Saturday, December 24, 2011

She Could Have Said "Kiss My Big Posterior." But She Didn't; And That's The Difference.

For those of you who have been reading The Critical Thinker for any length of time you just had to know that I was not going to let this opportunity pass to write about the comments made about our first lady Michelle Obama by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner. Once again Abraham Lincoln’s Quote of “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt” comes into play. Representative Sensenbrenner is lucky Mrs. Obama did not speak what was probably on her mind (and justifiably so) when she heard about the comments which was probably to kiss her big behind; but unlike him, she had more class than that or at least sense enough to keep her thoughts to herself.

I don't know what it is about these folks who truly think they can say anything and it not go unaddressed. A little over two years ago in 2009 South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson (R) yelled out "You lie!" during President Obama's major health care speech when he said the legislation would not mandate coverage for undocumented immigrants. Even the Associated Press picked up on the fact that it wasn't the only interruption during President Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress in the House of Representatives. Earlier, Republicans laughed when Obama acknowledged that there were still significant details to be worked out before a health overhaul could be passed. Wilson's outburst caused the president to pause briefly before he went on with his speech. In attendance at the speech, First Lady Michelle Obama shook her head from side to side. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner's latest remarks caused me to shake my head as well; as the kids can text and tweet “SMH.” In both instances representatives Wilson and Sensenbrenner sent letters and words of apology, but similar to a judge asking a jury to strike the last comment in a court room, the damage was done as it had been heard. Try as we might to forget what we’ve heard, the bottom line is we don't. While both Representatives Wilson and Sensenbrenner feign that their commentary was a mistake or an emotional outburst, the truth of the matter is their subconscious or their inner thoughts were just making their way outward. Their brains for some reason stop suppressing what they were thinking. You cannot make this critical thinker believe that what was said was not already deep within. Interestingly enough, when these types of comments are made either alcohol or an open microphone is involved, however, in these two instances both men were fully sober and aware of what they were saying.
One could argue that derogatory things are said about every president and first lady and that may be the case, however, it still does not excuse the behavior. When you think about it, it really is a matter of respect or lack thereof. Even if Rep. Wilson thought President Obama was a liar it would have behooved him to keep his thoughts to himself and the same holds true for Rep. Sensenbrenner concerning the size of Mrs. Obama’s posterior. In both of these cases it would have been better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to have opened their mouths and removed all doubt. In this critical thinker’s eyes both Representatives Wilson and Rep. Sensenbrenner have removed ALL doubt and are thought by me to be FOOLS. As the old adage goes, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. I welcome your commentary in the comment section of the blog.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

This May Be The Last Time

As we come to the close of 2011 is a great time to reflect, particularly about those who were with us and have passed away during the year. Upon this reflection I think back to the beginning of 2011 of the family and friends who were here and are now gone. I can do the roll call. I can remember the faces I saw last Christmas and last New Year's who somewhere along the way in 2011 passed away. I can see them in my mind as clearly as if they were sitting here in front of me right now. Some would say why address such a sad topic during the holiday season and as we are approaching a new year?  To them I say it is a perfect time to address this topic because the truth of the matter is none of us know when it will be our last time. The traditional song of This May Be The Last Time (one of my favorites) was performed by The Staple Singers and it simply says this may be the last time I don't know. The great Pops Staples sings it best on his album Peace To The Neighborhood.

Time is out for family members and friends to be treating each other with hatred and strife. Time is out for family members and friends not to be talking to and with each other. Time is out for being spiteful. Time is out for being bitter rather than becoming better in terms of family and friend relationships. Because as Pops Staples says this may be the last time. Folks who are with you this Christmas may not be with you next Christmas. Folks who sit with you and bring in the New Year with you in 2012 may not be here next year this time. So truly while you still have time, while you are still here, take every opportunity you have to make amends with family and friends. It does not make sense to live less than a mile away from each other and not speak. It does not matter what the situation may have been that caused the rift. Whether it is some silly argument, a divorce or other broken relationship, an addiction, a loan gone bad, a disagreement or whatever it may have been, the time is out for holding grudges. As we go into 2012 seek to mend as many torn relationships as possible. Parents speak to your children. Children speak to your parents. Brothers and sisters talk to your brothers and sisters. Uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents, in-laws, etc. etc.; speak to one another.

Once a person is laid out in the coffin it is too late. All of the crying and wishing what could have been said or could have been done will not matter. I don't know about you but I'm learning of more and more people that I know who have died every day. It does not matter the age group, young people are dying just as much as the older people. It would behoove us to show as much love and kindness to everyone as humanly possible, because as Pops Staples says in his song this may be the last time I don't know or this may be the last time we don't know. Have a blessed Christmas and a prosperous new year. Show some love because this may indeed be the last time.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dear Daddy Please Stop Being A Crappy Dad; You Are Hindering Me

This is doggoned shame that an entire website has been created called Crappy Dads   In this particular video The Lee County (Ala.) Sheriff’s Department came up with an elaborate way to catch more than a dozen deadbeat parents: tell them to show up at a location in Opelika and claim tickets to this year’s Auburn-Alabama game. Operation “Iron Snare” didn’t round up all the suspects deputies were looking for, but it got quite a few. They mailed out over 140 letters for people with at least $10,000 of unpaid child support. All of this to get parents to do what they ought to be doing for children they created. Absolutely ridiculous.

The shame of it is that this problem of deadbeat parents is so prevalent that someone felt the need to dedicate a website or blog page to it.  Biblically, in Mark 10:13-15  we had this scenario "But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God." I am sure that God MUST be displeased with parents who will not support their children emotionally or financially. In other words, Jesus was saying do not hinder the children. When emotional and financial support are not given, the children are hindered. I will say that again, the children are hindered. A child with no money is hindered. A child with no love is hindered. For all of the deadbeat dads (and moms for that matter) it's about the children stupid; the children. I have no respect for any man (or woman for that matter) who will not emotionally or financially support their children.

This Saturday morning at 6:00 a.m., my guest on The Reading Circle with Marc Medley will be Janks Morton, a groundbreaking international and award winning Documentarian. As founder of iYAGO ENTERTAINMENT GROUP, LLC, he states the company came into existence to reflect both the conscious and unconscious soul of Black America. JANKS MORTON has been in the entertainment industry for more than 20 years and is a much sought-after teacher, lecturer, commentator and motivational speaker. He has convened workshops, seminars and served as panelist and keynote speaker at colleges, universities, prisons, conferences, churches and community centers around the world.

