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“All unhealed healers follow the ego’s plan for forgiveness in one form or another. If they are theologians they are likely to condemn themselves, teach condemnation and advocate a fearful solution,” A Course in Miracles, Text 9:5.

At a time when the World seems peacefully united, I just love the Olympics.

In 1988, Calgary Canada, master figure-skater Debi Thomas became “the first Black athlete to win any medal at the Winter Olympics”.

Debi instantly becomes a national treasure. And, much like Muhammad Ali and the other great African American Olympians before and after her, Debi Thomas remains a credit to our race in particular.

Blessed with stellar support, her mother reportedly drove over 100 miles a day taking Debi to school and training on the ice. Today, Debi Thomas is still: “The 1986 World Champion, two-time U.S. National Champion and 1988 Olympic Bronze Medalist.” Wikipedia.

Lest We Not Forget!

I remember watching Debi’s Olympic performances on television while cheering her on. I was both proud and ecstatic as she received her medal…a mere token of her advanced talent. Thank you Debi for making us all so very proud, truly a time to remember and cherish!

Debi Thomas 88 Qlympian

Debi Thomas 1988 Olympian

After retiring from amateur skating, Debi graduates from Stanford University in 1991 with a degree in engineering. In 1994, she fulfills her childhood dream of becoming a doctor and graduates from medical school at Northwestern University. Set to specialize in orthopedic surgery, Dr. Debi Thomas completes her Orthopedic Residency Programs and ultimately goes into private practice.

Dr Debi Thomas

Dr. Debi Thomas

Having mastered, not one, but two of the World’s most difficult courses of study, Dr. Debi Thomas is inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2000. And her exceptional life continues.

Frankly, if Dr. Debi were to rest on her laurels, make tons of money and ‘chill out’ indefinitely, we really can’t blame her for that. Yet, being the ‘champ’ that she truly is, seems Debi Thomas has chosen to answer the Call, once again, and continue the ancient struggle.

Rebuked & Scorned on National TV

“I been ‘buked and I’ve been scorned…I’ve been talked about ‘sho you born.” ~Traditional Negro Spiritual

Having heard little about Debi Thomas since her 1988 Olympic triumph in Calgary, I looked forward to her television appearance. Though rarely do I watch TV’s reality shows, prefer a good romantic comedy or drama instead. That said, I do enjoy the OWN network and truly appreciate Oprah’s vision for it, which is to edify and uplift us all.

Sadly, the good will that Oprah has created for OWN just did not extend to Dr. Debi Thomas on its “Iyanla: Fix My Life” show recently. In fact, the show’s host, Iyanla Vanzant, treated Debi badly…very, very badly in my opinion.

The obvious question is: What the hell was Iyanla thinking; did she not review the show before it aired?

With all of Iyanla’s alleged expertise, seems in review she would have spotted the ego’s treatment plan all up in her mess. Then called Debi immediately, begged her forgiveness, and scrapped the whole thing; or, offer to film it correctly. But she didn’t.

Those of us rather familiar with Iyanla’s work over the years have seen her do better. So we know that Iyanla can do better, why she didn’t is a big mystery. Besides airing the woman’s eccentric living conditions and romantic problems in the wrong spirit, seems the most egregious thing that Iyanla did was to call Dr. Thomas’ mental health into question.

Not only was this not Iyanla’s call, but her belief in the subjective mental diagnosis she offered up as evidence, which Debi disputed, harkens back to the Dark Ages where eccentric kin were legally deemed insane and given cruel shock treatments that either impaired or finished them, usually for the money. So it’s hard to believe that an alleged New Age “life coach” would actually go there, but this one did.

Since the show’s airing on November 7, I’ve read several articles and reader’s comments about Dr. Thomas’ well being, some supportive, some negative as usual. I then visited Debi’s GoFundMe page that seeks financial help and also gives her side of the story.

There, among other things, Dr. Debi assures us that: “There are no mental health issues, drugs, or alcohol involved, just healing,” which made me feel a whole lot better about her situation.

Thanks Dr. Debi for moving forward in your life, so very, very sorry that Iyanla Vanzant chose condemnation rather than compassion on her show. Sadly, it seems Iyanla could well “fix” her own life before trying to fix someone else’s life.

Having been through hard times myself, including years of chronic depression, I have come to realize the healing power of applied spiritual study of the right text (“applied” being the operative word here). Such studies work for me, and will for anyone with an affinity for study and application in particular.

A Spiritual Solution to Every Problem

According to Dr. Wayne Dyer in his bestseller, also featured on his National Public Television specials (PBS), indeed “There’s A Spiritual Solution to Every Problem.”

Here Dr. Dyer “shows us that there is an omnipresent spiritual force right at our fingertips that contains the solution to our problems ̶ ̶̶ from ill health, to financial worries, to relationship difficulties. Drawing from various spiritual traditions, especially from the prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi, Dyer helps us unplug from the material world and awaken to the divine within (front flap, 1st Ed).”

A truly humble teacher: Many years ago during a Whole Life Expo in Atlanta where he was one of the featured speakers, at intermission Dr. Dyer stood quietly by his display of books waiting for anyone who might have a question or just wanted to talk. Frankly, I was too awestruck to even say anything, but I shall never forget his wonderful presence.

A Course in Miracles

At the beginning of his above mentioned book, Dr. Wayne Dyer quotes from my favorite self-study text to date, simply known as the Course:

“You have no problems, though you think you have…” ~ A Course in Miracles (ACIM)

It’s been over twenty years since a lovely lady handed me the Course. She was the bookstore manager at the New Thought church I was attending. Being short on finances she gave me the book, having already been paid for by donated funds, she said.

Previously, after meditating for years, one day I cried out to God asking to be happy all the time rather than being blissed out in meditation.

Little did I know then that my life would radically change. Not only would I leave my church home of eighteen years, my spiritually evolved teacher-counselor whom I would never see again, and my immediate family, but would move across the country in the process. And so I did.

