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The Buffalo Bullet

The Missing Op-ed page in most Major Newspapers

Archive for December, 2009

In Memory of Percy Ellis Sutton

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Son of a slave, fighter pilot, attorney, activist, businessman, statesman, philanthropist. How often has Harlem’s loss been America’s loss? How often has Harlem’s hero been America’s hero? How often can one man be counted on to answer the bell the way Percy Sutton answered it? Brother Zachary Husser of New York wrote the following letter notifying us of Sutton’s promotion to Ancestor. Don’t be hesitant to share your thoughts & recollections on Brother Sutton.


Dear Family of Friends,

It is with a heavy heart and prayers of comfort to the Sutton Family that gives me inspiration to write this note about a “Man” I had the opportunity to listen to, mingle with, get advice from, and enjoy vacation moments with, when the spotlight for public opinion was off of him! Knowing Mr. Sutton from the various perspectives gives me the insight and foundation for this memory.

I truly was and am a believer in how Mr. Percy Ellis Sutton went about doing his business and the way he was very loyal to those individuals that worked to help him build a template political and business organization for the ages! Yes, Mr. Sutton was one of a kind, but his teaching will never follow him to the grave because thousands of today’s politicians, entrepreneurs, Chambers of Commerce, and just ordinary folk working on behalf of making things better for the Black Family will never forget the “Legacy” of Mr. Percy Ellis Sutton. As a matter of fact, Mr. Sutton’s “Legacy” lives through the lives of most of the Black Caucus Politicians in the United States of America. There’s one thing that separated Mr. Sutton from today’s politician, and that is with a few exceptions, those of today don’t have the courage to speak the truth like Mr. Sutton and many of his era colleagues.

The challenge then is to orchestrate the Sutton Legacy by becoming truth to power worker speakers in political arenas, in churches, on the streets, and in community based organizations that represent the needs and will of ordinary New Yorkers and folks who are in the class of not getting a part of the American dream pie. That’s what the “New” Change agents can do to make sure that Percy Ellis Sutton’s name and work for justice for Black people never dies!

In concluding, this is a short message to those of you who know and knew Mr. Percy Ellis Sutton. In collaboration with a few other writers, I’ll be coming back to you with a “Love” memory message about the life and times of Mr. Percy Ellis Sutton, the man that made dreams come true for thousands of Black Folks as he worked to become the best father, husband, advisor, and businessman that he could be!

In the interest of making sure the “legacy” of Percy Ellis Sutton never dies,

Mr. Zachary C. Husser, Sr.
The Family of Friends Network
1(917) 279-6751-cell

Written by cs

December 30th, 2009 at 1:52 pm

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The Making of “Precious” pt.2

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by Ishmael Reed

Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck who engage in a sort of corny 1930s styled racist rhetoric could learn from Sarah. At times they look as though they’ve lost their minds and are not pleasant to look at, while a manicured, buffed Sarah, who doesn’t go lightly on the eye shadow, looks better. She is salmon colored and though middle-aged wears baby doll clothes and if you Google her name, Sarah Siegel, along with “images” you’ll find her posing in photos some of which have blacks smooching her.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tS6ZusLBZ1M&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

The Nov. 22 blog “Gawker” points to the way Limbaugh, Beck and Savage have tried to associate Obama and his administration with rape imagery. Ain’t they out of touch. Sarah Siegel has joined an innovative marketing plan that couples Obama’s name with the most extreme of sexual crimes.

This woman, who hangs out with Hollywood stars and unlike Bill O’ Reilly, an Irish American who has lost his way, knows that blacks are able to handle table utensils– she’s dined with them—might have invested in a movie that some are calling the worst depiction of black life yet done.

New York Press critic, Armond White, in a brilliant take down of the movie, compares it with Birth of a Nation. I would argue that this movie makes D.W. Griffith look like a progressive. Moreover, I’ve looked at a number of pictures that show how the Nazis depicted blacks and though Jewish and black men appear as sexual predators in many, I’ve never run across one in which minority men are shown as incest violators.

The black sexual predator is represented obsessively in the novel that inspired the bombing of the Oklahoma Federal building and the recent murder of three Pittsburgh policemen. But not even The Turner Diaries, by William Pierce stigmatizes black men as violators of the incest taboo at a time when the black male unemployment rate is 25% in some cities, 50% in New York. It took Hollywood liberals and their pathetic black front people to do that. Is there a role that black actors won’t perform? One that celebrity blacks won’t lend their names to?( If the white Oscar judges perpetrate a cruel joke by awarding this film Oscars, will the black audience members stage a walk-out even though it might mean never working in that town again?)Indeed it was Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement of the film that convinced the investors that they were on to a hot property. The Times’ reports:

“A deal did not emerge for “Push” until about a week after the festival ended, with potential distributors balking over the price insisted upon by Cinetic Media, a New York marketing and sales company for independent film, according to two people with knowledge of how the deal came together but who were not authorized to speak publicly.

“A spokeswoman for Cinetic declined to comment, but bidders said Ms. Winfrey and Mr. Perry had been crucial to the deal’s coming together.”

Indeed, the business model for both the book, Push, by Sapphire renamed Precious, for the movie by Lionsgate, which beat Harvey Weinstein for the rights in court, was the black incest product, The Color Purple, which has been recycled so many times that comedian Paul Mooney says that he anticipates a Color Purple on ice. But even that incest film doesn’t go as far as Precious, which shows both mother and father engaged in a sexual assault on their daughter in graphic detail, Sarah Siegel’s way of solving her “niche dilemma.”

