Wednesday, February 28, 2007

You can be Black and intelligent - 2.28.2007.1

As Black History month comes to an end I wanted to address something I read on Sunday, [I have just heard about the Kenneth Eng piece in AsianWeek and will be discussing that shortly!] As I was doing laundry I was reading the Press & Sun – Bulletin and noticed the article Success comes with a price. The article, written by George Basler, deals with an old issue – “acting white”. It seems that students in Binghamton, and I know for a fact in other parts of the country, are ridiculed for having intelligence. When I say this is an old issue I mean it evokes thoughts of slavery with slaves in the field taking task with those that lived in the slave-owner houses.

I cannot believe that this still goes on. I spoke on this a while ago in my post Do you qualify to be black? - 10.01.2006.1 and I need to say it again it seems. Why is there this expectation that to be African American there has to be a specific style and manner? Since when have any individuals been locked into any narrow view of how they should act or think? How did the pursuit of knowledge, the one treasure that once gained can never be taken away, become a less than noble pursuit? How as a culture have we allowed our children to view being able to think (language being the vocalization of thought) as being an indignity?

This is not a new thing as I mentioned above. I can clearly recall the occasional comment that I thought I was too smart, or white, or not black, back in high school at Evander Childs and during my career as a stockbroker. The one or two people that mentioned such a comment to me, or a few of my best friends (whom I still know to this day and have known for 30 years), were virtually always in remedial classes, drop-outs, on drugs and/or dealers. That doesn’t make them bad people per say but it did make their comments meaningless to me. I mean how stupid do you have to be to not be able to look at me and see I have African blood in me? But I really thought it was something that wasn’t common.

I am wrong, as this article proved. Black culture in America, and the Black community, have failed our kids by allowing this ignorance – no let me correct that – idiocy to continue. This is the slave mentality actively affecting our children. This is the result of children having children, drugs, inadequate schools, and parents failing to be parents first and the child’s friend second, as I see it.

I have never heard any other race question the race of someone in their race. I have never seen any group complain that their children are intelligent. I have never seen such an active pursuit to hold back peers as this article and my own experiences describe. And this is the root of back-handed comments such as the ‘articulate’ ‘clean’ and others often used to address any African American that has gained a higher education. This is the heart, in my opinion, of why so many fail to try to achieve better in their lives.

It is this mentality that creates lemmings, rushing out to blindly buy the latest $100+ sneaker (that costs $5-10 to make and advertise), or watch a film because a black actor/actress is featured in it (though the quality of the film is obviously sub-par like the Honeymooners remake or Soul Plane), or blindly vote for a politician because of their party affiliation without any knowledge of their platforms or politics in general. To be a Black American is more than what I wear, what I buy, or what career I endeavor in. Being an African American is not a commodity choice. I cannot shed it like a pair of over-priced jeans, nor would I.

To deprecate those that chose to improve their lives with knowledge, rather than pollute it with drugs or mindless apathy is a crime. Not a legal crime but a social and moral one. To be intelligent is not ‘white’; there are intelligent people of all races. Again I mention that for centuries African American have made inventions and breakthroughs that have helped create the world today as much as did the slave labor that made the foundations of this nation. Those that would say others are ‘acting white’ need to invest some time in reading about history and the achievements of those African Americans that came before them and see that perhaps they should say that those same individuals are in fact ‘acting Black’.

I hope the kids in Binghamton and in school across the nation hear this. I hope they remember that Black and Proud is not just a song or t-shirt slogan (and I freely admit I do sell a clothing line of a similar statement) but that it has a meaning. I wish that they keep a copy of this and recall it when they seek higher educations and better lives. There is no trade off in being African American, or Black American if you prefer, and intelligent. Anyone who would proffer such a choice has nothing to offer. Inevitably I suspect that anyone that would make such a comment will fail, the source of that downfall being within them. I learned long ago, I could chose to abandon my pursuit of knowledge and join those on the corner selling drugs and making a lot of cash. Of course I would also share in their short lives, extended jail terms, and drug addition. That choice was easy to make and hard to live. Yet my life and experiences today are often the only conversation piece I have with the survivors of the corner when I visit home, still selling, still going to jail, still dying violent deaths without glamour or fame or family and true friends. That is the true outcome of the thug life and the antithesis of knowledge in my opinion.