There, I would find the Course, or more like it found me. Upon perusing this great book, I immediately recognized it was for me and hit the ground running, so to speak.

The Course also teaches you to teach, the irony is it does not tell you when, exactly.

Thus, a lot of its new students, including myself, tend to think formal teaching begins right after you complete the Workbook, which is not usually the case. Though I drafted an extensive outline for organized lectures on the Course that went well and held classes in the local Unity Church, eventually up pops the ego and the classes ended.

Clearly, I was so not yet ready to teach the Course. Hurt? Of course I was. Yet, I move on having much to learn, and what a blessing indeed!

Today, I am still learning. Yet, I can better see my progress now. And the gift of Inner Peace and Unconditional Happiness is ever near, which is what I was really crying out to God for on that fateful day so long ago.

So What Exactly is A Course in Miracles?

Here is what it says in its brief Introduction found at the beginning of the Text:

“This is a course in miracles. It is a required course. Only the time you take it is voluntary. Free will does not mean that you can establish the curriculum. It means only that you can elect what you want to take at a given time. The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim, however, at removing the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence, which is your natural inheritance. The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite.

This Course can therefore be summed up very simply in this way:

Nothing real can be threatened.

Nothing unreal exists.

Herein lies the peace of God.”

~A Course in Miracles

Wow, pure poetry!  The Course’s Introduction brings back such poignant memories of my early days with it.

Peace and Light to all. Free the Mind!

(Updated 11/14/15, 2nd photo of Debi added)

(Updated 11/17/15, text added “I’ve been ‘buked…)

© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2015. All rights reserved.

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“Government of the people, by the people, for the people.” ~President Abraham Lincoln, 1863

Flag of the United States of America

“Government of the people, by the people, for the people.”    ~President Abraham Lincoln,1863

On the 4th of July in 1776, led by John Adams a leading advocate of American independence from Great Britain, destined to become its second president who never owned a slave and was proud of it, a new nation was born in a thriving place called Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Though America is born with a tragic birth defect called slavery (to paraphrase Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice), seems its ultimate abolishment of slavery, driven by its abolitionists, and today’s expansion of human evolution speaks to America’s true destiny.

While a surprise too many perhaps, yet the indisputable facts before us firmly suggest that humanity’s historic practice of slavery did not come to American shores to expand wealth and comfort for the self-seeking elite as usual; rather, it came to die, plain and simple!

Being repugnant to an evolving people, slavery and its barbaric practices in freedom loving America had to die…though it stalled in the fearful ones.

Yet, since life only moves in two directions, seems slavery, in the larger scheme of things, came to America for one purpose only, and that was to promote slavery’s demise in the hearts of humanity everywhere, and thus offer self-government instead!

Attribution/Creative Commons

Only Peace and Unity Can Right the Atrocities of Slavery. Photo/Creative Commons

Accordingly, America is not, nor was it meant to be, a monolith composed of fixed ideas never to change.

As abolitionist Frederick Douglass would discern in his time, the great beauty inherent in the United States Constitution is that it can change!

Thus, American ideas (both good and erroneous) not only can change, but must change when the people demand it.  Today, this great effort continues by advanced Americans nationwide.

Happy Birthday America, so very glad you were born!

© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2012-2015. All rights reserved.

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“Only Love is Real.” ~A Course In Miracles

“Why didn’t she simply embrace her humanity and show that she could fully embrace the humanity of others, despite her whiteness,” from ‘Rachel Dolezal’s Imitation Game…’ by Charles D. Ellison, veteran political strategist and contributing editor of The Root.

In view of the Rachel Dolezal story, a woman who resigned her post recently as President of the NAACP’s Spokane Chapter in Washington State, seems a national conversation has started about race, which is good. Yet, this time, the focus is more about racial identity rather than race or the complex subject of racism.

According to Huffington Post article “Rachel Dolezal Steps Down As President of Spokane NAACP Chapter,” Ms. Dolezal, is a White woman who allegedly passed as African American for nearly a decade. According to another Huff Post article, “Rachel Dolezal’s Parents Say She Has a History of ‘Seeking To Reinvent Reality’”, seems the story has now taken a life of its own; thereby, inspiring many news articles and discussions.

While watching Anderson Cooper’s show on CNN recently and his lovely guests, writer and social activist, Michaela Angela Davis and New York Times op-ed columnist, Charles M. Blow, I was struck by the statement referring to race as being a “social construct” in which all three unanimously agreed. Being self-educated in the School of Higher Learning where a universal experience of truth is sought rather than a collective theory, here is where I differ.

Back in the day, when they still taught the three R’s (reading, writing and arithmetic) and some science, race was a term science used to identify the four basic groups of humanity. Based upon the physical characteristics of each group, mainly the skin color; hence, the Red, Yellow, Black and White race; which, at a glance, still makes sense today.

Basis of Race as a ‘Social Construct’

Recently, say within the last century or so, Social Sciences have come up with its own scheme of things known as a theory, not a fact mind you, but a mere speculation which identifies race as a ‘social construct’ that tends to sound all fancy and real, but it isn’t. Of course, this has come to serve a great purpose in the glorified world of academia, where a good debate is often preferred over speaking the truth in a given issue, in my opinion.

With required study and passage of time, the better one becomes at debating an issue, any issue, the more educated one is deemed to be; regardless of whether the truth is ever revealed. Thus, modern society is teeming with PhDs still debating, yet rarely in search of the truth.

Sadly, today, the ongoing debate about race and its ‘social construct’ continues to confuse most everybody. While the real origin of racism that continues to impede the evolution of American democracy, is rarely talked about.

Race, A Biological Reality Indeed

During the last few days seems some are trying to justify Miss Rachel’s actions with those of the transgender community, which is a big mistake. So please, let’s not even go there.

As I understand it, the purpose of gender transitioning, whether choosing to undergo sexual reassignment or not, is to live one’s gender orientation openly and truthfully in society without prejudice. Thus, free of the social construct of having to live a lie just to survive.

