroes nor for negroes, but by white men for white men.” [1]

That was wrong then, it is wrong today, and it will always be wrong.  That is what Dr. Martin Luther King fought against, that is what I rail and sometimes rant against, that is why we need activists and groups dedicated to fighting for equality for all people … today, tomorrow, and forever.

Here is a bit of trivia you may not know about Dr. King …

  • King’s birth name was Michael, not Martin.
    The civil rights leader was born Michael King Jr. on January 15, 1929. In 1934, however, his father, a pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, traveled to Germany and became inspired by the Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther. As a result, King Sr. changed his own name as well as that of his 5-year-old son.

  • King entered college at the age of 15.
    King was such a gifted student that he skipped grades nine and 12 before enrolling in 1944 at Morehouse College, the alma mater of his father and maternal grandfather. Although he was the son, grandson and great-grandson of Baptist ministers, King did not intend to follow the family vocation until Morehouse president Benjamin E. Mays, a noted theologian, convinced him otherwise. King was ordained before graduating college with a degree in sociology.


  • King’s “I Have a Dream” speech was not his first at the Lincoln Memorial.
    Six years before his iconic oration at the March on Washington, King was among the civil rights leaders who spoke in the shadow of the Great Emancipator during the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom on May 17, 1957. Before a crowd estimated at between 15,000 and 30,000, King delivered his first national address on the topic of voting rights. His speech, in which he urged America to “give us the ballot,” drew strong reviews and positioned him at the forefront of the civil rights leadership.


  • King was imprisoned nearly 30 times.
    According to the King Center, the civil rights leader went to jail 29 times. He was arrested for acts of civil disobedience and on trumped-up charges, such as when he was jailed in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1956 for driving 30 miles per hour in a 25-mile-per-hour zone.


  • King narrowly escaped an assassination attempt a decade before his death.
    On September 20, 1958, King was in Harlem signing copies of his new book, “Stride Toward Freedom,” in Blumstein’s department store when he was approached by Izola Ware Curry. The woman asked if he was Martin Luther King Jr. After he said yes, Curry said, “I’ve been looking for you for five years,” and she plunged a seven-inch letter opener into his chest. The tip of the blade came to rest alongside his aorta, and King underwent hours of delicate emergency surgery. Surgeons later told King that just one sneeze could have punctured the aorta and killed him. From his hospital bed where he convalesced for weeks, King issued a statement affirming his nonviolent principles and saying he felt no ill will toward his mentally ill attacker.


  • King’s mother was also slain by a bullet.
    On June 30, 1974, as 69-year-old Alberta Williams King played the organ at a Sunday service inside Ebenezer Baptist Church, Marcus Wayne Chenault Jr. rose from the front pew, drew two pistols and began to fire shots. One of the bullets struck and killed King, who died steps from where her son had preached nonviolence. The deranged gunman said that Christians were his enemy and that although he had received divine instructions to kill King’s father, who was in the congregation, he killed King’s mother instead because she was closer. The shooting also left a church deacon dead. Chenault received a death penalty sentence that was later changed to life imprisonment, in part due to the King family’s opposition to capital punishment.

Dr. King fought and ultimately gave his life for the values I believe in, the values that should define this nation, though they often do not.  Dr. Martin Luther King was a hero of his time … thank you, Dr. King, for all you did, for the values you gave this nation, and for the hope you instilled in us all that your dream will someday come true.

[1] (Kendi, 2016)   stamped

Jolly Monday will return at its regularly scheduled time next week.

♫ Eve of Destruction ♫

I’ve played a lot of great music the last few weeks … a lot of Motown and the sort of music that makes you tap your toes and just feel good.  Tonight I must veer for just a bit …

Released in 1965, this song was an anti-government protest against racism, hypocrisy and injustice at a volatile time in American history.  Sound familiar?  I’m really surprised that this song hasn’t made a huge comeback in the past year or so, for it is every bit as apropos today as it was 50+ years ago.  In some ways, the issues today are different, but in other ways … not so much.  Today, instead of Vietnam we have climate change and a clown in the Oval Office, Brexit and election manipulation.  But racism is still alive and well, but today we have no Martin Luther King.  Hypocrisy?  Oh yeah, in spades, my friend.  And Injustice is the name of the game here and around the world.  I could name 100 reasons that this song is as relevant today as it was then. Different faces, same ol’ song.

