Back to the Affirmative Action Wars…

In case you missed it the right has been reconditioning and rolling out their anti-Civil Rights crew frantically over the past several months.  One of the folks to get a shiny new paint job was Pat Buchanan - although with his vision of a white America as a precondition for continued greatness – I think he let the real cat out of the bag a little too quickly. George Will blubbering about how AA has hurt minorities… A Republican sitting a panel which dealt with discrimination gets canned – by railing against minorities… They have even have stalwart Lawn Jockeys like Larry Elder and Walter Williams de-fossilized and trotted out in a reprise of their racism shielding role for the conservative right in the 90′s.

So why all the sudden attention?

U.S. Urges Creativity by Colleges to Gain Diversity

The Obama administration on Friday urged colleges and universities to get creative in improving racial diversity at their campuses, throwing out a Bush-era interpretation of recent Supreme Courtrulings that limited affirmative action in admissions.

The new guidelines issued by the Departments of Justice and Education replaced a 2008 document that essentially warned colleges and universities against considering race at all. Instead, the guidelines focus on the wiggle room in the court decisions involving the University of Michigan, suggesting that institutions use other criteria — students’ socioeconomic profiles, residential instability, the hardships they have overcome — that are often proxies for race. Schools could even grant preferences to students from certain schools selected for, among other things, their racial composition, the new document says.

“Post-secondary institutions can voluntarily consider race to further the compelling interest of achieving diversity,” reads the 10-page guide sent to thousands of college admissions officials on Friday afternoon. In some cases, it says, “race can be outcome determinative.”

The administration issued a parallel 14-page outline on Friday for the nation’s 17,000 public school districts, explaining what government lawyers consider to be acceptable ways that educators can seek to reduce racial segregation, which has been increasing nationwide.

The two documents, issued as the presidential campaign heats up and as the Supreme Court considers whether to hear a new affirmative action case, were designed to give educators a clear administration interpretation of three high court cases that, since 2003, have limited the use of race in admissions, zoning and other school policies.

The contrast with the Bush guidelines interpreting the same three cases is stark. Where the Bush administration’s letter in 2008 states, “Quotas are impermissible,” the 2011 version says “an institution may permissibly aim to achieve a critical mass of underrepresented students.” Even in addressing the same principles, the framework is practically reversed.

Bush guidelines: “Before using race, there must be a serious good faith consideration of workable race-neutral alternatives.”

Obama guidelines: “Institutions are not required to implement race-neutral approaches if, in their judgment, the approaches would be unworkable.”

Colleges seeking to increase diversity while not running afoul of Supreme Court guidelines, the new document says, “could select schools (including community colleges) based on their demographics (e.g., their racial or socioeconomic composition), and grant an admission preference” to graduates of those schools. They could also “select high schools for partnership” based, among other things, on “racial composition of the school’s student body” and former partnerships with historically black colleges and universities”; consider race as they select students for mentoring programs; and sponsor retention or support programs that highlight, for example, “the accomplishments of Latino business leaders.”

Ada Meloy, general counsel for the American Council on Education, which represents 1,800 universities and colleges, predicted that educators would immediately begin to pursue ways to draw more racial minorities, as the new guidelines would ease fears of legal challenge.

“University administrators have been confused about how they could follow the court’s rulings and still achieve the benefits of diversity,” Ms. Meloy said. “So they will welcome this practical, step-by-step set of directions.”

For kindergarten through 12th grade, the guidelines tell school districts that they can shape policies on locating schools, drawing attendance boundaries and governing student transfers to achieve a better racial mix. For example, a school district with two elementary schools with distinctly different demographics could consider making one school serve kindergarten through second grade and the other grades 3 to 5 in order to force a better mix.

“Diverse learning environments promote development of analytical skills, dismantle stereotypes and prepare students to succeed in an increasingly interconnected world,”Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said in a statement. “The guidance announced today will aid educational institutions in their efforts to provide true equality of opportunity.”

Lee C. Bollinger, an advocate of affirmative action, was the named defendant, as president of the University of Michigan, in the two 2003 Supreme Court cases that laid down new markers on the permissible use of race in admissions. He described the new guidelines as “perfect.”

