Showing posts from 2014

White’s Racial Attitudes Matter!

I often hear Black people say, “I don’t care how White people feel about me as long as they can’t discriminate against me.” This attitude suggests that the way to combat racial discrimination is not to confront White people about their racism; rather, the solution is to pass and vigorously enforce anti-discrimination laws. I think these people are wrong. White's racial attitudes, not those held by people of color, play the dominant role in shaping public policy in American society. During the 1960s, Congress passed and President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law some of the strongest anti-discrimination laws in the history of the country: the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Voting Rights Act of 1965; and the Fair Housing Act of 1968. Nearly 50 years later, with the support of many White Americans who believe that racial discrimination against people of color is a thing of the past and that White people are now the real victims of discrimination , many of these basic rights a

To Many Whites, Blacks Are Just Not “Normal.”

I don't want it [drugs] near schools! I don't want it sold to children! That's an infamia. In my city, we would keep the traffic in the dark people, the coloreds. They're animals anyway, so let them lose their souls      - Don Zaluchi from the movie, The Godfather - One of the things I really enjoy doing is going to a bookstore to grade my students work, and to read and write while drinking the nectar of the gods, coffee. I guess because I have a friendly face and look like an easy guy to talk to, from time-to-time I end up having conversations with total strangers, which can be both a curse and a blessing. It’s a curse when I have a lot of work to do. It can be a blessing, because I often end up having some really interesting conversations over a cup of Joe. At some point, I often get asked, “So, what do you do for a living?” Although that is a common question in a status conscious society like America where people’s worth tends to be measured by the k

The Sobering Truth About White's Racial Attitudes

" A people which oppresses another people cannot itself be free. "                   - Karl Marx to the English working class on the Irish question - Let me begin with a very simple premise: most white people know little or nothing about the history of racism or the root causes of racial inequality in American society, have little or no interaction with nonwhites, and believe that people of color, especially black people, have no one to blame but themselves for why they linger behind whites on practically every indicator of social and economic well-being in American society. Part of the reason for this is rooted in the failures of our nation’s educational system. Most white students I encounter in the classroom – the future leaders of this country – have either no understanding or have just a cursory understanding of the history of slavery, Jim Crow segregation, or the civil rights struggles of the past or those that continue today. And, most do not entertain any n

A Letter To My White Progressive Friends The Day After The 2014 Midterm Elections

Dear Progressive White Allies, Your family and friends let America down once more. It wasn't low turnout by black and brown voters in urban communities. It wasn't bad messaging. It wasn't gerrymandered districts. It wasn't the hundreds of millions in dark money spent. It wasn't the manipulation of voting rules and procedures. It wasn't the negative ads turning off voters. It was the voting behavior of your friends and relatives. You know these people. You talk to them daily. You spend holidays with them. You work alongside them. You are next door neighbors to them. You work out at the gym with them. You cringe but mostly look the other way after one of their racist, sexist, and homophobic comments. It's time you talk seriously to them about the future of our country. I remember after the 2000 presidential election being a part of a conversation with mostly white activists and organizers from around the region in January 2001. Leading the discuss

The Black Community and the Police: Do the Police Serve and Protect or Are they Simply Agents of Social Control?

What is the original purpose of the police? The key historical role of the police was to regulate class conflict, that is, to preserve the access of elites to basic resources, protect private property, and control the labor force that's needed to provide the surplus the nation’s wealthy and well-to-do live on. Since the LAPD coined the phrase back in the 1950's, in the popular imagination, it is now to “Serve and Protect.” However, in the case of Black people, the police have always been the coercive arm of the government charged with the responsibility of social control, not with the responsibility of serving and protecting black people. This role played by the police became more conspicuous and deadly as Blacks began moving out of the rural South and into urban cities of the South and industrial cities of the North during World War I. Attracted by the possibility of securing good paying jobs and the opportunity to escape a harsh slavery-like farming plantation system,

Nothing About the U.S. Supreme Court’s Ruling in Riley v. California Stops The Police From Searching Your Smart Phone If They Want To

Should the police be able to search a suspect’s cell phone without a search warrant? On June 25 of this year, in Riley v. California , the U.S. Supreme Court in 9-0 decision held that searches of smart phones and other electronic devices are not subject to limited searches without warrants in the same manner as people’s wallets and vehicles. Chief Justice, John Roberts, writing for the High Court, contended: Modern cell phones are not just another technological convenience. With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans “the privacies of life,” … The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought. Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple – get a warrant. The High Court’s ruling has significance for a majority of Americans.