What’s Black? Things We Need to Watch in June 2022

June 5, 2022

 Gary A. McAbee

Welcome to What’s Black: Things We Need to Watch by Gary A. McAbee. What’s Black is a monthly update about things of interest for black people to watch, discuss, and actively interpret. The time is now for all of us to get involved. These are conversations we need to have, and we will have these conversations. In this issue, there are some of the things we need to watch in June 2022

Buffalo mass shooting. What else is new?

In Buffalo, ten Black people were killed, and three other people were injured when a lone gunman traveled to a predominately black neighborhood to commit an act of terrorism. Yes, I call it terrorism even though some in the media and society will not. The gunman searched in this area and realized a supermarket would be a place where he could go on his rampage. So, he selected the store to kill black people, and that’s what he did. No we must ask ourselves if he was just one misguided soul, or are there more where he came from? We also must wonder if there is a copycat, who was inspired by this coward’s mass shooting. What else in new in America?

Georgia is not on my mind. Just ask the Delaware State Women’s Lacrosse Team

You might have missed it, but there was an incident where a bus containing the women’s lacrosse team from Delaware State was stopped on a Georgia highway. Georgia is infamous for its police activities on the roads leading to Atlanta, so this is not surprising. What is surprising is that state police officers not only boarded the bus, but then commenced a search of the team’s luggage. Why would they do this to a college team on their way from a tournament? I’ll tell you why. We call it racial profiling, and in 2022 black motorists are still subject to this behavior based on the color of their skin. Of course, the search produced nothing, except questions about how police officers can get away with this nonsense. We’ll see what the legal process has to say about this going forward.

Another Juneteenth has arrived. What do we have to celebrate this month?

I think we should take a deep breath and be thankful, yet vigilant. We should give thanks that we are more aware of the things the affect the black community. I see more unity and a clearer sense of purpose among black people. Don’t let the bad news tell you anything different. This means we also need to remain vigilant. We must continue to demand that our voices be heard. We must continue to participate in the voting process. We must continue to fight for our freedom. After all, isn’t that what celebrating Juneteenth is all about?  

This is Black Music Month, so treasure the history of black music.

June is designated as black music month. It is a time to celebrate how important music has been in our lives. Our music has influenced the world, so we should take pride in all the great music and the artists who create it. We should also say thanks to the all-time greats, both alive and deceased, for all they have accomplished. I can’t say this enough; it is time to get our great musicians their flowers while they are still with us. I salute you, Patti LaBelle. I salute you, Stevie Wonder. I salute you, Gladys Knight. I salute you, Ronald Isley. I salute you, black music artists. This month is when we honor you, and we will continue to celebrate you this month and every month.

As you can see, June 2022 promises to be a month where we will push our agenda, and meet opposition along the way. What else is new? This is why I started What’s Black: Things to Watch. We need to be aware of issues that affect us and our progress. We need to be more vigilant to protect our best interests. We need to be involved in the ongoing struggle for equality, exercising our fundamental rights, and our ability to live and be successful American citizens. As you can see, we are far from where we need to be. That’s why I will see you in July 2022…

Review…  What’s Black: Things We Need to Watch for February 2022

Review…  What’s Black: Things We Need to Watch for March 2022

Review… What’s Black: Things We Need to Watch for April 2022

Review… What’s Black: Things We Need to Watch for May 2022

Gary A. McAbee, Author and Blogger: JOIN ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA!

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What’s Black? Things We Need to Watch in May 2022

May 5, 2022

Gary A. McAbee

Welcome to What’s Black: Things We Need to Watch by Gary A. McAbee. What’s Black is a monthly update about things of interest for black people to watch, discuss, and actively interpret. The time is now for all of us to get involved. These are conversations we need to have, and we will have these conversations. In this issue, there are some of the things we need to watch in May 2022

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson makes history, and the accusations start flying!

As we all know by now, Ketanji Brown Jackson became the first black woman to be confirmed as a Supreme Court justice. It is an accomplishment that we will celebrate for years to come. Her influence on the Court will be undeniable and her critics know it. So much so that she has already been accused of leaking information privy to members of the Court and select politicians. Judge Brown Jackson was accused of exposing a plan to overturn Roe vs Wade, and some of her Supreme Court colleagues are said to be leading the charge. Their goal is to overturn Roe vs. Wade and make abortion illegal in the United States. The information is real, but the involvement of Judge Brown Jackson is not. It didn’t take long for the critics to pounce on the new Supreme Court Justice, did it?

Oh no,  no more Roe?

