Thursday, December 30, 2010

Uncle Tom's Children

I happen to read the article from different perspectives, white and black, regarding Governor Patterson commuting the sentence of John White, which is stirring up a controversy in difference of opinions as is always the case.  What is difference between a black man protecting their home and white man protecting his?

Every once in a while, I like to go back and read a book that I’ve already read in the past. The other day, I picked out of my collection an old book called “Uncle Tom’s Children” by Richard Wright. The first sentence he wrote in the book, “My first lesson in how to live as a Negro came when I was quite small.” That first sentence in the book struck me as sort of odd. I was like why would a black man make a statement like that? However, when I thought about it, it made a lot of sense.

Then it dawned on me. He had to learn how to survive in order to live in a world where black men were endangered species trapped in second-class citizenship because of the racist attitudes of most that did not want to see him get ahead in life or recognize him as a man. In order to survive he had to shift between two different personas and play by those in power set of rules or it could cost him his life.

Wright’s story mirrored that of many black men living in the South and a few other states during that time period. Most of the rules were aimed at stripping black men of their manhood and filled with constant humiliation. A black man had to play one role for those in power and another role which was his true self for his friends and family. Wright sacrificed who he was as an individual—a man and human being in order to feed and provide a roof over their head. Staying alive played a definite major part in his decision. His life and being able to live it to a ripe old age was of the utmost importance to him, but the main deciding factor in why he chose to play the game by their set of rules—he was powerless to do otherwise.

Richard Wright’s story took place during an era when there was no such thing as Civil Rights for minorities. Blacks had no rights! Black men in the past were lynched at the drop of a hat for trivial so-called offenses and many of those so-called offenses were created falsehoods because of their thirst for black men’s blood. In addition, it was their lust for watching strange fruit hanging from a tree for sadistic entertainment purposes. In my own family tree, there were three victims of lynching.

The newspaper article regarding the lynching of one of my ancestors who was a preacher is in a book called “100 Years of Lynching” by Ralph Ginzberg that focuses on lynching of black men in the past. I have a picture of my ancestor and several newspaper clippings regarding the incident and trial. The culprits who committed this act were brought to trial, but the only punishment they received was a verbal reprimand. They did not spend one day in jail. The justice system back then considered that reprimand—justice served.

I thought about the outcome in Oscar Grant's trial when I read the article about John White. How many more years do those in power want black men to play Uncle Tom's Children? 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


To show my appreciation to those who have stopped by to read granny exercising her freedom of speech  for these last few years I am giving away two free copies of the newly soon to be released book "American Uprising."  Since I only have two copies to giveaway, the first two people who respond to this post by sending me an email will be the recipients of this giveaway.

Below are details of what the book is all about. Although, I wish I could be like Oprah and give every single one of my readers a copy.  However, I am not Oprah and besides, it's the economy and those darn rightwing folks have added grandma's check to their hit list.

The Untold Story of America’s Largest Slave Revolt
Daniel Rasmussen

Many Americans are familiar with the slave revolts led by John Brown and Nat Turner, but the story of the greatest act of slave resistance in American history has never been told, until now. In his riveting narrative, AMERICAN UPRISING: The Untold Story of America’s Largest Slave Revolt (Harper; January 4, 2011; Hardcover; $26.99), twenty-three year-old author Daniel Rasmussen provides a groundbreaking contribution to the historical record. Based on the author’s Harvard thesis, which won three separate awards and caught the attention of scholars across the country, AMERICAN UPRISING employs extensive original research to provide a multi-dimensional portrait of the American South just a few years after the Louisiana Purchase.

On January 8, 1811 a group of sugar plantation slaves violently rebelled along the River Road outside of New Orleans. Led by slave driver Charles Deslondes, as well as two other slaves, Kook and Quamana, the slaves marched on the practically defenseless city during the plantation owners’ annual period of revelry and celebration preceding Mardi Gras. Enlisting additional slaves as the march proceeded, Deslondes’ group, armed with guns, cane knives, and axes, sought to strike a death blow to the heart of the region’s seat of power and establish a black republic on the shores of the Mississippi.

