Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Political Gameship

As the House passed DADT today, marking a historic civil rights victory for the country and specifically the gay community on the horizon, the Senate passed the Obama-Republicans-Clinton Saved Tax Deal. It appears there may be some backdoor politicking going on - "Liberal House Dems, You support the tax deal, and we, the moderate and conservative Senate Democrats and Moderate Republicans will vote for DADT."

Not a bad year - (projected mandated healthcare, economic recovery packages, etc) and with a 45% Obama approval rating, all of the hoopla predicting the demise of his presidency, it turns out, it just, well - hoopla.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

A Pragmatic, Historic Victory

Tuesday’s re-election of Deval Patrick as governor of Massachusetts is a historic victory for him and for Massachusetts voters. Massachusetts, the first slave-holding colony in New England, now will be remembered for re-electing the first black governor in the history of the United States. In the midst of an anti-incumbent surge that ended Democratic control in the U.S. House of Representatives, Massachusetts voters did what most in the country on November 2nd chose not to do: vote with pragmatism, not fear.

The result: all Democratic statewide candidates won election and the so-called Scott Brown effect appears muted.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Nov 2

Vote Now, Vote Today, Vote Always. The real 'message' to send to politicians is not the message that increases the opportunities for legislative gridlock, but rather the message that real change may be slower than liked, but it's better than the alternative.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Black Urban Voting

The older I get, the more respect I lose for my fellow racial brethren. As I watch election results, read poll analyses, listen to pundits talk about voter turnout, it continues to baffle me and disturb my spirit to know that so many black urban dwellers do not vote - when just a generation ago, our fore-mothers and fore-fathers fought, strove, toiled and died for that very right.

It's very simple, black voter registration and turnout should be 100% everywhere!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Racist Tennis Commentators

White male commentators on US Open Court Channel 1 (DirecTV) for the second round U.S. Open Match between Dustin Brown of Jamaica and Andy Murray of England made several extremely problematic references concerning Brown. The statement that “it would take a month to comb that hair out” is as bad as Imus’ “nappy headed hoes” reference. Additionally concerning is the reference that Brown swings like “King Kong,” both made by the white male commentators.

It is obvious that these tennis commentators need diversity and sensitivity training. They all need a a contemporary lesson. With comments like “Welcome to the big time buddy,” it is apparent commentators forgot Brown’s appearance at Wimbledon earlier this year.

It remains unfortunate that racial comments are permitted to pass as jokes and expert commentary. Simply put, the commentators should be fired.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Race in the Woo: A Community Roundtable

WITH A SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASED MINORITY POPULATION, effective minority responsiveness and representation throughout the public sector in medium-sized cities such as Worcester, MA is central to the city’s overall success. Based in part on results of a thirty-question survey purposively distributed to African-American residents of Worcester, the community roundtable provides a forum for area leaders to discuss the significance of the data and to strategize for next steps.

An expert on minority representation in medium-sized cities, Clark professor Ravi K. Perry will discuss how the survey results and related data detail African-American Worcester residents’ opinions on city government efforts to represent their interests, how African-American Worcester residents’ views on city public services and quality of life differ from whites’ views on similar questions in other surveys, and explain why most respondents identified a lack of leadership in the black community and expressed dissatisfaction with a number of political representation issues.

Dr. Perry will be joined by community leaders to discuss the survey results and data on affirmative action and consider ways to organize local efforts to achieve racial justice.

Race in the Woo Poster

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Federal Court Upholds Gay Marriage

The Federal Court decision to uphold the civil rights of American gays and lesbians' right to marry is finally justice long denied, yet now arrived.

The Constitution, according to the Court, does apply to same-sex couples as well!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Go Shirley Go!

The controversy surrounding Shirley Sherrod's forced resignation with the USDA is shocking. The racialized context has gone viral throughout all media sources. However, the entire episode is regrettable and was preventable. All parties involved - the conservative blogger Beitbart, the sensationalist Fox News reports of the "story," the pressure and support to resign from high-level officials in the White House and the USDA, and the NAACP's rush to judgment - should recognize the real lesson learned: in today's media climate, the rush to be the first headline often conflicts with our Constitutional ideals. Sherrod deserved a fair chance and the due process of investigation of the decades-old video, prior to being pressured to resign. However, that did not happen because everyone - including Obama's appointees presumably charged with protecting the President's image at all costs - went overboard in their duties. In the end, the result is that Sherrod has been slandered throughout the national media and all parties involved (except Fox News and Beitbart) have publicly apologized, thus, raising questions of their own credibility. Is the goal of re-election, moderate, mainstream politics more important than giving government employees a fair shake when accused of such an offense? Surely, we are a better country than that. Surely we elected someone at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave who proclaimed in his candidacy speech on February 10, 2007, that "that kind of politics is over." While Sherrod has been offered a new position with the USDA, ironically in its civil rights division, she deserves much more than the opportunity to continue to do what she's always done: respectfully do her job. Sherrod deserves a high profile position where she can make significant contributions to government actions. Perhaps her best role would be as the conscience of political actors who have trouble doing the right thing.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Race, The Tea Party, and More: Tune In Live!

Join me Today (7/20) at 1:20 p.m. EST on "Everything Is Broken" WUSB FM. Tune Into Live:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Race, The Tea Party, and American Politics Featured on WUSB FM 7/20/2010

I will be a guest on Jim Lynch's show "Everything is Broken" (WUSB 90.1 FM - Stony Brook, NY) on Tuesday July 20th at 1:15 p.m. discussing race and American politics, and impact of the Tea Party.

