The Black Snob

Politics. Pop Culture. Pretentiousness.

Archive for the ‘international’ Category

Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves (In Obama’s White House)

with 43 comments

New Obama Administration members Desiree Rogers and Valerie Jarrett with Linda Rice Johnson of Ebony Magazine (left-to-right) at a social event. Rogers and Jarrett will be part of the Obama White House team.

Beautiful and brilliant, I have to say I’ve been so far impressed with the black women who are popping up as potential parts of the administration. While I’m looking forward to which other black and other minority women and men who will be joining the them, here are the so far “fantastic four” of the Obama Administration.

Name: Desiree Rogers

New Job: White House Social Secretary

Super power: Party! Party! Party! Rogers is super social butterfly, big on the socialite scene in Chicago with her business connections and ability to have a good time

Obama Connection: Michelle Obama

From The Washington Post:

Rogers, 49, is a friend of Michelle and President-elect Barack Obama’s, and a leader in Chicago corporate and civic circles; her appointment signals that the first couple consider the job crucial to how they introduce themselves to the country and the globe. She was a major fundraiser for Obama.

Claim to fame: Rogers was most recently with Allstate Financial, where she was “creating a social network of clients and consumers.” She was also once president of Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Rogers, who studied at Wellesley College and later earned an MBA from Harvard, was once married to Chicagoan John Rogers, Ariel Capital Management chief and another close Obama friend and fundraiser.

Her first highly visible post was in state government. She managed the lottery for then-Gov. Jim Edgar in the ’90s, appearing on TV giving away pots of money.

Why she’s fabulous: According to Obama friend Valerie Jarrett — “This appointment sends a strong message that the Obamas want to use the White House strategically, to maximize its use in a way that is consistent with their philosophy — [to] open it to a broader range of people, ” said Valerie Jarrett, an Obama intimate and friend of Rogers’s who also will work in the White House. “Desirée is a heavy hitter — she comes with her own range of contacts from around the country. She’s close to Michelle and she knows everyone who will be working in the West Wing, so she will be able to create a synergy.”

Name: Valerie Jarrett

New Job: White House Senior Adviser

Super power: Tenacious Charm and Outward Brilliance. She also managed to smooth things over with Clinton supporters, bringing them under the fold after the contentious primary race and she works as Obama’s outreach to leaders within the black community

Obama Connection: She’s a close and personal friend/mentor of Michelle, then later Barack

From The New York Times:

“I can count on someone like Valerie to take my hand and say, You need to think about these three things,” Mrs. Obama said. “Like a mom, a big sister, I trust her implicitly.”

Claim to fame: “A protégée of Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago, Ms. Jarrett served as his planning commissioner, ran a real estate company, the Habitat Company — whose management of public housing projects has come under scrutiny with Ms. Jarrett’s rise — and sits on too many boards to count. She is an expert in urban affairs, particularly housing and transportation, in an administration expected to lavish more money and attention on cities than its predecessors.” (NYT)

Why she’s fabulous: While new to Washington she’s ready to hit the ground running in an effort to avoid the pratfalls that hindered hometown heroes like herself from making it in the Capitol.

She’s tiny, but mighty, mighty powerful, in spite of being “underestimated” due to her ethnicity, gender, height, pixie haircut, being the only black woman in the boardroom and the fact that she’s very “girlish” with a “singsong voice and suits that earned her a recent profile in Vogue.” (NYT)

Name: Susan Rice

Potential Role: Ambassador to the United Nations

Super power: Anti-Genocide Warrior (she has also penned the occasional column for Huffington Post)

From the International Herald Tribune:

The choice of Rice to represent the United States before the United Nations will make her one of the most visible faces of the Obama administration to the outside world aside from Clinton. It will also send to the world organization a prominent and forceful advocate of stronger action, including military force if necessary, to stop mass killings like those in the Darfur region of Sudan in recent years.

