Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Jesse, Barack and everything else in between.......

If you're familiar with my underutilized blog, two years ago I got into a back and forth email exchange with a black Washington Post journalist who bought into the ridiculous belief that the African American community questioned whether "Barack was black enough."

I thought her article was poorly constructed and was based on complete untruths, as we have seen in the sizable black vote Barack has ammassed since that time.

I countered her assertions with predictions that have played out EXACTLY as I called it.

Prediction: January 2007

Black issues are passe, and the old generation poverty pimps like Al and Jesse are reminders of the past America abhors.

I for one do not want Obama to follow their old playbook, and I sense that the graybeards from yesteryear want Obama to cow-tow to them the with the same song and dance that's entertained them for years.

That is at the heart of the matter here. It is a generational issue Obama is confronting. He doesn't fit the norm they're accustomed to and isn't cut from the civil rights generation cloth


Disregarding the foolish "is Barack considered black enough" mantra promoted by a mainstream press completely out of touch about the train of thought within the Black community, and futher promulgated by this black journalist who obviously carried a chip on her shoulder about the African American community when penning that article, I was under the belief that the generational division within the black community would expose itself with Barack's rise.

And boy has it ever.

I'm sure we're all aware of the recent comments from the mainstream media's appointed black leader, the beloved Jesse Jackson.

Was Jesse's tirade born out of his lack of relevance in the ever changing world of where politics and race meet? Partially. Jesse's shine in the spotlight has been overshadowed by a young neophyte who remains an enigma to many.

Is there some merit to Jesse's belief that Barack talked down to black people? Yes, which I'll discuss later.

But the way Jesse went about it puzzled me. Not only for wanting to cut off Barack's manhood, but using a term often said within the African American community that the media opportunist in Revs clothing denounced several year ago when the words use was a hotly debated topic. Never one to shy away from the camera when the opportunity presents itself, the father of the "bury the n-word" movement found the term useful when talking about Obama.

Hypocrite anyone?

I don't know what to say about the state of black leadership. Whether it be Jesse and his camera hogging, or the rants of Bill "I father illegitimate children and sexually harass women" Cosby, the older generation of blacks have more nerve than a toothache to speak on our ills while carrying their own faults.

Some of them have to realize that their time as has passed and need to move on quietly for the good of the country AND our people.

Now back to Barack. While I've historically disagreed with Jesse's methods, his very tactless and crass rant voiced into a hot Fox News mic did have some teeth to it, and it all goes back to Barack's Father's Day Speech.

And before anyone believes I'm "afraid of the truth" as said about Barack's speech, believe me when I say I'm not. I too was rasied by an absentee father....who was African......just like Barack's. I've personally witnessed and experienced the trickle down effect a father's absence plays in the home. So believe me when I say....I CAN handle the truth because I lived it.

Now that's I've made that clear, let's take another look at my back and forth exchange where I discuss my dismay about Barack's non-appearance at the 2006 Black State of Union. As we've all witnessed in his rise, Barack is very a tactful and calculated politician. His absence to me was a deliberate move to avoid the "too black" tag he ardently fought off since his ascension to the Democratic Nomination (which the Clinton camp tried to attach to him). Alls fair in love and politics, and Barack has played the game well, displaying a political savvy we've never seen out of most politicians, let alone out of someone of his hue.

Now don't get me wrong....I'm not asking him to be all black-all the time. Nor am I tying him to the stake to be the President of Black America. But as a black man, I believe our issues deserve the same treatment and carried with the same respect given to other communities when their issues are spoken on, and Barack's Father's Day speech to me was an opportunity for him which turned out to be nothing more than his Sista Souljah moment.

A Sista Souljah moment you ask? Here's the definition (AGAIN...a Clinton MO):

In United States politics, a Sister Souljah moment is a politician's public repudiation of an allegedly extremist person or group, statement, or position perceived to have some association with the politician or their party. Such an act of repudiation is designed to signal to centrist voters that the politician is not beholden to traditional, and sometimes unpopular, interest groups associated with the party, although such a repudiation runs the risk of alienating some of the politician's allies and the party's base voters.

