Saturday, May 15, 2010

Commentary on Roland Martin's blog

I have a lot to say today.

Who Defines Leadership in the Black Community?

There are not many who do what Roland does in Our Community.
Usually, the only thing I hear about The Black Community is how we quiet often end up in jail or arrested or beat up by cops or have some other type of issue

interfering with quality of life. Maybe it's because I live in a black

city with an African-American based infrastructure, that I don't

understand much of what I see in the main news stream on the issue of the

Black Community. Then again, it is not necessarily their responsibility to

report to me through their eyesight on My Community. However, I heard what

Roland was saying.

Many people feel that way. Working people.

Even white people expect a bone or two to be thrown towards the Black Community from the current administration. They do it in Their Community. If anyone else

should somehow benefit from it, fine because they don't care. It's cool

because the bulk goes to them.
Example: If you have graduated from college, think of the number of offers

from African American companies compared to non-African American

companies. Can we not find work in our own community? Do we always have to

leave our community and beg another community for work? All the time? It

is an anomaly when non-African Americans can graduate from college and

find work in an African American company. It happens but they are not

dependent on Our Community for work as we are to them. If it were the

other way around, I would probably get irritated after a while--especially

if jobs were scarce.
Further evidence is a report by Wilhelmina Leigh, Ph.D Senior Research

Associate for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies--a think


Ms. Leigh testified before the Congressional Black Caucus on March 17,

2010 about reasons why certain people are chronically unemployed. She said

a part of the reason was that there is an education gap between the races,

persistent discrimination and a lack of access to "job acquisition

networks." Can the NAACP or the Urban League help with these issues? How

about some of the Black Leaders? I don't know if any of these quality-of-

life issues require presidential intervention. However, a grassroots approach to the problem might help.

People who don't have jobs usually don't date, marry or start families. If

45 percent of Black men who ARE NOT IN PRISON, are considered chronically

unemployed, how does one thinks this impacts the Black Community as a

whole? It degrades the community so that it is not so much a community

rather than a group of similar people with no cohesiveness whatsoever.
People are going half on a baby these days. Why? What if Black women who

are unmarried just stopped having babies all together? It too would have a

negative impact on the community.

But I digress.

People judge others through how they understand themselves to be, so when there is no visible authoritative connection between the President and Black Leaders it seems strange because other racial groups seem more cohesive.
However, there has never been a president of color in office in anyone's

lifetime. It is as if the rope on the other end of the tug-of-war was

suddenly released and there is a big "Now What" in the middle of things. (wink)

President Obama is a prototype of sorts. He is a lot of things and a

good representation of an American. Our cultures rub off on the other and

we are all a little blended. However, the Office of the President is a

part of a system. It is not a stand alone office. Black Leaders and the

President should be working together in that system, since the Civil

Rights Movement has placed a lot of Black Leaders in office and in many

instances, long term. But things unseen are things unknown.

Should we all be on one page as far as the state of the Black Community?

Do we listen when the President of the Urban League or National

Association for the Advancement of Colored People, speak? Do we read the

Black Press and what they have to say? Are members of the Black Press remembering their audience and saying relevant things? I distinctly

remember one of the President's campaign mantras of, "change comes from the bottom

up." That means me and others standing next to me should be taking this

time to affect change when and where we can.
Finally, can the President count on The Black Community to pitch in on his

re-election efforts? It's a lot of hard work everyday but it pays off.

Average People

Times have changed and so have Black people. The President only appears to

have lost connection with black leaders but he has not lost touch with the black community. Coming up, he got in where he fit in, just like all the

other Black People I know. He said so in his books. Did anyone read them?

I make this assessment based on actions and inactions of the President. (what he does and does not do)

Note: I live in a 85 percent Black city,
with a black mayor and where the Black Power Movement found it's footing and it's strength, so when I say, "Any Other Black Person I Know"--I know black generalizations. (in my peer group)
The President lived in Hyde Park, on the South Side of Chicago. He is familiar with Average People in the Black Community.
I am not from the suburbs nor the modern ghetto but from Average Avenue. I

attended Average Public School and Average State College. There is a big group of us Average Folks.

