Saturday, July 21, 2012

Have A Blessed Ramadan!

New Possibilities will be on vacation for the next 30 days.  Have a blessed Ramadan! Ramadan Mubarak! 

Qur'an 2:183 -
O ye who believe!
Fasting is prescribed to you
As it was prescribed
To those before you
That ye may (learn)

Qur'an 2:185
Ramadan is the (month)
In which was sent down
The Qur'an, as a guide
To mankind, also clear (Signs)
for guidance and judgement
(Between right and wrong)...

Friday, July 13, 2012

VP Joe Biden Gets A Standing Ovation at the NAACP National Convention

When Vice President Joseph Biden walked on to the stage to address the NAACP National Convention, he received a long standing ovation like a rock star. Unlike Romney, Biden did not have to bus in house negroes to cheer for him.

Biden began his speech by stating that he is a lifetime member of the NAACP. Then, he proceeded to praise the nation's first African American President, Barack Obama. He talked about how President Obama saved the financial system from total collapse. He talked about how Obama saved the American automobile industry from bankruptcy. He proclaimed that President Obama made the right call to go after Osama bin Laden. Biden touted the historic passage of healthcare reform. With each line, the crowd gave him a thunderous applause.

After discussing the accomplishments of the Obama Administration, Biden went on to mention important civil rights issues as racial profiling, equal pay, the right to choose, fair taxation, and affordable healthcare. Then, Biden asked the crowd to imagine what the Department of Justice and the United States Supreme Court would look like if Mitt Romney won the election. That thought was frightening.

When the speech was over, the NAACP crowd gave him a standing ovation. Then, Biden walked down the line, shaking hands and talking photographs with supporters. The crowd cheered for Biden because the Obama Administration supports the issues that matter to African Americans.

This morning, I saw a Morning Joe tweet that read "Scarborough on Biden's NAACP Speech: It's Not 1963." I watched the Morning Joe video. If I had access to a PC, I would post the video. On the program, host Joe Scarborough and Michael Steele essentially asserted that Joe Biden was exaggerating the problem of voter identification laws.

The sense of urgency cannot be exaggerated.  According to several news reports, over 750,000 people, in Pennsylvania alone, may be disenfranchised as a result of voter identification laws.  According to the Brennan Center, approximately 11 percent of the US voting age population does not have government issued photo identification. Voter ID laws disproportionately impact African Americans. Twenty-five percent of African Americans do not have government issued photo identification. So, this is not some trivial issue.  I salute Biden for raising that issue.

On Morning Joe, Michael Steele mentioned that the Obama Administration has failed to address the problem of high unemployment in the black community. Black unemployment hovers around 14 percent. The national unemployment rate is approximately 8 percent. Clearly, the problem of high unemployment in the black community must be specifically addressed by the Obama Administration. We must continue to press the President to address the issue.

However, other than de-regulation and lower taxes for the rich, the GOP has no real plan to address the problem. Frankly, they do not care about the black community at all. So, black Republicans have no legitimacy with respect to that issue.

Finally, many critics have asked why the President did not address the NAACP National Convention. Attending an event is far less important than supporting and passing laws and policies that protect the interests of African Americans. Although the President did not attend the NAACP National Convention, his administration supports the legislative priorities of the NAACP. In addition, unlike during the Bush Administration, Obama's Department of Justice has made civil rights enforcement a top priority.

However, the question about Obama not attending the NAACP National Convention is legitimate. The President did not attend the Convention in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Why not, Mr. President?

This article is cross-posted on Jack and Jill Politics.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Romney Gets Booed at the NAACP National Convention

I just finished listening to Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney address the NAACP National Convention. As I predicted, he talked about high unemployment in the black community and "school choice".

For him, free enterprise is the answer to all of America's problems. By free enterprise, he means de-regulation and low taxes for the rich corporations and people. He means trickle down economics. Those policies are not the solution. They are the problem. Those failed policies gave us the mortgage foreclosure crisis and soaring unemployment. Those policies gave us the recession.

During his speech, Romney condemned teacher unions and advocated for more charter schools. Schools in the inner cities are poorly funded and low performing. That is a problem that must be addressed. Although some charter schools may help some students, charter schools are not the solution to education disparities. In fact, charter schools and vouchers take away resources from our public schools. Instead of creating more charter schools, we need to ensure that all schools have equal funding and resources. Speaking of education, I wish I could have asked Romney about his views on affirmative action and the Fisher v. the University of Texas case.

Before this predominately African American, pro-Obama crowd, Romney again called for the repeal of Obamacare. Mitt Romney has not presented a viable plan to insure the uninsured. He has not presented a valid alternative to reduce medical insurance premiums. So yeah, I'm glad that the crowd booed him when he said that nonsense.

As if that wasn't enough, Romney had the audacity to declare say, "If you want a President who will make things better in the African American community, you are looking at him." Then, he proceeded to lecture us about family values. Unbelievable! Why do politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, constantly lecture black people about family values? They do not talk to any other group of people that way.

