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Showing posts from March, 2009

Act Like A Woman, Think Like A Woman

Steve Harvey tells us to “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.”

In her upcoming novel, Zane tells us, “Women are the new men.”

What gives?

I think the truth of women’s lives is somewhere in the middle.

I’m reading Steve Harvey’s wildly popular New York Times bestseller, “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.” I’m reading it because I saw it featured on Oprah and I’m wondering what all the buzz is about. I haven’t finished reading it, so it probably isn’t fair to write about it, but I think I get the gist of this self-help book because it’s been written many times before.

So, here’s what I gather to be the gist (spoiler alert): Single women, you’re not married because you don’t understand men. If you read this book, you will understand men, and then you’ll be better prepared to get a man to marry you.

The problem is, what if you don’t want a man to marry you? No, I’m not talking about my lesbian sisters; I’m talking about women who have made the decision that they’re not looking for marria…

History Repeating Itself: John Hope Franklin, The Voting Rights Act, and Officer Robert Powell

This week I finished reading Helene Cooper’s memoir about her pre-Samuel K. Doe childhood in Liberia, “The House at Sugar Beach.” In it, Ms. Cooper describes and then mourns the loss of her privileged childhood as part of the “Congo People” – Liberians descended from freed African American slaves who settled there – at the hands of a coup d’etat engineered by Samuel K. Doe. She also traces her ancestors on both sides of her elite family to some of the original African American settlers. I felt both proud and jealous of Ms. Cooper, proud because she could trace her ancestors back that far; jealous because I couldn’t. I thought to myself, “They may have stolen your childhood, but at least they didn’t steal your history.” I personally cannot trace my family back more than three generations.

For the rest of us of African American descent whose history was stolen, it was given back to us in the form of a gift: John Hope Franklin’s 1947 seminal work, “From Slavery to Freedom.” This week we l…

Professor in Chief

The pundits are weighing in on President Obama’s second press conference. Gee, isn’t that one more press conference than President Bush had during his second term? Anyhoo, the responses have ranged from a “not a good night at all” rating from William Bennett (as if I expected anything else) to the folks on MSNBC calling his performance that of the “Professor in Chief.”


As I watched the press conference with BMNB (my husband, Black Man Not Blogging), I told him, “You know, he’s had the best preparation for this press conference that there could ever be – being a law professor.” As a former law professor, I couldn’t help but smile.

As a law professor, you have to be knowledgeable about your subject matter, yet humble and confident enough to say when you don’t know something and get back to your students with an answer. You know that not all questions posed by your students will be for the purpose of seeking knowledge. If you’re a rookie professor or, depending on what part of the co…

Oakland, My Oakland

It saddens me so to hear of the recent tragic events in Oakland. Three officers dead, one on life support, and a young man who should have had more years ahead of him gone because of a terrible, terrible decision. It reminds me of the movie “Crash” : A horrific confluence of events, but this time, without a good ending. It hurts my heart.

Oakland, my Oakland.

I’m fond of Oakland. I spent almost eight years of my life there, right after graduating law school. I had planned from childhood to live there because that’s were all the successful black folks lived, or so I thought at the time during my Sacramento childhood. I grew up and longed for a house in the Oakland hills with vistas of the San Francisco Bay, or even a cute cottage near Mills College, an enclave of a campus with an Ivy League-type timeless beauty all its own. Whether you wanted a sprawling ranch-style house with views, a cutesy cottage, a vintage Victorian, or an arts and crafts-inspired Rockridge bungalow, you could find …

The Power of a Lie: Rest in Peace, Cousin

Today I attended the funeral of one of my older cousins. He was very sweet and kind, the kind of person who was always happy to see you and always had a smile for you. Loving and non-judgmental, he was an easy-going guy who had had some hard times -- drugs, prison, you name it. And on this, the day of his funeral, we celebrated his release not just from these earthly bounds, but from a lie, a lie about him that burdened not only him but our entire family.

