Happy Independence Day!

Happy Juneteenth!

CornerstoneDad

emancipationday

Happy Fathers’ Day to all of the CSD’s putting in that work holding down your family and Happy Juneteenth Day!

 

Sadly, none of my schools taught me about this day.

I did not even know about it until my uncle in CA told me about it at 22 yrs. old!

I don’t want others to be as ignorant as I was, but the 4th of July wasn’t about the independence of everyone, as the slaves were certainly not given their freedom. But don’t take my word for it, just ask Frederick Douglas who said,

“What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout…

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Must Read Article: “I’m a black ex-cop, and this is the real truth about race and policing”

baltimore-cover-final

Why have I been blogging about race and police violence so much? Because it is kids that look like mine that are dying and most in this country do not care, because it’s not their problem. But I fear for my sons and if you have darker skin and are reading this, yours as well.

No matter how much we teach them “proper manners”,  how to dress and give a firm handshake, home school them and teach them to remain sexually pure…when the LEO sees them walking, riding a bike (yes, look it up), and of course driving, those lights are getting tripped because our boys are seen as the face of criminal behavior regardless of what the statistics say. It’s in our country’s DNA, and this is why we cannot ignore, and I will not on this blog, the racial component. Therefore, any action even viewed (e.g. Tamir Rice) as defiant can end in death. At best, the LEO will approach them like they’re dealing with a gang member, not the 4x per week, active youth group, mission-taking, home schooled, authority-respecting young man that you’ve tried to raise.

That part, I can tell you from experience, has never changed in this country.

That leads me to today’s post. This is the best article that I’ve read so far concerning the police violence that we are hearing about regularly today.

Personally, I’m tired of the ignorant straw-man arguments about LEOs. Many still use the “you don’t understand how hard it is…” like some Uno Draw Four card to win the discussion. First, that certainly doesn’t work on me, as I know that one doesn’t have to “be in the shoes” to judge right and wrong. If that’s the case, most of the people saying, “What about black-on-black” crime?” have no validity as many are not “black”.

That said, here’s someone who has been there, so what do you think he has to say? Here are some excerpts:

“On any given day, in any police department in the nation, 15 percent of officers will do the right thing no matter what is happening. Fifteen percent of officers will abuse their authority at every opportunity. The remaining 70 percent could go either way depending on whom they are working with. That’s a theory from my friend K.L. Williams, who has trained thousands of officers around the country in use of force…”.

“And I worked with people like the president of my police academy class, who sent out an email after President Obama won the 2008 election that included the statement, “I can’t believe I live in a country full of ni**er lovers!!!!!!!!” He patrolled the streets in St. Louis in a number of black communities with the authority to act under the color of law.”

“It is not only white officers who abuse their authority. The effect of institutional racism is such that no matter what color the officer abusing the citizen is, in the vast majority of those cases of abuse that citizen will be black or brown. That is what is allowed.”

“The profession — the endeavor — is noble. But this myth about the general goodness of cops obscures the truth of what needs to be done to fix the system…Institutional racism runs throughout our criminal justice system. Its presence in police culture, though often flatly denied by the many police apologists that appear in the media now, has been central to the breakdown in police-community relationships for decades in spite of good people doing police work.”

“Beyond the many unarmed blacks killed by police, including recently Freddie Gray in Baltimore, other police abuses that don’t result in death foment resentment, distrust, and malice toward police in black and brown communities all over the country. Long before Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed Michael Brown last August, there was a poisonous relationship between the Ferguson, Missouri, department and the community it claimed to serve. For example, in 2009 Henry Davis was stopped unlawfully in Ferguson, taken to the police station, and brutally beaten while in handcuffs. He was then charged for bleeding on the officers’ uniforms after they beat him.”

“About that 15 percent of officers who regularly abuse their power: a major problem is they exert an outsize influence on department culture and find support for their actions from ranking officers and police unions. Chicago is a prime example of this:…The victims were electrically shocked, suffocated, and beaten into false confessions that resulted in many of them being convicted and serving time for crimes they didn’t commit.  One man, Darrell Cannon, spent 24 years in prison for a crime he confessed to but didn’t commit. He confessed when officers repeatedly appeared to load a shotgun and after doing so each time put it in his mouth and pulled the trigger. Other men received electric shocks until they confessed.”

“This allows him to leave viewers with the impression that the recent protests against police brutality are baseless, and that allegations of racism are “totally wrong — just not true.” The reality of police abuse is not limited to a number of “very small incidents” that have impacted black people nationwide, but generations of experienced and witnessed abuse.The media is complicit in this myth-making: notice that the interviewer does not challenge Safir. She doesn’t point out, for example, the over $1 billion in settlementsthe NYPD has paid out over the last decade and a half for the misconduct of its officers. She doesn’t reference the numerous accounts of actual black or Hispanic NYPD officers who have been profiled and even assaulted without cause when they were out of uniform by white NYPD officers.”

