Today in Houston…

The Mexican National Soccer Team (FIFA ranking: 17), will square off against Angola’s team (FIFA ranking:85) at Reliant Stadium. It’s a friendly match which means that

  • It doesn’t count for anything except extracting my countrymen’s hard earned lawn-mowing money
  • No Barkleyesque elbows will be flung in the direction of Angolan athletes.

Because it is my beloved Tri that is playing, expect to see this in the stands,

[Photo credit: Me. Took it during a México v. Belize match at Reliant Stadium]

The festivities will em, kick off later today.  No news if the wonderful folks at the so-called Minuteman Project will stage a whinefest.

That’s today in H-town, yesterday there was a protest led by none other than “local activist”, one might say “community organizer”, Quanell X.

As one might have guessed the protest had to do with racism, perceived or otherwise. Recently, a Bellaire officer, Jeffrey Cotton was acquitted of aggravated assault on Robbie Tolan, a Bellaire youth. Sgt. Cotton shot Tolan while the latter was in his front yard. By all accounts it was a misunderstanding, since Cotton believed that Tolan had stolen a car (the officer punched in the wrong tag number).

A confrontation ensued with the boy’s mother and the officer believed Tolan was reaching for a weapon and opened fire, wounding the young man. Personally, I believe the situation could have been avoided if Tolan had simply followed orders and waited for the misunderstanding to get cleared up.

Maybe it’s just me but if a cop tells me to do something, I’m going to do it and not put up any resistance. Remember folks, there are more of them than there are of you and they carry radios (not to mention guns). Besides, if you’re free of wrongdoing then that will come out in the wash, why aggravate the situation?

Quanell the Tenth decided to stick his nose in all this because Tolan is black and Cotton is white. At the protest, Mr. Tenth said,

This cop is a criminal, this cop should be in jail. If you shoot one more black man in Bellaire in cold blood, then your damn city will go up in flames.

I find his tone very interesting. Yes, it is possible that Cotton’s demeanor was influenced by the fact that Tolan is a young black man. Young black men and the police don’t seem to get along very well. I don’t find it outside the realm of possibility that the officer might not have been so trigger-happy if Tolan was white.

That said, Quanell the Tenth just made it more difficult for young black men in Bellaire. His passionate and extremely careless threat just paints a very negative image of blacks in the minds of Bellaire residents. In their minds, he’s painting an image (if not reinforcing) of black men as being violent, hot-tempered and not too hesitant to making threats. That’s a disservice to the very people he claims to represent.

To me, it’s very similar to when Muslims get their knickers in a twist when anyone suggests that some professing Muslims have violent tendencies.

As I’ve said before,

If someone says that you have a tendency to get out of control, and you don’t like it, then probably it’d be better if you didn’t get out control with your reaction…

Aunt Jemima or Mrs. Butterworth’s?

From the state of Louisiana,

Black Barbie Sold for Less Than White Barbie at Walmart Store

In the story, psychologist Thelma Dye said,

The implication of the lowering of the price is that’s devaluing the black doll…While it’s clear that’s not what was intended, sometimes these things have collateral damage.

The markdown was due to economics and had nothing to do with race, at least from Wal-Mart’s end of it. However, the perception of hypersensitive people will be that whoever made the decision is racist.

I don’t know, perhaps racism does play a role but it would be from customers who aren’t buying up these dolls at the same rate as they buy the “white” ones.

Or maybe it just has to do with the fact that whether we like it or not, human beings tend to gravitate towards people or in this case, dolls, that look like them. While this is often seen as racism, it’s not in all cases.

What buying a doll that represents someone of a different race has to do with the buyer being or not being racist I do not know.

What I do know is that one of the most prejudiced and racist people I’ve known had a few dark-skinned dolls in her house. Granted, they were “mammy” dolls but who’s counting.

All this raises the question, if Wal-Mart is capable of so brazenly “devaluing the black doll”, what’s to stop them from offering up Aunt Jemima’s syrup for half the price of Mrs. Butteworth’s?

The question lingers overhead…

Leonard Pitts on Poor Whites

Mr. Pitts is a capable and distinguished columnist. For what it’s worth, I tend to disagree with him more often than not. This of course does not mean that I don’t respect the man and his work.

His latest column,
Poor whites are being conned, makes for an interesting read.

A snippet,

Which is a desription [sic] that fits many in Appalachia — and also a vast swath of African America. So for me, the story here isn’t simply the old, familiar tale of the nation’s stark racial divide, but also another tale, just as old, less often remarked, of how the white poor and the black poor have long been kept at one another’s throats as a means of keeping them from looking too closely or clearly at the ways both are maniuplated by the forces of money and power.

