Missed Part One? Read It Here

By Jordan Rock

I know you hear it all the time from the old folks; New Orleans ain’t what it was. The soul is there, but the body is broken. The city doesn’t take care of itself, and a sure ain’t taking care of its people. Sure, the city government maintains of all the main streets. Every thoroughfare that tourists might ride down, the French Quarter, the Garden District, all of that has been spit shined to a mirror sheen. But the second you step off the beaten path, and go to the places where People Actually Live, you can still see the same devastation from some fourteen years ago. A gilded city, with all the water damage beneath the surface appeal, just out of sight of the rest of the world. Pisses me off every time I come back.

If you take a little wiki walk, you’ll find that New Orleans, as of the moment I’m writing this, has a population of something like 391,006. That’s a dramatic drop from the estimated population when Katrina hit, which was in the neighborhood of 484,674 people. And that’s after 14 years of survivors deciding whether or not they wanted to come back at all. But it’s not about the numbers, not really. I can look at the city with my eyes and see what’s happening. The lifeblood of New Orleans lies in the hearts and minds of its natives, and when people decide to leave, it’s tempting to say that they take part of the city’s soul with them.

The older folks call it the Brain Drain of New Orleans. Folks that were blown away not coming back. Folks born in the city leaving for good. And as time goes on, more and more great minds and great hands are trickling out of the city, like rain in a storm drain. And, you know, for a long time, I thought the same way.

But I’ve had years to think about this and through frequent revisits to the city, while wandering the streets I have changed my perspective. Nowadays, I see New Orleans as a tree that got blown down in a storm. When it fell, it scattered its seeds all over the place. I’m one of those seeds. Many seeds like me have had to make this choice since we got scattered across the country by hurricane winds. Do we set down roots where we land, or do we pick ourselves up and head home to salvage what’s left? It’s a hard choice to make; many of us are still trying to decide, even after all this time.
Me?
It’s going to be hard to hear this, but I keep on coming back. And then I have to leave. Because every day I spend at home, I feel myself getting angry. There’s a fight in me, a fight for the city itself, a fire that lights up whenever I step off a plane and step into that familiar southern heat. I never have anywhere to put that fire, so it just burns me out, exhausts me. For the longest time, I didn’t understand it. It went beyond just the desire to bring the New Orleans of my childhood back, or the need to go down to City Hall and scream at the people that get rich by mismanaging the city that is here in the present. That fire in me, it’s hope; the need to push forward. New Orleans: The City seems broken, yes, but the soul of the city is simply fractured. And fractures can be repaired. Every single of one of us New Orleans Natives is a representative of New Orleans itself. An avatar; a little piece of the soul of the city. We can’t remove this part of ourselves; we’re all those seeds from that same tree. We carry the slang, the culture, the sensibilities of the city, wherever we go. None of us struggle the same, but we all struggle. We’ve all got our stories, right? Mine is just another one of those, and I’d like to tell it to you. So, if you’ve drifted far like me, or you’ve put down your roots right in the same spot that you came from, we’re far from different.

Me and you, we ARE New Orleans.

As long as we live, and continue to grow, New Orleans will do the same.
That idea, that’s where I’d like to start this whole thing, whatever it is. My name is Jordan Rock, and at the age of 12, Hurricane Katrina came and blew my life apart. I am a seed on the wind, searching for a place to put down roots. In my heart and in my mind, I carry the soul of New Orleans, no matter where I go.
And, with any luck, you’ll hear from me again.

See you soon.

5 thoughts on “The Seeds of New Orleans: Part 2”
  1. “They have become exactly what they have deceived themselves to be”!!!

    LBRC- We were asked? So…

    1. What are your experiences in Civil Rights?

    2. What gives you so- called standing with respect to comment about The 2020 Urban League, SCLC and new Negro “Contemporary” Gate Keepers for “The Ruling Elite”?

    Ref: Go to>Bloomberg’s Endorsements, Marc Morial’s Merger and Gate Keeper Culture-   

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HOADDggEz3g

    3. Give evidence of Benchmark Achievements, with respect to “Solid Community Impacts” which achieved efficacy of benefits to communities, perceived powerless!

    ***DISCLAIMER: As per Scripture, we are forbidden to broadcast benefits bestowed, as we perceive! Once, we made this mistake out of ignorance and forgetfulness about  “Relevant Applicable Scripture”. We debated if excluding specifically named individuals would exempt us, generally speaking. Truth shouldn’t be controversial, but when  examining lives like Socrates, The Imhotep Pharaoh Lineage, Shaka Zulu (Murdered by his brother) and Last But Not The Least “The Christ”, well…- Honestly and in 2020, there is a “Cursed” seed of liars, Deceivers and demons intent with “Mission”! Most ‘Simps will never be persuaded! As The African Proverb goes- “A Fool convinced against their will, is a Fool no matter still”! 

    4. Our Mission? We said it on Frontline “Justice For Sale”, NPR “Shintech”, in numerous books and Hollywood winning Documentaries, AMPAS! 

    a. Expose Lies and Deceit, then you decide! Provide a “Preponderance” of evidence! 

    5. “You can’t fix Stupid”, therefore? Those who have eyes will see and ears hear! 

    a. Favorite “2 Words” of of 99.999% of Liars, Deceivers and/or Criminals? “PRIOR” to Public Exposure- “Not Me”!!!  

    b. Favorite “2 Words” Post Public Proof and exposure-“I’m sorry” (Exclude “Sociopaths”)! 

    c. What generally happens after “I’m sorry”? 99.999%  deepen covert continued operations aka of “More of the same”!!! Leopards and Spots, right? 

    d. Somebody said? “Stupid ain’t worth educating” aka “You can Fool some of the people all of the time”! How do Deceivers get elected over and over…, aka 90% of incumbents get “Re- elected”? You would think, most would simply “Look Around” and see the ubiquitous garbage ‘Dat surround them. What you see impacts your state of mind! In The Godfather Movie, what was said? “Give it to The Blacks (Should have said “Negroes”), they ‘luv trashing their own communities”/Paraphrased)! The Dialectic Approach, right?

    6. The Point? Before a Great Return (To you, LOL, right?). Scripture “Guarantees” at least “3” Things and more!

    a. Deceit and “Manners” of Demons will be exposed, for exactly who and what they are!

    b. “Filthy Lucre” aka wealth, will reign for a time! “Those with eyes will see! 

    c. “GUARANTEED”- “Pride will go before the Fall”!!! A man filled his barns, then dropped dead! A Voice said- “Thou Fool, did you not know thy soul would be required of thee this  very day”? In 2020 and unfortunately, lots are already crying out across “A Great Gulf Fixed”! As we speak- ChemTrails, CERN, The Anti- Christ like Trump-er et al, are seeing to it! The Deceiving Media, especially Weather Agents and the Idiot Brain Dead Tube is more than complicit! Just like in Noah’s time- The Revelers are many and they are giving and taking everything in marriage! Drunk with all manner of “Filth”- We just ‘sayin…

    7. Choices are “Clear”!!! “They have become exactly what they deceive themselves to be”! Did U- Haul move them into ‘Dat Castle in The Sky? Is ‘Dis ‘Thang on…? 

    Peace Out…

  2. Why Freedom of Religion? Ever wondered why?

    LBRC- Why did Constitutional Founders make “Freedom of Religion” 1 of The Bill of Rights? Initial Founders, though flawed, were studied Historians and “Scholars”! Rare in  2020! Today’s Politico Leadership is Programed Rote, Entertainment, Reality Show Ignorance, News and Stupidity!!! “Group Think” guarantees Conformity, Arrogance and Mass, pun intended, Illiteracy”! To the question?

    1. As studied Historians, founders lived under a a colony of ” King George’s preferences”!  

    2. Founders also recalled Christian Crusades, Arab and Muslim Expansions like what evolved in Spain! They anticipated, like an 1845 Southern Baptist religious “Rebellion”!  Sin is “Rebellious”! Southern Baptist and Christians said- “Slavery and “Murder” was apropos for children too and Southern Slave Owners made “Great Missionaries”! When Northern Baptist said no? Southern Baptist broke away! They re- enslaved and murdered so- called “Free” Blacks and others! Why they always say- “Let’s not talk about Slavery, forget it” aka “The Truth”! The Most High Curses “Forgetfulness”, especially what He Told you to “Do” and where “Real Blessings” come from! “No” weapon formed against Him, His or His Truth shall Prosper! Threaten if you dare!  

    3. Morons pervert comprehension! #45, Barr, Nixon and an outlier Harvard Lawyer offers up all ‘Dat and a Bag of Chips! “Deep 6 The U.S. Constitution, right? 

