Thursday, April 30, 2009

Citizen Ojo’s Unofficial HBCU & PWI Collegiate Questionnaire

Hat tip to Average Brother who recently posted “Why Can't Tyrone Graduate From His Negro College HBCU?!?” Some comments were constructive and deconstructive. It seems that there are black folks out here that are disconnected from the black experience. I’m not here to judge them on that. I don’t have time to call the Drop Squad on folks anyway. I’ve had experiences with black folks that went to white schools. Some were good and some were bad. I don’t believe that all black folks that attended Predominately White Institutions (PWI) looked down on their Historically Black Colleges & University (HBCU) brethren. But it made me wonder what makes us so different. Why did we attend the schools we did? What makes one person go to Central State University and another go to Ohio State University? So I came up with some questions to ask the participants. And here are the answers to my questions………

Black folks that attended a PWI for undergrad:

A. 33 year old male/Major: Industrial Management with a Concentration in Manufacturing

1. Have you ever thought about attending an HBCU?
Yes I gave an HBCU some thought based on the high school I attended and I wanted to pursue a particular program at a particular HBCU and not to sound cliché...I wanted to really get the "black experience."

2. Was attending a PWI your first choice?
A PWI wasn't my first choice based on my program preference and again the old cliché of "the black experience"...

3. Do you feel that attending a PWI prepared you for the working world?
I wouldn't say a PWI necessarily prepared me for the working world more so than it did for corporate America and how quickly one had to adapt to different diversities within the workplace.

4. Would you send your kids to a PWI?
Without thinking twice about it, I would definitely send my kids to a PWI primarily for the interaction among such a hodge podge of individuals they will come into contact with. In addition; some of the opportunities are...dare I say it, better. But this choice would not be forced only offered for they would have the ultimate decision to make.

5. While in college did you ever want to transfer to an HBCU?
Once attendance began, I honestly do not think I gave an HBCU a second thought. Especially after dating someone and having friends that attended HBCU'S, they all seemed to turn me off in the aspect of everybody is just like me. That is good only for a moment and then that moment is gone. I feel something different that I would have been a craving. It would be like eating pizza for a lifetime.

6. Do you feel like you missed out by not attending an HBCU?
On a social level, no college kid can miss out on (girls or guys, drinking, smoking, meeting new friends, going to different places, maturing, and moving on). Educationally, I felt extremely complete, satisfied, and reassured in my learning experience and no threat of my credits being transferred or a school closing.

B. 33 year old male/Major: Political Science

1. Have you ever thought about attending an HBCU?
Yes, I wanted the opportunity to experience a predominantly black school.

2. Was attending a PWI your first choice?
Yes. I wanted to get (what I thought) a real world experience and be surrounded by a diversity of people.

3. Do you feel that attending a PWI prepared you for the working world?

4. Would you send your kids to a PWI?
Yes. The experience would present an opportunity to experience different cultures, people, and get a feel of the real world.

5. While in college did you ever want to transfer to an HBCU?

6. Do you feel like you missed out by not attending an HBCU?
No, because I spent a lot of time at North Carolina A&T :0)

C. 31 year old Female/Major: Political Science

1. Have you ever thought about attending an HBCU?
Yes. But, not with the same degree as intensity. Meaning, there was only one HBCU that I considered compared to several PWIs. Perhaps because I knew more graduates from PWIs. At my church for instance, there are Carolina people, Wake people, Clemson people, etc. So, you grow up with that and it does influence you a bit.

2. Was attending a PWI your first choice?
Yes. But, I'm a last minute person. And, the Senior High advisor, said, you better apply to some place quick. So, I only applied to one school. And, this was a school with a very strong reputation.

3. Do you feel that attending a PWI prepared you for the working world?
I think as much as any school would have. It's hard to say if it prepared me to a greater or lesser extent than an HBCU, never having attended one. But, I do feel as an adult that it's a bit of a false protection in college. You never have it so good. Where you are surrounded with like-minded and aged people in all facets of your life. I wish perhaps we were required to exit that bubble a bit more. And, I think my school may have required this, I'm not sure.

4. Would you send your kids to a PWI?
I would support my child's interest in either a PWI or an HBCU. Because, I know that sometimes HBCU's have the stigma of not being as competitive or not able to open as many doors. But, again as an adult looking back, I understand where the stigma comes from. But, I feel that an African-American student on either an HBCU or PWI's campus can shatter myths by succeeding on either campus. I think that by attending a PWI, I was able to expose Caucasian students to a perspective of life, they may not have experienced otherwise. It's important for black students to attend PWI's, but it's also important for non-black students to attend HBCU's.

5. While in college did you ever want to transfer to an HBCU?
I never wanted to transfer anywhere else.

6. Do you feel like you missed out by not attending an HBCU?
I occasionally wonder how my social life might have been different. Would I have dated more? Would I have made certain self discoveries earlier? But, by the same token, I was challenged differently by not being surrounded by people just like me. But, I think being in the majority is a feeling that everyone should experience at some point in their lives. Or, at least experience the inherent advantages of being in the majority. I'm Nigerian, so, I’ve felt what it's like to walk the streets of a country where you are the majority. It opens your eyes and perhaps empowers you a bit. But, equally, it makes you aware of the responsibility that you bear for the "other."

D. 35 year old male/Major: Print Journalism

1. Have you ever thought about attending an HBCU?
It's human nature to say, "What if." Also, I have a great deal of respect for HBCUs and the role they play in educating and helping shape the minds of some of the country's best and brightest. I believe we must do all we can to protect and preserve these institutions, as they periodically come under scrutiny.

2. Was attending a PWI your first choice?
I considered attending an HBCU, but probably could have done more research to better educate myself about HBCUs and the unique offerings I would have been able to take advantage of. To be honest, I did not consider very many colleges, in part, because I felt comfortable during visits to the school I would ultimately graduate from. Though I likely would not change my college choice (given my experiences and the lifelong friends I have made), I do believe I should have done my homework more thoroughly to learn more about HBCUs.

