Ten years into the new century and just where are we?
As a people, it's been like A Tale of Two Cities-The worst of times and the best of times.
While there are more of us visibly doing better, there are actually more of us doing worse, and while most of us are marrying each other, more of us are not finding our way to marriage at all. And while we've placed a Black man in the white house, we are still coons, buffoons and overall clowns on the world stage thanks to rap music, comedy and productions by Tyler Perry.
President Obama has pushed his health care through and is making overtures to ending the war in the Middle East, even as some are now mounting the argument that he is a puppet for the machine-which is actually a more sophisticated argument than demanding that he save Black people and give us reparations.
2010, some of us loved you and some of us hated you. 2011, you will get much of the same.
Yes, indeed-the best of time and the worst of times.
In another top ten list, here are some of the thoughts that are on my mind as we embark on a new year:
Top Ten Thoughts From 2010:
1. Barack as a puppet of "the machine."
As a son of Chicago, I understand machine politics perhaps more than most. But my heart just isn't in the whole puppet argument, so here's the most I can give: If people promise not to claim that President Obama is a puppet because he's Black, then I'll concede that most presidents in recent years have been propped up by a machine of some sort.
2. Black Male Graduation.
We can accept the dire statistic that says only one out of every forty Black males will complete college, or we can stand with Chicago's Urban Prep Academy and believe that the numbers can be improved. Holding such a strong belief mandates action, and in June of 2010, the entire graduating class of 107 Black males was accepted to four-year colleges, even though only four per cent of them were reading at grade level when they started as freshmen. Call it small if you want to, but progress of this magnitude portends progress in other areas of the land. I smell change...
3. Barack and Health Care.
While "ObamaCare" as naysayers have labeled it hasn't been the panacea for the nation, what it has done is extend health-care benefits to young adults on parent's plans up to age twenty-six. It has erased the denial of coverage for children who have preexisting medical conditions, including "retroactive cancellation. And, it has erased copayments for preventive care, including immunizations and mammograms. Not as much as all of us need, but more than some of us had before.
4. The Black Man's New Enemy.
In 2010, Tyler Perry officially became the Black man's new enemy, gratuitously unleashing negative Black male stereotypes, and tacitly defending such characterization of Black men as he pandered to his staunchly supportive Black female audience. If no one beats his ass for "Meet The Browns," then we should at least choke him for bringing "For Colored Girls..." to the big screen. Discussions over this cinematic drivel have divided the genders-When Black men cry foul, the response of many Black women is to simply "get over it." Umm...okay...
5. Strengthening Economy.
While there is no full-scale turnaround, there are definitely signs. In 2010, governments on both state and city levels were actually recording surpluses for the first time since 2007, and quite a few cities were showing the lowest mortgage rates in fifty years.
6. Haiti's disaster.
Haiti's disaster taught the world a thing or two. In the midst of it, Wyclef Jean emerged as a hero and made a run for president of his home nation, while technology changed the way people give. People were texting HAITI to 90999, which added ten dollars to donors' cell-phone bills. In less than three days, the effort raised over eight million dollars for the American Red Cross, and by March, more than thirty-two million.
7. Oprah's Network.
One hour each day during the week was not enough of Oprah's Black man hating. Now, its twenty-four hours on her OWN network and I'm a little depressed.
8. The Death of Teena Marie
Teena Marie was so deeply embedded in the culture and the music that many of us argued over whether she was really a white girl from Venice, California. But it is Square Biz that she was too funky to be kept Behind the Groove and we were all Suckas for the Love she gave us in a voice oh so sweet...Oohh La La La. Our hearts go out to her children even as we enjoy a small comfort in the fact that she and Rick James are now singing together again in heaven-call it Déjà Vu. Do we love her? Yes Indeed. R.I.P. Vanilla Child.
9. The Return of Michael Vick.
People who thought his imprisonment was justified are dumber than dog feces and blind. But the people who want him to fail after he has paid his debt to society are just plain jackasses. Leave the man alone and let him do what plenty of murderers and child molesters have done after paying a debt and remaining white-move on.
10. Stupid Ass Sarah Palin.
This ignorant glossy piece of trailer trash is the beast that wouldn't die. I don't know which is greater-my anger over people taking her dumbass seriously or my shock and fear over people taking her dumbass seriously. In all sincerity, if the Republican Party can't find a better candidate, then they should just put a life-sized picture of Ronald Reagan on wheels and roll him out in her place. The cardboard cutout would have more brains than Palin, and certainly more interesting conversation.
Here's to hoping that 2011 will be better than 2010, and if not, at least not worse. It really wasn't that bad.
Happy New Year!
Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology "Notes From The Edge." Now, listen to Darryl live on BlogTalkRadio.com/DarrylJames relaunchingon Sundays from 6-8pm, PST. View previous installments of this column at www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at