It is amazing how black men can keep their sanity despite the insanity that happens to them.
I remember one time I took my wife to a medical appointment at an office building, usually I drop her off at the entrance and I wait in my car in the parking lot usually listening to music or talk radio. Anyway this one time I decided to go in the lobby to use the rest room. As I exited my car this white lady was walking towards me, the look of fear she had or her face was palpable, she clutched her purse so tight her hands turned red. As usual I smiled at her to ease her fears, see I’ve discovered that when I run into white people on a one on one situation I smile just so they will feel comfortable.
I’m tired of smiling; I’m tired of having to worry about some stranger feeling comfortable or uncomfortable in my presence. Why is it that when I’m the only black person in an elevator with a bunch of white peoples, nobody smiles to make me feel comfortable?
Why is it that when I’m anywhere and I’m the only black person there, nobody smiles at me to make me feel comfortable?
The average black man will tell you, if he’s lived long enough, that he’s discovered certain mechanisms he uses to make people feel comfortable in his presence. So now another black kid is dead under unclear circumstances, another black community is in pain, and another policeman is on paid administrative leave.
By this time tomorrow we’ll know everything this young black kid has done since he left his mother’s womb, the good and the bad, the right and the wrong. I’ve got an eight year old son; I used to wonder about what college he will attend or what does he want to do when he grows up. As black men we’ve learned to focus our thinking on the present more so than on the future when it comes to our black boys.
It is a horror in our country that we always have to worry about making white people feel comfortable first before we think of ourselves. When outside, we make sure we smile to make them feel comfortable, we put our hands out so they don’t think we’re hiding something, we make sure we aren’t dressed in threatening ways (who the heck knows what that is because apparently, a hoodie is now threatening), we make sure when walking to our cars, our keys are prominently displayed so suspicious stares stop and cops aren’t called (I’ve been harassed in that manner and now whenever I’m in a predominantly white neighborhood, I make sure my car keys are prominently displayed so that they’re comfortable that I am indeed walking to my own car. I shouldn’t have to do that, but I must so that a group of white people aren’t threatened by one black person).
We make sure we don’t run in public because that looks suspicious (yeah, apparently running is suspicious), we make sure that we are 100% respectful to cops or your life may end that day. Yes sir, no sir, I’m sorry, sir. My hands are out, sir. I’m not holding anything suspicious, sir. I remember my shock and surprise when my white friend argued with a cop and I had to tell her to stop doing that because the person who’ll get shot first is me not her. I can’t even imagine the freedom that white people have to argue with cops and tell them loudly that they have rights. The thought that runs through my mind when I’ve been stopped by cops is the talk that my parents had with me. Be polite, make sure your hands are where they see them, say yes sir/yes m’am, never raise your voice, speak very softly, and it goes on and on and on. The prevailing thought being, good god, please let me be alive after this interaction. White people don’t understand that fear and pain where the cop isn’t there to serve and protect, but to shoot you first then ask questions later.
We make sure that we don’t raise our voice in public lest we seem threatening. I’ve been in coffee shops where white people raise their voices and everyone shrugs it off, but then a black person raised their voice while talking on the phone and a deathly silence filled the shop as people looked fearfully as though the black person was going to kill them. It’s insane.
We make sure that we never leave the house without any form of identification or company card to prove that we’re respectable and that still doesn’t guarantee your life will be safe.
The thought runs through your mind: Why are you as a white person not trying to make me feel comfortable in public? Why are you allowed to raise your voice in public and express your frustrations but I can’t? Why are you allowed to assert your rights with cops but I can’t? Am I not a human being too?
I’ll say it again. It is a horror in our country where a large swath of people can’t think about their lives and safety first, but have to think about others and making them feel comfortable just because of the color of our skin. We’re doctors, teachers, lawyers, business owners, parents, children, etc; but that doesn’t seem to matter when we’re out in public.
President Obama announces that he has accepted the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki during a press conference in the Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington
Deputy Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson leaves the White House after being named by President Barack Obama to run the Veterans Affairs Department on an interim basis while President Obama searches for a replacement for Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki who resigned Friday.
