“One A Day” Black History Month ~ Mr. Jean Gregoire Sagbo

By Jueseppi B.

Fifth in the “One A Day” Black History Month Series….is Mr. Jean Gregoire Sagbo. I must admit, this Black man I did not know about, so this “One A Day” entry was educational for me as well.

Jean Gregoire Sagbo (Russian: Жан Грегуар Сагбо, born 1962) is a Benin-born Russian real estate agent and politician. His position is councilor of Novozavidovo. Sagbo is the first Russian of African descent, or Afro-Russian, to have been elected in the Russian Federation. He has been referred to as “Russia’s Obama“.

Sagbo immigrated to the USSR in 1982 to study economics in Moscow. He married a woman from Novozavidovo, a town of approximately 10,000 people located 100 km north of Moscow, and moved there in 1989. He has two children. During his first year in Novozavidovo, his then-4 year old son Maxim was spat upon. Sagbo confronted the spitter and eventually other onlookers supported Sagbo. Racial attacks have taken place numerous times in Russia, 49 times in Moscow in one year according to an advocacy group. Sagbo speaks in French-African accented Russian.

About 10 years prior to his first election, he organized a volunteer effort for an annual garbage collection day. He also planted flowers and cleaned streets in front of his home without pay.

As a councilor, Sagbo collected donations to turn dilapidated lots between buildings into parks. Sagbo was elected in 2010. He has expressed annoyance at being referred to as “Russia’s Obama” because the two are both merely black. The position of councilor is unpaid.

Sagbo has been quoted as saying “Novozavidovo is dying…this is my home, my town. We can’t live like this.” Vyacheslav Arakelov, the mayor of Novozavidovo said “His skin is black but he is Russian inside…the way he cares about this place, only a Russian can care.”

People in this Russian town used to stare at Jean Gregoire Sagbo because they had never seen a black man. Now they say they see in him something equally rare — an honest politician. In a country where racism is entrenched and often violent, Sagbo’s election as one of Novozavidovo’s 10 municipal councilors is a milestone. But among the town’s 10,000 people, the 48-year-old from the West African country of Benin is viewed simply a Russian who cares about his hometown.

“His skin is black but he is Russian inside,” said Vyacheslav Arakelov, the mayor. “The way he cares about this place, only a Russian can care.” Russia’s black population hasn’t been officially counted but some studies estimate about 40,000 “Afro-Russians.” Many are attracted by universities that are less costly than in the West. Scores of them suffer racially motivated attacks every year — 49 in Moscow alone in 2009, according to the Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy Task Force on Racial Violence and Harassment, an advocacy group.

He said he feels no racism in the town. “I am one of them. I am home here,” Sagbo said.

Next in the “One A Day” Black History Series…… Mr. Russell Simmons.

The Proofreader…..Dear White America: Letter To A New Minority, By Tim Wise

By Jueseppi B.

Tim Wise is among the most prominent anti-racist writers and activists in the U.S., and has been called, “”One of the most brilliant, articulate and courageous critics of white privilege in the nation,”” by best-selling author and professor Michael Eric Dyson, of Georgetown University. Wise has spoken in 48 states, and on over 400 college campuses, including Harvard, Stanford, and the Law Schools at Yale and Columbia, and has spoken to community groups around the nation.

Wise is the 2008 Oliver L. Brown Distinguished Visiting Scholar for Diversity Issues at Washburn University, in Topeka, Kansas: an honor named for the lead plaintiff in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision. He is the author of White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son, and Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White. A collection of his essays, Speaking Treason Fluently: Anti-Racist Reflections From an Angry White Male, was published in the Fall of 2008. And in case you have not guessed, Mr. Wise is one of the very few caucasians in America I respect & admire.

Constantly on tour, Tim Wise is one of the most prominent anti-racist essayists, educators and activists in the US. He is regularly interviewed by CNN, Tavis Smiley, Tom Joyner and Michael Eric Dyson. His essays are published on Alternet, Counterpunch, Z-net, Black Commentator, the Black Agenda Report and the Daily Kos. His blog is widely followed at http://www.timwise.org


Tim Wise has written another blockbuster! His new book, ‘Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority,’ is a cogent analysis of the problems of race and inequality as well as a plea for those who harbor views about race and racism to modify and indeed eliminate them. While the book’s title addresses white people, this is really a book for anyone who is concerned about eliminating the issue of racial disparity in our society. This is must read and a good read.” — Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., the Jesse Climenko Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and the Executive Director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice. He is the author of a number of books, including “The Presumption of Guilt: The Arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr.and Race, Class and Crime in America”Tim Wise is an American hero in the truest sense of the term – he tells the truth, no matter how inconvenient that truth might be. ‘Dear White America’ is a desperately needed response to the insidious mythology that pretends whites are oppressed and people of color unduly privileged. In the process, it exposes how new forms of racism have been deliberately embedded into our supposedly ‘color blind’ culture. Read this book – but rest assured, it’s not for the faint of heart.” – David Sirota, syndicated columnist, radio host, author of “Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live In Now.


I just finished “Dear White America” and I believe it is a must read for all white-Americans in this particular election year. I am probably not the “typical” reader/demographic for Tim Wise’s works, yet I find him to be a great thinker, educator, & student of history. Having read Tim’s books “White Like Me” (which is one of my top-10 all-time favorites), “Colorblind”, & “Speaking Treason Fluently”, plus owning two DVD’s of Tim’s speeches on White Privilege, much in this book seemed to me to be a compilation of his other material, but updated with some current facts & statistics that I believe are especially important to all voters in this important upcoming Presidential election, no matter where your political alliances lie.