This is what I think, what do you think?

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Letter to Senator McCain - 2.24.2007.1

February 23, 2007
Senator John McCain,

I am writing your today due to your announced intention to seek the Presidency of the United States in the 2008 election. I have made similar inquiries to Senators Clinton and Obama, Mr. Edwards and Mr. Romney. I intend to also contact other individuals that seek the Presidency in the future.

Senator McCain, it is my firm belief that it is never too soon to ask questions of those that wish to hold the highest office of the nation. I believe that the right of American citizens to vote for our representatives in government must be tempered with a reasonable understanding of the positions and opinions of the candidates we must chose from. I equally feel strongly that those candidates, especially those seeking the Presidency, have an obligation to provide a full and clear explanation so that the public may make the best choice for the nation.

I also wish to make you aware that I am not just asking questions of you positions for my own benefit, but that of thousands of individuals most of which are Americans. By this I mean that each letter I have sent out has, and will be, reproduced word for word on several websites and blogs that I own or write for. These postings reach a cross-section of America in cities and towns of all sizes found in every state, and citizens of every political party, race, sex and age group.

While I cannot say that I can motivate these readers to vote as a group to or for any one individual, which is not my intention but rather providing information, I can say that there are far more than enough reading to have changed the outcome of the last 2 Presidential races.

I will further add that any responses to the following questions will be reproduced on the same sites this letter will be found on. I will NOT edit or change a single word of any response. I believe that your unalter comments are far too important.

If you wish to review some of the proposed websites they will include, but are not limited to, the following:,, .

As for my questions, one of the most prominent is that of your age. If you were to win the Presidential election you would be 72 years of age. Do you feel that your age is, or could become during your term, a matter of concern? If it is not, why do you believe this?

In reference to the current war in Iraq, and more generally on the issue of terrorism, you have stated clearly that you believe that America must act with decisive strength without pause until the mission is attained. You further have clearly stated that actions to limit troop strength or resources for troops is tantamount to emboldening the enemy. In the face of growing opposition to the war, why do you feel such a stance is required? What do you foresee as a consequence if we do not continue to fight? What exit plan do you have for Iraq, and how would you implement such a plan? What do you believe to be the steps in the near future that will be needed to ensure the safety of Americans at home and abroad?

I respect and understand the experiences you had during the Viet Nam war. My father also served in Viet Nam, in the Marine Corps, and I too volunteered for service. Given the tribulations of your decorated time in service, how would you lead the nation in dealing with the question of terrorist captives (which I believe do not fall under the Geneva Code) and gaining information to prevent future terrorist activities?

It has been noted that your positions on several issues have changed since the 2000 Presidential campaign or even before that. One of the questions has been your stance with regard to conservative Christians, specifically Rev. Jerry Falwell, where you seem to have backtracked. What was the motivation for your change of opinion from 2000 to 2006?

In regard to your stance on Roe v. Wade, you have said in 1999 that you would not repeal the law, though you wished there was no need for it. Recently you have changed your opinion to be actively against the law. What has caused your more aggressive stance?

Considering that you are in favor of teaching abstinence, against other forms of sex education and birth control, what do you believe will happen to those women that become pregnant if Roe v. Wade is repealed? Also what responsibility does the government have to mothers that find themselves with children but without enough means to support those children, and where does that funding come from, again if Roe v. Wade is repealed?

You have mentioned in the past, as I understand, that you would like to give a means for the illegal immigrants in the nation today to become citizens. What process would you follow to do this and do you feel that even the consideration of such a law would encourage further illegal immigration? Also by making a potentially 10-20 million individuals citizens in an extremely short period of time, how would the government handle the surge in social programs and government agencies (such as local DMV, Social Security, Welfare, Unemployment and so forth)?

