Monthly Archives: July 2008

DON’T BLAME IT ON RIO: BLACK MEN AND GENDER PRIVILEGE

By traveling abroad, men have found a way to get their groove back. And it’s not just through sexual encounters, but also a new sense of manhood and satisfaction.
 
 
 
  
  
July 3, 2008–I recently traveled abroad to the Dominican Republic with some of my closest male friends.
 
Before I left, I read Don’t Blame it on Rio: The Real Deal Behind Why Men Go to Brazil for Sex by Jewel Woods and Karen Hunter.
 
At the time I read it, I took some of the accounts in the book to be a bit “sensationalist.” After all, in a book that is composed largely of black men talking about sexual exploits, you’re likely to encounter some exaggerations. This dose of skepticism was doused when I arrived to my vacation destination, and I quickly saw the book come to life.
 
Written in an interview-style format, the book basically delves into the experiences of black men and their rationale for traveling abroad for women. Many reviews place the book as a compilation of “what black women lack,” “what black men want” and “where black men find women”, which have all appeared in mainstream African-American magazines. These reviews overlook two of the book’s central issues: black male gender privilege and black male responsibility to the African-American community. While sex is at the center of the book, it’s about more than black men’s bed mates.
 
My first night at my destination, I met a black man from Boston who had been traveling to Brazil for three years to fulfill the sexual appetite his wife would not quench. One of Woods’ goals is to understand why black men travel abroad for female companionship when there are black women locally who are looking for male companionship. In exploring this, Woods takes us through the process of how black men with resources begin to see the world as their playground by investigating gender roles from college campuses to Copacabana.
 
The most powerful, beautiful and disturbing dimension of the book is that Woods allows black men to speak for themselves. While many things are written about black men, all too often their voices and opinions are eclipsed by an author’s perspective. In graphic detail, men explained their decisions for traveling abroad for female companionship and the realities they faced after returning from these trips. Over the past couple of years, black male sex tourism has been a “hot topic” in magazines, but most of these accounts haven’t given enough weight to the larger social forces at play such as gender socialization, an expanding black middle class and the image of the black male in crisis.
Woods’ and Hunter’s book goes beyond exposé reports that often paint black men as sex tourists who are lured into sexual indiscretion due to a lack of watchful eyes. Instead, he describes how sexual appetites don’t just “pop-up” upon deplaning in exotic locations; rather, they are taught and supported in the ways we raise our boys in the United States.
 
For the men in the book, sex is one of many components of the voyage abroad. The men featured discuss the ways that women in Brazil, the Dominican Republic and other locations provide them with a sense of manhood and satisfaction that they do not experience with their black female U.S. counterparts.
 
As a sociologist, good description is the beginning of the mark of a good book, but the analysis is what really brings the quality of the project home. For all the voices of black men who end up cavorting with women, often in tourist locales in developing countries, he doesn’t take the analysis of these men as deep as they deserve. The authors acknowledge that the book’s goal is to demonstrate why black women (read: African-American women) are indispensable to black men, and that the behaviors of black men abroad inevitably weaken these relationships. But his argument about the value of black women is thin in comparison to many of the men’s rich narratives of disdain for black women in the United States. I imagine that Woods’ argument about the endurance and loyalty of black women is too little to convince the brothers in the book who feel that women in developing countries offer them a different sense of support for “being a man.”
 
At moments, it devolves into a “how-to book” about spotting the signs of traveling abroad for women’s companionship and a praise song to the matriarch, which is one of the book’s weakest parts. To me, this undermines the work, but in a world where He’s Just Not That Into You was a best seller, I can see how some will love this.
 
Some will pick up the book looking for advice on how to figure out if their partner, brother or father is participating in these covert trips, others will come to it to read it for “tales of the hunt,” and even others may just stumble upon it. Regardless of how one comes to it, the book begins to open a dialogue about black men, male privilege and morality that has been shut for far too long. While the book has numerous flaws, it begins this dialogue between black men and women not with blame but with truth and accountability and the hope of reconciliation.
 
 
R. L’Heureux Lewis is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology & Black Studies Program at the City University of New York.
 
 

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BLACK LIKE MOMMY, WHITE LIKE ME

RACE IN AMERICA IS WONDERFULLY COMPLEX, UNLESS OF COURSE, YOU’RE 3
 
 
 
Carrie Pratt
White girl, black girl: Simone and Monique will be talking it out for a while.
 
