Thursday, September 13, 2012


Thursday, September 6, 2012

For Brothas Only: Can We Really Handle Independent Black Women?

We’ve all heard of her; she’s been crooned, immortalized and hyped since the beginning of the 1990’s as the strong, self-sufficient black woman. She’s appeared in film, literature and theater as the saving grace of the black family and the antidote to black male patriarchy. In the process, she’s become the star of African American post-modern folklore; there aren’t too many black families that don’t claim her as one of their own. She is the independent black woman, and when it comes to black men, there are no shades of grey – you either love her or you don’t! So why are independent sistas feeling a lil hate on the part of black men in an era where we’ve supposedly advanced far enough in gender relations to respect the progress of black women? Can black men really handle this new breed of sisterhood? The attitudes of black men regarding strong, successful black women seem to run the whole gamut – from a grudging acceptance to applause to outright rejection. Such attitudes persist even in the face of statistics that show a widening gap between how black women and men are faring in the American economy and otherwise: more black women than men hold degrees; the unemployment rate for brothers is twice that of white men; and, in a recent poll conducted by Millennium Men of Color, only 18% of black male respondents described relationships between the black sexes as “good”. How do black men deal with a woman who’s been raised to make it without him and how do black women – the ones who really want to love and be loved – reach out to men who feel this way? Unfortunately, the line of demarcation is usually marked by economics. It is not sobering that black men and women tend to measure one another by economic means, as opposed to spiritual standards or by more common themes such as family values, work ethic and religious commitment. There are plenty of brothers who honor and respect a woman who is at the top financially, professionally and spiritually. Sadly, though, there are far too many brothers who struggle with this reality. It’s mainly because of how we have been socialized to see ourselves as providers. We’ve been stripped of that role in a sense, not because women insist on being breadwinners, but because, in most cases, they didn’t have a choice! Unfortunately, brothers have occupied the bottom rung of the economic ladder when it comes to jobs. We tend to be the first fired and the last hired; overall, American employers shy away from hiring black men. As a result of this role reversal, too many brothers either suffer in silence or exhibit hostility toward their more successful counterparts. Let’s face it brothers, our psyche has taken a beating due to this peculiar American experience. And so our reactions have more to do not with how much our women make, but rather how much we aren’t making in comparison. As a result, we focus on what we don’t want – to be judged by our wallets alone and whether we are financial equals. We then miss out on what we really want: a loving relationship in which our masculine identities and contributions are valued – what we bring to the table overall. Add to this the I-don’t-need-a-man revolt that began in the 1990’s and many brothers are feeling the blues when it comes to relationships with successful women. What we need, brothers, is a new way of thinking. We should attempt to understand that black women, successful or not, are also entangled in a system that has yet to afford them full acceptance in the marketplace. Not only that, we must accept that – regardless of how we’ve been socialized – times have changed. Let’s not be locked into dictates just because it’s the way we were raised. Are you really going to toss and turn tonight because a woman offered to pay for dinner? Are you less a man because she makes more money than you? My answer: absolutely not! Independent black women are here to stay! And, with the emergence in the last four years of Michelle Obama as the quintessential successful black woman, independent sisters are and will be a force for some time. Finally, we need as black men to realize that – politics aside – our women do indeed need us, just like we need them. There are very few black women who do not need – as Stephanie Williams once crooned – ‘the comfort of a man’. Beneath the thin veneer of financial success, professional acclaim and spiritual bliss is an insatiable need to love and be loved by a man (emphasis on man) who will come correctly. Take heart brothers! For every Michelle, there is a Barack! We can relate to our successful sistas and give them their just desserts. In doing, so we become models for a generation of men.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Next TVR: Will Blacks Abandon the President Over Same-Sex Marriage? Sunday, May 27, 2012 at 5pm central. Join me and my special guest as we discuss this important issue. We'll take your calls live! Dial 347.215.9517 from your home or cell. The Village Report. Raising awareness. Inspiring change.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Poll: 2/3 of African Americans Disagree with Obama on Gay Marriage Added by bowatkin on May 10, 2012. After the bombshell news story yesterday of President Barack Obama speaking out in support of gay marriage in a sit-down interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts, several voices in the African-American community rang out on the issue. NewsOne ran a story on the interview on Wednesday, which was heavily contested by readers. In the poll, we asked readers if they agreed with the President’s decision to support gay marriage. In the 22 hours since the poll has been live, more than 400 votes have come with an overwhelming 63 percent of readers in disagreement with President Obama’s stance. One comment in particular from a user named Kelly sparked a passionate debate, which questioned in a simple phrase the sincerity of Obama’s new claim, “Obama will do anything for votes, even sell his soul…,” read the statement, setting off a variety of replies. Other comments far too harsh and vulgar to print seem to point to the idea that many are angered that Obama would turn away from the normally held conservative Christian beliefs that marriage should only occur between a man and woman. Although the gay vote helped propel his progressive message as he sought the Presidency, Obama didn’t seem to pander to that voting bloc, although he addressed gays and their issues during campaign stops along the way. In 2010, there were reports that gays, especially those who supported Obama in 2008, were turning their backs on the President. Accused of trying to snag votes although the political risk was high, Obama is standing firm that this is not a political chess move. Meanwhile, some in the Black community have also expressed resentment that Obama’s choice to underscore gay rights over many urgent issues in our community is a slap in the face. NewsOne’s own Dr. Boyce shared this view on Thursday and 74 percent of 162 voters agreed with him. Source:

