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Meeks Disavows the N-Word

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I'm so repulsed by the word "nigger" I vowed to never use it years ago, and to check anyone who uses it in my presence.
So, of course I was disappointed that the Rev. and state Sen. James T. Meeks publicly used the word-again.
Today, I called up Meeks and asked why.

Last week, Meeks compared some elected officials with "house niggers" in a sermon critical of the Chicago Public School System.

"House nigger" is a derogatory description of slaves who worked in the slave owner's house and benefitted from the close relationship. Today, it is still a derogatory term commonly used by blacks to denounce other blacks.

Meeks also used the controversial slur publicly while protesting alleged racial profiling on the South Side. In an interview, Meeks accused police officers of stopping drivers in cars they deemed to be "niggermobiles."

Wednesday afternoon, Meeks told me he was putting the word to rest.

"I am not using the word at all anymore," he said. "I'm going to officially retire my use of it.

But Meeks also told me that he expects something from White America, too.

"My appeal to White America is this: I will stop using that word, and it will never come out of my mouth again," he said. "But I am expecting them to be as equally passionate about ridding society of the achievement gap as they are passionate about ridding society of this word. I want them to be equally passionate about redlining. I want them to be passionate about the resource gap.

How can they be comfortable knowing that white children get more money per pupil for education than black kids? How can they sleep at night?" he asked.

Meeks also believes white people are the driving force behind efforts to bury this racial slur.

"White people don't like the word because it's a symbol of white racism," he said. "They recognize that it was an error on the part of their forefathers.

I disagree.

As noted by Ferris State University sociology Professor David Pilgrim and his colleague, languages and literature Professor Phillip Middleton, white supremacists have spread their anti-black views on sites with names such as "Niggers Must Die," "Hang A Nigger for America" and "Nigger Jokes Central."

The people behind these sites couldn't care less about African-Americans using the slur. They probably find it funny.

But whites who avoid using this racial slur are getting ticked off.

As long as they can be hounded out of their careers for publicly calling a black person the N-word, they are going to be outraged when blacks use the word with immunity.

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One question for you......Is Meeks a State Senator or a Preacher. According to our constitution, Isn't there supposed to be a seperation of church and state? It appears to me that Meeks is in violation of the Constitution..


Meeks is a state Senator and an ordained minister. Given that there have been several ordained ministers in Congress, Meeks' dual role does not violate the U.S. Constitution.

I have always hated the word. My husband & I don't use it. We remember when Richard Pryor said in one of his stand up that he was not going to use it again. I wish all Black Americans will stop using the N word and don't buy any music with the N word. I'm with you all the way.

I posted this on a message group:

Is Meeks smokin'????
Posted on August 3, 2006 at 01:21:32 PM by Spedy

It seems that Meeks want to take the light off of himself and point it at white racism. It amazes me how well he is adapting to the life of a politician. He made a ridiculous statement, and he could "REALLY" include himself within that statement. Based on how he phrased it because he has supported some folks who have not had the best interests of blacks. Namely - Gov. Blago.

I have the link to Mary Mitchell's column, which Meeks seems to be back peddling and states he will never use that word, the n-word, again. The article is interesting, but the most interesting was this:

"How can we watch 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' and see whites going to better schools with books and computers, qualified teachers and no peeling paint and watch black kids go to school with no books, no computers and few qualified teachers?" he asked.

"But we are appalled by the use of this word. I think that is straining a gnat and swallowing a camel."

He keeps talking about the quality of teachers. I wonder how many of the teachers in the failed schools are actually those who have not passed the basic skills test. Maybe the Aldermen, Senators, and Congressmen should be "REQUIRED" to have a degree, do some type of service project, and then be tested. I wonder how many so-called public servants could pass that "Basic Skills" exam. It's easy to talk about the teachers failing the test. That doesn't mean they a terrible teachers. If we used progress for the Chicago Aldermen, all of the poor neighborhoods would get failing grades.

I have a request. Since Rev. Sen. Meeks has over 20,000 members, he should task his church members to become the NEW HIGHLY QUALIFIED TEACHERS that will be willing to work in the CPS bureaucracy and bring these schools out of the dark ages. Sound bites are wonderful, but I doubt there is a real solution behind the words.

Besides, we need to put some of the blame where it belongs - the parents. I know all children do not have wonderful 2 parent homes, but that is not an excuse for the homes to not insure that the child will, at least, have a chance.

Meeks claims he is 'outraged' by the condition of black schools. Well, I (and I'm sure countless others) are outraged when the black community has an out of wedlock birth rate of nearly 80%, when black males proudly impregnate females and leave them to fend for themselves, when black mothers expect and demand that society take care of their children.

Meeks (and other black ministers and self-appointed leaders) has a pulpit to use to preach morality to his congregation. I suggest he start using it first before demanding that others come to the rescue of this self-inflicting black problem.

The use of the word Nigger has power only when Blacks allow it to have power in the sense of it being degrading and disrespectful. The term nigga not (Nigger) is and has been a term commonly used in many social circles between Black Americans. It will and should never be eradicated from our conversations in social circles and communities around the World. So people advocating for the non-use of the word is fighting a lost cause. We need to re-direct our focus and advocacy for other important issues relating to the degredation and disrespect of Black folks and thier communities here in Chicago and other cities around the World. But, I'm sure that would be too much like right-to really happen. And that's My two cents.
Keanya Toran

I agree with you, there is no place for the use of that word today by anyone. But, I also agree with Reverend Meeks. It seems that whites are upset simply because they cannot use the word to injure blacks with the intent that the word has historically carried with it. Some want to call a black person a Nigger soooo bad that it kills them that they can't do it without ramifications. Yes there is a double standard when it comes to the word. I propose an even better deal with white people, you can call me Nigger all you want, but I want the double standard you receive in pay for the same work, mortgage rates, insurance rates, criminal sentencing, racial profiling, and any other benefit of whiteness they are privy to. Chris Rock said it best - "there's not a white person in here who will switch places with my black ass...and I'm RICH!!!"

I am surprised the Rev. State Senator Meeks could not find a more appropriate word to express his disappointed with black politicians. Meeks calling a black politician a ‘house nigger’ doesn’t insult the politician, but shows how ignorant Meeks is. Does he really think White America cares if he used the insults black people?

What Meeks should have done was to take everyone (politicians, teachers, principals, parents and students) to task for the terrible state of Chicago Public Schools. If he had done that then the discussion would be about the schools and not about him.

I find it amazing that the term “nigger? is used so freely by African-Americans with each other. It is a hurtful word that should evoke bad memories of a past generation. In a time when opportunities exist for all people (despite Rev. Meeks feelings); African Americans should be building each other up through encouragement and support, rather then denigrating themselves through slurs. Calling each other “nigger? and glorifying the gangster lifestyle will only help future generations feel they can do no better than sit on the corner, drink and curse while the world passes them by. It is time to stop the self loathing and finger pointing and realize that if you want something in life, you need to work hard and not worry about what other people think or say. I know it’s easier said than done, but it can be accomplished!!

What amazes me is the fact that Meeks, (no 'Mister' for him) scolds the white race for the poor performance of the black race.
Where are the standards for the blacks? Where is 'black' pride? Why are blacks so defensive that they blame everyone else for their problems?
Why aren't you, as an influential writer, who espouses the good traits of the blacks, demanding that blacks provide the support system for other blacks?
Providing an analogy:
As a woman, I totally support women's rights, BUT, I strongly object to women making false statements to misleadingly achieve their gains.

I have known so many strong good blacks in my lifetime, you're making them look like fools.

