Sunday, December 30, 2012

Top Ten Stories of 2012



(Baltimore, MD) Welcome once again to my annual Top Ten list of stories. As a simple disclaimer, these are my personal takes on stories that impacted Black people and those of the African Diaspora. They cover a wide range from political to pop culture. Some of the stories may be on your list and others may not. No worries, I’ve always suggested you “take the bull by the horns” and create your own list. So, here it goes.

10. Mali. Once was considered a bastion of democracy, things have gone radically wrong. There have been a number of coup de tats and it’s impossible to keep score. What is known is a group with Al Qaeda backing has taken over the northern portion of the country. In the south, soldiers arrested Prime Minister Cheikh Modibo Diarra at his home late on Dec. 10, 2012. This comes as a number of countries in northern Africa are still in the throes of so called “Arab Spring,” and the Central African Republic is falling apart. Can you say messy?

9. Black women and hair. It became abundantly clear during the Olympics that “sisters” need to check themselves when it comes to hair styles on athletes. The last time I checked when you’re a gymnast aka Gabby Douglas the judges aren’t checking your “do." They're checking your routine.  What made this really cruel was she won the gold and her hair is all you can talk about? Please.

8. Mental Stress. Shhh!!! Black folks suffer from mental stress and mental duress. Case in point, the curious case of Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.  Jackson was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and checked himself into a hospital. Despite this admission, he ran for re-election won, and then resigned. Stress is a bitch.

7.  The underestimation of minorities – There was a bizarre assumption on the part of GOP Party that Blacks would be less enthusiastic about the prospects of President Obama being re-elected. There was also a calculation by the GOP if we just bring out Hispanic politicians everyone would forget that the GOP Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney suggested all the undocumented workers in the United States should “self deport.” Did Romney forget that he wasn't just talking about Latino’s; there are Asians, Middle Eastern People, etc….Duh!!!

6. Trayvon Martin scenario – When Trayvon Martin was killed and the alleged murderer suggested he was attacked; and used Florida’s "Stand Your Ground Law" to justify the killing. People were right to question if it was open season on young Black men. Now a second case involving a young Black man, Chavis Carter in Arkansas is raising alarms (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/01/chavis-carter-shot-jonesboro-police_n_1730997.html). Chavis, who was 21 years old, allegedly committed suicide while handcuffed in the back seat of a police vehicle. This doesn’t sound right. FYI, the Martin case begins in 2013.

5. Obsession with Reality. Look, I don’t bemoan various TV/Cable networks from trying to capitalize on various lifestyles on the extremes of American life. Are we laughing, making fun of, or being voyeuristic? I’m guessing the latter. From the over-the-top excesses of “Basketball Wives,” to the trailer park obsessive walk in the park of “Honey Boo Boo.” Okay, I’ve watch TI and his family, but Shawty Lo (creator of Laffy Taffy) has a reality show about his 11 children and 10 baby mommas’ – in my ESPN voice – “C’mon Man.”

4. The Courts and the President – There is a general belief that President Ronald Regan and Presidents George H. Bush and George W. Bush stacked the courts with enough conservative judges to thwart liberal attempts to bring about social change. Well, there was a problem. You can’t use poltical ideas on faulty law.  It started with attempts to mandate voter I.D. laws, limit early voting, and a challenge to universal health care. All struck down. Sorry the legal argument didn’t carry the day. Bad news is more challenges are coming to existing laws.

3. 47 Per Cent. Things have a way of making it into political campaigns that no matter how you try and spin it, they just don’t work. Mother Jones, a left leaning website, posted a conversation taped of Mitt Romney talking to high end fundraisers about the U.S. electorate being a bunch of takers and “47 percent would not vote for him.” You could have taken a fork to the candidate and just said “he’s done.” But no, those on the right swore, “he just said it badly,” Give me a break.

2. Obama Mojo – The cool calm collected POTUS almost had his butt handed to him in the first presidential debate (“aloof and uncaring”).  But during the second and third debates he came In like Muhammad Ali, “float like a butterfly and sting life a bee.” Pundits suggested this was going to be a tight race.  Millions of dollars were raised to defeat the President. Karl Rove, the Republican Prognosticator, who was so confident that the GOP would win.  He was baffled when the FOX Network called the race for President Obama. Now with a fiscal calamity about to hit the US, the right wants to know why the President won’t compromise, MOJO.

1.  Guns and Gun Culture – the Newtown Massacre was a wake up call, but were people asleep in Chicago, Baltimore, Atlanta and various other cities where the murder rates are intolerable. Appreciate the President going to the mass shootings in Tucson, Aurora, and yes Newtown. These tragedies say a lot about society. Sorry the NRA’s answer is out of touch, more guns. There needs to be a conversation about assault weapons and mental illness that I hope will occur.

Person of the Year, Gabe Douglas – Gymnast extraordinaire. Not only did she win gold, but beat back the bizarre critics who questioned her hair style. Young people her story is about sacrifice. Also, she left her hometown of Virginia Beach to train with the best in Iowa. She was all of 13 years old. If anything, Gabby has shown her “haters” that being physically fit means sweating, and getting in the gym and off the couch. Consider this, if you spent between $60 - $100 on hair and your body is out of whack who looks more outrageous? If you want to be beautiful…you can do so when you’re out of the gym.

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