Speak Your Mind



Starting this week, we're handing over the wheel and letting you — our faithful readers — write about what's on your mind in a new series called (appropriately enough) "Speak Your Mind."

Inasmuch as the Web is an open democracy, the range of topics is totally unrestricted. But remember, all submissions have to adhere to our guidelines. So help us help you "Speak Your Mind."

We start the series with Dan Tres Omi (a.k.a. "Brother Omi") of Norfolk, Va.:

Courtesy Dan Tres Omi

"My wife and I have plenty of single male and female friends. The number one complaint we hear is "there aren't any good black men/women around." Of course we find this notion to be absurd and unfounded. What disturbs me however is the sheer rudeness we display towards one another. Despite the fact that I was born and raised in New York City, I still greet people I pass on and off the street. Of course when I return to my home town, people look at me as if I just arrived from Mars.

Being stationed down south has opened my eyes to the idea that it is okay to greet people. Yet each day I notice that in the small city of Norfolk, Va., which I now call home that people are breaking the wonderful habit of greeting one another. Yet let me take it to another level. When I greet a sister with the word "peace," I am usually rebuffed by looks of disdain. When I hold the door open for a young lady, I am not even acknowledged. I am pelted with rude looks and proverbial rolling of the eyes. When I give a sister a compliment, I am treated as if I was trying to flash her. Sometimes I can hear teeth being sucked. I will admit that I am no Denzel Washington and never claimed to be. I have to point out that my flirting days are way over.

I have to lay blame on the brothers as well. As I give the universal head nod followed by the word "peace," I am greeted with steely eyes. Quite a few act as if I never even said a word. I will say that I do make sure that my voice has a deep baritone to not come off as "fake." I also throw a peace sign onto my heart as I was taught in the Universal Zulu Nation (UZN). When I give a brother a compliment on his parenting skills or the shirt he is wearing, I am treated like a leper. What happened to our cordialness? When I try to transmit positive energy, I am receiving nothing but confusion.

Before we can even discuss the failing relationships of our community, I think that we need to address how we interact with one another on a day to day basis. How can we respect one another on a deeper level of interaction if we don't even say 'hi' or 'wassup' to one another? I can hear the complaints now: "Some of you brothers get upset when someone doesn't reply" or "He might be trying to get me" or several other excuses.

Well, not all of us are trying to sleep with you sister. Not all of us are trying to stick you up for whatever valuable item you possess, brother. It is important however, that we provide a solution to this problem. We can't call ourselves a community if we don't even speak to one another on the street. So I challenge everyone reading this entry to try and meet someone new at least once a week. I don't mean going on Myspace or a chat room to do it either.

I mean when you get on the bus, L train, lunch room, or office building. I challenge everyone to greet at least one person each day. It does not have to be someone of the opposite sex either. I am sure that many of you can come up with better ideas than this. I look forward to greeting one of you on the street one day. Of course, we will have one of those infamous building sessions of mine." — Dan Tres Omi



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As I read Brother Omi's post, I thought to myself "well that's a unique perspectative!" This is due to the fact that I've seen opposite views from Brothers who think being nice comes with a catch. Case in point: Over two years ago, I had a job in a very diverse work environment that the "minority" employees were really the majority. As I headed out the lobby area one afternoon to lunch, I saw one of my colleagues (an African-American guy), let's just call him Joe with a couple of guys that looked to be his friends. I said hello to the three of them with a smile and I was out but I wondered why the two guys had a funny look on their faces and I caught one of them out of the corner of my eye as I waited for the elevator nudging my colleague.

A few hours later just before the end of the day, I was in a co-worker and friend's office when Joe walked in and expressed disappointment in me from a scenario that took place hours ago. I asked him what he was talking about because I've completely forgot the lunch time "guests" he had. He reminded me then and said "my friend was trying to talk to you. He wanted me to hook him up with you." I was like "is he in Junior High or something to need your help? And how am I supposed to know that?" Without missing a beat, Joe said "why do you think he was being nice to you?" I looked at him as if he's grown two heads,then I said "I expect all guys to be nice to me." Joe who should be about a decade older than me was shocked as if I just made a profound statement by saying "Oh." My lady friend couldn't believe the theatre taking place in her office as she looked from one face to the other. Later that night as I hung out with some of my girlfriends, I told them my experience that day at the office. They were laughing but said it was a sad commentary that the "Brothas" don't know how to relate to the "Sisters" with no ulterior motives. The disappointing thing is that scenario with my colleague and his friends isn't the lone experience and sometimes I wonder why bother to be nice as my parents taught me when the Brothers think is a chance for a relationship when I'm just expressing "common" courtesy.

Sent by Moji | 10:45 AM | 6-28-2007

Not all sisters will roll their eyes at you when you hold the door open!

I for one am always pleasantly surprised and thankful when a brother holds a door open for me, because it happens RARELY. My friend gets a kick out of it because I act like I just got an early christmas gift!

Sent by Chichi | 2:22 PM | 7-3-2007

thanks for the love, chi chi...(that's my aunt's nick name... you aren't her by the way, are you? )

Sent by Brother Omi | 10:28 PM | 7-3-2007

Listening to you interview of Billy Wayne Fowler on last week, I thought that Iwas in a time warp when he said that the siuation in Jena La.would work itself out if the rest of us would leave it alone.That's also what a guy that abuses his wife or children would say.And you sat there and let that remark slip by without much of a response.I guess you did'nt want to be in danger of calling this bigot out for who he really was.You pet him and was more accommdating than Hattie McDaniels could 've ever been.Are you lazy or just plain old Sceered?(scared)You were holding back on that neck and it could'nt have been more obvious if you had puncuated your words with a "Ye su Massa" or two.I've heard you ask way more probing questions and throw darts when interviewing black men.Are you by some chance a member of the Mo Tea Su tribe?(Mo tea su ?)You new breed of black so called journalist are working both sides of the street.Please grow some overies.

