Friday, November 27, 2009

White Privilege and the President’s Security

Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III

On the evening of Tuesday, November 24 a young couple from Virginia made their way into one of the most secure events in the country, President Obama’s state dinner for Indian Prime Minister Monmohan Singh and his wife at the White House. Like the other 300 plus invited guests, Tareq and Michaele Salahi went through multiple layers of Secret Service security, took photos with Chief of Staff Rom Emanuel and mingled with Vice President Biden and other invited guests. The problem is that the Salahi’s were not invited to the dinner. Their names were not listed on the official guest list or any other list that would have allowed them entrance into the White House. They crashed the party!

All that this couple needed to gain entrance into a state dinner at the White House was a tuxedo, traditional Indian evening wear, attitude, and white skin. When they arrived at the Secret Service check point without a printed invitation and without their names on the official guest list, they were not detained or questioned. No telephone calls were made; no further inquiries were needed; just white skin, blond hair, the expectation of admittance, and a pretty smile. Had this occurred at an airport the Salahi’s would have never made it past airport security.

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Dr. Boyce: Inner City Schools Should Get Better Funding

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University, AOL Black Voices 

The following is an excerpt from the book, "Black American Money."
I saw some random "expert" on a "60 Minutes" segment discussing the state of the education system. The man was attempting to argue that more resources won't make a difference in the quality of our schools. He went on to argue that many of the pathetic schools in the inner city are run by blacks, implying that not only do African-Americans not care about their own youth, they are shiftless buffoons when it comes to money management. I've heard similar arguments from members of oppressive groups around the world, as oppressor attitudes are shockingly consistent and universal. A friend of mine from India once explained to me that additional government resources being allocated to create opportunities for "the untouchables" were a waste of time, in large part due to the fact that the people were too lazy to efficiently use these opportunities.Stereotypes against historically oppressed groups are quite common, as the world has been trained to believe that when it comes to managing money, white men are gods and black people are idiots. But when it comes to poor money management, few institutions are worse than the Pentagon which has been known to spend $500 for a toilet seat. They also fail to look to the airline and automobile industries, the ultimate welfare queens of American capitalism. These industries consistently seek government bailouts in the form of tariffs and subsidies. I won't begin to discuss the Financial Crisis of 2008 – 2009, as we saw our entire global financial system artificially inflated and subsequently destroyed by individuals who are not black. Rather, people are usually quick to point to black administrators in inner city schools and historically black colleges and universities as the most wasteful individuals in American education and industry.

 

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dr. Boyce: Barack Obama and Black Men – What has he done for us?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University 

I did a recent CNN appearance along with the actor Hill Harper and Dr. Alvin Poussaint at Harvard University. The series was a one-year anniversary segment featuring political issues within the African American community. for the entire week, the primary focus was on the impact that President Barack Obama has had onAfrican American men. Given that I've been a black man for quite a while now, I found this conversation topic particularly interesting, so getting to speak to Richelle Carey again wasn't the only perk of doing the job that day.


It must be made clear that the president should not be expected to save the entire world in one swoop. His job is difficult, and he can't give everyone what they want all the time. But to the extent that President Obama has been positioned to trump pre-existing black leadership (remember that some say we now live in a post-racial America), one can argue that President Obama's rantings in black churches come with some degree of accountability from the Oval Office. Obama has spoken at NAACP meetings, telling black men to take responsibility for our families (as if none of us do) and to engage in more personal responsibility (as if we don't do that already). Such tough talk should be backed by meaningful policy, since structural incentives play a dominant role in the ultimate choice of the individual. For example, when companies get tax incentives to invest in new projects, they almost always do.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

News: President Obama Gets Low Support Among Whites

 

approval among white Americans has fallen to 39 percent since taking office in January, Gallup Daily poll results indicated.

Overall, Obama's approval rating slipped below 50 percent for the first time in his presidency, a 16 percentage point drop since the 66 percent average he enjoyed during his first full week in office, the Princeton, N.J., polling agency said of its results released Tuesday.

Support among blacks for Obama averaged 93 percent during his time in office, and has been at or above 90 percent since he was sworn in, accounting for the reason Obama's support among non-white respondents didn't drop as much, Gallup said.

click to read.

Dr. Boyce and Richelle Carey Discuss Heather on CNN


Monday, November 23, 2009

Why We Don’t Need Sarah Palin

Dr. Wilmer J. Leon, Howard University 

With the release of her new book Going Rogue: An American Life, former Alaskan Governor and Republican party VP nominee Sarah Palin is once again being given a spotlight she does not deserve. Under normal circumstances Palin would have drifted into obscurity by now; a political has-been who never was. Instead, a sub-par politician with no substantial constituency; no command of relevant issues, and no solutions to substantive problems, is being given air and face time as though she really matters. The simple reality that few are willing to articulate is, if she were not relatively attractive, of European ancestry and a woman, Sarah Palin would be day old bread.