Ishmael Reed is an award-winning novelist, author & essayist. He was born in Tennesse & raised in Buffalo NY and is a former journalist for the Buffalo Challenger. His next book “Barack Obama and the Jim Crow Media: the Return of the Nigger Breakers” will be published in the Spring by Baraka publishers of Quebec. He is the editor of Konch. He can be reached at:

Written by cs

December 26th, 2009 at 1:43 pm

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Will Council Honor Communities Choice to fill Ellicott Seat

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East Buffalo Needs a Black Politician Buyback Program (this column is a reprint from the 12/16 Buffalo Challenger)

by Chris Stevenson

One day, while waiting for Jay Z and Alicia to do a song about Buffalo it suddenly hit me; it’s not really about Brian, it’s about Byron. The forces that have been warring against Byron took out Brian because he was an easier target. How easy it would be to just assume this is just the latest example of black council reduction by council President David Franczyk. Indirectly it is, but it was the usage of a 100-year-old Public Officer’s Law that would sink Davis because it mandates a vacancy would be created by any public official upon “e-His conviction of a felony, or a crime involving a violation of his oath of office.” If this sounds familiar you’re right, this same provision was used to oust former Legislature George Butch Holt.

Eventually Brian’s transgressions became a pack of Marlboro’s and he got smoked. You think it’s just $1,900 dollars and two misdemeanors but I get the feeling it’s much more because if Davis didn’t plead guilty, Sedita would have summoned a Grand Jury and I don’t see them going to trial over such a small amount. So it wasn’t really Franczyk or South District Councilman Micky Kearns (who invoked the Public Officers Law at a recent hearing) who purged Davis, it was his behavior which led up to his downfall. Kearns’ past decisions will probably have direct bearing on how powerful the committeemen are and who is eventually chosen to replace Brian.

It’s too bad really. Speculating on who will replace Brian is almost as scary as Brian still being there. I’ve heard several names being tossed around by various people, but the local major media is focusing on Pastor Darious Pridgen and longtime Davis political rival Bryon McIntyre. Pridgen brings a lot to the table. Great orator, notable community organizer, innovative and as Clarence Lott President of East Side Political Network put it, “he’s got a following… 3,000 blacks [churchgoers].” Pridgen comes from a working-class background, former Mailman, former Naval Officer, college educated, former at-large school board member. Great credentials, but not for Ellicott Council. Of prime concern to me is his commitment, he bolted the school board in ’02 for reasons I’m still not clear on. Pridgen completely detached himself from any responsibility towards Stepping Stone Charter School-then situated right next to True Bethel-even amidst amazingly low academic ratings among area schools and it’s eventual shutdown.

Publicly the good Pastor talks of unifying the Council, Franczyk worked many years dividing the council, no one can unify it before 2011. I see Pridgen working at the pleasure of Mayor Byron Brown, his voice could have more pull that Demone Smith or Bonnie Russell. Since Brown has demonstrated he is not a black Mayor (see Cariol Horne), just how independent could Councilman Pridgen be since he is perceived to be close to Brown and Grassroots Inc.? Elliott doesn’t need someone who has so many irons in the fire that he can’t devote his full time to it.

McIntyre from my vantage point could make the best choice for the Council Committee. Like Pridgen he comes from a working-class background; Fireman, substitute teacher, community activist, columnist, commentator, lifelong Ellicott resident and last but not least; one of the 73 Ellicott District Democratic Committeemen. Though McIntyre has never held office he has lost some races by a very close margin (especially his last 2 School Board races), which mean he too has a following. Not known to be tied with big political machines or local developers, this could make him more independent than Pridg. Yes Brown could possibly have a strong voice in his favor if Pastor Pridgen is appointed, maybe even enough of a voice to make up for the Common Council’s racial disparity. But in a situation where East Buffalo is involved, the needs of the blacks outweigh the needs of the Brown.

When it comes down to it, Brown is the one that sources cites as privately dismissing Davis. This was after University District Council Bonnie Russell and Masten Council Demone Smith tossed him under the bus publicly by telling reporter Brian Meyer that he had to go. Local black elected and appointed officials have been seen as selling-out for so long that it looks like East Buffalo needs a Black Politician Buyback Program to go along with the Gun Buyback Program. Hence the need for the Council Majority to respect the communities choice of a replacement for Davis.

Ellicott-like Fillmore-is a highly coveted district, it’s said between half to two thirds of monies (federal, state and block grants) allocated to districts go to Ellicott. Though this next pick won’t be through any public election the choice is still up to residents of Ellicott District. They’re the ones who voted for the committeemen and have the ones in the inner city have the pulse of the streets. “In fact the way 9 out of 10 elected officials got their seats was through the committeeman process,” disclosed Lott. Kearns changed law recently that usurps electoral process. Conceivably he can get someone from South Buffalo to serve Ellicott under the new law. Kearns’ law does not have to take suggestions of committeemen, shortly after he replaced then-retired Jimmy Griffin, the Common Council could advertise the vacancy, take applications, accept resumes, interview qualified candidates in public hearings, then vote in a replacement.

According to Geoff Kelly the old law never said committeemen specifically get to choose, it was just an understanding. The fear is, It makes committee votes invalid. If passed due to council majority. The committee is seen as being drastically divided anyway while Buffalo’s black power-base is conspicuously waning. In 2006, Kearns, put forth legislation that would transfer the decision making power for the filling of vacancies on the Common Council for reasons other than the expiration of the term, from the hands of District Committeepersons to the Common Council. This legislation was signed and enacted by Mayor Byron Brown and voted on by referendum in the November 2006 election.