As the 200th anniversary of the rebellion approaches in January 2011, AMERICAN UPRISING shares the story of this elaborate plot and the slave army’s dramatic march on the city, as well as its shocking conclusion. As the rebellion continued, federal officials and French planters eventually joined forces and exacted terrible retribution, beheading over 100 slaves and dangling their dismembered corpses from the gates of New Orleans.

With race once again central to the national conversation, Rasmussen’s book has the potential to fundamentally alter the way we view some of the darkest chapters in American history. The slaves who come to life in this book are not victims, but proud, angry men from all different walks of life, who shared a belief that freedom was worth fighting, and indeed, dying for. Rasmussen’s tale – more Braveheart than Beloved – promises to provoke a new discussion about how we think about America’s complex racial past and to stir controversy in New Orleans itself, where the revolt remains a well-kept secret.

Garnering exceptional early praise from the most prominent historians in the country, AMERICAN UPRISING is an important work from a brilliant new writer. This eye-opening history pulls back the curtain on a long-neglected period in New Orleans history, offering new insights into the rise of slavery in the South and our nation’s path to Civil War.


Daniel Rasmussen graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard University in 2009, winning the Kathryn Ann Huggins Prize, the Perry Miller Prize, and the Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize.

The Untold Story of America’s Largest Slave Revolt
By Daniel Rasmussen
On-sale: January 4, 2011
Hardcover; $26.99
ISBN: 9780061995217

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Cry Out For Closure

As I've stated in the past, I like to read and surf the net.  While doing a little research and surfing the net, I ran across a story out of the past that needs some closure for their families sake.  That closure is long overdue.  What the family is asking for is not much, accept a proper ID of the bodies and to be allowed to give them headstones.

I remember Governor Orville Fabus from back in the day because one of my own relatives was, directly, subjected to his stand against "colored" children attending  those lilywhite schools back during segregation. In his mind, those darkies, one who happen to be related to me, were not entitled to a decent education.

Most black folks remember old Fabus who was known for defying President Eisenhower by closing down the school for a year to keep blacks from attending it and ordering the national guards to keep them out, which led to a showdown between Eisenhower and him.   President Eisenhower won in the end, but not before it got a little undignified as Americans, black and white, watched on televisions screens across the nation.


March 5, 1959, before dawn, the dormitory at the school caught fire. The two doors leading out of the room were locked. "I didn't understand what he meant when he said they had the doors locked, so I guess that's what he was telling me. They had two doors locked between them,? says Lawrence.~~Robert Bell~~

My topic today is said to be tied to the "Little Rock Nine Arkansas" crisis.  However, it was left out of history books and very few people knew about it.  Truthfully speaking this is my first time hearing of it. Therefore, I thought I would shine a little spotlight on it today.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Strange Fruit In 2010?

"Southern trees bear a strange fruit, Blood on the leaves and blood at the root, Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze, strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees." ~Billie Holiday~~

Mr. President, maybe, you should have chose another President to emulate.  President Lincoln might not have been a good choice after all.  Yeah, he freed the slaves and all, but all hell broke loose after he did that and the ex-slaves caught hell, freedom turned into Jim Crow, and Jim Crow into strange fruit.

Maybe, Mr. President should have chose President Kennedy or President Johnson to emulate.

People are angry that our President gave into the demands of the Republican's ultimatum. Can't say that I blame them because I am terribly disappointed in him making a deal with them myself.  It comes a time when you have to pull up your pants and put your foot down and just say no!

I understand that he was feeling compassion for the unemployed with it being close to Christmas.  However, Christmas last one day and it's over until the next year rolls around.  Besides which, Christmas has become too commercialized and just another day for the rich to get richer while the poor get poorer. In addition, we got some unbelieving folks that just don't believe in Jesus, which isn't good, because a lot of them really do need  Jesus.  I'm just saying.

Never in a million years did I think I would live to see a black man become President of the Divided States of America.  Nor did I think I would live to see Jim Crow and lynching revived under the leadership of a black President either, but well there are some folks in America that are longing for those nostalgic days.

