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Stacey Dash, the “Clueless” actress, made national news with her endorsement of presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012.

Due to her conservative beliefs, the actress has expressed that she has faced backlash from her own family members.

From The Daily Caller:

“My cousin Damon and my brother Darien were role models to me because they were great capitalists. Now we’re not really talking because they were the ones who told me to keep my mouth shut.”

The 47-year old went on to say that even though many assume that she is inclined to think a certain way simply because of the color of her skin, many have voiced their support for her courage.

“Certain friends don’t speak to me any more either. But you know what? In the street I get approached by so many people of every color saying: ‘Thank you so much for standing up and being so brave.’’

Dash, who is also a Fox News Contributor, was named as one of Google’s Top-Trending Black Actresses in 2014. EBONY magazine downplayed the acknowledgement with a vicious swipe.

“Her conservative, clueless political slant sparked controversy time after time this year, making Dash notoriously trendy for all the wrong reasons.”

It is still very unfortunate that black conservatives are still being ostracized for their beliefs. I wonder if Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton will feel compelled to run to Stacey’s defense.

Don’t count on it.

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It is no secret that George W. Bush has embraced painting since his exodus from the presidency. At his presidential library in Dallas, there is an art exhibit that displays some of the former president’s masterpieces, such as paintings of former British Minister Tony Blair and Russian President Vladimir Putin to name a few.

This time, Bush has expressed a new level of affection with his paintings with a more intimate and personal masterpiece: a painting of himself and his father, former president George H.W. Bush.

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Bush unveiled his latest portrait during an interview with Savannah Guthrie of the Today Show, on his forthcoming book that gives an account of his father’s life. Ironically, Bush was more concerned with getting the features of the nose correct during the painting session.

Bush shows a great deal of candor when it comes to the relationship he has with his father. In an April 2013 interview with PBS’s Charlie Rose, he expressed his heartfelt appreciation for him. Bush stated that “in spite of his business, he took time to let us know how much he loved us, so my relationship with my dad is one based upon love and admiration.”

Bush’s new book, 41: A Portrait of My Father, is described by the 43rd president as “a love story.” At a time when partisan politics often serve to divide Americans, it might do our world some good to be reminded that family and relationships are still a vital part to our very existence.

ferguson

The recent events that have occurred in Ferguson, MO, have caused the moral compass in our country to go in reverse. Various arrests, demonstrations, clashes with law enforcement and a grieving community have captured the headline news and inserted itself as the dominating story in our news cycles.

“Moral Monday”, which was on Oct 13th,  consisted of religious leaders calling for unity. But in the midst of their rallying cry was a strong assertion of a particular divide: racism.

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Bishop Wayne Smith of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri articulated his thoughts about the racially-tensed event surrounding the killing of Michael Brown, a black teenager. “My faith compels me to be here,” he said outside Ferguson police headquarters. “I want to show solidarity, and call attention to the structural racism of St. Louis.”

Faith has indeed been an acclaimed component of the demonstrations in Ferguson. While the cities has hosted the visits of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, it has caused many to think that selfish ambitions, not faith, are the main reasons for their visit.  This claim is validated by the annoyance displayed by a protester in Ferguson.

From The Blaze

“We ain’t seen you!” the first protester said. “When you going to stop selling us out, Jesse? We don’t want you here in St. Louis! When you gonna stop selling us out, Jesse?”

This is an obvious call for the activation of faith-based ideals and not just sound rhetoric or a chance for a photo opportunity.

In these dark times, faith should be used as an asset, not a liability.  The local community should be able to rely on the local church to serve as a beacon of hope and common sense. A good example of this is how faith played an integral part in wake of the Boston bombings in April 2013. The president, along with other political and religious leaders, were able to put politics aside and invoke faith as means of a concept of healing and unity.

For example, a local Methodist church in Ferguson served as an host center for protesters to showcase civil disobedience and to learn how to get arrested.

While emotions and tensions are definitely high, would it be more useful if the church called for obedience of the laws and the respect of law enforcement?

Social and cultural issues lie at the doorstep of the church, but it still requires civility.

The forgotten reality is that a life was lost. Whether it’s a white man or black man that is the recipient of death’s visit, it’s a sober reminder that faith can comfort and heal.

The community of Ferguson is looking for real faith—faith that collaborates with a desire to bring healing to a chaotic and disturbed society. That can only come with those who are willing to follow the principles of faith—love and kindness—and not just merely talk about it.

blacksex

Sex sells. We get it. It’s hard to go to the supermarket without seeing a billboard with a woman scantly dressed or to watch a “family” show on ABC without seeing a television ad featuring a guy in Hanes boxers.

Not only does sex serve as a means of advertisement, but it diminishes the value of family and ethics when lust-craved pleasures take its course. When black America becomes fascinated with the release of sex tapes amongst black actors, it shows that the mind and conscious is being diminished by the amount of filth that it is being exposed to on a continual basis.

Let’s take a look at the dichotemy of black America.