What this legislation did was:
1. Reduced the integrity of the Committeemen process by dis empowering them in the vacancy replacement process.
2. Silenced the voice of the residents or constituents of the district where the vacancy occurred because their representative was the one being replaced.
Enactment required a referendum which was virtually sneaked onto the November 2006 ballot without much fanfare. The Buffalo News did include information on the referendum in an article entitled “Approve Key Propositions” printed in the November 4, 2006 edition where they voiced their approval of the legislation.

Don’t get me wrong, the committeemen still need to recommend a candidate, like I said the process hasn’t changed., but the law can now supersede the process. As a result, there is a strong suspicion among some black insiders that the people have been stripped once again. Don’t forget, the at-large positions were generally held by minorities and the former process which included the Committeeman also left opportunity for at-large members who lived in a respective district where a vacancy occurred to become a candidate for the seat. Opportunity after opportunity has been legislated away in City government and it appears that politricks instead of the people’s work has been the motivating factor for the changes. Mondays (12/7) 2 Buffalo News reports was a clever inference of Brown being a racist even though he is anything-but. What he is, is the next target. These people don’t rest.

Chris Stevenson is a syndicated columnist, his articles also appear in the Buffalo Challenger. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, you don’t have to join either. Respond to him on the link below.

Written by cs

December 25th, 2009 at 1:34 pm

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Paranormal Flexibility

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The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released a report on Wednesday that is bound to stir conversation about the increasingly complicated cacophony of spirituality in America — a mash-up of traditional faiths, fantasy and mythology.

Entitled “Many Americans Mix Multiple Faiths,” the report points out that many Americans are now choosing to “blend Christianity with Eastern or New Age beliefs” and that “sizable minorities of all major U.S. religious groups” said that they have had supernatural experiences, like encountering ghosts.

For the first time in 47 years of polling, the number of Americans who said that they have had a religious or mystical experience, which the question defined as a “moment of sudden religious insight or awakening,” was greater than those who said that they had not.

(Question: Does the first time I saw Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video count?)

Twenty percent of Protestants and 28 percent of Catholics said they believe in reincarnation, which flies in the face of Christianity’s rapture scenario. Furthermore, about the same percentages said they believe in astrology, yoga as a spiritual practice and the idea that there is “spiritual energy” pulsing from things like “mountains, trees or crystals.” Uh-oh. Someone’s God is going to be jealous.

Surprisingly, in some cases, those who identified themselves as Christian were more likely to believe these things than those who were unaffiliated. (It should be noted that unaffiliated is not the same as nonbeliever. Many are spiritual people who simply haven’t found the right church, synagogue, mosque, coven, Ouija board club, or whatever.)

Furthermore, 16 percent of Protestants and 17 percent of Catholics said that they believe that some people can use the “evil eye” to “cast curses or spells that cause bad things to happen.” I have to say that based on the looks my mother used to shoot me when I was misbehaving, that evil eye thing might have legs.

Since 1996, the percentage of Americans who said that they have been in the presence of a ghost has doubled from 9 percent to 18 percent, and the percentage who said that they were in touch with someone who was dead has increased by nearly two thirds, rising from 18 percent to 29 percent.

For those keeping political score, Democrats were almost twice as likely to believe in ghosts and to consult fortune-tellers than were Republicans, and the Democrats were 71 percent more likely to believe that they were in touch with the dead. Please hold the Barack-Obama-as-the-ghost-of-Jimmy-Carter jokes. Heard them all.

The report is further evidence that Americans continue to cobble together Mr. Potato Head-like spiritual identities from a hodgepodge of beliefs — bending dogmas to suit them instead of bending themselves to fit a dogma. And this appears to be leading to more spirituality, not less. Cue the harps, and the sitars, and the tablas, and the whale music.

Once again the bullet is proud to present New York Times Columnist & nationally known commentator Charles M. Blow with several hundred words of blistering political commentary: “I invite you to visit my blog By The Numbers, join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter, or e-mail me at chblow@nytimes.com.”

Written by cs

December 22nd, 2009 at 11:03 pm

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A Success Strategy for Economic Development

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A Success Strategy for Jamaica

by Dr. Basil Waine Kong

One finger may not make much of a difference, but fingers coming together as a fist can be a formidable weapon. There is no doubt that Jamaica needs a unifying direction and a winning strategy. The list of our woes get longer with each passing day. So far, we have allowed the tyranny of the urgent to prevent us from implementing prevention strategies. Imagine that we are sitting on the banks of a river. We look out and to our horror we see babies drowning. I would hope that we would make every effort to rescue and revive these children, but we cannot afford to stop there. We must also quickly run upstream and stop the man from throwing the babies off the bridge. Mediocre doctors only diagnose and treat disease. Superb doctors also prevent disease. Our government is stuck on crisis management with no investment in long term solutions.

1. A prevention strategy. Intellectuals and politicians try to solve problems; geniuses prevent them. The number one killer in the Caribbean is heart disease. It is a disgrace that so many of our grand parents succumb to this disease when it is a lifestyle problem and entirely preventable. Crime, poverty, motor vehicle deaths are also preventable if we can be smart enough to implement the strategies that will address these problems adequately. When we were implementing half day schools for our children, couldn’t we have predicted that with ten hours of idle time on their hands young people would form gangs, get into sex, drugs and crime?