Obama Connection: She’s a warrior. She needed no such connections! Actually, she’s a former Clintonite who switched sides.

Claim to fame: She’s considered brilliant and tough.

Writes the International Herald Tribune:

If confirmed, Rice at 44 would be the second-youngest ambassador to the United Nations. A Rhodes scholar who earned a doctorate in international relations at Oxford University, she joined Bill Clinton’s National Security Council staff in 1993 before rising to assistant secretary of state for African affairs at age 32. When Obama decided to run for president, she signed up as one of his top advisers, much to the consternation of the Clinton camp, which resented what it saw as a defection.

Some colleagues from her Clinton and Obama days said Rice can be blunt and unafraid to “mix it up,” as one put it, on behalf of issues she cares about. Rice herself acknowledges a certain impatience at times.

Admirers said she is a good listener and able to stand up to strong personalities, including foreign autocrats and militants in volatile regions of the world.

“Susan certainly is tough, and she’s tough in exactly the right way,” said Strobe Talbott, a former deputy secretary of state and now president of the Brookings Institution, where Rice has worked in recent years. “She’s intellectually tough, she’s tough in her approach to how the policymaking process should work and she will be very effective as a diplomat.”

Why she’s fabulous: Goodness, she wants to stop genocide in Darfur in the Sudan. That makes her fabulous enough. Good luck to her on that.

She’s also not John Bolton, Bush’s former recess appointment as Ambassador to the UN. Bolton, like much of Bush and Co., didn’t believe in the purpose of the UN or giving it any power — real or perceived. Therefore they sent a man to work at frustrating and undermining the organization our country help found and headquarters. (He’s already bitching over Obama elevating the ambassadorship back to a cabinet level position as it was under President Bill Clinton.) Under the long list of reasons why the world hates us you will find John Bolton’s name. Rice is going to get a standing ovation just for not being him.

Name: Michelle Obama (You know she’s the leader of the Fantastic Four. How could I not put her here? She’s bigger than Oprah and Beyonce combined at this point.)

New Job: First Lady of the United States

Super power: She’s a nearly 6 foot tall Glamazon. She’s Wonder Woman. Seriously. She’s got that golden lasso lying around here somewhere.

Obama Connection: She’s Mrs. Obama

Claim to fame: She’s an Ivy League educated attorney with an accomplished career, two beautiful daughters and a devoted husband who just happens to be the “leader of the free world.”

Why she’s fabulous: She’s Michelle Obama. She wasn’t made fabulous. She was born that way.

PS. The Black Snob will be following the actions, careers, lives of almost any black, brown or minority person with a business card and a tic-tac in their mouths working for the Obama Administration. Everything from the serious to the supersillious to the “OMG! What are they WEARING!!!” Send your info to me now, now, now! Especially if you are a black, brown, Asian, Latino, female, male, warm-blooded person with a pulse — or a vampire, I don’t discriminate — who works in DC and likes to pass along “OMG! What are they WEARING!!!” news tips and pictures, among other things.

Send your tips n’ pics to The Black Snob at blacksnob@gmail.com!

And look to future coverage of more men and women of the coming Obama Administration. January 20, 2009, people! It’s going down! It’s the Freaknik of Hope, only everyone is sober and will keep their clothes on (because it’s freezing outside in DC in January). Yeah! Nerdy black people! We’re finally taking over! Bwaaa-haaa-haaa!

Advertisements

Written by blacksnob

December 3, 2008 at 6:34 pm

The Good, The Bad and the Absurd, Pt. 1: Colombia’s Obama Lottery

with 5 comments

Do you feel lucky? Well, in Colombia last week they had a little Obama lotto going. Just a little sumpthin’ sumpthin’ to make a lil’ dough, cash in on some Afro-Colombian pride. Of course, some black Colombians were a little rankled. Not because they have an issue with the O-man though. It was more of a “WTF?” moment.

