Saturday, December 26, 2009

News: Community Outraged as Black Man Shot in the Back

Witnesses say the man was surrendering, but officials in Rockford, Ill., near Chicago dispute that version of events, saying that Mark Anthony Barmore grabbed for an officer's gun after they cornered him in the church.


This Aug. 28, 2009 photo shows Pastor Melvin Brown of Kingdom Authority International Ministries Church in Rockford, Ill., second from left, leading a group of about 200 marchers down State Street to City Hall in honor of Mark Anthony Barmore, who was killed in August during an altercation with police. The NAACP is renewing a call for federal standards on police use of force after what it describes as the police killing of an unarmed man inside a church as day-care children watched.  (AP Photo/Rockford Regoister Star, Amy J. Correnti)

This Aug. 25, 2009 photo shows onlookers, including Mark Anthony Barmore's father, Anthony Stevens, second from right, watching as police investigate the fatal shooting of 23-year-old Mark Anthony Barmore, inside the Kingdom Authority International Ministries Church in Rockford, Ill. The NAACP is renewing a call for federal standards on police use of force after what it describes as the police killing of an unarmed man inside a church as day-care children watched. (AP Photo/Rockford Register Star, Amy J. Correnti)

Both sides do agree, however, that Barmore fled when officers approached him in the church parking lot, which highlights the suspicion and fear that can poison relationships between police and minority communities across the country.

"There are no national standards for the use of force (or) training for use of force," Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said Friday.

The issue "is not primarily about racism," Jealous said, citing the recent case of a 72-year-old white woman tasered by a white Texas officer during a traffic stop. "We want to make sure the standards are the most modern and appropriate ones possible."

The NAACP scheduled a rally Saturday in Rockford and a march Oct. 3. Jealous was planning to attend both; it would be his first march since taking the NAACP's helm a year ago.

The NAACP is seeking the reintroduction of the Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act, first offered by John Conyers, D-Mich., in 2000. It was co-sponsored by 34 legislators but was never voted on by the full House.

Click to read.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Glover v. Obama: Who is Right? Maybe Both of Them.

Elliot Millner, J.D.

Danny Glover recently directed some criticism at President Obama, regarding his lack of action in dealing with issues disproportionately impacting the Black community. President Obama fired back, saying that he was not neglecting Black issues, and that the issues he was being asked to address could not be fixed in one term, much less one year.

So, who is right? I'm not a fence-rider, however in many instances there is truth on both sides of a dispute or issue, and that is the case here. To be accurate, Danny Glover didn't call out President Obama for simply not paying enough attention to Black people; he called him out for his overall policy approach, and it's similarities (in Glover's opinion) to the policies and approach of the Bush administration. This is a fair criticism, for a couple of reasons. Despite the conservative media's protests to the contrary, Obama ran as a moderate, and that is basically what he is on most issues (if you don't think so, compare Obama's campaign platform to that of Dennis Kucinich or John Edwards). Former President Bush, although a Republican, was also considered a moderate (too moderate for many Republicans) on many issues. So, it is no surprise that President Obama may look similar to President Bush in his views and actions on some issues (most obviously in his war policy). I'm not saying I like it, but that is the reality. This is not an issue new to our current President, or to politics as a whole. Many (especially those who argue for the need of a strong third-party in American politics) have made the argument that there is little difference between Republicans and Democrats (often calling them "Republicrats") in general, especially when dealing with higher offices, such as the House, Senate, and presidency.

Glover went on to critique President Obama for bailing out Wall Street, yet neglecting to offer significant assistance to "Main Street". This is a common criticism made by many across the political spectrum, and is equally valid. Continuing with the "Republicrat" theory, President Obama, whether out of a desire to or not, did cave to the interests of Wall Street, by not only giving them billions in bailout money, but by placing very little regulation on what those companies receiving bailout money ultimately did with it. The rhetoric may be different, however the result for Wall Street (and Main Street) is the same.