Grow up and assume responsibility!!!


I'm not sure I understand what you mean when you say "Where are the standards for the blacks?" Are there standards for the whites? Surely, you don't think every black person is immoral and engaging in criminal activity.
What makes you think all blacks are sensitive? And what is your definition of "strong good blacks?"

For goodness sakes why does anyone give that man presstime he's a carnival act extrodinaire schools are here to provide you with an education but its up to your parents or parent to educate you as for the lottery its funny black people will give their last dime to support it and then they wonder where the money goes......DUH. Meeks is far from to the manor born for only someone of his ilk can't make up his mind whether they're a senator reverend or a used car salesman (that's probably one of his credentials too)

I wish the local population could get this excited and vocal about upgrading the schools, getting rid of payday loan stores, liquor stores, gun shops, dollar stores,poor housing, no housing,the working poor, joblessness, incompetent politicians,and incompetent teachers & administrators in the Black & Hispanic community.

My daughter is one of maybe thirty white children who attend school here in predominately black Park Forest and I know she has received the same treatment and educational opportunities as the black children and other so-called minorities. Since she will now be entering 7th grade she has attended three different schools here in S.D.163 and the most well funded one is Beacon Hill School in Chicago Heights which is in a poor neighborhood with the same problems that occur in the poorer areas of Chicago. This school has the best teachers, a refurbished library, a newer computer lab and air conditioned rooms so please stop with the "poor me attitude " that the Rev. Meeks seems to throw around more often than a collection plate!The schools here in Park Forest pale in comparison as far as appearance and equipment go and it is MY tax dollars that pay for these schools ,not the people on welfare and living in section 8 homes in Chicago Heights.I'm sorry, but I just don't get this whole "failing schools" thing-the only thing I see failing are black parents! My daughter doesn't get free breakfast or lunch, free gym suits or free anything for that matter and we wouldn't take it if she could.Maybe it's time for blacks to choose new civic leaders like Bill Cosby and get away from the finger pointing made famous by the Revs. Jackson , Meeks and Sharpton . I would be embarassed to have these people speaking on my behalf !

This tradeoff Meeks is talking about is very confusing. He says he vows passionately to never say the word nigger again, but in return he wants white people to be just as passionate in fixing an unequal school system. It sounds like he thinks he is doing whites a favor by not saying the word nigger, and we should reward him for that? That is hilarious! Whites don't care if he or anyone else says the word nigger. He or anyone else can say it all he wants because that word is an insult to blacks, not whites. He is however, forbidden from saying honky, cracker, or white boy because he is not white. Only whites are allowed to say those words, although the only white person I have ever heard use those words are some GWL's(Guilty White Liberals). As for school funding, I am not an expert on this subject so please enlighten me. Do white schools get more money from the state than black schools do? If so, that is unfair. Meeks says white pupils get more money per pupil than blacks, is this true? I thought white pupils get more money per pupil because of the real estate taxes that are paid from the residents who live in their suburb? I thought the state doles out the money evenly? If this is so, then it sounds like Meeks is asking for some real estate tax revenue from residents in Naperville, Winnetka, Barrington, Orland Park etc. to be shifted over to black students in black areas? If he is asking for that he has completely lost his mind.

The liberal use of word among black people has removed a great deal of the sting, but does not make it acceptable. I am so tired of this perpetuation of ignorance by a small population of people constantly being the main focus of the media. News has value when it shocks and is negative. If there is a "feel good" side then it may be featured almost as a sidebar. So Meeks knew his comments would make it to the press and now that gives him a platform to continue to launch his greater political ambitions, and this will bring greater in-roads into a conservative white base that wants to avoid the label of being racist. Because of the paradox posed by Meek's argument, it appeals to two different constituencies. Therefore, the N-word was used for somebody's advantage---again. Years ago racist white used to humiliate blacks and today many blacks use it as culture identity in music and slang. This only shows that when the word can be used advantageously, you can bet it will remain in use.

I was thinking about Rev. Meeks last week before I knew of his comments on black politicians. I happened to catch the Tribune editorial on the Cook County Juvenile Home and was wondering why the Tribune is the only loud voice calling for action. This place is the last stop for inner city children in trouble before they hit real jail.
Surely with a 12000 member innercity church Rev. Meeks (or at least staff ministers at his church), have had the occasion to visit the center and witness first hand the state it is in, yet there has been little public discussion of any value. Jane Adams is rolling over in her grave.
Reverend Meeks is one of the most powerful figures in Illinois right now. How about a bit of attention for some of the weakest?
On a side note, thank you President Steele!

Why should this be a white problem? Are white people dragging the middle class blacks out of their ghetto neighborhoods?

Meeks should tell his congregation to stop making baby mommas, reinstate marriage and a 2 parent family, stop mugging and doping and then maybe the blacks who make the $$$$ might want to live in the hood. As soon as blacks make decent money they flee into the white suburbs taking their money with them. When whites did this it was "white RACIST flight" when the blacks do it it's "upward mobility." However, whatever you want to call it, the tax base is gone from the black neighborhoods.

Make black neighborhoods more comfortable, safe, clean and civilized and the middle class will return with their money and talents. That strong tax base is what puts money in the schools. Keep acting the fool and the money will continue to flow into white America leaving poor blacks farther and farther behind and all alone.

This is not a white problem it is a black problem. Meeks can use the N word until his tongue falls out. I will sleep like a baby without a care in the world.

As a white man in Mississippi, who hears often from other whites complaining about black folks using the N-word, I always want to say:

So what if the folks you're complaining to somehow managed to make this promise: "Okay, my friend. You can use the N-word any time you like and you won't lose your job, or make me angry, or get thrown out of restaurants. I'll see to it."

Would our hypothetical white person actually then start using the N-word? Does he secretly harbor some burning desire to use the word, a desire so strong that it actually makes him jealous of black folks who can use the word with impunity?

Because, really, I get it. I know why black folks can use the word and white folks can't: Because it's a slur historically directed against black folks by white folks. It's really not rocket science.

And having no particular desire to use the word, I don't mind if black folks can use it and "get away with it." Why on earth would I? I mean, that's like feeling jealous of my friend across the table eating oysters when I hate oysters. If I don't want something, I have no reason to cry double standard if other people can have it and I can't.



Being black, an having grown up in a small town in the south, I can relate to his frustration with the school system (not just Chicago). However, lets be real. It's tax dollars that pay for these improvements in the suburbs. How can we blame white people, when we don't invest in businesses and homes in our own communities (read increased tax dollars). Engage in self dealing behavior like pushing for the unqualified John Stroger jr (cook county politics) and blocking job/tax creating companies like Walmart/Target. After all, most of the tax revenue in the suburbs are generated from business. In the end, its our responsibility.

Meeks should stop using the "n" word, not because he wants a trade-off, but because it’s the right thing to do; regardless of what the mayor or anyone else does or does not do.

What a way to set a poor example for the kids he claims he wants to help get a better education. Looks like he needs a re-education in respect for himself and his own people. You'd think as a Black man first and a Christian second he would know better.


Does anybody think this clown is worth writing about?