The photograph of the US Democratic Party candidate was used by the lottery in the central Colombian province of Meta as a “tribute” to blacks, according to lottery manager Magdalena Gonzalez.

Gonzalez explained … a smiling Obama was picked as a tribute to people of African descent since Latin America celebrated the Day of Race earlier this month. A man who bought the lottery ticket in the provincial capital Villavicencio complained that, had that been the intention, they should have picked a Colombian black or an indigenous person. Gonzalez admitted that there was also a commercial vision behind the choice, which sought to “create interest and attract the public’s attention.”

Written by blacksnob

October 27, 2008 at 11:30 am

Pop Quiz: Can You Answer These Three Questions?

with 11 comments

Who holds the current majority in the US House of Representatives?
Who is the current US Secretary of State?
Who is the current Prime Minister of Great Britain?

If you can’t answer one or more of these you are such an American it’s not even funny.

From LiveScience.com:

Some news audiences are more politically savvy than others, according to a new poll, with readers of The New Yorker and similar high-brow magazines being the most knowledgeable.

The survey, conducted between April 30 and June 1 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, measured the political knowledge of 3,612 U.S. adults. Participants were asked to name the controlling party of the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. secretary of state and Great Britain’s prime minister.

Overall, just 18 percent of participants answered all three questions correctly.

More than 50 percent of Americans knew that the Democrats have a majority in the House, while 42 percent could identify the secretary of state (Condoleezza Rice). Less than 30 percent could name the prime minister of Great Britain (Gordon Brown).

Written by blacksnob

October 18, 2008 at 5:24 pm

Anyone Understand Swedish?

with 3 comments

Because I was interviewed for the radio there.

Yeah, I don’t understand anything on the report but my own comments in English but … I’ve gone international, ya’ll! We talked about the style of Michelle Obama and Cindy McCain. My interview is the second story on the page reporter by Audrey Erath. There’s a picture of Michelle and the girls next to it. The whole page is TOTALLY in Swedish so you need to get up on some Google Translate just to understand how to listen to the report.

Written by blacksnob

October 1, 2008 at 12:33 pm

Attorney General Pushing to Stop Deporation of Genital Mutilation Victim

with 6 comments

It has upset me for years that the US government routinely monkeys around with asylum for women who are either victims of genital mutilation or are facing genital mutilation if they return to their home countries. A lot of these women are Muslim or are from various African tribes that use the procedure as a form of control on a woman’s sexuality.

It’s painful, unnecessary and can sometimes lead to infection or death. If we live in a country that purports to protect the rights of women it seems sick that we would deny shelter to these abused women and girls.

Apparently, and finally, someone up top agrees with me. Attorney General Michael Mukasey is pushing to stop the deportation of a Mali woman who was subjected to this perversion.

The U.S. attorney general is trying to prevent immigration authorities from sending a Muslim woman to her home country, where she was a victim of female genital mutilation.

In a stinging order overriding federal immigration courts, Mukasey blasted a decision that said a 28-year-old citizen and native of Mali should be expelled “because her genitalia already had been mutilated [so] she had no basis to fear future persecution if returned to her home country.”

Calling the rationale “flawed,” Mukasey sent the case back to the Board of Immigration Appeals with orders to reconsider …

“Female genital mutilation is not necessarily a one-time event,” Mukasey said. He noted that the board in a previous case had granted asylum in to one woman whose “vaginal opening was sewn shut approximately five times after being opened to allow for sexual intercourse and child birth.”

He also concluded that the Board of Immigration Appeals was wrong to assume that the woman “must fear persecution in exactly the same form [namely, repeat female genital mutilation] to qualify for relief.”

Mukasey had been urged to look into the matter by angered members of Congress in the wake of the January decision.

“This recent action taken by the Board of Immigration Appeals is a step backward for the rights of women worldwide,” declared Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan, in a January letter.

“Female genital mutilation is a gross violation of a woman’s human rights and has traditionally been grounds for the granting of an asylum claim,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-California, said in the letter.

