Monday, August 29, 2005

More on Barack Obama....

You know there was a thread on PW about the junior senator from Illinois. They were questioning what he stood for on various issues. I understood that he has made voted in the affirmitive on abortion but then what else has Senator Obama voted for.

I'm a Rush Limbaugh listener honestly. He says the "liberals" have trouble being honest with themselves. They can't come out and say what they stand for so they have to dance around their core issues and seem less liberal. He would also say that the liberal agende doesn't always go forward with the voters so they must cheat. Instead of putting an iniaitive on referendum, in the legislative process, or anywhere else. They have to initiate actions in the court system.

You may want to ask how the Senator got elected then. One could say that he had two factors going for him. First, he's black and second he's a Democrat. His relative youth may definitely have helped. In my opinion it was not enough to elect a black senator and being black may not be enough what does this individual stand for. Jesse Jackson Jr. as least has something to stand for and he's made that abundantly clear as he has many times as he sets his sights on Chicago's mayoralty but what about Barack.

He has been touted as a future presidential contender and I'm sure there are those who consider him the next great black hope. The question must be whether he can deliver. Well I don't want to mindlessly attack Sen. Obama I will praise him when he deserves it.

I will give two points.

1) His pell grant bill (from Wikipedia)...

In late March 2005, Obama announced his first proposed Senate bill, the Higher Education Opportunity through Pell Grant Expansion Act of 2005 (HOPE Act), which aims to raise the maximum amount of Pell Grant awards to help assist American college students with paying for their tuition. Obama announced the bill at the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and said, "Everywhere I go, I hear the same story: 'We work hard, we pay our bills, we put away savings, but we just don't
know if it's going to be enough when that tuition bill comes.'" [6]

2) A story that I saw in the Chicago Tribune a very class act move on his part. He was with Jesse Jackson as he was picketed by some young protester for his failures to bring in opportunities for those who he purports to advocate for. He went to this group to give them his contact information and had hopes of talking to these young people.

So that's the deal. I just hope that he can keep his eye on the ball and not become like some of his other colleagues in Washington. Some of them unfortunately can't reason their way out of a paper bag (one day I'll explain that one). Hopefully he can be that breath of fresh air everyone wants to see.

No Suspects Emerge in Suge Knight Shooting

Another hip-hop star gets shot at a party. I really would like to wonder who is doing the shooting and why. Rap mogul Suge Knight was shot at an MTV awards party in Miami. There were no suspects. Fox news says it's "a typical development in the street-justice world of rap. "

The perp was on described as a black male wearing a pink shirt. The investigation is only hampered by the witnesses unwillingness to talk. Oh and BTW, Suge Knight is OK he is to have surgery to remove the bullet and repair a broken bone.


Saturday, August 27, 2005

Ghetto fries.

A question was posed in the comments section in this post originally dated August 24, 2005. I did the best I could to respond. And all I could do was be honest about why I would associate ghetto with blacks. You would find in past posts that I would attack the usage of the word in some instances.

A little column from the Chicago Sun-Times on "Ghetto Fries". The owner of a hot dog stand (Max's Famous Italian Beef) on the north side of Chicago has ghetto fries on the menu. Ghetto fries consist of "French-fried potatoes topped with Merkt's cheddar cheese, giardiniera, gravy, barbecue sauce and raw onion". Mark Brown of the Sun-Times followed up on this story after a collegue,former Sun-Times food critic Don Rose handed Brown the press release.

Rose found this to be offensive he came out and said, ""How would it be if some black guy sold Jewtown pancakes?" Of course when one talks about ghetto I would normally think of black folks. But really why are these ghetto fries?

Well the owner, Larry Estes, of Max's tells this brief story.

Estes said Ghetto Fries were borne from his restaurant workers experimenting with meals for themselves by adding different toppings to french fries.

One of those workers, whose nickname was Ghetto Girl, became so enamored with the cheese-giardiniera-gravy-barbecue sauce-onion concoction that she ate it every day as her main meal. Ghetto Fries, he said, were named after her. Eventually, the employees prevailed upon Estes to put it on the menu.

