Posts Tagged ‘obama’

They don’t care about us (a poem on education)

September 20, 2010

They don’t really care, we can’t compare

Educational system should have everyone scared

2010 MJ lyrics still ring true

From what he dropped back in the 1990’s dude

Tired of being the same victim of shame

They still throwin’ me in the class with the bad name?

Special Ed ain’t dead in fact it’s livin’ and  thrivin’

Black and brown kids packed in class like slaves no lyin’

Do they really care when the parents don’t

Do they really even care when society won’t

Hell nah lock em up in the corner of a school

Prepare ‘em for prison life they got same rules

But I’m remixing this song so I can reach out to you

To take a hard look at the kids bein’ lost in our schools

Fail me, sell me, no matter what you tell me

It’s all really lies ‘cause what I really know see

Is I’m tired of seeing my name in the same old books

Next to convicts, slaves, other types of crooks

Didn’t I come from greatness from Martin and Medgar

From Malcolm, Chavez, Mcleod I beg ya

To see me not as I am but as what I could be

I’m more then the ideas that you preconceive

So many strong roots livin’ in my ancestry

But when you look at me you see the branch of a dead tree

I’m tired of being the victim of you

Destroyin’ my self esteem like you love to

I wish you’d really just learn how to teach me

Reach me, preach me, teacher I beseech thee

Don’t label me special less it’s specially gifted

To go and save the world get humanity lifted

I can be great if you see the greatness in me

Just teach me like a prospect and not a suspect please

O’Donnell & Tea Party: becoming their own worst enemy

September 20, 2010

The recent comments of O’Donnell dabbling and witchcraft in addition to the campaign spending allegations pose a true challenge for the Tea Party: is the party going to stick by its professed values or stick to the candidate it simply likes? If they choose to stick by her no matter what, this will be an act of hypocrisy because the Party would condemn any other non Tea Party-endorsed politician who had these same issues. In continuing to endorse her 100%, the Party becomes as hypocritical as it claims other parties are. As it relates to O’Donnell, she can only play the victim for so long. She cannot duck the media. This will only make the problem worse, particularly in the media culture we live in now. She needs to confront these issues now before they spin out of control. If she continues to stay silent and if the Tea Party shows blind loyalty regardless of her past, they will both lose major credibility both as an organization and a as a politician.

Congo advocacy groups must put their egos aside

September 2, 2010

As I have said time and again, fighting for change in the Congo has become my family business. I am part of a continuing struggle that has been deep in my blood for centuries. As I’ve also been known to say, the U.S. media can only handle one African conflict per decade: Ethiopia in the 80s, Rwanda in the 90s, and Sudan from 2000-2010. From the latest trends I am seeing, it seems as though 2010 may be the start of Congo’s US media decade, for better or for worse. As the spotlight continues to grow on Congo, it is high time that Congolese advocacy organizations put their egos aside and stay focused on the task at hand, which should be to assist in creating a conflict-mineral free Congo where good governance reigns and innocent women, children, and men (yes, men are suffering too) can live as free as we do in America.

Over the past 2 years, I have been fortunate enough to work with most major organizations in the U.S. that work on or for the Congo. These include Women for Women International, the Enough! Project, TransAfrica, Africa Action, STAND Now, The Holocaust Museum, and Friends of the Congo. While I have had a great experience with all of these organizations, I have also seen a fair share of dissension between the groups that could ultimately lead to us doing more harm than good for the Congo. The main problem is that there is too much time spent criticizing the approach of the differing groups. What we fail to realize is that each second we spend arguing amongst ourselves is another second a 3-year old is raped. It’s another second where a man watches his family be slaughtered while he sits helpless. It’s another second where women like Honorata are called “food” by their rebel captors.

Much of the debate between the groups focuses on the true value of what has been deemed the “conflict mineral approach” as well as the desire of some groups to only focus on women’s issues in the Congo at the expense of Congolese men and boys who may be suffering. Lastly, there is debate about who is responsible for communicating the crisis in the Congo to the American people. Quite honestly, even though I am a proponent of the conflict mineral approach, I never considered it to be the only problem facing the Congo. Furthermore, I have yet to work with an organization that believes the war in Congo is only fueled by our desire for electronics’ products. However, this approach has the best chance of reaching the average American who could care less about the Congo, but does feel that people shouldn’t die in Congo so we in America can have a cell phone.

As it relates to those organizations that focus primarily on women’s issues, I understand the idea. The problem however is that when we become more engaged in the Congo, we tend to see the conflict through a Western women’s rights mindset that will ultimately aid in the deterioration of Congolese traditional values. This approach ironically becomes quite paternalistic in the end. As the aboriginal quote states: “If you are coming to help me, stay home. But if you are coming because you believe you freedom as a human being is inextricably linked to my freedom, then let’s work together.” Ashley Judd spoke to this sentiment after her recent trip to Congo. At the same time however, there are women and girls who are in need of services and they cannot be ignored either.