3. Do you feel that attending a PWI prepared you for the working world?
Yes. I think that's one of the reasons I'm glad I attended the school I did. I felt it provided me a broader perspective and allowed me to feel comfortable in confronting many of the issues I have encountered as a minority. Not all of my experiences were positive, but that's life. Still, I believe my collective experiences made me a stronger person. Due to the size of the university, I was able to begin working right away on the newspaper's staff and gain some valuable experience toward my future career. I also was able to establish friendships with professors and staff that I maintain today. I had a journalism professor who was the toughest and one of the most knowledgeable teachers I've ever had -- at any level. He was my harshest critic and my best advocate. After enduring his classes and constructive criticism about my writing, I felt I could tackle anything. Even though I'm no longer a working journalist, I still do a good deal of writing and, in the back of my mind, I'm always thinking, "I do not want to disappoint Dr. Kostyu."

4. Would you send your kids to a PWI?
Yes. But to accurately answer this question, I would send them to the best institution available -- whether it's a PWI or an HBCU. Of course, since I felt my experience was valuable and helped prepare me for the "real world," I would want my child to have a similar experience. My wife and I (who also attended the same PWI I did) will do our best to educate our child on the various options that exist. In the end, however, the decision about which college our child attends will not be made by us.

5. While in college did you ever want to transfer to an HBCU?
No. I attended two high schools and know how disruptive transferring can be. It can be a stressful experience. I did not want to go down that road again. Don't get me wrong -- I think I would have thrived at an HBCU and enjoyed the experiences there, as well. I just never had a strong desire to transfer.

6. Do you feel like you missed out by not attending an HBCU?
Not really. Overall, I'm glad I made the choice I did. Could I have enjoyed my undergraduate experience a little more from a cultural standpoint? Probably. Would the camaraderie have been different? Possibly. But there are a lot of other things I gained that I believe helped me become the person I am today.

E. 34 year old female/Major: Communications

1. Have you ever thought about attending an HBCU?
Have you ever thought about an HBCU? If yes, Why? If no, why? I considered attending an HBCU and visited Howard, Hampton University and Florida A&M University. There wasn’t a big “push” at my high school for HBCUs and my knowledge of them was [unfortunately] limited. I was aware of Howard because of its communications program. I was moderately aware of Hampton University because of its location and because my cousin attended. I was made aware of Florida A&M during a career counseling workshop because I was considering a career as an architect (I know… opposite ends of the spectrum…communications…architecture).

2. Was attending a PWI your first choice?
Was attending a PWI your first choice? If yes, Why? If no, why? Attending a PWI was not my first choice, but it was a very real possibility simply because my guidance counselors didn’t share information about HBCUs and I wasn’t the most astute at trying to identify a school with a strong program in my prospective major. My generation was the first in my family to attend college and my parents’ knowledge of the “best schools” was basically limited to the annual feature in US News & World Reports. In the final analysis, the PWIs that contacted me appeared to have more financial resources (scholarships, grants, endowments, etc.) and that was a determining factor in my choice. I have seven siblings and my ability to attend college was predicated by receiving grants and scholarships.

3. Do you feel that attending a PWI prepared you for the working world?
I do. The opportunities were boundless and there were tons of resources to help prepare for the transition between college and being a working professional. There are some fabulous PWIs and HBCUs, and there are some that are not. I think schools in both classifications are able to (and do) produce graduates that are ready to compete in the global marketplace.

4. Would you send your kids to a PWI?
If my son decides to pursue higher education, I am comfortable sending him to whichever school can best support his career and extracurricular interests. I don’t have an affinity or loyalty to either and feel as if both have strengths and weaknesses. My perception is that most PWIs are accepted on a broader scale and some hiring managers still frown upon HBCUs or consider them to be inferior. Still, I would support his decision to attend either.

5. While in college did you ever want to transfer to an HBCU?
No. (However, I did want to transfer to a school in a state with a warmer climate!)

6. Do you feel like you missed out by not attending an HBCU?
Academically, I don’t feel as if my experience was lacking; my school has an outstanding reputation and the name carries a certain amount of weight. However, I feel like I missed out on the camaraderie and spirit of the HBCU experience. The energy around the CIAA (and other HBCU events) and the pride of the alumni is unparalleled.

F. 33 year old female/Major: English

1. Have you ever thought about attending an HBCU?
No. I didn't trust the man, so I wanted to learn the EXACT same thing they were learning.

2. Was attending a PWI your first choice?
No. Same as above

3. Do you feel that attending a PWI prepared you for the working world?

4. Would you send your kids to a PWI?
Yes, as long as it is a good school, I don't care if it is Black, White, Religious, etc.

5. While in college did you ever want to transfer to an HBCU?

6. Do you feel like you missed out by not attending an HBCU?

G. 35 year old male/Major: Business Administration

1 Have you ever thought about an HBCU? I thought about attending a
HBCU but at the time I only received scholarship money from the PWI.

2. Was attending a PWI your first choice?
My first choice was the school that was going to offer me scholarship money.

3. Do you feel that attending a PWI prepared you for the working world?
I think the school that you attend has a structure for you to follow, but ultimately it's up to the individual to make sure they are prepared for the working world.

4. Would you send your kids to a PWI?
Yes I would depending on which school either a PWI or HBCU offered the most money.

5. While in college did you ever want to transfer to an HBCU?
No I never thought about transferring to HBCU because it was the right choice for my parents financially.

6. Do you feel like you missed out by not attending an HBCU?
No I do not feel like I missed out because I had friends that attended HBCU's and I would occasionally travel to them.

Black folks that attended an HBCU for undergrad:

A. 35 year old male/Major: General Science

1. Have you ever thought about attending Predominately White Institution?
Yes, because of convenience first and foremost and the perception of prestige secondly.

2. Was attending a HBCU your first choice?
Yes, because I needed to find myself for I was previously a very sheltered black male. Moreover, I needed some practical survival skills to accompany my book knowledge.

