Michael Vick, The Hero

This dog had no idea what awaited him

In Norfolk, Virginia, Michael Vick will be honored as a hero by the Southeastern Virginia Arts Association. Surprising? Not really. SEVAA is the same organization that throws the Afr’am Festival, which, as you guessed, is a festival highlighting and celebrating African-Americans, past and present. So who else is more deserving of this year’s Hero Award than the pride of the African-American community, Philly Eagles’ own Afr’am quarterback, Michael Vick? Sure, Vick killed and mutilated scores of dogs for his own amusement and profit, but should that stop him from being recognized for the hero that he is? In fact, it’s those actions that even make him a hero.

Michael Vick is being honored as a hero next month at a black tie event for his “resilience in overcoming obstacles” and becoming “a true example of life success for all to emulate,” according to event organizers.

Yes, you read that right. Resilience in overcoming obstacles. And the obstacles that he overcame were self inflicted, namely his own blatant stupidity and immorality. In this day and age, that’s not only something to be applauded, but worthy of being honored for. So how would someone emulate Vick’s success? Simply throw your life and career away by doing something moronic and illegal, then make a comeback. That’s it. That’s all it takes to be a hero nowadays.

And Hell, Vick isn’t the only saintly man to ever commit a crime.

“The term ‘hero’ is subjective,” said Michael Muhammad who heads Southeastern Virginia Arts Association in Norfolk which is hosting the black tie gala at the Half Moon Cruise and Celebration Center. “People talk about Michael Vick as a convicted felon, well so was Jesus Christ yet he was able to do things above and beyond the naysayers to the point that we all recognize him today as Lord and Savior.”

Jesus Christ! Yes, Vick is now being compared to the savior of mankind. I’m no Bible scholar but I don’t remember ever reading about Jesus running an illegal dog fighting ring. Then again, Jesus wasn’t an NFL quarterback either. So I guess they come out even in the end.

The article makes a point about who gets to be honored as a hero. What about all the military servicemen that fought and bled for this country, many of which reside in Norfolk? They might be a little pissed that this NFL star is getting lavished with praise at a black tie gala while they’re going through rehabilitation to learn to walk again. The event organizer, Mr. Muhammad addresses that:

Muhammad responded, “And there is so much honor given to them and honor is due them, but we also feel that the little man that doesn’t get the opportunity to be honored, deserves to be honored and Michael Vick is one of those.”

This story is warming my heart here. Yes, Vick is just an average Joe, not afforded the honor that those wounded soldiers get. It’s about time that a guy like him gets awarded for his noble actions of serving prison time and then becoming a quarterback in the NFL. Sure, there’s plenty of other NFL players out there. Some of them have even done great things for others. But they never strangled and mutilated dogs. That’s why they’re not heroes like Michael Vick.

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Beating In The Bathroom

The following video has made the rounds recently. In the video, we see a White guy getting searched and interrogated by a bouncer in the bathroom of a strip club. The bouncer, who is a larger Black man, accuses him of selling drugs, asks him to empty his pockets, takes money out of his wallet and looks through his phone. Around minute mark 2:50 in the video, the bouncer begins punching the White guy in the head, a total of four times. He locks him in the bathroom and then demands that the White guy kneel on the ground and pray to the, “Great fucking brown dude.” After all is said and done, the Black guy takes all the White guy’s money and sends him on his way.

The news story says that a second bouncer was filming the incident and it was later posted on the internet, most likely for the purposes of amusement, since it landed on World Star Hip Hop. After police got wind of this video, the bouncer, 35-year-old Easton Byfield, was arrested and charged with assault and battery, kidnapping, unarmed robbery and filing a false police report. The filing of a false police report charge came about because the numbskull actually reported that the White guy assaulted him! If you’ve watched the video, you can clearly see that’s not the case.

