Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Top Ten Black News Stories 2010

In this year’s Top 10 Black News Stories for 2010 I saw a lot of surreal moments. Some things will be obvious others may seem odd. I always encourage feedback because it’s always helpful as I try to give voice to those stories which seemed to be lost in the mix.

10. Getting Your Street Cred by Going to Jail – The "Thug Life"–yea that’s for me? No. Singing/Rapping about a life behind bars may seem easy but trying to practice what you preach has its problems. "Nah, it ain’t what its crack up to be.”

9. The Pain of Africa – For African – Americans the promise of a homeland is often clouded by the strains of dysfunction. I’ll mention a few: The current president of Ivory Coast refuses to give up power because he lost an election; Sudan set to hold election to divide country between north and south; and Uganda preachers suggesting people kill all homosexuals on religious grounds. Oh yea, I didn’t forget about the Somali Pirates, Robert Mugabe, Algiers homegrown terrorist or problems in Egypt where Hosni Mubarak is talking about seeking another term in office (he’s been in power since Anwar Sadat).

8. Identity Politics – Pandering to white constituents can be hazardous to your political health. In Washington, Mayor Adrian Fenty was ousted because he wasn’t Black enough according to some voters. This lead political observers to conclude, a new wave in Black politics was happening. See my earlier observations in my “Authenticity” post.

7. I Can’t Get Jailed/Arrested/Censured, I’m a Black Politician – The poster children for this post include Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Prince Georges County Executive Jack Johnson, and Congressman Charles Rangel. Honorable mention includes Rep. Maxine Waters and Detroit Councilwoman Carolyn Conyers.

6. Punditry – When you live in a democracy such as ours you get to say what you want. Unfortunately, some people in the news business have allowed lunacy to prevail. Things I heard and said hmmmm!!! “The government is putting in place death panels.” “Tell the government to keep its hands off of Medicaid.” “The president is a socialist who is following in his father’s Marxist footsteps.” How about providing the public with a little balance or honesty?

5. Black Farmers – I started covering this story in the early nineties. I met several of these farmers and they told me how the Department of Agriculture wouldn’t give them the time of day and worked to get their farms taken over by white farmers. They won in federal court but it took them until this year to get the money they were owed. The bad news is more than half the Black Farmers are dead/or lost their land.

4. The Gulf Spill – I feel for people along the Gulf Coast. The BP Spill was the worst environmental disaster in this nation’s history. People make their living on the Gulf. Pictures of oil spewing out of a pipe underwater became a daily phenomena. I’m still chilled by workers picking up oil on the beach.

3. The President – What a year. He passed several signature pieces of legislation (Health Care Law, DADT, START Treaty, STIMULUS, Bailed out the auto industry etc…) but it could not save his party from a “Shellacking” in the midterms. “Whatca gonna do now?”

2. Unemployment – With unemployment hovering around 10% (its near 20% in Black communities) the prospect of change doesn’t seem in the offing. Manufacturing jobs which sustain the Black community has all but disappeared. Can’t believe some politicians have suggested unemployment insurance is a disincentive to look for job. This is cruel.

1. Technology – You are interfacing with it every day and some people suggest they can’t do without. Black folks are embracing technology in ways that are amazing. From Twitter, Facebook, Skype, I phones, IPods, I pads, Bluetooth, Blackberry etc…. you can’t get away from devices. Adding to this change is Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook).
He decided to donate $100 million to assist Newark, NJ school system. The gift proves change can happen in cities not just in suburbia. I wish more tech millionaires would get out of their suburban cocoons.

Person of the Year: Dr. John Boyd. Ten years after dragging their feet congress sent a 4.6 billion dollar bill to the President to assist Black and Indian Farmers. Dr. Boyd made it his personal crusade annually bring his tractor to Capitol Hill. He worked through both Republican and Democratic administrations. I’ve known him personally and watch him work the backrooms, the halls and the President to get this piece of legislation passed. He is the personification of perseverance.,

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