Eve of Destruction
Barry McGuire

The eastern world, it is explodin’,
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’,
You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’,
You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’,
And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin’,
But you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Don’t you understand, what I’m trying to say?
And can’t you feel the fears I’m feeling today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no running away,
There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave,
Take a look around you, boy, it’s bound to scare you, boy,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Yeah, my blood’s so mad, feels like coagulatin’,
I’m sittin’ here, just contemplatin’,
I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation,
Handful of Senators don’t pass legislation,
And marches alone can’t bring integration,
When human respect is disintegratin’,
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Think of all the hate there is in Red China!
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama!
Ah, you may leave here, for four days in space,
But when your return, it’s the same old place,
The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace,
You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace,
Hate your next door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace,
And you tell me over and over and over and over again my friend,
You don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

No, no, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Songwriters: P. F. Sloan
Eve of Destruction lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – 50 Years Later

In February, in honour of Black History Month, friend and fellow-blogger John Fioravanti of Words To Captivate, graciously accepted my offer to do a series of guest posts on Filosofa’s Word. Last month, John honoured me by asking me to write a guest post – any topic of my choosing – for his blog. I was thrilled, and readily accepted, but with my eye surgeries and subsequent chronic exhaustion, I was forced to delay. A few nights ago, however, I realized that we were fast approaching the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, and I thought it might make a perfect topic for my guest post. Long story short, John agreed and has honoured me by presenting my post and prefacing it with a very gracious and kind introduction. He has also given me permission to re-blog it on my own blog. I must admit it feels rather strange to be re-blogging my own work! Many thanks to you, John, for your many kindnesses and for sharing my work!

Not Another One … 🙄

Pastor Mark Burns … ever hear of him?  He is a televangelist from South Carolina, which should tell you just about all you need to know.  Yesterday, Pastor Mark Burns threw his hat in the ring and announced his candidacy for the seat in the U.S. House of Representatives that is being vacated by Representative Trey Gowdy. Burns was, and is, a staunch supporter of Donald Trump.  He claims he had usually voted Democratic, which included support for Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election, saying “I’m not ashamed to say that as a black man I wanted the first black man to enter the office.” But he later said, in 2016, he had “seen the light.” Of Trump he said “He’s a smart man. He knows authenticity. I believe he knows and recognizes real character.”  Hey, Burns … if you really believe that, I have a beautiful bridge I’ll sell you real cheap!

Now, Burns is likely to fit right into today’s Congress, for he is a well-experienced liar. Here is just a sampling of his many lies:

  • Burns claimed to have held a bachelor of science degree from North Greenville University. According to the University, Burns attended only one semester.
  • He said he spent six years in the U.S. Army Reserve. He actually spent four years in the South Carolina National Guard, an entirely different and unrelated organization.
  • He claims to have attended Andersonville Theological Seminary, though there is no evidence of it and he is unable or unwilling to clarify.
  • Burns claimed he was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, a national historically black fraternity, but again, there is no evidence. When confronted with this one, he replied that he had “started the process” but did not complete even the initiation.

When confronted with all these lies on his church website, he admitted that he had lied and had unacceptably exaggerated his education, but said he was attacked because he is “a black man supporting Donald Trump for president.”  Awwwww, pobrecito!

In addition to being a liar, he is not a very nice man.  At a Trump rally in North Carolina, he mocked and criticized Bernie Sanders for being Jewish.  In 2016, he retweeted a digitally manipulated image of Hillary Clinton in blackface.  He was later interviewed on CNN and asked about the tweet.  His reply?

“I think at the time I did my initial tweet was to reinforce my position as to point out why this particular candidate Hillary Clinton is not really good for the African-American community, because the Democrat party automatically assumes they own the black vote, they own that voting bloc. And because they already know that voting bloc belongs to them, very little change takes place.”