 
 
July 29, 2008–Simone snuggled up beside me and pointed to my face. “Mommy,” she said, “is a black girl.”
 
How observant, I thought, for a 3-year-old to make such a distinction. “Yes,” I said, “Mommy is a black girl.”
 
“Simone,” she continued, “is a white girl.” In all the time I had dreamed about being a mother and teaching my daughter about her African and European heritage, nothing had prepared me for a statement like this.
 
I demanded to know who had told her such a thing, but my question was met with silence.
“Well, you’re a black girl,” I said, knowing that I wasn’t being any more accurate than she had been a few moments earlier.
 
Simone repeated her newfound knowledge to her father and added, “Daddy is a white boy.”
 
 He told her she was neither white nor black. “You have the best of both worlds,” he said.
 
His explanation wasn’t perfect, but it was certainly better than mine.
 
For a moment, my mind drifted back to our wedding day in 2001, when raising children seemed so far away, when we were just one of the 1.4 million interracial couples tying the knot. In the 41 years since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down bans on interracial marriages, the numbers continue to rise. In 2006, interracial marriages totaled 3.9 percent of the nation’s 59.5 million marriages, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
 
That means there are more families like mine addressing similar questions.
 
Back inside our Alabama home, I was uncomfortable, as if someone was watching our every move. I knew, by the way Ken and I reacted, that our latest dilemma was significant. If we flubbed this one, the one we had known was coming, how could we possibly be counted on to find the right things to say about boys, drugs, choosing the best college or any of those other tough parenting subjects?
 
After talking with Francis Wardle, executive director for the Center for the Study of Biracial Children and a father of four biracial children, I realized I was in better shape than I thought. Simone, it turns out, could have come to her conclusion about her race by herself. No one told her she was white.
 
Children between the ages of 3 and 5, he said, are becoming aware of their physical appearance and starting to make comparisons. Girls, as you would imagine, often do this before boys.
 
“She has two choices,” he said. “She is either the same as you or the same as her father. There isn’t a third option.” At her age, race is an abstract concept and difficult to grasp.
 
She’s not the only one having a tough time. I sent e-mails to my girlfriends recounting our conversation. There was no way a black woman could deliver a white child. I am her mother, her black mother, the one who carried her for 9 months.
 
 My grandmother, though, was sure that was what had happened. Soon after Simone was born, she told me how she felt.
 
“You didn’t do nothing for yourself,” she said.
 
I didn’t dare talk back. “Well, Mom was light-skinned,” I said.
 
“Light-skinned? That child ain’t light-skinned. She’s Caucasian.”
 
I tried to convince her to see things my way. “Don’t you think she has my eyes and nose?”
 
“Nah, she is the spitting image of Ken, like he went, ‘puh.'”
 
“Grandma, don’t you think she will have curly hair like mine?”
 
“What does her hair look like now?”
 
I knew I couldn’t win this argument. “It’s straight,” I said.
“There you go.”
 
Grandma was wrong about one thing: Simone’s  hair is curly. When I comb it in the morning, she often wants to look in the mirror and see how many ponytails I have given her and to make sure the ponytail holders match her outfit. “I’m pretty,” she says. “You sure are,” I say.
I see something else when I look at her in the mirror. I see my late mother, a light-skinned black woman. The truth is, I always figured Simone would look black to herself and to society. I even thought that would be easier for her and for me.
 
I, for example,  know what to say when—not if—the first time someone refers to her using a racial epithet or says something else insensitive. Simone would belong to one, not both worlds.
 
Now I know better. My job as her black mother is to help her navigate a race-conscious world, and I can’t take the easy route. I can’t simply explain to my daughter where she came from. I must show her, teach her about her background and how to embrace its significance, and I can’t wait until she’s old enough to understand.
 
That means I will buy that American Girl doll with the curly hair and light skin. I will make sure my husband tells her about her white great-grandfather’s days as the drum major for the Louisiana State University marching band, and I’ll tell her stories about how her black grandfather picked cotton as a child. Together, we will expose her to people who look like her and take her to faraway lands so that she can see people of every color.  When we can’t do that, we will turn to culture, music and art. I don’t want her to have to choose one race over the other like so many interracial children who came before her.
 
Clearly, the conversation I shared with my daughter is just the beginning. I have no doubt that sometimes we will get it right and sometimes our best intentions will go horribly wrong.
 
