Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Decline of American Monuments and Memorials as told by Michael J. Lewis

The Decline of American Monuments and Memorials 
as told by Michael J. Lewis

By Kenny Smith for IFS News Writers

MEMPHIS (IFS) – Professor Lewis depicts a national decline in our nation in piling up rocks upon top of each other especially that of Dr. Martin Luther King, as his pile of rocks were made in China, and that he was chiseled in stone as an idol with his arms folded without warmth and no inspiring “love” for generations to come.

Dr. Lewis further charges forward that the memorial managed to misquote the great man: Not only did he not say, “ I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness,” but Dr. Lewis’ put his actual words were a hypothetical statement put in someone’s else’s mouth.

Well, the only thing I might say to that statement by Dr. Lewis is, the only piles of rocks the average citizen will get is a headstone, if lucky with a dash in the middle of the day your were born and the day you died.  That dash in the middle is all anyone with remember of you.  Your deeds, your glory days, your loves, your hates, your dislikes, and even your reputation will all come down to that dash in the middle of your piece of rock – that is, if you are lucky to get one.

I am sure that Dr. King where ever he may be does not mine that he rock was carved in China or in Georgia.  The only thing is for sure, is that he got his pile of rocks to early.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Memphis Fire Stations: The Next Damsels in Distress?

Memphis Fire Stations:  The Next Damsels in Distress?
By Lee Harris, Memphis City Council

North Memphis, Frayser, Uptown & Mud Island

A few short weeks ago, l learned about cuts to fire services across the city, cuts that would have a direct impact on communities in North Memphis and the Downtown core. Since that time, l have been one of the major critics of these cuts.

However, long before I joined the Council, the plan to ''realign'' (as the cuts have been called) Fire Services was already out of the gate. As l understand it, the process to realign and cut Fire Services began at least a couple of years ago, prior to my arrival on the City Council.

Nonetheless, I have fought hard to try to stop the realignment from affecting our neighborhoods or at least to slow the process down. I have visited several of the affected fire stations. I have talked at length with firefighters at Station 28 (1510 Chelsea Avenue), Station 19 (2248 Chelsea Avenue), and Station 11 (1826 Union Avenue).

I called for a special City Council meeting to discuss the realignment. I also scheduled time for the Council to discuss restoring funding to the libraries that were slated to close.

At that meeting, the Council approved a plan to restore funding to the libraries, When the discussion turned to Fire Services, the director of Fire Services assured me and the rest of the Council that public safety would not be compromised by these changes. As the plan had been in place for a couple of years, no changes were made by the Council. However, I was still worried about this realignment process.

My next move was to try to restore funding for Fire Services in the budget. My hope was that if I restored money in the budget for Fire Services, we could at least save the ladder truck at Station 28 on Chelsea.

I talked with the Mayor's Chief Financial Officer, Roland McElrath, to figure out how much money we would need to fund that ladder truck. I then worked with Councilwoman Fullilove, among other members of the Council, on a proposal to restore $150,000 in funding to Fire Services so that Station 28 could keep its ladder truck in service.
That proposal that I drafted to restore $150,000 to Fire Services to maintain that ladder truck was amended at a Council meeting and, ultimately, it was unsuccessful.

Again, I am against the Fire Services cuts that affect North Memphis and the Downtown core. After pretty extensive investigation, I am not convinced these service cuts are the right move for the city and I have worked hard to try to slow down these cuts.

The communities in these areas have a high number of historic homes that can create a real fire hazard in the case of an emergency. These communities are dense, with homes built closer together, which means that a fire can spread quickly from home to home.

Our communities also have a high number of elderly residents who rely on fire services.  For these reasons, l think we need fully equipped fire stations and I will continue to do what I can.

