Clarence Thomas Fesses Up on ole in Conservative View of Constitution

No Tommy… The founding fathers didn’t include your black ass in the Constitution…

Thomas concedes that ‘we the people’ didn’t include blacks

It is true, Justice Clarence Thomas acknowledged the other night, that the “we the people” extolled in the Constitution 225 years ago did not include people who looked like him.

But the Declaration of Independence did, he contended, and that was something that a black kid growing up in Savannah, Ga., was told early on.

“There was always this underlying belief that we were entitled to be a full participant in ‘we the people,’ ” Thomas told a crowd at the National Archives last week.

“That’s the way we grew up. It was the way the nuns, who were all immigrants, would explain it to us — that we were entitled, as citizens of this country, to be full participants. There was never any doubt that we were inherently equal. It said so in the Declaration of Independence.”

Thomas submitted to about an hour of extremely gentle questioning from Yale Law School professor Akhil Reed Amar at an event called “The Constitution Turns 225,” co-sponsored by the liberal Constitutional Accountability Center and the conservative Federalist Society.

It was a packed house, drawn perhaps by the chance to see the “silent justice” speak. That’s far more myth than reality, of course.

It is true that Thomas hasn’t asked a question during the court’s oral arguments since 2006. But he speaks regularly to groups and law schools, and he put on a full publicity blitz when his memoir “My Grandfather’s Son” was published in 2007, including a sit-down with “60 Minutes” and a multi-part series on “Nightline.”

Thomas can on occasion be melancholy in his speeches, such as saying he sometimes envies the seemingly carefree lives he sees from his chamber windows. Several years ago, he told a group of high school students that he sometimes gets “morose,” and bucks himself up by reading inspirational speeches or retreating to the basement to watch the movie “Saving Private Ryan.”

He remains distrustful of Washington, although he mentioned during the discussion that he has lived here more than half of his 64 years. He often refers to it as “this city,” and says it is inhabited by ”cynical people who know it all.”

The “unlettered” people he grew up with, especially his grandparents, he said, withstood “the most difficult circumstances with a dignity that’s unmatched in this city.”

Amar repeatedly brought the conversation back to the point that under the original Constitution, people “like us” were not included. And Thomas spoke extensively about race — after noting with sarcasm that “people say horrible things about it — they say I’m not black, so I’m just a little doubtful I should say I’m black.”

“I always think it’s so fascinating to think of these black kids in the segregated school in Savannah reciting the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States or standing out in the schoolyard saying the Pledge of Allegiance every day before school,” Thomas said.

“I mean, everything so obviously in front of you is wrong. You can’t go to the public library. You can’t live in certain neighborhoods. You can’t go to certain schools. But despite all of that, you lived in an environment of people who said it was still our birthright to be included, and continued to push, not only to change the laws, but to maintain that belief in our hearts.”

Thomas also noted a period in his college years in which the belief was not so strong.

Pate Robertson and Condoleeza Rice on Mac and Cheese for Thanksgiving

Enjoy everyone, dinner with family and friends wherever you are!

 

Mormons and Black Folk

Went to college in the West. One of the schools we played sports against every so often was Brigham Young. Starting in the mid-late 60′s, as a result of the Civil Rights movement, the pushback against the racist teachings of the Mormon Church historically and at that time became much more intense. While there certainly are Mormons who are racist, as there are in just about any other religion – Mormons weren’t really a part of the Southern racism which drove segregation and Jim Crow. It fell into the category of “other”…

Historically, the issue surrounded Church Founders views and “revelations”. Revelations which were not inconsistent with anti-abolition racial attitudes at the time of the founding of the Church.

BYU Choir - These Folks Can Sing!

Mormons were a bit thin on the ground here in Northern Virginia until the mid 60′s. I remember my parents always attending various social events for the Links, my Mother’s Sorority, and the black fraternities at the Marriott Key Bridges.  Bill Marriott, the founder of the Hotel Chain was probably the local area’s best know Mormon. I asked my Dad, why the various events were always at the Marriott – and he said “It’s because it’s the only major hotel in the area which will rent ballroom facilities to black folks.” Turns out, Marriott Hotels didn’t segregate, whereas every other hotel from the HoJos to the Hilton did in the South. Many black organizations were loyal to Marriott for a generation because of that.

You can’t regulate what someone thinks of you, but it is ultimately their actions towards you which really count.

Mormons, particularly those from the Wast – are about the “whitest” folks in America. I’m a big fan of the NBC show, “The Sing Off”, and have to confess that I love the sound of a Choir, whether Gospel or “traditional” (maybe because I can’t sing a lick). The Brigham Young University Choir is one of the best of the best from year to year, and this year the guys doing A Capella on the Sing Off were very good. BYU Choirs also compete against HBCUs in Gospel. One of the Sing Off segments involved singing traditional R&B this year, to which several of the singers had a laugh about some white boys from BYU trying to sing Soul Music coming from a background where not much beyond pops and country is played on the radio. Good sense of humor.