    4. What does “Freedom of Religion” mean? For Illiterates (Never Learned), Ignorant (Don’t know)- No “Legislation or Law” which gives respect (Def: A relation or Reference to a Particular Thing) for any religion, commonly adopted practice, by any who do according in their view, is utterly “Unconstitutional and Illegal”! Evangelicals rule NEOCONS! 

    a. Governmental Legislation has the authority to compel citizens! In Afghanistan, Iran, the “Taliban” can too! In The Antebellum South, Southern Baptist, Massa et al, compelled Enslaved to be Catholic! In 2020, Negroes just ‘luv ‘Dat Catholic (Pedophiles, Idols et al) as much as they ‘luv ‘Dat Popeyes!!! We just ‘sayin…

    b. 2020 Evangelicals still say Jesus is Caucasian, White and right! Much, much better than being just Darn Near or almost! In NOLA, The Brown Paper Bag Standard, right? Isn’t an Americanized Negro ‘Sum ’em! These same and complicit ilk, cut babies from the womb of Enslaved Mothers and fed them to Alligators! These Savages mailed “Pictoral” Post Cards to friends and family (Google it! On YouTube- “Without Sanctuary” and “The Delectable Negro” for human fried liver lovers)! These say everybody should be so- called “Pro Life” (Jim Mora might respond- “Life…, Life…, Life???)?  What did Christ say about “Choice”? How might Bill Clinton define it? ‘It depends on what the meaning of Choice is, is? A real definition? Choose: transitive verb- to select freely, to make a selection/Webster/

    3. Deuteronomy 30:19- I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore ‘choose’ life, that both thou and thy seed may live:/end/ Who gave you a Right to “Choose”?

     a. Who doubts The Most High has The Power and Authority to take away “Choice”? He Will, but when “He Chooses” in “His” Own Time and Space!!! Moses said choose! Abraham told Lot to choose and Lot went to Gomorrah! The Most High told Jonah where to go, but he chose The Belly of a Whale! David knew the difference between Adultery and Fornication aka “None”- “Both” mean having sex with a person you aren’t married to”! David “Choose” Adultery anyway and yada, yada…, what saved them? Repent! Evangelicals, Racist, White Supremist, Complicit Coons just won’t! Pure Evil? Never, just like #45! Their “choice”! 

    b. Satan and his approx. 200 made a “choice”! Once expelled, they pleaded for return! Too bad…,  The Most High said “No”, The “Divine Court”! 

    c. Hypocrites, Politicos practice Deceit and Lies! Does “Pro Choice” mean one is not “Pro Life”? Is it impossible to be “Pro Life” if you’re “Pro Choice”? The Most High told us to choose, Duh? Don’t murder then say self- defense, not even “Medically”! Don’t sit on Juries and “murder” the “innocent”! We can’t take from you what The Most High gave! No one can! You can surrender it! “Hell” and “A Great Gulf Fixed” is a “choice”! More importantly- “30:19- I call heaven and earth to “record” this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore “choose” life!/ The Most High Judges “Divinely” for Eternity! NOT US OR YOU Imhotep! Constitutional Founders knew more in 1789, than you do in 2020 with every technology aka “Wiser and Weaker”! These who oppose The Most High, believe in their right of “Pro Choice” to choose for others! Just like who is superior and inferior aka “Junk Science”! They and their stupid Coon “Bobble Heads” agree, tremble, then support and are complicit with Evil! Is ‘Dis ‘Thang on! 

    Peace Out… 

  3. Seeds of Incompetence Part 2-

    LBRC- Let’s Compare and Contrast- A City Mayor after Swearing in and A New Home Owner?

    1. Who oversees the “Competent” operation of and upkeep of a “Newly” purchased home? Who assigns or appoints contractors to maintain the efficient operation of plumbing, electrical, landscape and all associated upkeep, Minor and Major? Who “Pays” for incompetent and/or shoddy maintenance? Where does the buck stop? 

    a. A Home Owner moved in is “Totally” responsible, regardless warranties! How does a “Responsible” Home Owner pass the buck on to others not named on the Deed?

    b. The same goes for Mayor, any city, with respect to responsibility! The Mayor appoints and should to oversee “All” operations! When operations prove negligent, whose judgement was it to put or allow to remain in place, negligenparties in  positions, leaving citizens open to liabilities which include but not limited to “Monetary”? When Racist Cops aren’t screened properly, or simply ignored, when their record speaks Complaints,  especially by un- Citizens? Who appointed Chief? Who pays for Malfeasance,   “Fake Subpoenas”? Politicos diatribes and excuses, due what, “More Taxes” will always solve everything, right? 

    2. Home Owners Liability Insurance is about risk. Tax Payers  Insure Politico  “Negligence” and  Incompetence”! When Citizens, Businesses Flood due to negligence? Citizens pay twice for services “Not Rendered” and in increased fees!  A competent Citizenry wouldn’t tolerate “More of The Same” aka “Insanity”! “Newly” appointed so- called “Highly Qualified” means what? “Out of Town” we comprehend! More Flooding, associated cost and inflated bills, right? The Mayor “appoints”? How do excuses “Make Whole again”? Not all are Citizen Saps, but Saps are born every 7 seconds! Excuses disguise incompetence!  

    3. Why don’t Politicos establish “Benchmarks for Saving” Citizen Taxes and abating? How much are Citizens willing to pour into Rat Hole Budgets, especially “Miscellaneous and General”? Let’s start with salary reductions! Tie salaries to savings and decreased “Miscellaneous”!  “Competence saves, not waste! Citizens pay all Bills! They deserve “10X less in taxes”!  Cancel all “1” issue tax Election Propositions for Puppet ‘Massa and save $500K each (Soon we’ll be talking real money)!  

    4. What relevant “Qualifications” do Politicos have other than my Father or family is? Same ‘ole Dupe, “Rhetoric” Flourishes? Their real experiences, to “More of The Same”! Some can’t balance personal check books! Mary, Joseph, Marta…

    5. Few Politicos are or ever were “Real” Civil Servants, unless salaried! How many ever  served without pay? Citizens are the Volunteers, right (btw- Wendell Pierce works a “Full Time” Profession internationally, Volunteers and Contributes Above Average in Dollars and Time! He leads! The typical Politico won’t return a polite email on their ‘Glute)! Generally, when you hear politicians bragging about community service, it’s about “Play for Paid” at some 501c or “Government” work “For Pay”! Few ever get involved minus Lucre, lots Filthy! Real Public Servants “Just Do it”!  

    6. Most Politicos have already been handsomely rewarded for what they didn’t do!  

    7. Don’t get it twisted! Competence is about what you do everyday! Lots are tagged “Hero”! “Competence Eliminates The Necessity for Heroes” and “Real Heroes are the ones who remedy incompetence and/or Negligence with “Heroic Acts” of Service! Hero is an Oxymoron to Politico! Synonyms- Greedy, Scammer, Con, Coward, Gift of Gabber! 

    Peace Out… 

  4. Again, your 2020 NOLA Seed…, Disparate Negro Insurance Rates?…
    LBRC- Negroes ‘Stuntun in Polester and still Rolling ‘R’s? Feel Good Politics minus  Agendas and Newly Negro Coons Chasing “bags”, who will not challenge, criticize ‘Massa and why emerging literate young people have respectfully “Cancelled Them”!

    1. Old Negroes and most “Boomers” were “Social Climbers”! “Light Skinned” aka “NOLA Paper Bag Negroes” isolated and demeaned so- called “Un- Assimulated Barker Hues”! Light, Bright and Darn Near “White” said? “The Darkies want us, we’re not running after them”? Problematic is and with respect to women? Who held guns to the heads of “so- called” Lighter Hue “Negro Creoles” to date or marry “Darker Hues”? Could it be, so- called Negro Creole women preferred a “Darker Hue”? Would so- called Negro Creole men confess this? Don’t get it twisted! There are two sides to every coin. Yes, it’s possible and more than likely, Negroes with devasted self esteem issues in America would see “Genetic Phenotype Bleaching” as distancing themselves from demeaning stereotypes. Conversely, it’s also plausible- “Lots of Lighter Hues with respect to skin, “Preferred” Darker Phenotypes! The number of “Caucasion Women” and “Natural Blondes” with respect to marrying Darker Hues of Black Men has increased, not decreased, and so has “Interacial Marriages”! Logic 101- If you could have the “Real Object of ‘Massa’s Desire” aka his quintessential Blonde? Why except a “Plastic Head” dyed, fried and laid to the side? We just ‘askin?…, Hmmm…

    2. NOLA is “The Brown Bag” capital of the U.S.! Insurance rates are among the highest! Here is why ‘some say Stupid ain’t worth educating and “You can’t fix Stupid!

    a. The 2020 La. Insurance Commissioner says, he carried majority “Negro” NOLA with a 54% voter mandate! Huh???

    b. The Insurance Commissioner “Approves All” Preminum Increases! NOLA has the “Highest” Rates in the State of Louisiana, Negro Communities rate “Highest”! 

    c. This same Commissioner says “company” savings have reduced by at least 54%! Say what? “Citizen’s Savings” Imhotep? Adding insult to injury, he “said”- “I can’t deny Insurance Companies from making profits”? Well now- Why is an “Elected” (By People”) Insurance Commissioner concerned with profits for Insurance Companies Einstein? Isn’t “Capitalism”, not Crony, about what companies do to earn them, rather than an elected official who wants to ensure they are profitable? This ‘thang is upside down Socrates!!! btw- Loud mouth say ‘nuttun Negroes ‘luv to complain, they get “High” listenening to themselves talk, yet- Whenever afforded an opportunity to confront ‘Massa head on,  how many have the spine? As always, Crickets!!! These are the typical “Hit and Run” aka “Drive By Comment Negroes! They’ll challenge knowledgeable Blacks when facts speak for themselves aka “They self Hate to Hate on other Blacks” aka “If ‘Massa says it, not you, it has to be True” aka the “Willie Lynch ‘Simp!!! 