3. Do you feel that attending a HBCU prepared you for the working world?
Yes, I definitely do.

4. Would you send your kids to a HBCU?
Yes, so that they too could experience the student life on an HBCU campus.

5. While in college did you ever want to transfer to a PWI?
No, because I always knew that I would attend one for graduate studies.

6. Do you feel like you missed out by not attending a PWI?
No, I don't think that I missed out on anything pertinent by not attending a PWI. Were there amenities I was jealous of, of course that's human nature.

B. 31 year old female/Major: Management Information Systems.

1. Have you ever thought about attending Predominately White Institution?
Yes. I thought about the scholarship money I could possibly receive. Then I thought about how the learning environment would hinder my learning curve and my comfort level. However I know I would have adapted.

2. Was attending a HBCU your first choice?
Yes. For multiple reasons. I knew I wanted to continue in the marching band. Most of my family had attended an HBCU and my surroundings would offer me the freedom to learn at my own pace and meet other outstanding peers just like me.

3. Do you feel that attending a HBCU prepared you for the working world?
My experiences and learning enabled me to compete better in the workplace if I had not attended school at all. Sometimes I feel that the lack of opportunities for internships and additional hands-on training limited me overall.

4. Would you send your kids to a HBCU?
Yes. First to continue my heritage. Also, most of the HBCUs today are competing on the same level as other colleges and universities in the country.

5. While in college did you ever want to transfer to a PWI?
No. I truly enjoyed my experience. It was just what I needed at that time.

6. Do you feel like you missed out by not attending a PWI?
I don't feel that I missed out to say. I just feel the opportunities were not the same but who’s to say if I went to a PWI that I would be even offered those opportunities.

C. 33 year old female/Major: Communications

1. Have you ever thought about attending Predominately White Institution?
I never thought about attending a predominately white institution. I come from a family of graduates from HBCUs. Although, I was urged to apply to a PWI, applying wasn't an option either, because I knew a HBCU was where I wanted to go.

2. Was attending a HBCU your first choice?
Attending a HBCU was my first choice. The good thing is I had tons of options of quality HBCUs to attend.

3. Do you feel that attending a HBCU prepared you for the working world?
Yes, I know I would be prepared for the working world, regardless as to where I went to school. But, the HBCU experience is so personalized. The teachers and staff embrace you. There is a family feeling on the campus that doesn't stop when you graduate, the family continues to love and nurture you once you left. You network and make connections to help you enter and then thrive in the working world.

4. Would you send your kids to a HBCU?
I would send my students to a HBCU. Of course, that is my desire; however, it depends on our family financial situation. However, if the funds are there, I want my child/children to attend a HBCU.

5. While in college did you ever want to transfer to a PWI?
No, once I stepped foot on campus, I knew that was where I wanted to be.

6. Do you feel like you missed out by not attending a PWI?
No. However, I feel like some of my friends who attended PWIs did. They don't understand the "school daze" experience. Those who attended HBCUs we are fortunate to know it firsthand.

D. 26 year old male/Major: Biology

1. Have you ever thought about attending Predominately White Institution?
For undergrad, I was only presented HBCU options for schooling by my family and community. Therefore, I only considered HBCUs. The reasoning for this, as had been presented to me by family, was b/c there were fewer cases of talented students being drawn away from their original interests by 'gatekeepers' who had been strategically placed to re-align the professional interests of colored students. As much of a diabolical and 'conspiracy theorist' as that may sound, I was presented with stories and cases of real people - friends even - who had become victims to this system. Going into the large PWI hoping to study Chemistry, but are suggested strongly by 'college advisors' that they should study Political Science, Computer Science or Communications. Now, while NOTHING is wrong with PoliSci, CompSci, and Comm Studies, what IS wrong is if students (regardless of race) are not receiving the SUPPORT that they need to accomplish their goals. And what's even worse (possibly criminal), is if those students who are being selected for "redirection" are of a particular racial minority at a large PWI. Its criminal, to disproportionately detract young ambitious black students from accomplishing their dreams... So instead of fighting such systems, I chose to attend an HBCU - a place where talented students are supported, where ambitions are stimulated, and where youths are challenged to move onwards and upwards.

2. Was attending a HBCU your first choice?
It was my only choice. No other options were presented to me. Even my church held an annual college fair. HBCU's were more visible and showed up in larger numbers, so it appeared that they cared more about recruiting us.

3. Do you feel that attending a HBCU prepared you for the working world?
I attended the HBCU not only for undergrad for for grad work as well. I'm particularly proud of the work that I was able to accomplish at the HBCU. Did it train me for work life? Indeed, I couldn't have received my training anywhere else, if it weren't for an HBCU. Specifically, HBCUs over the past 10 years have been giving a surplus of monies to use to train students of color to become scientists. Herein, the gov't (NIH) TARGETED HBCUs as a place for job training, specifically for students in the sciences. However, while PWI's have traditionally solely focused on their research, and they allow teaching to come as 2nd or 3rd or 4th priority, leading HBCU's have a dual focus: research AND teaching. Periodically, persons who attended PWIs will casually say that "the HBCU student is weaker than the grad of a PWI" b/c "PWI students are forced to learn more independently". In their statement, they acknowledge this deficit - wherein so many of the professors don't teach! They rush through material so that they can get back to their research, writing grants, touring the world, and creating strategic partnerships with other PWIs. Meanwhile, they train/brainwash their students to believe that out of this DEFICIT and negligent abandonment of responsibility as a professor, THE STUDENT will be more informed, better educated, and stronger. This "lie to yourself until you believe it" mentality pervades the psyche of the PWI student. And it has severe implications after graduation as well (we'll leave that for another day)... Nevertheless, the large PWI so often severely cripples their student - esp students of color. Abandoning your job as a Professor, relinquishing most of the teaching to lesser experienced Grad students, and only focusing on your research (that few tuition-paying students are participating in) should not be equated with teaching and providing the highest quality instruction.

