02-19-2017  6:12 pm      •     

One of the most positive reactions that should emerge from the Don Imus fiasco is for Black people to launch a carefully planned, solutions-oriented campaign designed to teach ourselves and especially our children concrete ways to combat toxic psychological assaults that are an integral part of this society.
The assaults on both mind and souls come from hardcore White supremacists and White racists who are too often, intentionally or unintentionally, aided by delusional, self-hating Negroes, paternalistic White liberals, self-centered Black and White conservatives, Black and White academicians and journalists who romanticize verbal thuggery and greed-driven gangsta rappers (gangstas from the streets) and music company executives (gangstas from the suites).
It is our responsibility to arm ourselves and our children with whatever weapons needed to combat these toxic psychological attacks that are as deadly to the present and future of our people as any other poison. Another, quite deadly attack, reflected on another minority group.
There are two fascinating elements worth noting in the furor around the tragic mass murders at Virginia Tech University. The first is that the almost automatic assumption was that the killer was a White male. Why? Because most mass murderers in this country have been White males, as have been most serial killers and sexual psychopaths. It is ironic and revealing that the most powerful, most pampered and most protected special interest group in this country regularly produces such cold-blooded killers. And yet African-American males are the ones often labeled as pathological. Who is more pathological — Black street thugs who kill each other over drug turfs, or White male Ted Bundys and Jeffery Dahmers who methodically murdered numerous people, most of whom were strangers to them.
A second revealing element of the Virginia Tech killings is that so many Korean-Americans felt the need to apologize for the actions of Cho Seung Hui. Some even pleaded not to be blamed for what he had done. As far as I know, no one required them to do so since European-Americans don't feel the need to apologize for mass murderers and serial killers who come from their ethnic and cultural groups.
The reaction from Korean Americans, usually hailed as an ideal "minority" group, and even from the South Korean ambassador to the United States, provide a revealing commentary on the precarious nature of race relations in this country.
It is a reality check.
One definite goal of this column is to make readers aware of Black folks throughout the country who have built or are building institutions that will house, educate, employ or provide health care for people. It's time that we present such productive people as role models for our children rather than allow them to be dazzled by the machinations of highly visible, often symbolic, sound bite leaders, politicians, professors, journalists, and corporate executives who are often seen pontificating on television and radio or being quoted in newspaper and magazine articles.
There are two questions that a reporter or correspondent should ask any public figure, including radio and TV talk show hosts who support the war in Iraq. Have you ever been in the military; and do you have a close family member on active duty in Iraq? If their answer is no, the next question should be, if you truly believe that the country's national security is at stake in Iraq, why aren't you and your family members over there fighting to protect "freedom?" A sensible person will believe that the country's national security is at stake when chicken hawks such as Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Bill Kristol and Fred Barnes and their children are in combat in Iraq.

A. Peter Bailey is former editor of the late Malcolm X's "Blacklash", the newsletter of the Organization of Afro-American Unity, founded by Malcolm X after he left the Nation of Islam. Bailey is the current editor of "Vital Issues: The Journal of African-American Speeches."

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  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall,'" the president told a group of police chiefs recently. "I wasn't kidding. I don't kid." But the Republican-led Congress is still waiting to see specifics on how Trump wants to proceed legislatively on top initiatives such as replacing the health care law, enacting tax cuts and revising trade deals. The messy rollout of the travel ban and tumult over the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia are part of a broader state of disarray as different figures in Trump's White House jockey for power and leaks reveal internal discord in the machinations of the presidency. "I thought by now you'd at least hear the outlines of domestic legislation like tax cuts," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "But a lot of that has slowed. Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. At his long and defiant news conference on Thursday, Trump tried to dispel the impression of a White House in crisis, squarely blaming the press for keeping him from moving forward more decisively on his agenda. Pointing to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump said, "You take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame because he'd rather be working on health care, he'd rather be working on tax reform." For all the frustrations of his early days as president, Trump still seems tickled by the trappings of his office. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the White House last week to discuss the national opioid epidemic over lunch, the governor said Trump informed him: "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'" Trump added: "I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous." ___Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbenac
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