Mitt Romney ended his speech by mentioning scripture and the equality of all people. At that moment, I wish could have asked him about Mormonism. I would have asked him about Mormonism's racist beliefs.  According to Mormon scripture, black people are cursed and inferior. I would have demanded to know if he supports those views. I would have asked him how does his religion impact his policy decisions.

Frankly, I wonder why Romney even came to the NAACP National Convention. He certainly did not come to the Convention to win over black voters. For the most part, that is a mission impossible.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

New Possibilities is 3 Years Old

On July 4, 2009, Independence Day, I created my blog, New Possibilities. I want to take this opportunity to thank those who have supported my blog over the years. Thank you to my Facebook friends for inspiring me to continue writing. Through your support, I was able to get my blog officially recognized on Networked Blogs. Thank you Field Negro, 3 Chics Politico, African American Political Pundit and other bloggers for adding New Possibilities to your blog rolls. Thank you Afrospear for allowing me to join your illustrious group of African bloggers. Thank you Jack and Jill Politics for selecting me to be a contributor to your prominent blog.  Thank you readers and Twitter family.

I even thank the critics for writing about my articles or comments.  Their criticism helped advertise and promote my blog. They motivated me to hone my craft. The critics inspired me to speak even more boldly.

In spirit of Malcolm X, this blog will continue to be uncompromising and independent. Despite threats from the haters, I will continue to speak truth to power. Happy 4th of July! One love!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Does Hip Hop Degrade or Enhance Society?

About one week ago, prominent hip hop artists, activists and scholars such as Michael Eric Dyson, Jesse Jackson, KRS ONE and others gathered in London to debate about hip hop. One of the questions raised was whether hip hop degrades or enhances society. Although I love hip hop, I have to admit that it degrades society.

Originally, hip hop was the genuine voice of the African American community.  Back in the day, hip hop was multi-dimensional. All of its different voices shared equal space on radio stations and music video shows. It was profound and profane at the same time. One song told the world that You Must Learn, and another song told voluptuous, scantily clad women to Move Something. It exposed the world to the harsh realities of drugs and inner violence. However, it was also politically conscious. It taught us about Malcolm X, the real Black Panthers, the Five Percenters, Islam and the motherland. I remember when the African medallions replaced the gold chains. In addition to be being dead serious, hip hop was also about dancing and partying.

Today, with the commercialization of hip hop, negative rap music has been catapulted to the forefront and positive, inspiring hip hop has been pushed into fringes. Finding positive rap on the radio is like sifting through a mountain of garbage looking for a diamond. Artists such as Dead Prez, Immortal Technique, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, The Roots and Common are rarely played on the radio.

Nowadays, radio stations play the same 20 songs by Lil Wayne, Drake, Young Jeezy, Rick Ross, 2 Chains, Waka, Nicki Minaj, 50 Cent and a other few others.

For the most part, mainstream rap does degrade African American society in several ways. It celebrates violence and criminality. The gun is a phallic symbol in mainstream rap. Many rap artists brag about having guns. For example, in one popular rap song, Rick Ross boasts about having "a chopper in the car". Many rap artists brag about shooting and killing their own black brothers. Instead of celebrating real achievements, mainstream rap celebrates getting shot and "catching cases".  Those disasters are badges of honor in the warped world of hip hop.

In addition to promoting violence, mainstream rap glorifies crack dealing and materialism. Rappers brag about buying Maybachs, Bentleys and expensive jewelry with dope money. Essentially, in order to be respected in the rap game, you must have street cred. You have to be a former drug dealer or have a criminal record. By flaunting their wealth and bragging about their criminal past, many rappers are basically encouraging the gullible youth to sell drugs. Although mass incarceration and inner city violence are not caused by rap, popular rap encourages and perpetuates those problems.

Moreover, you can't listen to a rap song without hearing artists using the word "nigga" to describe themselves and their own people. For example, one of the most popular rap songs out is titled Niggas In Paris. The "n" word is probably the most derogatory racial slur in the English. That word is rooted in slavery and Jim Crow. It is outrageous that we continue to use the oppressor's slur against ourselves. Usage of that word is a modern day example of what Naim Akbar called "the chains of psychological slavery."

Instead of honoring our sisters, mothers, wives and girlfriends, hip hop has reduced our women to bitches, hos and other derogatory terms. Dr. Dre's Bitches Ain't S*** summarizes mainstream hip hop's attitude toward women. Here are a few misogynistic lyrics from some very popular rap songs. On Steady Mobbing, Lil Wayne raps "F*** these bitches! I swear I care about everything but these bitches." On another song, Drake says, "I don't trust these hos at all."

Hip hop does not present women as intelligent and capable equals.  It presents them as rump shaking, half-naked prostitutes and strippers. One of the most popular songs tells women to "shake that ass." Another popular song brags about "beating the p**** up."

In sum, hip hop degrades society, but we have the power to make hip hop enhance our society. We must empower and promote positive and conscious rap by buying it and by encouraging radio stations to play it. At the same time, we must challenge and oppose the self-destructive and degrading messages in popular rap music, not through censorship, but through our purchasing power. This article is cross-posted on Jack and Jill Politics.