Business, Politics and the Personal – Part ii

Continued from Business, Politics and the Personal – Part i

&#149 Business: People are in business to make money. That’s a given. I understand that.

The Good Person Myth

I don’t like the fiction – pushed by the media – that a successful businessperson or famous corporate entity has higher morals or ethics than anyone, because their profits are high or they have millions and billions of dollars. The only people who love these businesses are its investors, owners, and perhaps a couple of satisfied customers.

When it comes to money, people in business are no different than the gangsters portrayed in movies. I often think that thugs might have a code of honor that business people lack. Note how they have to teach ethics in school. Study after study shows that a majority of students cheat on their exams.

No matter what paperwork they sign or the promises they make, business people lie as much, if not more than criminals. Think of the difference between drug dealers and pharmaceutical companies: one uses deadly force, while the other uses the deadly force of the government.

In case you are wondering, here’s an example: required immunization shots that may actually kill you. One has the government’s imprimatur, whereas the other does not.

They want to know everything, even when it’s none of their business.

We’ve got business people who assume I’m a liar, or hiding something because there are time gaps in my resume. It can’t be that I’m taking care of personal business, because in America you have no right to privacy or a life. Sometimes the fact is during those gaps, I wasn’t doing jack. What would there be to write? Sought and obtained various vacuous propositions from January through December.

You are supposed to tell all. There’s not enough money in the world for me to tell anyone anything that I consider irrelevant to the tasks at hand. And what is a job? A series of tasks. Nothing more, nothing less.

And yes, I am arrogant, and I still get hired.

Only we can be dishonest, we make money.

What is it that these knuckleheads will say? Well, you could have been in jail. Honestly, like you really care what I’ve been doing? What a crock! This is a blatant contradiction given that in this great country, businesses routinely hire folks who cannot speak English.

Businesses routinely hire people with Tuberculosis (TB), Hepatitis B, and other contagious diseases to work in their restaurants, meat processing plants, hospitals, and the like.

Businesses routinely hire people to work under the table: employees will take cash payments instead of a check. I’ve even interviewed some employers – not for a job – because I couldn’t understand how their type of business made money. Well, if you pay people off the books you can.

But me? I might be a criminal, because I speak English, live in a house, paid off the car, went to school, finished school, etc. I still get punked for it.

Honesty is for suckers.

So, I might be lying about my college degrees if the dates don’t sync up neatly with my times of employment? Wow, what gall! Do you want a blood sample, and the first born as ransom too? This is an era where corporate CEOs claim to be graduates of Ivy League colleges they never attended. I know none of them had to mail copies of their transcripts or degrees to anyone.

Know the right people and no one will hassle you about anything.

I have to account for every day, every week, every month and year. Yet, if I cross the border, just got off the plane, or have the right connections having built a grand career on lies, everything will be cool boss.

Don’t forget, if you are an American employee, you are lazy, suspect, criminal and devious.

My advice: follow the crowd and be a business sociopath. No one will notice the difference. Businesses love liars and storytellers. Honesty is for suckers.

Remember that no one here respects people, because we all supposedly have an entitlement mentality. Entitlement to what? Respect as a human being? Apparently that is asking for too much.


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    Susan Taylor Leaves Essence Magazine

    Good luck to Ms. Taylor.

    I met her many years ago when I was a kid. Back then, I had this idea I was going to be a writer, journalist, author and whatnot. She was gracious and classy, which unfortunately cannot be said of the other people who work in the field. They helped me decide that working in the media was not for me.

    According to the NY Times, December 2007, Susan Taylor is leaving Essence Magazine:

    Ms. Taylor, 61, joined Essence in 1970, the year it was first published, as a freelance fashion and beauty editor after founding her own company, Nequai Cosmetics. She became editor in chief in 1981, a post she held until 2000, when she was promoted to publications director.

    I suppose it was to be expected: it was going to happen sooner or later. The magazine was started by Clarence O. Smith and Edward Lewis. In 2000, they accepted Time Warner‘s money. The media conglomerate ended up holding 49% of Essence.

    Why should he look a gift horse in the mouth?

