"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“Who’s Been Naughty And Who’s Been Nice?”: A Few Suggestions To Help St. Nick Complete His List

He’s making a list, checking it twice, going to find out who’s naughty or nice . . .”

Santa Claus does not, of course, need any help in deciding among the deserving and undeserving this holiday season. But with Christmas only days away and the North Pole toy shop backed up with orders, here are, in the spirit of the season, a few suggestions to help St. Nick complete his lists so he and his reindeer can get on their way, and on time.

Naughty: Elizabeth Lauten, the Republican congressional communications director who dissed Sasha and Malia Obama for their clothes and facial expressions during the president’s pardoning of the Thanksgiving turkey.

Nice: The nation’s beautiful first daughters, who handle their unsought duties with grace, dignity and a maturity found lacking in many twice their ages.

Naughty: The 63.6 percent of Americans in our democracy who didn’t vote in 2014.

Nice: The 36.4 percent who chose to exercise that precious and fundamental right.

Naughty (worse than that): Police officers in Ferguson, Cleveland and Staten Island whose actions made sure a Missouri teenager, a 12-year-old Ohio boy with an air pistol and a New York father won’t be home — or anywhere else on this earth — on Christmas Day.

Nice: My multiracial neighbors and hundreds like them who lined 16th Street NW from the White House to Silver Spring in a candlelight vigil for justice for all people, including the victims who were united — as were the cops— by the color of their skin.

Naughty: The Ferguson protesters who resorted to vandalism and looting.

Nice: The Ferguson demonstrators who exercised their First Amendment rights within the law.

Naughty: The Beta Sigma chapter of the Delta Gamma sorority at the University of Maryland, which posted a photo featuring a sorority member posing with an alcohol-bottle and cupcake-laden 21st-birthday cake that, according to WTTG-TV (Channel 5), included the “N” word and “a sexual act that is performed on an African-American man.” Ouch. Naughty is not the word for the behavior of these flowers of America’s future.

Nice: The Howard University students who staged a powerful protest, which included their hands outstretched in a “Don’t Shoot” pose.

Naughty: The black offenders who make crime a serious problem in African American communities.

Nice: The African American cops, prosecutors, judges and black-dominated juries that are arresting, trying, convicting and sending to jail these offenders, hence putting a lie to the myth that “black-on-black” crime is tolerated or excused. Just as it is nonsense to bewail “white-on-white” crime because most white folks killed are done in by other white folks. Santa ought to reward the black, white, brown, etc., people, including police officers who risk their lives to protect us and who refuse to buy into the myth.

Naughty: Congressional Republicans, instigated by Maryland Rep. Andy Harris , who are trampling all over the D.C. Home Rule Act to block the city from implementing a democratically passed referendum to legalize marijuana. They deserve coal in their stockings.

Nice: The citizens who recognize when principle is at stake and are willing to step forward and stand up to the bullies on Capitol Hill. Those fine Americans deserve sugar plums or some such thing dancing above their heads.

If that weren’t enough, Santa’s got a little more to add on his lists.

Naughty: Those unreconstructed demagogues on the right who slander President Obama as a radical leftist out to destroy capitalism, even though he saved the auto industry, rescued Wall Street and has taken the lead in undermining Vladimir Putin and the Russian economy. Those Obama enemies deserve nothing if for no other reason than their ingratitude.

Naughty: Sony Pictures Entertainment executives who showed their true colors when it comes to race, and the hackers who are waging a cyberattack against the company. This is more of a thought than recognition of the deserving: Put the Sony Pictures execs and the hackers together in a cage and let them have at each other.

Nice: Objective and fearless journalists who bring truth and light to all who would draw near and listen or — as the case may be — read. Shower them fulsomely with your gifts, dear Santa.

Naughty: That Mr. Hyde, allegedly free of conscience, filled with darker impulses, depraved and a defiler of drugged women, known in some quarters as Bill Cosby.

Nice: The sociable, respectable and morally decent Dr. Jekyll, a.k.a. Bill Cosby, said by Camille, his wife of 50 years, to be “a kind man, a generous man, a funny man and a wonderful husband, father and friend.”

