TrumpWorld: The Best Defense Is A Good Offense

It’s time to Break It Down!

For months prior to the November 2022 Election that catapulted the GOP to a razor-thin majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, many GOP House members presaged their intentions to launch broad, full-scale investigations into Democrats due to their weaponization of governmental agencies and institutions. The most ardent far right members of the Republican Caucus in the House fought to and succeeded in extracting an array of concessions from Kevin McCarthy amid his quest to secure the Speaker’s gavel. One of their top demands was that he provide robust funding and sweeping jurisdiction to a special committee to investigate their claims of pervasive bias in the federal government against conservatives.  

Interestingly, the first public hearing of the new Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, back on February 9, produced virtually nothing in the way of new evidence about government misconduct, or of targeting the right. Rather, most of the forum focused on reiterating old, mostly debunked grievances about how former President Donald J. Trump and others have been treated by federal law enforcement officials, Democrats, and the news media.

The proceeding was so devoid of even right-wing worthy news that Fox News cut away and declined to carry most of it. Anchor John Roberts said, before cutting away, “We’ll get back into it for anything newsworthy.”

Fast forward roughly 6 weeks; it looks as though the GOP has not only figured out what the weaponization of the federal government is, but in the service of the Party’s de facto leader, Donald Trump, has decided to do just that. 

Mr. Trump’s GOP allies in the House are doing what the former president taught them to do – use power to try to keep his legal threats a bay.

Last week, without evidence, Trump said he could be arrested Tuesday (yesterday/he wasn’t). Nevertheless, in response to his symbolic cry for help, some would call it a dog whistle, his cohorts and cronies have been using their new House majority to demand Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s testimony and to thwart his investigation relating an alleged hush money payment to an adult film star before the 2016 election. It looks, feels like an extraordinary attempt to influence an open grand jury investigation.

In short, it appears the House GOP appears to be using the exact same tactic they accuse the Biden Administration, Bragg, and any other Trump investigators of doing – weaponizing the powers of the government to advance a partisan political end.

House Republicans are not alone. While Kevin McCarthy and Jim Jordan are among the lower chamber’s elite who’ve stepped up to run interference for Trump. Both are clear beneficiaries, satellites in the Trump orbit. But even his newest favorite political adversary, Ron DeSantis, along with January 6 foil, Mike Pence, have joined the fray, attempting to besmirch the investigation…while issuing an ever-so-slight admonishment of their rival. After making a perfunctory diss about the scope of the investigation against Trump, DeSantis pivoted. The Florida governor took a jab atTrump, noting, he didn’t know anything about “paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair.” Pence was less direct.

Not surprisingly, Trump was not amused. He responded with a vicious screed, full of unsubstantiated innuendo about Ron DeSanctimonious’ (sic) personal life. Suffice it to say, the exchange is apt to be just a prelude to the sparks that may be ignited in the pending campaign for the GOP nomination. “TrumpWorld: The Best Defense Is A Good Offense!”

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Read my blog anytime by clicking the linkhttp://thesphinxofcharlotte.comFind a new post each Wednesday.

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Murdoch Throws Fox Talent Under The Bus: They “Endorsed” 2020 Election Lies

It’s time to Break It Down!

Dominion Voting Systems has filed a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News. The suit is one of at least two that have consumed more than a little of the conservative news outlet’s time and attention of late. Smartmatic, a global election technology company, headquartered in London, lodged its suit in February 2021. In their opening statement, Smartmatic noted, “The Earth is round. Two plus two equals four. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the 2020 election.” As kids like to say, before dropping the mic, “facts!” The $2.7 billion defamation suit initiated by Smartmatic has been greenlighted by a New York court. So, while Dominion’s suit is underway, and the subject of this post, stay tuned. There’s more to come.

Let me premise this discourse by stipulating the obvious, Donald Trump is not the cause of the great American culture schism. The issues that divide us are as old as the nation itself. But let’s not kid ourselves, the former president most certainly played a role in our having arrived at the space we currently occupy. His willingness to fan the flames poor White discontent, along with his reluctance to disavow White nationalists and their ideology provided a not at all subtle signal to culture warriors. Thank you very much 45.

But I digress. Mr. Murdoch, alas, has found himself in court, where his responses are under oath. As such, all the cutesy doublespeak, spin, and half-truths that just seem to be a part and parcel to the conservative media ecosystem, are off the table.

Shortly after Election Day 2020, Rupert Murdoch knew the hosts on his prized Fox News Channel were endorsing lies from then-President Donald Trump about election fraud.

Of course, that was just the appetizer. The entrée was he did nothing to intervene.

In fact, the controlling owner of the jewel of Murdoch’s enterprises opted to sidestep the truth, allowing his network to run with a narrative that the big lie for truth, in order not to further anger Fox’s Trumpcentric audience by confronting their sensibilities with more election facts. After all, the network had already left its audience, and Donald Trump confused, incredulous, and down-right mortified by calling Arizona for Biden before any other network.

When Mr. Murdoch was asked whether he could have told Fox News’ chief executive and its stars to stop airtime to Rudy Giuliani – a key Trump campaign attorney peddling election lies – he assented, and answered, “I could have, but I didn’t.”

That picture emerged in evidence presented this week in court, based on evidence presented by Dominion. Conversely, Fox Corporation is arguing that the parent company and its executives are wrongly being held responsible for reporting on the baseless assertions of a president and his advisers.

This is where I pause to note that even Fox News attorney are not arguing with the assertion that Trump and his associates were making baseless claims about rampant voter fraud and stolen elections. Please, all conservatives who either still believe, or at least, who are still arguing that point, take note of the posture/position of folks who have seen the test questions, and who know the answers…Trump’s allegations did not happen…as if the more than 60 lost or dismissed lawsuits filed by Team Trump weren’t big enough clues. Plural.  

Fox called Dominion’s stance “extreme, citing free speech concerns, calling Dominion’s legal position “a blatant violation of the First Amendment” that would prevent journalists from basic reporting. While my non-legalistic interpretation of that statement is, Fox basically argued that the freedom of speech clause essentially means, their network is free to tell lies to their viewers…with no repercussions, Dominion took a more strategically nuanced tack. They introduced the Fox Unplugged, or you might say, in their own words.

Under oath, the senior Murdoch confirmed the suggestion by a Dominion lawyer that Fox was “trying to straddle the line between spewing conspiracy theories on one hand, yet calling out the fact they are actually false on the other.”

Asked by a Dominion attorney whether “Fox endorsed at times this false notion of a stolen election,” Murdoch demurred, saying, “Not Fox, no. Not Fox. But maybe Lou Dobbs, maybe Maria [Bartiromo] as commentators.”

The lawyer pressed on. Did Fox’s Bartiromo endorse it?

Murdoch’s reply: “Yes. C’mon.”