Conversely, one who lies about their racial origin is not free.  As that person is living a lie, thus often in a state of fear.  In time, self-hatred arises and takes its toll on the quality of life.

In Rachel’s case, had she been truthful about her racial origin and cultural background, her story to the world would have been so much more meaningful, thus richer. Instead of living a lie, she could have lived the truth, thus learning to love herself in the process.

This, I believe, is why the truth has finally come out for Rachel. So as to set her, and others close to her, free to express life’s greatest asset…the truth.

Since race is a biological reality created by a Higher Power not of this world, we can safely believe that race is not a social construct to be debated endlessly.

Yet, American racism is a social construct, ca.1600!

Today, we can choose to adopt another race and its culture as long as we tell the truth!  So, let’s keep it real, shall we? After all, no one really likes being lied too.

© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2012-2015. All rights reserved.

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“The heart has its reasons which reason knows not.” ~Blaise Pascal, 17th Century Truthseeker

According to the Ancients, the heart is the psychic center of feeling; which, of course, is not the same as our human emotions that are generally born of our fixed opinions about things and events. Thus, learning to discern between our perception and our intuition ultimately becomes the primary task of all truthseekers.

Throughout the ages, seems women are thought to be more intuitive than men. Yet men are quite capable of successfully using their intuition as well.  Could it be that women usually rely on their intuition more than most men? Or is this simply one of life’s mysteries to ponder as we evolve?

Nonetheless, since justice is indeed a quality of the heart, as we generally ‘feel’ deep within us when something is not quite right or totally unfair despite what is reasonably stated, is it no wonder then that Justice is usually symbolize as a woman?

Hence, still among us are statutes of the Ancient Egyptian goddesses Ma’at (Truth) and Isis (whose name means ‘throne’), the Roman goddess Justitia or Lady Justice, and the Greek goddess Themis, all symbols of justice found throughout the world.

Meeting Durga, Hindu Goddess of Justice

My favorite symbol of Justice is the Hindu goddess Durga, whom I discovered while studying Bharata Natyam (classic temple dance of India) years ago. In times of injustice, many Hindus offer prayers to Durga. Once during class, my Hindu dance teacher gives a traditional nod to the Durga in me. Later she would cast me in her dance recital as Mahisha Asura, the fierce buffalo demon (the ego) that Durga must slay in order to redeem society.

Actually, we’re all meant to integrate the Creative forces (heart and mind) within us, thus killing off our ego (false pride). Hence, the perpetual battles between the East and the West, or so it seems: “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars…but the end is not yet,” Jesus the Christ, St. Matthew 24:6.

Meanwhile, to be clear here, the aforesaid goddesses in classic mythologies actually represent the intrinsic aspects of good (God) such as: Truth, Courage, Compassion and Justice. Thus, this is not at all about idol worship, but rather about honoring those sacred qualities within us.

Justice for Freddie Gray

When the Mayor said the following, I thought, wow! How cool was that: “We will get justice for Freddie Gray. Believe you me, we’ll get justice. We’re going to do it because we’re going to work together; because, if with the nation watching, three black women at three different levels can’t get justice and healing for this community, you tell me where we’re going to get it in our country,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore

Some men seem to have taken offense to the good mayor’s insightful remarks concerning justice and healing in America via three black women. Yet, as a black woman in America who’s learned to have faith in a Higher Power, I truly understand!

The Eye Contact

Seems the fact of Freddie Gray “having made eye contact” with the police on that fateful Sunday morning has become eventful following his tragic death and its universal aftermath.

Though it is unclear concerning the eye contact in Freddie’s police report, still I am reminded of my disturbing encounter with a police officer while on my way to work.

Sometime ago on a bright and sunny day, feeling happy in my own skin, as usual, I find myself walking by three policemen who had exited the nearby fast-food store. While no eye contact as such, I do recall a fleeting glance into his face that was not friendly.

As I continued walking, I sensed his burly presence behind me, just short of breathing down my neck, and wondered why he did not turn into the adjacent parking lot with the other two police officers. Feeling most uncomfortable, I kept walking knowing my office was near.

Soon, I reach my workplace and as I am about to open the door, I sense the negative energy behind me abate and the annoying policeman leave, though I never looked back. It clearly was a campaign office for the next attorney general.

Preferring peace, I was glad the annoyance abated and that I didn’t have to report this officer who clearly was having a bad day, or a bad life, and was spoiling for a fight (the ego’s way of transferring its rage with impunity).

Sadly, young Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown fell prey to their killer’s raging hatefulness, and the rest is history.

Actually, I Admire the Police

Being fond of law and order, I have an abiding respect for police work that typically requires great intelligence, empathy and self-discipline. In general, my minimal police encounters have been very positive, starting with my early childhood on the Southside of Chicago.

Many years ago while working in real estate, I happened upon an unforgettable moment of pure intelligence. He was standing at the front counter. I was in one of the cubicles behind it. As I rounded the corner into his line of vision, it strangely felt like I was walking toward an alien that was computing my race, gender, approximate age, height, and weight. Once there, he became human again, smiled one of those great President Obama type smiles and politely presented his badge. He was an FBI Agent looking for a previous tenant. Glad all went well.

Baltimore Riots of 2015 Begins

On Monday April 27, the day of Freddie Gray’s funeral, a 25-year-old African American male who died on April 19 of injuries sustained while in police custody, the now historic Baltimore Riots of 2015 begins despite his grief-stricken family’s calls for peace.

Sadly, such turn of events would be in sharp contrast to a week of intense yet generally peaceful protests, with many marching nightly against a long history of police brutality in Baltimore, and elsewhere, in the name of “Justice for Freddie”.

After school lets out that Monday, several hundred high school students begin throwing rocks and bottles at mostly police vehicles and the police. Eventually, the Police Department calls a press conference see News Week’s article here: “Public Emergency Declared After Baltimore Rioters Burn Police Cars, Loot Stores.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts steps forward and states, in part: “We have young adults here who are 15, 16, 17 years old…parents take control of your kids,” which is very significant.

