Sunday, March 22, 2009

The two Black men in America who get it.

Chris Mathews interviews Bill Cosby and Alvin Poussaint. At some point, this interview was almost too painful to watch when Chris Mathews asks the two about the differences between foreign blacks blacks and American blacks. Possaint's response was quite revealing, one can get a sense of bitterness from him towards those blacks that are gaining from the Black struggle. Bill Cosby true to form advocates for the Black child and personal responsibiliy. Is Bill Cosby the only black male in America that has some sense?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Truly Changing times

The UK has just appointed the first black man to a FTSE 100 company, Prudential Insurance. What is amazing is this guy fled war torn Ivory Coast and made it to this position. Seriously, with stories like this, blacks are quickly running out of excuses. We need to reevaluate the strategies currently used in the "struggle". Especially Black male victimhood. There is a time to mourn and a time to move on. I mentioned before that I have no more tolerance for Black men's cry of racism especiall given the fact that they seem to have little consideration for Black women and children that are in the same struggle. Why should I feel you plight when you can't feel mine?
As I see it, racism is going no where. Obama's Presidency has shown us that. Just deal with it as an American reality and find ways of getting around it. Any black man crying racism now sounds to me as a whiner, whether his experience is real or not. Acts of racism that are worth fighting are those that pose an immediate danger to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
And by pursuit of happiness, I am not concerned about social integration that many a Black man seems to be more concerned about. The Attorney General stepped in the crap on this one. Why exactly some are more concerned about social integration than basic necessities like equal education, employment and housing is beyond me. Someone on another blog said that the Civil Rights movements biggest achievement was that Black men can now freely go with White Women. Now that is debateable, however, with the struggle so screwed should black women be as concerned about this struggle that seems to give us nothing more than crumbs?

Anyway, here is a story about Tidjane Thiam the first UK CEO of a FTSE 100 Company.

Washington Post

LONDON -- Tidjane Thiam, who 10 years ago was forced to flee a military coup in Ivory Coast, is set to make U.K. corporate history when he takes over the top spot at insurer Prudential PLC, becoming the first black chief executive of an FTSE 100 company.

Also Thursday, the insurer reported a net loss for 2008 but said its operating profit using European embedded value accounting standards rose 17% and that its capital position remained strong.

Bloomberg News
Tidjane Thiam
The announcements triggered a 13% rally in Prudential shares in London.

Mr. Thiam, who in 1998 was named one of the "100 Global Leaders of Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum, joined Prudential last March from Aviva PLC, where he was the CEO of Aviva Europe. He has received several other international awards and is considered a rising star in the financial sector.

Currently the chief financial officer, he will take over from current CEO Mark Tucker in October.

Mr. Thiam's appointment comes amid intense competition in a U.K. market already in recession, a continuing dislocation in investment markets globally and slowing contributions from Prudential's key Asian operations.

Heard on the Street
Prudential's CEO Departs on a HighA £1.78 billion ($2.54 billion) loss on investments, stemming mainly from its U.S. operations, pushed Prudential into a £396 million net loss for 2008, the insurer said. In 2007, Prudential had generated a net profit of £947 million.

The result reflects the same fate suffered by other major insurers like Aviva, Standard Life PLC and Friends Provident PLC, which in recent days posted net losses as poor investment markets savaged any gain from their core insurance operations.

However, Prudential's announcement of a £2.96 billion operating profit using European embedded value accounting standards cheered investors. Operating profit doesn't include any short-term investment losses.

Prudential said it had a capital surplus of £1.7 billion, up from £1.4 billion at the end of September. It also recommended a 5% increase in its 2008 dividend to 18.9 pence a share.

In a briefing, Mr. Tucker said Prudential has quit the auction process to acquire the Asian operations of American International Group Inc., but is still looking for other acquisitions. "We did not submit a bid in the process. Our view was that we could not get to the value criteria that we had in place," he said.

Mr. Tucker said slowing exports and weaker economic growth in Asian markets pose challenges to Prudential's business there in the short term but added that the company remains positive over the medium term. He also warned that "2009 will be a challenging year and we will continue to focus on balancing growth with cash and capital generation."

Mark Tucker
Mr. Thiam, a French national, began his career with McKinsey & Co., where he worked from 1986 to 1994 in Paris and London, serving insurance companies and banks.

Between 1994 and 1998, Mr. Thiam returned to the Ivory Coast to be chief executive of the National Bureau for Technical Studies and Development, reporting directly to the president and prime minister. He was then appointed as minister of planning and development but left the country after the December 1999 military coup. Upon his return, he was elected as a partner of McKinsey, where he worked until joining Aviva in 2002.

Mr. Tucker said that Mr. Thiam "has exceptional talent and ability and will do a wonderful job." He didn't elaborate on why he decided to leave Prudential. He added that he is considering what he will do next when he steps down after 25 years at the company and more than four years as CEO.

Mr. Thiam said he feels "privileged" to succeed Mr. Tucker.

—Simon Kennedy contributed to this article.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Black male doing something for Black women?

