FOR THE BROTHAS: AN INTRODUCTION

It must have been about 20 years ago when I first began thinking about creating a "Cultural Salon" as a reaction to the mundane social circles In Washington D.C. The richness of intellectual and artistic interchange had died, college friends had moved, the internet had not yet become the phenomenon it now is... I romanticised about the Salons of the mid to late 1800's in Paris, London and Berlin and the cultural dynamo of the Harlem Rennaisance. I was fortunate enough to meet a gentleman, an artist who lived and traveled with James Baldwin... Jimmy he affectionately called him, and he spoke often of their small cottage in southern France and of the many Artists, Poets and Luminaries that dropped in to chat and relax. Well, the impressionists, cubists, modernists, etc. all hung out together famously in those days and shared their ideas with one another creating a creative greenhouse in a world that was rapidly changing. I longed to have lived in those times, to have met Cassat, Rodin, Ellington, Fitzgerald, Baker, Balwin, well I did finally meet Baldwin and others purely for the joy of intellection upon the arts. This was in the late 1980's and by the mid 2000's I happened to run into a friend of mine from Hampton University who had been living in New York since he graduated in the early 90s. Well, I was surprised to hear him comment that in all of the wonder that is New York he never met anyone who ever really had anything interesting to say about art, literature, architecture, science, fashion or anything... I was so surprised to hear this since it had also been my experience. Well here I am in 2011 attempting the Virtual Salon...

Monday, February 1, 2016

THE SKILL OF SELF-COUNSELLING: A GENTLEMAN'S BEST TOOL

EXCUSE ME, I'M IN A CONFERENCE CALL WITH MYSELF! I'LL CONTACT YOU WHEN I'M DONE.

Before his day ends a gentleman should set aside time to have a meeting with himself to review the many twists and turns of the day. The purpose of this meeting is of course to go over the fine details regarding how you handled the day's situations complementing yourself and also counselling yourself when you've not handled something as effectively as you would have liked. You'll ask yourself questions like, "how could I have made myself more clear" ordinary did a great job communicating my point but how can I brainstorm effective strategies  to be applied to other situations I my encounter"? The possibilities of this kind of self-management are limitless and powerful.

In addition to helping you honey communications skills self-counselling can empower you to identify and set about acomplishing critical life goals. One of the most important features of self-counselling is that it helps bring mentally healing closure to the many issues we do not have time to manage during our hectic day.

Self-counselling does require a great deal of honesty so It can build a person's quality of self-awareness. Look at it this way, you spend an inordinate amount of time managing other people's baggage so why not set aside 15 minutes or more to handle your own. You more than owe it to yourself and what's more, it's 100% free! You might forget sometimes but setting your self-evaluation as a daily goal is essential to your mental health. So just pick a time that's best for you. Otherwise could even be early the following morning or at midday next day.

BIG DADDY BLUES

Sunday, December 20, 2015

WHAT WE DON'T KNOW AND DON'T DO WILL HURT US

THE BLACK AMERICAN MAN'S ELUSIVE AND INEXORABLE PURSUIT OF JUSTICE IN A COUNTRY BUILT UPON THE POWER OF HIS SOUL!

Not so very long ago Black American men were  commonly brutally abducted, dismembered and murdered by people whom we would classify as sociopaths by today's standards. In most cases local police and goverment officials were perpetrators in these barbaric,criminal lynchings and used their influence and positions to ensure that justice would never be served for victims and their families. For this and many other reasons black men have always distrusted police and clearly with due cause; nothing has changed. During the O.J. Simpson trial, for example, one of the investigating officers Mark Furman was exposed for deliberately falsifying charges against black and latino men in innumerable cases but that evidence was blatantly  suppressed and ignored by prosecuting officials who could easily have dropped the charges due to an irreconcilable corruption of the O.J. case.  Instead they forged ahead as if Simpson was guilty by virtue of being a black male and to save face against the reprehensible Furman leak. In any rational, unbiased mind the Furman incident would have proved that the evidence had been illegally manipulated to tell a crime story which never occurred. Nothing has changed. Unfortunately not so long ago remains a haunting collage of todays and yesterdays, so near in fact that we  do not have to huddle around our elders in order to hear accounts of lynchings. Modern day lynchings of black men still occur with startling frequency, nothing has changed. In the past, because black people were locked out of the power chain police in collusion with judges and other local government officials could manipulate reality by ignoring, falesifying or simply deleting the evidence.  Black peoples already knew that justice would be denied them when they went to court, if there ever was a nominal investigation. Their expectations were never good especially if they challenged the police investigation or if one of the coconspiritors was connected to the police but they purservered often in fear of their own lives witnessing some of the most heartless and deliberate evil all supported by the local law enforcement.  Generations of Black American men who survived those evil times before desegregation are still haunted by the resurgence of those racist practices of old.  For over 3 centuries black men have been victimized by whatever rabble passed as policemen, judges and other law enforcement officials who ranged from bucolic vigilantes to corrupt local and federal officers alike. In America the black man has always been a fixed target at the end of a police weapon or gun! Nothing has changed...

Zoom-in to the case of Freddie Gray in the 300+ year old city of Baltimore Maryland.  Here is a bizzarre case where black officers and government officials appear to be facilitating the very brand of historically institutionalized racism one would expect them to protect citizens against. Something has gone lamentably wrong here. To be sure, something has been going critically wrong here for quite a long time which is why citizens are in an uproar threatening to dismantle the city if justice is not properly served. The difference between Ferguson and Baltimore is that it is an old city that has used up its excuses with the black community. These folk care more about the sanctity of human life than whether a popular retail chain decides to leech the money out of its community in exchange for a handful of low-paying jobs. Not only do they understand the economic bottom line that these businesses exploit but they also understand that some other business will replace them picking up where the other left off. They also know that these retail establishments which are not owned by anyone in their community exist in large part as the residual of centuries of free slave labor enabling an economic advantage from which they have been and will continue to be perpetually denied. Nobody in that troubled community is ignorant of the fundimental facts and their anger follows the blatant disrespect that has been broadcast nationally and presented as truth when everyone knows it is otherwise! Yes, many of these people may be poor but they are not dumb and they still have something strong within them that makes them challenge bold-faced evil! Baltimore is a city where black entreprenours throve as early as the1700's and all during the 1800's into the mid-twentieth century.  It is a city with a Black American mayor and unlike Ferguson many of the cities judges, and critical government officials, (including the poliece force), possessing the ability to reform policy are black.  So let us ask how such a simple case has gone so radically awry? The answer of course is corruption and lies, by selling the community short and getting caught with their trousers down.

