By Julius Kane
In 1827 a group of black businessmen were fed up with the negative depictions of African-Americans in their local newspapers, so they decided to start their own. A few months later America’s first, ‘race’ newspaper was born. At the helm were two young black men; 28 year old college graduate John Russwurm and 32 year old preacher Samuel Cornish. Freedom’s Journal, as it was called, made certain every article and editorial had a deliberate slant that showed blacks in a positive light with dignity and class. Cornish and Russwurm knew they not only had to report the news but they had to inspire as well. Any news worthy item involving "Africans" was to be included.
It appears that Fox News is at it again. The same network that has commentators like Eric Bolling, who asked why President Obama was "inviting so many hoods to the hizzy" referenced his 50th birthday party as a "Hip-Hop Barbecue."
by Renee Greene, Your Black World
Vote: It’s what our ancestors fought, and died, for.
…even if we take away America’s credit rating. He stays on message, even if he has to shift gears from time to time.
The one thing we’ve seen is that he maneuvers very well in opposition traffic. Though some of his moves have been about as frightening as jumping on a roller coaster while it’s moving, especially considering all of those who keep trying to derail him and get him off-message, the one thing I’ve notice since I jumped on the campaign coaster in mid-2007 is that he keeps saying the same thing over and over, ad nauseum. And the opposition? Well, they apparently are threatening to make the President look bad in the public eye, even to the point where they will kill themselves to get it done. It’s very personal for them, and he’s not letting them go there, and it’s driving them mad. With the President, I noticed, as long as you don’t mess with his wife, his girls, his aunt, his grandma in Kenya, his mother-in-law, or with Bo-bama, he’s fine. That gets his dander up and he’s not so Mr. Cool any more.
Your Black Politics received this message from the White House today. It is President Obama’s first response to recent reports that for the first time in U.S. history, federal government debt has been downgraded from AAA status.
Dr. Wilmer Leon and Dr. Boyce Watkins ask whether or not African Americans were harmed disproportionately by the latest debt ceiling debate.
Below is a direct cut and paste of the White House’s most recent work on Civil Rights. I obtained the information from this link: http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/civil-rights. I was inspired to visit the page after receiving an email from Michael Blake, Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement (he was on the panel with myself, Al Sharpton and Ben Jealous at the Measuring the Movement forum this year in New York City). They are working hard to get African Americans enthusiastic about the 2012 elections and Blake is the man on the job.
Yes class. This is why we double check and proofread our work. MSNBC reporter Norah O’Donnell, in an effort to get the news out ahead of the competition, sent this message out on Twitter, citing NBC Chief Pentagon Correspondent Jim Miklaszewski as her source. You can imagine that she probably got more than a couple of tweet backs as a result. The killing of Osama Bin Laden was the big news of the day, but some would speculate that the killing of President Obama would make for a more shocking headline.
I was on the radio today with Rev. Al Sharpton. Of course the topic of discussion was the death of Osama Bin Laden. The Reverend had some interesting guests on the show, including a woman who was in the building when the towers went down in 2001. Sharpton, as a New Yorker, had some interesting thoughts about the situation, especially as it pertains to the Obama presidency.
The Shirley Chisholm Presidential Accountability Commission
Assessment of President Barack Obama’s 2011 Budget Address
Institute of the Black World, 31-35 95th Street, East Elmhurst, NY 11369
President Obama’s recent address concerning the budget and fiscal crisis facing our nation has been the focus of much reflection and thought. After extensive discussions among members of the Shirley Chisholm Presidential Commission (SCPAC) and consultations with national organizations and agencies keenly interested in the interest and aspirations of Black America the Commission has formulated the following response.
“The President invited the living participants in the Memphis Sanitation Strike to honor their courage, and their fight on behalf of all workers for safe conditions, respect in the workplace and a better life for themselves and their families. As workers across the country continue to face challenges to their rights, the issues for which these men fought continue to be relevant and the President remains committed to the causes for which they marched.” – from the White House
Watch the video below to understand the nature of Fox News Racism. There’s a historical context to all of this, whether we’re talking about the Birther Movement, the Tea Party or any of the other activity coming from the Right Wing. Check it out below or click here to watch.