I believe the redeeming qualities of Barack's speech was to the benefit of white voters who believe Barack's truthful dialouge is in short supply in the African American community and needed to be said.

Excuse me? Have I, and those in the congregation Barack spoke in front of that day, who hear the word of responsibility preached to them every Sunday, been living under some rock? Have I not heard these problems talked about in Barbershops and on the streetcorners? I've lived on this earth for over 35 years and have had the truths Barack touched repeated to me over and over again. Is the cause and effect of absentee fathers NEW news to us in the Black community? It's been spoken about from here to eternity, so why should I pat anyone on the back for repeating the obvious?

What seems to be in large supply is the black community love for these "he's right" sessions.

The Million Man March "was right."
Bill Cosby "was right."

There's 20 years between both of these movements which have amounted to a little more than the crowd turning into one big amen corner. all of these feel good "Umm-hmm" sessions, did we ever come out with a PLAN?

WHAT are the things out there that works on stemming the tide of absentee fathers?

HOW do we go about bringing those solutions to the forefront?

WHEN do we put that plan in place?

Simply put, telling me we both know there's a problem isn't helping to solve it. And maybe its me being from the Adam Clayton Powell school of thought, but I will not apologize for tying expectations to our elected officials to help erect or further along what works as a way of stemming problems that effect us collectively...especially when they've gone out of their way to speak on it. And I didn't get that out of Barack's Father's Day speech. Just more of the same Nancy Reganesque "we shouldn't do it" talk that I've been hearing for years.

At the end of the day, we need a blueprint placed in front of us to follow through and to build upon. What we as the black community have been doing for years is the equivalent of pointing to an old barren landfill we've always known has been there, but instead of using our collective efforts to build over it, we constantly pat our people on the back for saying that empty patch of earth exists.

But alas....I'll continue marching along and being the responsible father I've always tried to be, minus being patted on the back for something I'm supposed to be doing. I won't pat Barack or anyone else on the back for speaking on the obvious either.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Sean Taylor- A Victim Twice Over

As I woke up to the news of Sean Taylor’s passing from a fatal gunshot wound in an attempted robbery in his Miami home on November 27th, the initial shock of his murder sent a jolt throughout my body. His career was as secondary to my thoughts as the position he played, hoping he’d avoid the growing number of slain young African American men, praying he’d pull through his two day struggle fighting for his life. A promising young star on the cusp of greatness, his life was cut short by an assailant’s bullet. After the initial shock of his passing set in, I thought of his immediate family and those closest to him. Sean was outlived by a grieving father, a chief of police in a small Florida town who risks his life fending off perpetrators such as the one took his son’s life. The 24 year old man whose girlfriend recently bore their first child that will never recall hearing her name called by her father. His former teammates and coaching staff reminded of Sean’s presence as they gloomily walk past his empty locker.

To the hard core football fan, we’re limited to knowing Sean Taylor mostly through his exploits on the playing field. Equipped with the range of a young Ken Griffey Jr. patrolling centerfield, the former Miami Hurricane standout had the physical ability to jump with Randy Moss, and the fearsome tackling of Jack Tatum who struck fear in opposing receivers. An imposing figure in the Washington Redskins secondary, Sean Taylor stood at 6’2 and weighed 225 pounds, the prototype of the NFL’s new age safety. Yet Taylor possessed a throw back quality. Going sleeveless most games, Sean rarely wore gloves or tape wrapped around his wrists. Wearing none of the new age protective padding found on the modern day player, the ferocity of his tackles were the only thing that matched the rawness of his appearance on the field. A first time pro-bowler in 2006 destined for many more, Taylor was considered one of the best safeties in the NFL. But to those unfamiliar with him, the soft spoken Sean Taylor was introduced to their lives through the tragic manner of his death.