To begin with the trail was incorrectly focused on the assertion that Gray's fatal injury occurred  in the police van when it was quite  obvious he had been injured prior to being placed into the vehicle.  Video footage depicted a physically crippled man being hoisted into the van clearly not in possession of his ability to control his lower body functions.  He was already paralized. Prosecutors and media alike have stubbornly and one might add, criminally continued to ignore this very clear detail.  Many believe that the story was altered because the arresting officers were not black.  We have a plethora of data  on  the infamous "Rough Ride" including an eyewittness account by another man  who was locked in the van at the time.  That eyewittness published a startling story that contradicted police accounts. Only when unexpected footage of the rough ride surfaced were the police and media forced to admit to that awful episode. But it played into the initial police deception that Gray was injured in the van and so they rode it like a pony straight into the jaws of an unverifiable lie and the citizens and jurors on the first trial did not buy the lie! The police accounts, (all of which support the fact that professional policies were never followed), have been absorbed as if they were gospel in spite of the fact that a conflicting eyewittness account indicates Gray was not in control of his bodily functions while in the van as a result of having been parylized by police prior to the pivotol event. So once again Black American men are stultified whilst this lame but viscious old ruse plays itself out again gaining momentum as truth even though the obvious factor of common sense says otherwise! The moral of this sad story is that the law should be less focused on what it can prove or get away with and more focused on what actually occurred... the law has degenerated to a system that serves its most lucrative customers who happen to be criminals keeping law enforcement personnel in business. It has lost all sight of justice and is rudely startled and annoyed when people demand it!

It was no surprise that the first trial was declared a mistrial and rightfully so because that officer, though frightfully negligent did not kill Gray. His mistake was allowing the arresting officers to put Gray into the van rather than calling an ambulance to take the parylized civilian to a hospital where he might have survived. Had he shown the integrity to make that call things would have been quite different. Due to the grevious injuries inflicted upon Gray by the police prior to placing his crippled body into the van it was in their best interest to attempt to conceal their indiscretion by makeing it appear as if he was parylized by a rough ride in the van rather than at the criminal hands of officers sworn to protect public safety. Fortunately Baltimoreans did not buy this deception. The ploy was intended to psychologically transfer responsibility for Gray's condition to an inanimate vehicle rather than implicating the true perpetrators who happened to be sworn officers of the law. 

In the old days before and during Jim Crow the circus that passed as law enforcement amounted to nothing short of absurd, humiliating lies and excuses intended to hurt black people and make them feel powerless. These intimidation tactics were acompanied by miraculously outrageous dissapearances of wittnesses and evidence including the manipulation and fabrication of evidence, etc., etc., etc. Black men  didn't have a fighting chance at justice because the deck was already insurnountably stacked against them by centuries of rancid policy and undocumented illegal practices all aimed at disenfranchising them from their rights as citizens, humans and as men.  Today Black American men are again pushing back against centuries of an old, established system of oppression.  Like every other gain for our civil rights this one will be an all out battle but one we will ultimately win.  To be sure the days of unchecked police violence against black men are coming to an end, these are the last bitter days of this ungodly practise.  Body cameras are only the beginning of the new culture of police accountability, eventually officers will be relieved of all weapons which they do not need in order to maintain peace. Weapons are not for use against civilians and it is high time that we strike down the practise of managing citizens with deadly force for it is un-American. Like the other rights we have wrested from the fist of our oppressors through peaceful and rational means the end of police violence and the legalized lynching of black men will be another milestone in our quest for egalitarian harmony in a land built upon the free slave labor of our ancestors.  Freedom alone can never repay the ensanguined debt owed to Black Americans! But Black American men have always been gentlemen about the entire bloody affair agreeing to let bygones be bygones so long as we are just left alone!

There is a profound differnce between racially motivated violence such as police violence against black men and the phenomenon of black on black crime but the two are also intimately related... both  are the direct result of racism directed against black men!  This racism comes from a single source external to the black man but focused on him through every aspect within his world through media, art, literature/language, history, music, science, mathematics, sexuality, religion, politics, law, and economics among others. In theory one might surmise that if you stop the single source of racism   you inadvertantly stop its entire range of manifestations but as life would have it the problem and the equation defining it are just not that simple.  So let us closely reexamine the problem. Oversimplification of this problem does not allow critical wounds caused by racism to be identified so healing efforts can be effectively administered . Hypercomplexity confuses the clear causes of racism to be isolated preventing a cure from being effectively administered. The cure to the cancer of racism must be a versatile medicene not so specialized that it fails to adapt to every condition and not too dilluted to effect a strong, decisice healing.  We all know that the buy-in requires a critical and fundimental partnership between the primary races that have been historically at odds as well all of the broad spectrum of people's who have blessed this country with their presence over its long, difficult social evolution.  The journey of racial conflict as well as brotherhood has grown between black and white men for centuries. Now is the time to finally come to a peaceful table because that is the way that civilised people solve problems. The black community must certainly organize and effectively leverage itself against racism as a crtical defense while we iron out our issues with inequality in America. As i said before, true freedom requires the buy-in of white,black, aboriginal, asian, Latino and other ethnic groups.  We must ultimately become united not as seperate races of people competing for one country but as one diversity of people sharing one common interest.  Yes, the black community must uplift itself in the end but to uplift itself only to find the same historical racial obsticles pitted against it would be a sad compromise to working diligently to also heal those racial wounds embedded into the evolution of the land in which both our ancestors are buried. 