    3. Lots of 2020 Negroes are ‘Stuntun in Colorful Polyester, rolling ‘R, deep in debt!  Don’t get it twisted! We are “Pro” English Articulation, reasons? Ans. Food, Clothing and Shelter whereby Quality of Life probabilities dramatic increase! Problematic is? Too often  Actors get sucked into believing they are the roles they “Portend and Pretend” to play aka “Ebonics Articulation vs The king’s English”! Subsistence existence and survival? Over 400 yrs. is a relatively long length of time to acquiesce aka “I need to bleach and teach, dye and die, make plastic my scalp which is drastic and dye my eyes! Hello…? Problematic- What happens upon “A Great Return” and The Man you see has “Feet The Color of Burnt Brass” and Hair so- called nappy (Real Curly) like Wool? “HE’LL FIX STUPID!!! Uh oh Imhotep!!!  Peace Out… 

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by Theresa E. DiDonato Ph.D.

Don’t just survive—thrive in your relationship.

Romantic relationships require nurturing, but how do you best nurture an existing relationship?

Part of the problem is that, over time, every relationship develops patterns. Patterns in behaviors, patterns in emotions, patterns in what we expect from our partners (and ourselves). These patterns define our everyday interactions. They might be healthy enough to keep a relationship going, but if you’re looking for a relationship to thrive (not just survive) then pointed efforts to enhance your relationship patterns could be exactly what the doctor ordered.

How to help your relationship thrive, not just survive

Relationship scientists strive to identify the patterns that predict healthy relationship functioning. Evidence suggests its worth your time to consider adopting or doubling-down your effort to do the following:

1. Practice responsiveness. Responsiveness helps alleviate the potential adverse effects of stress in relationships. We know relationships can suffer in the face of one or both partners’ work stress, family stress, or any other kind of potentially toxic threat from external to the relationship. When people practice responsiveness, they are giving full attention to their partner, really listening and expressing care and concern. This gesture goes a long way in protecting a relationship, including from the stressors tied to the pandemic (Balzarini et al., 2020).

2. Make your phone an asset, not a liability. If you’ve heard of technoference (technology + interference), you’re probably familiar with the idea that phones can be problematic in relationships. You’ve got texts to read, social media sites to check, online shopping to do… but when people are distracted by their phones to the point where they are ignoring their partners, relationship well-being can suffer. This partner “phubbing” (phone + snubbing”) is now well-documented (Roberts & David, 2016).

But did you know phones can be used to improve relationships? Sending positive text messages can boost relationship satisfaction (Luo & Tuney, 2015), a simple step that can support the health and wellness of your relationship.

3. Foster psychological flexibility. It’s easy to rigidly want what you want and make demands, but research suggests that couples — and families — do better when people practice psychological flexibility. Being open, aware, considering the context, and keeping perspective all go a long way in reducing negativity (and not escalating problems). Fortunately, psychological flexibility can be developed with practice.

4. Get to know each other in a new way. When was the last time you and your partner talked one-on-one about your fears, joys, memories, or hopes? When chatting about casual topics or day-to-day plans becomes routine, consider introducing an intimacy builder through conversation.

A classic study showed that couples who engage in self-disclosing conversation experience an increase in feelings of closeness relative to those who engage in small-talk (Aron, Aron, Vallone, & Bator, 1997). Perhaps fall in love all over again by asking each other intimate questions, engaging in authentic self-disclosure, and responsively attending to each others’ responses.

5. Reminisce about the funny times. Not every day is an exciting day in the life of a relationship, but we do have memories that we can call upon, no matter what the circumstances. Research suggests that couples who spend time reminiscing about laughing together reported higher relationship satisfaction than those couples who reminisced about other memories (Bazzini, Stack, Martincin, & Davis, 2007). So dig through the memory archive, and when your relationship needs a boost, share a conversation about times that had you laughing.article continues after advertisement

6. Feel and express gratitude. Relationships are built on small behaviors, and gratitude is a wonderful example of a small but powerful behavior that can make a positive difference in relationships. To feel gratitude requires noticing what your partner does for you, your family, or your relationship; it’s an other-oriented emotion.

When people express gratitude to their partners, it produces a cascade of positive outcomes (Algoe, Gable, & Maisel, 2010). Their partners feel more connected and more satisfied in the relationship, and gratitude increases their work to improve the relationship (Gordon, Impett, Kogan, Oveis, & Keltner, 2012).

Relationships are not static. Paying attention to patterns in your relationship can give you insight into your dynamic, and if it’s a good relationship but could be better, then small steps like the ones listed above may help. Infusing behaviors that foster closeness and responsiveness can support strong relationship functioning.


A Review of Sorry to Bother You (2018)

by Jordan Rock

Here’s the hot take: “Sorry to Bother You” is the most hilarious horror film I’ve seen in years. It’s on Hulu, go and watch it if you want to have a spiteful belly laugh at corporate politics. Are you still here? Okay, let’s dive in.   


If you’re black, and you’ve had a white boss, then you’re familiar with Code-Switching.

For most of us, it starts early. A teacher sends you home with a note for your parents, and they raise an eyebrow because it says, “Crass language” or “Doesn’t speak clearly.”

Bias starts early

Maybe you got sent to an extracurricular “Speech” class that beat a transatlantic (Read: White) accent into you. Then your uppity bourgeoisie English teacher would stop telling you to speak “properly.” You travel outside your hometown and you get people asking about your accent – every other time you speak. You get a job, and your manager has to tell you over and over again that the way you talk is “too aggressive” for customers, or some corporate rep asks you to repeat yourself because they aren’t familiar with “Ebonics.”

You keep hearing that the voice of your hometown is unprofessional and abrasive from people in authority. It starts to sink in that your own culture is unprofessional. Like a core aspect of who you are has no place in business. Over time, you start to associate clear diction and deliberate phrasing and “proper” syntax with professionalism. You internalize the idea that you need to speak like a white person to come off as professional. This is what I refer to as code-switching, and it is in the enforcement of this idea that office politics attempt to colonize you.


So, what does that have to do with “Sorry to Bother You”?

EVERYTHING. Here’s the breakdown. Sorry to Bother You was released in 2018, and it takes place in modern-day Oakland. Written and directed by Boots Riley (writer, musician, activist), the movie stars Lakeith Stanfield (Get Out, Straight Outta Compton) as Cassius “Cash” Green.

Cash is a pretty accurate depiction of me back in 2019: broke, exhausted, and frustrated from having to bust his ass and hustle day and night just to make rent. Every day, Cash drives his busted up car to his new, crappy telemarketing job, and every night, he goes and drinks with his girlfriend, an artist named Detroit played by Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarök, Selma, Creed) and muses about how he wants to escape this life of just scraping by.


As it turns out, he’s pretty trash at telemarketing, opening with a hesitant “Uh, hey, sorry to bother you, but-“ before his customers hang up.

After several failed calls, his co-worker from the next cubicle over gives him some life-changing advice. “You wanna make some money here? Then read your script with a white voice.”

It starts with trying to subdue your drawl

Then speak with clear diction in job interviews, then you blink, and you realize that you no longer sound anything like your parents. It’s like rain on a car’s paint job. It doesn’t do anything at first. But if nothing is done, the water eats at the paint and wears it away over time until spots of rust start to show.

Code-switching is a survival tactic, you see, but you don’t think about it as an invasion into your own personal culture until somebody tells you “Well, you don’t sound black.” It’s subtle, but it eats away at you.

It’s at this point that “Sorry to Bother You” takes a ludicrous turn. Cash’s co-worker gives an example of the “White Voice;” a sample. And it sounds hilariously unnatural. It’s clearly some dude dubbing over this grizzled, laid back co-worker played by Danny Glover (too many roles to mention) in a nasally Ned Flanders-esque, overly familiar tone that instantly got a laugh out of me. It’s so jarring that it leaves you open for the absurdity that’s to come.

 It doesn’t take much practice for Cash to pick up the “White Voice” (dubbed by David Cross from Modern Family). And miraculously, it works like a charm.

People on the other end of the phone line gravitate toward the laid-back, earnest ease in Cash’s affectation, and he instantly starts closing deals left, right, and center. It doesn’t take him long to earn a raise and basically become the star of the sales floor, for what its worth.

What it’s worth doesn’t turn out to be much.

The working conditions and the pay from this job are so poor that the workers form a union led by Cash’s friend Squeeze, played by Steven Yuen (Walking Dead, Voltron: Legendary Defender, Final Space) and stage a floor-wide walkout.