In the end, though, it doesn’t matter if my daughter is a black girl or a white girl. What matters most is that we help her develop her own identity just as the many biracial children who have come before her—from Sen. Barack Obama to Halle Berry to Tiger Woods.
 
I wasn’t quite as open-minded as I thought I was on my wedding day. I brought with me a set of ideas that won’t hold up to the new shades of reality. My daughter will continue say things about race that I don’t want to hear and ask questions I’d rather not answer. In the end, though, it doesn’t matter if she is a black girl or a white girl, but that she has a black mother and a white father who are willing to help her figure it out.
 
 
 
Monique Fields is a writer living in Alabama.
 
 
Also on The Root:
Keith Josef Adkins questions if it’s easier to be light-skinned .
 
 
SOURCE:  The Root:  http://www.theroot.com

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LATINO-VS.-BLACK VIOLENCE DRIVES HATE CRIMES IN LOS ANGELES

THE COUNTY HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION REPORTS A 28% INCREASE LAST YEAR, WITH ASSAULTS AND VANDALISM THE LEADING CATEGORIES
By Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
July 25, 2008
Hate crimes in Los Angeles County rose to their highest level in five years last year, led by attacks between Latinos and blacks, officials said Thursday.

The annual report by the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission showed hate crimes rose by 28%, to 763, with vandalism and assault leading the way.

 
In what commission Executive Director Robin Toma called an alarming trend, hate crimes based on race, religion and sexual orientation all rose, increasing against nearly all groups — including blacks, gays, Jews, Mexicans, whites and Asians — even as crime in general declined.

The largest number of racial hate crimes involved Latino suspects against black victims, followed by black suspects against Latino victims. Latinos also made up the largest number of suspects in hate crimes based on sexual orientation. Whites were the leading suspects in religion-based incidents. Overall, blacks made up nearly half the hate crime victims, totaling 310.

“What we’re seeing is the democratization of hate crimes,” said Brian Levin, who directs the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino. “We’re not only seeing a diversification of victims but also increased diversification of offenders.”

Police agencies report hate crimes to the county, but because departments vary on when they pursue hate-crime charges, variations in hate-crime numbers can stem from an actual increase in crimes or from changes in reporting. In this case, experts said they believed that hate crimes themselves, not just the reporting of them, are rising.

Levin said other areas of the country have reported similar increases, including a 30% increase in New York last year; a 10-year study published last fall found that hate crimes in New York began to increase two years ago after declining over several years.

Levin said several factors may be driving the rise, including deepening economic distress, growing ethnic diversity and population density in neighborhoods and what he called “increasingly inflammatory rhetoric” over illegal immigration.

Amanda F. Susskind, Pacific Southwest regional director of the Anti-Defamation League in Los Angeles, said hate rhetoric is rising online and is particularly targeting youth, perpetuated in part by as many as 110 white supremacist organizations nationwide.

The rhetoric appears to be influencing other groups, Toma said. He cited law enforcement reports that some Latino gang members who targeted blacks in the Harbor Gateway area of Los Angeles were found with neo-Nazi material and some Latino gangs were forming alliances with white supremacists in prisons to prey on blacks.

Despite the intense national debate over illegal immigration, hate crimes against immigrants decreased slightly from 42 to 39. However, the report noted that some crimes may “be inspired by anti-immigrant animus but it may not be explicitly verbalized.”

The report noted, for instance, that as of last August, Pasadena police had investigated 69 crimes involving attacks against Latinos, many of them low-wage immigrant workers who were robbed and beaten, allegedly by African Americans. But none of the cases were submitted to the county commission for inclusion in the hate crime report this year.

The report quoted a statement by acting Pasadena Police Chief Christopher Vicino that investigators had theorized the crimes were racially motivated, but it was “impossible to meet the legal criteria required” for hate crimes in many cases, such as concrete evidence that prejudice was a substantial factor in the attack.

Incidents against Muslims and people from the Middle East, which increased after the 2001 terrorist attacks and drove reported hate crimes to their highest level ever in Los Angeles County, also fell last year to seven from 25 the previous year. Salam Al-Marayati of the Muslim Public Affairs Council welcomed the decline but said a recent Gallup Poll showed anti-Muslim hostility had increased by 16% in the last two years, which he blamed in part on “anti-Muslim campaign rhetoric” by some presidential candidates and their supporters.