"The county sheriff says that a 26-year-old black man, Frederick Jermaine Carter, found hanged from an oak tree in Greenwood, Miss., apparently committed suicide, but the president of the local NAACP challenges that explanation and says the group will monitor developments in the case."~~NewsOne~~

"State Rep. Willie Perkins, a Democrat from Greenwood and president of the Leflore County branch of the NAACP, says that group also “will keep a high scrutiny and watch on any investigative report regarding what was the cause of death.”~~NewOne~~

“There are a lot of concerns there, No. 1 that this individual could not have (hanged) himself without the assistance of someone, if it’s being declared a suicide,” he says. “Why would someone from Sunflower County come to North Greenwood, the predominantly white housing area of Greenwood? Why would someone that far away come and hang themselves in North Greenwood by a river? That does not pass the smell test to me.”~~NewsOne~~

We're living in Post-Racial America, well...okay, we're living in land of the free with justice and liberty for all.  Oh heck, we living in the land of great pretenders pretending that our country is all of the above. BTW, what harm is it in letting the LGBT community serve in the military.  They happen to live in this country too, so they should be allowed to fight our so-called fight for colonialism, oops, I mean freedoms too.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Teach Me How To Dougie

It seems that a lot of folks are trying to learn how to Dougie.  Wolf Blitzer and Barbara Walters are trying to learn how to do the Dougie.  The Dougie might be a new dance craze like the Electric Slide that crosses over into all generations, but why do females always have to be referred to by the "B" word?

The Dougie dance does seem to bring out the lightheartedness in people and is popular with all ages and color.  The dance might turn out to be the next Electric slide dance craze.  However, it is not the dance that is disturbing, it's that "B" word in the lyrics.  Come on now, young black men, you've got to stop referring to females as the "B" word.  No female's mother on this earth named their daughter that.

Maybe, Pui Tak elementary school and an Darren Newton should have been learning how to do the Dougie. 

A four year old child refused to cooperate. If your four year old acts up, should the school tie them up with duct tape?  Pui Tak elementary school seems to think that is proper punishment, especially if they are black. Is execution next?  Why do some folks seem to think that  ALL black parents are the ONLY ONES lacking parenting skills and teaching their kids to be thugs?

The father thinks the underlying cause is racism.  Granny is thinking--> glad the child wasn't one of those terrible 2s because  no telling what would have transpired had that been the case.  Patience is a virtue when dealing with small children. Some people do not need to work in positions that involve children.

When Irving later spoke to Gin about the incident, she warned him that the lack of discipline his son exhibited "is how it ends up with kids getting guns." ~~Huffingtonpost~~

There are laws that protect children against their parents.  A parent could wind up facing child abuse charges and prison for disciplining their child using Pui Tak's method of punishment.  They would be in court defending themselves against child abuse charges and Child Protective Services would be paying them a visit.  So, is it okay for a school to abuse them?

Then there is Darren Newton, a dad who murdered his 15 month old baby and video taped it.  A little duct would have came in handy to tie the dad up to prevent him from abusing that child.

Children have a soft-spot with me.  I love having them around because it is never a dull moment with them.  Like Ark Linkletter used to say, "Kids can say the darnest things."  Children are such a joy to have around and you can learn from them too, if you pay close attention, and have a good listening ear. That is don't listen at them, but to them. 

I always tell people that when you are a parent you are at the apprenticeship level, but when you become a grandparent you are at the journeyman level.  Believe it or not when you become a parent you are in training and learning how to be one because there is more to being a parent than feeding, clothing, and keeping a roof over a child's head.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Racism Is Nostalgia With Indiana's White Folks

America has become a country well-known for its bigoted views.  I mean...come on lets face it.  What is the sense in trying to hide it, or pretend that we are post-racial, or act as if we are the country of brotherly and sisterly love when it comes to people of color.  Our history is drenched in racism, discrimination, and prejudice.  This country was built on a foundation steeped in racism.