The last major issue I see is that many Congolese advocates in America are frustrated that there are no Congolese on mainstream television who are asked to share their work on Congo. For the most part, it is either white Americans like Lisa Shannon and John Prendergast or some other celebrity, such as the aforementioned Ashley Judd or Don Cheadle who are interviewed by mainstream media while we only see Congolese victims of violence on the television. As a Congolese-American advocate for the Congo, I fully understand this point because to the mainstream media, it makes it look like Congolese are just asking for help and not being proactive in ending these conflicts. This makes it hard for anyone to want to get involved because one could easily think “If they’re not involved in stopping their own plight, why should I be?”

At the end of the day though, what I have to say to all of this is…so what? We are dealing with a crisis in the Congo. I’d love to share my work about the Congo on Oprah or AC360 but If Lisa Shannon and Prendergast can speak to a group of people that aren’t going to listen to me and raise more awareness about the Congo, I’m for it. It was never about me in the first place and others must realize it was never about them. If Ben Affleck and Don Cheadle are going to influence their Hollywood buddies to get involved, I’m for it. If Friends of the Congo is going to focus its energies on making sure that everyone also understands how U.S. foreign policy affects what’s happening in the Congo instead of (or in addition to) the conflict minerals approach, I’m for it. If Women for Women wants to focus primarily on making sure the needs of women and girls are met, I’m for it as well!

What I’ve just said about each organization or individual is obviously a gross generalization about what they all do, but the point I am trying to make is that they are all doing something! We need all hands on deck for the Congo right now while we have the world’s attention. Rather than fighting each other on this approach or that, we need to work with one another on how we can enhance each other’s efforts. Just like 1950s & 1960s movements for Congolese independence, we find factions supposedly wanting the same thing for Congo but some of us get caught up in believing we are the only individual or organization that can bring change to the Congo. We don’t need martyrs now. We need messengers to the masses. This misguided approach is going to lead to a new group of Americans becoming aware of the atrocities in the Congo but feeling confused about how they can actually help our cause and ultimately becoming disengaged. For the sake of the Congo, we must put our egos aside and keep our eyes on the prize.

Dr. Laura: Are all women shrill? Are all whites racist?

August 21, 2010

Dr. Laura’s ignorant racial (not racist) comments should be a teachable moment for ALL Americans.

Obama! Please don’t make another race speech!

July 21, 2010

Your adminstration has already issued its apology and Ms. Sherod accepted. If this happened under President Clinton or Bush, the media outrage would have stopped at the Secretary of Agriculture. There were many racial incidents during their tenure and they spoke about by them by choice, not by force. Please don’t turn yourself into a Black mammy figure, always consoling the guilty people you work for. We as adults should be able to handle this with the example that you set in your administration. If we can’t then the problem is with us, not you. No more words need to come directly from you on this issue.

Selling out Shirley Sherrod

July 20, 2010

In an era of non-fact based journalism, we have sold out Ms. Sherrod. Because of our fear of talking about race, we used video editing to kill someone’s career, in this economy. The NAACP sold her out so it could look objective, conservatives edited video, and now the White House sold her out because it’s afraid to talk about race. This is shameful. Is the NAACP now going to protest for her to get her job back? What happened to hearing both sides? This is the state of america we are in and we should be ashamed.

Mr. Prez, McChrystal or SOMEONE has got to go!

June 22, 2010

The comments of General McChrystal’s staff in the Rolling Stone magazine are outright treacherous and the fact that General McChrystal was in the room for some of them is even worse. There are other comments that were “off the record” as well. I don’t care how much Gen. McChrystal knows about the war. This type of betrayal will cause division at the Pentagon and if President Obama isn’t decisive, he will be made to look even weaker on terrorism than many already make him to be.

American Idol vs. American Education

June 22, 2010

American Idol’s decision to allow 15 year olds to compete is the latest example of how we tell our kids every day that entertainment is more important than education. We critique the school system but no money in them, then we make kids famous off of YouTube hits and shows like Idol. This is a country afterall, that has websites that list the top basketball players…in the 5th grade. Though American Idol is not responsible for the demise of American education, it is just the latest ecample of how we preach one thing to our kids and practice another.

Guilty until proven ISRAEL?

June 2, 2010

Post asserts that regardless of who is responsible for initiating the violence on these flotillas, the real loser is going to be the United States and its policy towards Israel. Just days before this incident, President Obama declared (once again) that the U.S. bond with Israel is unbreakable. This constant message from every U.S. President tells Israel it can do whatever it wants. President Obama can’t just go speak to the Muslim world in Egypt and come back home and act this way. If the IDF is found to be the aggressor, the U.S. response should be swift and stern. As Amabassdor Peck, who was on one of the flotillas stated: hawkish people are going to continue to behave hawkishly and that is the case with Israel. The Isaraeli government cannot continue to act with impunity and always be looked at as the victim by the U.S. In that region of the world, no one has clean hands. If the U.S. wants true credibility internationally, President Obama needs to get tough on Israel.

Don’t boycott BP! Boycott yourself!

May 28, 2010

Post asserts that it is foolish for us to boycott BP. We need to boycott our addicition to oil. Are we going to just substitute our BP dollars for Exxon or Chevron or Citgo? Please! We need to now more than ever focus on developing alternative energy. Both our current president and our last one have said we are addicted to oil. After this tragedy passes, we will develop a short memory as we always do and go back to gas guzzling and other dependent practices. We have the ability and the technology to change this. NOW is the time to develop the will. It be inconvenient. But the truth often is…