Speaking of the Supreme Court, a majority of Justices who support a certain viewpoint can impact our laws for years to come. So when a conservative majority of Justices put their eyes on overturning Roe vs Wade, there is a real possibility they can end abortion in America. What would this do to the black community? We can start with the fact that abortions do occur at a higher rate among black women than women of other races. We can partially attribute this to a lack of health care, including limited access to contraception and health-based education. If Roe vs Wade is overturned, black women may seek other means of ending their pregnancies. Of course, this is a problem all women will face, but the numbers will show several disproportionate effects for black women in general.

Ben Simmons, black men, and our mental health struggles…

Speaking of health-related concerns in the black community, we must take a look at the plight of NBA superstar Ben Simmons. Simmons has been plagued by mental-health issues that have a negative impact on his performance on the court. Or does he have mental issues at all? It is easy to accuse Simmons of lying, or simply being weak. Black men are often saddled with the burden of being strong, masculine, and emotionless. Add to this the fact that Simmons is wealthy, good looking, and very talented, which leads many people to think he couldn’t possibly have mental issues. Why not? He’s human, and he has to deal with the struggles of daily life, just like everyone else. Unfortunately, he, like countless other black men, cannot show vulnerability out of fear of being labelled soft. Let’s hope Simmons, and all black men who suffer form mental challenges, are courageous enough to come forward and get the help they need.

Now that Juneteenth is a holiday, what does it really mean?

This is a pre-emptive strike about the Juneteenth celebrations and holiday next month. Recall 2021, when racial tensions were still simmering, and many institutions felt the need to do something. So we got a few token gestures to move to needle of equality. One of these was the somewhat unexpected creation of a national holiday for Juneteenth. The idea actually caught fire and opened some dialogue about the significance of Juneteenth. Bravo Joe Biden. But what did it really accomplish other than a day off for some who don’t care to observe it? The first year with the new holiday was greeted respectfully, in part because Juneteenth was a mystery to so many people. As the new holiday rolls around in 2022, we need to watch, listen, and learn to find out what difference a year makes. Will Juneteenth be celebrated, or scorned in 2022? We will know the answer soon enough.

As you can see, May 2022 promises to be a month where we will push our agenda, and meet opposition along the way. What else is new? This is why I started What’s Black: Things to Watch. We need to be aware of issues that affect us and our progress. We need to be more vigilant to protect our best interests. We need to be involved in the ongoing struggle for equality, exercising our fundamental rights, and our ability to live and be successful American citizens. As you can see, we are far from where we need to be. That’s why I will see you in June 2022…

Review…  What’s Black: Things We Need to Watch for February 2022

Review…  What’s Black: Things We Need to Watch for March 2022

Review… What’s Black: Things We Need to Watch for April 2022

Gary A. McAbee, Author and Blogger: JOIN ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA!

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What’s Black? Things We Need to Watch in April 2022

April 5, 2022

Gary A, McAbee

Welcome to What’s Black: Things We Need to Watch by Gary A. McAbee. What’s Black is a monthly update about things of interest for black people to watch, discuss, and actively interpret. The time is now for all of us to get involved. These are conversations we need to have, and we will have these conversations. In this issue, there are some of the things we need to watch in April 2022

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is almost on the Court

After days of confirmation hearings, it looks like Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is on the way to being appointed to the Supreme Court. Of course, her opponents and detractors put her through the wringer during her confirmation hearing. Hidden in some of the questions was the idea that she was soft on crime, and more likely to sentence defendants on the basis of their race. It’s an old trick: trying to show that a black person is sympathetic to another black person who breaks the law. The good news is Judge Brown Jackson wasn’t having any of it. Instead she kept her composure and impressed many during her hearings. She even convinced a few Republicans to break ranks to support her nomination. It will be great when we can finally call her the first African American woman to serve as a Justice on the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Justise Clarence Thomas has some explaining to do.

Speaking of the Supreme Court, Justice Clarence Thomas has a problem. His wife has been in cahoots with people hell-bent om proving that Donald Trump won the last election. In fact, Ginni Thomas exchanged texts about changing the outcome of the last election and others about supporting the Jan 6th insurrection. Why does this matter? It matters because her husband Clarence is on the Supreme Court. How do you think Justice Thomas would have voted on any Supreme Court case that involved Trump and the legitimacy of the election? Now I don’t know if Justice Thomas should resign, but I do know this exposes a serious conflict of interest for him and his wife. There is no doubt his wife influences his thought processes, which could infiltrate his court decisions. There is the problem! We should be watching to see what further investigations prove and what it means for Justice Thomas.

Wait, in 2022 we still didn’t have an anti-lynching law to make lynching a federal crime?

