Home | 2005 Columns » | All Columns » | 2005 Blogs »
5-23-2005/#60: FOUR KEY QUESTIONS RELATED TO CONFUSION RE MN FORUM ISSUES
1. Don Samuels confusion re the masks he wears to explain his DNA theory
Speech making and column writing are difficult arts. Sometimes we confuse our personal and professional roles. The symbol for theaters is often two masks side by side, one smiling, one not smiling. Actors essentially wear masks on stage or before the camera. It is not they but their role that we see. Sometimes actors confuse themselves with their roles. Even Ronald Reagan, the Great Communicator, while addressing an audience, talked about his experience in a fighter bomber during WWII. He got the story mixed up with a movie role he played. So too Don Samuels, it would seem, is confusing his role real life roles (Council Member, Jamaican immigrant, Black) with his stage role as a Black man havng a dialogue with a white Mississippian.
In his 5-23-05 “Shame and Advantage” article in Insight News, he suggests we are all in “confusion, ignorance, delusion and national schizophrenic” when it comes to talking about slavery. His article suggests that he may be projecting himself onto the rest of us. His DNA theory sounds a lot like the bussing theory after Brown vs. Board of Education: Blacks will do better in school the more they sit with White kids and not just Black kids. Don says his family success is not due to “a certain innate family brilliace and resiliency” but rather, he says, “our advantage has everything to do with the fact that there were mulatto house slaves in our family.” In other words, Don is saying that Blacks will do better the more white blood they have in them. This is the true “shame” of his article.
Don says his “great grandmother who was probably a field slave,” is someone he knows nothing about. This is strange. Blacks are a people of oral tradidtions. The book and V series “Roots” is based on that premise. All of us have had our famly stories passed down. It would seem that Don is confusing the history of the stage personas with his own. And he confuses the history of Jamaica. The “Maroons” of Jamaica were our African ancestors who chose freedom in the mountains to slavery. Their number grew as the number of African slaves brought to Jamaica grew. They lived in the wild lands and high mountains, maintaing a guerrilla warfare against the British sent to subdue them, wiping them out who tried. Peace came in the treaty of 1739.
It should be noted that the antislavery struggle was launched by slaves themselves, who were supported by free colored, black supporters of the missions, and the British missionaries. And as slavery was officially abolished in Jamaica in 1838, how could lhis great grandmother have been slave field hand when she would have had to be born 60-70 years after slavery was abolished?
My concern is not his DNA theory (as pointed out on my TV show last week, my shade is one and a half time lighter than his, with European ancestry as well as Native American ancestry. Does my status as an original American make a difference? No.).
Don ends his piece by saying that “history will judge us [by] the degree to which we parlayed that advantage [White blood, living next to Whites] into love for our neighbor and service to our community; especially to the poor.”
Sadly, Don distorts the past just as he distorts the solution for the present. He doesn’t want us to think independently. He wants he and the DFL to do our thinking for us. Like the Maroons of Jamaica, who he passes over, we stand for freedom, not subservience. We don’t need to be next to Whites to succeed. Indeed, prior to the Civil Rights Movment, when Minneapolis was wholly segregated, there were twice as many Black businesses as today.
I see in Don the same as the Minneapolis NAACP: opposed to elf-reliance, waiting for handouts from the government, pretending they have our best interests in mind. Look at our schools. Hollman. Gangs in the street. We are only victims and dependent to the degree we let people like Don define us that way. I reject the definition. I again urge Don and others to either adopt the proposals at the top of this column or explain why they don’t. These are real world proposals, proposals not seen from Don, the NAACP, etc.
2. Tyrone Terrell’s and others’ confusion re the word “terrorist”
Words have lives and meaning. This comment builds on our column of May 4 and Blog entries #47, 48, 51, 53, 56, 58, and 59. To make the point lets look at the word “liberal.” 200 years ago, it was held to be a word that, overall, was praiseworthy and positive. It meant broadminded, educated, civilized. It didn’t enter politics until the 1820s. It went from meaning a generous helping of something to the more nebulous helping others through state intervention. Too often today it is used to define “freedom” in terms of racial and gender emancipation, when the Greeks and our Founders meant by freedom knowing one’s self, knowing one’s own personal limits, and restricting one’s self so as not to interfer with the freedom of others. Now it means freedom to have city councils, state legislatures, and national bodies assign the limits and restrictions. We appreciate all the work Tyrone did for Norm Coleman when he was Mayor. We thought Tyrone would have learned from that experience.
No one should mistake the debate over Tyrone Terrell’s open letter as any kind of attempt to justify or gloss over the shootings, beatings, drug selling and using of the so-called “gang bangers.” Far from it, especially in this corner, where we have discussed solutions in our book, our column, in this web log, and in our solutions papers. Tyrone rightly condemns such activity. We all do. That is not the issue. The issue and debate is over Tyrone’s condemning whole families. We have asked what this means. We have not gotten an answer. We have asked within the real world context of what we discussed in our May 4 column, the 1971 Plan of Hennepin County District Court Judge Lindsay Arthur to round up Blacks and put then in detention centers. We have not gotten an answer.
We have asked what the plan is being cooked up by Chuck Wexler on General Mill’s dime. We have not gotten an answer.
We stand with all seeking to resolve these problems. We have solutions at the top of this column that remain ignored. We ask why? We have not gotten an answer.
We wrote in our May 4 column of the novelized version of a plan to round up Blacks in the 1960s, as described in The Man Who Cried I Am, in which the characters were thin disguises of the author, John a. Williams; novelists Richard Wright and James Baldwin, and Malcolm X. The book describes these kinds of plans as “totalitarian” and as the “final solution” for African Americans forever at the alert in order to avoid “the snap of the white bear trap.”? All we have asked is what Tyrone and Chuck mean. We have not gotten an answer.
The word “terrorist” today connotes and denotes individuals who would do harm to the United States for the purpose of bringing it down as well as our way of life. Our “gang bangers” are not trying to bring down this country. They like the bling of our way of life. They don’t want to bring down neighborhoods. They want to stay there and continue their unlawful activities.
This we cannot allow. We have to provide them with consequences while making sure we are not growing more in the next generation. But labeling them terrorists is both wrong and unfair, to them and to our community. It trivializes the global war on terrorism at the expense of our own families. We await the Plan that outsider not-from-Minnesota Chuck Wexler will reveal to us Wednesday, June 1st. What trend will it represent? Will it be a trend toward customizing efforts designed to fit our situation or will it be a one size fits all type of Plan taken off of Chuck’s shelf, like some commodity, to use against Blacks anywhere, treating us as commodities?
3. Greg Reinhart confusion re Stop and Police 05 budget
Greg Reinhart, Minneapolis Police Department lead statistician, has corrected some folks who think STOP is privately funded by noting that it is taxpayer funded through a line item in the 05 budget. Which is a puzzlement. At the March announcement of the program, the Strib reported that the name was determined after the Best Steak House murders. So, if it was just created, how could it be in the 05 budget? What is the line item and how do we identify it that indicates STOP is there.
4. City clarifying confusion over who owns anti-gang plan
The debate has been of the role of General Mills in the developing of a public safety plan for Minneapolis. The word was that this was a city plan. We, along with others, asked to see it. But then the City Attorney gives a ruling that it was General Mills’ and that they therefore did not have to show it to the PCRC. We contend the city is in continuous defiance of and breaking of the Federally mediated agreement. How can a public safety plan be drawn up in private without the PCRC involvement? We ask again, how is it that the city is using private funding to develop a public plan. We ask again: what is the plan. We are supposed to be part of the final solution group. Is the reason we are not allowed to look because we are the intended victims?
5. Confusion over linkage attribution re Homeland Security & money trail
Although we have asked the questions about Homeland Security, and not about
the need to fight the global war on terrorism but rather that it be used in
what we call in our book, the war on young Black men. Others have said Homeland
Security was being used so as to funnel money to organizations like that of
Don Samuel. That is a question raised on the Mn Forum, not by us. But now that
it is on the table, we can only recite the lines attributed to “deep throat”
in the Watergate investigation: “follow the money.”
