A+ R A-

Hardy L. Brown

Be Careful in Giving the People what they Want, Vote No on Proposition 19

E-mail Print PDF

In 1975 the O’Jays had a hit record titled “Give the people what they want” with one line that said “We’ve been all around the world and with one unanimous decision, give the people what they want.” It is a good song to sing and dance to but in reality one has to be careful in giving the people what they want. I am referring to Proposition 19 on the ballot for voters to legalize control and tax Cannabis better known to the public as marijuana. According to the latest polls 52% of the public is in acceptance of this issue. What happens when the people get what they want?

From my bible teaching days I am reminded of some things the people asked for beginning with Moses. The Israelites had just come out of bondage and some needed freedom from the wives they were with during their time in slavery. So they got together while Moses was getting the Ten Commandments from God and requested of Moses when he returned from the mountains that they wanted the right to divorce a wife so they could marry another woman. According to Matthew 19:8 Jesus said that was not the intent of what the Father had in mind but Moses made the concession because of the hardness of the people. In other words Moses gave the people what they wanted and today people go in and out of marriage like changing clothes. In America we have a 40% divorce rate which is the highest of any country. While people get divorced some have done it seven or eight times trying to get it right like Larry King or Elizabeth Taylor.

Another time was in keeping with the tradition of releasing a prisoner during a holy day. Again Matthew 27:15-21 gives us a lesson of giving the people what they want. Pilate had many prisoners he could have released but two prisoners by the name of Jesus and Barabbas had prominent reputations among the people. So Pilate asked the people what and who do you want? The people responded give us Barabbas; thus Jesus went to the cross. You have to be careful when you consider giving the people what they want.

Another item more closely related to Proposition 19 is when they argued for the legalization of alcohol and the money to be made would reduce taxes. What did that give us? It did bring it under the control of government and it produced some tax revenue but not enough to reduce people from paying taxes. It also brought us legalized alcoholics and a higher cost of medical care to treat all of the people who drink. It has produced more driving under the influence related deaths. It has not prevented people under 21 years of age from getting alcohol. It has produced more liquor stores in urban, Black, communities than grocery stores and even the grocery stores sell alcohol. Numbers have not been given on how many jobs, families, businesses and medical cost have come from the use of alcohol by individuals. You have to be careful when you consider giving the people what they want.

Now what does the pusher of the Control and Taxation of Marijuana (known as Proposition 19) have to offer us? (1) It will allow persons 21 and over to carry an ounce of marijuana around with them and not worry about being arrested.

(2) It will allow you to smoke it in your home or a licensed business establishment. (3) It will allow you to grow marijuana in your private residence in a 25 foot square area.

They say if it becomes law it might bring $1.4 billion dollars into a state that needs $21 billion to solve its current deficit problem. Plus the history of taxing alcohol, cigarettes and approving the Lottery have not solved our budget problems. Allowing people to carry an ounce around is going to allow it to be smoked in the street while walking through the neighborhood not to mention neighbors smoking it while having family backyard barbeques. This will also require local governments to license businesses, like they currently do liquor bars and taverns, so where will they set up shop? In poor and Black communities.

Just in case you do not know the pusher of this proposition is a white café owner by the name of Richard Lee in Oakland. He has an unaccredited colleges there and in Los Angeles where he is prepared to teach people how to grow and manufacture the drug. He stands to make billions while the Black community stays just consumers. We do not have the land to grow any. We will not be a part of the distributors. We will not be granted licenses to sell any. But just like the industry of alcohol we will consume, get addicted and wind up with health related illnesses from marijuana.

Contrary to what some people believe that the arrest rate of Blacks will go down if this becomes law, it will not. Why, because law enforcement will still concentrate on us for driving under the influence and other infractions of laws. The reason we are stopped more is because law enforcement patrols and harasses our community more.

Joshua 24: 15: as for me and my house we will serve the Lord. I think we in the Black community must say as for our community we cannot support the passage of Proposition 19 for any reason. Therefore we urge the Black community to vote NO.

