Saturday, March 30, 2013

It matters that the pope washed the feet of young inmates instead of priest

'Viva Papa Francesco!'

Praise for Pope Francis can be heard around the world.  People love his humility and willingness to break with tradition.  People love his willingness to have dialogue with members of other faiths. 

What difference does it make, is the question that must be asked as the world witnesses the beginning of a new papacy. Should people outside the Catholic tradition get caught up in the frenzy of excitement surrounding Pope Francis? 

Yes, it matters.

It matters that Pope Francis has already shown a readiness to confront age old traditions. On Holy Thursday, Pope Francis broke with tradition by washing the feet of poor inmates.  He went to the inmates.  He chose to wash the feet of inmates rather than the traditional foot washing of clergy.

He decided to wash the feet of a dozen young inmates in a juvenile dentition center.  The tradition has been to wash the feet of clergy.  Isn’t that what Jesus did – to wash the feet of those engaged in the work as a disciple? 

The tradition has been to limit the pope’s foot washings to men.

Pope Francis washed the feet of young women.

'Viva Papa Francesco!'

That’s a big deal.

Speaking to about 1,600 priests who packed St. Peter’s Basilica for Mass on Thursday morning, Francis talked about the need to concentrate on the people they are ministering to.

“We need to go out, then, in order to experience our own anointing ,” he said. “to the outskirts where there is suffering, bloodshed, blindness that longs for sight, and prisoners in thrall to many evil masters,"

As folks in the black church faith tradition say, “Preach Pope!”

Forget all that clerical privilege that comes with being the Holy Father. Francis took the Thursday story of Jesus washing feet and offered it to the least of these.

Holy Thursday is the day Christians around the world celebrate Jesus’ last supper with his disciples before his crucifixion.  Washing feet re-enacts the humble gesture with the disciples.  It’s one of the most important rituals within the Christian faith tradition, and Pope Francis chose to re-act his first foot washing as pope with a group of youth in a detention center.  Among them, a few women.

That’s a big deal!

Rather than washing feet at the Basillica of St. John in Lateran, the most important of the four major basilicas in Rome, Francis chose to kneel before young offenders at the Casal del Marmo Penitentary Institute for Minors.

Yes, that’s a big deal.

He washed the feet of 12 young offenders.  He kissed their feet after washing them.  Two young women were in the group.  He washed and kissed their feet.  It’s the first time a pope included females in the rite. The ceremony has been limited to men, due to the assumption that all of Jesus’ apostles were men.

Again, that’s a big deal.

The young people were aged between 16 and 21 and were chosen from different nationalities and religious backgrounds. 

Once again, that’s a big deal.  Two Muslims were chosen.

Imagine how the moment will change the lives of the young people chosen to have their feet washed by the pope.  Isn’t that the promise of new life that comes with the celebration of Easter? 

Why is it a big deal?

Because it teaches a lesson about liberation and new life.  Because it’s a lesson for those chosen to serve in leadership roles in the Church. Power is not given to gain power.  The life of service is given to those willing to walk with the lowly and poor.  Along the way of service, we stop to wash their feet.

It’s a big deal because it shows a willingness to move beyond the restrictions of tradition.  In washing the feet of women, Pope Francis paved the way for a deeper conversation related to other traditions that need to be overlooked due to more pressing needs.

Again and again and again, that’s a big deal!

I hope those outside the Catholic tradition are wataching.

They could use taking a lesson from a pope willing to wash the feet of young people in a detention center.
Oh, don't forget the women.

Lord, have mercy! It’s a big deal!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Supreme Court discusses the rights of same-gender couples

Today, the Supreme Court hears arguments on a U.S. law that denies federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples.

On Tuesday, the court heard arguments on a Proposition 8 case – California’s ban on gay marriage. The justices seemed hesitant of endorsing a broad right for gay and lesbian couples to marry. Today, the court hears argument on a case involving the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. argues the position of the Obama administration.  Obama wants justices to invalidate DOMA.  Paul Clement, who was the solicitor General during George W. Bush’s administration, will fight to continue the law. Clement is representing the interest of House Republicans who believe marriage should be limited to a man and woman.

