Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Open Season on America's Black Women

I was cruising the web and found this article. Even though it was written in 2006, it is still very relevant today.

Public flogging of Black women must stop

Article By Dr. Melody T. McCloud

Why are Black women so increasingly ignored, abhorred, disrespected and rejected in this country? Who declared "open season" on us, and why?

Increasingly over the past decade the media has projected images that Black women are "public enemy #1" who can be battered about, cast down, kicked aside, ignored, denigrated and disrespected at the will of all who take delight and sport in doing so. I say it is tantamount to a public flogging in the modern-day Town Square—the media, the Internet, TV, movies and music videos.

The latest town square venue? The UGA campus where Chi Phi fraternity pledges distributed images of naked Black women to passers-by. Why? Because they could. It's acceptable sport in the 21st century to do so. They're just Black women; who cares? One student told a reporter he thought it was funny. It's not.

The late comedian, Rodney Dangerfield, enjoyed a lifetime of fame and fortune and received many a laugh saying, "That's the story of my life, I don't get no respect." Many of today's Black women may feel Dangerfield's battle cry is one, they too, can claim. But for many Black women, getting "no respect" is not funny and hardly any are laughing.

The public disregard and disrespect of Black women is pervasive. More and more, Black male models and actors are readily cast opposite White and Hispanic women, to the blatant, total exclusion of Black women. Magazine ads frequently engage colorism—favoring light-skinned Blacks over brown-skinned ones. Lighter Black women often get the sexy ads and poses; they're positioned to look soft and desirable while brown-skinned women are posed stern, frowning and even masculine with bald heads. Often African-born models are selected to the exclusion of native-born Black American women.

It also seems to me that the media are ever eager to show the often embarrassing antics of U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney, model Naomi Campbell, Omarosa and others, but won't allow for others to be heard or seen. It seems, "well, there's Oprah," so that's all the room they'll allow for "good" Black women of richer hue.

Sadly, too, those Blacks—including Oprah—in position to present Black women in a better light, often fail to do so. Tyler Perry and Martin Lawrence, more so, get rich on the image of the fat, gun-toting, loud Black granny.

Shonda Rhimes, the Black female creator/producer of "Grey's Anatomy," has the Black male character sleeping with Asian Sandra Oh (who brushes her teeth in the kitchen sink!) while Chandra Wilson, the lone Black actress on the show, is "the Nazi," "the bitch."

And MTV—whose president, Christina Norman, is a Black woman—recently aired a cartoon to young Saturday morning viewers entitled "Where My Dogs At," which had Black women squatting on all fours, tethered to leashes. In 2004, U.S. Army reservist Sgt. Lynndie England subjected Iraqi prisoners at Abu Grhaib to the same denigration and she was convicted and sentenced to prison. Where is the justice for Black women?

Mind you, however, the Iraqi prisoners were tethered against their will. Why would the MTV president have such unconscionable racial insensitivity, and why, why would Black women participate in such debasing imagery? I submit many of these sorely misguided Black women are merely seeking acceptance, appreciation and value in a society that affords them none. Everyone wants to be valued; sadly these women choose a disparaging route that leads to shame for themselves and their race.

The effects of these demeaning images and absolute disregard for the Black female demographic in this country send a loud, disturbing message and are detrimental to our society at large. The negative imagery affects not only the psyche of Black men and women, but also that of impressionable boys and girls of all races.

As a physician I'm likewise concerned about the effect such constant societal rejection has on Black women's physical health. I can say with certainty that constant rejection, disrespect and denigration cause stress. Stress increases the release of cortisol and other stress hormones. These high levels lead to high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, central obesity and more, all of which can lead to death. Prolonged stress also severely affects the immune system, diminishing its ability to fight against life-threatening diseases. Black women have a very high incidence and death rate from these killer conditions. Connect the dots.

Someone must give voice to this societal poison. White women aren't going to say anything because they readily benefit from negative images of Black women. Many white men—media executives, and obviously some UGA frat brothers—are having too much fun and cash flow at the expense of Black women's dignity and social value; and sadly, many Black men are inexplicably silent, standing sideline. And people wonder why Black women are "angry" and "tired." Some posters to message boards proclaim that any women addressing this topic are "just darkie black women with self-hatred." No. We don't hate ourselves; we know who we are. Many of us are successful, well-groomed, well-spoken entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers and homeowners, who are also loving, passionate, funny, exciting, devoted and sensual. What we hate is how we're portrayed and disrespected in the media and in real life.

