The DEVIL is a LIAR! Our kids WANT to learn!

Black student-athletes don’t care about academics… Inner city High School coaches don’t emphasize the importance of books…

Last week a U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia openly stated “There are those who contend that it does not benefit African Americans to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well.”

I’m here to tell you…

Devil is Liar

Out kids are thirsty for knowledge. They want to learn! They want to go to college. They want to create better situations for themselves and their families.

What they lack is a road map. How do they accomplish their goals? They have no idea. What are the obstacles the face? They have no clue.

What I know for sure is that High School Coaches want to see their kids excel and further their education. Coach after coach has demanded that I come in an explain the NCAA eligibility process to their players. Indeed, Lou Williams at Dobbins Vo-Tech insisted that I hang up the phone and come talk to his players immediately. Of course, I jumped in my car and headed to 22nd and Lehigh. Upon arriving, Coach Williams stopped practice because he said, “education is MORE important” than what they were reviewing in practice.

Time after time, the same scenario plays itself out… The DEVIL is liar…

Andre Noble and Rob Moore - kwalifi poster-page-0

The coaches know that in June of 2013 Philadelphia Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. laid off 3,783 employees, because of the district’s financial crisis. The list included 676 teachers, 283 counselors, 127 assistant principals, and 1,202 noontime aides. Before he said it, the coaches knew that “These … employees are more than numbers: these are people — professionals — who play important roles in the lives of thousands of students throughout our city.”

The coaches see the results… Hite called the layoffs “nothing less than catastrophic for our schools and students… Every aspect of the district will feel the impact — schools, regional offices, and central office — along with employees ranging from senior administrators to support staff.”

I have been amazed by the extent to which the coaches and the student-athletes persist in the desire to pursue higher education… Everyone knows Philly’s students and student-athletes have long received the short end of the stick. Yet, they strive…

Kwalifi logo

When I show up to talk about NCAA regulations and the kwalifī smartphone app, I am frequently told “I already downloaded it and put my grades in…”

I cannot put into words how that makes me feel… To know that my idea, my concept, my plan has come to fruition and the young people are using it without being prompted nearly made me cry! Youngbucks have called me from Baltimore asking how to interpret their results and I have yet to visit a single school in Maryland.

It’s not just under-performing urban schools… Predominantly white and middle to upper class Upper Moreland, Wissahickon and Pymouth-Whitemarsh have embraced kwalifī. But, the intent was and will always remain to help those who are most needy… For years, I have spent hours and hours with some of the sharpest, most intelligent young men in the country. I have seen many of these guys go on to do great things in college and beyond. Here is a partial list…

Kwalifi - Partial Client List-page-0(1)

With the kwalifi app, instead of 10-15 per year, we will be able to help tens of thousands!!

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The young brothers pay attention to the message… They ask very good questions…

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I love, love, love this particular project… For us, by us… But everyone should feel free to download and utilize the kwalifī app…

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I will be visiting schools every day for the rest of the school year… If you want us to talk to your guys/girls contact us blackcager@gmail.com…

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We must remain vigilant… We cannot allow a return to the days of yore…

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…and remember… The DEVIL is a LIAR!!

The Epitome of the STUDENT-athlete: It’s the RAK!!

Come on
Ha hey yo stop playin man
This is real serious
Ha… It’s the Roc… yeah yo

Jay-Z, “Guns & Roses”

 

Black collegiate student-athletes should strive to be like Syracuse Superstar Rakeem Christmas. He has blazed a trail that should be followed. He represents all that “could be and should be” in collegiate athletics.

Rakeem GraduateSyracuse Graduate, Rakeem Christmas

For the most part, collegiate Football and Basketball fans either don’t know or don’t care about the dismal academic outcomes for black male student-athletes. They acknowledge and loudly applaud their performances in jam-packed stadiums and arenas while ignoring the cold hard fact that half of them will never earn a degree. Within ivory towers across the country, there’s a largely unspoken acceptance among administrators and faculty of black athletes as unconscious accomplices in a naked race for exponentially expanding athletic revenues.

To a considerable extent, black male student-athletes are not viewed as worthy members of learning communities within academic institutions. They are modern-day gladiators, merely entertainers for the rest of the campus community and well-heeled alums.

Stats don’t lie… People do…

Black men among the top 25 BCS schools represent 3 percent of their student bodies but 60 percent of the football players. The performances of 3 percent in football and basketball contests generate hundreds of millions, perhaps even, billions of dollars for NCAA and their respective schools on an annual basis. These revenue streams have evolved into veritable “Nile rivers” of cash.

cardale-jones

Cardale Jones, Quarterback of Ohio State’s National Champion Football Team

Let’s take just a cursory glance at the top lines for NCAA football and basketball. On the gridiron, in 2014, the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC each drew a baseline amount of approximately $50 million in the first year of a 12-year contract. The other five FBS-level leagues will split $75 million. The “BIG” football schools are in the midst of an unprecedented windfall that’s more than five times greater than their combined payday in 2013.

According to Bill Hancock, the College Football Playoff’s executive director, “It’s good for everybody… There’s more money for everybody.” One cannot dispute his assertions, the BCS schools and a few other major conferences have put forth proposals to provide athletes with stipends, to allow athletes to borrow money to obtain injury insurance and to prohibit schools from pulling scholarships from athletes due to injury or poor performance.

They can certainly afford to make these concessions to the players.

USA TODAY Sports has reported that BCS football playoff television revenue will average at least $470 million annually over the life of the contract. Ticket and merchandising sales and sponsorship deals could add $40-50 million annually, on average.

The NCAA makes even more marketing and selling the performances of it’s basketball players.

It is very likely that within the next 48 months, the NCAA will surpass a billion dollars in annual revenue. The exponential revenue growth is a direct result of lucrative television rights for its men’s basketball tournament.

The NCAA cashes in every year during “March Madness.” It wasn’t always this way.

As recently as 1973, when the first wave of Black student-athletes were recruited to all-white Jim Crow athletic departments across the Southern part of the country, TV rights for the NCAA tournament generated only about $1 million. Plainly stated, segregated collegiate sports weren’t generating the enormous revenues we see today.

1967-alabama-footballAlabama’s 1967 Football Team

Let’s recognize that it wasn’t until June 9, 1969 that the University of Kentucky signed it’s first Black basketball player. In 1971, Alabama signed it’s first Black football player.  Over the next decade, Black student-athletes became de rigueur in the American south. The influx of Black student-athletes into major college sports was accompanied by an explosion in revenues. The performances of Black student-athletes have become extremely marketable and valuable. Last year, Men’s basketball tournament multimedia rights accounted for more than $680 million of the NCAA’s nearly $913 million in total revenue.

So… How have Black student-athletes fared? What are they getting out of the deal? Have young Black student-athletes been entering “Faustian Bargains” since the early 1970’s? Have they abandoned their commitment to academic achievement in order to play on the largest stage? Are they modern day equivalents to Roman gladiators?

Shaun Harper, Collin Williams and Horatio Blackman of the Center for the Study of Race and Equity at Penn Graduate School of Education,  reported the following in their study of graduation rates:

~ Across four cohorts, 50.2% of black male student-athletes graduated within six years, compared to 66.9% of student/athletes overall, 72.8% of undergraduate students overall, and 55.5% of black undergraduate men overall.

~ 96.1% of these NCAA Division I colleges and universities graduated black male student-athletes at rates lower than student-athletes overall.

~ 97.4% of these institutions graduated black male student-athletes at rates lower than undergraduate students overall.

By any reasonable measure, Black male student-athletes are struggling. Plainly stated, half of them do not graduate within six years. At nearly every D1 school they graduate at rates lower than student-athletes overall. Moreover, they graduate at rates lower than undergraduate students overall.

The picture is more than bleak! It’s downright scary… Young Black men are entering the chamber and fewer than half are emerging out of the other end with a degree within six years… There’s gotta be a better way…

Who will provide the example? Where is our Beacon on the Hill?

It’s the RAK!!

Rakeem1Rakeem Christmas, Syracuse

The numbers are beyond impressive. Syracuse’s Rakeem Christmas is averaging 18.4 ppg and 9.0 rpg in an astounding senior campaign. One of the favorites for ACC Player of the Year and a sure fire ALL-American, Christmas dropped 35 and 9 on Wake Forest. In his very next game he put up 21 and 10 against Clemson. Miami was victimized for 23 and 8, while he gave North Carolina 22 and 12.

Rakeem is, without question, the most productive BIG in college basketball this season.

However, the greatest numbers he has put up over the past year were 120 and 3.

120 and 3…

Defying the odds and refuting stereotypes, Rakeem Christmas graduated from Syracuse University – earning 120 credits of coursework – in just 3 years.

The Syracuse graduation requirements are very clear. Students must earn a minimum of 120 credits of coursework for the B.A. or B.S. degree. For all students enrolling in the College of Arts and Sciences, 30 of the 120 credits must be taken in upper-division courses. Every major leading to the bachelor’s degree in the College of Arts and Sciences must include at least 18 credits of upper-division work (courses numbered 300 and above) in the field of study.

In an era where half of Black male student-athletes fail to graduate within 6 years, Rakeem graduated in 3.

It’s the RAK!!

Rakeem2After three seasons as a Syracuse starter, Christmas graduated as a junior with a B.S. in communications and rhetorical studies from SU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. According to Head Coach Jim Boeheim, Christmas is the first to accomplish this feat. Boeheim said, “It’s got to be about as rare as can be… It’s an unbelievable accomplishment.”

What was the key to his academic success? Is there a secret that can be passed on to other Black student-athletes in high profile D1 programs?

So… Rak, exactly how did you get this done? “I’m just here in the summer time a lot and I was taking a lot of classes… For my major, I was just knocking out a lot of stuff that I needed. So I was getting down to it and I realized I had taken a lot of my major courses.”

Everyone familiar with the demands of collegiate sports is familiar with the obstacles. There are probably a minimum of 15-20 hours practice each week. If you want to get better, you have to exceed the mandatory time in the weight room. In the hyper-competitive ACC there are countless hours spent in meetings and studying film. After all, it is widely considered the premier conference in all of college basketball.

Then after all of that, you have to travel up and down the East Coast to play the games. This demanding schedule takes you away from the classroom. You invariably miss lectures and seminars.

How have you managed this demanding schedule? “The travel is the tough… We’re away from campus a lot, but I made sure I kept in contact with professors, emailing them and sending in assignments.”

Raised primarily by his Aunt, Amira Hamid, Rakeem has internalized her lessons on the importance of developing and refining his ability to prioritize and compartmentalize aspect of his life.

Rakeem and AmiraRakeem and Amira Hamid

“Practice isn’t that bad for me. It’s about two hours out of my day. I practice and I go home and work before going to sleep.”

He admits that road games can be a challenge.

“When we’re traveling, I don’t really want to focus on class work. I’m thinking about the game… But I know I’ve got to get the work done.”

Hamid has instilled a strong West Indian value system in Rakeem.

“I’m pretty self-motivated… My first year, people had to tell me what to do. But I have come to realize that I have to get it done… I learned to pay attention to the little things that you need to do to get it all done.”

Oh…… Rak’s gotten it done….

His freshman year Syracuse went 34-3 and reached the Elite Eight. As a sophomore he helped the Orange to a 30-10 record and a Final Four Appearance. During his junior year, the Orange were 28-6 and made it to the Third Round of the NCAA Tournament.

The team has been incredibly successful. Average attendance in the Carrier Dome was 26,253 in 2014.

Most importantly, Rakeem came out of the chamber early. His degree was firmly in hand after 3 seasons. He is an example for all Black collegiate student-athletes that come after him. He’s committed to helping younger kids understand the importance of focusing and setting priorities.

A McDonald’s All-American in high school, he struggled early trying to find a niche on supremely talented Syracuse squads. Unlike the 604 Men’s Basketball student-athletes that transferred in 2014, Rakeem buckled down, hit the books and worked on his craft. He has reaped the benefits of studying as he makes his way through a Master’s program. Syracuse is reaping the benefits of his perseverance as he slays ACC opponents night in and night out.

A classic win-win proposition… That’s exactly how it should be for every young Black student-athlete participating in collegiate athletics.

“I love Syracuse University! I couldn’t imagine going to another school… I bleed Orange!”

Rakeem4It’s the RAK!!

Pussy Is Undefeated!! Youngfellas, Please Take Notes…

Pussy got a better record than Floyd Mayweather. Undefeated every win by KO.

Charlamagne Tha God

Pussy is undefeated…

Some things you learn from your parents… Some things you learn in school… Some things you learn on the streets… Your friends, especially during that awkward transitional period known as puberty, will try to teach you a thing or two…

But, some of the most important lessons in life can only be learned through experience. It’s taken me half a century to come to this realization. Please allow me to give you a few of examples of shit I have come to understand, on my own, over the years.

I was born exactly 50 years ago, January 12, 1965. I came into a world and a nation characterized by strife and conflict. Unbeknownst to me, from the moment I drew my very first breath, my life was directly impacted by European colonialism and the resulting international conflicts.

White Americans and their European 1st cousins rule the world…

Life taught me this important lesson very early on. While I was learning to sit up, hold a bottle, crawl and eventually walk… The United States was heavily involved in a protracted conflict with the communist government of North Vietnam.

As a boy focused almost exclusively on how Ultra Man would overcome the evil monsters and awed by the strength Bam-Bam displayed in the fictional city of Bedrock, I had no way of knowing North Vietnam had run the French Colonialists out of their homeland in 1954. Looking back as I begin my second half-century, it kinda makes sense that the Vietnamese wanted to govern themselves.

ultraman

Ultra Man

Who doesn’t? What people in this world want to be ruled by foreign powers?

George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and the rest of the American Founding Fathers wanted the exact same thing and, for that, they are revered and celebrated.

One can almost imagine Alexander Hamilton or Ben Franklin loudly saying “FUCK King George!” The founding Fathers were rightly pissed about the lack of American representation in English Parliament. They really resented direct taxes levied by the English Parliament on the American colonies without their consent. Over time, they came to the conclusion that King George and the rest of England could “fuck off.” They created self-governing provinces, they circumvented the British ruling apparatus in each colony by 1774. Finally, in July 1776, they said “we out!”