The woman, a 28-year-old, fears that if she has a daughter her child would be subjected to the same abuse. I seriously hope that she isn’t deported. She’s had a hard enough time already. Why should we make it doubly cruel by returning her to the people who subjugated her in the first place?

Written by blacksnob

September 23, 2008 at 2:31 pm

Condi sez "Immediately withdraw your forces"; Russia sez "Or what?"

with 9 comments

This is the most lopsided game of chicken ever.

The Associated Press (All emphasis mine):

Russian forces pulled back Saturday from the center of a town not far from Georgia’s capital after Russia’s president signed a cease-fire deal, but his foreign minister later suggested there would be no immediate broader withdrawal.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also said Russia would strengthen its peacekeeping contingent in South Ossetia, the breakaway Georgian region at the center of more than a week of warfare that has sharply soured relations between Moscow and the West.

Lavrov signaled Russia’s determination to set the rules for peace in an area where it has long viewed growing U.S. influence as an encroachment on its traditional sphere of influence. He said it is up to the South Ossetian people — and not Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice — to determine which countries can send peacekeepers and which cannot.

I can just see Putin, stroking his fluffy white cat while sitting in the castle of Greyskull, manically laughing at the impotence of the Americans.

What do you see in his soul now, Bushie!

I don’t know if the people of the United States and our government were aware that our handling of Russia post-Cold War really didn’t endear us to the Russian people.

After “we won” the Cold War we promised the Russians aid and that we would help them make the transition into the post-Soviet Era. Instead we did pretty much nothing but obsess about security their nukes because after Perestroika the Russian economy crashed, inflation shot up and misery spread across the country. The Russian people were lost in the wilderness. First Gorbachev allowed numerous Russian satellite countries to emancipate themselves without a shot fired (something he now regrets). Then the Russians elected an out-of-control drunk, Boris Yeltsin who bungled his way through the country’s economic reforms and flirtations with Democracy.

The Russians wondered when the US was going to follow through with that help, but the reality was, we’d won. That’s all we cared about. Most Americans couldn’t give two shits about what was happening in Russia. And when they learned the realities, that we were languishing about, getting fat off of Hot Pockets and Oreos with grocery stores flowing with abundance. When saw these paragons of gastronomical delights Yeltsin was mighty pissed.

After all, huge grocery stores with every food item you could want didn’t exist in Russia at the time. The Russian hospitals were so deficient at the time he had to send his own mother to the west to receive medical treatment. Yeltsin once screamed at 60 Minutes correspondent Leslie Stahl that the US had destroyed his nation. For decades the Russian people were routinely told the Americans were suffering as much as they were during our 60 year stand-off. To learn that we hadn’t suffered at all, but prospered greatly during the Cold War, was a slap in the face. Seeing how wealthy our country was demonstrated that the Russians could never match us in military spending.

Therefore, Russia has a huge chip on its shoulders. They used to be the biggest, baddest MFer on the block. They didn’t like being the eunuchs. This is sort of like what’s going on in China right now, although China has been the perennial loser since the Opium wars. Bullied by Japan and its once borderline psychotic obsession with conquering the Chinese people, made a cuckold of the west by the US and Great Britain, it sucked to be China. But now that they’ve got a little money in their pocket and a pep in their step they’re ready to move up to the big leagues. Sure, they’re still an authoritarian police state, but, hey, they got the Olympics.

And Russia really isn’t a Democracy, with Putin getting his own special little job, Prime Minister, translated as “Evil genius figures out way to rule forever.” It’s also a “capitalist” police state, like China. Both decided to reject all that western “openness,” freedom of the press garbage. Goodness no. To quote Gordon Gekko, “Greed is good.” Money makes you stronger. You can build and buy more weaponry. But a police state keeps everyone in line. Money is a pacifier in the mouths of your middle class. It gives the poor a status to aspire to (even if it’s impossible to obtain), it shuts people up. And we should know. We invented that here … and without having a police state.