“It’s a very fair interpretation of what the court decided,” said Mr. Bollinger, a First Amendment scholar who is now president of Columbia University, “which is primarily that race can be one of many factors, and as long as your policies truly embody that approach, you’ll be fine, and can strive for diversity in all its benefits.” (more)

White American Voters – Cain, Obama, Immigration – The Split

How do you explain the entirely different world seen by white conservatives and that seen by the rest of us?

Some recent studies get into that, racial politics, and immigration…

 

Two Worlds of Whites

On the day after Barack Obama’s sweeping victory in 2008, veteran Democratic pollster Stanley B. Greenberg described the modern Democratic coalition as diverse America and the whites who are comfortable with diverse America.

That appears to be even more true today. The line between whites who are comfortable with the racial and ethnic change transforming America into a “world nation” and those uneasy about it increasingly looks like one of the most important boundaries of the 2012 campaign.

The big Pew Center for the People and the Press generational survey released last week offers powerful evidence on that point. Overall, in the Pew survey, 47 percent of non-Hispanic whites agreed with the statement that “the growing number of newcomers from other countries are a threat to traditional American customs and values.” Exactly 50 percent of whites disagreed.

Like an Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor survey released earlier this summer, Pew found that whites comfortable with the demographic changes now underway express very different attitudes than those uneasy about it on President Obama, the role of government, and the choices in the 2012 election.

Among the whites who find the increasing number of newcomers troubling, Obama’s approval rating in the new Pew survey stood at just 21 percent with 70 percent disapproving. The president runs much more strongly among whites comfortable with the changes: 45 percent of them approved, while 47 percent disapproved.

Both whites comfortable and uneasy about the trends say they prefer a smaller government offering fewer services to a larger government offering more services. But the uneasy whites prefer a smaller government by 40 percentage points; among the whites comfortable with the change the gap is only 17 points.

Most dramatic was the divergence between these two groups of whites in a hypothetical Obama-Mitt Romney race in 2012. Whites who consider the demographic change a threat prefer Romney over Obama by a crushing three-to-one: 72 percent to 24 percent. In stark contrast, among whites comfortable with the change, Obama led Romney 52 percent to 44 percent.

As I wrote in a column this summer analyzing the similar Heartland Monitor findings, these trends don’t “mean that opposition to Obama is primarily, or even largely, driven by racial resentment. But it does suggest that attitudes about the nation’s changing racial composition now overlap and reinforce the more familiar ideological divides, such as differences over social issues and the role of government, that separate the two parties’ electoral coalitions.” Obama may sharpen these differences by embodying, in such a personal way, the demographic changes reshaping American life.

For a closer look at the mammoth Pew study – in particular, for a look at the intersection between generational and demographic change – check out Friday’s National Journal magazine.

NC Voters Evict Tea Party Bigot School Board

Another district who has found out that Tea Bagger elected officials are toxic, and that the “throw the bums out” elections in 2009 and 2010 resulted all to often in letting the scumbags in.

This could be a bell weather of the 2012 elections, with voters expressing severe “buyers regret” over Tea Party candidates  whose often radical hidden agendas weren’t exposed until after their election.

NC voters reject Pope-backed candidates in local school board battle over resegregation

Voters in Wake County, N.C. headed to the polls yesterday in high numbers to reject a slate of conservative Republican Board of Education candidates who opposed a longstanding diversity policy aimed at avoiding high-poverty and racially-isolated schools.

The big win for Democrats and desegregation represents a big loss for conservative benefactor Art Pope, who served as the architect of the 2009 school board election that saw an anti-diversity Republican majority win control of the officially nonpartisan body, and who along with his political network backed yesterday’s losing candidates. Pope is one of the most influential money men in North Carolina politics and is a close national ally of the billionaire Koch brothers through his role as a national director of the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, which backs school privatization and whose North Carolina chapter helped Republicans in the 2009 school board race.

With five of the board’s nine seats up for grabs yesterday, Democrats won four races outright and ousted board chair Ron Margiotta, a particularly divisive figure who also serves as a trustee for a private school run by Bob Luddy, a close associate of Pope and the Koch brothers and another major funder of this year’s anti-diversity-policy candidates. Margiotta lost to political newcomer Susan Evans by 52% to 48% in Southwest Wake’s District 8, considered the most strongly Republican of the board’s nine districts. Continue reading

Africa – The Mother of All Languages

Africa – the mother of all peoples on earth, was also where the first spoken languages were developed.

LANGUAGES

The Mother of All Languages

The world’s 6,000 or so modern languages may have all descended from a single ancestral tongue spoken by early African humans between 50,000 and 70,000 years ago, a new study suggests.