Republican State Rep from Oklahoma Sally Kern seems to think that black people don’t work as hard as whites and that we are more likely to go to prison because we think the government will take care of us.
“We have a high percentage of blacks in prison, and that’s tragic, but are they in prison just because they are black or because they don’t want to study as hard in school? I’ve taught school, and I saw a lot of people of color who didn’t study hard because they said the government would take care of them."
"Appeasement is like feeding the crocodile, hoping that it will eat you last.” -Winston Churchill
As Hitler’s Third Reich expanded across Europe, and leader after leader sought to placate and temper his appetite for war by surrendering territory in the hope for peace, Winston Churchill took a stand, and stated: "Appeasement is like feeding the crocodile, hoping that it will eat you last.”You see, Churchill understood a basic truth that has been around since the beginning of time: A bully will continue to be a bully, until you take a stand and fight. Hitler’s aggression was built on a platform of racial superiority, of dividing the world into “in-groups” and “out-groups”, the chosen and “the others”, slaves and slave masters. He may have succeeded in his quest for world domination, and global ethnic cleansing had it not been for one courageous leader who said, ENOUGH!
CHICAGO — President Barack Obama flew home to Chicago on Wednesday to help his pal and supporter Oprah Winfrey close out her syndicated talk show with a “big get” – an interview with him.
Obama and his wife, Michelle, took turns answering Winfrey’s questions during a taped interview at her studio, her first in 25 years with a sitting president and first lady.
Your Black World reports
President Barack Obama has officially released the long form of his birth certificate in response to the questions about whether or not he was born in the United States. Originally, the president had only released the short form copy, which led to speculation that he was born abroad.
by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black World – Scholarship in Action
I can personally confirm that Donna Brazile, the well-respected Democratic strategist, is a really nice person. When I say a “nice person,” I mean really nice. Not, the fake, polite kind of “nice” that people use to reference those in power, but the honest-to-goodness “nice” that you get from a guy (me) who doesn’t care much about keeping famous or unethical friends.
Donna once did something very kind for my brother years ago, long before anyone knew who he was. I respect any big shot who is willing to help a young black man trying to achieve his goals. I don’t think Donna knew that my brother was related to me at the time, which makes her kindness all that more special.
Donna is on my mind, because she reached out to Your Black World the other day to give me some clarifying points about her meeting with Cornel West at Princeton University. I’ve written a bit about the meeting between Brazile and West, particularly as it pertains to the perception that the meeting was structured in response to the well-known blow up on MSNBC that occurred between Prof. West and Rev. Al Sharpton. In seeming contrast to my personal interpretation of the meeting, Ms. Brazile let me know that the meeting had been planned back in February and not in response to the events that took place on MSNBC. I’ll admit that even though I take Ms. Brazile at her word, it’s hard to imagine that she wasn’t happy to use this meeting as an opportunity to deal with Prof. West’s vehement opposition to the most recent activities of the Obama Administration.
With that said, Ms. Brazile also made a point that I found to be quite accurate and noteworthy.
"We have to have an inside, outside strategy. We have to do defense and offense,” she said. “The fact that Brother West is on the outside makes my job easier.”
This is the point that should be remembered by every Obama loyalist who somehow thinks we are helping the president by squashing anyone who is remotely critical of the administration. The fact is that by surrounding the Obama Administration with “yes” men and women, we are going to find our community ignored by political insiders who only give oil to the squeakiest wheel. So, by speaking up on behalf of the black community and making sure that our issues are placed firmly on the table of discussion, we are helping President Obama do his job better.
In the video conversation below, Dr. Wilmer Leon and I discuss the Brazile/West/Obama dynamic and what it means for black America. Enjoy!