Because the black man is the underdog he must be the provocatour of justice and initiate the movement to racial healing. He must be the one  predominantly situated in the trenches of justice and freedom.  He must live an exemplary life of truth by example continually agitating his oppressors to see his vision of truth. All this while working diligently to occupy political offices and build his economic foundation so that when his pleas for justice are made they cannot be ignored... Whatever you do black men no matterhow small it is a good thing.  Heal your differences with your brothers black, white and of all colors and move forward as a community, give up your anger and bitterness, let bygones be bygones... refoucus your energy on positive healing and brotherhood, kindness and compassion.  With this freed-up space you can then begin the practical process of building yourself economically and intellectually expanding your success as charitable work in your community. Be the solution!

Not every policeman is bad. If there were no good policemen things would certainly be much worse but in a political climate where police relations are at their lowest, where the history of police violence against black men has redoubled it is clear that a substantial proportion of them, including other judicial officials are not acting in the best interest of justice.  So we must make them act in our behalf! Due to the slow process of routing these aberrant personnel from our courts, police force, city councils and branches of government that manage child support and other services more black men will become victims of their trechery. Let's face it, it's a huge problem. Too many people are doing the wrong thing and it has to end immediately. I sympathize with those officers who are good and I hope they will chose to expose the evildoers among their colleagues. For black men there really is no other choice save to assume that every officer he encounter will be his potential oppressor! It may take a century or more before the evil done to black men can truly be erased from their cumulative psyche. Black men are tired of being murdered and abused, by officers of the law and they want to be left alone! Whether we kill ourselves is quite a different matter because that is our own private issue to be worked out amongst ourselves. Black on black crime is a hideous reality but when axaccerbated by the unnecessary, unholy overlay of police violence it creates a dead-end street of despair. We need the police to become community advocates to help black people rout out drugs, and crime so they can rebuild sustainable neighborhoods. We need our government agencies to help us reform welfare, prisons and child support among other issues. When the police prove they are not just another gun in the face of a black man they might begin to earn the trust and support they need to help clean up so many troubled communities...

The bottom line is this, U.S. police officers are hardly ostriches with their heads buried in a hole, they well know the current state of racism and police violence directed againt black men. They are embedded into the black community as deeply as anyone can be who does not live in it. The robustness of their resistance against reform indicates they are invested in their evil practices and have fortified themselves against positive and inevitable change. Adopting this position they fully understand they will never gain credibility with the black community and while standing behind a gun they do not feel as if they need it. It is a stalemate! Smart officers should already know that radical change is immanent. They anticipate a future when they are not permitted to carry firearms as defenders of peace and it is at that time that we will see a different brand of police, a humbler, more personable defender of humanity. Of course it will not be as simple as taking away their guns; minds must be changed. So the battle playing out on the streets of America between cops and black men is a much more complex war emanating from the higher echelons of our judicial and enforcement structure and it can only be changed by reforming policy and by fumigating at the highest ranks to remove the vermin from office. That is where our black think-tank will be needed to launch effective programs aimed at removing the wardens of these racist policies. In many ways the police are only pawns hired to do the dirty work which cannot absolve them from being willing agents. The main villains who have orchestrated this reprehensible movement are hidden from public disgust, it is now time to expose them! I know the line... black people are just trying to survive, they just want to be left alone... and as much as I agree I also say we have some hard work ahead of us after which, (having been successful), we can and will be left alone to pursue our rightful destinies...

The blood of our ancestors flows through this land so the spirit of this country is bound to our bodies and our souls.  Our connection to this land is a beautiful and complex gift. In order to understand this gift black men must awaken from the malaise of their oppression redirecting this country toward a righteous path. Black men must correct the flawed but noble concept of freedom proposed by the founders of this nation.  We must finish the and refine the great egalitarian experiment of America.  Others have dropped the ball. Not just because our lives depend on it but because it is the necessary to move human history forward it is now our turn to take the initiative picking the ball up and carrying it forward in the final heat to freedom...

WRITTEN BY BIGDADDY BLUES

Sunday, October 18, 2015

WHAT AMAZING THINGS CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED WITH ONE MILLION BLACK AMERICAN MEN



WHAT'S IN A NUMBER?
HOW ONE MILLION PROPERLY FOCUSED BLACK MEN COULD MOVE HISTORY FORWARD...AGAIN
IGNITING A

"MIGHTY CURRENT OF CHANGE"


THE FIRST NIAGARA MOVEMENT IN 1905 IN NAGARA FALLS CANADA
"THE MIGHTY CURRENT OF CHANGE"


It is a rare phenomenon for 1,000,000 Black American men to converge in one place with their focus stolen away from the banalities of the day and redirected toward the critical issues of Civil Rights. We are not the world of 50 years ago when strong communities stood ready to follow-up on the speeches and promises of the day.  Those gilded leaders of a century and a half ago have nearly all passed away unfortunately without having a robust peoples to pass the torch of freedom to. That torch has long since gone cold and in many ways black peoples have themselves been responsible for the quenching of its fire.  That is why a momentary focus is not enough. These are times of crisis for the black community time is far too valuable for a flash in the pan, we need quantifiable results. Commitments must be made, and with them a robust infrastructure to transform those commitments into tangible outcomes. With 1,000,000 men standing by i'd say that infrastructure was a resource just waiting to be set into action.

THE 2ND NIAGARA MOVEMENT AT STORER COLLEGE 1906

Black Americans have failed to understand how to transform their muscle, mind and spirit into a cumulative, culturally relevant organism that could pick up the torch of freedom igniting it anew.  Such an organism would never sleep, it would see and hear and feel everything around it and be poised for a powerful, effective and peaceful response to every challenge.  And there have been millions of challenges to the peaceful freedom of black people in America. That Black Americans have survived slavery, mental, physical, social and economic oppression, the poisoning of their communities with drugs, violence and immorality shows that they are tough victims to kill but what morbid truth does it reveal about their persistent assailant?