I have certain fears in regard to embryonic stem cell research, which you have changed your opinion on. What swayed your opinion, and how would you as President help to restrict abuses from this research (such as genetic based diseases, targeted to specific genotypes such as Native Indians or Negroids or Pacific Islanders)?

What legislation have you enacted that directly improved the lives of African Americans and Hispanic or Latino Americans in your home state and the nation? In regard to education, what specific actions would you take to stem the growing numbers of African Americans that are dropping out of high school and/or finding the cost of higher education impossible to overcome?

I want to thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I look forward to your response. I again mention that this letter, and any response will be posted without an alteration.


Michael Vass
President – M V Consulting, Inc.
Author – Black Entertainment USA and Vass

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Repost from Black Entertainment USA

Full comments can be seen at :

I’m not sure how many read the piece by Mr. Bruce Kluger, but I hope many did. The opinion found on today was a well-balanced view of America. Very well-balanced from the view of a White American. I say that with no disrespect intended, rather with the emphasis that while there have been many improvements in the nation when it comes to race, they are just superficial. I do not fault Mr. Kluger or his opinion, I think it is accurate to a degree. I just feel it needs to be expanded on from a different view point.

When I was in elementary school, some 30 years ago, I recall that I was definitively told that I could not speak to Rosemarie because she was white, by her older brother. I recall how this public scolding made me feel, especially as every parent and older kid there said and did nothing to stop him. Not even a cross look. That was in the later 1970’s.

Let’s fast forward to 2006. I have spoken several times on experiences I’ve had and quite a few I haven’t. I recall in late October – November how I was confronted by a man for speaking to his girlfriend’s friend. Both women were white. The one I was speaking with was a friend, and I knew both women previous to this encounter. I was given a clear understanding of what the man’s problem was. I was, in his eyes, a Black American. [I in fact am a Black Puerto Rican and proud of it]

Another situation in 2006, I detailed in a previous post. You can read it at What is a Black African Hispanic American supposed to think?. Given 3 decades there has been no change in some opinions. It’s not nearly as uncommon as some believe, especially as you travel farther from major cities into the ‘heartland’ of the nation.

But there is little change in business as well. If I had $5 for every time a client of mine did a double take upon meeting me I’d be far wealthier. As a stockbroker I have won bets and stunned colleagues by the reactions clients had upon meeting their broker for the first time, in some cases after having been their broker for 5 years. Luckily I was either an exceptional broker [which I was and many former clients to this day will still attest to] or highly charismatic - or perhaps a combination of both – because I never lost a client due to my color I am aware of. I did have some clients stop sending new funds and taking fewer of my calls, counter to their prior trend, though.

I cannot count how many times I have been told that I am ‘articulate’ or ‘speak really well’. That is virtually never a compliment, it is a comment that is used almost exclusively for non-whites. It is meant to convey a back-handed compliment. It implies that, excluding the individual getting the compliment, all others of that group are incapable or generally without the ability to speak or comprehend English. That rational though, as conveyed by language, is beyond this group. For those that question the thought I suggest you think back to the last time you heard or spoke such a comment. Visualize who the comment was made to. Then recount the last time you have ever heard the comment given to someone that is white. Then speak to a white person you have never met, and give them this ‘compliment’, I am sure the perplexed look they give you back will make my point.

Continued in part 2 ...

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What have the Presidential candidates been up to - 2.20.2007.1

So what has been going on politically? A lot. Senator Obama made interesting comments in his speech to announce his official run for the Presidency. Senator Obama touched upon Lincoln, bringing up thoughts of the end of Slavery and the unifying of the nation. I find that quite funny though, as President Lincoln was a Republican, and the issue of Slavery was 5th most important of all the issues that the Civil War dealt with. [You can see my comments on this at Reparations for Black African Americans]

But Senator Obama made a few mistakes as well, commenting how every life lost by the military in Iraq was wasted. Almost as bad as John Kerry, but at least he quickly recovered and apologized. Of course the legislation to withdraw from the war in Iraq by April has emboldened the enemy, in my opinion. That opinion happens to be shared by Australian Prime Minister John Howard. I’m sure many others as well. Senator Obama may have a fresh presence for the nation, he may be a draw for the Black community, he may be a symbol liberals can rally around, but he seems no more capable of understanding the long-term ramifications of withdrawing our troops with our tail between our legs. I’ve said it before, “Political agendas enacted while troops are fighting is always to the detriment of the nation.”