Below you can watch the video of Allen West, a black Republican, engaging in a highly-disrespectful attack on President Barack Obama. West seems to swim like a happy little pig in the attention he is receiving from Fox News for his willingness to undermine the credibility of another black man in ways that would be maligned if he were white. Because he’s black, it’s hard to accuse West of racism. But he can certainly be accused of being a tool for racists to promote an agenda built on sloppy, malicious rhetoric feeding on white American fears of black men in true positions of power.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a bill late Monday that would have required President Barack Obama and other presidential candidates to prove they were American citizens, born in the United States, before their names could have been placed on the state ballot.
The so-called "birther bill" got final approval in the state House last week. Now that Brewer, a Republican, has vetoed it, the bill will not become law unless legislators vote to override her veto.
"As a former Secretary of State, I do not support designating one person as a gatekeeper to the ballot for a candidate, which could lead to arbitrary or politically-motivated decisions," the governor wrote in a letter addressed to the Arizona House speaker.
Survey Says that Most Black People Believe Nation of Islam Leaders Ordered Assassination of Malcolm X
by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black World – Scholarship in Action
According to a recent survey conducted by YourBlackWorld.com, three out of four African Americans (76.8%) believe that the Nation of Islam was behind the assassination of Malcolm X. Additionally, two-thirds of the respondents (63.3%) believe that the government played some role in the assassination, by either being directly involved or helping someone else to kill Malcolm.
The results of the survey are interesting in light of the book written by the late Manning Marable, the Columbia University Professor who died shortly before the release of his book. Marable goes into detail about the life of Malcolm X, elaborating on the role that was allegedly played by Nation of Islam leadership.
Dear Fellow Democrat,
On Friday, John Boehner’s House Republicans plan to ram through their rightwing TeaParty budget for 2012, which would destroy Medicare to pay for bigger tax breaks for billionaires.
But the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) fought for – and won – a separate vote on the "People’s Budget," which fights for the priorities we and most Americans support.
In a nutshell, the CPC People’s Budget:
1. Eliminates the Deficit by 2021 without devastating Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
The CPC budget targets the true drivers of deficits: the Bush Tax Cuts, the wars overseas, and the causes and effects of the recent recession. By implementing a fair tax code, by building a resilient American economy, and by bringing our troops home, it achieves a budget surplus of over $30 billion by 2021.
by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University – Scholarship in Action
It appears that the “great” Rush Limbaugh doesn’t believe that Barack Obama is black. On his show, Limbaugh responded to Obama’s suggestion during a meeting that some of the animus being shown toward him was driven by race (which we all know plays a huge role in the unprecedented attacks he’s been facing from his political opponents). On his radio show, Limbaugh had this to say:
"Let me ask you a question. How many people really think of Obama as black? …One of Obama’s parents is black. Undeniable. But he was raised by a white mother, by white grandparents. He went to a highly exclusive private school in Hawaii with rich, white students and white teachers. He went to exclusive colleges that were practically lily-white. Barry Obama is from a very white, albeit radically left, cultural background. He’s not from the hood. He’s not from the movement…I’m telling you, there is a chip on this guy’s shoulder, and it is a factor in every policy decision that he makes."
What’s interesting is that Rush Limbaugh’s statement is a powerful reminder of the kind of racism he embodies with his typical rhetoric. Somehow, Limbaugh was made to believe that being black means that you are “from the hood” or “from the movement.” The truth is that being black can also mean that you were born middle/upper class, attended elite universities, or are a sociopolitical conservative. By confining blackness to mean that a person must have had a specific background or be confined to a particular economic or social class, Limbaugh comes off as the standard sort of racist who remains hell-bent on disrespecting our humanity.
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
TO STUDENTS AND FACULTY OF MIAMI CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL
Miami Central High School
4:00 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Rockets! (Applause.) Thank you! (Applause.) Thank you, everybody. (Applause.) Everybody, have a seat, have a seat. Have a seat. It is good to be here today! (Applause.) I’m excited! I am thrilled to be here, Rockets. Bonswa. It is good to see all of you.