Former Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain (R-AZ) did not select Palin as his running mate because she was a “rogue”, innovator, or had demonstrated intellectual heft. McCain simply pandered to the Conservative Right, tried to siphon off some of the disgruntled Senator Clinton supporters, and gave America more of the same ole’ politics. From that point until now, Sarah Palin has continually tried to reinvent herself, but continues to give Americans more of the same; “all sizzle and no steak”.

Click to read.

Dr. Wilmer Leon: It’s time for a New Social Agenda

Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III, Your Black World 

Early on the campaign trail, presidential candidate Barack Obama said, "This country is ready for a transformative politics of the sort that John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Franklin Roosevelt represented." Socially, President Obama is beginning to move in such a positive transformative direction.

After 12 years of languishing in Congress, on Wednesday, October 28, President Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard / James Byrd Hate Crimes Bill. By signing this bill, the president expands the federal definition of hate crimes to include those motivated by gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability. It also allows federal authorities to pursue hate-crimes cases when local authorities are either unable or unwilling to do so. This law was named after Matthew Shepard, a gay man murdered in Wyoming in 1998, and James Byrd, the African-American man dragged to his death behind a pickup truck in Texas that same year.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Health News: Another Hurdle Jumped for Healthcare Reform

Health Care Overhaul

WASHINGTON – A bruising debate on health care awaits the Senate after Thanksgiving now that the historic legislation has cleared a key hurdle over the opposition of Republicans eager to inflict a punishing defeat on President Barack Obama.

The bill would extend coverage to roughly 31 million who lack it, crack down on insurance company practices that deny or dilute benefits and curtail the growth of spending on medical care nationally.

In the final minutes of a daylong session, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., accused Republicans of trying to stifle a historic debate the nation needed.

The Republican leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said the vote was anything but procedural — casting it as a referendum on the bill itself, which he said would raise taxes, cut Medicare and create a “massive and unsustainable debt.”

Click to read.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Heather Ellis Finally Speaks: Listen to her Side of the Story

Here is an interview that Heather Ellis did for AOL Black Voices - it appears that her side of the story is very different from the prosecution and she may have reason to sue the police department.

CNN Video on the Heather Ellis Plea Deal

Here is more CNN coverage, including final statements from Heather Ellis.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dr. Boyce Watkins: Jesse Jackson Vs. the CBC

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by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Black Planet 

I love speaking with Rev. Jesse Jackson.  He walks and talks like a man who has seen and heard nearly everything.  Our civil rights leaders are social hubs through which many members of our society must travel in order to reach their destinations.   You can’t call yourself a black man and not know the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Rev. Jackson took things a step further by stating recently at a Congressional Black Caucus function that,”You can’t vote against health care and call yourself a black man.”

RELATED: Jesse Jackson Says To CBC You Can’t Be Black And Be Against Health Care

This comment was aimed at Rep. Artur Davis of Alabama, the only member of theCongressional Black Caucus who does not support health care reform.   What is most interesting about Jackson’s comment is that he is right, but not quite.  You can certainly argue that Davis’ lack of support for the plan implies  that his interests are not in line with the majority of African Americans in this country:  Most of them love Barack Obama and are willing to support anything that he supports.  The other sad truth is that health care reform is so complicated that most Americans don’t have a clue about what’s going on.   In that regard, we can argue that it is difficult for Davis to say that he represents the black community when he votes in a direction that is not correlated with the majority of African Americans in the state of Alabama.

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Heather Ellis Takes the Plea, but Dr. Boyce Watkins has Questions

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by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Black Planet 

I have been actively involved in the fight for Heather Ellis, the 24-year old school teacher now facing up to 15-years in prison for cutting line at a local Wal-Mart.  Although Heather has now reached a plea deal with prosecutors over her arrested, there are still questions that need to be answered.  No, she was not charged with cutting in line, but it was the cashier’s reaction to the alleged line cut which led to the relevant sequence of events.  Had the cashier been more professional and not refused to serve Heather, none of this would have happened (You hear that Walmart? Perhaps that’s why your attorneys are telling you to remain silent).

I have five simple questions about the trial of Heather Ellis:

1) If “no one was seriously injured,” why was she facing up to 15-years in prison?

In the opening statements of the trial, the prosecutor in the case, Morley Swingle (the dandy fellow with the Confederate flag on the cover of his book) stated that “There was no serious injury, but it did hurt,” when referring to the alleged assaults committed by Ms. Ellis.  If no one was seriously injured, does that constitute a Class-C felony?  This statement was quite telling when it comes to understanding the style of justice being administered in the Southeast Missouri area (which is why we are sending our reports to the Justice Department after the trial is over).  Given that Ellis appears to have been the only person to go to the hospital after she allegedly beat down all of these great big men, it would seem to me that perhaps she might be the one who is able to file an assault charge against the officers.  Additionally, the defense attorney on the case, Scott Rosenblum, presented evidence in court of there being blood in Heather Ellis’ jacket pocket from the night of the incident.  This would be consistent with her claim to the doctor the next day that she was assaulted by the police.