This video got me heated, not because of the racial angle, as many sites have played up, but because this has happened to me in the past. In my younger, more hedonistic days, I was a hardcore clubber, hitting the clubs 3 to 4 times a week. Illicit drugs were abundant and there came a time when there was a rash of bouncers searching and confiscating money and drugs from club goers. Anyone they suspected of carrying drugs, they searched and robbed, because they knew that if you had even the most minor amount of illegal substances on you, then you weren’t going to call the police. Some clubs were terrible about this.

Once a bouncer followed me into the bathroom and put me in a choke hold, demanding that I give up everything that I was holding or he was going to call the police. Since I didn’t have any drugs on me at the time, it was an empty threat and I didn’t comply. That’s where this guy in the video screwed up. He actually did what the bouncer demanded. Sure he was scared of the bouncer, which is understandable considering his size and that he was outnumbered, but since he was so quick to acquiesce, it makes me think that he actually was holding or at least had been selling drugs in the club as the bouncer claimed. Regardless, a bouncer has no right to search you, unless you let him.

This video isn’t an isolated incident, but something that happens at clubs across America. I’ve known guys that were bouncers from different states who bragged about doing exactly this kind of thing. And beating and robbing were only part of it. I’ve known of girls that had bouncers force them to perform sex acts on them. Usually, they’d find girls that were rolling on ecstasy, which is obvious to notice, search them for drugs and then threaten to turn them over to the police unless they gave them what they wanted. In some places, like Florida, where club culture is more widespread, this type of thing is common.

This is not a simple case of Black on White crime as some have framed it, but a pervasive problem with abuse of authority. While I’ve known a lot of bouncers who were good people, many seem to be persons with serious delusions of grandeur that are quick to take advantage of their imagined position of power.

Achievement Gap Solved

I went to check my email and found this jubilant news greeting me:
Urban Prep Academy Gets 100% Black Male College Attendance… Again

Well, that’s certainly an impressive sounding accomplishment. The link to the article was labelled, How the school achieves triumph. Of course I wanted to know, so I clicked through and was brought to AOL’s Black Voices. There I found a short celebratory article by Boyce Watkins, PhD, about the Urban Prep Academy of Chicago, an all male charter school for kids from the “worst” parts of the city. The article was sparse on details, but abundant with affirmations of Black greatness.

The school started with kids whose futures had been left for dead by their public schools: Only four percent of the school’s incoming freshmen were reading at grade level when they arrived on campus. But by sending all of their graduating seniors to college, they’ve not only gotten these kids up to speed, they’ve allowed them to zip past every other public school in the entire United States.

“No other public [school] in the country has done this,” said Tim King, the founder of Urban Prep.

So far, so good. Hopefully, they can tell us the secret formula they used to destroy the seemingly incurable problem of Black high school under-performance.

The students at the school are required to wear a jacket and tie every single day. They also go to school for two hours longer than other kids. They take English twice a day and are given a mentor with a cell number that kids can call 24 hours a day. They’ve clearly hit the mark when it comes to understanding that getting our children to the land of educational success requires both academic and sociological strategies.

That’s it?! So after billions of dollars spent trying to close the achievement gap, we find now that 2 extra hours of school, uniforms and a personal mentor is all that was needed to get Black students to excel? Hot damn! Time to celebrate!

Yes We Can!

Dr. Watkins spends the rest of the article bathing in the glory of the profound news and proving why he deserves the title of “Doctor” before his name.

…the men of Urban Prep Academy are firm reminders of what black men are meant to be. We are not hard wired to be thugs, athletes or entertainers. We are meant to be just as brilliant, capable and successful as everyone else in America…Every child can be college material if they choose to be. I was personally told that I wasn’t smart enough to go to college, but it takes more intelligence to make it in prison than it does to make it on a college campus. It all comes down to hard work, and black people know how to work hard.

Well, that makes sense, considering all the geniuses in prison. Go on good Doctor.

What I also love about Urban Prep is that they are translating the excellence that black men show in athletics and transferring that to academic achievement. It takes far less effort and natural ability to become a heart surgeon than it does to become an NBA basketball player.

Exactly. If they can play basketball, then they should be able to perform complex surgery. Why didn’t I think of that? Guess that’s why I’m not a doctor.

