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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Black Women, That Burning Cross on Your Front Lawn Was Brought to You By .......Corporate America

New details in the Dunbar Village gang rape come out in court. You thought it couldn't get worse? The attackers were looking for a lighter to set the mother and son on fire. They couldn't find one.

I grew up in east Texas. I didn’t grow up reading about hatred. I lived it. I grew up surrounded by “sunset towns“. For those of you not from my neck of the woods, a “sunset town” is one you don’t let the sun set with you still in it if you are Black. They even had signs instructing Black folks when they needed to be gone except they did not call you “Black”. I drove through them and had to compete in sports on the playing fields of these sunset towns. Even today, if I have to roll through one, I make sure I am well below the speed limit and throw up a silent prayer that I don’t get a flat until I get across the bridge.

So as you can imagine, I got a very early introduction to the concept that there are people out there who will beat and kill me just because I am Black. Our mere existence offends them. I was about 12 years-old when Loyal Garner Jr., died down the road in Hemphill, TX. He managed to beat himself to death in a jail cell according to the grand jury. Yeah he managed to beat himself so badly according to my Aunt at the time ”they beat him so badly his brain was coming out of his head .” Every time I drive through Hemphill, my head hurts thinking about it.

On Christmas Day, 1987, Loyal Garner Jr., a black truck driver and father of six, was pulled over by a white police chief and jailed without charge in Hemphill, a small town in east Texas. Two days later Garner, who had never been arrested before, died in a nearby hospital from massive head injuries. Garner was bludgeoned with a blackjack for asking permission to call his wife. (SOURCE)

Up the road in another direction is Jasper, TX, where James Byrd was murdered.

Even though you know that there are people out there that hate you. It is always somewhat jarring to see that hatred displayed in a tangible way but for some reason when the hatred comes from a White person, we stand up and take arms, but when that hatred comes from another Black person, we write it off.

And so I bring you the story of another Black man who died near me in east Texas. His name was Bill Simpson.

In 1993, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development got it into their heads that they were going to desegregate one of these “sunset towns” by moving Black people into public housing projects. That went over real well. Klan members and neo nazis from all over the country rolled into town. This was the 90’s not the 60’s

Bill Simpson was one of the first Black people to move into Vidor, TX under this plan, his name will probably stay with me for the rest of my life as it still does almost 15 years later. You see Bill Simpson was a local celebrity because he was one of the Black folks crazy enough to be willing to move into Vidor. He was very memorable. He was a bear of a man. He was 7 feet and 300 pounds. For six months he endured the Klan, the taunts and the threats on his life and the harassment of the sunset town, then he left and went back to a nearby town that at the time was 38% Black.

Bill Simpson, who in March became the second black person to move to Vidor in recent times, is also leaving. "It's gotten to the point where my nerves have been on edge," said Mr. Simpson, who at 7 feet and 300 pounds, has never been physically threatened but is tired of the harassment. "I don't want to worry who's going to do something and what they're going to do, when it's going to happen, where it's going to happen." (SOURCE)

USA TODAY has more about the failed attempt at desegregation.

Cry for help. Simpson later submitted an affidavit to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development claiming that a neighbor named Edith Marie Johnson regularly hurled obscenities, racial taunts and threats at him. She pleaded guilty in April to a charge that she had slurred Simpson and was sentenced to 40 hours of community service. Simpson also wrote that he had "been called 'nigger' by people in Vidor more times than I can count." And in a letter to HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, he declared: "I must raise my voice in a cry for help. ... I fear for my own life and well-being." His only black neighbors, Brenda Lanus and Alexis Selders, were challenged by some local whites, and a group of teenagers paraded through the project screaming, "Get those niggers." Soon enough, all the blacks moved out. (SOURCE)

Hours after Bill Simpson left Vidor, TX, he was dead. He was shot while walking on the street in his old neighborhood. Some African American gang members asked him for a quarter ( as was their practice back then) . When Bill Simpson said he didn’t have one, they shot him in cold blood. HOURS LATER!

Is he any less dead because his killers look like us instead of a White person? Does the burning cross sitting in your front lawn burn brighter because a White person stuck it there?

So how is a burning cross in the front lawn any different than a magazine which delights in the fact that it’s columnists openly proclaim that they “Hate Black Women.” They are both tangible manifestations of hatred.

The difference is that when a Black magazine puts on a tangible display of hatred, it does so with the help of corporate sponsors like New Balance Shoes. New Balance is currently sponsoring a magazine website whose columnist called the victim of the Dunbar Village gang rape “some hooker down in Florida.” This statement comes from a columnist whose claim to fame is that he hates Black women. Would they get away with saying that they hate White, Hispanic or Asian women or men for that matter?

Mind you that New Balance says that they value “Responsible Corporate Leadership

Would New Balance be able to get away with sponsoring a hate rally or cross burning? Um No. So why are they getting away with sponsoring a website that delights in declaring that it hates Black women?

Because we let them get away with funding this foolishness. So what are we going to do about it? This contact information is thanks to Symphony over at Essential Presence.

New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc.

Tel: 800-253-7463
Online Contact
Or the corporate Communications Manager amy.vreeland@newbalance.com

*Entourage Soundtrack
HBO and Atlantic Records are owned by Time Warner
Time Warner Inc Headquarters (NY)

Edward Adler
Executive Vice President
Corporate Communications
(212) 484-6630 (direct line)

Keith Cocozza
Executive Director
Corporate Communications

Richard Plepler
Executive Vice President
Phone 212.512.1960

Quentin Schaffer
Senior Vice President
HBO, Corporate Communications
Phone 212.512.1329

*Ad for ABC Family's Lincoln Heights.
ABC and all its subsidiaries are owned by Walt Disney Company

Disney/ ABC
ABC (818) 569-7500 Mon-Fri (8am-6pm)

Disney CEO/President Robert A. Iger
Email: robert.a.iger@disney.com

Zenia Mucha
Executive Vice President, Corporate Communications, The Walt Disney Company
(818) 560-5300

Kevin Brockman
Senior Vice President, Communications, Disney-ABC Television Group
Asst. David Johnson
PHONE: (818) 460-6655

Hope Hartman
Vice President, Media Relations, ABC Entertainment
Assistant: Edwin Escobar
PHONE: (818) 460-6360

SC Johnson
Phone: 1.800.494.4855
Online Contact

Media Contact: Nancy Van Dis

Media Contact: Petrell Ozbay

How long are Black women going to allow corporate sponsorship of the burning crosses sitting in our front yards?