Do we perpetuate black stereotypes?

Many African Americans feel like there has been an unofficial war declared on blacks, especially young black males. Just in the past month alone, there have been the police murders of Eric Garner (Staten Island, N.Y.), Ezell Ford (Los Angeles, and Michael Brown (Ferguson, Missouri). Each of these victims were unarmed, young, black and male.


Raynard Jackson, NNPA columnist

In each instance, there were credible witnesses or video recordings that recounted events very differently from the official police version. Based on what we know so far, I think all the policemen involved in these unjustified deaths should be convicted of murder and sent to jail.

As abhorrent as these actions were, they should spark a larger, separate conversation about the images that we have created around black life and black culture. To reiterate, regardless of these images, there is no justification for killing those young black men. Let’s be clear about that.

However, let us be equally clear and courageous enough to take another look at what we are contributing to the misperceptions and stereotypes of us as a race. This is a separate conversation from what happened in New York, Los Angeles and Ferguson, Missouri, but this is as good a time to hold it as any.

For the past 30 years, we have created images of blacks in the most negative of lights. For those who would say it’s just music, it’s just a movie, it’s just a reality TV show; I say now there is just another black body lying in the streets of America.

Before you go to war, the first thing that is needed is to create a psychological operations campaign (psy-ops). This is a tactic that the military uses to marginalize its targeted population so that when the troops are sent in to destroy this group, there is no public outcry.

Just look at how the U.S. military vilified and demonized former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and terrorist Osama Bin Laden before we set out to kill them. Upon their deaths at the hands of the U.S. military, the American people cheered because we had devalued and marginalized them before the American people.

I can’t help but ask the black community, have we unleashed a pys-ops campaign on our own people?

In the horror movie series Frankenstein, Dr. Frankenstein did not set out to create a monster; but rather he was a scientist playing around in his laboratory. As a result of this experimentation, he created a monster that neither he nor society could control.

In a similar manner, one could argue that blacks, specifically in Hip-Hop, have experimented in the laboratory called a recording studio; and by exercising their First Amendment Right of freedom of speech and expression through music, they have created their own version of Frankenstein.

In the beginning, like with Frankenstein, people marveled at this new creation and people were willing to pay to see and hear it. There was “Rappers Delight,” there was “The Message,” and there was “Fight the Power.” Then, the imagery and lyrics took a twisted turn under a perverted interpretation of the First Amendment called “keeping it real.”

Now, the establishment, especially the police, had become the enemy. Hip-Hop became a counter-culture movement that turned into a monster that could no longer be controlled.

Women became “bitches and hoe’s,” men became hyper-sexualized thugs who were only out to force themselves on your daughters and to “get rich or die trying.”

When rap music started, it was a verbal extension of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s in the spirit of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; it was about the uplifting of our community and providing a voice to those often without a voice.

Then in the 1990s, rap took a more militaristic tone with the creation of “gangsta rap.” This too was a verbal extension of the Civil Rights movement; but more in the spirit of Malcolm X on steroids. These artists represented those in the “hood” who felt trapped and abused by the system. They felt like no one cared about them and that life was about the here and now— immediate gratification; so screw the future. They wanted to “get theirs now.” They wanted to live fast, even if it meant dying young.

This ultimately led to the “thug” culture, personified by hit movies like Scarface, New Jack City and Carlito’s Way; each glorified the criminal lifestyle.

Then you had the crack epidemic of the 1990s with the violence that it brought into the hood. All these factors combined to create a narrative that black life was worthless and black youth brought no value to society.

It’s too bad the rap world didn’t heed the words of Chuck D; KRS-One; Doug E. Fresh; Heavy D; MC Lyte; Kool Moe Dee. D-Nice; Daddy-O; and others on the all-time classic, “Self Destruction,” which had as its chorus— “Self-Destruction, ya headed for Self-Destruction (repeat).”

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm. He can be reached through his website:

The Congressional Black Caucus has no conscience

— The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) describes itself as “the conscience of the U.S. Congress.” According to the dictionary, conscience is the inner sense of what is right or wrong in one’s conduct or motives. Notice that the root of the word conscience is the word “con,” which is exactly what the CBC has turned out to be.

They have conned the American people into believing that they represent the values of the Black community; and nothing could be further from the truth. They have sat silently by as President Barack Obama has put forth policies that have decimated the very people they claim to represent – the Black community.

This con was put on public display last week in the aftermath of the senate election in Mississippi. Incumbent U.S. Senator Thad Cochran’s successful reelection was credited to Black Democrats crossing party lines to vote for the six-term Republican incumbent.

This led to the headline in online site Politico: “Congressional Black Caucus to Thad Cochran: You owe us.” I was flabbergasted. The article contained several quotes by members of the CBC demanding that Cochran reward the Black voters of Mississippi by pushing forward their liberal agenda in the U.S. Senate.