As for Senator Clinton, I saw an interesting video clip comparing comments from 2002 to today. It’s amazing to listen to Senator Clinton stand up and demand we fight Saddam Hussein, and to stand proudly when he was captured, and then to see her today unwilling to speak about those decisions while declaring a retreat. If that is not one of the most obvious declarations of 2-faced politics I’m not sure what is. If that isn’t chasing polls as opposed to standing by convictions, what is?

Of course Mr. Rudy Giulliani has also determined he will run for the Presidency. There isn’t much to be said about the former NYC mayor. The fact is that he was not a remarkable mayor, until 9/11/2001. Prior to that time he was not overly loved in New York City. He was not on par with say Mayor Koch, or other notable mayors. Mr. Giulliani sold off west 42nd street to Disney. While it was a good thing that the area was improved and crime reduced, the incorporation of that area irked many (including me). Yes I enjoy Dave & Buster’s and I like BB Kings. But I loved the 24 hour kung fu theater that used to exist there. Much of the character of the city disappeared in creating this ultra sanitized tourist trap.

We should not forget the actions of the police during his time as Mayor. Remember how Mr. Amadou Diallo died. 41 shots, at least one of which was thru the bottom of his foot after he was laying on the ground in a pool of his own blood. That was from a police force told to crack down by order of the Mayor. Or what about Mr. Abner Louima? Do you recall how he was brutalized by police officers? Again, based on the stronger presence of the police dictated by the Mayor of New York City. And do not forget his actions in regard to Mr. Patrick Dorismond.

My point is that while he was a strong force for the city after the attacks on the Twin Towers, there are other factors that need to be remembered. He is not perfect on civil rights, and has no problem with racial profiling. The nation may remember one aspect of the man. And it is impressive, but it’s not the whole picture those of us from the city may remember.

Mr. Rudy Giulliani did well with gun control, if you think the manufacturers are at fault for what people do with their products. [IF you agree with that you probably agree that putting hot coffee in your exposed lap while driving and thus burning yourself is the fault of McDonalds] He did exceptionally well in politically slapping the PLO in the face. His position on immigration is questionable though. Keep a balanced view. He is not just the September 11 candidate.

This is what I think, what do you think?

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Washington Post part 2 - 2.7.2007.2

Continued from Part 1...

Further, the parable of a military coup, used by those on the extreme left to scare and justify their comments is hardly appropriate. To be on guard of such things is always a good thing. Questioning the authority and decisions of the government is always positive, when done with respect. The 2 are not mutually exclusive as Arkin infers. The threat of a government gone awry is a real question to be wary of, and the threat of terrorism is a fact of life in the 21 century. Arkin may wish to deflect his bile under the slipper slope of a fallacy but the reality of life today will not be deterred by such comments, rather they will be emboldened by them.

Arkin would have uninformed readers believe that the pay to those in the Armed Forces is extravagant. While there is some offset due to a lack of rent (if you live on base in barracks) and free food, and limited free healthcare, this does not extend entirely to any serviceman’s family. Basic pay starts at $14,000. A sergeant has his pay capped at $30,000 after year 12. That means that after 12 years and 5 promotions the pay has moved from poverty to slightly more than the average in America. Also the fact that the military is on-duty 24 hours a day and that means an E-5 (sergeant) makes $3.42 an hour. That’s half of minimum wage while doing almost 4x as much work after 12 years and 5 promotions. No wonder there are so many millionaires made from their pay, or why so many qualify for government pay to help their families survive.