4. Would you send your kids to a HBCU?
I would send my kids to an HBCU, clearly. However, the question I have to ask myself is would I send my children to a PWI? If so, which one. This answer will have to be based upon detailed observations of the following:

- Black graduation rates,
- Timeliness of graduation of black students,
- The number and percentage of [black] students, who switch majors,
- the number of black students who participate in meaningful research projects and acquire practical JOB SKILLS and CASH from these research programs,
- The number of black students, who get into graduate school or job placement with 6 months of graduation,
- The number of black students who pass certification/licensing exams (in architecture or teaching, for example), and,
- The number of programs that are designed to support and stimulate the ambitions of the black student.

*** If you find a large (or small) PWI that could pass my 7point test with flying colors, then maybe we might consider that school as an option. Of course, I'll admit that HBCU's should be held to the same standards.

5. While in college did you ever want to transfer to a PWI?
Never wanted to transfer to a PWI.

6. Do you feel like you missed out by not attending a PWI?
Maybe I don't know what I've missed, having not graduated from the PWI. Conversely, b/c I have taken classes and done years of research in highly functioning academic laboratories, I am well aware of the protocol for operations and the standards for learning. It's for these reasons that I don't feel like I missed out on anything beneficial, that I didn't receive at the HBCU.

E. 37 year old female/Major: Sociology

1. Have you ever thought about attending Predominately White Institution?
Not really. It was in keeping with family traditions.

2. Was attending a HBCU your first choice?
Yes, my parents and other family members attended HBCU's.

3. Do you feel that attending a HBCU prepared you for the working world?

4. Would you send your kids to a HBCU?
If the university is affordable and the curriculum is what is best for their major/minor, yes.

5. While in college did you ever want to transfer to a PWI?

6. Do you feel like you missed out by not attending a PWI?

F. 37 year old male/Major: Economics and Minor: Business

1. Have you ever thought about attending Predominately White Institution?
Yes. Primarily because of the B.S. degrees that they offered.

2. Was attending a HBCU your first choice?
Most of my family attended HBCU's and I knew that the HBCU I attended could offer the type of B.S. degree I was seeking.

3. Do you feel that attending a HBCU prepared you for the working world?
Yes, My college offered many "Real World" classes, internships and networking opportunities.

4. Would you send your kids to a HBCU?
Yes indeed. You can never attend a school of higher learning such as an HBCU where you have such a large pool of talented, goal oriented and highly educated African Americans.

5. While in college did you ever want to transfer to a PWI?

6. Do you feel like you missed out by not attending a PWI?


So what did I learn from this? I didn’t uncover any sinister information. I just received honest answers from regular people. Overall the participants liked where they attended school and were satisfied with their choices. I did notice that the participants who attended HBCU’s had people in their lives that had the HBCU experience. Those people were able to direct and guide them toward attending an HBCU. Also finances (scholarships & student loan packages) and career paths led the participants to their particular colleges. The stereotypical reasons why students attend HBCUs such as the “Party Scene” were not mentioned. The HBCU participants mentioned academics more than they did the social atmosphere.

I did notice a common theme with SOME participants that attended PWIs. This concept of a “Real World Experience” was mentioned more than once. The notion of what college you should attend for a “Real World Experience” is not what’s up for debate. The debate is what is the definition of a “Real World Experience”? So with that being said, what is “Real World Experience”? And if you are black, is it something you need to get versus something you already have?

When Change Didn't Come To Washington: We had to fight for 40 Acres and a Mule and now you are taking it away?

"You can't blame it on the Bush administration anymore, I can't figure out for the life of me why the president wouldn't want to implement a bill that he fought for as a U.S. senator."

~John Boyd, Head of the National Black Farmers Association.

It’s a sad story on how America has undermined black farmers. New developments with the farmers have been the talk of the black blogosphere last week. Apparently President Obama is waffling in his support for black farmers. Not you Prez!!!!! Not after all “ya peoples” came out to support you? I know white folks supported Obama and other races as well. But black folks came out in droves. Black folks who haven’t voted since Reagan was in charge came out. I’m not going to jump on the “You better look out for us” bandwagon. But when there are clear injustices in America, he needs to give them priority. Do you think during Dubya’s term in office they got an audience with him? If you weren’t Colin Powell, Condi, the Maid or the Butler you didn’t see that dude. If you want further background on black farmers in America please check out: “We Didn’t Get Nothing:” The Plight of Black Farmers.

Does President Obama owe anything to the black farmers? Does he owe anything to black folks in general? What do you think?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Don’t put me in the Angry Black Man category. This is an observation

No one tells Jewish people to forget about the Holocaust. They are constantly finding things that were done to them by the Nazis. There is one difference between black folks and Jewish people that I have discovered. Their injustices were kept hidden from them by the people that committed the atrocities. Black folks see their injustices everyday and the people that committed them aren’t hiding the fact.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Truth Finally Rears Its Ugly Head: The Non-Student Athlete

I’m all for getting a college education. I come from a family where everyone has a college degree. I’m even for going post grad if need be. But I always had the sneaky suspicion that everyone wasn’t in school to get a degree. Some college athletes are in school to keep the classroom seat warm. They know they want to play in the pros but rules keep them from doing so. It seems these days college is the rest stop for kids on their way to the pro level. Finally someone decided to be honest and say what many folks have been thinking. Jeremy Tyler is dropping out of high school and going overseas to play basketball. I know you are probably saying “dropping out of high school”!!! What about getting his high school degree?

A high school degree? Ha ha ha.....this guy doesn’t want a degree. He wants to get paid!!! Maybe he wasn’t the best student anyway. He probably does enough so he can be eligible to play. As Citizen Daddy use to say about kids that weren’t academically inclined……….”their books got too heavy for them”. I think he might have said that about me to Citizen Momma when I wasn't around (If you are laughing at that you shouldn’t be!!!). The difference between me and dude is a 15 foot jump shot. I couldn’t make any money playing sports and I’m too scared to sell drugs (I know I know……………my options as an African American Male are so limited). A guy like me needed to go to college. Tyler realized that he would only be kidding himself if he went to college. He knew he didn’t want to keep up the façade of a “student athlete”. Why go to classes, accept money from boosters, have sex with groupies and play in March Madness if you don’t have too?