KKK PROTESTING THE 100TH YEAR ANNAVERSARY OF W.E.B. DUBOIS' HISTORIC NIAGRA MOVEMENT OF 1906 AT HISTORIC HBCU STORER COLLEGE HARPER'S FERRY WVA.


The racial hatred that has troubled Black Americans for over 300 years is quite real. It has never taken a moments breath, it has bided it's time, planned, contrived and premeditated, the deliberate planting of destructive seeds. The game is more like a twisted hunting spree where the prey is an entire community of people who reel in mortal terror as each cultural bomb eventually fractures the foundation of its long-troubled communities to a point of no return.  The black community is at the threshold of no-return, It has been pushed to the brink of cultural destruction so much of which has been inflicted by its own hands,  Even so there is still a very simple and clear path of escape that a seed of one million men if properly cultivated could grow into a strong, invincible tree bearing fruit as it grew renewing, redoubling and protecting the strength of the black community in America through the organized development of a cohesive social, economic and cultural network. Not a new idea at all, it has been suggested many times before but no one man has ever had either the vision or ability to pull it off!

THE WOMEN OF THE NIAGARA MOVEMENT 1905-1906

When 1,000,000 Black American men come together their numbers and resources must be creatively exploited.  Each man should be asked to sign to a contract requiring him to make regular financial contributions and donations of his personal time and energy to re-build his community.  Each man should be asked to sign a contract requiring him to create, support and recruit other black men in a network of community based businesses that have the ability to build and exert their economic and political influence to effect progressive change in government policy and elect government officials who will act in the interest of the community they serve.



Numbers are power.  Numbers alone mean nothing one has to understand how to use those numbers in order to get results even if resources are small on an individual basis, properly tweaked the cumulative effect can be monumental.  For example, while it is clear that getting a million men to regularly donate money to a national cause a practical solution to keep these men viable when they are unable to be financial would be require a man who is not able to meet his financial responsibility to substitute by donating time, skills or some other valuable resource.  A growing organization always has work to be done but not always the financial resources to do it which makes volunteerism an equally valuable resource to money when properly applied to the model. Such an engine can be used to assist distressed minority businesses and to establish banking and global media networks which will give the black community clean alternatives to mainstream media. It will create corporations businesses that will be ready to employ is community and to receive each new crop of collegiate graduates.  Imagine a corporate bank of professionals and businesses that could call in to have minor services it could not afford performed pro-bono or at significantly reduced rates by being contributors to the network which would act like a sort of a business, homeowners and personal insurance institution. The mission of such an organization would not be to prove to the world that given an opportunity Black Americans have the ability to affect the national economy as producers in the highest echelons of corporate management, let the world think what it wants as long as there is a viable working solution to the problems of the black community in America and that solution is given birth and fully managed by the black community.  Such an organization would focus the vast potential of one million black men in one place.

What you do not do with 1,000,000 Black American men who have gathered in one place to move human history forward is to bore them with self-righteous, vainglorious speeches that everyone has heard 1,000,000 times from 1,000,000 sources, give them a flyer, sell them a t-shirt, a bottle of water, a copy of your brand of street-corner propaganda and then let them dissipate back into the dark interstices of an increasingly racist America without getting a long-term commitment from them and fictionalizing it on paper as a legally binding contract of community service and business development!

THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE 1905-1906 NIAGARA MOVEMENT


Next time, if there is a next time the black community should take time to select and organize responsible, culturally versatile, community leaders with proven, clean civil rights histories to join forces as economic and political thinkers under a single roof and tasked to coordinate an iron-clad community network. This network will create jobs the first second of its inception and continue to grow itself  exponentially as it's reputation and portfolio grows.  That network must be one that is focused on the immediate issues of Black Americans but is also poised to assist human all human beings in need  incorporating the talents of all the marvelous peoples of this earth.  It must also work to regenerate or replace dysfunctional think-tanks and institutions that continue to squander valuable resources. This idea is not revolutionary, it is not even novel.Oddly enough it is something that I know each and every one of you reading this article has thought of at some time in your life.  Only one factor could prevent this simple dream from happening and that is apathy.  Why bother to come to a million man march if you are gong to be apathetic? When 1,000,000 black men stand in the footprints of men and women of all races who came 50 years ago and changed the course of human history they had better be ready to move mountains!

The 20th year anniversary of the Million Man March was hauntingly similar in scope to the Niagara Movement of 1905-1906 spearheaded by W.E.B Dubois almost as if it's scope had been lifted off the pages of Dubois's speech the link to which I have included at the end of this article.  History is nothing if not repetitive.  Moving forward it is essential that Black Americans give due credit their historical mentors and take necessary pains to evolve the movements authored by their ancestors to suit the current times. History has not always been kind to Black Americans but they must nevertheless dutifully preserve and teach their historical legacy with accuracy and pride. These historical lessons will prepare the black community to move forward emotionally and that dynamic is such a critical requirement for healthy socioeconomic and political progress.

HARPER'S FERRY WAS THE SITE OF ABOLITIONIST JOHN BROWN'S ANTISLAVERY PLOT, IT WAS ALSO THE HOME OF THE HBCU STORER COLLEGE AND THE HOME OF THE SECOND NIAGARA MOVEMENT SPEARHEADED BY W.E.B DUBOIS. 


A man who was not consumed with egotism including disdain and hatred for other races, sexes and sexual orientations would have come before 1,000,000 black men with a well-outlined economically feasible plan of immediate action and not just his ego.  It is irresponsible to pull so many people from all across this land without a clear and well thought out plan of action with it's engine already running and ready to take on passengers! Once in Washington we needed those 1,000,000 men to make the ultimate, long term commitment by affirming their brotherhood on paper as quantifiable scheduled financial donations including time and service contracts. We already know the economic potential represented by 1,000,000 black men so by Jove lets stop posturing and lets get some good old-fashioned community building together now!


