<![CDATA[Griot Girls - Telling It Like It Is: Musings & Current Affairs]]> http://griotgirls.com/groups/profile/50/musings-current-affairs http://griotgirls.com/blog/view/210/obama-democrats-understood-dispositive-voting-interests Thu, 15 Nov 2012 09:34:04 -0500 http://griotgirls.com/blog/view/210/obama-democrats-understood-dispositive-voting-interests <![CDATA[Obama & Democrats Understood Dispositive Voting Interests]]> Voters are people who vote their interests. It seems an elementary notion, but in 2012 Republicans in the national presidential election did not seem to understand this simple principle. Also, certain dispositive interests take priority over the others. The dispositive interest of voters is what smart politicians attempt to comply with to win the support of major voting blocks.

The Republican party missed a selling major point in appearing to deal only with issues that were dispositive to white voters. This Republican position was clearly apparent to non-white voters whose primary and dispositive issue is whether their civil rights would be protected and their children and family protected from discriminatory practices. Very few voters historically subjected to ethnic or other racial discrimination would vote on other issues if they believe one side is likely to racially discriminate against them. Such voters automatically scrutinize campaign messages and actions to filter out potential discriminatory motives. The use of the term "Conservative" for example is held to mean the seem thing as "Racist" to many Black voters.

The history which voters adopt as theirs is extremely important to how they analyze issues. How one group views these issues may be very different from another group who may not have experienced history in the same way. History is important and politicians and electioneers attempting to gain the support of the electorate should be sensitive to the historical influences of voting groups. It is perhaps the most important factor in framing issues, and implementing them in actual practice.

After the 2012 Election many in the Republican party announced the need for the party to reach out to Hispanics. Meanwhile they have not announced or focused as much on a similar need to reach out to African-Americans. This apparent double standard and insensitivity to the message portrayed has led some African-Americans and other observers to note that the announced outreach to Hispanics may be a veiled attempt for Republicans to build a chasm between Hispanics and African-Americans. The message to some Hispanics could be construed that they are more White than Black, hopefully appealing to some Hispanics, and certainly more palatable to those in the racist base of the Republican party. This approach can obviously backfire as insincere and another attempt to paint Hispanics as less than sensible if they accept such a "Selling Stupid" Republican sales pitch.

Hispanics have watched the centuries old history of racial discrimination and White enmity against Blacks in America and are certainly concerned that the same does not happen in their regard.

After the 2012 election many moderate Republicans appealed to the Party to adopt and rely more on substantive policy and platform changes that would appropriately attract and appeal to minority voters. Continuous post election devisive remarks by Mitt Romney have drawn fire from his Republican colleagues, to the extent that some believe his many insensitive comments and gaffes rival controversial statements made by 2008 Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

In 2012 the Romney campaign did not seem to understand the impact of historical influences on voter groups. Their campaign inappropriately utilized statements, actions, and suggested policies which were in direct conflict to non-white voting blocks.

While other issues may have mattered, the issue of potential discrimination was the key issue in the elections, and the Republicans made it so.

Griot Admin
http://griotgirls.com/blog/view/208/the-majority-feeling-like-the-minority Wed, 14 Nov 2012 20:42:50 -0500 http://griotgirls.com/blog/view/208/the-majority-feeling-like-the-minority <![CDATA[The Majority Feeling Like The Minority]]> In recent days with the browning of America and with Black and Brown people increasingly gaining political and financial success, some whites in America are experiencing a strange sensation. They are now experiencing some of what Blacks have experienced for centuries. A sense of possible disenfranchisement and helplessness.

But whites should not despair what they are seeing is just a leveling of the playing field where everone, Blacks, Whites, or whatever your ethninicity or race, all may one day have the same chance to succeed.

The election of Barack Obama, a black man may have brought out the best and the worst in us, all at the same time. It may ultimately be just what the country has needed for a long time, a cleansing and epiphany that will finally bring about a recognition that we are all in this together.

Griot Admin
http://griotgirls.com/blog/view/204/selling-stupid-comes-to-an-end-in-politics Tue, 13 Nov 2012 08:40:38 -0500 http://griotgirls.com/blog/view/204/selling-stupid-comes-to-an-end-in-politics <![CDATA["Selling Stupid" Comes To An End In Politics]]> The Black Man That Changed A Racist Party

When Barack Obama won his second term in office he also started a revolution. A revolution that will probably force recognition by White Racists primarily in the Republican party that he is for real, and that the browning of America is for real. It is a recognition that stupid nonsensical racist based policies, statements and actions will no longer sell in the United States on a national scale. "Selling Stupid" in politics has hopefully come to an end.