Posted 5-31-05, 11:59 p.m. 5-23-2005
5-26-05/#59: Why do St. Paul liberals act as terrorists against young Black men trying to make a positive difference?
We find it ironic, in light of Tyrone Terrill’s accusation of our young Black men being “terrorists,” and in light of his position as head of the St. Paul Department of Civil Rights, that he has remaind silent and moot in the face of the terrorism wreaked upon two young Black men trying to exercise the responsibility Tyrone calls for but refuses to back.
Why are so many so-called Black leaders so opposed to our young men? The Strib reported on May 25th, in a story entitled, Developers tangled in St. Paul bureaucracy, that this very thing has happened to two fine, young brothers in St. Paul, James Garrett, 33, and his good friend Erick Goodlow, 34, who are attempting to build five “green” townhouses “using energy-efficient design and earth-friendly materials” that its Merriam Park neighborhood also wants built, but not using White screens and not by greasing the palms of St. Paul officials.
What White developer would be stalled seven years? The city admits its compliance with Black contractors is only 1.1% yet refuses to study why, or in our language, refuses to pull back the covers and see, as the article states, “what everybody agrees is St. Paul’s unsatisfactory record in working with minority contractors.”
As the Strib story notes, Garrett and Goodlow have become “the poster case for how the city throws up roadblocks to minority and small developers - intentionally or not.” Isn’t that just like the Strib, to add the disclaimer at the end, “intentionally or not” as a way to say the truth really isn’t true, as if they can hide the racism behind the skirts of a lame disclaimer?
Our rallying cry has been not for equal results but for equal access and equal opportunity. The Strib calls “complex” the “issue of finding ways to improve access to city business.” We say it isn’t complex at all. Take down the barriers. Have open bids and competition. And open judgments and postings as to why those who win win, and why those who lose lose. Shine the light on the process and barriers will go down and the complexity will end.
The article makes it clear that the city itself is still trying to shake down Blacks. Older Black “leaders” obviously accept, hence their silence. It is hopeful to see these young men refusing to be shaken down. Our young men must not accept what their elders are doing. As the story reports, these young brothers “had side offers from the city to put [them] with a white contractor that would grease the wheels to get this done.” How more brazenly corrupt can you get?
Like modern day Martin Luthers, Garrett and Goodlow have said “we’re not having
it.” In other words, here they stand. Like Martin Luther, guided by conscience,
they can do no other. As Garrett point out, “we’re capable people. We have a
capable tam. It should happen on its own merit.”
Posted 5-26-05, 11:59 p.m.
5-23-2005/#58: Statesmanship (Booker T. Hodges) and the will of the people or technical jiggering to abet the will of the people (Don Samuels)? That is the question. Booker T. and Don Samuels give a peek into the future. How do we bring together Booker T’s search for common ground and community and Don’s continued sacrificed of community will for individual power?
“Make strong in our hearts what unites us.”
Brother David Steindl-Rast quoted in God Has No Religion by
Frances Sheridan Goulart, quoted on Spirituality& Health web site.
SpiritualityRx goes on to state: It feels more and more like people are dividing up into opposing camps, circling their wagons, and purging their lines of any dissenters. What has happened to unity within diversity? Can’t we still dine at the same table with those with whom we might disagree?
On May 20th, the Strib reported that “Activist apologizes for statement on Samuels.” . Booker T apologized to Don Samuels for the effects his comments had on Samuels, even though he still believes Don took his words out of context. Don has refused to accept the apology. It is difficult to understand why Booker T apologized, given what Don has said but it is not difficult to understand why Don won’t accept it.
Young men apologizing to older men is not an everyday thing. Booker T, with a history of community first and attempts to find common ground, is up against someone who seeks to win at any cost, even at the cost of “community.” It is the old divide and conquer routine. But Don isn’t going on specific words but rather what he “perceived” and “felt” was a threat. If everyone called the police because of what they perceived or felt about what another said, we’d be reduced to a perpetual never ending round of being in middle school.
By apologizing, a noble act of statesmanship, Booker T. encourages more police state tactics by men like Samuels who are city officials with no compunction to call in the police to strong arm those that disagree with them.
In Chapter 5 of our book, The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes, we outline a finding of “common ground,” and gather all the suggestions for doing so in our book in Chapter 17. We follow those with our solutions suggestions in our Solutions Section
In the “Point 7” (Ethics) section, we outline a way to bring about this common ground understanding:
f. Call “a family meeting”: as has been pointed out elsewhere, back in the year 2000, Dave Jennings, (with the school district as of this writing), in discussing the stadium problem, said “someone other than the teams have to create a public discussion about the future of the Twins and the Vikings in Minnesota. The teams are crying out for somebody to call the family meeting” (Star Tribune,8-10-00). So too, the problems outlined in my book call out for a public discussion, for a “family meeting.” Who should call it? Why not the Urban League, the NAACP, or the two together? How about a newspaper? A company? A coalition? A church. A church denomination. Let the family meeting be called. Let the conversation begin. Use this occasional paper to develop the agenda.
The fact that everyone ignores this as if it was some kind of “third rail” underscores and supports our contention that the “powers” are more interested in keeping power that using power for the people.
The DFL is beginning to lose at the ballot box (we the people) when the people vote for Greens. There was a time when the Republicans ruled Minneapolis. They didn’t stand up for the people and lost to the DFL. So for decades, now, Minneapolkis has been in the hands of the DFL. Now, like the Rs of old, they too no longer stand up for the people but rather for keeping power. This is why the 5th ward voted for Natalie Johnson Lee and why the DFL had to gerrymander her district to try to get rid of her. This is why Don Samuels is so eager to silence Booker T. Hodges, as Booker T speakes truths Don doesn’t want the people to know. But sorry, Don. They already know.
To read more on how the DFL has used gerrymandering to get around the will of the people, see Chapters 12 and 13 of my book.
Don’s interpretation and actions crossed the line when he filed a police complaint. On one level, it was a clever ploy, attempting to paint Booker T as rash and deflect from what was upsetting Booker T, namely Booker T’s sense that Don was being a “racist” and an “elitist.” It is Don who should be apologizing. But he won’t, as he acted on purpose with one purpose in mind: to silence Booker T. This is also a generation thing. Words mean different things to different generations. To most of us, “gay” refers to sexual orientation. To the young it has no sexual connotation at all, but rather means ridiculous or stupid, depending on the inflection (as the two boxers in a pre-fight interview two years ago fought because of that misunderstanding). “Kill” has the same difference. To the young it means “to stop it.” Don Samuels shows just how out of touch he is with the younger generation.
Booker T took the high road. Booker T is trying to be a statesmen while Don is trying to win an election by being devisive using disinformation.
When Booker T ran for Governor in 2002, many of the “old hands” leadership told him he couldn’t, that he had to get their permission first (the Strib quoted Spike Moss telling Booker T that). It appears the older hands still have that attitude, Don included. Too many old men resist giving in to the next genration. And for Don and his surrogates to try to drag Natalie Johnson-Lee into this when this is a manner and method so totally foreign to her style of campaigning that everyone in the community knows it, shows even more his attempt to be a divider, not a uniter. They knew they couldn’t beat her in an election, so they gerrymandered her and Don together in the hope that with more DFL registered voters, more would vote for Don. Any woman who thinks about this, and any slave descended African American who thinks about this, will not only see the naked powerplay and an attempt to deny the will of the people, but will realize it is not in their best interests as “we the people.” Hence the distraction of Don trying to pose himself as a victim.
Let me repeat: this is not the DFL of DFL co-founders Nellie Stone Johnson or Hubert H. Humphrey.
Too many excellent Blacks are being tarnished for not being Democrats. Whether Greens or Republicans, the DFL has made clear these have strayed from the plantation, and that they have no place at the Minneapolis political table. Black descended African Americans have very different perceptions than Caribbean descended African Americans. The latter do not understand nor appreciate the Black American struggle that has passed through slavery to Jim Crow to inner city ghetorization.
In my book, columns, TV show, and web log, the call is the same: to find common ground and to fight for equal access and equal opportunity for all. Recall the famous saying of Mahatma Gandhi that “God has no religion.” We could also say he has no political party.