Governor's Veto of the Farm Worker Bill

E-mail Print PDF

This statement is from Hardy Brown, Founder of California Black Media and Publisher of Black Voice News concerning the Governor's Veto of the Farm Worker Bill.

I understand Governor Schwarzenegger's decision to veto SB 1121 because I have been on both sides of the issue. What I don't understand is the penchant of people to compare everything and every situation to the Jim Crow experience. Senator Florez said the Governor, "decided to use his pen in the spirit of the politicians of the segregationist South, who pushed to discriminate against the least protected members of our society...it is a vestige of Jim Crow."

Being from North Carolina and a farm worker myself I can understand the farm worker's argument. I worked for 50 cents per hour in a 10 hour day in the tobacco field. There was no overtime. As a worker in tobacco some workers could make you go broke by the speed in which they harvested the tobacco from the field. To pay overtime in this type of labor might drive a farmer into the poor house.

I also worked a full day picking cotton for 4 cents a pound and on a good day you might get 100 pounds. The pay was different when I was picking corn and digging sweet potatoes. We were paid by the bushel. In these situations it was to both the workers and farmers advantage to be fast because the pay was contingent on productivity. The productive workers made more while the farmer got the crop in a timely fashion.

I was also on the farmer's side paying the workers for my father's sharecropping business. From the farmer's side of the pay issue you have to decide which pay method to use based on the crop being harvested. I don't know if the legislation takes all of those things into consideration. To compare this with the southern treatment of Blacks might be stretching the point but I remember vividly how I felt when I first came to California and went to pick grapes in Fontana. While it's not the type of work I wanted to do, it was in no way similar to the "slave labor" or "sharecropping" history of the state I was from.

I am concerned that the issue of the veto of overtime for farm workers is unfairly compared to America's history of racism, segregation, and Jim Crowism, especially as those things relate to Governor Schwarzenegger. Since he has been in office, he has included more diversity in his cabinet appointees than any governor who served before him, just ask CPUC Commissioner Tim Simon, who was appointed the first African American to serve as Appointments Secretary by Gov. Schwarzenegger. The Governor has also been a champion for workers: signing legislation to increase the minimum wage, forcing regulations that help improve farm worker's working conditions such as requiring breaks during the work day and setting aside an area for breaks, supporting a heat illness prevention campaign, and supporting the (EEEC) Economic and Employment Enforcement Coalition to insure employers of agriculture workers are in compliance with labor laws.

I understand the need to do more. However with this state in its current fiscal crisis and with companies threatening to leave the state because the cost of doing business here is higher than most states in the union, I understand the Governor's action. And I reject the notion that race was a reason for that decision.

 

Removing the Black National Anthem Label is not the answer Prof. Askew for Inclusion

E-mail Print PDF

Professor Tommy Askew at Clark University in Atlanta says we should be moving toward racial inclusiveness by removing the title “The Negro National Anthem of Lift Every Voice and Sing” written by James Weldon Johnson, which was later set to music by Johnson’s brother. Before long it was being sung throughout the south in Black churches, public schools and all public gatherings. It spread like wildfire because all Black people below the Mason Dixie Line could identify with the words because of the legalized oppressive Jim Crow Laws of the southern states. I remember we would sing the Star Spangled Banner and then Lift Every Voice and Sing as a follow up, which is practiced today at many functions put on by Blacks. Even though we were being oppressed Lift Every Voice was our song and it gave us the courage to live on.

I am reminded of another song; However this one was written by an Englishman who sailed the seas carrying cargo of African slaves. He was not a Christian yet today his song is sung more than any other Christian song. It is a favorite in the Black church and was part of the civil rights movement, yet no one has suggested they alter the historic setting of which the song was written or that the writer was White. To the contrary most preachers will lead into the song of Amazing Grace with a brief history of John Newton and his conviction as a slave trader.