We all know the narrative… It’s been drilled into us from Day 1… King George and England were the bad guys. Washington and the other Founding Fathers seeking self-governance and independence were the good guys.

As I came into the world, active US combat units were being introduced into Vietnamese Arena. By the time I was four, in 1969, more than 500,000 U.S. military personnel were stationed in Vietnam.

vietnamChildren running during Vietnam War

The North Vietnamese, like Jefferson, Adams and Franklin 180 years earlier, sought independence and self-determination.

“Fuck the French… We out!”

My toddler brain was only capable of caring about Ultra Man and 1 soldier, Private James Earl Wilson, my father. He was drafted and sent to fight for “his country” I was told.

When he came home, his foot was gone.

That’s how I learned Europeans rule the world… During my formative years, all I knew was that war took my father’s foot. War was bad… Actually, war was really fucked up.

 

To me, Muhammad Ali made perfect sense when he said, “I Ain’t Got No Quarrel With The VietCong… No VietCong Ever Called Me Nigger.” My Pop ain’t have no skin in that game. Yet, he came home without his foot. He made a helluva sacrifice for “his country” and the dying remnants of the French Colonial empire.

This process helped me become an “experiential learner.” That is, it helped me improve my ability to learn a lot of shit on my own.  Experiential learning is a process through which people develop knowledge, skills, and values from direct experiences outside a traditional academic setting. Basically, it’s the shit you pick up and understand on your own.

For example, my teachers in high school and college never explained why George Washington was a revered “freedom fighter” and Nelson Mandela was a “despised terrorist”….

Some shit, I came to learn, you just have to pick up through experience and observation…

Over the past 5 decades, I have learned a lot of things outside the classroom.

White Flight is real…

Every February for as long I can remember, Black school children across the country are reminded that Crispus Attucks was the 1st American casualty in the the Revolutionary War, Frederick Douglass fought against slavery, Jackie Robinson was the 1st Black player in Major League baseball, Rosa Parks refused to give her seat on bus to a white man, Dr. King gave a great speech during the March on Washington and the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court in 1954 ruling ended segregation in American public schools.

WKNnettie.jpgNettie Hunt and her daughter Nikki on Supreme Court steps in 1954

However, my experiences taught me a very different lesson… Every day, I got on buses with 200-300 other Black Darby Township students and we rode right past two predominantly white high schools to get to our predominantly Black high school…

While my history textbooks told me that school segregation was formally declared unconstitutional in 1954, my daily experiences from 1977-1982 taught me something very different… Segregation was very much alive… the Court ordered only that the states end segregation with “all deliberate speed.” This vagueness about how to enforce the ruling gave segregationists in Delaware County the opportunity to organize resistance. Their stall tactics worked for a full three decades.

Finally, after 30 years “all deliberate speed” arrived in the Southeast Delco School District… After, attending schools that were more than 90% Black from K-11, I spent my senior year as a distinct minority in the “desegregated” and newly formed Academy Park High School.

When it opened in 1982, the newly formed Academy Park HS was about 70% White and 30% Black… Today the school is about 70% Black and 30% White…

White flight is very real…

Again, my teachers and textbooks said one thing, my experiences taught me something very different…

This brings me to, perhaps, one of the most important lessons I have gleaned from 50 years of learning shit on my own. Like the examples cited above, the books don’t cover this one. Nonetheless… It’s extremely important.

Young fellas… Pussy is undefeated…. Please take notes!

In this corner some very famous, powerful and wealthy men like Mike Tyson, Bill Clinton, Tiger Woods and most recently Bill Cosby….

And… In the other corner… pussy…

The resulting losses have been breathtaking, monumental and widely covered by the media… pussy has registered some incredible ass whoopings.

As you transition from High School to college, know that this lesson is not discussed in classrooms, you will not be assigned research papers on the topic, books on the subject won’t appear on syllabi… Yet… Eventually, you will come to know it’s the truth…

Of all the lessons Ol’ Heads try to impart on young fellas, this may be the hardest to teach. I have concluded, for many, this lesson can only be absorbed through experiential learning.  Unfortunately, most of us have to experience the body shots, upper cuts, left hooks and right crosses first hand.

One very recent high profile case serves as a classic example…

Over the past decade, David H. Petraeus, a retired four-star general served as commander of American forces in both Iraq (2007) and Afghanistan (2010). After that, President Obama appointed him to lead the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 2011.

Plainly stated, Petraeus was da fucking MAN! He was running shit!!

He was at the forefront of presidential campaign speculation….

It all came crashing down when pussy whooped his ass…

Iraqi FreedomGeneral Petraeus during a briefing at the Pentagon

On January 9, 2014, the New York Times reported that the F.B.I. and Justice Department prosecutors have recommended bringing felony charges against Petraeus.

Essentially, they are saying he was “pussy whooped” and it caused him to lose sight of his role and responsibilities…

According to the feds, he provided classified information to a lover while he was director of the C.I.A. The Justice Department investigation stems from an affair Mr. Petraeus had with Paula Broadwell, an Army Reserve officer who was writing his biography, and focuses on whether he gave her access to his C.I.A. email account and other highly classified information.

Of course General Patraeus is presumed innocent of all charges until they are proven in a court of law… I have no idea if he committed any crimes… That is for Attorney General Eric Holder to determine.

What we know for sure is that pussy kicked his Ass… 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10… He’s out!!

Petraeus admitted as much in a statement as he resigned from the CIA, he stated “after being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment… Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours,” Petraeus said, referring to the C.I.A. “This afternoon, the president graciously accepted my resignation.”

Man down!!

Petraeus was at the pinnacle of power and prestige within the American Government. His future was wide open… Several laudatory chapters in American history books already secured, he was headed for a legitimate run for President… No more… This story plays out over and over again..

Who can forget that day in December 2009 when the immensely proud and intensely private Tiger Woods stood before the world and admitted, “I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves… I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart.”

tiger-woods-02-jpgTiger Woods Apologizing on National Television for “transgressions” during marriage

Virtually unbeatable on the fairways and greens, Tiger suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of…. Pussy.

Down for an 8 count, dazed, trying to make it to the end of one of the late rounds… President Clinton resorted to the following verbal gymnastics while trying to extricate himself from a relentless assault featuring devastating body shots:

“It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is…. Now, if someone had asked me on that day, are you having any kind of sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky, that is, asked me a question in the present tense, I would have said no. And it would have been completely true.”

That Georgetown education provide Bill with some ammunition, but in the end it wasn’t enough.  He took the L like millions of other men that came before him.

bill_clinton_denies_monicaBill Clinton denies having “sexual relations” with White House intern, Monica Lewinsky

Young fellas… Pussy is about 973,864,899,034 – 0… More importantly, most of the victories have been secured by way of knockout…

I started thinking about all of this because one of my favorite young bucks, Brandon Austin, is on the ropes… He’s staggering, almost out on his feet… Like Holyfield in the third round of the Bert Cooper fight… He’s holding onto his opponent trying to prevent further immediate damage… On the surface, it looks like pussy’s gonna get another body…

Looks, however, can be deceiving…

When one examines the facts, it becomes apparent that he’s ahead on the scorecards and has gathered himself. Brandon stands a good chance of getting out of this thing alive, he can’t win… But a draw remains in the realm of possible outcomes.

The public’s perception of this particular contest, unfortunately, has been shaped by a series of less than favorable stories in national media outlets.  News purveyors such as the Huffington Post, regularly describe Brandon Austin as “a sophomore accused of sexually assaulting women at two other colleges he attended in the past year.”

On July 28, 2014, the Huffington Post reported that “Austin and two other basketball players were accused of gang raping a female undergrad at the University of Oregon in March. The case did not lead to the district attorney’s pressing charges, but the university did suspend the three indefinitely from the team as players and for up to 10 years from the school as students.”

BRANDON-AUSTIN-PROVIDENCE-facebookBrandon Austin

While condemning the behavior of the players, the story had to acknowledge that “the case did not lead to the district attorney’s pressing charges.”

Yet, a month earlier the same media outlet led with the following headline “Oregon Finds 3 Basketball Players Guilty Of Sexual Assault, Will Remove Them From Campus.”

Huh? Which is it?

Is it possible to simultaneously have no charges filed and be found “guilty”?

Yes… Yes… Yes… Austin has been “accused of sexually assaulting women” at two colleges. But, why not place emphasis on the investigation following the accusations and the resulting outcomes?

A Sexual assault is any involuntary sexual act in which a person is coerced or physically forced to engage against their will, or any non-consensual sexual touching of a person.  By all indications, he had sex with women at two colleges.

Like billions of other men, he likes Pussy…

But, he has NOT sexually assaulted anyone… At least, that’s what the prosecutors and grand jury determined in each instance.

In Providence, the evidence regarding Brandon’s involvement was submitted to a Grand Jury.

The findings are as follows:

“After presentation of the evidence to the Grand Jury with respect to Brandon Austin, it was determined there was legally insufficient evidence to ask the Grand Jury to consider charges against Austin.”

There it is… Plain as day… No charges! Yet, the media insists on finding, crafting, subtly creating a way to label him “guilty.”  Where are the arch-defenders of the process? I’ve seen so many of them on my television… I’ve read their op-eds… I’ve listened to them on talk radio…

In the aftermath of the grand jury decision NOT to indict NYPD police officer Daniel Pantaleo for murder following the strangulation death of Eric Garner, the DA, politicians and much of the mainstream media hailed the fairness of the process.

Staten Island DA Daniel Donovan stated, “No one likes to serve on juries, but they upheld their civic duty and they sat for nine weeks, and they’re the only people that heard all the evidence, and they’re the only people that deliberated…. I think we should respect their decision.”

When revealing the grand jury decision NOT to indict Officer Darren Wilson, St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch declared, “The duty of the grand jury is to separate fact from fiction. After a full, impartial and critical examination of all the evidence and the law and decide if that evidence support filing of criminal charges…”

So… we are told, grand jury decides if there was the commission of a crime. In Providence, the grand jury reviewed the evidence and determined there was no crime.

Bandon’s cases, like others tossed by grand juries across America, is settled. Nothing to see here… Move on…

In Oregon, the Lane County District Attorney concluded that there was “Insufficient evidence to prove charge(s) beyond a reasonable doubt… the conflicting statements and actions by the victim make this case unprovable as a criminal case.”

Again, Brandon was cleared by the legal system. No charges were even filed in either case. He beat all criminal charges…

Despite sensationalistic headlines declaring him “Guilty,” Brandon has NEVER been convicted of any criminal acts.

On the scorecard, Brandon is ahead 2 round to none.  But, all the Ol’ Heads know how this story ends… We all know that Pussy is undefeated…

Legally speaking, the grand jury cleared him in one instance… District Attorney cleared him in another…

As Americans have been repeatedly told after other prominent grand jury and prosecutor decisions NOT to prosecute… “I think we have to respect their decision.”

He has been cleared of all criminal charges, but like General Petraeus, Tiger and President Clinton his reputation has taken a beating.

He’s in his corner right now… He’s listening to his corner men… The cut man is on standby…

I just wish I could find a way to let him, and other young bucks, take advantage of the things I have learned over the course of the 50 years I have spent on this earth… Some things, I wish they didn’t have to learn from experience.  At the top of that list is the fact that…

Pussy is undefeated.

So, when did you fall in love with the Big 5? Alton McCoullough to Temple, 1978!!

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Guy Rodgers (center), Naismith Hall of Famer

For me it was 1978.  College wasn’t the norm around my way.  I grew up in the southern section of Darby Township, PA a small rigidly segregated town bordering Southwest Philadelphia, about 2 miles from the Philadelphia Airport.  In the mid to to late 1970s, the southern end of Darby Township consisted of a cemetery, three traffic lights, Eddie’s Hot Dog stand, about 7 or 8 churches, 2 bars and a populations  of around 3,000 sports crazed Black people. Demographically similar to nearby Philadelphia and Chester, PA with an Apartheid-like political and social structure straight out 1960‘s small-town Mississippi, Darby Township was a wonderful place to grow up if you enjoyed sports. For most, however, the athletic journey ended with high school.

Looking back, it seems we punished opponents on fields and courts, at least in part, because we exercised very little political, economic and social power in Delaware County.  The Northern, predominantly white, section of Darby Township held, and continues to hold, political power through a permanent 3 (white) -2 (Black) representative structure on the Township Commission.  The political deck was and is stacked against Blacks in the southern end of Darby Township.  However, within the athletic realm, more or less, the playing field was fair.

In September 1977, I was 12 and like virtually every one of the other 200-225 boys in Darby Township Junior-Senior High School, I wanted to play for one of the Darby Township Eagles varsity squads. That was the long-term goal.  There wasn’t much else to do other than march with drill teams or go to bible study.  Being rhythmically challenged and a certified sinner, I chose basketball.  This was before the advent of personal computers and home video games. There was no cable television. Cell phones were something on the Jetson’s cartoon. Crack cocaine had yet to be invented and disseminated within poor and working class Black communities. There was no AAU circuit.  No programs sponsored by sneaker companies.  It was truly a different and far less complicated time.

Jim Williams-page-0

Jim Williams, Led Temple in scoring and rebounding from 1963-66

For most boys, there was but one outlet.  In Darby Township you went to school and after school you went to practice. Then, when you came home, you played some more.  Finally… when the games came around, you tried to punish the opposition. That’s all I knew.  I didn’t realize that Darby Township, along with Chester and Darby-Colwyn were considered to be on the lower-end of the county’s socio-economic scale.  I just knew when the horn blew, Darby Township came to play.  Expectations were high and justifiably so.

In 1975, when I was 10 Darby Township won the State Class A Basketball title. Two years later in 1977, an undefeated Darby Township squad was knocked out of the PIAA playoffs by eventual state champion Elk Lake. That spring, DTHS finished second in the PIAA small-school track championship.

In the fall of 1977, I entered the Darby Township Jr-Sr High School. I was truly blessed.  This was the Golden Age of Darby Township Athletics. A period when Darby Township produced some of the greatest scholastic teams and individual performances in Delaware County history.  This was time when the dream of college became a reality for me and so many of my teammates and classmates.