As news of Taylor’s murder was circulated throughout the sports world, his story came tied with an obscure yet familiar fine print. A fine print that came fastened with the news following the plight of the victims of Hurricane Katrina. A fine print that covered Sean Bell, the unarmed groom shot to death by the NYPD. A fine print whose possible side effects ultimately result in some having a complete loss of sympathy after consuming a strong dose of tactless speculation broadcast as fact, blanket generalizations and egregious indifference.

Taylor’s 2004 arrest for a DUI where he was later acquitted and an arrest a year later for brandishing a firearm on individuals he believed stole his ATV which resulted in a plea agreement was prominently posted alongside the news of his passing.

Taking it as their cue as Taylor’s lifeless body laid in a Miami hospital, snake oil salesmen posed as sports radio jocks and journalists hit the ground running several hours after the announcement of his death. Anchored to his previous legal issues, Taylor was incautiously vilified as an athlete living a careless lifestyle ultimately leading to his then unresolved murder. As the circumstances swirling around Taylor’s murder remained cloudy and armed with a less than stellar perception of African American men, Taylor’s departure was used as conduit to display their perfunctory insights on African American athletes and the African American community, as their shows and columns became their personal bully pulpits to deliver their mean spirited sermons. Soon, the “Hip Hop Macarthyists,” in their usual garb chimed in, blaming a long besieged art form as one of the primary contributors of problems facing the African American community, coming to a head with Taylor’s murder. Administering their own cursory version of the events leading to his premature departure, baseless speculation further fueled the growing story behind his murder, the grieving process over Taylor’s loss lost in their careless bandying around of his name for their own self serving purposes.

One is left questioning why the post-mortem coverage of the canines and the manner by which they lost their lives on property owned by Michael Vick received more humane coverage than that given to Sean Taylor. The public’s eyes became fixated on the media’s unveiling of the underworld of dog-fighting, missing the boat that has long been docked to have a serious discussion addressing the mile long scroll of problems facing African American communities and the many athletes that come from them which predates Grand Master Flash inventing the scratch or Kool Herc fashioned a sound into a break beat. With four suspects currently held in connection to Taylor’s murder ranging from ages 17 through 20, are we again making that same mistake?

A piece of me falls with the dirt soon to be tossed onto the casket of the Skins safety who died protecting his loved ones from harms way. Left victimized by a different set of deplorable characters who steered the news of his murder away from the feelings I first encountered on the announcement of his death one early Tuesday morning. Sean Taylor is laid to rest as a victim twice over, buried under a mountain of rush to judgments and baseless generalizations that many of us are still here fighting to stave off from ourselves.

copywritten 2007

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

My recent dialouge with a journalist regarding Barack Obama's "Blackness"

Recently, the airwaves have publicized the African American community's questioning of Barack Obama's "blackness". After further investigation, the political hot potato regarding Barack's "authenticity" smells of the familiar rat like scent of the right wing machine at work.

The small murmurs by AM radio talking heads about the Democratic nominee for President has grown to a loud cry as their distorted machinations have morphed into media circulated reflections of the African American community feelings towards Barack Obama.

In a recent article titled "Black Like Me?" , Marjorie Valbrun of the Washington Post voiced her dismay at the constant questioning of Mr. Obama's ethnicity by the black community, siting the State of the Black Union event recently held in Virginia.

I took her article to task pointing out some key elements missing from her piece. It's a pretty long and drawn out read, but I hope you'll take as much time as necessary to read our exchange as you will in choosing an elected official as your representative.

Here's what ensued:

Reb: I found your article to be somewhat misguided on several fronts.

For all of the so-called questioning of whether Obama is considered "black enough" by the African American community, you seemed to bypass the cherry picking on the medias part who has a long and storied history of touting (Ann Coulter's recent bullhorning of an acid laced Stanley Crouch article) our divisions more-so than our collective harmony.

