• 28

    Dec

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By Ron Carter Updates

Curbing Bad Behavior/What About You?

As another year comes to an end and individuals globally will profess to make changes in their lives in the new year, I am reminded of the words spoken by former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. Mr. Kew, a well respected political leader and the individual who has been credited with Singapore’s rise as an economic world power, said “Have I made the world around me a better place with my decisions? Is my family proud of me?” He intimated if these predicates occurred, then he is “blessed.”  On 2011 New Year’s Eve, individuals will declare many promises during celebratory moments regarding their individual and collective change of behavior. Some individuals will assert to lose weight (have you notice the increase of recognizable celebrities who are promoting weight loss programs on televison?), others will pledge to exercise more consistently, some will affirm to spend more time with their families and some will profess to help others in need. The question is what good is it if we are not making our environment a better place, because of our presence in it? This has been my mantra in 2011 and my pledge is to continue this journey in 2012.
Contemplating our future in 2012, the United States of America’s Baby Boomer generation is set to become a major economic force in America. We are living in an America which has seen dramatic social changes yet boomers control over 80% of personal financial assets and more than 50% of discretionary spending power. We are responsible for more than half of all consumer spending, buy 77% of all prescription drugs, 61% of OTC (Over The Counter) medication and 80% of all leisure travel and yet we feel anxious. Many Baby Boomers are living in a world they did not expect. High unemployment sometimes equate to our children not leaving home to start their lives independent of boomers’ financial assistance; a collapse of the housing industry has seen the erosion of our personal wealth; the high cost of health care remains a problem; the American education system is in need of fixing and the high cost of the wars we are engaged in are contributing to the increase of our huge national deficit.

As America is tested on all fronts, I am betting that this great country will blossom from this difficult period in our history. Americans are resilient, hardworking, adaptable, generous and ambitous. I plan on doing my part to aid in America’s revival. What about you?

  • 20

    Dec

  • 0

By Ron Carter Updates

Curbing Bad Behavior/Being Your Brothers Keepers

United States of America
Image via Wikipedia
In the midst of all the political rhetoric, reality shows and prognostications on Cable and Network TV, it’s wonderful to observe the amazing programs produced last week by CNN and CBS 60 Minutes. CNN’s “Heroes” profiled the stories of everyday people who are changing the world by doing extraordinary work on a global level. CBS “60 Minutes,” my favorite television show, followed-up their reporting on the pandemic poverty in The United States of America. As I watched both shows full of hope, faith, emotion and concern, I pondered the nuances of the conflicted world we are currently living in.

The CNN Hero of 2011, Robin Lim, became a midwife after her sister died during pregnancy. Since 2003, she and her team have helped thousands of poor Indonesian women to realize healthy pregnancy and child births. The program also featured Derreck Kayongo, a Ugandan native, who collects soap for  his Global Soap Project. Kayongo collects the used soap – which is usually thrown away at the end of the day – from hotels across the United States of America. He reprocessed and shipped the soaps to impoverished countries around the world. Amy Stokes, whose non-profit organization, Infinite Family, is connecting hundreds of South Africans teens with mentors around the world was also a CNN Hero. For at least half hour each week, the volunteer mentors and the teens meet virtually on what’s called Ezomndeni-net, the Zulu words for ‘everything related to family.’ There were seven other CNN Heroes. They all had incredible stories. CBS 60 Minutes reported on a prior story they did on teenage poverty. The amazing results emanating from the earlier story was inspiring. People from all over the United States of America donated funds to the families who were featured in the story and some of the teenagers received scholarship offers from several American universities. The demonstration of kindness to these families was heartwarming.

I believe when called upon to help others, there is no other country or people in the world like the United States of America and Americans respectively. Most Americans volunteer and donate their resources to non-profits and charitable organizations of all statue. Americans believe in giving back to the society which blessed them. And, because of this behavior many individuals globally are beneficiaries of American’s largess. As the end of the year 2011 approaches, Americans should remember there is much good taking place in the world. We must continue to lead the way by behaving appropriately helping our fellow citizens.