His latest project highlighted in INDIEGOGO is DEAR DADDY, a feature length documentary about the life long effects of fatherlessness on women. The film follows the dramatic journeys of eight young women from the tough city streets of Washington,DC as they struggle to overcome poverty, poor educational systems, no healthcare, and the most difficult life circumstance they have been dealt... the absence of their fathers.Dear Daddy is not only about the struggles to survive and navigate as a young woman of color, but at its core, its about the importance of a father's role in the lives of their daughters.

Janks and I will certainly be talking about this issue of deadbeat parents, particularly deadbeat dads as Janks focuses heavily on African American men. I encourage you tune in this Saturday morning December 17, 2011 and hear Mr. Morten address these issues. The show begins at 6:00 a.m eastern time on children must stop being hindered!!!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Brilliance of TV Sitcom "All in the Family"

I am probably one of the few people in America who do not have cable television by choice. With that being said every now and again I tune into old television shows online. Lately I have been tuning into episodes of the show All in the Family and I've recognized as an adult how brilliant that show really was and is. I watched it as a child with my family when it came onto the scene in 1971 and being only a nine year old child did not realize the brilliance of the show at that time. Since I have begun watching the episodes online it occurred to me just how cutting edge the show was and still is having been introduced in 1971. So I started doing a little research. I went to Google and typed in “All in the Family” and began to learn more about the genius of All in the Family and of its producer Norman Lear.

According to Wikipedia the free encyclopedia, the show broke ground in its depiction of issues previously considered unsuitable for U.S. network television comedy, such as racism, homosexuality, women's liberation, rape, miscarriage, abortion, breast cancer, the Vietnam War, menopause, and impotence. The show ranked #1 in the yearly Nielsen ratings from 1971 to 1976. It became the first television series to reach the milestone of having topped the Nielsen ratings for five consecutive years, a mark later matched by The Cosby Show and surpassed by American Idol. The episode "Sammy's Visit" was ranked #13 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time ranked All in the Family as #4. Bravo also named the show's protagonist, Archie Bunker, TV's greatest character of all time, said, “There are classic shows, and there are groundbreaking shows. All in the Family enjoys the distinction of being both. Debuting as a mid-season replacement on Jan. 12, 1971, it became one of the most influential comedies in TV history and made an immediate impact on the entire television industry. All in the Family pioneered a whole new brand of realistic and hard-hitting satire based on the real world, rather than the naive escapism of most entertainment programs. The sitcom revolves around blue-collar worker Archie Bunker and his family. Opinionated and uneducated, Archie makes no bones about his racial and political views, which are borne out of every negative stereotype imaginable.”

Lastly, says All in the Family was first seen in January of 1971 and immediately changed the face of television. Not only was this the number one television series from 1971 through 1976, but it also signified an avalanche of other situation comedies that dealt with controversial subjects in realistic ways. Including, Chico & the Man, The Jeffersons, Maude, Good Times and Sanford & Son. The stories revolved around many controversial topics including, rape, sex, homosexuality, death, and other topics that were relevant to the 1970's, especially political strife and inflation. Archie Bunker was probably the first character in a situation comedy to use racist remarks referring to blacks and other minorities, yet another first for television.

Interestingly enough the same issues that existed then at the creation of All in the Family still exist now and is why I am writing this blog post. Archie Bunker represented all of the “isms” that existed then and still exist today. Producer Norman Lear was courageous enough to bring these issues to the forefront and did it in such a way that allowed us to see just how silly the perspective of many were then and sadly still are now. For if you truly analyze the behavior and thought process of Archie Bunker you cannot help but see that Archie's views were nothing short of ridiculous and yet these views still exist as we come to the close of 2011.

I watch All in the Family online (because I don’t have cable by choice and that’s another blog post) and I laugh until tears come into my eyes at how stupid Archie Bunker truly is. He really has no idea of how stupid he really is and truly believes that he is not only smart but superior. The sad reality is he is representative of far too many people even in 2011 that hold those same types of views who really believe that they are smart and superior when indeed they are really dumb. Now that I am older and can really see the beauty in a show such as All in the Family, I take my hat off to Norman Lear. Something to critically think about, particularly in this political season of debates and the upcoming 2012 presidential election. I welcome your thoughts in the comment section of the blog.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Can We Take Hell For Granted?

Last night I attended movie night at my wife's church and the feature movie of the evening was Escape From Hell. describes the film as follows:

Do you believe in life after death? Dr. Eric Robinson wants to believe and experience that infinite love and warmth that near death testimonies claim is on the other side of life. His colleague, Dr. Marissa Holloway, is on a crusade to alleviate the fear of death and suffering by proving to the world that heaven awaits everyone. In a moment of desperation, Dr. Robinson faces death and discovers the reality of hell – a place the Bible portrays – a hell from which we must all escape.This new evangelistic movie challenges viewers to confront the inevitable…death and judgment. In action-packed drama we get a glimpse of what heaven and hell may be like. It is a wonderful tool to share Christ with unsaved family and friends.
This movie ought to cause all of us to critically think. Can we take Hell for granted?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I Will Miss Andy Rooney Talking Wryly About The Oddities Of Life

I will miss Andy Rooney.  The Critical Thinker was inspired and patterned after his commentary at the end of each 60 Minutes broadcast. As it was written, Mr. Rooney spent more than 30 years wryly talking about the oddities of life. It is the oddities of life that inspire each new Critical Thinker blog post. Rest in peace Mr. Rooney.

The Same Old Play

Where do these people keep coming from? I don't know about you, but I am tired of this same old play. It seems that every time someone begins to ascend, here comes the women (or men) claiming sexual harassment. It's the same old play. My question is why weren't the allegations made at the time they allegedly occurred? This is not an attempt to defend any of these men or women for that matter because if they did indeed sexually harass someone than they need to suffer the consequences that go along with it, however, it just seems strange that the stories don't surface until the person is running for office or being nominated for a position. Clarence Thomas and Bill Clinton immediately come to mind. Regardless of if the allegations are true or not, it is not the point of this post. The question is why isn't the issue (sexual harassment) dealt with prior to the person running for office? Why does it always only become an issue when the person is now in the spot light?  Where do these people come from? 

My guess is, when all of the commentary, flirting and bantering is going on, it is a two way street between the parties and then when one of the parties now becomes famous or is seeking political office the conversations and fun now becomes sexual harassment. My thesis for my Master's Degree in Corporate and Organizational Communications dealt with sexual harassment. I was completing my degree about the time of the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas case and I learned a lot about sexual harassment during my research. Sexual harassment occurs when one party has clearly said "stop" or makes it very clear that actions or words are indeed making him/her uncomfortable. If one of the parties is in a position of authority over the other party, it takes on an even different meaning. If neither of the parties have expressly asked the other to stop, sexual harassment has not occurred. Calling someone attractive or positively commenting on someones attire does not constitute sexual harassment. If either party continues after it has been made known that he/she is to stop and he/she continues, then a case can be made for sexual harassment.