In other words, God has no religion, no political party, as he created all. It is his followers that have created little boxes for him that deny his universality (including those who create a box that is a coffin to match their God is dead view). All the major religions say God/Jehovah/Allah is God of all. He seeks peace, not violence. Too many want to put their skewed view of God in a box, their box, and exclude all those outside their box. Too many in politics want to do the same: exclude all who are not inside their box.
Why do our so-called Black leadership groups (NAACP, Urban League, city departments of civil rights) continue this? Because they want to be able to be allowed to stay in the box funded by tax payers and contributors that provides them their jobs. For Don to join those who call our young men “terrorists” is beyond the pale (see web log entry #53 of May 11).
May all of these dividers pause, call for a “family meeting,” and seek the
common ground that enables all to have a place at the Minneapolis table rather
than fight to keep others away. We understand it when Whites do it. When Blacks
organizations and elected officals do it we must use a word we have used before: “ominous.”
Posted 5-24-05, 11:15 p.m.
5-22-2005/#57. Thanks for saving the Vikings, Reggie. We applaud you and wish you well, and welcome you and Zygi Wilf.
The Strib this morning, headlined that ”Wilf is ready to bring Vikings into the family” (meaning the Wilf family). This is good news. This story follows by 7 days the 5-17-05 Strib story, “Zygi Wilf is confident he will soon own Vikings.”
This, of course, means that Reggie Fowler, who brought the Wilf’s to the table, has indeed secured the Vikings, although not as the General Partner. Nonetheless, he will be a partner, and that is something to celebrate.
We are reminded of the Strib story of 2-16-05, “Success isn’t a matter of race, some blacks say,” by Paul Levy. The quotes in this blog entry are from this Strib story. There were good points in that article and some misplaced ones. We don’t share Bill English’s view that had Fowler become the general partner, that with his “high visibility comes responsibilities to the minority community.” We have had other high profile Blacks in our community that Bill’s Leadership Forum ignored as they didn’t want to be in anyone else’s shadow. And we are still waiting for the Forum, the NAACP, the Urban League and Don Samels to exercise their responsibility to the minority community. What is needed is all citizens being responsible for all the rest. Why don’t these “leaders?”
And we disagree with Charles Nichols, first Black Chairman of the Metropolitan Airports Commission who said “One of the penalties of being first is you can’t be wrong, because you’ll mess it up for others for years.” When it was obvious that Reggie needed help, where was the help to support this brother? And years? When will we stop playing victims and say if we stumble we’ll pick ourselves up and keep on moving on?
We prefer the statement of local dentist Dr. John Williams, a star football player at the U and former player with the Baltimore Colts who speaks two hard truths: (1) “That Reggie Fowler can buy the Minnesota Vikings is proof of the American dream.” What we have pushed for in our book, column, TV show and web log, is extending the American Dream to the citizens of the inner city also. And (2) for all who were anxious about it, Williams reminds us that, as he said, if Fowler gets the team, “The Vikings will have an African-American owner because nobody locally wanted the team badly enough to pool enough money together to buy it.” Reggie took his shot when none of the White boys would. The Vikings languished for nearly two years when Reggie stepped up. No Minnesotan stepped up. We hope the sports writers, when they begin their usual trash talking, remember that Reggie and Zygi have, in a real sense, saved their jobs too.
And here we need to pause to thank Reggie again. Never once did he threaten to move the team. And he obviously sought like minded partners, as those he is bringing in have also pledged not to move the team. No threats. Even Glen Taylor said, before Reggie made his bid, that if he, Glen, got the team and the state didn’t deliver a stadium for him, he would move the team. We addressed this in our column of January 26, 2005. And we listed with the column’s on-line posting, many of the threats that have been levied against the Vikings to move them of town. In this sense, Reggie and Zygi have saved the Vikings for Minnesota. We posted on our web site the roll call of those threatening or asking for the Vikings to move.
It is important also to listen too to what Roxanne Givens Copeland said. This Twin Cities developer is the daughter of the late Archie Givens, who was Minnesota’s first black millionaire. Roxanne noted that her dad often felt like “a Lone Ranger” and that he was convinced that “success could come only from working with members of all ethnic communities.” That is certainly what Reggie has brought to the table of the new Vikings’ ownership. As Roxanne said in February, “I think Mr. Fowler will find that everybody is eager to embrace him” and that “there’s much to be learned from him.” The same can be said about the team he has put together that is now headed by Zygi Wilf.
Let us not forget that Reggie will not be the first Black part owner of a Minnesota sports team. Cornell Leverette Moore, a partner with the Dorsey & Whitney law firm was part owner of the Twins when they won two World Series. And as Cornell said, “Minnesota is a wonderful place, maybe the best-kept secret in America. [Reggie will] find out.” The same, of course, is true of Zygi Wilf: he too will discover this best-kept secret of how wonderful Minnesota can be, which we discussed in Chapter 15 of our book. What we work on it to make “wonderful” come true for the inner city African Americans as well.
Tim Baylor, a former Vikings defensive back who is now a Twin Cities developer and owner of two McDonald’s franchises, said it best: “The less we make of [Reggie] being a black man, the better…it will be even more significant the day we have a healthy appreciation of a new owner, and color is no longer an issue.”
Thanks for saving the Vikings, Reggie. And thanks for bringing in a winning
team to be the new owners. We all look forward to embracing you and the Wilf
team. We look forward to learning from the Wilf team as well. 5/13/05/#56: DFL endorsement convention becomes a funny farm fever swamp before
hundreds made disastrous by (1) DFL Mayor RT Rybak who huffed and pouted and
killed the quorum our of fear of its democratic results, and by (2) DFL Minneapolis
Councilman Don Samuels, who huffed and puffed and played accuser, accusing two
PCRC (Police Community Relations Committee) members of an assassination plot
to kill him. Needed is a “J’accuse!” (I accuse) in return.
Do we laugh or cry? Who should be arrested, the false accuser. Don Samuels
would have the one he defames and falsely accuses arrested. Will this require
a Federal investigation to clarify the issue?
How is it that today, it is the Greens who get the issues better than does
the DFL? What to do? Vote Natalie Johnson Lee, as her stand for rounding up
jobs is the best antidote to gangs, low taxes, and full participation of all
at the Minneapolis table, considerations seemingly of little true interest to
either Rybak or Samuels, as evidenced by their behavior Saturday at the DFL
Fearing either “No endorsement” for Mayor or fearing an endorsement for his
challenger, Peter McLaughlin, DFL Mayor R.T. Rybak had his supporters walk out
in order to collapse the quorum and deny a vote to endorse or not endorse. We
can only assume that the continuing fear of the Democratic Party of up and down
votes, here and elsewhere, is their sense that they will lose, and thus they
seek non-democratic means to win as, more and more, they leave democracy behind.
These are not the Democrats of DFL co-founders Nellie Stone Johnson and Hubert
It seems, in the case of Mayor R.T. Rybak and his supporters that we now need
to add (with no offense intended toward women) “what has happened to White manhood?”
to our question in our February 10, 2005 column of “What happened to Black manhood?”
In our October 7, 2004 column, we noted that despite the fact that the White “Plantation mentality denies Blacks $15 million,” there was no protest from
Black leaders, only “silence” (except for this column), not to mention the silence
we noted in our December 16, 2004 column when we called Black men an “Endangered
Species” and wondered about “the future of Black Men in Minneapolis” when no
Black leader or Black organization stepped up to speak out about the killing
of a young boy (except this column). And now they are silent again in terms
of jobs for Blacks in the great public works projects that are pending, including
the stadiums (and again, we are not silent, as seen in our columns noted above
and in recent Blog entries #44, #45, and #55.
Why is our White Mayor afraid of the outcome of an up or down vote at the DFL
convention of 1,800 (many more attended than in previous conventions). Isn’t
his collapsing the quorum by having his supporters walk out spitting in the
face of the community and the tradition of citizen participation? Isn’t his
claim that this traditional democratic process is no longer valid, that all
that counts is actual election day votes? Why does our Mayor fear democracy
at the “we the people” level of the Party endorsement convention?
