TSD Memphis


Common Core sets high bar for Memphis kids

commoncore 600There's nothing like a good-looking suit.

Putting one on before work or before church on Sunday is second nature. You don't even have to think about it.

But think about when you were little, and had to learn how to lace your strings, tie your tie and tuck in your shirt. You might not have learned it all at once, but you eventually learned how to put it together.

Just like you had to learn to get dressed up when you needed to look sharp, there's a lot that our kids need to learn in school. To make sure they're learning what they need to know to get a job, Tennessee is rolling out a new set of higher standards in our schools, called Common Core.


Clarence Thomas’ self-inflicted amnesia

clearancethomas 600Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is at it again. Whenever he opens his mouth about race, he displays a surprising myopia for a 65-year-old African American man who was raised in the Deep South during a segregated era. During his confirmation hearing, Thomas excoriated his own family, speaking of his sister as someone (and I paraphrase) waiting around for her welfare check.

He was equally contemptuous of other members of his family, even as they were loyal to him and attended some of his hearings. A notable point in his confirmation hearing was a moment when he said he experienced the pain of racism when his grandmother could not use a desegregated bathroom. I'd remind him now, as I did then in a column, that it wasn't personal, and it wasn't just his grandmother, it was everybody's grandmother. That's the collective and institutional knowledge than Thomas lacks.

The old Clarence Thomas resurfaced when he went to Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Fla. to deliver a speech.


Why are white men like Michael Dunn so angry?

dunn 600Why are so many white men like Michael Dunn angry?

Dunn, the man found guilty Saturday on three counts of attempted second-degree murder for shooting into a car full of black teenagers at a Jacksonville, Fla., gas station after an argument over loud rap music—but not convicted of the murder of Jordan Davis, the 17-year-old slain in the incident—provides some answers. Like Trayvon Martin's killer, George Zimmerman, Dunn's case represents the rage felt by many angry white men in America.

During his cross-examination on the stand, Dunn admitted to feeling "disrespected by a mouthy teenager" who ignored his request to turn down the "rap crap" blasting from a red SUV occupied by Jordan and his friends. In Dunn's version of events, Jordan taunted him with racial and gender slurs like "cracker" and "b--ch."

Dunn was pushed over the edge by insults and window-rattling music, and what allegedly followed eerily mirrored the 1993 film "Falling Down," in which a white-collar worker turned vigilante snaps under the pressure of white, middle-class life and strikes back against Latino gangbangers.



Civil Rights Movement and Hip-Hop (Part 1)

BenChavis 600African American History Month is an appropriate time to raise the question of the relationship between the Civil Rights Movement and the evolution of Hip-Hop culture and activism. Of course, I am very much aware that for some people this may appear to be a strange question to ask given the popular perception that there is a serious generation gap between the young and the elders. Yet, the issues of consciousness, values, principles, and ethics in context of the ongoing struggle for freedom, justice, equality and empowerment are matters that transcend age, gender, race and social class.

Too often there has been a tendency to engage in intergenerational finger pointing to lay blame for so many negative or self-destructive incidents have occurred in our communities. The truth is no one age group is solely responsible for the lack of progress or for the advancement of the interests of African Americans.

I am blessed because I grew up and participated in the Civil Rights Movement in my native state of North Carolina. I had the privilege of working as a youth organizer for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) during the 1960s. In the 1970s, I was able to polish and refine my community organizing skills with Rev. Charles E. Cobb Sr. and the United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice. In the 1980s, I began a 34-year plus working-relationship and mentorship to Russell Simmons who emerged as the entrepreneur-visionary Godfather of Hip-Hop music and culture.


‘Not bad looking and lonely’ seeks dating-site info

Yvette-George 600Dilemma & Question: "I met a man online. We talked for months before we met. We lived in separate cities but close enough to visit. Well I dated him for 9 months. He finally asked me to marry him. I'm apprehensive, don't know why. Because he treats me well. But my gut tells me no! ... I want to do a background check on him but don't know how. (I did Goggle him) but found nothing. I live on a fixed income but I need to know about this man. I feel a dark spirit around him sometimes; he chalks it up to having a bad day. He wants me to move in and leave my hometown, where I have no one/family.

"Are these online dating sites safe or scams? Most men wanted a one-night stand. I'm too old & don't want to end up dating a crazy man or serial killer. Since I don't get out much online dating allows me to meet men & makes me feel wanted. I'm African American, 62, not bad looking, and lonely! Can you tell me of any legitimate dating sites? And do they really work?"

Dear 'not bad look, and lonely': Some people swear by these dating sites and have been successful. I tried a couple as an experiment for my TV show; 95 percent wanted "booty calls." That was six years ago. Since then, several others have popped up specializing in older singles, Christian singles, etc. Times have changed and we must change with it.

But have you tried traditional methods, such as asking friends if they know any single men, volunteering, and attending social events? I doubt "prince charming" will knock on your door. You must get out and enjoy life and meet people.

The Internet is full of sites where you can do a background check and I suggest you follow through. I certainly wouldn't leave town with a man I've only known for nine months. Do you know his friends and/or family?

Intuition is a great asset! It has served many people well and kept them alive when they listened to that little voice, gut, or that uneasy feeling. I understand you may be lonely. But, I'd rather be alive and feeling lonely than with a companion that may mean me harm. Slow down, get to know him better. Ask yourself, why is he in a hurry? Has he been married before? How much do you really know about this man?

If he loves you and he is the guy for you, he will wait and give you the space you need. Continue to date him. Listen to that inner voice.

Dating sites may be the way of the future. If so, go on more dates before you decide to marry a guy you just met. To be honest, it's a double-edge sword. He may be OK. I know people that dated for three months and have been married 50 years. (Rare).

Then there's the flip side.

So my advice is to go with your gut! You don't have to be lonely, date! Is he the only man you met on the site? I know plenty of married people that are lonely in their marriage. Enjoy life on your own and with the friends you have.

(Stuff Happens, Then What? is an advice and relationship column that answers questions about life issues, situations and challenges. Send questions and dilemmas to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . All parties will remain anonymous.)