After playing overseas he will bypass the eligibility rules for entering the NBA. After about a year or two, he can get picked up by an NBA team. He can always go back and get his GED if he wants to. My only advice to him is to make sure he never ever ever ever gets hurt. In this changing economy a high school degree holds the equivalency of a perfect attendance certificate. Sure it’s nice to put on your wall but other than that it doesn’t do much for you. Without any skills (electrician, plumbing, brick making) he doesn’t have anything to fall back on. And without a college degree his job pool gets very small. So I wish him happiness, health and wealth. This could possibly be good news for someone else. With him not attending college, it leaves a spot open with the groupies. The guy that sits at the end of the bench.

Monday, April 27, 2009

My Letter To Nancy Pelosi - Torture or Enhanced Interrogation Techniques: Stop Playing Semantics and Give Me The Facts.

I don’t care that politicians don’t know the difference between Torture and Interrogations. I don’t care that Dick “Dark Sith” Cheney agrees with enhanced interrogations techniques…..oops…torture. I don’t want to hear about America’s moral authority either. America was founded on immorality (America’s exploitation and murder of indigenous peoples from California to Africa comes to mind). If politicians want to torture the bad guys, they should be honest about it. Just don’t be mad when Al Qaida sends video of Americans being tortured. Sorry Dick but you can’t have it both ways!!!

I want to know who was in the room when they decided to “Fake Drown People”. I saw Rambo II and I know we are doing more than water boarding but I digress. The Democrats are acting like they are shocked that these things were going on. Nancy Pelosi, you know you are my boo!!! Girl you know how I feel about you? You know we first bonded from our beef with Hilary Clinton. I knew it wouldn’t work out because you are from San Francisco and I live in the Bible Belt. But I know that you were in the room when it all went down. Representative Jane Harman was in the room too. Last week she learned that she was wiretapped by the National Security Agency (a case of another person that never watched “The Wire” on HBO). Jane, how did you not know they were tapping “them” wires - you were on the House intelligence committee? Anyway, I don’t want to know about who was being wiretapped. The Bush administration tapped everything they could get their hands on. I want to know who was in the room?
The Democrats are not going to be able to hold the high ground on this argument. Their hands are just as dirty as the Republicans. I need for someone to come clean. I know that during the Bush administration if you spoke out against the war it would be costly for your career. The media stopped reporting news and took what the Bush administration said word for word. And they wonder why people read blogs more than they read newspapers. Just admit that you cosigned on the torture and I will be able to move on. You see I hate the hypocrisy of the Democratic Party. That’s one of the reasons I became an independent. House Speaker Pelosi, you can be honest with me. I won’t judge you. I just want you to be honest when you are being interviewed. I also need you to take this heat off “The Prez”. I know it’s crazy to release torture info and then not expect an investigation. But he can’t investigate because democrats will go down too. So tell your people to hush up with all this investigation talk. You know Dick and Bush (that does sound funny when you put it together) aren’t going to spend a day in jail.
We need to get this over with because we have more pressing things to take care of. We have a Financial and Automobile crisis. Rumor has it that one of my banks might have failed the stress test. Pontiac just got the heave hoe from GM and my co-worker thinks his Saturn is safe from elimination? Someone needs to tell GM that GMC and Chevy vehicles are the exact same product. We don’t need redundancy…we need new products. And someone needs to tell my co-worker that he should have bought a Honda. I don’t want to spend time talking about trials that won’t happen. I want to talk about going green and the economy. I voted for you guys to get to work not play with words. Hop to it before I vote you out!!!

The Republicans’ French Twist

I remember not long ago when Republicans didn’t like France. Back in the day, the French disagreed with our involvement in the War on Iraq. You remember the War on Iraq….Weapons of Mass Destruction…Saddam Hussein was worst than 10 African Dictators put together…yada yada yada. Republican representative Bob Ney, wanted to send a message of America’s displeasure to France. The message was going to be symbolic of America’s commitment to the War. Rep. Ney wanted to change French Toast into Freedom Toast. It still sounds ignorant talking about it years later. Back then people were easily duped and believed anything the Government told them. Oh my bad…………that still hasn’t changed. This dumbness started a wave of French Banning all over America. I’m just glad they didn’t get rid of women wearing French Maid Outfits (I do have a social life outside of blogging).

Oh what a difference 6 years and a Black President makes. The Republicans will try anything to get back into the game. Senator Lamar Alexander wants to follow in France’s footsteps and use nuclear power for energy. Sen. Alexander talked about renewable energy on this week’s Republican Weekly Radio and Internet Address (they have internet? why didn’t John McCain know about this during his campaign???). He said that we should build more nuclear plants rather than spending money on “subsidies” for renewable energy. The amount of power plants he wants to build: 100!!!!!!!

So it’s cheaper to build brand new power plants than install solar panels on existing homes? I liked it better when they were trying to change French Fries to Freedom Fries. At least that change was cheap and easy.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Worst Earth Day Ever

Being laid off is like finding out you have a deadly disease. You can be walking around feeling healthy as a horse. Until the doctor calls you regarding the tests you took the week before. Bam! disease……uh…layoff! Today was a beautiful day until I sat down at my desk. I spent the whole day in meetings where the discussion involved layoffs. Then they actually started laying people off in multiple states and time zones. I find it funny that people will fire everyone around you and expect you to keep working like nothing happened. Do we have desk jobs or are we invading Normandy? This is our new workforce reality. You take it one day at a time because you never know when your number will be up. I just wish we spent earth day recycling jobs instead of dumping them.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

WSOC TV Makes Broadcasting History

Erica Bryant was named co-anchor of WSOC-TV’s Eyewitness News 5, 6 and 11pm Broadcasts. She will join Vince Coakley as the first all-black prime-time anchor team in the market’s history. The city of Charlotte, NC should be proud of this moment. I wish the news team the best.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Citizen Wifey vs The Salesmen: Another Friday Night Special

This was a very long week. I couldn’t get off work to attend the Fixed News sponsored Tea Parties. I’m just joking!!! I kid because I can. Anyway, I received a letter about winning free accommodations (travel and lodging). I thought it was a setup but it turned out to be legit (so far). All I had to do was sit through a presentation. I usually hate to attend these things but I couldn’t pass on free accommodations (aka Freeness). All I had to do was convince my wife to go with me. She really doesn’t like people trying to sell her stuff. She could turn down a one legged child leper selling candy bars. I always worry about their feelings so it’s hard for me to say no. If someone attempts to sell us something, she shuts them down. She really wasn’t feeling this “presentation” but I sold her on the “Freeness”.