For some time now the Republican party has related primarily to two main interest groups, racists and stupid people. There are indeed a few Republicans who support the party for some substantive ideals. But the major interest groups backing the Party has for some time been mainly racists and stupid people. They allowed themselves to be sold a bill of goods that only stupidity and racism could blind them enough to buy.

The stupidity and racism got so bad during the first Obama presidential term that any reasonable, objective observer had to be amazed that a national party in 2012 would so overtly conduct themselves in the manner they did. Even more puzzling is the fact that they would have so many followers blindly following them. This is why it is obvious to any who would want to look, that the current Republican party's largest support groups have to be racists and stupid people. On the other side the Democratic party had major interest groups such as Blacks, Hispanics, Asians and various non-ethnically based interest groups supporting it on many other substantive issues.

President Obama's convincing second term win appears to have been the slap in the face that should wake up most of the stupid followers. The racists will probably take more time.

Griot Admin
http://griotgirls.com/blog/view/151/a-tale-of-two-wannabe-emperors-adapted-from-andersens-the-emperors-new-clothes-and-the-2012-presidential-campaign Wed, 03 Oct 2012 21:03:07 -0400 http://griotgirls.com/blog/view/151/a-tale-of-two-wannabe-emperors-adapted-from-andersens-the-emperors-new-clothes-and-the-2012-presidential-campaign <![CDATA[A Tale of Two Wannabe Emperors (Adapted from Andersen's "The Emperor's New Clothes and the 2012 Presidential Campaign)]]> Very many years ago there was an Emperor who was so exceedingly fond of new clothes that he spent inordinate caches of money outfitting his wardrobe. He focused on enhancing his wardrobe to the exclusion of reviewing his soldiers, overseeing the operation of his empire, or engaging in other emperor-like duties.

One day, a pair of con men breezed into town, and, knowing of the Emperor’s matchless pride in his appearance, took the opportunity to capitalize on this. They convinced the Emperor that they could weave him the finest cloth and create the finest garments ever imaginable. An added bonus was that his regalia would be admired by all but the stupidest, least informed and unworthy citizens, those who were not fortunate enough to even be able to see his magnificent outfit. This notion worked well for His Excellency, because he indeed was not worried about “those people”...whatever percent they were. His focus was on his appearance, and he was convinced that those worthy of him would laud and praise him, and those who did not were of little or no consequence.

Aha! He thought, “If I donned these magical garments, then I would be able to discern those in my empire who are unwise and unfit for their posts, and fire the rest!” he then paid the con men handsomely and commissioned them to get to work.

Day after day the “weavers” pretended to craft the finest garments, worthy only of the wisest, most wonderful leader known to man.

Frequently the Emperor wondered how the project was coming along, yet he dared not venture into the Loom room, for fear that he just might not be able to see the fine fabric...Heaven forbid! Not willing to run the risk of being stupid, he sent in his minions. Time and time again they, though seeing nothing at all on the looms, reported marvelous progress, buying into the con game for fear of being perceived as stupid and unworthy. This continued through the weaving, cutting, sewing and fitting process, and through completion of the royal regalia.

No one in the Emperor’s employ dared risk a royal firing, as they knew he did it best, so they spoke effusively of the majestic nature of the project, though they knew in their hearts that they saw nothing there...nothing of consequence...nothing at all! Surely they were not stupid, were they??? Everyone in the royal employ ranted and raved, offering unwavering support for the project so as to cover their tails and appear to be of consequence.

Word got out in the community and spread throughout the masses that this splendid cloth was indeed fit only for the eyes of the intelligentsia. As the propaganda took flight, the “weavers” demanded and indeed got more money from the treasury (because you know the Emperor didn’t use his own money for this national project).

The day arrived for the royal fitting, and, as did all of his emissaries, the Emperor knew in his heart of hearts that he saw nothing on the looms, yet he stepped out of his clothes, and was helped into the Emperor's New Clothes, item by item, convincing himself that though it made no sense to him, his people seemed to see it, so it must be OK. He then stepped out and paraded before the nation, bearing his empty soul in hopes that he would be seen fit to govern, as so many of his supporters, in fact the entire empire, seemed to see him as something he knew he was not.