The Ghetto Fries according to Estes is popular however it isn't popular everywhere. A former Alderman who is in the food business, Wallace Davis Jr., never heard of anything like that being in that business and also stated that he'd have no interest in eating them. Mr. Davis and another former Alderman Cliff Kelley (he's now a radio host at WVON-AM) was both offended by this product. Mr. Kelley said, "It would be bad enough if it were a black person, but with a white person doing it, it's even worse."

Mr. Estes is Jewish and he also said this regarding the term ghetto...

Estes, 51, said nobody should take offense at Ghetto Fries, noting that he's
Jewish, and that Jews were living in ghettos long before African Americans. He
said his own family came from the Jewish ghettos of New York.
If you want some of these "ghetto fries" visit Max's on 5754 N. Western.

Mayor Daley questioned!!!

The ongoing corruption investigation in Chicago city government continues. Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago was questioned by federal authorities on Friday. There was a story about that in the Chicago Tribune, Crain's Chicago Business, Illinipundit, and Channel 2 News Chicago. According to Channel 2's political reporter Mike Flannery Mayor Daley may be the first mayor to have been ever questioned by authorities in city hall. I've read in I believe Crain's that his father, Mayor Richard J. Daley, was questioned by authorities as well as the current mayor's more immediate predecessor Harold Washington.

Daley said in his press conference after his interview with federal authorities that he didn't believe he was the target of any investigation. Could the mayor be on his last legs as the mayor of Chicago. Especially with rather credible and well known challengers who are coming up to the plate. We'll have to see.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

In some black zipcodes of Chicago.

There are those who are giving campaign donations to political parties, political action committes, and individual candidates. Perhaps in America today this is the ultimate way to exhibit political power. If one wants their candidate to win sometimes one must bankroll the candidate. In some races this could take millions.

So in two of the blackest zipcodes in the city of Chicago, 60628 and 60619 I was surprised to see a few donation to Republican organizations. Whether it is the Illinois GOP or the Republican National Committee. They pale in comparison to those who donated to Democratic candidates, PACs, and the Democratic party itself, however, I'm surprised that somebody is.

How did I find this out? Well I was doing a google search on an officer at my neighborhood bank. He's the only white officer there and somehow I got on this site which allowed an individual to look up who donated to who. This officer donated to the campaign of Rep. Harold Ford for his re-election. Then I decided to take the search further. Ultimately the parameters were according to zipcode.

I chose both area codes because one of them I reside in and the other because it contains some of the most stable and affluent black middle class in the city. Some of these individuals own businesses or they are leaders in the community. Alas none of the officers at my bank seems to support Republicans, but that's not a big deal to me. I'm just glad that they are using their money to help out the candidates of their choice.

Perhaps if the GOP really could gain some traction among minorities they could target those with some money.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

An interesting discovery and a blog

Originally posted on August 10, 2005. Please read the comments section. The blogmaster of Our Goofy House was gracious enough to respond to this post. I really have to figure out how they find me. Anyway, I really appreciate the update and response.

Well this blog has been inactive since April but this is highlighting the adventures of a couple who are having a house built on the far south side of Chicago. The neighborhood is Auburn Gresham. The neighborhood as a whole is mostly black. This new development, The Havens, has attracted this couple.

This may be one of the few inter-racial developments on the south side near me. Also the model houses are being built have been given names of HBCUs. A fact lost on the bloggers at Our Goofy House. I wish this blissful couple a lot of luck and hopefully this development will be a success.

Also it's unclear to me as to whether the developers are black or not. Though whoever is involved in giving this project's model homes their names may have a connection to HBCU's. Either way there is some new construction in my area.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Monday morning items...

1) A 36 year old man by the name of Richard Dorsay was as late as last December living in a bridge near downtown Chicago. His interview is in today's Sun-Times. He talks of living a normal life but he does have concerns about living in an apartment and working....

If he rents an apartment, couldn't another tenant accidentally burn down the building?

He also disdains what he sees as willingness in the mainstream work world to cheat to get ahead. A regular job also would bring a schedule and a boss.

So he might also return to the street.