CHANEY ALLEN ROBINSON

John Chaney

One of the first things I noticed upon entering the building was Cardall Baskerville. While the rest of the nation beyond Darby Township focused on Walter Payton, Franco Harris and Tony Dorsett, Baskerville was my football hero. In my mind, he was the greatest running back on the planet. He averaged 6.9 yards every time he toted the rock. You had to see it in person… He would run through a lineman and linebackers like they made of goose feathers and popsicle sticks. Once beyond the line of scrimmage, he would cut sharply, start running upright, change gears and leave defenders smelling fumes for huge chunks of yardage.  Damn… He was good!

How good was Cardall? Darby Township’s coach, Alonzo Covert, said at the time, “He has everything a coach could ask for in a running back.” Covert coached the Eagles to the school’s first undefeated, untied season that year.  Baskerville’s exploits were recognized throughout the area.  The Philadelphia Eagles Alumni Association named Baskerville Delaware County’s Player of the Year. On December 18, 1977 during halftime of the Eagles vs. Jets game at Veterans’ Stadium Baskerville was introduced to 56,000 fans.  In my 12 year old mind, this was huge… I thought the whole world knew about Cardall.

Every day, I would be in awe just watching him walk through the halls.  The future seemed so secure.  Surely he would go to college and then off to the NFL. Shit… I knew he would win the Heisman like Bonner’s John Cappelletti and go on to NFL glory. He was the best in Darby Township, that meant he had to be better than a guy from Bonner.  There were no naysayers… There was no doubt that he was good enough… “This is just the beginning of what Delaware County is going to hear about Cardall Baskerville,” said Covert. “I have received many inquiries about him from colleges that play major college football. They always ask if he can be a Class A college player. I tell them he can be a Class A-plus player. I believe that he could play for Nebraska or Oklahoma or Southern Cal and I’m talking about next year.” You would hear whispers that Syracuse and Penn State were in the school to see him… Man, I was impressed.

Unfortunately, his football career ended at Darby Township High School. Like so many extremely gifted, record setting, young Black Darby Township athletes, Baskerville did not qualify academically to play collegiate sports. He never played beyond scholastic level.  To this day everyone that saw him play remains convinced that the nation was cheated because Cardall didn’t get to keep toting that rock at the collegiate level.  His life would end tragically when he committed suicide a few years later.  It didn’t make sense… How could he be that good and NOT go to college?

Marck Macon

Mark Macon

That really shook me up. How could the best player on the best team in the area not go to college. I tried unsuccessfully to make sense of this situation… I was young, impressionable and did not possess adequate analytical tools… All I knew was… Nobody could stop him. They never lost a game. This didn’t make any sense. Was the system rigged?  I had no understanding of SAT exams and the college admissions process.  It just didn’t seem fair… He was better than everybody.  I felt doomed.  If Cardall couldn’t make it, I had absolutely no shot!

Could anyone actually make it out and play in college out of Darby Township?  At 13, I knew a couple of DTHS alums like Leroy Eldridge (Cheyney St.) and Chris Arnold (Virginia St.) had went on to star at historically Black colleges, but even they were very few and far between.  Moreover those guys graduated in the 60s and were pretty far removed from me… What about the guys I went to school with?  Was college a possibility?

Alton McCoullough and Vince Clark, Baskerville’s extremely talented running mate, would answer those questions for me when they enrolled in Temple University in 78 and 79 respectively.

A key player on the undefeated 1977 Darby Township basketball that lost to Elk Lake in the Final Four, McCoullough led Darby Township to the State Championship game in 1978 where they lost to Father Geibel.

But most importantly, Alton went onto Temple University. At that point in Darby Township, this was a gigantic accomplishment. A kid from Darby Township was playing basketball at the highest collegiate level. While we were all from the “wrong side of the tracks”, “Big Al” was from the “Center.” The Center is a Delaware County Public Housing Development… It’s what some call “the projects.”  At the time, my family was living in another subsidized housing development a few blocks from the Center.

aaron-mckie

Aaron McKie and John Chaney

If “Big Al” could go from the Center to Temple, we all could go to college.  Immediately, I loved Temple.  I spent the next four years buying newspapers just to see the box scores. There was no ESPN, no Comcast Sports, if you wanted to follow college sports you had to exert a little effort.  Big Al went on to have a very solid career at Temple. Over four years (1978-192) he would score 1,051 points and grab 673 rebounds while playing on one NCAA tournament team.

However, his biggest accomplishments, his most important feats did not take place in McGonigle Hall. They took place down the Center court.

In a way, I’m sure he never fully understood, Alton brought Temple University to Darby Township and influenced a generation of young Black boys.  He didn’t bring the bricks and mortar.  He didn’t bring the books.  He brought the “idea” of Temple to Darby Township. Al and his teammates were real live Temple ambassadors in Darby Township.

Every summer, Al would bring Rick Reed, Kevin Broadnax and Neil Robinson to play in the Darby Township Summer League. While Lynn Greer, Sr., Leroy Eldridge and other highly regarded players competed as well, the buzz was most intense when Big Al and the boys from Temple were up next.  I was never disappointed.  It during those moments that I began to grasp the difference between high school and NCAA Division 1 athletics.  Broadnax was the first person I ever saw extend his arm parallel to the court while dunking with enormous force.  He jumped that high.  Robinson was one of the tallest players in the league and one of the better ball-handlers.  This did not make sense to my 13 year old mind.  Rick Reed was just the man.  I remember it like it was last week.  Temple Basketball was part of Darby Township, Darby Township basketball was Temple basketball as long as Al was on the team.

The games were played at the “Center” court.  This court was a “bottle throw” away from the projects. I know this because  my man “Peep-Sight” proved it when he hurled 4 or 5 beer bottles from the projects into the jump circle from the projects during one hot summer night when they wouldn’t let him play.

They simply swept up the glass and kept it moving… Darby Township had it’s share of “issues.”

The college boys from Temple, for me, represented what was possible.  They let me believe I could overcome the whatever issues presented themselves.  They gave me hope.  Al and the other Temple players were incredibly accessible. They spent hours hanging and talking with the younger guys and, of course, made time for the young ladies that gathered on the fringes of the court every night.  Temple, from 1978 to 1982, became Darby Township’s team. One of my friends and teammates, Robert Carter, became so enamored with Rick Reed’s game that he literally adopted the moniker “Rick Dunk” which stuck throughout his own illustrious playing career.

Temple University gave young Black boys in this small community hope.  By adopting Alton and Vince, Temple let us know that we were good enough. Temple wanted us. Temple respected us.

eddie_jones_1994_02_20Eddie Jones

In 1979, Baskerville’s running mate, Vince Clark, would set a state single game rushing record by piling up 438 yards against Yeadon. Clark, like McCoullough the year before, would accept a scholarship to play at Temple. He would go on play two years seasons for the Owls carrying the ball 35 times and gaining 167 yards. That same year Jim McGloughlin from neighboring Collingdale also agreed to play at Temple. St. James’ Donny Dodds would also join the Owls shortly after.

For young kids, Black and White, from the “wrong side of the tracks” Temple University seemed like the only place that would welcome us. In retrospect, once Alton and Vince “made it” to Temple, one could sense a change among young poor Black boys in Darby Township. College was now a very real option. The question was no longer if, but where, would you go.

I fell in love with the Big 5 basketball and Temple University in 1978 when Alton McCoullough enrolled at Temple University. That love was reinforced in 1979 when Vincent Clark moved to North Broad Street.  Until then, I really didn’t know anyone other than my teachers that had attended college. By embracing Alton and then Vince, Temple broadened my horizons.  By bringing Temple basketball to Darby Township every summer, Alton provided a lot of guys with role models, inspiration and a a clear example of what was possible.

Doug Ambler and Rick Pergolini were young guidance counselors at Darby Township during this period. They often cite the period of 78-82 as the Golden Age of Darby Township Athletics. According to them more Black boys from Darby Township went on to college during that era than at any other time in the history of Darby Township. It all started with Big Al going to Temple.

I know that idea of college wasn’t “real” for me until I saw Big Al, Reed, Broadnax and Robinson playing ball down the “Center.” If those guys could make it to Temple, I knew I was smart enough to go to college.

Ten years later, I had fellowship offers from schools like Michigan, Ohio State, California-Davis, Delaware, and Maryland-College Park. They wanted to pay my tuition and pay me to attend their respective graduate programs. Not bad for a kid raised by a single Mom on the “wrong side of the tracks.” Not gifted enough to be a Division 1 athlete, these schools were recruiting me to “study and perform research.”

The idea, the notion, the thought that I could really attend college grew from seeing Alton McCoullough and Vince Clark, my DTHS heroes go on to attend Temple University.

Tyndale_400

Mark Tyndale

Since then, I have followed Temple basketball closely.  I appreciate how Temple continues to provide young poor students and student-athletes an opportunity to improve their life opportunities.

For a quarter century, I watched John Chaney carve out a Hall of Fame coaching career at Temple’s, all the while loudly proclaiming that he was giving opportunity to the less fortunate among us. I bore witness to the example Coach Chaney set by confronting racial discrimination in a most direct and forceful manner. For instance, in January 1989, Coach Chaney emphatically declared, “The NCAA is a racist organization of the highest order… On this day, it instituted a new punishment on black kids who have already been punished because they are poor. Any time the NCAA, which is 90 percent white, considers the youngsters in Division I basketball and football, it discriminates, because 89 percent of the kids are black… I wonder what message they are sending. It’s another hardship for black kids made by white folk.”

That, for me, is Temple University.

Throughout my lifetime, Temple has represented the vanguard for racial equality and opportunity for advancement for Blacks in college sports.

Temple hired an African-American football coach when people were still wondering if we could play the quarterback position. Temple gave Dawn Staley, a product of the Raymond Rosen Housing Development in North Philly and her first opportunity to coach at the collegiate level. Right now, Temple has one of a few major college athletic programs headed by an African-American.

More than any other University in the region, Temple has provided opportunities for young poor and working class Black students and student-athletes.

xmas

Dionte Christmas

It’s hard to understand how Temple alums that came of age during the aforementioned eras allow a handful of alums and Temple sports fans to publicly spew bitter and racist vitriol aimed at the community surrounding Temple and it’s residents.  That’s NOT the Temple way.

Temple featured a Black back court of Guy Rodgers and Hal Lear in the mid-1950s. Jim Williams led Temple in scoring and rebounding in 1963-64, 1964-65, and 1965-66.  John Baum did the same in 1967-68 and 1968-69.  Ollie Johnson starred for the Owls throughout the early 1970s.

In 1978, Temple reached out grabbed a poor Black boy from Darby Township and gave him a chance to perform on the big stage.  As a result, the rest of the town embraced Temple and scores of young Black boys would go on to play sports and graduate from college.  At 13, I old took notice and embraced the dream of attending college and beyond.  Throughout my twenties and thirties, I wholeheartedly embraced everything John Chaney and the Temple basketball program represented.

As I approach 50, it pains me to see some Temple alums adopting perspectives that would have absolutely killed the spirit of that impressionable 13 year old boy.

But what hurts even more is the apparent unwillingness of the majority of Temple alums to confront racist, bigoted and homophobic statements in a way that affects change.  It needs to cease.

Hopefully, good will prevail and those articulating negative ideas will be made to feel uncomfortable.

One can only imagine what would have been written on a Temple message board when Rodgers and Lear played in the 1950’s.  Would Temple fans support the aforementioned position and statements of Coach Chaney?  I prefer to believe that the Temple community, as a whole, would have embraced their Black students and student-athletes.  After all, that’s the image Temple has cultivated over the course of it’s distinguished history.  It’s a legacy that is both admirable and valuable.

To a large extent, the impressions of contemporary high school students and student-athletes have of colleges and universities are driven by television and social media.  Thirty-seven years ago, my understanding of what Temple University represents was forged by extensive direct contact with and first hand observation of young men from the University’s athletic department.  I wanted to be like those guys.  I wanted to play college basketball.  As I got older, I wanted to follow the example set by Coach Chaney and confront bigotry, racism and discrimination head on.  I remain committed to that task.

To me… that’s the Temple way of doing things.  Maybe things have changed more than I thought on North Broad Street.

 

 

 

 

 

 

White Supremacy, Mike Brown and the American Legal System: An Apology to Young Black Males

“Good gracious. Anybody hurt?”

“No’m.  Killed a nigger.”

“Well, it’s lucky because sometimes people do get hurt.”

Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn (1884)

 

Dear Young fella:

It’s confusing… it’s scary… it makes you want to lash out out. You feel like hurting someone… You feel like burning this muthafucka down! Shit ain’t right… Time after time… Day after day… You see the same thing. The images are displayed over and over on a multitudinous array of cable news networks.

ferguson-riots1

Participant in Ferguson Rebellion

By now the script has been etched in your brain, “young Black male killed by police, no charges will be filed against officer.” Over and over again, we see unarmed Black males gunned down in an instant. There’s never any doubt about what happened. White police officer killed the unarmed Black male.

How the fuck are these assholes NOT charged, prosecuted and convicted?

The problem young fella… what you have a hard time understanding… what is causing you to feel the way you feel is the fact these acts are not “crimes” in America! Whites killing unarmed Black males, like YOU, while enforcing the “rule of law” has always been encouraged and rewarded. The “law” in the United States of America was NEVER intended to protect YOU young fella. The fact that you are frustrated and surprised by the manner in which the legal system dispenses “justice” in these matters is prima facie evidence of your mis-education.

I apologize… I’m truly sorry… I have complicit in this mis-education. As a teacher, mentor and adviser I have failed to arm you with an adequate understanding of where you live and how the legal system was designed to work. I have failed to clearly illustrate and explain how deeply ingrained the “legalization” of Black suppression is in American history. Like so many in my generation, I have allowed you to grow up believing that the phrase “Equal Justice under Law” applies to you.

For that, I apologize… I sincerely apologize for allowing you to actually believe that the high-minded ideas put forth by America’s Found Father’s actually guide the American legal system as it relates to you.  That was a very big mistake on my part.

I promise from this moment forward to be brutally honest with you… Young fella, from it’s inception, the American legal system has adjudicated and upheld racial deprivation. For well over two centuries, the language of the “law” has shielded the consciousness of white Americans from the plight of Black human beings subjected to inhumane, brutal yet perfectly “legal” and acceptable behaviors of white “law enforcement” officials.