I didn’t sense any apology in there, but he did tweet a half-assed apology:

“I’m so sorry for the offensive #Blackface image of @HillaryClinton but stand by the message that we Blacks ARE being Used by #Dems for VOTES”

In my view, an ‘apology’ that contains the qualifier “but”, is no apology at all.

Back in November 2017, ahead of the Alabama special election to fill the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions, Burns actually defended Roy Moore, saying that morality isn’t the only quality that makes a good leader.  This, from a church pastor? Wouldn’t you expect a self-proclaimed Christian to have a bit of a problem supporting a pedophile?

Mr. Burns also fails to understand the word racism, if this tweet from January is any indicator:

“Racism isn’t really about COLOR, Racism has always been about the HAVES verses the HAVE NOTS. And President @realDonaldTrump is raising the HAVE NOTS to the same level as the HAVES.  In Today’s society, A Poor White Person gets treated the same as a Poor Black Person.” – 9:45 AM – Jan 24, 2018 · Easley, SC

SAY WHAT????

In announcing his intent to run for U.S. House of Representatives, he stated his reason, at least in part, as “We need to combat the leftist, liberal and even socialist ideology that’s dividing our nation.”  Rather reminiscent of the speech he gave at the Republican National Convention in 2016, where he thanked God for “guiding [Trump], giving him the words to the unite the party, this country, that we together can defeat the liberal Democratic Party.”  Unite the country?  Did he really say that?

And good old Mr. Burns attempted to defend Trump’s recent remarks about “shithole countries”.  I won’t even repeat his rationale there, for even after reading and re-reading it multiple times, it made no sense.

There are, at present, 13 other republicans running for this seat, and 4 democrats.  It is almost a certainty that the district will remain in the hands of the republicans, since all 4 democrats are newcomers with no government experience … they include an electrician, a businessman, a graduate student and a financial expert.  District 4, like almost all of South Carolina, is predominantly republican.  Some believe that Burns has the best chance, due to his close ties with Trump.  Let us hope that the voters are fed up enough with Trump for that alliance to work against, rather than for, Mr. Burns, for we do not need his ilk in the Capitol next year.  He is exactly the type we are trying to get rid of!

In Honour Of A Great Man: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: Only love can do that.” 

“That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.”

 

mlk-3

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on 15 January 1929.  He would have been 89 years old today, had he lived. Today, we celebrate not only his birthday, but also his life and legacy. Martin Luther King Day celebrates not only Dr. King, but the movement he inspired and all those who helped move forward the notion of equal rights for ALL races, all those who worked tirelessly during the civil rights era of the 1960s, as well as those who are continuing the good fight even in this, the year 2018.

Dr. King, along with President John F. Kennedy, was the most moving speaker I have ever heard.  To this day, I cannot listen to his ‘I Have A Dream’ speech without tears filling my eyes.  If you haven’t heard it for a while, take a few minutes to watch/listen … I promise it will be worth it.

This post is both a commemoration and a plea for us to carry on the work that was only begun, not yet finished, five decades ago.  Today we should remember some of the great heroes of the civil rights movement, those who worked tirelessly, some who gave their lives, that we could all live in peace and harmony someday: Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Nelson Mandela, Nina Simone, Mary McLeod Bethune, Lena Horne, Marva Collins, Rosa Parks, W.E.B. Du Bois, Malcolm X, Roy Innes, Medgar Evers, Booker T. Washington, John Lewis, Percy Julian, Marcus Garvey, Desmond Tutu, E.D. Nixon, James Meredith, and so many more.  I am willing to bet there are some on this list of whom you’ve never heard, or perhaps recognize the name but not the accomplishments. If you’re interested, you can find brief biographies of each of these and more at Biography.com .