I am always just a little skeptical of these claims only because of when they are made. I always wonder did someone put the person up to making the claim at that particular time. I sometimes think that Anita Hill was threatened in some way causing her to make her accusations of Clarence Thomas. I am hardly a Clarence Thomas fan, but I do always wonder why did Ms. Hill make the claims at the point of his nomination to the Supreme Court and not earlier when he was virtually unknown. I am wondering the same about these women who are making the claims public about Herman Cain, now that he is running for president. I am not saying their claims are not valid; I just question the motive behind their timing. It would seem to me if it were really that much of an issue, it would have been dealt with at the time that the harassment occurred and not wait years later before speaking out. Had the person not been nominated or decided to run for president would the information have remained dormant? Would the issue never have been resolved? Something to think about.

He That Spareth The Rod Hateth His Son/Daughter

My July 19th blog post was titled "I Am Not Going To Do To My Children What My Parents Did To Me dealing with the notion of there being a difference between discipline and abuse. There is no doubt in my mind that we as parents must be able to discipline our children when we can see that they are going astray and shame on us if we do not. This issue has surfaced again over the last few days with a video shared by a now twenty three year old young lady of her father who is a judge using a belt to discipline her seven years ago when she was sixteen. The first problem I have with this is why was it video taped and who was doing the recording? In the video both the mother and the father appear. The second problem I have with this is the fact that it is just being released seven years later and third problem I have with this is in the video the father is constantly directing his daughter to bend over the bed and she absolutely refuses to do it. It is clearly seen that she would rather take the licks than follow instructions. In my mind it is probably this type of resistance that is causing her to be punished/disciplined to begin with. I don't know this young lady from a can of paint, but I would be willing to bet that she was a very resistant teenager who probably broke the rules set by her parents quite frequently. I could be wrong, but the very strong resistence seen in the video of her not bending over yet at the same time taking the belt links on the legs and arms, etc. tells me that this young lady was probably very stubborn and was trying to show her father that she was not going to listen to him no matter what he said or did. I say again, I bet she was like that in more than just the incident with the belt. If you look at the video, the mother comes in and now tells her to bend over as well and she finally does it and the mother gives her one lick with the belt.

Watching this video brought back memories of my own childhood where every now and again I got "The Belt."  Yes, my parents used the belt and I did not die from it. They did not kill me and I did not have to receive it often because I learned that whatever I was receiving "The Belt" for I was not going to do again because I did not want to receive the belt again. Interestingly enough, I received very few beatings because my parents did not have much trouble out of me. In my home as a child, my sister and I both knew who the children were and who the adults were and we rarely crossed that line. Funny enough when my mother tried to beat us with the belt she would wind up actually hitting herself more than us as we ran and squirmed trying to get away; my father on the other hand was left handed and did not miss. In the end it was clear that we were being disciplined out of love and to keep us from behaviors or doing something that could ruin our future. My parents kept us in line and both me and my sister were and are the better for it. One of my worst beatings was one I never got. I was about four or five and my family was about to go to a department store called Grand Way. Right before our leaving I was caught trying to insert something into an electric socket. My father grabbed me and said you are going to "get it" when we come back home. My entire time at Grand Way was miserable. I became sick and began vomiting the popcorn that was purchased for us at the store. When my father saw all of that, he said that I had suffered enough and that he was not going to use the belt on me. I tell you what, I have never stuck anything other than an electric plug in an electric socket and it has been over forty five years ago since that happened. I can remember it like it was yesterday. My point is, my parents were disciplining me to keep me from doing something that could have gotten me killed.

The lashing that I saw the judge giving his daughter in the video was nothing less than what me and my sister received every now and again as kids. I can remember yelling and screaming just like that girl, but guess what, the sting lasted for a few hours and I was on my way again. I don't believe I was a repeat offender for anything I received "The Belt" for.

Please let me be clear because I know someone out there reading this will take what I am saying as me advocating for abuse and violence. I am not. I do believe however, that we have gotten so far off of the mark in our ability to help our children understand what is acceptable behavior and what is not acceptable behavior with all of these soft tactics such as "Time out" and all of this soft soaping and sugar coating children's and teen's wrong behavior. Too many teenagers and children truly feel that they have a right to do what they want to do and disrespect their parents and any other adults. I know of what I write about because I work with children every day and I know of what I see and hear. I also know of the parents who have come into my office talking about they don't know what to do with their own children that they gave birth to or in fear that their children will call the police or local Division of Youth and Family Services on them if they make an effort to discipline them.

The judge's daughter has no idea how blessed she was/is to have parents who loved her enough to discipline her in her youth to keep her from ruining her life. While I don't know the dynamics of this family, I am sure with this man being a judge, that he would not be stupid enough to do anything illegal that would cause him to be disbarred or locked up himself. He knew and knows the law. Just as the video was shown seven years later, it could have been shown then. He was not hitting her with the belt buckle and to be honest it did not appear that he was not hitting her that hard. Whatever she had done, he was trying to send her a message, not to do it again and even during the disciplining she was resisting.

Proverbs 13:24 makes it very clear that "He that spareth the rod hateth his son; but he that loveth him chasteneth him."  This is not saying to abuse. Let me be clear again, there is a difference between discipline and abuse and I am not advocating abuse of any kind. I am with the judge on this one. I don't know him from Adam's house cat but I am with him on this one. It was this same issue that I was addressing in my July 19th post and my position has not changed. I can count the amount of times on one hand that I had to actually discipline any of my children with a belt and it was because they understood that if that was the discipline method required, that would be the discipline method used. I rarely had to use it and when I did, my kids understood the old cliche that it was actually hurting me more than it was hurting them. As parents it is our charge to set our children up for success. When we spoil them and allow them to think that they are always going to get what they want, we are setting them up for failure. Society does not work that way and they are in for a serious let down and disappointment if we mislead them into thinking that things will always go their way. That is what happens when we give them everything they want and allow them to do anything they want to do whether it be right or wrong. Every now and again "The Belt" speaks louder than any words.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Don't Make Me Laugh









Monday, October 17, 2011

Never Argue With A Fool, Onlookers May Not Be Able To Tell The Difference.

"Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference." ~Author unknown, attributed to Mark Twain

Jim Schwartz certainly in my view acted like a fool this past Sunday at the end of the San Francisco 49er - Detroit Lion football game.  In my heart of hearts I do not believe Jim Harbaugh, coach of the San Francisco 49ers was intentionally trying to be mean spirited when he shook Jim Schwartz's hand and tapped him on the back. I believe he was excited by his team's victory and was caught up in the momentum built by his running excitedly across the field. 

I keep hearing this notion of how coaches have this code of respect when shaking hands at the end of the game and I think that is a bunch of crap and a sorry attempt to excuse Jim Shwartz's behavior. After looking at the clip numerous times, I do not believe Coach Harbaugh was  trying to be disrespectful. He really was no different than a player in the end zone after a touch down or the quarterback pumping his fist when he has thrown a touchdown pass.  Coach Harbaugh was ecstatic over winning a  hard fought battle.  Take a look at Harbaugh's face when he realizes that Schwartz is chasing him.  He didn't even realize Schwartz was behind him, letting you know that he was not thinking about Schwartz. He ran past him, shook his hand, slapped him on the back and kept going not giving it another thought until..................  You could see by Harbaugh's reaction and body language that he was pretty much saying "What are you talking about?"  What's the big deal?"  It is at this point where the above quote attributed to Mark Twain comes into play.  "Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference."  Had I been Jim Harbaugh, I would not have argued with Jim Schwartz. I would not have given onlookers the opportunity to wonder who the fool was; they would have clearly known that it was Jim Schwartz. If you look at the replay, you will see how Jim Schwartz looked like a fool running down that field after Jim Harbaugh.  He really needed to take Miller Lite Beer's tag line of "Man Up" and let it go.  His response was truly uncalled for. Even if Schwartz thought Harbaugh's response was inappropriate, he should have been the bigger man. Jim Schwartz was the only person in that stadium that noticed the gesture until he brought the attention of the world to it.

A few weeks ago St. Louis Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo was so upset with the 37-7 beating his team received from the Baltimore Ravens, that he told his wife they are never again speaking to Baltimore coach John Harbaugh (Something about those Harbaughs).  What is going on?  Coaches gone wild? Guys, it's just a game. You'll live (hopefully). There are so many more serious issues going on in the world beyond the win or loss of a football game. You are on display for all to see at the professional level.. What kind of example are you setting for the players and coaches in the various levels below you beginning with the Pee-Wee leagues?  According to Webster's Dictionary a "coach" is one who instructs or trains. The question this critical thinker has is what are you instructing or training? (and I am not talking about the fundamentals or strategies of a football game.) Something to critically think about. As always, I welcome your commentary.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

It's MY Money

This summer while traveling on vacation I discovered this practice of financial institutions placing a hold on accounts when making purchases with a DEBIT card.  I did say DEBIT card which means it's my money and not money that is being acquired by a loan such as with the use of a credit card.

Prior to seeing the sign in the picture at this Raceway Gas station, I had called into my bank to check on my checking account and heard this strange amount that I know I had not authorized. When I asked about it, I was told it was the gas station (a different oil company, Chevron if my memory serves correctly) placing a hold on my account when I had purchased $20 worth of gas. A hold of $125 was placed on my checking account for a $20 purchase of gas.  I guess this particular Raceway Gas station was receiving so many questions and complaints that the management just decided to place the sign in the picture on the gas pump explaining the practice.  I have also just recently experienced having to give my zip code to the attendant when purchasing gasoline with a debit card.  I don't know about you, but this seems like a whole lot of hassle in order for me to be able to use my money. I did say "My Money?" I don't think I can emphasize that enough, that it is my money in the account and not a loan or a credit. (I use "My" and "Your" interchangeably).

According to the Los Angeles Times, "Most Bank of America (BofA) customers will soon see a new charge on their statements -- $5 for any month in which they use a BofA debit card to make a purchase. Consumers should prepare for more such charges, analysts say, as big banks strive to recover revenue they have lost to financial reforms adopted in the aftermath of the economic meltdown.The new Bank of America fee will be phased in early next year, said Anne Pace, a spokeswoman for BofA, the nation's largest retail bank."

So now, let me get this straight.......... if I am not using my bank (the bank which issued the debit card) to withdraw money with my debit card, I am hit with a fee of anywhere from $1.00 - $5.00 as it is, and now Bank of America is talking about adding yet another fee to use your own money. Keep in mind, this is money in YOUR checking or savings account and not money that is being loaned to you. Money that you have earned and deposited in the account. Money that has already been taxed and will probably be taxed again somewhere along the line, that you are paying multiple fees and having your account held to access. Did I say it was YOUR money??? MY money?? In many Critical Thinker posts, I ask the question, "Does that make sense to you?" and this is another one of those occasions. Does this make sense to you?  Now if it does, I need you to respond in the comment section of this blog because it makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever other than the fact that I am being ripped off. This sounds like the airlines charging for luggage. We are being nickled and dimed not only into the poor house but through it and out of the back door.  We are heading into the outhouse of the poor house.

Keep in mind that the ATM and debit system was created to help banks be able to reduce personnel (tellers) and reduce face to face transactions at the bank (which was supposed to save them - the bank- money).  How many ways can we pay for the convenience of being able to access OUR money 24/7?  So the way I see it is, it will cost you almost 50% of your money to withdraw your money and when it is not costing you to withdraw it, it is being held so that you can't withdraw it. The more I write in this post, the more frustrating this is getting and I hope that the more you are reading in this post, the more frustrated you are getting. This is ridiculous. Fees on top of fees on top of fees to withdraw your own money..........

It is getting closer and closer to the time of placing your money in your mattress or pillowcase in order for you to be able to withdraw it when you want and how you want free of charge. Right now the mattress is not looking too bad considering that if BOA is going to roll out this monthly fee, you can rest assured that the others will follow. Yes indeed, the mattress is looking pretty good right now.  I welcome your feedback in the comment section of the blog.  Something else to critically think about.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

I Know Where You Live

Every now and again something can touch you in a unique way, a way you would not expect or can explain. A recent experience with one of my students did just that for me. As a school principal I normally don’t want my students to know my home address or where I live for various reasons and when a student happens to walk past my house or see me getting out of my car and yells loudly and proudly "Mr. Medley,(Mr. Med-laaaay)" I usually cringe and move as fast as I can into the house or the car depending on which one I am heading into.

Last week when school finally got underway after multiple delays due to Hurricane Irene, I was standing in front of my newly assigned school awaiting the arrival of our school bus population when suddenly a young man stuck his head out of the bus window when his bus pulled up in disbelief as he recognized who I was. He immediately began to excitedly share with his bus mates that he lived on the same block as the principal. My first reaction was to cringe as I usually do when I learn of a student knowing where I live and to make matters worse he was sharing the information with his friends. But something was different about this one. This was one of my young special education students and there was this pride that he took in being able to say that he lived in the same neighborhood as his principal. He was actually proud to be able to say that he lived near his principal. His face was beaming with pride and joy for I could see that it made him feel special (and not the “special” the kids often tease students who are classified as “special ed.”).

