Saturday, November 1, 2008

Some Thoughts on my Interview with Rev. James David Manning

When did it become fashionable to equate black pride with black self-destruction? What is the difference between black on black crime and defaming one’s family? These were just a couple of imponderables going through my head as I interviewed Rev. James David Manning on Friday, October 31. Rev. Manning, by the way, is the Harlem preacher whose videotaped sermon circulating the web includes some rather harsh language regarding Senator Barack Obama. (To view the video: Other thoughts:

• There has never been, and I doubt there will ever be, universal black support for a black candidate in the American political system. For reference, go back to Booker T. Washington, who advocated self-help as the panacea to black America’s ills at the time. Who was his rival? Dr. W.E.B. Dubois, who promoted change within the system as a means to achieving black empowerment; both of these men had huge followings. In more contemporary times, neither the Revs. Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton could claim universal black support. American politics just does not allow for such a phenomenon. Now comes Senator Barack Obama, who has not fashioned his credentials primarily for black support (remember the Iowa caucus?), whose appeal cuts across a wide swath of Americans and Rev. Manning, when asked if Barack Obama is not the right leader, than who is, referenced Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Even Dr. King had his share of black detractors!
• Rev. Manning’s stand on black on black crime is admirable but no new position. What strikes me is his utter disregard for other forms of “black on black crime” – such as his incendiary videotaped remarks about Senator Obama’s mother. After all, is it not the case that a crime usually is preceded by thought, calibrated into words and introduced as an action?
• Does anybody really take this Bill Clinton as our nation’s first black president stuff seriously? I always thought it was merely a way of expressing kudos to Clinton’s affectionate relationship with black people.
• Like most black people, I grew up in the black church and was nurtured by the black religious experience. To suggest that Black people need to return to God is a bit pie-in-the-skyish; black people need to use the power that God gives us! Reminds me of a book that I need to add to my library: If God is So Good, Why Are Black People Doing So Bad?

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.

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About the Editor

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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

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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!