I want to, first of all, thank somebody who I think is going to end up being one of the best Education Secretaries that we’ve ever had, Arne Duncan, for being here. (Applause.) We also have — your congresswoman, Frederica Wilson, is here. Give her a big round of applause. (Applause.)
by Charles M. Blow, New York Times
President Obama made history on Tuesday.
It was only the second time since Harry S. Truman’s State of the Union address in 1948 that such a speech by a Democratic president did not include a single mention of poverty or the plight of the poor.
The closest Obama got to a mention was his confirmation for “Americans who’ve seen their paychecks dwindle or their jobs disappear” that, indeed, “the world has changed. The competition for jobs is real.” I’m sure they appreciated that.
The only other Democrat not to mention poverty in the speech was Jimmy Carter in 1980, but even he was able to squeeze in one reference to at least a portion of the poor and disenfranchised, stressing the continuation of jobs programs to “provide training and work for our young people, especially minority youth.” (Carter did mention the poor in a written version that he submitted to Congress.)
by Dr. Wilmer J. Leon
President Barack Obama was under pressure to satisfy many different constituencies in his second State of the Union address last night. Some liberals wanted the president to support government-matching 401(k) contributions in order to promote saving; others wanted him to address gay-rights legislation; still others urged a ban on large gun clips, or deep cuts in the defense budget.
Instead the president chose to set a tone rather than an agenda. Other presidents have been able to unveil sweeping policy initiatives in the annual address. But President Obama is faced with an ideologically driven opposition that has made clear its intention to oppose him at every turn. At the same time, the president is also facing a historic shift in technological and global economic realities that is remaking the world as we have come to know it.
Next week’s State of the Union Address to be offered by President Barack Obama comes at a time when our nation is especially divided, and our future as a country is foggier than it has been in recent memory. The event that will be on everyone’s mind is the attempted assasination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who is recovering from an assassin’s bullet in the hospital right now. The Giffords shooting has slowed down the most extreme Republican rhetoric for the moment, but it certainly has not ended the animosity shown toward President Obama.
While President Obama must contend with the Republicans, he must also deal with a wide variety of special interest groups, all expecting something in return for their loyalty. With well over 90 percent approval ratings, no group has been more steadfast and committed to President Obama than the African American community. Therefore, as we seek to determine what our community should expect from the State of the Union address being given this week, we have every right to demand what is best for us.
President Barack Obama has done it again. Like Michael Jordan in the Eastern Conference Finals with 10 seconds left on the clock, the president sank the speech that would help to shape his presidency for much of 2011. Utilizing his opportunity to address the nation after the unfortunate shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the Obama speech in Tucson was reflective of the decency that allows our president to transcend the pettiness of his adversaries. He stood his ground without fighting his enemies, and reminded the country that "we can all do better."
The president encouraged those listening to communicate "in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds." The Obama speech also conceded that there is no way to know who was responsible for the shooting that killed six and injured 13 others. But he did say that our nation’s polarized political conversation can be handled in a way that is respectful and productive.
Click the link below to listen to Dr. Boyce Watkins on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” addressing what President Obama must do for the African American community as it pertains to education, economic inequality and mass incarceration.
I was shaking my head over and over again in preparation for a conversation we are going to have on NPR tomorrow about President Obama. The show is called "Talk of the Nation," and I had the esteemed honor of being the resident black guy, as the other two guests are set to discuss various elements of foreign and domestic policy. I’m just joking about the "black guy" thing, since I’m just happy they didn’t choose someone like Juan Williams.
At any rate, my brain started spinning on how President Obama can best use the remainder of his first term as it pertains to people of color. I thought carefully about what he’s done, what he’s doing, what he’s up against and what matters to us. In my course of thought, I came to a few conclusions.