You see, I'm on the tail end in terms of birth order among us first cousins on my mom's side of the family. There is so much history between my older siblings and older cousins that I only know through stories passed down. And one of these stories was that, as a teenager, my cousin had burned down a school. This is no small matter. If you burn down a school in the suburbs, people rush to rebuild it; in the ghetto, not so much. And he had reputedly burned down a school in the ghetto. There was no rush to rebuild. Chil…

AIG and Citigroup: Obama's Problem Children

Not every child is the same. When you are a mother cooking dinner and you run out of a certain ingredient, this is important to know. There are some children you can send to the grocery store, give them cash, and they’ll come back with what you wanted and your exact change.

Some children will come back with what you wanted and will make some excuse about the change being short, such as “I lost some quarters in the storm drain.”

Some children will not only come back without what you wanted but will also make some excuse about why they don’t have the money, either, such as “I was robbed on the way to the store.”

Mothers, being mothers, know which kids to send to the store and which ones should, well, just continue watching Star Trek until dinner is done.

President Obama needs to start thinking like a mom, because Citigroup and AIG are most like the third type of child – you can’t send them to the store to accomplish a mission and you damn sure can’t give them cash with which to do it. Yo…

Citigroup Must Die

Citigroup must die.

I’m not just saying this because they hold my mortgage (which I originated with Wells Fargo, only to have Wells Fargo sell it to Citigroup – bastards!).

I’m saying this because, despite receiving government assistance, despite being told on the down-low that they probably shouldn’t take delivery of new corporate jets after receiving TARP money (see my blog entry, “The Big Pimpin’ Awards, January 30, 2009), Citigroup or Citibank or Citifailure – pick a name – continues to operate as if they were a successful going concern for which its employees should be rewarded, to wit:

(Reuters) - Citigroup Inc (C.N) is paying about $13 million to compensate employees who had been expected to go on various trips that were later canceled, a person familiar with the matter said on Monday.

The bank is paying 1,900 employees of its Primerica Financial Services unit $5,000 each, after canceling a February trip for top agents to a Bahamas resort, according to the person, who declined to b…

99 Problems (But Rush Ain't One)

So, Rush Limbaugh has challenged President Obama to a debate about his economic policies. The RNC Chair has spent the week distancing the party from and then embracing (re-embracing?) Rush Limbaugh. And the President's surrogates have actually gone beyond just taking note and getting in the fray, perhaps in an attempt to whip up Democratic frenzy.

Am I missing something here?

For starters, if Rush Limbaugh were a Haitian from Liberty City instead of a white man from Palm Beach, he'd probably still be doing time behind that whole oxycontin/doctor shopping mess. A combination of white privilege and wealth privilege is responsible for the fact that he's still contributing nothing more than nitrogen to any intellectual discourse about the direction of this country.

That said, the President and/or his surrogates need not take the bait. To borrow from Jay-Z, they got "99 problems but Rush ain't one." Let's see: Four straight months of job losses; GM is about to bi…

A Devastating Beauty

She’s a Miss Beautiful Supreme
A girl that others wish that they could be
If there’s seven wonders of the world
Then I know she’s gotta be number one

She’s a girl that can’t be beat
Born and raised on ghetto streets
She’s a devastating beauty
A pretty girl with ebony eyes . . . .

“Ebony Eyes” by Stevie Wonder

I was eating dinner when Anderson Cooper revealed the First Lady’s official portrait on CNN. When I saw it, I gasped. It was a breathtakingly stunning portrait. Mrs. Obama, wearing a sleeveless black Michael Kors sheath dress and a double strand of pearls, was the picture of grace, elegance, and beauty. She is a First Lady like no other. I thought to myself, “She’s reppin’ us sisters so well.” Before a smile of appreciation could spread across my face, the criticisms rolled in courtesy of Cooper’s sidekick, Erica Hill.

Ms. Hill deigned to inform us that critics of Mrs. Obama deemed her exposure of her arms too informal for an official portrait and for her husband’s first address to C…