Same shit… Different day…

Mike Brown, Eric Garner and Oscar Grant are merely some of the latest victims of America’s inhumane and immoral law enforcement and legal processes. They are among the latest links in a chain of legalized oppression and brutality that stretches back to colonial America.

Young fella… when it come to protecting the rights of Blacks against oppressive, brutal and even murderous police behaviors, American laws ain’t SHIT! They have NEVER been fair… The American legal system was NEVER been designed or intended to protect your right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

StinneyGeorge Junius Stinney, Jr. age 14, the youngest person executed in the USA in the 20th century

Truth be told young fella, you need to completely disregard the phrase Equal justice under law engraved on the front of the United States Supreme Court building in Washington D.C. Trying to bring that ideal in line with the actual experiences of your fellow Black males across this nation only causes confusion and deeply seated angst.

The racist oppressive patterns on display in contemporary America and the possibilities for your children and grandchildren are buried in the American past. It is here that you must begin your attempt to understand what just took place in Ferguson, Missouri.  Unfortunately, none of the mainstream – white controlled – media outlets and very few teachers have the fortitude required to provide you with the tools necessary to uncover this past.

As a result, you don’t know… you are lost… you have been mis-educated.

Please allow me to introduce you to the American legal system. More than any other legal system in the modern world, with the possible exception of Apartheid South Africa, the United States has devised and implemented a legal system which is simultaneously racist, brutally oppressive and committed to the protection of white individual and property rights: a white supremacist/democratic legal system.

Black BoyLet’s take cursory look at some of the ways the American legal process was developed to establish, protect and enforce the rights of individual whites, whites as a group and white institutions while simultaneously imposing restraints on Blacks. As you struggle to digest and comprehend the failure of the system to hold Mike Brown’s killer accountable, it is a perfect time to assess the historical trajectory of the interrelationship between race and the American legal process.

It pains me to watch you trying to make sense of the racial dynamics playing out in police stations and courtrooms across America. The time has come… Youngfella… you must face the truth of the white supremacist foundations and origins of America’s legal system  with YOUR eyes wide open.  Only then will the lack of significant legal consequences for the killings of unarmed Black men at the hands of “law enforcement” officials begin to make sense.  Only then will you understand how such horrific actions are fully compliant with the “rule of law.”

For centuries… “law enforcement” officials have had license to kill YOU.  Despite what YOU have been taught, the rights afforded to American citizens have never been fully extended to Blacks, especially males.

This fact is indisputable. 

All you have to do is place YOURSELF in American society at any point in America’s history and you will begin to understand that George Junius Stinney, Jr., Emmett Till, Mike Brown and Eric Garner are inextricably interrelated.

emmett tillEmmett Till, Murdered at 14 in Mississippi. White Supremacist killers confessed after being acquitted during a trial

Young fella… I must warn you… Since YOU have been taught to think of the law as a neutral instrument serving the entire community, it will be disconcerting to see that American laws were written and enforced in the most blatantly racist manner, favoring whites over Blacks.  The American educational system is incapable of speaking truth to power.  Only Blacks with awareness and knowledge can impart it to you.

Let’s go back to the very beginning… This problems you see in Ferguson and New York existed before the States were united.

In 1755, Colonial Georgia passed laws entitled “An Act for the Better Ordering and Governing Negroes and Other Slaves in This Province.” Ponder, for a moment, the following question: How were the rights of people like YOU protected under these “laws”? Place yourself, a young Black man, in Colonial America. Take a minute… Imagine YOU simply could no longer continue living as the equivalent to a mule, cow or pig… Imagine YOU wanted to find your Momma, you long for your Dad, you want to find your sister, you need to be reunited with your wife and your children that had been sold and shipped away… Suppose you decided to leave your “home” and set out in search of your family and/or your freedom… What did the “law” say about your right to do so?

According to the prevailing “law” in Colonial America, there was no prohibition for killing YOU. In fact, your killer would be rewarded. According to the “law,” a “law enforcement” official was given one pound sterling for presenting YOUR “scalp with two ears.” That’s right… As they say the “law” is clear… YOUR “scalp with two ears” attached to it could be submitted for remuneration.

Your “scalp with two ears” could be exchanged for cash.

I know… I know… That’s not the way the story is told in American movies and literature.  In the old cowboy westerns they constantly talked about Native Americans “scalping” innocent white people. Scalping is always associated with the “savage” Native Americans.  In reality, however, white Americans were rewarded for scalping Black men with the temerity to actually desire freedom.

Young fella… This is a clear example of how Colonial American legal systems dealt with YOU. In some ways, barbaric Colonial laws such as this foretell contemporary events.  Over the past couple of years, George Zimmerman “presented” local officials in Sanford and state officials in Florida with Trayvon Martin’s corpse. He was rewarded with donations totaling at least $314,099.17 to his legal defense fund. Officer Darren Wilson “presented” official in Ferguson with Mike Brown’s corpse and in excess of $432,000.00 was donated to his legal defense fund.

Think about that young fella… think about that… Understand the beast YOU are dealing with…

You have been taught that the Founding Fathers devised the preeminent example of modern liberal democracy. You have been repeatedly told that they developed a government based on popular consent with respect for the equal rights of all.

Young fella you were mis-educated!

You were intentionally deceived. The standard story of America’s formation is deceptive because it is too narrow. They were teaching you the history of relationships among a small minority of Americans. They were focusing exclusively on relationships among wealthy white men of predominantly northern European ancestry.

A truer telling of America’s history would place white male supremacist ideologies at center of the plot. It would go something like this: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of White Supremacy…

The narrative would spell out the racist and sexist practices that defined the relationships between this relatively small white male minority with the overwhelming majority of the population constituting the subjugated groups (Blacks, Native Americans and women).

Young fella… When these white supremacist, racist, sexist elements are kept in plain view the history of America’s legal system looks quite different. My aim here is to help you understand that the historical frame of reference and the analytical tools provided to you in school are inadequate. The experiences of your ancestors have been, more or less, written out of the script. As such, the tools provided by the American educational system are simply inadequate form performing the task at hand.  Greater understanding of contemporary legal proceedings and racial strife can be achieved by replacing the narrowly circumscribed lessons they teach in school with a more realistic view of America.

A_Southern_chain_gangSouthern Chain Gang, circa 1903

So young fella… at it’s founding in 1787, how did the United States, legally speaking, deal with YOU? How were Black men taken into account? For purposes of taxation and representation, the “Founding Fathers” determined that YOU would count as 3/5 of a human being. You were considered about 60% of a human being.  The importation of captured and enslaved Blacks from Africa was given constitutional protection for another twenty years.  Also, enslaved Blacks who escaped from one state to another had to be delivered to the original owner upon claim, a provision that was UNANIMOUSLY adopted by the “Founding Fathers.”

The Three-Fifths Compromise, is located in Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3 of the Constitution. It reads as follows:

“Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

Moreover, from the moment of inception, US constitutional and legal processes continued and further perpetuated the racial injustice and oppression that prevailed in Colonial America.

When white males of northern European descent set out to “form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity” they did not include YOU the the equation. YOU were most likely enslaved and they intended for you to remain enslaved for the duration of your natural life. More specifically, the federal “law” they developed expressly forbade YOU from changing your status by escaping to another part of the country.

The Founding Fathers inserted the following in Article IV, Section 2:

No Person held to Service or Labour in one sate, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.

Youngfella… YOU had no rights in America upon it’s founding. If you were taught otherwise in school you have been hoodwinked… you have been bamboozled.

Seventy years later, the US Supreme Court would make YOUR legal standing painfully clear. Unfortunately, it seems that many Americans, in general, and teachers, in particular, would rather distort the history of this nation than face the extent to which the American legal system was designed and intended to uphold and strengthen the concept of white supremacy. Nonetheless, in a rather remarkable moment of clarity and honesty the nature of the American legal system was laid bare for all to see… if they are willing to look.

dred_scottDred Scott

In 1857, the Supreme Court handed down a monumental decision in the case Scott v. Sanford. Dred Scott was an enslaved Black man whose owner had taken him to live in free areas of the country. Having witnessed freedom, having smelled freedom, having tasted freedom, having touched freedom, Scott longed for it to such an extent that he took dramatic steps to attain it. Scott sued for his freedom on the grounds that living on free soil rendered his “enslaved” status null and void. He tried to utilize the American “legal system” to gain control of his destiny and his labor.  Scott sought recognition of his basic humanity in the courts.

Like so many Black Americans today, Scott didn’t fair very well in the courts. Youngfella… This is what Chief Justice Roger B. Taney wrote in response to Scott’s claim:

“It is difficult at this day to realize the state of public opinion in regard to that unfortunate race which prevailed in the civilized and enlightened portions of the world at the time of the Declaration of Independence, and when the Constitution of the United States was framed and adopted; but the public history of every European nation displays it in a manner too plain to be mistaken. They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far unfit that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”

Hold up… Hold up… Let’s take our time and review the core of the Supreme Court ruling again…. Blacks have “no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”

That, young fella, was the law of the land as interpreted by the US Supreme Court.

America’s educational system, with its’ extensive focus on white male political actors and their conflicts with one another, has failed abysmally to teach YOU (and white for that matter) how the rights of Blacks have been systematically suppressed through the legal system.  Every day in classrooms across America, “certified” teachers fail to help Blacks understand how the “rule of law” has been very effectively used as a weapon in the hands of those committed to maintaining white supremacy in the United States of America.

In this subtle and nuanced way, white males have been “rioting” in American legislative houses and courtrooms for more than three centuries.

Following a brief period of enlightenment (1865-1877) at the end of the Civil War, white supremacists, once again, utilized the American legal system to systematically deprive Blacks of the most basic rights and protection from abuse. Beginning in the 1870’s Jim Crow “laws” started to emerge across the American South. Through these laws, YOU were separated from whites is areas of public life. YOU were relegated to inferior accommodations on trains, in depots and on wharves.

JimCrowDrinkingFountainJim Crow Drinking Fountain county courthouse lawn, Halifax, North Carolina, 1938

The Supreme Court, once again, affirmed YOUR lack of legal standing by outlawing the Civil Rights Acts of 1875. In an instant, you were effectively banned from white hotels, barber shops, restaurants and theaters. Across much of the country, there “laws” were enacted requiring separate schools.

In 1896, the Supreme Court upheld, sanctioned and formally legalized Apartheid-like segregation is the form of the “separate but equal” principal in the Plessy v. Ferguson ruling. With that ruling, the American legal system entrenched a white supremacist caste system that perpetuated the racial exploitation and financial super-exploitation of individual Blacks and Black families families for the better part of the next century.

Legally sanctioned American Apartheid would reign supreme for the next seven decades.

Like YOU today, Blacks at the turn of the 20th century searched for answers… They tried to figure out the best way to deal with white supremacy and the racist dynamics of the American social/economic/political/legal systems.

By 1920, many Blacks were searching for an escape from the explicitly white supremacist, rigidly racist and profoundly oppressive American social order. Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) attracted millions of followers. The UNIA was an ambitious organization of people of African descent which encouraged people of color to look to Africa both as an ancestral homeland and a hope for a future. Garvey claimed over 2,000,000 UNIA members by 1919. A year later, he claimed over 4,000,000 had joined the movement.

By 1921, Garvey was the leader of the largest Black organization of its’ type in American history. Frustrated Blacks flocked to the UNIA. As of August 1921, there were 418 charted division and another 422 awaiting charters. If one factors in another 19 chapters, there were a total of 859 UNIA branches.

By 1923, Garvey was convicted of mail fraud. Young fella… The American “legal” system was the means by by which the Garvey movement was destroyed.

MarcusGarveyFaceSideMarcus Garvey, 1924

This how American “justice” worked for Garvey. In a memorandum dated 11 October 1919, J. Edgar Hoover, the future Head of the FBI wrote: “Unfortunately, however, he [Garvey] has not as yet violated any federal law whereby he could be proceeded against on the grounds of being an undesirable alien, from the point of view of deportation.” They were not investigating any criminal activity. Clearly, Hoover explicitly acknowledges that Garvey wasn’t engaged in any criminal activity. The aim… young fella… was to deport Garvey and eliminate him as a threat given his proven ability to mobilize Black Americans. The “law” would be used to suppress his “Back-to-Africa” movement.

Toward this end, in November 1919 an investigation was begun into the activities of Garvey and the UNIA. Toward this end, Federal “law enforcement” agencies hired James Edward Amos, Arthur Lowell Brent, Thomas Leon Jefferson, James W. Jones, and Earl E. Titus as its first five African-American agents.

On January 12, 1922 Garvey was arrested for alleged mail fraud. In 1923 he was convicted. In February 1925, his appeals ran out and he entered the federal penitentiary at Atlanta. In 1927 his sentence was commuted and he was deported to Jamaica where his ship landed on December 10, 1927.

From the perspective of a white supremacist government and legal system, the mission – deportation of Garvey – was accomplished.
White supremacy was firmly entrenched.

Slowly, beginning in the 1940’s organizations led by men such as A. Phillip Randolph began to slowly chip away at the edges of white supremacist hegemony. A significant factor allowing this progress was attempt by the century’s greatest white supremacist, Adolph Hitler, to subjugate the European continent.  Fully engaged engaged in World War II, the US government desperately needed Black soldiers in the arena and Black labor in the factories.  Recognizing the increased leverage they possessed Black leaders pressed for increased opportunities in the workplace.

The fierce opposition faced by Blacks seeking gainful employment provides a stark illustration of the depth and breadth of white supremacist ideologies and patently racist practices in cities like Philadelphia, Pa.

trolley1First black motormen for Philadelphia’s transit system

On August 1, 1944, eight Black men began training for trolley car driver jobs within the Philadelphia Transit Company (PTC). These were solid relatively well-paying jobs.  White PTC workers refused to work alongside Black trolley drivers. Thousands of racist whites chose to shutdown the entire public transportation system rather accept eight Black men into their ranks.  On the first day of the strike, 3,000 PTC workers gathered in a trolley car barn and made clear their determination to remain off the job until the Blacks were removed from trolley car driver positions.