Cash participates in this protest, and later gets called into the manager’s office. He expects to get the axe but is instead offered a promotion so lucrative that it will change his life if he takes it.

What follows is the story of Cash’s rise in the corporate world, and the moral compromises he makes along the way in the pursuit of a “better” life. And all he has to do to keep making money is use that “White Voice.”

 At the start it’s just a ridiculous gimmick, a creepy voice he can use as a party trick at the bar but, over time, the white voice becomes Cash’s voice.

He, and as an extension, we the audience, are barely aware that it’s happening. But Cash starts using the voice when he doesn’t have to, As a joke. Then in casual conversation. Then at all hours during work. It starts popping up when he’s not even trying to use it and acts as a barrier between himself and his friends and family.

As Cash’s life changes, so does his perspective. This movie puts the insidious, colonizing nature of code-switching on full display, and it is the main source of this film’s creeping dread.

That, and as the film goes on, it earns it’s “sci-fi comedy horror” tags. I’m not going to spoil the major twists here but believe me when I say that the climax of “Sorry to Bother You” needs to be seen to be believed.

With all that said, I highly recommend this movie. If you’ve ever had to tone down your accent for work, been told you don’t sound right by someone in authority, or that you “don’t sound black,” you owe it to yourself to check out Sorry to Bother You.

“Sorry to Bother You” is currently available for streaming on Hulu, Vudu and Amazon Prime, and is also purchasable on Youtube and Google Play.


Check out the Trailer:

Charisse JonesUSA TODAYhttps://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.435.0_en.html#goog_978138837

A key pledge in President Joe Biden’s plan to build the nation “back better’’ is to be bolder in addressing the systemic racism that has hindered the advancement of Black Americans, and other people of color, for generations.

The pursuit of racial and economic justice informed the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose birth is being celebrated in a national holiday Monday. And along with health care disparities laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the police abuse brought to light by the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless other African Americans, economic inequality is front and center in the national consciousness.

“These crises have ripped the blinders off the systemic racism in America,” Biden said of COVID-19 and the nation’s struggling economy in written remarks delivered Dec. 11, when he announced nominees to his governing team.

“The Black and Latino unemployment gap remains too large,” he continued. “And communities of color are left to ask whether they will ever be able to break the cycle where in good times they lag, in bad times they are hit first and the hardest, and in recovery they take the longest to bounce back.”

Biden’s proposals include boosting lending to entrepreneurs of color; creating and restoring parks and infrastructure in Black, Latino and indigenous communities; and empowering the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to more forcefully root out discrimination in the workplace. He will take office Wednesday. 

Biden’s plan for COVID aid:Here’s how a Biden stimulus plan could impact wages, stimulus payments and unemployment checks

A nation divided:As Biden prepares to take office and America reels from Capitol riots, Black and white still define the nation

But the challenge of narrowing a racial gap that spans areas from homeownership to wages to property taxes is vast.

While the Biden-Harris administration has outlined “solid proposals” to challenge some economic inequities, to significantly “rectify racial and socioeconomic disparities that exist within Black communities, they need to address the root causes of these issues,” says Arisha Hatch, vice president and chief of campaigns for the racial justice group Color Of Change.

President-elect Joe Biden is pictured speaking at The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Delaware.

“With the systemic racism that has locked us out of job opportunities, education, and access to health care,” Hatch said, “it’s going to take more than well-intentioned plans to close the racial wealth gap for Black communities.”

Black homeownership: Lowest level in 50 years

An array of policies, practices and in some cases, outright violence, have impeded the ability of African Americans to own, or hold onto, their own homes, a key asset for building wealth. 

In 2019, homeownership among whites stood at 73.3% compared with a homeownership rate of 42.8% among Black households, the widest gap since 1983, according to Harvard University’s State of the Nation’s Housing 2020 report, sponsored by Habitat for Humanity.

The economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic may make that disparity even greater. 

While 36% of homeowners lost pay from March through September, 41% of African American homeowners saw a drop in income according to the Harvard report, citing data from the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey. And at the end of September, 17% of African Americans who owned a home were behind on paying their mortgage versus 7% of whites, the report said.

April 11, 1968: Fair Housing Act     • Location:  Washington, D.C. The Fair Housing Act of 1968, one of the last pieces of civil rights legislation signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, banned discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, creed, national origin, or sex. The measure, intended to add to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, had been held up in Congress, but passed quickly by the House of Representatives following the slaying of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 outlawed housing discrimination. But “these barriers continue,” says Kilolo Kijakazi, an Institute Fellow with the Urban Institute, a think tank focused on economic and social policy.

Homebuyers of color, for instance, were frequently steered toward high-interest subprime loans that are more difficult to repay, even when those same customers qualified for more affordable lending options. That left them more vulnerable to potentially losing their homes. 

The subprime lending crisis contributed to the Great Recession that began in 2007.

“African American homeownership is at the lowest level that it’s been in 50 years in part due to some of the loss incurred after the subprime lending debacle,’’ Kijakazi says.

Lack of homeownership creates a domino effect, depriving families of assets to hand down, and equity that can be tapped to seed a business, pay for unexpected expenses like medical care, or to fund higher education.

“If you’re Black and your parents didn’t own a home, you’re more likely to take out loans,” says Andre Perry, a senior fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings, and author of “Know Your Price: Valuing Black Lives and Property in America’s Black Cities.” “So wealth begets wealth. But a lack of wealth also begets debt, and that’s what’s happening all across the country.”

Destruction and theft of property

And then there was theft. In perhaps the first documented theft of Black people’s property, Virginia’s 1705 law took and sold off possessions belonging to “any slave,” and the profits were directed to benefit “the poor,” according to “Stamped From The Beginning” by anti-racism scholar Ibram X. Kendi.

“The story would be told many times in American history,” Kendi wrote. “Black property legally or illegally seized, the resulting Black destitution blamed on Black inferiority, the past discrimination ignored when the blame was assigned.”

In the 19th and early decades of the 20th century, white mobs frequently attacked and destroyed thriving Black communities.

An African-American photographer  looking at the ruins of the Midway Hotel. The Goodner-Malone Co. is in the background.

“Greenwood, Rosewood… the reality is that was going on all over the United States,” Perry says of communities in Oklahoma and Florida that in 1921 and 1923 experienced two of the most infamous episodes of such destruction.

The Tulsa massacre, which destroyed that city’s all-Black Greenwood District, began after a 19-year-old African American man, Dick Rowland, was accused of allegedly attempting to rape a 17-year-old white elevator attendant, Sarah Page.

Goaded by articles in the local newspaper, and likely fueled by white resentment of the success and affluence of the district known as “Black Wall Street,” whites descended on the community of roughly 10,000, burning 1,500 homes to the ground and bombing more than 600 Black-owned businesses, according to the Tulsa Historical Society.

Thousands were left homeless, and personal property and financial losses and damages totaled over $2 million, including cash some residents kept at home because they didn’t trust white-owned banks.  

Two years later, a days-long massacre destroyed the Black community of Rosewood, Florida, as an alleged attack of a white woman by a Black man spurred mobs to torture and murder African American residents and burn the town to the ground. 

In more recent decades, so-called urban renewal efforts that officially set out to revamp blighted pockets of cities often stripped Black Americans of their property without sufficient compensation.

For instance, eminent domain was used starting in the 1960s to clear more than 500 acres in the predominantly African American southwest section of Washington, D.C., uprooting 1,500 businesses and displacing 23,000 mostly Black residents, according to a paper co-authored by Kijakazi.Will Kamala Harris as vice president finally change how corporate America sees and treats Black women? Stimulus checks: There’s a new round of scams, too. Here’s how to avoid them Three signs your money management skills need an overhaul Trying to pay off debt? Here are 4 mistakes to avoid when doing that. The Daily Money: Subscribe to our newsletter

Redlining now outlawed

Redlining, a discriminatory practice that prevented Black homebuyers from getting mortgages, also left many Black neighborhoods depleted.

While redlining is now outlawed, underinvestment in Black neighborhoods continues, Perry says. And the new building and restoration that comes with gentrification often result in Blacks being displaced, unable to afford higher taxes or rents, as more affluent whites move in.

“You’d be surprised how much destruction you can do with tax policy,” Perry continues, “by selling off land to developers without consideration of the Black communities around them. It can absolutely devastate a community like a bomb.’’

Overtaxed: Blacks pay more property taxes

In 1910, it’s estimated that African Americans owned up to 16 million acres of land. Today, they own under 5 million acres, says historian Andrew Kahrl, a professor at the University of Virginia who has extensively studied African American landownership. 

Based on Black population numbers in 2020 as compared with 1910, the average Black American owned 14.5 times more land a century ago than they do today, according to a USA TODAY analysis.

One reason for that staggering loss is property taxes, which, at times, have been used overtly to strip African Americans of their property.

“A lot of this was very subtle” Kahr saysl. “Many African American landowners didn’t know they were being overtaxed… But over time, it added up to being a very heavy burden with long-term consequences for Black wealth-building and economic mobility.’’