Yet, while we celebrate the achievements of Dr. King and the others, there is still much to be done. Just look around you, read the news each day. Think about these statistics:

  • More than one in five black families live in households that are food insecure, compared to one in ten white families
  • Almost four in ten black children live in a household in poverty, nearly twice the rate of other racial groups
  • Among prime-age adults (ages 25 to 54), about one in five black men are not in the labor force, nearly twice the rate of other racial groups
  • Although blacks and whites use marijuana at approximately the same rate, blacks are over 3 and a half times more likely to get arrested for marijuana possession
  • For every dollar earned by a white worker, a black worker only makes 74 cents
  • Black families are twice as likely as whites to live in substandard housing conditions
  • Black college graduates now have twice the amount of debt as white college graduates
  • The likelihood of a black woman born in 2001 being imprisoned over the course of her lifetime is one in 18, compared to 1 in 111 for a white woman
  • Similarly, the likelihood of a black man being imprisoned is 1 in 3, compared to 1 in 17 for a white man
  • Of black children born into the bottom 20 percent of the income distribution, about half of them will still be there as adults, compared to less than one-quarter of white children

Data courtesy of the Brookings Institute – for charts and supporting details of above date, please click on link. 

And of course the above data does not even touch upon the recent spate of hate crimes, racial profiling, and police shootings against African-Americans.  There is still much of Dr. King’s work to be accomplished. But who is left to do this work?  Most of the leaders of yore are long since gone. There are still noble and courageous people out there carrying on the programs and works of Dr. King and the others, but their voices are perhaps not as loud, and there are none so charismatic as the late Dr. King.

In the current environment of racial divisiveness, we need more than ever to carry on what Dr. King only started. A year ago we ushered in a new president, a new administration, most of whom are not fighters for equality, many of whom actually support the tenets of white supremacy. There are already signs that the U.S. is headed backward down the path from which we have come. Trump himself has made racist statements and his father was affiliated with the KKK, even being arrested as he participated in a Klan rally in 1927.  Jeff Sessions, the U.S. Attorney General, is a proven racist.  And in cities all around the U.S., racial incidents are on the rise.

Martin Luther King believed that the path to his dream was a path of peaceful protest rather than violent protest, of love rather than hate, of understanding rather than aggression … not through violence.  This is why he is, and will always be, a hero.  Today, we have a president who encourages violence, who refers to white supremacists as “very fine people”, and whose rhetoric has widened the gap of divisiveness in this nation.  We need another Martin Luther King, but would anybody even listen?

In a speech on April 12th, 1850, then-Senator and future President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis said:

“This Government was not founded by negroes nor for negroes, but by white men for white men.” [1]

That was wrong then, it is wrong today, and it will always be wrong.  That is what Dr. Martin Luther King fought against, that is what I rail and sometimes rant against, that is why we need activists and groups dedicated to fighting for equality for all people … today, tomorrow, and forever. Dr. King fought and ultimately gave his life for the values I believe in, the values that should define this nation, though they often do not.  Dr. Martin Luther King was a hero of his time … thank you, Dr. King, for all you did, for the values you gave this nation, and for the hope you instilled in us all that your dream will someday come true.

[1] (Kendi, 2016)   stamped

Greetings

A few days ago, in response to my post about the 8-year-old bi-racial boy who had nearly been lynched by a group of teens, I received a comment from a man named Tim, who recently started a blog to enhance awareness and to encourage people to stand up against racism of all forms. I checked out his blog, and was very impressed with what I saw there. Tim was born in China and moved to Australia as a young child, where he has been the victim of racism on a frequent basis. Today I would like to share his blog with my readers, for I believe it has value for us all. Thank you all for taking a moment to check out this blog, and thank you, Tim, for allowing me to share your work!

Rise up against Public Racism

Whether you are a friend from Facebook, a social activist or just someone passing by … greetings! 🙂

Firstly thank you for all your support on this particular issue – especially a big thanks to those who have been following and commenting on the posts. Your contribution means a lot – not only in bringing encouragements but also feedbacks that has helped me to think further about how to tackle the social problem.

Now I think it’s time to share a little bit about who I am and why I decided to start this campaign in the first place.

I’m a student born in China and moved to Sydney during primary school. Since a few years back, my family and I are proud to be called Australian citizens. Even till now however, I’ve been called out by strangers for my skin colour and appearance on a close to monthly basis…

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Open Letter to Donald Trump – #4

Dear Mr. Trump,

I have not communicated with you since February, as all my previous advice seemed to go unheeded.  However, today I am once again compelled to speak to you, and since what I have to say will require more than 140 characters, I cannot use your favoured method of communication.