The county report found that the largest number of religion-based hate crimes was directed against Jews. In its own survey released in March, the ADL found anti-Semitic incidents declined last year to 186 from 204. The incidents included the defacing of L.A. City Councilman Jack Weiss’ office in Sherman Oaks with swastikas.

One of the most worrisome findings, commissioners said, was the rising number of hate crimes between Latinos and blacks — many of them driven by gang hostility.

The report found that a third of suspected Latino-on-black crimes and 42% of suspected black-on-Latino crimes involved gangs. The crimes were increasingly violent last year, including two attempted murders.

Asked what can prevent hate crimes, the Rev. Eric P. Lee of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles offered another answer.

“Pray,” he said. “How else do you change someone’s heart? Hatred is a spiritual wickedness.”

teresa.watanabe

@latimes.com

 
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There is much that I will comment on concerning the rise of Latino gang violence  attacks on black victims, but, I will post on this issue later.

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MCCAIN BACKS BAN ON AFFIRMATIVE ACTION IN ARIZONA

By CHRISTOPHER WILLS and KEVIN FREKING – July 27, 2008
CHICAGO (AP) — Presidential candidate John McCain on Sunday endorsed a proposal to ban affirmative action programs in his home state, a policy that Democratic rival Barack Obama called a disappointing embrace of divisive tactics.
 
In the past, McCain has criticized such ballot initiatives.
 
In an interview that aired Sunday, McCain was asked whether he supported an effort to get a referendum on the ballot in Arizona that would do away with race and gender-based preferences, known as affirmative action.
 
“Yes, I do,” said McCain in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.” The Republican senator quickly added that he had not seen the details of the proposal. “But I’ve always opposed quotas.”
 
His reversal comes as McCain seeks to tailor his policies and rhetoric to independent-minded voters who will determine the outcome of November election. Both McCain and Obama have accused each other — with good reason — of “flip-flopping,” a charge that carries weight with voters seeking consistency and authenticity in their political leaders.
 
Speaking to a conference of minority journalists on Sunday, Obama said he was “disappointed” by McCain’s position.
 
“I think in the past he had been opposed to these kinds of Ward Connerly referenda or initiatives as divisive. And I think he’s right,” Obama said, referring to a leading critic of affirmative action.
 
Obama also said he has little interest in an official government apology for slavery or reparations for descendants of slaves. The government’s focus, he said, should be on providing jobs, education and health for people still struggling today.
 
The proposed referendum in Arizona involves a constitutional amendment to bar preferential treatment by public entities on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin. Supporters say the measure levels the playing field, giving everyone an equal chance at every job.
 
A decade ago, McCain condemned initiatives aimed at dismantling affirmative action, though he stopped short of directly criticizing a resolution pending in the state legislature at the time.
 
“Rather than engage in divisive ballot initiatives, we must have a dialogue and cooperation and mutual efforts together to provide for every child in America to fulfill their expectations,” McCain told Hispanic business leaders gathered in Washington in 1998.
 
A spokesman said in a statement that McCain has always opposed hiring quotes based on race. “He believes that regardless of race, ethnicity or gender, the law should be equally applied,” the spokesman, Tucker Bounds, said.
 
Obama said Sunday that affirmative action is not a long-term solution to discrimination, and that it must not ignore the problems of poor whites. But affirmative action does address “some of the hardships and difficulties that communities of color may have experienced.”
 
He also argued ballot initiatives like the one in Arizona rarely help people work together.
 
“You know, the truth of the matter is, these are not designed to solve a big problem, but they’re all too often designed to drive a wedge between people,” Obama said.
 
Obama was asked whether he supports an official government apology for slavery or the country’s treatment of American Indians. He replied that he would discuss the idea with Indian leaders but that it is more important to provide services that will help people escape poverty and improve their lives. The same is true of an apology or reparations for slavery, he said.
 
“I’m much more interested in talking about, how do we get every child to learn? How do we get every person health care? How do we make sure that everybody has a job?” Obama said.
 
 
___
 
McCain campaign: http://www.johnmccain.com
 
 
 
 
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What the hell else is new, from John McCain?
 
“A spokesman said in a statement that McCain has always opposed hiring quotes based on race. “He believes that regardless of race, ethnicity or gender, the law should be equally applied,” the spokesman, Tucker Bounds, said.”
 