So, if Mitt Romney is the Republican Presidential candidate – will most black folks not be voting for him because he is a Mormon… Or because he is a Republican. I honestly think that Republican thing, and the bad racial freight attached to that is what counts, anymore.

Has the Mormon Church Truly Left Its Race Problems Behind?

The Mormon Cathedral in DC, euphemistically called "The Wizard of Oz Cathedral" by locals as it rises majestically above the Beltway

It’s looking more and more likely that Barack Obama will be facing Mitt Romney next November. According to recent polls, Romney’s much-debated “Mormon Problem”—considered by some to be a main roadblock to the Republican nomination in 2008—has decreased in salience among the white evangelicals on whom he’ll probably depend in both the primary and general elections. But one element of the Mormon problem that’s yet to be vetted will come into stark relief should this match-up take place: the Mormon Church’s troubling history of racial exclusion.

This history is a long one, stretching back to the inception of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in the 1830s. Joseph Smith Jr., the founder of Mormonism, ran for president in 1844 as a moderate abolitionist; ordained a black man, Elijah Abel; and offered to adopt one young black convert, Jane Manning James, as his spiritual daughter. Yet earlier in his life, Smith wrote anti-abolitionist screeds replete with racist sentiment typical of Christian pro-slavery apologists of antebellum America. In one 1836 letter to missionaries in the South, Smith excoriated northern abolitionists as the instigators of discord among southern slaves who, he argued, were generally happy.

Other figures early in the Church’s history illustrated such prejudices as well. The Mormon Prophet Brigham Young stated in 1852, “Any man having one drop of the seed of [Cain] … in him cannot hold the priesthood.” Up until the mid-twentieth-century, some prophets perpetuated the idea that blacks were spiritually inferior, the permanently cursed descendants of Ham and Cain (a myth once popular in many American churches). In 1931, Church President Joseph Fielding Smith, the great-nephew of Joseph Smith Jr., wrote a widely distributed treatise—still available on Kindle—asserting that blacks were “fence-sitters” during a pre-mortal battle between God and Lucifer. When they were sent to Earth, according to Fielding Smith, blacks were marked with darkened skin as a permanent reminder of their perfidy. Until 1978, black men were forbidden from holding the Mormon priesthood, a sacred status that almost every Mormon male attains, and black couples could not marry in Mormon temples, a revered ceremony that Mormons believe unites the family for eternity.

This aspect of LDS history will probably prove less of a problem for Romney than for his Church, which is actively trying to change the dominant perception of Mormons as all but exclusively white. Romney’s presidential bid does not rely on the black vote, and he has put distance between himself and the history of racial exclusion once practiced by his church. On “Meet the Press” in 2007, Romney tearfully recalled the moment in 1978 when he heard that the Church had lifted the century-and-half-long ban on blacks holding the Mormon priesthood. “I was driving home from … law school. … I heard it on the radio and I pulled over and literally wept.” Since then, Romney has reached out to some black communities; a January 2008 Salt Lake Tribune article reported that Romney aided poor Massachusetts Haitians—using the French he acquired as a young missionary—while serving as the Church’s regional leader in Boston in the 1990s…

Read the rest here.

Tavis Smiley and Sheila Jackson Lee on Obama’s CBC Speech

No surprise here with Tavis having heartburn with the speech President Obama made before the Congressional Black Caucus. What is interesting is Sheila Jackson Lee’s response…

With 40 members in the House – seems to me the CBC could be quite effective at taking out some of the trash, in terms of tying the Tea Party Rethugs in knots. Why won’t they do that?

On Black Folks and Blue Voting

This is a very good article, in that it goes beyond the rhetoric to looking at the root causes of the black-blue alliance. Well worth a read to get beyond the trash, and racist rhetoric advanced by conservatives. The core rationale for black folks supporting Democrats is economic…

Now that the economy is changing, the response to prevailing economic conditions, and creation of a new economic model which includes black folks is paramount.

Black and Blue

The Black and Democrat Alliance has a lot more to do with factors such as jobs, economic security, and distrust of small government than just race...

When we talk about American social models and the need to go beyond what I’m calling the blue social model and on to liberalism 5.0, race needs to be discussed.  The collapse of the blue social model, a shift from federal to local power and a shift from government to the private sector are not race-neutral topics.  It’s not just the underclass in the inner cities who face problems as the old models of subsidy and support become less sustainable; middle class African Americans compared to whites tend to work disproportionately in public sector jobs or in private sector jobs like health care that are heavily subsidized by government transfers.  A pension crisis for state or federal workers will hit African-American families harder, proportionately, than white ones; municipal layoffs and bankruptcies will have a disproportionate effect on both the African-Americans who depend on these services and those who are paid to provide them.