Dr. Zinn also addresses the origins and sordid purpose of this in his classic, A People’s History of the United States. Mainly he deals with the topic in a chapter titled, “Slavery Without Submission, Emancipation Without Freedom”.

A sample,

The need for slave control led to an ingenious device, paying poor whites–themselves so troublesome for two hundred years of southern history–to be overseers of black labor and therefore buffers for black hatred

For other posts on Dr. Zinn see below,
“Dennis Prager and Howard Zinn have tea”

“A People’s History of the United States”

The Whitening of NFL Rosters

I became a huge Jason Whitlock fan after watching him take Al Sharpton to task for the latter’s alarmist tactics.

Whitlock is a gifted writer not to mention a brilliant communicator, which is why he is linked to right in the “Opinion” box.

A column he wrote for Fox Sports (his new home) titled,
“NFL buffoons leaving terrible legacy”, expounds on the effects of hip hop culture on the composition of NFL rosters.

A sample,

African-American football players caught up in the rebellion and buffoonery of hip hop culture have given NFL owners and coaches a justifiable reason to whiten their rosters. That will be the legacy left by Chad, Larry and Tank Johnson, Pacman Jones, Terrell Owens, Michael Vick and all the other football bojanglers.

In terms of opportunity for American-born black athletes, they’re going to leave the game in far worse shape than they found it.

It’s already starting to happen. A little-publicized fact is that the Colts and the Patriots — the league’s model franchises — are two of the whitest teams in the NFL.

If a white journalist would have said this, Al Sharpton would have called for the man’s immediate dismissal and subsequent hanging. Even if our theoretical white journalist would have added what Whitlock did further down the page,

Race is not the determining factor when it comes to having a good or bad attitude. Culture is.

I recommend reading the entire column to consider the following question: Does Jason Whitlock have a point?

Mexicans and the Color of their Skin

My folks have a neighbor who is Cambodian. Ever since they have lived in that house they have referred to this neighbor (not directly) as El Chino (The Chinese Man), though they know full well that he is not from China.

This is a phenomenon common to Mexicans, namely referring to any person from the Far East as Chinese. Admittedly some do so out of ignorance but most do it out of habit, and well old habits are truly hard to break.

Of course, if someone mistakenly assumes that a Mexican is from El Salvador (pick any Central American country) then it’s on, for that poor chap has just committed a capital offense. For some reason or another, many Mexicans have this strange (and wrong) idea that somehow we are superior to Central Americans.

In his weekly column plainly called ¡Ask a Mexican!®, Gustavo Arellano tackles on questions posed by readers regarding confusing aspects of Mexican culture.

One of last week’s questions (see above link) exemplified what I addressed above,

I recently learned the meaning of güero, which until that point I only knew as a Beck album. I started calling some of my whitish Mexican friends güero/a, and they seemed displeased. Is the term offensive?
The Korean, Employer of Mexicans, Therefore Partners in Crime

Dear Chinito: Not really. Güero technically means “blond” in Mexican Spanish, but it also refers to a light-skinned person and, by association, gabachos. All Mexicans want to be güero; anyone who claims otherwise does it in the face of the country’s topsy-turvy racial history, where white made might and prietos (dark-skinned folks) were little better than Guatemalans.

Though I doubt Arellano is a racist, he answers a question from a Korean by calling him Chinito (little Chinese, the diminutive suffix denotes endearment.)

Another kernel of truth in his answer is here,

All Mexicans want to be güero; anyone who claims otherwise does it in the face of the country’s topsy-turvy racial history, where white made might and prietos (dark-skinned folks) were little better than Guatemalans.

México’s history of racism is well-documented and while the situation might be improving, my people still have a long way to go.   My own grandmother is openly melanist (is it racist when we’re talking about the same ethnicity?) for she favors her grandchildren/great-grandchildren who are güeros to those that are prietos.

Can anyone else relate to what Arellano is talking about?

“I agree with Dr. Watson”

Is the title of an editorial (alternate link) written by Nigerian Idang Alibi in response to the comments attributed to famous geneticist James Watson (blogged about it here).

Needless to say, I was somewhat shocked by the title of the column and even more so with its content.

For example,

Since then (Watson’s comments being made public), some of us cannot hear anything else but the outrage of black people who feel demeaned by what Watson has said. So many people have called the man names. To be expected, some have said he is a racist. Some even wonder how a “foolish” man like Watson could have won the Nobel Prize. Even white people who, deep in their heart, agree with Watson want to be politically, correct so they condemn the man.

