Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Story Of This Black Teen Who Protected A White Man From An Angry Mob Continues To Inspire

In a world where two men were insensitive enough to dress up as Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman for a Halloween party, and a black college student is arrested at a high-end luxury department store for buying a belt, this teen's story will restore your faith in humanity.
In a series on kindness, the BBC recounted the incredible moment in 1996 when Keshia Thomas, an 18-year-old at the time, protected a man believed to be a white supremacist affiliated with the KKK from an angry mob.

 In June of that year, the Ku Klux Klan held a rally at the city hall building in Ann Arbor, Mich. The town, whose population is known to be home to mostly liberals, came out in large numbers to protest the presence of the notoriously racist group. According to reports 300 anti-clan protestors showed up, while just 17 Klansmen were present.
Thomas was in the crowd of anti-clan protesters, when someone spotted a man in the crowd amongst them with an SS tattoo and a confederate flag shirt. The group, including Thomas, immediately chased the man.

 But, in a flash, the crowd went from controlled protestors to an angry mob, hitting the man with sticks and kicking him as he lay on the ground. In that moment, Thomas separated herself from the mob and threw herself on the man to protect him.
"When they dropped him to the ground, it felt like two angels had lifted my body up and laid me down," Thomas said.

 Thomas' act of true altruism was captured by photographer Mark Brunner in a series of photos, and it still inspires people to this day.
"She put herself at physical risk to protect someone who, in my opinion, would not have done the same for her," he said. "Who does that in this world?"
Even the police assigned to protect the Klan members felt conflicted. A retired police officer, shared his story with Ann Arbor news last year.

“Behind the faceshield, what bugged me was when the crowd chanted, "The cops and the Klan go hand in hand!" Inside you want to scream, "No! No! Don't you understand that is completely false? I'm here because it is my duty to protect all of you." Outwardly you stand, you say nothing and get ready to duck if necessary.”
Today, Thomas continues to work to make a difference, by doing simple things each and every day.
"The biggest thing you can do is just be kind to another human being. It can come down to eye contact, or a smile. It doesn't have to be a huge monumental act."

Monday, March 17, 2014

Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Books?

Of 3,200 children’s books published in 2013, just 93 were about black people, according to a study by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin. Reading came early to me, but I didn’t think of the words as anything special. I don’t think my stepmom thought of what she was doing as more than spending time with me in our small Harlem apartment. From my comfortable perch on her lap I watched as she moved her finger slowly across the page. She probably read at about the third grade level, but that was good enough for the True Romance magazines she read. I didn’t understand what the stories were about, what “bosom” meant or how someone’s heart could be “broken.” To me it was just the comfort of leaning against Mama and imagining the characters and what they were doing. Opinion: The Apartheid of Children’s Literature MARCH 15, 2014 Later, when my sisters brought home comic books, I got Mama to read them to me, too. The magazines and comics pushed me along the road of the imaginative process.

In a recent post from Charlotte Camp founder of (The El Paso Connection)  a friendly connection with Dana Roberts quoted "This is what I have been looking for"Thanks Charlotte - feeling excited after hearing the latest news on the release of " Black Klansman" written by Sgt. Ron Stallworth, Ret. and Published by Police and Fire Publishing company.