Once the strike was underway, fueled by white supremacist notions, PTC workers began to “wild out.” Immediately, it became unsafe for African Americans to travel in predominantly white sections of the city. A group of whites driving through black neighborhood shot a 13-year-old African American girl without warning. There were other instances of racially motivated – white on Black – violence in the city the night after the strike began and the following morning.

The racist PTC workers impacted the war effort. After one day of striking, U.S. Army production of war materials in Philadelphia was cut in half due to the transit stoppage, and Navy production diminished by 70%. War workers could not get to their jobs. On a daily basis, the PTC carried 300,000 war workers.

On Friday, August 4, the committee representing 6,000 PTC employees on strike met for the third day and unanimously approved continuing the strike until PTC revoked its decision to promote the eight African American workers.

Young fella… 6,000 white Philadelphians were striking, engaging in terroristic violence and, as a result,  holding up war production in Philadelphia because they did not want eight (8) Black men to work as trolley car drivers.

White supremacy is a muthafucka…

However, they miscalculated President Roosevelt’s resolve.  On Saturday, August 5, President Roosevelt sent 5,000 heavily armed soldiers into Philadelphia to crush the strike by whatever means necessary. The Army set up encampments in Fairmount Park and brought in ammunition, including machine guns.

pta-phila-transit-1944-21

The strike, which was the largest racially motivated strike of the World War II era and led to the loss of over 4,000,000 man-hours in war production factories, ended on the morning of Monday, August 7, 1944. By September 1944, all eight African Americans were driving PTC trolleys.

Young fella… It literally took 5,000 armed federal troops, at the height of WWII, to integrate 8 Black trolley car drivers into the Philadelphia Transit Company.

That’s American history… That’s Philadelphia history… Your teachers do not cover this…

strikes-pta-phila-transit-1944I know you have learned about Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Right’s Movement of the 1950s and 1960s… Those lessons are taught ad infinitum for 28 days every February…

Your ability to understand the rampant killings of unarmed Black men would be greatly enhanced by greater awareness of manner in which the white supremacist ideas have persisted throughout US history.  YOU would recognize immediately that Black corpses have long appeared after visits from US “law enforcement” agents.

By the late 1960s, the Black Panther Party had more or less succeeded the Dr. King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) as the most influential Black organization in America.  By the end of 1968, the Panthers had chapters in several dozen states and a membership in excess of 5,ooo.

By the end of 1969, the Black Panthers had been targeted by 233 separate “law enforcement” actions by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) under the leadership of J. Edgar Hoover.  This was fifty years after Hoover initiated his effort to neutralize of Marcus Garvey.  That year 27 Black Panther Party members were killed by local, state and federal police. Another 749 were jailed or arrested.

Hoover was particularly concerned with an extremely bright, articulate and politically astute young Panther from Chicago.  Fred Hampton was 19 years old when the FBI opened on him in 1967.   Over the next twenty four months, Hampton’s FBI file expanded to twelve volumes and over 4000 pages. The Feds placed a tap on Hampton’s mother’s phone in February 1968. By May of that year, Hampton’s name was placed on the “Agitator Index”, and he would be designated a “key militant leader for Bureau reporting purposes.”

Fred_HamptonFred Hampton, Black Panther Party

In late 1968, the FBI’s Chicago field office brought in an individual named William O’Neal. In exchange for having felony charges dropped and a monthly stipend, O’Neal agreed to infiltrate the BPP as a counterintelligence operative.  He joined the Party and quickly rose in the organization, becoming Director of Chapter security and Hampton’s bodyguard.

On the evening of December 3, 1969, O’Neal slipped a powerful sleep drug into a drink that Hampton consumed during the dinner.  His aim was to incapacitate Hampton so he would not awaken during the subsequent police raid. O’Neal then left Hampton’s apartment.   Around 1:30 a.m., Hampton fell asleep in mid-sentence talking to his mother on a wire tapped telephone. 

At 4:00 a.m., the heavily armed police team arrived at the site, divided into two teams, eight for the front of the building and six for the rear. At 4:45 a.m., they stormed into the apartment.  O’Neal provided the FBI with a detailed map of Hampton’s apartment.

Fred_Hampton_floor-plans

Map of Hampton’s Apartment provided by FBI Informant William O’Neal

Once the raid ensued Mark Clark, sitting in the front room of the apartment with a shotgun in his lap,  was shot in the heart and died instantly.  His gun fired a single round which was later determined to be caused by a reflexive death convulsion after he was shot.  By all accounts, this was the only shot the Panthers fired.  The police fired between 82-99 shots.

Fred_Hampton_murder_scene_bedroom_bloody_mattressFred Hampton’s mattress and bullet holes in wall

The police showered the head of the south bedroom where Hampton slept with automatic gunfire.  Hampton was heavily sedated and unable to awaken as a result of the barbiturates O’Neal had slipped into his drink. He was lying on a mattress in the bedroom with his pregnant fiancée, who was eight-and-a-half months pregnant with their child.  Two police officers discovered him with a severe wound in his shoulder.  Another Black Panther Harold Bell reported that he heard the following exchange:

“That’s Fred Hampton.”
“Is he dead?… Bring him out.”
“He’s barely alive.
“He’ll make it.”

Fred_Hampton_dead_bodyFred Hampton’s dead body on floor of his apartment

Two shots were heard, which it was later discovered were fired point blank in Hampton’s head. According to Johnson, one officer then said:

“He’s good and dead now.”

Youngfella… despite all of this evidence… The federal grand jury did not return any indictment against anyone involved with the planning or execution of the raid.  Just like Officer Darren Wilson in the Mike Brown case, the killers of Mark Clark and Fred Hampton were NEVER held accountable for their actions.  They walked… Just like Darren Wilson, the officers involved in the raid were cleared by a grand jury of any crimes.

The FBI snitch, William O’Neal, killed himself in 1990 after admitting his role in setting up the assassination of Hampton.

Young fella… As I said at the outset… Whites killing unarmed Black males, like YOU, while enforcing the “rule of law” has always been encouraged and rewarded. The “law” in the United States of America was NEVER intended to protect you youngfella. The fact that you are frustrated and surprised by the manner in which the legal system dispenses “justice” in these matters is prima facie evidence of your mis-education.

I should’ve told you how they do us…

Sincerely,

Delgreco K. Wilson

Sex, Black Male Athletes & The Responsibilities of Ol’ Heads

Tom Payne-page-0

Young fella… Let me holla at you for a minute…

I see what’s going on… She’s cute… not what you are used to… not “thick” like the girls from ’round the way… but cute nonetheless… Moreover, she’s always around… after practice… after dinner… outside study hall… in the lobby of the dorm. She always speaks first. She’s thirsty.  She’s trying real hard to get your attentions.  Seems like her wardrobe consists solely of yoga pants. You’ve noticed and she knows you’ve noticed. It’s just a matter of time ’til  y’all hook up.  Growing up you were never really interested in dating white girls, but DAMN it’s so many of them hanging around the team… You’re curious.. You’re thinking about it… Be careful young fella.

It’s a tough balancing act. You came to college to play ball first and foremost. Everything else is secondary. Academics? Yeah… the coaches talk about studying hard, but you (and everyone else for that matter) know their main concern is your development as a ball player. You are there to win games.  Being a scholarship athlete is a job.. A full-time job… You are evaluated based on your performance on the court and on the field. Besides, if you take the classes they’ve lined up for you and work with your academic advisers you’ll be fine. You will graduate in four years.

But what about the blonde in the yoga pants? Let’s call her Becky.  There’s no adviser to guide you through that situation. Young fella you are on your own.  You have to rely on your own judgement.  After a while, you decide to “hang out” with her. She has a BMW 3 series… nice… She has a credit card with what seems like no limit… Pizza? She’s got it… Wings? She’s got it… Movies? She’s got it… $50?… Yeah, she’s got that to…

Never, throughout all of your years in the “hood,” have you encountered a girl like Becky.  You have no frame of reference for this type of “relationship.” It really doesn’t make sense to you… She’s not your lady… She’s not your girlfriend… but… you like it. You really like it.  You’ve been conditioned to like it.  When they recruited you, they put about 4-5 girls just like her in front of you for the entire weekend. These girls looked like Becky and they were ready, willing and able… You smashed. It was all good. You committed… “Coach, I’m coming to BIG State!”

So now you’ve been on campus for a few weeks, it’s Friday and there’s no practice tomorrow. A rare day off. You can’t believe coach actually has nothing planned in the morning.  So you, two teammates and your boy from home decide to head over to a keg party at a nearby apartment complex. Soon as you enter the door, there she is… Becky… Y’all lock eyes… It’s a wrap, she’s by your side for the rest of the evening.  You playfully flirt.  You test the limits… How far will she let me go?  You grab her ass, she’s ok with that… You kiss her, she’s ok with that.

After a 7-8 drinks things start to get a little “loose.” Y’all decide to slip off to the bathroom. You close the door behind her and she gets on her knees. The effort is there, but the constant knocking at the door is really distracting. After 10 minutes or so y’all decide to go back to your room. This poses problems for your boys.  You’re the “man,” everyone knows you, not them.  They are just dudes at a party.  Your friends don’t like their chances of “hooking up” if you aren’t there with them.  Everybody decides to leave.  You, your crew and Becky head back to your dorm.

black-and-white-mike-jordan-sonMichael Jordan’s Son, Marcus and friends

Upon arriving back at the dorm, it’s on. You and Becky immediately disrobe and engage in consensual sex. Very good consensual sex. So good, your boys have been listening at the door the whole time. As a result, they are drunk and horny.  These guys are in a frenzied state of mind.  When you leave to clean yourself in the bathroom,  your teammate decides to enter the room.  We have just entered the danger zone. Young fella… Make no mistake… Lives are about to change forever.

Becky sees him taking off his pants and gets worried. She didn’t sign up for this.  She let’s him know she doesn’t want to have sex with him. He totally disregards her protestations.  He’s gonna take it.  He grabs her, places his forearm across her chest and pins her down on the bed. In a matter of seconds, Becky knows she has no options.  It’s total mismatch. He’s 6’4” and 245 lbs. She’s 5’3” and about 120.  Your boy… your buddy… your homie… forcefully spreads her legs and penetrates her vagina.  He’s not wearing a condom.   After a few minutes he lifts her up, flips her over and forces himself into her anus. Becky is crying.  Her spirit has literally left her frail body.  She has given up on physically resisting. She’s just hoping that this ordeal will soon come to an end. It doesn’t.

After wiping yourself down, you re-enter the room.  The other two guys are on your heels.  You see what is happening.  Your boy is ravaging Becky.  You know it’s not right. You know it’s foul. But you don’t take a stand.  You are now complicit. Unfortunately, you are “down” – legally and in a fraternal sense – with your boys… You’re weak and you allow Becky to be raped.  It unfolds right in your face.  Your boy from home forces his penis in her mouth while your teammate continues to assault her from the rear.  Your other teammate whips out his cell phone and starts recording the incident. Becky has become an inanimate object, she exists solely as a means of pleasuring the young men.  No one give any thought to her feelings, her pain, her humiliation.  Eventually, her crying becomes overbearing and y’all decide to cease. You throw her a towel, a rag and a hoodie. You and your homies retreat to the living area leaving her lying is a pool of sweat, tears and semen.

After a about 10 minutes, you ask her if she’s “alright.”  Becky’s eyes are open, but she is unresponsive.  It’s as if she comatose. She has just been subjected to a brutal felony gang rape.   But in a haze of ego and displaced loyalty to your friends, you convince yourself somehow, someway that she wanted it.   You have absolutely no idea how much trouble you are in.  Back in the living area, your boy has already forwarded the video and pics to several other friends.  Your dumb ass then shares it with other players on the team.

Jack Johnson-page-0(1)Becky is devastated.  She is bleeding.  All sorts of thoughts are running through her head. “Do I have a disease? Herpes? Aid? Am I pregnant?”  Blaming herself, she wonders what she could have done differently.  Yes, she wanted consensual sex with YOU.  The key words here are “with YOU”.  She didn’t want to be tossed around and shared by a group of strange men.  Unbeknownst to you and your friends, Becky has just endured life altering physical and psychological trauma.  Even though you don’t yet realize it, your athletic careers are already in jeopardy and your reputations will never recover.

Different versions of this episode are playing out on college campuses all across the country. Young Black college and professional athletes are literally “wildin’ out” on campuses and in hotels across the country. Of course, white athletes are wildin out too.  But, I’m not concerned with Ben Rothlisberger, Christian Peter and other white athletes right now.  Young fella, I am worried about you.  With alarming frequency, the media provides us with detailed accounts such as the one above.

Even casual fans can recognize that Black college and professional athletes such as yourself are increasingly involved in “alleged” sexual assaults. When not substantiated, these allegations, nonetheless, linger. They permanently stain the reputation and decrease the earning potential of guys like you. You do not want to be forever linked to the words “sexual assault” and “RAPE.”  If substantiated, athletes face immediate repercussions meted out by the criminal justice system and living their remaining years as a registered “sex offender.” Either way, the social and financial costs of sexual assaults are extremely high and should be avoided at all costs.

But how do you learn to deal with these situations? Who will demonstrate and model more appropriate ways to engage in sexual relationships with females, especially female “groupies”? I know you don’t really have a relationship with your father.  Who can help save you from yourself?

My contention here is that your Ol’ Heads have to do a better job preparing you for the complex and often confusing social circumstances awaiting elite basketball and football players on college campuses.  It ain’t enough to just deliver you to a Nike, under Arnour of Adidas school.  Ol’ Heads have to do more.  They are the ones in a position to make a difference.  Ol’ Heads have earned your respect and that of young Black males. They are youth coaches, high school coaches, AAU coaches, mentors, teachers or any older gentleman that demonstrates a willingness to impart knowledge.  Ol’ Heads know exactly how these scenarios can play out.

Young fella, if you truly don’t understand how you ended up arrested and charged with rape, your Ol’ Heads failed you.

Lawrence Taylor-page-0

I’m gonna always try my best to give it you raw and uncut.  Young fella, I have to speak TRUTH. Take it however you want, but here it is.