Lee Harris
Memphis City Council-North Memphis,
Frayser, Uptown & Mud Island

Acting White: The Curious History of a Racial Slur

Acting White:  The Curious History of a Racial Slur

Book Review:
The Opposing Self:
When Social Pressures Stand In the Way Of Black Success
By Alec Solomita of The Weekly Standard Magazine

Ron Christie book begins with a jolt.  The lawyer, political pundit, and former aide to President George W. Bush tells a story of his younger self, an eager, star struck - and African – American – junior legislative assistant -union legislative assistant working for a Republican congressman from Florida, Craig T. James, who served on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.  At the committee’s first hearing, the 22-year –old Christie was impressed to see Representative Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), a woman whose work and status (if not politics) he admired.  Waters, he soon learned, was as impressed by him, but not as favorably.

After the hearing, she summoned Christie to her office:  “I want to know why you’re working for a Republican.  Are you confused?”

“No ma’am, I’m not confused.  I work with Congressman James because I share his values.  I am a Republican.”

“You are a sellout to your race!  White people work for Republicans.  Not African Americans!  You’re nothing but an Uncle Tom!”

Christie reports that he was stunned by the tirade.  But it was not the last time he would find himself facing a liberal’s fusillade of abuse.  Indeed, he seems to have made a career of refuting such small-minded, hostile accusations.  He has gallantly endured the gently expressed incredulity of Janet Langhart Cohen, who interviewed Christie about his book and wondered aloud how a black man could possibly be a Republican.  And he has repeatedly appeared on MSNBC’s vituperative Ed Show, attempting civilly, to counter the self-righteous, perpetually outraged harangues of the host and like-minded guests.

What Christie is accused of, by blacks and liberal whites alike, is “acting white.”  That is, abandoning his heritage, selling out.  He shares this distinction with other admirable cultural warriors, individuals as various as Condoleezza Rice, Juan Williams, Shelby Steele, John McWhorter, Randall Kennedy, Thomas Sowell, and Walter Williams.  And make no mistake, they are various:  Their nuanced views cover a wide spectrum.  Their only commonality is an independence of mind that incites the wrath of an enervated, bitter, and self-pitying black leadership addicted to the glory days of the civil rights movement and, some of them, to the Black panther party and its offshoots.

Christie’s thesis has become familiar in recent decades, particularly after Bill Cosby’s keynote speech at the NAACP’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of Brown Vs. Board of Education, in which Cosby advised the black community to look into its own soul:  “We cannot blame white people. . . We’ve got to take the neighborhood back.”  Christie expands the argument.  A strong and destructive internal attitude impedes black accomplishment.  And this attitude is encapsulated, Christie says, in the high-school taunt “acting white,” aimed by black students at peers who pay attention in class and do their homework. 

When “hard work, diligent study, and eloquent communication skills” become cause for derision and abuse, the result is a powerful deterrent to success.  It is a phenomenon based on a misguided notion of group loyalty.  Its strength resides in a fear of ostracism.

Acting White takes a historical approach, sketching out the contours of not just the term itself but the operating concept as well, the origins of which he discerns in the antebellum South.  He relies heavily on Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), where the attitudes of whites toward blacks run a gamut of viciousness: from benign superiority to amusement to sadism, fear and loathing – all serving the purpose of unthinkable exploitation.  Christie points to whites’ fear of black literacy: “Blacks were legally denied the opportunity to become literate in several southern states.  Alabama, Georgia and Virginia joined other states in enacting statues that prescribed fines, flogging, imprisonment and hanging for those who taught African Americans how to read and write.”

How blacks perceived literacy becomes the focus of Christie’s attention.  The slave George Harris in Uncle Tom’s Cabin says, “I know more about business than the master does, and I can read better than he can; I can write a better hand.”  But Harris’s stance was not, according to Christie, prevalent among blacks in the slaveholding South:

Apparently, the motion that blacks would apply themselves to become literate and educated . . . was a foreign concept to someone of Uncle Tom’s mindset . . . This subservient . . .ideology about education – then and now holds that African Americans seeking to emancipate their minds from the chains of illiteracy act as do whites.