DOMA permits benefits such as Social Security survivor payments and tax deductions for opposite-gender married couples. The law was signed by Bill Clinton in 1996 after passing Congress with only 81 out of 535 in opposition. Clinton has since voiced support for invalidating the law.

Today’s case involves Edith Windsor, who was married to a woman.  Windsor contends she should get the federal estate tax deduction afforded heterosexuals when their spouses die. Windsor’s marriage to Thea Spyer was recognized in New York, but she was forced to pay federal estate tax because the federal government failed to recognize her marriage when Spyer died in 2009.  She is seeking a $363,000 refund.

An estimated 133,000 gay couples are married in one of the nine states where it is legal for them to marry.  Although recognized in their state of marriage, the federal government does not.

Today’s decision began with an attack on the Obama administration for abandoning abandon.  Justice Anthony Kennedy questioned Obama’s willingness to defend other laws passed by Congress.

"It's very troubling," said Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Chief Justice John Roberts asked Sri Srinivasan, an attorney defending Obama’s position, how the government will decide which laws to defend.

"What is your test?" Roberts asked.

Justice Antonin Scalia attacked what he called the "new regime." He stated there is "no rational argument" for the government's decision not to defend the existing law.

"I don't want these cases to come before this court all the time," Scalia said, suggesting that the decisions on whether to defend or enforce existing law were part of new way of thinking.

The Obama administration contends that gay and lesbian people have endured discrimination as “minorities with limited political power.” Obama challenges the Supreme Court to apply what is called “heightened scrutiny” to see if DOMA is discriminatory. Once discrimination is determined, it must be ruled that section 3 of DOMA violates the Constitution’s guarantee that each person will have equal protection of the laws.

At the time DOMA was passed no states had legalized same-gender marriage.  Now nine states and the District of Columbia have laws sanctioning same-gender marriages.

"The House is the proper authority to defend (the law)," Paul Clement, representing the Republican House, told the justices.

Chief Justice John Roberts has shown skepticism in allowing gays' and lesbians' the right to marry.

"This institution's been around since time immemorial," he said.

Justice Kenney appears to be looking for a place to hide.

"I just wonder if the case was properly granted," he said.

Justice Elena Kagan raised questions about the importance of procreation.

"It may turn out to be a good thing, it may turn out to be a bad thing," says Justice Samuel Alito. "It is newer than cellphones and the Internet." In other words, we need time to figure things out.

How will the high court handle these cases?  Will they run from Proposition 8?  The court has to rule on DOMA because a lower court ruled it unconstitutional.  Same-gender marriage may be newer than cellphones, but America needs a decision.

There are 1,138 provisions in federal laws that list marital status as a factor in determining benefits, rights and privileges.  The list hasn’t been updated since 2003. Despite owning marriage certificates, same-gender couples can’t take advantage of tax-free health benefits from their employers. They can’t file joint federal income tax returns, which can save families thousands of dollars a year.  If they get divorced, alimony is deemed a gift subject to taxation, while it is tax-free for heterosexual couples.  They are subject to inheritance taxes when a spouse dies and can’t take advantage of a marital deduction.

How can the Supreme Court wiggle out of ruling on California’s Proposition 8 given the number of people grandfathered in as same-gender married couples before the passage of the law? What happens related to the benefits of same-gender couples in California if the court rules DOMA unconstitutional? Will same-gender couples living in states that allow their marriage be granted the right to receive federal benefits, while those married in California being denied because they were married in a state that fails to honor their marriage?

The court can’t run from the truth.  Same-gender marriage is now supported by the majority of American.  It’s time for a ruling.

And American can’t wait until cellphones are obsolete. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Gov. McCrory's proposals places North Carolina's HBCU's at risk

Citizens of North Carolina should pay close attention to moves being made by Governor Pat McCrory.  If implemented, access to higher education will become more complicated for those who need it the most.

Gov. McCrory, and the Republican controlled state legislature, is positioned to alter the way UNC System in a way that could dramatically impact the systems historically black colleges and universities and schools in low density areas.  The plan is being pitched as a cost saving measure, but will send a significant number of North Carolinians to receive recently reduced unemployment benefits.

