Monday, January 30, 2012

Gov. Christie played fast and loose with the facts about White voters in the South and civil rights

Ferguson, Missouri, 2014. Protesters protest the shooting death of Michael Brown, 18, who was killed Darren Wilson, a local White cop. Protesters are threatened with police dogs, just like the civil rights movement of the 1960s. The more things change for African Americans, the more they stay the same.
Angry White citizens in Little Rock, Arkansas hold protest against integration and "race mixing." One protestor's sign stated that "Race Mixing is Communism."
Nonviolent students sitting at a lunch counter in Jackson, Mississippi, May 28, 1963. They were attacked by belligerent  White males who were bucking for a fight that they did not get. African American and White  protesters were taught not to react to violence against them. Rev. Martin Luther King insisted that protesters not be violent or incite violence.
President Lyndon B. Johnson, Democrat from Texas,  signs the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Noted leader of the civil rights movement, Rev. Martin King, Jr., was present at the signing.
The infamous Bull Connor getting ready to sic violent dogs on nonviolent civil rights marchers, which was a common on the journey to freedom and justice for African Americans in America in the 1950s and 1960s.
Civil rights activists were routinely tear gassed and beaten by law enforcement. Until the TV cameras captured the raw brutality and inhuman atrocities these protesters experienced, many of these horrific crimes against them were never seen by Americans. 

Chris Christie Said What?!---New Jersey’s governor Chris Christie was taught a different course on history that did not include the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. He was born in 1962. As an adult and the governor of the last state to free salves in 1866, Christie has no excuse for being absolutely illiterate about the civil rights movement. Had he taken the time he would have learned that New Jersey politicians were reluctant to abolish slavery, and they were reluctant to pass the 13th Amendment. Christie's lack of historical knowledge jumped out like Frankenstein after a facelift. Here is an asinine statement he made January 18.

"People would have been happy to have a referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets in the South."

Christie was speaking to a State Senate Judiciary Committee. The remark was made in reference to the approval of a bill pushing New Jersey closer to legalizing same sex marriage. Christie's comparison of same sex marriage to the civil rights movement is way off base and completely disconnected.

I guess it would be fair to cut Christie some slack, but I am not in the mood to be fair. As  governor of a former slave state, his lack of history is inexcusable. I am quite aware that Black history was not taught in segregated schools. White students were not required to learn about the contributions Black people made to America.

Needless to say, the governor's assertion raised eyebrows among African Americans, especially those who knew about, and participated in the civil rights movement. He upset a couple of Black gays in politics.

"In Asbury Park, Mayor Ed Johnson, who is Black and gay, said: 'Can you imagine President Truman placing integration of the Armed Forces on the ballot? Or us voting on whether women should have equal pay for equal work?"

"And in Bergen County, Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, who is also Black, said in a statement: 'The governor apparently doesn't even understand that minorities likely would have been blocked from voting on a civil rights referendum in the South. Because they didn't have civil rights!"' (Channel 4 New York News)

Christie should have known if civil rights for African Americans was left up to White people and individual states, African Americans would not be allowed to vote today. Left to a referendum, African Americans would be the designated "immigrants", earning less than minimum, working at low skill jobs, and still living under Jim Crow laws in a segregated America.

Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation---Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president, technically emancipated enslaved Africans via an executive order during the Civil War,  January 1, 1863.  The Emancipation Proclamation  only abolished slavery in 10 Confederate states.  In addition to freeing slaves, the 13th Amendment squashed all forms of involuntary servitude.

"When the American Civil War (1861-65) began, President Abraham Lincoln carefully framed the conflict as concerning the preservation of the Union rather than the abolition of slavery. Although he personally found the practice of slavery abhorrent, he knew that neither Northerners nor the residents of the border slave states would support abolition as a war aim. But by mid-1862, as thousands of slaves fled to join the invading Northern armies, Lincoln was convinced that abolition had become a sound military strategy, as well as the morally correct path.

"On September 22, soon after the Union victory at Antietam, he issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, declaring that as of January 1, 1863, all slaves in the rebellious states "shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free." While the Emancipation Proclamation did not free a single slave, it was an important turning point in the war, transforming the fight to preserve the nation into a battle for human freedom. 