Monday, April 9, 2012

Bill Cosby Blames Gun Accessibility For Death Of Trayvon Martin, NJ Mural Causes Controversy

Famed comedian Bill Cosby weighed in on the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, and he put the blame squarely on the easy accessibility of guns: “We’ve got to get the gun out of the hands of people who are supposed to be on neighborhood watch,” Cosby told the Washington Post. “Without a gun, I don’t see Mr. Zimmerman approaching Trayvon by himself. The power-of-the-gun mentality had him unafraid to confront someone. Even police call for backup in similar situations. When you carry a gun, you mean to harm somebody, kill somebody."
Protesters are gearing up for the announcement whether the U.S. Justice Department will prosecute shooter and former neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman for the Feb. 28 shooting—the decision whether Angela Corey, the special prosecutor appointed by Governor Rick Scott, will bring this matter before the grand jury is expected to come on April 10. Martin supporters are using social media to encourage people to wear a hoodie on April 10 as a sign of solidarity.
Some already have been: current and former college students from Florida State University, University of Florida, Tallahassee Community College and FAMU, calling themselves the "Dream Defenders," have marched 40 miles over the last three days to protest the death: "This is the catalyst to give young people the motivation to act," said Stephen Green, a sophomore at Morehouse College in Atlanta. "We are the ones with the energy to keep this going."
Closer to home, there was a Harlem Hoodie March this week, featuring students from the Democracy Prep Charter High School. "Because of the way you dress, some police officers think you are a hoodlum," junior Christopher Franco told DNAInfo. "They think you are the next drug dealer. Trayvon Martin is in the same position we are. It could have been any one of us."
Inspired by these protests, Baltimore preacher Rev. Jamal Bryant spearheaded a mass voter-registration drive coinciding with packed crowds for Easter Sunday: 50,000 black congregations nationwide hope to register 1 million voters today. "You can't just show up and shout and make noise. You have to do it with the vote," said Rev. Willie Barnes, pastor of Macedonia Baptist. "You can't change the system until you change the people who are running it."
Things aren't so unified everywhere: a new street mural in Elmwood Park, NJ, has caused much controversy. Lawrence Langerlaan, 71, is one of the people who object to the mural that features a faceless black man wearing a hoodie, with the message "We Got You Trayvon." "Had the hooded character not been there, and the kid's name up, I might not have objected," Langerlaan told WPIX. "It kind of makes us feel like drugs, gangs and that kind of thing. This is a nice quiet neighborhood."
"We didn't draw his head being blown off. We didn't put bullet holes on the wall. We didn't depict gun violence. And there's certainly no gang affiliation here," responded Carmelo Sigona, one of the five artists responsible for it. Building owner John Quinn supports the piece though: "I want them to use this as a canvas to bring other issues to the public."
Contact the author of this article or email with further questions, comments or tips.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Trayvon's 'Stand Your Ground' Rights

Trayvon was also allowed to defend himself. But the state has rarely protected African-Americans' right to do so

I am both a former prosecutor and the mother of a 15-year-old son. When my son was little, like most moms, I told him to beware of strangers; that even in a nice neighborhood, like ours, a pedophile might drive through looking for a child victim. I told him to watch out for strangers, even in nice neighborhoods, because once he was inside the trunk of a car, I might not be able to help him.

Trayvon Martin was 17 years old and, based on the photos, not very big — like my son.

