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Opinion

Blow it up! Dismal results for Shelby Democrats warrant ‘New Deal’ for African Americans

blow it_up
Following the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, which included the Black Cabinet, opened the door for African Americans to participate widely in policy change and government. More importantly, it led to wholesale defections from the Republican Party into the Democratic Party. 
 
Subsequent Democratic Party leaders – from the Kennedys to Lyndon Johnson – supported and signed civil rights legislation and solidified the loyalty of African Americans by and large to the Democratic Party.  
  • Written by Bernal E Smith II

The birth – and ultimate death of – Congressman Cohen’s ‘Miss Pearl’

smith
It was Monday morning, July 7th, and I was up early to start the workweek. I’d spent Independence Day and Essence Festival weekend in New Orleans and in nearby Houma, La., where I visited family and friends. Heading into the office while listening to Clear Channel Radio station KJMS V101, my ears were disturbed by a political ad that harkened back to a day when freedom did not ring nearly loud enough for African Americans.  
 
A character by the name of Miss Pearl, obviously the brainchild of Congressman Steve Cohen’s campaign, spoke in a tone and manner reminiscent of the Aunt-Jemima stereotype about President Obama’s support of Cohen’s reelection campaign. 
  • Written by Bernal E Smith II

What if we looked past the election?

hutchinson
We are now at the beginning of early voting. By Tuesday, polls will be open all over Shelby County, and until August 2 you will have an opportunity to exercise your franchise through early voting. This is a privilege that many of us take for granted, which is unavailable in many parts of the country. Yet, if recent trends hold true, approximately four to nine percent of registered voters will visit the polls during this voting cycle.
 
Looking at this reality, we must add the toxic cynicism that now is a part of the community’s disillusion with the political process. Many see no reason to vote or hope. With this in mind, I offer this thought:
 
Look past the election.

Tennessee Promise extends new opportunities to students

Sen. Tate
Summer feels like it just started, but school will be back in before we know it.
 
For some students, this will be the start of their senior year. I know several who are starting their last year of school, and I'm sure you do too.
 
Those young people, if they haven't already, will need to decide what they'll do after graduating high school. It's a challenging but promising time for our high school seniors, as they look forward to finally graduating and start to plan their lives.
 

‘How … as a Christian, should I determine who to vote for?’


Noel 600We find ourselves in an interesting election cycle once again, and one of the perennial highlights is the march to the African-American churches and clergy. Elected officials and candidates, who never set foot in a worship service, all of a sudden clamor to find willing clergy that allow them to stand in front of a congregation. Jesus gets pushed aside, if for a moment, so that political aspirations can be entertained. And when the smoke clears, pastors endorse candidates.
 
Much has been made recently over endorsements. One of my colleagues, in this space, affirmed the need to be involved in the political process but stopped short in affirming specific, endorsed support from pastors. He felt that our job was to educate. Another colleague said, “It’s disingenuous for a group of Black Christian preachers to say that a Jew can’t effectively represent Black folks in Congress. A Jew has been effectively representing us in Heaven for 2,000 years. #HushSitDownAndStudy”. 

I forgive but I can’t forget. Now what?

LucyShaw-160Dear Lucy: I have been ill for some time. I read your articles and you have said that the most important part of healing is forgiveness. I have tried to forgive those who have hurt me so much but I cannot forget what they did to me. My pastor says that when we forgive it is not complete until we forget. How do you forget?
– Still Sick

Dear Still Sick: Most of us have been told that forgetting and forgiving go hand in hand. I don't agree. Memories always live in us at some level, conscious or unconscious. There are many things I thought I had forgotten only to have them pop up one day under unexpected provocation.

It is not that we forgive and miraculously forget the slight or the hurt. What we must do is forgive and also let go of the sting, resentment, vengefulness and anger over the memory of the hurtful event.

In the battle to end ‘the seduction of inadequacy,’ I’m with Lupita

lucyandlupita-600For me, nothing could eclipse my happiness for Lupita Nyong'o when she won her Oscar as Best Supporting Actress a few nights ago. I was not only thrilled for her but for the profound, timely and necessary message brought to the world by the movie, "12 Years a Slave." This young woman has taken Hollywood and the movie-viewing world with her extraordinary poise and humility wrapped around her awesome talent.

What may not be widely known is that just a few days before her Oscar win, Lupita received an award at the seventh annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon hosted by Essence Magazine. Her award was for Best Breakthrough Performance. On this occasion she delivered the speech below.

I concur with most who heard it that it is (sadly in 2014) a speech about beauty and self-image that every young brown, black, red or yellow girl should get to hear. It was first posted online by Time Magazine. I found a video and transcript at upworthy.com.

Redefining truth has consequences

raynard jacksonIn all organized sports, there are clearly defined rules that must be adhered to. In all universities, there are clearly stated guidelines for admittance. In all religions, there are shared beliefs that all members must adhere to. Without these clearly defined rules of engagement (ROEs), there can be no order within groups; and without order there is nothing left but chaos.

Groups and organizations, by definition are all predicated upon certain agreed upon principles and values. These agreed upon principles and values are the raison d'etre of these entities.

You join the Boy Scouts, for example, because you are a boy and you join the Girl Scouts because you are a girl. You are a male because you are born with a penis and you are a girl because you are born with a vagina. These things used to be unquestioned statements of fact.