Don Lemon's unsolicited social commentary this year on the things holding back the black community and the New York Police Department's stop-and-frisk policy earned him a level of contempt typically directed at the Supreme Court's lone black justice.
Lemon's critics, much like Thomas', question his understanding of the issues facing African-Americans. The CNN anchor's focus on sagging pants and littering was as disturbing to them as Justice Thomas comparing affirmative action to Jim Crow or siding with the majority in striking down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. Lemon could have focused on mass incarceration, urban school closures, or one of the other important issues facing communities of color. His decision not to do so earned him a stern rebuke from Russell Simmons, theGrio's Goldie Taylor and others who questioned his motives and found his analysis to be woefully inadequate.
Despite the criticism he received, Don Lemon isn't alone in his analysis of the things holding African-Americans back. A 2010 Pew report found that 52 percent of African-Americans believe blacks who cannot get ahead are mainly responsible for their situation, while only 34 percent cited racial discrimination as the main reason. The study found that this view was markedly different fifteen years prior, when almost 60 percent of blacks saw discrimination as the main factor holding African-Americans back.
Pope Francis is displaying an extraordinary style and passion that demands our attention. He addresses the needs of the poor, embraces the outcasts, and loves those on the margins of society. In this recent "apostolic exhortation," The Joy of the Gospel, he raises a moral challenge to both his church and his world.
Like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Pope Francis calls upon people of faith to "go forth" to preach and practice their faith. "I prefer a church," he writes, "which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy for being confined and from clinging to its own security."
Pope Francis raises a profound moral voice against "trickle-down theories," which put a "crud and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power." We have created "new idols," he warns, in the worship of money and markets. The result is that "human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded." We have witnessed "a globalization of indifference," in which the poor are dehumanized and ignored.
The hashtag '#knockoutgame' tells the story.
Social media is buzzing with fear and hysteria and the spread of anti-black sentiment. The proxy war for a host of racial agendas has a new rallying call. It is "the knockout game."
For those who followed the so called "Central Park Jogger" case, an incident in April of 1989 when one Hispanic and four black teens from Harlem were said to be "wilding," this 'knockout game' development is very troubling.
Dear Lucy: There are some people who make me feel so small when I am around them. I don't know why but I just want to disappear. I never feel like I could ever be as smart or successful as them and I just lose my power when I am around them. I really need to get over this because it makes me feel like I am weak! Any advice? – Power Leak
Dear Power Leak: I just love that description. If we all told the truth, we would admit that no matter how cool we think we are, there is some situation or person that causes us to leak our power.
Some people actually live with people for whom they consistently leak away their power. It can be done with a certain look, a word or a gesture. When I was a child and would misbehave in church, my mother could give me that special look and I would not only go weak in the knees but immediately sit up straight and behave.
My grandmother, with skin as dark and smooth as molasses and no formal education, never had a will. She didn't need one. She left this earth with a little under $100 in her savings account. But Alice Cole Robinson gave me some things good money cannot buy: an enduring faith in God, her banana pudding recipe, and a devotion to the St. Louis baseball Cardinals.
We couldn't afford to go to more than a few games a season. And even then, only when nose-bleed seats went on sale. My cousin Bookie and I used to crawl into the backseat of my uncle's old white Buick for the short drive to Busch Stadium. Grandma Alice never went. She preferred to sit in her upper room and listen on her transistor radio perched on the windowsill. She could see the brightly lit stadium from her armchair as she listened to Jack Buck call the game.
I was raised on big league ball. The 1982 World Series was like Christmas in our house. I will never forget pitchers like Joaquin Andujar and Bruce Sutter. Coming up, I had heroes like Oberkfell, McGree, Hernandez, and the Smiths—Lonnie and Ozzie. Manager Whitey Herzog and Cardinal legend Lou Brock were nothing short of gods in our house.
Here's a fairly simple concept for supporters of that persistently troubled health care law with the glitchy website that runs as slow as a NetZero connection: Stop calling it "Obamacare."
For sure, that's a tough pill for fan girls and boys to swallow. There are legions of stubborn partisan Democrats who want the law to work—an admirable goal, given the realities of the uninsured landscape. We get that. But in casually adopting or accepting one of the more derisive political-messaging terms in recent memory, faithful surrogates (including the namesake himself) are refusing to put it to rest.
In that sense, it's worth wondering whether supporters are actually interested in making certain the Affordable Care Act actually does what it says or if they're more interested in preserving its creator's political legacy. These are two vastly different goals—the latter as politically impolitic as the incessant Republican effort to repeal it.
In a petition circulated online, Change.org minces no words – "NAACP: Hire the First Woman President in the NAACP's 104 year History."
Seventy percent of the respondents agreed it is time that NAACP (the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) elect the first permanent woman president in its history.
The petition and the clamor for a woman to lead the organization came almost within moments after current NAACP President/ CEO Ben Jealous announced he was stepping down at the end of the year. This is hardly the first time there's been a clamor and an even louder criticism of the dearth of female leaders at the top of the nation's major civil rights organizations.