If you believe as I do that the old model is going to have to change because we just can’t pay for it anymore — and if you also believe that a less bureaucratic and less statist society can be a richer and a happier one — you need to think seriously about what this means for the group in American life most closely tied to the failing blue system.

And to understand the politics and emotions swirling around politics today, you have to come to grips with the racial subtext in the conversation about the breakup of Big Blue.

Not that I am trying to guilt-trip white America.  Most white Americans strongly believe that the struggle for racial equality is a vital component of American life.  Not everyone agrees with what should be done going forward, but you have to turn over the rocks and look hard to find people who want to turn the clock back – say, towards the kind of legal segregation I grew up under in the Jim Crow South.  The conversation we need to have about the next stage of liberal thought isn’t about race blackmail and pious PC. Continue reading

The New Jim Crow & Black Buying Power – Ramifications For Some Industries

Study: Black Buying Power Increased Dramatically

For a list of things going right in the black community – never ask a black conservative “buckdancer” – or a conservative period.

(Buckdancing is a real art form, BTW – which along with “clogging” is a dance style to bluegrass and old-style country music. It evolved from a combination of  “clogging”, a European style -  early African American dance, and traditional Cherokee dance, principally in the Appalachians. This is the  national champion buckdancer, Thomas Maupin doing some freestyle Buckdancing. I think you will agree. Thomas has some serious moves.)

And yeah, I put that in there just to irritate the hell out of the closed-minded set.

These studies support a dramatic increase in economic power, and significant progress across the educational front in the black community. The black population also seems to be growing faster than some previous studies have indicated.

The “African-Americans Revealed” study, based on a BET survey of 80,000 black consumers over 18 months, showed a 10 percent increase in America’s black population between 2000 and 2008 and 55 percent increase in black buying power over the same period.

According to the survey, black buying power is estimated now at about $913 billion and is projected to increase to $1.2 trillion by 2013.

A similar study released in November by the Selig Center at the University of Georgia estimated that black buying power would be about $1.1 trillion by 2014, with current spending power for blacks at about $910 billion…

These numbers look about 20-30% low, actually – compared to more detailed studies I’ve seen. One of a number of issues in calculating the black contribution to the US economy is in defining who exactly is black, and what exactly is black enterprise. As the line between black, white, and multiracial becomes fuzzier – I would anticipate calculations of this sort become more difficult and are subject to a higher margin of error.

Blacks spend a large part of their disposable income – $39 billion – on computers, cell phones and other electronics, the survey showed. That’s about 31 percent of the available disposable income.

The survey also showed that blacks spend more time each week online than they do watching television.

According to the study, blacks spend about 18 hours each week online, compared with 15 hours watching television.

It would seem that the feared “Digital Divide” during the 90′s has largely disappeared. What is interesting is the migration towards the Internet as a source of information and entertainment. According to Nielsen, the average US consumer watches TV about 38 hours a week, and only uses the internet about 8 hours a week. Unless the brothers are out there watching porn. or playing online games – this has some pretty interesting ramifications relative to literacy and educational levels.

Nielsen May 2009 Viewership Numbers for Americans

Last but not least, belieing the “black folks is ignorant” crisis fawned by black conservatives and Chicken Littles…

“African Americans Revealed” predicted there will be 42 million blacks in the United States, which would be a 13.4 percent increase over the 2000 Census. The total population growth for the nation in the upcoming Census is projected to be 9.8 percent.

Researchers at the University of Georgia who compiled the separate buying power study in November said the gains in black buying power reflect much more than just population growth and inflation.

“Of the many diverse supporting forces, one of the most important is the increasing number of blacks who are starting and expanding their own businesses,” Georgia researchers said.

The fact that blacks are getting more education and better access to higher salaries also is boosting buying power. The percentage of blacks who have completed high school or college increased has increased from 66.2 percent in 1990 to 83 percent in 2008, according to Census data cited in the report from the Selig Center.

Doggone them black folks! Give them a chance …

And they’ll go an try and improve themselves!

Now – there are some interesting implications to black American buying habits in terms of their importance to certain industries.  Just about none of the infrastructure behind supplying those consumer electronic products and communications devices is in black hands. Another infamous SCOTUS 5-4 decision by the “fab” five put the kabosh to that with Adorand v Pena.

So if the Democrats are really going to go to war with the SCUMMUS 5 over their recent sell out of Democracy…

Maybe it’s time to review all of those 5-4 decisions.


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