Two days later as I parked my car and exited it, I ran into the kid playing football with some of the other neighborhood kids and when he saw me he immediately spoke, “Hi Mr. Medley.” Again I noticed that he said this with his chest poked out and smiling. I spoke back and walked up to him and asked him if he had learned anything in school in the past week and he said yes and that he had received two kites from his teacher. I surmised that the kites must have been some type of incentive/reward system based on the smile on his face and then he asked me, if he did well all year, would I get him something at the end of the school year? I looked at the young man and said, “Son if you continue working like you are doing now throughout the school year and you continue to do well, I will indeed get you something at the end of the school year. Words could not describe the look on his face when I gave him that response. Thinking about the kid later and everything that had transpired between us, I silently wept for this child and all of the others. It actually brought tears to my eyes as I thought about how important it was for this child to see someone who had “made it” educationally living right down the street from him; a professional educator right next door; one he sees at his school every day.

Why Black Flight to the Suburbs is Not the Right Move, an April 6, 2011 blog post written by a member of Rebuilding Your Community an educational-based community development program designed to teach citizens how to rebuild communities in distressed urban neighborhoods illustrates my point and is excerpted below:

Some scholars have argued that one of the greatest drawbacks of the civil rights movement of the 1960s was integration and assimilating into mainstream. They argue that by integrating, we have lost our collective powers. In the early 1900s, some of the most successful black communities emerged under oppressive laws and racial segregation. Back then, we were forced to live, work, and play together no matter what our income status was. Black doctors lived in close proximity to janitors, teachers mingled with maids, and lawyers partied with bellhops. We built our own institutions, we hired each other, the barter system was a way of life, and our dollars circulated within the community many times over before leaving. Also, these arrangements allowed for us to develop cultural norms and value systems that were adhered to by all. Anything less would not be tolerated because bad behavior by one reflected on the whole community and was potential for danger. We were able to accomplish this by concentrating all of our resources into highly-dense neighborhoods where everyone benefitted. Today, none of this exists, so these scholars may indeed be right. 
Can you imagine what it would be like for our children to see and live near doctors, janitors, teachers, maids, lawyers, bellhops, preachers, police officers, judges, pilots, accountants, store owners, and engineers, etc. all in the same neighborhood? Can you imagine how powerful that would be? Unfortunately in too many urban settings the only thing our children see are gang members, drug users/dealers, prostitution, gambling, alcoholics making their way back and forth to the liquor stores and not to mention the shootings and the stabbings. Our children aspire to be what they see whether it be positive or negative. I once had a student tell me that he could not see himself getting any further in life than the dice throwing brothers he saw on his corner every day. He could not see himself going any higher. That was a sad statement.

I took all of this into account as I saw this young man’s head held high with a big smile as he felt like somebody because he lived on the same block as the principal. This was one time I did not cringe at the thought of one of my students knowing where I live. I am just as proud to be living on the same block with him as he is of living on the same block with me. I am happy this student gets to see his principal on his block and in his school. I am not a gambling man, however, I am willing to bet that this young man will not be a discipline problem for me this school year and I am also willing to bet that I will indeed have to get him something at the end of the school year based on his academic achievement.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Don't You Dare Treat My Rolls Royce Like A Tractor

I was in attendance at a wedding last Saturday and found the toast made by the father of the bride to be interesting enough to share in this blog post. There were multiple toasts given by many in the wedding party which included the bride’s father and now the groom’s new father-in-law. Everyone in  audience expected the usual pleasantries however that was not to be the case. The toast in and of itself was indeed pleasant but it contained volumes of wisdom. The proud father started his toast by saying “Let me tell you a story.” He pulled out a sheet of paper from his pocket and he began reading a story about the value of a Rolls Royce and the rights of the maker and owner of such a fine vehicle. He read the attributes of a Rolls Royce and the expectation of how a car such as this is to be treated. As the story unfolded, the owner purchased the Rolls Royce from the maker of the vehicle and in the beginning cherished the car. Washed, simonized and detailed the car. Only brought her out in the best weather as she was garage kept. Pampered the Rolls Royce. He went on to say that over time the owner for some reason  began using the Rolls Royce as a tractor. More and more using it to break ground, pull a plow and other tractor duties. The Rolls Royce lost its shine and glamour; the motor began to run loudly; the tires became muddied and worn. When the maker of the Rolls Royce heard of the manner in which the valuable automobile that he made was being treated, he immediately rescinded the rights to the car from the owner and took the car back, restored it to its natural origin and placed it in the showroom for all to see.

The father and now father-in-law went on to use this analogy to let everyone in attendance know that his daughter was the Rolls Royce of which he was speaking and if she is even thought to be treated like a tractor, he would be taking back the rights to his Rolls Royce. It was a kind way to put his new son-in-law on notice in front of many witnesses (the same witnesses that had just seen them joined together before God) that he had better treat his daughter right. As a father of now four girls, I was with “dad” one hundred percent and thought to myself more fathers need to make this toast at their daughter’s wedding. In other words what "pop" was saying in his little story was “You’re not going to mess over my daughter.” The guests were silently stunned but understood where the father and now father-in-law was coming from. That was his daughter and he was not going to let anyone damage or harm her, not even and in particular her husband. Now don’t get me wrong, the same holds true for the female as well. Neither party is to damage the other. Marriage is no joke and if you see one that looks easy, you can best believe there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes. The father and new father-in-law knew of what he was talking about as he has been married for forty nine years, the longest married couple in the building at the reception. Marriage is a beautiful thing, but it is work and everyone needs to understand that when it is undertaken. It’s one thing to spend all this money on that one “special day” and it’s another thing to make the marriage last.

