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Fri04182014

Opinion

T.I.: If Trayvon Was My Son, Zimmerman Would Be Dead

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According to the Southern rapper T.I. (pictured), if he was Trayvon Martin’s father, George Zimmerman wouldn’t have made it to trial.

Seaking to radio station Power 98, T.I. was upset over George Zimmerman’s not-guilty verdict, “Man, it was some bulls**t.

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Stephen A. Smith: The new Don Lemon

stephen-smith-400Apparently, former sports journalist and current TV pundit Stephen A. Smith saw all the fun Don Lemon was having blaming black people for white people's behavior and wanted a piece, too.

Thursday morning on ESPN's Sports Center, Smith commented on the recent Riley Cooper controversy, essentially blaming black people for Cooper's hurling of the n-word.

"What level of responsibility do we harbor considering the fact that it's something we use ad nauseam in the presence of people outside of our community?" he asked. "At the end of the day ... we have to ... ask ourselves do we play a role in the ease that it comes out of other people's mouths."

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Don Lemon and the complexity of race

don lemon-400Don Lemon, one of CNN's highest-profile black anchors, triggered a recent firestorm of anger and recrimination when he suggested that African Americans should alter their personal behavior if they want to achieve racial equality. Lemon's efforts at tough love admonished young black men for wearing baggy pants, castigated hip-hop for romanticizing prison culture, implored young people to study and, in a rhetorical flourish that some found especially painful, blamed unwed mothers for having too many babies.

Lemon's comments openly echo the vitriolic, race-baiting rant by Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly, whose solution to racial inequality in America is for black people to stop blaming whites for racism and magically lift themselves up by their bootstraps. Both Lemon and O'Reilly's words evoke comedian Bill Cosby's infamous "Pound Cake" speech at the NAACP in 2004. In that speech Cosby, a longtime civil rights supporter, redefined black poverty as a byproduct of individual behavior rather than institutions that have long marginalized and oppressed African Americans. While it's easy to dismiss O'Reilly as a spokesman for the right wing, the words of Cosby and now Lemon are harder for many to ignore.

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Focus on poverty, not the middle class

George Curry-160Several of us were sharing our views on radio Sunday night with Gary Byrd when my friend and colleague Cash Michaels urged us to remember that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated while organizing poor people.

This is a good time to remember that as President Obama seeks ways to strengthen the middle class and civil rights leaders focus on celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Aug. 28, 1963 March on Washington.

The idea of organizing a Poor People's Campaign was discussed during a Nov. 27-31, 1967 Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) planning session in Frogmore, S.C. With the nation's attention focused on the Vietnam War, Dr. King wanted to redirect the conversation to what the Bible calls the least among us by focusing on jobs and income.

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Updated social rules for black men

Sean Pittman-160Trayvon Martin's death prompted responses both in opposition and in support of the jury's not guilty verdict, but more importantly, it has prompted African Americans to update our rules on social interaction.

Huh?

Well, growing up as an African-American male there were certain rules that my parents, and the parents of other black boys, instilled in us early and often. Rules that curb my behavior and inhibit my personality, but, nonetheless, rules that could potentially save my life. For black children, safety rules extend beyond the universal don't talk to strangers.

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‘Stand Your Ground’ guns in church and daycare?

new-york-city-guns-500With the ink on the George Zimmerman not guilty verdict barely dry, another state appears ready to consider a Florida-style "Stand Your Ground" law. Add to that legislation to ease restrictions on concealed handguns in the most unacceptable places, and a bill that would allow gun silencers.

This time it is Ohio's turn. And things are looking outrageous right now in the Buckeye State.

Three bills introduced in the Ohio legislature are at issue. The first is House Bill 203, which would bring "Stand Your Ground" or "Shoot First" to Ohio. If passed, the measure would allow a person to use lethal force without a duty to retreat. The legislation, which the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus opposes, is nearly identical to the Florida law implicated in the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the killing of Trayvon Martin.