More ominous than a pouting Mayor is a raging Councilman, Don Samuels, making
all kinds of theater in this election season as he replaces politics with farce
and replaces substantive comments on the issues with paranoid accusations that
are totally unfounded, as he hides behind the skirts of technicalities and unproven
At Saturday’s DFL convention, Don, having in tow security personnel along with
Minnesota legislator Keith Ellison, City of Minneapolis Civil Rights Department
Sherman Patterson, and NAACP former head Brent Buckner, accosted Al Flowers
on the floor of the DFL endorsing convention Saturday. When a whole gang of
people descends on just one person, something is terribly out of joint. Don
said to Al, “You’re dead Flowers. You’re trying to get me killed, murdered.”
The Chairman of the credentials committee then rushed up, grabbed Al’s press
pass and ripped it from his neck. The security team told Al to leave the Augsburg
College hall where the endorsement convention was being held. Why is Don trying
to replace considered democratic convention discussion with demagogic street
theater? This is the politics of bad faith. And it is act of bad faith with
the Black community.
Now it is no secret that the Mayor, Don Samuels, the City Council, and various
city bureaus, don’t like the Mediation Process of 2003 nor the 2004 agreement
signed with the Federal government creating the PCRC (Police Community Relations
Committee). Al Flowers and Booker T. Hodges serve on that committee with me.
Don Samuels is accusing them of plotting his assassination. Again, why is Don
trying to replace considered convention democratic discussion with demagogic
street theater? This is the politics of bad faith. And it is act of bad faith
with the Black community.
The snow ball from hell thrown by Don Samuels started when an email was circulated
about the accusation against Al Flowers and Booker T. Hodges, stating that it
was all on tape, and that it occurred Thursday on a radio show featuring a conversation
between Al Flowers and Booker T. Hodges. Funny thing though. Booker T was not
on that program. So they then changed the story saying that it took place on
Friday Minnesota Issues program, on which both men appeared, and that they have
a tape of it. Of course they do. All shows are taped. Why don’t they play the
tape or post a transcript? Again, this is demagogic street theater. This is
the politics of bad faith. And it is act of bad faith with the Black community.
It is time to use Sportscaster Warner Wolf’s line, “roll the tape.” And what
will the tape of that show reveal? Not what Don Samuels said. Indeed, just the
opposite. What Al and Booker T were discussing was how Samuels, in his backing
of the round up plans being discussed, could himself become the cause of getting
Black people killed through such programs,.
Let’s not forget the context: at a time of Homeland Security concerns to fight
the global war against terrorism, so-called Black leaders like Don Samuels and
Tyrone Terrill (see Blog entry #55) are labeling our young Black men of our
neighborhoods who are not law abiding as “terrorists.” Some unemployed young
Black men denied education and jobs, and living in fatherless homes, are indeed
acting lawlessly through gang behavior. But, in the context of Islamic Jihad,
they are not “terrorists.” This, again, is demagogic street theater. This is
the politics of bad faith. And it is an act of bad faith with the Black community.
Only Natalie Johnson-Lee seems to understand what needs to be done. She combines
the best of the different political traditions. On matters of policy of education,
jobs, and housing, she is liberal in that she wants to see all people actually
get educated, get jobs, and get good housing as they get passed through the
system from the front door to out the back door (calling for a high percentage
of success in each, replacing low expectations and low results). On matters
of our open spaces, parks, energy, clean air and water, etc., she acts appropriately
as a conservationist of our city (we may disagree on the levels of acceptable
meter readings, but certainly limits for the readings beats no limits and defacto
return to pollution that indiscriminately creates bad water, bad air, and bad
ground). And in terms of matters of personal choice, she leans libertarian in
the sense of wanting people left alone to do make their own choices (we may
disagree on the scope of the limits in which to exercise choice but choice beats
This is serious. Events like this can have long term negative consequences.
Sadly, accusations, even when false, have a way of being taken as true. Retractions
and apologies are usually buried deep in a paper in small letters. We are reminded
of the Dreyfus Affair in France in the late 1890s. Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish
military officer was falsely accused and jailed in an attempt of the French
military to cover up its own mistakes (Dreyfus was chosen because he was Jewish,
as who would defend a Jew?). It became known as “The Affair.” When an investigator
later found out that Dreyfus was innocent, the Army, to cover up its error,
assigned the officer overseas and still sent Dreyfus to jail. It might have
ended there, unjustly, had not the novelist Emile Zola not published his famous
letter of denunciation, (”J’accuse!”), of the army cover-up in a daily
It took 12 years to reinstate Dreyfus (incidentally, this case inspired the
1905 French law separating church and state). But the notion lingered in too
many that Dreyfus must have been guilty (denial is an long time historical sport
of those who either don’t want to face the truth or prefer their own versions).
It was not until 101 years after Dreyfus was accused that the military officially
stated that Dreyful had been innocent. Minneapolis has too many problems to
solve to wait that long. We don’t need another Dreyfus affair.
Postedp 5-22-05, 11:32 p.m.
Posted 5-16-05, 4:15 a.m.
5/13/05/#56: DFL endorsement convention becomes a funny farm fever swamp before hundreds made disastrous by (1) DFL Mayor RT Rybak who huffed and pouted and killed the quorum our of fear of its democratic results, and by (2) DFL Minneapolis Councilman Don Samuels, who huffed and puffed and played accuser, accusing two PCRC (Police Community Relations Committee) members of an assassination plot to kill him. Needed is a “J’accuse!” (I accuse) in return.
Do we laugh or cry? Who should be arrested, the false accuser. Don Samuels would have the one he defames and falsely accuses arrested. Will this require a Federal investigation to clarify the issue?
How is it that today, it is the Greens who get the issues better than does the DFL? What to do? Vote Natalie Johnson Lee, as her stand for rounding up jobs is the best antidote to gangs, low taxes, and full participation of all at the Minneapolis table, considerations seemingly of little true interest to either Rybak or Samuels, as evidenced by their behavior Saturday at the DFL endorsement convention.
Fearing either “No endorsement” for Mayor or fearing an endorsement for his challenger, Peter McLaughlin, DFL Mayor R.T. Rybak had his supporters walk out in order to collapse the quorum and deny a vote to endorse or not endorse. We can only assume that the continuing fear of the Democratic Party of up and down votes, here and elsewhere, is their sense that they will lose, and thus they seek non-democratic means to win as, more and more, they leave democracy behind. These are not the Democrats of DFL co-founders Nellie Stone Johnson and Hubert H. Humphrey.
It seems, in the case of Mayor R.T. Rybak and his supporters that we now need to add (with no offense intended toward women) “what has happened to White manhood?” to our question in our February 10, 2005 column of “What happened to Black manhood?” In our October 7, 2004 column, we noted that despite the fact that the White “Plantation mentality denies Blacks $15 million,” there was no protest from Black leaders, only “silence” (except for this column), not to mention the silence we noted in our December 16, 2004 column when we called Black men an “Endangered Species” and wondered about “the future of Black Men in Minneapolis” when no Black leader or Black organization stepped up to speak out about the killing of a young boy (except this column). And now they are silent again in terms of jobs for Blacks in the great public works projects that are pending, including the stadiums (and again, we are not silent, as seen in our columns noted above and in recent Blog entries #44, #45, and #55.
Why is our White Mayor afraid of the outcome of an up or down vote at the DFL convention of 1,800 (many more attended than in previous conventions). Isn’t his collapsing the quorum by having his supporters walk out spitting in the face of the community and the tradition of citizen participation? Isn’t his claim that this traditional democratic process is no longer valid, that all that counts is actual election day votes? Why does our Mayor fear democracy at the “we the people” level of the Party endorsement convention?
More ominous than a pouting Mayor is a raging Councilman, Don Samuels, making all kinds of theater in this election season as he replaces politics with farce and replaces substantive comments on the issues with paranoid accusations that are totally unfounded, as he hides behind the skirts of technicalities and unproven court orders.
