Posts Tagged ‘race relations’

The Official State Greeting Finally Rings True: It’s a great day in South Carolina

July 9, 2015

Like the old song says, “What a Difference a Day Makes”. Here in Columbia, SC, despite expected high temperatures of 100 degrees, there seems to be a welcoming breeze in the air. People are walking around with shoulders thrown back and heads held high, proud to no longer be the laughing stock of the nation, nay the world. They’re smiling and nodding at people they meet on the sidewalks as if to say, “we did it!” People are pulling out the South Carolina t-shirts and bumper stickers, and once again displaying a sense of pride in this great state. Why the sudden change in attitude? Well at the heart of the matter was a taunting banner that mocked passersby daily. You can read all about it for yourselves right here.

 
Sadly it took the evil massacre of nine people as they worshiped in church to once again thrust the matter into the limelight. And thankfully the deaths of those precious souls were not in vain. Their deaths were the catalyst for something that thousands marching over the years could not accomplish. The South Carolina Senate as a whole is to be commended. They immediately got to the crux of the matter and surprised everyone with the quickness of their decision to have the offending banner removed from the state house grounds. The members of the House of Representatives battled it out, and after over 13 hours of merry-go-round tit-for-tat antics, they finally cast their collective vote to remove that banner. There were several standouts in the House debates, and I would daresay they were a big part of getting the matter resolved:

Best “Had it up to Here” Speech Ever!

Representative Jenny Anderson Horne
In the true rebel spirit, tempered with compassion, Horne broke it down to where
It was cystal clear. She challenged her colleagues to either put up or shut up with the war cry,
“You either care, or you don’t care!”
(Video Credit: YouTube)

Best “I Withdraw my Amendment Speech”

rick quinn
Representative Rick Quinn
His recalling of his own amendment opened the
door to the first glimpse of hope in the
13-hour debate.
(Photo Credit: Quinn’s Twitter Page)

Best “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop” Spirit

Gilda Cobb HunterRepresentative Gilda Cobb-Hunter

In the face of ridiculous and pointless objections,
she refused to give up hope. She kept the group focused,
took every opportunity to call for a vote for a bill
to be passed removing that banner from the
state house grounds.
(photo credit: Cobb-Hunter’s Twitter Page)

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July 4th Reflections on the Confederate Flag

July 4, 2015

It has been several years, and I plan to re-post this every year until we are free from that flag. Thank you.

Pamela Kay Noble Brown

July 4th stands for freedom and independence.  Upon reflection, those who favor the Confederate flag flying on the State Capitol grounds of Columbia, South Carolina, do have this right.  But why in the name of compassion and empathy would they want to?

The Confederate Flag is a banner that yet waves over the State Capitol grounds of Columbia, South Carolina.  It has been waving since 1962. It is time that the proud citizens of Columbia, South Carolina, take down the Confederate Flag.  Columbia’s city slogan is “Famously Hot”.  South Carolinians should be hot about this embarrassment hanging over our city.

Many people in favor of keeping this flag flying argue that it is a part of history, and as such, should not be forgotten, or removed.  This, however, is a part of history that is nothing to be proud of. Many of the Confederate Soldiers fought for the cause of…

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Tensions in Baltimore run amok; the naked truth is the only solution; what really happened?

April 28, 2015
We cannot let the beautiful and historic city of Baltimore self-destruct. (photo credit:  www.wyndhambaltimoremtvernon.com)

We cannot let the beautiful and historic city of Baltimore self-destruct. (photo credit: http://www.wyndhambaltimoremtvernon.com)

Try an experiment when you get a chance. Or maybe you’ve tried this one numerous times as a kid. Plop a pebble into a lake and it is fascinating to see the ripple effect outward as far as the eye can see. It is often easy to forget that incidents of stone, dropped into the sea called life can have an almost unimaginably far-reaching effect.

A young man named Freddie Gray was buried in Baltimore, MD, on Monday, April 28, 2015. Freddie was arrested recently, and it was determined that he died in the process of being transported in a police vehicle. Police authorities have admitted that Gray asked for medical attention at some point during the trip, however this request was denied. As of yet, no reason has been given for the denial. Maybe they were in a hurry? Could be, but it seems they had time to stop, remove Gray from the paddy wagon and put shackles on his feet, and then continue on with their journey.