The finding, published Thursday in the journal Science, could help explain how the first spoken language emerged, spread and contributed to the evolutionary success of the human species.

Quentin Atkinson, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and author of the study, found that the first migrating populations leaving Africa laid the groundwork for all the world’s cultures by taking their single language with them—the mother of all mother tongues.

“It was the catalyst that spurred the human expansion that we all are a product of,” Dr. Atkinson said.

About 50,000 years ago—the exact timeline is debated—there was a sudden and marked shift in how modern humans behaved. They began to create cave art and bone artifacts and developed far more sophisticated hunting tools. Many experts argue that this unusual spurt in creative activity was likely caused by a key innovation: complex language, which enabled abstract thought. The work done by Dr. Atkinson supports this notion.

His research is based on phonemes, distinct units of sound such as vowels, consonants and tones, and an idea borrowed from population genetics known as “the founder effect.” That principle holds that when a very small number of individuals break off from a larger population, there is a gradual loss of genetic variation and complexity in the breakaway group.

Dr. Atkinson figured that if a similar founder effect could be discerned in phonemes, it would support the idea that modern verbal communication originated on that continent and only then expanded elsewhere.

In an analysis of 504 world languages, Dr. Atkinson found that, on average, dialects with the most phonemes are spoken in Africa, while those with the fewest phonemes are spoken in South America and on tropical islands in the Pacific.

The study also found that the pattern of phoneme usage globally mirrors the pattern of human genetic diversity, which also declined as modern humans set up colonies elsewhere. Today, areas such as sub-Saharan Africa that have hosted human life for millennia still use far more phonemes in their languages than more recently colonized regions do.

(more)

Black Thor Has Conservatives In a Tizzy!

Oh My! What if they made a movie based on a Shakespeare fiction, converted into a comic book fiction about fictional Norse Gods…

And one of the gods turned out to have a decidedly southern tan?

Egads! Diversity amongst the gods?Racists Boycotting Thor Movie Over Black God

White Supremacists Boycotting Thor Over Black God

A far-right group is calling for a boycott of the upcoming Thor movie because a black actor has been cast as a Norse god. Idris Elba plays the god Heimdall in the superhero movie, a casting decision that the Council of Conservative Citizens says is an “insulting multi-cultural make-over,” Gawkerreports.

Marvel Comics is known for its support of left-wing causes and “has now inserted social engineering into European mythology,” complains the group, which opposes inter-racial marriage. Elba himself addressed the issue earlier this year, the Guardian notes. “Thor has a hammer that flies to him when he clicks his fingers,” he said. “That’s OK, but the color of my skin is wrong?”

Next they will be claiming all sorts of nonsense, like there were black confederates! Just the sort of thing to sour a Secession Ball, indeed…

 

Tea Party to Recruit Minorities

Now, I don’t know any hard working black folks who would invite, or allow their kids to invite some gang-banging drug thug into their home. Yeah, I know that in some places the line gets pretty blurred – but black dads, where there is one – and in some cases black moms and grand moms have a reputation of getting out of hand when little Sushilakawanna or Tireironrone come home with thug friends.

Here’s a hint. It’s not just the bigoted, or ignorant white folks that keep black folks away from the Tea Party.

Think you might start attracting a better class of black folks, exactly at the moment you start putting that blame thing a little closer (in your specific case – a lot closer)  to home, Mr. Armey.

Tea Party Group Wants Jews, African Americans And Hispanics

FreedomWorks, the big daddy of the tea party-sponsoring organizations, is the latest to make an attempt at shedding the movement’s all-white image. The group recently announced DiverseTea, a targeted advertising and outreach campaign aimed at extending the tea party’s reach into minority communities. After a summer of attacks on the tea party (most notably from the NAACP, which accused the tea party movement of harboring racist elements — a criticism tea partiers reject out of hand), FreedomWorks is the latest to get on the diversity train.

“We do need to reach out,” FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe told me at a meeting sponsored by the Christian Science MonitorMonday. Kibbe said the new initiative will “build a platform” for tea party leaders from across the spectrum, including “African Americans, Jews, Hispanics,” and others. Kibbe said that though it’s important the group reach out, the talk of diversifying the tea party is more about changing the perception of the movement rather than the reality.