Side Note: Pay attention because I’m going to jump around like a Quentin Tarantino film.

The plan was to go hear the folks and leave with “Freeness”. Well things don’t always go according to plan. I have to admit that the sales pitch was pretty good. Salesman 1 was friendly and very informative. He slipped up only once during the sales pitch. He started talking negative about foreigners working in customer service. Citizen Wife didn’t like that. Who knew she was a crusader for the English impaired? She got mad at me later because I wouldn’t agree with her. She kept saying “wasn’t that racist” over and over. I just sat there as she got worked up talking about it. I was hungry and I wanted to eat. I was too hungry to co-sign on racist statements. Sorry MLK!!! I started reflecting on the time I went across the street to visit my neighbors. I heard them cooking in their garage. Yes I could hear the frying of meat across the street. I just knew it had to be chicken. Turns out I was half right. It was chicken legs. Just in case you were wondering, yes they are Asian. You thought I was going to say Black huh? I know none of that made sense but I was really hungry while she was talking.

But I digress……..Back to the presentation. Everything was fine until salesman 1 came to the end of his presentation. I knew there was a hook – I knew it! I knew it! Citizen Wife knew it too because of the questions she was asking. Boy does she ask a lot of questions. In case you didn’t know: there is always a hook. Salesman 1 knew we weren’t going to cave in so he brought “The Closer” in. The Closer is also known as the master salesman. He comes in to sweeten the deal so people cave in. The Closer rubbed citizen wifey the wrong way and it was all downhill after that. Do you remember back in the day when people finished having sex they smoked? Well he smelled like he was rolled up and smoked by a cigarette after the cigarette had sex. As I am typing this I still have his aroma under my nostrils. I didn’t know R.J. Reynolds Tobacco made soap? Gadzooks!!!!

The Closer eventually slipped up when he talked about sexual relations with his wife. Citizen Wife didn’t like that at all. After we left she went on and on about The Closer’s comments. She also said I gave The Closer an endorsement to say those things. All because I didn’t stop The Closer and I kept laughing with him. So The Closer’s teeth looked like he had a mouth full of dice. Does that make him a bad person? He was trying to sell us on romance and it came off very unromantic. If Brad Pitt or Denzel Washington talked about being sexual she wouldn’t complain. If the person looks like an extra on the set of Deliverance, it’s a problem!

Well at the end of the presentation it wasn’t looking good for the salesmen. The Closer went on about his business and we went on about ours. Salesman 1 didn’t shake our hand or look us in the eye. Citizen Wifey was pissed off about that too. We took our “Freeness” and walked away into the night. I doubt we will ever deal with them again at this point. Looking back I don’t have any hard feelings. I just wish that the “Freeness” didn’t come with so many stipulations. I told you there is always a hook…………….

Friday, April 17, 2009

Back from Spring Break and people are still cooning!!!

With the unemployment rate for African Americans at 13%, it was good to see some African’s working. Oops… I keep forgetting they were pirates. Black pirates are not an everyday occurrence. It’s not like they are hanging out on the corner. There was the time in Atlanta when I saw a guy wearing a bandana and sash but I think he was gay. In other news, television personality Gokhan Tapkyn (I’m Missing The Turkish Written Pronunciation So This Is As Close As It Gets) wore black face in order to welcome President Obama to Turkey. But looks may be deceiving (BIG if on the word “may”). This might not be your simple case of racism. Listen and decide for yourself.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Peppercorn Public Relations

Continuing my new segment highlighting local entrepreneurs. I respect the hustle so I want to show the hustle some love. Next up is Citizen Wifey’s Sorority Sister and Friend Eshe Glover.

Specialties of Peppercorn PR include:

Corporate Responsibility


Event Planning

Public Engagement

Telephone Number: (704) 777-9346

Friday, April 10, 2009

Black Radio Snobbery to the Highest Degree: The Citizen Family accused of being ignorant!?!

"Not to attack Harvey, but his listeners are anything but intelligent. Listening to the entire show is like scratching a chalkboard from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. cutting us off from Tom Joyner is like taking away our coffee, sugar, fried chicken, chocolate, ice cream and sex."

~ Veronica Jackson, a Tom Joyner Fan

Black folks are always getting fired up about the wrong things. McDonalds stop selling the McRib and all hell broke loose. It’s not false advertisement if they said it was only for a limited time. You know those Ribs didn’t taste good anyway!!!! I thought we would have learned after UPN cancelled “All of Us”. But nope!! Black folks are back at it again. Apparently radio listeners in Chicago are upset because The Tom Joyner Morning Show was replaced by The Steve Harvey Morning Show. Everybody likes Capitalism until it bites them in the behind.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Harvey’s show is the No. 1-rated syndicated morning show in the top 50 metro markets among listeners 18 to 34 and 18 to 49, as well as women 25 to 54.

That means he has College Students, Blue Collar, White Collar and Women locked up. This makes for an advertisers dream. It’s not complicated at all. Obviously it seems as if Joyner has lost or not gained listeners. When I was in college, all the guys waited to see what the freshmen girls looked like. Then the next year it was the same thing. Somebody new and fresh is always waiting around the corner. It was Joyner’s responsibility to reach out and obtain a younger audience. He has been around for awhile and was the only King of the Hill. He didn’t have any competition for the longest time so what did he need to worry about. And I’m pretty sure even when Steve Harvey was gaining traction he didn’t put any thought into it. This isn’t about Steve Harvey trying to muscle in on Tom Joyner’s territory. How did a business decision turn into an episode of “The Wire”? Even Stringer Bell knew it was better to be more business-like than hood-like. Now we have Joyner supporters’ up in arms and talking big time smack!!!