According to the article, “The wish list is filling up with ideas like maintaining funding for food stamps, beefing up programs that help poor blacks in Mississippi and even supporting the Voting Rights Act.”

CBC members were adamant.

Rep Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio and chairman of the CBC).hat some CBC: “Absolutely we have expectations. Mississippi is the poorest state in the union. I think he [Cochran] is a very decent man. I also think there comes a point in time where every single elected official has to do what’s best for the people he represents, and his state is 35 percent minority and poor.”

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.): “My hat is off to Sen. Cochran for being as desperate as he was, to actually go out and, up front, go out and ask for those votes. Those votes were delivered, and I’m hopeful he will be responsible and responsive to the voters that pushed him over the top.”

Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.): “What I hope happens is that he [Cochran] comes to the realization that African-Americans are the reason I have this final six years and therefore I’m going to try and be more responsible than I have been.”

And NAACP Mississippi State President Derrick Johnson added, “Two things that we think should come immediately after the election [are] his support of the Voting Rights Act … free of any provisions that would allow for voter ID and, second, to get the presidents of the Black colleges to ask for his offices for help to make sure the [missions] of those institutions are carried out.”

As “Pookie” in the ‘hood would say, let’s keep it real. Blacks are 36 percent of the electorate in Mississippi and accounted for about 10 percent of the vote for Cochran; but yet members of the CBC are “demanding” concessions from Cochran.

But they don’t hold Obama to the same standard. In 2012, Blacks were 15 percent of the national electorate and Obama received 93 percent of that vote. In 2008, Blacks were 11 percent of the national electorate and gave Obama 96 percent of that vote.

Despite these numbers, the CBC has never demanded anything from Obama that would be of special interest to the Black community. They have made feeble suggestions to Obama, they have sent nice letters to Obama, they have even sent White people to inquire of Obama on their behalf (because he frequently refuses to meet with them); but they have never found the guts to “demand” anything from him.

Why? Because he is Black.

Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-Mo. and then-chairman of the CBC) said in 2011,”If (former President) Bill Clinton had been in the White House and had failed to address this problem [Black unemployment], we probably would be marching on the White House… As the chair of the Black Caucus, I’ve got to tell you, we are always hesitant to criticize the president. With 14 percent (Black) unemployment, if we had a White president we’d be marching around the White House. … The President knows we are going to act in deference to him in a way we wouldn’t to someone White.”

In another interview, Cleaver was asked what he would say if former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, instead of Obama, had been elected president and the Black unemployment was double digits? He said, “As much as I love Sen. Clinton, I would have been all over her on 14 percent unemployment for African-Americans. I would have said, ‘My sister, I love you, but this has got to go.’”

Let’s back up a moment. Cochran, a Republican, gets 10 percent of the Black vote. So, the CBC demands action from him, even if that means offending the 90 percent vote total Cochran received from conservative White s in Mississippi. Yet, Obama, a Black Democrat, gets nearly 100 percent the Black vote, and feels he doesn’t “owe” African Americans anything. Even worse, Black leaders don’t demand anything from him.

This pulls back the cover on the so-called ‘conscience” of Congress. This race-based hypocrisy on the part of the CBC proves they have no conscience.

Raynard Jackson is president and CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm. He can be reached through his Web site, You can also follow him on Twitter at raynard1223

Looking beyond Donald Sterling

— By now, everyone knows the story of Los Angeles Clipper’s owner, Donald Sterling’s banishment from the National Basketball Association (NBA) for his racist comments captured on audio tape last month. What Sterling said was totally stupid and insulting. Period! I don’t think there is any disagreement from anyone on that issue.

In the past, I have been very critical of professional athletes for their unwillingness to take a public stand on any controversial issues. You can argue whether the NBA players were aggressive enough in their protests, but at least they did protest. The Sterling issue was so bizarre that even Michael Jordan publicly denounced him. You’re talking about miracles!

For a generation of athletes who have no idea what real sacrifice is all about, they made me proud. Yes, they know about sacrifice relative to playing their sport (playing through pain and injury); but they have yet to show a willingness to give up their sport, even temporarily, to take a principled stand on anything— until now.

When I think of professional athletes taking a principled stand in sports, I think of people such as Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, Tommie Smith, John Carlos, Curt Flood, or Spencer Haywood.

So, to find out that these NBA players told the commissioner of the NBA in no uncertain terms that they were prepared not to play in their upcoming playoff games if Sterling were not permanently banned from the game and he was barred from ongoing ownership of the Clippers; this, indeed, was a historic moment for today’s athlete.