“There is this nagging perception that we are not diverse, and I disagree with that,” he said. Kibbe told me after the meeting that the plethora of diverse voices on stage at rallies like Sunday’s 9/12 meeting in Washington (where a virtually all-white crowd was regaled by numerous African American and Latino speakers) was part of a concerted effort to show minorities that they’re welcome at tea party events.

FreedomWorks chair Dick Armey — the former congressman and bombastic public face of the organization — was a bit more grumpy when it came to discussing the racial makeup of tea party crowds.

“I really get a little tired of diversity talk from liberals,” he said. Armey blames “liberal theology” for keeping diverse crowds away.

Armey said that members “of what the establishment calls the minority identification” face criticism from their friends and relatives if they attend tea party events — or even come out as a conservative at all. The fear of that reprisal is what keeps them away from the tea party rallies, he says.

“The difficulties, the harassment, the intolerance the abuse that they suffer comes from — for example, if you’re a black American at our rally, your own community, your own relatives, your own family,” Armey said. “So it is extremely difficult for black Americans to say, ‘I am a conservative’ because they get beset in the most vicious ways.”

This is a line shouted often by tea party leaders when asked about the often stunningly low turnout of anyone other than white people at their rallies. It’s liberals that scare the minorities from stepping out of line and joining the tea party, leaders say, not anything the tea party is doing.

Utah Cancels State Fair Ads Featuring Black Actor

No accounting for lousy taste – but Utah cancelled this years ad run for their State Fair which featured a black actor. The ads have historically been largely tongue in cheek, and in past years have featured take offs on the Napoleon Dynamite movie, as well as a series which ran several years ago around a young girl.

This was one of the ads which was cancelled – which I think is a riot:

This ad series was replaced by this, from 2 years ago:

While I agree, having a black person (or any person of color) in a ad in Utah doesn’t exactly fit the states “demographic”, which is overwhelmingly white…

White folks in Utah don’t boogie to Soul Music? I mean, it was pretty much a social faux pas to have a wedding reception  in this country for the past 20 years without having the DJ either a) the Electric Slide, b) something from Kool and the Gang, or c) KC and the Sunshine Band, which while not all black, certainly were influenced by R&B…

Even if the wedding theme was “Country”!

Bullpuckkies!

Utah State Fair Dumps Ads Featuring Black Man

The Utah State Fair changed its ad campaign at the last minute … because the soul-inspired spots featuring a black man singing about funnel cakes and pigs didn’t meet “the demographics” or “flavor” of the fair, says the chairman. In their place, the Fair Board (which, the chairman says, did not preview the original ads before they started running) decided to re-run the spots from two years ago, starring a little girl and a cow. (Watch all three in the gallery.)

“People only see the ads for a week and a half or so, and then there’s nothing else for a year,” the chairman tellsKSL.com. “If it’s a good ad, why not use it? Our Napoleon Dynamite ad was a classic.”

The New Jim Crow — Enslavement By Dis-education

In most slave holding states prior to the Civil War in the United States it was illegal to teach slaves to read. There was a genuine fear that if they could read, they might read something  - Like the Declaration of Independence, which would cause them to resist their condition en masse.

Keeping folks ignorant of their history has been a prime method of enslavement and repression throughout history…

Things that go bump in the night in conservative minds...

Which is exactly why conservatives in Arizona are afraid of “diversity studies”, and conservatives in Texas “whitewashed” the textbooks.

One of the conceptual foundations roiling conservatives in Arizona is “Raza” studies. The following provides a thread of the precepts of Raza…

What State Officials Don’t Want Arizona School Children to Know

For the next few months, the world will be focusing on Arizona’s SB 1070 – the state’s new racial profiling law. However, in this insane asylum known as Arizona, where conservatives have concocted one reactionary scheme after another, another law in particular stands out for its embrace of Dark Ages-era censorship – the 2010 anti-ethnic studies HB 2281 – a law that seeks to codify the “triumph” of Western Civilization with its emphasis on Greco-Roman culture.
Unless it is blocked, HB 2281 – which creates an inquisitorial mechanism that will determine which books and curricula are acceptable in the state – will go into effect on January 1, 2011. Books such as “Occupied America” by Rodolfo Acuña and “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” by Paulo Freire, have already been singled out as being un-American and preaching the violent overthrow of the US government.

Both laws are genocidal: one law attacks the physical presence of red-brown peoples; the other one, our minds and spirits.