FIN


WRITTEN BY
BIGDADDY BLUES  



RESOURCES:


1. THE NIAGARA MOVEMENT SPEECH: 

Link:  http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/niagara-movement-speech/  

2. CENTENNIAL ANNAVERSARY OF THE 1906 2ND NIAGARA MOVEMENT

Link:  http://travelministry.blogspot.com/2006/09/niagara-movement-harpers-ferry-wv.html  

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A MEDITATION ON THE MILLION MAN MARCH OF 2015

THE FREEDMAN'S SAVINGS AND TRUST CO. BANK WASH. D.C.  EST. DURING RECONSTRUCTION

MEDITATION 
ON 
THE REENACTMENT 
OF THE MILLION MAN MARCH:

REFLECTING 
ON THE CIVIL RIGHTS JOURNEY 
OF THE MILLION MAN MOVEMENT FROM 1995 TO 2015...


A CHECK DATED 1875 FROM THE FREEDMAN'S SAVING AND TRUST CO.
FREDERICK DOUGLASS WAS PRESIDENT OF THE BANK IN 1874

Although the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March is a legacy made possible by the tireless efforts of many freedom fighters the image and tone of Louis Farrakhan appears to have captured the spirit of the movement. To many Americans Louis Farrakhan's civil rights record is far too corrupted with blemishes of racial and sexual intolerance causing them to question whether they should support the march on this October 10th 2015. Farrakhan has become an icon of the troubled movement  20 years after its inception

A PANORAMA OR FREEDMAN'S VILLAGE ARLINGTON, V.A. THE POTOMAC RIVER IN THE BACKGROUND


The 2005 Million Man March failed to recapture the interest of Americans tainted by the homophobic comments of Rev. Willie Wilson pastor of a politically influential congregation called Union Temple in historic Anacostia, Washington, D.C. At that time Farrakhan was also under fire for allegedly making anti-Semitic and anti-white comments, but those accusations have always followed his long career as a public figure.

FREEDMAN'S VILLAGE


What has really changed in 2015 since 20 years ago when the 1st Million Man March was successfully launched in 1995?  Many people have been concerned that Farrakhan's preaching is a reflection of the neo-conservatism and political extremism demonstrated by some factions of the Islamic community which threaten to reverse the many civil rights advances of the 21st century such as gay marriage.  The name of the movement has not changed but today's visit to Farrakhan's Facebook and Twitter pages reveals recent concessions to women that go so far as crediting black women with having made more vigorous advances toward socioeconomic empowerment while spanking black men accusing them of having grown weaker.



I remember the 1st Million Man March in 1995 was a powerful expression of black male solidarity. Farrakhan was hardly the focal point of that day, that historic moment was all about peaceful and organized unity among American men of color.  Those who were present will recall that the theme was "Atonement" an apropos indictment of  Black American men's waning devotion to the ongoing civil rights struggle and their failed mission as stewards of their embattled communities.  So why the shift in focus from men's issues within a male-oriented movement to those of women?  Did some economist point out that a larger percentage of Black American women as compared to Black American men were financially capable of supporting the business interests of his church?  If this movement, historically created to galvanize the positive, collective economic and political power of black men is now shifting its scope to include women it could be argued that just as in the case of the the Redskins its name would need to change in order to be consistent with claims on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/OfficialMinisterFarrakhan?fref=ts and on Twitter at #justiceorelse that it is now a more culturally sensitive, inclusive, kinder and gentler movement.



Some fear that the Million Man March has conceded failure at galvanizing Black American men to rise to excellence.  The issues facing men of color are an even greater problem in 2015 than in 1995. Losing focus on black men by broadening the scope of this struggling movement before it has proved any quantifiable successes with its first venture could be a desperate strategy to buy time.  How many times will Black Americans buy into Farrakhan's "Baby" before they lose faith in his ability to pull off the "Dream" he markets under the now popular and legendary trade name, "Million Man March"?

VIEW OF FREEDMAN'S VILLAGE


But the underlying motives of this man appear to collide with the needs of his pet movement. Has Louis Farrakhan really experienced a life changing event in the twilight of his long and prolific career that allows him to see beyond sex, race and religion or is this a last, desperate attempt to achieve a measure of immortality among men before he goes to his glory?  The movement has become branded with his persona in a fashion hauntingly similar to how The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's became branded with the image of Martin Luther King.  What is missing from this equation is the energy, purpose, devotion and transparency of the former movement that attracted peoples of all races, religions and nationalities to sacrifice everything they held precious in order to move history forward!  So let us ask ourselves honestly, what is this movement really about?

FREEDMAN'S VILLAGE


If some peoples fears are correct it might mean that supporters of the 2015 Million Man March will be openly financing and condoning a man and his movement that represses the rights of women, is homophobic and that promotes anti-white and anti-Semitic propaganda.  Black people who are experiencing an alarmingly intensified level of racism in America should not follow Farrakhan blindly in the Million Man March merely because they are oppressed and he is the loudest and most socially connected black man of the moment. If we have learned anything from the historic Civil Rights Movement it should have been that any successful movement should not be dominated and centralized within one man, rather it should be decentralized and uniformly powerful across a diversity of well-organized, well-financed and politically well-connected institutions so that it can sustain the inevitable blows of racially motivated violence and hatred.