The media is now closely on the ground, telecasting worldwide as events continue to unfold. News reporters abound, capturing all sides of the story with expert news analysis.

As the melee intensifies rioters, now including adults, throw bricks and bottles at police officers injuring many. Some of the officers are seriously injured and hospitalized but later recovers. Local businesses are looted and devastating fires set to many of their buildings. Firefighters are beleaguered by rioters cutting their fire hoses, but not deterred.

By nightfall, Baltimore’s mayor and governor standing together announce a one-week curfew starting the next day, and the National Guard is summoned.

On Tuesday, the next day, concerned residents are out helping with the clean-up. Civic and church leaders vow to renew corporate relationships, raise the necessary funds to start rebuilding the nearly built senior housing and community center that was burned down, though the culprit(s) remain unknown, and to help heal their city.

At the press conference Captain John Eric Kowalczyk of the Baltimore PD cites their decision not to use excessive force on Monday: “I don’t think that there’s anyone in the country that would expect us to deploy automatic weapons and armoured vehicles to an event with 13, 14 and 15 year olds. That’s not what people expect from their police department,” which affirms American values.

As Baltimore Riots, Police Show Remarkable Restraint

CNN anchor Don Lemon would later acknowledge. Yet, seemingly lost amid the blaming of authorities for not responding fast enough to stop Monday’s devastation was the incredible restraint the frontline police officers held in the midst of being pelted by bricks and bottles of unknown substances, despite injuries to fellow officers.

Instead, in sharp contrast to Dr. King’s nonviolent tactics in the 60s, the police were now the nonviolent ones while the protesters were the violent ones, truly a complete role reversal. Who would have thought in the turbulent 60s that a police force would ever deploy King’s nonviolent tactics during a riot, but they did in 2015 Baltimore that day. Only in America!

Thus, the wisdom of Mayor Stefanie and the Baltimore PD was not lost on all of us watching CNN that day. Knowing that children were involved and too many years of pent-up rage was poised to explode across America, police nonviolence was, indeed, the best tactic ever.

So hats off and a bow to Mayor Stefanie Rawlings-Blake and the Baltimore Police Department.

And a big thumbs-up to Toya Graham, Baltimore’s mom of the hour. Who, in fear for his life, unabashedly smacks her teenage son upside-the-head several times while snatching him away from those throwing rocks at the police, proving a mother’s love knows no boundaries.

The Right to be Loved

Love is the world’s greatest power; without love we become the poorest of the poor. Of all the rights honored or should be honored in society is the right to be loved (respected).

First, let’s be clear: there is a marked difference between love and pleasure.

Pleasure, while temporary at best, is getting a new car, buying a house, sex with the right person, a nice vacation, a good job, a nice meal, a hot bath at day’s end, and so forth.

Love, though not of this world, is always a gift usually found in a good friend, a faithful spouse, a generous boss, an inspiring teacher, a devoted parent, our children, the Arts, and even a benevolent government (possibly society’s greatest need).

Sadly, when we deny love’s presence we allow hatred into our hearts that ultimately leads to egotism and deceit, a sure path to ruin if we don’t recognize it and change.

Hatred is a very dangerous emotion that not only will cause us to self-destruct, but often seeks to either hurt or destroy others in our path.

Hence, the historic uprisings of Stonewall, Ferguson and Baltimore against unfettered police brutalities that have now spawned a new Civil Rights movement. At its vanguard is the need for protections of the right to be respected by our government at all levels, at all times.

Freddie Gray’s Last Arrest

A very sad story. Some tend to theorize that Freddie ran because he had something to hide owing to his extensive police record. Yet, maybe Freddie Gray ran for a different reason. Fear of someone planting illegal drugs on him perhaps, which Freddie had tended to believe, or so he said according to one who knew him.

In a Daily Beast article, The Last Time Freddie Gray Was Arrested by Justin Glawe: Quentin Reid, Freddie’s last bail bondsman, basically states that just prior to Freddie Gray’s last arrest he had been arrested for heroin possession and was out on bail, and had said that dope had been planted on him. Sadly, the charges against Freddie Gray have now been dropped: Abated by death,” so states the court document.

Sadder still, seems most of society tend to write off people like Freddie Gray. Reid basically observes that given Freddie’s poor education and his oppressive environment, the young man never had a chance. Yet Freddie Gray was only 25 years of age; with proper help he just might have turned his life around, much like many such people before him.

The good news is, the death of Freddie Gray, while tragic, has ignited a spark in the right place, at the right time, and amongst the right people who are willing and able to bring about definitive change in our much-needed police departments nationwide.

Among these changes, here is hoping that a communication line is established, by law, in mayor’s offices, states attorney offices and up to the department of justice where citizens are encouraged to report their perceived issues of unresolved police abuses and be heard!

As a unique method to curb routine abuses of police power, that can turn deadly, and to save hateful cops from themselves, police accountability to its citizens, whose tax-dollar pay their salaries, is long overdue. Thus, a citizen’s easy report to the aforesaid offices must include assigning a document number and such for future reference.

In this way, what Freddie Gray was unable to accomplish in life, a direct line of communication between the people and their government as to police brutality and such is fully implemented in view of his tragic death.

Updated May 20, 2015

© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2012-2015. All rights reserved.

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“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  ~President John Adams, c. 1798

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the 54-mile Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights Marches led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Such began on March 7, 1965 and would become known as “Bloody Sunday” due to the beatings and serious injuries inflicted by Alabama State troopers using billy clubs on the nonviolent, multi-racial marchers.

This soon led to the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA) being signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ), who used his political powers to get the bill through Congress.

Since the U. S. Constitution only gives American citizens the right to vote, the States are free to set the operating rules. Which most Segregated States, being die-hard racists, had patently abused! As more extreme rules were set to purposely disenfranchise African Americans, thus denying the moral intent of our U.S. Constitution, the struggle for voting rights arose and ultimately created the 1965 VRA. Sadly, the struggle to vote continues in part.