You might have missed it, but President Biden signed the Emmett Till Antilynching Act of 2022 into law. After 100 years and over 200 attempts at passing such legislation, we finally have a law. The shameful part is it took so long and so many attempts for this to become a law. So we have to ask who opposed this legislation for so long. Of course, we can start to look south, and to members of the Republican Party. In fact, when the House passed the bill, 3 Republican southern lawmakers STILL opposed it in 2022. They wonder why we don’t vote for them! They claimed the law is unnecessary, yet it is proven that lynching still happens in America. The good news is their opposition has finally been broken, so this piece of legislation can become a step in the right direction to prevent lynching in America. It is far overdue and definitely good for our county.

I thought he isn’t a good leader for young black men. Juwan gets it right.

As we know, March Madness refers to the college basketball tournament to crown a national champion. In this year’s tournament, Coach Juwan Howard led his Michigan basketball team. Remember, just a month earlier Howard was suspended for a post-game altercation with coaches from an opposing team. He was labelled as the villain, and many questioned his ability and authority to remain as Michigan’s head coach. Fast forward to the tournament when Michigan upset Tennessee. In the post-game handshake line, a Tennessee played cried uncontrollably. Howard saw this, and took the time to embrace and console this player from the other team. It was a moment of humanity that did not go unnoticed. Howard was praised for this gesture, and he proved that he is worthy of leading young men by coaching the game of basketball. What a difference a month makes. Thank you, Juwan, for being a positive role model after all.

Will Smith thought he slapped the devil. He should slap himself!

While one role model got it right, one did not. The event between Will Smith and Chris Rock at the Oscars will live on forever. Will Smith will be stained forever. Chris Rock will be stained forever. None of it should have happened. Smith showed an incredible loss of self-control on the biggest stage imaginable. In one minute he emasculated another black man, perpetuated the stereotype of the angry black man, and nearly ruined the first Oscars presentation produced by a black director. He gave our critics all the ammunition they needed. For that alone, he should be ashamed. Sometimes in the black community, we have disputes. Some of these disputes should be handled in house. We don’t always need spectators. We need answers and solutions that only we can provide in certain situations. Will Smith broke this, and several other codes we live by in the black community. Not cool will, definitely not cool.

Chris Rock will need a lot of understanding and support.

Far too many people talked about Will Smith’s role in the Oscars incident while ignoring Chris Rock. He has become the butt of all jokes- how ironic. He has become the subject of meme after meme that will be circulated online forever. He will be remembered as the man, make that the black man, who was slapped and punked at the Oscars. I can only imagine what he must be going through. Now he has disclosed his childhood issues of being bullied and harassed, and it makes this incident seem even more callous. Chris Rock needs our help. In our society men, make that black men, are not supposed to show weakness or share our emotions. This is wrong on so many levels. Yet our society wants us to soldier on and suffer in silence. Hopefully, one slap changed that. Now, as black men, we have to open up and let our feelings out. We also need to support each other during these times of need.  Chris Rock deserves it, and we should provide all the support he needs as he deals with this situation.

As you can see, April 2022 promises to be a month where we will push our agenda, and meet opposition along the way. What else is new? This is why I started What’s Black: Things to Watch. We need to be aware of issues that affect us and our progress. We need to be more vigilant to protect our best interests. We need to be involved in the ongoing struggle for equality, exercising our fundamental rights, and our ability to live and be successful American citizens. As you can see, we are far from where we need to be. That’s why I will see you in May 2022…

Review…  What’s Black: Things We Need to Watch for February 2022

Review…  What’s Black: Things We Need to Watch for March 2022

Gary A. McAbee, Author and Blogger: JOIN ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA!

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What’s Black? Things We Need to Watch in March 2022

March 5, 2022

Gary A. McAbee

Welcome to What’s Black: Things We Need to Watch by Gary A. McAbee. What’s Black is a monthly update about things of interest for black people to watch, discuss, and actively interpret. The time is now for all of us to get involved. These are conversations we need to have, and we will have these conversations. In this issue, there are some of the things we need to watch in March 2022

We have our first black female nominee for the Supreme Court. How will she be treated?

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has been nominated for the Supreme Court by President Joe Biden. Her experience proves she is a qualified and worthy candidate for the Supreme Court. However, like all nominees Judge Brown Jackson will go through a rigorous confirmation process. Her record will be reviewed. Her court decisions will be analyzed. Her answered will be interpreted. This is typical. However we need to watch how her confirmation process goes. Will she receive fair or unfair treatment? We have already heard she was only nominated because she is black and that is not the only reason why she should be picked. We have also heard that her record will be viewed differently than it was when she was appointed as a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2021. By the way, the same Senate who confirmed her in 2021 will accept or reject her nomination.

Not Kaepernicked yet! Did Coach Brian Flores avoid being blackballed?

Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores has been hired as a special assistant for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Remember, he is the coach who filed a discrimination lawsuit against the NFL. Once the lawsuit was filed, it was assumed that Flores would be blackballed for filing the suit. Doesn’t the NFL have a habit of “Kaepernicking” black men who take a knee instead of going along with the system? At first, it looked like this would happen to Flores as well, especially since he interviewed unsuccessfully for head coaching jobs recently. However, he got a job. But isn’t it ironic that the only black head coach (Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers) at the time in the NFL gave Flores a job? This lifeline temporarily keeps Flores in the game. Let’s see how long it lasts and let’s see what happens as his lawsuit is still under review.

Michigan’s head coach takes a swing. Is he too angry to be a leader of young men?

You may have missed the incident between black head coach Juwan Howard of Michigan and his white counterpart Greg Gard from Wisconsin. The college basketball game between Michigan and Wisconsin ended with controversy. As usual, the two teams walked to exchange handshakes post-game. This is when Coach Gard grabbed Coach Howard. An argument ensued, and Howard threw a punch at a Wisconsin assistant coach. Both teams scuffled. The result of the altercation was a five-game suspension and $40,000 fine for Howard and a $10,000 fine for Gard. Both were warranted. But only Howard was labeled as the villain. People questioned his temperament and ability to lead young men. We need to ask what would have happened if Howard was the instigator? My guess is he still would have been vilified and his reputation sullied, just like what is happening now. Either way, he would have been at fault. Let’s watch and listen to the response when he returns for tournament basketball.  

Why should we avoid teaching uncomfortable lessons in schools?

Throughout Black History Month, the backlash increased against Critical Race Theory and teaching topics that make people feel “uncomfortable” in schools. Let’s keep in mind that most people do not know what Critical Race Theory is about. I am a black man, and I don’t know! So how can people immediately reject it? It is dismissed because the perception is it will paint white people in a bad light for things they have done. Could it be that these transgressions throughout history have not been taught enough? This leads to the “uncomfortable” lessons that could increase in schools. The solution then is to simply ban these lessons so they can’t be taught. Isn’t having freedom a bitch? It’s all good when the things we are taught are favorable, but when the light of truth is shown, now we have to ban unfavorable parts of our history. I suppose some people want us to live in a state where the government gets to mandate what we are taught and not taught. Sounds a lot like Russia to me.

Racism rises again. Will black refugees receive equal treatment?

Speaking of Russia, their assault on Ukraine is a clear violation of international law. Ukrainian people are fleeing their homeland and the world is watching. Imagine my surprise when I noticed how many black people also tried to exit Ukraine. Then the pictures and commentary hit. Some black Ukrainians were not being allowed to cross borders. Others were being delayed while catching trains, as white Ukrainian citizens were allowed to board. At first, I thought this behavior was limited. Then more and more reports poured in from across Ukraine and neighboring Poland. Even during a war, racism doesn’t stop! My guess is the practice of slowing these black refugees will stop, but only because it has been exposed to the rest of the world. Isn’t it ironic that black oppression does get reduced when the world finally sees it. Let’s keep an eye on the plight of black Ukrainian refugees, while praying for peace and safety for all of the citizens of Ukraine.

As you can see, March 2022 promises to be a month where we will push our agenda, and meet opposition along the way. What else is new? This is why I started What’s Black: Things to Watch. We need to be aware of issues that affect us and our progress. We need to be more vigilant to protect our best interests. We need to be involved in the ongoing struggle for equality, exercising our fundamental rights, and our ability to live and be successful American citizens. As you can see, we are far from where we need to be. That’s why I will see you in April 2022…

Review…  What’s Black: Things We Need to Watch for February 2022

Gary A. McAbee, Author and Blogger: JOIN ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA!

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What’s Black? Things We Need to Watch in February 2022

February 5, 2022

Gary A. McAbee

Welcome to What’s Black: Things We Need to Watch by Gary A. McAbee. What’s Black is a monthly update about things of interest for black people to watch, discuss, and actively interpret. The time is now for all of us to get involved. These are conversations we need to have, and we will have these conversations. In this issue, there are some of the things we need to watch in February 2022

Will we recapture what Black History means to us?

As we all know, February is designated as Black History Month. When growing up, learning about Black History was done every month. We learned about influential black people and the trailblazers who made a way for us. We learned about black-firsts and the achievements that pushed our race forward. That was then, this is now. Thanks to assimilation and integration, I believe we have lost the energy and passion to learn about and celebrate the best of being black in America. We sure do get a daily dose of the worst of being black in America! So this month, one thing to watch is our commitment to learning about our history, not just in February but all year long. Another thing to watch is the opposition we will face in February just because people know it’s Black History Month.