At Saturday’s DFL convention, Don, having in tow security personnel along with Minnesota legislator Keith Ellison, City of Minneapolis Civil Rights Department Sherman Patterson, and NAACP former head Brent Buckner, accosted Al Flowers on the floor of the DFL endorsing convention Saturday. When a whole gang of people descends on just one person, something is terribly out of joint. Don said to Al, “You’re dead Flowers. You’re trying to get me killed, murdered.” The Chairman of the credentials committee then rushed up, grabbed Al’s press pass and ripped it from his neck. The security team told Al to leave the Augsburg College hall where the endorsement convention was being held. Why is Don trying to replace considered democratic convention discussion with demagogic street theater? This is the politics of bad faith. And it is act of bad faith with the Black community.
Now it is no secret that the Mayor, Don Samuels, the City Council, and various city bureaus, don’t like the Mediation Process of 2003 nor the 2004 agreement signed with the Federal government creating the PCRC (Police Community Relations Committee). Al Flowers and Booker T. Hodges serve on that committee with me. Don Samuels is accusing them of plotting his assassination. Again, why is Don trying to replace considered convention democratic discussion with demagogic street theater? This is the politics of bad faith. And it is act of bad faith with the Black community.
The snow ball from hell thrown by Don Samuels started when an email was circulated about the accusation against Al Flowers and Booker T. Hodges, stating that it was all on tape, and that it occurred Thursday on a radio show featuring a conversation between Al Flowers and Booker T. Hodges. Funny thing though. Booker T was not on that program. So they then changed the story saying that it took place on Friday Minnesota Issues program, on which both men appeared, and that they have a tape of it. Of course they do. All shows are taped. Why don’t they play the tape or post a transcript? Again, this is demagogic street theater. This is the politics of bad faith. And it is act of bad faith with the Black community.
It is time to use Sportscaster Warner Wolf’s line, “roll the tape.” And what will the tape of that show reveal? Not what Don Samuels said. Indeed, just the opposite. What Al and Booker T were discussing was how Samuels, in his backing of the round up plans being discussed, could himself become the cause of getting Black people killed through such programs,.
Let’s not forget the context: at a time of Homeland Security concerns to fight the global war against terrorism, so-called Black leaders like Don Samuels and Tyrone Terrill (see Blog entry #55) are labeling our young Black men of our neighborhoods who are not law abiding as “terrorists.” Some unemployed young Black men denied education and jobs, and living in fatherless homes, are indeed acting lawlessly through gang behavior. But, in the context of Islamic Jihad, they are not “terrorists.” This, again, is demagogic street theater. This is the politics of bad faith. And it is an act of bad faith with the Black community.
Only Natalie Johnson-Lee seems to understand what needs to be done. She combines the best of the different political traditions. On matters of policy of education, jobs, and housing, she is liberal in that she wants to see all people actually get educated, get jobs, and get good housing as they get passed through the system from the front door to out the back door (calling for a high percentage of success in each, replacing low expectations and low results). On matters of our open spaces, parks, energy, clean air and water, etc., she acts appropriately as a conservationist of our city (we may disagree on the levels of acceptable meter readings, but certainly limits for the readings beats no limits and defacto return to pollution that indiscriminately creates bad water, bad air, and bad ground). And in terms of matters of personal choice, she leans libertarian in the sense of wanting people left alone to do make their own choices (we may disagree on the scope of the limits in which to exercise choice but choice beats dictation).
This is serious. Events like this can have long term negative consequences. Sadly, accusations, even when false, have a way of being taken as true. Retractions and apologies are usually buried deep in a paper in small letters. We are reminded of the Dreyfus Affair in France in the late 1890s. Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish military officer was falsely accused and jailed in an attempt of the French military to cover up its own mistakes (Dreyfus was chosen because he was Jewish, as who would defend a Jew?). It became known as “The Affair.” When an investigator later found out that Dreyfus was innocent, the Army, to cover up its error, assigned the officer overseas and still sent Dreyfus to jail. It might have ended there, unjustly, had not the novelist Emile Zola not published his famous letter of denunciation, (”J’accuse!”), of the army cover-up in a daily newspaper.
It took 12 years to reinstate Dreyfus (incidentally, this case inspired the
1905 French law separating church and state). But the notion lingered in too
many that Dreyfus must have been guilty (denial is an long time historical sport
of those who either don’t want to face the truth or prefer their own versions).
It was not until 101 years after Dreyfus was accused that the military officially
stated that Dreyful had been innocent. Minneapolis has too many problems to
solve to wait that long. We don’t need another Dreyfus affair.
5/13/05/#55: DFL abandons Black Minneapolis. What to do? Vote Natalie Johnson Lee. Rounding up jobs is the best antidote to gangs.
Council members Johnson-Lee and Zimmerman (both of the Green Party) co-sponsored a bill that would guarantee full participation in the employment that will occur with the building of the Twins Stadium and other large public works projects.
Don Samuels sat mute. Didn’t say a word. He didn’t speak up for the resolution. He didn’t speak up to support a measure seeking jobs for his constituent base of color. He refused to open his mouth to make his voice heard to support full employment for people of color on the biggest public works projects in Minnesota in a long time.
The Twins stadium and other projects are a chance to capture the imagination of the city while also standing up for Blacks to have employment there as well. Natalie Johnson-Lee stood up to be counted. Don Samuels refused to.
What did the Council do? They referred it to the Intergovernmental Relations committee, which won’t act on it for two weeks. This is consistent with the DFL’s business as usual.
So what should the Intergovernmental Relations committee do? They should make sure Minneapolis doesn’t turn its back on people of color. It should recommend a reciprocal commitment relationship to ensure Black contractors and Black workers participate in such construction projects.
Today we have important work to do, following our constitutional duty to endorse candidates. The DFL, if it is true to its founders, will endorse Natalie Johnson-Lee. Why? Because she stands up for everyone, including Black Minnesotans. The DFL can endorse her if it so chooses.
She is an excellent choice, the best choice. The DFL City Council in general and, in particular, Don Samuels, do not stand up for people of color. Don went along with the gerrymandering that pits these two Blacks against each other. The DFL game plan is to knock out any Black that is not a Democrat, as any Black who strays from their plantation must be punished. The upcoming election will either eliminate one or both. But of course Don expects to win with DFL endorsement. We understand why Whites would vote for Samuels. He has already shown his willing to help keep us “in our place.” But why would Blacks vote for him?
Instead of doing the right thing, the Council is terrified of being exposed for denying minorities. Too late. The exposure is complete. They were like a cat belling itself. It’s like the naked emperor himself drawing attention to the fact that he wears no clothes. The City Council has again exposed its own corrupt and racist construction contract system discussed in detail in Chapter 9 of my book, The Minneapolis Story: Through My Eyes.
Chapter 9 (excerpts below) discusses this in detail. On page 153 is a report of the meeting on this very subject at the Sabathani Community Center, August 3, 2002. Needless to say, the Star Tribune did not cover it. But the Spokesman-Recorder did in its August 8, 2002 issue. The problem discussed? How is it that, despite compliance laws to the contrary, and despite Minneapolis being 35% Black, there are virtually none on the multi-million dollar projects at the time. DFLer Mayor Rybak was at that meeting. So he knows. DFLers Mn Dept. of Human Rights were there. So they know. DFLers Minneapolis and St. Paul Urban League were there. So they know. Faith based groups and the African American Men Project was there. So they know. The progress since? None.
As written in Chapter 9, p. 154: they “are not in compliance, i.e., [they are] not following Federal, state and city laws regarding including Blacks as workers.” Nine steps are offered, p. 154, for how to get to the bottom of this, to get around the cooked reports denying these truths.
Don Samuels has gotten the endorsement of the labor unions. Natalie Johnson-Lee has not. Why? Because Don will allow the unions to continue their white tradition of non-compliance. Don Samuels has shown his true colors. He does not stand up for people of color. Martin Luther King, Jr. said not to judge people by the color of their skin but the content of their character. In this Don Samuels has shown his true character. ‘
Natalie Johnson-Lee has the character and strength to stand up to the Council and its cronies in defiance of their lack of compliance.
And it is not just the Twins Stadium that is involved. Recall these words from my Column of April 20, 2004:
“Blacks need not apply!” signs have been posted on nine major new construction projects: (1) a football stadium for the University of Minnesota; (2) a baseball stadium for our beloved Twins (possibly in Hennepin County behind the Target Center); (3) a new casino for Mall of America Phase II; (4) major “destination” development in Blaine, to include (5) a football stadium for the soon-to-be-newly-purchased Minnesota Vikings, and be (6) a hub to extend light rail from Minneapolis to St. Cloud, and (7) a new casino in that corridor; (8) ancillary projects that will be part of or next to these major projects; and (9) necessary infrastructure development for them.
From various newspaper articles, my math tells me we are looking at a minimum, conservatively speaking (with cost overruns), of over $5 billion in public and private investment dollars. This is not about taking from one group to give to another. It is about involving everyone in an ever-expanding pie.
Except we African Americans are not invited. We in this corner have already been told that there is no opportunity for the African American community to submit anything now, or to be considered at any point in time, because the big planning train has left the station, and even the porters on this train are White. Five billion dollars—do we get eight percent? No. Do we get 1.1 percent? No. We get zero percent.
Why has the Twins stadium all of a sudden gotten passage? Because all of the “deals” have been cut. The pie has been cut up. No slices for Blacks. We have no problem with an ordering of deals to make sure the construction projects are done and done well. We do have a problem when Blacks are not included and when the City Council and Don Samuels doesn’t stand up for us.
We can only conclude that the reason Don Samuels and the rest of the so-called Black leadership have not stood up (with the clear exception of Natalie Johnson-Lee), is because they in some way are being “taken care of” to keep people of color quiet. And how better to keep the community quiet than by leading many to feel there is no hope.
So why the lousy education, lousy job prospects, and lousing housing for inner city people of color in Minneapolis? Take Washington, D.C. as an example, a city where they have one of the worst school systems in the country despite the fact that most of the executives and leaders are Black. The same is true in many other cities. So it isn’t racism causing the lousy education, jobs and housing situation. So what is the independent variable? When Blacks are in charge the only difference is Political Party. Well, cities are run by Democrats. Democrats control the schools. Democrats control hiring compliance. Democrats control city housing. Do the math. The problem is the political party, not race. Thus, as demonstrated in example after example in my book, the racism at work that counts is that of the DFL.
When Ezel Jones and Al McPharland, on Al’s radio program, discussed my “Blacks Need Not Apply” column of May 4 discussing our being frozen out of these major projects, they expressed that Blacks were guaranteed consideration on all the projects. Are they part of this with Don? Have they been “taken care of?” All “consideration” means is that they can think about it and then not do anything after they have “considered” it.
One of the major critiques by DFLers as to why “W” won the election is because those who voted for him are stupid. Indeed, a code word for stupid is “Kansas,” as in the book ”What’s the matter with Kansas?” of which the thesis is that Kansans are stupid for in voting for “W” they voted against their economic self interests.
Others, however, have a different take on Kansas and say the statistics show there is nothing wrong with Kansas.
So who or what to believe? Forget party rhetoric and look at the results. The DFL would have us believe, today, that we need handouts to be successful, that we need the DFL to develop public policy for us. And yet every Black person just “knows” that in this country Blacks only support Democrats. The irony is that today, it is not Democrats who are trying to clean up our rotting schools or offer future possibililties. To stand outside this “group think” is to be called a traitor. To what? To the DFL’s scandalous running of education and purposefully not complying with its own construction contract hiring rules. There is not even a veneer of “affirmative action.” Why? As we headed our May 4 column: “Blacks need not apply.”
Isn’t this the DFL strategy: continue to keep us in the dark? Continually tell us we need them? That we are too stupid to do it on or own? Isn’t that the purpose of providing inner city Blacks with poor education, so they can’t read the road signs for how to get out? Barack Obama, our only Black Senator in the U.S. Senate, is quoted in Charles Barkley’s new book, Who’s Afraid of a Large Black Man, saying: “This whole attitude of anti-intellectualism in our communities is one of the most damaging things that we can do to our young people. No other culture I’m aware of does this: tell you it is to your advantage not to be smart.”
Barkley wants minorities to get their share of the pie. The pie is about to get enormous (see the 9 projects listed above). When will the Black “leadership” stand up for us to make sure we get to sit t the table and get our slices too?
So what is the DFL strategy? My book demonstrates that it is, in James Baldwin’s phrase, to keep us in our place on their inner city plantation. Here are more excerpts from Chapter 9 of my “The Minneapolis Story: Through My Eyes”:
Here are excerpts from my book, The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes, which addresses this issue:
Page 148: Minneapolis is an Upper Midwest outpost of the great experiment of how to keep Black people in their place. Keep them uneducated, destroy their housing and kick them out, ghettoize those in the 5th Ward who have no other place to go, reduce its size so it makes sure it has nothing to offer its residents, take away its economically viable portion that was part of Downtown, enable drug use, arrest us and move all of who are considered excess baggage off to prison or jail.
As minority firms in almost any city can confirm, age-long discrimination and economic road blocks for racial minorities and women have long been embedded in the process. The only way to level the playing fields for minority contractors is to sustain equality of opportunity. And the few who get a chance are kept from the real goal of all contractors: graduating from small time to prime time. The moral compass in need of movement is not only that of White contractors, but of government agencies as well, which have the oversight and the power to give contracts, that nonetheless do not follow their own rules for leveling the playing field. The only conclusion one can draw is that these DFL directed agencies aren’t supposed to.
This is why I have concluded that the only association that seems to be desired for Blacks is to occupy the jails built by the White contractors. It is why I see the war on drugs as a war on young Black men, especially the poor of the inner city. Everyone’s spirit soars when they work on what they enjoy working on. When society purposefully not only prevents, but also withholds opportunities for decent education, jobs and incomes through policies that allow discrimination and exclusion, it is the same as making war on them.
Page 152: Minneapolis needs to know there is only one jail project that counts, and that is the program that helps kids grow up right so they do not become candidates for jail. That means Whites have to give up the notion that Blacks are jailbait and include Black contractors and hire Black workers. But as long as Black organizations such as the NAACP and the Urban League, and so-called Black leaders, including Black pastors and community center individuals, serve the interest of the Mastuhs, and don’t work directly to end the discrimination and horrible consequences of racism in education, housing, and construction hiring, the corruption will remain in place and young Black men will remain on track for jail.
Page 156: To put this chapter in different words: Minneapolis doesn’t want to hire Black men. Period. All city and Federal construction projects are supposed to. They don’t. Minneapolis is not in compliance because it doesn’t believe in compliance. There is no push for it from the city. You destroy a man by not letting him get a job. That is the goal: destroy the Black man. He can’t raise a family without a job. Its the price Minneapolis is willing to pay to keep us in our place. For over a year we have been trying to get the city to give us compliance numbers. Natalie Johnson-Lee, when told by the Department that they couldn’t provide the numbers, ordered them to come to the meeting of her Health and Human Services Committee, October 3, 2002, and state so publicly and in writing. And that is what happened. On October 3, 2002, the head of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department admitted she had no information regarding compliance in construction and no information regarding the Civilian Review Authority. The Minneapolis Story just keeps on writing itself new verses to the same old song. And the tune isn’t pretty. And compliance in Minneapolis for minorities isn’t just about American home grown Blacks, as it now also includes a large contingent of Somalis. If you read only the Star Tribune, you remain ignorant. But if you read the Spokesman-Recorder or The City Pages, you receive a full reporting of this travesty of boss city government.
Posted 5-14-05, 5:10 a.m. Edits 2:15 p.m.
5/11/2005/#54: $50,000 out of the Cheerios Box from General Mills. Programs or payoff?
We were pleased to learn that General Mills has provided $50,000 for a tudoring
program in our inner city. We hope it is for that program and not for support
of General Mills’ funded Wexler Plan.
Posted 5-11-05, 2:50 a.m.
