Dexter Rogers

Dexter Rogers

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fighting racism: Mr. President, please step forward!

Last Wednesday the New York Post cartoonist Sean Delonas published a racist cartoon that consisted of two white police officers firing gunshots into a chimpanzee. The caption read, “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.”

When I saw the caricature I was pissed! Being an African American that’s conscious I’m astute enough to know if they feel that way about the President they feel the same way about me! Just because we=2 0have an African American President doesn’t mean racism is on the decline folks. This situation is a reflection of racist attitudes that still exist in America.

I suggest you all wake up and smell the coffee.

After some public pressure from protesters and Rev. Al Sharpton the New York Post issued a half-hearted apology. They suggested they meant no malice towards President Obama.

Yeah right!

The newspaper even had the nerve to take exception with those who believed their cartoon was racist. The Post stated it was “most certainly was not its intent” to disrespect the President. They even had the audacity to accuse those like Sharpton as “opportunists” who didn’t deserve an apology. The Post stated, “To them no apology is due.”

In short, the New York Post is condoning racism and simultaneously taken issue with those who oppose it. What nerve!

Why hasn’t Obama stepped forward? He had no problem denouncing his former friend and Pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The President said nothing when F.O.X. News’ Bill O’Reilly suggested getting a “lynchmob” out for his wife. He didn’t denounce the Clinton’s for their antics either. President Obama even gave Hillary a job!

By President Obama avoiding racism he’s subliminally denying its existence.
Word on the street is Obama didn’t speak out on racism during his campaign because he didn’t want to alienate white voters. But once he got in the White House he’ll say more.

He’s won the election. What’s the excuse now?

Perhaps he8 0s afraid to rock the racial boat. If that’s the case I’m sorry Mr. President, but boats need to be rocked!

Allow me to be clear. I don’t expect President Obama to confront every racist incident that occurs. His primary aim should be restoring the country former President Bush destroyed. But he’s the first African American President under the United States Constitution. That’s a big deal. He must understand the gravity of his achievement. Collectively we can’t think racism has ceased because Obama realized his dream. We know it hasn’t. Besides, there’s a reason why he’s had more secret service protection than any other President in history.

President Obama has the ability to move mountains. He got white America to vote him into the White House. If he got the white vote without question he can use his power educate those same people to battle racism.

What should he say?

He doesn’t have to raise a black gloved fist and profess “Black Power.” Regarding the cartoon he could say, “I’m saddened by the racist antics of the New York Post. I denounce the New York Post and so should you. I ask the American people to consistently denounce racism. Embrace one another like you’ve embraced me. America is moving in a different direction. Allow me to help show you the way towards racial understanding?”

How’s that?

Also, the few African Americans with platforms need to denounce any medium that disseminates racism. Nationally 92 percent of all disseminated information comes from a white male vantage point. Chances are there weren’t any African Americans on New York Posts staff that could’ve stopped the cartoon from running.

Locally the Journal Gazette or The News Sentinel can’t give racial situations like this justice either. When 97 percent of everything disseminated from both papers comes from white vantage points diversity can’t be achieved. Neither paper has any full-t ime African American’s on their staffs who write commentary. Locally you haven’t seen African Americans consistently writing commentary. But when you did it was me.

I had a freelance relationship with both papers. I kept it real there just like I do now. I’ll never compromise my passion or truth to appease the establishment because I know who I am.

Why am I saying this?

Bottom line: If I had a relationship at the New York Post the racist cartoon wouldn’t have run: if it did I’d tell them specifically what they could do with their paper. I’ve done it before.

If the paper thinks so little of the President Obama how do you think they would feel about me? That’s why it’s important to continue to fight racism and engage in constructive dialogue. There’s no better place to start this collective discussion than at the top.

Mr. President, please step forward.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The mythology of Abraham Lincoln lives on

President Obama appeared at the Ford Theatre on Feb. 11 where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth in 1865. Before a star-studded crowd Obama showed a great deal of respect for the man he views as the gold standard of Presidents. Obama stated, "For despite all that divided us — North and South, black and white — he had an unyielding belief that we were, at heart, are one nation, and one people,"

Obama continued. "And because of Abraham Lincoln, and all who've carried on his work in the generations since, that is what we remain today."

Surprisingly the Lincoln mythology continues.

I strive to look beyond the obvious. I've concluded Lincoln has been molded to fit his mythic image many have been conditioned to embrace. History has hailed Lincoln as the great emancipator and the sympathetic liberator of slaves. But history reveals otherwise.

I hate to let the facts get in the way of a good story, but white historians have consistently provided the masses with a pre-packed version of Lincoln. They largely omitted the fact he was a racist and forced African Americans and whites to believe the hype.