"Lincoln and the Republican party recognized that the Emancipation Proclamation, as a war measure, might have no constitutional validity once the war was over. The legal framework of slavery would still exist in the former Confederate states as well as in the Union slave states that had been exempted from the proclamation. So the party committed itself to a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery. The overwhelmingly Republican Senate passed the Thirteenth Amendment by more than the necessary two-thirds majority on April 8, 1864. But not until January 31, 1865, did enough Democrats in the House abstain or vote for the amendment to pass it by a bare two-thirds. By December 18, 1865, the requisite three-quarters of the states had ratified the Thirteenth Amendment, which ensured that forever after “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude ... shall exist within the United States.” (

13th Amendment, Section 1: ‘Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted; shall exist within the United States or any place subject to their jurisdiction.’

Despite all noble  intentions the 13th Amendment was not a good friend to ex-slaves. They were left homeless, penniless and abandoned. They had nowhere to go. They had no prospect for a better life. They had no rights the dominant population had to recognize.

From what I read in some  historical accounts, thousands of freed slaves stayed on with their "former" owners. Being homeless, having no money, no prospects for paid employment, the ex-slaves were subjected to vagrancy laws that landed them in jail, and back to working free. Nonetheless, without an income they were expected to pay the fines imposed on them. They were caught between a rock and hard place, and the hard place was winning. They could not escape the burdens of their previous condition. The Emancipation Proclamation did not deal the freed slave a fair hand in a society that hated the color of their skin.

When the 14th Amendment was proposed in 1866 it went a step farther. Ratified in 1868, it bestowed on ex-slaves all the Constitutional rights that White people were privileged to. Andrew Johnson was president, and this is how the Amendment came into fruition:
“The Radicals' first step was to refuse to seat any Senator or Representative from the old Confederacy. Next they passed measures dealing with the former slaves. Johnson vetoed the legislation. The Radicals mustered enough votes in Congress to pass legislation over his veto--the first time that Congress had overridden a President on an important bill. They passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which established Negroes as American citizens and forbade discrimination against them.” (Our U.S. Presidents)

These Amendments did not stop states from enacting newly created Jim Crow and Black Code laws, poll taxes, grandfather clauses, intimidation, White only primaries, and literacy tests that asked stupid questions as prerequisites to vote. Not even the smartest White citizen or politician could answer the questions. This drop kick scheme was solely devised to “regulate” former slaves, stopping them from demanding their rights.

The 15th Amendment grants voting rights to U. S. citizens regardless of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Noticeably, the right to vote is not in the Constitution. This right is a man created privilege that only White men were allowed to exercise.  The amendment was proposed in 1869 and ratified in 1870 under President Ulysses S. Grant. The completed package was supposed to favor former slaves but they did not have the power to take advantage of their rights. They were free on paper but Whites still had control over them.

Freedom without true freedom---Because ex-slaves were powerless and helpless against Whites  who were determined to keep “them in their place”, they would have to fight for real freedom, not the empty freedom granted them by Abraham Lincoln. Over the years Blacks were intimidated and killed by terrorist gangs such as the KKK and similar vigilantes. Lynchings of men and women,  mutilations, Black men burned alive, rape of Black girls and women were as common as hanging trees and grass. Body parts were sold for souvenirs after or before a lynching or human burning. No Whites were ever prosecuted for these inhuman crimes against Black Americans. No law, judge or jury was on their side.

Fast forward to peaceful sit-ins, marches, demonstrations and protests spearheaded by civil rights leaders and followers in 1950s. Rosa Parks, though not the only figure in the quest for civil rights and freedom, is the most recognized for her refusal to relinquish her seat to a White man on a Montgomery city bus.

The bus driver demanded that she go to the back of the bus. She was sitting closer to the front than the back, somewhere in the middle, which was a no-no in those days. The irony is, if there were no available seats in the front of the bus, the bus driver could demand that a “Negro” give up his or her seat in the back of the bus for a White passenger. Parks steadfastness caused her to get arrested, thus sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1964.

From 1955 to 1968---Civil rights leaders and activists refused to retreat. They continued the marches, mainly in the deep South, where White folk treated civil rights like personal Christmas gifts that Blacks were trying to steal them. Among the noted civil rights leaders was Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. He  became the face and voice of a nonviolent movement. Despite the nonviolence hundreds of leaders and activists were killed, threatened, bitten by police dogs, water hosed, spat on, stoned, cursed at, and beaten by White law enforcement. White people said their "rights" were getting taken away from them to favor Black people.