Some things have been issues from the moment Black men set foot on Jamestown, Virginia in 1619.  Since then, their place in the fledgling society has been an issue of vital concern to dominant white males. Very early on it was decided that Black males would be subjugated and relegated to far less than second class status.  By 1640, at least one African had been declared a slave and formally ordered by the court “to serve his said master or his assigns for the time of his natural life here or elsewhere.” Your Ol’ Heads understand that Black male sexuality and the Black penis have been viewed as major threats to the established social order by successive generations of white Americans over the past 370 years. Your Ol’ heads know that Black male interactions with women, especially white women, throughout American history have been aggressively policed and excessively punished. Ol’ Heads tend to understand this instinctively even if they are not familiar with the ugly, horrific details of manner in which American society has interacted with Black male genitalia.

The problem, as I see it young fella, is that collegiate sports has become such an integral and important part of American culture that many Ol’ Heads think that these historically observable dynamics no longer apply to elite athletes such as yourself.  And, to certain extent, they are not wrong. They are just shortsighted.  As long as you are performing in sanctioned contests that generate approximately $900,000,000 annually for the NCAA, they will let a LOT of shit “slide.”  Up to and including sexual assaults…

However, when you are no longer eligible to play or become ineffective at toting the rock or dunking a ball… When you can no longer contribute to victories and earn $$$$ for BIG state, the reality of America’s long standing fear of Black sexuality will rear its’ ugly head.  You will quickly come to understand the extent to which America continues to be fearful of the Black penis.

Eddie Johnson-page-0Young fella… Let me give you a quick history lesson on this subject.  They have always reserved the “legal” right to cut your dick off for that same shit y’all did to Becky.  In 1769, Colonial Virginia established a law which “authorized the castration of any slave who attempted to have sex with a white woman,” but it had no similar provision when white men attempted or in fact ravished black women.  Young fella… pay attention…  In 1775, Colonial Georgia formally enacted the prohibition against teaching a slave to read or write. The penalty for violating this prohibition was set at fifteen pounds sterling. That fine was was 50% larger that that for willfully castrating a slave or cutting off a limb.  That means the penalty for cutting off your balls was only half as much as the fine for teaching you to read.  I know what you are thinking: “I would have escaped, I would have run off…” You had better make to freedom if you tried.  In Colonial South Carolina, a third attempt at escaping to freedom warranted castration.  This mysterious fascination with and simultaneous fear of Black penises was not limited to the South.  In Colonial Pennsylvania, all Black males, free and enslaved, found guilty of attempts to rape a white woman were castrated.  The macabre behavior continued, in extra-legal forms well after independence from England.

In his recent film, Quinten Tarantino captured the essence of the issue at hand when Django was hung naked upside down in a barn while he awaits castration. The white man longing to execute the job, Billy Crash, one of the overseers, delighted in the thought of cutting off Django balls.  But, young fella, I don’t have to rely on cinematic fiction to illustrate how this is part of America’s DNA.

Throughout American history, when Black males were lynched the murderers would routinely cut off their penises. Sometimes, Black dicks were kept as souvenirs in pickle jars. In other instances, they were shoved into the mouths of the victim as he dangled from a tree. Eighty years ago, on October 26, 1934 Claude Neal was lynched in Marianna, Florida for having an affair with Ms. Cannidy, a young white neighbor.

A member of the lynch mob described the gruesome episode in great detail:

“After taking the nigger to the woods about four miles from Greenwood, they cut off his penis. He was made to eat it. Then they cut off his testicles and made him eat them and say he liked it. Then they sliced his sides and stomach with knives and every now and then somebody would cut off a finger or toe. Red hot irons were used on the nigger to burn him from top to bottom.” From time to time during the torture a rope would be tied around Neal’s neck and he was pulled up over a limb and held there until he almost choked to death when he would be let down and the torture begin all over again. After several hours of this unspeakable torture, “they decided just to kill him.”

The mob of angry whites tied Neal to a rope at the rear of an automobile and dragged over the highway to the Cannidy home. Somewhere between 3000 and 7000 fervent whites from eleven southern states were excitedly waiting his arrival. When Neal’s corpse arrived, it was immediately mutilated by the onlookers. It was then taken back to Marianna, where it was hung to a tree in the courthouse square.  Young fella, pictures (see below) were taken of the mutilated body and hundreds of photographs were sold for fifty cents each. Neal’s fingers were sold as souvenirs.

Claude-Neal-1934-Marianna-FLClaude Neal, Marianna, Florida 1934

In some important ways, times have changed significantly.  Think about it young fella.  For the better part of four centuries, brutal lynchings and castrations accompanied even the slightest thought of engaging in sexual relations with white women.  Yet, today young Black men are engaging in sexual relations with white women on college campuses in Florida, Texas, South Carolina, Kentucky, others states throughout the former Confederacy and all across the country. Even when white women cry “rape” the cases are frequently made to go away.

By now Young fella… I know your asking: How does this make sense? What is going on? What changed?

Incredibly, at this historical juncture, it is apparent that many white police and University officials place more value on the alleged Black perpetrator’s athletic services than they do on the “honor” of the putative white female victims.  The investigative reports are there for all to see.

Most recently, mainstream media outlets like ESPN, the New York Times and the Washington Post reported that white males in positions of authority are  hindering investigations of Black males suspected of sexually assaulting white women.  University presidents, athletic directors and coaches are routinely siding with prominent young Black athletes and questioning the accounts of alleged victims.

Young fella, you wanna know what’s really going on?

In the immortal words of Raekwon, Inspectah Deck, Method Man and the rest of the legendary Wu-Tang Clan, “Cash Rules Everything Around Me” C.R.E.A.M./Get the money; dollar, dollar bill, y’all.  The fear of Black male sexuality still exists, but it has been overridden by naked greed.  Elite collegiate athletes generate huge sums of money for their respective institutions.

Young fella , as soon as you are no longer a substantial source of revenue, the fear will become readily apparent.

Your Ol’ Heads understand this innate fear. Unfortunately, truth be told, just like the white males cashing in at the colleges, a lot of Ol’ Heads have been blinded by greed.  Hoping to cash in if you make it, many Ol’ Heads are not willing to impose behavioral expectations on guys like you.  They are afraid of being cast out of your inner circle.  They are worried that you will make it to the NFL or NBA and they won’t be around to share in your success and reap financial rewards.

In short, the game is fucked up!!

Fearful of losing access, Ol’ Heads fail to provide guidance for dealing with these situations.  You have never been subjected to logical consequences for your negative behaviors.  As a result, you have no idea how the larger society views these types of sexual escapades. Because you can ball, people have been letting you get away with all types of transgressions since you were 10 or 11 years old.  Young fella you have been socialized to believe you are above the rest of society.  You are part of a generation of gladiators incapable of consistently exhibiting socially appropriate behaviors in all settings.

Mike Tyson-page-0Far too many of today’s Ol’ Heads view their role as making problems go away. In the past, Ol’ Heads prepared youngbucks to deal with a complicated, confusing and discriminatory society. These days, Ol’ Heads just say, “Don’t worry ‘bout it, I’ll fix it.”

That is extremely unfortunate.  Your generation is paying a high price for this.  More than anyone else, Ol’ Heads are in a position to spell out the truth.  Ol’ Heads know their youngbucks. They know if y’all are capable of assaulting or raping women. They have spent countless hours in cars, gyms and classrooms with youngbucks. In many instances, they have diffused sensitive situations involving inappropriate behaviors with girls and young women.  The responsibilities of Ol’ Heads are much deeper than the responsibility of college coaches, given the unique relationships and access that Ol’ Heads enjoy.

Reuben Patterson-page-0Ol’ Heads also understand the dynamics of race as they have historically applied to Black athletes.  From 1905 through the early 1970’s, major NCAA college basketball and football programs fielded teams that were predominantly white.  In the south, “Affirmative Action” was firmly entrenched in the recruitment process.  Participation in major college athletics was exclusively (100%) the preserve of white males for these seven decades. Highly skilled and supremely gifted Black athletes were barred from participation and lesser white athletes were awarded scholarships.

After explicitly denying Black males an opportunity participate for seven decades, the pendulum has swung entirely in the other direction.  One watching two top SEC teams on television today could easily envision the same game taking place between Grambling and Southern in the mid 1960’s. Outside an occasional center or quarterback, dominant college teams are predominantly African-American.

The money has really changed things young fella… The rise of the Black athlete and the accompanying exponential growth in revenues has led us a point where many white fans, boosters, coaches, administrators and even law enforcement officials value winning college athletic contests (and the generating millions of dollars) more than they fear Black penises.

But… youngfella… please… please… Don’t be fooled, it’s all about the money.

Let’s look at the investigation of a rape allegation against the reigning Heisman winner and quarterback of the national champion Florida State football team.  This incident and the ensuing actions on the part of authority figures provides a clear picture of just how far the pendulum has swung.

Darren Sharper-page-0On Jan. 10, 2013, a female student alleged that Jameis Winston has raped her about a month earlier and reported him to the Tallahassee police.  According to a statement released by the university, senior athletic department officials met with Mr. Winston’s lawyer, Mr. Jansen, within days of his identification as a suspect and quickly concluded that “there were no grounds for further action.” The accuser’s former lawyer, Patricia A. Carroll, said the department did not contact her at the time to get her client’s side of the story.

What the fuck is up with that?  Fifty years ago a mob would have tried to drag Winston out of his home and hang him up on a tree a few feet from the courthouse steps.

Young fella… If we remember what Wu-Tang tells us, that “cash rules everything around me” then things start to make sense.  On the field, Winston is a dynamic force and a dominant leader. Florida State has yet to lose a football game in the in year and a half he has been the starting quarterback. Wins translate into dollars. County officials estimate that home games generate anywhere from $1.5 million to $10 million into the local economy, depending on the quality of the opponent.  Last year Florida State reported a football profit of $20 million, which covered much of the expenses for other sports teams while also helping the athletic department contribute $2.6 million back to academic programming on top of athletic scholarships.

The New york Times has reported that the police investigator who handled the case, Scott Angulo, “has done private security work for the Seminole Boosters, a nonprofit organization, with nearly $150 million in assets, that is the primary financier of Florida State athletics, according to records and a lawyer for the boosters.”

As long as he has eligibility left, FSU and the authorities in Tallahassee will continue to let a LOT of shit slide.  Winston as of October 14, 2014 is 19-0 as the starting QB.  He also has a Heisman trophy and a National Championship in hand.  You… young fella… you ain’t Jameis Winston.

Act like you got some sense!!

Ask AAU and HS Coaches the Hard Questions!!

Young fella:
It’s hard… I know… believe me, I know. You are just trying to find your way. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. I flunked one year in school at 13. I was arrested at 16. I was a teenage father at 17. I lived in subsidized housing. I was raised by a single mother. In my early 20s, I smoked blunt after blunt after blunt… I played high school ball. I played college ball. My homies moved weight. I have been profiled by police several times. I have been strip searched for no reason. My car has been searched on the side of the road. My close friends have done bids in the penitentiary. By 23, the University of Michigan, the University of Delaware, The Ohio State University and the University of California were offering to pay me to attend their graduate programs.  As I approach 50, I have gained some perspective that may be of use to you as you begin your journey.  But, you gotta pay attention and listen closely…

Philly Pride Triple Threat LogoMore than anything else… More than exposure… More than playing time… More than trips to Vegas… More than fly gear… you need to surround your self with people that are knowledgeable about the ever changing NCAA eligibility process.  Make sure you participate in AAU and high school programs that genuinely care about college preparation.  Good programs have early-alert systems that flag student-athletes with spotty attendance, low test PSAT, SAT and ACT scores, too few core courses and low GPA’s.  Great programs will reward you for meeting academic goals and implement  consequences when you come up short.  Young fella, that’s the ONLY way to avoid being one of the thousands of young Black men who will inevitably fail to meet NCAA eligibility requirements in 2016.  Time is short, you have to grow up quickly.

As you embark on your journey, you will find yourself struggling with the conflicting ways the larger society views Black males. The relationship between America and Black males is really complex and can really be confusing for young men such as yourself. On one hand, for the better part of 400 years, Black males have been viewed as a menacing threat to all that is good about American society. Deeply ingrained white supremacist and racist traditions led to the exclusion of Black males from many major collegiate athletic programs up to the late 1960s and early 1970s.  To this day, young Black men can be literally shot in the face or choked to death in the middle of American streets while armed with only Black skin, loose cigarettes, iced tea and a bag of skittles. On the other hand, Black male athletes and hip hop performance artists are revered and rewarded with multimillion dollar contracts and enormous endorsement deals. Under Armour and Nike just emerged from an unprecedented battle over who gets to pay Kevin Durant $300 million over the next decade.  Of course, you want access to the latter, but everyday you have to navigate the reality of former. It ain’t gonna be an easy journey young fella…

Odds-of-Making-the-NBAIn the immortal words of Run-DMC, “It’s Tricky”…. But, for now, you just wanna play ball… You just wanna go to college, preferably D1. You know the odds are more than stacked against you. You have heard it all before. You fully understand that only 0.03% of high school players make it to the NBA. You realize that there are about 546,000 high school players and every year only about 48 college players are drafted into the league. But, shit… you could be one of the 48. I get that… I really do… As you see it, all you need is one coach in the right program, in the right conference to give you a chance. If they let you on that stage, you know you’re gonna shine. In your mind, you are better than many of the guys playing college ball right now! Given a fair chance, you will have the NBA contract and the massive endorsement deal. Maybe… Maybe you will young fella, but then, again, maybe you won’t. Be ready either way!

Mark MaconMark Macon, Temple/NBA

It’s possible… I’ve seen a lot of Philly high school and college players make to the NBA. Maurice Martin (St. Joseph’s), Lionel Simmons (LaSalle), Doug Overton (LaSalle), Randy Woods (LaSalle), Bo Kimble (Dobbins), Tim Perry (Temple), Mark Macon (Temple), Aaron McKie (Temple), Eddie Jones (Temple), Jameer Nelson (St. Joseph’s), Delonte West (St. Joseph’s), Kerry Kittles (Villanova), Rasheed Wallace (Gratz), Marcus & Markeiff Morris (Prep Charter) and Dion Waiters (Syracuse) were all 1st round picks.

