Wednesday, April 23, 2014
   
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The Race Card

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THE RACE CARD

 

The other day, while surfing the web, I came across a headline stating, “Republicans  Accusing Democrats of Playing the “Race Card”. Thinking that I had not read it correctly, I re-read it, and there it was as plain as day, “Republicans Accuse Democrats of Playing the “Race Card” My first reaction after verifying what I’d read was amusement. “Oh no, I thought, they aren’t going to go there!” “Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle, well, I’ll go on ahead and say it, black”.

After the election of President Obama, the media declared that we were in the Age of Obama and that as a result, living in a post-racial society. These declarations briefly lured some of is into a false sense of security. As Baby Boomers who knew our history, we doubted that we would ever live in a “post-racial society”. However, this euphoria was short-lived. Soon, the ugly face of racism began to rear its ugly head, louder than ever. Rush Limbaugh and other conservative pundits continued their campaigns to discredit the President and the “birthers”, led by Donald Trump, continued their mission to deny the face that the President had been born in the United States. What was puzzling to me about all of this “birther” nonsense was that anyone who attended schools in the United States in the 1950’s, knew, or should have known, that Hawaii, along with Alaska, became a state when they were in elementary school.

The smear campaign was relentless, and came to a head when a Congressman yelled out during a Presidential speech calling the President of the United Stated a liar. The Republican opposition has attempted to thwart every proposal made by the President to improve the lives of all Americans, even allowing the government to shutdown to avoid co-operating with the President.

Despite the fact the under President Obama Osama bin Ladin was captured, the Affordable Care Act benefitting all Americans, especially those with pre-existing conditions, was passed, and that President Obama worked tirelessly to bring peace to the world, the party of No continued to work against him..

Throughout all of this, President Obama remained above the fray. To quote the poem Invictus, his head has been “bloodied, but unbowed”. Except for his response to the murder of Trayvon Martin, the President rarely spoke about race, continuing his efforts to improve the lives of all Americans with universal health care, and, most recently, equal pay for work.

Sadly, it is not only the President who has been the victim of these, not so vaguely disguised, ,racially charged attacks. Congressman Elijah Cummings (D, MD.) a well-respected trial lawyer and Attorney General Eric Holder have both been to victims of unprecedented disrespectful behavior.

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 the sweeping act which ensured equal rights to ALL Americans, is it playing the “race card” to remind African Americans of the sacrifices that have been made for them to register and vote? Is it playing the “race card’ to remind young people that they have the responsibility to those who marched were arrested, hosed, had dogs released on them, and in some cases, even died for the right to vote? Is it playing the “race card” to let young people know that unless they are vigilant, these same rights may have to be fought for again?

Recently, home run king Hank Aaron celebrated the 40th Ruth’s record. His comments that, “The bigger difference is that back then they had hoods. Now they have neckties and starched shirts.” angered some, who have accused him, too, you guessed it, of playing the “race card’...

Surely, no one can question what Hank Aaron experienced in his quest to break Babe Ruth’s record. The death threats, the loneliness, and isolation of having to be isolated from his team for his own personal safety. Could it be on the topic of race, when a person of color shares his experiences with racism, it is called “playing the ‘race card’”, but when it is being done it is simply ignored? If that is the case: anybody for a game of cards?

Keywords: "Race Card",  President Obama, Democrats, Republicans, Baby Boomers,Civil Rights Act, Hank Aaron

 

Only 54 Black Bookstores Left in U.S.

Entrepreneurship

Only 54 Black Owned Bookstores Remain in America
Troy Johnson AALB

According to AALB Founder and President, Troy Johnson, only 54 Black owned bookstores remain in America. In his blog, Johnson states that while many bookstores closed because a lack of business acumen, others were affected by the economy. Johnson suggests, and AABoomers.com agrees, that we should find ways to support the remaining Black owned bookstores. As Johnson, cautions, “I don’t want the only place where Black books are available!” Harlem, NY’s Hue-man Bookstore closed July 2012

The Last Black Owned Bookstores Open in the U.S.