Yes it is a song about our struggle as a people living under an oppressive government and any people living under an unjust government that can identify with the words should or can adopt it as their rallying song. That is what the church did with Amazing Grace. To me that is one reason Blacks can identify with the Israelites/Jews stories in the Bible so well. And we do not ask them to change anything of theirs to be inclusive, if you like it you join them where they are.

In the Old Testament of the Bible, in the Book of Deuteronomy 6:6-12, God gave the Jews specific instruction to tell the story of how they got over exactly as it happened.

He instructed them to teach the young because He knew in time of prosperity they would forget the struggle and think of another reason how they got over. This is how I interpret what Professor Askew is doing and suggesting.

These moments in the life of a people living as slaves pulls at your heart strings and soul regardless of ones color or who wrote the words. When one understands the condition by which the writer pens the words it gives added appreciation for the song. For the past twenty five years here in the Inland Empire, people of various Christian denominations gather with Blacks at the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. functions and NAACP fundraisers and sing the Negro National Anthem. It is a time of unity, pride and inclusiveness of a people coming together to better understand the plight of Black people as neighbors with our contributions to this nation.

“Lift every voice and sing, till earth and Heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise, high as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won.

Stony the road we trod, bitter the chastening rod,
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
Yet with a steady beat, have not our weary feet,
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered;
Out from the gloomy past, till now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears,
Thou Who hast brought us thus far on the way;
Thou Who hast by Thy might, led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee.
Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee.
Shadowed beneath Thy hand, may we forever stand,
True to our God, true to our native land.”

All who understand the history and do not want to repeat it should remember the Negro National Anthem by Lifting Your Voice And Sing.

My Thoughts on Immigration Reform

E-mail Print PDF

Many people are some what baffled that in the Black community they cannot find 100% agreement to grant rights to illegal immigrants who are now seeking rights in our good old USA. As a matter of fact Blacks are not happy over any immigrants coming to America, legal or illegal, only to have them look down or show disrespect for us as a race of people who built this country. We see our current immigration policy that accommodates every nation except those from the continent of Africa, Haiti or other countries where black is the color of their skin.

Now while we do not engage in any activities to deny anyone entrance on U. S. soil we want to help educate the incoming people of our history, contributions, struggles, treatment and false image that have been generated about us so we can all get along as neighbors. I say that because former president Vicente Fox of Mexico said his people were “working on jobs those Blacks did not want”, implying we were lazy, which generated a lot of resentment. Before them it was the entire European block nations that helped paint a negative image abroad about African Americans to the world so when they got here they segregated themselves from us once established.

I see some of the same kind of attitudes being displayed by some Hispanics in the for instance the Latino Political Caucus lead by Gil Navarro. He is frustrated because he, a Mexican American, cannot get elected over Wilma Amina Carter, an African American, in a district where Hispanics make over 50% of the district. His main goal is to take over and isolate the Black community by any means possible including giving non citizens the right to vote and carte blanc on all services. Someone forgot to tell Gil and his cohorts that when you seek public office you have to offer the people more than racial ideas.

Before anyone draws the wrong conclusion, I am in favor of a full comprehensive overhaul of our immigration policy because the one we have operated under for the past many decades is not favorable to people of color.

I am against the piece meal approached like the one in Arizona because that is how we wound up with the Black Codes and legalized Jim Crow laws from 1865 to 1965 also known as the “Separate but Equal” way of life for Blacks in America.

Some of the reasons Blacks feel the way we do is when we arrived on the first ship back in 1502 there was no Statue of Liberty greeting us with open arms. Instead we were put on slave auction blocks to be paraded to the highest bidder as property with no clothes on our bodies. We had no invitation sent to us by eager cousins telling us about the land of opportunity or the American Dream. The American Dream that we built, for others to now enjoy, has been a nightmare for us forover 571 years. We were not given any money by the King or Queen to explore this new world. We were not released from prison to help make room for the population left behind. We had no food famine in our country as a reason to seek this new land. Once here we were forbidden to speak in our native language while it was against the law to be taught how to read and write English. We did not cross any international legal border lines to get here. When our children were born here they were sold with no citizenship rights. We worked for free for 274 years before America became the United States of America and after 1776 we worked another 87 years (1863) as 3/5 a person as slaves. Once Emancipated we were not given any compensation for our free labor and we spent another 100 years, until 1965, under legalized Jim Crow laws as sharecroppers into which I was born.