In terms of President Obama’s ability to articulate and take action on his vision for America in one, year, I would issue a grade of B+. He has motivated millions across the globe to be more charitable, considerate, and reflective on our personal and national interests. Contrastingly, I would personally give him a grade of a C to mark the more free-thinking, activist, and liberal political stance that I thought and hoped he would bring to the White House. Mr. Obama is clearly a centrist and that is a dangerous position to have if his desire is to serve an additional four years. While his pit crew (the people that elected him) are screaming “Open it up! We’ve got your back,” he’s driving his Ferrari 35 mph. Is it a lack of political skill or political will for this seemingly gentle posture? Time will definitely tell. Nonetheless, many Americans remain hopeful for real change with his ideological path of appeasement and consensus-building.
JACKSON, Miss. — Bobby DeLaughter, a former Mississippi prosecutor and judge whose legal conquests became the subject of books and a movie, is set to report to federal prison Monday for lying to the FBI in a judicial bribery investigation.
The next chapter of DeLaughter’s life, as inmate No. 12930-042, marks a long fall from the height of his legal career in 1994 when he was a prosecutor who helped convict a civil rights-era assassin for the 30-year-old murder of NAACP leader Medgar Evers.
The 55-year-old DeLaughter (deh-LAW’-ter) was to report to a federal prison camp in McCreary, Ky., by 2 p.m.
DeLaughter’s lawyer, Thomas Durkin of Chicago, told The Associated Press on Monday that he didn’t know exactly what time DeLaughter would report to prison, but that he wouldn’t be late. A prison official said he was not in custody as of about 10:45 a.m.
As the battle lines for health care reform are being drawn – and redrawn – a silent segment of the population is strategically left out of the conversation. A group of individuals who have been deemed enemies of society, and cast away behind iron bars to fend for themselves. In California, health care in the state’s 33 prisons is so inadequate that one unnecessary death takes place per week, as inmates are often stacked in triple bunk beds in hallways and gymnasiums. With nearly twice the number of prisoners than it was designed to hold, California prisons will have to be cut by about 40,000 in the next two years – and it’s about time.
Federal judges just released a 184-page order demanding that California’s inmate population be reduced by 27%, and gave the state 45 days to come up with a plan. In what they termed an ‘unconstitutional prison health care system’, the three-judge panel concluded that disease was spreading rampantly and prisoner-on-prisoner violence was all but unavoidable. Forced to close a $26 billion dollar budget gap, California will now have to look at mechanisms to reducing its extensive prison spending, which in 2007 topped out at nearly $10 billion (approximately $49,000 for each inmate).
Whether it’s for pure economic reasons or for an actual concern over the well being of prisoners, California will hopefully serve as an example for a reversal of the ever-growing prison industrial complex. A system that unfairly profiles and detains minorities, American jails produce a vicious cycle of recidivism and community breakdown. Last year, the Pew Center on the States released a scathing report stating that one in every 100 American adults was in jail, and that an astonishing one in 15 Black adults was behind bars. According to government reports in 2007, there were three times as many Blacks in jail than in college dorms, with Latinos not far behind at 2.7 times more behind bars than in secondary schooling.
Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III
On the evening of Tuesday, November 24 a young couple from Virginia made their way into one of the most secure events in the country, President Obama’s state dinner for Indian Prime Minister Monmohan Singh and his wife at the White House. Like the other 300 plus invited guests, Tareq and Michaele Salahi went through multiple layers of Secret Service security, took photos with Chief of Staff Rom Emanuel and mingled with Vice President Biden and other invited guests. The problem is that the Salahi’s were not invited to the dinner. Their names were not listed on the official guest list or any other list that would have allowed them entrance into the White House. They crashed the party!
All that this couple needed to gain entrance into a state dinner at the White House was a tuxedo, traditional Indian evening wear, attitude, and white skin. When they arrived at the Secret Service check point without a printed invitation and without their names on the official guest list, they were not detained or questioned. No telephone calls were made; no further inquiries were needed; just white skin, blond hair, the expectation of admittance, and a pretty smile. Had this occurred at an airport the Salahi’s would have never made it past airport security.