Fox News host Jeanine Pirro? “I think so.”

Then-Fox Business Network host Dobbs? “Oh, a lot.”

Fox News prime-time star Sean Hannity? “A bit.”

Pressed whether they endorsed the narrative of a stolen election, Murdoch finally gave in: “Yes. They endorsed.”

Fox denied its executives played any role in broadcasting false claims, and argued there was no evidence showing the Murdoch’s involvement. In response Dominion laid out the Murdoch’s hands-on role after the election, introducing emails and other communications reflecting deep involvement by the Murdochs and other Fox Corporation senior executives. Detailed memos showed the elder Murdoch’s concern that Fox was getting killed by CNN after it called the election for Biden on November 7th.

On Nov. 8, Rupert Murdoch sent an email saying that Fox News was “[g]etting creamed” by CNN. Under oath, he later said that he, Scott, and Lachlan Murdoch held “a long talk” about “the direction Fox should take” that day in response to the falling ratings. They decided together to give play to Trump’s baseless assertions. “[T]his was big news,” Murdoch said in his deposition. “The President of the United States was making wild claims, but that is news.”

At the end of the day, the courts may be the great leveler. In an environment where there are consequences for dissembling, rather than telling the truth, even the powers behind the great Fox News may be motivated to be truthful. In this case, “Murdoch Throws Fox Talent Under The Bus: They “Endorsed” 2020 Election Lies!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the linkhttp://thesphinxofcharlotte.comFind a new post each Wednesday.

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Men’s Health: A Compelling Quality of Life Issue Vol. IV Redux

It’s time to Break It Down!

(Disclaimer: This post appeared originally on June 29, 2011 and was reprinted on July 2, 2014 (  It contains references that are graphic in nature, and which may be considered offensive; reader discretion is advised.  The initial catalyst for posting this information was my 2011 Colonoscopy.  I had a second procedure in 2014, a third in 2017, and a fourth last year. But this is not about that. Yesterday, I had my Annual Physical; my last scheduled before the onset of my septuagenarian era. Today seemed like a perfect time to reprise this post).

Colonoscopy, is the endoscopic test of the colon and the distal part of the small bowel with a camera.  The procedure is recommended for men over age 50, on a periodic basis; every 10 years if no irregularities are found, and more frequently if non-benign polyps or other issues arise during the test.  In my previous tests, the results indicated non-benign polyps were found. Subsequently, I was scheduled for a follow-up after 3 years, as a regular sequential step in my Annual Physical regimen. That is a precautionary measure, not any kind of alert or scare.  That is as it should be.

I am delighted to end the suspense, as it relates to my most Colonoscopy. And the one before that. My tests revealed normal mucosa, and no arteriovenous malformationdiverticulapolypsmasses, evidence of colitis or any other abnormalities. That’s about as good as it gets. Given my previous history, my next exam is scheduled for 5 years from now instead of three. I’m moving in the right direction. Perhaps if I garner comparable results next time, I can earn the 10-year periodic exam.

This is not intended to provide a blow-by-blow of either my procedures or of my physical. I am addressing the overarching need for men to get serious about and take better care of their/our health. Consider it a public service.  I have observed both anecdotally and from numerous data streams, men in general and African American men, are notorious for neglecting our health.  There are too many reasons to enumerate, but a few include:

  • Distrust of doctors (Some black men still reference the Tuskegee Experiment)
  • Fear…of doctors, of medicine, bad news, of pain, of surgery, of anesthesia, the unknown
  • Unawareness of early warning signs
  • No regular doctor
  • Lack of health care benefits (African Americans are more likely to be Unemployed or Underemployed, and therefore less likely to have insurance)
  • Misplaced priorities (some men take better care of their homes and/or cars than they do their personal health)
  • Good intentions: bad execution (Many of us “intend to” schedule an appointment to see a doctor, but don’t)
  • Procrastination (Delay, delay, delay)
  • Superman complex (The perception that one is young, healthy, and totally bullet proof)
  • We are on a super-secret suicide mission (No, we just act like it)

Those are 10 of my own very unscientific, totally straight off the top of my head reasons.  After setting them to paper, I decided to look for an expert opinion…OK; I checked to see what a doctor thought.  Not surprisingly (to me anyway), there was a fair amount of overlap.

Dr. Sharon OrrangeAssistant Professor of Clinical General Internal Medicine at the University of Southern California has weighed in with what she believes are “The 10 Real Reasons Men Don’t Go to the Doctor.”  Since she actually practices medicine, I will allocate more weight to her opinion than mine…though keep in mind, I do have the inherent advantage of being a man.  Dr. Orrange’s 10 most compelling (or real, as she puts it) reasons are:

  1. You are afraid we will put our finger up your butt. We will, especially if you are over 40 or have any complaints related to your bowel movements.  Yes, you get a rectal exam after the age of 40 once a year for a feel of your prostate and so we can check your stool for microscopic blood that you can’t see.
  2. You are afraid we will examine your balls.  We will if you are 40 or younger. The peak age for testicular cancer is 18-40 so guidelines recommend you get a once-a-year testicular exam. Don’t worry it won’t hurt at all.
  3. I feel FINE.  I am glad you feel fine, but you can feel FINE with high cholesterol, high blood pressure and elevated blood sugars.  Your mother or wife won’t feel fine when they are taking care of you after you have a stroke.  Don’t wait until you feel awful to come see us.
  4. Going to the Doctor is a chick thing. Many of you feel this way but remember we live longer than you do.  If doctor visits are a chick thing well, then, nursing homes are a guy thing.  You must get over this.  It’s true, the waiting room magazines are not for guys but when you come see us you will see that many of the medical assistants, doctors, phlebotomists, and medical records folks are men.  Real men go to doctors.
  5. You are embarrassed to talk about what’s going on with you. The bright red blood on the toilet paper when you wipe, the red itchy rash in your groin and on your feet, the problems you have at times getting a boner, getting up at night a few times to pee, we hear it all the time.  You are not alone, and our job is to show you how common this is and help fix it for you.
  6. You don’t find the office hours convenient.  I get this and urge you to find a doctor who is accessible and can work around your office hours.  Seriously though. The average guy watches 16 hours of TV a week, you can come for a 30-minute visit once a year and maybe a couple of follow-up visits as needed.
  7. Going to the Doctor is giving in to your nagging wife.  I had a patient who gave his wife for her 20th anniversary a copy of his Lipitor prescription, thinking this was a GIFT to his wife that he was taking care of his medical issues.  It is true; women rightly do nag their dads, brothers, and husbands to go to the doctor because they are tired of square dancing with women at the assisted living facilities.
  8. You don’t realize we are here for prevention. You don’t have to be sick to come see us and if you establish a relationship with us, you have easy access when you do get sick.  Once a year we can touch base with you to discuss age-appropriate screening, which we KNOW, helps keep you well.
  9. You don’t have a relationship with a physicianIf you are not attached to a regular physician by the age of 40 you are more likely to get in trouble. Unlike women who need annual pap smears and contraception, you haven’t had to see someone regularly from the age of 18-30.  Find someone your friends use or enlist your partner’s help to find someone that might be a connection.  You want someone accessible and younger physicians are much more likely to e-mail so look until you find the right match.
  10. You think we will pick on you for your habits.  Drinking a 12-pack on the weekends, not exercising, and eating bad foods, among other things.  These things are not as uncommon as you might expect.  We will put you on a long leash and let you pick and choose the habits to get rid of as needed.