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According to Don Lemon of CNN, roughly 72% of children are born out of wedlock in the African-American community. This informs us that there is an high percentage of blacks who resist the moral notion of waiting until marriage to participate in sexual activity. While sex outside of marriage is rampant amongst many cultures, it is having an huge effect among blacks. Many are eager to have sex, but aren’t thinking of the consequences that follow. If impregnated, are the expenses available to provide for a child? If marriage is an eventual goal, how many sex partners will he or she have had before the vows are exchanged? Is sex the only thing a person believes they have going for themselves? Sex, while appealing, is highly complexing.

A bigger question that is looming over us: What is attributing to the high percentage of children born out of wedlock, which in essence is an high percentage of sex outside of marriage? One specific angle to address is entertainment.

The entertainment industry is serving as an cultural disease in the black community. The message is pretty much “Embrace sex.” Let’s look at a recent movie, entitled “Addiction,” that promotes erotic sexual behavior.

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It’s a film that focuses in on betrayal, lust, corruption and deceit. It’s about a married woman who finds life is a little less adventurous when it comes to sexual gratification, so she ventures into an adulterous affair. It’s not like we haven’t heard enough of this already. Whether it’s a politician that cheats on his wife, or a pastor that resigns form his church due to infidelity, or a TV showed named Scandal, sex is a visible beast that is destroying black families and it’s doing it rapidly.

Crystal Shaw King from EBONY provides additional information on the sex-laced film: “There’s sex… lots of sex. And in this era of #LessClassicallyBeautiful, it sure does feel good to see some very classically beautiful men and women doing the grown-up all over the place. And that’s no exaggeration: We’re talking countertops, showers, car hoods, bathroom stalls… Yeah, it’s that kind of movie.”

Movies, in their entirety, cannot assume all the blame for the sexual appetite. The music industry has had its fair share of influence.

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Music, especially rap, that degrades women and showcases explicit sexual material, encourages young people to engage in sexual acts sooner rather than later. Many songs are known to mention private parts and this sends a message that it is acceptable to degrade your body and sleep around with merely anyone.

From Daily Mail“Those who frequently listened to songs by artists such as rapper 50 Cent and the Ying Yang twins were more than twice as likely to have had sex compared to those with the least exposure.”

While the desire for a sexual utopia looms large over today’s black generation, the cultural and moral deterioration is looming much larger.

If the black community is looking for inspiration, there’s plenty of options. Oprah Winfrey, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Dr. Ben Carson, Bill Cosby, and last but not least , President Barack Obama.

Black americans should look to morality, not sexual degradation, as a source of upward mobility.

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It is no secret at all that the key to the growth of the Republican Party is to engage minorities. With shifting demographics and a growing minority population, the GOP is pressed to make changes in their outreach efforts or simply become a party of isolation.

While the thought of many on the right may have been “Well they’re not going to vote for us anyway,” there have been some who sought to eradicate this foolish notion.

I can personally testify to the fact that Gov. Nathan Deal (R-GA) gets what minority engagement is all about. He received my church’s invitation to come and participate in our “Community Day” on Sunday, September 21, 2014.

It is pretty obvious that this event was planned months in advance in order to make preparations for the occasion. When it was first announced to the congregation that the Governor was paying a visit, there was a combination of awe and disbelief. Quite frankly, there were several who thought there was no way the governor was going to come to our small, but growing church.

But to the surprise of some, the governor came, along with his wife, Mrs. Sandra Deal. The First Lady of Georgia read to the children’s Sunday School class and later joined her husband in the main worship service.

Towards the conclusion of the service, Gov. Deal spoke of the importance of criminal justice reform. The topic of how to continually prevent African-American men and women from living life within the confines of a jail cell resonated very well amongst the predominately black audience.
The main point is not Deal’s willingness to talk about criminal justice reform, even though that was good and beneficial. The simple fact is that he showed up. The GOP must realize that their mere presence speaks volumes.

Minorities want candidates and politicians to know that they do not want pandering or special treatment, but to simply be acknowledged. Do not get me wrong. There are heavy issues that effect the minority community such as unemployment,jobs, education, and others, but these issues cannot be conveyed unless there are people who are willing to listen. In order to listen, you must be present.

Gov. Deal understands minority engagement. He knows that engaging is simply not making a campaign promise or acknowledging minorities in a speech, but that it requires for you to go to where they are.

I cannot predict how many of our church members will vote for Gov. Deal. That’ll be decided in the voting booth. What I can say confidently is that the governor taking time out of his schedule to engage our church was the genesis of a fruitful relationship, and there were quite a few who were willing to lend a listening ear. If Gov. Deal can do this, so can any other conservative.

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Because of the hyper-sensitivity our world has succumbed to, the issue of race is a subject of taboo or insecurity to many. The truth is, we should all talk about it.
It’s really hard to label anyone an expert of race. Many of us have been exposed to various cultural practices and living conditions, but there is a world out there that transcends our experiences or academic knowledge.

We should discuss race for the simple matter of being educated. All of us are unlearned in some area of life. It would do us good to step outside our comfort level and become aware of issues surrounding us.