Your Cornel West for example didn't exactly affirm the opinion that Obama's blackness came into question. He clearly addressed Barack's lack of participation at the event. I think you looked past the recent phenomenon that has transpired in recent years where race neutrality of mainstream blacks are praised over African Americans who take um bridge to the realities race play in our country. And you didn't embellish on the very question you voiced in your article:

"if he reaches out to "them"(whites), it means he neglects "us" (blacks)?"

Obama, much like anyone else, should endear himself to the black community for our vote.

You can't compare the embrace of Hillary Clinton by the black community to that of Obama. She's had a 15 year head start riding the coattails of her saxophone playing, black baby kissing husband.

Obama is a newcomer on the scene to many Black Americans, and the community rightfully wonders if he is willing to teeter the boat by identifying himself with things "distinctively" black.

We are fully aware that in doing so, it may remove some of the luster from the race neutral sentiment America loves.

The bottom line here, it may cost him votes.

There's been an attack on most initiatives deemed "black" over the past 20 years. Black issues are passe, and the old generation poverty pimps like Al and Jesse are reminders of the past America abhors.

I for one do not want Obama to follow their old playbook, and I sense that the graybeards from yesteryear want Obama to cow-tow to them the with the same song and dance that's entertained them for years.

That is at the heart of the matter here. It is a generational issue Obama is confronting. He doesn't fit the norm they're accustomed to and isn't cut from the civil rights generation cloth.

But at the same time, he has to establish amongst African American voters that he isn't fearful of outright riding for a cause or issues deemed black in fear of losing some votes.

Right now, I see the redundant game of divide and conquer being played before us. The right wing media has jumped on the black community's speculation of Obama. The talking points questioning his blackness by certian media types circulated prior (Rush Limbaugh and Melainie Morgan called Barack a "Halfrican" MONTHS ago) to what's now presented as a major chasm between the African American community and Obama. And it seems that many are falling for its misinterpretation.

However disheartening, we cannot allow these distortions to dismiss the legitimate questioning by the African American community of why we should vote for Barack Obama.

Majorie: Thank you for your thoughtful response. I think the article really touched a chord because I've gotten nearly 500 emails so far from around the country and abroad from folks of all hues and nationalities.

Your comments illustrate just how complicated and politically fraught this issue is. You make many valid points and I wish I had gotten more space in the piece to address some of them. I must say I was not as concerned about his political prospects as I was the tone of the debate about his blackness. I think it hurts us all and I was sick of it. I focused on a very narrow part of the larger debate about blackness -- the issue of his immigrant father and the fact that many black Americans don't consider black immigrants as black -- because it was something that I could speak to based on my own experiences.

As for the media, I agree they are partially responsible for sensationalizing this issue, but they got help from the black pundits, columnists, and social critics who started this. Frankly, it was those who questioned his blackness in the first place that I wanted to take to task. The media may be fanning the flames, but it was some black folks who started the fire.

That said, I agree wholeheartedly that Mr.Obama should have to earn the black vote, just as he has to earn the votes of others. I in no way implied he should get a pass just because he's black. But I do believe he is being held to a tougher standard than the other candidates by some blacks. As for Hillary Clinton, she may be riding her husband's coattails, but she also should not be given a pass.

My comments about Mr. West were cut back a bit, but the point I was making was that Mr. Obama's commitment to the black community was very much in question at that event. Prof. West, who I actually like and admire, made a point of saying that Mr. Obama knew well in advance about the event but chose not attend. Another speaker, a black historian, mentioned Obama's choice of the Old Illinois State House as a backdrop for his announcement and went into great detail about Lincoln's record on slavery and the common misconception that he freed the slaves out of goodwill, etc. It was very clear they were not only criticizing Obama for not attending the event, but also questioning the symbolism of how he choose to kick off his campaign. Charles Ogletree came to his defense because the critics were starting to pile on. (You can check it out on C-Span's website.)

I hope I have given you some context about my opinion piece.

We of the African Diaspora are a complicated people indeed, sometimes to our own detriment. Let's hope the public discourse moves on to more important and enlightened topics in coming weeks.

Reb: I must say, I'm very happy that you took the time to respond to my email.