We are not ballers or wear grills or any other shiny jewelry in our faces

but we listen to the songs of those who do such things. Those who do

participate in the Glamorous Life, are not Average and are not in the

group. We have children and are for the most part, Average Parents. We are

Thirty and FortySomethings. And anyone who remembers that show is either

in The Group or actively avoiding the Group!
We are never found too far outside of Normal. We are not unlike conformists.

This blog post is a really an exciting and daring thing for me to be doing. Really.

However, when was the last time black leaders, whoever and wherever they may be, checked in with the black community on the same issues pressed upon the POTUS? I'm talking about kitchen table issues important to

Families and Individuals. I'm talking about Black Leaders paying attention

to their own community and all of our own business, outside of any talk show or mainstream newspaper column. There is a such thing as the Black Press. We used to get all of our news from the Black Church but I don't know too many people who have culled out the time to attend church every day. Things have changed.
Maybe the Black leaders are a little out of touch, then again who said all

Black People think the same? We all want different things out of our leaders. Until the Individual takes responsibility for his or her

community there will always be an "at issue" situation. That is a

description of change from the bottom up. No one agreement, train of thought or campaign will do for the entire black community--and

apparently, this is as close as we will get to a national conversation on

the issue--blogs and commentary.

What About the Black Agenda?

There is no Black Agenda that is promoted actively but there used to be

one. The idea is revived and batted around but no real press or marketing structure is involved. It has been rendered kitchen table discussion of

the past almost lore and in spite of conventions held in honor and

celebration of the Black Agenda, the Average Person has no idea of what

the Black Agenda is or who is involved in it and if they, are indeed

involved in it. Then, I ask, whose agenda is it?

Those who do know what the Black Agenda is, may want to avoid it and any

label of Black Nationalism. That's the thing about Average Folks. They

want to be Average and they have responsibilities and chores more so that

goals and dreams. They don't always pay attention to the news. Sometimes,

they are too tired to stay up for it or they are already at work. Maybe

they don't have cable or satellite.

Maybe they are not the voracious reader and settle for the local paper.

Sometimes, that is what Average People do: Go to work, read the paper,

listen to the radio in the car on the way to work as they sit in traffic.

After work, maybe they can snag a few minutes of their favorite show in

between household chores and children and spouse. That doesn't leave much

room for Agendas.

Average Folks have to make room for it and if no one bothers to explain

why they should sacrifice their valuable time to dedicate to moving

forward with the Agenda, then they won't do it. That is where Black

Leaders should step in. They can explain it to members of the Black Press

and they can in turn, write about it and write about it and write about

it. The Agenda does not have to be promoted in the mainstream as it is not

a message pertinent to everyone but to Blacks, thus, The Black Agenda.

If Average Folks hear or sense the attitude that no one should have to

explain the Agenda to them, then the attention of a very large and

influential group of people have been lost. What a loss.
It would be nice if interested people with MBAs and degrees in Marketing

and Advertising could help the Black Leaders advance the Agenda.

Out of Work but Not Out of Hope: Addressing the Crisis of the Chronically Unemployed

Roland Martin's Blog

Thursday, May 13, 2010

What About the Kids, Arizona Legislators?

Arizona was the last state to sign the Martin Luther King Day bill into law. I took note of that then and I take note with parts of their anti-ethnic education bill.
Why is it that the people of Arizona feel the way they do about minorities? What are they going through every day that makes them not accepting of minorities and why can't they handle their frustrations any better than they have been doing?
Granted, if a politician runs for office and is elected by the people for the people he or she should serve the people completely. More qualified people should have run for office if the people wanted a smarter legislature. However, why stop the African American education curriculum in public schools? Really.
Every ethnic race, Eastern European, African, Hispanic, Dominican, Italian etc. deserves to be highlighted for their race's achievements in American history. The culmination is that we have all contributed in making this country great, so why cull those parts out? It is not a good solution to the problems in Arizona. Students in Arizona won't know or understand who they are or where they come from when they are not taught about European immigrants and what they did to establish their place in American history and culture. Damn shame. There are a lot of European immigrants in this country.
Read more:

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I Watched "Deliver Me" Last Night...