Given all the above I must say that Arkin [yes I have purposefully not added the proper title of Mr. as I do not feel this individual deserves such recognition] is the ugly reminder of what some are capable of doing with the Freedom of Speech, that other bleed and die to protect. The fact that those serving in the Armed Forces are barely paid, and defend the principles of this nation with their lives as opposed to a person who writes commentary under the guise of a title that is unearned, for pay that is, comparatively, enormous and for the benefit of a few radical ideals shared by relatively few, seems to clearly show who is a mercenary.

Not only is Arkin mercenary and ungrateful in his words, he borders on traitorous. I say that as his words give aid and comfort to the enemy. They confer a theme last seen during Viet Nam. I’m speaking of the comments by General Giap, Commander of the North Vietnamese Army after the TET offensive. I’m speaking of how Arkin is setting the ground for other Americans to follow in the footsteps of those during Viet Nam. That mindset caused the hate that was inflicted on soldiers coming home; it caused the defunding of the war and 3,000,000 lives being lost after American troops pulled out. It was the reason why America lost the first war ever. None of these facts are positive for American citizens. In a world of terrorists, portable nuclear weapons, ricin, bioweapons and other threats losing a war means more than embarrassment, it can well mean the lives of innocent Americans. I feel that anyone who advances such an outcome, for nothing more than money and fame, helps our enemies and that is traitorous.

Lastly I wish to remind Arkin, and those that wish to make equally venomous statements, that if the acts of the government or the American Armed Forces (under direction from the government) are so contemptible then they may revoke their American citizenship and leave. Perhaps there is a nation that will accept them. But I would also warn them that the freedom to make such statements will not be allowed in any country I think will accept them. Still I would not mind the loss.

This is what I think, what do you think?

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Response to William Arkin Washington Post opinion - 2.7.2007.1

Have you read the comments by William Arkin? Published by the Washington Post on January 30, 2007, Arkin blathers on with one of the most insulting displays I have seen in quite some time. His comments are disrespectful, ignorant, disloyal, and incendiary. It is comments like this that give me concern both in the next election and the future of this nation.

The words of this individual are crass and smug. Perhaps he thought that only he and his friends could understand his words and their barely implied meanings. Perhaps he felt that those of us that are, or were, in the Armed Forces could not understand his insults. If that was the case he is sorely mistaken.

When he states in his article, “I'm all for everyone expressing their opinion, even those who wear the uniform of the United States Army” he either thinks he is being witty or we the readers are not. By making this statement he has implied that he is not for those who are in the military expressing their ideas. He would not have to make the emphasis if that were the case, nor would he exclude the Marines, Coast Guard, Air Force and Navy as well as the related reserves. From this alone he makes his position absolutely clear, and it is far from one of tolerance.

He later goes on to say that soldiers should be grateful that the public “still offer their support to them, and their respect.” He then purports that the American public should not support or respect the Armed Forces because, “through every Abu Ghraib and Haditha, through every rape and murder, the American public has indulged those in uniform, accepting that the incidents were the product of bad apples or even of some administration or command order.”

Perhaps Arkin was never taught a lesson I learned long ago from my father, a Viet Nam Marine, that respect is something that is earned. The entire American military has earned the respect of the citizens in the Revolution, War of 1812, Korea, Viet Nam, World War I and II, Gulf War, and now in Iraq and Afghanistan (it seems that the latter was completely forgotten about) among multiple other engagements around the world. Our Armed Forces have earned respect around the world for protecting the values and goals of our nation, and for defending the Constitution and Amendments that allow Arkin to make such comments. Were this another nation, perhaps like Iraq (under Saddam Hussein) or North Korea or Venezuela, Arkin would have the local secret police drop by and shoot him dead without repercussion or perhaps poison him with radioactive isotopes to keep him silent.

In addition, the Armed Forces are not pillaging rapists Arkin asserts. To my knowledge there has been one such occurrence of the accusations he mentioned, not the hundreds or more he barely implies. In the years of war we have currently gone through, with hundreds of thousands of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, there have barely been any incidents that do not express the efforts and actions to improve the lives of the Iraqi and Afghan people. For a purported ‘military analyst’ (that has never served in the military) located in Washington, D.C. I would expect he might have read that, or seen it on the news.