Lost in the tumultuous debate regarding what can be taught in the state’s schools is the topic of what actually constitutes ethnic/Raza studies. Continue reading

Financial Reform Bill Includes Diversity Requirements

Couple of factoids -

  1. Black people in the US start about 30% of the new incorporations each year – they receive less than .03% of the Venture Capital and Investment Money put into new or growing businesses.
  2. Women of all colors  start about 60% of new businesses in the US – they receive only 3% of the Venture Capital and Investment Money.

Not much of a “level playing field” – now is it?

Republicans and conservatives have opposed any move to change this, and make things more fair using disingenuous arguments about “quotas”, and other racially tinged code words.

Now the reason I call “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” black conservatives “Uncle Toms” is this – pulling yourself up by your bootstraps is exceedingly difficult, when those bootstraps have been cut by the fact you don’t have access to the very thing which makes every one of your non-minority businesses that is successful,  successful in the first place…

Access to capital.

So expect a fight by the right against ANY effort to level that field – including false arguments like quotas, Affirmative Action, and reverse discrimination…

And a lot of hayteration directed at Maxine Waters.

My own experience with exclusion of Minority owned firms dates form the early 90′s when I owned a Government Contracting Firm which specialized in very high end telecom and computer engineering. Most of my customers were other Government Contracting Firms. I never filed for any sort of 8a or Small Disadvantaged Business Classification, although we did file as a Minority Owned Small Business with the Feds. My company had 12 people working at a major Federal Contractor, who was having “problems” meeting their minority SDB and Minority Owned Business (8a) goals – and was filing for an exemption, claiming that there were no minority owned firms which could do the technical work. I pointed out to the Program Manager that indeed, 1/4th of his development staff was being supplied by my company – which was a Minority Owned Firm, although not a SDB (for which we could qualify if we wanted) or a MWOB (Minority Owned Disadvantaged Business or 8a for which we also could qualify if we wanted) and as such, they could indeed reach the 10% requirement. Although it would require hiring more people from my firm, or other like firms, of whom I gave him a list of 10 who were fully qualified and capable fo doing the work who were already certified as SDBs and MWOBs. (And no – white folks can own both SDBs and MWOBs, if they can meet the eligibility requirements).

They terminated my contract 48 hours later, and successfully got an exemption from having to hire Minority Firms because “none were technically competent to do the work”. This is the game that has been played for years at the Federal Contracting level, with the Federal Government Agency sometimes being willing participants. Republicans had managed to gut any enforcement or penalty for not meeting contract requirements (Much as they gutted the Criminal Penalties in Title IV of the Civil Rights Act) in this, and only this one area – meaning that there really wasn’t any penalty for ignoring Small Business or Minority  contract requirements.

That “level playing field” on the side of a mountain thing… Again.

Feds demand diversity on Wall Street

A little-noticed section of the Wall Street reform law grants the federal government broad new powers to compel financial firms to hire more women and minorities — an effort at promoting diversity that’s drawing fire from Republicans who say it could lead to de facto hiring quotas.

Deep inside the massive overhaul bill, Congress gives the federal government authority to terminate contracts with any financial firm that fails to ensure the “fair inclusion” of women and minorities, forcing every kind of company from a Wall Street giant to a mom-and-pop law office to account for the composition of its work force.

Employment law experts say the language goes further than any previous attempt by the U.S. government to promote diversity in the financial sector — putting muscle behind federal efforts to help minority- and women-owned firms gain access to billions in federal contracts. Continue reading

Senator James Webb of Virginia, Loses His Seat

Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, just destroyed his electoral chances with a ill conceived, and patently erroneous screed on “Diversity” in (of all stupid places), the Wall Street Journal.

Policy makers ignored such disparities within America’s white cultures when, in advancing minority diversity programs, they treated whites as a fungible monolith. Also lost on these policy makers were the differences in economic and educational attainment among nonwhite cultures. Thus nonwhite groups received special consideration in a wide variety of areas including business startups, academic admissions, job promotions and lucrative government contracts.

Where should we go from here? Beyond our continuing obligation to assist those African-Americans still in need, government-directed diversity programs should end.

Nondiscrimination laws should be applied equally among all citizens, including those who happen to be white. The need for inclusiveness in our society is undeniable and irreversible, both in our markets and in our communities. Our government should be in the business of enabling opportunity for all, not in picking winners. It can do so by ensuring that artificial distinctions such as race do not determine outcomes.