For Black Americans living in a time when the very first Black American President is in office it is critical to carefully think through the meaning of this movement and whether or not they should support it.  This is a serious matter, nothing to date has been so serious because literally everything that freedom fighters of all races and sexes, have fought for hangs in the balance.  Ask yourself if this movement is something that reflects your core ethical and moral values and whether it is truly vested in the edification of truly universal, inclusionary values and protection and expansion of human rights for everyone regardless of race, sex or religion?  Be fearful if that is what it takes to make you think beyond the banalities of the day! Be honest even it it means that you expose and face weaknesses, pettiness, and even evil within yourself!  Most of all don't be blind! Wake Up! Challenge yourself not to accept anything, everything that sells itself as a "Black Thing" without carefully scrutinizing it against ethical and moral virtues that we all know but often fail to check ourselves against.



So I have asked myself if I will participate in the Million Man March not as a symbol of my support for Louis Farrakhan and those who think like him but rather as an act of solidarity with men of color who know they should be doing the right thing but just don't have the tools to pull it together on a consistent basis.  I wish that anyone else other than Farrakhan had become the icon of the Million Man Movement but that wish will not come to fruition on October 10, 2015. Personally I am not waiting on a messiah I am waiting on a movement!

FIN

WRITTEN BY BIGDADDY BLUES








Wednesday, June 24, 2015

UNCOVERING THE MEANING OF THE CONFEDERATE FLAG: A SYMBOL OF HATE AND INHUMANITY


CONFEDERATE BANNER WITH 13 STARS FOR THE 13 CONFEDERATE STATES

WHAT DOES
THE CONFEDERATE FLAG
REALLY SIMBOLIZE?
In order to better understand the symbolic meaning of the confederate flag you must first read the Confederate Constitution dated March 11, 1861.  There should be no mistake whatsoever that this document, when published, proclaimed the provocative implementation of a seditious crime against The United States of America pursuing a single-minded objective that would bind the enslavement of black men, women and children for perpetuity.  On April 12, 1861 the confederate army opened fire on Union soldiers at Fort Sumter provoking the Union to react.  This violent act incontrovertibly symbolized the confederate secession from the United States constituting the first and most treasonous act against the nation in its then 85 years history since the declaration of American Independence from Great Britain in 1776.  150 years later this confederate treason remains the most treacherous and violent act ever committed against this country.  It was an act of such gravity that the United States government was literally compelled to fight the confederacy knowing that the confederate movement had been amassing arms for decades in preparation for what it certainly but delusionally visualised as its heroically presaged debacle with tyranny.  I say delusional because the powerful slave-owning men behind the confederate movement were fully aware that since 1776 the egalitarian ideals of the European enlightenment were eroding the divine right of European nobility but in America the equation was far more complex.  It was more than a battle between countrymen, it had become infected by the overlay of racism…

In place of the confederate flag Americans curious about thier history should discover the flags and banners of the black American freedom fighters who fought gallantly in the Civil War to earn their liberation from the institution of slavery.  These flags document some of the most ultimate tests of the human spirit.  Rather than obsess about an obsolete symbol of treachery embodied in the confederate flag we must strive to understand the complete picture of the Civil War which included black and white men who strove for lofty values of humanitarian civil rights together...

UNION ARMY: 27TH CONNECTICUT BLACK TROOPS FLAG


Racism is a profound and pathological sickness in America and those who are infected organize themselves around established symbols of bigotry.  Furthermore, racism knows no particular color, racists are often cultivated through the delusion that they are defending themselves against what they perceive to be racist acts, it is a complex and troubling matrix. 

UNION ARMY:  127TH OHIO COLORED VOLUNTEERS


The confederate flag is a symbol of racism.  While removing this historic symbol or racism from use in all government facilities will not cure racism it will send a clear message that the government does not condone the use of this symbol.  Authentic confederate flags should curated in museums or private collections behind protective glass as the memorabilia of a wicked and failed attempt to arrest human freedom and civil rights.  They belong with such insidious symbols as the Nazi swastika and other icons of hate. 

The preamble to the confederate constitution reads similarly to the American Constitution of July 4, 1776.  The United States preamble reads as follows:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Compare this to the confederate constitution of March 11, 1861 below:

“We, the people of the Confederate States, each State acting in its sovereign and independent character, in order to form a permanent federal government, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Confederate States of America.”

The original American Declaration of Independence of 1776 was revised prior and up to July 3, 1776 to exclude language that may have been interpreted by southern colonies and prospective states as being sympathetic to the idea that black peoples and slaves were equal to all men and that slavery was immoral.  This was done to ensure the buy-in of the southern colonies and remained a point of hot debate that reached its boiling point in the mid nineteenth century.  Both preambles invoke divine power to validate the laws encompassed in their scope.  But the confederate constitution goes further clarifying that notwithstanding its lofty opening language referencing the terms justice, tranquility, blessings and liberty as hallmarks of their government the right to own slaves and maintain a subordinate class that would not qualify as, “citizens of the confederate government”, would be defended by the law. 

UNION ARMY; GRANT AND WILSON CAMPAIGN FLAG


The confederate constitution makes reference to slavery twice, first in Article 1, §§ 9 (I), (2) & (4) and secondly in Article 4, § 2 (I), (3). 

Article 1, §§ 9(I), (2) & (4) appear to limit the importation of African Slaves except from the United States which it has just seceded from but by so doing clearly condones the lawful possession of slaves and the institution of human enslavement.  But § (4) boldly proclaims that no law may ever be passed that prohibits the ownership of slavery and we must assume that this was intended to mean for all perpetuity.  The passages are copied verbatim below:

ARTICLE I


§ 9. (I) The importation of negroes of the African race from any foreign country other than the slaveholding States or Territories of the United States of America, is hereby forbidden; and Congress is required to pass such laws as shall effectually prevent the same.


(2) Congress shall also have power to prohibit the introduction of slaves from any State not a member of, or Territory not belonging to, this Confederacy.


(4) No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.