But I must say some things in conclusion.

In regards to blacks starting the firestorm questioning Obama's blackness. This was a circulated talking point amongst republicans as far back as December.

Melaine Morgan
Rush Limbaugh
Glenn Beck

Blacks did not start the so-called fire. Obama's blackness is the political hot potatoe the right wing machine initially kindled before any token black columnists or social critic questioned Obama's "blackness".

And regarding the questioning of his authenticity, you've been extremely vague on when and by whom this was questioned. The puzzlement and resentment behind Barack's absence at the State of the Black Union was totally called for. As many times as I've heard the black elitist choir complain about our lack of collectively getting together to address the problematic issues plaguing our community, should we not be somewhat dismayed at Barack's non-appearance?

That is not questioning his black "authenticity" as you consistently alluded to in your article. That was the rightful questioning of his commitment towards the African American community.

And historically, the panel is correct on President Lincoln's feelings towards African Americans. The cookie cutter version of President Lincoln goodwill towards slaves that's been fed to the masses through our textbooks is, quite honestly, dishonest. It's unfair to ask those knowledgeable of this to curb their insight for Barack's sake.

That too was not questioning his "authenticity", but again questioning his commitment to the African American community. To stand on the side of the Lincoln myth while noticeably missing at the State of the Black Union would naturally raise some eyebrows. But I'm certain had Barack made an appearance, he would've been embraced like the first born son returning home.

Ironically, Stanley Crouch who penned that hateful article towards Barack, was re soundly booed at a previous State of the Black Union. Mr. Crouch's feelings are not widely shared amongst the African American community as many may believe no matter how much press time he and other pundits of a darker hue are selectively given.

What I'm seeing here and through the media at large is the blurring of the lines where the legitimate questioning of Obama's commitment to the black community has turned into the questioning of his so-called authenticity.

I think you may have innocently and mistakenly introduced your own personal experiences as a black immigrant coming up in this country and applied it wrongfully to the issue facing Obama. I myself am a child of two Nigerian immigrants who did me no favors, for which I am thankful, giving me a distinctive African name. But I'm also wise enough to know the questioning of his "authenticity" isn't commonly discussed among black circles when speaking on Barack. And I also know there's a distorting dynamic in play that the African American community has little control over.

Our collective thought process has gone through the traditional meat grinder. Wound, spun, and misconstrued as something less than sophisticated or intelligent, while always altogether different from its original intentions.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Charlie Rangel wants to reinstate the draft...................GOOD!!!

Harlems own Charlie Rangel recently stated that he wants to reinstate a word ungodly to most young americans. It's called THE DRAFT.

His proposal has been met with SHOCK and disbelief by many who voted the democrats into office. What's funny is that this has been the position of "Mr. Inept" for the past four years.

**reasons I call him Mr. Inept**
The longtime 18 term representative for harlem had a chance to buy the then vacant and abondoned Brownstones for a $1 a piece back in the 70's and did nothing with it. Now others have come in in the name of gentrification and have taken refuge to these homes that longtime Harlem residents themselves can not afford, as they're outpriced from their own neighborhoods.

Anyway, I see many benefits out of reinstating the draft. For one, the make up of todays volunteer army now has more minorities and the poor who are in the armed forces because of the limited options affored to them. The reinstatement of the draft would blur the lines of class and race of those who make up the armed services sent off to fight for their country. This also would place the possibility of recruitment of some of these armchair war mongers in the draft.

Maybe with a draft, these armchair warmongers and elected official would be alot more hesitant and take a "hold on now!!! Wait a minute. Lets make sure we get all the facts!!!" approach before marching us off to war knowing that their own children and relatives may now be affected by their mandates.

Could you imagine Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity asked to be pulled away from their cushy chairs to go out and fight for their country? Maybe they wouldn't be as vehiment to push for war as much as they do from the safety of being behind the camera.

Another benefit that could result from the reinstatement of the draft is the awakening of young folks from there listlessness Washington politics. People tend to care when they know things may effect them "personally."

