Showing posts from 2012

Neoliberalism, the Fiscal Cliff, and the Fate of Black People

As was the case in 2008, when I voted for Barack Obama for president in 2012, I did not embrace the fantasy (perhaps, it should be referred to as "the delusion") that many of my liberal and progressive friends had that Obama was secretly a "lefty" and shared our values and that his "middle of the road approach" on the campaign trail was a ruse, a stratagem, subterfuge, a cleaver maneuver on his part designed to hoodwink white people hesitant to support a black man for president. Once in office, some black people I know invoking a righteously indignant tone preached to me, the president would be the progressive we had all been hoping and praying for after 8 years of George W. Bush. Reality has set in for most people on the left. The president is not a "lefty." Although I believe he is slightly left of center, he does not share our core leftist values or our leftist economic and political agenda. But I voted for him two times. Explain y

The Racial Attitudes of Non-Hispanic Whites May Make Election Day a Nail-biter

Last month, I was invited to participate on a panel discussion about the 2012 presidential election. The panel, Four More Years?: The Historical, Philosophical, and Political Implications of President Obama's Reelection, was organized by African-American Studies, and the Departments of Philosophy and Political Science at Central Connecticut State University. As the panel started to wrap up after nearly an hour-and-a-half of spirited discussion, the moderator and chair of African American Studies, Dr. Felton Best, asked people to raise their hand if they believed that President Obama would be reelected. The vast majority of the students in the room and all of my fellow panelists, including Dr. Best, raised their hand. He then asked people to raise their hand if they believed the president would not be reelected. A very small number of students raised their hand. Looking to his right and noticing that I had not raised my hand to either question, he then queried, "well, how

From The Party Of Lincoln To The Party Of The Ku Klux Klan

More and more, the GOP looks increasingly like the Party of the Ku Klux Klan than the Party of Lincoln. Faced with a Faustian choice to either embrace the growing racial and ethnic diversity that is sweeping the nation or cling to a dying white supremacist ideology, the Republican Party appears to have embraced the old racial order to achieve power and success in the American political system. The effort by Republican-controlled legislatures to suppress the voting rights of people of color through a range of tactics, including voter ID laws, proof of citizenship laws, and the shortening of early voting, has been well-documented . According to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York School of Law , "Overall, 25 laws and 2 executive actions passed in 19 states since the beginning of 2011." While Republican lawmakers claim the changes are needed to protect the integrity of the ballot box, every once in a while, they slip up and their true intentions are exposed, such as

“So Rich, So Poor:” A Book Review

Edelman, Peter. 2012. So Rich, So Poor: Why It's So Hard to End Poverty in America . The New Press: New York, NY. The Associated Press recently surveyed a diverse group of economists, think thanks, and academics – nonpartisan, liberal and conservative – and found a broad consensus. America's poverty rate is growing and is now as high as it was during the mid-1960s when President Lyndon Johnson declared his War on Poverty. According to Peter Edelman, in his new book, So Rich, So Poor: Why It's So Hard to End Poverty in America , poverty is not only high and growing, but, it is touching the lives of many groups of Americans, from the chronically underemployed to once economically secure families living in the suburbs. And, millions more can expect to fall into poverty as government assistance from unemployment insurance, Medicaid, welfare and food stamps continues to dry up. Peter Edelman, Professor of Law at the Georgetown Law Center, is the Faculty Director, Center

There Is An Epidemic Of Violence; We Can’t Afford To Be Silent Any Longer

I include myself among the millions of people all around the world who are outraged at the failure of the police in Sanford, Florida, to arrest and charge with murder, neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman, for accosting, assaulting, and then murdering an unarmed 17 year-old, Trayvon Martin, as he walked home from a store. There have been marches and demonstration all over the country demanding justice. In many places, the protestors wear like Trayvon, hoodies, and hold up what he purchased that night, a can of Arizona ice tea and a bag of Skittles. Responding to calls to end his silence, President Barack Obama finally spoke out , calling Trayvon's death a tragedy. "I can only imagine what these parents are going through," the president said, adding that he couldn't help but think about his daughters. "I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this. "My main message

The Hidden Hues of Humanism | The Humanist

This is a very interesting article about secular humanism and communities of color that was published in The Humanist. The Hidden Hues of Humanism | The Humanist "There is already a robust freethought tradition in the black community, for example. We can go back at least as far as abolitionist Frederick Douglass. NAACP cofounder W. E. B. Du Bois is another prominent example. During the Civil Rights movement of the 1940s through the ’60s the leader of its well-established secular wing was journalist and union organizer Asa Philip Randolph. He organized the 1963 March on Washington at which Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Randolph was later recognized in 1970 by the American Humanist Association with its Humanist of the Year Award. Another such activist was Freedom Ride organizer James L. Farmer Jr., founder of the Congress of Racial Equality and the 1976 AHA Humanist Pioneer. Beyond social justice advocacy, we find the arts overflowing with prom

“If it looks like a duck; walks like a duck; and quacks, it’s a duck:” The Party of Lincoln’s Race Problem

Its official, Herman Cain has "enthusiastically" endorsed Newt Gingrich for president of the United States. "There are many reasons, but one of the biggest reasons is that I know that Speaker Gingrich is a patriot. Speaker Gingrich is not afraid of bold ideas, and I also know that Speaker Gingrich is running for president and going through this sausage grinder," said Cain. "I know what this sausage grinder is all about. I know that he is going through this sausage grinder because he cares about the future of the United States of America." Cain, the former head of Godfather Pizza and a former frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination who suspended his campaign in December under a cloud of allegations of sexual and marital deviance is black, and to some, this is the kind of prima facie evidence that supports Newt's claim that he is not a racist. I concede that there are times when my eyes and ears seem to lie to me about certain things, bu

Prof. Bilal Sekou Talks About the Connecticut Senate Race


Preserving Voting Rights and Expanding Access to Voter Registration in Connecticut

In commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, in my role as Chair of the Board of Directors for Common Cause in Connecticut, I participated in a press conference – along with Connecticut's Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, and Secretary of the State Denise Merrill – to call for preserving voting rights and expanding access to voter registration. At the press conference, the Governor and Secretary of the State proposed the following legislation: Election Day Registration, online voter registration, and amending the state's constitution to allow "no excuse" absentee voting. My sense is that these can be really important election reforms for Connecticut. For example: Election Day Registration can be an important tool for boosting voter turnout. Voter turnout rates are typically 10 – 12 percent higher in states that offer Election Day registration, higher than in states without EDR. EDR allows voters who may have been mistakenly purged from voti