Based on media accounts and the reports of the 911 calls, he was walking through a nice, but unfamiliar neighborhood, talking on his cellphone when a strange adult male began to follow him in a SUV. At one point, he thought he had lost him, but the male reappeared following him again. This time the man, who was nearly twice his size (in body mass), got out of the vehicle, approached him, and had a gun.

Under Florida’s “stand your ground” law, Trayvon was allowed to stand his ground and use force to defend himself. If the gun was visible as George Zimmerman approached him, Trayvon would have been allowed to use deadly force against Zimmerman.
Previous cases in Florida have upheld subjective, though mistaken, beliefs about the danger presented to the person who feels threatened. Under the law, as the aggressor in this situation, Zimmerman had no right of self-defense.

Why was Zimmerman the aggressor?

1) The police dispatcher had advised him not to follow or approach Trayvon Martin.

2) On the 911 call, Zimmerman initially said that he was concerned about break-ins in the area. Deadly force is not legally authorized to protect property.

3) Zimmerman said that he thought the “suspect” might be high or using drugs. Both are offenses that do not warrant the use of deadly force in apprehension efforts.

4) Zimmerman also said, “Those assholes always get away …,” which clearly indicates that he had decided that Trayvon was guilty of something — he was no longer merely a “suspect.” So his approach, whether with his gun in hand or concealed, was with the intent to confront a “criminal.” Such an approach would be aggressive rather than passive.

To Trayvon, Zimmerman was a stranger. The media has made much of the fact that there are no other witnesses to what happened except George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. That would mean that this child was being approached on an isolated street by a strange adult, with a gun, driving a big vehicle.

Zimmerman is a threat, and Trayvon is in the fight of his young life — perhaps in the belief that he is fighting for his life.

Ironically, I have not yet seen this version of the Trayvon Martin case portrayed in the media. Standard media analysis of this incident begins with Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense and the applicability of the “stand your ground” law to Zimmerman. Did Trayvon have no right to be afraid of this strange, large man, with a gun, who had been following him for some time, in a vehicle large enough to abduct him?

A Department of Justice report from 2002 notes that in one year nearly 800,000 children under age 18 are reported missing, nearly 60,000 of them are reported as abducted by a stranger. Was this high school football player required to stand idly by to wait to see what this aggressive stranger planned to do to him?

Or, did the statute allow him to defend himself, as the Sanford Police Department was satisfied that Zimmerman had a right to do?

A Republican sponsor of the “stand your ground” law has indicated in media accounts that, based on the information currently available about the incident, he does not believe that the “stand your ground” law applies to Zimmerman. It seems that no one has yet asked whether the law would have applied for the protection of Trayvon Martin.

That was a colorblind analysis of the incident for those who choose to believe that race had nothing to do with this encounter.

Now for some ugly race facts.

For nearly two and a half centuries the right of self-defense did not apply to African-Americans against attackers under the laws of many states and, after emancipation a noted writer named Hinton Rowan Helper referred to African-Americans as “Negroes … with their crime-stained Blackness,” when discussing why blacks should not be allowed to vote and why racial segregation was paramount in social relations.

In 2004, Stanford University professor Jennifer Eberhardt and her colleagues wrote an article titled “Seeing Black: Race, Crime and Visual Processing,” in which she presents the results of several recent psychological studies that found race effects exist in all of our daily thinking and especially with regard to the association between blackness, crime and perceptions of danger.

So in the end, this encounter isn’t really about the hoodie; any racial proxy will do.

This historical and scientific background begs the question: If the racial roles were reversed in the Trayvon Martin killing, would the criminal justice system response be the same?

One might look to the 2006 Long Island, N.Y., case involving John Harris White for a possible answer. In that case, an African-American father shoots a white teenager who is in his driveway. The white teenager, Daniel Cicciaro, age 17, had come to John White’s home with a group of other white teenagers to attack John White’s 19-year-old son after an altercation that had taken place at a different location.

Although John White claimed that he had acted in self-defense when he pointed a gun at Cicciaro and, that the gun had accidentally discharged when Cicciaro tried to grab it, John White was arrested, tried and convicted of manslaughter and was sentenced to two to four years in prison. John White served five months in prison before his sentence was commuted by Gov. Patterson.

In that incident, John White’s family was under attack at their own home. The “castle doctrine” on which the “stand your ground” law is based, provides the greatest protection for persons who are threatened at their homes, but John White was arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to prison.

