Wit and Wisdom


You can learn a lot from Indians. They say you must never disagree with a man while you are facing him. Go around behind him and look at the same way they do; look over his shoulder and get his viewpoint, then go back and face him, and you will have a different idea.

It’s great to be great, but it’s greater to be human.

Whether your parents are good or bad, that’s not your business, but stick with ’em when they in trouble.

No man is great if he think he is.

Liberty don’t work as good in practice as it does in speeches.

A fool that knows he is a fool, is one that knows he don’t know all about anything. But the fool that don’t know he is a fool, is the one that think she knows all about anything.

A remark generally hurts in proportion to it’s truth

By Will Rogers

Philosopher/comedian (half Cherokee)

Courtesy of Native American Wisdom Jacobs and Gidley

Challenging the Falsehoods of Black Criminality by Jamala Rogers


Every time I hear a black person utter the phrase “black on black” crime and I’m in position to have a conversation, I educate them about the pathology of the term. The phrase is barren of any sociological meaning. Only people of African descent have been made to believe that something is inherently different about the way we commit crimes against one another. It is not.

When black people don’t understand all the elements of criminality, we take on the added burden that it’s our fault and therefore, we are solely responsible for what happens to us or to our communities. We must oppose violence including violence against women while being crystal clear that state violence is very different from violence that erupts within families or among friends.

No one refers to mass murders by the like of Ted Bundy and Adam Lanza as white-on-white crimes. Bundy confessed to killing 30 young, white women but the real number is unknown. Lanza gunned down 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. In fact, there have been about 70 mass shootings since 1982 and 40 of the killers have been white males. I’ve never heard the media refer to these heinous crimes as “white-on-white crimes.”

Any set of crime statistics bears out the fact that most crime is intra-racial meaning the background of the typical victim is close to that of the perpetrator. In a segregated America, it’s easy to predict who a black person will rob or kill. Likewise for a white person.

Most rape victims know their attackers. Most children are sexually abused by someone they know-a family member or family friend. Most murder victims are the same race as their offenders. FBI stats for 2013 show that black homicide victims are killed by black offenders at roughly the same rate that white people kill other white people.

For several years, I have written articles that spoke to the phenomena of decreasing violent crime. Even so-called black-on-black crime has decreased violent crime. Even so-called black-on-black crime has decreased over the last 20 years by nearly 70 percent. Yet you couldn’t tell it by the mainstream media or law enforcement tactics who would have you believe that black people have crime in their DNA.

Crime is sociological, not biological. Factors such as poverty, unemployment, economic inequality and failed educational systems are contributions to crime.

It’s understandable that black people think there’s more crime in their neighbourhoods. That’s because of the concentration of the above factors that collide in compressed black communities. There’s no comfort in knowing that crime is down overall when you hear gun shots or police sirens outside your door on a regular basis.

The myth of the criminality-inclined black man has it’s roots in slavery as the rationale to maintain white dominance and control at all costs. During slavery and Reconstruction when food was withheld and a black man seized a loaf of bread to eat or a black mother liberated medicine for her sick baby, these incidents were not only used to perpetuate the mythology of black criminality but also fuelled laws like Black Codes to justify the continued need for white supremacy. After the annihilation of Black Reconstruction by Plessy vs Ferguson, elements of the Black Codes crept into Jim Crow laws.

Most notable was the use of vagrancy as a crime where black folks could be convicted and sent to work on a plantation as their sentence. Petty crimes such as theft would get you the same punishment. It was an extension of the free labor afforded to whites elites under slavery. The sight of black chain-gangs in the South reinforced the perception of black criminality as did racist movies like “Birth of a Nation.”

Fast forward to 2015. Over two million people are in U.S. prisons, the highest number of any developed country in the world. Black men are over-represented in the Prison Industrial Complex – the genesis of their incarceration can be traced back to disproportionate suspension rates in school, disproportionate interactions with the police, and disproportionate rates of convictions along with harsher and longer sentences. The cycle continues and the perception of dangerous black men becomes to entrenched American reality. The mainstream media is always happy to lend a helping hand in the criminalization of African Americans.