He paraded, his confidence mounting, until that quiet voice in the crowd, the innocent child declared “But he’s not wearing anything at all!” Oh dear me! The crowds came to their senses. The murmur roared to a frenzy as the masses acknowledged the truth, that the Emperor was indeed an empty vessel. But did that sway the prideful Emperor? Not one bit. He knew that the game was over, but he held his head high and pressed on naked through the streets, paying no attention to the noise in the market, unwilling to admit that he was played like a fiddle.

In far more recent times there was a former governor who was exceedingly fond of making money. He was also fond of firing people, so, rather than build companies the old fashioned way, from the ground up, he found a more expedient way to accomplish both objectives. He, having access to lots and lots and lots of family money, got together with a couple of buddies and raided large corporations, chopped them up like scrap metal, fired the employees, and made off with huge profits for himself and his fellow corporate raiders, creating some new businesses but leaving in their wake, broken lives, shattered dreams, loss of pensions, benefits, etc.

One day, after years of firings and wealth amassing, the Governor who once prided himself on being moderate in order to woo his constituency, decided to run for the highest office in the land and declared himself severely conservative in an apparent effort to appease the rapidly growing ultra conservative wing of his party. He realized that should he succeed in his mission, he could be instrumental in shaping policy and signing legislation that would secure the provisions enabling the exceedingly wealthy to continue to amass even greater wealth at the expense of those "inconsequentials" who he perceived as parasites, sucking the very life out of the millionaires and billionaires through government “entitlement” programs. Could that be why he ships his money overseas? Is it to deny those “undeserved” access to it? Clearly it’s better that people in foreign countries benefit from his wealth than those “illegals” and their ilk in his own country.

The Governor waged a primary campaign of terror, cutting off at the ankles, by any means necessary, any who dared to oppose him. They fell like flies as he massaged his positions on any and all issues. He left the debates victorious. And in his wake he left the bitter and disgruntled, who maintained for a time that the governor’s tactics were dishonest and brutal. They called him on his chameleonic nature, as he adjusted his position on issues with every challenge. Whatever he needed to be at the time was what he became, and he did it well.

And then one day multi-billionaires breezed into the campaign, who some claim may have questionable dealings, self-proclaimed really rich guys, "birthers", and droves of hangers-on offering questionable counsel on how best to run his campaign, who to choose as his running mate, and what position he should take on myriads of issues, all in hopes of benefitting from future jaded legislation to gain ‘advantage wealthy.’

As the nation, in fact, the world watched, the governor bobbed and weaved, trying to avoid contact with his own starkly contrasting convictions, morphing constantly as his not so diverse advisors and supporters pushed and pulled him in different directions, urging him to show his compassionate side, get tougher, remember to use those code words and dog whistles we’ve been practicing, double down on your opposition to the health care law, let them know that you care about health care, after all, it was your brainchild, slam entitlements and those 47%ers for whom you have no use, appeal to the 100% for whom you care so deeply, and on and on and on…And he listened to them, all of them, and seemed to believe that if he says it the people will believe it, and when he shifts positions no one will notice, and they will believe his latest position, knowing in his heart of hearts that he is portraying himself as something he is not, again and again.

As the Governor was increasingly exposed to the nation and the world, his elusive positions on the gravest of issues portrayed him to many as a man of little or no conviction. With the confidence of yet another “successful” debate in his arsenal, he forged ahead, head high on the campaign trail, much like the Emperor, mindless of the innocents-the voices in the crowd crying “but he’s not wearing anything at all”.

The author Helen Hanna co-hosts with Vertamae Grosvenor, The Griot Girls Media Show & Online Magazine at http://griotgirls.com, @griotgirls, @griogirls on twitter

Helen Bartlett-Hanna
http://griotgirls.com/blog/view/140/are-the-examples-we-set-for-our-youth-admirable-or-abhorrent Tue, 17 Jul 2012 21:42:48 -0400 http://griotgirls.com/blog/view/140/are-the-examples-we-set-for-our-youth-admirable-or-abhorrent <![CDATA[Are the Examples We Set for Our Youth Admirable or Abhorrent?]]> As summer winds down and students and parents prepare for the new school year, in addition to shopping for school supplies, thinking about new classes and reuniting with old school friends, families should be encouraged to spend some time discussing the importance of human decency, good character and responsible behavior, and contemplating the impact of external influences on such.

