Friday, November 30, 2007

America Has Lost a Generation of Black Boys

The following words from Phillip Jackson of The Black Star Project will make you weep (Thanks to The Field Negro for pointing this article out.) When I think about the current realities facing our young African American boys, I am even more convinced of the need for The Impact Movement. I love the solutions that are offered here and I think that God has raised up The Impact Movement for "such a time as this" to answer the cry and call of the African American community.

Here are Phillip's words...
"There is no longer a need for dire predictions, hand-wringing, or apprehension about losing a generation of Black boys. It is too late. In education, employment, economics, incarceration, health, housing, and parenting, we have lost a generation of young Black men. The question that remains is will we lose the next two or three generations, or possibly every generation of Black boys hereafter to the streets, negative media, gangs, drugs, poor education, unemployment, father absence, crime, violence and death.
Most young Black men in the United States don’t graduate from high school. Only 35% of Black male students graduated from high school in Chicago and only 26% in New York City, according to a 2006 report by The Schott Foundation for Public Education. Only a few black boys who finish high school actually attend college, and of those few Black boys who enter college, nationally, only 22% of them finish college. Young Black male students have the worst grades, the lowest test scores, and the highest dropout rates of all students in the country. When these young Black men don’t succeed in school, they are much more likely to succeed in the nation’s criminal justice and penitentiary system.
And it was discovered recently that even when a young Black man graduates from a U.S. college, there is a good chance that he is from Africa, the Caribbean or Europe, and not the United States. Black men in prison in America have become as American as apple pie. There are more Black men in prisons and jails in the United States (about 1.1 million) than there are Black men incarcerated in the rest of the world combined. This criminalization process now starts in elementary schools with Black male children as young as six and seven years old being arrested in staggering numbers according to a 2005 report, Education on Lockdown by the Advancement Project. The rest of the world is watching and following the lead of America. Other countries including England, Canada, Jamaica, Brazil and South Africa are adopting American social policies that encourage the incarceration and destruction of young Black men.
This is leading to a world-wide catastrophe. But still, there is no adequate response from the American or global Black community. Worst of all is the passivity, neglect and disengagement of the Black community concerning the future of our Black boys. We do little while the future lives of Black boys are being destroyed in record numbers. The schools that Black boys attend prepare them with skills that will make them obsolete before, and if, they graduate. In a strange and perverse way, the Black community, itself, has started to wage a kind of war against young Black men and has become part of this destructive process.
Who are young Black women going to marry? Who is going to build and maintain the economies of Black communities? Who is going to anchor strong families in the Black community? Who will young Black Boys emulate as they grow into men? Where is the outrage of the Black community at the destruction of its Black boys? Where are the plans and the supportive actions to change this? Is this the beginning of the end of the Black people in America?
The list of those who have failed young Black men includes our government, our foundations, our schools, our media, our Black churches, our Black leaders, and even our parents. Ironically, experts say that the solutions to the problems of young Black men are simple and relatively inexpensive, but they may not be easy, practical or popular. It is not that we lack solutions as much as it is that we lack the will to implement these solutions to save Black boys. It seems that government is willing to pay billions of dollars to lock up young Black men, rather than the millions it would take to prepare them to become viable contributors and valued members of our society.
Please consider these simple goals that can lead to solutions for fixing the problems of young Black men:
Short term1) Teach all Black boys to read at grade level by the third grade and to embrace education.
2) Provide positive role models for Black boys.
3) Create a stable home environment for Black boys that includes contact with their fathers.
4) Ensure that Black boys have a strong spiritual base.
5) Control the negative media influences on Black boys.
6) Teach Black boys to respect all girls and women.
Long term
1) Invest as much money in educating Black boys as in locking up Black men.
2) Help connect Black boys to a positive vision of themselves in the future.
3) Create high expectations and help Black boys live into those high expectations.
4) Build a positive peer culture for Black boys.
5) Teach Black boys self-discipline, culture and history.
6) Teach Black boys and the communities in which they live to embrace education and life-long learning."

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

African American Women & Where They Stand

NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams is running an interesting series this week called "African American Women: Where They Stand." The series covers areas like the role that black women will play in the upcoming presidential elections, the progress of African American women in education, the black family structure, health concerns and more.