Both are graduates of Howard University’s Political Science Program
The suspense is over. For weeks we have been holding our collective breath to see if there would be real insurance reform. Now we know. President Obama’s speech this evening incorporated a lot of different ideas, but what was most striking was his statement that the public option was just one of the avenues that could be travelled to achieve an expansion of insurance coverage. Besides the demotion of the public option as an important tool to reign in the all powerful insurance companies, I noticed that there was no mention of universal health care. Wasn’t that the point of this whole exercise?
To be fair there are some good things. Under the President’s proposal there will be:
§ Coverage for pre-existing conditions
§ A cap on out-of-pocket expenses
§ People can no longer be dropped from insurance companies when they get sick
§ No further cap on what insurance companies will pay out
It is a good start, but it doesn’t go far enough.
I once saw a documentary by filmmaker Byron Hurt called, "Barack and Curtis," comparing President Obama to the rapper 50 Cent. Such a comparison might seem silly, given that one of these men is the leader of the free world and the other is a wealthy "gangsta" with more business sense than a Harvard Professor. But in this case, Barack might want to learn a bit from Curtis in order to get a little "gangsta" with the Republican Party, because the right wing has already gotten incredibly "thugged out" with him.
Through a web of lies, unfair attacks and orchestrated campaigns to discredit the president, the right wingers have been relatively successful in slowly eroding Obama’s base of support. While President Obama once rode the wave of 60% approval ratings and amazing popularity, the numbers are now hovering around 45% and morale within the Obama camp has been dramatically weakened. Let Obama lose an additional 10% of his supporters, and you’ve got another President Bush.
I’ve been critical of President Obama when he was wrong, and that won’t ever change. But I stand by my assertion that Barack Obama is the most intelligent and capable leader our nation has had in a very long time. He is certainly better than John McCain and Sarah Palin, whose intellectual and professional flaws make a mockery of our political system.
Seven months after taking office, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is reshaping the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division by pushing it back into some of the most important areas of American political life, including voting rights, housing, employment, bank lending practices and redistricting after the 2010 census.
As part of this shift, the Obama administration is planning a major revival of high-impact civil rights enforcement against policies, in areas ranging from housing to hiring, where statistics show that minorities fare disproportionately poorly. President George W. Bush’s appointees had discouraged such tactics, preferring to focus on individual cases in which there is evidence of intentional discrimination.
To bolster a unit that has been battered by heavy turnover and a scandal over politically tinged hiring under the Bush administration, the Obama White House has also proposed a hiring spree that would swell the ranks of several hundred civil rights lawyers with more than 50 additional lawyers, a significant increase for a relatively small but powerful division of the government.
Under the pretext of responding to the September 11, 2001 attacks in America, the United and States and Great Britain invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 under the banner of Operation Enduring Freedom. President Bush 41’ told the American people that the US strikes were,
“…designed to disrupt the use of Afghanistan as a terrorist base of operations, and to attack the military capability of the Taliban regime…we will make it more difficult for the terror network to train new recruits and coordinate their evil plans. Initially, the terrorists may burrow deeper into caves and other entrenched hiding places…At the same time, the oppressed people of Afghanistan will know the generosity of America and our allies. As we strike military targets, we will also drop food, medicine and supplies to the starving and suffering men and women and children of Afghanistan… ”
During the 2008 presidential campaign, candidate Obama promised to immediately withdraw troops from Iraq in order to bolster the forces in Afghanistan in order to defeat the Taliban and Al Qaeda. “It’s time to refocus our attention on the war we have to win in Afghanistan.”
I believe that this tactic was taken by the Obama team in order to placate the anti-Iraq contingent of the American electorate on the left while not leaving himself vulnerable to the “soft on defense” hawkish argument on the right. As a campaign tactic this approach proved to be successful. In reality, this may prove to be one of the greatest miscalculations President Obama has made. The real question here becomes, what’s the best tactic to accomplish this end?