The widely publicized video of the harassment and assault by seventh grade students of Mrs. Karen Kline, 68 year old Grandmother and School Bus Monitor in the summer of 2012, raises questions about “The Ugly American”. Yes, this and similar conduct is in no way exclusive to America, but it is our responsibility as a nation to address what occurs within our borders. This recent incident of perverse conduct by these young people as they tormented Mrs. Kline for some 10 minutes leaves our nation horrified by the behavior. How could this have happened? Where were the parents in setting good examples for their children?…If my child ever…How should they be disciplined?..all legitimate sentiments.

Society looks first to the parents and their respective roles in shaping the character of their children. Parents do bear some responsibility as they are, for the most part, the primary caregivers and role models for their children. But are they really the primary role models? Parents today may have significantly less control over the formation of character than ever before. This is not to say that parents are absolved of responsibility to teach and model admirable behavior, but there are today far more extrinsic influences on our children, given the access to the media and in particular, the ever increasing free-lance digital media sources-too many to name.

Disturbing is the surge in formerly untoward social behavior being heralded in the media with the barrage of reality shows. Who is responsible? The owners and producers are businessmen whose goal it is to generate profits. Is it not more profitable to follow a group of star seeking individuals around and film their misdeeds than it is to hire writers and credentialed, talented actors whose talent comes at a high price? A bargain it is indeed, as we see legions of prospective starlets eager to sell their souls and tarnished reputations for a moment or two in the spotlight, and as they whet the national appetite, like sharks that smell blood, the people yearn for more, and up the ante, resulting in increasingly outrageous and distasteful behavior. It’s a matter of supply and demand.

Where was the social outcry? Have we become so desensitized to bad behavior that we just laugh it off? Long have Americans individually and collectively looked down our noses at “uncivilized” behavior by other nations, examples being several foreign bodies politic whose members acted with less than decorum in moments of intense passion. We have tended to hold our nation up as a beacon of virtue. Those days are clearly behind us.

Has the church abdicated its traditional role of saving souls and uplifting the downtrodden for its new position promoting the promise of prosperity in exchange for faith, membership and offerings?

There is certainly no shortage of abhorrent behavior on the part of our political leaders, a recent example being the alleged bullying of a fellow student by Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney in his late teens. To his credit, Mr. Romney did not deny committing the offense, however, he appeared to address it dismissively, noting that he did not recall the incident.

I’m not going to be too concerned…I played a lot of pranks in high school and they describe some that, well, you just say to yourself ... in high school I did some dumb things and if anybody was hurt by that, or offended, obviously I apologize.

I was struck by this seemingly callous disregard for the seriousness of such behavior. Poignant was a remark by Jodee Blanco, author of Please Stop Laughing At Me: "The bully never remembers and the victim never forgets." I imagine many people who bully think nothing of their actions and very little of their victims, hence they don’t remember. If these students on the bus who mercilessly attacked Mrs. Kline were not called out on this in such a public way, would they remember this horrible behavior well into their adulthood? Having been outed, what lesson will they take from this? How will it shape their behavior going forward? Will they go on to become examples of virtue and compassion or simply reflect on this shameful incident as just kids being kids? Hopefully with the help of their parents, the outcome will be positive.

While on the topic, I would be remiss to not mention the deplorable behavior displayed toward the office of the Presidency since the election of our Nation’s first African-American President, Barak Obama. What example have these leaders set for future generations? Are we really OK with Members of Congress yelling “You Lie” as our President addresses the Nation as congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina did, or elected officials pointing their fingers in the face of our President as Arizona Governor Jan Brewer did upon greeting President Obama at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, or members of the press corps bellowing at our President while he was speaking, as did a reporter for a right-wing blog? There was a time when people were generally embarrassed by misconduct, as it was an indication of ill breeding and a poor reflection on one’s family and social group. Today it appears that offenders wear such behavior as a badge of honor, using these acts to energize supporters and gin up financial political contributions, or amass a media following. Is there no decorum left? Does self respect hold no value?

There is so much talk among educators, law enforcement and others about the lack of respect shown, in particular, by young people today-respect for themselves, each other, and authority figures. We shake our heads and wonder how we came to this, and what can be done to remedy this. Children learn by example. Mrs. Karen Kline is a shining example of dignity and courage under fire. It is long past time for us adults to examine our conduct and be sure that it is something for our children to emulate with pride.


Helen Bartlett-Hanna