5/11/2005/#53: Threatening, it seems, to round up all gang members and their families as they either are terrorists or are harbouring them, does not seem to us to be the way to best end neighborhoods gangs. Will this be THE campaign promise for 2005 for would-be ward emperor Don Samuels?
We have dealt with this in blog entries #47, #48, and #51, and in our most recent column of May 4, 2005. It saddens us to see Council Person Don Samuels joining Tyrone Terrill in calling our gang members “terrorists.” The way Tyrone and Don talk you’d think we had insurgents doing things we can’t handle locally and thus have to call in Homeland Security. It is good that Tyrone is inviting people to a meeting on this on Friday, May 20, 2005 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, 270 Kent Street in Saint Paul.
What concerns us is Don Samuels Emailing Tyrone on May 7, 2005, and using the same language as Tyrone: referring to gang members as “terrorists.” Not only that, he agrees with Tyrone’s deadline, as he writes that what is needed is to “make a Metro wide declaration which would [put on] notice our terrorists that they are on their own as of that date (June 1st, as specified by Tyrone Terrill; see Blog #51 below). We keep asking, “or else what?” and fail to get a reply. That is also disturbing.
We are concerned about Don seeming to offer a litmus test for credibility: agreement with him, joining him, as if we was some kind of ward emperor. Note his words: “The black papers MUST come on board. KMOJ MUST come on board. The black cable show hosts MUST come on board. We must thoroughly establish the new ethic in every corner of our community’s consciousness.”
As an immigrant, Don, you may not be aware of our democratic institutions and our Bill of Rights guaranteed free press. We also prefer to get input from all concerned, not dictates to them from worthies who believe their way is THE way, who mouth the good words of participation but really are advocating that they be allowed to dictate what is done and how it is done.
From our perspective, we are appalled that (1) an elected official and a paid public official have joined up with their own version of some kind of “or else” plan (a la “King Arthur Plan?” or “King Alfred Plan?” or “King Wexler Plan?”). (2) To set a June 1st deadline to solve what has been intractable for decades, as if bad things happening is what they want. And (3) their continuall presenting this as if it is primarily a Black problem without belling the White cats as well and calling them to deadline. In a word, Tyrone and Don are blaming the victims. Rather than engaging in what would bring protection of the franchise of our youth (education that educates, job programs that are in hiring compliance, housing that is affordable and decent), these self-appointed leaders seem more comfortable giving orders to the people who by their existence made these so-called leaders’ jobs possible in the first place. In a word, they act as hustlers who wold continue to betray us.
Here is what we said about gangs in the December 25, 2002 interview in City Pages which is also on this web page.
I was bothered by how easy it was to sacrifice [former Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton]. I find it ironic that we are now going full cycle with this gang hysteria. I know for a fact that that is what brought Sharon Sayles Belton into that seat in 1992—because we needed to lower the gang problem and we could probably do it with a tough black mayor who could get away with things like allowing the police department carte blanche. And so, particularly in her first term, Sharon was very popular. As long as she was talking tough about the gangs and working with the “right” leadership and helping them with their hustle, then the official propaganda was, “We are now solving the gang problem.”
So how and when did these gangs come back to fruition? It was clear that there were always all kinds of gang problems. You’ve got Asian gangs, who, as far as I’m concerned, are the toughest gangs right now. They in some respects make African American gangs look like little sissies, okay? The Hispanics are tough, brutal. And then you’ve got the white gangs, the meth gangs, operating in the suburbs, and they’ve got a different kind of protection. But once again the blacks are the popular target when the subject of gangs is raised.
CP: You specifically criticize some of the black leadership in this city, but there is plenty of praise for the Fifth Ward council member Natalie Johnson Lee. Talk about that dynamic.
Edwards: First, I think the problem with the leadership is that they have become
comfortable, too comfortable. In some cultures they would be identified as having
gotten fat. They say, “We have to look at and protect our funding; we’ve got
alliances to maintain.” But to me, the primary alliance is the protection of
the franchise of your people, who by their existence made your prominence possible.
Posted 5-11-05, 1:00 p.m.
5/8/2005/#52: Has our goal been met? Are the Vikings staying? Will Reggie be the controlling General Partner, a legitimate Limited Parter, or a token Black? Or is the raising of the bar for Reggie a smokescreen to ease Glen Taylor in as owner, as Sid Hartman has been saying all along?? “
The Star Tribune today, 5-8-05, in a story entitledVikings: New wannabe owner talks, reports that Reggie Fowler and one of his partners, Zygmunt Wilf, may trade roles, with Wilf taking the controlling role of the General Partner. And Wilf is now the second person to say, if he buys the team, he won’t move it. If this switch goes through will Reggie still a principle actor or just a token? But will the NFL, which loaned Red $100 million to buy the team while doing the opposite with Reggie, asking him for more money beyond what Red as asked, let Reggie and Wilf flip? Or will they say they have to open the bidding again, to create a bidding war for all covers, or just throw open the bidding again to allow Glen Taylor to buy as Sid Hartman has claimed all along?
The goal of our book’s Chapter 15 on the Vikings was to sound the alarm about
the Plan to move the Vikings iin the hope of creating a self-defeating prophecy:
that by exposing the plan it would make it impossible to fulfill it. We have
been told that our constant drum beat for the Vikings has scared away prospective
buyers from bidding on the team. Why else, we have been asked, has it taken
three years to get a deal and then only with a so-called “outsider,” a Black
from Phoenix, AZ, Reggie Fowler? He is the first person not to threaten to move
the team. We salute Reggie for trying. If Reggie legitimately doesn’t have the
money, we hope the NFL will recognize the wisdom of having the next NFL team
owner be a Black person who does, and we hope that the team is the one in Los
Posted 5-8-05, 11:59 p.m.
5/8/2005/#51: An open letter to Tyrone Terill: Et Tu Brute? You and your St. Paul Department of Human Rights gets it wrong, again, making us the problem but not part of the solution,and without enumerating the part played by Whites. Your open letter should be to BOTH Blacks and Whites, not just Blacks.”
Julius Caesar was killed by a group of his so-called friends. To one who he considered one his closest friends, Brutus, Shakespeare had Caesar say, “Et tu Brute?” You too Brutus? And so we say to you, Tyrone Terrill, “you too, Tyrone?”
It is one thing to describe our problem. Bill Cosby, Michael Dyson, Bob Herbert, Larry Elder, Thomas Sowell have all state our part in the problem. But they also include Whites. You do not. To blame our community and not include the role of white governments, white corporations, and individual white citizens is grossly unfair.
In your April 26, 2005 “Open letter To The African American Community,” you, in your official role as Director of the Deparatment of Human Rights for the City of Saint Paul, state that it is time “to say ‘NO’ to terrorist acts being committed by African Americans, young and old, who are involved directly or indirectly in organized, unorganized and indivdual gains, organzations or nations (hereinafter “Gangs”) criminal activity that is destroying anything and everthing good in the African American communty.”
We addressed these issues in or blog enries #46 and #47 of April 17, 2005. You are invited to read them.
Please understand, Tyrone, you do our communty a terrible injustice by referring to our troubled young men as terrorists, given the context of that word in use around the world today (except for those news organizations that refuse to call Iraqi insurgents “terrorists,” many referring to them as “freedom fighters.” Is that what you want people to say, to open the door to those who would say that our neighborhood gangs are freedom fighters? Words count. Your words knife the Black communty.
You then lay down a threat (or is it a bluff): “NOW is the time to say to local gang members, that the have until June 1, 2005, to completely remove themselves from any affiliation with gangs or known gang organizations or suffer the consequences of their actionsl,” consequences you defines as “tough love.” Now? Why not 1980? 1990? Why not 2002 when we brought our book out? Why not 1776? 1876? 1936?
Is your ushering a warning that those involved in or have family members involved in gangs mean that you are about to have thm rounded up, as discussed in my column of May 4? Tough love programs round up the offenders, usually teenagers, and detain them in a lock down type of setting, in order to give them a through re-education program. Is this what you mean? You owe us an explanation. You include the faults of Black gang members engaged in illegal activities, which is fair, but you to not include Whites, who engage in legal discrimination against our people, especially in education, jobs, and housing, which is not fair. You dismiss the actions of Whites but not of Blacks.