I watched it on Discovery Health. I love that channel. It showed high risk births and the tribulations the moms-to-be had to go through to deliver. One woman had to be on bed rest for 50 days in the hospital. She had an incompetent cervix. The doctors had to put a stitch in it to keep it shut so the baby wouldn't come out early. Gosh, those women were strong. Even one of the OBGYN's had a high-risk pregnancy and was ordered to bed rest. She cried but went home but then didn't exactly comply with the bed rest order. Her colleagues got on her about that! Good show.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Housewives of New York, New Jersey and Basketball Wives: I Am So Late to the Party!

I am so late to the party with these fabulous shows. Now I see that Bethany of HONY will have her own spin off show about her getting married. However, I watched both shows on Bravo last night and I could not stop watching! Granted, I had seen the HONY but last night was my first time watching Housewives of New Jersey and I just don't know how Danielle puts herself through all of that. It is clear that certain women cannot be involved with her but she is still open to to them, fueling the gossip about her. Danielle's daughter is gorgeous but she should listen to her about who to let into her life. Some folks are like oil and water and just don't mix–no matter what.
Now, I know all of the shows I am watching are probably last season old but like I said, I am so late to the party.
I saw Basketball Wives on BET last weekend and I didn't even know a woman can be a size negative! I am not familiar with all of the names but the tiny girl who is cute went shopping with the tall one who wants separate wings for her and her spouse(?) and the transformation was magnificent. All of the women featured on these shows offer a glimpse into their fabulous lives and how they handle adversity. I also watch Tiny & Toya on BET. I like that show because the women are doing things like opening businesses and helping their family achieve goals. Tiny & Toya also offer that glimpse behind otherwise closed doors. I really am anxious to see how the nail shop develops the story line. Really great television watching.
BlipFM Song of the Day:

Monday, May 10, 2010

Horders: Buried Alive

Well, I watched Horders on TLC last night and again, I do not understand how the Horders also have filth involved. Some of the Horders are rather neat and orderly in their effort to collect and save items for their personal enjoyment. (yes, I have hording tendencies) And, then some have dead cats, dirty, stained carpets, spoiled food in plates everywhere. To me, that is not hording but nastiness. There is a distinct difference between throwing a half-eaten plate of food on the floor–fork and all–and saving decorative plates to display later.
Another thing I noticed is that most of the Horders have money to burn on unnecessary items.
I understand the hording mind, I do.
Granted, when I first saw the show Horders, I saw a lot of myself in the ones who like to save things thinking it will be useful later or hate to throw things away only to find its use later and not have it. However, I cleaned up my act straightaway! I didn't even know hording existed. I called it "saving things."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Personal Get Fit Initiative

Well the daily walks continue and they are getting easier for my daughter. It is especially nice when the weather is nice. Walking backward and sideways is more helpful to me and also keeping moving even when my daughter stops. I can tell that my mood has improved too. It's amazing what a little walk can do.

My goal is to continue my walking with my daughter and increase my own. My ultimate goal is to run distance. It looks so cool when everyone else does it.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Get Moving America

Well, we've taken the plunge.
All of us in the house walked around the block for exercise. My son is on the cross country track team at school so he went for the fun more than the exercise. My daughter and I went for health. We decided to take a page from First Lady Michelle Obama's plan for a healthier America. She promotes getting teens in shape to prevent or combat teen obesity so I modified it to include myself. Here is the video:

Friday, March 12, 2010

Amnesty International Report Finds Appalling U.S. Death Rate for Women Having Babies

Systemic Failures and Shocking Disparities in Maternal Health Care System

New York Is 47th Among All States in Maternal Mortality; 40 Percent of Women Live in a Medically Underserved Areas

NEW YORK, March 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Amnesty International calls today on President Obama to establish an office of maternal health to lead government effort to reduce appalling U.S. death rate for women having babies. This announcement follows the release of a new report on maternal health nationwide.
Amnesty International revealed that flaws and shocking disparities in maternal health care that the government is ignoring lead to two to three women dying daily in the United States from pregnancy-related complications, with half of these deaths believed preventable, according to the Centers for Disease Control. A state-by-state examination shows that New York is 47th on a maternal mortality ranking, with 16 deaths per 100,000 live births. National Women's Law Center, National Report Card on Women's Health, Maternal Mortality Rate Table; available at spx.