Some of the comments from Joyner fans say something deeper than a misplaced radio show. Black folks are in a class system when it comes to the radio. Joyner’s listeners describe Harvey’s listeners as the kind of people that would be in a BET Uncut video. While Joyner’s listeners portray themselves as people that read Chaucer and vacation in the Hamptons. They act like Harvey went from the crack house to the radio station. He has been on the air for a minute but that doesn’t matter with this crowd. They are looking for someone to blame and Harvey is the black piñata.

The notion that The Tom Joyner Show is a bastion of class is foolish. You have J. Anthony Brown and George Wallace doing jokes about each other mothers. Then there is Sheryl Underwood sounding as incoherent as a co-ed drunk at a fraternity party. But I can’t leave out Huggie Low-Down talking trash about everybody who breathes. Please don’t think that I am knocking the show. I actually listen to both shows. To put down Harvey’s show as appealing to teeny boppers with silly antics is unjust criticism. The difference between J Anthony Brown “Murdering a hit” and Nephew Tommy’s “Prank Phone Calls” is of the slimmest of margins. I could have told Chicago that this was coming. Citizen Wifey likes Steve Harvey and thinks Tom Joyner is for “OLD FOLKS.” On the flip side, Citizen Father-in-Law listens to Tom Joyner and thinks Steve Harvey is arrogant. This is about gender more than it is about class. But don’t worry Joyner fans because one day Harvey’s fans will grow old too. Then some new upstart will take his spot. It is called the circle of life. The civil rights industrial complex has the same problem letting new folks break in. I guess it’s just an “OLD FOLKS” thing.

The real problem is Chi-Town residents are complaining while Rome is burning. Edward G. Gardner, the founder of Black on Black Love sent President Obama a letter regarding crime in Chicago. He asked Mr. Obama to send National Guard Troops to the hood to stop the violence. It’s a sad commentary when you need a police state in order to maintain discipline. Members of the organization called this criminal behavior “Domestic Terrorism”. Tom Joyner has spent years trying to improve the lives of black folks. How do you think he would feel about this petty bickering? Don’t be mad about the radio show because he is still on the internet. Be mad that your fellow citizens want martial law in your city.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Spring Music Showcase: If it's spring why is it still cold!!!

Question: Why put a music link on your blog? Answer: Because radio sucks. Listen to individuals/groups that should be on radio

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

American Violet

My Book of Lists

Continuing my new segment highlighting entrepreneurs. I respect the hustle so I want to show the hustle some love. Next up is Citizen Wifey’s Childhood Friend Valeasia Walker.

My Book of Lists is your book of to dos all in one place. So often you have made notes whether mental or on paper of the movies you want to see, the books you want to read, even the websites you want to visit. But when it’s time to recall those things, you draw a blank or have lost the paper you wrote it all on. These handy notebooks are perfect for keeping track of it all.

Some of our book lists include:

my Birthdays & Anniversaries -

my Books to Read-

my Movies to Watch-

my Places to Travel-

my Music to Buy-

my Restaurants to Try-

my Wine to Taste-

my Sites to Surf-

my Shoppes to Shop-

my Quotes to Quote-

my Things to Note-

my Web User IDs and Passwords

Customizable covers and inside pages are also available for an additional price. Discounts are available for multiple orders.

Email: for more details.

The Afro-Spanish Connection……….America’s pastime on an HBCU campus.

More news on HBCU’s struggling to attract and keep Black Men!!! The news gets better as the days go by. Now we can’t even field college baseball teams at HBCU’s. Someone call Bud Selig and tell him to get an elementary school farm team together ASAP!

I will say there is one good thing about this. Ball players from Latin America will get an opportunity to get a college education. The baseball coach for Bethune-Cookman College is thinking outside the box. If only that thinking would transfer to the administrations at HBCU’s as well.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Triple Threat

No other program has produced the Heisman Trophy winner and Naismith Trophy winner in the same academic year or had a four-time AP All-American in women's basketball.

Future Black Politicians in Training or a case of playa hating?

The Florida A&M University’s outgoing SGA President Andrew Collins is under suspicion of misappropriating funds.

The problem:
1) A $174.00 tuxedo with accessories (shirt, shoes, cufflinks, belt and tie).

The Defense:
1) President Collins needs at tux for special events that he is required to attend.

2) The SGA Chief Financial Officer gave Collins the go ahead for purchasing the tux.

3) Collins claimed the suit was funded from a discretionary account.

President Collins said “the discretionary account is used every year by student body presidents in a manner they feel best serves the student body. He also said unfortunately, certain individuals with personal aspirations are seeking ways to call attention to themselves by taking away from things students should truly be concerned about.”

The Accuser: Student Senator Brittany Aikens has asked for an audit of the Student Government Association.

Senator Aikens said “every administration that crosses SGA doors stand for accountability and transparency, and they should have no problem submitting the necessary documents to justify every purchase.”

---------------------But, Not To Fear Because Hope....... oops..... Help is on the way-------------------------

The "almost was" NEW President Elect was claiming his administration would be transparent with all their financial actions. But that was before he staged a sit-in at FAMU’s president's office. Apparently Gallop Franklin lost the election due to trickery at the polls (hence the term “almost was”). Seven witnesses have come forward to testify about irregular precinct procedures and alleged forgery of signatures.

Citizen Ojo side bar: Crooked elections in the State of Florida??? Get out of here!!! For real?

Does any of this sound familiar?

Monday, April 06, 2009

Come On Now Brotha! Slapdash Bootleg Videos

My friend just told me that the Babershop (the black man’s country club) had copies of the new Wolverine movie. The only problem was the movie doesn’t have all the computer generated special effects. What good does that do me? That’s what makes up the whole movie!!!!!!! It’s really nice to see my people being entrepreneurs but NO SPECIAL EFFECTS!!!!!

