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Race, Politics, and Cynicism

Race, Politics, and Cynicism

What can these people do to damage their credibility. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney suffers no backlash for embracing and fundraising with Donald Trump who openly questions whether the President is an American. Ron Paul published racist newsletters throughout the 90s and he’s also a politically viable Presidential candidate who must be listened to and taken seriously. Why is it open association with racism doesn’t disqualify people from running for the highest office in the land. What’s more troubling is the cynicism with which this is discussed. Race-baiting is just another tool in the American mailbox to be deployed and debated as if there are no real world consequences to American citizens or I guess Americans of any importance.

– C.S.

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Bayard Rustin, Barack Obama, and Homophobia in the Black Community

Bayard Rustin, Barack Obama, and Homophobia in the Black Community

After President Obama’s announcement yesterday I’ve been thinking about the LGBT community, the black community and how they intersect in doing so I’m reminded of Bayard Rustin. As someone who started the Freedom Rides, was an early practitioner and Martin Luther King Jr.‘s teacher of non-violent resistance Bayard Rustin holds an enormous place in the history of black folk here in the United States. Rustin like many black folks was also gay. This didn’t stop him from helping to found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference although it did lead to him being forced from it’s leadership in 1960. Repeatedly Rustin was ostracized for his sexuality among those of his race even while joining them in fighting for the equal rights and respect as a man that they’d deny him. It seems the advocates of inequality have chosen to replicate this choice on a national level among religious African Americans and LGBT people. In far too many cases religion has won out over ethics and have led us to choose to impose our beliefs on fellow citizens in violation of the rights that should be shared equally among every person. This is one of the reasons that I don’t subscribe to the belief that black people in America are in some way more noble, enlightened or fair than the rest of Americans we are people with biases and motives just the same as the rest. While our place in society and history are unique our hearts and minds operate according to the same principles that have reigned since time immemorial. Yesterday President Obama became the first American President to support same-sex marriage. While I highly doubt this will cost him any votes among African Americans as it has been suggested I’m hopeful it will push forward the conversation about Black LGBT folk and homophobia in our community.

cross-posted @ TheYBC

 

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How Race Interacts with Justice

How Race Interacts with Justice

Salon has an excellent interview with American law scholar Kenneth Mack on the way race and the law intersect and define each other. Here’s a quote on civil rights lawyers and their personal experience in the black community at the time.

“What did you learn about the relationship between race and the law by writing it?

By looking at the civil rights struggle through the lives of black civil rights lawyers we learn about the contested nature of racial identity, even in an era where segregation was supposed to make race into something fixed, not fluid.”

I think this speaks to how we think of race as an unchanging dynamic today even though it’s been in fluctuation since the concept was created. Also it works to disabuse people of the notion that there was an overwhelming consensus in the Civil Rights Era as it’s been properly defined when our heroes of yesteryear had many of the intra-community pressures and differences that people still hold today. The interview is great and I’d recommend folks to go read the whole thing.

The color-blind scales of justice?

x-posted @ theybc

– C.S.

 

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Joe Walsh, Barack Obama, and Affirmative Action

Joe Walsh, Barack Obama, and Affirmative Action

Here is the argument against “affirmative action” in perfect form. Opponents of affirmative action argue that the accomplishments of African Americans are questioned if there is the possibility of affirmative action is present. Even in cases that see institutions simply acknowledge race as a factor among many, without quotas or a point system, people cry foul as if they just can’t trust a black achievement unless they’re double-sure that no one ever looked upon them more favorably. Here we see this dynamic even when an African-American succeeds on a national platform where the application process is determined by the votes of millions of Americans. Even in this most transparent of hiring processes the achievement is tainted merely by the presence of melanin in the skin of the victor. In Rep. Walsh’s mind the possibility that President Obama earned his title in the same manner that 43 presidents before him did is untrue. President Obama got a “leg up” from the American electorate as a whole because he was a black person. What would a black person have to do in Rep. Joe Walsh‘s world in order to be “legitimate” success? If Barack Obama winning a national election where he was scrutinized by the media and voters and won the approval of (much) more than half isn’t an earned success then what possibly could be?

x-posted @ theybc

 

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Study: All-White Jury Pools More Likely To Convict Black Defendants

Study: All-White Jury Pools More Likely To Convict Black Defendants

Duke University released a study on Tuesday that showed that juries are significantly more likely to convict a black man if they are all-white. While this news doesn’t constitute as shocking the good news is that the presence of one black person mitigates the affect in a significant fashion as well. The news comes as no surprise historically or psychologically we line in a nation that trusts law enforcement and the criminal justice system without question. Many people seem to believe that if someone is arrested then they are probably guilty. People feel as if innocent people just aren’t harassed or falsely accused by the law. Combine this with a group of people all judging someone that they feel is “other” than them and the high rate of convictions seems to be an obvious consequence. The presence of one black juror mitigating the effects is encouraging but when you have prosecutors who push for all white jury pools then the hope from this news is muted.

cross-posted @ theybc

 

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