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Joe's Editorial

Still Last and Tired of It

Black news from Pasadena - Editorial - Republican and Tea Party positions on minoritiesThe reports are undenied.  Michelle Bachman, the front runner in the race for President against President Obama, signed a pledge that Black children were better off as Slaves than they are today under a Black President. Then she made public statements that the meager million plus dollars won by Black farmers in the famous Pigford Farm discrimination case should be taken back and given to flood victims in, I believe, Kansas.  These events bring it all back that there are some whites who still believe that they are somehow a superior race because they are white. They believe that as long as whites are taken care of, Blacks can do without.

The recent report that white wealth is twenty times that of Blacks seems to be the natural order of things for the Tea Party and their Republican benefactors. Black male unemployment in Harlem is 50 percent. Elsewhere it’s nearly twenty percent, while whites are suffering at 12 percent. The Republicans want to trash Social Security entitlement and/or raise the age of entitlement to 67 when Blacks don’t even get a fair share at the current age of 65 because many Blacks don’t even live to see 65, much less 67.

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Beyond the Butcher the Baker the Candlestick Maker

African American news from Pasadena - Editorial - Careers - the butcher, the baker and candlestick makersAn old English nursery rhyme says, 'rub a dub dub, three men in a tub and who do you think they be? The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker and knaves were they'.  This is one of those things we learned in elementary school that was irrelevant to our existence. Because it was irrelevant, many Black kids were not enamored to learn English. It didn’t do much for helping to expose or interest Black kids in choosing a career either. First of all, this rhyme was taught when neither the butcher, the baker or candlestick maker looked like the Black kid reading it. It’s much like many other things in the education of Black students today.  No one makes it relevant.

If someone had told Black kids that Othello was Black they might have taken an interest in Shakespeare. Or that a Black man named Toussaint L.’ Ouverture in 1791, whipped the French general, Napoleon, to free the Black Haitian slaves, it might have made Black kids more interested in world history.  But we all know that history of a hunt would be different if it had been written by the lion.  

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The Republican War to Stop President Obama

Black news from Pasadena - Editorial - Republican war to stop President ObamaThere is an old saying that if you give them an inch, they will take a mile. It seems that that saying has been resurrected with the election of President Barack Obama. It was a saying that was applied to slaves as a counter argument to giving the slaves a “little freedom.”  And while it seems a contradiction in terms, a little freedom is exactly what was given to slaves in New Orleans when they were given a half day off on Sundays.  They would congregate at a place called CONGO SQUARE where they were free to dance and practice their tribal traditions. They were, in effect, half free, for a half day.

The Republicans seem to be trying to revisit those “good ol’ days.”  They want to be able to say America is a great country and anyone can live the American Dream and become a mayor or even president, no matter what race, creed, or color they are.  But the realities are something else, especially if you are looking at it from the vantage point of a Black man of fifty, sixty or seventy years of age. We have seen versions of the drama of the Congo Square, meaning half free and half slave. Another version was half free and half victim of discrimination and/or victim of racism.  

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Black-Owned Businesses, Education and Entrepreneurship

Black news from Pasadena - Editorial - black-owned businesses, education and entrepreneurshipAn article in the June 2011 Atlanta Tribune says that Black-owned firms make up more than 23 percent of the Atlanta metropolitan landscape. The June Issue is a primer on Black-owned businesses in the south, in general, and Atlanta, specifically. The article entitled, “City of Entrepreneurs”, The Tribune, a twenty five year old Black-owned magazine, cites an article in Forbes magazine as saying that Atlanta  is the best city in the United States for “minority” entrepreneurs. Forbes uses factors like housing affordability, population growth and entrepreneurial spirit. Forbes put Atlanta ahead of 50 other cities with populations over 1 million.  

Answering the question of, “how does Atlanta keep doing it, The Tribune says that when people think about making a living, entrepreneurship is “way up on the list.”   Atlanta boasts an organization called the “Atlanta Business League,” an advocacy organization existing to promote Black Businesses.

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Open Letter to the New Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent

Black news from Pasadena - Commentary from the editor - an open letter to the new PUSD Superintendent, Jon GundryDear Sir, welcome to the hot seat. Today begins a new day in the history of the Pasadena Unified School District. What will be recorded  as your legacy depends on what you do in developing a partnership with the quiet majority of what will be known as your District. That majority will not be at your School Board meetings. They are the parents you will only hear from when there is a problem. This is unfortunate but always remember that “heavy is the head that wears the crown.” You chose the job and as Superintendent so you wear the crown.

A few suggestions are in order here. We know that you will be forced into the paper box  labeled  “no child left behind”  and, accordingly, your performance will be judged on how well your school district performs in that box. However, your true legacy and reputation will be measured by how the “least” of your children perform.  Many of the least of your children are those African American children who always seem to be found on the “bottom of the well.”  You already know that if you keep on doing only what your predecessors have done, you will not distinguish yourself, and the bottom of the well will still be dark.

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