1954: Brown vs. Board of Education     • Date:  May 17     • Location:  Washington D.C. In a landmark case involving Linda Brown of Topeka, Kansas, who had to cross a railroad track to reach an all-black elementary school even though an all-white school was closer, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the segregated school system was unconstitutional on the basis of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. The clause would be used again by the courts to reverse state-level racial segregation practices and ordinances.     ALSO READ: Most Important Historical Event in Every State

During the time of “Jim Crow,” when segregation and discrimination against Black Americans were enshrined in local and state laws, white landowners in the South, particularly those with a large amount of property, would often be given unreasonably low assessments, and local officials would shift the tax burden to smaller, often African American landowners.

“It’s putting your thumb on the scale for white landowners,” says Kahrl. But additionally “it was part of a larger philosophy of taxation that guided Jim Crow policy in general and is a part of our politics today … A philosophy of taxation that tried to sock it to the poor, the Black poor in particular, out of a sense that they weren’t deserving of the benefits of those tax dollars to begin with.’’

The discrimination could be blatant. In 1967, white officials in the town of Edwards, Mississippi, doubled the assessed value of most homes owned by African Americans to punish Black residents who were protesting the town’s continuing discrimination.

But even if bias is unintentional, structural issues continue to put Black taxpayers at a disadvantage.

Today, Black and Latino residents pay 10% to 13% more in property taxes than their white counterparts, according to a paper published in June by Carlos Fernando Avenancio-León of Indiana University and Troup Howard of the University of California, Berkeley.

That may be due in part to a history of segregation and underinvestment in communities of color. Assessments are based on the perceived market value of a home, and tax officials may factor in a house’s number of bedrooms or size, but not whether it’s located near a park or highly regarded school, features that can inflate a home’s worth.

Because Black neighborhoods are less likely to have amenities like parks or highly regarded schools, even a white owner’s home would be less valued in a Black neighborhood. 

And Black and Latino homeowners – who appeal their assessments less, win those appeals less often, and see smaller tax cuts than whites when they are successful –  tend to pay higher property taxes wherever they live. Lack of access to lawyers, and a reluctance to trust and challenge the official process are some of the reasons.

Bias on the part of potential buyers also plays a role.

“The same property in the hands of an African American, or located in a predominantly Black neighborhood is going to be devalued because of its location” or the race of its owner, says Kahrl, who was not involved with the Indiana University and U.C. Berkeley study. “Invariably, it means the assessment is at a higher percentage of market value than white-owned property.” 

An activist wears a "Fight For $15" T-shirt during a news conference prior to a vote on the Raise the Wage Act July 18, 2019 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. The legislation would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 by 2025.

The pay gap: Blacks paid less than whites

In 2016, the net worth of a typical white family was $171,000, almost 10 times that of an African American family, which typically had a net worth of  $17,409, according to Brookings.

While wealth involves assets that go beyond weekly wages, income plays a significant part, and Black Americans on average are paid less than their white peers, no matter their profession or education.

Recent census data reported that the median income for white non-Hispanic households was $76,057 in 2019, a 5.7% increase over the previous year, and an 8.2% increase since 2000.

The median income for Black households saw a steeper spike – 8.5% – in one year. But it hovered at $46,073 in 2019 and had crept up just 1.4% from where median income was in 2000. 

“There are barriers in the labor market that further contribute to the gender and racial wealth gap,” says Kijakazi, who added that African American workers also experience higher rates of joblessness at every level of education. “Racial discrimination in hiring has persisted despite the enactment of legislation.”

Black men on average make 71 cents for every dollar paid to white men, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Black women, meanwhile, earn 63 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. That adds up to a loss of $24,127 a year for Black women, or $965,078 over the course of a work-life spanning 40 years, according to an analysis by the American Association of University Women. 

Lower wages, longer gaps in employment, and jobs that are less likely to offer pensions or savings plans like 401(k) plans also impact how much income people have to carry them through retirement. 

“African American seniors are less likely to have financial assets, retirement accounts, and home equity than white seniors,” says a July 2019 paper, “African American Economic Security and the Role of Social Security,” that was co-written by Kijikazi.

Remedies to root out systemic biases

Despite entrenched beliefs in race, there are ways to root out systemic biases, experts say.  

“We created these concepts to suppress, we can create new concepts to create inclusion,” Perry says. Black Americans “are over-policed. We are discriminated against in the job market. These things you can correct, and it will help change the perception of people of color.”

Remedies to bridge the wealth gap can include measures like federal job guarantees, in which any adult who wants a job can get one from the government, higher taxes on wealth versus income, and the introduction of trusts known as “baby bonds,” economists, civil rights advocates and lawmakers say. Such initiatives would also have an impact on lower-income families regardless of race. 

Conceived by the economist Darrick Hamilton, baby bonds would be federally funded accounts set up for every child born in the U.S., with larger contributions given overtime to those in poorer families. 

In July 2019, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.,  and Representative Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., reintroduced the American Opportunity Accounts Act, which would start every newborn with $1,000. Each child would receive up to $2,000 more each year, based on their family’s earnings, and at age 18, he or she could tap that money to buy a home or pay for higher education.

The Biden administration also has some promising initiatives, says Hatch of Color of Change. They include improved access to credit that could help narrow the racial wealth gap, and making sure that half of new funds allocated by a federal Paycheck Protection Program go to businesses with no more than 50 employees. That could be especially helpful to Black-owned businesses, the majority of which are solo ventures or employ no more than two people.

“Our priority will be Black, Latino, Asian and Native American-owned small businesses,” Biden said when announcing his economic and jobs team on Jan. 8. “We’re going to make a concerted effort to help small businesses in low-income communities, in big cities, small towns, rural communities that have faced systemic barriers to relief.’’ 

Still, more far-reaching measures, like federal business grants and a higher minimum wage are also necessary, Hatch says. 

“What we need from the Biden-Harris administration is a federal jobs guarantee, an influx of affordable housing, a higher federal minimum wage, and much more,” Hatch says. “If Black communities are going to survive this crisis, we need the new administration to act with the urgency this moment requires.” 

Biden has said he is hopeful it will be easier to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour now that Democrats control Congress in the wake of Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff winning the recent Georgia runoff elections for two seats in the Senate.

With such initiatives, race could perhaps become less of a barrier and more of a marker to measure progress and change.

“You can’t create a whole society based on race and then” just stop, says Deena Hayes-Greene, co-founder of The Racial Equity Institute. “We have to take account of race until we change the structure that perpetuates these differences over and over again. Then we can stop checking the boxes.’’

Contributing: Jayme Fraser

LLOYD EDISON LAZARD’S SERVICES SET

 

NEW ORLEANS—Lloyd Edison Lazard’s Celebration of Life Service will be held Friday, January 22, 2021 at Littlejohn Funeral Home, 2163 Aubry Street in New Orleans. Viewing begins at high Noon and the private service at 1:00 p.m. The event will be live-streamed at ww.facebook.com/viewfuneralnow.

Lazard, 80, passed from heart complications on January 3, 2021 in Atlanta, while visiting his daughters.

Lloyd “Rip” Lazard

Lazard’s community activism covered a range of topics, including education, governmental affairs, small business advocacy, and civil and human rights. He spoke truth to power at the New Orleans City Council, and on radio and television broadcasts.

Lazard served in the U.S. Air Force before returning to his native New Orleans and attending Loyola University and Delgado Community College. Lazard garnered many “firsts” during various career moves. He left a lucrative position at the Boeing Company to become the first African-American to operate a concession at the N.O. International Airport. He was the founder of the National Slave Ship Museum project and the African American Heritage Cultural Center.

Lazard was known to many as “Rip the Poet.” and for playing the Congo drums. He was also a historian who specialized in African American history and Louisiana history.

Lazard leaves behind four children, two sisters, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and nieces and nephews to cherish his memory.

 For more information about Lloyd Lazard, please contact his sister, Carol LaMotte at 504-858-1645.

An Editorial by Professor Blair D. Condoll, JD

At first glance one might mistake this article as having something  to do with the 1991 Blockbuster film

“Boyz on the Hood “ written and directed by filmmaker John Singleton. Singleton’s story follows the journey of a young Black boy,Tre. Tre goes to live with his father in South Central Los Angeles. The father’s home is in a crime and gang ridden part of town. Tre and his friends struggle to not get caught up in the violence of gang culture. They just want to be normal teenage kids. John Singleton’s movie “Boyz in the Hood” pays homage to the creative dialect of Black neighborhoods. My title “Boys in the Hood”  sheds light on the clandestine Klan like behavior of the Republican Party, the President and his followers.

The piece is not only titled the same but has a similar story line. My story tells how dangerous and violent gang culture can be regarding partisan party politics.  My “Boys in the Hood” takes place in Washington D.C not LA. It stars people like Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and Ted Cruz.

On January 6th I too watched in awe as supporters loyal to President Trump descended upon the nation’s capital at the behest of the President.