As social theorist John Ruskin reminds us, “Punishment is the last and the least effective instrument in the hands of the legislator for the PREVENTION of crime.” Of course, it’s necessary, but we should be mindful that when we get to the point of punishment, at least as regards that one individual, that’s an opportunity we have ALREADY missed. I would rather focus on preventing crime than catching criminals. Each Government Ministry should be asked to come up with an effective prevention strategy.

Our current water crisis is a case in point. This urgency will force us to spend a great deal of un-necessary time and resources trucking water around town, including to our hospitals, but when the crisis is over, we will go on to another crisis and do noting about preventing the same problem fom occuring again next year. Water shortages are preventable.

2. An educational strategy. We can solve a great deal of our problems if we properly educate our people. I am ashamed of the fact that a third of our people cannot read a newspaper. Not investing in education is a predictable way to prepare our people for failure, poverty and crime. Japanese children are in school for twice as many hours as Jamaican children. As the educational level of any population increase, uncivil conduct decrease, health status increase and wealth is less concentrated in the hands of a few. Our English-oriented educational system dictates that we concentrate our resources on the talented tenth. The difficulty with this model is that most of the beneficiaries of this educational investment leave the country and you can find them contributing significantly to American, Canadian and European societies. Ninety percent of our nurses, doctors and pharmacists live foreign.

3. A change strategy. We cannot continue to react and keep going back to watering holes that have dried up while squandering new opportunities. This is a new world reality that cannot be ignored. In 1998, Spencer Johnson wrote a parable entitled: “Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life”. From this little parable, he points out that:

(a) Change Happens: We cannot continue to make horse drawn carriages and buggy whips when the demand for these products is gone. While there is strong demand for our athletes, music and entertainment, alcohol, coffee, honey and our unique tourist product, interest in our sugar, bauxite and bananas are waning.

(b) Anticipate Change: The only thing that is certain is change. We must anticipate what products will have value in the future and start offering them even before the demand peaks. Jamaican banks have a bad reputation for not loaning money for innovative ideas and will only lend money to support tried and true business ideas whose usefulness may have passed. The government has a huge coordinating responsibility to develop new business ideas.

(c) Monitor Change: We need good data and have our eyes and ears open so we can anticipate the winds of change. Someone needs to have their ear on the train track to let us know what is coming. But with so much data available on the web, it is not difficult.

(d) Adapt to Change Quickly: The quicker we adopt, the more competitive we will be. How many Jamaican businesses are going after the huge solar energy market?

(e) Engineer Change: Instead of becoming victims of change, we can become agents of change. We can develop and market new products. Health tourism, alternative energy and call centers are huge industries. Wouldn’t Americans prefer to come to an English speaking country right next door for these services than go to India if they had confidence in our skills and customer service? We must produce goods and services that will be attractive, replace imports and obviously export more than we import. We continue to chase after markets in the United States, Europe and Canada when there are tremendous markets in Africa and Asia. Why don’t we have a direct flight between Jamaica and Nigeria?

(e) Be ready to change and enjoy the ride! Our legal system, our government bureaucracies and banking systems are not business friendly and need to be updated to address the reality of a changing world. Our civil servants should support and facilitate business not hinder them. We should have an ethical, educated and motivated employee pool to support our various enterprises. We will have no difficulty attracting foreign investments, particularly from our various foreign nationals if we become more business friendly. Right now, the World Bank ranks us 75th in the world for doing business. A simple procedure of paying business taxes in Jamaica require that business entities spend 17 days in lines and make 72 tax payments per year to meet their tax obligations. I congratulate Trinidad and Tobago for their extremely efficient handling of this detail. We should learn from them.

(4) A nation building strategy. Rather than attacking each other politically, we need to find common ground and a shared vision. We need to recognize that we are in this boat together and a rising tide will lift all boats. There are tremendous opportunities in Jamaica where we can find synergies to improve the welfare of all our citizens. Let us set aside the differences that separate us, stop blaming each other and focus on the bonds that unite us. I believe we all love Jamaica. We just need to be a little less selfish and share the wealth.

(5) A self reliance strategy. Not only should we develop a food policy that will have us eat what we grow and grow what we eat, there is so much more we can do to reduce importation of foreign oil and dependency on imports. We can be a reliable source of food because we have a twelve month growing season, lots of available land waiting to be put into production, ample rainfall, good soil, expert farmers and inexpensive labour. There is no reason why we cannot feed ourselves. With regard to energy, we have wind, the sun, redundant cane fields that can be converted to grow avocado pears and other vegetable matter that can be easily converted to diesel fuel. We must think outside the box to survive. It is not going to be business as usual.

It is imperative that we develop a new way of thinking for the changing world in which we live. This proposed five-finger strategy is a start.

Bullet Columnist Basil Waine Kong has written several pieces for this journal and especially likes to expound on his favorite subject: his beloved Jamaica. He is a former Atlien (resident of Atlanta GA), and was the CEO of the Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC) for 22 years before his retirement in 2008 to return to Jamaica. This article is reprinted with his permission from his blogsite; Coming in From the Cold… Bob Marley

Written by cs

December 21st, 2009 at 9:52 am

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How Can I Help Someone Involved in a Cult?

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by Brenda Lee

I recently attended the ICSA ( International Cultic Studies Association ) conference held in Lakewood , Colorado , October 2-3, 2009. As always, the sessions were informative and well-organized.