AA requirements are very stringent for those who apply for AA, but, of course you wouldn’t know that, would you, being the very bright and informed senator that you are, eh, Sen. McCain? But, being the flip-flopper that you are, the American voting public can be rest assured that you will continue talking out the side of your neck to get to the Oval Office.
 
“In an interview that aired Sunday, McCain was asked whether he supported an effort to get a referendum on the ballot in Arizona that would do away with race and gender-based preferences, known as affirmative action.
 
“Yes, I do,” said McCain in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.” The Republican senator quickly added that he had not seen the details of the proposal. “But I’ve always opposed quotas.”
 
WTF? You have not seen the Arizona ballot initiative on AA, but, yet you are all for it?
 
How dense can you be Sen. McCain?
 
Then again, you are just showing your Freudian slip of an anti-AA stance.
 
The more the American public learns of your two-faced hypocrisy, the more ammunition they will have to better decide on whether or not to waste a precious vote on you.
 
But, then again, I may be putting too much faith in many people to see the truth right before them. Too many people may still want more of the same old hells of the last 8 years.
 
Happened in 2004.
 
It can happen again in 2008.

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CRITICAL MASS CYCLIST ASSAULTED BY NYPD OFFICER

POLICE OFFICER SUSPENDED AFTER VIDEO SHOWS HIM ‘BODYSLAMMING’ A BICYCLIST
Staff Reporter | Posted July 29, 2008 2:41 PM – The Daily Voice

 
Police in New York have reportedly stripped an officer of his gun and badge after a videotape surfaced showing him shoving a bicyclist to the ground last week.
 
Patrick Pogan of the Midtown South police precinct is being investigated after he allegedly pushed a cyclist during a demonstration on Friday. 
 
Christopher Long was riding through Times Square as a part of a monthly bike ride demonstration called Critical Mass when the officer appeared to approach him and shove him to the ground.
 
The bicyclist was arrested and accused of riding his bike into the officer, but the video posted on YouTube tells a different story as Officer Pogan is shown lurching toward the bike. The Associated Press video report described the officer’s actions as “bodyslamming” the cyclist.
 
See the video below.
 

Articles written by a Staff Reporter are unsigned reports from a member of the staff.

 
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And here’s another video showing how New York’s finest handle “evil, vicious, terroristic, criminalistic” cyclists:
 

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U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES APOLOGIZES FOR SLAVERY, SEGREGATION

Staff Reporter | Posted July 29, 2008 7:10 PM – The Daily Voice

drinkingfountain2.jpgThe U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a historic resolution apologizing to African-Americans for slavery and segregation.
The nonbinding resolution, introduced by Rep. Steve Cohen, marks the first time a branch of the federal government has apologized for slavery.
Cohen is a white member of Congress who represents a majority black district in Memphis, Tennessee. He is facing a re-election challenge next week from a young black female lawyer, Nikki Tinker, and earlier this year he abandoned his effort to join the Congressional Black Caucus after some colleagues objected, according to The Guardian.
 
The resolution, which passed on a voice vote Tuesday evening, does not discuss reparations, which would provide financial compensation to descendants of slaves. It does express a “commitment to rectify the lingering consequences of the misdeeds committed against African-Americans under slavery and Jim Crow.”
 
The text of the resolution “acknowledges the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow” and specifically “apologizes to African-Americans on behalf of the people of the United States, for the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors who suffered under slavery and Jim Crow.”
 
And the resolution also seems to acknowledge its own limitations, explaining that “an apology for centuries of brutal dehumanization and injustices cannot erase the past, but confession of the wrongs committed can speed racial healing and reconciliation and help Americans confront the ghosts of their past.”
 
“Today represents a milestone in our nation’s efforts to remedy the ills of our past,” Rep. Carolyn C. Kilpatrick, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said in a statement. “I applaud Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) and all the co-sponsors of H.Res. 194. We must now continue our efforts to free African Americans from the shackles of inferior education, inadequate health care, and lack of jobs.”
 
 
Apologies Have Been Offered Before
 
On the presidential campaign, Senator John McCain said last October that he would support a federal apology for slavery, although some critics note that he failed to support the bill when it was discussed in February of this year.
 
For his part, Senator Barack Obama has said he has little interest in an official government apology for slavery or reparations for descendants of slaves, according to the Associated Press.
 
