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The Fox Terriers and The Aurora Bloodbath

By A. Peter Bailey

Following the killing of 12 people and wounding of 58 others by a white male in Aurora, Colorado, I decided to see how the bloodbath would be covered by the eminent Fox Terriers, Sean Hannity and Bill O’ Reilly.
It was a fascinating, revealing and would have been an amusing experience had the circumstances not been so serious. The first thing I noticed was the attempt of the usually boastful, know-it-all bloviators to be serious journalists. Both of them went into the pure journalistic posture of presenting the facts and nothing but the facts.

On the O’ Reilly Factor O’Reilly, the slickest of the two, seemed almost aloof when commenting on the case and interviewing quests. It was obvious that he was determined to keep the focus on the suspected shooter and killer as being a lone loon, not a representative of a larger destructive White male problem in this country. This was confirmed at the end of his program when he ordered members of the O’ Reilly cult to make sure to tell their children that the bloodbath in Aurora is an aberration. One can bet that his regular viewers did just what their divine leader ordered.
As for Sean Hannity, whose program, not surprisingly, is called Hannity, it was almost amusing to see someone who has made millions of dollars by being shallow, smart alecky and bitchy struggling to look and act like a knowledgeable, professional journalist. His efforts were to no avail.  Hannity still came across as an ambitious boy from a modest background who now operates with the misguided notion that he is a major white male power broker.

Both Hannity and O’ Reilly are among those politicians and pundits in this country who, if the shooter in Aurora had been a black male, would be pontificating, not about that particular person as they do when the subject is a white male, but about “The Pathology of Black Males.” Their attitude is best explained in an observation made by Michelle Alexander in her must-read book, The New Jim Crow. “In the state of Washington,” wrote Ms. Alexander ,” a review of juvenile sentencing reports that prosecutors routinely described Black and White offenders differently. Blacks committed crimes because of internal personality flaws such as disrespect. Whites did so because of external conditions such as family conflict.”
What the Fox Terriers and most of the other commentators failed to note in their coverage was that on July 16, 2012, just four days prior to Aurora, another White male shot up a bar in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in which 17 people were shot or otherwise wounded. It would seem that at least a mention of the closeness of the Tuscaloosa shooting to Aurora would be required. Maybe it wasn’t a big deal because no one was killed.

These two incidents, which occurred within one week, should at least raise a question about what is happening when members of the most pampered and powerful special interest group in this country-- white males-- indulge in such pathological, savage, destructive behavior?

Whitney Houston and 'Learning to Love Yourself'

By A. Peter Bailey
( - In her powerful and moving rendition of the song, “The Greatest Love of All”, Whitney Houston asserts that “learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.” After listening to, reading and viewing the activities around her death, one can only conclude that the incredibly talented and beautiful singer never learned to love herself.

It’s hard to think otherwise when considering the self-destructive turn she took in her life. During the home going services, family members and close friends spoke often and lovingly about her talent, her intelligence, her charisma, her energy, her beauty her determination, her deep religious convictions, and her compassion for others. How could anyone with all of those positive virtues end up on the destructive path taken by Whitney in the last 10 years or so of her life?
Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston
The only real clue I heard from her supportive family and friends was provided by Kevin Costner, her co-star in the film, “The Bodyguard.” In his affectionate tribute, Costner said that Whitney, despite all the accolades and accomplishments, was burdened by deep-seated doubts as to whether she was really good enough.

His observation reminded me of one made by Alvin Ailey in his autobiography, “Revelations: The Autobiography of Alvin Ailey,” which I authored. When I asked Alvin, one of the most creative and visionary choreographers of the 20th Century, to describe himself, he spoke emotionally about the numbing poverty and cold-blooded East Texas racism that he and his mother confronted during his childhood. He lamented about being fatherless.
Then, he concluded with “…I felt that no matter what ballet I made, how beautifully I danced, it was not good enough….that’s one of the worst things about racism, what it does to young people. It tears down your insides so that no matter what you achieve, no matter what you write or choreograph, you feel it’s not quite enough. You are not quite up to snuff.”

Whitney, though not confronted by poverty or virulent expressions of racism, had something that tore up her insides that embarked her on a path of self-destruction. There is a lesson here to be learned by young African-Americans, especially those who have swallowed whole what Brother Malcolm called the ideology of dollarism. This ideology insists that it’s all about making money and nothing else really matters. Whitney - and to a lesser degree, Alvin Ailey - made mucho money and had international reputations in their fields. Yet it was not enough to keep them alive. Whitney’s life ended at 48, Alvin’s at 58.

The reality is that one cannot abuse one’s body with drugs, alcohol and unhealthy foods. And it must be added that one cannot abuse one’s mind with the psychological toxin contained in many of today’s movies, song lyrics, television, radio and internet programs if one wants to experience, as Whitney proclaimed, “The Greatest Love of All.”

Journalist/Lecturer A. Peter Bailey, a former associate editor of Ebony, is currently editor of Vital Issues: The Journal of African American Speeches. He can be reached at 202-716-4560.

Reality Check Rev. Jeremiah Wright & Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

By A. Peter Bailey

( - After hearing Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day sermon at Howard University’s chapel services, I clearly understood why certain forces in this country don’t want him within 1,000 miles of the Obamas as long as they are in the White House.
In a spiritual-based sermon, Rev. Wright inspired, informed and educated the overflow of 1,500 plus people in attendance about what should be the true focus of the King birthday celebration.
“Sometimes I wonder which is worse - seeing people seduced by sound bytes or seeing a ministry reduced to sound bytes," he said. The sound bytes to which he was referring were “I Have A Dream” from the March on Washington and “I’ve Been to the Mountain Top” from Dr. King’s final speech in Memphis.
What is too often ignored or marginalized, said Rev. Wright, is that the correct names for the march was “The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.” It reflected Dr. King’s strong commitment to the cause of economic justice.
So did his trip to Memphis. Dr. King went there, noted Rev. Wright, “to show support for the city's black garbage men who at the time was being paid $1.04 an hour.

Both of these events, Rev. Wright continued, were not theological actions, but sociological ones designed to help the poor and disadvantaged.
“There is ... a war going on against the poor," he insisted, a war conducted by what he called the proponents of “casino capitalism.”
In order to effectively challenge those forces, Rev. Wright said those committed to economic justice should arm themselves with clarity (to clearly see the issues at hand), cooperation (among those who believe in the need for economic justice), concentration (with which to focus on the task at hand), and communication (to spread the truth about Dr. King’s determined and passionate dedication to the concept of economic and social justice.)
Throughout his sermon, Rev. Wright repeatedly said, “Strange things happen with the passing of time, some of them by accident, some by design. It is obvious he believes that the misinformation about and neglect of the true economic justice aspects of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and the trip to Memphis are strange things happening by design.
Journalist/Lecturer A. Peter Bailey, a former associate editor of Ebony, is currently editor of Vital Issues: The Journal of African American Speeches. He can be reached at 202-716-4560.

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