President Barack Obama gives White House press secretary Jay Carney a hug after announcing that Carney will step down later next month, during a surprise visit to the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. The president announced Carney’s departure in a surprise appearance at in the White House press briefing room Friday. He said principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest will take over the job
Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, share the stage and a laugh during the daily briefing at the White House
President Barack Obama, flanked by Attorney Holder Eric Holder, Education Secretary Arne Duncan,and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker; speaks about a report from “My Brother’s Keeper,” an initiative to expand opportunity for young men and boys of color
President Barack Obama attends a hurricane preparedness meeting at FEMA Headquarters in Washington, DC
On This Day: President Barack Obama lays a Presidential challenge coin on a grave in Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., May 30, 2011. Section 60 is reserved for military personnel who have lost their lives while fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq (Photo by Pete Souza)
Today (all times Eastern)
* President Obama appears on Kelly and Michael – check your local listings here
10:15: President Obama meets with Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, Oval Office
11:0: The President meets with the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force
11:15 EDT: President Obama Makes a Statement
1:0: Jay Carney briefs the press
2:15: The President attends a hurricane preparedness meeting, FEMA Headquarters
…. Obama is battling a knee-jerk sentiment in Washington in which the only kind of international leadership that means anything is the use of military force. “Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail,” he said in his speech Wednesday at West Point.
A similar sentiment was expressed in the farewell address of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a strong leader who refused to intervene in the Suez crisis, the French collapse in Vietnam, two Taiwan Strait confrontations and the Hungarian uprising of 1956.
At the time, many critics blasted the president for his passivity and wished that he would be more interventionist. A Democratic Advisory Council committee headed by Acheson called Eisenhower’s foreign policy “weak, vacillating, and tardy.” But Eisenhower kept his powder dry, confident that force was not the only way to show strength. “I’ll tell you what leadership is,” he told his speechwriter. “It’s persuasion — and conciliation — and education — and patience . It’s long, slow, tough work. That’s the only kind of leadership I know — or believe in — or will practice.”
President Obama’s speech at West Point on Wednesday morning could be called a tribute to common sense, except that the sense it made is so uncommon. The ensuing cable pundits’ complaints—that it was insufficiently “muscular” or “robust”—only proved how necessary this speech was.
Obama’s point was not (contrary to some commentators’ claims) to draw a “middle-of-the-road” line between isolationism and unilateralism. That’s a line so broad almost anyone could walk it.
The president’s main point was to emphasize that not every problem has a military solution; that the proper measure of strength and leadership is not merely the eagerness to deploy military power; that, in fact, America’s costliest mistakes have stemmed not from restraint but from rushing to armed adventures “without thinking through the consequences, without building international support and legitimacy for our action, without leveling with the American people about the sacrifice required.”
Graduating cadets listen to President Obama deliver the commencement address at West Point, May 28, 2014 (Photo by Pete Souza)
NPR: Transcript And Audio: President Obama’s Full NPR Interview
NPR’s Steve Inskeep interviewed President Obama on Wednesday about foreign policy, including his approaches to Syria, Ukraine and China, as well as his remaining White House priorities and his effort to close Guantanamo Bay prison. A full transcript of the interview follows:
STEVE INSKEEP: I want to begin this way. You’re here at this historic place, trying to speak with a sense of history. And I was thinking of past presidents that I know you have studied and commented on. And a couple came to mind who were able to express what they were trying to do in the world in about a sentence. Reagan wanted to roll back communism by whatever means. Lincoln has a famous letter in which he says, I would save the union by the shortest means under the Constitution. As you look at the moment of history that you occupy, do you think you can put into a sentence what you are trying to accomplish in the world?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I’m not sure I can do it in a sentence because we’re fortunate in many ways. We don’t face an existential crisis. We don’t face a civil war. We don’t face a Soviet Union that is trying to rally a bloc of countries and that could threaten our way of life. Instead, what we have is, as I say in the speech, this moment in which we are incredibly fortunate to have a strong economy that is getting stronger, no military peer that threatens us, no nation-state that anytime soon intends to go to war with us. But we have a world order that is changing very rapidly and that can generate diffuse threats, all of which we have to deal with.
A new report this morning confirms that House Republicans are likely to delay plans to offer an alternative to Obamacare until after the elections; that multiple Republican candidates are retreating from repeal; and that they are increasingly mouthing support for the law’s general goals. Once again: There’s no real policy space for a meaningful alternative, but the base still sees repeal as its lodestar, yet everyone else opposes repeal, forcing Republicans to claim they’d scrap it and replace it with something or other doing all the popular things in it, without saying what.
Justin Wolfers (NYT): Deceptive Dip in G.D.P. Points to Perils of Election Forecasting
An economic report issued [yesterday] provides a good example of the hazards facing election forecasters. The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that in the first quarter of this year, Gross Domestic Product, a broad indicator of the health of the economy, shrank at an annual rate of 1 percent. Even worse, an alternative and more accurate measure, called Gross Domestic Income, shrank at an annual rate of 2.3 percent. If that persisted, we’d call it a sharp recession.
