Poverty: Policies and Possibilities
By: Shannon Joyce Prince
Reprinted From Black Agenda Report
“Poor people can use themselves as weapons against poverty.”
With the recession imperiling the nation’s well-being, poverty is on everyone’s mind regardless of their political orientation. Yet too often the poor are cast as ignorant and impotent pawns needing either a kick in the pants or a magical cocktail of resources and programs. The dialogue typically stalls around what “we” must do for or to “them” as though the poor lack ingenuity and agency.
In this commentary I identify four ideas that can be used to battle poverty: ending marriage penalties, deregulating selected industries, creating tax-funded social programs run by the poor, and creating community gardens. [...]
The problem often isn’t that the poor aren’t pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, but rather when they do so they are told they don’t have the appropriate credentials. [...] For example, many poor black women braid hair as a way of making money. However, as the National Center for Public Policy Research points out, many states have threatened these women with arrest because they don’t have cosmetology licenses; licenses that often demand taking courses that cost around $10,000, and frequently don’t even cover hair braiding in their curriculum [...]
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Did Tiger Woods pave Barack Obama’s path? Are you joking?
By: Dave Zirin
Originally Appeared In NY Daily News
It’s always dangerous, but never boring, when a newspaper sports columnist uncorks a political thesis. Enter Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel. Bianchi thinks that there are some unsung heroes who deserve credit for helping put a black man in the White House – and they are athletes. “If you’re searching for tangible reasons why it became possible for Barack Obama to make his historic run at the presidency … look no further than the golf course, basketball court or football field.”
Bianchi believes that, since sports have conditioned white America to accept African-Americans as heroes and leaders, black sportsmen deserve a pat on the back. He wonders: “Where else but sports can you go to Amway Arena and see 15,000 mostly white fans cheer and celebrate the accomplishments of a team that is mostly black?”
Sounds lovely. But it happens to be embarrassingly wrong – and an insult to the reason that millions waited on long lines to cast their vote [...]
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Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan says President-elect Barack Obama has a God-given capacity to handle what Farrakhan calls the “horrible burden” Obama will face as the nation’s leader.
Farrakhan says Obama will be helped by “God and people of good will.”
The 75-year-old spoke Sunday at Mosque Maryam, the Chicago-based movement’s headquarters. The address is called “America’s New Beginning: President-elect Barack Obama.”
Farrakhan says he stayed quiet about his support the past few months out of fear it’d hurt Obama’s campaign [...]
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The voting booths hadn’t even cooled down from last night’s historic election, before the Wall Street Journal exploited the moment by not only suggesting that “racism as a barrier to achievement” will no longer exist now that a black man has been elected, but by actually declaring that these barriers were a “myth” in the first place. I guess it took a stubborn stronghold of white, male, corporate privilege, where black achievement is the exception, not the rule, to make such a claim.
Obama’s achievements are indeed an American achievement and all those who were able to vote their dreams and not their fears reveal the very best instincts of this country’s citizenry. But let’s not forget the popular “real America” theme that Sarah Palin drilled home to her party faithful, a creepy, divisive, and yes, racist, maneuver that tried to paint Barack as a bogey man that threatened “American” values [...]
Morning in Obamerica
By: Ishmael Reed
The wolf shall also dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
The great American satirist George Schuyler’s prescient and comic work, Black No More, is about a scientist named Dr. Crookmore who comes up with a formula that turns blacks to white (I wonder how Schuyler would treat the current profitable back- to- Africa DNA hokum). As a result of a country that is totally white, The Civil Rights organizations go out of business, and even the last hold out, the character, based upon the black nationalist Marcus Garvey, in the end, tries some of Dr. Crookmore solution. Would something like this happen were Barack Obama to become president? A country where there exists no social divisions and the issue of race has become defused.
The leader of the NAACP says that the work of the organization will continue even with an Obama victory. Why? Wouldn’t it be better that the NAACP shut its doors as cable’s leading conservative intellectual, Tucker Carlson has suggested? Auction off its assets and join the post race fever?
Full Article At Your Black Scholar
WASHINGTON (AFP) – Despite Barack Obama’s message of change and hope, fears persist in the black community about what his election as president could mean for the legacy of racism in America.
Namely, that it might mean nothing at all.
“America is still one of the most segregated countries by race and by class in the industrialized world,” said Dedrick Muhammad, research associate at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, a think tank for social justice.
Muhammad pointed to research showing that black Americans remain far behind the rest of the country economically, with median wealth one-tenth of that in white America, and one in three black children born into poverty.
Like most black Americans, Muhammad supports Obama’s historic bid to become America’s first black president.
However, he said the Illinois senator’s campaign tactic of largely avoiding discussion of race in his campaign has “driven me crazy.”
“What saddens me today is that we don’t talk about black-white inequality,” he said. “I see in Obama a winning strategy, but it is sad to me.”
For the 47-year-old son of a white American mother and black Kenyan father to gain the lead he currently holds over his Republican rival John McCain, Obama has had to tip-toe around any potential racial controversy, analysts say [...]
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Lula Cooper expects the tears to flow if Barack Obama becomes the first black president. But she’s not breaking out the tissues just yet.
“I cried when I marked my ballot for him. We’ve had such an incredible journey to this point,” said the former civil rights activist, her voice quavering. “I think he’s going to win, but I really am very, very cautious.”
Like a Hollywood blockbuster whose conclusion feels assured but still sets the heart racing, the endgame of this election has gripped black America with a powerful mixture of emotions.
Obama’s potential victory represents a previously unimaginable triumph over centuries of racism. But beneath the hope and pride lies fear: of polling inaccuracy, voting chicanery, or the type of injustice and violence that have historically stymied African-American progress [...]
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