Wow, this is sooooooo dumb of us to let a word like this get us so worked up. 1st off I am African American and a member of Salem not Rev. Meeks' church and like he always states the media will put out the negative in a persons statement just to try to put them on blast. What this man is doing is what should have been done years ago by African American churches, politians and etc. He is not focused on the word white America is and thats the sad part. Why are we so stuck on some word he used? Is it because he used it with intentions to wake black america up? Is that why whites are all worked up about this? And as for those sell out blacks you need to wake up and see what is happening to our people. Whites could care less if you make it or not they are set dummy. Why do we constantly bash our own for trying to make a difference? When the change comes you and yours will reap the same benefits as me and mine wake up and come to the 50 billions lol people church that he pastors and hear 1st hand what he has to say about the issue at hand and not the word he used instead of listening to what he media wants you to hear. Thanks Meeks for your boldness and obedience to the Word of God and Happy Birthday.

i taught english to juniors and seniors at a private school on chicago's west side (providence st. mel) where the teachers are paid less than public school teachers, but have "benefits" that more than make up for the money. The student body was monolithically if not totally black.

Teachers there have a mission; students have a mission, and the expectations to which the students are held are firmly and strictly enforced. The admistration supports the teachers (worth a fortune to any good teacher) and was visibly present all day, nver sequestered. The single most important factor, however, is the school's requirement that parents (or another responsible ADULT) be involved and participatory in the process.

When there is accountability from all stakeholders (teachers have a weak contract, no union, no tenure; administration is governed by a strong board of directors; students have specific academic and behavioral bechmarks that must be met), the results will be better.

PSM students are all accepted to a four-year college; most attend top tier colleges, where because of the self discipline and beilef in their own abilities, they excel. every fall i'd get calls, visits, emails from my former students, and they all said, "you're right. i can do a thesis in history class. in fact, i was teaching some kids from (highly ranked subburban schools) how to organize their work."

It's NOT about money (although teachers sometimes left because of better money elsewhere, we never ran out of dedicated teachers), or the mayor, or mr/rev weeks. its about the students being expected to succeed and the families being required to participate. If the student understands the stakes, and the support system (school and home) shows it cares, the student will succeed.

Oh and for all the ignorant people out there don't believe everything you hear remember there's always 2 sides to every story. Let's WAKE UP people.

Michael J, I agree that political figures say things to shock people. The media knows what will catch people's attention. Remember the old saying "if it bleeds, it leads". However, I disagree with the statement that Meeks' rhetoric will allow him to make inroads towards white conservative voters. His type of rhetoric will only anger whites because he is insulting whites by blaming them for black kids education. Only the guiltiest of the guilty white liberals would ever consider voting for Meeks.

I believe we should stop focusing on who used this word or that word, and start focusing on the real problems in our communities and in this world. We have millions of working poor, millions of people dying from poverty and wars, millions without healthcare, and many, many folks without a roof over their heads. That said, I live in the Roseland neighborhood, and each and every day I see children roaming the streets, without parental supervision and guidance...Although I agree with Meeks on his basic theme of education, I believe his focus should be twofold: increase equity within our school systems, as well as increase parental participation, pride, and power within our own communities. White people are not going to help us do this, so we should start amassing enough power of our own to legally demand and take what should be ours. Take a page from the Hispanics and join forces with them...Reverend Meeks should not only march and use his pulpit/church for education issues, but also for parental training issues, gang/prison issues, issues of healthcare and jobs/apprenticeships that would pay a living wage and would allow parents to be at home instead of working 2 and 3 jobs. If he is truly serious about making things better, socioeconomic issues have to be addresssed as well.

" Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and there will continue until they are resisted..."
-Fredrick Douglas

Though I hate the word nigger, black people use it as a term of endearment or to describe those who are fighting against their own people, such as the phrase "housenigger." It shouldn't be in rap music because it just gives people of all races permission to use it since hip-hop/rap is so popular. With that said, my question is why do white people really, truly care? Maybe because the word reminds them of the history of oppression against black Americans and it makes them feel guilty. Or maybe they are upset that they can't say the word when they hear a black person say it. Every race of people, at least from my experience, use derogatory words against each other as a term of endearment. Is it right? Probably not. When I was in high school, a predominately white school, Italian kids called each other derogatory Italian names all of the time. I wouldn't dare use those words and I didn't want to. It just seems that white people, generally speaking, want to say the word "nigger," especially in a black person's presence. Whether it's right or wrong for black people to say to each other, it is not a word that should come out of a white person's mouth - period.

Funny how the news continues to talk about Meeks using that word, and continues to ignore the actual reason for him using it. I bet if he was'nt talking about the state of the Chicago Public School system no one would ever have heard about it. I don't know if Meeks is trying to bid for the mayors position maybe he is, maybe he is'nt. I know one thing, mayor Daley sure seems scared. I saw him on the news this morning furious over Meeks use of this word. Pointing his fingers in the air, his arms swinging around, and he was definently yelling which i've never heard him do and I follow news and politics regularly. Come on now, with this hired truck scandal, police brutality scandal(BURGE), etc., all pointing in his direction and you mean to tell me he feels this passionate about someone using this word 2 or 3 weeks ago. PLEASE!! He absolutely looked ridiculous. Regardless of who fault it is whether it's the poor teachers, poor parenting skills, or whatever it is, something needs to be done by someone who has the power to do so. Do your research(to the readers)why is it that the worst teachers are put in the poorest neighborhoods, and what results do you expect to get from that. As far as some of the parents being horrible, I agree 1000%, but that is definently not the only problem here. And if you believe that it is then you see only what you want to see and your part of the problem. I don't use the race card and I hate when anyone else uses it and it's not justified but there is definently something going on here that has nothing to do with these peoples homelife(poor parents). If other socially, and financially stable races were put in the same positions and predicaments as blacks were years and years and years ago to the present time, do you think that you or they would be(as a race)where you are today? Do you think that your lives would be as easy or as hard as it is today? If you say yes then your not only wrong but your lost. Him using that word has been in the news for about 3 or 4 days or longer now morning, noon and night news. When will the state of the schools become first priority and get airtime as well. Out of sight, out of mind huh?

Senator Meeks demagoguery style is such a turn off. Although I yearn for more outspoken African-American politicians who are not afraid to confront the powers to be, it would be much better if they had more class than Mr. Meeks. He's been so successful barking in his pulpit that he thinks he can carry that style over to the political arena. Unfortunately, his colleagues are too afraid to stand up to him and call him on his blowhard rhetoric. He goes about intimidating other activists and elected officials with his large following and financial wherewithal. As a man of the cloth, he should use more discretion. It's good to speak the truth, but his vulgarity is a dishonor to the Christian ministry in my opinion. Unfortunately, too many of our people view his talk as "telling it like it is." I think he talks down to our people in order to draw masses to his flock. It's strictly manipulation. That sermon that has raised such a fuss is nothing new. It is the essence of who Senator Meeks has come to be.

Please read the artical dated 11/20/05 from the Chicago Tribune. The artical named "POLITICAL SERMONS STIR UP THE IRS" writen by Vincent j. Schodolski

This hits the nail on the head!

I wonder. Is Meeks a pastor or is he a politician? I can easily recall from the Bible certain verses avoiding this type of conflict, but I won’t get into that here. He needs to make a choice. What is his ultimate goal? What does he plan to do? Is he not satisfied with building a congregation big enough to fill a mini-stadium? He’s already starting to think like a politician. He has his religion as his platform. His church is his podium. His congregation is his campaign staff.

He cannot be half-stepping like this, constantly switching between apparently different roles. He needs to make one of two choices. The first choice is to hand over the church to someone he trusts enough to pastor it so that he may pursue politics. That would entail a lot. He would need to surrender the ministerial license and drop the title of Reverend. Not even a position of leadership in the church would do for, doubtless, his priorities will shift. It seems a bit much, but such measures may be required to avoid any conflict in the future if he so chooses this path. Personally, from what I’ve read, Meeks has already started to abuse the pulpit and position to promote his platform and advance his political career.