It seems everywhere I look I see a blue $399 Divorce Center sign and that's not a good thing. As a divorcee I can speak first hand that divorce is not fun or a joke. It is painful and hurtful for all involved. People’s lives are impacted greatly as a result of divorce especially when children are involved, so please choose your mate wisely and whatever you do, do not begin treating your Rolls Royce like a tractor. More fathers need to make the toast this gentleman made and maybe the $399 Divorce Center would go out of business. Something to critically think about. As always I welcome your response in the comment section of the blog.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Slippery Slope Continues to Get Slipperier And Slipperier

Well we have opened the door and now that it has been opened we will now have to deal with it being opened. When Sesame Street premiered on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) stations on November 10, 1969, I can assure you there was absolutely no thought of sexual orientation or even sex for that matter. These are puppets! Every time I think I have seen or heard the pinnacle of ridiculousness, I find myself having to stand myself corrected. Unfortunately there is no shock for me anymore, only sadness. The following link to an ABC News story about the sexual orientation of our beloved Ernie and Bert has reached my "pinnacle of ridiculousness" list. If you have not done so already, I encourage you to read the link in its entirety  People are actually signing petitions to have Ernie and Bert's sexual orientation declared. If that's not ridiculous I don't know what is. Can the similar wrath suffered by Sodom and Gommorah not be too far off?  The slippery slope is getting slipperier and slipperier.  I welcome your thoughts in the comment section of the blog.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It Doesn't Take Much For Us - Does It?

Would someone please help me understand how adding the word "certified" in front of the word "used" or in front of the even more fancier term "pre-owned" car  lends more credibility to it? Doesn't the fact that the car was "used" or was "pre-owned" automatically certify it as used? (I have a B.A. in marketing, I get the gimmick piece of it).  But seriously are we that gullible? Do we not think we can get a "lemon" because it was "certified?" The same holds true for "As Seen On TV."  Does the fact that the product was seen on TV make it that much more credible? I know this is useless chatter, but it is something to humorously think about (LOL). That's the fun of a Blog. One can be as serious or as silly as one chooses to be at any given moment.

Shame And Embarrassment Are Things Of The Past - There Is No Shame In Any Game Anymore

There was a time when you would have been ashamed or embarrased to leave the house looking like this. You certainly did not want your playmates or classmates to see you in torn and tattered clothing for fear of ridicule or being thought of as "poor."  There seems to be no such thing as "shame" in any game anymore. Yes I know it is now a "Fashion Statement," but critically think about what the "Statement" is saying. Just what does that statement reveal in terms of where our standards have gone?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Uckfay Ouyay - America's Declining Morals

As a radio talk show host, I listen intently to many radio talk shows. The other day I was listening to talk show host Laura Ingraham and I tuned in at the point where she was talking about how America seems to be on a downward trend. Normally Ms. Ingraham and her other conservative colleagues spend most of their air time lambasting President Obama (that’s another blog post), but during this particular segment I could not help but to agree with her commentary. She was speaking in terms of America’s morality particularly in music, television/movies/video, etc. and how we seem to be more and more willing to push the envelope. I had made these same observations some time ago and predict that at some point in the not so distant future we will have full frontal and rear nudity on regular television during the day before long. I make this prediction because like Laura Ingraham, I too believe we have gone down a slippery slope. Take a few minutes to critically listen to the lyrics in too many of our songs. Words such as “bitch,” “ho (whore),” “damn,” “hell,” and of course the more vulgar ones such as the “S” and “F” words are appearing more and more on the radio and are no longer bleeped out. On television and in film, less and less clothes are being worn and just about every conversation has a sexual overtone or double entendre in it. Even children’s cartoons such as the ironically oxymoronic titled “Family Guy” and “King of the Hill” have implied and blatant nudity and sexual content. Over the years we have continued to move the line in the sand further and further to the point where it is almost erased. For some reason we as a society seems to be fascinated with vulgarity and perversion to the point where we have accepted it as the “norm.”

While walking along Ocean Avenue in Miami Beach, Florida, I noticed how every souvenir /gift shop  proudly and prominently displayed in its windows T-shirts that boldly read “I’m in Miami Bitch.” No shame in that game whatsoever. As you entered the shops there were shirts with even more vulgar language written on them. Again, it was the norm. We truly have moved to an “almost anything goes” society where boundaries have been obliterated. The fact that children are exposed to this negativity and vulgarity is not even taken into consideration and then we wonder why we are getting what we are getting.

The song Laura Ingraham was speaking about was a cleaned up version of a song titled “Fuck You” by Cee-Lo Green. When criticism finally did come about, apparently the decision was made to substitute the word “Fuck” with “Forget” thereby now titling the song “Forget You.” While I do not often agree with Ms. Ingraham, I wholeheartedly agree with her on her views concerning the lyrics of the song and where America as a society is at the moment and is headed. I share her views on that issue. For illustrative purposes, take a look at the unedited/ raw version of the song “Fuck You ….now Forget You” below:
Fuck You (Lyrics)


I see you driving 'round town
With the girl I love and I’m like,
Fuck you!
Oo, oo, ooo

I guess the change in my pocket
Wasn't enough I’m like,
Fuck you!
And fuck her too!

I said, if I was richer, I’d still be with ya
Ha, now ain't that some shit? (ain't that some shit?)
And although there's pain in my chest
I still wish you the best with a...
Fuck you!
Oo, oo, ooo

Yeah I’m sorry, I can't afford a Ferrari,
But that don't mean I can't get you there.
I guess he's an Xbox and I’m more Atari,
But the way you play your game ain't fair.

I picture the fool that falls in love with you
(oh shit she's a gold digger)
(just thought you should know nigga)
I've got some news for you
Yeah go run and tell your little boyfriend

Now I know, that I had to borrow,
Beg and steal and lie and cheat.
Trying to keep ya, trying to please ya.
'Cause being in love with you ass ain't cheap.

I picture the fool that falls in love with you
(oh shit she's a gold digger)
(just thought you should know nigga)
I've got some news for you
I really hate yo ass right now

Now baby, baby, baby, why d'you wanna wanna hurt me so bad?
(so bad, so bad, so bad)
I tried to tell my mamma but she told me
"this is one for your dad"
(your dad, your dad, your dad)
Uh! Whhhy? Uh! Whhhy? Uh!
Whhhy lady? Oh! I love you oh!
I still love you. Oooh!