After all of that has happened to us, when we got citizenship rights we did not bunch together to keep anyone else outof our neighborhood with discriminatory housing covenants.

We have never put language requirements on a job to keep others from having an opportunity for employment. We have never recruited just family members or signed grandfather clause agreements to ensure our family members or race a job.

We have never formed Black only terrorist organizations tohang, kill or intimidate citizens of another race. We have never sought a law that was not inclusive of our fellow citizens including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which included women.

We have fought in every war from the American Revolution against the British, on both sides of the civil war to Iraq and Afghanistan. We pay taxes that everyone including other nations have received greater portions than us. Yet when we seek equal access at the public trough funds where fairness is supposed to be the rule, we are told to wait. When we speak out on any issue other than civil rights we are told it is not our business.

Now we have before us 12 million people who are in this country by illegal and some legal means that have expired that we are trying to figure out what to do with. Some want to become citizens while others just want to earn a decent living for their families back home. Some want to get an education and go back home to improve their standard of living.

Whatever the reason we need to find a humane and decent way of doing it so “we can all get along”.

I have reviewed the Obama Administration’s proposed idea and even though I do not agree with every aspect of it, it is a good place for us to start. Securing all borders South and North is critical if Homeland Security is a stated priority. In my mind you cannot close the border of Mexico and then leave Canada wide open. We cannot give Cubans who touch USA land rights then lock up Haitians and ship them back home.

We cannot treat illegals from Mexico or other Latin countries as criminals without treating the U. S. corporations or government agencies who hire them as criminals as well.

We must expect them to learn, speak and write English. This is one of the rubbing points of so many Americans with the language issue. In some cases now employers offer some jobs to only those who speak Spanish. In some cases union positions are posted with that requirement which denies Blacks from even applying. We should also make sure we train our citizens, Blacks in particular, for positions we now recruit from other countries.

We have to penalize the law breakers and then offer some kind of way for them to become citizens after those who are currently applying. The big questions to work out are what status will illegal immigrants have before they become legal citizens? What rights will or should they enjoy until legal?

AB 1998 is Bad Legislation

E-mail Print PDF

There is a bill working its way through the California legislature known as AB 1998 which if passed will ban the use of plastic bags to carry your groceries home from the supermarket. Instead, shoppers must buy reusable bags or buy paper bags for 5 cents from the grocer.

I'm sure the paper bags will require double bagging so we're now talking 10 cents extra per bag of groceries.

To me this isn't just another "save the planet do gooder" idea, it's another attempt by an industry to charge us more for something that should be innate to the service they provide...like the airlines now charging for checked luggage knowing that because you are taking a trip you have to take SOMETHING with you.

What's next, charging us to use the shopping carts when we shop?

This legislation also doesn't take into account the poor and those on fixed incomes who cannot afford additional expenses for necessities. Those using public transportation have a difficult time carrying paper bags on buses or trains.

They are also difficult to carry in rain or windy weather. Also plastic bags find multiple uses in our households once we get home.

I'm an advocate for reusable bags, however I understand that they have some risks. Reusable bags can carry bacteria and could contaminate your food if for instance poorly wrapped meat leaks on one shopping trip and then you use the same bag for fruits and vegetables the next shopping trip. They just aren't for everyone and it's ridiculous that our legislators are trying to mandate it. In my opinion they have more more important business to attend to, like focusing on the state's budget crisis, the poor rankings of our schools, the high unemployment rate in our state, and the list goes on....

I could list other reasons against this "noble" idea that in reality is not workable for many of us and should be defeated.

Page 34 of 121

Quantcast