Friday, November 14, 2008

It's A New I Love This

I went asleep last night
Tired from the fight
I've been fighting for tomorrow
All my life
Yea I woke up this morning
Feeling brand new
'Cause the dreams that I've been dreaming
Have finally came true

It's a new day
It's a new day
It's a new day
It's a new day
It's a new day

It's been a long time coming
Up the mountain kept runnin'
Souls of freedom kept hummin'
Channeling Harriet Tubman

Kennedy, Lincoln, and King
We gotta invest in that dream
It feels like we're swimming upstream
It feels like we're stuck inbetween
A rock and a hard place,
We've been through the heartaches
And lived through the darkest days

If you and I made it this far,
Well then hey, we can make it all the way
And they said no we can't
And we said yes we can
Remember it's you and me together

I woke up this morning
Feeling alright
I've been fightin' for tomorrow
All my life
Yea, I woke up this morning
Feeling brand new
Cause the dreams that I've been dreaming
Have finally came true

It's a new day
(it's a new day)
It's a new day
(it's a new day)
It's a new day
It's a new day!

It's been a long time waitin'
Waiting for this moment
Been a long time praying
Praying for this moment

We hope for this moment
And now that we own it
For life I will hold it
And I ain't gonna let it go

It's for fathers, our brothers,
Our friends who fought for freedom
Our sisters, our mothers,
Who died for us to be in this moment

Stop and cherish this moment
Stop and cherish this time

It's time for you and me
For us and we
That's you and me together

I woke up this morning
Feeling brand new
Cause the dreams that I've been dreaming
Have finally came true
Yea, I woke up this morning
Feeling alright

'Cause we weren't fighting for nothing
And the soldiers weren't fighting
For nothing
No, Martin was dreaming for nothing
And Lincoln didn't change it for nothing
And children weren't crying for nothing

It's a new day
It's a new day
A new day
It's a new day
It's a new day!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Racial Disparities Explained in Bliss Broyard's One Drop

I am currently reading Bliss Broyard's One Drop, about her discovery after her father's death that her father was Black. It is a magnificent book. If anyone ever was confused about why there is such disparity in the economic well-being of African American communities and white communities, here is a better break-down of the reason why than any I have ever seen. This is also one of the main reasons behind the huge mess that we as a nation are in economically. Bliss Broyard writes in One Drop that:

"The sociologist Dalton Conley has suggested that the achievement gap between whites and Blacks can be explained by differences in their net worth, which is largely a measure of their inherited monies. My parents, for example, by buying and selling properties in Connecticut and Martha's Vineyard, were able to increase an initial investment of $110,000 to about $2.4 million ocer a forty year time span, for a 2000 percent profit. Conversely, the home purchased by my cousin Jeanne and her husband,Frank, in the Seventh Ward in 1965 for $10,000 increased in value to about $80,000 over the same period of time,for a 700 percent return on their investment.

The discrepancy can be explained in part by the differences between the northern and southern economies, but it was also rooted in racism. All over the country, lenders frequently deemed Black neighborhoods as risky investments, which made it hard for African Americans to secure mortgages. Redlining, as the practice was called, was so widespread that whites had received 98 percent of the $120 billion dollars of federally financed home loans issued between 1934 and 1962....The neighborhoods where my parents had lived would never be similarly scapegoated by local planning policy. The substantial proceeds from their real estate investments will eventually be passed down to my brother and me, to be used, most likely, to pay for our children's college educations, further perpetuating my family's legacy of privilege."

Taking Chances- Celine Dion

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tavis Smiley Essay Contest

Blogger Contest:

Reason Why My Blog Should Be Chosen

My blog, JuliusSpeaks, is a reflection of me. I believe that I have a unique perspective to offer to the dialogue concerning race and African American culture taking place within the United States. In order to make the case for my blog, I must introduce myself. My name is Brandon Wallace. I am 27-years-old and Afro-American. I am also a writer and educator with a Master’s Degree in American Studies from Purdue University. I believe that my blog would be an excellent choice for covering the Black State of the Union because I believe that I would be able to provide unique, interesting, and informative questions and dialogue to your scheduled panelists.