As a Black woman I've tried for years, beginning in 1999, to shed light on this issue with media executives, television producers, literary agents and publishing editors, to no avail. And earlier this year I wrote Marc Cherry, creator of the hit show, "Desperate Housewives."

Normally, to see a Black woman get a recurring role in the number one prime-time network program would be a major coup, a step in the right direction for American media and Black imagery. But alas, once again, the lone Black woman—on a show that mostly deals with sexy, alluring women with kinky trysts and family matters—is portrayed as some psychopath who chains her sons in the basement. How did her storyline even fit the show? Did they just have to cast a Black woman and decided to make her "the evil, demented, crazy one"? These images—often to the exclusion of more positive, loving ones—must stop.

As my cries went unheard/ignored, increasing numbers of disgraceful, disrespectful and demeaning videos, photographs and movie clips with disparaging images of Black women were seen by millions worldwide.

The problem has multiple prongs, and so does the remedy. For starters, I suggest new congressional hearings and laws to effect a tangible change in the depiction of women in music videos. Black women who participate in such videos must stop; there are better, more respectful ways to gain acceptance.

Parents need to stop allowing their children to listen to the despicable lyrics in hip-hop and rap songs and stop buying those recordings; they are poison to the mind. We've gone from "My Cherie Amour" to "bitch, ho, slut and whore." This is unacceptable. This must STOP. Black boys need to don proper attire and learn to speak to girls and women respectfully. And Black girls/women need to stop allowing men to speak to them in any which way and again, stop participating in disrespectful deeds.

Beyonce' and the like need to stop shaking their booty, mimicking orgasmic seizures on stage for young girls to see and later have their children emulate in "Baby Beyonce'" contests. Black men need to step forward: Say and do something. Honor your women. Speak to young boys.

Black film and music producers need to be socially conscious and realize what effect the images they set forth have on the community and the world; you can so better "represent." White media and ad executives must advance past colorism; they also need to cast Black actresses and models of all hues in loving, desirable roles.

White (and all) parents need to stop teaching racist attitudes to their offspring. And UGA students need to find something else to do in the town square. Denigrating and disrespecting Black women is not a sport. It's sad that members of the Chi Phi fraternity think it is.

Copyright 2006 Dr. Melody T. McCloud

Friday, October 22, 2010

Heaven & Hell


While walking down the street one day a Corrupt Senator was tragically hit by a car and died.

His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

"Welcome to heaven," says St. Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you."

"No problem, just let me in," says the Senator..

"Well, I'd like to,

but I have orders from the higher ups. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity."

"Really?, I've made up my mind. I want to be in heaven," says the Senator.

"I'm sorry, but we have our rules."

And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.

The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.

Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to

greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people.They played a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and the finest champagne.

Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who is having a good time dancing and telling jokes.

They are all having such a good time that before the Senator realizes it, it is time to go.

Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises...

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens in heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him, "Now it's time to visit heaven.."

So, 24 hours passed with the Senator joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone

by and St. Peter returns.

"Well, then, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity."

The Senator reflects for a minute, then he answers: "Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell."

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell..

Now the doors of the elevator open and he's in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above.

The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulders.

"I don't understand," stammers the Senator. "Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there's just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look

miserable. What happened?"

The devil smiles at him and says,

"Yesterday we were campaigning, Today, you voted.."

Vote wisely on November 2, 2010

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Back Bay Beggar Vs. MBTA Bus

Around 2:30pm this afternoon, I was shocked to see a beggar I'm used to seeing in a wheelchair, standing up and using his wheelchair to block an MBTA bus from going anywhere.

This happened on Dartmouth St. in the Copley area right in front of the Back Bay T station. The beggar was angry at the driver of the bus plying Route 10. The driver wouldn't let him on with his wheelchair because the attached pole was too high.

First, I didn't know that that beggar was capable of walking. It was the first time I'd seen him standing and walking. Anyway, some ladies came along and pleaded with the man to let the bus go in its way. They told him that he was committing a crime and also hurting other people who might be late for work, medical appointments and other business because of his selfish actions. The beggar eventually removed his chair.

Friday, July 16, 2010

They Promise How Many Virgins?

This is an editorial cartoon by Tanzanian cartoonist, Godrey Mwampemba. I have to say that his cartoons are getting bolder by the day.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Swahili Language

I found an interesting site with facts about the Swahili language. It's everything that we heard of growing up in Tanzania. http://www.glcom.com/hassan/swahili_history.html



The Swahili language, is basically of Bantu (African) origin. It has borrowed words from other languages such as Arabic probably as a result of the Swahili people using the Quran written in Arabic for spiritual guidance as Muslims.