Now doesn't that sound familiar?

“Many African-Americans risked their lives to march and protest for their voting rights. On March 7, 1965, 525 marchers intended to walk from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery, the state capital. They didn't get far before police confronted them on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. When the protesters refused to turn back, police fired tear gas and attacked the crowd with clubs and whips.” (E-How)

In the end African Americans won a hard-fought change. Whereas they were still discriminated against and basically disenfranchised as legal citizens, President Lyndon Baines Johnson, a Texas Democrat, lessened some their apprehension when he signed into law the  Civil Rights Act of 1964 at the White House, July 2. Suffice it say Southern Democrats fought the hardest against passage of the Civil Right Act. They liked things just the way they were. Blacks were not equal to Whites and they never would be in the eyes of these Democrats and their constituents.

“The bill came before the full Senate for debate on March 30, 1964. The Southern Bloc of 18 southern Democratic Senators and one Republican Senator led by Richard Russell (D-GA) launched a filibuster to prevent its passage. Said Russell: 'We will resist to the bitter end any measure or any movement which would have a tendency to bring about social equality and intermingling and amalgamation of the races in our (Southern) states.'"  (Wikipedia)

This is a mere synopsis African of Americans dying and suffering for their right to vote and live the American Dream, not a mythical promise of the dream. The horrors they suffered were exposed in graphic photos and videos on the evening news. This is what Christie did not take time to research. I guess he is not cognizant of the fact that Republican governors (like himself) and politicians in more than 30 states are reverting to old southern-style tricks and strategies to deprive African Americans of their right to vote. This time it's his party not the Democrats, not all of whom I trust not revert to the "good old days."

This scheme was a preplanned goal to implement if Republicans won big during the midterm elections of 2010.  Well, they won big with the help of raging tea partiers and big money donors. And here we are with a blowhard like Christie foolishly espousing in 2012: "People would have been happy to have referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets in the South."

Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker said, "Frankly, I wouldn't be where I am today if states had voted on civil rights."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Watch your finger Gov. Brewer!

Republican Governor Jan Brewer points her finger at President Obama as if she was scolding a child who had disobeyed her. The President is too much of a gentleman to tell her what to do with her finger. The stunt drew bad publicity for her.

President Obama would never be this rude to Arizona Gov. Jan  Brewer. He is professional and polite at all times. He does not lose his cool, as he had a right to do in this Brewer-planned scenario,  scripted for the media, and her tea party constituents. This President is not a cartoon or caricature, nor does he have bouts of I must show this Black guy where he be belongs like Brewer and her fellow Republicans. In their quest to upstage him, they always upstage themselves.

A Korean probe says, "If you kick a stone in anger you'll hurt your own foot." Brewer's finger must have hurt for days. Her display of disrespect did not play well with the public.

Barack Obama is the most powerful man in the world, but this angry White woman from Arizona set out to prove that his power meant nothing to her. Putting her finger in the President’s face was her way of “putting Barack Obama in his place,” She does not see a reason to respect him.

In the photo she appears angry as she rants at the President, whose right hand is on her right elbow. In an interview with a Phoenix TV station, Brewer said she “felt a bit threatened” by the President. The delicate White woman was scared to death of the big bad Black buck who was prone to attack her in public, with security, Secret Service and the media standing on the tarmac with them.

Is this woman freaking serious?! President Obama should have been frightened as he looked at Brewer's baggy face! I won't call her ugly. I'll just say attractiveness by passed her. 

When CBS 3 asked Brewer what she and President Obama discussed, she said: "It's difficult to recall exactly, because I've always been real animated in talking. We could have been talking about a million different things. Bottom line is that he generally wants to talk about amnesty and I want to talk about securing our border. I must say, I was not hostile. I was trying to be very, very gracious. I respect the office of the president, and I would never be disrespectful in that manner."

Translation: "I respect the Oval office, but to hell with the Black guy who sits in the office."

Brewer could have stayed at the governor's  mansion and not meet President Obama. She chose to be a part of the greeting party. She had a bone to pick with him. Brewer intended to turn the presidential visit into a reality show episode, ripe with a finger-in-your-face photo op,  an added bonus to the drama.