HATE GROUPS

Trump Supporters laugh at man in hood

Various hate groups and loyalists stormed the storied halls of Congress. Simultaneously members of the House and Senate treasonously objected to the certification of a valid electoral college vote. They seemingly coordinated with insurrectionists to interrupt the Constitutionally mandated process.

These insurrectionists violently pierced the sacred veil of democracy. They broke windows, battered police and pushed their way unlawfully into the halls of Congress. Nothing else mattered to them except what they believed to be true. But they believed lies. Our narcissistic President told them lies for weeks. Trump refused to concede and claimed the election was fraudulent.

For weeks following the election, President Trump convinced his supporters that the election was stolen. He did so despite the fact that the results of the election had been challenged in many Republican dominated states. These challenges triggered recounts. Also, over 90 lawsuits failed in both state and federal courts. Every claim was dismissed. There was no evidence of significant voter fraud.

Despite the lack of evidence of any fraud, President Trump consistently perpetuated the lie that the election was stolen. He claimed that it is the duty of the Republican Party along with his followers to “stop the steal”.

President Trump preyed upon the historical racial and political divide in this country while profiting politically from the stupidity of his followers.

Requesting that the Proud Boys “stand down and stand by” does not necessarily make the President a racist. Yet the President’s reluctance to publicly denounce such hate groups in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement certainly energized and emboldened them. These groups use coded language like “Make America Great Again”.  Examining their social media reveals a desire to reinstitute Jim Crow era laws and practices in this country.

We have failed to acknowledge the racism baked into American capitalism. Many of the individuals who attended Trump’s rally did not necessarily believe in Trump. Rather they believed that the election of a Democratic president and a Black vice president would signal the beginning of the socialist revolution. Then the wealthy are forced to share some of their wealth and resources with the poor.

Equality is Oppression for the Privileged

They believed that the election of a Democratic president would somehow mean that minorities and the disadvantaged would become more equal. And they believed  that this new equality would somehow take something from those that have enjoyed social and economic superiority for hundreds of years.

After the Capitol insurrection I now fully understand how a millionaire like Donald Rouse would want to attend the rally to overthrow Democracy. Maybe for him and those who attended that rally, democracy means something different. For them American Democracy maintains oppression and white privilege.

For a long time, I often wondered why anyone would ever want to cover themselves with a white hood only to harass, intimidate and cause bodily harm to another. The very fact that you are concealing your identity should be the first clue as to the harmful nature of your acts. The fact that you go through the trouble of making and wearing a hood in order to remain anonymous should sound an alarm. Your humanity and morality should let you know that you are doing something wrong. You are doing something that is either illegal, immoral or has been deemed to be socially unacceptable.

Members of the Ku Klux Klan wore hoods so that after they finished intimidating, harassing and lynching African Americans in the South, they could easily assimilate back into being members of our communities. Even now, they serve as elected officials, members of the police force, doctors, grocers, pastors and yes even your neighbor.

As we come to the end of the Trump Presidency the takeaway for me is that President Trump did not make America Racist Again. Instead he and the Republican Party only made it normal for the racists to show their faces in public without the necessity of wearing a hood.

Hear the Professor Weekdays on WBOK1230am

By Guest Contributor 

Guest column by Okyeame Haley

On Saturday, Jan 2., in true pandemic fashion, admirers of Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson drove around the Louisiana Supreme Court building in New Orleans’ French Quarter to  honor her  retirement as the first African-American woman on the Louisiana Supreme Court and the first African-American chief justice.  I was happy that the pictures and videos of the judge’s celebration didn’t include the gaze of white terror represented by the large and often vandalized statue of Edward Douglass White Jr., a Louisianian who served on the state Supreme Court and as ninth chief justice of the United States Supreme Court.  On Dec. 23, 10 days before Chief Justice Johnson’s drive-by celebration, the state Supreme Court relocated White’s statue from its prominent place at the Court’s entrance.

But by simply moving the statue, the court didn’t go far enough. The statue should have been taken down entirely.

The Louisiana Supreme Court building, for all its architectural beauty, is an artistic celebration of the White men who gave legal power to Louisiana’s historic racial terror against African Americans.  With the exception of a regal portrait of civil rights icon A.P. Tureaud, a substantive museum named for Chief Justice Johnson and a few other pieces of art, the prominent artwork inside the majestic building are portraits of Louisiana’s lawmakers from the 1800s and 1900s.  There is a pervasive and disturbing white supremacist aesthetic at the Louisiana Supreme Court building. 

During my time working at the court, before my workday even started, White’s statue at the Court’s entrance and the expensive paintings of white men who led Louisiana during its apartheid era would disrupt me.  These paintings of White men that supported and embraced terror against African Americans  are not grotesque like the racial terror the men endorsed.  No, they are dignified portraits consistent with the myth of white superiority. Most times, though, I eventually laughed at those paintings knowing that these so-called statesmen never intended that I be in such a  place of privilege. I also laughed knowing that it was unthinkable to them the idea of a Black woman serving as the court’s chief justice. 

Bernette Johnson, Louisiana’s first Supreme Court justice and first Chief Justice retired from the court Dec. 31. (Louisiana Supreme Court)

There have been efforts around the country and especially in New Orleans to rid our public spaces and institutions of white supremacist art and labels, but Louisiana’s Supreme Court didn’t rid itself of  the E.D. White statue; according to a press release from the court, it relocated it to a place “near the court museum.”  The court museum where that statue is being placed has just been named in honor of Chief Justice Johnson.  Johnson is a product of Walter L. Cohen High School, Spelman College and LSU School of Law, which she helped integrate. Her 36 years of public service includes serving as the first woman to take the bench at the Orleans Parish Civil District Court.  Thus, the museum is a visual representation of Black success and of women’s success. Placing E.D. White’s statue next to Chief Justice Johnson’s museum suffocates what little inspirational and democratic light exist in the court’s artwork. 

Chief Justice Johnson’s legacy must be protected.

Chief Justice Johnson’s legacy is one of attempting to bridge the racial divide through integration and the courts, but E. D. White is solidly on the wrong side of history.  His family bought, sold and terrorized enslaved Africans and exploited their labor on its plantations.  E. D. White fought for the Confederacy and supported terror against African Americans his entire career.  Though some emphasize E.D. White’s groundbreaking decisions in the area of business law and antitrust law, as a former professor of business law and tax law, I must say that his embrace and support of terror far outweighs those decisions.  He gets no kudos for antitrust law decisions when he presided over the Plessy v. Ferguson decision that formalized American apartheid.  Unfortunately, E.D. White’s image  and the images of other Louisiana statesmen who defied all notions of human decency are prominently displayed at our taxpayer-funded state Supreme Court.   The court’s decision to move the E.D. White statue inside –- rather than denounce it and remove it entirely -– will further imbue the court’s air with the myth of white superiority.  

Allowing the spirit and legacy and aesthetic of the Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson Museum to shine without the gaze of white terror represented by the E.D. White statue would be a much healthier, and far more democratic option.  But, as the writer James Baldwin said, “any upheaval in the universe is terrifying because it so profoundly attacks one’s sense of one’s own reality.”  And celebrating by itself the monumental achievements of this beautiful Black woman at Louisiana’s highest court, while inspiring to so many of us, remains  terrifying to so many others.  

Okyeame Haley, a former law clerk for Chief Justice Johnson and former chief deputy clerk at the Louisiana Supreme Court, is the son of the late civil rights pioneer Oretha Castle Haley.

This article originally appeared in the Louisiana Illuminator


by Jordan Rock

For the bulk of 2020, I’ve been keeping up with the news cycle and telling you how I feel about it. I don’t know if you noticed, but 2020 was a pretty garbage year for just everybody.

If I’m being real, a lot of those breaking news weeks made me so angry that I wanted to rip my own arms off so I wouldn’t have to write anymore. There’s just something about researching how your country is letting you down every week that grinds away at you, until you’re just a vessel for salt and angst.

The point is, I’m done reporting on politics. I just don’t have the guts to write about something that puts me through so much mental turmoil. There are plenty of other excellent writers on this site that can give you an impassioned, punchy article about how police will beat the crap out of you for asking them nicely not to kill you but won’t lift a finger to stop domestic terrorists from trashing the White House. There’s that angst again. See what I mean?

But this isn’t a resignation, either. I’m going to stick around here and write art-inspired articles. The fact is, I didn’t go to school for political science. I went to school for animation. I have a film degree. Film theory, storytelling, animation – that’s my jam. That’s what I’m on this planet to do, so I  figured that I ought to keep to that ethos, even when writing articles.

So, starting next week, I’m going to report on black media. The stories we tell and how we tell them can’t be replicated anywhere else in the world. Our perspective is unique so, naturally, our stories have an appeal unlike any other demographic.

Our creativity is bottomless and our commitment to excellence is boundless. Every time we tell a story, it’s a cause for celebration.

 So that’s what I’m going to focus on. Representation, what to watch, content from black creators, examples of black excellence on film, highlighting black characters, film reviews… that kind of thing. I’ll talk about movies and cartoons and TV shows and games and any other relevant media contributions by black people. That’s what I’m passionate about and that’s what I’m gonna write about.