2) Latoyia Figueroa was five months pregnant when she disappeared over a month ago. Unfortunately her remains were found in a grassy area in Chester, Pennsylvania. Her ex-boyfriend was arrested for her murder. He was found with a pistol and a bulletproof vest when he was arrested in Chester. Ms. Figueroa's story was gaining traction in the media thanks to some Philadelphia area bloggers who were covering this story while campaigning for the networks to give the same attention to Ms. Figueroa who is hispanic and black as they are for Natalee Holloway.

I wouldn't have known about it if it wasn't for CNN. They had reporters looking at the blogs on TV and they mentioned her name. At that moment I did a google search on her. Hopefully we'll see more of how this case works out or even why her ex-boyfriend opted to murder her.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

'Peace Mom's' marriage a metaphor for Dems

From Mark Steyn of the Sun-Times. It has come out that Mrs. Cindy Sheehan marriage is in divorce court. He makes the case that her marriage to Pat Sheehan is almost no different than how the radicalised has taken control of or at least have become the loudest faction of the Democratic Party. Reading these quotes from Mrs. Sheehan...

"murdered by the Bush crime family."

You tell me the truth. You tell me that my son died for oil. You tell me that my son died to make your friends rich. You tell me my son died to spread the cancer of Pax Americana . . . You get America out of Iraq, you get Israel out of Palestine."

"America has been killing people on this continent since it was started. This country is not worth dying for."
I can't say that I can honestly support her now because of this. She's not a grieving mother anymore, she's adhering to an agenda of her new friends. They would make these kinds of statements.

Remember yesterday when I praised Dianne Feinstein for her criticism of San Francisco. When a liberal or a conservation did something right, they've earned my respect. If they can't reason their way out of a paper bag, then I think there might be a problem.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

SF Moonbats Shun USS Iowa

From Little Green Footballs. I'm giving props to California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein. She didn't like how the San Francisco board of supervisors decided to vote against a proposal to have the USS Iowa (a retired World War 2 battleship) docked in SF for tourism. This proposal was voted down 8-3 and what was citied was not only the local opposition to the war in Iraq but also a protest against the military's stance against gays.

"If I was going to commit any kind of money in recognition of war, then it should be toward peace, given what our war is in Iraq right now," Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi said.
Sen. Feinstein referred to this as a "very petty decision" also stating that...

"This isn't the San Francisco that I've known and loved and grew up in and was
born in," Feinstein said.
Sen. Feinstein had helped secure $3 million to tow the Iowa to the bay area. With the idea that "touristy" Fisherman's Wharf would become its new home.

One more quote...

San Francisco's rejection of such a storied battleship is a slap in the nation's face, said Douglass Wilhoit, head of Stockton's Chamber of Commerce.

"We're lucky our men and women have sacrificed their lives ... to protect our freedom," Wilhoit said. "Wherever you stand on the war in Iraq ... you shouldn't make a decision based on philosophy."

It appears that the Iowa is to be sent into Stockton, CA on the San Joaquin River. Sen Feinstein has a bill that opens the bidding for the Iowa to any California city while another CA congressman, Rep. Richard W. Pombo, R-CA, has sponsored legislation to move permanently to Stockton.

San Francisco Shuns Retired USS Iowa Yahoo! News August 20, 2005

Friday, August 19, 2005

Ebony and Ivory not an Enterprising Mix

From Charlie Johnston at the Illinois Leader. His account of an experience with himself, his daughter, and his son-in-law. This is amongst some Illinois politics.

I am a fortunate man. When my daughter, Christie, hit puberty she went into a particularly wild and self-destructive phase. It lasted until just a few years ago. Whatever it was that came upon her vanished almost as mysteriously and suddenly as it came.

Not too many months after she had come back down to earth she started dating a marvelous man. Shortly after, they got engaged. I thanked my lucky stars.

After the thugs and bums she had cronied with for so many years, I was not optimistic about her chances of ending up with a hardworking, responsible man.

Dee (short for Diallo) was a little nervous about meeting me. Christie loved to tease him about the fact that I am conservative, Catholic, and Republican. Black folks are a little uncertain about their reception in such quarters, but never more than when they are dating the conservative, Catholic Republican’s daughter.