“Instead she leads him with her questions to reference the heroism, selflessness, risk, and sacrifice that are a part of the endeavor that is law enforcement, but very clearly not always characteristic of police work in black and brown communities. The staging for this interview — US flag waving, somber-faced officers — is wash, rinse, and repeat with our national media. When you take a job as a police officer, you do so voluntarily. You understand the risks associated with the work. But because you signed on to do a dangerous job does not mean you are then allowed to violate the human rights, civil rights, and civil liberties of the people you serve. It’s the opposite. You should protect those rights, and when you don’t you should be held accountable. That simple statement will be received by police apologists as “anti-cop.”  It is not.”

Please read the full article HERE!

This one needs to be bookmarked if you’re tired of some of those discussions as well.

 

Sundown 2015: Lindenhurst Residents Appalled By Letter Targeting Them For Their Race

WhiteNeighborHoodsOnly

I’ve been studying Sundown towns quite a bit over the last few months. Therefore, this story really jumped out at me. James Loewen speaks of many towns that were still sundown as recent as the 2000s! So this isn’t some old civil rights issue that went out with MLK. No, this is STILL going on in America. Like all Sundown towns, there’s no surprise that this is in the north…New York to be exact:

“LINDENHURST, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Blatant racism has struck on Long Island, as a black family got a letter imploring them to leave their town because of their race.

As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported, the case is being investigated by Suffolk County police Hate Crimes Unit.

Ronica Copes of Lindenhurst read the letter aloud. She could not stomach the shocking anonymous letter sent to her home this week.

Attn: African-American family. This is coming from the Lindenhurst community,” the letter reads. “Lindenhurst is 84% white population. You don’t belong here. Please leave Lindenhurst as soon as you can. It will be better for all of us. Find a town where there are more people like you. Sorry if this is rude, but it’s the truth.

Source: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/

Read the rest of the story HERE.

Imagine dad, you move to an area, living the supposed “American Dream”, and you receive this letter, what would you do?

 

True American History: Lynching, American Terrorists, and Christianity

I struggled with whether I should write this post, but I’ve been continuously hearing about the “barbaric and savage” actions of ISIL, came out of seeing American Sniper to some guys saying, “If they want to give their country to some kids like that, then we should kill ’em…” and some getting upset at President Obama’s comments in which he truthfully pointed out:

“Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ. … So this is not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith.”

Rush Limbaugh, someone who many Christians follow and align their beliefs with rather closely said, “Jim Crow’s not around today.  A thousand years ago, yeah.”

Mike Huckabee and Elisabeth Hasselbeck on Fox, two self-proclaimed Christians, seem to take issue with the president’s comments as well, because he did not condemn Islamic terrorism enough during his speech.

While that’s certainly a conversation for another time, I’m more concerned about the complete ignorance by those who many Christians follow daily. Their position is even more appalling for many African-American Christians and even those who may not profess Christ (see HERE and HERE). Sorry Rush, no “ditto” here, but Jim Crow laws were in full effect until at least 1965. While I’m an old man, that’s less than a decade before I entered into this world, and I’m not a thousand years old.

The question becomes, is Rush that ignorant or does he know that most American’s are ignorant enough not to know their own history, or a combination of the two?

Jesse Washington, seen in the photo below, was murdered in 1916. For the math impaired, that’s only 99 years ago, during the other event we all must study in school called WWI.

 

jesse-washington-5Jesse washington_ground_level

In a report just released yesterday by the Equal Justice Initiative, it states:

“EJI researchers documented 3959 racial terror lynchings of African Americans in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia between 1877 and 1950 – at least 700 more lynchings of black people in these states than previously reported in the most comprehensive work done on lynching to date…This was not “frontier justice” carried out by a few marginalized vigilantes or extremists. Instead, many African Americans who were never accused of any crime were tortured and murdered in front of picnicking spectators (including elected officials and prominent citizens) for bumping into a white person, or wearing their military uniforms after World War I, or not using the appropriate title when addressing a white person. People who participated in lynchings were celebrated and acted with impunity. Not a single white person was convicted of murder for lynching a black person in America during this period.” (Emphasis mine) – See HERE

Please read that last sentence again if you wonder why, as late great sports journalist Ralph Wiley wrote the book, Why Black People Tend To Shout. Ralph wrote this when we were shouting about Rodney King (and having so-called honest discussions about race and taking down barriers…remember that?)

Today, we are still shouting about Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, John Crawford and so many more.