If you are a Doctor Dodger, the reality is, it is of little consequence whether your reasons for doing so more closely resemble Dr. Orrange’s list or mine.  If your recalcitrance leads to a preventable heart attack, some form of cancer, or a stroke, you will have contributed directly to reducing your quality of life, as well as that of your family members.  Such actions could also lead to premature death.  It really is pretty simple; fear, embarrassment, death (sooner rather than later)…pick one dude!

Let’s be clear here, human beings are not immortal.  Psalms 90:10 advises us: “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”  Proponents of the Bill Maher School of Thought dismiss such biblical advisory as akin to magic, wizardry, or witchcraft.  But I am reasonably certain even Mr. Maher concedes that we all will die.  Moreover, I “wouldn’t” bet the farm that he has no regular physician, regardless of his rationale.

The point of seeing healthcare professionals on a regular basis is not to live forever; none of us will.  Rather, the idea is to leverage the best possible existence out of our all too brief time here on earth.

As most of us know, women live longer than men.  Once upon a time, this was largely attributable to the rigors of backbreaking manual labor, and long before that, due to the results of men losing too many battles with the lions or other members of the Wild Kingdom, in the quest to determine who would eat…and who would be dinner.

Neither of those historical tableaus aligns with today’s American reality.  No, the underlying contemporary contributory factors for those of us now living in the USA are that poor exercise habits, irresponsible dietary choices, too much smoking and drinking, and eschewing regular checkups and prevention screenings combine to lead to a lower quality of life (health wise), and ultimately, to a shortened lifespan; on average five years less than for women.

According to a 2007 Harris Interactive survey that included over 1,100 men, the American Academy of Family Physicians found that:

  • Many men go to the Doctor only when they are very sick
  • Before they did, many of these men waited several days to see if they felt better
  • Most of these men had a regular doctor
  • Most had currently active health insurance
  • Most said they felt comfortable talking to their physician

In an even more recent survey, conducted by Esquire magazine in January of 2011, researchers found that:

  • Roughly half of American men ages 18-50 had no primary care physician
  • One third had not had a check-up in more than a year
  • More than 40% had never had their cholesterol checked
  • 70% had never had a prostate exam

Do you perchance know the leading causes of death in America?  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), complete information available in 2007, broke down like this:

Number of deaths for leading causes of death:

  • Heart disease: 616,067
  • Cancer: 562,875
  • Stroke(cerebrovascular diseases): 135,952
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 127,924
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 123,706
  • Alzheimer’s disease: 74,632
  • Diabetes: 71,382
  • Influenza and Pneumonia: 52,717
  • Nephritis, nephritic syndrome, and nephrosis: 46,448
  • Septicemia: 34,828

Source: Deaths: Final Data for 2007

Based on CDC research, Heart Disease and Cancer, the top two causes of death in the United States in 2007, led to nearly twice as many deaths as the cumulative totals of causes 3 through 10.  In fact, the number of deaths attributable to Heart Disease alone, (616,067), nearly equaled the total for causes 3 through 10 (667,589).

It is important to recognize that the relative death rate for men is higher than that for women for all causes listed in the Top 10.  While there are hereditary factors that contribute to individual proclivity to develop Heart Disease, a timely and committed change in lifestyle in concert with an appropriate medical remediationprevention, and/or maintenance strategy can help most men (and women) live a relatively normal life.

In a departure from my previous posts on the subject I am compelled to add that in addition to whatever periodic schedule one adheres to for his or her Colonoscopy, one should also schedule an Annual Physical. I had mine yesterday, and as with the Colonoscopies, the metrics were good. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to institute a regimen to monitor and promote positive health consequences. This is where I could make a call to arms for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) or healthcare reform. But I’ll leave that for another day. This pitch is for men…and women who have men they care about in their lives.  Of course, women require Colonoscopies too. But as I noted elsewhere in this post, as with most medical matters, they already do a much better job than men. I enthusiastically urge all of you to do everything within your power, individually and collectively, to do the right thing for your own health, and for the health of those whom you love. Schedule your physical. Do it for anyone whom you love…or who loves you.

In summary, this post is a cry for help on behalf of men.  Perhaps, more aptly stated, it is a call for men to step up and help themselves.  As a general rule, ours is an interdependent society.  That means, someone, somewhere relies upon you.  So men, I urge you to unite on behalf of a cause that is intuitively selfish, but intellectually selfless.  I entreat you to recognize this undeniable truth; “Men’s Health: A Compelling Quality of Life Issue – Vol. IV”  Yes, this is a cause that requires you to think of (and act) for yourself first.  But in doing so, your wife, or significant other, your children, your siblings, your parents, your friends, your co-workers, your career, your civic association, your fraternity, and yes, your state of mind, will all benefit.

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link  A new post is published each Wednesday.  For more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post, consult the links below:

An Opinion: By Onnie Willis Rogers

It’s time to Break It Down!

Black History Month 2023 (BHM ’23) ended yesterday. I’m taking an extra day to honor an elevate the occasion in this space because…well, honestly, because I can. My blog, my rules. 

More importantly though, I am choosing to share this story because I think it’s an important reflection of the culture, because it’s enlightening, because it’s compelling, and because it tracks as a splendid example of affirming the adage Black History is American History.

I don’t know Onnie Willis Rogers; can’t say I recall having ever heard of her. As you might imagine, I’m not an avid fan of gymnastics. You may not be either. Yet, regardless of whether we are, her story, and the one she shares in the following Opinion, they really are two separate, but intersecting chronicles, are both worthy of passing along, and of Black Americans, nay, Americans of all stripes, knowing and appreciating. What could be more Black…or more American, than the evolution of an American sport from one with negligible Black female participation to one in which Black Girl Magic and those who personify it, rest comfortably at the very apex of that sport?

Gentle readers, without further ado, allow me to present Dr. Rogers, in her own words:

I’m one of just five Black women in history to win the NCAA individual all-around title in gymnastics. It was a tremendous accomplishment which, when I won it two decades ago, left me elated.

But it was a particular kind of joy, tinged with the frustration often felt by the Black athlete who excels in a sport where they are one of only a very few.