Sent by Ty Ngozi | 1:18 PM | 9-10-2007

That bunch of faux intelectuals you had on the show on wednesday was about as useful as breast on a bull.Hell for one minute there I thought I was listening to Billy Wayne Fowler of Shaun Hannity when one of those corprate jigs misrepresented the situation in Jena La.He faild to mention the white boys jumping the black kid,but in true Uncle Remus fashion,he accused the black kids of jumping the white kid.Classic battered slave syndrome,insinctly deflect anything bad that ole Massa does or says and play up or just plain lie about what black people do or say.And if the situation in Dunbar Village is so important to you double agents then don't wait for Revs Al and Jessie,start your own movement.You agent provocateurs only care about protecting the oppressor.Thank god Moses did'nt let a little something like being next to and possibly becoming Pharaoh get in the way of speaking truth to power.Are you guys CIA or just plain old mammies and pappies?Aiding and abetting the enemy,you have no honor.Paper tigers.

Sent by Ty Ngozi | 12:13 AM | 9-13-2007

If your child is that tired then, for the sake of the child, he should be sleeping somewhere quiet and comfortable. Proper sleep along with proper nutrition is one of the most important things for a child's mental and physical development. If we are not looking after our children's most basic needs then how can we preach about solving more complicated issues? I have a hard time looking beyond the small things and hearing the intended message.

Sent by Mike Blackwell | 3:40 PM | 9-22-2007

The Black Political Card

The Black Political Card consists of 10 Questions to be asked by Black People to any politician who wants their support, vote or attention. Politicians must answer these 10 Questions with a YES or NO Response without clarification, before they are allowed to speak to you individually or as a group every time they present themselves to you, your church, business, civic, fraternal or sorority group, or organization. They can clarify their answers during their presentation.

1. Would you propose and vote for any form of Reparation for Black People? Yes or No
2. Have you ever proposed or support any Economic Empowerment Program specifically for Black People? Yes or No
3. Do you understand the history and legacy of Black African Enslavement? Yes or No
4. Would you vote to change Criminal Laws that have led to the incarceration of a disproportionate number of Black Men? Yes or No
5. Would you support an Educational Curriculum that empowers Black Students with their Ancient Pre-Enslavement History? Yes or No
6. Have your ever supported any laws or policies that negatively impact Black People at any level of government? Yes or No
7. Would you propose and vote for equal Haitian and African Immigrations Laws similar to European and Hispanics Laws? Yes or No
8. Can you name 5 Ancient African Civilizations that predates European and Arab Civilization? Yes or No
9. Did Black Ancient Egyptians build the Pyramids, start Medicine and Science? Yes or No
10. Are you aware of the 1921terrorist attack and massacre of Black People in Tulsa, Oklahoma that destroy their Black Wall Street? Yes or No

Charles E. Campbell


Sent by Charles E. Campbell | 1:26 PM | 9-27-2007

Isn't this wonderful news !!!

NEW YORK -- Don Imus will return to the airwaves Dec. 3 on New York's WABC- AM, only nine months after the cantankerous shock jock's career seemed doomed over his racist, sexist remark about a women's college basketball team.

It proves that market forces still work in this great capitalistic society that is America. Intimidation, Political Correctness and the ???Race Card??? together did not win this time.

Are you there Jessie and Al??????..

Maybe this is the beginning of a trend. (?)


Sent by Don Nichoalds | 10:54 PM | 11-1-2007

concerning the recent much publisized study on the current state of race relations in the united states. it should have been called "the triupmh of the ideology of white supremacy in 21st century america". it is quite apparent that as usual, most immigrants seem to be in lockstep the basic tenents of white racism.

i don't think that many american born blacks were surprised by the fact that a hostile anti-black concensus has been reached between native born whites and members of various other immigrant groups. this "unity" based upon a shared animosity has been in place here since slavery. america needs the enemy within and the enemy without to enable it to pacify the many factions who live here yet have nothing in common. it also needs to justify its massive injustices and its inequities while claiming a refuge for everyone on the planet, something which it has never been for black americans. the vast majority of adult immigrants come here knowing how race in this society works, whom it works for, whom it works against, and which side they are on. "ignorance" has nothing to do with the existence or maintenance of the american, brazilian, south african, or any other racial system. people know exactly what they are doing, why they are doing it, and who they are doing it to, no matter how emphatic and frequent their denials are.

after all, in a so-called "nation of immigrants" how would the structures of white supremacy have been maintained decade after decade and century after century, if generations of new immigrants and their offspring didn't eagarly embrace and partcipate in them?. many if not most immigrants arrive here predisposed to embrace and to excuse all of white america's racist pathologies when it serves their purposes while simultaneously condeming all native born blacks for their alleged cultural and personal failures. black americans should not be suckered into a one sided outreach mentality by the results of this poll, by so-called progressives or by any alleged majority concensus. the best defense against the racism of many immigrants and many whites is is for blacks to use a combination of self-love, unity, and cooperation to shift the balance of power in this country by leveraging our intellectual and economic resources. blacks need to finally learn that we are really on our own and we do not need to seek inclusion at any cost with those who have no intention of ever including most of us. america's record speaks for itself, blacks do not need to waste time and effort debating with whites and immigrants about whose american expereriences are valid and whose are not. that gap is not bridgeable you can feel an experience that you have not lived.

Sent by DEAN ALLEN JONES | 5:30 PM | 12-20-2007