Something severed his spine, and he died in police custody. What could it have been? A particularly deep pot hole in the street? A policeman’s heavy rifle accidentally fell on his back? The police have said they will issue a statement once they have completed the investigation. Behind those two heavy van doors, there is only a limited square footage of area to examine, and a limited number of people who were in that tiny space to question. Let’s hope they don’t drag it out. If the department has any investigative skills at all, it shouldn’t take that long to figure it out.

There are some people who have had quite enough of the slaying of blacks while in the custody of those sworn to protect and serve. And these people went about venting their highly understandable frustrations entirely the wrong way. Peaceful protests are needed, but looting and foolishness just invites more trouble and widens the gulf between civilians and law enforcement personnel.

But the majority of people are willing to wait on the Baltimore PD’s report before taking sides. The country, nay even the world is waiting to hear the what happened that led to most people waking up, seeing the broadcasts and wondering what country we were invading. Instead, it was the National Guard, 5000 strong, putting boots on the ground in Baltimore. Scary stuff. But just the tip of the iceberg if the official report, scheduled to be released May 1st, has some concocted fable of how they lay Gray on the bench in the police van, and there was a single pea under the mattress and it broke his spine. Leave the fairy tales to Hans Christian Andersen. Let’s keep it real, keep it honest, and put the perpetrators in jail.

Only when the truth comes out, will the city quiet down. Cover-ups are like continuously scratching a scab. The wounds ooze ugly festering pus, but never completely heal. I thank you.

Our prayers go out to the family of Mr. Freddie Gray, the policemen and firemen that have been injured in the melees, the innocent business owners whose life’s work has been reduced to ashes, and the families all over Baltimore who are just trying to live their lives in peace.

Basketball Commissioner swings the Pete Rose bat; Sterling banned for life

April 29, 2014
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced at a press conference today that Donald Sterling is banned for life!   (photo credit:  Elsa/Getty Images)

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced at a press conference today that Donald Sterling is banned for life! (photo credit: Elsa/Getty Images)

It’s really too bad Donald Sterling and a Philistine named Samson couldn’t have talked, but they were separated by hundreds of years.  Samson and Delilah could have been the modern day Donald and Vanessa.  How ironic that both of these powerful men were brought crashing down by women who happened to be outside of their own ethnicity.  Today NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced that Sterling is banned from basketball “for life.”

This all stems from a leaked recording, which no one admits to leaking, of an argument between married Sterling, 80, and his lady friend Vanessa Stiviano, 38, on April 7th.  Sterling was disappointed and embarrassed that people had called him regarding a picture Stiviano had posted of herself, basketball legend Magic Johnson, and another woman on Instagram.  The three were fully clothed and innocently smiling at the camera.  But what infuriated Sterling was that Stiviano had posed with a black man.   During the phone conversation, Stiviano calmly led Sterling down a yellow brick road of admitting he sees blacks as the “enemy” and asking Vanessa not to bring them to his games.

Of course the late night talk show hosts were all over it.  Last night Jimmy Fallon said that even Mel Gibson told Sterling, “hey man, that’s just going too far.”  The ban for life means that Sterling can no longer have an active role in the leadership of the Los Angeles Clippers or any NBA team ever again.  In addition to the ban, Silver announced that the commission has fined Sterling $2.5 million.

As of right now, Sterling still retains ownership of the Clippers, but it has been reduced to a mere ceremonial title.  He cannot make any money or brand affecting decisions regarding the team.  But the story doesn’t end there.  It takes a two-thirds majority of all of the NBA team owners to vote out another owner.  Commissioner Silver is in talks with the other owners at this time to see if they want to move in that direction.

Donald Sterling; Magic Johnson, “Take his team”; Donald Trump, “She set him up”

April 28, 2014
Donald Sterling and girlfriend Vanessa Stiviano, on his left.   (photo credit:  Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Donald Sterling and girlfriend Vanessa Stiviano, on his left. (photo credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

This weekend TMZ stunned basketball fans and players alike when they leaked a profanity-laced recording of a phone argument between the legally married Donald Sterling, 80, and his girlfriend Vanessa Stiviano, 38.  On Sunday night Magic Johnson, who was personally named in the phone call, appeared on ESPN stating in no uncertain terms that Sterling should give up ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers.  See the video of Johnson’s response here.