Despite President Obama’s respect for Lincoln and the others who’ve been hypnotized by American hype conveniently neglect to mention Lincoln was a racist.

Orally Lincoln criticized slavery yet his deeds reveal his true nature. Lincoln never had a genuine spite for slavery. His actions were predicated ou t of political necessity. In a letter to Horace Greeley which in appeared in the New York Herald Tribune on August 22, 1862 Lincoln stated: “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union.”

Lincoln felt those who sported those permanent tans were inferior to whites. Lincoln even wanted to ship slaves back to Africa. Lincoln stated: “I will say then that I am not, nor ever have ever been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races (applause)-that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people, and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the black and white races which I believe will for ever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”

Not until Lincoln met Frederick Douglass did entertain the notion of blacks having any level of intelligence worthy of respect. Douglass was a former slave who educated himself. He was an abolitionist and one of the best orators who ever lived.

Lincoln didn’t think slaves had the toughness to fight. He suggested if slaves were armed with guns they’d soon end up in the Confederates hands. Lincoln thought slaves were too stupid to use guns.

In sports the coach often replaces a player who is struggling to find a spark. Lincoln did the same thing in Civil War. When the Confederates were getting the best of the Union army Lincoln went to the bench. He called upon the slaves, who promptly turned the tide against the Confederates to bring about victory.

I thought slaves were too stupid to use guns?

Obama thinks Lincoln is gold standard? Obama praises a man who routinely cracked nigger jokes amongst his cabinet members in the same White house he now lives? Obama has a degree in constituti onal law yet he solely focuses on the myth of Lincoln while neglecting the entire truth about Lincoln?

I suggest Mr. President for you not only lead but educate the country. Stop continuing the on-going saga of disseminating fallacy in place of truth!

The biggest problem with education is the curriculums. They methodically seduce students to embrace falsehood. The only way to be properly educated is to access the right information then process it accordingly.

It's difficult to challenge history and have it readily embraced, especiall y when it’s HIS STORY that’s being questioned.
Sorry to say, but the aura of Lincoln is built upon legend not fact.

Lastly, keep this in mind. If the messenger is armed with the light of the truth there is no fear. What’s not understood today is often embraced to tomorrow.

I have no fear.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The time has come to revamp Black History Month

What is Black? It’s a description of what we (African Americans) look like but doesn’t tell us who we are as a people.

What’s history? History is a series of events that transpired in the past. But many of the events that have transpired in African American history have been distorted.

What’s a month? It’s a number of days that are distributed to a represent 1/12 of a calendar year with February being the shortest of them of all.

I think it’s time to rename Black History Month and revamp the way it’s celebrated. First of all, African Americans are not Black and we need to better understand History to know our total existence cannot be defined in a Month.

African American descendants didn’t come here on the Mayflower. They weren’t on vacation from Africa and decided to stay. Africans were tricked and then forced into bondage thus planting the seeds of American oppression.

To truly understand African American achievements we first must understand what Africans were before the rise of American slavery. First of all Europeans are not willing to acknowledge that the world did not wait in the darkness for them to bring the light. The history of Africa was already old when Europe was born.

For instance, when one thinks of the word genius we’ve been conditioned to embrace American Albert Einstein: but when I think of genius Imhotep now comes to my mind. Imhotep is known as the worlds’ first multi-genius. About 2980 B.C. in ancient Egypt Imhotep was called “The Wise” because of his reservoir of knowledge.

Imhotep was a personal physician to King Zoser. He ran the world’s first hospital called the Temple of Imhotep. People from all over the world came to there to pray and heal.

Imhotep was also an architect and the mastermind of The Great Pyramids in Africa. The colors used to paint many of those pyramids are still visible today. Americans had to invent aluminum and vinyl siding.

Whose paint was better?

It’s Imhotep who coined the famous saying that’s still used today, “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we shall die.”

Without question inhabitants of African culture built and sustained ancient civilizations that were outstanding.

We’ve head of Harvard, Yale, and M.I.T. What about the University Sankore? Ever heard of the University of Salamenca.?

They were two of the most world renowned institutions of higher learning. Both were institutions where people from all over the globe came to study. Both institutions were erected and maintained by Africans.

During the 14th century one of the premier institutions of learning known to man existed. Timbuktu is typically characterized a place of darkness and doom. Not so. It’s an ancient city known for its scholarship and spiritualism. It’s was located in Western Mali.

Knock me back to Timbuktu? Go ahead.

The University of Sankore is in Timbuktu. There you’ll find a collection of ancient manuscripts and artifacts that would reveal intimate details of its storied past.