Asked if he would support reparations for Native Americans, Senator Obama said last week that “the more important thing for the U.S. government to do is not just offer words, but offer deeds.” Although he reportedly noted that by “every socio-economic indicator Native Americans are doing worse” than other Americans, he said he was “more concerned about delivering a better life,” according to a report on BlackAmericaWeb.com
 
Obama added. “The best reparations we can provide are good schools in the inner city and jobs for people that are unemployed,” Obama told an audience at the Unity convention in Chicago.
 
Earlier this year, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution apologizing to Native Americans, and in 1988, Congress passed and President Reagan signed a law apologizing to Japanese-Americans who were held in detention camps during World War II. The 60,000 detainees who were alive at the time each received $20,000 from the government, according to CNN.
 
 
Resolution Apologizing For Slavery and Segregation
 
The full text of the slavery measure, House Resolution 194, is as follows:
 
 
Mr. COHEN (for himself, Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia, Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas, Mr. BRADY of Pennsylvania, Mr. WEXLER, Ms. KILPATRICK, Ms. WOOLSEY, Mr. PALLONE, Ms. LEE, Mr. MCGOVERN, Ms. SCHAKOWSKY, Mrs. MALONEY of New York, Mr. CONYERS, Mr. MORAN of Virginia, Mr. CAPUANO, Mr. RANGEL, Mr. PAYNE, Mr. JEFFERSON, Mr. ELLISON, Mr. AL GREEN of Texas, Mr. BUTTERFIELD, Ms. WATSON, Mr. HINCHEY, Mr. CLEAVER, Ms. CARSON, Mr. ISRAEL, Mr. ACKERMAN, Mr. DAVIS of Alabama, Mr. LEWIS of Georgia, Mr. ABERCROMBIE, Mr. HARE, Mr. KENNEDY, Ms. BALDWIN, Mr. HODES, Mr. FILNER, Mr. HONDA, and Mr. KUCINICH) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
RESOLUTION
 
 
Apologizing for the enslavement and racial segregation of African-Americans.
 
Whereas millions of Africans and their descendants were enslaved in the United States and the 13 American colonies from 1619 through 1865;
 
Whereas slavery in America resembled no other form of involuntary servitude known in history, as Africans were captured and sold at auction like inanimate objects or animals;
Whereas Africans forced into slavery were brutalized, humiliated, dehumanized, and subjected to the indignity of being stripped of their names and heritage;
 
Whereas enslaved families were torn apart after having been sold separately from one another;
 
Whereas the system of slavery and the visceral racism against persons of African descent upon which it depended became entrenched in the Nation’s social fabric;
 
Whereas slavery was not officially abolished until the passage of the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1865 after the end of the Civil War, which was fought over the slavery issue;
 
Whereas after emancipation from 246 years of slavery , African-Americans soon saw the fleeting political, social, and economic gains they made during Reconstruction eviscerated by virulent racism, lynchings, disenfranchisement, Black Codes, and racial segregation laws that imposed a rigid system of officially sanctioned racial segregation in virtually all areas of life;
 
Whereas the system of de jure racial segregation known as `Jim Crow,’ which arose in certain parts of the Nation following the Civil War to create separate and unequal societies for whites and African-Americans, was a direct result of the racism against persons of African descent engendered by slavery ;
 
Whereas the system of Jim Crow laws officially existed into the 1960’s–a century after the official end of slavery in America–until Congress took action to end it, but the vestiges of Jim Crow continue to this day;
 
Whereas African-Americans continue to suffer from the consequences of slavery and Jim Crow–long after both systems were formally abolished–through enormous damage and loss, both tangible and intangible, including the loss of human dignity and liberty, the frustration of careers and professional lives, and the long-term loss of income and opportunity;
 
Whereas the story of the enslavement and de jure segregation of African-Americans and the dehumanizing atrocities committed against them should not be purged from or minimized in the telling of American history;
 
Whereas on July 8, 2003, during a trip to Goree Island, Senegal, a former slave port, President George W. Bush acknowledged slavery’s continuing legacy in American life and the need to confront that legacy when he stated that slavery `was . . . one of the greatest crimes of history . . . The racial bigotry fed by slavery did not end with slavery or with segregation. And many of the issues that still trouble America have roots in the bitter experience of other times. But however long the journey, our destiny is set: liberty and justice for all.’;
 