According to President Obama: “Right now, in 2015, fifty years after Selma, there are laws across this country designed to make it harder for people to vote…the Voting Rights Act, the culmination of so much blood, so much sweat and tears, the product of so much sacrifice in the face of wanton violence, stands weakened.”

As President Obama also said: “We know the march is not yet over.” Yet, this was a very special event! Particularly, for those of us who lived through the turbulent 60s and saw on live television, the Selma Marches that racism brutally tried to stop.

Thus, having President Barack Obama, the first African American president, and a host of others recreate this historic march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge while holding hands with “foot soldiers” John Lewis, now a U.S. Congressman, and Amelia Boynton Robinson, now crossing in a wheelchair, was very significant for all Americans amid the ongoing struggle to end the disease of systemic racism in our beloved country.

It is estimated that 40,000 people attended, mostly African Americans, but not all. Of course, for many, just being there and crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge likely meant more than the actual event. As it was for me years ago, it likely was a pilgrimage, a silent prayer of thanks offered up to the great “foot soldiers,” an honorable phrase coined by Dr. King, who bravely took the blows, endured the pain, and kept marching for us all. Yet, such suffering is never, ever in vain!

Hit by the Reality of the GOP’s Unprecedented Letter to Iran

Yet, little did any of us suspect that behind the pride and pageantry of the widely televised commemoration of the Selma Marches lurked a group of 47 U. S. Senators seeking to usurp the negotiating powers of the United States President and act in its stead, or so it appears.

Thus, that Monday, via national television, the reality of such unprecedented arrogance hit most of us like a ton of bricks, so to speak. Having to set aside my own reflections on the Selma March tribute, soon I began to wonder. Initially, it was unbelievable! Yet, like a lot of Americans, given the sharp comments posted online, it soon was infuriating.

Who would have thought that 47 U.S. Senators would sign a letter stating their emphatic disapproval of the not-yet-known outcome of the ongoing negotiations between the United States, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, and Iran regarding Iran’s nuclear program, and then send it to Iran’s leaders!  Who would have thought the wily GOP[1] would take such overt action, but they did!

Reactions to the GOP’s Unprecedented Letter to Iran is Telling

Naturally, the White House was furious as are most concerned Americans. According to many reports from both near and afar, seems the GOP Senators’ letter is failing rapidly…as it must. Thus, many publications across the political spectrum have firmly denounced the letter.

Given our right to petition our government, it is important to note that many Americans are calling for the 47 GOP Senators to be charged with treason. For more information: See Petitions at WhiteHouse.gov re violation of the Logan Act, a 1799 law which forbids unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments.[2]

In this article titled, European officials Criticize Republican letter to Iran, Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. Negotiator to these talks, allegedly states the letter: “Risks undermining the confidence that foreign governments in thousands of important agreements commit to.” Yet, Secretary Kerry, being a true patrician, will likely handle the Republican’s unprecedented intrusion with the same dignity and style we all have seen in him over the years.

In his Statement on the Senators’ letter to Iran, issued March 9, Vice President Joe Biden states among other things that: “This letter sends a highly misleading signal to friend and foe alike that our Commander-in-Chief cannot deliver on America’s commitments—a message that is as false as it is dangerous.” We hear you, Vice President Biden, loud and clear!

In this Huffington Post article, ‘I’m Embarrassed’ For Republicans Who Sent Letter To Iran, President Obama allegedly states: “I’m embarrassed for them,” Obama told Vice News. “For them to address a letter to the ayatollah — the supreme leader of Iran, who they claim is our mortal enemy — and their basic argument to them is: don’t deal with our president, because you can’t trust him to follow through on an agreement… That’s close to unprecedented.”

Of course, Iran has also responded. This is very telling given the past warmongering of the Republican Neo-cons who lied about Iraq having “weapons of mass destruction” to justify their war on Iraq, and who may well be behind the GOP’s letter to Iran, or so it appears.

In this article titled “Iran’s leader: Fall of U.S. ‘political ethics’ highlighted by GOP letter,” the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, allegedly states: “Every time we reach a stage where the end of the negotiations is in sight, the tone of the other party, particularly the Americans, becomes harsher, harder and more aggressive.” IRNA, the official news agency, quoted Khamenei as saying, “This is the nature of their tricks and deceptions.”

Warmongering again! Or could the Republicans simply be trying to undermine the Democrats and the Obama Administration so as to gain political support in the 2016 presidential elections? Though good reason dictates that this recent affront to President Obama’s authority is not only unwise, an unprecedented breach of protocol but is also quite dangerous. Then again, who said the GOP’s soulless strategy actually cared about anything except winning!

Insidious Race-baiting, The GOP’s Soulless Strategy

Race-baiting, a popular idiom now part of the American lexicon, is a hateful scheme generally used to arouse the ridicule, prejudice or fears of one racial group regarding another through speech or inference, particularly when deployed as a political tactic.

A recent example of race-baiting was the relentless use of contemptuous cartoons by Charlie Hebdo’s founding publisher in Paris, which, of course, ended tragically. Race-baiting was recently used in a film titled, The Interview that infers the removal of a North Korean leader, which caused a mini cyber stir between the East and the West, so to speak.[3]

In 1980, Ronald Reagan’s first presidential campaign stop was in Philadelphia, Mississippi, former Klan vicinity where the young Voting Rights activists: Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney were tragically gunned down by angry whites in 1964. Hardly a Civil Rights advocate, former California governor Ronald Reagan successfully used the classic race-baiting code, “I believe in states rights” [4] to affirm where he was really coming from, and has been a revered hero of the Republican Party since, which continues to divide our nation.

Thus, as if to infer that “white folks” are still in charge, it is no accident that the 47 GOP Senators (mostly all white) issued their unprecedented letter to Iran the day after the Selma March Tributes, or so it seems. Overly assured by years of insidious race-baiting campaigns that proved successful, the GOP Senators knew exactly what they were doing. Of course, being all too familiar with the Republicans’ soulless tactics, African Americans would also know.