Bomb Threats at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Speaking of opposition during Black History Month, at the beginning of this month there were a rash of bomb threats at Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the United States. Was this a coincidence, or a carefully executed plan that just happened to coincide with the start of Black History Month? We all know the answer: this was a continuation of a longstanding tradition of actions designed to target and intimidate black people, black institutions, and our progress. In the case of HBCUs, this is low hanging fruit for the perpetrators of these crimes. Add to that the fact that HBCUs are gaining fame by attracting top black athletes (which takes them away from “traditional” universities) and we can see another reason to threaten our black institutions. Let’s watch to see if arrests are made, and if these threats subside. Let’s watch our government’s response to these heinous, terroristic threats to our HBCUs.

January 6th Insurrection Arrests and Trials Continue

We also need to watch our government’s response to the ongoing investigation of the January 6th Insurrection. Why is this so important to us? First, the arrests, trials, and sentencing patterns should set a precedent moving forward about how law enforcement will handle civil unrest and protests. As we know, black people will be in the streets soon protesting something again. Will we get the same level of treatment as people who stormed our Capitol and attacked police officers? Or will we see the same old tactics using to suppress our protest efforts? You and I know all of this leads back to the question we always ask: what would have happened if the January attackers would have been black? How would they have been treated? We know the answer, and this is why we need to focus on the outcomes associated with the Insurrection so we can protect ourselves and our rights going forward.

Will Joe Biden Keep His Promise and Select a Black Woman for the Supreme Court?

You heard it. I heard it. During a Presidential debate, then candidate Joe Biden vowed to select a black woman for the Supreme Court if he became President. Well, Joe Biden is President, and a spot on the Supreme Court opened during his Presidency. We get to ask a question: what’cha gonna do now Joe? The good news is he went on record again and said he would select a black woman. What else could he say? There are many qualified candidates who should be considered to be the first African American woman on the Supreme Court. Ketanji Brown Jackson is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. J Michelle Childs is on the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. So what’s the problem? Once, again we already see the opposition to the idea of solely picking a black woman. We already see the calls of affirmative action and reverse discrimination in opposition to a black female nominee. If a black woman is selected, we need to focus on the confirmation process all Supreme Court nominees must face. I predict it will be an ugly conformation process for any black woman candidate for the Supreme Court.

The Brian Flores Lawsuit and NFL Coaching Hires

We know the torrent of opposition to our progress is not solely reserved for black women. NFL coach Brian Flores, and countless others, have experienced it for years. Only this time, Coach Flores is fighting back and putting his career on the line as well. He has filed a lawsuit against the NFL and its teams for discriminatory hiring practices. In short, he alleges he was treated poorly during one interview for a head coaching position. Then as a head coach, he was unceremoniously fired due to a lack of cohesion between himself and team management. Finally, Flores claims he interviewed for a job already promised to a white candidate as a way for the team to check the quota box for minority interviews. Now black coaches, commentators, and athletes are speaking about an unwritten policy we all know exists in the NFL. The good ol’ boys network still slows, and in too many cases, prevents qualified black coaches from advancing in the NFL. The outcome of the Flores case may impact discriminatory hiring practices in all industries, not just the NFL. For this reason, we need to pay attention to the final outcome.

As you can see, February 2022 promises to be a month where we will push our agenda, and meet opposition along the way. What else is new? This is why I started What’s Black: Things to Watch. We need to be aware of issues that affect us and our progress. We need to be more vigilant to protect our best interests. We need to be involved in the ongoing struggle for equality, exercising our fundamental rights, and our ability to live and be successful American citizens. As you can see, we are far from where we need to be. That’s why I will see you in March 2022…

Gary A. McAbee, Author and Blogger: JOIN ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA!

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In 2021, Some Things Changed, and Some Things Stayed the Same

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA

2021: Some Things Changed, and Some Things Stayed the Same

On January 6, 2021 armed protesters violently stormed, and occupied the Capitol of the United States of America. They wanted to “stop the steal”. Pictures don’t lie. 99.9% of the thousands of people involved were white. I would guess 75% or more of them were male. They were not protesting, marching, and rioting to move America forward. They were storming the capitol to protect their way of life and their freedom. Both ideas reflect their need to keep America the way it has always been, great for them, but not so great for everyone else.

Could you imagine what would have happened if the Jan 6th “protesters” were people of color? They would not have been able to get within a mile of the US Capitol. I’ll take it a step further. They would have been met with the same fury it took to clear Lafayette Park, which occurred on June 1, 2020. In that incident, protesters who were primarily people of color, were there to protest of the murder of George Floyd. They were met by pepper spray, tear gas, and rubber bullets. There was no hesitation to clear out “those”  protesters by any means necessary. But on Jan. 6, 2021, protesters were allowed to storm the US Capitol with little resistance at all.

In 2021, some things changed, and some things stayed the same.