The first session I attended addressed the question: “How can I help someone involved in a cult?” Most of those attending were parents who were being shunned by a son or daughter involved in a cult. Understandably, attempts to reconnect intellectually and emotionally with their child had failed. (Milieu control, censorship of communication both internal and external, is one of the initial eight points of mind control that cults utilize to gain subtle control over new members.)

While a parent’s natural instinct might be to lecture and point out all the group’s flaws to save the child from something they know will be detrimental to the entire family’s well-being, shouting from the rooftops, “Don’t YOU realize this is a cult!?” isn’t necessarily the best approach.

We must remember: unsolicited advice comes across as criticism and the intangible cost of perceived criticism can drive a person deeper into a cult, resulting in the “handlers” [i.e., the cult leader(s)] attempt to harness even more control over the person. This point was driven home by a former Jehovah’s Witness who shared the following with me, “I think my father’s opposition to the family’s fanaticism caused us to draw even closer to the organization, thinking that he was a tool of Satan. That sounds crazy but that’s the way I looked at it.”

What Strategy Should I Use to Communicate?

An important component to communicating is to be patient because as trust builds, the cult member is able to share more with you. You should hold back your ace until you feel the person’s belief system is teetering. Going in with both barrels firing isn’t going to make the person consider what you have to say; it will only elicit defensive retreat.

I truly believe that simply asking questions about your loved one’s mindset, the group’s expectations and their history in a non-threatening manner is your best strategy. Unfortunately, few people have been educated about how cults work and their first strategy is to charge straight ahead from the front lines, hoping to mow down the enemy (cult leader) in the process.

Lee is a regular bullet columnist who has appeared as a regular on the TV documentary The Secret Lives of Women “Cults” segments. She has written several pieces in our starting rotation but her first essay for the bullet was on Mothers Day “An Author’s Reflection on Mothers Day…” She overcame her mother’s (mis)using religion like a scalpel in a power-mad effort to break her will, only to write a powerful book of revelation and triumph.

Written by cs

December 18th, 2009 at 12:57 am

The Making of “Precious” pt.1

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“A niche market could be defined as a component that gives your
business power. A niche market allows you to define whom you are
marketing to. When you know who are you are marketing to it’s easy
to determine where your marketing energy and dollars should be spent.”

Defining Your Nice Market, A Critical Step in Small Business Marketing
by Laura Lake

One can view Sarah Siegel on “YouTube” discussing her approach to
marketing. During her dispassionate recital she says that she sees a
“niche dilemma,” and finds a way to solve that dilemma. Seeing that no one had supplied women with panties that were meant to be visible while wearing low cut jeans, she captured the niche and made a fortune. With five million dollars, she invested in the film Precious, which was adapted from the book Push, written by Ramona Lofton, who goes by the pen name of Sapphire, after the emasculating shrew in “Amos and Andy,” a show created by white vaudevillians Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll.

(Ms. Lofton also knows a thing or two about marketing.
Noticing theneed for white New York feminists to use black men as
the fall guys for world misogyny, while keeping silent about the
misogyny of those who share their ethnic back-ground, she joined
in on the lynching of five black and Hispanic boys,
“who grew up in jail.”She made money, and became famous.
They were innocent!)

When Lionsgate Studio and Harvey Weinstein were quarrelling over the rights to Push, which has been marketed under the title of Precious, about a pregnant 350 pound illiterate black teenager, who has borne her father’s child and is assaulted
sexually by her mother, Sarah Greenberg, speaking for Lionsgate,
said that the movie would providethe studio with “a gold mine of
opportunity,” which is probably true,since the image of the black
male as sexual predator has created a profit center for over one
hundred years and even won elections for politicians like Bush,
The First.

But politicians, the KKK, Nazis, film, television, etc, had done the
black male as a rapist to death. The problem for Sarah and Lionsgate
and her film company Smokewood, was to solve “ the niche dilemma,”
which they saw as selling a black film to white audiences (the people
to whom CNN and MSNBC are referring to when they invoke the phrase “The American People.”) An article in The New York Times ,2/4/09, reported on the confusion among the investors as they fumbled about for a marketing plan.

“The studio prides itself on taking on marketing challenges, but
“Push”…is one of the biggest to come along in some time, marketing
experts say. African-American audiences of all demographics could
wince at the film’s negative imagery. As films like “The Great Debaters” and “Miracle at St. Anna” have shown, a release labeled a black film by the marketplace — and

“Push” already has been — can be an incredibly tough sell to
mainstreamwhite audiences.

“Lionsgate already seems a little befuddled. On Monday the company
initially agreed to discuss the inherent marketing challenges. A few
hours later it backtracked, rejecting any marketing talk but saying
executives would be happy to speak broadly about their delight in
nabbing the movie. Before long that offer was also rescinded.”

Three standing ovations given Push’s test run at Sundance convinced
some of the business people that although white audiences might
decline to support films that show cerebral blacks, The Great Debaters, in which Denzel Washington plays the great black poet Melvin Tolson, or Spike lee’s Miracle at St. Anna, which shows heroic blacks, they would probably enjoy a film in which blacks were shown as incestors and pedophiles. White audiences continuing to give the film standing ovations and prizes and critical acclaim indicates that when Lionsgate’s co-presidents for theatrical marketing, Sarah Greenberg and Tim Palen said of Precious, “There is simply a gold mine of opportunity here, “they were on the money. It was Geoffrey Gilmore, director of the Sundance Film Festival, who enhanced the sales potential by providing the marketers led by Ms. Siegel with another selling point. In an interview he said that Push might hit “a cultural chord” because of all of the discussion about race prompted by the election of President Obama. It was after their cynical manipulative tying of a black president to their sleazy product that I wanted Sarah to change the name of her panty company from So Low to How Low.