The second mention of slavery appears in Article 4, § 2 (I), (3).  This section makes it clear not only that the law supports the ownership of slaves in particular, (as it fails to make any special or exclusive mention of any other common form of chattel), but that it will be the instrument of repatriation of slaves to their owners.  It does not mention whether the law will allow slaves to be freed of service but appears to imply slavery is a perpetual condition from cradle to tomb, read the passage below:


ARTICLE IV
§(3) No slave or other person held to service or labor in any State or Territory of the Confederate States, under the laws thereof, escaping or lawfully carried into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor; but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such slave belongs,. or to whom such service or labor may be due.





The full text of the confederate constitution is available online at: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/csa_csa.asp 

UNION ARMY:  29TH COLORED CONNECTICUT REGIMENT


Everyone should visit this document to fully understand its implications with respect to slavery and race.  It is quite clear that this document represents a challenge to the growing social climate of the mid nineteenth century which had become more sympathetic to the cause of abolition than human enslavement on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line.  In a modern society ruled by the iconic logos of global corporations such as Nike and Coca Cola it is easy to comprehend how powerful a symbol such as the confederate flag can be in the promotion of socially derelict and anachronistic ideals.  The American constitution and its the antithesis embodied in the confederate constitution personify the classic dichotomy between good and evil.  The American flag symbolises the mortal sacrifice of men of conscience for the good of all human beings while the confederate flag has come to symbolise the selfish and primitive culture of institutionalized racism and murder.  As surely as we must continue to heal the sickness of racism in America so must we divest ourselves of its principal icon, the confederate flag.  It must be relegated to its proper place which is a museum exhibit.  It is a mockery of the many men who selflessly died for the freedom of all men. 

RECRUITMENT POSTER FOR BLACK OFFICERS FOR THE UNION ARMY


We cannot deprive the subculture of confederate sympathizers from having a romantic reverence for the confederate flag carried by their ancestors but we must be intelligent enough to ensure that this minority sentiment is kept in proper perspective with the rest of the world and that it does not become an instrument of terror and hatred in present times.  A lot has happened since the confederates lost the Civil War in 1865.  One of them is that the confederate flag was retired for all times and the American flag was raised again in those rebellious lands as a hopeful sign of social progress. 

ORIGINAL 11 STAR CONFEDERATE FLAG


CONCLUSION:

We live in a world of symbols that convey clear messages to those who see them.  There are so many positive images for the Civil War, many of which are the relics of black soldiers who fought valiantly for their freedom.  Everyone should be familiar with these hallmarks of human struggle. They are more legitimate elements of Americana to be preserved in the conscience of the people than the flag of traitors.  The visual domain is the most powerful of all because it says instantly what would otherwise require a great deal of verbal or written communication.  When we do the math it is clear that the confederate movement personifies a failed betrayal to the United States of America paid for by thousands of lives.  One has only to read the confederate constitution, a brief document derivative of the U.S. constitution but loaded with specialized language that supports racism and human enslavement.  The confederate flag goes hand in hand with the confederate movement it is its bright star intended for instantaneous human consumption.  Every black man, woman and child understands the perverse hatred and depravity visited upon them behind the confederate flag and it causes a hurtfulness that cannot be quantified.  Because America has moved forward in the past 150 years this obsolete symbol must be removed from all government use.  The confederate flag represents among other things the unlawful secession from the government so it is contradictory for the government to fly the flag of traitors.  Furthermore the flag sends a message of hate and bigotry exacted upon all races, ethnicities and sexes and this must not be condoned by government.  We should all read the confederate constitution in order to understand its malicious intent for there the truth cannot be concealed.  Support the ban of the confederate flag. Vive La Union!



FIN


BIGDADDY BLUES

UNION ARMY:  1ST KANSAS COLORED INFANTRY 












Tuesday, June 16, 2015

HOW TO APPRECIATE YOURSELF


HOW TO APPRECIATE
AND UNDERSTAND YOURSELF
AND YOUR MANHOOD
IN 21ST CENTURY AMERICA

The world in which we live strives to sell the life struggles and accomplishments of others, for compensation of course, as part of a capitalistic “Memoir Machine”.  But where does our culture find space and time to focus on and celebrate the ordinary man who is after all the archetype of the memoir machine.  For what makes the unbridled passions of other men appetitive to other men is the singular fact that their aspirations are so very similar to our own.  Memoirs whether written or virtual are supposed to be offerings laid upon the  gilded altar of all human lives dedicated to amazing human experiences by those who have led distinguished and extraordinary lives near to the closure of their own.  So the buy-in of early twenty-first century Americans who opt to worship the puerile and otherwise pedestrian events of people just like them appears to be part of the looky-loo, self-absorbed culture that has replaced Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa or Laura Facey’s sculpture, Redemption Song.  The first question is, “How much of ourselves do we lose by living through others”?  The second is, “Why have we so easily given up our passion to be organically extraordinary”?



Are selfies and Social Media pages the extent to which we can satisfy our manifest destiny?  Do they personify internal equilibrium and contentment?  Are they personalized, miniaturized vignettes of the reality programming we covet?  Do they or rather can they sufficiently convey the intrinsic, unscripted us in substantive ways that can never be captured by social media?  More appropriately let me ask yet another provocative question, “What is your soul about and in what tangible ways can the world be blessed by it”?  When your cup is full that is when it is time to spill it out unto the world.  When your cup is yet being filled, shaped, coloured, is the time to most enjoy its uniqueness in the world.  At that time, yet unfilled, it is not ready or really worthy for global consumption… but twenty-first century culture sells amoebic realities at the highest prices humanity can bear as if there are not more fitting, refined and elegant examples. 



The personal war humanity has been waging with twenty-first century culture has been to preserve its privacy and intimacy.  This is an unfortunate result of the sexual, social and political revolutions of the past 300 years in human history but to some well worth it.  Humanity has learned to appreciate itself by challenging and dismantling anachronistic ethical and moral structures that have taken 100,000 years to evolve.  As a tool for advocacy the individual has often chosen to become the icon of resistance.  Black nationalists during the mid-twentieth century donned a distinctive look and behaviour including their apparel and verbal communication.  Neo-Soul aesthetes adopted a unique style with naturalistic hair and funky clothing reminiscent of the 1970’s recycling slang such as hip and groovy and blood and main-man to add verisimilitude to the scene.  These were all positive affirmations answering James Brown’s call to “Say It Loud! I’m Black And I’m Proud”!  It can be argued that these movements were part of a larger epoch consolidating the cumulative energy of thousands of years of civil rights struggle wherein people no longer had to “Do Their Thang” in secret.  