Speaking of George Floyd, we did get a break when his murderer, Officer Derek Chauvin, was put on trial in March. For once, video evidence was indisputable. The world saw the execution of Mr. Floyd, and reaction to it was swift and overwhelming. There was no conceivable way that Chauvin could get off, or could he? Let’s be real, he had 18 complaints against him over his career which brought insignificant  reprimands here and there. Plus, he was “protected” by a blue wall of silence that is very high in the state of Minnesota. So we waited for the theatrics of the Chauvin trial.

As usual, the tactics of character assassination were on full display during the trial. First, the trial was referred to as the George Floyd trial. He wasn’t on trial: he’s dead. Next, the defense pointed to every character flaw they could find, in hopes it made him “deserve” his fate. Add the coverage by certain segments of the media, who were still able to give Chauvin a fighting chance for acquittal. The outcome was in doubt and the fix was in. Wait, Chauvin was guilty! However, his sentence was still considered light, given the charges. By the way, this marked only the second time an officer was convicted of murder. What was the other time? It was when an officer of color was convicted for killing a white woman.

In 2021, some things changed, and some things stayed the same.

Shall we move on to the Wisconsin vigilante, whose trial shows that privilege in alive and well in courts around the United States? I give you exhibit A: Kyle Rittenhouse. I give you exhibit B: Judge Bruce Schroeder. Rittenhouse is the white kid whose mother thought it was a good idea to take to protests of yet another police shooting: Jacob Blake. The catch was that Rittenhouse brought an automatic rifle with him. He felt so threated while playing Paul Blart that he used it to kill two people in the process. Surely, he would be found guilty right?

Not if Judge Schroeder had anything to do with it! He made the Rittenhouse trial quite comfortable for the defendant. Guess what? Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges. Apparently, it is legal to transport a weapon across state lines, pretend to be helping law enforcement, and then shot people when they confront you. The underlying principle in the case is a tried-and-“true” conclusion: we should not throw away a young white male who gets into trouble at an early age. Meanwhile, black kids are sent to the gallows, or worse, for offenses far less than Rittenhouse. On top of that, he’s a celebrity now. He has offers to work with Congresspeople, and he’s even met your former leader who shall remain nameless here.

In 2021, some things changed, and some things stayed the same.

I recently had a conversation with two people, one white and one black, concerning the verdict in the Gregory and Travis McMichael Trial for the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. It struck me because of a few things. First, we referred to the trial as the Ahmaud Arbery Trial. He wasn’t on trial: he’s dead. Yet all references made it seem like Mr. Arbery was on trial for murder. All over the media, you heard Ahmaud Arbery’s name attached to the case far more than the McMichael’s, which subconsciously painted Mr. Arbery as the criminal. Sound familiar?

Next, the conversation I had swirled around one fact, the jury only had one black person. The rest of the jurors were white. Both parties I was speaking to came up with the same conclusion, the McMichael’s should be guilty, but they would get off unless the black juror speaks up. I offered a different scenario. I said the McMichael’s may get off unless one or more of the WHITE jurors spoke up. Of course, we can’t assume innocence or guilt because we were not privy to all of the information, but our surface assumption is the duo should have been found guilty of the charges. Guess what? The McMichael’s were found guilty.

In 2021, some things changed, and some things stayed the same.

If you’re keeping score, you will probably agree that in 2021, some things changed, and some things stayed the same. White protesters were allowed to desecrate the Capitol of the United States: a loss. Officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murder: a “win”. Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges: a loss. The McMichael’s were found guilty of all charges: a “win”. Yet I am saddened by the fact that I have to keep score at all. I am also saddened by the fact that my score card is ready for 2022. The only question is, who will be a part of the final tally?

IN 2022, WILL SOME THINGS CHANGE, AND SOME THINGS STAY THE SAME?

Gary A. McAbee, Author and Blogger: JOIN ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA!

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The Most Beautiful Woman in the World…

You might wonder who I am talking about, but I already know. She is the black woman, also known as the queen and mother of this earth. I was born of a black woman, so I know first-hand how incredible she is: do you? She will always be on a pedestal, positioned high above all others. She is my hero, and I wrote this especially for her. I thank God for you, black woman.

She is blessed.

She is highly favored.

She is thankful.

She is anointed.

She is spiritual.

Yet, she is also underappreciated. She is often the last one to receive, but the first one to give. She is often forgotten, but the first one to remember. She is burdened, yet she is expected to carry the entire load. Despite all of this, she is still strong. She holds her head high and keeps moving forward. Why does the world often mistreat her?

She is honored.

She is respected.

She is admired.

She is underrated.

She is unmatched.