Ishmael Reed is an award-winning novelist, author & essayist. He was born in Tennesse & raised in Buffalo NY and is a former journalist for the Buffalo Challenger. His next book “Barack Obama and the Jim Crow Media: the Return of the Nigger Breakers” will be published in the Spring by Baraka publishers of Quebec. He is the editor of Konch. He can be reached at:

Written by cs

December 16th, 2009 at 3:00 pm

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Blacks Never thought Tiger was Spotless

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by Chris Stevenson

Tiger Woods is the most amazing golfer I have ever seen. This is a guy dominating a sport I previously never gave a second thought to. Watching Tiger’s ball travel after one of his powerful smashes is like watching a missile soar over hills and trees. Watching his putts was anything but routine. I once saw Tiger hit one at the foot of a hill and then you see a ball materializing over a horizon roll straight into the hole, with Tiger and his caddy seen rising above the grass horizon a few seconds later to the roar of an amazed crowd. It’s like his balls have a built-in gyroscope, he is an iron-swinging doctor without equal.

As of late doctors and swinging have been mentioned in regards to Tiger more than ever and this time it’s not his left knee that’s the problem. It’s his middle leg that’s been playing extra holes and because of this and the resulting bad PR, he is taking an extended leave of the game. I find it strange that the PGA has to suffer, fairway holes aren’t the problem, it’s his ho’s that have been stressing him out. What’s most evident about Mr. Woods since Thanksgiving isn’t his game, but his relative lack of it. Many in the black community feel it’s the white women that he should be taking an indefinite leave from. It’s like his balls have a built-in gyroscope, he is a blond beaver tracker without equal.

In the modern thinking of many of today’s African Americans, romantic obsession with white women equates to a certain amount of lack of recognition to even outright resentment to black mother; The mother who in many cases raised our big black cats alone. This recent school-of-thought is led by fairly new Afrocentric-based authors, the combustible Kola Boof being chief among them. The dilemma with this in the immediate term is Tigger..errr Tiger (ya’ll have to excuse my bad spelling) was largely raised by two parents and it’s his father who is well-known to have played a prominent role in his success. Earl Woods taught Tiger to be a billionaire but evidently saw no importance with spending any of it with a black female and subsequently the black community. Tiger’s black athletic skills-speed, distance, accuracy, power, endurance-were honed and optimized but his soul was gerrymandered. Earl may have felt it was only important to diversify professional gulf clubs, not black nationalize Tiger’s penis. Once again black takes a back seat, in fact with Tiger, blacks not even in the vehicle.

Everyone cites Tiger calling himself that word; cablinasian on national TV because he inferred that to call himself black eliminates his mother who hails from Thailand. I assume young Thai females must be invisible because we haven’t seen one of them within 9 holes of him in the years since his Masters victory either. No doubt he thinks first prize was the master’s daughters, no black booty, no Thai thighs. Instead The White Wimin and I is the play he continues to write, produce, direct and stars in. It’s now a smash hit.

Speaking of iron, the real irony among us is we as blacks have always known a Tiger Woods or two (or three), this is nothing new to us. Among the many black kids I came up with, two literally stick out on this particular subject matter. One would comment to me “you really love black women don’t you?” Now the guy I came up with is actually married to a woman as dark as I am, I travelled 400 miles with his family to attend his wedding (she’s from Bronx) but I think he feared if he brought home a white girl (back in ’78) his family and friends would look down on him. We really could care less, but that was his thinking. Both these guys have at some point rationalized that they aren’t really black. Both their black fathers left their black mothers, one married a white woman.

Are there black men who really love their white wife or girlfriend? Of course there are. What’s always been the common suspicion among their black peers is that many of these guys were in love with the skin color before they began loving or lusting the woman. In some cases two black parents might be at home raising their boy, but son sees dad cheating white and is sworn to secrecy. A breach in whatever pride or value the son placed on his skin color is now being created. A black mother with or without a husband may raise a son who during his teen or early adult years decide to date white or non-black exclusively. How much of an impression did she conscientiously make on him as a black woman? Mom might be coming home from work after a promotion talking about “it don’t matter if you’re black or white” but be very surprised when Tyrone brings Peggy Sue home.

What are the events or learning experiences that influence a brother to geopoliticize his penis after being produced by at least one black sex organ? Most of today’s post-Baby-Boomer black parents sorely need African & black history and self esteem drilled into their black ass, nevermind their kid(s). No black parent or parents can afford to allow the nation’s view of black males to influence the upbringing of their son. No black parent can afford to allow TV and motion picture entertainment to shape and color their son’s view of themselves. In the case of Tiger, it’s not enough to raise a black boy to be well-behaved, study hard, and excel in a sport. Today’s black parent(s) must make him study hard as to who and what he is and manifest a pride in his race-lineage that is equal to his pride over his sports accomplishments.

Chris Stevenson is a syndicated columnist, his articles also appear in the Buffalo Challenger. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, you don’t have to join either. Respond to him on the link below.

Written by cs

December 13th, 2009 at 4:59 pm

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Black in the Age of Obama

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A hundred and fifty years ago, Charles Dickens opened “A Tale of Two Cities” with the now-famous phrase: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. …”

Those words resonated with me recently while contemplating the impact of the Obama presidency on blacks in America. So far, it’s been mixed. Blacks are living a tale of two Americas — one of the ascension of the first black president with the cultural capital that accrues; the other of a collapsing quality of life and amplified racial tensions, while supporting a president who is loath to even acknowledge their pain, let alone commiserate in it.