This Sterling situation was about racism, bigotry and hate— no question about it. Relative to the black community, there is an issue being overlooked: An alarming rise in the number of people and organizations who have contracted laryngitis when it comes to issues of racism, bigotry and fairness involving the black community. But like fools, many in the black community take up the cause of every other group as their own and then get absolutely no reciprocity when blacks are treated unfairly.

The Human Rights Campaign is supposed to be the homosexual version of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)— standing up for the equal and fair treatment of those who are homosexual. The National Council of

La Raza is supposed to be the Hispanic version of the NAACP— fighting for the equal and fair treatment of Latinos. The National Organization of Women (NOW)— is the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU)— an organization of 2.1 million members united by the belief in the dignity and worth of workers and the services they provide and dedicated to improving the lives of workers and their families and creating a more just and humane society.

I went to each of these groups’ websites and none had issued one statement regarding the Sterling issue since it first broke. Not one word, not one sentence. Yet, liberal black groups such as the NAACP lose their minds when someone says something considered insulting to homosexuals; or against amnesty for illegals; something deemed misogynistic towards women; or in opposition to increasing the minimum wage.

In fact, many of these blacks spend more time supporting amnesty for illegals than they do issues devastating the black community, like double-digit unemployment. Black women constantly take on the battle for affirmative action for white women who are the biggest beneficiary of the program. Many of the workers at sports stadiums are black and also members of SEIU.

All these groups claim to stand for fairness and equality for all, but somehow they never seem to be able to verbalize any support when the black community is treated unfairly.

What Sterling said was an affront to all Americans, not just blacks. If these groups hold themselves out to be the moral beacon of America; how then can they selectively show moral outrage when bigotry and racism rears its ugly head?

This type of behavior from other groups towards blacks has been a consistent occurrence; and the main reason is weak leadership within the black community.

These groups all know that these media appointed black leaders will carry their water for them and will never ask or demand anything in return. These groups, with their words, claim to be in solidarity with the black community; but with their actions, they show that they have little regard for the black community. The only difference between them and Donald Sterling is that Sterling at least was man enough to say how he felt.

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm. He can be reached through his website:

Kevin Durant: ‘MVP’ son

— Donald Sterling’s racist rant about blacks last month put a huge amount of focus on professional athletes. Many sports writers and fans have labeled today’s athletes as spoiled, ungrateful, prima donnas who have no appreciation for those who came before them.


Raynard Jackson, NNPA columnist

You can count me in this group. However, if what I have been seeing over the past two weeks continues, I may become a believer in the fledgling view that some athletes are beginning to “get it.”

First, NBA players made it clear to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver that they would boycott playoff games if Sterling, was not banned from the game. The players won. Sterling was not only permanently banned from the NBA, but the league is in the process of forcing him to sell his NBA franchise.

For those who need more convincing that some professional athletes are beginning to “get it;” one need look no further than newly crowned MVP of the NBA, Kevin Durant.

His acceptance speech given last week during the presentation of the award will go down as one of the best speeches ever given by a professional athlete. To see the speech in it’s entirely, go to

What manner of man is Kevin Durant that he was moved to give such a wonderful speech? He called each of his teammates by name and made a personal comment about each; and ended by giving his mother the best Mother’s Day gift possible. The above-referenced video speaks for itself.

The video immediately went viral and has continued to be discussed inside and outside of sports. But, in watching Durant’s impassioned speech, I could not help but notice an alarming fact that I have yet to hear any discussion of regarding his comments— his beginning and ending of his speech.

In the media and on various blogs, I have yet to see one mention of Durant’s public confession of his Christianity. Here is how he opened his speech, “First off, I would like to thank God for changing my life…for letting me realize what life is really all about…basketball is just a platform in order for me to inspire people and I realize that…”

He then closed his speech by saying, “last, I just like to thank God again…he’s the first and the last, alpha and omega. I thank you for saving my life.”

Talking about Durant’s speech without mentioning the role of God in his life is like having a hamburger without the bun; it’s simply just a piece of meat that is not complete. You know as well as I that if Durant had opened and closed his speech with him talking about being homosexual, it would be the lead headline of his whole speech. But because he talked about his belief in God, the media made a conscious decision to pretend it was never mentioned.

This is Exhibit A in the continued secularization of our society. Durant, by all accounts, is a great person on and off the court. He conducts himself in a manner that brings honor to his parents, the NBA and society at large; and he is also an avowed God fearing Christian.

Durant’s mother, Wanda Pratt, instilled these Christian values in him and his brother, Tony. As a single parent, she raised them as if she were a drill sergeant. She didn’t give them choices, but rather gave them direction. She took them to church, not asking if they wanted to go. She protected them with the shadow of her moral values and Christian beliefs. Christian values don’t stop you from doing wrong, it just stops you from enjoying doing wrong.