I write this tribute to my black queens everywhere because you are amazing. You deserve all the credit in the world. You are mother, wife, sister, grandmother, aunt, niece, cousin, godmother, lover, and friend. You are worth your weight in gold and so much more. Where would we be without you?

She is intelligent.

She is sexy.

She is special.

She is gifted.

She is love.

You might wonder who I am talking about, but I already know. She is the black woman, also known as the queen and mother of this earth. I was born of a black woman, so I know first-hand how incredible she is: do you? She will always be on a pedestal, positioned high above all others. She is my hero, and I wrote this especially for her. I thank God for you, black woman.

She is the most beautiful woman in the world.

Gary A. McAbee, Author and Blogger: JOIN ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA!

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Let America Be America Again

Let America Be America Again by Langston Hughes

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free?  Not me?
Surely not me?  The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!

Gary A. McAbee, Author and Blogger: JOIN ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA!

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You Think I Don’t Know? You Don’t Want Us to Vote!

You Think I Don’t Know? You Don’t Want Us to Vote!

Our voting rights are always under attack. As black people, we have faced wave after wave of laws and actions designed to prevent us from voting. There has always been opposition to seeing us vote in large numbers. For a long time, this meant preventing us from voting altogether. Eventually, measures (like poll taxes) prevented us from voting in large numbers. Then, the idea that we chose not to vote led in “relaxed” measure to prevent us from voting. Fast forward to 2008 and 2012 when Barack Obama ran for President and you saw black people vote in record numbers.

You Think I Don’t Know? You Don’t Want Us to Vote!

Without Obama on the ticket in 2016, we did not vote in the same numbers and it resulted in Donald Trump’s Presidency. After four years of Trump, I can tell you every black person I know was on a mission to vote and get Trump out of office. If you prescribed to the pre-Obama notion that black people would stay home instead of vote, then you would have believed Trump would win. Yet in state after state, the strong turnout of black voters proved to be the difference that swept Joe Biden into office. Remember, there has always been opposition to seeing us vote in large numbers.

You Think I Don’t Know? You Don’t Want Us to Vote!

So now we are seeing voting laws enacted by Republicans in states all across the country. These laws are being presented under the guise of illegal voting. But, in reality they are designed to stop people of color from voting in large numbers. They know our votes matter and it scares them. Republicans understand this simple fact: by 2050 (and by some estimates a lot sooner) America’s minorities will outnumber the current white majority for the first time in our history.

You Think I Don’t Know? You Don’t Want Us to Vote!

This means, in their mind, members of the new majority will register and vote as Democrats in massive numbers. If this happens, they will be hard-pressed to win elections in the future. Their only way to stop this is to make it harder to vote. They are doing it by reducing polling places, limiting early voting, and purging voter rolls. These actions have a target: black Americans, and to a lesser extent, people of other ethnic groups and those seeking equal rights. My question to you is what are we going to do about it?

You Think I Don’t Know? You Don’t Want Us to Vote!

Here’s a blog post I wrote back in 2018 to discuss this issue in more detail…

Voting: Vote Suppression 101

Next blog post: You Think I Don’t Know? My Blackness is a Threat

Gary A. McAbee, Author and Blogger: JOIN ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA!

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I’m Ready to Impeach THIS! Our Politicians Do Not Serve Us

I’m Ready to Impeach THIS! Our Politicians Do Not Serve Us

I am sick and tired of the political climate in the United States. While I still believe this is the greatest country on earth (with the greatest political system), it is definitely not due to our politicians and the way our government is run. “We the people” are not being served by “they the politicians”. In fact, we are being used, manipulated, and neglected all at the same time by our elected officials on both sides of the aisle. It has to stop, but I don’t see any way it will. We are too far down the path of bipartisan bickering, the influence of money in politics, a lack of term limits, and political tribalism to see any meaningful change. My friends, this does not make America great, nor does it strengthen our democracy in any meaningful way. I’m ready to impeach THIS!

It amazes me how our politicians are unwilling to compromise for the good of the American people. Instead, any flimsy compromise you hear about is for the benefit of the politicians and the philosophies of the party they represent. It’s damn near criminal! As an example, people have needed relief for a year due to COVID-19. Democrats and Republicans still cannot agree on how much and how it should be allocated. So they won’t compromise enough to help those in need. Instead they view it as a tug-of-war over government spending, taxation, corporate handouts, etc, not the needs of their constituents. Basically, if a piece of legislation doesn’t satisfy a political party (and it never does), then their votes will create gridlock. This is bipartisan bickering. Meanwhile, the unemployment rolls continue to swell, the food lines get longer, and our economic anxiety lives on. I’m ready to impeach THIS!