Senator Webb, this constituent is pissed at you. I am pissed at you because of your ignorance. Now, I know you are a former Republican, but that really is no excuse. You have been a Democrat now for a while. What that means is you now, unlike when you were a Republican have access to folks within your own party who fought for Civil Rights in this country. You have access to people who clearly understand the issues, are fully cognizant of the history (because they lived it), and who, like Mrs Sherrod don’t have any crosses to burn about hating white folks.

Further, as a Senator, you have access to many of the countries best legal and academic minds, who can clearly enunciate the history, the legal and Constitutional context, and operation of the various Affirmative Action and Diversity programs in the United States. So why don’t you go down down the hall and talk to one of those legal experts and learn -

Since the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the US Government cannot pass a law, legislation, or federal regulation which discriminates based on race.

Now, read that a couple of times and let it sink in.

What that means is that ANY Federal Legislation, FAR, or regulation had to apply equally to every single group in America… including the current conservative pity candidate – white folks.

First a few facts to allieviate you ignorance -

Prior to Adorand v Pena, the Supreme Court decision which effectively ended Affirmative Action in this country as a remedy for past and existing discrimination (Existing discrimination, Mr. Webb? Virginia has lots of farms, Mr. Webb, at one time many owned by black farmers. Read this on how racism, and discrimination against minorities still is a serious issue at the USDA.)…

  1. In 1993 there were over 400 Disadvantaged Small Businesses owned by white males – many from exactly the same region you are crying about.
  2. Over 90% of the beneficiaries of Affirmative Action in contracting by the Federal Government were white.

Post 1993 and conservative uproar and pushback against black folks starting businesses, the Government contracting system shifted to “Hub Zones”, ergo – companies set up and operated in economically disadvantaged areas were given “Small Disadvantaged Business” status, which allowed them to bid on small (<$200k) contracts without competition, and small competitive contracts (<$12 m) against other similarly situated companies. Hub Zones are not assigned by race – they are assigned by the income and poverty level in any particular area – meaning there are lots of Hub Zones in poor white areas, and hundreds, if not thousands of white owned companies taking advantage of the Federal Government’s “Diversity Contracting Program” as “Disadvantaged Small Businesses”.

But while you are fawning all over the racist conservative right - you might just want to read about the disparate economic impact of Minority Owned Firms, which just might be relevant because of how bad your conservative friends have screwed the American economy and the country. And what the Bushit did to Small Business -

  1. Cutting the Small Business Administration’s budget by nearly half. The SBA is the financial guarantor of only resort for many Minority owned businesses because of active redlining by commercial and merchant banks.
  2. Cutting financings of Minority and women owned businesses from 26% of total loans in 1998 to under 8% in 2007.
  3. Diverting over $800 billion in Minority and women Owned business contracts to the Big 6 Government contractors, often under false pretenses.

For reasons I can’t get a grasp on, you want to hold onto the racist meme that progress for black folks means negative progress for white folks…

And that is just plain unacceptable – because it is patently false.

Your version of a “level playing field” is the fact that black folks start 30% of the new incorporations in the United States…

But receive less that .03% of the Venture Financing as reported by Forbes Magazine.

That version of “level playing field” pretends that 10 black kids getting into a graduate program at a state university due to AA, is far more critical a national issue –  than the systematic perversion of Justice in many states where blacks are systematically excluded from Jury Pools.

In our own state – you ex-political mate Jim McDonnell has brought back a “literacy test” for ex-felons to gain back their voting rights exactly like the Old Jim Crow system of Poll Taxes and Literacy tests. Now, if a disproportionate percentage of those felons is black (see jury pools) – what exactly does that mean Mr. Webb?

Think you should take advantage of that “learning experience” Mr Webb.

BTW – I put this post under my category – “The New Jim Crow” – perhaps you should read it.

North Carolina School Board Rocked Over Diversity

Racial tensions roil NC school board; 19 arrests

Protesters take over the Wake County Public School board meeting in Raleigh, N.C. on Tuesday, July 20, 2010 during a protest on the school board decision to eliminate a busing policy focused on diversity. (AP Photo/Jim R. Bounds)

I can tell you from personal expereince, School Board Meetings can be the next best thing to Mixed Martial Arts. When you have concerned parents, fighting for what they believe is the best thing for their kids…

The slings and arrows can fly!