Click to read.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Heather's Attorney is Ripping Witnesses Apart

It appears that Heather's attorney, Scott Rosenblum, actually knows what he's doing - the trial is getting interesting.

Heather Ellis Walmart Video Released on CNN

Does anyone see a smoking gun in this video?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Didn't See the Rally? This Might Not be the last one

Heather Ellis' case makes the top story on the Memphis news - the country awaits the verdict of her trial.

More Video Footage from Our Rally in Kennett

Watch video of our rally that was held for Heather in Kennett, MO.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Listen to Dr. Boyce, Roland Martin and Tom Joyner Discuss Heather Ellis

Given that Tom Joyner's Show is sponsored by Walmart, this leads to a relatively awkward conversation!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

African American students told to pick cotton in front of white classmates

A history lesson that asked black elementary students to act like slaves has sparked protests from parents and teachers at a North Carolina school Wednesday.

During a field trip to Latta Plantation, three students from Rea View Elementary in Waxhaw were chosen by tour guide Ian Campbell to wear bags and mimic picking cotton while their white classmates looked on, WSOC-TV, Charlotte, reported Friday.

Many of the teachers and parents from the elementary school said they plan on writing the leaders of the plantation regarding the racially insensitive history lesson.

 

Click to read.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sirius/XM Satellite Host Dr. Wilmer Leon Talks about Heather's Case

Listen as Dr. Wilmer Leon speaks with Elliot Millner and Pastor Nathaniel Ellis about Heather's trial.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Media Coverage on the Heather Ellis Trial Continues

CNN is going to interview Dr. Boyce Watkins on Friday, and Fox 5 has jumped on the case.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Christopher Metzler Spars with Bill O'Reilly

Dr. Christopher Metzler at Georgetown University spars with Bill O'Reilly over President Obama's position on race relations.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Anderson Cooper 360 Discusses the Heather Ellis Case

Heather Ellis' case was debated on Anderson Cooper 360

Do Black Women Have any Say in the haircare industry?

Black women spend billions on hair but don't own the companies that make it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Are Women Left out of the Golf Outings that Drive the Old boy’s Club?

 

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by Dr. Deborah Stroman, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

The latest brouhaha over President Obama’s whereabouts now includes his golf endeavors. A seemingly innocent respite away from the White House arrows and darts has turned into a diatribe over women’s equality, inclusion, and diversity. And you thought golf was a boring game for old men! Ha!

The story began with a news report, which is debatable in its own right of being news, that described Pres. Obama’s recent golf outing with one of his senior leaders, Melody Barnes. Ms. Barnes, the nation’s chief domestic policy adviser to the president, was pictured sharply dressed lugging her golf bag. Golf is generally played in groups of four so the interest increased when it was determined that she was joining or barging in on the president’s regular team of men. Oh my! Katy bar the door!

People play golf for one (or a combination) of three reasons: exercise, sport competition, and business. The days of ill dressed overweight men with tires around their waists, who huff and puff on cigars as they tee off are long gone. In fact, it is now a fashion faux pas to dress less than professional (gym clothes are not welcome) and to smoke during a round. Sir Tiger changed the game in many ways and one of the most important is his devotion to fitness. His workout regiment to be the best golfer in the world motivates all ages to get in shape to improve their game. Avid golfers and wanna-bees are seeking Pilates, yoga, stretching, strength and core training customized golf programs to reduce the number of swings to get that little white ball in the hole. And now walking the golf course is more popular, so a stop at the gym or a jog around the neighborhood is no longer necessary. Exercise by strolling through a meticulously manicured lawn decorated with exotic foliage and 18 tee boxes -- Yes!

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The Heather Ellis Case Reminds us of the Constitution: Why We need to Protect Civil Liberties

Dr. Wilmer Leon, Howard University, Sirius/XM Satellite

One of the things that make America unique is its Constitution, specifically the Bill of Rights. In its original form, the Constitution did not include a list of basic civil liberties or guarantees to the individual. Many prominent Americans, including Thomas Jefferson insisted that a list of fundamental protections be included to restrain the national government from tampering with the fundamental rights and civil liberties of its citizens. The intent of the framers of the Constitution was to level the playing field. They felt it necessary to restrain the very powerful government, prosecutors, and police from arbitrary and capricious action against the less powerful individual. Over time these protections have been passed down to the state level.

The case of Heather Ellis is a perfect present day example of why individual American citizens need to be protected from over zealous capricious prosecutors and police. For a young woman to be facing up to fifteen years in prison for trespassing, disturbing the peace, and two felony counts of assaulting a police officer, all for allegedly cutting a check-out line at a Wal-Mart is unconscionable.

Click to read.