George Zimmerman is free, and a blanket of racially tinged controversy hovers over private and media discussions of whether George Zimmerman deserves to be punished and, in some circles, whether Trayvon Martin deserved to die.

Delores Jones-Brown is a professor in the Department of Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, and former director of the John Jay Center on Race, Crime and Justice. More Delores Jones-Brown

Friday, March 23, 2012

Trayvon Martin and the Burden of Our Black Boys

Join me Sunday, March 25, 2012 for: The Burden of Our Black Boys.
In the wake of Trayvon Martin's senseless killing, how do we protect our black boys from a society that despises them? Plus, will there be justice for Trayvon? We'll ask a panel of mentors and social justice advocates!
Next TVR! Dial 347.215.9517 at 5pm central to listen or comment.
Raising awareness. Inspiring change.

Positive Thought for the Week

"Change is the engine of the empowered life; if you are not willing to tap into the wellspring of your existence, to accept change, you will never move beyond your present shores."

-Author unknown

Did You Know?

Between the 1970's and 1999 the rate of suicide among black males climbed from 7.9 per 100,000 in 1970 to 10.9in 1997, compared to a modest increase in the rate for all blacks during the same period. Furthermore, since the 1970's, the rate of increase in suicides among black males in their twenties has been alarmingly steady. Source: Lay My Burden Down, Suicide and the Mental Health Crisis among African Americans, Dr. Alvin Pouissant and Amy Alexander

Don't Believe the Hype!

Hype: Teenage pregnancy is a runaway problem in the African American community.

Fact: African Americans ages 15 to 19 experienced the steepest decline in birth rates—42 percent—from 118 per 1,000 women in 1991 to 68 in 2002. Among African Americans ages 15 to 17, birth rates dropped by 52 percent between 1991 and 2002.
Source: Advocates for Youth

The Literati: A Crisis in the Mental Health of Black America

Suicide has always been a hush-hush topic in the African-American community; nothing silences a conversation more suddenly than talk of someone who has taken their own life, whether a family member or friend. With the publication of Lay My Burden Down, Suicide and the Mental Health Crisis Among African-Americans in 2000, the veil of secrecy and inherited shame was lifted and the subject was put out in the public arena. Its authors, Dr. Alvin F. Poussaint and Amy Alexander, offer a convincing, cogent and relentlessly grievous account as to the myriad reasons so many African-Americans suffer from depression and other mental health issues and how those reasons lay the groundwork for the ultimate act of self-aggression: suicide. In particular, and certainly disturbing, is the suicidal trend of black males in America, which tripled between the 1980’s and the end of the twentieth-century, according to the authors. The common element of this trend is the loss of hope, a virtue that historically underpinned the ability of blacks to overcome the legacy of discrimination, segregation and unequal justice. Says Poussaint and Alexander: “…the realities of modern life have begun to undermine the historic adoptions, the coping strategies that are part of the African-American culture.” Lay My Burden Down requires the immediate and consistent attention from anybody who senses the urgency of self-destructive behaviors in a family member or friend and is a must-read for policy chieftains, church leaders and grass-roots organizations.

An Interview with Rev. James David Manning

This interview was conducted by W. Eric Croomes on Friday, October 31, 2008 regarding Manning's comments on Senator Barack Obama.

Blog Archive

About the Editor

My photo
Arlington, Texas, United States
W. Eric Croomes is a writer and playwright based in Irving, Texas and a native of Phoenix, Arizona. Eric is a graduate of Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas, earning a Bachelor of Arts in religion and sociology and is founder and executive director of Millennium Men of Color, a non-profit black male advocacy group. In 2002, Eric self-published Dance in the Dark, Poetic Reflections on Love and Culture, a collection of his original poems and essays on love and relationship in the African-American tradition. Three to Eight, a play examining the hours when most teens become pregnant and most juvenile crime is committed, was Eric’s first theatrical release and debuted at the 2004 Black N Blues one act play festival at the African-American museum in Dallas. Brotha2Brotha, Becoming Healthy Men from the Inside Out, a spiritual primer for men of color, was released in September, 2006. Eric’s next book, Thoughts in Black and Male, is slated for release in spring 2008. COMING SOON: THEVILLAGEREPORT.NET Visit Eric at

Trademark Info

The Village Report with W. Eric Croomes is a registered trademark of The Apple Tree Group. All content authored by W. Eric Croomes is Copyrighted 2008.

January 19, 2008 issue of Golfweek Magazine

January 19, 2008 issue of Golfweek Magazine
and I didn't say 1958!