Gov. McCrory’s budget recommends $138 million in cuts to the UNC system next fiscal year. The proposed cuts follow the $400 million in budget reduction the system absorbed in the budget two years ago. When factoring the cuts from the previous budget, the loss to the system is $241 million.

Gov. McCrory’s budget plans to spend $63 million over a two year period on the system’s Strategic Directions initiatives.  The plan seeks to align educational needs with the marketplace.  It’s the talk related to the plan that has many troubled about the future of the UNC system. Discussions about downsizing and merging schools have led to concerns that a few of North Carolina’s HBCU’s are at risk of being closed or merged with other schools in the system.

Most at risk is Elizabeth City State University.  The plan could result in the school being downsized to a community college or merged with another school.  Also at risk is the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.  Pembroke serves a large Native American population, and closing the school would result in making it more difficult for students in the area to find a place to attend.

Pembroke may merge with Fayetteville State University.  There’s talk of merging North Carolina A&T University with the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.  The common theme is an attack on North Carolina’s HBCU’s. 

The concern follows recent appointments to the UNC Board of Governors.  The appointment of a majority of Republicans with business backgrounds has fueled concerns that the system will be managed like a business charged with the mission to downsize to maximize the bottom line interest. Also missing are members with strong ties to the systems HBCU’s. The lack of diversity on the board exposes the HBCU’s to major changes.

The plan will have grave implications to those students who seek to enroll in programs targeted for being unessential in a changing economy. Students seeking a liberal arts education may be forced to consider options outside the public education system.  Students with the resources to attend competitive private liberal arts schools will not be impacted by the change.  Those students in search of training outside the purview of the UNC master plan will be forced to make options that may not fit their area of interest.

There are serious questions regarding the motives behind proposed changes.  The state expects 3.6 percent revenue growth next year.  The system is not in dire need of radical changes at this time.  Republicans are intent on raising discussions devoid of significant reason to justify the need.  It can be assumed that this is an attack on North Carolina’s public education system, and, more specifically, an attack to undermine efforts to attract more minorities into higher education. 

This is certainly an assault on liberal arts education.  It will result in the loss of jobs and will negatively impact communities with economies dependent of a university or college.  It will shift the way we view education and force students into making decisions rooted in economics versus the desire to follow their true interest. Many will conclude there is nothing wrong with forcing students to make practical decisions.

Efforts to make NC system a glorified technical school should be fought.  The key is in providing options for those seeking to match their skills with interest.  The goal should always be to grant people a place to celebrate history, embrace culture and connect with the best we have as a state.

This is not a business.  We are not making workers.  Hopefully, we are preparing all students to think.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Durham resident is the author of the Willie Lynch Letter

Dr. Kwabena Ashanti dropped the bomb as I prepared to sign books at the Beyu Café in Downtown Durham. 

“I’m the author of the Willie Lynch Letter, “he said as I waited for a crowd to line up for me to sign my new novel.”

It was the biggest news of the year, I thought as I begged him to tell me the rest of the story.  Ashanti, who lives in Durham, NC, is the mastermind of the biggest hoax since the claim that Microsoft had purchased the Roman Catholic Church.

The Willie Lynch Letter is mentioned in the movie The Great Debaters.  The notions of the letter became popular after Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan quoted parts of it during his speech at the Million Man March in 1995.  Farrakhan later used the letter to support his claim that slave owners used the letter to control slaves.

The letter purported to be a verbatim account of a speech delivered by Willie Lynch to an audience gathered on the bank of the James River in Virginia in 1712 regarding the management of slaves. Lynch, a slave owner, tells other slave masters that he had discovered the secret to controlling black slaves by setting them against one another.

Ashanti claims that he wrote the letter in 1970 as a way to present his theory related to the current division inherent in the black community. The document was assumed to be an authentic account of slavery during the 18th century, and was used by members of the academy, ministers and activist to draw attention to the ongoing implications of slavery.

The letter advises slave owners to take advantage of the differences among the slaves – dark skin versus light skin, straight hair versus nappy hair, house slave versus filed slaves.  The philosophy of the letter fit already existing assumptions within the black community.  The letter gave credibility to the notion that deep division within the black community is a carryover from enslavement.