Where were you when the Pioneer Press reported last month that the compliance of the City of St. Paul regarding the fairness of including Blacks droppoed from 8% to 1.1% for people of color? You were conspicuous in your absence. You were deafening in th roar of your silence. As the truism goes, you silence is your assent. Where was your open letter of tough love to White contractors and White employers. Where was you open letter of tough love to the White City Government that sat back and did nothing? Why do you offer Blacks tough love and the Whites a big wet kiss?
We are not separately “we the White people” and “we the Black people.” Separate was 300 years of slave days until the 1860s. Separate but equal was the next 100 years. It has stayed “under the table” in our inner cities when it comes to education, jobs, and housing. Indeed, in our inner city neighborhoods it has been separate and unequal. Where is your open letter of self love to the Boards of Education and the School Distrits?
Where is your open letter explaining that we are simply all together, now, as one, E Pluribus Unum (out of many, one). We are, in our own famous phrase, “we the people,” regardless of color. Why aren’t you, Tyrone?
We demonstrated in our book of November 2002, our contrbutions. These you use. But we also demonstrated in our book of November 2002 the contribution to our probem by Whites. You ignored these. We reported in our book of November 2002, the empirical findings backing up our claims. You ignored these. We listed in our book of November 2002, a series of actions to take to solve the problems you address, solutions to follow for both Blacks and Whites. You ignored these. We have proposed in the “Solutions” section of our web page over 25 “Solution Papers.” You ignored these too.
We will continue to monitor both The King Wexler Plan and your “tough love consequences” plan. We will continue to ask why you ignore the one problem that if cured would do the most good: applying tough love to an education system that won’t educate our kids, which prevents them from getting good jobs earning livable wages, which in turn prevents them from being able to afford livable housing. We wrote about this in Chapters 7 - 9. Why have you ignored these? We have talked about what Jawanza Kunjufu calls “The State of Emergency: We MUST Save African American Males.” We list 16 of his points, which, if they applied to Whites would be solved over night. Why have you ignored these?
At the top of this page we write about our goal: “Closing the Gaps”:
…Black gaps in education, jobs, housing; the State
of Emergency for Black inner city Youth; the obstructing of equal access
and equal opportunity for minorities; and searching solutions
through the use of the Golden Rule (Book’s Chapter 5), the use of
The Minneapolis Building Blocks and The
Seven Key Solutions to create fairness,
justice, and reconciliation
so can acquire assets and build wealth. We can do so implementing FDR’s
1-11-44 “ four freedoms,” the freedoms of speech and of religion
and the freedoms from want and from fear, freedoms FDR wanted “everywhere
in the world,” offering Higher
Hopes For Youth Than Hip Hop by, together, working
to reduce violence in our schools and communities.
We await your open letter to the White community. And we will watch to see
what you mean by “tough love.”
Posted 5-8-05, 11:59 p.m.
5/4/2005/#50: Mfume and the NAACP: continuing cover up exposes cointinuing lack of “bench strength.”
In our Blog entry #31, 3/16/05, we noted the lack of bench strength in the NAACP. We discussed he problem in our November 18, 2004 column about the NAACP. We also discussed it in our solutions paper ”NAACP Takes Eye Off Prize” of July 21, 2003. And we discussed it in depth in chapter 14 of our book. Despite this, there have been those who said that what we have written couldn’t be true. So we must again pause to call out again, as we did in the title of our May 7, 2003 column: “Wake Up, Minneapolis, and Change! Without Vision, We Perish”.
We need visions like Martin Luther King, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Clarence Mitchell and Kennth Clark. As noted in the references of the previous paragraph, the ousted Mfume and he currrent NAACP leadership, nationally or locally, are not in their league. Now we have the Washington Post confirming what we have writen, as well USA Today (not yet online) and fellow Bloggers who go behind the spotlights, showing the laughing stock the NAACP has become and how it has become just one more tired old special interest organization working for its paid personnel inside its doors but for few outside its doors. They lack vision, principle and integrity. And in terms of any charges the pattern remains the same: stonewalling and coverup, as they attempt to pull the wool over our eyes.
In a word, as these commentators tell (and as we reported in Chapter 14 of our book), the so-called “leaders” made providing sexual favors a part of the “job requirements.” Rather than be coy and coved up, one commentator was blunt: “Mfume,…the boss hits on lots of people, and just happens to develop a better working relationship with those who say “yes”.” Or, as Paula Jones put it about Bill Clinton, those who did Bill did better. It is clear from the Washington Post that the euphemism they use, “favoritism” in promotions, etc., means, as others put it, that Mfume “tended to promote women who had done him sexual favors” (others report his sons were in on this as well).
Watchdog organizations are created to expose and hold to account those unfairly wielding their power over others. The NAACP was formed to be a watchdog for Black people. Now that it is a power, with a $27 million annual budget, etc., it now preys on those it was supposed to watch out for. That has been the story of our local branch too.
The irony has not escaped us that the NAACP is now like he who lives in a glass house and thus shouldn’t throw stones. The NAACP was formed to shine light on racist and discriminatory behavior. Those who would be guardians of righteousness must act that way as well. Talking the walk is not enough. Credibility is gained by walking the talk, lost when it only talks the walk.
It is our sincere hope that members of the NAACP will stop trying to cover
this up and make excuses and instead step up to create a more honest and effective
organization that champions inclusion of all rather than favor just those who
give favors. It is difficult to keep the organizations eye on the prize of freedom
when it leaders eyes are closed in winks for sexual prizes.
Posted 5-4-05, 2:42 a.m.
5/4/2005/#49: Kenneth Clark, 1914-2005, remembered, an example of Black Bench Strength, a Champion for Inclusion
Kenneth Clark was an early leader in the civil rights movement. Indeed, it was the research work of this United States psychologist born in Panama that was among the arguments Thurgood Marshall used to persuade the Supreme Court that segregated schools were discriminatory and unconstitutional. He died May 1st. He was the first black to earn a doctorate in psychology from Columbia University and the first black elected to the New York State Board of Regents.
Clark was the author of a 1950 report on racial discrimination that was cited in the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas that outlaw racial segregation in the public schools. His research showed the negative impact of racial isolation on black children. His books include Prejudice and Your Child (1955), Dark Ghetto (1965), A Possible Reality (1972), and Pathos of Power (1975). By using black and white dolls with Black children, he was able to demonstrate how the educational apartheid caused Black children to short change themselves when it came to their identities and confirming themselves, as they said white tolls looked “nice” and black dolls looked “bad.” In a word, his research destroyed the myth that racially segregated schools caused no harm.
Dr. Clark showed that it wasn’t good for whites or blacks. Thus, He battled white supremacists and black separatists alike because he believed that a “racist system inevitably destroys and damages human beings; it brutalizes and dehumanizes them, black and white alike.” In other words, racism is bad, whether undertaken by White racists or Black racists. Dr. Clark had participated from 1939 to 1941 in the classic study of the American Negro that was organized by Gunnar Myrdal, and which is discussed in Chapter 1 of our book, “The Minneapolis Story.”
My publisher reminded me of his engagement with Dr. Clark in 1970 when they participated in an international symposium on culture change. Dr. Clark’s paper is entitled “Everyday Life and Social Identity.” Dr. Clark concluded his paper with these words of challenge to institutions and individuals:
Self-affirmation can occur—and probably only occurs—in spite of the many powerful forces which seek to negate the self. The creative identity of the self is possible only when the temptatons to seek dependence upon the spurious crutches whch promise but mock affirmation are resisted.
Posted 5-4-05, 3:41 a.m.
Ron hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm. Formerly head of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission and the Urban League, he continues his “watchdog” role for Minneapolis. Order his book, hear his voice, read his solution papers, and read his between columns “web log” at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.
Permission is granted to reproduce The Minneapolis Story columns, blog entires and solution papers. Please cite the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder and www.TheMinneapolisStory.com for the columns. Please cite www.TheMinneapolisStory.com for blog entries and solution papers.
Home | 2005 Columns » | All Columns » | 2005 Blogs »