Steve Harvey's book 'Act like a lady, Think like a man' is a number one best seller. I guess one has to see the upside of a black male writing a relationship guide for women.
However, yes however, I found the source of his inspiration to write the book a little off. He says he was inspired by his daughter's boy friend saying of their relationship that they were "just kicking it". What I found disturbing was that it took Steve's father in law to ask the grand daughter's boy friend the tough questions. It wasn't Steve Harvey! To me that is acting ball-less! From my basic understanding of white American culture, the standard is, Fathers are extremely protective of their daughters. They won't have some boy friend at such a young age just hanging around with out seriously checking out their character. In my own culture, you don't take a boy friend home unless he is the one. Parents only want to see the man you are going to marry. No try outs. And even then, you don't introduce him yourself, its the job of your paternal aunt. Not that I am using these to cultures as standards, but to me it seems like a natural instinct that if your daughter brings a man home, as a father you want to seriously investigate him. For Steve Harvey, it was the Father in Law! In otherwords, the Father in Law was looking out for his own daughter's interests. Is this a generational thing? Are the black men of the older generation more manly than the current ones? And as time goes on they will eventually truly become useless? I mean look at the men surrounding Rihanna, how more useless can they get?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I love America except when I go shopping

First off let me say, I love this country, its ideals and promises. And yes it is the land of opportunity. This is the the front line for human progress. There is no other in the world. And it will continue to be so for a long time to come as long as its citizens work together to make it so.

However some things still elude this great nation because it is not necessarily free for everyone. Recently I heard of a disturbing story of some Sudanese refugee children, we are talking here the Darfur kind, who felt deeply unhappy in America. I put it down to a cultural shock in their case. But their biggest complaint was that they could not recognize each other from the children they knew before they came to America. They felt the consumerist culture had changed their once close friends and felt incredibly lonely in the New land. Well that is understandable.

On my part, I feel I can live almost anywhere. I am quite travelled and have an ability to settle in real quick and get comfortable wherever I have been. I thought I would settle easily in America and on an individual level, I have. I get on well with individuals of all stripes on a one on one basis. But alas my optimism to settle in is constantly tested by, you guessed it, systematic racism. People do racist things and even never realize that they interact with me in the way they do simply because of my skin color. My experiences are wide and varied.
From the extreme like being made to work in 100 degree temperatures because I was 'stronger' than my Latino colleagues to being asked to sing for my boss. (And NO! I didn't do the monkey dance either).
Anyways, I was just thinking about the vast opportunities this country has for one to pick. And I have done my share of picking. But if when someone like myself becomes successful or financially sound, how are you supposed to go spend what you have earned happily if walking into a store feels like walking into a Maximum security prison to visit an inmate? You know what I mean, all eyes and cameras on you plus a guard stalking you in the isles.
Here is an nth letter I am writing yet to another store where I felt treated poorly simply because of the color of my skin.

And with this post I will serialize my Shopping while black experiences. I am almost guaranteed of an encounter every time I enter a store that is not familiar. As for the Asian stores, I stopped a long time ago.
Some have told me that my natural hair sends the wrong signals. It doesn't help either that I keep it short so from behind I look like a Black man. This look has made cops slow down their cars to take a close look at me. A few have suggested I do something to my hair and that even a weave would make people more positive! So it looks like to live "happily" here I have to change my physical appearance. Really?

Here is my latest complaint. Will wait and see if I get a reply. BTW, the clerks were 3 Latinos and an East Indian.

Customer Service.

On February 28th 2009, I went to the Staples on Santa Monica and Vermont in L.A. I got chased down the Isle because I had a backpack on. My intent was to purchase the TI-89 Calculator ($160)and leave.
While taking my backpack to the counter, I noticed 2 other customers walking around comfortably with theirs. I asked the store clerks about the need for me to put my bag at the counter while others were moving around with theirs. Their response was that they tell those who they happen to see to leave their back packs behind. This in light of the fact that one of the other back pack customers was right at the counter seeking help. He happened to be Latino (and so was the other lady). I happen to be black. Out of the three of us they saw me!

To me, this was a clear case of racial profiling and I mentioned this to them which they obviously denied.
I was very disappointed with this treatment. I am sure this is not company policy but you guys could go to great lengths to train your employees to stop harassing and profiling black shoppers.
I can honestly tell you that many of us are wary of going into stores like yours because of the treatment we anticipate to get. We share our stories and word gets around real fast. I think it should be in the interest of your business that this behavior is checked.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Seriously? Woman arrested for driving in Mecca

Ok. We all know about the Sharia Laws and how seemingly oppresive they appear. But Women not driving? Should Black women be more appreciative of what we've got? Or are we still in a bad place and stories like this distract from our own challenges. On a side note, apparently Oprah is huge in the Arab world. I bet you they will soon be banning her program.

Saudi Arabia woman driver arrest BBC

A woman has been arrested in Mecca in Saudi Arabia for driving a car.

Police gave chase after she was spotted at the wheel of a 4x4 car, the English daily Arab News reported. She was arrested after hitting another car.

Women are prohibited from driving on all public roads in Saudi Arabia, a ban that has triggered several high-profile protests by women's rights activists.

The woman's name and nationality have not been announced. Only Muslims are permitted in the holy city of Mecca.

Police arrested the woman, in her 20s, early on Wednesday morning after the car she was driving crashed into another, said Maj Abdul Muhsin al-Mayman, spokesman for Mecca police.

He did not identify the name or nationality of the woman but said she was caught driving a Lexus.

"The woman tried to escape when she saw a police car and in the process hit another car, which was slightly damaged," he said.

The spokesman said the woman driver was handed over to the Prosecution and Investigation Commission for investigation.