African Americans mere presence is a result of the persistence of those who survived the heinous institution of American slavery. Those who live today have that power yet it’s often not recognized or poorly directed. But once we’re in our proper state of being we can become the President of the United States like Barack Obama if we so desire.

White America recognizing African Americans achievement is their way a taking credit for their accomplishments on American soil. They are suggesting all achievements garnered came under the tutelage of the American educational system. To me this month is a reminder, not of African American achievement-it represents the turmoil endured because of centuries of oppression. It also reflects the resilience of a people who’ve triumphed despite methodical opposition.

African leaders resided in palaces. It’s nothing new. When Obama first stepped foot in the White House it was never done in America but it was done by our forefathers many years ago in Africa.

Why is this important? If one believes African American history originated in America as slaves you’re mistaken. I think it’s vital for people to know where the real seeds of African American greatness spawned from. It puts the glorious achievements of African history in the oft missing pages of world history.

That’s why I suggest changing the name of the celebration and study history on an annual basis and not on the shortest month of the year. What do you think?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Mike Tomlin leads the Pittsburgh Steelers to Super Bowl title

On February 1stead coach Mike Tomlin led the Pittsburgh Steelers to its sixth Super Bowl title in franchise history. The Steelers defeated the resilient Arizona Cardinals 27-23 in one of the best games in Super Bowl history.

I picked the Cardinals to win. I felt the persistence they demonstrated in the playoffs would be enough to beat the Steelers. The Cardinals nearly pulled off the upset, but as fate would have it the Steelers were destined to hoist the trophy.

Tomlin was the youngest head coach to win a Super Bowl. He’s also the second African American to raise the Vince Lombardy trophy in victory. Tony Dungy was the first when he led the Indianapolis Colts over the Chicago Bears in 2006. Dungy played for the Steelers from 1977-78. His first NFL coaching job was with the Steelers in 1981. In 2001 Dungy, then head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, hired a 28 year old Mike Tomlin as his defensive backs coach. Now just eight years into his career and second year as head coach he’s a champion.

Two years ago Tomlin seemingly came out of know where and took over a team that’s had just two coaches in franchise history. Chuck Knoll coached the Steelers from 1969-1991 and Bill Cowher was the man from (1992-2006). Now he’s joined the small coaching fraternity in being a Super Bowl winner like his Steeler predecessors.

Tomlin’s victory along with Dungy’s triumph in 2006 is the culmination of the persistence African Americans have displayed in the NFL. You see, there’s a reason why African Americans have not been commonplace leading NFL franchises: much like the African American athlete coaches were denied entry because of systematic racism.

No matter what one achieves today someone from back in the day endured and sacrificed to make things easier for those who follow. It is important to chronicle those in history who set the table for those to dine today. This gives one the ultimate perspective of this country and the historical journey of the African American in mainstream America.

In 1921 NFL pioneer Fritz Pollard was the first African American head coach in the NFL. He was player/head coach for the Akron Pros. Pollard, who attended Brown University, was one of the greatest players of his day. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005.

Sadly the NFL wouldn’t see another African American head coach for nearly seven decades. Art Shell was hired by the Oakland Raider in 1989. Since the Shell’s hiring the NFL slowly began to hire African American head coaches. Fritz Pollard planted the seed in 1921 and Shell opened the modern-era door in the NFL for African Americans like Dungy and Tomlin to coach.

In 2003 the league was forced to institute the “Rooney Rule” because African American coaches were not given enough opportunities to coach. The rule states teams must interview at least one minority candidate for head coaching openings. It’s quite the ironic the rule is named after the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Dan Rooney) who is an advocate of diversity. He put his money where his mouth was. His hiring of Tomlin culminated in another Super Bowl victory. I guess if you do the right thing good things follow.

There’s been little mention of Tomlin being the second African American to coach a Super Bowl winner. Has America relaxed racial doctrines enough that race is no longer a big deal?

In the case of Mike Tomlin’s victory it’s wonderful and should be celebrated, but we can’t neglect the fact it took the NFL nearly 70 years to hire an Art Shell. You must also note even after Shells’ success teams were still reluctant to hire African American coaches and the “Rooney Rule” was needed. I think things are better, but much work still needs to be done.

Here’s something to ponder. In 2007 two men were lurking whom we knew little about. They went to use their intelligence to seemingly come out of know where to claim their glory at the highest level. Before we could figure out what happened the task was undertaken and their goals achieved. One became President of the United States and the other became a Super Bowl winning coach.

Don’t be surprised. There are others lurking in other domains of society who will one soon ascend as well.