After Perestroika, the Russian people were begging for some stability and Putin gave that to them. Prosperity and stability. So what if it’s still a police state? They’ve got Hot Pockets now, MFers!

Flush with cash from the vast natural resources, Russia is feeling a little randy. Last year they were testing fancy bombs and trying to punk others over that anti-missile defense system we keep trying to build in former Iron Curtain countries. Now Poland is the latest spot we’ve chosen for the system and the Russians are double-dog-daring the Poles to align themselves with us as the Russians feel this missile defense shield has nothing to do with Iran and everything to do with them.

Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, Putin’s not taking any chances. He’s only taking names.

From Time.com:

Russia warned Poland on Friday that it is exposing itself to attack — even a nuclear one — by accepting a U.S. missile interceptor base on its soil, delivering Moscow’s strongest language yet against the plan.

American and Polish officials stuck firmly by their deal, signed Thursday, for Poland to host a system that Washington says is meant to block missile attacks by rogue nations like Iran.

Moscow is convinced the base is aimed at Russia’s missile force, however, and the deal comes as relations already are strained over the fighting between Russia and U.S.-allied Georgia over the separatist Georgian region of South Ossetia.

“Poland, by deploying (the system) is exposing itself to a strike — 100 percent,” Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, the deputy chief of staff of Russia’s armed forces, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

He noted Russia’s military doctrine sanctions the use of nuclear weapons “against the allies of countries having nuclear weapons if they in some way help them.” Nogovitsyn said that would include elements of any strategic deterrence system, according to Interfax.

And while Condi, George, et al, are heavy on the rhetorical bombast over Georgia, they are mired in two wars with no desire to fight a third one with our old enemy. While we still have the better toys and the stronger military (even in this weakened state), the Russians could inflict vastly more casualties, cause us far more grief and get the Doomsday Clock ticking once again.

We’d also need to have one of those … what do you call it? A draft? Because, um … we’d need one if we’re going to take on the fourth largest standing army in the world (and still fight two wars). We actually have the second most troops (China has the most by far … with its 1.3 billion people to pull from), but our military budget is unrivaled by anyone on planet earth. We’re pulling down more than $583 trillion on our military. You have to count the entire European Union to get a distant, but substantial number two spot. NATO is bigger than us but only because we’re in NATO with our wads o’ cash.

The Russians are number seven in military expenditures, spending $45 trillion. That’s nothing to sneeze at, but our number is more that most countries gross national product. But even with less money and less toys, the Russians can still match us old decaying nuke for old decaying nuke. Plus we’ve spent the past 60 years preparing to fight each other. You don’t want to fight someone who already knows all your moves.

Plus, if the US did get involved, per usual, this would be a one country show. The European Union fears Russian aggression, but the western states are just as reluctant to act as they were when Hitler was devouring the former Czechoslovakia. This is one of those situations where everyone is going to sit on their hands until something truly messed up happens … like attack Poland. The shit will officially hit the fan if that happens. We let Hitler take Poland. Then we let Russia take Poland. Poland, now free, loves its western allies and doesn’t trust its former Russian overseers. They are a member of the EU and NATO. Being a member of NATO has its perks like … if Russia attacks you other members of NATO are supposed to come to your defense.

Either way, former Russian satellites are shoring up their military and finding out who their true blue friends are if Russia starts to get all handsy with them.

From Bloomberg:

“The divisions within Europe are more pronounced than those between two sides of the Atlantic,” said Charles A. Kupchan, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington. “There’s a host of new democracies in Europe that continue to worry they will again fall prey to Russian expansion.”

Poland and the Baltic states, all once held within the Soviet Union‘s embrace and now members of the European Union, rallied behind Georgia yesterday.