Whereas President Bill Clinton also acknowledged the deep-seated problems caused by the continuing legacy of racism against African-Americans that began with slavery when he initiated a national dialogue about race;
 
Whereas a genuine apology is an important and necessary first step in the process of racial reconciliation;
 
Whereas an apology for centuries of brutal dehumanization and injustices cannot erase the past, but confession of the wrongs committed can speed racial healing and reconciliation and help Americans confront the ghosts of their past;
 
Whereas the legislature of the Commonwealth of Virginia has recently taken the lead in adopting a resolution officially expressing appropriate remorse for slavery and other State legislatures are considering similar resolutions; and
 
Whereas it is important for this country, which legally recognized slavery through its Constitution and its laws, to make a formal apology for slavery and for its successor, Jim Crow, so that it can move forward and seek reconciliation, justice, and harmony for all of its citizens: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives–
 
(1) acknowledges the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow;
(2) apologizes to African-Americans on behalf of the people of the United States, for the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors who suffered under slavery and Jim Crow; and
(3) expresses its commitment to rectify the lingering consequences of the misdeeds committed against African-Americans under slavery and Jim Crow and to stop the occurrence of human rights violations in the future.
 
 

Articles written by a Staff Reporter are unsigned reports from a member of the staff.

 
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Too little, too late. Apologies will not eradicate present-day racism; apologies will not eradicate white supremacy; apologies will not dismantle 100 years-plus of segregation and white Affirmative Action.
 
And why give an apology. . . .and no reparations?
 
Why give an apology to the Japanese Americans interned in concentration camps during WWII, and $20 million in reparations, but offer no reparations to black Americans whose ancestors suffered the cruelty of American slavery? Why refuse to offer reparations to black Americans whose grandparents, uncles, aunts, mothers and fathers (many of whom are still alive) who suffered through the venomous humiliation of segregation?
 
Why give $56 million in reparations to the Seminole Tribe, but no reparations to black Americans?
 
Why the constant, hateful favouritism white-run America? Why?
 
Why continue in the denigrating callous disregard for black humanity?
 
Why the continued hate and disdain and utter disrespect, America?
And why now, this cheap, crappy-ass apology?
 
Apologies are not worth the spittle from a dog’s snout if true reconciliation and reparations are not given. Apologies like the one from the U.S. House of Representatives is nothing but an insult in and of itself. And just wait for when this bill reaches the Senate. It will be more of the same nasty, vile behaviour that occurred when the U.S. Senate offered a half-assed apology to the descendants of black American lynch victims in June 2005:
 
 
 
 
When this country has debased, defiled, degraded, destroyed, murdered, lynched, burned, raped, starved, burned alive, beaten, drug off family members in the middle of the night to certain death, jailed unjustly, forced into peonage sharecropping, re-enslaved into perpetual slavery via convict leasing, segregated, defamed via racist stereotypes, lies and myths, eaten and hogged the free labor of an entire enslaved race.
 
This country has grown rich and fat like a disease-ridden blood-engorged tick, and still enjoys the benefits of over 450 years of a legacy that still endures from slavery, the obliteration of Reconstruction, and segregation.
 
America the Brave, America the Beautiful, America the Great Whore.
 
Many have benefited all the way into the present from America’s racial pogroms against her black citizens:
 
-Insurance companies in existence today which have their beginnings in the insuring and financing of the ships of the slave trade;
-Banks of today which owe their existence as repositories for the financial wealth of sadistic slavers of the Atlantic Slave trade;
-Many streets, municipal buildings, bridges, and numerous edifices built from the slave labor of black Americans for over 400 years—-free labor stolen from thousands of innocent black men and women all across the American South during slavery and segregation;
-The building of Wall Street in New York from enslaved black people, and the cruel sick, abominable disregard when the rich ticks built their buildings over the slave burial grounds of so many worked to death enslaved back people.  Enslaved African people whose labor created the city of New York. They worked as stevedores in the docks and as laborers in building the fortification now known as Wall Street, which protected the city against attack from Native Americans. Half the remains found in that cemetery in April of 2004, showed the remains of children. Children! Many under the age of 12! Many black women forced along with black men and children to build the fortification were dead by the age of 40;
-The continued all-white gated communities that exist in every major city in America; the racist/application-discrimination of the GI. BILL and the FHA in housing; the building up of white suburbs and all-white sundown towns all across America via the racist discrimination of lending against black Americans with massive loan denials; the creation of many Levitt towns all across America; redlining, gerrymandering that favoured ethnic whites (Italians, Irish, Armenians, Poles, etc.) over black Americans with the building up of ethnic white’s neighborhoods, and the economic destruction of black neighborhoods, while these ethnic whites rampaged, attacked and destroyed many innocent black lives during the Chicago Race Riot of 1919, East St. Louis Race Riot of 1917; Spring Valley Race Massacre of 1890.
 