    From interviews I read with Edward Lewis, having Richard D. Parsons (who’s African American) as CEO of the Time Warner – he felt sorta “safe” working with them. The rest of the company was sold to Time Warner in 2005 when the dynamic duo of Essence parted ways. One of the catalysts for their breakup: Bob Johnson’s sale of BET, which made him America’s first black billionaire.

    I wasn’t aware of this, but Johnson Publications (Ebony Magazine) was also an investor in Essence. There were some criticisms from other black business owners as to why there wasn’t an effort made to sell it to fellow blacks.

    I can tell you right now why that didn’t happen. Barry Gordy was the first to sell-out and I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. Black businesses still thrived and grew. Plenty of black media entrepreneurs learned from his example and followed in his footsteps: Russell Simmons, Andre Young (Dr. Dre), and Shawn Carter (Jay-Z), etc.

    Has the magazine changed since it acquired a new owner? Yup. The Puff Daddy with his baby momma issue, which celebrated an unmarried, totally messed up couple told enough people where things were heading.

    Essence appears to get much more advertisers now. It has so many white girls in the ad pages, I sometimes wonder if I’m reading Cosmopolitan. Getting with a media giant gets the ad dollars flowing like never before.

    Irony, however, is Essence’s main forte.

    I’d say that a good percentage of the advertising is devoted to what is considered (by whom?) a black woman’s main problem: her hair. And what is the solution to this hair dilemma? Extremely harsh hair relaxers aka perms.

    Essence recently devoted an article to alopecia, which is a very serious problem among black women. This is like a magazine that’s devoted to health, stuffed with ads for smoking, occasionally filling in with an article contemplating the causes of emphysema and lung cancer.

    I question if the change of ownership, among other things, going to be at the cost of black female dignity? I mean, just because a brand says it is black-focused doesn’t mean it’s going to be good and mindful of blacks.

    There are many magazines out there that are aimed at the black audience, who owns them, and whether their final message benefits their readers is another story.

    Lastly, I read that Essence‘s circulation is 1 million readers a month, 29% of them male. Interesting.


    Essence of a break up. (Business News)
    Essence Editor Is Leaving Magazine
    Ed Lewis defends Essence magazine sale
    Time Inc. to Buy Out Essence


    Black American? or an American Who Is Black? Part i

    I have a confession to make: I rarely think about my race.

    I mean that I don’t wake up every morning and say, “Damn, I’m still black?” or “Damn, where can I go to escape being a black person?” I also don’t see everything through a prism of: this is racist! I don’t go looking for it.

    I do think about being a woman, almost all the time, especially at my age, more than anything else.

    Why don’t I think about my race? Let me try to put my thoughts in perspective.

    I’ve been traveling since I was a little kid. I’ve been to the Caribbean, which have black majority ruled countries. I grew up in a mostly black area here in the USA.

    Even as I got older and really traveled overseas to Europe (and other places hopefully!), certain things stood out in my mind. In the Caribbean and elsewhere, I’m a woman first. People may ask, or note, that I am also an American.

    I’d get into the specifics of why they know I’m American, but that’s for another posting. The same goes for Europe, well, except for the UK. People assume I am native there. Aside from driving on the wrong side of the road and talking funny, it’s a bit like being at home.

    Oh wait, no! No one in the UK clutches their purse when I’m around. I don’t get the “you must be a criminal because you are black” treatment. No one stares at me “funny” when I go into a pub or restaurant. Although I hear from my UK family that the country does have its issues with black people.

    The grass is never greener anywhere.

    I figure when our (America’s) bad racial habits gets picked up overseas, it will be with a country we are closely tied to culturally. Plus, it’s to be expected with the US media devoted to the demonizing of (American) blacks worldwide. A ton of the entertainment on UK TV / movies / radio / etc. are American. Think of the anti-black pollution served there daily.

    Overall, my thinking of race has been tantamount to this: racism is the problem of the person who harbors it. As long as this person isn’t trying to deny me Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, I don’t think about it.

    More to follow…


    Hair at End of Year: Did I Make Progress?

    I suppose these are pictures of progress. I don’t see much of it.