They should be given millions more dollars to pursue their objectives. Their educational model should be replicated in every city across America. They are showing us that black men are not destined for failure, fundamentally flawed or built for mediocrity. We truly embody excellence.

Tell it Dr. Watkins! We must spread this news far and wide and make sure that Congress and the President are aware of this stellar educational model so that we can transform inner city schools across the nation into shining beacons of hope for every Black child in America.

Sure there’s plenty of details that we haven’t been told, like, “What were their end of grade test results? What were their GPAs?” Who knows? Does it even matter? Well dammit, I guess I’m just too much of a cynic, because I had to delve deeper and found some pertinent facts that the triumphant Dr. Watkins failed to reveal:

Only 57% of the school’s original 166 freshmen actually graduated, well below the district’s already dismal 70% rate.

Oh wait, so they only graduate the kids that get accepted into college? Well, they all got into college so I’m sure they were excellent students, right?

Only 17% meet testing standards.

Well…hey, why sweat the small stuff when you have such a fantastic story of an entire Black senior class making it to college? So most of those that made it were woefully unqualified. So what? What matters is feeling good inside. We don’t need to worry about kids meeting requirements anymore. We can just change the requirements to meet the kids. Achievement gap solved.

Black History Month

It’s that time of year again when we celebrate and acknowledge the contributions that Black people have made to American history. I don’t have cable or even an antenna so I’m sure I’ll miss out on the fine shows that will be aired on PBS and the History Channel detailing the integral role that Blacks have played in shaping the course of this nation. Okay, I know it seems like I’m being sarcastic when I say that, but I’m not. I recognize that Blacks are as much a part of America as baseball, apple pie and Chinese take out. America wouldn’t be America without Black people.

When this month comes along, a song usually pops into my head. A song by dance punk duo Death From Above 1979, appropiately titled, Black History Month. It’s a simple yet catchy little song that stays in your head long after you hear it. The video isn’t anything special, but the simple lyrics convey a clear message that speaks to the heart of the Black experience in America.

“Black History Month”

Can you remember a time when this city was
A great place for architects and dilettantes
A nice place for midwives and crossing guards
And on, and on…

Hold on children
Your mother and father are leaving

Do you remember a time when this pool was
A great place for waterwings and cannonballs
A nice place for astrologists and blow up dolls
And on, and on…

Hold on children
Your best friend’s parents are leaving

The Joys Of Riding The Bus

My son sometimes rides the city bus from his school, which is in a majority Black part of the city, into downtown to hang out with his friends. I encourage him to do this, since I want him to develop his sense of independence and to learn how to cope with unpredictable situations. I realize that riding the bus poses a risk, but that’s part of life. Hopefully, he’ll never have to deal with a situation like we see in the video below. I’ve told him to NEVER listen to or use his iPod when he’s on the bus, whether he’s alone or with his friends. I had to show him this video to help reinforce those instructions in his mind.

In the video below, we have another bus attack. I know. It happens so often, it barely seems noteworthy anymore. This one stuck out to me, because the perps were females and the victim of the assault was pregnant and even after the thugs were made aware of that fact, they didn’t cease with their assaults.

I was amazed at the guy’s restraint. The first blow to my head would’ve sent me into a murderous rage, but the guy in the vid seemed almost apathetic to the kicks and punches to his skull.

From the news story about the incident:

Without warning, one of the suspects grabbed an MP-3 player away from 17-year-old Jessica Redmon-Beckstead, who was on the bus with her boyfriend, Jason DeCoste, 19. In the moments that followed, the suspects punched and kicked both Redmon-Beckstead and DeCoste on the bus, despite the posted signs alerting passengers that video-surveillance cameras are on board.

During the incident, one of the suspects can be heard accusing DeCoste of stealing her cellphone. According to sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. John Urquhart, DeCoste briefly met the girl at a party last summer and has denied taking her phone. His girlfriend, who was three months pregnant at the time of the attack, did not know any of the suspects, Urquhart said.