After reading these lyrics and knowing that there are many more songs out there that are similar to this one, I think you get the point of this post. My usual Critical Thinker disclaimer includes the fact that I am not looking for agreement with me from my readers, however, after reading the lyrics above, you can make your own assessment in terms of the direction we as a society are headed. For some you will say “What’s the big deal?” For others you will be as horrified as I am. Either way, I invite you to critically think and in this particular case act when possible to help turn our society around. As always I invite your commentary in the comment section of The Critical Thinker.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Book Worth Reading - President Reagan: The Role Of A Lifetime by Lou Cannon

I am absolutely amazed how many political pundits reference the glory days of President Ronald Reagan. It is abundantly clear that they haven’t read or have chosen to ignore author Lou Cannon’s book PRESIDENT REAGAN THE ROLE OF A LIFETIME.  While President Reagan may have indeed been a nice elderly fellow, Mr. Cannon’s chronicle clearly indicates that Mr. Reagan was not the "leader" the pundits keep raving about. I keep hearing the pundits quoting and touting Mr. Reagan’s leadership compared with President Obama’s when Mr. Cannon's book contradicts these assertions.  Cannon also observes, in evaluating Reagan's term in office, that while he may not have been a great president...he was a great American who held a compelling vision of his country. I believe it is this vision of the country that is being fantasized about today compared with the reality that actualized. For a dose of reality, I highly recommend the book PRESIDENT REAGAN THE ROLE OF A LIFETIME by Lou Cannon particularly to Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh and the like. If they haven’t read it, maybe they ought to. I agree with the review by The New Yorker that sees the work as “A superlative study of a president and his presidency…. A triumphant portrait.” I welcome your commentary in the comment section below.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

To YOUR Health

As I write this blog post, I am sitting in Miami, Florida at a friend’s home totally enjoying my vacation. I’ve spent a week in the quiet of the remote town of Louisville, Georgia visiting my mother before making my way to Miami to visit friends and family. In both places I have had the absolute pleasure of reading multiple books uninterruptedly in the peace and quiet of each environment. In Louisville, there was absolutely no noise whatsoever and in Miami in the home that I am staying, the view and environment is breathtaking. As I was reading one of the ten books that I brought along with me in my bag of books, I came across something that I thought was worth sharing with The Critical Thinker readership.

It is sound advice found in Chapter 7 of OUTRAGE by authors Dick Morris and Eileen McGann. The chapter is entitled The New Drug Dealers: How Pharmaceutical Companies Are Dangerous to Our Health. A few years ago I read the book OUR DAILY MEDS by Melody Peterson and was fascinated by how the pharmaceutical industry works. Mr. Morris and Ms. McGann’s accounts in Chapter 7 of OUTRAGE support Ms. Peterson’s work and Ms. Peterson’s work in OUR DAILY MEDS supports the findings in OUTRAGE. I would highly recommend reading both books. The part I thought worth sharing is in a section at the end of the chapter called the “Action Agenda.” The action agenda reads as follows:

When you go for medical treatment for yourself or for any member of your family, you can take some simple steps to protect yourself.

  • Always ask your physician or surgeon if there is a generic drug that could be substituted for the prescription medication he or she is proposing. 
  • Ask if your doctor has any financial relationship with any drug company
  • Share with your doctor your opinion about these “relationships” to let him or her know that you disapprove of these frequently shady transactions. 
I could not agree more with Mr. Morris and Ms. McGann and encourage and strongly recommend that we all ask these questions when our doctors are prescribing medications that we may not need or that can be ultimately harmful to us not to mention the costs. Do not allow your doctor to bully you or make you feel as if you are a fool for asking questions. I had a general practitioner at one time who did just that when I explained my symptoms or asked questions about the medication he had prescribed for me; he would make me feel as if I were stupid for asking questions. What exacerbated the situation even more was the fact that I had such wonderful relationships with my optometrist and dentist. I could talk to them about anything that was going on with my eyes or teeth and they would fully answer my questions and concerns without making me feel like a fool. Ironically, I explained the issues I was having with my general practitioner to my optometrist and asked him for a recommendation for a general practitioner; he recommended an excellent doctor and I changed. I now have a great team of physicians who keep me on top of my physical game. No one knows your body or what you are feeling better than you, so do not allow your doctor to push you around and prescribe medication that is not working for you or that is having adverse side effects.

As always, something to critically think about and I welcome your commentary in the comment section of the blog as I bask in the Florida and Georgia sunshine. Until my next post.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"I Am Not Going To Do To My Children What My Parents Did To Me"

Let me start this post by being very clear that the purpose of The Critical Thinker is to foster debate and not necessarily have everyone who reads it agree with me. As a matter of fact it is not my desire to have everyone who reads The Critical Thinker to agree with me as the design and purpose of it is to make you think. Yes, pause and think. I also need to point out that because the blog is called The Critical Thinker, it does not necessarily mean that I am criticizing. There is a difference between critically thinking and criticizing. When I write these posts, I do so based on observations I make as I go through my daily walk in life and how I look at things and ask myself the question “Is anyone looking at this from a different perspective ?“ or are we just mindlessly wandering and walking by and not giving any thought to anything? Just walking by totally oblivious……. I preface this post with this because I know there are going to be those who read this and think that I'm being judgmental or that I'm criticizing and I'm not doing either. I am just pointing out things as an observation based on my experiences.

As most of you know, I am an educator who work with children every day and in my opinion the next fifteen words may well have contributed to the ruination of one or more generations particularly in the African-American community. These words are "I am not going to do to my children what my parents did to me.” Many African-Americans who migrated to the North in the 40s, 50s and 60s were reared/raised in states such as North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Virginia, Georgia etc. and were raised by parents who did not have a problem with disciplining their children. They understood the difference between discipline and abuse. They also understood the value of hard work and the rewards achieved upon completing that work.

Many of the children of those parents moved to the North and vowed to themselves that they would not do to their children what their parents did to them; meaning disciplining them and teaching them how to work. It is in my observation that because they are not doing to their children what their parents did to them (disciplining and teaching the value of a work ethic) that we have lost one or two generations, particularly in the African-American community.

We all in the African American community can recount the stories of having to go out and get your own switch to beat your own behind with. We all can recount the stories of folks who had to work before they went to school, go to school and work some more when they returned home from school. We all can recount the stories of these same folks having to have walked 8-10 miles to school and those same 8-10 miles back home. The question becomes were these people really any worse off for having to have had these experiences? It seems they learned the value of an education and why they needed to have one. It seems they understood the connection between their chores and their being able to function productively as an adult and yet many of them moved to the North and actively chose to abandon the work ethic, education ethic, and yes even moral ethics they were raised with all in the name of “I am not going to do to my children what my parents did to me.” You are indeed not doing to your children what your parents did to you and we are paying a price for it.

I see children every day who are allowed to do anything they would like to do in the name of “I am not going to do to my children what my parents did to me.” I am referring to children of all ages beginning with a kindergartners who have been spoiled by this vow who feel they ought to have their own way and they get it whether what they want is good for them or not. This pattern continues throughout the toddler, (many think it’s “cute”) adolescent, teen and then adult years causing them to believe that they are entitled to getting their way regardless of rules, regulations or structure.

From where I sit, it is this vow of “I am not going to do what my parents did to me” that is causing us to have children who do not know how to do anything for themselves or take responsibility for anything. Many of them don't know how to wash dishes, iron, vacuum the floor, dust the furniture, take out the garbage, make up a bed or clean up a bedroom, sweep the kitchen floor, clean the bathroom, or any other household chore they will need when they become an adult and live on their own. The sad part is they don't even want to learn how to do these things and feel as if someone is always going to do these things for them.