It didn’t take me long to see that Christie had found the right guy. It didn’t take Dee long to figure out that somebody had been lying to him on what to expect from conservative Catholic Republicans.

The two of them came down with me for Thanksgiving with the family in Alabama. I stayed with them on weekends while I was in the process of moving back to Lake county from western Illinois.

Though our family relations are warm and affectionate, that is not what this story is about.

On Wednesday morning I was flying back from an out-of-state trip when Dee called me. His sister was being transferred to Florida and needed to drive down to arrange for the apartment and a few other errands before going out permanently.

He had gone with her to rent a car at Enterprise in Libertyville where he has often done business.

But he was tapped out on his credit card and they wouldn’t accept a debit card because of the distance involved. They told him if he got another family member to secure it with a credit card that would be fine. He asked if it was okay if it was his father-in-law. That would work, he was told.

So he and my daughter came over after I got home. Because it was closer to me and I had a lot of work to catch up on, we went to the Enterprise in Mundelein. Everything was fine there and we had secured the car, but it turned out they had to do an oil change on it and it would not be ready until the next morning. The sister was planning to leave that night.

So we cancelled and said we’d go to their franchise in Libertyville, which was open later. When we walked in, the manager took a look at Dee and me and informed us that his sister would have to have her own credit card to be listed as an additional driver.

We explained that it was their shop which had instructed Dee what to do earlier in the day - and that the Mundelein shop had rented us a car, which we would have taken had it been ready before closing. He wasn’t having any of it. He explained their policy, which was completely different than what had been said earlier in the day - and which was utterly inconsistent with Dee’s previous experiences in the same store.

Something finally dawned on me as we were getting nowhere in this discussion. "Let’s go,” I told Dee, his mother and sister. “I don’t think this has anything to do with policy.”

I told the sister to come down to Mundelein in the morning and we would get it taken care of. We went to the Mundelein office. The fellow at the counter naturally wanted to know why we hadn’t gotten the car at Libertyville the night before. I told him wryly that I thought we had encountered a little racism.

As it turns out, the guy at Libertyville is his boss. So he called to check and was instructed not to rent us a car. He apologized, but there was nothing he could do. Dee’s mother called Enterprise corporate office. After a few moments I asked to speak to the man on the phone. I explained to him what had happened.

He smarmily said to me, “Well, racism is a serious charge. I’ve heard about the credit cards and licenses, but when did anyone say it was because of race?”

That angered me. “I did not say your people were so stupid as to actually say it out loud. What I’m saying is that after my son-in-law did what your people told him to do, when he walked in with a white father-in-law, the rules changed.”

I don’t know how much of that the guy heard because he hung up on me. Interesting corporate public relations strategy.

So we went to their competitors, Budget, in Libertyville. I told the woman behind the counter exactly what we were doing and asked if that was okay. All she needed was a valid driver’s license from the sister. Within 20 minutes, Dee’s sister had her car and was on her way.

I asked the manager at the Libertyville Enterprise later to see the policy in writing. He did show me a sheet that said additional drivers must qualify just as the person who rents the car does. So perhaps it was a comedy of errors and there was no ill intent.

But anyone familiar with the Jim Crow era is also familiar with broad laws and corporate regulations that were selectively applied only to black folks.

What I KNOW is that Dee has handled rentals from the same company in that way previously (though not for out of state travel).

I know that Dee did not come up with this plan, but was instructed to handle it this way by employees at Enterprise in Libertyville.

I know that there was no problem except the timing of getting the car at the Mundelein franchise.

I know that no hint of a problem arose until after the manager at Libertyville saw that this black man’s father-in-law was white.

I know that the Mundelein franchise reversed its prior approval on instructions from the manager at Libertyville. I know that, explaining the situation up front, it took us 20 minutes to get the car at Budget in Libertyville. Was it racism? These are the facts - you make the call.