Black men aren’t graduating; Black women can’t find dates….oh well, at least I beat the odds!!!

"Even though that I'm the Monday woman, I'm going to be the best Monday woman so that when he's with the Tuesday woman or the Wednesday woman then he'll be thinking of me."

~Monet Phillips a Senior at North Carolina Central University, on dating men at Historically Black Colleges & Universities.

Most of the time, my Friday woman was my Saturday woman: So black men aren’t graduating because they are booked up during the week!!! Okay Okay, I know there is a better reason than that. Actually there are more reasons……Finances, Lack of interest, Poor academic backgrounds etc etc….

Apparently the big crisis of last week was the low or no graduation rates of black males. I personally wanted to be a 5 year student but student loans started talking louder and louder. I went to school with a guy that was in college during 3 presidential administrations (actually 1 Bush & 2 Clintons). He would come to class the first day and when it was time to take exams. On the flip side you had my wife (we weren’t married at the time) being an exemplary student. In the end all my wife got out of the deal was a college degree. I guess she did okay. She never learned how to play spades though. How do you go to a Historically Black College/University and not learn how to play spades???

But I guess this speaks to the 400lb Elephant in the room. Black woman are doing alright but black men…not so good! The long term ramifications of this could be disastrous. Statistics have shown that a college degree can mean an increase of income. Wealth building is something that black folks have had a hard time working on. A college degree is the step up that can help black men. When we don’t or can’t take advantage of that opportunity it sets us back.

One of the problems is the HBCU’s themselves. Times have changed and so have the students. Integration has made college accessible to all students regardless of race. That means the best black students aren’t always looking at HBCU’s. Predominantly white colleges are showing the money and drawing students. A large percentage of HBCU’s can’t compete with the predominantly white colleges when it comes to money and facilities. Facilities that are dated can’t compete with brand new amenities. With the growing competition for students that’s leaving some schools scraping the bottom of the barrel. We have to be honest and admit that some people aren’t college material. It doesn’t mean that they aren’t intelligent. The kids coming out of high school now are different. The “microwave generation” is what’s showing up on campus. For them the path to success is right now!!! Waiting is not an option and patience isn’t a virtue. I don’t want to sound like the old man in the neighborhood but “some of these kids don’t have a clue.” They watch reality television and think that anyone can be famous. Some of them are bringing this attitude to school with them. They are unaware of the importance of going to college. To survive in college you have to be focused. You are on your own and mom and dad aren’t there to help you.

On the flip side: Many students who were academic risks do well at black schools.

These are students that needed a push or a kick in the butt. HBCU’s have a history of taking students that other schools wouldn’t take. Then molded them into great students and turning them into great citizens. I love HBCU’s but something has got to give. So what is it?

It’s time for a reality check:

HBCU’s: You are going to have to take an “L” but it won’t hurt forever. A loss, yes I said it an “L”. This is the conversation that black folks don’t want to have. Some of our schools are going to have to go by the wayside. We can’t keep them all. Some schools could merge and others can become junior colleges. I’m thinking of a junior college or a two year school that can focus on a certain segment of student. They can take the students that are academically challenged and create an academic plan that can get them up to speed. They can also deal with students that are financially challenged as well (providing lower tuition rates). After two years they can transfer to an HBCU of their choice. Without the weight of expensive student loans and a poor academic track record, they can increase their chances of success. People don’t like to hear this because it might mean their school gets the axe. The numbers just aren’t there people!!! HBCU’s are going up against the Ivy League, State Schools etc etc… You have to change your game up if you want to stay in the game.

Black Women: The numbers aren’t looking good for you. Black women outnumbered the men when I was in school. That means that competition is going to be thick. You take the numbers of black men in jail, on their way to jail, not working (because they are deadbeat) and divide that by the number in college……it’s the worst mathematical answer that you have ever seen. At the end of the day some women are going to go man less. It’s like musical chairs at a kiddie birthday party. It’s best to go home empty handed because the constellation prize will suck. I wish I could wave a magic wand and solve your problems but I can’t. My advice to you is to not chase every man around campus. Stay true to yourself and your principles. And don’t forget to keep your hair, nails and feet done. And pray to God to keep the bad men from blocking your blessing.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Something Sweet…….Baked Goods to Remember

Continuing my new segment highlighting local entrepreneurs. I respect the hustle so I want to show the hustle some love. Next up is Citizen Wifey’s Sorority Sister and Friend Brigitte Morris.

Are you looking for something special for the sweet spring season?
Once the meal has been cooked, don’t worry about the dessert! These cakes are great
options that will get you out of the kitchen quicker. They also make great gifts for
significant others, parents, children and friends!

Next Up: Spring Offerings

Lemon Pound Cake (box cake, baked with a little
added love)…$10

Homemade Pound Cake (lemon glaze)…$25

¼ sheet Carrot Cake…$25

3-layer Red Velvet Cake…$30

3-layer German Chocolate Cake…$35

Pricing Available through 6/30/09
NOTE: If emailing, please put “Spring Offerings” in the subject line and provide a
telephone number.
Baked with love by,
C. Brigitte
Telephone: (704) 222-5176

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

studio b public relations

Continuing my new segment highlighting local entrepreneurs. I respect the hustle so I want to show the hustle some love. Next up is Citizen Wifey’s Sorority Sister and Friend Brandi N. Williams.

Studio b is a niche public relations firm specializing in community and socially responsible public relations.

We offer:

• Strategic counseling. We work to understand the needs of your target audience and develop compelling and strategic programs that build support for your issue and speak directly to your customers and move them to action.

• Advocacy. We work with you to determine the creative ways to influence opinion and engage audiences.

• Publicity. Securing media for your cause can help build the support for your cause and your company. Using up‐to‐date techniques, we secure media placements on behalf of clients that position them as social responsible.

• Training. studio b can design and facilitate training

Contact us:
Phone: (704) 779-1100