The influence of money in politics is disgusting. Don’t get it twisted, they are all on the take! Don’t assume your favorite Democrat is free of the influence of money. They need donations to run for office, right? This means the donors can have a “say” in policies put in place once your Democrat wins an election. Their donation is undoubtedly higher than the average American’s and probably tied to a corporation or special interest group. You can assume correctly they have more influence than Joe the farmer who donates $25 to his favorite politician. Not only that, who do you think gets access to our politicians? Good old Joe can’t call his senator and strike up a conversation, not for $25. But many rich donors can because they put more in the pot. If they don’t like what they hear they can withhold their money or donate to someone else. I’m ready to impeach THIS!

Why is it that our Congress does not have term limits? If the office of President is limited to two terms, then our Senators and Representatives should have term limits too. There is no way you can convince me that old ass Mitch McConnell-R (elected in1985) or Patrick Leahy-D (elected in 1974) thinks like this is 2021. Do they know their decisions require solutions that will work in 2021 instead of when they were first elected as Senators years ago. This is because they, and countless others in both parties have been in power too long. They have no business making policy for our country anymore. But here’s the catch. Guess who has to vote on changing our laws to create term limits to get these fossils out of office? Our senators and representatives have that power. Why would they even consider it? They have power, prestige, money and all the trappings of being politicians. As long as their “gullible” constituents continue to vote them in, they continue to stay in power. I’m ready to impeach THIS!

We can’t forget about political tribalism, which is an unwritten rule that says politicians support the views of their party most, if not all of the time. It doesn’t matter if the policy is good or bad, it will most likely be supported by the entire political party as a way to hold the party line. Where are the individual thinkers in our government? They are there, yet they do not have the courage of their convictions to break with their party for the sake of the American people. The impeachment trials are proof. Republicans, even those who knew Trump was guilty, would not dare vote against him and their party. While it is true there were a few defectors, they are many more who wanted to vote to remove him, but chose not to. This is because they refused to buck the party line, alienate many voters, and piss off their donors. God forbid that a politician would vote for the good of the American people because it would be the right thing to do. Instead, politicians overwhelmingly stay within their tribe even when its against their own conscience. I’m ready to impeach THIS!

So what do we do? I have several answers. First, we need either a viable third political party, or a group of independent lawmakers who will not perpetuate bipartisan bickering. This will help break the gridlock in Washington that hinders our ability to pass legislation to help the American people. Next, we need to weed out the influence of money in our politics. We should limit the numeric and monetary amounts of donations people, corporations, and super-pacs to reduce donor’s influence over politicians and policy making. Also, we should have congressional term limits. The easy way is to follow the term limits of the President. Politicians should be limited to two terms so new leadership gets a chance to lead. Finally, we should hold our elected officials accountable when they vote with their tribe instead of following the will of the people who elected them. We need to be more vigilant with monitoring how our politicians vote and how often they are for and against their party’s policies. I’m ready to impeach THIS!

I believe these are sound ideas, but none of them will come to pass. Let’s face it, the crooks have the building blueprint, operate the security cameras, know the safe combination, and put a getaway car on standby. If caught, they also write the laws, are friends with the police, eat dinner with the judges, and went to school with the attorneys. In other words, the politicians have all the power and advantages to keep the rules of the game the same. Unfortunately, for any real change to occur they would have to change things from within. Good luck with that happening. The entire political establishment knows they are in a “good” spot as long as none of them mess it up for all of them. They need to keep us in the dark about the rules of their game, how they play, and the results they want to achieve to stay in power. I’m ready to impeach THIS!

In my opinion, we have a few ways to influence change that our politicians can’t directly control. First, we must educate ourselves about our government. We call it civics: a social science dealing with the rights and duties of citizens, government, and how it affects life. If civics is not brought back into our school curriculum, they we have to learn civics “School House Rock” style, one video at a time. Next, we need to learn about the inner workings of our state and local government. Sure we know (to some extent) the roles of the President and Congress, but what about our local judge, councilperson, and school board member? They affect our lives far more than our national leaders, yet we do not learn who they are and what they do. Next, we need to educate ourselves about all candidates and vote. We do not have to vote by party affiliation. Instead, we should vote in our own interests regardless of which party agrees or disagrees. I’m ready to impeach THIS!

We are past the point of no return. We are beyond thinking government does not affect us. We are done with accepting what our politicians tell us. We are through with thinking our voices don’t matter. You matter. I matter. We matter. This is our country, and we need to hold our political leaders, on both sides of the aisle, to a much higher standard. We need to send the message that we are tired of politics as usual. While I don’t encourage storming the Capitol, I do encourage more education, more determination, and more consternation to help fix our political system. I’m ready impeach THIS! Our politicians do not serve us… yet!

Gary A. McAbee, Author and Blogger: JOIN ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA!

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