I grew up in the sport in the 1980s. I took my first gymnastics class at the age of 3 and finished my final competition at the age of 22. Throughout all of my years training in the sport, I was often the lone brown face in a gym filled with tumbling, somersaulting, hand-standing kids.

Before accepting a full ride sports scholarship to UCLA, I was an elite gymnast, a member of the National Team for USA Gymnastics (USAG). As a Black gymnast growing up, being one of few was normal. And as I progressed up the ranks, the sport seemed only to get whiter.

Even during my four years at UCLA, an urban school with a sizable Black population, I was the only Black female gymnast on my team. In 2001, the year I won my NCAA title, I could probably count the other Black women gymnasts at top-ranked schools we competed against on one hand.

But I’ve noticed something different about gymnasts today, and perhaps you have, as well. There are more Black and brown athletes in the sport than ever before. And they are turning out to be a force to be reckoned with.

This year marks 20 years since my last gymnastics competition, and a lot has changed in the sport — but perhaps nothing so much as the dramatic increase in racial and ethnic diversity. The change has been nothing short of astonishing — especially at last summer’s stunning National Championships, when African American women swept the podium.

I’d been involved in gymnastics my entire life, and I never saw it coming. The diversity — and the excellence — exhibited by the top-performing women of color in the sport has been something to behold.

There’s Simone Biles who, of course, needs no introduction. She’s a global icon who has earned seven Olympic medals and 25 world championship medals — more than anyone else in gymnastics — and is regarded as the GOAT in our sport. Some have even argued that she is the greatest athlete of all time, period. Before Biles, there was Gabby Douglas, who was crowned the 2012 Olympic all-around champion, becoming the first Black gymnast to capture that title.

To be honest, it’s hard to name all the women of color who have made it to the top ranks of the sport since I stopped competing. Laurie Hernandez, who is Puerto Rican, was the youngest gymnast to earn gold in Rio 2016. Jordan Chiles helped Team USA secure the gold at last year’s world championships. And there’s Sunisa Lee, a Hmong American who became the first Asian American to win the Olympic all-around title. The list goes on and on.

The standouts of color at the collegiate level have been no less impressive. Florida Gator Trinity Thomas holds a breathtaking record of perfection. UCLA’s Chae Campbell, Chiles and freshman standout Selena Harris continue to grab headlines in our sport, as does Jordan Rucker of the University of Utah and Haleigh Bryant of Louisiana State University — and, astonishingly, too many others to name.

These women of color are setting new records and breaking the internet with performances of exceptional style and athleticism. I can’t think of another major sport that has seen its ranks change so dramatically. Swimming? Golf? Tennis? No, not really. These predominantly White sports have seen a relative few breakthrough athletes of color, but overall, the complexion of the sports haven’t changed much.

Over the years, structural racism has powerfully shaped access, opportunity and identity — all of which help explain why gymnastics was so White in the first place. The long arm of economic inequality touches every facet of life, including sport. 

Sports where Black people have been represented have traditionally been those accessible through schools, such as football, basketball and track and field. Gymnastics is a very expensive sport, costing thousands of dollars and requiring long, intense training hours. High-quality instruction is only accessible in private clubs and at elite training facilities that are few and far between. Growing up, my family fundraised furiously, did extra jobs at my gymnastics club, and housed visiting gymnasts to offset the unreachable high cost of tuition.

There is no magic that has “created” gymnasts of color in the past decade. There have always been strong, talented Black and brown girls capable of excelling in the sport. Many of the first Black women in the sport, like Diane Dunham and Wendy Hilliard, simply were not acknowledged because our society has for so long refused to value or validate Black women. Instead, the sport favored a Nadia Comaneci-style waif, thin and childlike. That doubtless kept a lot of women who looked like me on the sidelines. Elite gymnastics did not always see them or make space for them.

Luckily for me, there were always exceptions, and these women became my inspirations. Betty Okino and Dominique Dawes were the trailblazers in my day. I watched them represent Team USA with their brown bodies and Black girl hair and I knew it was a little more possible for me.

I vividly remember being 16 years old laying belly down on the green shag carpet in my living room in Tacoma, Washington, captivated as UCLA — and even more significantly for me, Stella Umeh — clinched its first-ever NCAA Title. 

On the floor, Umeh was Black, full-bodied, and fierce; her hair was a close shave; the music for her floor routine was rhythmic and pulsating. She was unlike any gymnast I had ever seen. I attended UCLA after Umeh had graduated, but walked confidently and fully in her footsteps, not simply because she too was a Black woman, but because she remade the mold.

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend the NCAA Metroplex Challenge gymnastics competition with my 11-year-old daughter and her gymnastics team. There were multiple Black gymnasts competing for every school on the floor.

As a developmental psychologist who studies youth identity development, I couldn’t ignore the significance of the moment. I couldn’t fail to register the awe in their eyes as they watched their possible future selves from their front row seats, a real image of who they may become. In short, identity and representation matter. How many Black girls even enter the sport in the future will be influenced by what they see as attainable or impossible.

Meanwhile, the breakthroughs in gymnastics just keep coming: This year, Fisk University is the first HBCU to have an NCAA gymnastics team — an entire team of Black and brown girls doing gymnastics. It’s radical. It’s transformative. And as Black History Month draws to a close, it’s a reminder of what is possible.

In fact, it’s fair to say, well beyond the possible, firmly entrenched into the world of manifestation. Dr. Roger’s story is yet another in a litany of examples why anti-CRT mania is in fact, misguided anti-knowledge. “An Opinion: By Onnie Willis Rogers!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the linkhttp://thesphinxofcharlotte.comFind a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribeclick on Follow in the bottom right-hand corner of my Home Page at; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.” Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

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Nikki Haley Unplugged: Yeah, She Said That

It’s time to Break It Down!

From time, I run across a take so real, I feel it’s best served uncut, so that it is not filtered through any biases I have, or that I am perceived to have. Since we are in the early stages of the 2024 Presidential Campaign, and because Nimarata Randhawa (you can call her Nikki) Haley is an announced candidate, it’s appropriate to expose you to some of her less well-known statements and positions. To that end, this post consists of a recounting of an interview with Mrs. Haley during her campaign for the South Carolina Governorship in 2010. The interview was conducted by a local, now defunct activist group, The Palmetto Patriots. Without further ado, here’s Nikki:

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley defended states’ rights to secede from the United States, South Carolina’s Confederate History Month and the Confederate flag in a 2010 interview with a local activist group that “fights attacks against Southern Culture.” 

Haley, who was running for South Carolina governor at the time, made the comments during an interview with the now defunct “The Palmetto Patriots,” a group which included a one-time board member of a White nationalist organization.

The former UN ambassador also described the Civil War as two sides fighting for different values, one for “tradition” and one for “change.”