  When I got my first books — “The Little Engine That Could,” “Bible Stories for Every Day,” and “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” — I used them on the same journeys. In the landscape of my mind I labored as hard as I could to get up the hill. I stood on the plain next to David as he fought Goliath, and tasted the porridge with Goldilocks. As a teenager I romped the forests with Robin Hood, and trembled to the sound of gunfire with Henry in “The Red Badge of Courage.” Later, when Mama’s problems began to overwhelm her, I wrestled with the demons of dealing with one’s mother with Stephen Dedalus in “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.” But by then I was beginning the quest for my own identity. To an extent I found who I was in the books I read. I was a person who felt the drama of great pain and greater joys, whose emotions could soar within the five-act structure of a Shakespearean play, or find quiet comfort in the poems of Gabriela Mistral. Every book was a landscape upon which I was free to wander. In the dark times, when my uncle was murdered, when my family became dysfunctional with alcohol and grief, or when I realized that our economics would not allow me to go to college, I began to despair. I read voraciously, spending days in Central Park reading when I should have been going to school. But there was something missing. I needed more than the characters in the Bible to identify with, or even the characters in Arthur Miller’s plays or my beloved Balzac. As I discovered who I was, a black teenager in a white-dominated world, I saw that these characters, these lives, were not mine. I didn’t want to become the “black” representative, or some shining example of diversity. What I wanted, needed really, was to become an integral and valued part of the mosaic that I saw around me. Books did not become my enemies. They were more like friends with whom I no longer felt comfortable. I stopped reading. I stopped going to school. On my 17th birthday, I joined the Army. In retrospect I see that I had lost the potential person I would become — an odd idea that I could not have articulated at the time, but that seems so clear today. Continue reading the main story My post-Army days became dreadful, a drunken stumble through life, with me holding on just enough to survive. Fueled by the shortest and most meaningful conversation I had ever had in a school hallway, with the one English teacher in my high school, Stuyvesant, who knew I was going to drop out, I began to write short columns for a local tabloid, and racy stories for men’s magazines. Seeing my name in print helped. A little. Then I read a story by James Baldwin: “Sonny’s Blues.” I didn’t love the story, but I was lifted by it, for it took place in Harlem, and it was a story concerned with black people like those I knew. By humanizing the people who were like me, Baldwin’s story also humanized me. The story gave me a permission that I didn’t know I needed, the permission to write about my own landscape, my own map. During my only meeting with Baldwin, at City College, I blurted out to him what his story had done for me. “I know exactly what you mean,” he said. “I had to leave Harlem and the United States to search for who I was. Isn’t that a shame?” When I left Baldwin that day I felt elated that I had met a writer I had so admired, and that we had had a shared experience. But later I realized how much more meaningful it would have been to have known Baldwin’s story at 15, or at 14. Perhaps even younger, before I had started my subconscious quest for identity. TODAY I am a writer, but I also see myself as something of a landscape artist. I paint pictures of scenes for inner-city youth that are familiar, and I people the scenes with brothers and aunts and friends they all have met. Thousands of young people have come to me saying that they love my books for some reason or the other, but I strongly suspect that what they have found in my pages is the same thing I found in “Sonny’s Blues.” They have been struck by the recognition of themselves in the story, a validation of their existence as human beings, an acknowledgment of their value by someone who understands who they are. It is the shock of recognition at its highest level. I’ve reached an age at which I find myself not only examining and weighing my life’s work, but thinking about how I will pass the baton so that those things I find important will continue. In 1969, when I first entered the world of writing children’s literature, the field was nearly empty. Children of color were not represented, nor were children from the lower economic classes. Today, when about 40 percent of public school students nationwide are black and Latino, the disparity of representation is even more egregious. In the middle of the night I ask myself if anyone really cares. When I was doing research for my book “Monster,” I approached a white lawyer doing pro bono work in the courts defending poor clients. I said that it must be difficult to get witnesses to court to testify on behalf of an inner-city client, and he replied that getting witnesses was not as difficult as it sometimes appeared on television. “The trouble,” he said, “is to humanize my clients in the eyes of a jury. To make them think of this defendant as a human being and not just one of ‘them.’ ” I realized that this was exactly what I wanted to do when I wrote about poor inner-city children — to make them human in the eyes of readers and, especially, in their own eyes. I need to make them feel as if they are part of America’s dream, that all the rhetoric is meant for them, and that they are wanted in this country.