“Russia’s aggression against sovereign neighboring country Georgia shows to the whole world that the peaceful period after the end of the Cold War has ended,” Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip said. “Russia’s actions increase security risks.”

Poland today won a U.S. pledge to help improve its defenses in exchange for basing interceptor missiles on its territory. Estonia‘s government yesterday said it will boost defense spending.

This all reminds me of an episode of The Simpsons where out of the blue, the once down and out Russians magically reappear with their massive troops, a reanimated Stalin and the Soviet flag waving. When asked, “I thought the Soviet Union collapsed?” a Ruskie replied “That’s what we wanted you to think!

Russia’s here. They’re spreading fear. Get used to it.

The US can’t be the only one going around invading countries and overthrowing their leaders. Russia wants back in to the game. Strangely, in some sick way the Pentagon and our country might like its old nemesis back. Russia made to sense to us. We studied them. We obsessed over them. We built an economy and an arsenal set on defeating them. It also kept the other western countries in check, so afraid of Russian aggression that they kowtowed to us even when we sounded completely bonkers. Sort of like how former British Prime Minister Tony Blair followed Bush all the way to Iraq while everyone else scoffed. Blair was one of the last of the true believes in post-Cold War America. The US misses having that kind of power, respect and adoration as the Jedis to Putin’s Darth.

Although, Dick Cheney is the designated dark lord of the sith, so maybe we’re Sean Archer to Russia’s Castor Troy.

We want our mojo back. So we should know how the Russians feel. After all, if it had been our economy that collapsed and they were the ones promising help, they would have laughed as we starved to death and we would have sat around plotting our revenge on the east. (Much like Sean and Castor in John Woo’s excellent “Face/Off”)

Quite frankly, we don’t give a damn about each other in this game of “Last remaining superpower” versus “angry former superpower.”

Just don’t turn on the Doomsday Clock, please.

Written by blacksnob

August 16, 2008 at 4:19 pm

A Sad, Bad Weekend

with 15 comments

Stuck with insomnia, I spent last night listening to Isaac Hayes “Hot Buttered Soul,” my favorite of his albums and thinking about what a masterpiece both “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and his version of “Walk On By” are. I’ve always loved the album since I was a kid and I’ve always loved the passion of both songs. His version of Burt Bacharach’s “Walk On By,” is by far the most complex, unique and beautiful. From the beautiful string arrangements to the guitar. It’s such a sad and lush production, very unlike Dionne Warwick’s version which is a standard pop ballad. The only other version of “Walk On By” I love is Cyndi Lauper’s cover on her jazz standards album, but it still pales in comparison to Hayes.

Now he has died, leaving this masterpiece of an album behind, among others. His booming deep voice on “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” echoes in my head as I can see the car fly by on southwestern highways to its southern destination away from the woman who broke his heart.

I thought about the enormity of Russia invading Georgia, its former providence, and worried as an amateur history buff that this all has a very World War I ring to it. And example of how a small regional conflict can explode and rapidly spread. How far will Russia go now that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is comparing Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili to Saddam Hussein and their aggression to our aggression in Iraq.

Putin has called out the pot for calling the kettle black.

“Of course, Saddam Hussein ought to have been hanged for destroying several Shiite villages,” Putin said in Moscow. “And the incumbent Georgian leaders who razed ten Ossetian villages at once, who ran elderly people and children with tanks, who burned civilian alive in their sheds — these leaders must be taken under protection.”

This is what happens when you lose your moral standing, all tyrants are emboldened by the new rules — there are no rules. Just ruthlessness. Russia didn’t like the idea of its former property vying for a membership in NATO, the alliance created with the sole purpose of protecting Western European countries and the United States. And if Georgia were a member of NATO I can almost guarantee this would not have happened. An attack on one in NATO is supposed to be viewed as an attack on all, and Russia, the only country who can even attempt to match us militarily, has no desire to tussle with us, the Brits, the French, et al.