The April 7th argument was sparked when Stiviano posted a picture on Instagram of herself and another woman with basketball legend Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson.  Sterling objected to Stiviano posing with black people whom he called the ‘enemy’.  In a surprising twist that reads like a three-way love triangle, it was revealed that last month Rochelle Sterling, Donald’s estranged wife, filed a lawsuit against the girlfriend claiming that Stiviano preyed upon extremely wealthy older men.

Sterling, as many men with mistresses do, has lavished Stiviano with luxuries.  Among some of the goodies Stiviano has received are a Ferrari, two Bentleys, and a $1.8 million duplex.  Stiviano’s attorney says these trinkets are merely gifts, freely given and gratefully received.  But now there are some wondering whether this whole leaked phone conversation fiasco is a big set up designed to shake down Sterling for even more money.

One looming question is that there were, supposedly, only two people participating in the phone conversation, so how was it ‘leaked’?  Both Sterling and Stiviano have denied publicizing the call.  Was it an anonymous crazed telephone operator randomly intercepting conversations and making them public?

Another curious factor is the stilted, almost scripted pace of Stiviano’s side of the conversation.  Listen to the audio tape here.  Not many people agree with Sterling’s comments, but they do have a ring of authenticity. He is passionate and he is angry.  He means what he is saying and it is obvious that he believes this is a conversation that will remain strictly between the two of them.

In contrast, Listen to the way Stiviano continues to carefully guide the conversation back, time and again, to matters of race.  And then she constantly repeats what he says about black people.  Hardly anyone fights this way unless you’re in a marriage counselor’s office and they are having you mirror what the other person has just said to make sure you heard them properly.  Sterling even asks her at one point “why are you saying this?”

And then of course is the basic question of who records conversations unless you think you might need it for evidence, blackmail, or something in the future?  It will be a long time before this dies down.  Without a doubt Sterling has some antiquated views of race relations.  But wrong though he may be, it may turn out that it was a girlfriend scorned who was responsible for publically clipping his wings.  Real estate mogul Donald Trump has come out in Sterling’s defense calling the girlfriend a terrible human being who was baiting him.

Colorful Maurice’s BBQ founder dead at 83, Confederate flag comes down

February 25, 2014
Master Barbeque Kingpin Maurice Bessinger  (photo credit:   BBQroadtrip.tumblr.com)

Master Barbeque Kingpin Maurice Bessinger (photo credit: BBQroadtrip.tumblr.com)

Maurice Bessinger, founder of Maurice’s Gourmet Barbeque and Piggie Park Enterprises, is dead at 83. In a 2000 interview with The State newspaper Bessinger said, “I’m just a fair man. I want to be known as a hard-working, Christian man that loves God and wants to further (God’s) work throughout the world as I have been doing throughout the last 25 years.”

In stark contrast, The State broke the news of Bessinger’s death with the glaring headline “Barbecue eatery owner, segregationist Maurice Bessinger dies at 83”. Bessinger, a Korean War veteran, was as infamous around Columbia for his belief in a racial divide as he was known for his barbeque sauce and restaurants.

When The State ran a story exposing the fact that he was giving discounts to customers who agreed to take pro-slavery pamphlets being handed out in his restaurants, many blacks and whites began boycotting his restaurants and products. This, in addition to his refusal to take down the huge Confederate flags flying over his restaurants, led Wal-Mart and many other stores to snatch his barbeque sauce from their shelves.

Bessinger allowed blacks to pick up takeout orders, but refused to have them dine in his restaurants. He defended his stance by saying that “South Carolina had biblical slavery”, not the harsh kind. This stirred up so much agitation that South Carolina electrical power giant SCANA ordered its employees not to patronize any of Bessinger’s establishments.

Bessinger’s restaurants and barbeque sauce business are now being run by his children. His son, Lloyd Bessinger, said that his father had battled Alzheimer’s disease the past seven years and had not been active in the business. Several months ago Bessinger’s children removed the last of the Confederate flags from the restaurant in West Columbia, SC.

According to The State, funeral services for Bessinger will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at First Baptist Church in West Columbia.