Haley announced last week she was running for president, becoming the first official major challenger to former President Donald Trump.

The interview was posted on the group’s YouTube at the time and resurfaced over the years, most recently by Patriots Takes, an anonymous Twitter account that monitors right wing extremism. CNN’s KFile reviewed the interviews as part of a look into Haley’s early political career. 

One of the Palmetto Patriots’ interviewers was Robert Slimp, a pastor and member of the Sons of Conservative Veterans and one-time board member and active member of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), a White nationalist group. The CCC is a self-described White-rights group that opposes non-White immigration and advocates a White nationalist ideology. The group reportedly inspired Charleston shooter Dylann Roof, the White nationalist who killed nine people at a historically Black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015. 

The shooting spurred Haley, then governor, to call for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the South Carolina statehouse grounds where it had been since being removed from the state’s Capitol dome in 2000. 

In a comment to CNN, Haley’s spokesperson cited her decision to help remove the flag from the grounds but declined to address Haley’s other comments. 

“Nikki Haley’s groundbreaking leadership on removing the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Capitol grounds is well known,” Ken Farnaso, her spokesperson, wrote in an email to CNN.

Defends the flag 

In the 2010 interview, Haley said the Confederate flag was not “racist” but part of heritage and tradition within the state. She called the flag’s location a “compromise of all people, that everybody should accept a part of South Carolina.” 

“You know, for those groups that come in and say they have issues with the Confederate flag, I will work to talk to them about it,” Haley said. “I will work and talk to them about the heritage and how this is not something that is racist. This is something that is a tradition that people feel proud of and let them know that we want their business in this state. And that the flag where it is, was a compromise of all people that everybody should accept as part of South Carolina.” 

After the Charleston church mass shooting, Haley called on the state legislature to remove the Confederate flag from the state capitol, becoming one of the defining moments of her governorship. 

“There is a place for that flag,” Haley said to CNN in July 2015 after the flag was removed. “It’s not in a place that represents all people in South Carolina.” 

But Haley’s later comments would complicate this legacy after she claimed that to some people the Confederate flag symbolized “service, sacrifice and heritage” for some South Carolinians until Roof “hijacked” it, sparking backlash. 

Following the backlash, Haley wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post defending her comments. 

“In South Carolina, as in much of the South, the Confederate flag has long been a hot-button issue,” Haley wrote. “Everyone knows the flag has always been a symbol of slavery, discrimination and hate for many people. But not everyone sees the flag that way. That’s hard for non-Southerners to understand, but it’s a fact.” 

Defended the right to secession

When asked about secession, Haley said that while she believed under the Constitution that states have the right to secede from the rest of the country. When asked if she would support the secession of South Carolina, which was the first state to secede during the Civil War, she said she did not think “it’s gonna get to that point.” 

“The Union, I think that they do,” Haley inaccurately said. “I mean, the Constitution says that.” (Here’s a hint; it does not!)

The Supreme Court ruled in 1869 that states do not have a constitutional right to unilaterally secede. 

Haley declined to say if she would support South Carolina if it “needed” to secede, when asked. 

“You know, I’m one of those people that doesn’t think it’s gonna get to that point,” Haley said before describing how she might rally governors to go to the federal government to settle disputes over “federal intrusion.” 

Defends Confederate Heritage Month 

Haley also said she supported South Carolina’s “Confederate History Month” during the interview, comparing it to Black History Month. 

“Yes, it’s part of a traditional – you know, it’s part of tradition,” she said. “And so, when you look at that, if you have the same as you have Black History Month and you have Confederate History Month and all of those. As long as it’s done where it is in a positive way and not in a negative way, and it doesn’t go to harm anyone, and it goes back to where it focuses on the traditions of the people that are wanting to celebrate it, then I think it’s fine. 

Calls the Civil War a fight for ‘tradition v. change’ 

In her interview, Haley also described the Civil War in terms sympathetic to the southern cause and did not mention slavery. 

“I mean, again, I think that as we look in government, as we watch government, you have different sides, and I think that you see passions on different sides, and I don’t think anyone does anything out of hate,” Haley said. “I think what they do is, they do things out of tradition and out of beliefs of what they believe is right.” 

“I think you have one side of the Civil War that was fighting for tradition, and I think you have another side of the Civil War that was fighting for change,” she added. “You know, at the end of the day, what I think we need to remember is that you know, everyone is supposed to have their rights, everyone is supposed to be free, everyone is supposed to have the same freedoms as anyone else. So, you know I think it was tradition versus change is the way I see it. 

“Tradition versus change on what,” asked the interviewer. 

“On individual rights and liberty of people,” she responded. 

Haley later added she believed everyone was endowed with rights from “our creator” to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” 

“Well, I think that for me, you know what I continue to remember is that you know we also know that our creator endowed the rights of everyone having you know, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” she said. ‘And so, when I look at it that way, I look at that’s still what needs to be what guides everybody, so that we make sure that we keep those three things in check.” 

By: Andrew Kaczynski, CNN’s Em Steck contributed to this report.

Get to know the candidates. “Nikki Haley Unplugged: Yeah, She Said That!”

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Black History Month (BHM) Week 3: Chronicles of the Evolution of African American Life Redux ’23

It’s time to Break It Down!

Thirteen years ago, in February 2010, I wrote a series of 4 profiles on African Americans3 of whom were little known.  While their exploits were dramatic in all four instances, they were simply fundamentally, even stunningly life altering in some cases. In 2012, I synthesized the material from those four posts into one digest, which I reposted in 2019. I am reprising again today. Last year, I made four posts, one for each week of Black History Month. Today, I’m reprising the post from Week 3. 

We live in an age in which, despite the ubiquitous nature of the Internet and the pervasiveness of the 24-7 news cycle, the names, exploits, and accomplishments of luminaries such as Henrietta LacksCharlotte Hawkins Brown, and Alexander Manly are enmeshed in an historical nebula; present, but barely known or visible.

By contrast, speak or write the name Barack Obama, and due to a variety of factors, almost anyone you meet in the civilized world is capable of spouting off a vast array of factoids, real, imagined, true or false.  As POTUS, President Obama certainly earned all the notoriety he amassed, while the relative lack of knowledge about LacksBrown, and Manly is in no way an accurate reflection of their relative importance.  All made important contribution to life, as we know it in America; at least one altered the dynamics of medical history around the world.

Alex Manly, who was African American, was also a descendent of Charles ManlyNorth Carolina’s 31st Governor.  In 1898Wilmington held the dual distinction of being North Carolina’s largest city, and predominantly black.  Mr. Manly was the editor of the Wilmington Daily Record, the only black-owned newspaper in the United States at the time.  He wrote a controversial editorial with both racial and sexual implications.  The piece was so super-charged that it is cited as the catalyst for the infamous November 10, 1898, Wilmington race riot. The gist of Manly’s editorial comments is aptly distilled in this quote:

  • “Our experience among poor white people in the country teaches us that women of that race are not any more particular in the matter of clandestine meetings with colored men than the white men with the colored women.”