Although, with us mired in two wars, we don’t get have much weight to throw around to protect or bargain Georgia’s way out of this conflict. If Russia wants to crush Georgia it can. If it wants to take back it’s other former territories, it can. Who can stop them? What can we do? We’ve spent the past 60 years trying to advert war with Russia. Any attempt to stop them by force would be charging head first into the war we never wanted. The one we thought died with the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. No one wants to go the party we prepared for. No one wants the one kind of war we actually know how to fight.

I know we won’t get involved, but it still concerns me. If the conflict spreads, as the Ukraine is threatening to cut off their ports to the Russians, what will happen next? If the Russian’s take Georgia’s capital?

Then, unexpectedly comedian Bernie Mac died from complications with pneumonia. I knew he was in the hospital. I knew he was ill. But to see him died of something preventable saddened me. He was only 50 years old and I tire of black men, rich and poor, who die at an early age from preventable diseases. Gerald LeVert and his brother Sean come to mind. And also another man much closer to me.

My father’s younger brother, my uncle died on Thursday from cancer. He originally was diagnosed with colon cancer more than a year ago. He’d been sick longer than that but refused to go to the doctor until he was in horrible pain. He had emergency surgery to remove a large tumor form his colon. It was malignant, but even after learning that he didn’t want chemotherapy, only later coming around to the idea of taking the treatments. In the end, it was too late. The cancer spread to his liver and eventually it was evident the chemo couldn’t help him at all. Nothing could help him and we all had to watch over less than six weeks as he went down, becoming thinner and thinner, sicker and sicker, until he could barely walk or talk and was in so much pain.

When his daughter, my first cousin called on Thursday to tell me her father had passed on, I didn’t know what to say or how to feel. I’d loved my uncle, a happy, funny guy, who never seemed to worry about anything. Who even tried to use his humor to make us feel less sad about him dying. He was my father’s best friend. A grandfather. And he was dead at 64.

And if he’d only gone to the doctor for his regular check ups, if he’d had a colonoscopy, this could have been caught early like my mother’s colon cancer. It could have been treated and he could still be with us. My father is 66 and my mother is 63. I can’t imagine them suddenly dying so early, but I know they could, anyone could. You never know when it’s your time to go. But if you’re a man and you are avoiding the doctor out of ignorance or arrogance, stop. There is no reason for you to avoid an hour of discomfort when that avoidance could lead to you becoming yet another statistic of the abbreviated life expectancy of the black male.

Why would you want to leave us alone? I know that as my uncle lay dying he didn’t want to leave us alone, but he didn’t have a choice at that moment. Brothers, give yourself a choice. Don’t let the disease make the decision for you.

I normally don’t write things that are personal and I normally don’t write about my own spiritual beliefs, but if you believe in praying, considering the state of our two wars, the genocide in Darfur, the unrest in many African countries ruled by despots and dictators, China’s crackdown on dissidents, the severe poverty of the people of Haiti, our failing economy and healthcare system, the violence that gripes American cities like St. Louis and Philadelphia, horrendous inner city schools and black children who grow up believing their lives are worthless and behaving as if they are worthless, if you consider the AIDS epidemic with black people here and abroad, if you consider how a war in Georgia could affect the whole world depending on what the Russians do next, I’d suggest you pray. And if you don’t believe in praying, I’d suggest awareness. Be aware of the world you live in. Be a responsible citizen and study the facts before you choose your congressman or woman, governor or representative, city council member, judge or president. Do not base your decision on looks or popularity, but on facts. Do not make decisions with emotion, make them with your right mind.

Be aware of what your country does in your name and what it does not and remember in the end that we, as Americans, get the government we deserve because we are the ones who vote for them. Rather than having contempt for Congress, have contempt for ourselves as we elected that Congress. And rather than complain, arm yourself with information and turn that information into action. You don’t have to save the world, but you can find the change that fits for you.

Written by blacksnob

August 11, 2008 at 5:53 pm