Last year, blacks dared to dream anew, envisioning a future in which Obama’s election would be the catalyst for an era of prosperity and more racial harmony. Now that the election’s afterglow has nearly faded, the hysteria of hope is being ground against the hard stone of reality. Things have not gotten better. In many ways, they’ve gotten worse.

The recession, for one, has dealt a particularly punishing and uneven hand to blacks.

A May report from the Pew Research Center found that blacks were the most likely to get higher-priced subprime loans, leading to higher foreclosure rates. In fact, blacks have displaced Hispanics as the group with the lowest homeownership rates.

According to the most recent jobs data, not only is the unemployment rate for blacks nearly twice that of whites, the gap in some important demographics has widened rapidly since Obama took office. The unemployment rate over that time for white college graduates under 24 years old grew by about 20 percent. For their black cohorts, the rate grew by about twice that much.

And a report published last month by the Department of Agriculture found that in 2008, “food insecurity” for American households had risen to record levels, with black children being the most likely to experience that food insecurity.

Things on the racial front are just as bad.

We are now inundated with examples of overt racism on a scale to which we are unaccustomed. Any protester with a racist poster can hijack a news cycle, while a racist image can live forever on the Internet. In fact, racially offensive images of the first couple are so prolific online that Google now runs an apologetic ad with the results of image searches of them.

And it’s not all words and images; it’s actions as well. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 2008 hate crimes data released last week, anti-black hate crimes rose 4 percent from 2007, while the combined hate crimes against all other racial categories declined 11 percent. If you look at the two-year trend, which would include Obama’s ascension as a candidate, anti-black hate crimes have risen 8 percent, while those against the other racial groups have fallen 19 percent.

This has had a sobering effect on blacks. According to a Nov. 9 report from Gallup, last summer 23 percent of blacks thought that race relations would get a lot better with the election of Obama. Now less than half that percentage says that things have actually gotten a lot better.

The racial animosity that Obama’s election has stirred up may have contributed to a rallying effect among blacks. According to a Gallup report published on Nov. 24, Obama’s approval rating among whites has dropped to 39 percent, but among blacks it remains above 90 percent.

Also, this hasn’t exactly been a good year for black men in the news. Plaxico Burress was locked up for accidentally shooting off a gun in a club. Henry Louis Gates Jr. was locked up for intentionally shooting off his mouth at his own home. And Michael Jackson died after being shot full of propofol. Chris Brown brutally beat Rihanna. Former Representative William Jefferson was convicted. And most recently, the “personal failings” of Tiger Woods portray him as an alley cat. Meanwhile, the most critically acclaimed black movie of the year, “Precious,” features a black man who rapes and twice impregnates his own daughter. Rooting for the president feels like a nice counterbalance.

However, the rallying creates a conundrum for blacks: how to air anxiety without further arming Obama’s enemies. This dilemma has rendered blacks virtually voiceless on some pressing issues at a time when their voices would have presumably held greater sway.

This means that Obama can get away with doing almost nothing to specifically address issues important to African-Americans and instead focus on the white voters he’s losing in droves. This has not gone unnoticed. In the Nov. 9 Gallup poll, the number of blacks who felt that Obama would not go far enough in promoting efforts to aid the black community jumped 60 percent from last summer to now.

The hard truth is that Obama needs white voters more than he needs black ones.

According to my analysis, even if every black person in America had stayed home on Election Day, Obama would still be president. To a large degree, Obama was elected by white people, some of whom were more able to accept him because he consciously portrayed himself as racially ambiguous.

In fact, commiserating with the blacks could prove politically problematic.

In a study to be published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences this month, researchers asked subjects to rate images of the president to determine which ones best represented his “true essence.” In some of the photos, his skin had been lightened. In others, it had been darkened. The result? The more people identified him with the “whiter” images, the more likely they were to have voted for him, and vice versa.

The Age of Obama, so far at least, seems less about Obama as a black community game-changer than as a White House gamesman. It’s unclear if there will be a positive Obama Effect, but an Obama Backlash is increasingly apparent. Meanwhile, black people are also living a tale of two actions: grin and bear it.

Once again the bullet is proud to present New York Times Columnist & nationally known commentator Charles M. Blow with several hundred words of blistering political commentary: I invite you to visit my blog By The Numbers, join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter, or e-mail me at chblow@nytimes.com.

Written by cs

December 10th, 2009 at 11:46 am

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Three Classifications of Defector That You Need to Understand

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by Brenda Lee

Based on the countless stories I’ve heard from those who have exited the organization, the best way to leave the Watchtower/Jehovah Witnesses, and possibly keep your Jehovah Witness family unit and friendships intact, is s…l…o…w…l…y (and methodically—i.e., have a plan). Currently, there are three categories of leaving the Jehovah’s Witnesses and I have listed them from least severe to most impactful. They are as follows:

1) The Fader: Jehovah’s Witnesses are typically less hostile towards the ex-member who simply “faded away.” The reason? They consider that person the least threatening to their spirituality (i.e., indoctrination). What does it mean to “fade”? It means you simply stop associating with the congregation, forego meetings and do NOT express any opinion about the Watchtower organization’s teachings one way or the other. Once you “fade,” no matter how much you are encouraged to do so by other Jehovah’s Witnesses, it is imperative that you never share your thoughts with another Jehovah’s Witness (good or bad), unless you truly don’t care whether or not you are ultimately shunned. If you do share your thoughts or show any signs of independent thinking (i.e., too many questions or concerns), you will find yourself being involuntarily moved by Watchtower elders into category #2, below. In category #1, as a fader, your family typically will NOT be expected to shun you.

