With Pope Benedict XVI hanging up his shoes (or hat I should say), the papal candidate pool is wide ope, and one of the men believed to be in strong contention is Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana. He has been part of the conclave of cardinals since 2005. As the Catholic church looks to bring the image of their church into the modern era, many see a non-European pontiff as a possible symbol of new thinking and new directions for the church. An African pope would also be a tip of the hat to one of the few continents where Catholicism is still growing. Now as a Blacknek, we would hope that the next pope would be selected just on his abilities to do the job, but the political realities of the situation means the birthplace and demographics of a pope are always factored in.
I am just not sure if the European Catholic base would be ready for a Black pope. Many liberal Catholics feel distance from church leadership already due to the child sex abuse scandals and views on gay marriage and abortion, but these liberal Catholics tend to be overwhelmingly White. Perhaps, a Black pope would trigger an official ‘us vs them’ movement like the Barak Obama’s presidency has done with the creation of the Tea Party. Looking at the widespread incidences of open racism towards Black players in European counties, these countries really don’t have enough of an exposure to Black communities to not be ruled by ignorance and prejudices. Truthfully, it is hard to predict what the reaction might be, and we can only hope if a Black man is chosen as the next pope that European Catholics surprise us all with positivity and tolerance.
At a recent White House prayer breakfast. world famous neurosurgeon Dr.Ben Carson spoke on the state of the economy and the country with President Obama at full attention. This alone was out of the ordinary since a prayer breakfast supposed to be served with a few slabs of preaching and politics over easy. Well the politics from Dr.Carson came fully fried and double portioned. He gave a prescription for saving America’s future which was contrary or critical to Obama’s positions on income tax, health care, and America’s debt crisis. Of course a swell of support has started already for ‘Carson for President’. That speech though was and will be one of the most important this year. No one could really criticize the President’s positions with as much weight as someone highly respected, equally admired in the Black community, and without a horse in the political race. To have such an intelligent, hardworking outsiders known for having ‘Gifted Hands’ lay it all out on the table creates an impact which can’t be ignored or dismissed. Dr.Carson is not some politician daydreaming about the healthcare crisis. His entire career is built around it day in and day out. A social conservative, medical profession not born with a silver spoon, and a member of the Seventh-Day Adventist church, Dr.Carson has a uniquely American story which equals anything Obama brings to the table. When he speaks, we as a nation need to listen.
Just as a side note, what a great idea it would be to have a true surgeon general…a professional outsider of great respect who can look at and diagnose the problems of this nation and give real, truthful solutions outside of the fog of Washington politics. Let’s be honest, politicians know they can just pass problems on to the next guy and continue to kick the can down the road. No matter where the political winds take Dr.Carson in the future, we all should be thankful for finally getting the pill we should have swallowed long time ago.
Hadiya Pendleton was a girl who had the world to look forward to. An honor student, she performed as a drum majorette during President Obama’s inauguration, only to be killed unintentionally by thugs involved with Chicago’s out of control drug gang violence. Her guardians did everything right and her future was bright, but cut short for being in the wrong place and the wrong time. And this is the problem with trying to do anything good in open drug markets. Open up a business and it gets robbed. Fix up a house and it gets burglarized. Raise kids to be successful and they get harassed, assaulted, and possibly killed. Our hearts go out to the families of this girl and all the children getting killed only due to living in drug crime areas. When you are deciding where to buy your house or live longterm, remember to also keep in mind any children you might be having in the future. Why let all the love and hard work and great parenting go to tragic waste because of a street thug’s itchy trigger.
One of the gossip sites I sometimes visit had a picture of Barak whispering something to Beyonce from the inauguration. Of course the headline encouraged readers to let their imaginations go wild.
And the readers did just that. There were many, many Black women who were making comments saying they wouldn’t blame Beyonce for going after Barak because he was very desirable..okay sexy. I do believe this is a common viewpoint, though certainly not exclusive to Black women either. What comes out of all this is something remarkable? I looked at a number of sites listing most attractive or desirable Black men, and all were entertainers (singers, actors) or athletes except for Barak Obama. Without the presidency, Barak would at best be considered handsome in the professor type of handsome but certainly nowhere near anyone’s most desirable or sexy list. There are three ways men tend to become very desirable: fame, wealth, or power. Of course Obama has the fame but I think he might be the first Black man to be desirable purely on the position of power. The way he is able to command an audience with the power of words while dressing impeccably well and yielding great authority is something new in our culture.
I know I’m thinking big scale, but I think Barak can have a huge impact on our community going beyond his presidency. As more young Black women look at Obama as this handsome, educated, provider who is proud to be there for his kids, what they start seeking in men might improve. Suddenly, having an education, not having your pants down around your knees, knowing how to talk and present yourself, and being responsible might be the type of man being chased instead of Joe Thug with the bling and the rims. And men are funny creatures. We adapt to get the girl. If women raise their standard, men will raise theirs. But as long as young men can act like clowns and be about criminal activities and have a large percentage of women chasing after them, they have no incentive to change. Maybe this will ultimately be the Hope and Change Obama promised.
Well here is wishing a positive four years for our country and nothing but success for our re-elected president. I watched as much of the inauguration as I could and couldn’t help but notice the large number of young, Black people enjoying the day. Now, I know the appeal of having a Black president is a big draw for many such supporters, but I am hopeful of a long term effect here. These voters might now feel that they are part of the political process instead of being on the outside looking in, and that they have a part in setting the direction of a country they are a part of. More importantly, it will be great if this effect last beyond Obama and beyond just presidential elections.
Another highlight I took from the day was what gorgeous and confident young women Sasha and Malia Obama have become. The thought dawned on me that every culture throughout history has had some sort of princess figure of grace and dignity and beauty to look up to and emulate. I am sure the cultures of our African ancestors provided this in abundance but of course slavery robbed us of that and much more. But as you look at the rate of black teen pregnancies and the way many of our young women are dressing, we are definitely in need of such role models. So, I very much look at these two girls as the first African-American princesses and am hoping that many girls are seeing them as the same.