As regards the formation of the Swahili culture and language, some scholars attribute these phenomena to the intercourse of African and Asiatic people on the coast of East Africa. The word "Swahili" was used by early Arab visitors to the coast and it means "the coast". Ultimately it came to be applied to the people and the language.

Regarding the history of the Swahili language, the older view linked to the colonial time asserts that the Swahili language originates from Arabs and Persians who moved to the East African coast. Given the fact that only the vocabulary can be associated with these groups but the syntax or grammar of the language is Bantu, this argument has been almost forgotten. It is well known that any language that has to grow and expand its territories ought to absorb some vocabulary from other languages in its way.

A suggestion has been made that Swahili is an old language. The earliest known document recounting the past situation on the East African coast written in the 2nd century AD (in Greek language by anonymous author at Alexandria in Egypt and it is called the Periplus of Erythrean Sea) says that merchants visiting the East African coast at that time from Southern Arabia, used to speak with the natives in their local language and they intermarried with them. Those that suggest that Swahili is an old language point to this early source for the possible antiquity of the Swahili language.

Words from Other Languages

It is an undeniable truth that Arab and Persian cultures had the greatest influence on the Swahili culture and the Swahili language. To demonstrate the contribution of each culture into the Swahili language, take an example of the numbers as they are spoken in Swahili. "moja" = one, "mbili" = two, "tatu" = three, "nne" = four, "tano" = five, "nane" = eight, "kumi" = ten, are all of Bantu origin. On the other hand there is "sita" = six, "saba" = seven and "tisa" = nine, that are borrowed from Arabic. The Arabic word "tisa" actually replaced the Bantu word "kenda" for "nine". In some cases the word "kenda" is still used. The Swahili words, "chai" = tea, "achari" = pickle, "serikali" = government, "diwani" = councillor, "sheha" = village councillor, are some of the words borrowed from Persian bearing testimony to the older connections with Persian merchants.

The Swahili language also absorbed words from the Portuguese who controlled the Swahili coastal towns (c. 1500-1700AD). Some of the words that the Swahili language absorbed from the Portuguese include "leso" (handkerchief), "meza" (table), "gereza" (prison), "pesa" ('peso', money), etc. Swahili bull-fighting, still popular on the Pemba island, is also a Portuguese legacy from that period. The Swahili language also borrowed some words from languages of the later colonial powers on the East African coast - English (British) and German. Swahilized English words include "baiskeli" (bicycle), "basi" (bus), "penseli" (pencil), "mashine" (machine), "koti" (coat), etc. The Swahilized German words include "shule" for school and "hela" for a German coin.

Spread into the Hinterland

For centuries, Swahili remained as the language for the people of the East African coast. Long-time interactions with other people bordering the Indian Ocean spread the Swahili language to distant places such as on the islands of Comoro and Madagascar and even far beyond to South Africa, Oman and United Arab Emirates. Trade and migration from the Swahili coast during the nineteenth-century helped spread the language to the interior of particularly Tanzania. It also reached Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Central African Rebublic, and Mozambique.

Christian missionaries learnt Swahili as the language of communication to spread the Gospel in Eastern Africa. So, the missionaries also helped to spread the language. As a matter of fact the first Swahili-English dictionary was prepared by a missionary. During the colonial time, Swahili was used for communication with the local inhabitants. Hence the colonial administrators pioneered the effort of standardizing the Swahili language. Zanzibar was the epicenter of culture and commerce, therefore colonial administrators selected the dialect of the Zanzibar (Unguja) town as the standard Swahili. The Unguja dialect (Kiunguja) was then used for all formal communication such as in schools, in mass media (newspapers and radio), in books and other publications.

Now Swahili is spoken in many countries of Eastern Africa. For Tanzania, deliberate efforts were made by the independent nation to promote the language (thanks to the efforts of the former head of state, Julius K. Nyerere). Tanzania's special relations with countries of southern Africa was the chief reason behind the spread of Swahili to Zambia, Malawi, South Africa, and other neighbouring countries to the south. Swahili is the national as well as the official language in Tanzania - almost all Tanzanians speak Swahili proficiently and are unified by it. In Kenya, it is the national language, but official correspondence is still conducted in English. In Uganda, the national language is English but Swahili enjoys a large number of speakers especially in the military. As a matter of fact, during the Iddi Amin's rule Swahili was declared the national language of Uganda. However, the declaration has never been seriously observed nor repealed by the successive governments.

