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Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness once made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke reflects on news and events he wrote about in 2010.
It was not a great year for African Americans. Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones was elected twice, indicted twice, and removed from office twice. Miami police officers killed black males — shooting first and asking questions later. Former Miami City Commissioner Miller Dawkins and African American community legend Michael "McAdoo" Wright passed away. And the Tea Party triumphantly throttled President Barack Obama in the general election.
The only positive for Obama in 2010 was seeing Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court. They are both intelligent, capable women, especially Kagan, who was open-minded enough to protect 2 Live Crew's lyrics as free speech. And now they are serving on the highest court in the land, which is a good thing for America.
Speaking of free speech, I took a lot of heat over my opinion that the Ground Zero memorial site in New York City is no place for a mosque. Some readers and national media outlets called me a hypocrite because I stood against freedom of religion despite my own First Amendment battle. However, I'm not a guy who bases his opinions on political ideology or popular position. I sometimes take conservative positions, and other times I'm more liberal. That's the American way. I certainly respect Muslims' right to practice their religion, but I don't understand why the folks who want to build that mosque insist on putting it right next to the site where Islamic extremists murdered 3,000 people.
I also caught flak for coming to Spence-Jones's defense, and eulogizing the loss of Dawkins, a man whose good work for the African-American community outweighed the bad things he did. I feel Dawkins was as great a loss as McAdoo. Both men made positive contributions for Miami's people of color, who are woefully underrepresented in media and government.
In general, from politicians such as Obama and Spence-Jones to athletes such as LeBron James and Cam Newton, African Americans were crucified in the mainstream press. This means we writers and reporters need to achieve a better balance in the things we write.
At the end of the day, I am not Jewish. I am not Anglo. I am not Hispanic. I am a black man writing from a black person's perspective. Unfortunately, there are not enough reporters or columnists of color who can write from an African American point of view. This column is one of the few voices reflecting how blacks really feel about the news and events shaping our lives and our country. I know I'm doing something right when I walk into the Cheesecake Factory and the waiter encourages me to "keep telling it like it is," or when I go get my hair cut and the barber informs me that he drives to Miami Beach every week to pick up a copy of New Times.
That shows me people love and respect this column.
Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.