Appearing on Fox Wednesday night, Brewer said: “I was trying to be very gracious to [Obama] and he just reacted in just a very negative manner which took me back – kind of left me breathless to tell you the truth.”  Again, she is repeating "the delicate White woman is scared of the big bad Black buck! I was waiting to hear her say the President made sexual overtures towards her.

If Brewer thought her actions would gain national praise, she miscalculated the public’s reaction. Her blatant disrespect was inexcusable. The so-called argument she mentioned was in reference to a book she wrote. In the book Brewer said that President Obama had been very condescending toward her when she visited the White House in 2010. Her disrespectful up your nose Obama must have been payback. Right?

As it turns out Brewer told several lies about the President in her book Scorpions for Breakfast. She wrote of a visit to the White House: "I felt a little bit like I was being lectured to, and I was a little kid in a classroom, if you will, and he was this wise professor and I was this little kid, and this little kid knows what the problem is and I felt minimized to say the least."

Brewer forgot the press conference they had after the visitShe told the media that she and  President Obama had a "very cordial" discussion. She said they agreed to work together in search of a solution to immigration and border security. Brewer said the President  assured her that most of the 1,200 National Guard troops he is sending to the southern border will be coming to Arizona.

This is the June 2010 meeting in the Oval Office with President Obama. In her book Brewer said the president was very condescending as he lectured her about illegal immigration. The meeting lasted about 30 minutes. She isn't looking traumatized or scared of the president professor. It appears that she is listening to what he is saying.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Michelle Obama is not an 'angry Black woman'

Michelle Obama
I've followed the Obamas from the first day they appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show, when the TV host encouraged Senator Barack Obama to run for president. After he announced that he was going to run the media commenced its obsessive focus on Rev.  Wright, the president's birth certificate, his speaking style, his correct pronunciation of countries and world leaders, a thesis written by Michelle Obama when she attended Yale University. The media complex took its cues from Fox and Sean Hannity, whose  primary goal was to destroy the Obama candidacy.

If there was a news bulletin that Satan was going to appear in person on Fox within the hour, Hannity would not cover it unless Barack Obama was standing next Satan. Even then he would say the presidential candidate sold his soul to Satan to win the election. He would say Obama had conspired with the Devil before announcing his candidacy.

After reading a thesis written by Michelle Obama, the media and critics evolved into certified psychiatrists capable of analyzing her personality through her words. They labeled an her "angry Black woman." A racist. She hates White people. Hannity said he had a video of her calling White people "Whitey." He never did play the video. It did not exist. That did not matter to those hungry for a scandal. Hannity was successful in pulling the so-called main stream media into the slime bucket with him.

And so the reading continued. Critics examined Michelle's speeches, looking for bankable word or statement. When Hannity thought he found a "gotcha" on the scale of Rev. Wright, he would take a single sentence or word and create a Fox news story.  Although no one ever witnessed this "angry Back woman" going batty during or after her husband's campaign, it di not stop the speculation. Even John McCain's wife threw in her two cents.

The media knew if  they kept pushing the notion that Michelle was an angry Black woman it would resonate with those who despised her without knowing her. Sure enough, I began reading comments on a variety of blogs and in  newspapers. Threaders repeated media talking points word-for-word. Some even questioned the validity of Michelle's education. Photos of her were photo-shopped to make her look unattractive and angry.

I never accepted the "angry" hype, because the same media  said President Obama is an "angry Black man."  When he did not loose his temper, they said he is unfeeling, too elitist, too aloft, too educated. In fact, some  pundits got into angry debates with each other when they discussed the President's ability to rise above spoon fed gossip and insinuations. They resented his "coolness" under pressure. Media critics had created images and personalities for Barack and Michelle Obama, and they expected them to live up to the stereotypes.

As a Black woman with a quick temper that I've learned to control, I can testify with certainty that Michelle Obama is not an angry Black woman. 
So why not write a book about angry White women and men? There are plenty of them holding office in Washington, DC and every states. Oh, what am I asking? African American stereotypes sell better than the truth about angry White men and women in politics. 

I never heard critics say, or read in the media that Nancy Reagan, Laura Bush and Barbara Bush are /were angry White women.