(Sorry, but your call, big fella.)

Merry Christmas, happy holidays and to all a good night.


By: Colbert King, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, December 19, 2014

December 24, 2014 Posted by | Christmas, Naughty and Nice, Santa Claus | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Radioactive Stuff”: The Bravery Of President Obama’s Trayvon Martin Speech

The political risks in the President speaking at length about Trayvon Martin and his feelings about the continuing challenges of being a black man in modern America were innumerable.

This is radioactive stuff. It doesn’t matter that he’ll never again be up for election. Obama still has years left in office and a hyperpartisan political environment to navigate. He’s become something of an invisible-hand President, often working back channels, because if he sticks a flag in the ground and demands action, congressional Republicans will then see greater incentive in defeating it. There was no policy proposal attached, but race remains such a key part of American political life that speaking about it so bluntly and at the same time with great nuance could widen the already vast political chasm. Validating black pain, asserting that profiling is real and saying that history is not an excuse but an honest part of why we are in the place we’re in are dangerous stuff when one party depends on a multiracial coalition and the other is almost entirely white and the demographic trends of America show whites becoming a minority within a few decades.

It was a treacherous speech politically because for one part of the divide the answer to black pain is: get over it, as Representative Andy Harris recently said. Racism is in the past, white privilege is a myth, profiling is a ghost: Doesn’t Obama’s election prove we’re beyond all that? The President knows better. He asked, in his 19-minute address, that black pain be acknowledged, that internalized bias be taken seriously, that history be understood as not done with us yet.

The assertion that blacks are hallucinating or making excuses or lying when we talk about the many very real ways white privilege and racial bias and the lingering impact of history impact our lives is painful. It adds insult to injury to attack all assertions of racism and deny its continued impact or existence. The right acts as though decades of rejection of the vast majority of the black electorate is evidence of some sort of plantation thinking rather than the inevitable response to the southern strategy and policies and rhetoric blacks find insulting. What do you mean “Stand your ground” or voter ID or immigration reform or the entitlement debate has racial tones? You’re injecting race! Playing the race card! It is like signal jamming: attack the transmission because you cannot win an argument that admits its existence. To these folks, George Zimmerman is a victim (several essays have spoken of all this as the lynching of Zimmerman). To them, race had nothing to do with this trial and now Obama has become the Race Baiter in Chief. Now he can be attacked on entirely new ground: as an apologist for black victimhood or a shameless stoker of racial division or maybe a neo–Black Panther.

Politically speaking, Obama took that risk because the spiritual or moral risk of saying nothing was too great. To have the microphone and the intellect and the personal experience and a community of citizens in pain — to have all that and say nothing would be a dereliction of duty. It would mean that the black President had somehow been cowed into not speaking deeply about blackness at a moment of national strife because it was, what, too controversial? Perhaps Zimmerman’s acquittal was the only verdict possible given the paucity of evidence and the jury instructions shaped by “Stand your ground” which give so much leeway to self-defenders who feel afraid even if, as the judge instructed, “the danger is not real.”

But Obama knew we cannot understand the pain many feel around this verdict by narrowing the lens and seeing this as an isolated incident, isolated from American history, isolated from American racial norms. We are in pain now because once again we’ve been told black bodies are worth less and we are not full Americans, and fear of black bodies is reasonable and it’s our problem to manage. Obama delicately touched on all that so there’s deep, cathartic power in the President reaching down from his perch to say, I could have been Trayvon, any of us could. And perhaps unsaid though, not unheard, is this: He could’ve been me. No one would’ve thought Barry from the Choom Gang would become President. Who’s to know what Trayvon would’ve become? I am optimistic about the brother’s imaginary future even as I admit that institutional racism would’ve been an anchor weighing him down. But I’m growing more cynical about my country. Even as a boy lies dead and a President says, I too have been profiled, part of the nation still speaks of race as a flimsy playing card they rebuke. Forgive me for wondering if Obama was right when he said we’re moving forward.


By: Toure, Time Magazine, July 22, 2013

July 24, 2013 Posted by | Race and Ethnicity, Racism | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


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