The millions of black Americans who suffered under slavery and segregation may be faceless non-entities to you America, but, they were men, women and children who had a right to life, happiness, peace, and freedom. None of which they had the chance to obtain living in this black-race-hating Sodom and Gomorrah.
 
People alive in this country right now, walk past, on a daily basis, numerous buildings and  monuments, that were built by slave labor.
 
Slave labor!
 
Not some W-2 form, paid on time, with a pay scale commensurate with their skills and experiences group of people.
Many people walk on cobblestone, and brick streets still in existence, streets that were built by the hands of enslaved black men and women.
 
 
Many of the people reading my words look upon buildings and other standing edifices, that were created out of the blood, sweat, tears, and flesh of my black ancestors.
 
And this legislative representation of the U.S. government has the gall to state that it will not acknowledge the payment of reparations. That it will only give a lame-ass, spit-in-your-face apology for all the sick, perverted, depraved, vicious, monstrous atrocities that America committed upon her black citizens? This shitty apology is just that. A true apology involves 1) Reconciliation, the asking of forgiveness for the numerous wrongs you have done a group of people as well as to 2) Make restitution to the wronged group of people; but, America will never have the backbone to do any of that towards her black citizens. She will never be truly sorry and remorseful for the ignominy of slavery and segregation. Until she does, all her words of apology will be nothing but dust.
 
They know what they can do with their useless apology.
 
The same thing they can do with their so-called apology for the thousands of brutally murdered lynch victims of America’s filthy Nadir;
 
Shove it up their ass and break their arm off at the elbow.
As for Sen. John McCain:

“On the presidential campaign, Senator John McCain said last October that he would support a federal apology for slavery, although some critics note that he failed to support the bill when it was discussed in February of this year.”

Nothing that man says will ever convince me that he gives a damn about black Americans.

 
As for Sen. Barack Obama:
 
 
“For his part, Senator Barack Obama has said he has little interest in an official government apology for slavery or reparations for descendants of slaves, according to the Associated Press.”
 
That he is not standing up more firmly on the issue of reparations shows that he either has 1) no backbone; 2) cares more of what white-run America thinks; or 3) wants to be president so bad, that he is willing to throw black people under the bus to garner as much white support as he can.
 
 
Apology.
 
It is very obvious that America has a racial hierarchy going on in this country.
 
Give reparations to Seminoles.
Give reparations to the Japanese Americans.
 
But, God forbid if you, America, show true equality, reconciliation and respect towards the humanity of your black citizens.
 
Until America treats all her black citizens as human beings, she will continue to never rise higher than she can.
 

 

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TV CONVERTER BOX COUPONS

For those of you who would like some assistance in upgrading your analog broadcast television sets to digital in preparation of the television industry eradicating the present TV systems to make way for the HD TVs, here is an offer that may please you.
 
The website “TV Converter Box” offers a coupon worth $40.00 off any eligible converter you purchase for converting your TV to HD. The website is here:
 
 
 
Or you may call the site’s toll-free number:  1-888-DTV-2009.
Here is a PBS link that gives information on the coming digital age of television: http://www.pbs.org/opb/crashcourse/
 
Congress created the TV Converter Box Coupon program for those households which wish to keep their soon to be obsolete analog TV sets after February 17, 2009. The program allows U.S. families to obtain 2 coupons and keep their old sets and still be able to view programs in the new format system.
 
 
The site tells you about digital television transition, your options on whether or not to convert to HD, how to apply for a coupon, frequently asked questions about the converter boxes, and the location of a dealer near you who sells the boxes.
 
There are two important items to remember:
 
-You are allowed only up to 2 coupons per physical address, and, you can only obtain one coupon per converter box;
 
and
 
-You have only 90 days from the date of acquisition, to use the coupon. So, please, do not request the coupon(s) if you cannot use them within the 90 day period.
 
 
The impending digital future is upon us.
 
Getting a little help to prepare for it is something we could all use a lot of.

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