Yet, what the wily GOP did not seem to anticipate were the reactions of the other “white folks” in our fair land, who would not only disagree with their unprecedented actions but be outraged. See, Some Republican Senators Surprised by Backlash to Iran letter.[5]

Although many Americans are calling for charges against the erring senators under the Logan Act of 1799, it has only been used once. Then again, perhaps that’s the problem! The unparalleled arrogance of the 47 GOP Senators speaks volumes to the ego’s refusal to respect the law when left unaccountable. Hence, the democratic of rule thumb: no one should be held above the law, including its lawmakers.

Thus, in order to preserve our American democracy let this be the start of something new…real equality for all and a swift accountability of our government officials in times of crisis!

Meanwhile, we can take heart in these immortal words from Sr. Winston Churchill during WWII: “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2012-2015. All rights reserved.

[1] Oft-claiming to be the party of Abraham Lincoln, the GOP (the Grand Old Party) is far from what it once was. Founded by anti-slavery activists in 1854, it allegedly made a dramatic shift in the early 70s to what it is now.

[2] For more information see Petitions at White House.gov : “We Petition the Obama Administration to file charges against the 47 U.S. Senators in violation of The Logan Act in attempting to undermine a nuclear agreement”:

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/file-charges-against-47-us-senators-violation-logan-act-attempting-undermine-nuclear-agreement/NKQnpJS9.

[3] This contentious 2014 Hollywood film titled The Interview, stars Seth Rogen and James Franco.

[4] From the New York Times article: Righting Reagan’s Wrongs? by Bob Herbert, November 13, 2007.

[5] Ref: Some Republican Senators Surprised by Backlash to Iran letter by Sean Sullivan, Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2015/03/12/some-republican-senators-surprised-by-backlash-to-iran-letter/?wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=1 .

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Fear knocked, Faith answered, and no one was there! —Christian Proverb

Recently, I purchased the 1977 television miniseries collection of “Roots: The Saga of an American Family” based on the celebrated book by Alex Haley, and watched all of the episodes back-to-back. Still very compelling, it was like watching ‘Roots’ for the first time.   Today, Root’s artistic excellence still attests to the power of motion pictures and television.

Yet, the haunting fact still remains that most of Hollywood has neither been very fair nor fully considerate of African American life, and other people of color, since its beginning. And, in many respects, continues to this day.

However, so great was this undertaking and its historic impact, it is tempting to feel, at least for the moment, that perhaps ‘Roots’ makes up for all the times that we Africans Americans have been patently ignored, cruelly maligned or simply dismissed by Hollywood’s movie moguls and the choices they made. But, of course, we can’t.

The pain is too deep and the need to see our life stories reflected back to us is too great, which is a basic human need that cannot be denied. Still, we never stopped going to the movies.

Perhaps this is what lies at the heart of the outrage recently expressed by many of our country’s finest African American citizens. Who felt the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) “Oscar snubs”[1] yet again. While other fair-minded Americans deemed the 2015 annual event would be the “whitest Oscars since 1998”[2].

Having received few nominations out of many possibilities, ‘Selma’ for best picture and ‘Glory’ for best song, naturally many of us were disappointed and rightly wondered if Hollywood will ever “fix its diversity problem?”[3]. Well, at least ‘Glory’ won for best song.

‘Roots’ is on Y’all

In the 70s, still there were very few opportunities to see good productions of African American life on television or in the movies. And so, while we joke about it now, whenever a Black person was on television, we would call our friends. Thus, with the first episode of Roots about to be shown on television, we celebrated like many other folks. We threw a Roots Watching party! With food, wine, and our very own reviews, ‘Roots’ proved a memorable event.

Of course, no one could ever have imagined how great this historic production would be, not even its producers. Well, the story of Roots, our story, was lauded worldwide eventually. The local ratings went off the charts, so to speak, and the Roots Miniseries would ultimately receive countless nominations and awards. Naturally, David L. Wolper and the Network executives, who would later admit to being very apprehensive about Roots’ social impact, were not only relived but very, very happy indeed.

The Real Purpose of the Arts

Thus, a big thanks to David Wolper, Stan Margulies, Brandon Stoddard and all the gifted actors who had the moral courage to create ‘Roots’ for television. And, of course, the soaring music of Gerald Fried and Quincy Jones that drove the ‘Roots’ saga continues to inspire us all.

Yet, while Roots reportedly changed the world and the many perceptions about what the African American slaves actually went through, its greatest gift was to African American life itself; which ultimately uplifted us all. Thus forever illustrating the real purpose of the arts, which is to edify the human spirit!

And so, while David Wolper and the others hold a special place in our hearts, Kunta Kinte and Alex Haley would ultimately become our national heroes.

The Importance of Soul Memory

Human memory is very unreliable. Thus, if most of us even try to remember exactly what we wore a week ago, unless it was a uniform, we would have a hard time trying. Yet, there is another kind of memory, I’ve found, that is more real than all the material facts we can muster. This is what I’ve come to think of as soul memory.

Soul memory: It’s that kind of knowing deep within us that resonates with a familiarity way beyond our physical world. Yet, we always seem to know that we know.

For me it has always been through my love of music and dance. Sadly, I did not have the live stories, an African name, or a few key words handed down to me, as did Mr. Haley. But, since my early years, I did have my soul memories.

One Saturday afternoon while setting outside after watching King Solomon’s Mines, images of the proud African dancers featured in this Hollywood film came to mind, and I got up and danced. Soon the neighborhood kids gathered around cheering me on. After that, my playmates would ask me to do the African dance…soul memories, of course!

Seems some cynics went all Sherlock Homes on Alex Haley and his precious stories, which took him some twelve years to research and write in a way that fit human logic. Sadly, those skeptics who sought to validate Mr. Haley’s each and every word, likely missed the message of Kunta Kinte entirely.

Yet, I’ve learned another thing about soul memory, seems those who are open to the truth will know the truth and thus be freed of a lot of bitter illusions.

Hence, why the world and African Americans, in particular, continues to embrace the Haley family’s Kunta Kinte experience as part of their own life experience, and thus have found peace and a greater sense of belonging.