As for, “But even at anti-war protests, the focus is firmly on the White House and the policy. We don't see very many "baby killer" epithets being thrown around these days, no one in uniform is being spit upon,” perhaps Arkin failed to hear of the recent protest (where Mr. Tim Robbins and others were at) where protesters did spit on a serviceman [as reported on Fox News]. Perhaps Arkin is unaware of the violent protests at universities by students that have caused the cancellation of Career Days there. In both cases it is violence against the Armed Forces, reminiscent of what was done to our soldiers returning from Viet Nam. In addition even one ‘baby killer’ comment or epithet is far too much in my opinion. Were it not for these men and women, doing a job no one wants to have done and guided by the Commander-and-Chief for the benefit of the whole nation, there would be no such thing as Freedom of Speech.

Continued in part 2...

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Comments by Senator Clinton - 2.6.2007.1

There have been several interesting things ongoing currently with the various candidates. As we see that Democrats are trying to push a defunding of the war in Iraq, which I feel would signal our defeat to our enemies and a lack of resolve, there is also comments from various figures on what might be forth-coming if they are elected.

Senator Clinton has made several statements recently that give me pause. Prior to January 2007 the senator was a staunch supporter of the war (while most of the popularity was still mostly divided I noticed) and is now against. Not only against the plan made by the President, but is seeking to limit the President’s plan. Yet Senator Clinton has no alternate plan to offer. In addition the senator has been speaking about holding conversations to understand our enemies. It is the senator’s opinion, as I understand it, that a dialogue is the key to stop Iran from gaining nuclear weapons, or nations supporting terrorists that wish to attack us for being rich, free and powerful. I would equate that conversation with speaking to the local school bully when he asks for your money. Anyone watching would not be surprised when the bully decides to pummel you for wasting his time.

But Senator Clinton has some thoughts [note that she has not declared any concrete plans or opinions – though to be fair nor has her opponents] on domestic issues as well. The senator has stated, and has been recorded publicly, that she would ‘take the revenues’ from oil companies to use for alternative energy research. I’m sure that will help the stock market, and make all socialists quite happy. Does that mean the next step would be taking the revenues or profits from pharmaceutical companies to pay for a national healthcare system? Then maybe nationalizing entertainment companies so that specific types of movies or television channels exist? Where might this process end?

Lastly Senator Clinton stated that if the war is continuing in January 2009, and she were elected President, she will end the war (“You have to have 60 votes to cap troops, to limit funding to do anything. If we in Congress don't end this war before January 2009, as president, I will.”). Well I’m sure Iran, Osama bin Laden, Al Quida, and any other group that opposes the U.S. will pray for her election. It guarantees their victory in Iraq and long-term. To make such a blanket statement without qualification only emboldens the enemy to continue to fight since they have an unequivocal timeframe that removes any opposition. Not quite the words from a Commander-and-Chief seeking the best result for the nation. But in this case at least I’m glad it isn’t a declared plan. [By the way, I note Senator Clinton has also insulted President Bush by saying he has no power over the war but Congress does, unless she is the President at the time. Quite rude.]

There will be more on other candidates shortly. I will also mention my thoughts of former New York City Mayor Mr. Ruddy Gulliani, especially while I lived in the city with him as Mayor.

This is what I think, what do you think?

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Senator Biden and Senator Obama - 2.1.2007.1

I don’t think Senator Biden is a racist. I really don’t. I think his comments though betray a mindset that pervades America and is implicit of the double standard in American society. This mindset is deeply entrenched in the 45 and older age group in America. Sadly they are also the ones that do the most voting, helping to pass laws or failing to do so.

I think most have heard of what Senator Biden said. "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy," he said. "I mean, that's a storybook, man." These comments have started a flurry of comments. I have been waiting to hear more from Sen. Biden, and I have been unsurprised at his follow-up.