The Unavoidable Drudge team caught up with Ron Stallworth and had some "Do Tell's"  which can be heard here Black Klansman Podcast a picture shows left to right  John Flores, Ron Stallworth, and Jason Baron producers and host of the Unavoidable Drudge 

(moving on)
Years ago, I worked in the personnel office for a transformer firm. We needed to hire a chemist, and two candidates stood out, in my mind, for the position. One was a young white man with a degree from St. John’s University and the other an equally qualified black man from Grambling College (now Grambling State University) in Louisiana. I proposed to the department head that we send them both to the lab and let the chief chemist make the final decision. He looked at me as if I had said something so remarkable that he was having a hard time understanding me. “You’re kidding me,” he said. “That black guy’s no chemist.” Continue reading the main story Recent Comments Citizen Yesterday As Meyers touched on, it's not just black children who need books that feature black children as protagonists, as role models, as human... Kristy Dempsey Yesterday As a Caucasian librarian and author in an international school setting, I absolutely believe there need to be more books BY and FOR people... Michael Yesterday Why the racial dichotomy? If an American reader can relate to a Scottish Thane, to a blue steam engine, to a Danish hero, to young British... See All Comments I pointed out the degrees on the résumé that suggested otherwise, and the tension between us soared. When I confronted my superior and demanded to know what about the candidate from Grambling made him not a chemist, he grumbled something under his breath, and reluctantly sent both candidates for an interview with the chief chemist. Simple racism, I thought. On reflection, though, I understood that I was wrong. It was racism, but not simple racism. My white co-worker had simply never encountered a black chemist before. Or a black engineer. Or a black doctor. I realized that we hired people not so much on their résumés, but rather on our preconceived notions of what the successful candidate should be like. And where was my boss going to get the notion that a chemist should be black? Books transmit values. They explore our common humanity. What is the message when some children are not represented in those books? Where are the future white personnel managers going to get their ideas of people of color? Where are the future white loan officers and future white politicians going to get their knowledge of people of color? Where are black children going to get a sense of who they are and what they can be? And what are the books that are being published about blacks? Joe Morton, the actor who starred in “The Brother From Another Planet,” has said that all but a few motion pictures being made about blacks are about blacks as victims. In them, we are always struggling to overcome either slavery or racism. Book publishing is little better. Black history is usually depicted as folklore about slavery, and then a fast-forward to the civil rights movement. Then I’m told that black children, and boys in particular, don’t read. Small wonder. There is work to be done

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Black Sergeant was "loyal Klansman"

In an Article with "Desert News" written by Deborah Buckley titled Black sergeant was 'loyal Klansman' Published: Thursday, Jan. 12 2006 12:00 a.m. MST