This book is, to me, much more “readable” than “Colorblind” while addressing most of the issues in that excellent work. My only personal gripe with some of Tim’s earlier books/writing is that sometimes it’s too “academic” in nature, & I worry that some people may not persevere to complete the book. This is a book I’ll be giving to many friends, & even some not-so-friendly acquaintances. Although I stated that I believe this is a must read for all white-Americans, I believe it’s an interesting read for all people. I wholeheartedly give this a 5-star rating. Can you guess I like this book?

“America is back. Anyone who tells you otherwise, anyone who tells you America is in decline or that our influence has wained, doesn’t know what they’re talking about.
This nation is great because we built it together. This nation is great because we world as a team. This nation is great because we get each other’s back.
We need to end the notion that the two parties must be locked in a perpetual campaign of mutual destruction.” ~  President Barack Obama.

 Go Out On “NO”vember Sixth, Twenty Twelve & VoteDemocratic. Vote For Barack Hussein Obama. Four More For Forty Four. “BARACK” The Vote.

“Disagree Intelligently, Use Facts, Truth & Common Sense.”

A Return To The Extended Family

By Jueseppi B.

Sometimes I sit and think back to the days of my childhood, growing up in a home filled with love and caring. I was born in Sicily, and my grandparents moved us to Chicago when I was 4 years old. In our home the extended family was normal. Cousins, uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews were all welcome to our dinner table and our spare bedrooms. I am glad to see this is making a comeback.

Economic times are the reason in some families, but in some cultures, this has always been the way of the family.

The term extended family has several distinct meanings; a family that includes in one household near relatives in addition to a nuclear family. In modern Western cultures dominated by nuclear family constructs, it has come to be used generically to refer to grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins, whether they live together within the same household or not. However, it may also refer to a family unit in which several generations live together within a single household. In some cultures the term is used synonymously with consanguineous family.

In an extended family, parents and their children’s families often may live under a single roof. This type of joint family often includes multiple generations in the family. From culture to culture, the variance of the term may have different meanings. For instance, in India, the family is a patriarchal society, with the sons’ families often staying in the same house.

In the joint family setup the workload is shared among the members. The roles of women are often restricted to housewife duties and usually they involve cooking, cleaning, and organizing for the entire family. The patriarch of the family (often the oldest male member) lays down the rules and arbitrates disputes. Other senior members of the household baby sit infants in case their mother is working. They are also responsible in teaching the younger children their mother tongue, manners and etiquette. This is not always the case.

In my household growing up, my grandmother “ran things”. She was the “patriarch” of the family. Granny was the peacemaker, and she saw to it that everybody was feed, cared for, and made to feel “at home’. Granny was never labeled or held to just one role….she was the Queen of her castle.

The house often has a large reception area and a common kitchen. Each family has their own bedroom. The members of the household also look after each other in case a member is ill.

An increasing number of extended families across the USA are under the same roof, living together either permanently or temporarily. Sometimes these arrangements are multigenerational, with adult children, grandchildren or an elderly parent sharing quarters. In other cases, an extended family bunks together, with siblings, cousins, nieces or nephews sharing space.

The reasons are economic, social and demographic. The recession and its aftermath have pushed extended families to share space at a time when the average age at first marriage has climbed to 28.7 for men and 26.5 for women. And life expectancy — now 75.7 for men and 80.6 for women in the USA — continues to rise. The flow of immigrants into this country also has been a factor; immigrants are more likely than other groups to live with members of their extended family.

Living together can be a perfect solution for upcoming generations who have young children, ageing parents or a tight budget. Rather than placing elderly family members in a nursing home, where care is suspect and the cost is above the reach of most families, bringing our loved ones back home with us is the common sense solution.

As jobs have disappeared and houses have been foreclosed on, many Americans are sharing space to save money. A new study by the Pew Research Center found the number of people in multigenerational households grew by 2.6 million between 2007 and 2008. But the bad economy isn’t the only reason more homes are filled with several generations; the trend has been under way since 1980.

Generation Gap Closing

The Pew study found that the share of people in multigenerational households has grown by a third since 1980 — to 16 percent of the population — and young adults are leading the way. The center’s Paul Taylor says baby boomers may have come of age protesting just about every conviction their parents held. But, he says, that generation gap has virtually disappeared among their children, the so-called “millennial” generation.

“It seems rather admiring of older adults,” Taylor says. Millennials “believe older adults have values that are better than their own. At some level they’re becoming buddies with mom and dad, and they may not find it so unusual to still be living in their childhood bedroom.”

These so-called “boomerang kids” aren’t the only ones driving the trend of extended family living. Older adults are also slightly more likely to share such households. Demographers say the generation that gave birth to the baby boomers has a lot more kids to potentially move in with.

Another big factor is the increasingly large share of the population made up of immigrants, who are far more likely than native-born whites to live with grandparents and grandchildren.

“Particularly among Hispanic families, they are looking for larger-sized homes,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors. “And some of the Asian communities are just accustomed to living with grandparents in their home countries, so they’re adopting it here as well.”

Mr. Yun says home sales were the same last year as in 2000, even though the U.S. population grew by nearly 30 million. Clearly, he says, people are moving in with each other instead of buying their own place.

Whatever the reason behind this trend, I believe the extended family is a positive thing and it will help strengthen the family. A strong extended family is essential in the growth and stability of our families, and the protection of our children. Protecting and nurturing our women and children is vital to the future survival of our planet.


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