Oh, and there is one other thing I know: I will never do business with Enterprise Rental Cars again.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Thursday Items

1) Meeks case a political hot potato

Reverend James Meeks' charge of racial profiling may not bear much fruit. More of this story is provided in the Sun-Times. Apparently Meeks' car after moving around a squad car ran a stop sign. A white police sergeant pulled him over and apparently Meeks had some bodyguards right behind the sergeant's squad car. This should make any police officer a little nervous. It appears the Chicago Police may agree more with the sergeant than Rev. Meeks.

There was a post about this back in July.

2) Did fiery essay get author fired?

A writer writes a column against homosexual marriage. The results of his diatribe results in him getting fired from his job at Allstate. The article brings lite to corporate sponsorship of gay events such as the gay games in Chicago and a gay-rights proposal in Cincinatti. He never mentioned once where he worked and wrote his work on his own time. He may even have used his laptop provided by his employers.

According to J. Matt Barber...

"I'm thinking, `What business is this of yours?'" said Barber, 36, who had worked for Allstate for five years, mostly in corporate security. "This is something I did on my own time. This was my own viewpoint. ... [One supervisor] said, `Well, you know, here at Allstate we have a very diverse community.'"

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

More John H. Johnson coverage

This is a pretty good column by Phil Rosenthal. I didn't even know Essence is to become a part of Time Warner. There aren't too many independent sources for us out there. Hopefully Johnson publishing will continue to be family owned and it will continue to be independently and black owned. In the past few years many black owned firms have sold out to corporate entities. Soft Sheen, Johnson Products (not Johnson Publishing), BET to name those that I know about. To access the column you may need to register with the Chicago Tribune.

Also Illinois Leader (Illinois' conservative publication) has continued its coverage of Mr. Johnson's passing. Earlier this week there was a memorial service held at the University of Chicago's Rockefeller Chapel in the Hyde Park neighborhood. The luminaries included Sen. Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton; former Secretary of Defense William Cohen; Gov. Rod Blagojevich; Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, GOP gubernatorial candidate Ron Gidwitz, and Playboy Enterprises Chief Executive Christie Hefner.

Media success isn’t equally acknowledged

Lee Enokian from the Illinois Leader talks about the deaths of two major media figures. John H. Johnson and Peter Jennings. Their portrayals were not equal. Perhaps Mr. Johnson was not as well known outside of his black market.

Regardless Enokian says,

Many newspapers briefly mentioned Johnson’s passing, but Jennings was the recipient of a media love fest across the broadcast spectrum. Fellow Canadian Ted Koppel and other broadcasters couldn’t say enough good things about their fallen comrade.

I can agree with Enokian to an extent that the Mainstream Media or MSM had failed to see that Mr. Johnson had proven that "anyone can attain the American dream."

ENOKIAN: Media success isn’t equally acknowledged from Illinois Leader Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A couple items on Tuesday

Say it isn't so Carol Moseley Braun

America's first black female senator & failed presidential candidate had a brother who inquired with his union (The Fraternal Order of Police) about endorsements. Then question comes up if Sen. Braun is running for mayor of Chicago. In 2004 she was running for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. Having been elected in 1992 she lost her re-election bid in 1998 for her senate seat to Peter Fitzgerald who has since didn't stand for re-election and his seat is now held by Barack Obama.

During her tenure in the Senate she was dogged by certain ethic questions. In addition to that she was dating a man who had some ties to a Nigerian dictator.

Unable to learn its lesson, PETA goes off the deep end

Mary Mitchell writes a column with regards to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). Three years ago they had a campaing called "Holocaust on Your Plate". This drew some protests from the Jewish community because of its portrayal of slaughterhouses and factory farms with Nazi death camps. Only 90 days ago did PETA co-founder Ingrid Newkirk apologized for this campaign.

Now PETA is attempting to make the connection between black slavery and the treatment of animals. The latest campaign "Animal Liberation" has come under fire from the NAACP. This latest campaign includes pictures of a black slave in chains and a shackled elephant.

A PETA spokeman claimed that civil rights groups were consulted about this exhibit. In addition to that Coretta Scott King (Dr. Martin Luther King's widow) sent a note to wish them well. In addition to that activist/comedian Dick Gregory called upon PETA to be the "abolitionists for the animals."