Some alarming statistics that the report mentions are as follows:
  • Nearly two-thirds of African-American college undergraduates are women. At historically black colleges and universities, the ratio of women to men is 7 to 1.
  • In the past fifty years, the percentage of African-American women between 25-54 who have never been married has doubled from 20% to 40%. (Compared to just 16% of white women who have never been married today).
  • Black women with breast cancer are nearly 30% more likely to die from it than white women. Premenopausal black women are more than twice as likely to get a more aggressive form of the disease.
  • African-American women are 85% more likely to get diabetes, a major complication for heart disease.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Detroit Lions and Thanksgiving

First off, I have to say congratulations to the Ohio State Buckeyes and all their fans. They outplayed my beloved Wolverines in just about every aspect of the game on Saturday and pulled out an impressive 14-3 victory. Also, while part of me feels like it was time for Lloyd Carr to step down as Michigan's football coach, I'm sad to see him go. I feel like it is appropriate for Carr to retire because, though he's experienced a lot of success (including five Big Ten titles and a national championship), he's been on the "hot seat" for well over two years now and it was unfair for such a class act to continue to be subjected to the ridicule he's received. You're a true Michigan man and did a great job, Coach Carr.

Now...onto the Detroit Lions. I was just talking with my family about the origins of the Lions playing on Thanksgiving day and none of us knew the reasons why the Lions play, whereas other teams don't. I did some research on the 'net and found out the history behind the game. Read on from the Lions official website...
"Four generations of Detroiters have been a proud part of the American celebration of Thanksgiving. The relationship between Detroit and Thanksgiving dates back to 1934 when owner G.A. Richards scheduled a holiday contest between his first-year Lions and the Chicago Bears. Some 71 years later, fans throughout the State of Michigan have transformed an annual holiday event into the single greatest tradition in the history of American professional team sports. Indeed, if football is America’s Passion, Thanksgiving football is Detroit’s Passion.
No other team in professional sports can claim to be as much a part of an American holiday as can the Detroit Lions with Thanksgiving. When you think of Thanksgiving, you think of football and the Lions.
The Thanksgiving tradition is older than 24 current NFL franchises, and Detroit’s passionate affair with the annual Thanksgiving Day game is evidenced by its growing popularity. Year-after-year, Detroiters look forward to not only spending Thanksgiving with their families, but they also enjoy sharing that time with the Lions.
The most recent illustration of this love affair was introduced on September 9, 1998 when the Lions announced that all individual reserved tickets for the Lions-Steelers contest were sold out, assuring the earliest sellout in the 65-year history of the holiday series. The only remaining tickets were the 3,500 bleacher seats that went on sale 11 days before the game -- fans who had stood in line hours waiting for those seats gobbled up the remaining tickets in approximately eight minutes.
November 22, 2007 will mark the 67th addition of Detroit’s Thanksgiving Day tradition, and the passion continues to burn brighter than ever before.
The Origin of the Lions' Thanksgiving Day GameThe game was the brainchild of G.A. Richards, the first owner of the Detroit Lions. Richards had purchased the team in 1934 and moved the club from Portsmouth, Ohio to the Motor City. The Lions were the new kids in town and had taken a backseat to the baseball Tigers. Despite the fact the Lions had lost only one game prior to Thanksgiving in 1934, the season’s largest crowd had been just 15,000.
The opponent that day in 1934 was the undefeated, defending World Champion Chicago Bears of George Halas. The game would determine the champion of the Western Division. Richards had convinced the NBC Radio Network to carry the game coast-to-coast (94 stations) and, additionally, an estimated 26,000 fans jammed into the University of Detroit Stadium while thousands more disappointed fans were turned away.
Despite two Ace Gutowsky touchdowns, the Bears won the inaugural game, 19-16, but a classic was born. Since 1934, 67 games have been played with the Lions holding a series record of 33-32-2 (.507). And each game, in its own way, continues to bring back memories of Thanksgiving, not only to Lions' fans, but to football fans across the nation."
Here's to hoping that now that the Lions are respectable again, Jon Kitna can lead them to a victory over the formidable Packers in front of a national television audience.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Michigan/Ohio State Humor - The Game

A guy named Bob received a free ticket to the Ohio State vs. Michigan game from his company. Unfortunately, when he arrived at the stadium, he discovered the seat was in the last row in the corner of the stadium way back in the south stands.

About halfway through the first quarter, he noticed an empty seat 10 rows off the field at the 50-yard line. He decided to take a chance and made his way down to the empty seat. As he sat down, he asked the gentleman sitting next to him, “Excuse me, is anyone sitting here?” The man said, “No.”

Very excited to have such a great seat for the game, Bob said, “That's incredible! Who in their right mind would have a seat like this at the Ohio State-Michigan game and not use it?”

The man replied, “Actually, that seat belongs to me. I was supposed to come with my wife, but she passed away. This is the first Ohio State-Michigan game we haven't been to together since we got married in 1967.”

Bob said, “Well, that's really sad. Couldn't you find a friend or a relative to come with you?”