2) The Disassociated One: This is the person who innocently answers the elders’ inquiry: “Do you still want to be known as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses?” The thing you must understand is, in asking this question, the elders are trying to determine if you are disassociating yourself so that they take action to instruct the congregation to shun you. Above all else, do NOT respond to any questions like this. If you answer “no,” that is all they need to adversely impact your life. In this category, your family is expected to shun you. Whether or not your family shuns you (or gets away with not shunning) depends upon how closely your family follows the nuances of the organization’s changing rules and how well the leaders within your home congregation monitor your family dynamics. Still, The Watchtower organization expects family members to shun loved ones whether that person ‘disassociates’ or gets kicked out for some perceived sin.

Here’s the thing most Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t even realize: The whole shunning policy wasn’t that stringently enforced prior to 1981. Since then, however, and subsequent to the whole shakeup at headquarters involving the disfellowshipping of Governing Body member Ray Franz (author of “Crisis of Conscience”) Jehovah’s Witnesses have been taught that there is no difference between being disfellowshipped for “sin” and disassociating from the organization. The expectation is the same—shun your beloved family member. Confused? It simply means this:


For any Jehovah’s Witness who challenges this policy, refer to the September 15, 1981 Watchtower magazine (p. 23-24): “Persons who make themselves not of our sort by deliberately rejecting the faith and beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses should appropriately be viewed and treated as are those who have been disfellowshipped for wrongdoing.” This was the very magazine my family used to justify their shunning of me back in 1981.

Also refer to the more obvious and current April 15, 1988, Watchtower magazine which states: “By also avoiding persons who have deliberately disassociated themselves, Christians are protected from possible critical, unappreciative, or even apostate views.” “shunning would be appropriate… for anyone who rejects the congregation [of Jehovah’s Witnesses].”

3) The Disfellowshipped One: This is the person who is kicked out of the Watchtower organization (excommunicated), i.e., removed involuntarily. The justification for this usually involves some perceived ‘sin’ incurred by the now-defunct member (what constitutes a ‘sin’ is determined by the leaders and can include challenging their authority related to policies of sexual abuse, shunning, etc.). In this category, your family WILL be expected to shun you. If they do not, they too can be disfellowshipped from the organization and find themselves being shunned by other Jehovah’s Witnesses.

In the case of #2 and #3 above, congregation elders are instructed to “mark” you as trouble at the first sign of doubt or outright rebellion and disfellowship/shun you quicker than you can say, “OK, OK, I repent already.” Marking is a technique the organization uses to ensure other members begin avoiding you. You, essentially, are seen as a leper. You are always free to TRY to return to the Watchtower organization, but if you want to return, it involves you jump through some major emotionally abusive hurdles (that requirement alone is another topic for discussion).

One piece of advice I always give Jehovah’s Witnesses who are thinking of leaving is: Make sure you establish some outside friendships before you fade away. That way, you will have a lifeline when the waters get turbulent. In addition, read everything you can so you can educate yourself about this organization. Google words such as “spiritual abuse,” “thought reform,” “cult dynamics,” and “former Jehovah’s Witnesses.” It will help validate whether or not you’re making the right decision. Understand what a dysfunctional church looks like.

Your family may try to impose guilt, induce shame, and levy threats to get you to return to the Kingdom Hall (KH). Don’t fall for any of it. You have the right to question what you are being taught. Remember, all cult leaders say that they have The Truth, The Way, The Light, the Sole Channel to God.

Just to show you how ridiculous the criteria for excommunications have become, in 2005 Joel Jahn, Washington (USA), was disfellowshipped because he questioned the validity and morality of the organization’s policy that there must be two eye witnesses in order for the child to be believed if the child makes sexual abuse accusations against another member. His concern seems reasonable, doesn’t it? What child has two eye witnesses around when they are being sexually abused?

Consequently, Jahn’s family shunned him. His sister-in-law is reported to have said in the Oct. 17, 2005 Davenport Times: “I pretend he’s not there, like he’s someone I don’t know…We have beliefs that we know are in the Bible, but he caused you to doubt what you think. When we had get-togethers, I really didn’t want to be with him because of his attitude…I feel protected now.”

Joel described shunning as “religious abuse.” Joel’s wife, Linda, who wasn’t disfellowshipped is also feeling the effects of being shunned because her family sees her as a woman married to a man they consider a sinner. Linda remarked, “We’re supposed to be dead in their eyes. Why can’t we have the freedom to change our religion without losing our family?”

It is shocking, then, for former members (like me who has been shunned by my mother, sister, brother and nephews/niece for nearly 30 years) to read something so blatantly hypocritical from the Watchtower. I’m referring to the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society’s July 2009 Awake! magazine in which the Watchtower writes in an article titled, “Is it Wrong to Change Your Religion?”

Lee is a regular bullet columnist who has appeared as a regular on the TV documentary The Secret Lives of Women “Cults” segments. She has written several pieces in our starting rotation but her first essay for the bullet was on Mothers Day “An Author’s Reflection on Mothers Day…” She overcame her mother’s (mis)using religion like a scalpel in a power-mad effort to break her will, only to write a powerful book of revelation and triumph.