Apparently, residents in Indiana seem to think being offensive with a racist twist to it is nostalagic because they are backing and support a Noblesville storeowner who is selling controversial soap with racist labels on it:

"The controversy over soap with racist labels being sold at a Noblesville store continues. In addition to those who are offended by the store selling these items, there is also growing support for the vendor who has been ordered to take the soaps off the shelves or face eviction."~~Casey Gane-McCalla, NewOne~ 

"After hearing about the soap, Carolyn Gentner bought two bars including one labeled “Kolored Kids.”~~Casey Gane-McCalla, NewOne~

“I don’t think they’re offensive, I think they’re nostalgic,” she told Fox59 News. “I believe if this is going to be an issue, we should be in Kroger for selling Aunt Jemima syrup."~~Casey Gane-McCalla, NewOne~

Okay, so I guess they wouldn't mind if young people of color begin businesses selling products with labels that are offensive to white folks.  After all if you can't lick them, join them! It is 2010 going on 2011 and their game of offending people of color with imagery of exaggerated facial features on cartoon like characters which are racist in content has failed to cease.

Btw, Aunt Jemima's facial features on that bottle of syrup are not distorted and exaggerated.  In my lifetime I've never seen a black man with red lips before, unless he was gay and wearing red lipstick.  Nor have I ever seen a black man that looks like that picture.

There is no need to claim innocence in knowing that those images are offensive because black folks know without a doubt that claim of innocent would be false.  After all, we've told them that time and time again for nearly one hundred and eleven years.  However, they insist on continuing in their practice of degrading and being offensive towards people of color.

America is supposed to be a melting pot and multicultural, land of opportunity, liberty and justice for ALL country.  The world is beginning to view America as the totally the opposite when it comes to people of color. There is not one nonwhite color group of people who has not experienced discrimination and racism in this country. Our country, lately, has taken it a step further with discrimination towards people with different lifestyles and those with different religious beliefs. 

Alrighty then, what if some of our talented young artist  and store owners who are people of color were to begin to do likewise.  How would whites feel with products labeled white paddy, peckerwood, honky, etc.? Would whites so-called nostalgia come into play if the shoe was on the other foot?  

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Why Are There No Second Chances For People Of Color?

Criminal background checks in the admission process are becoming a trend in colleges across the country in America .  Will these background checks lead to another form of racial profiling and discrimination against black and brown people?

“There are important public policy reasons for colleges to reject this practice,” said Dr. Weissman.  “This is a civil rights issue.  Racial profiling and the heavy concentration of police in low-income, urban neighborhoods have led to extraordinarily high rates of arrest and conviction among young African Americans and Latinos...Based  on these facts,” she continued, “screening for criminal records cannot be a race-neutral practice.” ~~Dr. Marsha Weissman, CCA~~

"The report, The Use of Criminal History Records in College Admissions Reconsidered,” argues that colleges and universities can responsibly refrain from collecting criminal background information because there is no empirical evidence that students with criminal records present a threat to campus safety."~~Center for Community Alternatives~~

The Center for Community Alternatives (CCA) released a reportRead more here

"The problem is this: How do you distinguish between students whose behaviors present a current threat from students who have merely done something stupid in their teenage lives that they now regret? How serious was the crime? How long ago did it happen? Are we talking about a single offense or something that is part of a recurrent pattern?"~~Louis Hirsch, director of admissions at the University of Delaware/Mary Beth Marklein, USA TODAY~~

News flash!  Does it ever occur to those in authority that when a person of color with a criminal record puts in an application to go to college, it might be because they are trying to turn their life around?  Like any other human being sometimes they too mature and come to the realization that they did stupid things when they were young and dumb.  I mean it's not like they have to put in an application for college just to commit a crime.  If they intended to commit a crime, they wouldn't be or have the time to be putting in an application for college.

How can they change their life around if the door is constantly shut in their face for trying?  Is our society instrumental in singling out and blocking second chances to people of color who want to do a 360 degree turn around and become productive members of our society?  Our world is full of those who want to do just that, but they need to be given a chance to do so.