Now, here’s the second choice. I believe this one to be nobler. Give up politics. Meeks would concentrate on his primary target. According to the website, Salem Baptist Church of Chicago is 22,000 strong. Behind that pulpit he can raise up powerful, God-fearing men and women to place in strategic positions to better the lives of the citizens of Chicago. I don’t mean by him instilling them with his own political ideology and personal viewpoints, but, rather, building their character and integrity. Imagine an entire army of minorities who will give death to the stereotypes and standards that are forced upon them. A pastor has no place in the political arena. His obligation is to the congregation and the community, where political leaders can and should look to him for guidance. Coming from an inner-city ministry myself, we challenge people to rise above their circumstances and make something of themselves.

I know Meeks has potential to be an authoritative man, and where he chooses to wield that authority is his choice. All I ask is that he remembers Who gave it to him.

There is only one pastor that I respect who was a strong proponent of social reform because he chose not to enter the political arena. That man was the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Please don’t taint his legacy. You cannot serve God and man (sorry, had to go there).

I am happy to see that there are a growing number of African-Americans that do not use or take this word lightly and find it equally offensive in an intra-racial context.

As a writer I have used this word in commentary to denounce its use, as published by Upscale magazine and Valdosta State University, in my article, “Denouncing the N-word.? Further, I have used this word as an author and writer of fiction to illustrate its historical munitions and as a reminder of the reasons why it should be illuminated. I hope this is the beginning of a universal protest against the N-word.

I'm seriously enraged re Rev Meeks" comments about teachers in black schools as being"unqualified" Please! Blanket generalizations like this simply don't wash As a veteran (30) years Chicago teacher I see up close the
problem- our children have
blindly bought into all the
negatives comcomitant to
the "rap" culture- evidenced by foul language
carrying weapons, disrespecting any/all authority-these and other factors create daily chaos
in many, many schools- they
are away from school unsupervised -parents are
often"children" themselves
the horrific results - a
largely inattentive school
community where students barely read who spend their
days being disruptive to ---teachers spend most of their day being disciplinarians sometimes its like being a prison warden - until something is done to bring civility,respect and pride
to these classrooms they will continue to fail -So, Rev Meeks, the problem is not the teachers or how much is being spent per pupil -the black community musttake back the children
posing as rappers - clean up their minds and attitudes - instill positive values - insist that they be responsible
and honest - stop making excuses, cooperate and learn Dismayed & Saddened

The use of nigger by reverend Meeks is of little concern to probably most blacks and whites. The results of the use of the word nigger is what lies at the base of racial tensions between whites and blacks. Put those words of Meeks in the mouth of any person in the world including a Black Republican a Bill Cosby or Louis Farahkan(sp?) and you and Meeks and every other "voice of the black leadership" would have those peoples jobs and careers ended. Meeks uses those words and hardly a peep. Until blacks and black leaders hold themselves to the standards they set for others, african americans will continue to be left behind.

to all the people complaining about the underqualified teachers in their schools:

Have you visited the schools? If no, why not?

As a substitute about 10 years ago, I went from the school/classes in Juvie to Austin to Kelvyn Park to Lincoln Park to almost anywhere you can name.

What I noticed about schools in the poorer neighborhoods is how many of them had huge vacancies they were filling with subs. At Austin I asked if they were hiring (I'd say they had 10 vacancies), and they said no.

After a while in the system , I realized that hiring subs instead of full time teachers is a very shortsighted way principals save their budget money.

it's ridiculous. the single most important factor is class size ratio, ie, kids per teacher.

if you want good teachers, you need to offer them manageable class sizes. no teacher wants 35 kids in a class, it just isn't humanly possible to give them all the attention they need.

Catholic schools in Chicago make do with far, far less per pupil than the CPS does. Yet, they do better.


The kids come to learn. The kids have discipline, and the teacher doesn't spend 1/2 the class just trying to keep order.

This is the PARENTS reponsibility! Teachers aren't cops, and if you allow a situation where they have to act like cops, they will get annoyed and look for a job elsewhere.

Where am I going with this?

In several of the worst schools I visited (Juvie, specifically), kids told me to my face, "We aren't going to listen to you because you're white. If you were big and black we would."

That's not a money problem. That's an attitude problem.

I feel that Daley's little tantrum about Rev. Meek's use of said racial epithet was little more than a somewhat awkward attempt to discredit a prospective political opponent who was casting light upon the still horrendous state of the city's schools and other vital issues of race relations. What else can Daley do? Go forth on his administration's record for ethics and indictments? Oh wait. If the mayor resorts to such condescension right off the bat, it poses some interesting questions.

While I don't personally condone liberal use of such words, I think that the Reverend's points cannot be diminished and discounted . He is an African American leader chiding African American politicians for not doing their jobs and using language commensurate to the indignation of himself as well as a good proportion of his community. If Daley has a problem with that, so be it.

Whether the word is nigga, nigger, nigas, it's meaning (from the orginal use) has not changed. I can understand with others when they state that it depends on the "context" in which the word was used. However, let's just be real, the word is not meant for admiration. When we try to justify the reasoning behind using the word, we are only giving more power to it.

One thing we all must remember is that, Meeks is human! I totally disagree with him (or anyone else) using that word. His anger for the public only focusing on his sermon stating "house niggers", can only be blamed on himself. As Proverbs 6:2 states, "You are snared by the words of your mouth. You are taken by the words of your mouth." As a politican and minister, he must be careful with the things in which he speak of. When you make statements, especially with words in which is considered "taboo", the public is definitely going to focus on that and not the issues at hand. Sad, but true. Let's just weigh our words carefully and stop giving power to deragotory names, stereotypes, or statements.

To Ms. Joy Thomas, I take exception to you blaming the rap culture for how poorly inner-city kids are doing. The rap culture, as you so put it, has engulfed rich, white suburban students just as much as it has inner-city kids. How do you think these artists can sell over 5 million albums? Who do you think is buying up the majority of them? It certainly isn't poor inner-city kids. Attitude reflects leadership, Ms. Joy. Stop using racist stereotypes as an excuse for the lame job CPS teachers are doing.

I am a product of the inner-city, having grown up in a gang-infested Pilsen during the 80's and 90's. My parents did their best in taking care of us, but they both worked full-time jobs, so their control over us was limited. Do you know what made the difference? Terrific teachers at my grammar school, St. Ann, and even better teachers at my high school, Whitney Young. Teachers make a bigger impact on kids' lives than you realize. If you are a teacher and haven't yet made that kind of impact, I suggest you go do something else.

I truly believe when you overreact to another person's ignorance or bigotry you empower the bigot. A segment of the USA seems to have made a concerted effort to change the connotation of the word in question by using it in a positive way. It is not a bad ploy; however, the word can inspire such bitter feelings from people that its use is extremely controversial and the positive connotation still offensive to many.

In the esteemed Rev's case there was no positive connotation implied. It was vicious political slander aimed at branding black politicians with any ties to white politicians as disparaging their race. A cruel and racist tactic used effectively for generations by bigots of all hues.
He does not even have the courage to name his targets, but wants the voters to do his dirty work for him. I must commend you for calling him out even though you are far more tactful than I would have liked.

What really makes me disgusted is that he cloaks his race baiting tactics in Christian propaganda perverting the teachings of Jesus.