  1. Pyramid Art Books & Custom Framing – Little Rock, AR
  2. Smiley’s Bookstore – Carson, CA
  3. Zahra’s Books and Things – Inglewood, CA
  4. Shades of Afrika Bookstore – Long Beach, CA
  5. Eso Won Bookstore – Los Angeles, CA
  6. Marcus Books – Oakland, CA
  7. Underground Books – Sacramento, CA
  8. Marcus Books – San Francisco, CA
  9. DC Bookdiva’s Mobile Bookstore – Washington, DC
  10. Sankofa Video and Bookstore – Washington, DC
  11. MeJah Books & Crafts, Tri-State Mall – Claymont, DE
  12. Ninth Street Book Shop – Wilmington, DE
  13. Pyramid Books – Boynton Beach, FL
  14. Dare Books – Longwood, FL
  15. Medu Bookstore, Greenbriar Mall – Atlanta, GA
  16. The Shrine of the Black Madonna – Atlanta, GA
  17. NuBian Books – Morrow, GA
  18. Lushena Bookstore – Bensenville, IL
  19. Books Ink – Chicago, IL
  20. Da Book Joint – Chicago, IL
  21. Frontline Bookstore – Chicago, IL
  22. The Underground Bookstore – Chicago, IL
  23. Black Expression Book Source – Evergreen Park, IL
  24. Azizi Books – Matteson, IL
  25. Afri-Ware Inc. – Maywood, IL
  26. The Wild Fig Books – Lexington, KY
  27. Community Book Center – New Orleans, LA
  28. Frugal Bookstore – Roxbury, MA
  29. Olive Tree Books-n-Voices – Springfield, MA
  30. Everyone’s Place – Baltimore, MD
  31. Cartel Cafe & Books Store – Oxon Hill, MD
  32. Shrine of the Black Madonna, Book Store and Cultural Center – Detroit, MI
  33. Off the Beaten Path Books & Cafe – Farmington, MI
  34. The Truth Bookstore – Southfield, MI
  35. Hood Book Headquarters – Warren, MI
  36. Black Stone Bookstore & Cultural Center – Ypsilanti, MI
  37. Aframerican Book Store – Omaha, NE
  38. African American Book Store – Hackensack, NJ
  39. Becoming Gods Answer Bookstore – New York, NY
  40. Sister’s Uptown Bookstore – New York, NY
  41. Mood Makers Books & Art Gallery Village Gate Square – Rochester, NY
  42. A Cultural Exchange – Cleveland, OH
  43. Black Art Plus – Columbus, OH
  44. Ujamaa Book Store – Columbus, OH
  45. Big Blue Marble Bookstore – Philadelphia, PA
  46. Black and Nobel – Philadelphia, PA
  47. Hakim’s Bookstore and Gift Shop – Philadelphia, PA
  48. Horizon Books Inc. – Philadelphia, PA
  49. The Pan-African Connection Bookstore – Dallas, TX
  50. The Dock Bookshop – Fort Worth, TX
  51. African Imports Houston – Houston, TX
  52. Positive Vibes – Virginia Beach, VA
  53. House of Consciousness – Norfolk, VA
  54. The Reader’s Choice – Milwaukee, WI
   

Have You Saved Enough to Retire

Finance

Have You Saved Enough to Retire?
By Dave Bernard USA Today

Wouldn't it be nice if you had enough saved so you could retire if you wanted to? According to Fidelity, you will need to put aside eight times your ending salary if you hope to fund your lifestyle for a 25-year retirement. If you don't have that much set aside, you are not alone. More than one-third (36 percent) of people over age 55 haven't saved more than $10,000 for their second act, according to a 2013 report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute. If you are in that group, the reality is that you may never be
able to retire. Everyone wants to retire or least entertain the option to do so. What retirement will look like varies depending on individual preferences. To most, that promise of getting away from the stress of the job to focus on pursuits that interest you sounds pretty darn good. What do you need to do to have enough to retire? And exactly how much do you need? If you are 55 and have $10,000 saved for retirement, chances are you will not come close to saving eight times your ending salary unless you win the lottery. Hopefully your retirement fund is in better shape, in which case, here are some things you can do to help the cause.