DeCoste tells the attackers that his girlfriend is pregnant, and one replies: “Nobody hit her in the stomach,” while encouraging her friends to “hit her in the face.”

“During the course of the video all the suspects are seen laughing during the course of the assaults and even joke about how they did not get any money from the victims. One of the suspects is heard complaining that she broke her nail,”…

Redmon-Beckstead needed six stitches to close a gash over her left eye, while DeCoste suffered bruising.

Female, underage, I don’t care. If I was in that situation, those bitches would be the ones getting stitches.

Free Broadband For Every “Nappy Headed Child”

This video is from a speech that FCC commissioner, Mignon Clyburn(also daughter of Congressman, James Clyburn), gave at a race conference. As you watch this, pay attention to the crazed, scheming look on her face. Let her bitter and hateful tone seep into your mind. Listen to her sickening sense of entitlement. And then think about the position she holds.

I’ve become really desensitized these days, but I my teeth were grinding as I watched this. The stupidity is just astronomical. How does she suppose we give free internet to every “nappy headed child?” Obviously, they’ll need a free computer as well. And not any hand me down, size don’t fit computer from some patronizing rich White person. That just won’t do. They need to best free stuff to gain a proper sense of pride in themselves, don’t you know?

We’re in a new era now, where beggars can not only be choosers, but they can be in charge as well.

Some Thoughts On Racism

On other blogs and a few times here, I’ve been called a racist. This is used as a shaming tactic meant to stir up some sense of guilt, but because of the overuse of the term, it’s become a toothless attack with little meaning. When I was a kid, to call someone a racist meant that they had hatred for other races. This is the usual implied meaning of the word when used as an insult. Most people use it as a synonym for bigot(something I’ve been called as well).

Now here’s the definition of bigot:

a person who is intolerant of any ideas other than his or her own, esp on religion, politics, or race

I’m plenty tolerant of other races, religions and even other political beliefs, so I sometimes get annoyed when others hurl that accusation at me as it’s a baseless attack. I think it reflects more on the accuser’s emotional and intellectual deficits than it does on the character of the accused. That supposed insult always conjures up images for me of a small child, his face red and eyes welled up with tears, crying out at someone that hurt his feelings. “You’re a racist!” is the equivalent of calling someone, “a big doodie head.” It amounts to the same infantile reaction.

Now, the term racist is a very broad term. While most use it to mean that the person targeted is some type of irrational hatemonger, many are aware of the fact that it can be loosely interpreted and try to use this to their advantage to distract from the issue at hand. I usually see this line of attack: “You’re just a racist!,” to which I reply, “I don’t hate other races at all. I live and work around other races and get along fine with most other people.” Then I usually get, “Well, don’t you believe that races have different inherent qualities?” to which I respond, “Yes,” which of course is followed by, “See, you’re a racist!”

That line of thinking is just stupid. Most everyone in the world understands that races have different physical features; we just disagree on the amount of differences. Anyone can understand that Blacks normally have dark skin and kinky hair, which are inherent qualities. Of course, some race deniers would see that statement and say, “Some Blacks have light skin and straight hair! You’re a racist!” Like I said, just stupid.

Here’s the dictionary definition of racism:

1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

Well, none of those definitions fully applies to me. While I do believe that various groups have distinctive traits and divergent group averages, I don’t believe that means that some groups have the right to rule others. I see group differences as a matter of fact in much the same way that I accept that East Asians have different hair than sub-Saharan Africans. If being observant makes one a racist than I guess the dumb and blind are the only true non-racists among us.

I wanted to note that I do occasionally use the term, “racist”, myself. I’ve used it on this blog and when I do it, it’s meant to highlight the hypocrisy of liberals, other minorities and supposed anti-racists, who often times hold equally “racist” views, except about Whites and sometimes Asians, neither of whom seem to be seen as groups worthy of protection from having their feelings hurt. It’s funny to me how some White liberals will run to defend their favored minority groups, as if they were helpless children in need of a noble White Knight to slay the wicked dragon called Racism.