    I blow dry to get a little stretch. That’s the case in all of the pictures. Going by the rule of half an inch a month, I thought that by December I’d gain at least 4 inches.

    Well, if I did, I don’t see it. However, it’s not that serious with me. (Liar!) Taking care of my hair for health and length is a hobby. Some people body build, I hair build.

    As for the weight, I’m running in place. I don’t like getting my head wet during this season.

    Stinky Sinuses

    I just got over a head cold that wouldn’t quit, or was it a sinus infection? It was one of those cases where everything smelled funky; my breath was foul most of the time. Not a fun problem to have.

    I saw a doctor: You know what they like to do? Have me take two antibiotics plus another drug for the next two weeks, and pretend that’s a remedy. Turns out that castor or coconut oil in the scalp is better.

    Hair Recipe

    I’ve been experimenting with a new hair concoction:
    • shea butter (the gritty stuff),
    • aloe vera or curl activator,
    • castor oil,
    • carrot creme,
    • and a few drops of ylang ylang.
    • Stir and saturate hair.

    Does it make a difference? I use castor oil for the winter. It makes my knotty hair so smooth I can run a fine tooth comb and brush through it – while damp – like it is straight. Wow! And I’m the Queen of Knotty Strands.

    I want my hair longer. I’m not satisfied. I’ll stop having issues with it when it reaches my elbow, bra-strap, or I get bored. Whichever comes first.


    Politics: Republican Presidential Race

    I finally watched the Republican presidential debate sponsored by PBS, moderated by Tavis Smiley. It was held at Morgan State University. Morgan is a historically black college. Debate was held September 2007. Thank goodness for the Internet, where I can watch this stuff at leisure.

    More than a half-dozen Republicans are running for President.

    A few media declared “front runners” refused to appear. They were as follows: Giuliani, McCain, Romney and Fred Thompson. Those that appeared were: Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul, Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo, Sam Brownback, and Alan Keyes.

    In case you haven’t heard of these guys, I’ll be brief: Giuliani was Mayor of NYC, McCain is a Senator from Arizona, Romney was Governor of Massachusetts and Thompson was Senator of Tennessee. He often works as an actor. Not much difference between an actor and politician. Mike Hucakee was Governor of Arkansas. Aside from Alan Keyes, the others are Representatives or Senators.

    Speak for Yo’self

    The debate started off with a long winded diatribe by Tom Joyner. I suppose he sees himself as something of a “black leader”. His syndicated radio program has a mostly black audience. So I can see where he feels he’s in touch with black public opinion.

    However, I don’t care. I don’t need a front man, unless it’s a hired gun (lawyers, PR people, etc). I dislike people who act as if he is the voice of black America. Not for me. I want all these self-anointed “black leaders” to come with a disclaimer: I’m only speaking for myself.

    His pedestrian speech and intellectual lameness was followed in same by the news media panel: Cynthia Tucker, Juan Williams and Ray Suarez. In a nutshell, they all asked: Minorities are helpless out-of-control little children. What will you do to fix the mess that they create? I’m using hyperbole, but I was surprised at how insipid the questions were.

    The Republicans didn’t pander, which surprised me.

    Huckabee was attractive. His jump in the polls is organic. He’s never been deemed “inevitable” by anyone. I think he genuinely appeals to people.

    Ron Paul was off the hook. I understand where he’s coming from, but Americans love their entitlements, power, global status, and want more.

    The other candidates didn’t front. They said what they felt; I respected them for it.

    I know their positions get branded as racist in a number of quarters, but if that’s how they think – shrug. The reality is that they are our elected officials. African Americans, minorities, whomever, have to work within that context.

    Politics is compromise and workarounds: even the Democrat George Wallace changed. During America’s Civil Rights era, Wallace vociferously wanted to keep blacks out of a white college, which had been desegregated.

    My Last Point

    In this race, and in the future, Republicans need black and other minority voters. Those who avoided the debate and deemed “front runner” will stumble.

    The most appealing Republican will gain traction. This is the guy who has a history of blacks voting for him. Hopefully, he will continue to speak without resorting to condescension or pandering.