About 25 years ago, Ron Stallworth was asked to lead the Ku Klux Klan chapter in Colorado Springs.
Problem was, the outgoing Klan leader didn't know that Sgt. Ron Stallworth, Ret. is black.
"He asked me to take over the lead because I was a good, loyal Klansman," said Stallworth, who had been in constant phone contact with the Klan leader while leading a yearlong Colorado Springs police investigation into the Klan.
Stallworth later moved to Utah, where he recently retired after nearly 20 years as an investigator for the Utah Department of Public Safety. He says he's amazed that no one ever caught on to the investigation he led starting in 1979. After he was offered Klan leadership, he quietly disappeared.
As a memento Stallworth still carries his Klan membership card — signed by David Duke.
"It was one of the most fun" investigations, he said. "Everybody said it couldn't be done."
Stallworth communicated with Klan leaders using the telephone. A white officer posing as Stallworth went to the meetings.
"The challenge for me was to maintain the conversation flow," Stallworth said. At the same time, Stallworth also led an undercover investigation into the Progressive Labor Party, a communist group that protested at Klan rallies.
Stallworth, of Layton, worked 30 years in law enforcement in four states. Stallworth's undercover experience and research led him to become a nationally known expert on gang culture.
He calls the Klan investigation "one of the most significant investigations I was ever involved in because of the scope and the magnitude of how it unfolded."
The investigation revealed that Klan members were in the military, including two at NORAD who controlled the triggers for nuclear weapons.
"I was told they were being reassigned to somewhere like the North Pole or Greenland," Stallworth said.
The Klan investigation isn't the only time Stallworth has been mistaken for a white guy.
He's been contacted by academics about his "scholarly research" on gangs. One such academic "said he was so impressed that a white Mormon in Utah could write such an impressive work on black gang culture."
Stallworth said he laughed and explained that not only is he not white or Mormon, he started his college career in 1971 and remains about 2 1/2 years shy of his bachelor's degree.
Stallworth started to work on gang activity for the Utah Department of Public Safety in the late 1980s. He wrote a report that led to the formation of Utah's first gang task force — the Gang Narcotics Intelligence Unit that involved the Utah Division of Investigation and the Salt Lake City Police Department.
"Based on what was going on at the time, I knew about the L.A. gang problem," he said. Utah gang suspects were "telling us they were Crips from California."
Stallworth said of his work in Utah, it's his investigation of gangs that he's most proud of.
"It's had a lasting impact, first and foremost, on law enforcement," he said.
Wes McBride, president of the California Gang Investigators Association and retired from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, said about 15 years ago he "heard about this guy in Salt Lake who was becoming an expert" in gangsta rap music. So, he invited Stallworth to speak on the topic. It was the first of a series of lectures Stallworth gave on street-gang culture.
"I don't know that any of us ever listened to it," McBride said. "Where he was instrumental with us was pointing out to listen to the words, to listen to what these gangsters were saying."


Friday, March 7, 2014

NFL May Penalize Use of the 'N-Word'

NFL May Penalize Use of the 'N-Word'

Banning a racial slur from football games presents its own set of complications

It seems like things haven't changed much. Sgt. Ron Stallworth, Ret. newest book "The Black Klansman" some excerpts I would like to share

“I hate niggers, Jews, Mexicans, spics,chinks, and anyone else that does not have pure white Aryan blood in theirveins...”  sound familiar

US News Reports

Like a delay of game or a personal foul, NFL players may face a penalty – which could range from a 15-yard setback to an ejection from the game – for using the N-word on the field, per a proposal the NFL is reportedly considering. The rule, which is being pushed by the NFL diversity organization the Fritz Pollard Alliance, by the NFL's competition committee and could be enacted as early as next month's owners meeting.