This, of course, is exactly what the “the African” [4] known as Kunta Kinte struggled so hard to preserve as the slavers brutally tried to expunge his native memories. Memories of his Ancestral homeland so that, one day, we all will remember. So that we all can be proud!

See here [5] for a wonderful Alex Haley interview by Tom Brokaw, and other commentaries such as ‘Roots One Year Later’ and Remembering Roots’.

Kunta Kinte and the Roots Legacy

Since the gift of ‘Roots’ entered our world, the African American community has evolved significantly.  From more proudly wearing African cloths and African influenced hairstyles, to exploring and honoring its intrinsic African heritage.

Thus, the Black Family Reunion is probably ‘Roots’ greatest legacy. Which has become an African American tradition that usually includes a proud review of family history.

Yet, the Kunta Kinte and Roots legacy continues. Today, we can be more  proud than ever, as African Americans now control much of their own music and some their own television networks. More Blacks are on national television, creating their own films or television programs, have created their own awards events, run their own businesses, and are leading politicians. And, of course, we now have the first African American president and his lovely family in the White House.

And so, thanks in great part to Alex Haley’s Roots, in many ways we have evolved rather quickly. Yet the world is changing even faster, or so it seems. Still, we are not yet finished, as we must do our part to help others along the way.

Beyond Roots 

Today, there is still much fear in the world both nationally and internationally. Thus a good self-image is always our first line of defense. Nationally, ending police abuse is the new civil rights movement. While globally, seems radical extremists are calling for inclusion and respect, but are going in the wrong direction!

And so, with the same courage and dedication of those who have gone before us, we continue moving forward, stopping only to reach out to those lingering behind.

Thus, lest we not forget the fierce courage of Kunta Kinte, the quiet courage of Alex Haley, and the moral courage of ‘Roots’ producers David L. Wolper, Stan Margulies and ABC executive, Brandon Stoddard, thus we move on and in the right direction!

© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2012-2015. All rights reserved.

___________________

[1] ‘Spike Lee Blasts ‘Selma’ Oscar Snubs’ by Marlow Stern: www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/15/spike-lee-blasts-selma-oscar-snubs-you-know-what-f-ck-em.html

[2] ‘This Will Be The Whitest Oscars Since 1998’ by Lauren Duca: www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/15/whitest-oscars_n_6466052.html?utm_hp_ref=entertainment&ir=Entertainment

[3] ‘Can Hollywood Fix Its Diversity Problem?’ by Julie Walker: www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2015/02/can_hollywood_fix_its_diversity_problem.1.html

[4] My Furthest Back Person—’The African’ by Alex Haley, July 16, 1972: http://www.alex-haley.com/alex_haley_my_furthest_back_person_the_african.htm

[5] In 1976, Alex Haley spoke with Tom Brokaw; see other videos: ‘Roots: One Year Later’, ‘Remembering Roots’ and others: http://www.alex-haley.com/alex_haley_video_interviews.htm

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Quo Vadis Domine: Lord, Where Goest Thou?  ~John 13:36 

It has been said that life only moves in two directions and that only love is real. Thus, either we are going in truth and love or going in fear and hate-born illusions. The choice is ours.

Today, I still remember seeing the 1952 multi-Oscar winning film “Quo Vadis” for the first time. Set around 65 AD at the dawn of Christianity depicting the horrendous sufferings of its founders and the depraved madness of its political adversaries, this epic film made a lasting impression on me. Most memorable were visions of Simon Peter walking along a tree-lined road as echoes of soft voices, seemingly from out of nowhere, chanted “quo vadis Lord”.

That Monday, I rushed to my High School History teacher and asked him the meaning of quo vadis, who simply said it means: “Which way am I going in life.” Why him instead of asking others around me, is unclear. In retrospect, this was quite a philosophical response, yet not typical of my Southern Baptist world, tending more devotional instead.

Of course, thought and devotion (mind and heart) ultimately intersects for all truthseekers, whether long-term or temporary.

Given their great philosophic approach to religion, hmm…I wonder if Mr. Newman was Jewish. Nonetheless, he obviously was a gifted and caring teacher. One day he brought his record collection to class and played Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata for us. This brought me to tears, and still remains one of my favorite piano compositions.

Years later, I would realize the full meaning of “quo vadis Lord” thanks to Mr. Newman’s prudent answer that day. Meanwhile, I intuitively learned not to take one’s religion too seriously; for this I am also grateful.

The Absurdity of Taking Our Religions Too Seriously

“You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” ~Anne Lamott, American writer and political activist

For some, the thought of a religious debate is way too heavy to ponder; while for others, it can be quite scary if raised in a strict, fundamentalist environment. Yet, somewhere between religious indifference and the inbred fear of religion, are those individuals who have sought refuge in the ancient teachings of well-established religions and have found it!

In general, there we find the real student-teachers of God. Though varied, depending upon their acquired insights and style, they usually don’t take religion so seriously as to be stuffy and hypercritical of others, and generally have a good sense of humor about it. Hence, the above witty quote from Anne Lamott that gently reflects back to us, the absurdity of taking ourselves and our religions way too seriously.

Yet, ‘There Is Something More’

Once, while talking to a friend about “A Course in Miracles,”[1] one of my favorite spiritual studies, she mentions her beloved grandmother who never insisted that she believe in God, or any particular religion. During their philosophic discussions, she would ultimately say:

“Peggy, there is something more.”

Wow! I thought, this is the most profound statement I’ve ever heard relative to religious differences and the existence of God or not, and told Peggy that I would always remember her grandmothers’ wise response and pass it on.

‘A Religious War’ or Not?

Today the religious debate has reached a curious level, mostly pertaining to the outrageous terrorists that appear to be raging war globally in the name of religion! So naturally those in our government are very concerned, as they should be.

In January, shortly after the tragic Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, Sen. Lindsey Graham, our esteemed U.S. senator from South Carolina, observed, in essence, that: “We’re in a religious war” with “radical Islamists” whose religious teachings, or the misuse of it, seemly requires them to kill, enslave, or convert so-called dissidents.