According to Mitchell...

Newkirk and her group totally missed the point about slavery. Under slavery, black people were treated worse than animals. A slaveowner wouldn't beat his horse to death for running away, but slaves were maimed and killed for wanting freedom.
So Mitchell claims in her column that some black leaders are out of touch with everyday blacks with their support of this new campaign. Al Sharpton even took part in a campaign against KFC.

One last quote from Mitchell...

Black leaders gave PETA an inch, and Newkirk took a mile.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Farrakhan says Mexican president was right

I found this on Yahoo! News. Farrakhan agrees with Mexican Pres. Vincente Fox's statement that "Mexican immigrants take jobs 'that not even blacks want.' " I heard about this development over the summer and no doubt Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson wanted Pres. Fox to apologize for this statement. Farrakhan on the other hand would like to see Mexicans and blacks to "form an alliance to correct differences and animosity between the two communities."

He was in Milwaukee to promote the Million More Movement which is planning an event on the Mall in Washington, DC. Farrakhan spearheaded the 1995 Million Man March. The Million More event is considered a more inclusive event with gays and women encouraged to participate.

Farrakhan: Mexican President Was Right from Yahoo! News AP August 15, 2005

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The death of John H. Johnson

The news of John H. Johnson's passing followed virtually on the heals of another media personality (Peter Jennings death). I just so desperately wanted to opine on this but I wasn't anywhere near a PC. But now I'm back to just say that Mr. Johnson has definitely achieved the American dream and got very wealthy in the process and at the same time presented a very good product at the right time. Before Johnson Publishing there were a series of black newspapers. One in particular Chicago's own Defender encouraged southern blacks to move north. Ebony and Jet came in time for the Civil Rights movement. Today these two publications are taking fire for emphasizing the personal lives of celebrities.

Mr. Johnson lived a full life of course. He was only 87 years of age. He was poor and used his mother's furniture as collateral. But that investment paid off. He went from rags to riches. He definitely has my undivided respect.

Additional reading
Mary Mitchell's column from Aug. 9th, 2005 Chicago Sune Times

Thursday, August 04, 2005

A very sad story from the South Side of Chicago.

A smart young man was killed outside of his home on the 7600 block of South Ada. This young man, a Gregory Ward, was an honors student and he was going to go off for college this fall. Police believe he was the intended target since he was on his own porch and he was not robbed. His sister believe someone was jealous of him. While his grandmother would disagree with that because this smart man had neither a girlfriend, money, or a big mouth. It still wouldn't surprise me that it was his dreams that someone was jealous of. There are those who'll murder to keep someone from leaving them behind.

2 bullets snuff out hopes, dreams from Chicago Tribune 8/4/2005
This may require either registration or a username or password
South Side honor student shot to death in front of home from Chicago Sun-Time 8/4/2005
Straight-A Student Shot, Killed In Englewood from Chicago's WMAQ Channel 5 8/3/2005

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Ghetto Cracker: The Hip Hop 'Sell Out' (editorial)

I had just gotten this in an email. This will be posted in its entirety although there is a direct link to the article.

Ghetto Cracker: The Hip Hop 'Sell Out'by Anthony Bradley

What does it mean for a black person to "sell out"? Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Tiger Woods and many more, are often branded as "sell outs" or accused of "acting white" because they speak understandable English, pursue learning and have racially integrated lives. What is overlooked, however, is that much of the hip-hop and rap world represents a different form of "acting white" and "selling out." That is, hip hop culture can be traced to the urbanization of the southern "redneck," or to use the more socially offensive term, "cracker" culture of the past.

Thomas Sowell, in his latest book, Black Rednecks and White Liberals, reminds us that what is often construed as urban black culture has striking similarities to the cracker culture of the old South. This cracker culture emerged in the American South through the immigration of culturally lowbrow English immigrants. In the antebellum era, about 90 percent of U.S. blacks were immersed in this expression of southern living. When blacks migrated into major northern cities, beginning in the early twentieth century, Sowell argues that they brought redneck culture with them.