So, strap in friends and neighbors because starting now I’m going to be a bright spot; a respite in this parade of insanity…a little something to break up the unfolding horror of the times we’re living in.

Tune in next week for my debut column on film analysis and critiques, and black media highlights.

Oh, and Happy New Year.

BY DISENFRANCHISING BLACK VOTERS: WHAT SHOULD BE DONE TO THEM?

by C.C. Campbell-Rock

In his final House floor speech before joining President-Elect Joe Biden’s administration as Senior Advisor, New Orleans native Rep. Cedric Richmond, the lone democrat in the Louisiana Congressional Delegation, said “We told you so” about Trump’s behavior which led to his upcoming impeachment. Trump owns the historic distinction of having more impeachments than any other U.S. President.

“Some of my colleagues, some of which may be co-conspirators, let me suggest to them; stand up. Man up. Woman up. And defend this constitution against all enemies both foreign and domestic including Donald J. Trump.”

“In the first impeachment, Republicans said we didn’t need to impeach him because he learned his lesson,” he continued. “Well, we said if we didn’t remove him, he’d do it again. Simply put – we told you so. “Richmond out,” the congressman concluded.

LA CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION JOIN TRUMP TRYING TO OVERTURN ELECTION RESULTS

Louisiana’s House Republicans totally ignored Richmond’s sage advice. All four of Louisiana’s Republican House members voted against impeaching GOP President Donald Trump a second time.  Richmond voted to impose Congress’ greatest penalty on a president.

Moreover, Rep. Clay Higgins (LA-03), Rep. Mike Johnson (LA-04) and Rep. Steve Scalise (LA-01) objected to Arizona’s electoral college votes. Richmond and Rep. Garret Graves (LA-06) voted against the objection. Sen. Bill Cassidy voted against the objection to Arizona’s Electoral College votes while Sen. John Kennedy voted for the objection.

During the U.S. House vote on the objection of votes for Pennsylvania, which has a large black urban population, four congressmen voted in favor of objecting: Rep. Graves, Rep. Higgins, Rep. Johnson, and Rep. Scalise. Richmond voted against the objection to the Electoral College votes from Pennsylvania. In the U.S. Senate, both Cassidy and Kennedy voted against the objection to Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes.

Higgins and Scalise Announcing They Would Vote Against Impeachment of Donald Trump, Sr. by KLFY Staff

Jim Crow Caucus

In voting against the Electoral College votes in Arizona and Pennsylvania, Louisiana lawmakers were in on the scheme to disfranchise black voters. These legislators are part of what some are calling the Jim Crow Caucus.

There is a mountain of evidence against Trump.  It will be presented at the second impeachment trial. Given his track record, it’s not a stretch to assume that Kennedy will vote against convicting Trump.

The Mississippi born Kennedy has backed up Trump’s lies and misdeeds throughout the  Trump Administration. During the Arizona debate, Kennedy spit out the same talking points as Ted Cruz. Cruz led the opposition and demanded a 10-day audit of the election results by a newly appointed commission to ensure “election integrity.”  They did so despite the fact that Trump’s own Department of Homeland Security called the election the most secure in history.

The demand was only a delay tactic because Vice-President Mike Pence had to ratify the Electoral College votes. And Pence announced Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States.

“In the nine weeks since the November election, President Trump and his associates have embarked on a multi-pronged campaign attempting to overturn the clear results, including: pressuring and threatening state and local officials to reverse election results in his favor, making knowingly false statements in an attempt to undermine the integrity and legitimacy of the 2020 election and to impugn the votes of Americans in racial minority groups, and leading his supporters in a rally on the National Mall at the very moment Congress was meeting to certify the election,” the ACLU reported.

Trump did try every trick in the book to overturn election results. He told Georgia’s election officials to find 11,780 votes for him. Sen. Lindsey Graham in on the pressure campaign, called election officials in Georgia, Nevada and Arizona and asked them about ballot signatures. Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said it appeared that Graham was suggesting he find a method to throw out ballots that had been lawfully cast.

Cassidy has not said whether he would vote to convict Trump or not. Judging from his past conduct and alliance with Trump, Kennedy will most assuredly vote against convicting Trump.

Scalise not only voted against impeaching Trump but he is a part of the Republican conspiracy to overturn the election.

 “House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Republican Whip Rep. Steve Scalise have formally pledged their support for a lawsuit seeking to have the results of the presidential elections in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin declared unconstitutional and therefore effectively hand President Donald Trump a second term,” MarketWatch reported on December 11, 2020.

Scalise’s rationalization that he voted against a ‘rushed, impractical impeachment;” is part and parcel of his and fellow GOP officials efforts to let Trump walk away scot-free.  

After the storming of the Capitol by Trump supporters at Trump’s urging, National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial, a former New Orleans mayor, and National Action Network President Rev. Al Sharpton called upon Pence and Cabinet officers to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove the President from office immediately.

“For the first time in U.S. history, a violent mob is attempting to overthrow the democratically elected federal government, with the encouragement of the man who lost the election,” Morial said. “The nation cannot endure another two weeks of his illegal and unhinged efforts to maintain power.”

Sharpton added, “There could be no greater proof than the horrifying chaos we are witnessing that President Trump is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.  He has constructed an alternate reality of conspiracy theories and wishful thinking and deployed a lawless mob to enforce it for him,” Insight News reported.

WHAT SHOULD BE DONE ABOUT LOUISIANA LAWMAKERS WHO SUPPORTED TRUMP?

According to reports, Trump won Louisiana with 58% of the vote statewide, which might explain why the majority in the Louisiana Delegation have kowtowed to him. However, the gerrymandered districts drawn in Louisiana by Republican state legislators provide an unfair advantage.

 Also, many legislators are afraid to cross Trump. Recent reports are that they are afraid of Trump’s base, which is their base, too. They  are afraid of the death threats that will come if they don’t do Trump’s bidding. Others fear losing their seats to an opponent backed by Trump’s newly created PAC.

However, their job is to uphold the Constitution and protect Americans and their rights. If they are that afraid, they should resign.

What the Louisiana lawmakers on Capitol Hill should fear is the reckoning that is in store for them. Many major corporations have vowed not to donate to elected officials who voted against the Electoral College votes.

Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré looks over the extensive flood damage by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the town of Empire in Plaquemines Parish, La., as he tours the area on Oct. 1, 2005. Kevork Djansezian / AP file

General Honoré To Lead Investigation

It’s doubtful that two-thirds of their respective bodies will impeach and expel them from office. But Louisiana lawmakers should be worried. Retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré might find in his review of Capitol Security and what Biden’s FBI might discover in terms of complicity with those who committed insurrection.

In choosing Honoré, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “We must subject this whole complex to scrutiny in light of what happened and the fact that the inauguration is coming. To that end, I have asked Retired Lt. Gen. Russell Honoré to lead an immediate review of security infrastructure, interagency processes and command and control,” Pelosi told reporters.

When interviewed earlier last week, before being tapped by Pelosi, Honoré said, “There was complicity,” when asked what he thought of the Insurrection.

Both Morial and Sharpton want to censure any member of Congress who has promoted fictitious narratives and baseless conspiracy theories about the election.

“Their reckless and craven exploitation of the faith and credulity of Trump’s supporters has led our nation to the brink of collapse,” Morial said. “Patriotism requires that they reverse course, apologize, and begin to make amends to the nation they have victimized.

Additionally, the Department of Justice will investigate legislators. The Justice Department has an obligation to investigate whether any of the actions taken to overthrow the election constitute criminal violations of federal civil rights laws. It is unlawful for two or more persons to conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person of any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the United States.

Such an investigation requires a special counsel to avoid conflicts of interest.

“There is little doubt that an investigation is warranted in this matter,” said Ronald Newman, national political director of the ACLU. “The right to vote is at the very core of our democracy, and it is a crime to intentionally interfere with its exercise, including the counting of votes, and President Trump took every opportunity to attack the vote. The president and his enablers must be held accountable for their efforts to subvert the November 2020 election, including for any federal crimes they may have committed.”

The American Civil Liberties Union called on acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen today to appoint a special counsel to investigate, and if warranted, prosecute President Donald Trump, his associates, and any other federal official who may have been involved in attempts to subvert the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. The ACLU is making this call in the wake of violence at the U.S. Capitol last week.

The Louisiana delegation members need not think they will not be held accountable. While they are shielding Trump, they need to be worried about their own fates.

If all else fails, Louisiana voters who don’t appreciate the fact that their representatives got in bed with a racist, misogynist, white supremacist, should vote these Trump sycophants out of office in 2022.

The key to growth comes with accepting the darker side of the future.

by Sean Kernan

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Author via istock images

I was drunk with false expectations. Adulthood ambushed me.

I felt like a porcupine who’d just wandered into a balloon shop. The disappointments, brutal heartbreaks, and personal failures seemed to exceed their quota.

Yet it was all so normal.