I must also tell you, I’ve also seen guys who were good enough suffer injuries and illnesses that curtailed their NBA dreams. Rap Curry (St. Joseph’s), Bernard Blunt (St. Joseph’s), Bernard Jones (St. Joseph’s), Donnie Carr (LaSalle), Jason Frazier (Villanova) and Granger Hall (Temple) were fantastic collegiate players denied an opportunity in the NBA because of health issues. You have to simultaneously prepare to play at the highest level and get ready for the day the ball stops bouncing. It could stop bouncing at any time. First and foremost, we have to get you through high school and off to college.

donnie carrDonnie Carr, LaSalle University

Young fella… The first thing you have to do is become aware of and avoid the traps that have been set for you. Your future, your freedom and in some cases your life are at-risk every time venture outside your home. Every year, somewhere between 8,000 and 9,000 African Americans are murdered annually in the United States. The overwhelming majority of these victims are young males. You should know that 93% of these murders are in fact perpetrated by other blacks.  Black people account for about half of all homicide victims in the US almost exclusively at the hands of other African-Americans. Every year Black men kill more Black men than the total number of U.S. service men and women that been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined over the course of decade-long wars fought in those nations.

I know… I know… You know your way around the “hood.” You know the gun-toters. You know the killers. They respect your game. You don’t have nothing to do with the neighborhood “beefs.” You ain’t really worried about dying in the streets at the hands of other Black men. But, you should be. Be careful. Be respectful. I can’t expect you to avoid all interaction with real “thugs.” Some of them are your uncles, cousins, neighbors, friends. In many cases, they love you and you love them. Nonetheless, you have to exercise extreme caution when interacting with them. Don’t take no rides. Don’t hold no packs. Don’t stash no burners in your crib. Be smart. You have other more important things to worry about.

6446-000031Young fella… there is a drug arrest every 19 seconds in the U.S. In 2009 alone, there were more than 1.6 million drug arrests and 82 percent of those were for possession alone. Despite the unquestioned fact that white boys use drugs just as much, if not more, than your homies, they are focusing their policing efforts on our community. As Blacks, we are only 13 percent of the U.S. population and we proportionately account for 13 percent of the nation’s drug users. Yet, Blacks represent 34 percent of those arrested for drug offenses and 45 percent of those held in state prisons for drug offenses. We are the enemy in the “War on Drugs.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice, in 2008, there were over 846,000 black men in prison, making up 40.2 percent of all inmates in the system. The brilliant Michelle Alexander notes that “More African American men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850, before the Civil War began.” We are drastically overrepresented in the courtrooms, jails and prisons. We are about six times more likely to spend time in prison or jail than whites. According to recent research, we receive up to 60% longer federal prison sentences than whites who commit similar offenses, and 20% longer prison sentences than whites who commit the same offenses.  It’s so easy to get tripped up.

Keep these statistics in mind while you listen to multimillionaire hip hop artists promoting violence, misogyny, drug abuse and crass materialism. Jay Z, Young Jeezy, 50 Cent, Lil’ Wayne and all the rest have bloody hands. They are purposely filling your head destructive messages, while accepting payments for lyrics that extol alcohol and drug use. A recent study by Dartmouth Medical School, analyzed 793 songs from Billboard charts starting in 2005 and found that 160 songs (about 21%) referred explicitly to alcohol.  The study found that the majority of songs that referenced alcohol were rap, followed by R&B/hip-hop and country.  Approximately 42 percent of the lyrics referred to alcohol in a positive way and mentioned specific alcohol brands.  The brands in most cases are associated with advertising that depicts a luxury lifestyle of drug use, partying, sex, and wealth.

Another study by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that music listened to by teenagers aged 15 to 18 affects long-term attitudes and behaviors.  That study looked at 279 top Billboard songs and found that 33 percent included explicit substance abuse references.  Be strong young fella, they are after you.  The majority of these songs linked substance abuse with positive sexual, financial and emotional rewards.  There are very consistent messages within corporate-sponsored hip-hop that promote the murder of young black men, sexual irresponsibility, excessive consumerism, drug/alcohol abuse and other forms of illegal behavior.  The plan is to convert you into a blunt smoking, drug addled, liquor drinking corporate consumer for life.

Wiz KhalifaIn 2002, Busta Rhymes and P. Diddy released “Pass the Courvoisier.”  That song led to a 19 percent increase in sales for Allied Domecq, maker of Courvoisier. Young Jeezy has an endorsement deal with Belvedere Vodka. A number of hip hop artists are creating their own alcohol labels.  Pitbull, whose real name is Armando Christian Perez, is part owner of the Voli Vodka brand.  Other rap artists who are part owners of liquor brands include Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg and Ludacris.

LudaThe myth is bullshit, Young fella… They tell you, “Jay Z sold drugs, he came up… 50 Cent sold drugs, he came up.” That’s the narrative being repeatedly fed to you and your homies through the media and the hip hop lyrics. Meanwhile, one of every three black American males born today can expect to go to prison in his lifetime compared to one out of every seventeen white males. Most will go to prison for the same “hustlin” behaviors celebrated in hip hop. I need you be discerning. I need you to see what they are doing. For every Kanye, there are 100,000 Nates, Bruces and Jamals on probation, parole or in prison.

The aim, the goal must ALWAYS be to hone and leverage your athletic ability and gain access to higher education. Then use education to improve your life and the lives of your family members. Once this goal is achieved, you have won. A professional basketball contract is the gravy.  The college degree and the knowledge gained along the way constitute the nourishing meal.

Playaz logoToward that end, you have to exercise solid judgement in selecting AAU and High School programs. Don’t sell yourself for a mere pittance. When the AAU guys come around offering a couple dollars, a new cell phone bill and 5 new pairs of KD’s, ask then the tough questions: How many of the guys in your program did NOT meet NCAA eligibility requirements? How many of your guys in the past 5 years had to go JUCO? Exactly, what does your program do to make sure guys are eligible? Does your program have homework assistance and/or SAT/Prep? Do you provide practice SAT exams to see where I stand?

We R 1 logoReally good AAU programs won’t have a problem answering these questions. Really good program administrators understand what you are up against. They do everything they can to get you in college. Some of the best programs I have encountered are NJ Playaz, Philly Pride/Triple Threat, WE R 1, Baltimore’s Finest and Mississippi Basketball Association. These programs focus on academics as well basketball preparation.

Mississippi Basketball AssociationMany of these same questions must be directed to high school coaches. This is especially true for kids attending urban public schools. In urban districts across the country, budget cuts have eliminated guidance counselor and assistant principal positions. You must ask the coach: What is the “eligibility plan” for me? Exactly what courses will I take that will lead to you being eligible? Can I see the list of NCAA approved courses for your school? What is the average SAT score at your school? What scores did your players get over the past few years? Does your school offer summer school courses? What is the grading scale at your school? How many of your players have gone onto play Division 1, Division 2 and NAIA?

As young Black “baller” you may find yourself struggling to attain self-conscious manhood while avoiding traps permeating the landscapes you traverse everyday. As you inch closer to becoming an elite basketball player, the “love-hate” relationship America has with Black males will become more and more apparent. Your challenge is to both keep it “real” and represent your family and your “hood” while simultaneously accessing institutions of high education and playing at the highest collegiate level. Shit ain’t easy. But, it can done, but, you must start right now by asking the right questions.

Sincerely,

Delgreco K. Wilson

 

No Excuses!! Black Athletes Have To Use Better Judgement

Jaimeis Winton, the Heisman Trophy Award winning quarterback of the National Champion Florida State Seminoles was recently (09/17/14) suspended. Not for his alleged involvement in a sexual assault last year. Not for his subsequent nationally televised theft of crab legs from a local market. This time, he is being disciplined for repeatedly yelling “Fuck Her Right In The Pussy” while standing on a table in the student union.

Jameis WinstonJameis Winston, Florida State University

Interim Florida St. president Garnett Stokes and athletics director Stan Wilcox said in a statement. “Student-athletes are expected to act in a way that reflects dignity and respect for others… As a result of his comments yesterday, which were offensive and vulgar, [he] will undergo internal discipline and will be withheld from competition for the first half of the Clemson game.” Internal discipline….Ya think? The consequence should be more than half a game… This latest Winston episode highlights a far-reaching and, seemingly, expanding problem among Black male athletes.

Remember, this isn’t just an average everyday run of the mill college athlete. Winston is a tremendously gifted quarterback with all of the requisite football skills. He has great size, a very strong arm, and an incredible will to win. Based on his athletic ability and football skills, he should be in line for an NFL contract on par with the 4 year $22.025 million deal Cam Newton received and the 4 year $22.1 million package awarded to Andrew Luck. Except, there a major problem. For some reason, Winston seems incapable of exercising sound judgement for a sustained period of time. Quite frankly, he appears to be socially stupid.

He is not alone. This era has, unfortunately, witnessed an onslaught of tremendously gifted young Black men acting like they have absolutely no “home training.”  They bring loaded guns into locker rooms.  They beat 4 year old boys with “switches” and hit ’em on the scrotum.  They punch their women upside the head.  They assault fans in the stands.  They force themselves upon females.  They do all sorts of real stupid shit!  I know Big Momma and Pop Pop taught them better.

Clearly, the time has come for an honest and frank discussion about this serious and pervasive problem among contemporary Black male athletes. Far too many exhibit a persistent refusal to comply with rules or expectations in the home, school or community. I’m talking about multimillion dollar professionals, JUCO bench warmers and everything in between.

adrian-petersonAdrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings

Dominating current headlines are stories centering on cruel or violent behaviors toward children and women by NFL stars Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice and Greg Hardy. The list NBA stars that have failed to fully consider the consequences of their actions and take inappropriate risks is also very long. A few of the more prominent names are Michael Beasley, Chris Washburn, Roy Tarpley, Richard Dumas, Gilbert Arenas, Delonte West, Javaris Crittendon and Ron Artest. Additionally, over the past few years, scores of young Black collegiate athletes have also been involved in array of gun charges. sexual assaults, burglaries, thefts and physical assaults that have led to disciplinary sanctions.

While there can be no denying America’s long standing uneasiness with Black masculinity, it is obvious that these young men have no idea how fortunate they are to play collegiate and/or professional sports. They take their positions as scholarship and/or professional athletes for granted.  Of course the media sensationalizes the incidents.  That’s a given.  My concern is that many Black athletes appear to have very little or no awareness of the sacrifices made by their predecessors that paved the way for them to be on the main stage.  Adopting their lingo, it seems they just don’t “give a fuck.”  This essay is intended to help some Mommas, Daddies, Uncles, Aunties, Grandmothers, Grandfathers and “Oldheads” understand just how far we have come.   If a few young Black male athletes take heed, that’s a real bonus.

No real understanding of the problematic nature of contemporary behavior is possible without an analysis of Black America’s tremendous struggle for mere participation in American collegiate athletics.  Put simply, we’ve come too far to act a fool now.  As it was with virtually everything else, in most states, Blacks were forbidden by law from participating in college sports.

The establishment of educational institutions serving African-Americans in the South following the the Civil War (1861-1865) was a tremendous accomplishment. Unfortunately, the nascent African-American college experiment coincided with the emergence of intercollegiate athletics and the rise of Jim Crow. Jim Crow law were Apartheid-like racial segregation laws enacted between 1876 and 1965 in the United States, primarily at the state and local level.

Four years after the end of the Civil War, Rutgers University and Princeton, played the first game of intercollegiate football on Nov. 6, 1869. Over the next three decades, a few northeastern colleges like Princeton, Columbia, Yale, Tufts, Harvard and Rutgers would challenge one another in “football” games.

By the early part of the 20th Century, major college sports were emerging. College football, in particular, was transitioning from an extracurricular activity to a highly commercialized and profitable sport. By this time there were around 250 or so college football teams. During this era, the unregulated sport was exceedingly violent. During the 1904 season, 18 players died from injuries on the field. “Every day one hears of broken heads, fractured skulls, broken necks, wrenched legs, disclosed shoulders, broken noses, and many other accidents,” the New York Times wrote after the 1893 season. Nonetheless, college football experienced exponential growth in popularity.

Black BoyBlack Boy in Jim Crow South

From the outset, Black Americans were systematically excluded from participation in collegiate sports. Simultaneous to the rise of college athletics was the disfranchisement of the African-American in the South. The last thirty years of the 19th century witnessed the ascendancy of American Apartheid in the former Confederacy. Brutally enforced racial Apartheid was the emerging norm. Laws were rapidly passed that forbade the intermarriage of the races in every Southern state in United States. African-Americans and Whites were formally and legally separated in virtually every aspect of public life. State legislative bodies banned African-Americans from White hotels, restaurants, theaters, and barbershops. As of 1885, most Southern states required that African-American and European American children be educated in separate schools. In 1896, with the sanctioning of the US Supreme Court, African-Americans were formally relegated to an second class citizenship.

By 1900, Jim Crow segregation was firmly entrenched throughout the American South. Apartheid-like separation of the races was rigidly enforced in public parks, buildings, recreational spaces, hospitals, prisons and even cemeteries. Of course, college athletics was not exempt from this dynamic. Like the rest of Southern society, Southern universities were segregated along stringent racial lines. This segregation was enforced through all available legal means and the extralegal practice of lynching. During the period spanning 1884 to 1900, there were more that 2,500 lynchings. The last decade of the 19th century saw an average of 187 lynchings per year in the United States. Needless to say, there would be no integrated college football games in the American South during the Jim Crow era.

lynchingsLynching of Four Black Men in Jim Crow America

The advent of “separate but equal” accommodations following Plessy v. Ferguson combined with sustained a terrorist campaign orchestrated by domestic terrorist groups like the Ku Klux Klan to produce a social climate of fear and intimidation across much of the American South.

In other parts of the country, there would be isolated attempts at limited integration in some college football programs. Among the early African-American collegiate players were George Jewett (Michigan), George Flippin (Nebraska), Matthew Bullock (Dartmouth), Fritz Pollard (Brown), Paul Robeson (Rutgers), Duke Slater (Iowa), Joe Lillard (Oregon), Bobby Marshall (Minnesota), Wilmeth Sidat-Singh (Syracuse), Brice Taylor (Southern California), Jerome “Brud” Holland (Cornell), Marion Motley (Nevada) and Levi Jackson (Yale). While they were allowed to compete on the gridiron, these early players were subjected to extensive physical abuse at the hands of teammates and opponents. Their on field performances were not recognized as there were no African-American first-team All-Americans during the period between 1918 and 1937.