The generations that have come to define the second half of the 20th century and the first quarter of the 21st are fully and legally capable of “Letting It All Hang Out”!  As I said, these people lived for their passions, fought, were beaten and died for them.  What socially forward passions are Americans willing to die for today?  What ideologically altruistic constructs are they so enamored of that they are willing to take the same personal risks to defend? So I am big on posing philosophically complex questions at my audience… here is another…  “How many times have you asked yourself, (and honestly answered), if you were doing something because it was an intrinsically beauteous passion or because everyone else was doing it”?  This is where we really have to make a clear distinction between public and private extrinsic and intrinsic.   We cannot ever hope to appreciate ourselves if we are unable to comprehend the simple threshold that defines the two.  A man has to know where he begins and ends and where the world around him, pressing him in, pushing him about, begins and ends.  He has to be the doorman controlling how to leak himself into the public and how much of the public he will allow to leak into him.  A man who has mastered this understanding of boundary and existence can only have done so by developing a strong, moral and ethical character identifying him as the medium through which history either is or is not moved positively forward.  To understand his intimate relationship with the public and private aspects of his manhood together with his innate responsibility to manage it for the betterment of humanity is the goal of constructive self-consciousness.  



So the selfies and the social media pages, the bling and VIP-isms of the 21st century carry little weight compared to our understanding of who we really are in the private world of our self.  We have to turn away from the world and often in order to get us properly calibrated.  When adjusted properly the world is just the world but is it ever a world because we are such an integral part of it and we can see how intimately we affect it, we are irreplaceable.  So for my last question I want to ask you another compound question: “When was the last time you consciously mentally, physically, or otherwise stepped away from the world around you and took as much time as you needed to step into yourself?  What did you see there and how did you like what you saw? How committed are you to spend some time with self again and on a regular basis as a means of healing and positive orienting therapy? Only you can understand how to appreciate and understand yourself as a man in 21st century America…

FIN


By Bigdaddy Blues



Monday, May 25, 2015

BACHELORHOOD AFTER 40, A SOCIAL TWIST MANY SOCIOLOGISTS HAVE IGNORED


THE UNIQUE CHALLENGES FOR MATURE MEN SEEKING A 21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIP

50 years ago a man was most likely to be married or seriously committed by his mid-twenties and a father by his late-twenties.  But the sexual and social and economic revolutions pioneered in America in the late 60’s and 70’s caused Americans to rethink the entire family institution causing the past 50 years to become a true experiment exploring its alternatives.  This meant the dissolution of thousands of years of tradition in which men were married at 16-20 years, fathers at 21 and grandfathers by their early 30’s; and expecting to pass into the ages by their late 40’s and 50’s; my how the world has changed.  Coupled with advances in modern science men are living longer and staying single longer, it’s a new day.

Ironically mature men live in a world that is still primarily focused on the issues of younger men and it is quite apparent that the realities of men 40 and older are quite different from those of their 20 and 30 something counterparts.  One of the most critical issues that somehow eludes the attention of sociologists is mature dating and relationships.  A young man has an optimism time can afford but a man who has already lived half of his life expectancy simply does not have time to waste through attrition with unlikely potential.  The problem is determining where there actually is potential, which theoretically should be a skill set an experienced man in his forties or older should have developed.  But alas the world is just not as perfectly balanced as the glass of Bourbon I sipped only a few seconds ago.  Many, not all mature men are overworked, overburdened with financial, health and social responsibilities and will honestly admit that the past 20-30 years of relationships have been a blur of misfit trials and experiments each time depositing them into a new seat of the same terminal of bachelorhood again.  After weighing out the good and the bad a mature man might conclude the only place of real peace has been the single life.  As the years gather themselves a single man has ultimately to think about his ability to manage his life against variables bought about by age. 

Growing older can be a potentially desperate prospect for a mature single man because he has to assess his ability to continue to mange his affairs.  He has to consider whether he desires to find relationship only a security measure to ensure he has someone to support him as he grows older or whether he wants to continue to search for a soulmate that will serve his functional and aesthetic needs.  Married to either of these choices is the social dimension.  As we grow older though we are mentally better equipped to manage most emotional issues love and the stress of a relationship, (whether it is one of love or not), tend to bear more heavily on our psyche.  Troubled and tumultuous relationships, breakups, etc., tend to age mature men faster than they do younger men not only because older men have less time to manage them but because their emotional investment is much greater.  Mature men generally have more psychical/emotional as well as financial/physical resources at stake and like most things that affect older people the process of regrouping after a cataclysmic breakup opens old wounds that are now slower to heal. 

Sometimes mature man get to a point where they figure it isn’t worth the trouble to start a new relationship that could potentially end up in failure, better to quit while they are ahead.  Others are so fearful that a breakup in their golden years will tear them apart emotionally spoiling their hard-earned peace, scarred by past experiences; they will face loneliness rather than open up what they see as a Pandora’s Box. 

Sometimes mature men are able to focus their optimism figuring they should be far better equipped to manage anything that a new relationship sends their way with their life’s experience under their belt.  These men remain open to change and pursue the potential of a new relationship as an objective experiment, taking into account but not obsessing about financial and emotional obstacles perhaps planning for both success and failure pulling only the positive lessons from the past.  These men approach new relationships the way they marvel at a virgin sunrise understanding there is only so much preparation one can make for the unexpected and therefore staying open to the promise of a new day.

FIN


Written By: BIGDADDY BLUES