The dominant social, moral, and cultural values among Southern rednecks that Sowell highlights, and that have been explained in works such as Grady McWhiney's Cracker Culture: Celtic Ways in the Old South, include aversion to work, proclivity for violence, contentment with little to no education, sexual promiscuity, short-term thinking, drunkenness, an anti-entrepreneurial spirit, reckless pursuit of excitement, and wild music and! dance. Rednecks had touchy pride, what you might call today a "bling-bling" vanity, a boastfully dramatized sense of self, and little self-control.

This "cracker" ethos of the past has been baptized into the hip-hop world with reckless abandon. When black kids call studious blacks "white," or when black kids scold other black kids for sounding "white," they have adopted a ghetto cracker mentality. Only a ghetto cracker would ridicule the pursuit of education, the speaking of correct English, and working hard. They boast of violent activities, sexual promiscuity, and "gettin' high and drunk," "acting a fool up in da' club," or bumping and grinding on the dance floor. The ghetto cracker celebrates being out of control and spending money instead of saving and investing.

Being a ghetto cracker, regardless of race, is the pursuit of a lifestyle of self-sabotage that undermines human dignity and despises the morality that undergirds civil society. Selling out one's dignity and future to regressive moral standards is the way of the ghetto cracker.

Hip hop magazines like Vibe, The Source, and XXL celebrate the ghetto cracker. In the July issue of Vibe, we find celebration of the strip-club lifestyle of rappers the Ying Yang Twins, affirmation of fighting to display toughness, and a picture of rapper Pitbul holding his toddler son while standing in front of two naked women painted red, not to mention a repugnant set of advertisements that would make all of our grandmothers gasp.

There is, however, an alternative vision of black American culture that recognizes the dual values of moral and economic responsibility. The July issue of Black Enterprise magazine does not promote misleading racial dichotomies but celebrates living wisely. The pages are filled with articles about investment strategies, starting businesses, homeownership, ! and a profile of black astrophysicist Neil Tyson, who received a PhD from Columbia University in 1991. There are ads featuring the Harlem Book Fair, the American Black Film Festival, and Morehouse College. Hard work, pursuing education, the virtues of prudence, integrity, self-discipline, humility, and the advantages of marriage and family are all part of the fabric that supports the activities celebrated in this alternative expression of the black community.

This is not "selling out"; it is "buying in." Buying in to the fact that authentic blackness is not being a ghetto cracker. Buying in embraces a worldview that understands our common human nature and what it means to live in a way that is truly fulfilling—a worldview that promotes dignity, work, marriage, family, and healthy community. The real sell-out is the one who urbanizes counterproductive moral values and behaviors. They are people like Russell Simons, Puff ! Daddy, 50 Cent, the Ying Yang Twins, and others who encourage minorities to adopt the attitudes of the Southern, redneck cracker culture of the past while claiming authentic blackness. Being a chocolate covered antebellum redneck of the past is not being "black"; it is simply "selling out" disguised as hip hop.

Anthony B. Bradley is a research fellow at the Acton

Monday, August 01, 2005

From the 49th Ward of Chicago

One rarely hears about any opposition to the Alderman or any other elected official in and around Chicago on any level in Chicago. We all have complaints with regards to our officials but then something serious has to happen for us to have a complaints. At this point though my only complaint is the fact that someone is playing around with our trash bins in the ally. Going so far as to switch them with other bins and stick us with the full ones that doesn't even contain OUR trash.

What you do is talk to the Alderman (and for those of you who don't know Alderman is the title of a city councilor). This person may or may not heed your request. In which case you'll find a way to oppose them. In a city like Chicago failure to take care of the concerns of your residents could cost you but even that's rare. Turnout for city elections have been that large in recent elections.

Either way I would like to mention that there is someone doing something about it. He has a blog even called The "Broken Heart" of Rogers Park. And he may not be alone. So in Chicago's 49th Ward there is discontent with their Alderman. In the last election turnout was only 10% of registered voters and this Alderman Joe Moore was re-elected. Unfortunate but true.

Either way I hope this could represent an important movement especially with all the corruption investigations in Chicago. Perhaps at some point I'd like to tell you about Chicago's system of government and my ward.