NAACP Tea Party Resolution a Plus!

As a former active member of the Youth and College Division of the NAACP, founder of the University of Michigan NAACP chapter and one of many organizers seeking to re-establish the Worcester (MA) NAACP Chapter, I was glad to learn of the NAACP's Resolution condemning the racial elements of the Tea Party movement. The NAACP's voice in this contemporary issue signals a major shift in the organization's civil rights agenda. With its new generation of leadership, the NAACP is finally addressing contemporary social issues in a timely fashion. I only hope their road back to significance continues on this relevant path.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Why We Should Boycott: How Arizona’s Anti-Brown Laws Affect Blacks and All Americans

The Arizona state assembly’s now infamous anti-immigrant bill and legislation banning ethnic studies programs in secondary schools recently signed into law by Republican Governor Jan Brewer should matter not just to Latino/a Americans, but to African Americans and all Americans. Why? Because the state, with roughly 60% white population and 40% minority population, has a Republican-controlled state legislature whose representative total is not near parity with the state’s minority population.

Since the aftermath of the bills’ passage made the rounds on national cable news networks and throughout the blogosphere, many have said that it is clear that people in that state have lost their minds; but Arizona’s history suggests otherwise. These types of racial and ethnic controversies are not new to Arizona. It was the last state to officially recognize the national holiday honoring Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Still, while the criticism from the left has been broad, the opposition to the new laws has largely not been focused on the effects to the Black American community.

The anti-immigrant bill has drawn its fair share of criticism already. The racist underpinnings of the anti-immigration law, however, functions as the canary in the coal mine for all under-represented racial minorities, and has shown up in the more obviously direct assault on the education of the state’s youth. The anti-immigration law was closely followed by another new law that bans the teaching of ethnic studies, arguing that such courses and programs "promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, promote resentment of a particular race or class of people, [and] are designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group or advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals." Schools that fail to comply will lose their state funding.

The new anti-immigrant and anti-ethnic studies laws should matter to Blacks—and to all Americans. First,
the law banning ethnic studies centers on the Tucson School District, which currently offers courses focusing on the experiences and contributions of African-Americans, Native-Americans and Mexican-Americans. Second, the law’s successful filtering through the majority white and Republican state legislature should sound as a loud wake up call to all who value fair minority representation. The disproportionately over-represented white, conservative block wields excessive power to negatively impact a large number of minorities.

The efforts in both laws are supported by Tom Horne, the head of the Arizona schools and Republican candidate for attorney general. A conservative, Horne and other whites mask their traditional racism as an effort that is pro-American – an effort that also denies American citizens with accents from teaching courses on the English language. Arguably, the laws are an effort to ignore the reality that Arizona is set to become a majority-minority state by 2015, and to prolong the power of a dwindling white population. The ban on ethnic studies distorts America’s proud hallmark as a pluralistic, diverse nation, and has wrongly billed curricula that affirms this diversity as white hatred and ethnocentrism.

The law banning the teaching of ethnic studies is particularly problematic. The systematic exclusion of minority and, specifically, Blacks’ contribution to the American fabric denies the extraordinary contributions members of various minority racial and ethnic groups have made and continue to make to all areas of our society.

The representatives in Arizona’s state legislature have forgotten the legacy of human and civil rights for which Americans from all generations and backgrounds have fought, and from which the ethnic studies movement was derived in the 1960s and early 1970s. Students on college campuses around the country demanded black and ethnic studies because it serves an important experiential and intellectual purpose. Increased racial and ethnic diversity and programs of study yields societal benefits from which we all learn how best to relate to difference in all its forms. Arizona’s legislature has misinterpreted the mission of ethnic studies programs. The focus of ethnic studies is the accurate telling of history and the expression of pride for all America’s ethnic groups. Ethnic studies is truly American – and it generates pride in all those who value the diverse history of our great country.

The denial of the ethnic realities of our country’s population is a flagrant dismissal of the contributions that members of these groups make to society. For me, this is an extreme situation. As Dr. King stated in response to those who questioned his tactics after the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist church in Birmingham, AL that killed four girls, “we were faced with an extreme situation, and our remedies had to be extreme.” Therefore, I call on all organizations, cities, and towns to boycott Arizona commerce. While this boycott will unfortunately have some negative impact on those residing in the state currently, the temporary pain cannot be shielded against the greater good. Again, I reference Dr. King, the leader who Arizona took decades to officially recognize: “The true measure of a man is not how he behaves in moments of comfort and convenience, but how he stands at times of controversy and challenge.” The same is true today for organizations, cities and towns. While it may be easy and convenient to maintain the status quo in terms of conventions, business trips, and so on, such acts support a viewpoint that is truly un-American. While the representatives in Arizona are not representative of all Arizonans, they do speak for them – and unfairly, on behalf of many, they spoke bigotry, ignorance, and hatred. Consequently, we outsiders must be the conscience of the state.

In this post-Civil Rights era, we have the responsibility to hold on to the gains made some fifty years ago. Many fought and died to see the contributions of our people acknowledged and included. We can and should begin to speak for those sung and unsung giants of ethnic studies and civil rights by continuing to voice opposition to Arizona’s recent anti-ethnic studies/anti-immigrant legislation. We can and should boycott the state’s commerce to pressure the laws’ reversal.