“No,” the man replied. “They're all at the funeral.”

Michigan/Ohio State Humor - The Joke

A University of Michigan grad is driving through Columbus and decides to visit a local bar. He orders a drink and leans over to the guy next to him and says, “Wanna hear a good Ohio State joke?”

The guy replies, “Well, before you tell that joke, you should know something. I am 6′ 3’’, 240 pounds. The guy sitting next to me is 6′4″, 250 pounds. And the guy right next to him is 6′2″, 225 pounds. In addition to that, we all went to Ohio State and we all played football for the Buckeyes. So, tell me, do you still wanna tell me that joke?”

The Michigan guy replies, “Well, no, not if I’m going to have to explain it three different times.”

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Michigan/Ohio State Humor - The Road

One foggy night, a Wolverine fan was heading south from Michigan and a Buckeye fan was driving north from Ohio. While crossing a narrow bridge, they hit each other head-on, mangling both cars.

The Ohio State fan manages to climb out of his car and survey the damage. He looks at his twisted car and says, "Man, I'm lucky to be alive!"

Likewise, the Wolverine fan gets out of his car uninjured, he too feeling fortunate to have survived. The Buckeye fan walks over to the Wolverine fan and says, "Hey, man, I think this is a sign that we should put away our petty differences and live as friends instead of being rivals."

The Wolverine fan thinks for a moment and says, "You know, you're absolutely right! We should be friends. In fact, I'm going to see if something else survived the wreck."

The Michigan fan then pops open his trunk and removes a full, undamaged bottle of Jack Daniel's. He says to the Buckeye, "I think this is another sign- we should toast to our newfound friendship." The OSU fan agrees and grabs the bottle. After sucking down half of the bottle, the Buckeye fan hands it back to the U of M fan and says, "Your turn!"

The Wolverine fan calmly twists the cap back on the bottle, throws the rest of the bottle over the bridge into the river and says, "Nah, I think I'll just wait for the cops to show up."

Michigan/Ohio State Humor - Heaven

Shortly after former Michigan coach Bo Schembechler passes away and enters through the Pearly Gates, former Ohio State coach Woody Hayes happens to get released from football coach purgatory. Upon his entrance to heaven, God takes Woody on a tour of the place. He shows Woody a little two bedroom house with a faded Ohio State banner hanging from the front porch.

"This is your home now, Coach Hayes. You know, you should be grateful. Most people don't get their own house up here," God exclaims.

Woody looks at the house, then turns around and looks at the one sitting on top of the hill. It's a huge two-story mansion with white marble columns and little patios under all the windows. University of Michigan flags line both sides of the sidewalk with a huge maize and blue banner with the distinctive block "M" hanging between the marble columns.

Woody says to God, "Thanks for the home God, but let me ask you a question."

"I get this little two bedroom house with a faded OSU banner, and Bo Schembechler gets a huge mansion with new Michigan banners and flags flying all over the place. Why is that God?"

God looks at him seriously for a moment then replies, "Woody, my child. You've got it all wrong. For you see...that's not Bo's house. That's mine!"

Michigan/Ohio State Humor - The Phone

A highly recruited high school football player was visiting schools to try and find the best college for him. His first stop was at Notre Dame. When he got there, Brian Kelly immediately picked up a golden telephone.

After talking several minutes, he said, "Thank you, God," and hung up. This shocked the young man. He asked the coach what was so special about the golden phone."Well, this phone is a direct line to God. And God tells us whether or not new recruits would be stars at our university. The athlete asked if he could use the phone to ask God what college he should pick. "Sure, you can! But it's going to cost you $1,000. Calling Heaven ain't cheap."

The fellow didn't have that kind of money, so he moved along. His next stop was Ohio State. Upon entering Urban Meyer's office, Coach Meyer immediately picked up a golden telephone. After talking several minutes, he said, "Thank you, God" and hung up. The boy said, "Hey, I've seen those phones before. Can I use yours to call God and ask what college I should pick?" Urban said, "Sure, but it's going to cost you $750. Calling Heaven isn't cheap."

Again, not having that kind of money, the young man left. His last stop was in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Upon arrival at the office, Brady Hoke picked up a golden telephone, talked to God, and said, "Thanks," and hung up. The boy just had to use that phone, so he said, "Coach, I really need to use that golden telephone so I can call God and ask him which college I should choose. From South Bend it was going to cost me $1000. From Ohio they wanted $750. So how much will it cost me to call heaven from here in Michigan?"

Coach Hoke smiled and said, "Nothing, Son. It's a local call."

Michigan/Ohio State Humor - The Mountain

Four college alumni were climbing a mountain one day: an Ohio State grad, a Michigan grad, a Michigan State grad, and a Notre Dame grad. Each proclaimed to be the most loyal of all fans at their alma mater.

