Sunday, November 16, 2008

What an Obama Presidency May Portend

Now that the coronation of Barack Obama is reaching full speed and the political honeymoon is preparing to launch, it may be helpful to gather around the crystal ball and try to figure what may happen during his tour of duty. To begin with, let’s not assume the fact of Obama’s skin color will remain insignificant. Although Mr. Obama won the election with a cross-section of white and Hispanic support, there are still large quarters of the majority uncomfortable with a black man in charge (after all, Obama’s 6% margin of victory falls remarkably short of decisive). What we may have to prepare ourselves for:

Assassination attempts
There have already been foiled plots on Mr. Obama’s life, the most recent shortly before the election. According to an Associated Press report, since the November 4 election, law enforcement officials have seen more potentially threatening writings, Internet postings and other activity directed at Obama than has been seen with any past president-elect. That he is a target because he is black has always been a source of anxiety for African Americans since the primaries, and will most certainly be for his entire presidency.

A precipitous rise in hate crimes
Although federal law officials announced recently that hate crimes overall had dipped 1% last year, expect to see a spike in the number of cases for 2009. An unsettling example was cited in the above-mentioned Associated Press report regarding a Web site that got more than 2,000 new members the day after the election, compared with 91 members on Election Day. There was also a reported spike in gun sales after the election.

Messianic and resistant attitudes
The fact that we have finally elected a black man as president seems so surreal and it will take time for that to wear off. In the meantime, there will be those on both sides of the racial divide who will expect Barack Obama to take the lead in reversing decades-old negative trends in the black community (for example the high-school drop-out rate or black male incarceration) and those (mostly the opposition) who will resist such efforts. These attitudes will persist because many people expect a president to endorse policies designed to help not hinder people while others expect a person to pull themselves up by their own “bootstraps”. Understand: black America will become better by the mere presence of a black man occupying the White House; young blacks will look to this event as a catalyst to improving their lives.

Ghettoization of the presidency
This began long before Mr. Obama was elected; comedians, pundits, radio talk-show hosts and common people (not to mention some politicians) used snide, condescending stereotypes to imagine the White House as a haven for black antics, minstrelsy and uncouth behavior (hence people will cite favorites as watermelon, pool hall etc.).

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!