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Don Lemon backs Bill O’Reilly in criticism of African-Americans

Don-Lemon-400CNN anchor Don Lemon on Saturday defended Fox News host Bill O'Reilly's highly contentious remarks about crime in the African-American community and the disintegration of family. Lemon says the conservative pundit did not go far enough, which drew fire from critics on the left, according to the Raw Story.

"In my estimation, he doesn't go far enough," Lemon said in a commentary, before going on to list five tips for Black Americans to improve their living situation, starting with an entreaty to young African-American men to stop letting their pants sag as a fashion choice.

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Immigration reform: Why African Americans should support it

immigration blacks-500Reduced to its very essence, the contention over immigration reform is about numbers, meaning how many immigrants of color will further alter the complexion of America and how they might vote. For that reason, African Americans should care about the outcome of the current debate in Washington, D.C., because it is about their political survival.

House Speaker John Boehner announced recently that the Republican-led House of Representatives would develop its own immigration reform bill. As it stands, Congress is at an impasse over the issue because House Republicans will likely not approve a bill that allows the 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States – 75 percent of whom are Hispanic – a path to citizenship. The Senate bill, approved earlier this month, includes a path to citizenship, with eventual full voting rights.

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Exploring the link between emotions and good health

Chef Timothy Moore-160CHEF TIMOTHY It seems that we often are willing to endure pain, hurt and suffering – unnecessarily – when it comes to our health.

We allow our bodies to function in a negative state, tolerating and accepting these ailments as normal. And while it may be difficult to accept, it is our emotional issues that have caused our physical bodies this distress.

The Bible tells us that Jesus died not only to bring us salvation and eternal life but also to bring divine healing for our bodies. What does that mean? It means that God wants you to be healed and He wants you to stay healthy.

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What’s motivating Obama’s black critics?

LZ granderson-160Tavis Smiley: Bitter, party of one.

What else can you say about an accomplished but jaded black scholar who continues to behave like a Twitter troll when it comes to President Obama? Why does he unfairly criticize Obama? Could it be because of a bruised ego?

It may have started back in February 2008.

Smiley, an author, media personality and leading voice in the black community, invited then-Sen. Barack Obama to speak at his "State of the Black Union" forum in New Orleans. Obama declined, opting instead to campaign because he was locked in a tough primary with Sen. Hillary Clinton, who did attend the forum.

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Obama finally finds his voice on race

keli-goff obama-400Six days after a jury acquitted George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin, President Obama gave his first public remarks on the matter. He also gave his most in-depth remarks on race since his famed ""ace speech," "A More Perfect Union," in 2008.

The president surprised reporters by appearing before them unannounced. Unprompted, he began by reiterating his sympathy for the parents of Trayvon Martin, before doing something extraordinary. The president acknowledged his own experiences with racial profiling and how that experience and similar ones that disproportionately affect black Americans have shaped our community's reaction to the Zimmerman verdict. He said in part:

"You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago. And when you think about why, in the African-American community at least, there's a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it's important to recognize that the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that – that doesn't go away.

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The Zimmerman verdict and the flip side of the Obama era

Jason Johnson-160While most Americans were picking up the Zimmerman trial in clips and highlights on the news or the radio after work, I was immersed in the entire trial all day. Working as an analyst for several media outlets meant that I was watching every bit of eight-plus hours a day of testimony, evidence and cross-examination during the trial. The process was exhausting, and a wonderful reminder of why I decided not to pursue law in college.

When you are forced to watch a process from beginning to end you have a pretty good idea of where it's going, so you aren't surprised or even impressed by the conclusion. I knew after a botched investigation, bitter and reluctant cops, questionable jury selection and an incredibly uneven state prosecution that George Zimmerman was going to be found not guilty. So it wasn't the events that actually affected me, because I knew they were coming.

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Jim Crow Justice: Trayvon Martin and the generational burden of Black boys

Bankole2.jpg The history of America is still being written and the acquittal of George Zimmerman of second degree murder by a Florida jury of five White women and one Hispanic female in the mindless shooting death of 17-year-old African American teenager Trayvon Martin is now an important chapter in that history that gave birth to centuries of slavery and Jim Crow.

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