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Because He/She Looks Like Me!

When I heard that some South Africans were protesting Jennifer Hudson playing the part of Winnie Mandela in a movie about the Mandela and South Africa, I was initially puzzled. I couldn't figure out why they didn't want Hudson to play the part. She has proven that she is talent in winning an Oscar nomination for her performance in Dream Girls. She is beautiful. She still maintains her dignity, unlike others such as those in the so-called Hip Hop generation, including Beyonce, who have demonstrated they will and do gyrate and grind their rear end to get paid. But when I heard the South African rationale, I could only shake my head in agreement and say, "OK, I understand." The protest was based on the fact that Winnie Mandela is a Black South African, so why can't they find a Black South African to play her part instead of outsourcing the job? I couldn't help but think about the many things we as Black Americans give away without a protest. As a newspaper publisher of a small newspaper, I know the pain of seeing a Black play, that doesn't advertise in the local Black newspaper without a fight. And yet Blacks flock to the theater.  Another example is a restaurant in the community, even claiming to serve Soul Food and who make their living off Black folks, but don't hire Black folks or advertise in the local Black newspaper. Yet we can live up to the same standard as the competitors their money is spent elsewhere. Isn't that why the American economy is on the verge of bankruptcy?  We stopped manufacturing things here at home and spend our money to manufacture things in other countries like cars from Japan. Is it any wonder that Detroit is nearly bankrupt with an unemployment rate close to 40%?  America even outsources the debt collection jobs to faraway places like India.

We stopped spending on education, got rid of teaching the arts, laid off teachers, and still expect to remain competitive with China in a world economy. We depreciate poverty but in getting rid of educational opportunities we get rid of the best and most effective anti-poverty program that anyone could devise... EDUCATION FOR THE POOR. Education is the vehicle that took Obama to the White House. Education is what took Dr. King to the head of the line in the Civil Rights struggle.

This past week the Los Angeles Unified School District announced the elimination of 5,000 jobs, including teachers. At the same time the state's College and University system is pricing students out of getting an education. The net effect to that will be a return to the past where, as always, the rich get richer and the poor stay where they are.

The answer is simple.  Give the state budget a raise by increasing the tax on the rich. That will not happen because Swartzenegger, the Republicans and so-called Conservatives don't want to make the corporate leaders mad by returning the tax rates to the pre-Regan level and stop outsourcing our jobs.

Those who watch politics should remember Ross Perot's advertisements that said the great swishing sound you hear are the American jobs going south, if NAFTA and CAFTA treaties are signed. These were treaties that authorized open trade with South America and Canada. The same goes for our neighborhoods and cities. A few examples include the Pasadena Unified School District which has outsourced Pasadena jobs to Gilroy, San Diego, and Glendale. A contractor that donated $20,000 to the Measure TT campaign from San Diego got the multi million dollar contract to do the work. Many are complaining that the contractor doesn't hire local Pasadena subcontractors or workers.

There was a claim that the District advertised in the Journal for the jobs. They did not until recently when some noise was made.  Superintendent Diaz hired a white woman, I am told, from Glendale.  She was hired at $108,000, under the guise of being hired by the predominately White Pasadena Education Foundation. She then complained that $108,000 wasn't enough and so he has now given her $125,000.  Here's the kicker.  This woman works from home where she took the time to write a book and went on a book promotional tour to sell her book. All while your taxes were paying her salary, and presumably her travel expenses. I am also told that the book is about how hard it is for a woman, like her, to raise and educate their children. Now that ought to help the Black and Brown parents who struggle daily to feed, clothe, and educate their children...NOT.  

Frederick Douglass taught us that "those who profess to favor freedom yet depreciate agitation want the ocean without the roar of its mighty waters, they want the crop without the tilling of the soil." He went on to say that "power concedes nothing without a struggle, it never did and it never will."  Jennifer Hudson's ability to get the part of Winnie Mandela will not be without a struggle. The question is will the local School District be able to get away with outsourcing "our" jobs and money in the case of the Glendale book writer without a struggle?  Remember another lesson from Frederick Douglas was that he "that is whipped easiest, is whipped oftenest."