International Presence

Thus, Swahili is the most widely spoken language of eastern Africa and many world institutions have responded to its diaspora. It is one of the languages that feature in some world radio stations such as, the BBC, Radio Cairo (Egypt), the Voice of America (U.S.A.), Radio Deutschewelle (Germany), Radio Moscow International (Russia), Radio Japan International, Radio China International, Radio Sudan, and Radio South Africa. The Swahili language is also making its presence in the art world - in songs, theatres, movies and television programs. For example, the lyrics for the song titled "Liberian girl" by Michael Jackson has Swahili phrases: "Nakupenda pia, nakutaka pia, mpenzi we!" (I love you, and I want you, my dear!). The well-celebrated Disney movie, "The Lion King" features several Swahili words, for example "simba" (lion), "rafiki" (friend), as the names of the characters. The Swahili phrase "hakuna matata" (No troubles or no problems) was also used in that movie.

The promotion of the Swahili language is not only in its use but also deliberate efforts are made throughout the world to include it in education curriculum for higher institutions of learning. It is taught in many parts of the world.

Authors: Hassan O. Ali; revised by; Abdurahman Juma



Thursday, June 03, 2010

Pirates of the Mediterrean

This is an editorial cartoon by Tanzanian Cartoonist Godfrey Mwampemba.

Monday, May 03, 2010

President Obama at Dorothy Height's Funeral

Received via e-mail:

Late Civil Rights Leader Dorothy Height

29th April 2010
Tears streaming down his cheeks, grief overcame Barack Obama today as he attended the funeral of the woman he called the 'Godmother' of the American civil rights movement.
The U.S. president was weeping openly as he watched the service for Dorothy Height in Washington today.
He delivered the eulogy for Dr Height, whose activism stretched from the New Deal right up until Mr Obama's election as the first African American president of the United States.

Dr Height died last week at 98 after a long illness. She was a pioneering voice of the civil rights movement who remained active and outspoken well into her 90s.
She often received rousing ovations at events around Washington, where she was easily recognizable in the bright, colourful hats she almost always wore.
Dr Height led the National Council of Negro Women for decades and marched with the Rev Martin Luther King Jr.
She was honoured by Mr Obama during the service at Washington National Cathedral for her leadership on the front lines fighting for equality, education and to ease racial tension.

Thursday, April 08, 2010


I grew up with practical parents. A mother, God love her, who washed aluminum foil after she cooked in it, then reused it. She was the original recycle queen, before they had a name for it... A father who was happier getting old shoes fixed than buying new ones.

Their marriage was good, their dreams focused. Their best friends lived barely a wave away..

I can see them now, Dad in trousers, tee shirt and a hat and Mom in a house dress, lawn mower in one hand, and dish-towel in the other. It was the time for fixing things.. A curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen door, the oven door, the hem in a dress. Things we keep.

It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy.. All that re-fixing, eating, renewing, I wanted just once to be wasteful. Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant you knew there'd always be more.

But then my mother died, and on that clear summer's night, in the warmth of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn't any more.

Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away...never to return.. So... while we have it..... it's best we love it.... and care for it... and fix it when it's broken......... and heal it when it's sick.

This is true. for marriage....... and old cars..... and children with bad report cards..... and dogs with bad hips.... and aging parents..... and grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it.

Some things we keep. Like a best friend that moved away or a classmate we grew up with.

There are just some things that make life important, like people we know who are special........ and so, we keep them close!

I received this from someone who thinks I am a 'keeper', so I've sent it to the people I think of in the same way... Now it's your turn to send this to those people that are "keepers" in your life. Good friends are like stars.... You don't always see them, but you know they are always there. Keep them close!


1.... God won't ask what kind of car you drove. He'll ask how many people you drove who didn't have transportation..

2.... God won't ask the square footage of your house, He'll ask how many people you welcomed into your home.

3.... God won't ask about the clothes you had in your closet, He'll ask how many you helped to clothe.

4.... God won't ask what your highest salary was. He'll ask if you compromised your character to obtain it.

5.... God won't ask what your job title was. He'll ask if you performed your job to the best of your ability.

6.... God won't ask how many friends you had. He'll ask how many people to whom you were a friend.