Ralph Wiley

I wrote about going to hear author James Loewen HERE. During the lecture, Loewen presented a similar picture to those below and noted a few points.

#1 – Lynchings were so common, that many were unreported because it just wasn’t news. It was just something American’s practiced. Obviously, Loewen’s statement is backed up by the research above.

#2 – Lynching in America was so common, that Americans were proud. So proud, they took their children to watch, created post cards showing the brutality (who did they send those too?) and even smiled for the camera.

#3 – Lynching, the murder of another human life, was done with no fear of the law. Obviously, when you look at the photos and see that no one covered their face with shame or shielded their kids from seeing such a, dare I say, a barbaric and savage act, done by those who I’m sure also considered it their obligation to be in church on Sunday.

That last point, is President Obama’s point. The symbol of the KKK was and is the cross. Our Savior died on a cross to redeem mankind (John 3:16-17). In the comments below, since we have many sermons by Christian ministers from 100+ years ago, I would appreciate if anyone could list where I can find some messages of those ministers speaking against them using the cross and the other acts of terrorism they perpetrated from the late 1800’s to mid-1900’s.

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I’m serious, because I can find you some African-American ministers who did speak out.

Trust me, if you’re a light-shaded Christian and you’re discussing the President’s remarks with a Christian from a darker people-group, they will likely think of the above, but likely not say anything as we just know this is the cost of “doing business”.

As a father, I protect my kids from many things, but history is not one of them. The last thing I want to raise in my house are children as ignorant as the talking-heads in the media, that feed many of those I work and even go to church with each week.

Take a look at the photos.

Take a look at everything in the photos.

Perhaps the true grotesque image is not the body hanging from that tree, but the smiling face looking at you in the picture.

I’ll leave you with what I always encourage my readers to do. Ask your relatives who were alive what they thought back then, ask what they remember. This history wasn’t a thousand years ago, that history may be sitting next to you on Easter Sunday.

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IMA Book Addict! Excerpt of the Day from: The Way We Never Were – American Families and the Nostalgia Trap

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“Contrary to popular opinion, “Leave It To Beaver” was not a documentary…A full 25 percent of Americans, forty to fifty million people, were poor in the mid-1950’s, and in the absence of food stamps and housing programs, this poverty was searing. Even at the end of the 1950’s, a third of American children were poor. Sixty percent of Americans over sixty-five had incomes below $1,000 in 1958, considerably below the $3,000 to $10,000 level considered to represent middle-class status. A majority of elders also lacked medical insurance…Even when we consider only native-born, white families, one-third could not get by on the income of the household head.”

Excerpt from, The Way We Never Were by Stephanie Coontz

The Struggle That Must Be, Today and In the Future

When I was in my early 20s, there was one non-professional athlete that impacted my worldview like none other. The man, Dr. Harry Edwards. I was always interested in sociology and of course I loved sports, and when I learned of this field created by Dr. Edwards called Sociology of Sport, it was love at first sight. While God by His sovereign grace has me where I am today, if I could do everything over, I’d head to a school with a Sociology of Sport program to earn the academic credentials and attack the profession like Mike Tyson in the ring during his prime. I remember telling my mentor that I wanted to become the next Harry Edwards when I first went to see her about transferring into sociology and out of sports medicine. However, she knew what I would later find out, yet she didn’t crush my enthusiasm, and that was the fact that I’d never be worthy to even tie up his shoe laces, let alone fill his shoes.

Source: www.dailytexanonline.com
Source: http://www.dailytexanonline.com; I should not have to tell you, but just in case you do not know, that’s Jim Brown (far left), Bill Russell (center) and Dr. Harry Edwards (far right)

I wish I could meet Dr. Harry Edwards. Whenever I find out that he’s done and interview somewhere, I’m on the hunt and all ears because I know I’ll become wiser after listening to this man. Now I just wish that we could hear more from him in our digital era, as it would be so much easier to have access to his knowledge. But then again, I wouldn’t be as proud as I am to have three of his great books, Sociology of Sport, The Revolt Of The Black Athlete and The Struggle That Must Be.

While we are proud of the stand the athletes like Derrick Rose, LeBron James, Reggie Bush and others are taking as they protest African-American men being gunned down in the United States by the police as if they were being caught in a Sundown Town of the 1940s, the protests are now being compared to that organized by Dr. Edwards at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. The Black Power salute by John Carlos and Tommie Smith set the bar high, created a new path, and must be something our children (especially those that play sports)  never forget. My kids do not, as they have the poster right above the computer in our living room. My two oldest boys were given the John Carlos Story as Christmas gifts right after it hit shelves and when I worked with young athletes as a strength and conditioning coach, I even encouraged them to not just carry a ball, but carry a message. When you carry a message, you carry yourself with more responsibility as well. It’s a responsibility to hold tightly to the opportunity that’s been afforded to you.