But no one is using the R-word. Nor should they. Markets have taken the news in their stride, and few economists have changed their view that the economy is growing and will continue to through 2014. Likewise, consumers remain confident about their economic prospects. Their confidence rests partly on other indicators that suggested far better growth throughout the quarter, such as nonfarm payrolls, which grew by 569,000 over the same period.
The president is about to take a major step to fight global warming. Here’s what you need to know.
President Obama promised to take action on global warming with or without Congress’s permission. Next week, he’ll tell the world how he plans to do it.
The administration is preparing to release the central pillar of Obama’s climate-change agenda: a proposal for far-reaching rules that will require power companies to cut carbon emissions.
The rules will mark the most significant federal action on climate change since Democrats’ cap-and-trade bill died in the Senate four years ago, and they’re Obama’s best shot at adding broad action on global warming to his legacy.
The rules will also touch off a political war of the first order, offering battleground for environmentalists, industry groups, and politicians to fight over the nation’s energy future.
Here’s what to watch for when the administration pulls back the curtain.
ThinkProgress: Redskins’ Twitter Campaign To Defend Their Name Goes About As Well As You’d Expect
The Washington Redskins — desperate to defend the name that Native Americans, members of Congress, a majority of the United States Senate, religious leaders, civil rights groups, several current and former NFL players, United Nations Human Rights representatives, and even President Obama have said should be changed because it is a “dictionary-defined” racial slur — started a Twitter campaign to rally support Thursday afternoon.
It started with this tweet asking fans to tell Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has made a habit of chiding the team over its name, how they felt:
White House: Presidential Proclamation — 60th Anniversary Of Brown v. Board Of Education
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
May 17, 1954, marked a turning point in America’s journey toward a more perfect Union. On that day, the Supreme Court handed down a unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education, outlawing racial segregation in our Nation’s schools. Brown overturned the doctrine of “separate but equal,” which the Court had established in the 1896 case of Plessy v. Ferguson. For more than half a century, Plessy gave constitutional backing to discrimination, and civil rights organizations like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People faced an uphill battle as they sought equality, opportunity, and justice under the law.
Brown v. Board of Education shifted the legal and moral compass of our Nation. It declared that education “must be made available to all on equal terms” and demanded that America’s promise exclude no one. Yet the Supreme Court alone could not destroy segregation. Brown had unlocked the schoolhouse doors, but even years later, African-American children braved mobs as they walked to school, while U.S. Marshals kept the peace. From lunch counters and city streets to buses and ballot boxes, American citizens struggled to realize their basic rights. A decade after the Court’s ruling, Brown’s moral guidance was translated into the enforcement measures of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.
Thanks to the men and women who fought for equality in the courtroom, the legislature, and the hearts and minds of the American people, we have confined legalized segregation to the dustbin of history. Yet today, the hope and promise of Brown remains unfulfilled. In the years to come, we must continue striving toward equal opportunities for all our children, from access to advanced classes to participation in the same extracurricular activities. Because when children learn and play together, they grow, build, and thrive together.
On the 60th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, let us heed the words of Justice Thurgood Marshall, who so ably argued the case against segregation, “None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody…bent down and helped us pick up our boots.” Let us march together, meet our obligations to one another, and remember that progress has never come easily — but even in the face of impossible odds, those who love their country can change it.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 17, 2014, as the 60th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education. I call upon all Americans to observe this day with programs, ceremonies, and activities that celebrate this landmark decision and advance the causes of equality and opportunity for all.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.
Attorneys George E.C. Hayes, Thurgood Marshall, and James Nabrit Jr. celebrate their victory in the Brown case on May 17, 1954.
White House: Commemorating the 60th Anniversary Of The Brown v. Board Of Education And Continuing The March Toward Justice
Decades ago, nearly 200 plaintiffs from across the country joined together in a class-action lawsuit to challenge the doctrine of “separate but equal,” striving to bring the issue of racial segregation before the highest court in the land. Their dangerous, long, and grueling march culminated exactly 60 years ago tomorrow – on May 17, 1954 – at the United States Supreme Court. On that extraordinary day, a unanimous Court, led by Chief Justice Earl Warren, declared that separate was inherently unequal, effectively outlawing racial segregation in schools and other public accommodations throughout America.
This marked a major victory for the cause of equal justice under law, an inflection point in American history, and a spark that in many ways ignited the modern Civil Rights Movement. Yet our nation did not automatically translate the words of Brown into substantive change. The integration of our schools was a process that was halting, confrontational, and at times even bloody. And, for all the progress our nation has seen over the last six decades, this is a process that continues, and a promise that has yet to be fully realized, even today.