Any truth to that last sentence? It would be interesting to know the stats on this group of people.

The following would brand Mr. Alibi a racist if he weren’t a black man,

But I do know that in terms of organising society for the benefit of the people living in it, we blacks have not shown any intelligence in that direction at all. I am so ashamed of this and sometimes feel that I ought to have belonged to another race.

The following would draw the righteous indignation of Al, Jesse and Quanell, and of course, the politically correct whites Alibi mentioned in the opening,

Anywhere in the world today where you have a concentration of black people among other races, the poorest, the least educated, the least achieving, and the most violent group among those races will be the blacks. When indices of underdevelopment are given, black people and countries are sure to occupy the bottom of the ladder. If we are intelligent, why do we not carry first when statistics of development are given?

In a moment of honest reflection Idang lets it out,

As I write this, I do so with great pains in my heart because I know that God has given intelligence in equal measure to all his children irrespective of the colour of their skin. The problem with us black people is that we have refused to use our intelligence to organise ourselves socially and politically.

Couldn’t agree more with this paragraph in regards to what he says about God giving his children intelligence.

As to the latter part of the paragraph, he has a point. So long as demagogues like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and Quanell X keep telling their community (and they in turn listen to them) that their internal problems are always someone else’s fault, black people in America will sacrifice their God-given intelligence at the altar of victimhood.

[On a related note, Dr. James Watson resigned from his position of Chancellor of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, so I guess he did get Carleton S. Coon’ed.]

Man shot down by Houston Police

While the title of this post seems to indicate that an injustice has taken place, the course of the investigation will bear this out. To be sure though, any loss of human life must be viewed as a tragedy.

The Houston Chronicle ran a story on this unfortunate incident,
“HPD officer shoots, kills naked man who chased him”

After reading the story, I noticed some characteristics of police shootings (in Houston at least).

1) The perhaps understandable picture of outrage of the family of the deceased
311xinlinegallery.jpgHouston Chronicle

The picture of course shows the ones stand the most to lose, the kids.

2) The victim is a black man who was first tasered then shot

  • some actually think that the police have nothing better to do than to go around tasering and/or shooting black people for no good reason; given the history of race relations in this country I don’t blame them but their reactions makes me think of the boy who cried wolf.

3) Quanell X is somehow involved

  • Enough said. Though in this case his involvement is a head-scratcher given that there is no suspect who Quanell can convince to turn himself in so Mr. X can collect the reward money. I say this because Quanell, not to mention his Hispanic counterpart, Rodolfo X were uncharacteristically silent after Officer Rodney Johnson was killed in the line of duty by an undocumented immigrant.

4) An eyewitness (or 2 in some cases) has an account of the events which differs or contradicts the official police statement, which by the way, the people in the dead man’s community aren’t buying,

“You’ll have to come up with a better story than that!” one person shouted… Relatives at the scene Thursday afternoon were skeptical of the police officer’s version of the events.

5) The paper strangely left out the fact that the dead man (who was acting rowdy) weighed almost 300 pounds.

  • I’m not sure how much the police officer weighed but how do you control a non-compliant and naked 270 lb. man when even the taser doesn’t work?

6) Friends and family of the deceased are shocked that he would do any of the things in the police’s account (in this case getting undressed and chasing the police officer)

  • This from a cousin,

“Every time you saw him he had a smile on his face and he always wanted to give you a hug,” said Evelyn Swan, the slain man’s cousin. “He is not a rowdy person.”

  • From the man’s father,

Smith’s father, Raymond Sr., said he could not explain his son’s behavior as it was describe by police. He said that his son did not have a history of mental illness and was not on any medications.

7) The fond memories family members have of the deceased tend to ignore or conveniently forget the man’s past criminal record and/or prison time.

Court records show Smith had a criminal record dating to 1995–eight convictions, half of them on drug charges… and served almost all of a two-year prison sentence, records show.

  • I realize that the man’s history does not make the police’s account true, but it does not make it outrageous either. I like what the father said about medications in the face of his son’s most recent charge in 2003,

He pleaded guilty in June of that year to the manufacture an delivery of less than a gram of a controlled substance

I guess a controlled substance isn’t really medication?

While this is a sad, sad story it is one more reminder of a good rule of thumb: If a cop asks you to do something, do it.

Don’t get naked (allegedly), don’t run away (allegedly), and for sure don’t start chasing the cop (allegedly).

Remember, there are a lot more of them than there are of you.