A dialogue between myself and such figures as Dr. Cornel West, Danny Glover, Nikki Giovanni, or Magic Johnson, would be interesting to say the least. To Dr. West, I would pose a burning question related to one that has long sat in my soul—and which is actually the focus of my academic work. As an academic, I have theorized that within the patriarchal framework that is American society, the Afro-American has existed in and played the role of the bastard child-constantly relegated to the lowest rungs of every aspect of society. With the turn of recent events, my question to Dr. West would be: With the election of Barack Obama, does this mean that the Afro-American has finally been legitimized and does this signal an erosion of the white male power structure in American society? To Danny Glover, I would love to have a conversation about progressive struggle in the-so called Third World, the TransAfrica Forum, and the relationship between his acting career and his activism. Nikki Giovanni is one of my mentors and one of my spiritual guides as an Afro-American and as a writer. I would most definitely ask her questions about her poetry, her politics, and explore the nuances of her literature over the years as well as her impact on the Afro-American community and other communities. Magic Johnson and I could most definitely dialogue on HIV in the Afro-American community, his activism, and his life since his diagnosis.

I believe that my perspective as a young Afro-American, educated, queer born in the city of Chicago who has experienced living in the Deep South as well as urban environments, deeply conservative areas as well as politically progressive and open areas, and who has spent most of my very young contemplating matters of identity on the spectrums of race, class, gender, and sexuality makes me very well qualified to serve as a web journalist at your convention. I also feel that my unique perspective, one that is flavored by a vast exploration of literature since my early youth, an admiration of such figures as Alice Walker, Nina Simone, Angela Davis, and Barbra Streisand, will provide your audience with interesting and thoughtful questions that, perhaps, they had never thought to ponder before.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Read This Article by Jasmyne Raddick on Proposition 8

This is a great assessment of what went wrong and where white gays just don't get it.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

A Good Letter

Robert Parham, executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics in Nashville, posted an important editorial on the center's Web site last week regarding the election of Barack Obama. Robert calls for what he describes as "theological realism" in assessing the outcome of the historic election. He notes that Obama is neither the Messiah nor the antichrist.

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And while I agree with Robert, I think we also need to say that the election of Barack Obama, and the particular circumstances of his election, offers a pivotal moment for America. Obama is, as Colin Powell described him, a "transformational character." As such I find myself in the grip of an audacious hope in relation to some very particular issues.

For instance, perhaps with this election we see the beginning of the end of the politics of smear. In the primaries and in the general election, opponents threw everything including the kitchen sink at Barack Obama. And some of the smear did have an effect. By the end of the election, however, voters seemed to be saying in overwhelming numbers that gutter politics is not going to work anymore.

If voters were to hold this line, refuse to be moved by attack ads and outright fabrications, stop rewarding politicians who practice this stuff, they will stop doing it. And our whole political process will be the better for it.

I am also hopeful that we are seeing the end of the abuse of religion as a political wedge. Obviously there remains a hard-core group of conservative Christians who can be counted on to turn out and vote Republican. My guess is President Bush's 28 percent approval rating is comprised mostly of this group.

But other Christians were peeled away from the Republican cause this time. Part of the reason for the defection was because McCain was not a compelling candidate for many believers. But something else happened as well. Something of an awakening occurred among many of the faithful. It's almost as if scales fell from their eyes and they saw that they were not really being represented by conservative politicians so much as they were being pandered to by them.

This awakening also revealed a host of other social concerns, issues other than abortion and gay marriage, which believers were beginning to embrace but that conservative politicians were not. This is not to say that these believers will stop being passionate about what concerns them, but they may be less passionate about giving their souls to a political party.

Most of all, I find myself having hope that we have finally made a breakthrough on the race issue. Certainly there were people who voted for Barack Obama because he is black. There were others who did not vote for him for the same reason. But there were many, many more who voted for him irrespective of the color of his skin.

Racism is a cancer eating away at the soul of our country. It has been part of our national experience since the founders chose not to deal with slavery in the U.S. Constitution. It almost bled us to death during the Civil War, and nearly ripped away the fabric of our national unity during the civil rights movement.

But now we have a chance to heal. Not because Obama will do something magical or miraculous, but because American voters did something transcendent. We transcended race and party and age and gender and elected an African American.

I know how that sounds -- that's what makes it audacious.

James Evans is pastor of Auburn First Baptist Church. He may be reached at