I moved from Chicago because I married somone from the northern suburbs.When I lived out south with my son & ex the school he went to was awful.When he moved to the northside everything was very different from the food the kids ate to how the teachers tended to the kids needs.He had no white students in the school at all on the southside and half or more are with him on the northside.I know that it would best for my son in the long run in the burbs.Rev meeks does't speak for alot of blacks who have fled the city like I did.I own property out south and I don't feel like my tax dollars are even helping this part of the city.Crime is rampant and when I try to find tenants they are so turned off by the location.There is never a cop when you need them and drugs and everything else negative is on every corner.Everyone fails the southside from the ministers to the mayor because of the ole mighty dollar.Maybe Daley can give Meeks hush money like Rod B. did.I'm sure whatever money earmarked for the city kids will fall in Daley's pocket too.

Slavery is America's original sin. No one alive was either a slave or a slave owner. No doubt problems continue to exist, but as a society we need to find a way out of the quagmire. At some level each individual is responsible for his or her own success or failure, period. Black or White, if you are a failure, you failed. Society however should be motivated to help each individual succeed. It is in our collective best interest that each member of society is given the best opportunity for success possible. Reality is reality. Wealthy people have the resources to provide greater opportunities for their children than the middle class or the poor. If the State guaranteed each school district $20,000 per student, the north shore districts would spend $30,000 (on God knows what). The whole point of being wealthy is having resources to benefit you and yours. The questions is not necessarily making education spending equal but achieving and adequate minimum for each student. No amount of spending can make up for lack of parental involvement however. I believe Reverend Meeks is and was well intended. I believe he wants what is best for his community. As the leader of 20,000 faithful he enjoys a powerful position both within his community and outside of it. He more than many others has the power to lead by example. He can be a role model for what it is to be a successful black male. I think it is unfortunate that he chose the language he did. Of course he has the right to say whatever he wants and the outcry may have served his purpose well. On balance though I think the word demeans both those who say it and those referred to.

Mary, I enjoy your column and your work on channel 11. Your writing provides a glimpse of what the other side is thinking. I think most white folks would welcome meaningful, well reasoned dialogue on resolving race issues. If for no other reason, so we could move on.

There is NOTHING in the Constitution about a Separation of Church and State. Over the years, those who have been trying to push that snuck it in through the court system.

This is the classic example of how, as Hitler once stated, once you repeat something over and over, eventually people will believe it.

The Constitution clearly states that you cannot prohibit the free exercise thereof.

When the founding fathers came to this nation, they were so fixated on the idea of freedom, that lawlessness didn't even enter their minds. As corrupt minds veered out of control, the founders had to constitute some form of law. So, they wrote and enforced laws that rooted in the Bible (i.e. murderers receive death penalty and so forth).

Meeks, to me, sounds like a breath of fresh air. Daley is the epitome of socialism without a leash.


"There are no Bad Words. There are bad thoughts; bad intentions; and words."
-- George Carlin

I get so tired of hearing how "harmful" a word is. It's a word. It can't hurt you unless you let it. When I directed a production of Stephen Sondheim's Assassins, my assistant director objected strongly to the phrase "nigger-lover" being used within the show. But it was John Wilkes Booth talking about Abraham Lincoln!

One of my favorite absurdities involves people who recap the plots of Deadwood for online blogs and write "n*gger" when quoting the show, which takes place in 1876 and drops the word frequently. If you use an asterisk, of course you haven't actually written the Whole Word or conveyed exactly what was said, right? That's childish and hypocritical.

I once heard a passing black person referred to as an "ape", which I found to be far more offensive than "nigger". Should we ban the word "ape"? I choose not to use the word "nigger" in conversation because it's rude. But the idea that presenting it in its historical context is offensive is nonsense -- shouldn't we note how far we've come from the days when it was the common designation?

We need to stop fixating on what people are called and start worrying about treating them decently and fairly.

There are several reasons why the CPS system is messed up. First, I believe that CPS has a bloated bureaucracy like no other. No business could stay in business if it were run like the CPS. Secondly, it seems that black kids enter kindergarten, THEY are way behind. I looked at the fifth grade in the inner city school system in another state, and the fifth grade at a suburban system in another state. The fifth graders in the white community were doing work in the fifth grade that 7th graders IN the inner city were just starting to do. Educated parents produce educated children, uneducated parents usually produce uneducated children, but they can produce educated children, but are unable to help them as much. Environment and exposure can also play a role in a child's development BEFORE kindergarten. Foundation must be laid at home before we put the burdens on the teachers.


Based on your theory, illiterate black people who migrated from the South would have "usually produced uneducated children."

How can that be the case when most of these families still managed to send their children to college? If that weren't so, we would still not have a black middle class.

"Minister" this, "Reverend" that...did you ever get the feeling these are mail order titles?

CPS is full of thieves. I worked for a computer consulting company where the emphasis was on $$$$ to upgrade the computers in the classrooms. One school we installed over 300 computers and passed a hallway full of yellow books. The teacher told us that the yellow books were the newer ones. We also did a major laptop install at a schhol where over 200 laptops were given to teachers even though the school was in the bottom third of every exam. Our tax money is being thrown away and no one cares. That is why public schools have the problems. Too many thieves abusing funds given them.

To Mr. Davila...

I agree with you about the rap music being bought and listened to by the white kids. The music is not the blame. However, I think you hit the nail on the head when you talked about your growing up in a gang infested neighborhood. You had TWO parents and both of your parents WORKED full time jobs. I believe this to be a part of the problem, little parental supervision if any.

I agree to some extent with Fransisco. Dr. King had far more of a background in the ministry than he did in Civil Rights. He did not use that background as a political ploy. Mr. Meeks is no more of a minister of the Gospel than I am the Easter Bunny. I would think that people are starting to get hip to Race Hustlers like Mr. Meeks, Jesse , and Al. Constantly blaming white Americans for the problems of the inner city is starting to get passe. His rhetoric only gets print or air time in Chicago. It don't play elsewhere in the state, unless its a reprint of a newspaper article and then it doesn't get front page. Clap Meeks and the other poverty pimps off the stage , and then we might be able to talk about the real issues causing the disparities between whites and other races. If white bigotry is the only malady ever focused on, all the others will continue unabated.

to everyone who do not know what separation of church and state means that means the state cannot require you to be what the state wants like everyone must be cathloic, muslim, etc. the use of the n word and all the attention on one word is to take the attention off the two thosand men that march!!!!! i have read all these negatives articles how about putting something positive about REV. MEEKS!!!!!

I would first like to say to Anita I am also the parent of a soon to be 7th grader in Dist. 163. One of the black parents that you speak of minus the section 8 and the and the welfare. Not everyone's financial situation can be looked at equally, but until you have walked in one of those section 8, welfare, free lunch getting mothers don't judge them. And remember you may contribute to the high taxes but you can never walk a block in their shoes. Instead you should be asking why are there no marches for the South Subarban School Districts that have the same problems. Insteading of condeming those mothers stop writing to the papers complaining and get up and do more for your district. Extend your hand to help the child of one of those unfortunate mothers that may not know how to stand on her own. I am also a member of Senator and Pastor Meeks church. Remember he is human. And he is at least trying to make a difference. ARE WE????

Hello Mary!
Any derogatory phrase or name regarding any human being will never have a place in a decent society. This includes all races and nationalities.
What you were quoted as saying on WTTW's Weekend Review last Friday concerning this issue was absolutely correct.
Keep up the good work!

$Meeks$ a person who could see though the fake, front and phoony act, would not call him, "Mr., Reverend or Senator," but instead, "Hustler and great user of people," who is obviously lost. The fact that $Meeks$, won't be using the -N- word anymore does not make a difference, all a person with common sense and knowledge has to do is, "Open up there eyes and see," then there's one answer! $Meeks$ only see's $GREEN$, and one does not have to use the -N- word to get that! Right slick? I mean $Meeks$!!!

SO, maybe we should lower property taxes in the north side, so that the investment in the schools is equal? Or, maybe raise taxes on the south side, so the investment in the schools in a neighborhood reflect that of schools on the south side?

no- let me guess: the answer is to take from the rich and give to the poor?

Anyone that doesnt have what they want in this country, day and age, is simply a lazy whiner. Stop waiting for the federal govt to come and save you: stop sacrificing your family for the Social Engineering of the aldermen, and politicians, and professors.

save yourself, protect yourself. Wealthy reverends and their congregations have plenty of money to throw at the schools, and won't do it. They want to link religion with the money, so we cant allow it. ITs a fix by them.

It costs a lot to educate kids: I pay for mine, you pay for yours: that is fair? who can argue with that?

IF I am forced, against my will, to pay for the education of other kids, whose paretns just dont seem to care about them, then I should also be able to adopt that kid.

why invest in the schools when the parents will negate the investment? (insert "grandparents" for "parents" wherever applicable...")

HEy, lets face it: If I make more money, then I am am free to spend it as I see fit, including on my kids' education. That is not injustice, racism, etc: that is freedom.

I will send her to a private school. I can't have her slowed down by the Entertainers on the south side, and that populace and their public schools, and the failing violent culture that seems to persist.


Exactly how is the cessation of using the word nigger supposed to change anything?

I get the whole I-dont-use-it-for-personal-reasons thing, but, really, what has changed at the end of that day?

I could care less what comes out of your mouth (ie., profanities, nigger, nigga, nigra, negro, etc.) and far more about WHAT YOU DO (ie., mentor black children in a real way, serve at a homeless facility overrun with blacks, donate significantly to charities that do REAL, good work).

Everything else is simply lip service.

Meeks, unfortunately, is proving himself little more than a pimp, using God, politics and, sometimes, writers as would a pimp use whores - simply to get what he wants.

But I get it, James...Pimpin' ain't easy. Go 'head, nigga.


I Ditto that last comment. $Meeks$ should realize "everybody," is not blinded and/or fooled by his "act(s)ion) and I've heard Pimpin ain't easy, maybe we should attend $Meeks$ Church Services and find out exactly how it's done??? Learn the secret(s) to his $SUCCESS$!

I will add just one more thing - if Rev Meeks wishes to be taken seriously as a mayoral candidate, or as a politician in general (as opposed to a minister of his congregation), he needs to realize it's a big city, and it doesn't stop going north at Madison Ave.

As a native North-sider I would sure be more prone to vote for someone (regardless of skin color) that actually took the time to understand our problems as well as their own. For the record, I don't think Daley has really paid a lot of attention to the northside outside of our property tax base. our congestion is horrible, the CTA trains are so packed you not infrequently can't physically get on the brown or red trains during rush hours, our schools aren't all that, etc.

I, like Senator Pastor Meeks, am aware of the media’s way of diverting the attention away from the important issues that should have the focus of any report. By using pieces of a certain story to pour a negative light or distract the viewer’s attention away from the most important aspect of the story, the media has been very successful at getting people to fight over things that don’t even concern the real issues. There is big business in reporting a scandal, which to me say’s more about the malevolent condition of the business itself and gives everyone who participates in that aspect of it a bad name. So it doesn't surprise me how the reports about Pastor Meeks and his use of the “N? word have been more exposed and reported than the truth of the sickening and unfair way inner city schools have been treated over the last 50 years. Yet I contend that fair-minded and educated people ought not become so fixated on Pastor Meeks use of the “N? word. Even though I (African American) personally oppose its use in any context, I’ll not take my focus off the real issue here. If we are to raise a banner if righteous indignation over anything at this point, let’s raise it over the things that have harmed this city’s children and their education no matter what their race. Let’s try to separate our disdain for the use of any inflammatory word/s used by Pastor Meeks or any other man for that matter and stay focused the bigger picture. I bet that if unfair of unequal distribution of tax dollars for public schools were to occur in Naperville, Evanston, Waukegan etc you wouldn't be able to hold people back from using all kinds of unkind words and profanity to get their point across.

I for one support Senator Rev. Meeks's outing of the ugly truth about the public school system. I personally believe that it isn't his use of the "N" word that’s gotten so many people upset but it's the fact he's sounding an alarm regarding the apparent racism and neglect in funding and care of inner city schools. Think of it! There are a lot of fat salaries and unexplained frivolous spending at risk here!! At first I couldn’t figure out that if this government is the same government that all tax dollars are paid into, why do the funds have to be allocated according to district or community? I mean, tax dollars are spent equally according to need to build up and fix express ways, why not for public schools? Why not just put all public school funds in one big pot and distribute it equally? I'll tell you why!! After Brown vs. The Board of Education passed in 1954 the "powers that be" (all white) had to come up with a way to segregate schools without actually saying that segregation was the goal. Enter the law and the unfair practice of funding schools based on their district boundaries, cutting up boundaries to cut out poor sections (which were normally minority sections), and only allowing students to attend schools within their districts. Before Brown vs. The Board of Ed. there was no such law or practice because there didn't need to be. The racist segregation laws took care of that!! And some of you would call the residents of poorer districts lazy and Senator Meeks a pimp?!! I’ll tell you who the pimp is the people who have control of the government funds for public schools who then turn around and make sure inner city schools, for what ever reason, are under funded and non-shalauntly given the “buzz off? act when people in power are questioned!!

Moreover, for those who are outraged by the reports about Rev. Meeks and his use of the “N? word…for African Americans I say stay focused! The media/powers that be want you to dislike and discount the words of a man who evidently wants something good and right for all minority and African American people. Meeks has indicated himself that he does not represent the thoughts of all black people but he defiantly is out for the cause of protected equal education under the law for which the United States has yet to put in place!! Please do not sit and wonder why! For whites, I can’t understand why you’d be so much more outraged over the use of the “N? word than thousands of inner city children not adequately being funded and educated equally in the schools they attend. You fly all over the world to make sure war torn countries and famine stricken regions have what they need (including Africa...Thank You) but there is a need right here on American soil that you could care less about or so it seems. Has that one word got you all that worked up? Or is it that it’s got you feeling that guilty?

Finally, I add that for those who are indeed focused and want to help the endeavor to set things right for children’s sake get involved, march, call your alderman or congressman because it’s the right thing to do for children and public schools. Stay home and do nothing if you just can’t get past the “N? word.

It is my conjecture that everyone is focusing on the use of the word nigger by pastor/sentor meeks and missing the real issue which is the quality of education of minority children. Frist, education begins in the home. Parents are the first role models and educators. Today teachers are functioning in so many roles such as social workers, nurses, lawyer, mother, father etc. that there is very little opportunity for learning to take place when teachers have to play so many roles other than educator. Qualifications of the teacher does not matter if they are not able to educate. Passing the basic skills exam does not make a teacher qualified to teach. It just says he or she has good testing skills. There are some teachers who have not passed the basic skills test but are very gifted in that they are able to appeal to the students learning styles and engage them in meaningful learning. Sometimes we should not speak so hastenly and glib, we should maintain a central hash about some things.

Neil Steinberg
A lesson for Meeks: These kids are messed up

July 31, 2006


Opening shot

I hate to argue with a minister.

However. ...