The source of this one in Wake County, North Carolina appears to be a new 5-4 conservative majority elected last fall, which is out to remake the school system. I have no idea what the housing patterns look like in the Raleigh area, but if they are like much of the South, they are defacto largely segregated. Meaning, if the conservative majority’s decision to implement “community schools” is passed, it will result in a re-segregation of the school system.

Hundreds rally against Wake schools plan

The current – in place plan utilizes a certain amount of busing, based on economics, and not race and apparently has become a sucessful model for other school systems. I have a feeling this is another one of those issues which is going to wind up in court.

Racial tensions roil NC school board; 19 arrests

Protesters and police scuffled Tuesday at a school board meeting in North Carolina over claims that a new busing system would resegregate schools, roiling racial tensions reminiscent of the 1960s.

Nineteen people were arrested, including the head of the state NAACP chapter who was banned from the meeting after a trespassing arrest at a June school board gathering.

“We know that our cause is right,” the Rev. William Barber said shortly before police put plastic handcuffs on his wrists before the meeting started.

Inside, more than a dozen demonstrators disrupted the meeting by gathering around a podium, chanting and singing against the board’s policies.

After several minutes, Raleigh police intervened and asked them to leave. When they refused, the officers grabbed arms and tried to arrest the protesters. One child was caught in the pushing and shoving, as was school board member Keith Sutton, who was nearly arrested before authorities realized who he was.

“Hey, hey, ho, ho, resegregation has got to go,” some protesters chanted. Continue reading

The New Jim Crow – “Culture Wars” In America – Really a Race War

This one from Truthout – Hat Tip!

This is a powerful analysis of the forces behind the “culture wars” and the desire to preserve Jim Crow as a functional entity by the right wing in America by Cary Fraser. Follow the link below to the original where support documentation is provided in the form of footnotes and links. As one example of this, work by Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness) has shown that during the height of Jim Crow, blacks went to prison at roughly four times the rate of whites; today the black imprisonment rate is seven times that of whites. (Another good reference in the prison industrial Jim Crow element of this is by Robert Perkinson – Texas Tough: The Rise of America’s Prison Empire.)

As I have reported here in The New Jim Crow series – the New Jim Crow impacts nearly every aspect of life for minorities in America, starting with access to education, credit, the ability to start business and conduct commerce, through access to jobs.

The New Jim Crow, Ubiquitous and Masked as "Culture Wars"

Coming to Terms With Equality and Diversity: America’s Ongoing Culture Wars

The recent decision by the Texas School Board of Education to revise the curriculum in the state to reflect a more “conservative” approach to social studies and history has highlighted the ongoing debate about the role of education in American society and culture. The explicit desire by the conservative majority on the Texas School Board to impose an ideological orientation in elementary and secondary education – including a shift of focus away from the civil rights movement and slavery, an emphasis upon ensuring that students be taught that the idea of the separation of church and state is not in the Constitution and promotion of the need to safeguard American sovereignty from threats posed by organizations such as the United Nations – is a barometer of the increasing uncertainty that has overtaken the conservative factions in American society. The election of Barack Obama as the first African-American president, on the basis of a well-executed campaign that demonstrated the increasing electoral influence of multi-ethnic coalitions in American politics, has served as a catalyst for reactionaries of all stripes to seek ways to reverse the movement of American society toward a greater openness and engagement with the wider world, including the diverse communities of color within the country. A recent article in the Wall Street reports that recent statistics suggest that population growth among minority groups in the United States will exceed growth rates among whites in the near future.(1) If that demographic shift takes place, the United States will become a country where there is no single ethnic group or race that will constitute a majority within the population. The promise of greater cultural and ethnic diversity in the American population is a guarantee of the erosion of the white-supremacist ethos that has defined American society over the course of its history. Continue reading

Elena Kagan Nominated to Supreme Court

Let the nomination wars begin! To be honest, I was hoping for a minority judge to provide at least some representation of minority peoples on the Court. Seems some other folks are also miffed by the choice – as in the piece below by Roland Martin. Roland’s argument is based around the facts, collected by Guy-Uriel Charles, founding director of the Duke Law Center on Law, Race and Politics that of 29 Kagan hires while at Harvard 28 were white and one was Asian-American. And of the group, only six were women — five white and one Asian-American.

