Tag: African American

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus…and he’s whatever you want him to be!

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Black, White, Latino, Asian — the only limits are your imagination!

This image is my favorite…only because imagine how Santa must feel on December 26, after all the deliveries, screaming kids and holiday craziness!

The silly debate as to the race of Santa Claus is another cheap shot at getting ratings and pandering to a right wing that, I venture to say, does not speak to the majority of conservatives.

No one can discount the power of images; and to see positive images that look like you is empowering. The purpose of Santa is to give kids hope, joy, and to celebrate their innocence.

Imagine a nation of children that feel pride in themselves, and feel included? What great things can be accomplished? Or is that too scary for some people?

That is a debate for another day….

Christmas is a time to put aside petty differences, and celebrate the birth of Christ. If the religious aspect is not your thing, it is to celebrate family (blood family or close friends). It is yet another time to be thankful for what you have, irregardless of what material things you receive.

Because you, have the greatest gift of all: LIFE.

And as my mother always said “once there’s life, there’s hope”

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night!

M.

Continuing the Discussion — Shopping While Black

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Did you know that most shoplifters are White women between the ages of 40 – 50?

Yet the majority of shoppers stopped are of African descent?

Neither did I!

Yesterday, I had the amazing experience of appearing on the show “Tell Me More” on NPR. It’s hosted by Michel Martin, and she invited me on to discuss my article in Essence on Shopping While Black.

Also on the show was Professor Jerome Williams from Rutgers University. He has been doing a lot of research on this issue…and had statistics to back up the fact that some stores deliberately target shoppers of color, even though the majority of thefts are by store employees or middle aged White women.

Crazy, huh?

Lots of food for thought and discussion.

I think stores should just check people at random (unless they strongly suspect a particular person of theft). What do you think?

Have a listen to the discussion! Are Black Shoppers More Likely to be Profiled?

M.

Richie Incognito: Hazing, Bullying or Hate Crime?

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Richie Incognito is not so incognito these days. Instead of receiving attention for his plays on the field, his career is possibly over due to his bullying of a teammate. Incognito is alleged to have made racist comments to Jonathan Martin, a fellow teammate on the Miami Dolphins, and bullying him to the point that Martin left the team. Ironically, Incognito appeared in a Dolphins public service announcement that is played at home games, asking fans to behave in a “civilized” manner, and not be unruly during games. 

It seems crazy. Martin is 6’5”, 312 pounds, and Incognito is 6’3”, 319 pounds. One would think the two players, trained to hit hard on the field, would just fight it out in the locker room and call it a day. However, it went deeper than that. Incognito was part of a group of veteran players, who hazed Martin, including forcing him to pay for them to go on a trip to Vegas, to a tune of $25,000. They played childish pranks on him, such as inviting him to sit with the group for a meal, then getting up and leaving him alone when he sat down at the table.

And then there were the racial comments. Incognito, who is white, called Martin “half a n—“, (Martin is biracial) and threatened his family. Not to mention the ultimate sin…talking about Martin’s mother. These threats were made in voicemails as well as text messages. As a result, now there is even talk of charging Incognito with a federal hate crime. Under federal statutes resulting from the Civil Rights Act, it is unlawful to intimidate, or threaten someone because of their race and participation in a protected activity (such as voting, participation in a state or federally funded program).

Keep in mind, we watch football for fun; for the players, it’s their workplace. The same workplace rules apply in football as compared to any other field of work. However, the NFL workplace is a very different animal. The aspect that is making this case unique is that of the “locker room” culture.  Men are encouraged to be hard on each other emotionally, whack each other’s backsides with towels, and be macho guys.  As fans, we admire as well as reward their toughness on the field; however, there is no way to force players to turn that toughness off when they exit the field.

Also remember that Jonathan Martin is a rookie, having joined the team in the 2012 NFL draft from Stanford University.  He’s young (age 24), at a new job, and is now being pushed around by veteran teammates. He wants to fit in; but how much is enough? Martin was viewed as vulnerable by the senior players, as well as possibly the coaching staff. Clearly, Martin took all he could until he suffered an emotional breakdown. No one wants to be harassed at work. Bullying turns a dream job into a living nightmare.

I doubt Richie Incognito will be federally prosecuted; unless the Dolphins receive state or federal funding, it will be a stretch to find a link that would give Martin protection under the federal hate crime statutes. Secondly, there may be too much professional backlash for Martin, who has been traumatized to the point of taking a break from football and going to his home city for therapy. Without a cooperative victim, the case would be short lived. Lastly, from the tone of the transcripts released of the texts/voice messages, it may be difficult to show that the statements were more than Incognito being an obnoxious bully. There may be an argument to be made for some sort of stalking charge; but again, it would be weak at best.  New reports have surfaced that the Dolphins coaching staff may have egged Incognito on, encouraging him to “toughen Martin up”. If that is the case, there may be a viable civil lawsuit. Coaches need to look at what kind of environment they are creating, and act accordingly.

Should Incognito be prosecuted? No.

Fired? Absolutely.

Blacklisted from NFL? Everyone deserves a second chance. If he issues an apology, comes out publicly against racism and bullying, and stops acting like an idiot, there may be some redemption in a season or two. His PR agent has a lot of work in the years ahead.

 

Melba Pearson is an attorney, writer, speaker, wife and Resident Legal Diva. Follow her on Twitter @ResLegalDiva.