When Beyoncé Knowles sang the Etta James song "At Last" at President Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration, the song could have had several meanings. At last we have an African American president? At last, the muscle of the African-American vote has been flexed? At last, there is some hope for our country to come together with the mantra "Yes, We Can".
Watching the President and First Lady Michelle Obama slow dance to the romantic standard reminded us that African-American families have not often been positively depicted. This attractive image of an intact African-American family had come "At Last". Thus, the song was symbolic of what many folks, and especially African Americans, believed about the Obama presidency.
Some of us blindly believed that with an African-American president opportunity had come "At Last." Some believed it so fervently that the least criticism of President Obama, no matter how mild and how lovingly conveyed, could cause you to be run out of the race.
When some of us saw the first video of Charles Ramsey, the colorful black dishwasher in Cleveland who is being celebrated as a hero for rescuing three white women captives from horrid conditions in a Cleveland house, we had a flashback to Antoine Dodson, who became a flamboyant Internet sensation after saving his sister from a would-be rapist in their Huntsville, Ala., housing apartment, and Sweet Brown, who barely escaped a fire in her Oklahoma City complex.
But more than any other famous "hilarious black neighbor" Internet sensation, the coverage of Ramsey – and his criminal past – raises serious questions about how we treat a hero with a troubled past and, yes, how blacks and whites look at the same event through different prisms of race.
First, as they say in TV news, let's go to the videotape.
Going to the doctor for a yearly physical is necessary if your goal is to achieve optimum health. But have you noticed that if there's an ache or pain that you're complaining about, it seems to suddenly disappear when you're trying to explain it to the doctor.
Even if you can't explain it or point to it, the ache and pain could be symptoms of an underlying problem that will continue to gnaw at you. But what if you're on the periphery of pre-diabetes? What if you've crossed the threshold into full-blown diabetes and didn't know it?
If your health were at stake, you'd need to get help immediately. Diabetes left untreated could send you over the edge into an early grave. Some people may actually believe they're immune to certain diseases, but let me tell you, they're so wrong. There is no shield to protect you against the onslaught of diabetes – unless that shield is a daily supply of fresh fruits and vegetables.
I always talk about how this nation is becoming more and more multicultural. In eight years, there will be 170 million multicultural consumers in the United States. This nation is a huge melting pot already, but these forecasted numbers are promising for people of color – especially young people.
According to the most recent U.S. Census, African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians each make up 42 percent of the youngest demographic age groups: 12-17, 18-24 and 25-34. These same groups of young folks are going to be in our shoes as adults in a few decades and their numbers are on the rise. The 18- to 24-year-old demographic is growing faster than any other segment.
Supreme Court justices are in the top 10 percent of earners in this country. They attended the best universities and have access to the best health care, a pension plan unaffected by the economy and oh, by the way, immense power.
There isn't a socioeconomic litmus test they could take that would result in them being in a class result other than elite.
And yet Justice Clarence Thomas, when asked during an interview at the Duquesne University School of Law in April whether he thought he would see a black president in his lifetime, made it seem as if he's on the outside looking in. He said he knew "it would have to be a black president who was approved by the elites and the media, because anybody that they didn't agree with, they would take apart."
As young as 5 years old, Twan Woods would wake up at night and hear his mother having a seizure. He would know exactly what to do. He would run into her bedroom, hold her, put a cold rag in her mouth, comfort her and keep her from falling until it was over, he recalls.
"My Mom, she's a sick lady. She's like, handicapped, she's been like that all her life," said the 37-year-old who grew up in Ward 8, a crime-ridden section of South East Washington, D.C.
Despite the hardships, his mother, whom he identified as Francine Ward, raised him and his younger brother the best she could – with love and wisdom.
CHEF TIMOTHY: Losing weight is a constant battle some people find difficult to win. It's a problem that affects tens of thousands of people who are on the verge of becoming obese or are already too heavy and in jeopardy of becoming seriously ill.
So, are you in a battle with your weight?
Before I go any further, let me give kudos to BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee for addressing the obesity problem in Memphis and the Mid-South through its Healthy Church Challenge 100-day weight loss competition. From what I understand, hundreds have taken the challenge to stay healthy and physically fit.