Duke SlaterDuke Slater, Iowa University

One has to wonder what these pioneers would think of the antics of the elite Black athletes dominating today’s headlines. Unquestionably, Black players of the modern era owe a tremendous debt to the steadfast and brave student-athletes that endured brutally racist conditions while breaking down barriers. I guess the question becomes: Are things like honesty, compliance with rules, sensitivity to the feelings and rights of others and control over impulses too much to ask?  Should the Black community expect Black athletes to comport themselves in dignified manner?  Is it fair to expect the athletes to model positive behaviors for younger impressionable kids? After all, the opportunities they are blessed to have did not come easily.

Whites vehemently fought Black participation at every turn.  As the years passed by, the popularity of college football grew exponentially. Eventually, the pressure to field the best possible teams, win games and attract a large fan base would strain the ability of Jim Crow adherents to maintain their racist Apartheid-like tradition of excluding African-Americans from inter-collegiate athletics in the American South. Winning football games became increasingly important. Moreover, money began to talk.  University Presidents, Athletic Directors and coaches recognized that game attendance correlated positively with the quality of play.

Nonetheless, it would be a long hard struggle for African-American inclusion. Plainly stated, Southern Universities did not accept African-Americans as students. Building upon the foundation laid by Plessy v. Ferguson, for the first two-thirds of the twentieth century, Southern states operated dual – separate and unequal – systems of higher education.

segregationWhite Males Opposing Integrated Schools

With zero (0) Blacks in the universities, there were zero (0) Blacks on their athletic teams. Nonetheless, it is important to note that African-Americans were present within several athletic departments. Most southern football programs had beloved, non-threatening black figures who served as the male counterpart to the “Mammy.” These Black men served as janitors, equipment managers, waterboys, masseurs, trainers, etc. for southern college football programs.

In accordance with America’s patently racist traditions dating back to the colonial era, Southern White colleges refused to suit up African-American players. Moreover, throughout the 1920s and 1930s they demanded that integrated teams bench African-Americans during games held outside of the former Confederacy. During this period, it was commonplace for northern coaches and university administrators to acquiesce to the demands of rigid southern segregationists. As time passed, the hardline segregationist position would be compromised in some parts of the south. The rapidity and depth of compromise varied considerably across regions of the Jim Crow south.

Over time, the financial incentives were too strong to resist and southern segregationist bowl committees relaxed their apartheid-like ban on African-American participation in Bowl games. There was just too much money to be made with Black players participating.  There was recognition of the fact that revenues could be increased through integrated intersectional bowl games. Between 1947 and 1956, they would allow Northern teams with Black players to play in the segregated South.

This adaptation was driven solely financial gain. If these changes had been fueled by racial enlightenment there would have been a gradual inclusion of Blacks in regional south versus south regular season games. There was none. The games and the teams remained rigidly segregated during this period. However, northern universities during the post-war era began integrating in large numbers.

The Texas Western College basketball team is widely credited with fueling the movement to desegregate college athletics in the south. In 1966, Texas Western faced perennial national championship contender and number-one ranked Kentucky for the NCAA title. For the first time, there were five White starters playing against five Black starters for the championship. Texas Western’s victory clearly demonstrated that southern schools would have to integrate to compete with non-segregated teams. It is worth noting that while Texas Western began integrating southern college basketball in 1956, they refused to integrate the dormitories and the Black players were required to live off campus.

Texas WesternTexas Western University, 1966 NCAA Men’s Basketball Champions immediately after defeating Kentucky

The most significant football game during the long slow march toward desegregation of college athletics in the south occurred when the University of Southern California visited the still segregated University of Alabama in 1970. Led by an all-black backfield of quarterback Jimmy Jones, running back Clarence Davis, and fullback Sam “Bam” Cunningham, USC trounced Alabama 42-21. Alabama assistant coach Jerry Claiborne succinctly noted, “Sam Cunningham did more to integrate Alabama in 60 minutes that night than Martin Luther King had accomplished in 20 years.”

Sam CunninghamSam Cunningham, USC, running over, through and around Alabama defenders

It is worth noting that during this period of “Athletic Apartheid” spanning 1906 through the 1970s there was very little research regarding student-athlete academic performance. During the 70 pus years, when the student-athletes were predominantly white, there were no significant NCAA sponsored academic reforms. At the institutional and Conference level, there was some minor analysis of the 1.6 minimum grade point average rule. However, the NCAA during this period of extensive racial exclusion did not use research in any systematic way to formulate policy or establish eligibility requirements.

Since the early 1980’s, when Blacks males became a majority of scholarship athletes in the revenue producing sports – football and basketball – there has been a series of increasingly stringent Academic reforms.  This timing of these reforms has led some to question the actual motives of the NCAA.  Hall of Fame Basketball Coach John Chaney fought the reform measures throughout his illustrious career.  In January of 1989, Coach Chaney declared, “The NCAA is a racist organization of the highest order… On this day, it instituted a new punishment on black kids who have already been punished because they are poor. Any time the NCAA, which is 90 percent white, considers the youngsters in Division I basketball and football, it discriminates, because 89 percent of the kids are black… I wonder what message they are sending. It’s another hardship for black kids made by white folk.”
NCAA Men's Basketball - Temple vs Army - November 15, 2005

John Chaney and Mark Tyndale, Temple University

The self-inflicted wounds of contemporary Black athletes make no sense when viewed in historical context.  Too many were forced to play on the “chitlin’ circuit”…. Too many were denied opportunities their abilities warranted… Too many never got a fair shot… Too many watched inferior white players win awards and receive accolades… No excuses!! Black male athletes have to use better judgement…

 

It’s a Set up!! The Public Educational “Game” is Officially Rigged in Pennsylvania!!

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Young fella,  the educational crisis in Philadelphia’s public schools has received a great deal of attention in the national and local media.  The $300 million dollar budget deficit, the school closings and the massive teacher layoffs have been extensively debated.  Ms. Jones, your favorite NTA, Mrs. Williams, the music teacher, Mr. Jenkins, the guidance counselor that exposed you to the world of HBCUs, they’re all gone.  Along with over 3,000 of their peers, they have been terminated.  It’s bad, real bad young fella.  Much worse than when I graduated about 30 years ago.

A general consensus has been reached: Public Education in cities like Philadelphia is in critical condition.  Some contend it’s on it’s deathbed.  The media tends to frame the debate in the following manner: Should financially strapped public school districts and and their supporters focus attention on how to provide quality schooling with, admittedly, dwindling and insufficient resources? Or, alternatively, should school districts and their supporters continue waging [losing?] a struggle to gain additional public funding?

However, very few analysts and commentators view the situation from the most important perspective.  What you, your Mom and your Dad do?  What should you and your parents be considering?  What factors should you weigh as you make educational placement decisions?

Please consider this open letter a warning!  Please be careful, be very careful.  The educational landscape is changing.  While the focus of the public debate has been on yet another budget crisis, there has been a HUGE political shift as well.  While this political shift has not received the same level attention as the recurring budget crisis, the long-term consequences will be much more impactful.

Plainly stated, if you do not make informed and careful decisions regarding school selection, you will be excluding yourself from the possibility of higher education and relegating yourself to life time of low-wage employment or worse.

Urban BlightIn many ways, it’s a classic set-up.  Young fella… pay close attention! Beginning in 2017, most low-income minority students attending traditional neighborhood public schools in places like Philadelphia, Chester, Reading, Coatesville, Harrisburg and Lancaster will NOT graduate from high school.  I am not suggesting they will drop out of school.  Although that is a huge problem in and of itself, I am referring to students that stay in school and complete the 12th grade.  Most Black and Latino students in large urban districts will not graduate with a diploma beginning in 2017.  Now, why would I make such a sad and pessimistic prediction?

A year ago, the Pennsylvania State Board of Education approved a controversial plan to require all Pennsylvania students to pass proficiency tests in science, math, and language arts before graduating.  If approved, the standards would take effect with high school graduates in 2017 (current 10th graders), and require them to demonstrate proficiency in Algebra I, Biology I, and language arts on the Keystone Exams or a state-approved assessment alternative.

By adopting this requirement, Pennsylvania has become part of a larger nationwide trend.  The Common Core standards have been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia.  These standards are ardently backed by the Obama administration which contends that outdated and inconsistent guidelines leave students ill prepared for college and the work force.  In effect, the argument is that by implementing tougher standards, the schools will rise to the occasion we will see an increased level of academic performance.  What is too often left unsaid is that requiring low-income urban students who have spent their formative years in highly dysfunctional underperforming schools to demonstrate proficiency in these subject areas is a set-up for failure.

Over 85% of Philadelphia 214 public schools are currently listed as “low achieving” based on student performance on Keystone Exams or state-approved assessment alternatives.

 

FIFF - Negative Poster 1-page-0

Young fella, this is not speculation.  This a prediction based firmly on an analysis of student performance trends.  Think about it for a minute here.  Students in nearly 9 out of 10 Philadelphia public schools have been “low achieving” for years.  Since then the district has cut over 3,000 teachers.  Last spring, Superintendent Hite facing yet another budget crisis declared “our schools will go from insufficient to empty shells that do not represent what I consider a functioning school.”

We know that a vast majority of these ill-prepared low-income minority students will not be able to meet these standards.  It is equivalent to strapping a 50 pound weight on their backs and demanding that they beat Usain Bolt in a 100 meter dash.  The outcome can be predicted with absolute certainty, they won’t win.  The early results in other major cities forecast the coming Philadelphia storm.

New York was one of the first states to develop tests based on the Common Core standards. The results, predictably, were abysmal.  In math, 15 percent of black students and 19 percent of Hispanic students passed the exam, compared with 50 percent of white students and 61 percent of Asian students.  It is widely accepted that children reared in low-income Black and Latino neighborhoods are at a disadvantage in standardized testing, not because of inborn capacity but because of cultural differences and economic deprivation.  Now, under the new plan, these students will be labeled “not proficient” and barred from “graduating” high school.  Young fella… most of your homies and many of the young ladies in Philadelphia’s neighborhood high schools are going to earn “certificates of attendance” not high school diplomas!

Diploma

Within the School District of Philadelphia only special-admit magnet schools have been able to consistently make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).  Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, is a measurement that allows the US. Department of Education to determine how every public school and school district in the country is performing academically according to results on standardized tests. In recent years, 10 out of 58 (17.2%) Philadelphia public high schools made AYP.  They were all special-admit magnet schools.  In recent years, zero (0%) traditional neighborhood public schools have made AYP.  Most have failed to make AYP for 9, 10 or 11 years.  In many instance, students are attending schools that have not made AYP since the measure was implemented in in the 2001-2002 school year.

So, young fella, let’s get this straight…  The state of Pennsylvania will be requiring students that have spent every day of their educational careers in under-performing and failing schools to demonstrate proficiency on standardized tests in order to graduate.  Over the past 12-13 years, zero (0) neighborhood high schools in Philadelphia have made AYP.  Adequate Yearly Progress is based primarily on standardized test performance.  On top of that, they have laid off over 3,000 teachers in the last 12 months.  Young fella, it’s a set up!

As noted earlier, those unable to demonstrate proficiency will likely receive a “certificate of attendance” in lieu of a diploma.  What will be the value of the certificate of attendance?  Will colleges accept this as evidence of completing high schools?  How will employers interpret this as opposed to a diploma?

It is safe to assume that the results in Philadelphia, Yeadon, Darby, Darby Township and Chester will mirror the result in New York City.  The overwhelming majority of low-income minority students in public high schools will not meet the standards.  Unfortunately, the fact is they have not been able to meet the standards for the past 12-13 years.  What can you and your parents do?

If you are not enrolled in a special-admit magnet public school like Masterman, Central, Science Leadership Academy, Palumbo, Carver or Bodine you need to find an high-quality alternative placement.  Indeed, even parents of students in magnet schools may need to consider their options.  A year ago, it was announced that the libraries at Masterman and Central, the two highest achieving high schools in Philadelphia, have been closed due to budget cuts.  The State of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia are financially strangling the students in Philadelphia’s public schools.  Young fella, how are these ‘high-achieving” college bound students going to do research and independently pursue areas that interest them without access to libraries?

Can you see it?  It has all the marking of a set-up.  With this plan in place, most of Philadelphia’s low-income Black and Latino public school students will be labeled as non-graduates.  That is not taking into account the more than 50% percent that drop-out of the system altogether.  Again, let’s use the NYC results as a guide.  If 15% of the students meet the requirements for graduation and 50% or so dropped out before even taking the test, then only about 7.5% of Philadelphia’s low-income  minority public school students will be actual high school graduates.  The other 92-93% will be relegated, at the age of 18 or 19 to a lifetime of low-wage, low-skilled labor, excluded from institutions of higher learning, prone to participate in the underground economy and as a result far more likely to encounter the criminal justice system.

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Unfortunately, there will be students with A and B averages that cannot meet the standards because they have attended failing schools throughout their entire educational careers.  My strong recommendation is that you and your parents immediately research their options.  Take some time to learn about the Independent Private Schools, high achieving Charter Schools and Catholic Schools.  We have reached a point where leaving your child in a traditional neighborhood public school is tantamount to child abuse.  Yes, many of these options will require financial sacrifice.  But, the alternative is simply unacceptable.

Remaining enrolled in a traditional neighborhood high school could very well lead to a lifetime of financial sacrifice.

Many critics charge that the state doesn’t care about the children and they don’t plan for their future.  I vehemently disagree.  The state is clearly planning for the their future.  Pennsylvania has extensive plans for low-income minority children.  Please keep in mind, Pennsylvania is spending $400 million to construct two new prisons at the SCI-Graterford site in Montgomery County.  The funds are in addition to the $1.8 billion corrections budget signed by Governor Tom Corbett, an increase of $208,000 from last year.

For information information on alternatives to Philadelphia Public Schools, contact me at delgrecowilson@outlook.com.