Left is mute on racial double standard in Kagan pick

If a white Republican president of the United States appointed a white male as his next Supreme Court justice, and upon the inspection of his record, it was discovered that of the 29 full-time tenured or tenured track faculty he hired as dean of Harvard Law, nearly all of them were white men, this would dominate the headlines.

It would be reasonable to conclude that the special interest groups that vigorously fight for diversity — civil rights organizations, feminist groups and other liberal institutions — would be up in arms, declaring that this person’s records showed him unwilling to diversify academia, and unqualified to consider diverse views as one of nine members of the U.S. Supreme Court. There would be widespread condemnations of Republicans having no concern for the nonwhite males in America.

But if what if the choice were made by a black Democratic president, and it was a woman? A white woman? A white Democratic woman?

Some of you may not like the fact that I am focusing on the race of the individual, but when diversity is raised, the person’s skin color, gender and background are considered germane to the discussion. And if there is silence from black and female organizations, their race and gender matter as well.

We may very well witness this now that President Obama has selected Solicitor General Elena Kagan to replace the retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.

Guy-Uriel Charles, founding director of the Duke Law Center on Law, Race and Politics, has heavily scrutinized Kagan’s hiring record as head of Harvard Law School. In a scathing blog post, he has said that of the 29 positions Kagan had a chance to fill, 28 were white and one was Asian-American. And of the group, only six were women — five white and one Asian-American.

These numbers on the surface are appalling, and would be ripped to shreds by those who value diversity, but my gut tells me that even though Kagan has been tapped by Obama, the normally vocal and persistent voices in this area will be tight-lipped and quiet, unwilling to oppose or heavily criticize the nomination of a woman to the court, and especially one made by an African-American Democratic president.

If that does happen, Republicans will rightly cry foul, saying it represented a double standard — that the silence was a signal of partisan hacks more concerned about not offending the Obama administration, rather than the ideals they hold near and dear.

They don’t want to be seen as going against an ally, and they are more concerned about their access to the White House than the mission they have always valued…

Making Management Pay Dependent on a Diverse Workforce

A Conservative Nightmare

The most effective companies at recruiting and retaining top level minority talent get there by purpose. For years many major corporations have opposed efforts by conservatives to limit the number of Minorities in schools through destroying Affirmative action programs. If you look at who filed amicus curiae on behalf of the University of Michigan in the Bollinger vs. Gratz/Gruter cases – the list included 68 of the Fortune 200 – including these companies:

3M
Abbott Laboratories Alcoa, Inc.
Alcoa, Inc.

Alliant Energy Corporation
Altria Group, Inc.
American Airlines, Inc.
American Express Company
Amgen Corporation
Ashland Inc.
Bank One Corporation
Baxter Healthcare Corporation
The Boeing Company
Charter One Financial, Inc.
Chevron Texaco Corporation
The Coca-Cola Company
Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc.
Daimler Chrysler Corporation
Deloitte Consulting L.P.
Deloitte & Touche LLP
The Dow Chemical Company
Eastman Kodak Company
Eaton Corporation
Eli Lilly & Company
Ernst & Young LLP
Exelon Corporation
Fannie Mae
General Dynamics Corporation
General Electric Company
General Mills, Inc.
John Hancock Financial Services
Harris Bankcorp, Inc.
Hewlett-Packard Company
Illinois Tool Works Inc.
Intel Corporation
Johnson & Johnson

Kaiser Found. Health Plan, Inc.
Kellogg Company
KPMG Int’l for KPMG LLP
Kraft Foods Inc.
Lockheed Martin Corporation
Lucent Technologies, Inc.
Medtronic, Inc.
Merck & Co., Inc.
Microsoft Corporation
Mitsubishi Motors North America
MSC.Software Corporation Nationwide
Mutual Insurance Co.
NetCom Solutions International
Nike Inc.
Northrop Grumman Corporation
Pepsi Bottling Group, Inc.
PepsiCo Inc.
Pfizer Inc.
PPG Industries, Inc.
Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP
The Procter & Gamble Company
Reebok International
Sara Lee Corporation
Schering-Plough Corporation
Shell Oil Company
Steelcase Inc.
Sterling Financial Group of Cos.
United Airlines, Inc.
Whirlpool Corporation
Xerox Corporation

The reason is quite simple – a diverse workforce in a corporation better addresses and understands the diverse marketplace – and ultimately is more profitable. Continue reading

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