10 no-nos for white people during Black History Month

5AAHistimage-400As Black History month begins and we take pride in the ancestors that help make this country great, it's only fair that we ask white people to refrain from some of the things they have the nerve to say to us on a regular basis. Please give us a break for at least this month.

So here it is...10 things white people should not say and/or cannot ask you during African-American History Month.


Black Women’s Agenda group leads call for gun control

Gwainevere-Catchings-Hess-160Like many Americans, I was horrified to learn that the National Rifle Association (NRA) has chosen to press its case for armed guards in the nation's schools with a commercial referencing President Obama's daughters. Haven't enough of our children been victimized by our inability to address gun violence?

Instead of lashing out and attacking anything and anyone who suggests there is a need for gun control legislation, The National Rifle Association should consider the model the Johnson & Johnson company provided during the 1982 Tylenol tampering scandal.


Relationships, listening & the ‘better’ factor

listenup-600Building a case for better relationships through better listening, Florida A&M University professor Chandra Clark offers these tips for becoming "more active, engaged listeners."

CONSIDER THE COMMUNICATION CONTEXT. The physical setting, time and location of a communication exchange may well impact its reception. For example, if you have a sensitive message for someone, it may be better to speak in person or by phone rather than via text or email.


Obama slights loyal following

Julianne-malveaux-160President Barack Obama has the opportunity, in this second term, to put his feet on history. He won an election that his opponent had essentially claimed, he has been firm about that which he would negotiate on, and he has offered a progressive inauguration speech that offers up a liberal agenda, embracing Social Security and Medicare, uplifting immigrants and gay rights, and embracing ways to address inequality.

One could not help but applaud the strong direction of President Obama's speech. But those of us in the African American community wonder why we could not get a shout out about high unemployment and poverty rates, inner city challenges, and income, economic and unemployment disparities.


Boy Scouts shouldn’t become ‘Gay Scouts’

R Jackson-160All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. This statement is the best way to express my thoughts and feelings about what the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is constantly going through.

The Boy Scouts of America is one of the largest youth organizations in the U.S., with more than 2.7 million youth members and more than 1 million adult volunteers. It is estimated that more than 110 million Americans have been members of the BSA since in founding in 1910, including me.


Hillary as President: Better for African-Americans?

hillary-400The same day that President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made headlines for their first joint interview, on "60 Minutes," NAACP President Ben Jealous delighted conservatives with his headline-making interview on another Sunday news program.

Appearing on "Meet the Press," Jealous said, "Right now when you look at joblessness in this country – the country is pretty much back to where it was when this president started. White people are doing a bit better. Black folks are doing a full point worse."


Want ‘black votes’ GOP?

Roland-Martin-400For more than a year I've tried to get Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus to make an appearance on my Sunday morning news show on TV One, the nation's second-largest black cable network.

He has also been invited to appear on my daily segment on "The Tom Joyner Morning Show," with 8 million listeners.

Although Priebus did tell me "yes" a year ago, on the day of the GOP primary debate in South Carolina, he has yet to show up and talk GOP politics to either of these audiences.


My life is a testament to Rep. DeBerry

David-Mills-300In 1978 a New Jersey-born and California-raised kid landed in Tennessee. I was a deceitful, recovering heroin addict and a school dropout, thief and former childhood run-away when I met The Honorable Lois M. DeBerry in Crossville, Tenn. at the Annual Legislative Retreat of The Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators.

Rep. DeBerry transformed this stranger through increased exposure and raised expectations.


Don’t put Ida B. Wells’ name in that park mess

ForrestPark-400Being a life long Memphian, I have passed Forrest Park and the huge statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest on Union Avenue hundreds of times without stopping. Why would I stop?

Since when has the history of a man riding on a horse ever meant anything good for an African American?

Neither was I prompted to entertain the revelation of the horse's rider, and this despite the local news media's recent swarm to the statue.


How can teachers be effective in a system that doesn’t value them?

Keith-Willaims-160The Teacher Effectiveness Initiative has become the most recent attempt and buzz word for the privatization and corporate takeover of public education. The broader question that remains unanswered and unaddressed is school-wide and community effectiveness!

Those who are in control and who have the financial backing will maintain they have no control over the system and the conditions under which our students live; they have identified and targeted teachers as the single most important and crucial element in the public school system. Therein, everything that is wrong with public education is addressed by blaming teachers.


You’re not alone in your struggle with obesity

Chef Timothy Moore-160Uncontrolled weight gain saddles a multifaceted group of people. Closer inspection reveals myriad individuals with lives, thoughts and feelings that do not register with many of us.

Meet Judy Lee of Albert, Canada. She has come to the United States again seeking a way to reduce her current weight of 275 pounds, which makes her feel almost ready to live her life as a recluse.


Connecting the past with the President

18Malveaux.1 03obamaspan1One hundred fifty years ago, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. It was a flawed document that freed enslaved people in Confederate areas that he did not control. At the same time, it was a progressive document because it initiated discussion about the "freedom" Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteen Amendments.

One hundred years later, in 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. riveted the nation with his "I Have A Dream" speech during the August 28 March on Washington. Many will remember that he said, "I have a dream that one day people will be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." Somehow people forget that in the same speech he said, "We have come to the nation's capital to cash a check that has been marked insufficient funds." If people said "cash the check" as often as they said "I have a dream," we'd move more quickly forward in closing the economic gaps that African American people experience.


New gun legislation is not the answer

R Jackson-160I really had not planned on writing anything about the shooting in Newtown, Conn. because I didn't have anything fresh or thought provoking to write. As I have indicated before, I can't muster any extra sympathy for the tragic events in Connecticut when young kids are dying every day in Chicago and they barely get a mention in the news, and definitely not by this White House.

The worst thing any politician can ever do is to legislate while caught up in a cloud of emotion. Every time Americans have a tragedy, politicians and the public demand that "something" be done to prevent the same event from happening again. Here is a truth that most of us do not want to admit: There is no current law or future law that can prevent another mass shooting from occurring. Guns are not the problem, it's the people.