(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, FILE)
Many of us once joked that Bill Clinton was the "first black president" (which he wasn’t). We had it wrong. If such a title were to be given to any white man, that should have to be the late Senator Ted Kennedy. He was never president of the United States, but he was certainly one of the kings of his generation.
As a member of the Senate since 1962, Senator Kennedy had a long career fighting for those forced to live in the underbelly of a capitalist society. Over the last 47 years, he has done it better than nearly any politician in American history. African-Americans were among the many beneficiaries of his passionate life’s work, and for that, we will always be appreciative.
In a multitude of areas including housing, income, civil liberties, and equality, Ted Kennedy has been on the front lines. His brother John introduced the Civil Rights Act of 1964, considered to be one of the most impactful pieces of legislation ever produced by our government. After John’s death, Ted and his brother Robert were instrumental in seeing that the bill was passed.
Senator Ted Kennedy then went on to help pass one law after another to support the rights of the elderly, the sick, the poor and the incarcerated. He introduced the Americans with Disabilities Act, The Civil Rights Act of 1991, The Civil Rights for Institutionalized Persons Act, among others. He also helped to amend the Fair Housing Act, and has fought relentlessly for those who’ve never known the comfort of attending an Ivy League University.
Senator Kennedy’s political compassion, as well as his complicated coping mechanisms, may be linked to the tragedy he experienced during his life. As a young child, he watched his sister Rosemary endure a failed lobotomy, saw his brother Joseph die in World War II and then witnessed his older sister Kathleen’s death in a plane crash. This tragedy was compounded by the assassinations of his two brothers, Robert and John during the 1960s. This kind of pain doesn’t heal easily, and few families endure such an amazing amount of personal tragedy. It is quite possible that the weight of his psychological pain gave Senator Kennedy the ability to empathize with the struggles of others, as well as the strength to fight through hurdles presented by his adversaries.
In 1903 W.E.B. DuBois wrote in The Souls of Black Folk, “The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line, –the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in America and the islands of the sea.” In 1968 the Kerner Commission determined "Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—-separate and unequal."
In 21st Century so-called “post racial” America the problem is still race. African American’s like Derryl Jenkins are still being brutalized by the police in north Minneapolis, MN; shot in the back of the head while handcuffed like Oscar Grant in Oakland, CA; and mistaken for perpetrators and killed by fellow officers like Officer Omar Edwards in New York City.
Many questions still need to be answered about these latest tragedies. What leads these officers to perceive people of color as a threat? Why do the police feel the need to use excessive force first and ask questions later? This takes me to the continual discussion about racism (white supremacy), its perceptions, and emotional responses that people of color deal with all too often.
According to 2008 U.S Census Bureau data approximately 47 million or 15.8 percent of the U.S. population, were without health insurance during 2006 — a 4.9 percent increase. In 2005, census figures showed that 44.8 million people, or about 15.3 percent of the population, lacked health insurance coverage. According to a report released by the Institute on Medicine, the average cost of family health-care coverage more than doubled from 1999 to 2008, from $1,543 to $3,354.
Based upon these realities, presidential candidate Obama made health-care reform a central theme of his campaign. He promised to achieve universal health care in his first term and to cut the average family’s health care health-care costs by $2,500. In the on-going health care reform debate it is very important to remember that as a result of this and other campaign promises, President Obama won the 2008 presidential election with 53% of the popular vote to Senator McCain’s 46% and 68% of the Electoral College vote to McCain’s 36%.
According to a New York Times/CBS News poll taken in June, 85 percent of respondents said the health care system needed to be fundamentally changed or completely rebuilt. According to a June poll conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute 83 percent of respondents favored and only 14 percent opposed “creating a new public health insurance plan that anyone can purchase.” These numbers indicate that health care reform is very important to the American people.