So march on Mr. Rangel. You'll only awaken a sleeping giant that hasn't risen since the 70's, the years you were inactive from duty!!!!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Kramer? Who's he?

For our collective attention to be paid to an irrelevant comedians rants is pretty much useless. We've bought into the sensationalism of the "N" word advertised and packaged as the end all of back in the day racism. Really, was it the use of the word itself that our parents fought against, or was it the systematic application of legalized racial bias tied into it?

The N word rings hollow to me. I'm not living in the 60's, I live in a time where its said behind cliched rhetoric to justify our mistreatment. Why the hell do heads wait for some talentless comic or some inbred hick to get ticked? Do we lack the intestinal fortitude or just too mentally lazy to delve into REAL issues regarding racism? As a matter of fact, this is perfect segue for me to introduce the things we AREN'T paying attention to.

After 13 years in a long heart filled struggle, the NYC public schools will FINALLY be allocated almost $2 billion in funding, $3 billion smaller than the original amount, they've been categorically denied by paid bigoted mercenaries of the Pataki administration.

Who are these paid mercenaries you ask? People like David Armor who received $250,000 in taxpayer funds for their services to defend the Pataki's administration from withholding school funds to the mostly black and Latino students that make up the majority of the children in the NYC public school system.

Are you curious as to what Mr. Armor said to justify it? Take a peek.

Jenkins v. Missouri, 1997. Question: "Do you agree with this statement?: African-American students, if given high standards, a challenging curriculum, accurate resources, and trained teachers, can achieve in school on a par with students of other races?"

Answer: "I disagree with that."

Riddick v. School Board of Norfolk, Virginia, 1984. Q: "So one cannot account for differences between blacks and whites solely by socioeconomic data? That's what you're saying?"

A: "Yes, there are whole attitudinal dimensions and other lifestyle differences that may also be part of the family differences between black and white." He specified that "practices like requiring homework" and other "rules of the home that either emphasize school work or not" had a racial component, with blacks and whites of the same socioeconomic status "differing."

Hmmm. What's more egregious? Kramer on stage with his tired rant, or the loquacious N-word free talk of Mr. Armor's?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Daily News continues pattern of protecting police with contrived outrage over 20 year old center named after Assata Shakur

In my last submission, I covered the NY Daily News continued pattern of protecting the police since the police shooting death of Sean Bell shooting 3 weeks ago.

Well, last weeks Daily News, its pushed front and center with this front page cover greeting its readers.

The page 3 article goes into great detail about the Guillermo Morales/Assata Shakur Community Center at City College University of New York named in honor of Ms. Shakur who allegedly participated in the execution of a fallen cop.

Sentenced to life in prison in 1973, Assata broke out of prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba and has lived there ever since.

The Daily News, following its recent trend of poor journalistic integrity, however forgot to add two important ingredients to this tasteless diatribe. The who, what, where, when and why, are staple of any article required of a journalist when producing their written work. But missing or lightly covered in this article is the when, who and why answers that left me somewhat malnourished.

So I took it upon myself to add to whats missing, and came up with some important tidbits that the article looked past.

When: The Guillermo Morales/Assata Shakur Community Center was named in 1989.

Who: by students that successfully countered a tuition hike.

Why: (In their own words) We know that many Black people that fought for better conditions in the 70s were framed. We consider Assata Shakur to be one of the people who were wrongfully and purposefully framed for her activities. And we consider her a hero and role model for standing up for our people and putting her life on the line.

So I'm back at this back at this place called "why".

"Why" would the NY Daily News find sudden interest in a community center named almost two decades ago in Ms. Shakur's honor?

"Why" would Pat Lynch of the Policeman's Benevolent society choose to speak out on this today out of all days almost 20 years of the establishment of the center?

I can only come up with one conclusion.

The news is obviously serving and protecting the image of those whose job is to serve and protect now under scrutiny, particularly by the African American community since the gunning down of Sean Bell.