7.... God won't ask in what neighborhood you lived, He'll ask how you treated your neighbors.

8.... God won't ask about the color of your skin, He'll ask about the content of your character.

9.... God won't ask why it took you so long to seek Salvation. He'll lovingly take you to your mansion in heaven, and not to the gates of Hell.

10.... God won't have to ask how many people you forwarded this to, He already knows your decision.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I'm Not Giving My Black Back


I'm Not Giving My Black Back! I'm not giving up my greens or my grits or
saying "girl" and putting my hands on my hips. You see...Life for me ain't
been no crystal stair and I'm not giving up Rosa Parks, Fannie Lou Hammer,
Mary McCleod Bethune, Sojourner Truth, Madame C J. Walker, Toni Morrison
or Dr. Maya Angelou, 'cause you see, I am a phenomenal woman and I'm not
giving my black back.

I'm not giving up my crown, waves, braids, curls, locks, kinks, scarves
or Muslim garb. I'm not giving up sitting in Ma's kitchen eating peach
cobbler or sweet potato pie and hearing her ask me, "How you doing baby"?

I'm not giving up going to "You Buy, We Fry" on Fridays, or barbeques on
Saturday playing bid whist, spades and slammin' those dominoes.
I'm not giving back Harriet Tubman's train, Soul Train, Coltrane or the
midnight train to Georgia. Now, you can meet me at the function at the
junction but I still won't give up B.B. King, the Whispers, Fancy Ms.
Nancy, Lena Horne, the Philadelphia Sound, Motown or the Temptations.

Cause you see, it's the way we do the things we do, like building the
pyramids that still stand made by our forefathers' hands where the
diamonds, oil, silver and gold are buried in our rich dark land.

I'm not giving my black back! I'm happy being happy with my wide hips and
my wide nose and the rich melanin in my skin. I love putting lotion on my
ashy legs.

Oh, I'm happy being nappy and being in the skin that I'm in. I won't deny
or forget my ancestors who lay in a wet grave at the bottom of the sea in
the Middle Passage from slave trade.

And I won't give up on our youth of today who still need a way made. I
won't give back Miles even though he didn't smile. I won't give back
Marvin Gaye, Richard Pryor, Phyllis Hyman, Billie Holiday or Billy
Eckstein, Jackie Robinson or Jackie Wilson.

I won't give back the electric slide, Alvin Ailey, Bojangles or Debbie
Allen. You think I'd give up reading my Jet, Ebony, Essence, Emerge, Black
Enterprise, Heart and Soul or Upscale magazines? For we are a colorful

Like Curtis Mayfield sang, we are a people that are "darker than blue." We
are honey, cinnamon, mahogany and chocolate. We are REDD Fox, James BROWN,
Barry WHITE, The Mothers of the Church dressed in WHITE, The Color PURPLE,
the Lady Who Sings the BLUES and we are Al GREEN with love and happiness.
Oh, NO... I'm not giving my black back!

I'm not giving back Maxine (Waters), Martin, Medgar, Malcolm, Mandela,
Marley, Marcus, Muhammad Ali, Michael (Jordan) or the Million Man March.
I'm not giving my black back.

Join me in lifting up the black woman's spirit. Find a black woman and
send this to her. Enjoy.

The first duty of love is to listen.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Rest in Peace Rev. Douglas G. Whitlow

My husband, Rev. Douglas G. Whitlow was laid to rest today in Cambridge Cemetery. He died Monday January 18, 2010 from kidney failure. He had been on dialysis for seven years.
Thank you to all who came out to support me and my family.
May He Rest in Eternal Peace

The Che-Mponda Kadete family and the Whitlow family wishes to express their deepest appreciation and sincere thanks for all acts of kindness shown to them in their time of sorrow. Special thanks to the Tanzanian Community & Diaspora, Warren St. Baptist Church and The International Gospel Church. A very special thanks to Ezekiel Luhigo, Charles Jackson, Muhidin Michuzi, Laura Moloney & Pastor Jared Mlongecha.

The family also wishes to thank Cambridge 9-11, EMT’s, Fire and Police Departments. Fallon, Cataldo and PRO Ambulance Services. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Cambridge Hospital, Radius Specialty Hospital in Boston, MA. The Veterans Hospital, Jamaica Plain, MA, Embassy Rehabilitation and Health Center, Brockton, MA, Emerson Village, Watertown, MA and Haborside Healthcare in Wakefield, MA and the various Visiting Nurses who assisted Reverend Whitlow during his illness.