Although Acting White suffers occasionally from awkward prose and unnecessary repetition, Christie proves a competent guide through some complicated history.  He shows, for example, that despite Booker T. Washington’s promotion of “hard work and economic self-reliance for blacks,” he blinked when it came to true equality, supporting industrial over academic education for blacks and assuring whites that they need not fear social assimilation.  Interestingly, Washington and his rival W.E.B DuBois traded similar charges of kowtowing to white attitudes.  “Acting White” seems to be an equal opportunity slur.

Discord in the early 20th century between DuBois and the leader of the nascent Back to Africa movement, Marcus Garvey, makes earlier disagreements sound mild.  Distrustful of education and opposed to assimilation, Garvey attacked the Harvard-educated DuBois at first vigorously, and then viciously.  DuBois, Garvey wrote in 1923, “likes to dance with white people, and dine with them, and sometimes sleeps with them, because from his way of seeing things all black is ugly, and all that is white is beautiful.”  Garvey’s accusations would seem quaint, perhaps, if they were not as current as today’s headlines.  Christie quotes a 2007 item from CNN News; “The Rev. Jesse Jackson criticized then Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama; accusing the Illinois senator of “acting like he’s white” according to a South Carolina newspaper.”  And about a year later, Ralph Nader chimed in, saying that Obama tries to “talk white.”

This comprehensive history of the dangerous and self-defeating notion that pursuing an education, speaking well, dressing well, and working in a profession equals “selling out” is both sobering and encouraging.  And the failure of many black leaders to relinquish the comforting myth that all of their community’s woes can be laid at the feet of “institutional racism” is causing young African Americans enormous harm.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

D-Town Records relocates to Memphis

D-Town Records relocates to Memphis
By Vicky Holt, IFS Writers

SACRAMENTO, CA (IFS)   D-Town Records has relocated its SDC OmniMedia Group to Memphis, Tennessee with its SDC Radio One Networks predominately taking the lead rolls in production. 

The D-Town Records Imprint division will continue to repackage its catalog, and release its new products via digital distribution with D-Town Digital.

D-Town Records relationship with Memphis dates back to the middle 1960’s with Willie Mitchell’s production of the Prince of Detroit’s Lee Rogers with hit recordings entitled “Love For A Love”, “The Same Thing That Make You Laugh (Can Make You Cry)” and several other great hits.

KDTN Radio One’s Blogtalk radio series and it’s music affiliate station has been on limited production schedule since 2010 when operations shifted to the Yolo County farm suburbs where broadband was just limited and none existence.

D-Town has re-launched its’ website portal to report on its subsidiaries activities and products.

NBC Throws Ann Curry off the Bus

By Kenneth Howard Smith

MEMPHIS (IFS) As Savannah Guthrie officially takes the reins of the co-anchor ship of the Today Show this morning; I was one of those 303 friends of Ann Curry.  I had received rumors of Ann’s leaving as far back as six months ago from the many of the view ships of the show, twitter feeds, and other things.

I had flashbacks of Ann hurling herself off of bridges, bungee jumps, crazy morning stunts that gave me the creeps over the years, but yet the powers that be had to let dear old Ann go after one year on the job.

Let’s face it, I’m not bleeding for Ann, just hurting that I will not get a chance to see those hot sexy legs and shoes in the morning over my hot cup of Joe that helps to pert me up and get me through the day.  Am I a sexist pig?  Hell yea!  And proud of it.  On the other hand, I am a little jealous that I did not get a $10 Million going away settlement.  On my last days on the job back in 2001, it was a small $65,000 severance package and a good luck note.

So do not cry for Ann Curry, but my heart does go out for my morning show.  Since ABC’s Good Morning America has pulled ahead of the Today Show, I believe I will be switching alliance in the mornings and tuning in to watch and flipping channels to CBS This Morning.  But on these two show, they show no legs, just lots of arms.