Yet, the Daily News wants the anger over police actions of Mr. Bells killing to be confined to the African American community and the African American community alone. A lesson learned from the Amadou Diallo case where people of all kinds collectively stood in protest.

By gently sending a series of subtle cues to certain segments of the public, the news presents out of date issues fresh on the minds of its readers. Our outrage is undeserving of a shared call for justice, and our remorse is that of a self centered people, seriously, "look at who they celebrate."

The NY Daily News is far from impartial and is simply carrying the water for the NYPD rather than the public good of providing unbiased and balanced news.

Friday, December 22, 2006

I pimp smack a NY Daily News columnist in an email exchange over her article about the Sean Bell killing

As many of us are aware (I hope), a major tragedy took place in Queens two weeks ago when NYPD officers gunned down 23 year old Sean Bell, an unarmed groom-to-be several hours before starting a new chapter in a life to be shared with the mother of his two children.

The merciless and unrelenting loading, discharging and reloading of over 50 shots in a one sided exchange left a future wife a grieving widow before her time, their children fatherless, and a community incensed.

And what's followed since is the bunker mentality relationship of police and the local media co-joined by the hip, the latter protecting and serving those expected to protect and serve the now angry and stunned, but providing their usual dish of disservice to an African American community accustomed to their poison.

With professionalism cast aside, formal training forgotten, and their integrity an afterthought, police and their guardian scribes play a game of Simon Says at the expense of our lives and our collective character.

Myself as an up and coming journalist, I am taught to be at the behest of my readers to whom I'm expected to serve fair and objective news. However, the tragic killing of Mr. Bell has exposed where many in my field fall short. I can look no further than the NY Daily News and its recent coverage over this tragedy.

In Wednesdays NY Daily News, columnist Patrice O'Shaughnessy wrote an article about Vincent Perrega, an unfortunate crime victim murdered by a remorsless two bit criminal, following a trend by the paper of using the emotions and pain of others to diminish and question the outrage over the Bell shooting.

This followed a Michael Daly article who a day prior wrote a similar piece regarding a widowed police officer whose husband was killed in the line of duty last year.

So I emailed this "journalist" and got an email back from her less than ten minutes later. Here's what transpired:

Reb: "Is there any legitimate reason you're using the pain and anguish of the victim of the crime in your latest piece to buffer the anger over the killing of Sean Bell? "

O'Shaughnessy: people should be angry over both-- the police shooting an unarmed person and the lack of protection of citizens, who are getting shot by criminals in increasing numbers.
perraga's family does not want him or his case to be forgotten

Reb: Sorry to tell you, but the job of those asked to protect and serve our communities tend to blur the lines of who are the criminals and who aren't, and unfortunately both Mr. Bell and Mr. Perraga are victims of that.

But I feel that you're misusing the emotions of the Perraga family to diminish the anguish behind the Bell shooting. I'm not sure if you've attended the stop the violence rallies in some of these communities since they draw little attention in the Daily News and are pretty much not newsworthy. Now that the community has made its say about the Bell killing, the attention of the news is suddenly aroused, and you view the community's anger as displaced. Where were you and your coverage at the stop the violence rallies that take place all over the city? Why whack the hands of those you feel whose anger are displaced?

You're just as much the problem as you think you are the solution in pointing out the lack of even handed anger in your article.

O'Shaughnessy:yes, i guess the media is the root of all problems. thanks for writing

Reb: I guess if you believe that's my line of thinking, ride that angle to the ground for all I care. But if you're going to be fatherly in your articles and point out the community's anger not being even handed, accept the responsibilities that come with being a so called parent. You play a part too.


To be honest with you, outside of the surprise I got in hearing from her so quickly, I expected a much more intelligent response than what I was provided with. And since our email exchange, her article has been pulled from the papers website, even as far as being removed from its search engine. But I hope the next time before she places her fingers onto a pen or keyboard to write that type of trash, she'll think twice before submitting garbage to her editor.

I'll be keeping my eyes open.