Talking about Kevin Durant without acknowledging his Christian values is like talking about Richard Nixon without discussing Watergate; or Nelson Mandela without discussing Apartheid— it would be an incomplete account of whom they were. So, as we Christians celebrate the shining example of Durant’s life, let us not allow the media to edit out the essence of whom Durant is— a God fearing Christian.

This is not about proselytizing or “wearing one’s Christianity on their sleeve;” but rather about telling the whole story of who a person is. Homosexual athletes receive praise from on high from the media and politicians when they come out of the closet; they argue that these athletes should not have to hide who they are.

So, why then should Christian athletes who come-out as Christians not receive the same accolades from the media and politicians? Why should they hide who they are: The media, with their reporting, has truly shown who they are.

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm. He can be reached through his website:

A misguided Big Mac attack

— Two weeks ago, I was sent a video of a Hispanic woman interrupting a speech by Jeff Stratton, president of McDonald’s USA. He was giving a speech at the Union League Club of Chicago. Nancy Salgado, the Hispanic woman in question, became Exhibit A for what is gone wrong in today’s workforce: rudeness and what the Bible calls slothfulness.

Salgado is a 26-year-old cashier at a McDonald’s in Chicago. She has two children out of wedlock and earns $8.25 an hour for working 30 to 40 hours a week. She has worked for McDonald’s since she was 16 and claims, without offering any documentation, that she has never received a raise in her decade of working at Mickey D’s.

Salgado rudely interrupted Stratton’s speech by shouting, “Do you think it’s fair that I have to be living on a poverty wage? Do you think it’s fair that I am making $8.25 while I’ve worked for McDonald’s for 10 years? Do you think it’s fair? My two kids are struggling because you can’t raise our minimum wage. I don’t believe that’s fair. What do you have to say?”

If I had been in the audience, I would have gladly answered for Stratton.

No, you don’t have to live on poverty wages. If you have been with a local franchisee for 10 years and have never received a raise, then there must be a whole lot more to your story that you aren’t sharing. McDonald’s has one of the best training programs for employees in the United States. It is not possible to work for a franchisee, take advantage of their training programs and not to receive raises and promotions. That can’t happen at McDonald’s, if you have a commendable work record.

The second point: It’s not McDonald’s fault that you decided to have two kids without the benefit of being married. If you couldn’t afford to have children, why didn’t you abstain, take birth control, or get married and then have kids?

Salgado wants to put that responsibility at the feet of McDonald’s? Really? Give me a break. She made a series of horrible decisions and now she wants someone else to foot the bill for her mistakes.

The interruption was orchestrated by a liberal group that advocates $15 an hour wages for fast food industry employees. Salgado and the other protesters were issued tickets by the police for trespassing.

I called Jessica Desvarieux, the reporter who interviewed Salgado for The Real News Network in Baltimore. A more appropriate name for the outfit would be “The Real Liberal News Network.” In our conversation, she attempted to portray Salgado as a martyr.

After I challenged Desvarieux on her bias, she rushed off of the phone, saying she had a meeting to attend. She had absolutely no interest in balancing her story with McDonald’s point of view or asking Salgado why she never took advantage of McDonald’s training programs.

I had an opportunity to discuss the issue with Don Thompson, the president and CEO of McDonald’s Corp. I mentioned that I thought McDonald’s specifically and the fast food industry in general, has done a horrible job of addressing these types of volatile issues. He acknowledged that they could do a better job in this area.

McDonald’s has a great story to tell, but for some reason they seem reluctant to tell it. The first thing they need to do is to reach out to their own franchisees, especially those in the black and Hispanic communities. I would start with Van Jakes, a retired N.F.L. cornerback and a McDonald’s franchisee for 21 years. He represents all that is good in a former professional athlete. He is a good corporate citizen in the Atlanta community and has been a good McDonald’s franchisee.

During Van’s time with McDonald’s, he has had employees start at the bottom and now own their own restaurants. He found it inconceivable that any of his employees could work for him for 10 years, take advantage of the employee training programs, and still be in the same position that they started in. Others in the chain share that sentiment.

If McDonald’s does not challenge these lies, they will become the truth. McDonald’s seems to be headed down the same wayward road that other corporations have traveled. I have worked with the oil industry, the nuclear power industry, and the music industry, providing strategic advice to each on how to navigate certain issues that could hurt their brand.

My experience is that corporations tend to be more reactive than proactive. They don’t seem to realize that it is cheaper and wiser to prevent a problem rather than wait to correct it.

To McDonalds, I say stop being afraid to tell your story and take advantage of the great people you have within your organization, including Van Jakes.

And when it comes to Nancy Salgado and other malcontents, if they are that unhappy with their job, they can pick up their last check the same way customers pick up their Big Macs and French fries at the drive-thru window— to go.

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm. He can be reached through his website: