A few weeks ago I took my 4 year old son Christmas shopping. At the church we attend, our family participates in a yearly charity sponsored by Samaritan’s Purse called “Operation Christmas Child”. We pack a shoe box with a variety of gifts, which is sent to children in “Third World” countries. I pack one for a boy while my wife packs one for a girl.
I took my son to help me pick out the gifts. I want to instil in him the understanding that Christmas isn’t about “him” getting gifts from Santa Claus, but that during this time of year it is more important to give to those who don’t have as much as we do. So as we shopped, we had a conversation about what Christmas really means and how we celebrate this season as a family.
I went on to explain that Santa Claus isn’t a real person but he is “pretend”. I impressed upon my son that his mother and I, as well as our friends and family members buy him the gifts… not only during Christmas but all through the year. I further explained that the reason we are buying these gifts for the boys and girls is that their family and friends don’t have the extra money to do so and there is really no Santa Claus to bring them presents.
I could see that he was listening intently while his little mind was processing what I was telling him. He understood what I was saying, but he still wanted to believe that Santa Claus must be real. That’s what he sees on television. That’s what he learns in school. That’s what people are always ask him: “what do you want for Christmas from Santa?”
Since that day we have had a number of conversations about the meaning of Christmas. If you ask him now what is Christmas, he answers that it’s Jesus’ birthday. If you ask, he’ll say that Santa Claus is pretend, although it is evident that he still wants to believe that he is real. He’ll tell you that his mommy, daddy, friends and family buy him his gifts… that they don’t come from Santa. I explained to him that we give each other gifts just like the 3 wise men brought gifts to baby Jesus when he was born and as a way to remember that God gave us the gift of his Son Jesus.
At four, I don’t expect him to understand and accept it all. However, we’re not allowing him to be conditioned by our society’s values into being self absorbed and materialistic. Furthermore, I don’t believe it’s healthy for black children (especially boys), to be conditioned to believe that all good things come from a white man… a fat old white man with a long white beard at that. I believe it subconsciously undervalues their appreciation for the efforts of their parents (especially their fathers), it further undermines their own self esteem and respect for black men as a whole, and it grooms them to be easy prey for that seemingly nice (old) white man.
In his own way, my son does show us that he has an understanding of the true “reason for the season”: the celebration of the birth of Christ, the love of God, family and friends, and that it’s better to give than receive. So far he hasn’t asked us for even one present.
This is the Christmas lesson we want him to learn and incorporate into his life.
Op-ed submission by Project 21
Glenn Beck was more ahead of his time than I realized in 2009 when he aired his first program to prove the existence of black conservatives.
Despite Beck’s assistance, we remain largely unseen on the news channels. As a black conservative advocate of how blacks should (and, in many instances, do) embrace conservative values for more than a decade, the media does not call us as often as it should.
Black conservative voices must become ubiquitous. We aren’t anomalies. The problem is that we aren’t being heard.
That’s a shame since it is precisely because black conservatives are infrequently invited to espouse our views that the misperceptions about black conservatives fester.
Some want this silence because the more we talk the less unusual it is to be black and openly conservative.
That’s why the left appears adamant in trying to silence black conservatives. After I appear on television, for instance, I can be assured pervasive and virulent e-mails meant to intimidate me are on their way. For instance:
“And you even with your straight-hair wig would have been mistaken for a welfare gal. Beck is using you. I hope it pays well.”
“…you display that sad self-hating stereotype black conservatives are known for by not recognizing your African heritage.”
An oft-expressed, but baseless, suspicion by slanderers is that black conservatives adopt the conservative position for attention. We are called on by factions of the right, they argue, as a sideshow to validate their bigoted and racist views… simultaneously selling out our community for financial gain.
If that’s true, whoever they think is passing out the paychecks forgot mine. Furthermore, I recognize my African heritage more than just every time I look in the mirror. I’m secure in my heritage and my beliefs.
But making a respectable name for ourselves isn’t helped when people such as Ann Coulter appear to validate the suspicion. On a recent edition of Hannity, she said “our blacks are so much better than their blacks.” For Coulter to seemingly take ownership of black conservatives had me throwing trail mix at my flat screen.
This type of flippant remark from a white conservative speaking for blacks whom she purports to support (or, in this case, approves of) unfortunately only justifies the accusation that black conservatives are indeed mere puppets.
MSNBC, CNN and other networks aren’t expected to look to the black conservative commentators to talk about how the Obama Administration has set the black community back. But what about the Fox News Channel?
Fox News has a steady stream of liberal black commentary on their roundtables as opposed to black conservatives. Juan Williams, for instance, shares the Sunday roundtable with Chris Wallace. Marc Lamont Hill is a consistent presence on The O’Reilly Factor and Jehmu Greene is a regular Fox News contributor.
Being a black liberal apparently does pay well, even on Fox News.
In trying to determine what prevents black conservatives from making the cut, I can only surmise that my comrades are also like me: modest in querying producers; afraid to appear arrogant or boastful; insecure about stature and dubious about appearing self-serving.
Likewise, is Fox News leery of being perceived as “using” us? MSNBC and Al Sharpton surely aren’t worried about this, considering Sharpton seems to be taking the race issue to the bank. Cha-ching!
But isn’t there room for a black conservative on The Five or as a foil to Sharpton? After all, respected conservative commentators… white, yellow, brown and black… are considered qualified to comment on issues revolving around the black community. Why aren’t black conservatives called more often to discuss policies pertaining to America at large?
I hadn’t realized that Glenn Beck needed a show to prove to America that black conservatives exist. To a more relevant degree, however, we still don’t.
The late Puerto Rican song writer, Tito Curet Alonso, composer of about 2000 salsa songs, gave us some memorable songs. Here the late Puerto Rican Sonero Mayor, Ismael Rivera sings one of Curet’s most beautiful and inspiring song : Las Caras Lindas de mi Gente Negra – The Beautiful Faces of my Black people. Mr. Rivera in this song talks about how proud he is of his black race. He says that black people are sweet as pure molasses. Ismael Rivera often visited Portobelo, Panama, home of the Black Christ of Portobelo and in this song he mentions how beautiful the black people of Portobelo are.
The legendary Cuban singer, Cela Cruz, the Queen of Salsa, adds her rendition of Las Caras Lindas de mi Gente Negra.
Un cordial saludo a todos,
Wrangles evidenced recently between Kenyan Judiciary and the executive over the ruling that Sudanese strong man, Omar Bashir, be apprehended shall he visit Kenya, left many analysts flabbergasted. One judge, Ncholas Ombija, made a historical ruling when ordered the Minister for Internal Security to see to it that when Bashir sets foot on Kenyan soil, he be apprehended and handed over to The Hague to face the music. We used to read about such rulings made by European judges, famous ones being those that were made by Spanish Judge Fernando Andreu, and French judge Jean-Louis Bruguière, who in April 2008 and November 2006 respectively, indicted Rwandan President, Paul Kagame. When these two justices indicted Kagame, many people wrongly thought that this was a venue for only European judges. Now that Ombija has open Pandora’s Box for our bigwigs, who will be safe?
More on Kenyan justice, this historical ruling did not augur well with the executive. When cornered the vulture cries wolf. Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs was quotes as saying that the government would not abide by the ruling of its own court. What a dangerous stance? The Minister went on saying that Kenya will abide by the position that was taken by AU opposing the indictment of Bashir. How can a free country endanger its freedom for the sake of an individual who is not its citizen? Legally and logically, the constitution of Kenya is above that of AU. Whatever Kenyans do, Kenya comes first. Even if we look at two international instruments playing in this fracas, why is Kenya upholding AU’s non-binding decision whilst it violates Roma Statutes that Kenya signed voluntarily? Why is it that Kenya wants to abuse its own new constitution before even it marks a year? Why doesn’t Kenya do like Uganda that distanced itself when Bashir was invited to a conference in Kampala. Uganda successfully avoided unnecessary legal and political wrangling.
Again, Kenya is a member of East African Community. Doesn’t it see that by doing what one of its counterparts avoided, it is offending the same counterpart? It is shocking and sad that the Minister does not get it that AU has lost its legitimacy so as to support illegitimate regimes, even when they have committed atrocities against their people as it is the case with Bashir. Many were shocked to hear such law-breaking and self-inculpatory words coming from the Minister. To add insult to injury, thereafter, the Minister for Foreign Affairs was dispatched to Khartoum to mend fences. If anything, though the government in Nairobi is still flexing its muscles, the dent… deep and humongous one… has already been made. Will it be wise for the government that came to power after vanguishing dictatorship to taint its image in the defence of a dictator just the same as the one it toppled? Isn’t this high order hypocrisy?
Will Kibaki uphold the constitution and serve the Kenyans that voted for him or trumple over it and serve Sudanese strong man, and for what reasons and gains? Chances are that the executive is waging a losing battle for its peril thanks to the fact that the justice made his decision based on the provisions of the new constitution. Therefore, whoever advises Kibaki should be wise to underscore the fact that, under the new constitution, nobody is above the law. If the executive is still thinking by using the past-frozen brain when the president was above the law and the executive above judiciary, needs to be told that things have long changed. Although Kibaki spoiled the party at the promulgation of new constitution by inviting Bashir, why should he add more salt to injuries? By then thanks to the euphoria Kenyans were in, he got away with it. Will he get away with it once again? The answer is nope. Logically, it doesn’t add up even make sense for Kibaki to dent his image siding with a stinking dictator indicted for committing genocide against his own peole. What transpired in 2008 seems to have not given a lesson to Kibaki and all those that think that they can take the hoi polloi for a ride.
Moreover, chief justice Dr. Willy Mutunga has already weighed in very heavily and categorically so to speak. Responding to rants that the executive were not thinking about complying with the ruling, Mutunga was quoted as thus: “The Judiciary and its officers shall not be intimidated to bend the law”. To make his message clear, Mutunga added that Kenya must choose between anarchy and the rule of the law. Suppose the executive stick on their guns, will the judiciary allow itself to be cowered or stiff its neck and therefore create a crisis especially at this time Kenya is at war with al-Shabaab? What is the right thing to do under such circumstances?
In essence, Kenya has nothing to lose by dumping Bashir. We all know that Kenya is a major economc and political player in South Sudan. Shall it keep on thinking it can serve two masters namely Bashir and South Sudan? It should not wonder when South Sudan decided to part ways with it. For the French sage has it that “les amis des mes sont mes amis”, namely the friends of my friends are my friends. What of the enemies of my friends? They are obvious my enemies.
In sum, let us face it: will the Kenyan executive seal ignore the truth and go on defending Bashir by violating its own constitution? What precedent does the executive make in the first place? What legacy is Kibaki making? It time to warn Kenya that doing Bashir’s laundry will leave it messy and stinky.