The rest is history; it took three months, but in November, after the August editorial that included that quote, Wilmington burned…and Manly and the robust black leadership class fled the city.  Manly was an example of a bold and defiant voice that emerging black leaders would demonstrate in the American South and across this country in the coming years.  The reaction of much of Wilmington’s white citizenry was equally clear, and at that juncture, more powerfully defiant.

Charlotte Hawkins Brown was a native North Carolinian who was educated in Massachusetts, and who returned to her home state to lead an all-girls’ school, which she later transformed into a Junior College.

Ms. Brown made her mark fostering and improving African American achievement, especially among women.  Her considerable legacy includes:

Henrietta Lacks is not from North Carolina (she hailed from neighboring Virginia), but her story’s impact permeates not only the Tar Heel (and Old Dominion) state, and the rest of the country, but spans the entire globe.  Ms. Lacks, who lived a short life, by almost any measure, died of cervical cancer at age 31 in 1951.  Posthumously, she would go on to have an inordinate impact on cancer treatment as well as several other serious diseases, all over the world, through cells removed prior to her death.  The essence of her story is that:

  • Researchers at Johns Hopkins discovered a scientific breakthrough related to Ms. Lacks’ cells. In a departure from anything the scientists had seen before, the cells culled from Ms. Lacks continued to grow, outside of her body, and after her death. In fact, they did not just survive, they multiplied. In a circular irony, cells from Ms. Lacks’ culture were used to help Dr. Jonas Salk develop a vaccine for polio in 1955. Of course, Ms. Lacks had marched to help find a cure for that disease just four years earlier.

Unarguably, the Barack Obama story is one that most Americans are familiar with, at least tangentially.  President Obama, the son of a Kenyan father and a Kansan mother, was born in Hawaii, graduated from Columbia University, and Harvard University Law School, and went on to become a Chicago community organizer.  Oh yeah, on November 4, 2008, he was elected President of the United States.  As such:

One of President Obama’s historic appointments was the selection of Eric Holder as Attorney General (He also subsequently appointed Loretta Lynch, also an African American, who filled the position when General Holder stepped down to pursue other interests).  That would hold special significance this month anyway, as Mr. Holder is African American.  It has taken on an added dimension however, as Dr. Sharon MaloneMr. Holder’s wife, distinguished in her own right, shared a part of her family history in a 2019 PBS Special, in which she detailed how her Uncle Henry, born nearly 30 after slavery ended officially, was one of thousands of black men arrested on fabricated charges and forced into labor camps and compelled to work without pay.  As Dr. Malone told the story, she asked that we:

  • Imagine that this “convict leasing” system saw the groups of prisoners sold to private parties – like plantation owners or corporations – and that it was not only tolerated by both the North and South but was largely ignored by the U.S. Justice Department.
  • Now, imagine that nearly a century after your uncle served 366 days in this penal labor system, you find yourself married to the head of the U.S. Justice Department, who, ironically, just so happens to be the first African American in the position.

There are many reasons why this information is not just historically significant, but contemporarily relevant.  None is more compelling than debunking the idea that the vagaries and vicissitudes of slavery and its variant offshoots no longer plague our society in general and African Americans in particular.  As Dr. Malone put it:

  • “I want people to understand that this is not something that’s divorced and separate, and this doesn’t have anything to do with them.  If you were a black person who grew up in the South, some way or the other – whether or not you were directly involved in the system as my uncle was – you knew somebody who was, or your daily lives were circumscribed by those circumstances.”

Unless you are part of Dr. Malone’s immediate family, her Uncle Henry is likely even more of an unknown to you than Alex Manly, Charlotte Hawkins Brown, and Henrietta Lacks.  Yet, his story is as irrevocably interwoven into the fabric of African American and American History as that of President Obama.  In fact, African American History is American History. There are a numerous conservative elected officials and citizens who characterize the contents of this as Critical Race Theory, or CRT. That’s the spin they use on each other, and anyone gullible enough to buy into such bovine excrement. Such is the tricknology they’ve deigned to resort to when American History does not hue to their preferred narrative. That’s too bad. 

Over this month, by all means, take at least one more moment to reflect on the fact it’s not just a month, it’s every single day, 24/7/365…“Black History Month (BHM) Week 3: Chronicles of the Evolution of African American Life Redux ’23!”

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The State of the Union is Strong: Finish the Job — Joe Biden 2/7/23

It’s time to Break It Down!

“So, I’ve come to fulfill my constitution obligation to report the state of the union and here’s my report: Because the soul of this nation is strong, because the backbone of this nation is strong, because the people of this nation are strong, the state of the union is strong,”

And thus, Biden began the wind down of his 1 hour-twelve minutes-44 seconds SOTU Union Address Tuesday evening. See the transcript link below:

Over the course of the nearly 73-minute speech, Biden appealed to bipartisanship, telling Republicans he wants to work together instead of “fighting for the sake of fighting.”

In the venerable House Chamber, there appeared to be a few moments when both sides rose above the palpable partisan divide that has gripped the nation for quite some time. However, Biden drew bipartisan applause when he praised most law enforcement officers as “good, decent, honorable people” but added that “when police officers or police departments violate the public’s trust, they must be held accountable.”

Biden sought to portray a nation dramatically improved from the one he took charge of two years ago: from a reeling economy to one prosperous with new jobs; from a crippled, pandemic-weary nation to one that has now reopened, and a democracy that has survived its biggest test since the Civil War.

The political dynamic for the annual message was markedly different from the previous two years, with a Republican speaker now sitting expressionless behind Biden and newly empowered GOP lawmakers in the chamber sometimes shouting criticism of him and his administration.

A year ago, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert heckled Biden during his speech, and photographs of their angry shouting went viral. Ahead of the speech, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy urged his caucus to avoid repeating such a spectacle. But after Biden suggested that some Republicans wanted to gut Social Security and Medicare, GOP lawmakers erupted in protest. Taylor Greene was spotted standing and shouting at the president again. Later, other Republicans interrupted Biden to shout about the southern border.

Biden, basically characterizing himself as the adult in the room noted, “The people sent us a clear message. Fighting for the sake of fighting, power for the sake of power, conflict for the sake of conflict, gets us nowhere. That’s always been my vision for the country: to restore the soul of the nation, to rebuild the backbone of America — the middle class — and unite the country.

“We’ve been sent here to finish the job!”

To get a more in-depth take on the speech, click the link above, and read the entire transcript. “The State of The Union is Strong: Finish the Job — Joe Biden 2/7/23!”