Malcolm X used the same thought process in his speech Message to the Grassroots.  Malcolm spoke about the two types of enslaved blacks: “the “house Negro” and the field Negro”. The house Negro lived in his owner’s house, dressed well, and ate well.  He loved his owner as much as the owner loved himself, and he identified with his owner.  If the owner got sick, the house Negro would ask, “Are we sick?”  If someone suggested to the house Negro that he escape slavery, he would refuse to go, asking where he could possibly have a better life than the one he had.

Malcolm X described the field Negro, who he said were the majority of slaves on a plantation. The field Negro lived in a shack, wore raggedy clothes, and ate chittlins. He hated his owner. If the owner's house caught fire, the field Negro prayed for wind. If the owner got sick, the field Negro prayed for him to die. If somebody suggested to the field Negro that he escape, he would leave in an instant.

Malcolm X said that there are still house Negroes and field Negroes. The modern house Negro, he said, was always interested in living or working among white people and bragging about being the only black in his neighborhood or on his job. Malcolm X said the Black masses were modern field Negroes and described himself as a field Negro.

The Speech to the Grassroots has been used to define and celebrate authentic black identity.  It led to the usage of the label “Uncle Tom”.  Malcolm’s words were rendered within the context of a revival to define blackness in a way that repudiated thoughts and actions that mirrored a celebration of white identity.

Ashanti has authored at least ten books that focus on the importance of an Afrocentric culture and the education of African beliefs.  His book Psychotechnology of Brainwashing examines what he calls the system of White Supremacy’s niggerization process.  He concludes that all areas of our society conditions black people to fear and seek acceptance from White people, while degrading black lives. His work seeks to reverse that process.

A librarian at the University of Missouri-St, Louis, posted the Willie Lynch Letter on the library’s Gopher server in 1993.  The librarian later revealed that she obtained the document from the publisher of the St. Louis Black Pages, a local newspaper.  Although she was convinced the letter was a forgery, she elected to leave it on the Gopher server because she believed that “even as an inauthentic document, it says something about the former and current state of African America.”

Roy Rosenzweig and William Jelani Cobb, two respected historians, have been on record that the letter is hoax before Ashanti’s confession. The opinion of the academic community has not tainted the relevancy of the letter in the eyes of many.  Like the librarian at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, the assumptions of Ashanti’s hoax are real enough to transcend his hoax into the realm of truth.

The questions related to Ashanti’s game are many.  What does it mean when you formulate a philosophy based on assumptions that are not validated by true scholarship?  What are the dangers connected to teachings lessons tied to historical pain devoid of a clear connection between the past and the present.

It can be assumed that Ashanti’s hoax is relevant to the discussion involving the psychology of black people.  We could assert a high level of continued brainwashing and niggerization.  All of that may be true, but can we make that claim simply because it feels that way?

With that being said, what are the consequences of embracing any theory based on thoughts created by the person who uses the hoax to justify their claims?

Sounds like brainwashing to me, but it could be argued that I’m brainwashed.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Voyager Academy baseball team does't have to pay to play

Steve Bumgarder has a history of fighting for black youth.  He left Temple Baptist Church after the membership questioned their bringing black kids to church.  Bumgardner left Temple Baptist to attend Mt. Level Baptist Church.

Bumgardner, who is white, is still fighting for black youth.
Bumgardner is on a new mission. “It’s further evidence that the Durham Public School System doesn’t care about black and brown students,” he pitched his point.  “Administrators are only concerned with placating white parents.”

Bumgardner wants to know why the baseball team at Voyager Academy is allowed to practice and play games at Southern High School free of charge.  The facility rental contract with the Durham Public School system grants Voyager usage of the Southern High School baseball field from September 7 – June 1, Monday – Saturday at no charge.
Bumgardner claims the agreement is a clear case of favoritism to a charter school with a high percentage of white students.