Although other aspects of what he said may receive more attention, to me, the most significant point that Glover made was regarding the systemic issues affecting the ability of any politician who wants to make change to do so. People need to understand the political system and the political process, and that includes understanding not only how to register to vote, but more importantly, how campaigns are funded and how the legislative process works. As presently structured, the campaign finance system allows far too much input from large corporations and unions, and any interest with large sums of money. The cost of running for elected office is so high (especially for President) that it requires that a candidate cater to some form of corporate interests. Although the corporate interests may be different depending on party or candidate, they do still both depend a great deal on that financial support, and once elected, they are expected to show thanks for that support with legislation that serves the interests of those who put them in office.

Now, given this landscape, we get to President Obama's reply. He stated that he had not forgotten about the issues affecting Black people; however, as President, he could not "pass laws that say I'm just helping Black folks." As a politician, President Obama understands how things work. We are not talking about how things "should" work; we are talking about how they "do" work presently. President Obama could propose legislation to directly deal with the issues affecting Black people, however to do so would be political suicide. Not only does any legislation have almost no chance of passing through both houses of Congress (especially given the increasingly blatant racially-hostile environment in the U.S.), it would result in an incredible backlash to Obama from the many white voters (and money-givers) who helped put him in office. President Obama knows where his political loyalty lies, and it is not with Black people. President Obama is a politician, and his focus is not only on getting elected and enacted legislation, but getting re-elected. It's a numbers game, and to ask a politician (any politician) to go against the people and interests that got him elected, is as absurd as asking a corporate CEO to not make moves to increase the profitability of his or her company, because it may cause American workers to lose jobs. A politician (including Obama) and a CEO are both about the bottom-line; for one (the CEO) it is about increasing profits for shareholders; for the other (politician) it is about getting elected and re-elected.

So, Danny Glover is not necessarily wrong in his criticisms of President Obama, and ultimately the system as it is presently structured. And President Obama is not necessarily wrong in his reply. The root issue that they both address, either directly or indirectly, is the problem with the system. As long as corporate interests take priority over the needs of the people (even if that means addressing needs specific to Black people), then making changes that are necessary will continue to be a difficult process.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Black News: Tiger’s Wife Wants Half

2009 in review

TIGER Woods' wife Elin Nordegren wants a divorce, sole custody and half his estimated £370 million ($671 million) fortune, according to a newspaper report.

The superstar golfer has also reportedly reneged on a promise he made to his wife to go into rehabilitation to wean himself off the prescription drugs Ambien and Vicodin.

A close friend of Ms Nordegren told the News of the World: "Tiger was supposed to be working on getting better and he hasn't done anything. Instead he just went to stay with a friend and says he's 'trying to get better on his own'.

"Elin is livid he hasn't checked into rehab and gotten himself off his drugs. He's acting like a big baby," the source said.

"Now she wants 100 per cent divorce, 100 per cent custody of the children and half of everything. And she won't be changing her mind."


Click to read.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Jackson Estate Not Paying It’s Attorneys

If it is true, that any press is good press, then are quite a few folks in the music business who should be happy about the media spotlight shown on them this week.

The approach of year's end ushers in sadness as we remember the loss of the Michael Jackson, who died in June. Jackson's fans showed their support of his works, and spent a lot of money doing it. to reports, Jackson's estate is believed to have earned $100 million. While that is a good figure, there's a bit of an issue. The estate's administrators, lawyer John Branca and music business veteran John McClain, have reportedly not been paid

Click to read.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Black News: Government Illegally Spied on Nation of Islam


WASHINGTON — Homeland security officials improperly gathered intelligence on the Nation of Islam, a black Muslim group, but government rules were “unintentionally and inadvertently violated” and only publicly available information was collected, according to documents made public Wednesday.
Internal correspondence shows the 2007 report – titled “Nation of Islam: Uncertain Leadership Succession Poses Risks” – was created by an intelligence group working within the Homeland Security Department.
Hours after the report was issued, officials recalled it, deciding the report violated intelligence rules against collecting or disseminating information on U.S. citizens for an extended period of time. It had been disseminated widely over the Internet to numerous federal agencies, state and local law enforcement, several congressional committees, intelligence agencies and parts of the private sector, a reviewing officer found.

Click to read.

Wrongful Convictions: Another Obstacle in our Path

Elliot Millner, J.D.

While a large portion of the mainstream media focuses its energy on covering stories about Tiger Wood's personal affairs, or Chris Brown's twitter temper tantrum, or other gossip mag nonsense, multiple stories about wrongfully convicted men (all Black) being exonerated and released from prison were being overshadowed (For case details, see here, here, and here).

The fact that these travesties of justice did not receive the media attention that they deserved is not surprising, given the unfortunate frequency of cases such as these, and the general apathy and complacency that has developed to such blatant examples of injustice. It also doesn't help that these wrongful convictions disproportionately impact Black men, who everyone knows are all criminals and and belong in prison anyway (that is sarcasm). According to data from The Innocence Project:

Of the 247 post-conviction DNA exoneration's they reported, 148 were Black men, who served an average prison sentence of 13 years before being released; in addition, 18 of the men exonerated had confessed to crimes that they did not commit.

Keep in mind that these are only the exoneration's reported(the first DNA exoneration did not take place until 1989), and also that these are only DNA exoneration's, not including other exoneration's of innocent individuals not based on DNA. The Innocence Project and other organizations focus on cases involving DNA evidence because of the increased likelihood of successful exoneration; for the unlucky person wrongfully convicted without any DNA evidence involved, the chances of release from prison are very slim.

Any rational person who does not believe in the innate criminality of Black males, will likely acknowledge that for each of these DNA exoneration's, there are many more cases in which the wrongfully convicted person was not exonerated, and either died in prison, was put to death (17 of the 247 exonerated by DNA evidence were on death row), or served out a sentence for a crime they did not commit.

As with virtually all other aspects of the criminal justice system, race is proven to play a role in the disproportionate impact of wrongful convictions on Black men. The seven most common causes of wrongful conviction are considered to be eyewitness misidentification; unvalidated or improper forensic science; false confessions/admissions; government misconduct; use of informants/snitches; and bad lawyering (Source: The Innocence Project). Without writing a thesis on the subject, there is substantial evidence that demonstrates how each of these areas can and does frequently result in wrongful convictions generally, and specifically for Black men, who are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system for a variety of reasons beyond the simplistic argument that Black people commit more crimes.

There are multiple issues that need to be addressed pertaining to the excessive presence of Black men in prison for actually committing crimes, without having to worry about Black people being imprisoned for crimes that they didn't do.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holder Joins Obama in Making Elitist Attack on Absent Black Fathers

Elliot Millner, J.D.

Attorney General Eric Holder recently spoke at a Black church in Queens, NY, and during his speech he gave Black fathers another talking to, stating that:

"It should simply be unacceptable for a man to have a child and then not play an integral part in the raising and nurturing of the child."

Sounds good on face value. Who doesn't think that any man who has a child should play a vital role in that child's growth and development? A.G. Holder is 100% right on that point, and I have no disagreement with him whatsoever.

However lets look beyond the truthfulness of the words. When communicating, there are many other factors to consider other than what is being said. So, let's consider the question: If a person is truly concerned about promoting the increased participation of Black father's in their children's lives, what would that person do? Seemingly, a person sincere about achieving that goal would go speak to the people most in need of that talk, in this case Black fathers who were not being responsible for the children they had helped bring into the world. Although I'm sure it may have been some people in Memorial Presbyterian Church who were being negligent in their parental duties, I doubt that A.G. Holder's message applied to the majority of them.

In fact, the people that Attorney General Holder was talking to in the church were his intended audience, but not for any noble intent of helping to increase Black father's participation in their children's lives. A.G. Holder, like President Obama and Bill Cosby before him, was gaining brownie points with mostly middle-class Black folks by disparaging a group of people that is admittedly easy to talk bad about: absentee Black fathers.

As stated before, I am not arguing the truth that there are large numbers of Black men who are not fulfilling their fatherly responsibilities. However, it is outrageous for A.G. Holder and President Obama, two pretty intelligent Black men, to make the sometimes complicated issue of absent Black fathers into a simplistic attack aimed not at improving the situation, but at increasing their political standing amongst the Black middle-class. It they truly cared about doing something about this important issue, they would first talk to the people in question. This may require some effort, because a lot of absentee fathers are absent for various reasons that neither President Obama or A.G. Holder have chosen to address, and they may not blindly come to a church to hear either Obama or Holder speak.

Beyond the lip service, both President Obama and A.G. Holder are in positions to exert influence in areas that play a significant role in why many Black fathers are absent. It is absolutely disingenuous of both of them to repeatedly pile on absent Black fathers, without addressing:

-The role of poverty and underemployment in many of these situations(specific to the Black community, because the unemployment rate for Blacks is significantly higher, and influenced by a variety of unequal factors).

-The role of mass incarceration of Black men on the cyclical absence of many Black fathers.

-The role that Black women play in this situation.

-The role that sub par public schools plays in limiting employment opportunities for many Black fathers.

-The role that persistent racially discriminatory policies play on all of the items listed above.

This would demonstrate a genuine effort to address this issue that is of great importance to many Black people. Isn't it interesting that President Obama avoids the discussion of race like H1N1, yet when he does discuss race, it is to show support for Henry Louis Gates, a fellow Ivy grad(without knowing all of the facts, and after ignoring far more blatant examples of police brutality and profiling), and to repeatedly talk about absent Black fathers? And I know the Obama followers (different from rational supporters) will say that it's personal, because his father was not around, yet that does not provide a full explanation of this pattern. Having lived in the situation, President Obama knows that the issue is far more complicated than he and A.G. Holder have made it out to be.

If Pres. Obama and A.G. Holder are not willing to explain all of the variables at play regarding absentee Black fathers, and not only the ones that play well to Black middle-class supporters(and of course potential white voters as well), then maybe they need to stick to their usual pattern concerning racial issues, and remain silent.

From Cradle to Prison: The Battle for the Souls of Black Children

Elliot Millner, J.D.

As with the adult criminal justice system, a series of decisions are made during the process of a juvenile being arrested and charged with a crime. From the initial decision to observe/stop/search; to the decision to detain and then arrest; to the decision to prosecute; to the decision to decide to charge as an adult or juvenile; to the decision to detain the juvenile prior to trial; to the decision to offer a plea or take the case to trial; to the decision regarding sentencing and probation requirements.

Despite the fact that white youth report using and selling drugs at a rate significantly higher than Black youth(even once population disparity is calculated in), and are shown to commit delinquent acts at rates very similar to Black youth, it is Black youth who are:

26% of all juvenile arrests

31% of referrals to juvenile court

32% of youth judged delinquent

40% of youth in residential placement

46% of youth sent to criminal court

58% of youth admitted to adult state prison

(*Source: Building Blocks For Youth Initiative Report)

There is much statistical data that shows the impact of racially disparate treatment in the juvenile justice process, just as is the case with the adult criminal justice system. Those that claim that race plays no part in the juvenile and adult criminal justice process make the same argument, which is that Black youth and adults simply commit more crimes, which is why there are so many more Black people in prison. This argument is in many ways misleading, and a blatant distortion of the facts. To support the assertion of Black criminality, these individuals use the same covertly-racist "moral failings" argument; Black people simply lack proper morals and values, and therefore are more prone to commit crimes than white people. This argument would seem too absurd to require a reply, if not for its acceptance not only among many whites, but also amongst many gullible people in the Black community as well.

Like most arguments with deceitful motives, those who argue the moral inferiority of Black people ignore almost all additional information required to get an accurate picture of crime statistics. They ignore the disproportionate police presence in Black communities; they ignore the impact of persistent poverty and shortage of adequate employment and social service resources on crime rates in general; they ignore the impact of racially disparate sentencing, which not only sends Black people to prison for excessive and disproportionate lengths of time, but also erodes the community from which those individuals (who may or may not have been involved in criminal activity, but who may have also been breadwinners and fathers) came from; they ignore the pathetic school systems, with teachers who are shown to be far more likely to label Black children as problems, ADD, ADHD, or placed in special education programs;most obviously, they ignore the documented negative impact of racism and cultural ignorance throughout the juvenile and adult criminal justice process.

This ideology of forgetfulness and distortion is self-serving to many whites. It allows them to portray Black men as villains and deserving of any punishment they receive, and also to not accept any role in the continued destruction of countless lives, while they are able to wallow in unearned white privilege and all the benefits that come from it. It is also self-serving to many Black people who consider themselves to have "made it", because it allows them to deny any responsibility for the plight of other Blacks who are still struggling, and also to feel some foolish arrogance and superiority for being fortunate enough to have either not grown up in a hellish environment, or to have had a person or people to guide them in the right direction.

We cannot allow ourselves to continue to be shamed into silence. We have nothing to be ashamed about. Any group of people subjected to the conditions that many Blacks have lived in for generations will have problems, especially when those problems and the root causes of them are consistently ignored. The false arguments of moral inferiority and "choicism" are ideas projected onto us by whites who are reaping the benefits of generations of mass immoral behavior, which was largely supported(or ignored) by the government. The causes of the problems facing Black communities, which are ongoing, stem from the abnormal behavior of white people toward us; the effects that we continue to see are normal given the circumstances producing them, and have been replicated in numerous countries, by people of various backgrounds.

When a Black child is introduced into the criminal justice system, it places them on a de facto career path that few are able to escape from. It is no exaggeration to say that the fight to change the structure of the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems, in addition to making ground-level change in our communities (including increasing community-based approaches to dealing with juvenile misconduct) , are the biggest issues we will face over the next several years. Virtually all of the other major problems facing the Black community in some way emanate from this central issue. Cowardice, inaction, and silence are not an option. Our continued existence is at stake.

If it is not clear to you already, when we begin to take things for granted, things get taken away from us. We must redevelop activist mentalities, whether we are community organizers, janitors, corporate attorneys, or elementary school teachers. This backlash of ignorance that has become more prevalent since the election of President Obama is not going away on its own. The foolish acts of individuals is disturbing, but it is not even close to our main problem. The problem is systemic and institutionalized, and has been the status quo for years. This status quo will not change by doing the same things we have been doing, or by doing nothing. Become educated about current issues directly affecting our communities( such as The Fair Sentencing Act of 2009); become aware of programs or people doing unique things for community development, (such as Geoffrey Canada and the Harlem Children's Zone); become educated about issues and make your voice heard-blog; contact your representatives to let them know about your concerns about certain issues; become active in organizations doing things for the Black community, or start your own organization. The one thing that is absolutely inexcusable to do, is nothing.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Obama is on Top, but Many Blacks are Still on the Bottom..Why are you suprised?

Elliot Millner, J.D.

For a variety of reasons, many Black people in America are quick to latch on to any glimmer of hope that the racism, white supremacy and other ignorance that has been directed at us during our entire existence here is declining, or has disappeared completely. No matter how obvious it is that this is not the reality, many of us refuse to accept what is right in our faces, and instead take the approach of the figurative ostrich burying their head in the sand.

So, it was not at all surprising to see so many Blacks (and others, for similar or very different reasons depending on the "who") swallowing the "post-racial" kool-aid upon the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States. No matter how much history has shown us that the success of an individual Black person has no correlation to an improvement in the status of Black people as a whole(in many cases it has had the opposite effect), many Black people continue to fall victim to this delusional hope. Many of us have clearly driven ourselves crazy with denial, to the extent that no matter what happens, no matter how blatant the act, we refuse to see the obvious racial causes and motivations. Some of us have allowed ourselves to be guilted into refusing to speak up about racial issues because we don't want to be labeled as using the "race-card", or being a "race-baiter", or even more ridiculously, being called a "reverse-racist".

Now, it appears that the election of President Obama wasn't the magic wand that was waved and erased racism and white supremacy from the United States. Actually, it appears that things are on many fronts getting worse for the masses of Black people. And, although it does play a role, this worsening is not all due to the current economic downturn that we are in. As was stated recently in this article among many others, Black people are suffering in various areas of life in ways disproportionate to what is happening to white people. Our unemployment rate is increasing faster; our foreclosure rate is increasing faster; our child malnourishment rate is higher; and our communities continue to be targeted by police enforcement and we continue to go to prison at rates far beyond our percentage of the general population.

Now, the people who accept the delusional view that race has nothing to do with any of this, will find ways to attempt to argue that Black people are simply doing this all to themselves, despite the staggering amount of evidence to the contrary. To convince these people that racism still exist is about as pointless an activity that a person can take on. These people are quick to argue "personal responsibility" and "personal choice", yet refuse to recognize that these are learned qualities, and that no amount of either will completely overcome systemic obstacles and barriers. These are the people that accept the new liberalist, covertly-racist idea of mass moral inferiority of Black people; since biological inferiority didn't stick, the new argument used by many whites to justify the position of many Black folks is that we simply lack the morals (work ethic, personal responsibility, commitment,etc.) to succeed. It has nothing to do with racism or white supremacy..if Obama can do it, then ALL Black people can. This is a common argument used throughout U.S. history by many whites(and a sadly increasing number of Blacks), and it is the same argument that was given during Jim Crow, when Madame C.J. Walker and other Black people were becoming millionaires, in the midst of lynchings and government-supported discrimination and brutality against Black people. The point is, as stated above, the success of a few Black individuals does not correlate to an improvement in the condition of the masses of Black people. The barriers in place are situated in such a way so as to allow a handful of Blacks(and other minorities of course) to trickle through, as long as those allowed through are willing to "erase" any semblance of Blackness from their being. This breeds hope amongst the masses, which prevents mass insurrection.

And, on top of everything, many white people feel the need to take out their frustrations about their own struggles on us. This is reflected in the increase in hate crimes against Black people and other minorities, in addition to the increase in white people joining white supremacist movements(blatant ones and those disguised as political organizations), and the general increase in blatant acts of racism across the country, and particularly online, where it is easy for ignorant cowards to anonymously post all types of racist and white supremacist nonsense.

None of the above is an excuse for anything. We don't have to make excuses. The majority of Black folk are hard-working and have exhibited a supreme level of moral character in the face of rampant ignorance. The point is also not to attack President Obama. He is a politician; that is his job. He is not the saviour of Black people, or any people for that matter. The problems in our communities need to be addressed on the ground-level first. That does not mean that we should not push for legislation that will benefit Black people specifically, however legislation alone is not going to repair all the damage that has been done.

"The master's tools will never be used to destroy the master's house". President Obama, even if he had the desire, cannot make the changes necessary for us to address all of the problems affecting Black people. He is a politician, and one who is dependent on more white votes(and money) than Black, and many of those white voters will not tolerate him paying special attention to Black issues. We can argue the rightness or wrongness of that, but what is the point? It is the reality.

The systemic and institutionalized problems faced by many Black people are real. To overcome them will require extra effort, and not looking to any leader to save us. We must stop the "brain drain" out of our communities; not saying that you shouldn't work, however at least dedicate some of your time and energy to efforts that directly and specifically benefit a Black community. We must quit being passive and apathetic in the face of issues that are literally destroying the lives of many Black children before they even have a chance to get started.

Many people have decided to go retro with their acts of racism and white supremacy: We may need to go retro in our response, and be willing to fight in any way needed to protect our interests.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

AP: Gov't program only helps 31,000 borrowers so far

Dec 10 02:34 PM US/Eastern

AP Real Estate Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Just over 31,000 homeowners have received permanent loan modifications under the Obama administration's mortgage relief plan, a big setback for the government's embattled effort to stem the foreclosure crisis.

To read more, follow link below:

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Why Did I Get Married?

By Syreeta L. McNeal, CPA, JD

As a lawyer who has represented men and women in divorce cases, I can tell you that when it comes to matters of the heart, people reflect and ask “Why did I get married?” I am little disappointed in the recent email posting by my dear friend, Dr. Boyce Watkins when he asks “Should Athletes Get Married?” I know that with the recent episodes of Shaquille O’Neal, Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and the like, this is a nice barbershop question to pose to the urban community.

But, I feel Boyce is missing the true issue as it relates to marriage especially when he stereotypes athletes with this type of question. With the recent public infidelities of Former New York Governor Elliot Spitzer, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, President Bill Clinton, and Former Democratic Presidential Candidate John Edwards, you can pose the question “Should Politicians Get Married?” With pastors and men of the cloth who get caught cheating, you can ask “Should Religious Leaders Get Married?” The stereotypical questions can go on and on for all types of men, but they miss the heart of the issue.

Marriage is the foundation for the family unit. Everyone remembers the story of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf. The first pig who built his house with straw had his house destroyed by the wolf because it could not withstand the wolf’s strong blow. The second pig who built his house with sticks also had his house destroyed because it could not withstand the wolf’s strong blow. The third pig who built his house with bricks was able to withstand the wolf’s strong blow.

Like the three little pigs’ parable, a person’s marriage needs to be as strong as the third pig’s house made of bricks. The big bad wolf represents temptation of all kinds that are meant to destroy your marriage. To withstand this temptation, you must have a strong foundation in your marriage. In my opinion, each individual (male or female) should discover the real reason why their potential spouse is getting married before they tie the knot. After they discover that reason, they need to see if the real reason matches their real reason for getting married. If both parties have similar real reasons for getting married, then they have a foundation that can withstand the temptation that will come to destroy their marriage. If both parties do not share similar real reasons for getting married, then the marriage will not last when temptation comes in to destroy it.

If I were counseling Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren, the first thing I would ask or discover is what are each other’s real expectations in the marriage as it relates to love, fidelity, raising children, etc…. If each person has a different expectation for each other in the marriage for these categories, then the marriage will crumble or implode.

If you take some of the various reports as true, it appears in my humble opinion that Tiger Woods expected his wife to be a “typical trophy wife.” The image Tiger had for his wife was to appear as a good and dutiful wife in public, but allow him to roam around and mess with all types of women because he believes she is only with him for the money and he has plenty of that. I have spoken to a variety of black people who think a woman should just accept the money and accept their husband’s infidelity especially if the husband is filthy rich. I was a little shocked to hear that especially when I posed the same question to their current relationship. The same people gave the direct opposite advice and said they would do the exact same thing that Elin Nordegren did if they caught their husband’s cheating.

However, I think Tiger did not do his homework on what his wife expected from him in this relationship. Elin Nordegren came from money. She was a nanny for rich and wealthy golfers. Her mother is County Governor Barbro Holmberg of Sweden. It appears in my humble opinion, that Elin Nordegren took her vows of fidelity and love very seriously with Tiger and thought that he would cherish her, be faithful to her, and love her unconditionally and she would reciprocate that same adoration to him. So, when she discovers that Tiger has had 10+ affairs with a variety of women over a long period of time, it hurt her to the core because I honestly believe she loved him and expected more from him. She reacted like many jilted lovers do when they feel betrayed. With reports of Tiger trying to give her more money in the prenuptial agreement to stay with him, the extra money really does not matter to her right now. She is hurt, scorned and feels betrayed because the vow of fidelity she held dear to her heart for her husband is now broken. No amount of money can heal that wound at this time.

In my humble opinion, the best thing for both Tiger and Elin to do is to SEPARATE for a while. Reassess the real reasons why they are married and see if they can reconcile those differences and make their union stronger. If they can’t, let this be a lesson to each person from this day forth, you better find out from your potential spouse before you tie the knot the real reason he or she is getting married and see if it mirrors the real reason why you are getting married so that you can create a foundation that will withstand any temptation that may come your way to destroy your marriage.

Legal Disclaimer: This site provides information about the law designed to keep readers informed of pertinent legal matters affecting the African-American community. But legal information is not the same as legal advice -- the application of law to an individual's specific circumstances. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a lawyer in your specific location if you want professional assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.