By Gregory Moore
Last night CNN broadcasted the first of a two part series called “Black in America 2” and from the unofficial “World as I see it” poll, the series was met with overwhelming applause.
What was ironic last night was that there has been a couple of news items in the news cycle that actually pertain to what the series is trying to educate America on; being African American in America. The first news item, the continued discussion (or misdirect) of whether or not Barack Obama is an American citizen and the arrest of Dr. Henry Gates, Jr.
Let me tackle the last item first because it needs to be addressed in an ‘educational’ fashion.
Racial profiling does exist and we all know that. However this arrest is less about race and more about proper communication between an individual and law enforcement.
Let me address the question that everyone will ask. No, Dr. Gates should have not been arrested by Sgt. Crowley.
Sgt. Crowley could have easily wrote him a citation and been on his way.
Now Dr. Gates may think he was treated wrong but being a jackass isn’t a privilege and a right. In this case, Dr. Gates was being a jackass by NOT actually help calm the situation.
Was he in his legal right?
Sure he was but Dr. Gates was the one who forgot his keys. Surely an educated man like himself can see that when police are called and they are called for a break in, saying, “don’t you see the picture on the wall” isn’t the right response.
Dr. Gates exacerbated the incident and Sgt. Crowley escalated the ordeal with the arrest.
In essence both of these men were being jackasses.
Both owe each other an apology and Dr. Gates needs to realize that sometimes proper identification, like, “Officer my name is Dr. Gates. Please step inside and we can clear this matter up” would have been the PROPER response to the officer’s question of “Who are you?”.
Now with that said, let me address something that the CNN piece touched on and why it is relative to the birth certificate quagmire.
The Tuxedo Ball, a Washington, D.C. event for teens of prominent Black families was partially showcased in last night’s episode but more importantly it was the reasoning behind why Dr. Carlotta Miles started the event 23 years ago.
I want to really focus on Betram Lee, Jr. because his life is central to why the ball was founded and why many Blacks are having a problem with the “conservative” realm and their reasoning of bringing up President Obama’s birth.
Lee is the son of former Denver Nuggets owner Betram Lee, Sr.
His father was an entrepreneur who was influential in both business and political circles.
The younger Lee talked about the two worlds that he lives in; one in which Blacks think he’s rich because he goes to a prep school and one in which Whites thinks he’s only at the school because of either affirmative action or sports.
In both worlds, neither side understands that there are people of affluent backgrounds that come in all shapes, sizes, colors, hues and racial backgrounds.
And so the Tuxedo Ball is where teens like Lee can go to network, assimilate with people of like backgrounds and ‘cope’ with the outside world.
Is Miles’ event the right thing? Maybe. Maybe not.
But the point is that she addressed an issue that not too many people in this country even grasp; the Black upper middle class.
That is why many Blacks are highly pissed off about the birth certificate controversy surrounding President Obama.
To them, it looks like “White” America just can’t believe that a Black man who was the product of an immigrant father and American mother could not be American despite the fact that he was born in the state of Hawaii and that his mother was an American.
If it sounds dumb, it is dumb. However the stigma that a half immigrant man is our President does not sit well with a part of America that refuses to adhere to the following words from Thomas Jefferson: “We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.
To those individuals who continue to think that President Obama is not an American, they also seem to think that a person of any color isn’t fit to be President of this country.
That thought process also befuddles me because one of the main proponents of this nonsense is Alan Keyes, the perrinniel loser in politics.
As a Black man I would think Keyes would not want to be a part of this controversy but he’s as knee deep into it as Rush Limbaugh or anyone else trying to keep it alive.
If there was ever a Black person who was living up to the term, “Uncle Tom”, Keyes is fitting that bill quite nicely.
Which is why the CNN piece from last night and tonight is so powerful.
It educates this country on the successes of a people who ‘built’ this nation but who are still treated as second class citizens even when one of them is the most powerful man in the world.
We shouldn’t be having a discussion about man’s birth place but the only reason why this is being brought up is because of Obama’s race and heritage.
And that is why there are programs like CNN’s coming out now; to show just how ignorant some in this country still are about the trials, tribulations, successes and failures of the minorities in this country.
There are people who are going to say that if we continue to talk about race we are just feeding its hatred. That only one race exists and that is the human race.
That may be true but until this country accepts the fact that it has a bad history of dealing with the issue, there will be programs like Black In America, the upcoming one, Latino In America and other social programs trying to understand our vast melting pot.
Until we understand what we are as a country, we need to continue to be educated.