“It’s the school systems way to stop the bleeding created after Chewning was made into a year-round school,” Bumgardner says. “White parents were upset when inner city students enrolled.  That’s when Voyager came along.”
Bumgardner sees the decision to grant Voyager Academy free use of  the Southern High School field as a precedent that could come back to haunt the system.  Currently, there is no policy involving renting facilities to charter schools.  Space is rented to churches and other nonprofit organizations, but rarely is the fee for usage waived. 

“What would prevent others to come back and ask for their money back because Voyager gets to use the field free of charge?”
It is not uncommon for schools to rent facilities.  Northern High School rents the Durham County Stadium to play football games.  The Durham School of the Arts rents the Durham Athletic Park to play their baseball games.  Both fields are owned by the county.   Bumgardner wants to know why certain schools are forced to spend money from their budget to rent county owned facilities, while Voyager Academy, which draws money from the school budget, gets a free ride.

Each traditional public school is budgeted $12,500 annually to run their athletic programs.  The rest is made up through ticket sales and fund raising.
“They [Voyager Academy] are presently using Southern to hold their home baseball games and charging admission and selling concessions,” Bumgardner wrote in a letter to the athletic directors at all DPS high schools. “They were given the use of DPS facilities for free for practice, and they are using it for games and charging admission (making money/stealing from our kids). All during the same time that DSA baseball team has no place to practice and has to rent the DAP for games at a great expense to them. “
“If those charter schools want to operate athletic programs they need to use the money given to them by the state and county to do so,” Bumgardner says. “They can rent facilities from Parks and Rec. Rent auditoriums from the convention center. But for them to come back to DPS facilities and use them after they have taken money directly from DPS is not a good value for a taxpayer.”

Bumgardner says Superintendent Eric Becoats told member of the Board of Education the policy is ambiguous and he plans to do nothing until the policy is changed.  The current policy grants principals the authority to recommend facility usage to the central office for approval.  The principal can propose a waiver of any fees.  The decision to rent the field to Voyage Academy and to waive rental fees appears to have come from the school principal.
“Voyager looks like the first step of the white flight I witnessed as a young boy in Durham growing up on Gregson Street,” Bumgardner says. “We have to find a way to stop giving white people permission to flee.”

Some may call Bumgardners thoughts over the top.  All that talk about race is just begging to open wounds that aren’t there.  Many people wish he would go to the nearest corner and remain silent. 
“I have bi-racial children,” Bumgardner says.  “I have a wife who teaches in the Durham Public School System.  I know and see things because of what she brings home.”

For Bumgardner there is more to the story than most can see.
 Maybe others should take a look.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Marry Durham celebrates 2nd Anniversary: I still do

It’s been two years since I placed a ring in Frank Stasio’s nose.  It was one of the best days I’ve spent in Durham.  How can you forget the day a crowd too large to count gathered on the700 block of Rigsbee Avenue to marry Durham?

I’m still married to Durham.  The love affair gets better each year.  The better is getting better and the worse isn’t so bad.  You learn to appreciate and celebrate the totality of the relationship.  The truth is all that bad stuff wasn’t so bad.  It all depends on how you look at things.

So, I’m getting ready to celebrate two years of marriage.  Frank Stasio will join me and the rest of the gang at the Motorco/Fullsteam end of Rigsbee to rekindle memories of the marriage between citizens and a city. Things kick off at 2:00 pm, and the Bulltown strutters will lead the parade starting at 2:30 pm.  If you missed the wedding day and last year’s anniversary, please, please don’t miss the celebration of year two.

Many of Durham’s black women will be at the PNC arena to listen to J.D. Jakes at Women’s Empowerment.  It’s always troubling that many miss the wedding due to conflicting events.  I can’t blame people for wanting to hear Jakes and Wendy Williams share inspirational messages.  I would love to hear Erykah Badu and Charlie Wilson perform. 

It happens every year. Should I celebrate Durham or opt to be entertained at Women’s Empowerment?  What matters the most, a parade with folks wearing wedding dresses and tuxedos, or a gathering of some of the top black speakers in entertainers in the country?

Sounds like an easy one – go with option number two. Right? Wrong.  Deciding to renew my vows is one of the most important things I could do.  It’s the most important thing we, as a city, can do.  Yes, it has been done before, but we need it more and more with the passing of every year.