A part of me dies when I see a teenager on Facebook, posting idealistic, corny poems about how much she loves her boyfriend. Not because I don’t want her to be happy. But because I know, statistically, she’s probably in for a big letdown — just as many of us still are.

Embracing the ugly truths of life is like bringing an umbrella to an outdoor event. You don’t want it to rain. But if it does, you are ready. You’ll still enjoy the show. You are prepared to be uncomfortable.

1. Death cares little for timing, ‘good people’, or perceived great health

My uncle was a leading neurosurgeon and worked at, arguably, the best brain surgery hospital in the world (John’s Hopkins).

On a Sunday morning, he had a massive heart attack and was dead by the time he hit the treadmill he was running on. He was 50 years old. He died in the hospital gym while jogging next to a trauma surgeon.

Many years earlier, I was a young child, laying in bed with my mother tucking me in. I can vividly remember asking, for the first time, “Will I ever die?”

My mother, very kindly said, “We’re all going to die, eventually.”

It’s an unpleasant, albeit necessary conversation that many of you probably had early on. And with it, there was the implicit idea that it was mostly old and sick people who died.

Just remember that good, kind, moral people — who you are close to — could go at any moment.

Between 4%–10% of heart attacks happen before the age of 45. Death doesn’t owe anyone a calendar invite or a ‘warning shot’. Sometimes you’ll lose loved ones in rapid succession.

Life isn’t just short, it’s chaotically short, picking and choosing on a whim. This ugly truth should give you perspective and urgency.

Make it count.

2. Some of you shouldn’t be having kids

So many of the world’s problems would be solved if people who aren’t prepared to be parents just stopped.

Yet, alas, people have this weird obsession with their gene pool — or they treat sex and contraceptives like it’s a game they can hack.

It’s worth repeating the obvious: becoming a parent should be a calling, a deep and long-held desire. Not something you do on an impulse. You don’t have to go far on the internet to find grown adults talking about how terrible their parents were.

In fact, many people spend the rest of their lives trying to recover from bad parenting.

3. Most of your people problems are unrelated to malice

My ex-GF raged behind the wheel. In bad traffic, this 5’4, 100 lb woman morphed into a 600lb raging gorilla of an alter-ego.

If someone cut her off, she acted as if they’d just hit her pet. She’d shout swear words at her steering wheel, holding her hands up, calling down god’s curses on their futures.

Meanwhile, if she cut someone else off? It was just a cute little oopsie.

“B-b-b-but, I’m just a sweet little girl! <bats eyelashes> ”

I suspect many of us do this (a lighter version I hope).

We tend to view the world through an overly-adversarial lens. Modern media machines don’t help. They turn every public act into one of malice, rivalry, and deception.

It’s all so much simpler. Hanlon’s Razor asserts that:

‘Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by neglect.’

More plainly, you can attribute most misunderstandings to innocent ignorance (and idiocy) rather than aggression.

Most of your many issues with other people won’t be about ‘you’ per se.

Save yourself the mental hot air.

4. Much of your destiny is shaped by things bigger than yourself

I was born in a great country. I have awesome role models. My family is educated and has access to resources. These blessings were never more apparent than when I traveled to third world countries.

Yet the moment an employer passed me over for another candidate? I immolated myself as a cursed failure.

It never occurred to me that, “Hey, maybe the other candidate just nailed the interview or had a great reference.” And maybe I should remember just how good I have it.

Contrary to popular opinion, I think society has done a rather good job of teaching the importance of accountability and perseverance. Parallel to that, those who embraced those lessons usually set high bars for their lives.

If you count yourself as one of them, just remember that you are one individual, working to bend a very large future in your direction. There are lots of outside forces — timing, the economy, feuds, goodwill, competition — that will shape your outcomes, without you even knowing it.

5. You won’t always get full resolution

Someone can stop loving you for no reason. You can be the best partner there’s ever been, checking every box. It can still end. Humans are fickle and irrational. The why’s of it won’t matter. How much you loved each other in the past won’t matter.

Even further, statistically, a majority of you will be fired at some point in your career.

You won’t always be able to reconcile these experiences in your mind. Surrender to the fact that you are helpless to change the past. Let that pain be a source of growth.

For many, it already is. A study by Inc revealed that 91% of executives who were fired, ended up in as good or better jobs than the one they were terminated from.

6. We aren’t likely to acquire those hard traits we desire

There’s no research that supports one can significantly increase their intelligence or 10x their work ethic. In fact, those traits tend to stay relatively stable over time. Yes, you can improve. But keep your expectations modest.

The bigger message here — stop trying to be something you’re not. Society has done a great job of confusing us about happiness. Being the smartest, hardest working person in the room isn’t happiness.

You are you. Love the factory version.

7. People are selfish and that’s OK

Even the most generous people out there are selfish at times. In fact, altruism is often a form of self-interest: they are doing charity to feel better about themselves.

So expect people to view the world through a ‘me’ lens. It’s how they’re programmed to interpret reality. They will respond to incentives, their kindness often magnified by what is in it for them.

And when there is danger, figurative, or literal — don’t expect them to take a bullet for you.

Self-reliance is your best hope. The number of people you can count on in moments of great need is shockingly small.

The one side benefit I’ve taken from this — most of my most embarrassing moments aren’t really things anyone else remembers. Everyone is too busy reliving their own embarrassments to remember mine.

8. Lastly, people are going to say terrible things about you

I’ve always found it curious when people would go confront people and try to start fights because someone was ‘talking smack about them behind their back’.

At the end of the day, none of it matters. Terrible things will be said about you. Don’t expend energy trying to convert people into friends.

Let the people that want to be in your life, be in your life. Don’t sweat the rest of it. Best of luck.The Ascent

people

You are not here on this world to be alone. You have many personalities that come in and out of your life to teach you and force you to grow. Our interactions with the world hold deep experiences.

Here are 5 types of people to keep in your life:

1. The Cheerleader.

This is your motivator. No matter what you do, this person is in your corner cheering you on and encouraging you to continue following your dreams. And when you are feeling down, the cheerleader is the one that finds light at the end of the tunnel. They are the voice of motivation.

2. The Connector.

This is that one person who knows everyone, or has the means to find another who can help you. The connector is magical. He/she connects you to the next person who can better guide you to your goals. This type of personality is the go-to person. They might not have the answers but they will send you to the person who will while making it easier for you to navigate in this life.

3. The Teacher.

This is your mentor. The teacher will teach you through examples and will make sure that lessons are being consciously observed and acknowledged. The teacher is the Yoda of the group. This person uses metaphors and world events to put you back in your place while forcing you to see the dark and light parts of yourself. Knowledge is power and the teacher is that one person whose guidance is priceless.

4. The Therapist.

It’s important to have that one person you can share your deepest fears and secrets without judgment. The therapist has the ability to hear you through words and your actions. This person knows you so well that he/she can analyze what you haven’t considered. This is the person who can be the devil’s advocate and you don’t take offense because they see past the issue at hand.

5. The Comedian.

You always need a friend who can make you laugh, especially at yourself. The joy of having this friend is that life is taken as a joke. Sometimes you need to step back and see that nothing is as it seems. The comedian can turn any event into a sarcastic stand up routine. And, in this person you begin to find light.

Just as we need these type of people in our lives to support and love us, we also do not need other types who bring out the worst in us with their toxic energy.

Here are 5 types of people you need to avoid:

Related article: 4 Types of Negative People You Need To Avoid

1. The Gossiper.

This person will talk to you about everyone and when he/she turns their back will talk about you as well. They raise their attention by putting others in the worst scenarios. The gossiper has no problem sharing stories and creating some along the way. They are toxic and emotionally draining.

2. The Complainer.

This is that person whose life is constantly under some kind of drama. The complainer feeds on the negative attention of others by feeling sorry for him/herself. They will look at your life and complain about everything as well while instilling their story into it. At the end of the day you have nothing good for them because they are victims of society.


RELATED ARTICLE: 6 Tips for happier mind

3. The Super-Agreeable.

You know this person well. This is the one who agrees on everything you say and do without truly supporting you. This type of person is passive aggressive. They seek approval by being hypocritical in nature. You don’t know their motives until it’s too late and you been sucked into some of their drama. They don’t care about you. They care only about themselves. The super-agreeable person is looking out for what’s best in their world. If they can use you to get it they will.

4. The Pessimist.

This is the greatest burden in your social group. No matter what you share there is constant gloom and doom. This is the kill-joy dweller. The pessimist is the angry, resentful, and bitter soul who is constantly reminding you that you will not succeed and will challenge you to it. They love to instill their fears and anxieties. Their negativity is unhealthy and distressing.

5. The Know-It-All.

We love someone who knows things, but what we cannot tolerate is the one who is an expert of all! This is that one person who says things without truly checking their facts. They know everything about anything. They are the con artists, the emotional vampires sucking on your lack of knowledge in a specific area. Most times they are so full of insecurities that in order to feel superior they must make you feel stupid. These are the self-reliant liars.

Surround yourself with folks who bring you to your best. You can easily spot those others who suck on your emotional needs and stories. Always be yourself and attract the best types of people who enrich your life with joy.