Their parents are responsible for them feeling as if they have a maid service with the parents being the maid.

When I write Critical Thinker blog posts, I don't write to be liked; I don’t write to be agreed with; I write for us to pause and think. I fully recognize that there were some people who truly were abused in the south, however, that was not the majority. Many felt because the work was hard that it was abusive but in reality it was not. It was the work that needed to get done to survive in that era. There were many lessons learned from having to work. There were many lessons learned from having parents who would not allow certain things to happen in their houses. There were many lessons learned like that thing called "consequences" when you had to make that trip out to that tree and bring back a switch to remind you not to do whatever it was that you did again (That was a long walk back no matter how close the tree was).

When you truly think about it, those lessons are missing and we are indeed paying a heavy price for it now. If you haven’t ever thought about it, it is something to critically think about and as always I welcome your commentary in the comment section at the bottom of the blog (and no you don’t have to agree with my view).

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Paterson school waging daily battle against worst odds

Please go to this link and read. It is well worth the read. Columnist Leslie Brody did an excellent job in accurately reflecting this story.

Paterson school waging daily battle against worst odds

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Some Things Just Don't Go Together

Socks and slides/sandals are one of them.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Are We Not Angry Enough?

Aren't we angry enough?  With all of the hatred and anger going on in the world do we really need an angry sandwich? 

It's bad enough that we have all of these angry people, now we have to have an angry sandwich. Ridiculous!!!

So let's perpetuate anger............... Society is going to Hell in a hand basket.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Are You Serious?

There must be someone who can tell me why the label/sticker is kept on and under the brim of a popularly marketed baseball cap. I've polled young men repeatedly and have in most cases received the answer "I don't know." One told me that it made the cap "official." 

When I asked according to who? I was once again told, 
"I don't know."   One told me that it makes the cap always appear "new."  

Folks, are our self esteems so low that we need a marketing sticker to make us feel good?  Do we really need to be validated by a sticker that says "59 Fifty 7 1/4?"  In my mind this keeping the label on the cap is another example of how we can be sheep and the funny thing is these folks really think they are being unique when in reality they are being the same. The folks who are being unique are the ones who take the sticker off and wear the caps properly.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Is There Such A Thing As A White Standard of Behavior?

I am currently reading Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by the late Manning Marable, and as I was reading, I came across two passages in the book that brought me to the question in the title of this blog post, Is There Such a Thing As A White Standard of Behavior? To set the stage, Mr. Marable is describing life in the 1930’s and 1940’s and in his description he talks about the clothing and music that had become popular during that time. The two passages that caught my attention were as follows:

“Similarly, the zoot suit uniform was an act of defiance against white standards of behavior.” (page 45)

“Like the zoot-suiters, beboppers implicitly rejected assimilation into standards established by whites and were contemptuous of the police and the power of the U.S. government over black people’s lives. Both sought to carve out identities that blacks could claim for themselves.” (page 63)
For years the question has plagued me concerning why we [African Americans] do some of the things that we do. I am speaking particular of things that just don’t make sense such as sagging pants; caps worn in every way accept the way in which it was made; taking derogatory terms such as “nigger” and thinking we are redefining it by our use instead of a Caucasian person using it; using Ebonics and slang; not getting our education; wearing our boots/sneakers untied; wearing raggedy clothing such as ripped jeans; and the list goes on and on. Supposedly all of this is done to create our own individual and unique “identity,” which made the Marable passages leap off of the page at me.

I’ve asked this question in other blog posts as well concerning how silly are we [African Americans] willing to look in order to create this individual and unique identity? The Marable passages helped me to see clearer what I believe that we believe we are doing when we are doing some of the silly stuff that I see on a day in and day out basis and that is we truly believe that we are defying this alleged “white standard of behavior.” In too many of our [African American] minds we truly believe that there is such a thing as a white standard of behavior opposed to just a standard of excellence that is a standard for everyone regardless of what color, race, or creed that we are. That’s where this notion of someone who speaks well is seen as “talking white,” or someone who does something in an excellent manner as “acting white.” The last time I looked, doing something in its correct manner does not have a color, race or creed associated with it. You either do it in an excellent manner or you don’t. Wearing pants with your underwear showing is not symbolic of excellence. Dummying one’s self down because you don’t think it is cool to be smart is not symbolic of excellence. What are African Americans who tell other African Americans that they talk or act white saying about African Americans? Are they saying that African Americans ought to be illiterate and do things ass-backwards? Do we really think about what we are saying when we say that to each other? Secondly, the statement gives too much credit to White people. Who says that doing something in a correct, proper or excellent manner is only done by White People? Yet that is what the  "You speak or act white” statement says.

That’s why Mr. Marable’s words describing the 1930’s and 1940’s made me wonder if that is what we call ourselves [African Americans] doing (showing defiance against white standards of behavior and rejecting assimilation into standards established by whites) and if so, to what lengths are we willing to go particularly when we are making ourselves [African Americans] look like fools. We are not looking unique,we are looking like fools. So the question is, is there such a thing as a white standard of behavior or is it just a standard of behavior to achieve excellence?

Why not defy this so called white standard (if exists) by surpassing it? Surpassing it educationally; surpassing it behaviorally; surpassing it financially; surpassing it in responsibility. No, instead we defy it by sagging our pants, twisting our caps with the stupid little label still affixed to the brim , calling women bitches and hoes (whores), dropping out of school, etc. etc. etc.

Now I know there are some brothers (and perhaps sisters) out there who will challenge me and even try to argue that we [African Americans] ought to be able to act anyway we want. After all we were brought to this country against our will in chains and on the slave ships. As sure as you are reading this (if you have read this far) there will be some brother(or sister) out there looking to condone our [ African Americans] irresponsible behavior thinking he/she is indeed defying this “white standard of behavior,” while in the meantime we are falling further and further behind in every category. Oh and now the brother will say that it is by design that we are falling behind. I know the arguments, I hear them all of the time, yet the fact of the matter is, for the most part African Americans have the highest numbers in anything negative and the lowest numbers for anything positive and it does not have to be. In many instances we are our own worst enemy. So I don’t know about you but if there is such a thing as a “white standard of behavior,” I am looking as an African American male to go way beyond it; however, I don’t think a “white standard of behavior” exists and that there is only a standard of excellence that applies to us all regardless of color race or creed. More to critically think about and as always I welcome your thoughts in the comment section of the blog.