During the course of the past seven months, you have had many, many opportunities to prove to the good people of this nation that you were of sound mind and fit to lead this nation of some 300 million people.  You have missed every single such opportunity, in fact have shown us the exact opposite and have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are not of sound mind, and are incapable of leading this or any other nation.

While I have many a bone to pick with your behaviour, rhetoric and actions over the past seven months, today I will only address the most recent and most obvious example that you are not a man who can step up to the plate, not a man of honesty and integrity as your predecessor was, and are not a man who can accept the responsibility for his own words, actions and mistakes.

On Saturday, 13 August, this nation suffered a terrible blow.  We saw, in Charlottesville, Virginia, racism rear its very ugly head and groups of people acting with evil intent proved to us that the fight for justice, for equality, is no further along than it was sixty years ago.  Evil men armed with assault weapons roamed the streets, thugs incited crowds of peaceful protestors, and three people lost their lives to white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other hate groups.  You were handed a perfect opportunity to respond to the fears of the nation, and yet, your response was neither timely nor appropriate.  You claim that “everybody” said your speech was “beautiful”.  No, Mr. Trump, that is a blatant lie.  I did not hear a single person say it was ‘beautiful’ and even members of your own party, people who, until Saturday gave you their full support, have said your speech was inappropriate, that you should have spoken boldly against white supremacist and other hate groups.  But you refused to do so, and we can only conclude that your reason is because you support the brand of hate that was in evidence on Saturday.  There can be no other reason.

You claim you did not give a timely speech because you were waiting for facts, but you eschew facts, truth has never mattered to you in the past, and in reality, it is obvious that it does not matter now, either.  You let your nation down.  You let the very people who voted for you down.  When you could have led, when you could have been strong and encouraged the people of this nation, you instead hid as a coward, then failed to address the issue at hand, blaming all rather than placing the blame on the shoulders of those who were responsible.

You defend your advisor, Steve Bannon, claiming that he is a “good man” and not a racist.  You are aware, as we all are, that Mr. Bannon is a member of the racist, white supremacist group that calls themselves the ‘alt-right’.  How, sir, does that make him “not a racist”?  Yes, Mr. Bannon is a racist, as are two of your other close advisors, Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka.  Your Attorney General, Jeff Sessions is a known racist.  You have surrounded yourself with proven racists, yet we are to believe that you are not a bigot. This is simply not credible.

When asked if you thought race relationships had gotten worse or better since you took office, you said “better or the same”.  How you could even say that with a straight face is beyond me.  We have had murders of Indians, Muslims and African-Americans.  We have seen Mosques defiled and destroyed.  Even your favoured state-media outlet, Fox News, reports an increase in hate crimes.  According to the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. increased by 86% in the first quarter of 2017, since your inauguration.  Both the FBI and the Southern Poverty Law Center have noted a significant rise in hate crimes since your inauguration, primarily against immigrants, African-Americans, Muslims, and LGBT people.  And yet, you do not address this issue, instead you spend your days making false promises that you have no intention of keeping, tweeting juvenile rants against those who, in your eyes, have failed to do your bidding, and tooting your own horn.

You have been given countless opportunities to do something positive, but every action, every message from you and your administration has been negative.  You are not the president this country needs in order to function as a democracy, and I am now convinced that you can never be.  You are not the president your supporters voted for, and even they are becoming increasingly disappointed in you.

In light of all the above, I am requesting, as a taxpayer, as a citizen of this nation, that for once in your life, perhaps the only time in your life, you put the welfare of 300 million people ahead of your own and step down from your position.  In essence, Mr. Trump, as one of your employers, I am asking for your resignation.  You have had seven months to prove to us that you were capable, but you failed miserably, so, in the words you have so fondly used hundreds of times … Mr. Trump, YOU’RE FIRED!

Sincerely,

Jill Dennison, citizen and taxpayer

P.S. In case you have misplaced my previous letters:

Open Letter to Donald Trump

Open Letter To Donald Trump – #2

Open Letter to Donald Trump – #3