The new Amnesty International report, Deadly Delivery: The Maternal Health Care Crisis in the USA, also reveals that severe pregnancy-related complications that nearly cause death -- known as "near misses" -- are rising at an alarming rate, increasing by 25 percent since 1998; currently nearly 34,000 women annually experience a "near miss" during delivery. With a lifetime risk of maternal deaths that is greater than in 40 other countries, including virtually all of the industrialized countries, the United States has failed to reverse the two-decade upward trend in preventable maternal deaths, despite pledges to do so.

The report cited numerous causes for the crisis and offers lengthy recommendations on improving maternal health care.

Inadequate prenatal care is cited as a contributing factor in the crisis; women who do not get prenatal care are three to four times more likely to die than women who do. In New York, one in six women (15 percent) receive delayed or no prenatal care. The number rises to one in five women (19.1 percent) among women of color.

Obstacles to care are widespread: the most obvious being that across the United States nearly 13 million women of reproductive age (15 to 44), or one in five, have no health insurance. In New York, nearly 15.1 percent are uninsured; among women of color the number of uninsured climbs to 21.2 percent. The state's Medicaid eligibility level for working parents is also low, $26,400. Lack of access to health care centers and providers is a problem nationwide, the report found; in New York 40 percent of women live in medically underserved areas.

"It is inexcusable that the United States is facing a crisis in maternal health care," said Josh Rubenstein, Northeast Regional Director for Amnesty International USA. "Pregnancy and childbirth are not new or rare diseases; they are exceedingly common medical events that impact every family in the nation. The maternal health crisis should be addressed as a matter of national urgency and political unity to better the health and dignity of all Americans."

Maternal health is a human right for every woman in the United States, regardless of race or income. Yet, the United States lacks a systematic, robust government response to this critical problem. Amnesty International is urging President Obama to work with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to establish, and seek Congressional funding, for a single office responsible for ensuring that all women receive quality maternal health care. An Office of Maternal Health would lead government action to reduce the soaring pregnancy-related complications and maternal deaths nationwide.

Additionally, Amnesty International calls for vigorous enforcement of federal non-discrimination laws and an increase in support for Federally Qualified Health Centers by 2011 to expand the number of women who can access affordable maternal health care.

"This country's extraordinary record of medical advancement makes its haphazard approach to maternal care all the more scandalous and disgraceful," said Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International USA. "Mothers die not because the United States can't provide good care, but because it lacks the political will to make sure good care is available to all women."

Amnesty International's analysis shows that health care reform before Congress does not address the crisis of maternal health care.

"Reform is primarily focused on health care coverage and reducing health care costs, and even optimistic estimates predict that any proposal on the table will still leave millions without access to affordable care," said Rachel Ward, one of the authors of the Deadly Delivery report. "Furthermore, it does not address discrimination, systemic failures and government accountability documented in Amnesty International's report."

Rapid and comprehensive federal leadership is required, as the report found numerous systemic failures, including the following:

-- Burdensome bureaucratic procedures in Medicaid enrollment
substantially delay access to vital prenatal care for pregnant women
seeking government-funded care. Twenty-one states do not offer
"presumptive eligibility" which allows pregnant women to temporarily
access medical care while their permanent application for Medicaid is
pending. Women who do not receive any prenatal care are three to four
times more likely to die than women who do.
-- The number of deaths is significantly understated because there are no
federal requirements to report maternal deaths or complications and
data collection at the state level is insufficient.
-- Oversight and accountability is lacking. 29 states and the District of
Columbia have no maternal death review process at all.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.2 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

For more information or to take action, please visit:\deadlydelivery