The N-word is one of the most problematic, loaded and volatile words in the English language. It is deeply embedded in America’s slave history and continued discrimination of African-Americans. While now deemed incredibly  offensive in most contexts, pockets of the black community, particularly in hip-hop, have complicated its meaning by taking ownership of it. Attempts at censorship have come with their own issues, be it removing the word from editions of “Huckleberry Finn” to debates over its use in the recent film “Django Unchained.”
While the proposal has gotten the support of everyone from sports commentators to team chairmen, it also has arisen doubts, including from Packers player Clay Matthews, who questioned the logistics of the rule.     
[READ: Senators Seek to Punt NFL's Tax-Exempt Status]
Recent incidents have brought the N-word to the forefront of conversations about race and the culture of professional football. Last fall, Miami Dolphins player Richie Incognito, who is white, was suspended for harassing his African-American teammate, Jonathan Martin, in actions that included using the N-word on a voice mail he left Martin.
Also last fall, an NFL official was suspended for using vulgar language to respond, according to some, to a player’s own use of the N-word. The referees union – the National Football League Referees Association – called the official’s punishment a “double standard.” In a statement, it said:
"Apparently the NFL accepts and condones a culture where players, coaches and teams can use racial slurs and profanity toward each other and at Officials. Music played in locker rooms and in the stadiums before games include racial slurs (including the “N” word) and references to sexual violence with impunity. These types of cheap slurs and racial banter on the field often lead to angry and emotional responses which can result in fighting and injury."
In a sense, the proposal being considered is an attempt to correct at least some of that double standard by giving officials the ability to punish players for using the N-word and other slurs. “At a workplace environment there has to be mutual respect,” says Cyrus Mehri, counsel for the Fritz Pollard Alliance, emphasizing the distinction between the language used in a workplace and in creative expressions. “We are asking the league to take control of the game on the 100-yard field.”
[ALSO: FCC's Blackout Rules Hurt American Cable Viewers]
The field may be where all the cameras are, but for NFL players, the workplace extends to locker rooms, training camps and conversations between players, coaches and team assistants. And while Mehri says for now his organization is focusing on the on-the-field penalty, its chairman, John Wooten, told CBS Sports, “We want this word to be policed from the parking lot to the equipment room to the locker room … we want it eliminated completely and want it policed everywhere.” But the Incognito controversy was regarded as a rare glimpse of NFL culture off-camera and behind the scenes, where players have suggested racial and homophobic slurs have different meanings than in everyday life. In the wake of the stir over Incognito's comments, former NFLer Nate Jackson wrote for New York magazine:
"Out in society, the word nigger still excites and appalls, and a white man who is unlucky enough to utter it, even in jest, is forever labeled a racist. But inside an NFL locker room, the meaning of the word has washed out. There are white men who are so close to their black brothers that their lexicon is identical, and they communicate with the same phrases, jokes, and nicknames."
Mark Anthony Neal, a Duke University Department of African and African American Studies professor who has written about the N-word, agrees with the idea that, as a workplace, the N-word shouldn’t be used on the field. But he also sees this as a branding issue for the NFL.
“You don’t have black players running around complaining about there is too much use of the N-word in the locker room,” he says, noting that the proposal is coming at a time when there has been much discussion about the fluidity of the word's meaning. “For centuries it was used in a context where we understood its context and its meaning. No one was interested in legislating it at that time.”
[OPINION: The Cowardly Reaction to Michael Sam Coming Out]
The rule also touches the current controversy over the name of the team in Washington, D.C. – the Redskins – which owner Dan Snyder says he will not change, even though many find it offensive to Native Americans.

Some background on the Black Klansman
"For many, hate is considered the worst of any four-letter word, and throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, there were few names so synonymous with hate as the Klan. Even today, factions of the Ku Klux Klan still exist"

There is some precedent elsewhere in professional sports when it comes to penalizing offensive language. In 2011, Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 for calling a referee an anti-gay slur during a game. (Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome, who is on the NFL competition committee, said that the members discussed including homophobic language in the NFL rule.)
Mehri says he is feeling “bullish” about the proposal’s chance of passage in the coming weeks, though that sentiment stems from his past experiences working with the NFL, not from any specific conversations he’s had with the committee members. He also says it will be up to the league to work out the details of how it would be enforced and to which contexts it would apply, and up to officials to make those judgment calls.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Author of Black Klansman

Patrolman Ron Stallworth (1975) at the age of 22  the First Black and, at that time, the youngest detective in the history of the Colorado Springs PoliceDepartment.
Inside a Black Man's Mind

     I was able to “sting” (con) the local Organizer of the Colorado Springs chapter of the KKK, the Grand Dragon (equivalent to a state leader) for the Colorado Klan, and David Duke who, at

the time (1978-79), was arguably the premier national leader of the various KKK factions in the

country.  He was based in the New Orleans, Louisiana area, and held the title of Grand Wizard.  They all believed I was to quote David Duke “…an intelligent white man….” and, as a result, I was able to gain their trust and subsequently obtain membership into their faction of the Klan.  So successful was the “sting” that the Grand Dragon sought my advice on a couple of decisions concerning him and the Colorado Springs chapter and the Local Organizer,  a Specialist 5 in the Army who was in the process of being discharged, avidly put my name up to the chapter membership for a vote to replace him.