As they climbed higher, they argued as to which one of them was the most loyal of all. They continued to argue all the way up the mountain, and finally as they reached the top, the Notre Dame grad hurled himself off the mountain, shouting "This is for the Fighting Irish!" as he fell to his doom.

Not wanting to be outdone, the MSU grad threw himself off the mountain proclaiming, "This is for the Spartans!" and plummeted to his death.

Seeing this, the U of M grad walked over and shouted "This is for Everybody!" and shoved the Buckeye off the side of the mountain.

Michigan/Ohio State Humor - The Prayer

Ohio State is threatening to score the winning touchdown with four seconds to go on the Michigan two-yard line. Urban Meyer looks to the sky and says, “Oh Lord, I've been a good person. I've tried to live a good life. Please, give me your guidance. What play should we run?”

Suddenly, the clouds part and a booming voice says, “RUN 34 POWER TRAP RIGHT.” Urban stands in stunned disbelief. His prayer has been answered! Quickly, Coach Meyer tells Braxton Miller to run 34 power trap right. The quarterback calls the play and hands off to the running back, who is immediately swarmed by Wolverine linebackers in the backfield.

The game ends and Michigan fans storm the field to celebrate. From the sideline, Urban looks toward heaven and says, “Why Lord? Why did you tell me to run 34 power trap right?”

The same booming voice answers, “I DON'T KNOW. WHY DID WE RUN 34 POWER TRAP, BO?”

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Michigan/Ohio State Humor - The Shark

On a tour of Florida, the Pope took a couple of days off to visit the coast for some sightseeing. He was cruising along the beach in the Popemobile when there was a frantic commotion just off shore. A helpless man, wearing an Ohio State jersey, was struggling frantically to free himself from the jaws of a 25-foot shark.

As the Pope looked on in horror, a speedboat came racing up with three men aboard who were wearing Michigan jerseys. One quickly fired a harpoon into the shark's side. The other two reached out and pulled the bleeding, semi-conscious Buckeye fan from the water. Then using an Bo Schembechler autographed baseball bats, the three heroes in Maize and Blue beat the shark to death and hauled it into the boat.

Immediately the Pope shouted and summoned them to the beach. "I give you my blessing for your brave actions," he told them. "I heard that there was some bitter hatred between Buckeye and Michigan fans, but now I have seen with my own eyes that this is not the truth."

As the Pope drove off, the harpooner asked his buddies, "Who was that?"

"It was the Pope," one replied. "He is in direct contact with God and has access to all of God's wisdom." 

"Well," the harpooner said, "He may have access to God's wisdom, but he doesn't know jack squat about shark fishing.... how's the bait holding up?"

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Michigan/Ohio State Humor - The Puzzle

There was a bartender at an off-campus Columbus bar who was busy serving drinks one afternoon when he heard some loud shouting and laughter from the corner of the bar. He walked over and found two guys who he recognized as Ohio State football players high-fiving each other and celebrating like they had just won a BCS championship over Florida.

The bartender proceeded to ask them why they were so excited. The smarter of the two Buckeyes said proudly that they had just finished a jigsaw puzzle and it only took them two months.

“Two months?!” exclaimed the bartender.

The Buckeye proudly replied, “Yeah, the box said 4 - 6 years!”

Monday, November 12, 2007

Michigan/Ohio State Humor - The Priest

There was once a Michigan fan that liked to amuse himself by scaring every Ohio State fan he saw walking down the street. He would serve his car as if to hit them and then swerve back just missing them.
One day, while driving along, he saw a priest walking alongside of the road. He thought he would do a good deed so he pulled over and asked the clergyman, "Where are you going, Father?"

"I'm going to give mass at St. Francis Church, about 2 miles down the road," replied the priest.

"Climb in, Father! I'll give you a lift!"

The priest climbed into the rear passenger seat, and they continued down the road. Suddenly, the man saw a Buckeye fan walking down the road wearing one of those atrocious scarlet and gray sweatshirts with the big “O” on them. Instinctively, the Michigan man swerved as if to hit him. But, as usual, he swerved back into the road just in time.

Even though he was certain that he had missed the guy, he still heard a loud "THUD." Not understanding where the noise came from, he glanced in his mirrors, but still didn't see anything. He then remembered the priest and sheepishly turned to him and said, "Sorry, Father, I almost hit that Buckeye fan."

"That's OK," replied the priest, "I got him with the door."

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween Photos

The kids and their old man

Darth Vader, Obi-Wan Kenobi and an East High School Cheerleader (from High School Musical)