Courtesy of “Ferguson is America” Roots of Rebellion by Jamala Rogers

 

Sho Otaka 日本語


                                                             

Ten takaku kibisu wo kaesu tonbi kana

The black kite flying high up

in the autumn sky suddenly turns back

Araboshi no hitotsu wo erabi kudakiori

Crush a dazzling star

selected from the winter sky

Ai iro ni tsuzureba tuzuru hodo suzushi

Spell, spell, and spell in indigo ink

With the cool , fulfilled feeling

Ryouyoku ha ko wo aishi tsutsu taka wataru

With both wings holding on to one’s loneliness

he hawk flies across the ocean

Mushi no ne ni waga tenmei wo matsu kotomo

Waiting for a calling

among an orchestra of autumn insects

Sho Otaka 日本語 is a modern haiku poet. She was taught haiku by her mother when she was 13 years old. Sho published her haiku collection when she was 18 years old. Her vocation is teaching haiku-writing workshops in Japan and worldwide. Sho is a member of The Japan P.E.N. Club, The Association of Haiku Poets, The Haiku International Association, and haiku group AIBANA

http://www.shootaka.jp.

The Tree of Life


The tree of life represent all that is life, encompassing all that exists upon the planet. When we walk the Red Road, our journey ends under the protection of this Tree. It causes the rhythm of the world to continue year after year, and with each cycle, fruit nourishes those who stand under her boughs. The roots dig deep into history. Those dedicated to this energy know the value of all beings, tend to Mother Earth, and live a honorable life in honor of the spirit of the ancient Tree.

The white man is too far removed from America’s formative processes. The roots of his tree of life have not yet grasped the rock and soil . . . . But for the Indian, the spirit of the land is still vested . . . When the Indian has forgotten the music of his forefathers, when the sound of the tom-tom is no more, when the memory of his heroes is not longer told in story . . . he will be dead.

Luther Standing Bear

Oglala Sioux Chief, 1905 to 1939

Courtesy of 365 Days of Walking the Red Road by Terri Jean

Haiku of Tateo Fukutomi


Tateo Fukutomi was born in Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan and is an accomplished haiku poet. He began to write haiku in 1963 under the teaching of Tohta Kaneko. He worked in America for one year and studied American Culture under Taro Yashima in Los Angeles. Tateo is a member of the Modern Haiku Association. Some of his haiku books include: Straw Hat (1979), The Sound of Waves (1997), Straw Hat: English edition (2000), and “Trail and Error in a Foreign Land” (1974).

Memory of the atomic bomb

every time the wind pulls off my hat

I put it back on

The sky a place of exile

an American Indian engraves the sun

in the valley

A gathering of insects

I have become

a green friend

Having my hair cut

a fertile bird’s eye view

of the countryside

I walk gear-like

in the country of my birth

where cock sorrels grow

Speak the Truth


Speak the Truth

Speak only the truth and do right always. You are what you say . . .  And what you say needs to be honest, forthright, and your own own personal belief. Without truth you cannot achieve inner balance – balance within yourself, with other beings, with Mother Earth, and with the creator.

Good words do not last long until they amount to something.

Chief Joseph

(Hin-Mah-Too-Yah-Lat-Kekt), Nez Perce

1840 – 1904

Courtesy of 365 Days of Walking the Red Road by Terri Jean

Banish Fear from Your Life



Fear stunts your soul and limits the amount of road needed to travel to reach the

tree of life, and to know the Great Spirit. Fear is non-beneficial and lead to an

unbalanced mind, body, and spirit. To banish fear you must know your path and trust

yourself – and the world around you. With trust come confidence. Self confidence

banishes fear.

I fear no man , and I depend on the Great Spirit

Kondiaronk
Huron, late 17th century

From 365 Days of Walking the Red Road by Terri Jean