When the Rev. James Meeks tries to score political points by pinning the problems of the Chicago Public Schools on Mayor Daley, when he says, "These kids who started in kindergarten, they wasn't messed up when they started in kindergarten. ..," he is not only plain wrong, but devious and damaging.

As the Sun-Times has shown several times in its "Critical Years" surveys, one of the school system's major challenges is exactly that: The kids who begin kindergarten are messed up at the start.

Half arrive at their first day of school unable to identify the colors red, blue and yellow. Half are unable to speak in complete sentences.

Half do not know how to hold a pencil or a crayon, never mind write with one. Half can't tell you their last names -- heck, some kids show up for school and don't even know their first names, only a street tag -- "They call me 'Lil Man.' " It takes a special parent to send their child to school without knowing his name -- actually, not so special, which is heartbreaking.

The surveys were last taken a dozen years ago, but the situation hasn't changed. Students are "messed up" at the start -- angry, unaccustomed to learning, unaccustomed to discipline, and ready to fail.

And now Meeks is going to address the situation by blaming the mayor -- whom impartial observers laud for doing so much with a school system that was on life support when he showed up. This is Meeks' first step, no doubt, in the same cynical shake-down scam that worked with such great effect on Gov. Blagojevich, who folded like a paper fan.

Just what the black community needs. Another demagogue to bang the gong of grievance and tell his audience that all of their problems are some powerful white guy's fault. Education is one social issue where each individual can make a huge impact. Good parents know that. They'd laugh at anybody who told them to sit on their hands until the government cooks up a program to teach their children their names. For Meeks to spread that message for his own selfish political reasons is a betrayal of the people he purports to serve.

Sincere or satire?


I'm sure Neil is sincere. He's entitled to his opinion which is why he has his own column.

You know the world is getting weird when you can't tell if an advertisement is a joke or just stupid.

Take the T-Mobile ad for BlackBerry service that shows a motorcycle zooming around a curve. "I e-mailed my client AND I opened up the throttle," the headline reads. They must be kidding, right? I studied the ad, searching for the subtle wink, and couldn't find it. Perhaps I haven't yet seen the other ads in the series. An operating room with: "I e-mailed my client AND I had nine titanium screws put into my shattered femur." A man undergoing physical therapy: "I e-mailed my client AND I learned to climb stairs again." But a sinking feeling tells me they're not joking. Just brain-dead.

'Our Cars Break Down!'

Speaking of odd corporate messages: Have you ever found yourself driving behind an auto dealership's loaner car? You know, a little white economy sedan with "SCHMENDERHOLT MOTORS COURTESY CAR" written in six-inch-high black letters on the sides, trunk, hood and, probably, roof.

What do you think?

Do you smile and muse, "Isn't that nice? You leave your car for repairs, and the dealership generously gives you another to drive around until yours is ready."

Me neither.

Instead I think, "Another Schmenderholt courtesy car! They must sell lemons because I keep seeing 'em. Not only do you have the hassle and expense of taking your car in for service, but they force you to drive around this cheesy rolling billboard, as if they're proud of the fact: 'Hey everybody! Another shafted customer of ours grimly waiting for their junk pile's factory-installed flaws to be repaired.'"

At least that's how they seem to me.

Everything old is new again

Mary, I read your articles almost each day....I need to post the following and ask your opinion of your what your "collegiate" wrote, prior to your columnm.

I often wonder, after so many years, I have never judged a person by skin color, didn't even know people had different skin colors, because that is the way I was raised. Although raised from the '50s, I never knew - nor my parents about how people treated other people of different color, or originality. We were from down south, we knew no prejudice...some of my friends are different colors, different races, different religions, different religions..why, then, is it a problem so much today? We have white, yellow, blue, green, red and yellow white trash..when do we see past each other for what we look like, instead of what is in our hearts, and who we associate with?

Why are we always bringing up the race card? I don't think WE do, I think the political atmosphere manipulates us...for votes.

Anyway, I would like to see your reaction and comment(s) to Steinberg's article.


What Steinberg article? And what do you consider to be the race card?

I was taught never to use the "N" word; that began in the '50s. We had friends that were parents taught us we were all equal.

As I read through the posts, I was astonished that the very people who shedded that "N" word says, it is ok to be used by their own race...that's also exposed on Comedy the same race..they try and convey some message, but I feel it repulsive.

Why is it still a word being used to describe a certain part of the human race?

As for Meeks, he is mixing religion with politics. I feel he is abusing his position as a "Pastor" to take advantage of his congregation for self-advancement, I equate him to the liking of the "Shaw Brothers" and that, too, will discredit him.

He is also no different than Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson, that uses their congregration for deceiving...for money, and monetary gain for themselves.

The only way out...if YOUR have to walk your own walk....,political corruption is so rampant, so abundant...when is every race going to realize from the White House down...they use taxpayers' money to enable other countries...but not our "Own?"

Race doesn't mean anything...I can walk into Meek's church and be welcomed as a white - with his blink of an eye...yet, I know beneath his soul, he went further than a "Preacher," he deceives his own people. Politics and religion do not mix.

Being someone at the pulpit, purporting the "House Negro," the "N" word....I'm surprised his congregation isn't smart enough to abandon such an idiot! Can't they see he is using "them" for himself? How blind do you have to be? The white politicians are doing it to the Afro-Americans, the Hispanics, the regular white collar, blue collar, welfare to work people, for political gain. WE all are the PAWNS!!!!! They don't care about any of'd have to be really naive to think now
days, there isn't corruption in any political office...

Quit voting...that's what I did...and I mean it. If they don't matter, don't help them. Because WE don't matter to them, except when we vote on empty promises....I don't believe anyone is honest, except Obama...and I am white.

It's really ashame how RACISM is still prevelant in 2006. All Pastor Meeks wants is EQUALITY and it is really sad that all the racially motivated comments want to blame black parents for not parenting and for not being responsible. Black people have ALWAYS worked HARD proven FACT our ANCESTORS, WE COME FROM WORKING CLASS PEOPLE. Everyone of you who are bashing Pastor Meeks are bashing the works of JESUS CHRIST.. JESUS NEVER DISCRIMINATED and he suffered (he was spit on, beaten and died) for OUR (ALL RACES) SINFUL WAYS OF TODAY. WHEN JESUS RETURNS I PRAY EVERYONE OF YOU HAVE TURNED FROM YOUR SATANIC WAYS. SO YOU ARE NOT LEFT BEHIND. GOD BLESS!

You know, Meeks, Rev. Jackson, Jackson Jr., Stroger, the Gov., the Mayor of Chicago, the two idiots from Gary and more...corruption. We wouldn't have any of these problems if the municipals, govs, mayors, etc., school superintendents (i.e., Sauk Village), were not corrupt....especially the religious leaders who abuse their perception and the very people who donate to their "cause.." living with body guards, high priced homes, (Look at Farrakhan....who wrote in the '70s, vowed, to wipe out the white race...) I know, I did his few first years of the "Final Call." I was and am white....he was just starting out..he wrote that...and I typed it out, layed it outin my personal printing company...white owned...and look, that's their destination... No different than what's is actually occuring now, as he wanted. By the way, he hates "black people....only respects Muslims.."

Go ahead, Farrakhan, sue me. I still have those editions from the '70s. By the way, he referred to blacks as "N's." So, your own race exploits your own.

I think it's about time you guys start questioning yourselves among yourselves. I know of no other Jew, Catholic, Protestant, that belittles their own entiety like you guys. Or, screaming out for "unfairness."

