Wednesday, 12 June 2013 09:48
When George Orwell wrote the novel 1984, he envisioned a character, real or imagined "Big Brother" who was a know-all, see-all, omnipotent and elusive presence that intruded into lives because he could. Those who knew about "him" were told that they did not exist, but in many ways, Big Brother may not have existed, either. The omnipotence had taken on a life of its own.
Orwell's book was a book ahead of its time. At a different time, his book could have been dismissed as psychedelic fantasy. Today, he is just a step behind the reality in which we live. Verizon is sharing telephone records. The Department of Justice is monitoring journalists, and the IRS is playing games with those who seek nonprofit status. People pulled over for a minor traffic violation will have to submit fingerprints to find out if they have broken other laws. Big Brother is alive and well in too many layers of our lives.
Meanwhile, market researchers are segmenting populations by zip code and consumer patterns. They can tell you what percentage of Whites; African Americans or Latinos live in a certain zip code. They can tell you what you earn, what you are worth, and how many of your neighbors have criminal records. The zip code data drives marketers. Does it also drive law enforcement?
Wednesday, 12 June 2013 09:12
In a drawer at my home is a folded American flag, a pair of house slippers, an obituary and funeral service notice. That flag was given to my mother at my father's funeral services by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Local 3741, in Bakersfield, California. The flag represents the service my dad gave in World War II to protect this country from the racism of a guy named Hitler, and fascism from guys with names like Mussolini.
Like so many African American veterans, my father came home after helping to secure a victory from fascism and racism, only to face the same racism and fascism in America. Fascism was based on a theory that the state and private corporations should join together and cooperate for the good of the country. In other words, the corporations should control the state as corporate giants like the Koch Brothers control the Republican Party today. Some say that today's America, the Republican/Tea Party, are wholly owned subsidiaries of the corporations. Both Nazism and Fascism believed in the superiority of the White race and inferiority of Blacks and other darker skinned ethnic groups.
Tuesday, 04 June 2013 19:12
A few weeks ago I complained about CHAPS having transformed their staff from integrated, under the former Director Wilma Allen, to over 90 percent Latino, under the current director Margie Martinez. In the article I also mentioned El Centro De Accion having no Black staff, even though they had recently received a grant to fight Black gang violence as well as Latino gang violence. In fact, the then Director Randy Ertill, had hired one African American but immediately fired him within 30 days and made no Black replacement. So I was pleased to see that Ertill resigned last week. We shall see if the new director is more inclusive.
We were all saddened by the recent passing of Versie Mae Richardson, the founder of AlKebulan, Pasadena's only African American Cultural Center. Hopefully, the dream of Richardson for an African American Cultural Center will somehow survive. We badly need it.
Wednesday, 29 May 2013 05:59
The old song says, "It's summertime and the living is easy." So what are you going to do with the easy time? We all know another saying: "The idle mind is the devil's playground." I think the summer is a prime time for planning some constructive activities for young people to keep them busy and learning. Otherwise, trouble will find them and find something destructive for them to do.
As we contemplate our grandchildren's visit for a few weeks this summer, we are working feverishly to adjust our schedules and find something for the children to do. We thought the planning and juggling phase of our lives was over. It looked so easy for my parents when they took our sons to stay during the summer. That was a time when there was plenty for the young to do and, and my parents just included them into their daily routine. One son loved to get up early with my father and go to the café for breakfast where he went every morning and meet up with his buddies there. The other sons loved my mother standing at the stove cooking pancakes for as long as they would eat them. They loved going to the thrift shops with her, shopping to replenish her store. They also loved to explore around the house for treasures they would find upstairs, downstairs, in the garage, the garage apartment, or the basement. They would go to church with them on the weekend, where they would stay half the day and then eat lunch in the church hall.
Wednesday, 22 May 2013 06:47
The news made a big deal out of the fact that one Dr. Dre who made millions as a rapper gave 70 million dollars to the University of Southern California to create a school dedicated to Hip Hop. All I could think of was that's just what we need, another class of rappers.
I thought of the 70,000 kids that will be kicked out of Head-Start as a result of the current Federal budget crisis. With all of that, we need another group of rappers to rap to kids who can't read, write and reason. I thought of the preachers who take our money on Sunday morning and use it for their personal wealth rather than for the good of the community. I thought of the Charter School movement that takes our tax dollars to create a few schools for a few kids while the masses are forced to go to non-productive schools. It's as if you have 10 children and you decide to invest in two, and the rest are on their own. Don't we owe it to all of the kids to treat them equally? That's what the Taliban does, educate the boys and shoot the girls who have the audacity to want to go to school and get an education. The worst part is that the statistics are showing that Charter Schools are not producing a bumper crop of geniuses either. Why not improve the whole school system?
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