Why? Because Durham continues to get thrown under the bus by those brainwashed into believing Durham is unsafe.  It’s important that we put the rest of the region and nation on blast.  Durham is all of that with two bags of chips.  Durham is supersized.  It’s the best among the rest, and we are willing to march, dance, sing and shout it year after year.  We keep coming back because we take our vows seriously.

There are other places I could be on Saturday.  I could stay home and watch a basketball game.  I could head over to Raleigh and participate in the festivities at the PNC arena.  I could do that, but why would I? How could I?

Why would I say that? I say it because no city has loved me like Durham.  No other city allows me to be myself.  Durham has received the best and worst of me.  Yes, it has been rocky at times.  There are days when I’m forced to sleep on the couch.  I’ve been thrown out a few times, but she keeps letting me come back.  She loves me – for better and for worse.

It’s important that I tell her how much I love her.  I’ve taken her for granted.  I cheated on her a bit this past year.  A few other cities caught my attention.  I saw them looking at me on the internet.  They looked so lovely.  Words about her sucked me in and had me considering a relationship.  I continue to be tempted. Yes, I’m guilty of being seduced.

I love Durham, and I know Durham loves me. I do, over and over again!

Join me on Saturday to say I love you!

Come Celebrate Our Second Anniversary

2:00-5:00 pm  Parade at 2:30 pm

Saturday, March 23, 2013

700 Block of Rigsbee Avenue


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Owner of Raleigh-Durham Five Guys Burger & Fries attacks Obama's health care law

Okay burger lovers. It’s time to prepare for an old fashioned boycott.  Pull out the signs and put the debit card under lock and key. 

Mike Ruffer, the owner of eight Five Guys Burgers and Fries restaurants in Raleigh-Durham, was quoted in the Washington Examiner about his thoughts regarding President Obama’s new health care law.  He says the law will force him to put plans for new stores on hold and may result in higher prices for burgers.

Ruffer was speaking to attendees of a seminar on the new health care law that was hosted by the Heritage Foundation. He says profits from one of his eight outlets would have to be dedicated to health care and that “any added costs are going to have to be passed on.”

The corporate office of Five Guys Burger and Fries quickly distanced itself from Ruffer.  The chain owes President Obama for exposing the nation to the chain after he visited the Washington, DC restaurant in 2009. The chain rode the wagon to expand from coast-to-coast. Five Guys has grown to over 900 restaurants across the country.

"Mike Ruffer is a franchisee of Five Guys and independent business owner," Molly Catalano, director of communications, wrote in an email to The Huffington Post. "He does not represent Five Guys on this or any other subject matter."

Sales for Five Guys were just under $1 billion in 2011.  They added 182 locations and made the top 25 list in QSR Magazine.  The chains sales increased 32.8% from 2010, while its $1.156 million in sales per restaurant was just below Burger King’s $1.245, and was more than Pizza Hut, KFC, Sonic and Starbucks.

Ruffer should be careful about crying the blues in a community overly sensitive about getting jerked by corporate big shots.  His burger joints are in my back yard, and folks down here read newspapers and keep track of the U.S. Stock Exchange.  It’s hard, no it’s down right mind boggling, that people like Ruffer have the guts to talk about raising prices in a time of profit.  Those not paying attention would think he’s facing bankruptcy. Please read between the BS.

On Wednesday, U.S. stocks rose for the ninth straight session to another record. Ruffer, and his sidekick Papa John, want us to believe the nation is collapsing like the Roman Empire due to Obama care.  As Americans continue to struggle with finding ways to pay their bills, feed their families while keeping faith in the American dream, Ruffer and Papa want us to believe they are struggling too much to take some of that profit and pass it on to their employees.

I’m not buying it.  Neither should you.

The facts speak louder than Ruffer’s BS.  The Dow Jones industrial average’s nine-day winning streak is the longest run since November 1996.  The S&P 500 is within striking distance of its all-time closing high of 1,565.15 and about 1 percent away from all-time intraday high of 1,576.09 set in 2007.

"I think we will soon see the S&P at all-time high levels. I don't think the market has topped yet, and there is still strength to move the market higher," says Ari Wald of C&Co/PrinceRidge in New York.