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  • 13

    Dec

  • 0

By Ron Carter Updates

Curbing Bad Behavior/Confronting the N-Word

Posted: Watch Your Mouth
Image by Oxalis37 via Flickr

Last week my blog post called on Jay-Z and Kanye West to curb their use of the N-Word in their rap songs. As you can imagine, I was conflicted today watching the news. Tyra Batts, an African-American sophomore basketball player from Kenmore East High School in Buffalo, New York, said that she had heard racial slurs throughout the season, including a  pregame cheer of “one, two, three, n—“.  She told the Buffalo News, “I would argue about it … and they would tell me they’re not racist, it’s  just a word, it’s not a label,” She eventually snapped and threw one of her teammates into a locker and punched her. Albeit,  I do not condone her behavior, but the constant chanting of the N-Word, such as what’s heard in lots of rap songs and comedic skits, are the culprits in this unfortunate incident. The questions for all artists who use the N-Word in their art are 1) how can African-Americans stop other cultures from using the N-Word while promoting its use in their own art? 2) when did the N-Word transformed from being a vulgar word which debased African Americans’ forefathers and mothers to become a word that’s accepted in some of the culture’s most famous artists’ art? And 3) When does this madness ends?

Jay-Z and Kanye West recorded a song on their new CD called “Ni**as In Paris.” It is no wonder African-Americans are stereotyped by other cultures and the media. Here are two young men who are highly successful artists yet instead of taking their lyrics to higher heights, they chose to be vulgar. One of Batts’ teammates, Amber Schurter, told WKBW-TV that the  cheer wasn’t meant to be racist at all. Herein lies the confusion that’s not explained by the N-Word provocateurs. Who will explain to the members of the Buffalo girls’ basketball team that a cheer ending with a racial slur was “not” just a joke? Jay-Z or Kanye would you be so honored to explain your art to these young women after all some of them are watching your throne.

Being the team’s lone black player, Ms. Batts felt compelled to act, especially, since she had questioned her teammates use of the N-Word. I am elated the N-Word is in the national news again. This subject must become a national debate. The madness must stop. The disapproval of the N-Word’s use must get louder.

 

 

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  • 06

    Dec

  • 0

By Ron Carter Updates

Curbing Bad Behavior/C’Mon Jigga And Kanye

Jay-Z and Kanye West
Kanye West & Jay-Z....Image via Wikipedia

I am not a Jay-Z or Kanye West hater. As a matter of fact, I enjoy most of their art and respect their ascension to the top tier of the music industry. Both Jay-Z and Kanye are admired by their fans globally. Many African-Americans young men and women study these gentlemen for guidance on how to succeed in the music industry. They both are from humble beginnings. Why they would choose to be flippant with the N-Word in one of the songs, “Why I Love You,” from their new CD, “Watch The Throne,” is downright distasteful. They rapped back and forth throughout the song repeating the N-Word more than 12 times. C’mon guys, you are supposed to be better than that. Your music and lyrics without the N-Word are works of good art. Gentlemen, you must realize every time you use the N-Word in your music, you are not only insulting African-Americans, you are also insulting yourselves. I am not the vulgarity police, I am an ardent music lover who is tired of the trite use of the N-Word exhibited by some artists (Jay-Z and Kanye West included).

If African-Americans are ever going to be respected globally, we must refrain from calling ourselves the N-Word. How can we expect any other race to respect us when we denigrate ourselves? We must refrain from advocating and promoting all the negativity in our culture. I am not aware of any other race of people who address themselves negatively in their art. Our entertainers blessed with God-given talents must set a better example for the children to imitate. Let’s not hoax ourselves by remarking Jay-Z and Kanye West are not role models, because we all know that these gentlemen would not have been successful if their art were not being admired, respected and bought.

Jay-Z and Kanye West should chart a more enlightened course for the music industry by refraining from using the N-Word in their music. Gentlemen, your music is dope, def, butta, jiggy, bananas, off the charts without the use of the N-Word. Trust me, I am an ardent music lover who listens to both of your music.

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