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Opinion

The Basics of Life Still Rule

The cause of the American money mess is because the credit card companies have encouraged us to buy things we don't need with money we don't have. The result is the domino effect. The cardholder gets more than he/she can pay for, the banks don't get paid, then you have a traffic jam at the credit market and on jobs. Everybody is trying to unload debt so they can make more debt. No one can move. Bankruptcy courts fill up to catch the overflowing debt, and on the jobs the ones who got hired last get fired first, and we all know who that is. America caught an economic cold and Black America caught economic pneumonia.

Nothing has changed. The rich got richer with a bail out and the poor pay higher prices and taxes to cover the bail of the rich. In slavery days it was said simpler, "naught's a naught, figger's a figger, all for the white man and none for the n----r." Nothing's changed. Somewhere in my life I heard rules like, "If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is too good to be true." When the phone is ringing off the hook with people trying to sell you something better than you have, like a mortgage or a telephone system for less, then you need to resist. The ones who resisted the too-good-to-be-true deals seem to be the survivors in the current economic mess.

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Winners, Losers and Choices are Everywhere

 

When I was a child, my parents set the rules and my mother was the daily enforcer. When Daddy stepped in, it was serious. The problems that mothers have to watch out for today are really not that different. The problem today is that (1) the rules are more lax, (2) it's not clear who is setting the rules, and (3) who is enforcing the rules?

In the old days with more nuclear families, with one father and one mother, parents set the rules together, and they didn't care about outside forces like television and the movies. The only outside forces that had any influence was the church that taught us about The Ten Commandments, as well as the rules about honoring your father and mother and your elders. School taught us about manners and etiquette as well as how to treat others like opening the door for the girls and ladies, if you were a boy and saying "sir" or "ma'am" and not using profanity.

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There's Still Good News and Opportunities Out There

 A few weeks ago we got an early morning call from Atlanta, Georgia from our daughter in-law. She was calling to tell us that our grandson, Joshua, was on the front page of the Atlanta Daily Constitutional Metro page. Joshua is nine years old and part of a Chess day camp, teaching young people how to play chess. The excitement about the picture was increased because Joshua was in the picture with former mayor of Atlanta, Andrew Young. Young was signing the camp's chess board with the inscription that said "Keep thinking through your next move."

The camp was part of a program started by former Georgia state trooper, Orrin Hudson. The program was designed to teach young people life lessons through chess. The camp is being held at the "BE SOMEONE TRAINING CENTER in Stone Mountain, Georgia. The kids wear T-shirts that say, "BE SOMEONE". The overall slogan for the organization is, "PUSH PAWNS, NOT DRUGS - HEADS UP, PANTS UP, GRADES UP!"

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Pasadena at a Crossroad

I am excited about the response to the "State of Black Pasadena" report that the Journal African American news from Pasadena - Editorial - Pasadena a crossroadpublished this month [4-9-09]. Many have contacted me about planning and facilitating a session or a series of sessions with small groups for the purpose of putting our collective heads together to develop some strategies for the future of our community. One group looked onto the idea of planning more programs to improve things in the areas of education and economics for Blacks. Others have contacted me about how we can influence the development of social and public policy that affect our community.

What is really exciting is that those who contacted me want to do something rather than just talk about the problems that we already know exist. What we need are ideas and action, not just more talk. In that vein, I propose Roundtable discussions. Those in the community who have new ideas may put something in writing and submit it to me so that when we meet we can start tackling the problems, rather than talking about and redefining the problems.

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Remember Greenwood and Black Wall Street?

During the period between 1900 and 1921, in Greenwood, North Tulsa, Oklahoma, Black news from Pasadena - Editorial - Greenwood and Black Wall StreetAfrican Americans built a thriving community complete with businesses and an economic infrastructure so strong that it was nicknamed "Black Wall Street." Over six hundred Black owned businesses thrived in the area. There were Black doctors, lawyers, business owners and entrepreneurs who controlled their own destinies. Black Dollars circulated in the Black community three times before it left the community. There were Black millionaires, Black owned restaurants, a 700 seat movie theater and Black owned bus lines, schools, banks, oil leases and a Black hospital.

Much of the progress was the result of Jim Crow Laws. These laws didn't allow race mixing, or school integration, or even for Blacks to go into White parts of town except to work for White folks. The Ku Klux Klan ran much of the state of Oklahoma. Ironically it was part of the so called, "Bible Belt of America."

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