Translation, businesses are making money.  The problem is with how profits are being spent, or, more to the point, with how profits are not being spent.  Companies like Papa John Pizza, Five Guys Burger and Fries and Whole Foods complain about the liberal policies of the Obama administration.  They continue to tell us to wait for things to trickle down.  Americans keep waiting for the trickle but the only thing up is corporate profit, and the only thing down is the people in need of health care, more income and the possibility of better days.

So, Ruffer and the other greedy son of a guns need to be careful with their rhetoric.  They can throw their spreadsheets in the faces of those who buy burgers and fries, but folks in Durham, NC aren’t willing to listen to your complaint about barely making it when those flipping the burgers and washing the dishes can’t afford to take their children to the doctor.

Take your greed somewhere else.  The numbers tell the truth.  You have no reason to complain.

Those who need help do.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Daily Tar Heal blames Chapel Hill crime on Durham

Outrage is a wonderful gift. It reminds us that not everyone has antiquated views regarding those living on the other side of the tracks.  For those who missed the ride to life after whistling Dixie, not all black men own guns, rob people, have children by multiple women and have spent half their lives in prison.

It’s simply not true.  For those unable to see beyond a person’s dark tan, it may help to stop watching Fox News.  I’m just saying.  It would help to consider an alternative source.

As a black dude living in America, I’ve learned not to allow silly stuff to get under my skin.  Sweet Brown says it best. “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

I can take it when folks throw a few stones at me.  Tough skin comes with the territory, but when a person starts throwing wolf tickets at my home town; it’s time for a beat down.  Yes, I’m willing to stomp anyone who talks smack about Durham.

I can forgive youth for not understanding the history and context that translate mean words into BS.  From all accounts, Chelsey Dulaney didn’t know any better.  The student at The Daily Tar Heel made the mistake of thinking she was reporting truth by claiming crime in Chapel Hill is due to the bad blood coming from Durham.  In other words, the Chapel Hill police need to do a better job of keeping “those people” from crossing the border.

Sounds like a Negro watch to me.  Can someone say racial profiling?  It’s that type of rhetoric that has served to fracture Durham’s reputation as the star among the Triangles three cities.  Some call it player hating.  It’s the game of throwing stones to draw attention away from the one who gets more attention.  I get it.  I can’t blame Dulaney from being misinformed.  At the root of it all is something deeper. 

They can’t help but be jealous.

Who wouldn’t be? Durham is the star among the rest.  The truth is it’s not even close.  Durham has garnered national attention for being one of the best places to dine in the South – not Chapel Hill or Raleigh. Durham has the Durham Performing Arts Center, the Nasher and is the home of the Research Triangle Park.  The good things happening East of Chapel Hill are enough to make anyone envious.

So, I can’t blame Dulaney for blaming Durham for what is wrong with Chapel Hill.  Dulaney’s assertion assumes that most who commit crimes in Chapel Hill are from Durham. It fails to show how many of the crimes in Durham are committed by people from Chapel Hill.  The close ties between the communities make it virtually impossible to link crime in Chapel Hill to Durham, or crime in Durham to Chapel Hill. 

At the root of Dulaney’s analysis is assumptions related to race.  If it’s black, it must be Durham.  It’s an absurd notion that fails to acknowledge the black people living in Chapel Hill.  Even more perplexing is how thoughts regarding race and crime can impact strategies for the police – keep black people out of Chapel Hill.

Don’t let them in our city.

The best news is the outrage.  I’m encouraged by the comments made by those living in Chapel Hill.  It’s time to tell the truth about life in the Bull City.  Durham is not a city of thugs and crime.  We are the best the area has to offer. Deal with it!

I do understand the temptation to form assumptions about a community. I could label Chapel Hill a snobbish community of racist who use public policy to keep black people away.  I could argue that high taxes are used to keep certain people from buying property.

The truth is I have no reason to cross the border to go there.  Some of my best friends live in Chapel Hill, but, but…

Sound familiar?

That’s how false assumptions get started.  We’re all the same community folks.  The only thing that changes is the sign to remind us the name of the city has changed.

Thank God for outrage.