No one educates you... you have to educate yourself. Quit believing singing outloud and jamming in a sermon solves your problem. It offers unity; not solutions. Period. You are responsible for yourself, your children. When you quit depending on other people for answers, then you will succeed.

Mary, why not print the article from Steinberg? Too daring? Too truthful?

Audience, it's about the clown, saying the kids were not messed up when they got into kindergarten. The columnist explained why they were/are. It starts with the parents...they don't even know their names, only street names, do not know the colors of their crayons,.cry on. Ask Meeks to open up his own pre-school to teach kids what their parents don't at least, before kindergarten.

My kids knew long poems, ABCs', how to draw in the lines, and are productive, contributive, successful adults. We lived in a black suburb, but we spent 32,000 bucks to make sure they went to private school. (Catholic). Unfortuntately, but fortunately, they closed after they graduated - unfortunately, the pastor said the demographics changed...the Catholic school closed up.

We did what we had to do to ensure our children received the best education as other parents at the the neighborhood is fighting over who is the next principle at a bullet ridden school. Adios!


I don't agree with Steinberg's point-of-view on the subject of black children and kindergarten. Also I make it a point not to publicly debate my colleagues on these issues since it could make for a very uncomfortable working environment.

There IS SOMETHING in the US Constitution which addresses the separation of church and state. It is called the establishment clause. By saying, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion", the founding fathers were implying the separation of church and state. Our clinging to the so called Judeo-Christian values that supposedly founded the country is what has the world in the state it is today. I'm sick and tired of people using the Bible as a sword, trying to justify capital punishment with it, yet not following what the message clearly states: to love one another. Those bible thumping Christianists are the reason I stopped going to church.

I find it appalling that people still don't understand that African Americans are individual human beings who do not think or act in robotic step. Because a few people use the N-word does not mean that all African Americann people (as Ms. Mitchell has expressed) do so. In fact, many of us detest the word. I am saddened that Pastor Meeks felt it acceptable to use the word so easily.

However, I am even more appalled that commenters on this blog still preach the same tired, discredit bigotry that because their grandparents raised themselves up from being impoverished immigrants that anyone who didn't is a "whiner." White ethnic immigrants benefited from the discrimination suffered by people of color. Moreover, as studies have shown, the disparity in family wealth caused by segregated housing prevented inter-generational wealth transfer. Simply put, white housing areas saw greater growth in home value that black neighborhoods.

Moreover, the support networks and educational opportunities available to people of color did not exist. No person is an island. Witness the success of Mayor Daley who's success came from his family's connections and the use of Irish political power. In deed, upon Daley's first win for mayoral office, Daley said "You wanted a white mayor, you got it!"

Anyone who dismisses the power of racism to hold people back need only look at Harold Washington's famous race for mayor. After winning the Democratic primary, longtime Democrats fled to support a Republican. Yep, a Republican because he was white.

This same type of racism was present in the workplace and education. People struggled for success. Some people did not win.

Others, however, did fail because of their own missteps.

Just a few weeks ago, the Sun-Times ran stories about the torture of black suspects that led to false confessions and long prison sentences. The police officers who committed those attrocities did arise in a vacuum.


If I implied that all African-Americans use the N-word, I misspoke. Of course, I can't know what all African Americans have said. Sorry if t hat was not understood.

Why are we finger pointing as our children are about to enter another school year? This might be the time for us to look to our past to find the answers to our future.

Our ancestors were held captive for over two hundred years, but once the shackles were removed they evolved. Children of former slaves became: teachers, doctors, writers, etc. The black schools were not equal to the white schools but they used what they had and found ways to get what they needed. The difference between now and then is that our ancestors didn't totally depend on the government to supply them with their educational needs. Philanthropist and the church were major contributors to our schools. Black schools were progressing, then the depression hit. Unfortunately times became hard for everyone.

Well guess what? We are still free. We now have mega churches and a whole lot of millionaires. (By the way we helped to make a lot of these millionaires by buying their expensive cloths and gym shoes for our children). We also have the ability to form PTO's, maybe even a mega PTO or two or three.

Of course the government should do more for our schools. But, I know first hand that even white schools do a lot to get extra money from other sources. For one, in my sixteen years of residence in the suburb were I live, the voters have never voted down a referendum to raise taxes for the schools. Two, the PTO works very hard to raise extra money.

I'm a product of the CPS system and my husband is a teacher in Chicago. “It takes a village to raise a child?. Pastor Evans out of Texas has started an adopt a school program for churches. To me that’s taking action. That’s going back to the past and taking a lesson from our ancestors.

I just wanted to make a comment. I read some of the blogs and skimmed through the others. In order to recognize there is a problem, you hve to admitt there is a problem. All this confusion is not about the N-Word, it is about the people who are in charge of the schools not willing to stand up and say "something is wrong". Rev. Meeks has recognized a problem and he is trying to reach out to those who have the power to fix it. The problem is they have yet to admit that something is not right inside these schools. How come no one made noise when he preached this sermon at the beginning of July? I am so glad that the tactics that were used by diverting the attention away from the real issue, will not work. People wake up!

To: Proud Salem Member PC

For you to try to come off as HOLIER THAN THOU in your rant, speaks volumes about what you're learning from Rev. Meeks. Many folks can agree with the message without agreeing with the tactics employed delivering the message. Sometimes a self-serving, conniving delivery will prevent well intentioned people from receiving the point.

Mrs. Mitchell, in my earlier post I said that uneducated parents usually (NOT ALWAYS) produce uneducated kids. Maybe I should say uneducated parents are more likely to produce uneducated children. A mother that can't spell can't help her child win a spelling bee. This is not insurmountable as you have stated that so many of our people have achieved, but their parents pushed education, something that is not being pushed today as much.

This is a question for Jean;is there anyone black in your world?Have you ever had a black friend?Have you ever respected ayone in politics?Do you think your kids excelled(you say) because you raised them reciting poems before they started kindergarten ? What does it say about you that you can agree with a sometimes cynical man who can get drunk and beat his wife like Steinberg?What does that say about you?I always tell a story about my first day in kindergarten after we moved in the middle of the year.After roll call the teacher asked whose name she did't call(looking in my general direction).I answered me because she didn't say Billy.My last school let that slide and a lot of schools did until they realized that it can be damaging.But it happens.Now,you can only call me William.DON'T GET ME WRONG,I think Neil Steinberg is a genius ,somtimes, but He thinks he's a genius ALL the time.Every now and again he rubs me the wrong way.Like all white geniuses do. Especially SUN-TIMES geniuses.I met him once and told him I liked his stuff and he couldn't look me in the eye.I don't know if it because I'm black.It didn't bother me then.All I thought was "there goes a genius".

What's with Congressman Meeks? He gets enuff attention at his "big mouthed" church on tv every week! I'm Black! And I NEVER use the word 'nigger'!! Even co-workers who DO use it towards me, I let them know I get offended! The morons who DO use it all the time are total morons! No matter what their "over-educated" brains tell em. Blaming those videos, songs, movies and "social backgrounds" are just an excuse. People need to live for today and NOT for the past! This is the year 2006! Not 1966. Or 1806!!

Mary, its a 'catch-22'situation. Meeks wants better schools. However, being a democrat, he has to back the teacher's union no matter what. And they will always protect mediocre teachers. So it's all a show on his part.

I’d prefer reading in my native language, because my knowledge of your languange is no so well. But it was interesting!

I’d prefer reading in my native language, because my knowledge of your languange is no so well. But it was interesting! Look for some my links:

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This page contains a single entry by Mary Mitchell published on August 2, 2006 9:42 PM.

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