When discussing race, it is important to realize the emotions and experiences that accompany the topic. A white person, even with good intentions, will never be black and, therefore, cannot speak as a black person. A black person will never be white and, therefore, cannot possess the feelings of a white person. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s just the different components of genetics and behavior.

The purpose of discussing race is to garner a better understanding and appreciation for others’ lives. Just because one may say, “My best friend is black,” doesn’t necessarily mean they have taken the time to understand the diverse areas of black culture. The racial makeup of our circle of friends will give a great indication of how we perceive race. If our friends look just like we do, that signals we are afraid of stepping outside of normalcy and comfort. It doesn’t make us evil people. Just unlearned.
When we seek to educate ourselves, we may find our perceptions in error. When discussing race, it’s beneficial to keep an open mind and a respectful dialogue.
One of the biggest barriers to bridging the racial divide is assumption.

We cannot assume that all black people and all white people think alike. I vividly remember some whites in 2008 assuming I was going to vote for Obama solely based on the fact I have brown skin. I know some blacks who are cautious and weary of engaging with whites because they assume they are out to manipulate them. Assumptions are not healthy. They only cause us to be apprehensive and regressive when it comes to communication.
We must be willing to find what we have in common, instead of what separates us. Black and whites alike cherish family, friends, cultural activities, education, sports and such. When we become more focused on the individual, we will find ourselves embracing not only diversity, but humanity.

Nobody should have to fear repercussions due to voicing their opinions on race. But for their views to be valid, they must listen, engage and educate themselves. If we do not discuss race, we limit ourselves and become citizens of an isolated world.
Race is a beautiful thing. It’s a human thing. It should be embraced, not feared.

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Is America seeing a resurgence of segregation?

It’s not a re-institutionalization of race-specific water fountains or separate-but-equal accommodations that are assigned by skin color, but a sort of self-segregation among black youth that could have a crippling affect on upward mobility.

It’s a variation on the fear of someone “acting white.”

In 2004, a relatively unknown politician named Barack Obama said society should “eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white.” Now, it might be a good idea for the President, who appears to be very concerned about employment and class issues, to mention that associating with white people just like he and many other successful blacks have done all their lives is similarly not a refutation of one’s blackness.

In a newly-published study called “Testing the ‘Black Code,’” researchers James D. Johnson of the University of the South Pacific and Leslie Ashburn-Nardo of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis found that many black students say they tend to lose kinship with other blacks who are perceived to have close relationships with whites.

Having surveyed 212 black college students, Johnson and Ashburn-Nardo reported that “[b]lacks who appear too friendly and comfortable around whites are viewed with suspicion; their blackness is questioned.”

In their technical analysis, they added:

Blacks sometimes strategically imply that they have connections to whites in an effort to increase their probability of success in the corporate world. Doing so may be a means of distancing themselves from negative group stereotypes or perhaps a “disarming mechanism” to enhance their acceptability in the eyes of white employers or colleagues. Regardless of motive, such strategic out-group alignment may put blacks at risk for identity denial from fellow in-group members.

What’s worse, these skeptical students allegedly have “less empathy” for other blacks who are seen as being too chummy with whites to the degree that they would consider not helping these people out should they have a “run of bad luck.”

Essentially, these people are on their own in a jam if they aren’t seen as being “from the ‘hood.”

While the 212 individuals surveyed by Johnson and Ashburn-Nardo are certainly not the voice for all black Americans, it is shameful to see that their mindset is geared towards regressing racial relations instead of improving them. They show a trend, and build on the “acting white” theory that is blamed for poor test scores among many black students.

I’ve been richly blessed in my life to have a very diverse circle of friends. The color of their skin has never been part of a litmus test to decide if I would associate myself with them, but merely by their character and conduct.

Through these associations, I’ve learned a lot about myself, life and been enriched both personally and professionally.

With that in mind, the researchers fear that the introvertive mindset they’ve found could hurt black advancement. Networking outside of one’s race, the survey indicates, could hurt familial and longstanding personal relationships. In order to get along, this stigma might lead to antisocial behavior that keeps otherwise competent and aspiring blacks from moving up in the workforce.

At this time of great concern over wages, advancement and socio-economic mobility, it appears petty resentments within the race could be more of a problem than any perceived racism among workplace managers.

This race-conscious attitude is not a successful practice, nor is it a moral one. I’m glad it has never been thrust upon me, and I pray that those who are affected see their error in it.

I grew up with the realization that the American Dream was achievable with determination and a good work ethic. Now, however, that perception is being tarnished with an unnecessary racial divide suggesting that the authenticity of our skin color is contingent upon the people we associate with.

It is culturally ignorant to suggest blacks or whites are in uniformity when it comes to traditions, customs or whom they accompany themselves with.

Through healthy interaction, people of different races, classes, genders and other demographics learn from one another and develop a greater appreciation for different cultures.

I would point to my friendships and associations as a tribute to my achievements and experiences.

If God is not a respecter of persons, neither should we.