Read More: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/saved-enough-retire-124300071.html

   

Op-Ed

Express Yourself

THE INJUSTICE OF JUSTICE Continued!

I ran from the station that day (trying to remain calm but silently screaming all the way to work) and asked my college class if they knew it was a felony to jump the turnstile? Many said they did not. I told them to run and tell somebody - everybody! Now just in case you think this is all culminating in some type of conspiracy theory or just maybe our young brothers are “sub-human mongrels” as our beloved, brilliant President was recently labeled – check this out.

I have a close relative who is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Sheriff’s Department of a major southern city. She sees the problems plaguing Black and other minority families up close; and yes, even those in our own family that have gotten “caught up” in the system. She concurs; there is little way out for these young men. The justice system has created a culture of generational prisoners. It is truly a prison industrial complex. The discussion came up when I asked about a nephew and how he was faring trying to get things back on track. She stated that the problem was that his record for a non-violent offense was keeping him from getting a job, and as a young father, he is having a hard time dealing with not being able to provide. In addition, she says, he can’t pay for his probation because he has no job. WHAT, I said, pay for his probation? She looked at me as if I was from another planet. I started plummeting her with questions as she explained that going free ain’t free! The justice system makes money off offenders to keep them out of jail. I was flabbergasted. How can they turn their lives around with no job, no money, no opportunities, no rights, no voting, and still have to pay the system to stay out of the system? She related, yes! That’s why they keep returning. They are picked up for violating probation because they have no money to pay the probation system, so they eventually end up in prison! Then she shared that an officer in her network had just written on the subject and she still had the piece that he published.

Please read for yourself:

“One thing that needs to be discussed is “the money driven nature of the criminal justice system” and how it drives poverty and actually increases crime and other dangerous activities, such as car chases. For instance, a young man is making ten dollars an hour and in order for his car to pass inspection, the mechanic informs him he needs to come up with $500.00. He does not have the money so he continues to drive with an expired inspection and expired registration. A police officer stops him and writes him a citation instead of a warning ticket, which the officer has the discretion to do. This drives the young man deeper into debt by 300-400 dollars and he has to take a day off to go to court. He can’t go to court because he can’t afford to pay the fine and his license is suspended. He has to drive to go to work and gets stopped again for driving while his license is suspended. This cycle makes the young man depressed and hopeless and his problem with repeated traffic citations costs him his job. We are driving him into a criminal posture. Add to this that he has acquired a reputation with several young police officers as a repeat traffic offender and every time he is stopped he is asked if he can be searched for drugs. If the original officer had written a warning ticket this escalation into criminality may not have occurred. Many law enforcement officers lack compassion in their dealing with young men of a certain appearance. Two young men are on a street corner and get into a shoving match. The police come and arrest them for simple affray and assault rather than lecturing them and breaking up the fight like the old time police. They go to court; they now have a violent criminal history even though they are not dangerous. They are put on probation for 18 months and ordered to go to anger management. They must pay $40 per month to probation, pay a $250 fine and pay at least $95 per hour for six hours of anger management- a total of $1330.00. Neither has a full time job, can’t make the required payments, fall into despair, fail to meet their probation officer, their probation is violated, and they are locked up in jail periodically at a cost of at least $70 per day to the taxpayers. Tired of jail they commit crimes to pay their court fees. Additionally, since they have acquired a reputation with the police they are treated like trash by the police and searched every time they are encountered. This treatment of certain young men by law enforcement plus the money driven nature of the criminal justice system is creating situations where young men feel they have no choice but to work in the underground economy. Policing in (city excluded for anonymity) needs to be calibrated with a little more compassion and the police must stop fishing for crime through useless traffic stops in high crime neighborhoods. Proactive prevention of violence and property crime can only happen if law enforcement gets to really know the people in the neighborhoods, not alienate people with minor but costly traffic citations.”