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Trump Acts Like A Mobster; Pleads the Fifth More Than 400 Times

It’s time to Break It Down!

What a difference a quadrennial makes. Four years ago, Donald Trump said:

“You see the mob takes the Fifth. If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?”

Last August, in a ironic twist, The Donald invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination more than 400 times during his deposition with office of New York Attorney General Letitia James. Newly released video shows he repeated the same answer for nearly four hours. The deposition was part of a $250 million fraud lawsuit by the Empire State against Trump, three of his adult children, and his business.

The video showed Trump refused to answer any questions during the four-hour deposition on August 10th.

Trump answered the first three questions of the deposition with: “For all of the reasons provided by my answer, which is incorporated herein in its entirety, I decline to answer the question.”

NY AG James’ team told Trump that to speed things up, he could respond to the questions with, “same answer.” 

Most of the rest of the deposition was the voice of the AG senior enforcement counsel Kevin Wallace, who noted for the record that ‘obviously, we disagree with a lot of the characterizations in Trump’s statement.

When Trump showed up in downtown Manhattan for the deposition, he’d inexplicably (not really) evolved his position. There he said:

“This whole thing is very unfair. Anyone in my position not taking the Fifth Amendment would be a fool, and absolute fool.” 

I respectfully decline to answer questions under the rights and privileges afforded every citizen under the United States Constitution, on the advice of counsel.

This will be my answer to any further questions.”

And just like that, the imperious Donald the Intrepid, developed a brand-new attitude, and surprise, surprise, a whole new-found appreciation for the viability and applicability of the Fifth Amendment. Whoever said, old dogs can’t learn new tricks?

A little over a month after the deposition, on September 21, AG James announced her office’s suit against Trump, the three kids, and the business for inflating the value of their properties. All four Trumps denied any wrongdoing.

Despite his repeated “same answer” responses, The Donald appeared to weigh at least some of the questions posed. At one point he leaned forward, crossed his arms, and studied financial documents handed to him by AG counsel Wallace. Then, he uttered, “same answer.”

This is just one of several pending legal actions directed at Trump, both civil and criminal. These suits, combined with the active presidential campaign Trump is waging will make for a unique campaign season. There are sure to be further developments. Stay tuned. “Trump Acts Like a Mobster; Pleads The Fifth More Than 400 Times!”

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And Another One…

It’s time to Break It Down!

Yesterday, Donald Trump, former President, withdrew a lawsuit challenging NY AG Letitia James’ investigation into the Trump Organization. It was the second case Mr. Trump dropped; just days after dropping a case attempting to block access to his personal trust.

Lawyers for both Trump and James said, of the one-page filing they submitted, they reached agreement to dismiss the appeal with prejudice, which precludes the case from being revived in the future.

Last year, in May, Mr. Trump appealed a federal judge’s ruling that allowed James’ investigation into the Trump Organization to proceed. The judge dismissed Trump’s argument that James, a Democrat, was driven by political animus, and was investigating Trump in bad faith.

This past September AG James sued Trump, his three eldest children and the Trump Organization alleging they were involved in a decade long fraud that misled lenders, insurers, and tax authorities to enrich themselves. James is seeking $250 million in the suit.

Team Trump has denied wrongdoing. According to Alina Habba, Trump’s attorney, the appeal was withdrawn for strategic purposes. There may be some question about whether that’s true. But then again, if anyone knows lawsuits, it’s Donald Trump.

In announcing the news, AG James said:

“I’m pleased that Donald Trump has withdrawn both of his pending actions against my office. As we have shown all along, we have a legitimate legal case against him and his organization, and we cannot be bullied or dissuaded from pursuing it.”

Earlier, on Friday, Trump withdrew a lawsuit he filed in November seeking to stop the AG’s office from obtaining documents and records from the personal trust he set up to hold his business interests after becoming president.

Additionally, last week, Judge Donald Middlebrooks – who was overseeing the trust lawsuit – sanctioned Trump and a different set of attorneys $937,989 for a lawsuit Trump brought against Hillary Clinton, former top Justice Department officials and several others alleging they conspired against him in his 2016 campaign.

In his finding, Judge Middlebrooks said:

“No reasonable lawyer would have filed it. Intended for a purpose, none of the counts of the amended complaint stated a cognizable legal claim.

The appeal withdrawn yesterday was made to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in NY, and is not tied to Judge Middlebrooks, who is seated on the bench in Florida’s Southern District.

At a glance, it appears several Mr. Trump’s legal gymnastics are failing, falling flat on their face… “And Another One…!”

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MLK, Jr.: Quotes You Don’t Remember…Or Perhaps Never Heard (Relayed by Nikole Hannah-Jones) Redux

It’s time to Break It Down!

Solomon Peña, who lost his 2022 bid for New Mexico state House District 14, was arrested Monday by an Albuquerque SWAT team for allegedly paying and conspiring with four men to shoot at the homes of two state legislators and two county commissioners in December and January, authorities said. No one was injured but investigators said Peña intended to cause serious injury or death. Peña, attributed his defeat to a “rigged” election is accused of masterminding a series of shootings targeting the homes of elected Democrats. But I digress. Consider this batschitt craziness an FYI!. It’s not the topic of today’s post.

Monday was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Over the years, I’ve written a post about Dr. King, the holiday, and how it came to pass. Today, I am again revisiting a post I initially wrote and posted Wednesday, January 19, 2011, and that I reprised January 18, 2017, January 17, 2018, and again, January 23, 2019, examining the advent of the King Holiday. It’s been 37 years since the initial observance of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday (MLK DAY), and 40 years since President Reagan signed the MLK, Jr. Holiday bill into law. Contemporary events continue to remind us that now is an apt time to look into the rearview mirror of time.

After over three decades of inculcation into the very fabric of our society, it may be largely forgotten that the conceptualization, submission and continual resubmission of the idea, the enactment, and the gradual national observance, was not the product of universal acceptance of a grand and enlightened concept, but rather, was emblematic of the civil rights struggle itself; steeped in controversy, and the eventual victory of a relentless movement to achieve richly deserved, and long overdue social justice.

Several members of Congress, a number of states, and even a President, using a host of creative means, sought to undermine, outmaneuver, sabotage, subvert, and otherwise derail the efforts of the measure’s proponents. Ultimately, the movement was consolidated, snowballed, and would simply not be thwarted.

The effort to create a King Holiday was started by U.S. Representative John Conyers, Michigan, shortly after Dr. King’s death, in the spring of 1968. It was first introduced in the House of Representatives in 1979 but fell 5 votes short of the number needed for passage in the Lower Chamber.