In a Feb 1st CNN article titled, “Why Obama Won’t Call Terror Fight a War on Radical Islam,” Sen. Graham is said to have mentioned on Fox News earlier this month that: “When I hear the President of the United States and his chief spokesperson failing to admit that we’re in a religious war, it really bothers me.”

Of course, Lindsey Graham is also a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, a former Staff Judge Advocate (military lawyer) and a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserves, currently assigned as a Senior Instructor at the Air Force JAG School. Naturally we hear from Sen. Graham quite often, particularly when outrageous acts of terrorism hit the news, and thus appreciate his active concern and patriotism.

Yet, Barrack Obama, being the first African-American U.S. President, a former U.S. Senator from Illinois, a graduate of Harvard Law School, a former community organizer and civil rights attorney who taught Constitutional Law for many years at the University of Chicago, is also appreciated for his great works and, his apparent love of our country and humanity.

In the same above CNN article, it basically states President Obama emphasized the importance of the U.S. keeping its response to groups of terrorism “surgical” so as to avoid alienating the vast majority of Muslims who are peaceful, and naturally reject those who “have embraced a nihilistic, violent, [and] almost medieval interpretation of Islam.”

Thus, refraining from viewing the war against international terrorism as ‘a religious war’ is a wise step in the right direction…here is why.

The Moors Occupy Parts of Europe

Actually, many here in the West, though not all, are missing the point entirely when they choose to see today’s radical wars in the name of Islam as a religious war, which is a big distraction. As it keeps us from recognizing the deeper truth behind this horrendous warfare, as are all wars. And so we must return to a certain point in Western history to truly understand.

In 711 AD, the Moors invade Spain. Their historic name is likely a Spanish language derivative that simply means the Blacks, as radical racism was then nonexistent. Mainly of the Black race of African origin, for centuries the Moors ruled most of Spain, Portugal and parts of Southern France and Italy that greatly influenced European societies for over seven centuries.

The Moors, who were of the Islamic faith, were more advanced than most European cultures at the time. They intermarried, established great centers of learning, hospitals, housing with street lights, running water and were mathematical adepts.

Declared a national monument in 1870 after years of tedious restoration by Spanish architects, the exquisite Alhambra Castle, built by the Moors in Granada Spain, is one of the few wonders of Moorish design and artistic sensibility that miraculously survived the Spanish Reconquista and Napoleon’s army centuries later. Yet, things are subject to Karmic change!

The Spanish Reconquista

In reality, there is no beginning or an end. But there is an ebb and flow to creation. Such is the Law of Karma (cause and effect). Hence, the Crusades and Spanish Reconquista, Christianity’s protracted attempts to oust Moorish rule, finally succeeds with the fall of Granada in 1492 led by Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon.

Soon after the fall of Granada, Christopher Columbus is called to the Spanish court of the victorious monarchs. Queen Isabella finally approves his lingering request for funds. Destined to explore the world, the successful transatlantic voyages of Christopher Columbus would initiate European explorations and colonization of the Americas.

Eventually, the Islamic Moors and the Jews are expelled from Spain. With the burning of their books and such, evidence of Moorish presence is virtually expunged from national memory, or degraded, and systemically replaced with Christian thought and symbolism.

The Beginning of Radical Racism

Today, there is a major voice crying to be recognized as we, of the civilized world, grapple with the towering issue of global terrorism in the name of religion. Symbolically called the elephant in the room, global racism or, more to the point, radical racism is its name.

Historically, slavery or some form of servitude was permitted in most medieval societies, though race was not a definitive factor. Yet, slavery was, and still is, a radical departure from human evolution with Karmic consequences. Sadly, slavery would reach a new low and become even more radicalized in Early America.

In 1619, the first Africans arrive on American shores generally considered equal to European indentured servants, as racism and endless servitude was nonexistent. Yet, all of that would radically change. Later in the 1600s, the Maryland and Virginia colonies are among the first to legally declare all African slaves to be slaves-for-life.  Tragically, this marks the beginning of radical racism.

Since empathy is an intrinsic human quality, we must be taught to hate as hate is a by-product of intense fear.

With the early Africans being legally consigned to slavery for life and their owners still left in perpetual fear of losing their livelihood, seems most whites were socialized to hate black folks! Lest they inadvertently collaborate with a slave’s natural attempt to escape the inhumanity of slavery at the earliest opportunity.

Even keeping low-income white folks in check was not a problem; as any friendly contact with a black person was deemed a social taboo with dire consequences. Hence, hateful terms such as “niggerlover” soon became a major psychological weapon used to destroy White empathy for Blacks back then, which worked.

Radical Racism or A World Without Hate, Which Way

 “I have need to be all on fire, for I have mountains of ice about me to melt.” ~William Lloyd Garrison, American Abolitionist[2]

In 1865, slavery in America is finally abolished! Declining praise for his wonderful part in ending slavery, President Abraham Lincoln ostensibly states he had been only an instrument, as the logic and moral power of William Lloyd Garrison, the country’s anti-slavery people, and the Union Army did it all! Sadly, radical racism would continue.

While radical racism, slavery’s offspring, continues to haunt American society and the world, still much can be done today to eradicate the historic effects of radical racism worldwide.

Having found the United Nations, the means for supporting a world without hate are already here. Yet, together, humanity must first resolve that owing to global evolution, the primal need to triumph and subjugate nations is no longer practical in today’s high-tech world.

With much more to gain than lose, one day the world will unite in heart and mind despite the looming specter of racial disparity, political discord and religious differences, and thus make the United Nations a greater power broker for us all. Why not today? The choice is ours!

© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2012-2015. All rights reserved.

__________________

[1] A Course In Miracles. California: Foundation For Inner Peace, First Edition—June 1976

[2] Mayer, Henry. All on Fire: William Lloyd Garrison and the Abolition of Slavery. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998, p.568.

 

 

 

 

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