After she shared this with me, I mentioned that it appears the majority of the police force I see on the streets and in the penal system, are Black men and women. She said that is true; in many urban cities they have stacked the forces with the very people they “target”. Hmmm…Maybe this is the REAL “black on black crime”! There appears to be a serious policy of injustice in the justice system that began as a new means of enslaving and subjugating Black men while devastating the communities they are being taken out of in droves!!! The prison industrial complex is a booming business – prisons opening all over the country in economically depressed areas where businesses and jobs are desperately needed. The probation system creates an intentional revolving door of felons that become generational in their hopelessness to find ways out and alternative ways to survive. Don’t get me wrong, I know more than a few of these young men are criminals who need to be separated from their communities. However, all the evidence points to an historical injustice that has never been redressed to the point where the Black man has been released from the auction block! He is still enslaved in his mind, in his community, in his ability to become a viable citizen!

I don’t know about you, but I think we need to COMMUNICATE about the issues that are literally decimating our streets and creating the very young “thugs” they say they are protecting us from. Come on folks! There is a war going on in our streets and in our nation, and too many of us are comfortably complicit. How long and how safe do you think we are going to stay at the rate this problem is growing? I think we need a national, family Sunday dinner. Everybody come, bring your favorite dish, and DO NOT go home until we come up with a plan to take the INJUSTICE OUT OF JUSTICE! Otherwise, guess who’s coming to dinner?

   

HAPPY!

blogs

HAPPY!
Lois-Ann Clark, Publisher AABoomers.com

Occasionally you hear a song on the radio that brings a smile to your face and makes you pat your feet. The song Happy is infectious, and like “I Can’t Help Myself, another song with a similar effect, you simply can not help your self, you begin dancing, singing along, and patting your feet. Although ‘I Can’t Help Myself” (also known as Sugar Pie Honey Bunch) is almost 50 years old, it still sounds good and elicits the same response. Why is that? Well, as the old saying goes ‘music can soothe the savage beast”, and we certainly need something to soothe the savage beast in today’s society. Before American Bandstand began broadcasting nationally, it was a local Philadelphia TV. show.. When new songs were introduced, they were rated by the regulars on the show, and reasons were given for the scores they received. They were given points for the beat, “it’s easy to dance to”, and the lyrics.If the song Happy were being rated today, I’d guess it would receive a 100 for both the lyrics, and the beat. Why, because, the song simply stated, makes you, happy. The beat is infectious, you can’t keep still when it comes on, as was evidenced recently by a video of the venerable Congressman John Lewis (D,GA.) dancing to it in his office, or school children singing it in their uniforms on YouTube.From the first few beats of the song, you can see people’s demeanors change. Smiles begin forming on their faces, and they begin patting their feet and singing along. In a society where we’ve been feed lyrics that were, well, less than positive, someone singing about happiness, inviting you to “clap your hands if you know what happiness means to you” and, “if that’s what you want to do”, is refreshing. For a moment we can forget about all the bad news we are fed constantly by the news media. The daily robbing, killing, and other senseless acts of violence, we are bombarded with can be dismissed, for just a few minutes, and we can be happy. In fact, Williams invites the news media to “give it all they got” and he’ll be fine, because he’s happy. Hearing that, we’re happy, too. What does happiness mean to you/ I’d guess that for us as Baby Boomers, it’s not the things of our youth we thought we needed for happiness, but other things we have come to appreciate through maturity. For me it is seeing my eight year niece and hearing her greet meet me with, “Hi, Auntie LoLo, “, or a beautiful spring day with the temperature of 70 degrees, and very low humidity (especially after the winter we’ve had), or my nephew appearing unexpectedly from out of town for a day visit, or when my sister who is several years younger, but suffering the early stages of dementia has a very lucid day, and seems to be herself again. We know that we have to face the problems of daily life, but because of songs like Happy, and other things that bring us joy, we can “clap our hands because we know that happiness is the truth!” What is does happiness mean to you? Share it with us here or on our Facebook page,

Pharrell Williams - Happy (Despicable Me 2 - Lyric Video)

AABoomers.

Keywords: Happy. Despicable Me, Pharrell Williams, Good Morning America, BabyBoomers

   

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