High profile opponents to the measure included Senator Jesse Helms, NC, Senator John McCain, AZ, and President Ronald Reagan. Both Senators voted against the bill, and Senator McCain publicly supported Arizona Governor Evan Mecham for his rescission of MLK Day as a State Holiday in Arizona. The campaign however, reached a critical mass in the early 1980’s. Spurred on by Stevie Wonder penning a song in King’s honor called, “Happy Birthday,” a petition drive to support the campaign would attract over 6 million signatures. It has been called the largest petition in favor of an issue in U.S. History.

Buttressed by what had become a wildly successful public campaign, Congress soon followed suit. The proposal passed in the House by a vote of 338-90, and in the Upper Chamber by a vote of 78-22. Given the dimensions of this overwhelming support, in the form of bicameral veto-proof votes, President Reagan signed the provision November 2, 1983, and it became Federal Law. The first observance under the new law took place January 20, 1986, rather than on January 15th, Dr. King’s birthday. A compromise in the legislation specified that the observance take place on the Third Monday in January, consistent with prior legislation (Uniform Monday Holiday Act).

Of course, that was not the end of the story. It would take more than 30 years after Dr. King’s death before the Holiday was fully adopted and observed in all 50 states. Illinois holds the distinction of being the first State to adopt MLK Day as a State Holiday, having done so in 1973. Twenty years later, in 1993, for the first time, some form of MLK Day was held in each of the 50 States.

It was not until 2000 that South Carolina Governor Jim Hodges signed a bill to make MLK Day a paid holiday for State employees; giving the Palmetto State the dubious distinction of being the last of the 50 States to do so. However, Mississippi also sets itself apart by designating the Third Monday in January as a shared Holiday that honors the memory of Robert E. Lee and Dr. King…two fine southern gentlemen.

Summer before last, after entertaining a whirlwind, on again off again, job offer at UNC, journalist, McArthur Fellow, Pulitzer Prize winner, and UNC alum Nikole Hannah-Jones opted to choose Howard University as her next employer, over UNC. Ms. Hannah-Jones, who gained notoriety for her work on the 1619 Project, has become a lightning rod for discourse around issues of civil rights, and the much-ballyhooed topic known as Critical Race Theory, #CRT.

A year ago, NH-J was invited to give an MLK speech on Monday. She discovered that a few members of the group hosting her wrote and subsequently leaked emails opposing her giving the speech. Those who opposed her felt it dishonored Dr. King to do so and characterized her as a “discredited activist” “unworthy of such association with King.”

This insight motivated her to call an audible. She scrapped her original speech and spent the first half of her speech reading excerpts from several of Dr. King’s speeches…without revealing that they were his words. She subbed BLACK for Negro, to avoid dating the material and giving away the fact that it was from over half a century ago. Literally, that’s all it took to transport to 2022.

Here is some of Nikole Hannah-Jones’ 2022 MLK, Jr. Day speech:

“It was in the year 1619 that the first BLACK slave was brought to the shores of this nation. They were brought here from the soils of Africa and unlike the Pilgrim fathers who landed here at Plymouth a year later, they were brought here against their will…”

“White Americans must recognize that justice for black people cannot be achieved without radical changes in the structure of our society…The evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism and racism…”

“The problems of racial injustice and economic injustice cannot be solved without a radical redistribution of political and economic power. A nation that continues year after year to spend more $ on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

“The crowning achievement in hypocrisy must go to those staunch Republicans and Democrats of the Midwest and West who were given land by our government when they came here as immigrants from Europe. They were given education through the land grant colleges…”

“These are the same people that now say to black people, whose ancestors were brought to this country in chains and who were emancipated in 1863 without being given land to cultivate or bread to eat; that they must pull themselves up by their own bootstraps…”

“What they truly advocate is Socialism for the rich and Capitalism for the poor… “We know full well that racism is still that hound of hell which dogs the tracks of our civilization.”

“Ever since the birth of our nation, White America has had a Schizophrenic personality on the question of race, she has been torn between selves. A self in which she proudly professes the great principle of democracy and a self in which she madly practices the antithesis of democracy.”

“The fact is, there has never been a single, solid, determined commitment on the part of the vast majority of white Americans to genuine equality for Black people.”

“The step backwards has a new name today, it is called the white backlash, but the white backlash is nothing new. It is the surfacing of old prejudices, hostilities and ambivalences that have always been there…”

“The white backlash of today is rooted in the same problem that has characterized America ever since the black man landed in chains on the shores of this nation.”

“Whites, it must frankly be said, are not putting in a similar mass effort to reeducate themselves out of their racial ignorance…with each modest advance the white population promptly raises the argument that BLACK AMERICANS HAVE come far enough.”

“…for the good of America, it is necessary to refute the idea that the dominant ideology in our country, even today, is freedom and equality and that racism is just an occasional departure from the norm on the part of a few bigoted extremists.”

“If America does not respond creatively to the challenge to banish racism, some future historian will have to say, that a great civilization died because it lacked the soul and commitment to make justice a reality for all men.”

“Why do white people seem to find it so difficult to understand that the Black people are sick and tired of having reluctantly parceled out to THEM those rights and privileges which all others receive upon birth or entry in America?”

“I never cease to wonder at the amazing presumption of much of white society, assuming that they have the right to bargain with the BLACK for their freedom…”

Oh, the uncomfortable silence as I read Dr. King’s words at a commemoration of Dr. King’s life when people had no idea that these were his words. When I revealed that everything I said to that point was taken from his speeches between ’56 and 67… Can you say SHOOK!

Then I read all the names that white Americans called King: charlatan, demagogue, communist, traitor — and brought out the polling showing more than three-quarters of Americans opposed King at his death while 94 percent approve of him now.

I left them with this: People who oppose today what he stood for back then do not get to be the arbiters of his legacy. The real Dr. King cannot be commodified, homogenized, and white-washed and whatever side you stand on TODAY is the side you would have been back then.

In fact, most white Americans in 1963 opposed the March on Washington where Dr. King gave the “I Have A Dream” Speech with that one line that people oppose to anti-racism like to trot out against those working for racial justice.

When the speech was over, Father Pfleger, who had been cheering me on from the crowd, whispered in my ear: That’s what you call the “You Gone Learn Today” speech.

“This is why the 1619 Project exists. This is why the decades of scholarship that undergirds the 1619 Project exists. Because if we do nothing, they will co-opt our history and use it against us.”

Dr. King was a radical critic of racism, capitalism and militarism. He didn’t die. He was assassinated. And many, including Regan, fought the national holiday we’re now commemorating. “If you haven’t read, in entirety, his speeches, you’ve been miseducated & I hope that you will.”

As it was in 1623, 1723, 1823, 1923, and yeah, remains in 2023…”MLK, Jr.: Quotes You Don’t Remember…Or Perhaps Never Heard (Relayed by Nikole Hannah-Jones).

I’m done; holla back!–T2c63h3l3BCwu8