I could go on and on, but that’s what made me feel encouraged about the discussion at ESPN by Jemele Hill, Chris Broussard and Stephen A. Smith. The discussion was on Athletes and Activism.

See video HERE.

First, just the fact that one black woman and two black men can sit on a major network and discuss and frame what the black athlete is doing is quite an accomplishment. Yes I’m aware, as Smith and Broussard know first hand, that if they go too far out, the dominant-society will take them out to the woodshed. But just to at least be able to talk and teach, that’s progress and that is the kind of talk we have in our homes and at family gatherings.

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Why? Because in 1968, here was the response by Brent Musburger (yes, that one), as described by David Zirin (if you don’t listen to the Edge of Sports podcast, you should) in The Nation in 2012:

“In 1968 Musburger was a restless, ambitious young sports writer looking to make his name. He found his opportunity when Smith and Carlos made their stand. Musburger didn’t see a demonstration. He saw a target.

“One gets a little tired of having the United States run down by athletes who are enjoying themselves at the expense of their country,” he wrote. Musburger then infamously called Smith and Carlos “a pair of black-skinned stormtroopers.”

Second, the athletes of our past dawned the “Scarlet P” for protester, called trouble-makers, said to have had bad-attitudes or received labels like above and were considered uppity negroes. In the case of John Carlos, he lost relationships that money could never replace. Yet, I’m hopeful that some of today’s athletes understand their power, prestige and privilege. Their brand is the trunk of the tree, and now they can have multiple branches (i.e. revenue streams) to feed that tree. So they are no longer beholden as much to the league or owner that believes if he lets him go for not being a “good boy”, that another owner won’t break the code and pick him up.

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That said, I hope that athletes of today protesting are doing more than just sporting t-shirts, but I hope they are writing checks as well. I understand that a grown person can spend their cash any way they would like, but money gets movement in our Land of Milk and Honey. So if athletes can show all the bling on Cribs, I’m hoping they can put some skin in the game as well with some dollars.

Remember, C.R.E.A.M.

So we’ve come a long way and I’m happy to see my kids take a strong stance on civil right issues at the age of 25 down to the age of 8. They know whether they carry a ball or not, I expect them to carry a message, and it’s those messages that I know will out live me and provide hope for so many of my upcoming generations as I have a feeling that they will still need to put on their gloves and continue to fight for justice years from now.

“Lost” Stories of America – Legalized Race Riots Against Minorities

Source: http://www.blackpast.org/
Source: http://www.blackpast.org/

Today I’ve heard and read a few comments from people basically saying that the violence in Ferguson is representative of black people in general. That we all are violent, and therefore, it should be no surprise that police react to us in the way that they do. This is usually also delivered with a subtle cue that white people do not riot, and they certainly do not riot over racial issues.

Today we will debunk that lie. Rioting is no longer necessary by white society to exercise it’s social control and dominance. But historically, it has always been whites in this country that have rioted over racial issues, NOT black folks, when they felt justice was not served. 

Don’t believe me? Ask your parents or grandparents! Ask what the reaction was in the neighborhood when black kids started coming to their schools and churches. I’d love to hear the responses below.

1.) Little Rock – 1957: 

2.) Detroit Race Riot – 1943: ;

https://www.mtholyoke.edu/courses/rschwart/clio/detroit_riot/DetroitNewsRiots1943.htm

3.) Omaha – 1919: 

4.) Texas – 1916: 

5.) Tulsa – 1921: 

6.) Chicago – 1919: http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/chicago-race-riot-of-1919/videos

7.) Greenboro Sit-Ins: https://www.awesomestories.com/asset/view/Greensboro-Four-Woolworth-Lunch-Counter

8.) NJ – 1923: 

Those are just a few examples of rioting in this country, long before the ’60s race riots, Rodney King and now Ferguson. So if you hear someone yet again talking about “those people” in Ferguson, as if they are just a bunch of uncivilized savages, please share and ask, “So who do you think taught them to act in such a way?” or as my good friend would ask, “So what happened the day before?”

The answer is, the day before, parents, “good Christians”, college students, “hard-workers”, we out rioting, looting, killing, stealing and taking justice into their own hands when someone dared to move into their neighborhood, go to their schools, or break the Jim Crow color barrier.

However, one thing has remained the same, the dominant-society still escapes prosecution.

This only builds my faith in an eternal, all-knowing and all-seeing God that is also just.

Isaiah 61:8

For I the Lord love justice; I hate robbery and wrong; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.