Some have readily accepted that Senator Biden misspoke. That the reactions to his words are extreme. Some feel that since he is a Democrat, the media and therefore the public are taking this in stride; and that if a Republican had said the same words an uproar would have occurred. To some extent all are correct. But I have no doubt that there was a clear secondary meaning that he did not even notice he made. It’s so subtle that he just blew past it.

To say Senator Obama is ‘articulate’, ‘clean’, and a ‘nice-looking guy’ is to belittle him. It’s a back-handed compliment at best. And not much of a compliment at that. Perhaps the Senator meant clean-cut, though that implies a description of looks and not quality of character. Senator Biden has said he intended, and should have used, the term fresh. Again that implies a description of look and not quality. The only positive part of the comment is that he called Senator Obama bright. Of course that was mitigated by his further stating that Senator Obama is a storybook, which implied that he is unreal or something that only little children would believe. Wow, what a nice compliment.

I am highly upset with the articulate comment. It implies that African Americans are generally incapable of being eloquent speakers. While rap and hip-hop may be popular, there are millions of African Americans that speak as well, if not better than Senator Biden. Several entertainers in fact speak better, when not in their on-stage personas (like Mr. Eddie Murphy, Mr. Marin Lawrence, Queen Latifah, Mr. Dave Chappelle and many others). This same kind of thinking was used to describe Former Secretary of State Colin Powell. It is this mentality that is used to insult African Americans while seeming to compliment us. It directly attacks the thought that intelligent African Americans are anything but a rare occurrence.

The use of the term clean, where many have focused, is very straight-forward. It implies, like all of his statement, the look of Senator Obama. This troubles me. From the mistaken thought that African Americans are dark because we are ‘dirty’ to bring the thought that the average Black American fails to have good hygiene. Both are false, shallow-witted thoughts.

The fact that Senator Obama is not ugly, detracts from his abilities. Most Senators, and Presidents, are anything but model quality in looks – to me. Yet I do not recall hearing that as part of their platforms which the public votes on. American Idol yes, politicians no. The looks of a politician have no bearing on their ability, but when a person seeks something nice to say – and they have no real positive comment – statements about superficial, transitory, subjective fluff fill in nicely for real substance. If done right it can even be used as a positive soundbite to gain attention.

So while Senator Biden, Democrats and some bloggers (like the one at Main and Central by Lurch who is mostly neutral but supporting the misspoken view) wish to try to turn this into a one term gaff, the totality of the comment do not reflect that in my view. The fact that there are no other politicians that are referred to in such belittling and cursory terms further supports my thought. That is unless the figure is an African American – such as Ms. Condolezza Rice, Mr. Colin Powell and so forth.

The belittling is further compounded in that Senator Biden relegates all other Black Americans that have run for President as insignificant or non-existent. Sen. Biden may wish to compliment and acknowledge Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, and former Representative Shirley Chisholm now, but his thought at the time as conveyed by his words and full context of the statement is clear to me.

This was not a misstatement. This was not a miscommunication. The theme is clear and supported by the totality of the statement. Words are very powerful, and when taken as a whole make a visceral comment that can go beyond the actual words. Sadly many in America don’t fully understand the words being used, as opposed to college English majors, teachers, salesmen, or a politician as examples. Those that rely on words to convey their thoughts to achieve a goal do understand completely what they say.

Senator Biden needs to apologize to more than just Senator Obama. Every Black American deserves an apology. These comments are reminiscent of the mentality that necessitated the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s. These comments belittle every success and successful Black American in the nation. Hiding behind one term in a statement whose total purpose is too subtly insult will not fool us. The mainstream media may not wish to address this but I will.

For me, Senator Biden will never get my vote. He will not receive a letter to investigate his views, as I have done of other Presidential candidates. Perhaps this is rash, or an over-reaction. I accept that it may be. But the underlying thought of his statement cannot be warmed-over by platitudes or a plea of a single term misstatement. The meaning of the full comment does not change. That meaning places me and 14% of America in a second-class, less than meaningful position. I will not accept that of an American President of politician if possible.

This is what I think, what do you think?

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